Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Being attacked unfairly sucks, …

… especially by someone on your side.  Now I know how the Soviet soldiers escaping from Nazi POW camps felt when they were accused of treason and sent to GULAG or shot upon reaching their own lines.  Well, obviously what happened to me is not quite that bad, but unfair and unwarranted accusation still hurts, especially since it would only take about 5 minutes for the person doing the accusing to clear the matter, if he would only bother to do so.  All he had to do was to follow the link to this blog provided with that original comment.

Here is what happened.  A couple of days ago I posted a comment on one of the blogs I like, Hillbuz, expressing concern about Conservatives (and Hillbuz owner Kevin in particular) attacking Romney incessantly and refusing to support him under any circumstances.  Here is the blog post on which I commented.  Below is the text of my comment:

Kevin,
Romney is definitely not my first choice. I like Cane. But what are you going to do if he does get nominated? Any of the Republican candidates is much better than Obama, including even Ron Paul with his isolationist/McGovern-like foreign policy. I’d like to remind you of Reagan’s "11th commandment": never speak ill of a fellow Republican. Right now all these attacks on Romney make it much easier for Obama to win, should Romney get the nomination. Ultimately we all want Obama to lose in 2012. So, he is the one we need to attack. People were saying that McCain or Hillary were Obama-light. But any "Obama-light" would be infinitely better than "Obama-full version".
Eric.

I got much more than just a comment in response.  I got a full front page dressing down.  Go ahead and read it in full.  In short, Kevin accused me of being paid Romney campaign operative trolling his blog.  He then came up with very strange theories about who I am and what I do, including some devious explanation of why I misspelled Herman Cain’s last name (it was simply a stupid mistake not caught by the spell checker).  Only one commenter on that post seemed to be willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.  I thank her for that.  Kevin then proceeded to block me from commenting on his blog, leaving me no way to respond to his accusations.  So, I am going to post my response here, exactly as I would on his blog.  Maybe someone might read it here and then let Kevin know about it.  So, here goes:

Wow, front page dressing down for my little comment!  And here I just subscribed to replies in the comments section.  Sorry, it took me 2 days to reply.  But, here it is.

Who I am is easily established: the link to my blog was provided in the original comment.  But maybe that link somehow did not come through.  So, here it is again: http://conservativlib.wordpress.com/.  And, Kevin, you surely got my personal e-mail, since I did enter it when I wrote that original comment.  How many trolls do you know that give you their personal e-mails?  That one wasn’t even web mail, it was the one that goes straight to the hard drive of my home computer.  The IP might have been a little funky, since, if I remember correctly, I wrote that original comment at work, during my lunch hour.  But this one is straight from home.  Go ahead, check the IP.  I don’t know who is your blog space provider, but I use WordPress.  They send all that information in the e-mail.  Incidentally, about work and that "steady paycheck".  I do get it, as an Electronics Engineer, designing electronics for a medical equipment company.  That is also easily established from my blog (the part about me being an Electronics Engineer that is).  Incidentally, if you go there, you might read what I wrote about your blog when I added it to my blogroll.  Hint: I like your blog.  You might also learn why Obama’s second term, unrestrained by the necessity to run for re-election, scares the hell out of me.  But for those who for whatever reason don’t want to take time to go to my blog I’ll spell it out here.  You see, I was born and grew up in the former Soviet Union.  I came to this country in 1989 at the age of 25.  So, I know exactly where the Left is trying to take this country because I’ve been there before.  You think what Obama is doing now is bad?  You haven’t seen nothing yet.  Unrestrained by the need to appeal to the mainstream Americans, even those left of center, he will really show his true colors.  And his supporters on the Left will really push for his cult of personality.  You’ve seen some hints of this: children singing songs about him, children’s book about how great he was as a child.  That is scary.  The books like that one I’ve read back when I was a kid.  They were about Lenin.  If G-d forbid, Democrats regain the majority in the House, I believe they will attempt to repeal the 22nd Amendment, the one limiting the Presidency to 2 terms.

Obama needs to be defeated at all cost.  He just has to be out of the White House, thrown back to Chicago (sorry, Kevin, that you have to share the same city with him).  Part of what scares me about possible Romney’s nomination (and it is a possibility) is that enough Conservatives will not vote for him and give Obama the 2nd term.  That’s how McCain was defeated.  That, and also enough people believed media lies about Sarah Palin.  For the record, she would make a great President.  But she was right not to run because all the lies about her simply could not be undone.  And I never called McCain or Hillary "Obama-lite".  I have just said that other Conservatives did.  But you see, people like you and I, McCain and Hillary, Herman Cain and Romney, all agree on goals: to keep our country free, prosperous and secure.  We might just disagree on the best way of achieving these goals.  Although, in the case of you and I, even those disagreements virtually non-existent.  You would know that if you ever take time to look at my blog.  But Obama is different.  His goal is to turn this country into that other one that I left 22 years ago.  That is why I will support anybody who runs against him.  And that brings us to that disagreement between us that started this whole conversation.  You are willing to vote for 3rd party, thereby giving Obama the 2nd term.  You prefer to wait until 2016, when hopefully a real Conservative comes along.  Let me spell it out for you and all the other Conservatives that share your view on this: YOU MAY NOT GET A CHANCE IN 2016!  Go ahead, call me a paranoid right-winger.  Tell me that it can’t happen in this country.  Right now there are just baby steps in that direction: Obama’s appointment of various "czars", some Democrats suggesting to suspend elections or rule by decree.  And that is while he still has to run for re-election.  What do you think will happen when he does not have to run?  Do you think that in 1933 Germany there were no people waiting for the next elections?  In fact, that was probably the majority: Hitler’s party won only plurality of the votes.  Yes, I am comparing Obama to Hitler.  Not because his policies are genocidal, but because Obama’s economic policies closely resemble German version of socialism at that time.  As for the other areas of resemblance, that may still come.  His "Occupy whatever" buddies are already ranting about Jewish bankers.  In case you are wondering, yes, I am Jewish.  But then, you would know it from my blog, wouldn’t you?

So, you don’t like Romney? Fine! Mount a primary challenge in 2016. Or get a decent Democrat to run against him. Perhaps Hillary might decide to try again. Just get Obama out! He is very dangerous to this country.

Well, I hope you will admit that you were wrong in accusing me of being a troll.  Jumping to conclusions like that, accusing someone of some insidious conspiracy?  That is something I would expect from the Left, not from you.  Perhaps, after a little research you will discover that the comment on Romney was not the first one I made on your blog.  Perhaps also you might decide to reciprocate the link I have to your blog.  But if not, that’s OK.  I’ll still keep the link to your blog on mine.  You probably wouldn’t care: I don’t get nearly as many hits as you do.  But, like I said, I like your blog, and that link is a convenient bookmark.

Best regards,

Eric.

So, what do you think?  Will Kevin admit that he was wrong?

October 29, 2011 Posted by | Articles | 5 Comments

My comments on women in combat

Bookworm linked to an interesting article analyzing the possible performance of female members of  American military in combat.  While it is obvious to any sane individual that lowering standards in order to allow women to participate in combat will be deadly, it is useful to look at historical examples of women in combat and analyze possible advantages that women might have over men.  These historical examples do not need to be from some ancient history.  World War 2 examples are very relevant for this purpose.

1st, let’s mention something that, while extremely dangerous, does not necessarily involve direct combat: intelligence and sabotage work.  Here is one example, but really, to list them all a book is required.  The advantages are obvious: women often attract less suspicion than men.  And, while such operations often do not involve direct combat, they come very close to what often Special Forces do.

2nd example is snipers.  Female snipers were quite numerous in the Soviet Army during World War 2.  The most famous one was Lyudmila Pavlichenko.  During defense of Odessa and Sevastopol she was credited with 309 kills.  There were others: Marie Ljalkova, Ziba Ganiyeva, Nina Lobkovskaya and Tanya Baramzina.  These are just the ones I found in Wikipedia.  There were much more, it’s just too hard to find info on them.  However, according to the Wikipedia articles I found, the Soviets had Central Women’s Sniper Training School, so obviously there were more than I listed.  Do women make better snipers than men?  Well, it is quite possible: they tend to be more patient in stalking their prey.  Indeed, in the animal kingdom it is often female species who are hunters (lions, for example).  The modern example is the story about female snipers hired by the Chechen fighters in North Caucasus.  While it is hard to say whether the story is true, this certainly seems plausible.

3rd example is perhaps the most famous one.  The Soviets had 3 female Air Force regiments: 586th Fighter, 587 Bomber and 588 Night Bomber.  The 586th Fighter Regiment was assigned to air defense duties for covering rear areas from German attacks.  As such, it saw less combat than a front line unit would, although it participated with distinction in the Battle of Stalingrad.  However, a couple of girls were transferred to the regular (male) front line units, and there they showed what they were capable of.  Lilya Litvyak scored 11 personal kills, plus 3 shared, while Katya Budanova seems to be credited with 11 kills total.  These results were achieved in less than a year: unfortunately both girls were killed in combat.  In addition, Lilya Litvyak had another unusual kill to her credit, which showed some out-of-the-box thinking.  As described in Anne Noggle’s “A Dance with Death”, at one point the Germans were using an observation balloon for artillery fire correction.  Nobody could take it out, as it was heavily protected by anti-aircraft fire.  Previous attempts to bring it down by the fighter aircraft were unsuccessful and resulted in losses for the Soviets.  Lilya volunteered to shoot it down.  Rather than attempting to fly toward the balloon directly, she crossed the front line some distance away from the balloon, where there were no anti-aircraft defenses.  Then she approached the balloon from the German side.  By the time the Germans realized what was happening and opened fire on her, the balloon was down, and Lilya was flying back to base.  I want to indulge a bit: here is the picture of the Yak-1 fighter Lilya was flying.

lilyayak

As a side note, Lilya Litvyak had a very good reason to fight the Nazis: ethnically she was at least half-Jewish.

But getting back to the subject at hand: do women make better fighter pilots?  Again, it’s quite possible.  First of all, they can be just as aggressive and competitive as men.  Second, there are evidence that women can sustain higher G-forces than men.  The reasons seem to be the facts that center of gravity of female body is proportionally lower than that of male (butt is wider than the upper body) and that women are usually shorter than men.  The fact that women are shorter means that the blood has less distance to travel toward the brain, making women less prone to blackouts.  That’s important because ability to make tighter turns at higher speeds gives tremendous advantage in air combat.

The most famous of the 3 female regiments was the 588 Night Bomber, better known as Night Witches.  It was later re-designated as 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment.  The Guards designation meant that the regiment distinguished itself in combat.  Stalin was not known for political correctness in the modern sense, so the Guards designation was well deserved.  It was also the only one of the three that was 100% female.  That included armorers who had to attach rather heavy bombs to the aircraft, so the women came up with mechanisms to help them lift the bombs.  The other 2 regiments had some male personnel.  The Fighter Regiment had a male commander and some male ground personnel.  But it is the history of the 587th Bomber Regiment that demonstrates the capabilities and limitations of women in combat the best.

The 587th Bomber Regiment was commanded originally by Marina Raskova, who originally suggested to Stalin the formation of all-female Air Force regiments.  Unfortunately, Raskova did not live to lead her regiment into combat: she died in a flying accident before her regiment was deployed operationally.  Her replacement was a man, major Valentin Markov.  Just like the Night Bomber Regiment, the 587th was re-designated 125th Guards Bomber Regiment in 1943, which means that it was quite successful.  So, what was so special about this unit that might enable us to see the capabilities and limitations of women in combat?  We need to examine the aircraft flown by those brave ladies in order to understand that.

587th (later 125th Guards) Bomber Regiment was armed with Petlyakov Pe-2 aircraft, the main Soviet tactical bomber during the war.

pe2

Pe-2 was originally developed as a high altitude heavy fighter and designated VI-100 (VI stands for “Vysotny Istrebitel’” – High-altitude Fighter).  However, it was later decided to re-design it into a dive bomber.  As a dive bomber it was re-designated as Pe-2.  This aircraft was used for both dive bombing and level bombing.  It retained many of the fighter-like characteristics.  Indeed, its speed of 540km/h (335mph) exceeded that of many fighters in 1941.  Pe-2 had a crew of 3: pilot, navigator and radio operator-gunner.  The 2 forward-firing machine guns were fixed and fired by the pilot.  They were aimed just like in any fighter aircraft: by aiming the plane itself.  The dorsal gun, protecting the upper rear, was installed in a turret behind the pilot’s cockpit and fired by the navigator.  The radio operator-gunner fired the 3rd gun.  Its default position was ventral, protecting the lower rear.  It was also often used for strafing enemy on the ground.  However, this 3rd gun could be moved, as shown below.

pe2-w1-1

pe2-w1-3

This gun was quite heavy: either ShKAS or UB.  To be able to move it quickly, aim and fire required upper body strength.  That is why the position of radio operator-gunner was for the most part filled by men.  Women simply could not operate that gun effectively.

Finally, let’s analyze the problem that is not physical, but often brought up as a one of the reasons why women should not serve in combat units.  That problem is sexual tension.  As a side note, that is also often an argument against gays in the military.  Does this problem exist?  Sure, it does.  In fact, it could be argued that it led to Lilya Litvuak’s demise.  During Lilya’s time in 73rd GvIAP (Russian for Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment) she became romantically involved with another pilot, Alexey Solomatin.  Relationship was quite serious, and they got engaged.  Unfortunately, Solomatin was killed in an accident, while he was training a new pilot.  Lilya became understandably distraught and started constantly seeking combat missions without taking any time to rest.  That took its toll, and on August 1, 1943 her luck ran out.  But a situation like this one could happen to any man in combat just as well.  This has nothing to do with sex.  A death of a family member or a close friend could be just as devastating, and with the same result.

So, what can we conclude from this amateur historical analysis?  Well, it seems to me that women can in fact participate in combat and be successful at it, if they meet the requirements necessary for combat.  The key is to keep the requirements the same for men and women, rather than to try to accommodate women who cannot meet those requirements.  Thus there will be women who can be combat pilots, snipers or even covert operators.  There might even be some who can participate in infantry combat, if they meet physical requirements necessary for accomplishing the mission and survival.  But the stupid political correctness regarding this subject should be stopped.  The requirements should be based on what’s necessary for successful mission and survival, not diversity.  Thus, in those areas, where women are not at a natural disadvantage, they will succeed in higher numbers than in other areas.  And that’s OK.  Stupid social experiments for the sake of diversity should not be conducted in the military: the lives of our soldiers, both male and female, are at stake.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Articles, History | Leave a comment

A trial that should have happened, but never did

In the article I linked to in my previous post, Vladimir Bukovsky touches upon an interesting phenomenon: fascination of many Western intellectuals with socialism and Soviet Communism.  Just before anybody tries to point out any distinctions between Communism and Socialism, I have to explain something about the old Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union never called itself "Communist".  When I was growing up there, we were "building Communism".  But we were "country of advanced Socialism".  After all, the official name of the country was "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics".  We were always taught that Communism was the last and most advanced stage of Socialism.  So, all the distinctions between Socialism and Communism are really a matter of degree.  Soviet Communism is really a logical conclusion of the socialist policies.  So, for simplicity I will use the term "Communism", as it is accepted in this country.  The Western intellectuals refuse to acknowledge the staggering number of victims of Communism or, if they do, they find excuses for it: it was not done right, there were excesses, it was done for the greater good etc.  But the number of victims of Communism far exceeds the number of victims of Nazism.  There are several reasons for it.  First of all, unlike the Nazism, Communism is international in nature and thus has larger pool of victims.  Communism also was spread over larger territory and affected much greater population.  Finally, it simply lasted longer.  In fact, it is still around in places like North Korea and Cuba.  Yet, while Nazism, or National Socialism, is universally condemned as an anti-human ideology, its international cousin, better known as Communism, is not.  Why is that?  Well, a big reason National Socialism was condemned were Nuremberg Trials, where not just individual Nazis, but the whole system of National Socialism was put on trial.  The whole organizations, like SS, were declared criminal.  Does it mean that every member of this organization committed crimes against humanity?  No.  Many members of the Waffen-SS were simply soldiers of elite units who fought quite heroically, although for a very bad cause.  But the organization as a whole was in fact guilty of crimes against humanity.  However, Communism and organizations like KGB escaped this condemnation.  Why?  Well, one of the reasons is that Hitler and Stalin ended up on the opposite sides of World War 2.  Thus, the Soviets managed convince the world that they were ideologically on the opposite side of political spectrum.  Furthermore, from my narrow Jewish perspective, Soviets were preferable to Nazis simply because Soviet Communists were "equal opportunity murderers".  In their bigger pool of victims the statistical chance of survival was better.  And so, the Soviets became "good guys".  Their crimes were largely hidden.  And just like the Nazis before 1939, they did not overtly attack any country.  So, for many people it was very hard to understand what was so bad about the Soviet Union.  In 1979 the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, but even now, in light of 9/11, an argument can be made that a Soviet-controller Afghanistan would be better than Taliban- or Al-Qaeda-controlled.  And in any case, the Soviets of 1980s seem definitely more Western-like and more civilized than Taliban.  But after the fall of the Soviet Union the crimes of the Soviet Communists for the most part still remained hidden.  What Vladimir Bukovsky suggests should have happened is a Nuremberg-like trial, where the whole Soviet system would be tried.  That is where the archives should have been open, and all the Soviet crimes against humanity would have been revealed for the world to see.  Unfortunately this never happened, although for time there was a chance that it might.  This crazy fascination with the Soviet system still remains in the Western intellectual circles.  That even includes our current President.  But I’d like to make any small contribution to breaking this fascination.  Vladimir Bukovsky compiled his own archives.  Read them at your leisure.  Pass the link around.  Maybe enough people will open their eyes to the crimes of National Socialism’s international cousin.  Maybe eventually the whole Socialist ideology will be exposed for what it is: an anti-human system of oppression, death and destruction.

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October 23, 2010 Posted by | Articles, History | Leave a comment

Soviet satire and Obama Administration

When I was growing up in the Soviet Union, among the most popular satire authors were the duo of Ilf and Petrov.  They were long gone by the time I was growing up: Ilf died of tuberculosis in 1937, and Petrov was killed in a plane crash during World War 2.  Still, their humor and ability to laugh at the Soviet reality of 1920s – 1930s ensured their continuing popularity.  They were especially popular in my native city of Odessa, because that’s where they were from.  Their 2 main novels are The Twelve Chairs and its sequel, The Golden Calf.  The 1st of the 2, The Twelve Chairs, even was made into a Mel Brooks movie.  The main character of the novels, Ostap Bender, is basically a small-time con artist trying to get rich in the early Soviet Union during the time of New Economic Policy, when some elements of free enterprise were allowed.  Upon getting reach, Bender dreams of escaping the Soviet Union to Rio-de-Janeiro, where, he is sure, "everybody wears white pants".  In the 2nd novel, The Golden Calf, Bender and his cohorts set their sights on Aleksandr Koreiko, an "underground millionaire".  Koreiko was "underground" because there were no legal millionaires in the Soviet Union.  He made his millions by cleverly defrauding the Soviet Government.  For example, in one instance Koreiko set up a chemical factory.  This chemical factory never produced anything.  The whole production process amounted to transferring water from one barrel to another.  The source of income for this factory and personally for Mr. Koreiko were government grants and loans.  Right before discovery Koreiko managed to disappear with the money.  Of course, Koreiko could not spend his money, because that would reveal to everybody his ill-gotten riches.  He had to stay "underground", posing as a lowly bureaucrat.  And that made him vulnerable to blackmail.  Ostap Bender conducted an extensive investigation, gathered enough evidence and succeeded in extorting a million rubles from Koreiko.

Both books are hilarious and were always a part of the culture in the Soviet Union, often quoted by people in regular conversations.  But someone might ask: "What does it have to do with Obama Administration?"  Well, a couple of days ago I caught a glimpse of Glenn Beck’s program in which he mentioned a company by the name of Molten Metal Technology Inc. and one of its officers named Maurice Strong.  Beck said that the company’s source of income were US Government grants, and that Strong and some other company leaders sold their stock, making millions, right before our Government stopped paying, and the company went belly up.  I immediately thought: "Wait a minute, I remember that story".  Indeed, that is exactly the episode out of one of my favorite books, the one I described above.  I looked it up.  Here is one article on the subject:

…The tawdry tale of the top two global warming gurus in the business world goes all the way back to Earth Day, April 17, 1995 when the future author of “An Inconvenient Truth” travelled to Fall River, Massachusetts, to deliver a green sermon at the headquarters of Molten Metal Technology Inc. (MMTI). MMTI was a firm that proclaimed to have invented a process for recycling metals from waste. Gore praised the Molten Metal firm as a pioneer in the kind of innovative technology that can save the environment, and make money for investors at the same time.

“Gore left a few facts out of his speech that day,” wrote EIR. “First, the firm was run by Strong and a group of Gore intimates, including Peter Knight, the firm’s registered lobbyist, and Gore’s former top Senate aide.”

(Fast-forward to the present day and ask yourself why it is that every time someone picks up another Senate rock, another serpent comes slithering out).

“Second, the company had received more than $25 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research and development grants, but had failed to prove that the technology worked on a commercial scale. The company would go on to receive another $8 million in federal taxpayers’ cash, at that point, its only source of revenue (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).

“With Al Gore’s Earth Day as a Wall Street calling card, Molten Metal’s stock value soared to $35 a share, a range it maintained through October 1996. But along the way, DOE scientists had balked at further funding. When in March 1996, corporate officers concluded that the federal cash cow was about to run dry, they took action: Between that date and October 1996, seven corporate officers—including Maurice strong—sold off $15.3 million in personal shares in the company, at top market value. On Oct. 20, 1996—a Sunday—the company issued a press release, announcing for the first time, that DOE funding would be vastly scaled back, and reported the bad news on a conference call with stockbrokers (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).

“On Monday, the stock plunged by 49%, soon landing at $5 a share. By early 1997, furious stockholders had filed a class action suit against the company and its directors. Ironically, one of the class action lawyers had tangled with Maurice strong in another insider trading case, involving a Swiss company called AZL Resources, chaired by Strong, who was also a lead shareholder. The AZL case closely mirrored Molten Metal, and in the end, Strong and the other AZL partners agreed to pay $5 million to dodge a jury verdict, when eyewitness evidence surfaced of Strong’s role in scamming the value of the company stock up into the stratosphere, before selling it off.

The article ties Mr. Strong to Obama.  Read it all.  But isn’t it ironic, how life imitates one of my favorite childhood books.  Here is another article, this one about how Al Gore and the above-mentioned Maurice Strong making money off the carbon credits.  Indeed, Gore made millions off this scheme.  Al Gore, Maurice Strong and other Global Warming gurus are nothing more that scam artists, just like Aleksandr Koreiko, the fictitious character from the old Russian novel.  Do you think there might be an Ostap Bender who might take time to investigate and expose the bastards?

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May 16, 2010 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

Health Care – Soviet style

I wanted to write this article for a while now, but there was never enough time. So, finally I decided to start and slowly over some time write it.

There have been a lot of talk lately about the horrors of socialized medicine on one side and the benefits of universal coverage on the other. So, let’s examine the ultimate socialized health care system – the one in the former Soviet Union. Let’s compare it to what we have here in the US.
Back in the old Soviet Union the health care was free, i. e. paid for by the Government. You can’t necessarily say that it was paid by the taxpayers, since the Government was one huge monopolistic business. The Soviet Government did business with the outside world and conducted commerce internally. It also employed doctors and paid them the money it printed. Back in Odessa we used to say about the free health care: “Лечиться даром – это даром лечиться”. I am just giving you the phrase in the original Russian. Here is the transliterated version: “Lechit’sya darom – eto darom lechit’sya”. The literal translation is: “If you get treated for nothing, it means that nothing gets treated”. The more proper phrase in English, perhaps the one some people might have heard is “The health care is free, and you get what you paid for it”. This indeed does reflect the overall situation. But, amazingly enough, for people who were relatively healthy and had just minor problems here and there, the system actually did work. The primary care doctors saw patients in their offices for 3 hours a day. The rest of the day they made house calls. Yes, if you were sick, you called your primary physician’s office and request for the doctor to come visit you at home. People were actually almost forced to do that if they were sick, even with a common cold. Here is why. There were no finite number of sick days per year. Instead, every time you got sick, you were entitled to stay home, with pay, provided that it could be verified by your doctor. So, if you can go to a clinic, you were considered well enough to go to work. Of course, there was some abuse, but for the most part people remained honest. The doctor was always more likely to err on the side of sending you to work. For those who actually visited a doctor in the office, 2 or 3 days a week the office hours were conveniently from 6pm to 9pm, making it easy to have an appointment without having to take time off work. It was relatively easy to schedule simple procedures you might need. So, the bottom line, for people without major problems the Soviet health care did work. The problem would arise if you got really sick. That is when the lack of proper equipment, lack of proper medicine, shortage of hospital space and general mess would come into play. If you got into a hospital room with 7 or 8 other people, you were lucky. The unlucky ones had to be stationed in the hallways. Sometimes some patient’s family would bribe somebody on the hospital staff, and the space in one of the 8-bed rooms would be made available, often by moving some unlucky soul to the hallway and moving the “paying” patient into the freed-up space in the room. The doctors and nurses were not the highly paid professionals they are in this country. There were good doctors and nurses, but their pay was, like that of engineers, way below any blue color worker. So, to some extend you can hardly blame doctors and nurses for supplementing their income by re-arranging hospital beds for a fee.
On the other hand, there were special hospitals for high government and Communist Party officials. There was always space, equipment and medicine available there, and the staff was well paid. The general public had no access to those hospitals …unless they either managed to bribe someone really well or knew someone in the government or party hierarchy.
What is interesting about the Soviet health care is that there were no especially designed measures to save the resources, like rationing. Although, the different quality of care available to Communist Party officials could be construed as such. However, the poor quality of care in general was not due to rationing, but simply a result of lack of incentive to provide good care. Basically, the whole thing was a mess. It will not be so, if our Government ever gets to control the health care system. As inefficient as our Government can be, its inefficiency pales in comparison to the Soviet Government. So, our Government will inevitable design some cost-saving measures, which will essentially amount to rationing, although they will be called something else. And it will be much worse than the Soviet system. Because in the Soviet Union you could try to ask your friends and acquaintances if they knew somebody who knew somebody. You could try to bribe somebody. Basically, there were ways around the generally messy system to get better quality care. And nobody counted the money spent for people’s care, so if some particular resource was available somewhere, there were ways, sometimes illegal, to obtain it. However, if the Government in this country gets a hold of the health care system, it will be efficient and it will control cost. So, if you get denied some level of care here, it will be the end of the line. There will be no ways around the system, at least not for the first 50 years, until it becomes as messy as the Soviet system. And it may never become as messy. So, there will be some Government bureaucrats who will ultimately will decide who lives and who dies. Yes, I know that a lot of people don’t believe that. But that is inevitable, because the only alternative is to design the Soviet messy system right from the start, without any cost control. And that will never happen.

January 17, 2010 Posted by | Articles | 1 Comment

Defining Fort Hood Massacre properly

Ann Coulter recently published an article listing all the evidence that the Fort Hood Massacre committed by Nidal Hasan was a jihadi attack and taking the mainstream media to task for refusing to call it an act of terrorism:

It’s been weeks since eyewitnesses reported that Maj. Nidal Hasan shouted "Allahu akbar" before spraying Fort Hood with gunfire, killing 13 people.

Since then we also learned that Hasan gave a medical lecture on beheading infidels and pouring burning oil down their throats (unfortunately not covered under the Senate health care bill). Some wondered if perhaps a pattern was beginning to emerge but were promptly dismissed as racist cranks.

We also found out Hasan had business cards printed up with the jihadist abbreviation "SOA" for "Soldier of Allah." Was that enough to conclude that the shooting was an act of terrorism — or does somebody around here need to take another cultural sensitivity class?

And we know that Hasan had contacted several jihadist Web sites and that he had been exchanging e-mails with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen. The FBI learned that last December, but the rest of us only found out about it a week ago.

Is it still too soon to come to the conclusion that the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terrorism?

Ms. Coulter is of course correct in pointing that one has to be willfully blind in order not to see the action of Nidal Hasan for what it is: an attack by an adherent to violent Islamist ideology on American soldiers.  Any attempt to portray Hasan as some sort of a deranged individual is now ridiculous.  He is no more deranged than the 9/11 hijackers flying planes into buildings or the ideology they all adhere to.  I do, however, disagree with Ann Coulter and many others on the right in one thing: I would not call Hasan’s action as terrorism.  Why?  Well, because if the terrorism is defined as a deliberate attack against civilians in order to score political points, then this attack was not an act of terrorism.  The targets of Hasan’s attack were our soldiers.  Thus, this attack was an act of war, rather than terrorism.  Nidal Hasan executed a surprise attack on our military, similar to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.  This makes him an enemy combatant.  The fact that he was wearing American uniform prior to the attack makes him an illegal combatant, the kinds of which were shot on the spot during World War 2.  Finally, there is a "T" word that properly defines the actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan: TREASONHere is how Section 3 of Article 3 of the United States Constitution defines treason:

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit). No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

If the action of US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan is not "levying War against" the United States, then I don’t know what is.  And there are more than 2 witnesses to his action.  The fact that he is charged merely with murder is a very sad thing.  In my opinion, treason should definitely be among the charges against Hasan.  Upon conviction he should face the firing squad, or perhaps even be hanged.  There should be no lethal injection for him.  Yes, I know that he will be dead either way, but symbolism is important for showing how serious we are in prosecuting the war to defend ourselves.

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November 27, 2009 Posted by | Articles | 3 Comments

When is it good to have a military coup?

Long time ago, on a continent far-far away, there was a beautiful, progressive (in a good sense of the word) and tolerant country.  It was a parliamentary democracy.  Its President played largely ceremonial role.  The leader of the party winning the most seats in parliament would usually become the country’s Chief Executive and form a Government.  One day the country had elections, and a party favoring socialism (a popular idea at the time) and claiming to represent working class won the most seats in parliament.  This party did not win the majority of seats, but it did win the plurality.  And, thanks to clever parliamentary maneuvering and coalition building, the party’s leader became the Chief Executive of the country’s Government.  The economic situation was pretty bad, and so this Chief Executive persuaded the parliament to grant him the right to rule by decree.  After all, something had to be done quickly to rectify the economic situation.  The country’s constitution provided for it, and it would be only temporary.  In 4 years these extraordinary powers would be reviewed.  In fact, they were, but by then the parliament simply extended those powers indefinitely.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Shortly after this country acquired this new energetic Chief Executive the country’s President died.  The new Chief Executive was pretty popular, so the country citizens overwhelmingly voted for him to assume the office of the President as well.  After that the Government decreed that the officers of the country’s armed forces should swear allegiance not to the country and its people, but to the Chief Executive himself.  Now, let’s stop and think.  Could that be going too far?  Perhaps the country’s military had a good reason to rebel at this point and remove this Chief Executive from power?  But they did not, although there was an opposition within the military to this new regime.  By the time the military did make an overt attempt to remove this Chief Executive from power, it was already too late.

In case you haven’t guessed it yet, the country in question is Germany.  Hitler became Chancellor after free democratic elections.  Shortly after that he was granted the power to rule by decree by so-called Enabling Act of 1933.  Finally, after the death of President Hindenburg, the German military was required to swear loyalty personally to Hitler.  If at that point the German military would have staged a coup and removed a very popular Chancellor from power, the world would have been spared the horrors of World War 2.  In fairness I have to say that some people in the German military did try, but not hard enough, and ultimately were not successful.  They would, however, have had a better chance early on.

Fast forward to 2009.  The country is Honduras.  Unlike Germany in 1933, it is a presidential democracy similar to the USA and seems to have separation of powers.  And, unlike Nazi Germany after 1938, it has a functioning parliament and a functioning supreme court.  The Honduran President was attempting to usurp too much power and was violating the Honduran Constitution.  Thus, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the President had to be removed from office and assigned Honduran Military to do the job.  The President was replaced by a member of his own party, thus the Opposition did not gain power.  Everything was done in accordance with the Honduran Constitution.  And yet it was called a coup by our President.  That pro-Chavez Organization of American States said that and the dictator-loving UN said that is not surprising.  But the United States should know better.  Furthermore, even if it were a coup, it still should have been supported.  Can anybody imagine condemning Klaus von Schtaufenberg and his co-conspirators for the assassination of Adolf Hitler and the coup if they were successful?

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July 27, 2009 Posted by | Articles | 1 Comment

My letter to a Liberal Jew

Jewish Russian Telegraph posted a link to a very touching article by Regina Spektor.  I’ve never heard of her before, but then, since I am in my 40s, maybe I am too old.  Apparently she is quite famous and talented performer.  She even merits a Wikipedia entry.  Ms. Spektor is obviously yet another example of a successful immigrant and yet another source of pride for the Russian-Jewish community in this country.  But back to her article.  I don’t see a reason to post an excerpt here: the article is out there, just go and read it.

What struck me about this article is the dichotomy between Regina’s support for Israel and her liberal values on one side, and her desire to support the politicians who are so willing to go for her Option 3 regarding Israel.  The politicians she supports are eager to appease violent fanatics who would take away everybody’s Civil Liberties.  If those violent fanatics would ever manage to take power, Civil Liberties would not matter for Regina : she and her family would be simply killed.  I would have commented on her site, but for some reason Regina decided to disable the comments for this article, so I am commenting here in the form of an open letter.  I will attempt to send her an e-mail and sincerely hope that she will read this.

    Dear Regina.

I learned about you and your article from a Jewish Russian Telegraph post.  You indeed wrote a great article.  You and I have similar backgrounds: I too was born in the former Soviet Union.  Although, unlike you, I was in my mid-twenties in 1989, when I left the Soviet Union and came to America.  I share your liberal values: I believe in protecting Civil Liberties.  I hate Racism and believe in judging people based "on the contents of their character".  So, how come, while you are supporting leftist politicians, I find myself firmly on the Right side of political spectrum?  Perhaps the answer lies in this attempt to explain my views.  In turn, I’d like to ask you a few questions.  And, while I’d like you to answer them in the comments here, you are certainly not obligated to do so.  But I sincerely hope that at least you’ll think of answers to my questions and try to answer them just for yourself.

Let’s start with your assertion that all media is biased. That may be true, but you can analyze various sources and determine the facts behind reports. Besides, even though all the reporters and commentators are biased in favor of their own views, there are intellectually honest among them.  Those, who are intellectually honest, report the facts even if those facts contradict their original views. Misreporting the facts in order to push an agenda would be dishonest. There are dishonest reporters, but please don’t paint them all with such a broad brush. Put yourself in their place: would you misreport the facts in order to push an agenda? So, I would recommend Bill O’Reilly in the middle, Dennis Prager on the Right, Kirsten Powers on the Left. Dennis Prager usually recommends New Republic on the Left. Additionally, you can use your own life experiences, sources, like your family and friends, and logic to decipher the facts. When the facts don’t make sense to you, as reported, then they are probably misreported.  A good example of your own analysis of the news is your own views on the news reporting on Israel, as reported by the leftist media.  You probably have your own sources in Israel: your friends and relatives.  And you use your own logic.  So, you instantly see when the facts about Israel get misreported.  And it angers you.  So, now, as long as we are on the subject of Israel, we come to the first of my questions for you:

1. While here in the States about 77% of American Jews voted for Obama, 76% of American Jews in Israel voted for McCain.  Why do you think that is?  Could it be this story?  Or this?  Just to prove this point, here is the Google search result for Chas Freeman, now withdrawn Obama’s nominee to chair the National Intelligence Council.

You state that we were dragged "into a horrible war in Iraq, in the name of oil".  First of all, any war is horrible, that is the nature of war, however just it may be.  But here is my second question for you:

2. You state that the war in Iraq was "in the name of oil".  What do you base this assertion on?  Just the fact that Iraq has oil?

Let’s talk about this a bit.  Have you ever met anyone who was there?  Who saw mass graves created by the Saddam’s regime?  Are you going to say that it is not our business?  Then it would not be very Liberal of you, would it?  Because a true Liberal would want to stop the modern Nazi regime’s atrocities.  The media says that WMD were not found in Iraq.  Let’s stop and think.  Everybody agrees that Saddam did have the WMD: after all, he used them.  So, where could they go?  There are 3 possible scenarios:

a) He used them all up.  Not very likely: he would have to kill pretty much the whole population of his country to do that.  Besides, if he had just run out of them, then he would not have to play all those games with UN inspectors, would he?

b) He destroyed them.  Again, if he did, why would he play all those games with the UN inspectors?  Some say that he did that in order to fool Iran into thinking that he still had WMD.  Now, let’s look into this logic some more.  He got rid of his WMD in order to comply with the UN demands.  But he made the UN think that he did not comply in order to fool Iran.  Where is the logic in that?  If he wanted everybody to think that he still had the stuff, why bother destroying it in the first place?  What could be gained by destroying the stuff, if everybody thinks that you still have it?

c) He hid the WMD really well or got them out of the country just before the invasion.  Let’s look into this scenario.  Saddam rightly calculated that he would not be able to successfully resist US Military on the battlefield.  Using the WMD against American troops would bring American WMD onto his head, prove advocates of the invasion right, and he would still lose.  However, if no WMD were found in Iraq, if the post-invasion occupation were messy and bloody enough, the American public might get tired of the mess and elect the politicians who would pull the troops out.  So, he got the WMD out of Iraq right before the invasion, likely to Syria, and likely with Russia’s help.

It could be obvious from my description that I personally buy scenario (c).  But which one of these scenarios makes sense to you?  Can you think of any other scenarios?  Just give it some thought.  Incidentally, Saddam’s calculation was correct, just not in time for him to benefit.  As for the profit motive, it is well known that the Russians and the French had long business dealings with Saddam.  So, it could be argued that they were opposed to our invasion in order to protect their profits.  And while we are on the subject of Iraq, here is what 9/11 Commission has found.  Do follow the links, you might find them interesting.

But enough on question #2.  Let’s move on.  You say you believe in Equality.  So, here is my third question:

3. Do you mean "Equality of opportunity and Equality under the Law"?  Or, do you mean "Equality of outcome"?

You and I both were born in a country where the Equality of outcome was at least attempted.  Incidentally, it never worked out that way: people always found ways around the system.  So, there was Party elite, better overall conditions in Moscow at the expense of other areas, people getting rich illegally.  But majority of Soviet citizens had equally low standard of living.  So, try to answer this question for yourself: which equality do you want?  And, by the way, these kinds of equality are mutually excluding, because in order to ensure equality of outcome those who are more successful have to be deprived of their success by the law.

You say you want to end Racism.  Very well.  Here is question number 4:

4. Do you think not admitting a person into college because of his or her ethnic origin is racist?  How about admitting someone into college because of his or her ethnic origin?  Isn’t that equally racist?  After all, if you admit someone based on race or ethnicity, that means that someone who is of "wrong" race or ethnicity gets denied admission.  So, how can you support politicians who support that vile quota system, otherwise known as Affirmative Action?  Is it in order to compensate for some past wrongs?  Well, for starters for example, there was a time when Jews were not admitted into Harvard.  That in fact was the reason why Einstein refused to work there and went instead to Princeton.  Is there an Affirmative Action for Jews at Harvard?  Also, back in Odessa Jews were often not admitted into colleges.  Those who were, had to know somebody, bribe somebody, or be listed as "Russians" in their internal passports.  But in places like Tashkent, for example, it was the Russians who were often discriminated against.  In fact, you had a better chance to get in, if you were a Jew than if you were a Russian.  Am I supposed to feel vindicated because of that anti-Russian discrimination?  Or is discrimination always bad, no matter against whom and for whom?  I personally like the attitude my kids have about race and ethnicity: they simply don’t care.  To them a Black kid is just another kid.  That’s how Racism ends once and for all: you raise the next generation to simply not pay attention to race at all.

Moving on.  You say you believe in protecting Civil Liberties, but not with guns.  So, here is question number 5:

5. How would you protect yourself from that mugger you described in your article?  Would you rely on Police to be there to protect you?  Usually the Police arrives after the fact.  But, let me suggest an even scarier scenario.  Suppose, the cops do come in time, but your mugger just tells them: "This is just a Jew I am mugging".  And the Police just reply to the mugger: "Ah, OK, let us help you.  This Jew needs mugging, beating and perhaps killing".  Oh, wait!  That has already happened before, roughly 65 years ago.  The Jews did not have guns and were murdered en masse.  On the other hand, in the instances when the Jews did have guns, they had a descent chance of survival.  While we are on the subject of Jews with guns, have you seen the movie "Defiance"?  If you haven’t, you should.  It is based on true story.  You’ll like the movie, you’ll be able to relate to it.  Even my wife, who usually does not like war movies, liked it.  You might also cry during the movie.  My wife did. After you watch it, read this review published by CNN, one of the leftist media organizations.  If your blood start boiling after reading that crap, try calming down by reading my review of the review.  You see, the Left wants to see the Jews as quiet little victims for whom they can feel sorry.  When the Jews start defending themselves with – oh, horror! – guns, that is unacceptable to the Left.  And don’t even get me started on anti-Semitism prevalent on the Left these days. You probably never went to any of the so-called "peace" protests.  Because if you did, you’d be thoroughly disgusted about vile anti-Semitism found there.  I countered a number of those demonstrations, and I saw that with my own eyes.

So, here is my question number 6:

6. How can you be on the same side politically with those anti-Semites?

You say that the Government has a duty to help people with education and health care etc.  I actually agree that the Government should serve as a safety net.  As Winston Churchill said (not an exact quote), the Government should encourage competition, but mitigate the consequences of a failure.  But how to help people effectively is also important.  So, on the subject of education, here is a question number 7:

7. What is wrong with tying the money to a kid, rather than to a school?  You give a kid a voucher and pay whichever school the kid attends.  That way the schools have to compete for kids and parents.  This system is apparently successful in countries like Belgium.  But the leftist politicians are against it.  Why?

Moving on to the subject of health care and Government involvement in it.  Here is the question number 8:

8. Have you heard a phrase (I am using translit because I am not sure if you can read in Russian) "Lechit’sya darom – eto darom lechit’sya"?  Since this is an open letter, for those who do not speak Russian, this phrase can be roughly translated as "You get treated for nothing, and your treatment is nothing", i. e. "The health care is free, and you get what you paid".  If you haven’t heard it, you might want to ask your parents.  They might be able to describe the joys of the Soviet free health care for you.  Oh, and by the way, here is a story from Canada, reported by another fellow Jew from the old Soviet Union.  Read it in full: the punch line, or rather the punch paragraph, is at the end.

Moving on.  You say you support abortion rights.  I actually happen to agree that the Government should stay out of this issue: it is too often a purely medical decision in which no government bureaucrat should have any say.  However, I do think that abortions for convenience are immoral and, in fact, kill babies.  I came to this conclusion after seeing an ultrasound picture of my older daughter over 8 years ago.  So, here is my question number 9:

9. Where do you draw the line for abortions for convenience: 1st trimester, exit out of the womb?  Why not later?  For example, Peter Singer argues that it should be OK to kill infants.  What do you think of his argument?  Or how about this scenario: a late term abortion was performed, but the baby (or the fetus, if you will) survived and has been removed from the womb alive.  Should such baby be given medical care?  Obama said: "No".  But what do you think?  You see, here is a good way to test whether you want to support a certain policy: if you can support a policy taken to its logical conclusion, then you can support it.  Or, if you think you can support support a policy up to a point, you should know where that point is, and why.  Think about it.

You say you don’t believe in good and evil.  OK, here my question number 10:

10. Were the Nazis evil?  I will even re-phrase: is the Nazi ideology evil?  How about modern day Nazis of Hamas and Hezbollah?

You say you love everybody.  Question number 11:

11. Do you love people who want to murder you and your family and everybody you love?  Would you love a young SS soldier, who in his indignation against the enemies of the Reich, however misguided, took Jewish babies by their feet and smashed their heads against cobblestones somewhere in Warsaw?  Because that was how the SS murdered Jewish babies in order to save bullets.  You see, a proper reaction to the actions of SS by any normal human being, let alone a Jew, is not love, but hate toward the SS and overwhelming desire to kill the bastards.  Think about this one.

Finally, you say you support Obama.  OK.  The guy has barely become President, and now there is a book about him?  Before elections there was this.  So, here is the question number 12:

12. Does this cult of personality give you pause?  Does it scare you, just a little bit, especially coming from the former Soviet Union?  What do your parents say about it?

As for Mother Russia, I’ll just leave you with the words of Evgeny Kliachkin, who called the old country not a mother, but a step-mother, and a wicked one at that.  Again, if you were too young when you left that country, I’ll refer you to your parents.  Ask them.

I hope I did not offend you.  I meant no disrespect.  I just wanted you to stop and think.  I bet our views are very similar: after all, I call myself a true Liberal.  Best wishes and have a wonderful Purim.

Eric.

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March 8, 2009 Posted by | Articles | 7 Comments

A good movie and pretentious blowhards

As I have mentioned before, last Saturday my wife and I went to see the movie "Defiance".  The movie is based on a true story told by Nechama Tec about 4 Bielski brothers who organized a Jewish partisan band in Nazi-occupied Western Byelorussia and saved 1200 Jews.  This is the only kind of Holocaust movie that I like: the kind where Jews save themselves, have guns, fight back and defend themselves.  The movie is very well made, and the acting is pretty good too.  The reviews by regular movie-goers are almost universally good.  People can relate to the story: people hunted like animals stand up and defend themselves.  The professional critics, being the pretentious blowhards that they are, don’t particularly like the movie and keep analyzing artistic merits of the story.  But there are no artistic merits in this story, it is what it is.  This is a docudrama, or, more properly, a reenactment of historical events.  The script writer did not have to invent any clever plot lines, they were provided by life itself.  However, the review linked to above is not the most insulting and idiotic.  Yesterday my co-worker sent me a link to this Atlas Shrugs post, which links to a review written by someone named Tom Charity and published by CNN.  Pamela quotes this lovely passage from the review:

"The timing is unfortunate. For a story that has gone neglected for the best part of 60 years, this is hardly the ideal week to be extolling heroic Jewish resistance fighters. Ari Folman’s angst-laden nonfiction animated film, "Waltz With Bashir," is altogether more relevant."

This guy of course has a problem with the Jews in Israel defending themselves against Hamas murderers.  This basically reveals the main problem the Left has with Israel.  Besides the anti-Semitism prevalent on the Left, the leftists prefer Jews as quiet little victims silently marching into the gas chambers, so the Left can feel sorry for them afterwards.  But as bad as the passage above is, the complete article is even worse.  The term "pretentious blowhard" is, well, too charitable for Mr. Charity (pun intended).  Mr. Charity writes his review with very little, if any, knowledge and understanding of the subject matter of the film.  Well, I will take up an exercise in futility and attempt to enlighten Mr. Charity and his ilk.

One of the idiocies of this review that stands out is this:

In "Defiance" those words come with a thick, guttural European inflection (Hebrew is spoken as English, though characters also break into subtitled Russian and German on occasion). The speechifying is often clumsy and long-winded.

I would have forgiven Mr. Charity if he would have said "Yiddish is spoken as English".  This is probably the way it was intended by the director anyway.  But Hebrew?  This guy is just an ignorant idiot.  No, I am not being charitable any more.  Apart from a rabbi conducting a service, Hebrew was never spoken by Jews in Byelorussia.  The language spoken by those involved in the story was probably a mixture of Russian, Byelorussian, Polish and Yiddish, with Russian predominating among the city dwellers from the East and Polish among those from the West.  Any commands and speeches would probably be given in Russian.  How do I know this?  Well, look at my background!  Yes, Odessa is not in Byelorussia, but I know enough people from there too.  And there are and were enough similarities in conditions in Odessa and Byelorussia for me to know what language was spoken by the real characters in this story.  And by the way, there was no German spoken by the Jews in the movie.

Mr. Charity laments Zus’ decision to join the Soviet partisans and take the fight to the Nazis.  Hiding in some hole must be more appealing for Mr. Charity.  He does not think that the Russians were true friends of Zus.  It would help if Mr. Charity would have read Nechama Tec’s book on which the movie is based.  Victor Panchenko, the Russian commander, is not shown as a villain in the movie.  Indeed, he was not.  Unlike many Russian partisans, Panchenko accepted Jewish able-bodied men into his group.  And once he esteblished contact with the Belski brothers, he sent the non-fighters their way.  If Mr. Charity would have read the book, he would know that Panchenko was very helpful to the Belski brothers.  He helped the Jewish partisans establish contact with the Soviet High Command, which was necessary for treating the wounded and getting supplies.  Jewish fighters were participating in missions together with the Russians, missions ordered by the Soviet Command.  And Panchenko made use of Jewish camp as a base, using skilled laborers weapons maintenance and repair and medical professionals for treating lightly wounded.  This actually alluded to in the movie, when the newcomers to the camp are asked what they can do.  And, by the way, Panchenko punished anti-Semites.  While Zus and some of his comrades did come back to the Belski camp, some other Jewish fighters stayed with Panchenko because they wanted to fight the Germans more actively as members of a more mobile Panchenko group.  Here is one more news flash for Mr. Charity: wanting to take the fight to the Nazis is a good thing.

Here is another lovely passage by Mr. Charity:

The movie is full of mud and muck, yet somehow Zwick sanitizes the things that matter most. In the most challenging scene, just as Tuvia turns a blind eye as his enraged fellow Jews beat a German prisoner to death, Zwick consistently pulls back from anything that might be too unpleasant or tasteless.

Mr. Ignoramus conveniently does not notice clearly visible SS insignia under the "poor" German’s camouflage coat.  The fact that he was SS means that he was likely a member of one of the Einsatzgruppen, a special SS unit whose only purpose in life was to murder Jews.  So, what would Mr. Charity have Tuvia Belski do, shoot his fellow Jews in order to save an SS-man?  And what would partisans do with a POW?  Start a POW camp in the woods?  The circumstances were such that the German had to be killed anyway.  Or should they let him go, so that he would come back with his Einsatzkommando?  I personally would have preferred that the Nazi were thoroughly interrogated and then disposed of cleanly with a bullet to the back of his head.  But once the mob started beating on him there was no stopping them without shooting one of long suffering people whose loved ones were perhaps murdered by that SS-man.  It obviously was not worth it.  The ignorance and lack of historical perspective displayed by Tom Charity is staggering.  And he uses this episode to take another anti-Semitic potshot at those "murderous" Jews.  By the way, why is this scene more challenging than, let’s say, the scene where Tuvia shoots Arkady, the man who challenged his command authority?  The man was a jerk, but at least he was on our side.  He was one of the Jews initially saved by the Belskis.  Could it be that Mr. Charity feels more sorry for the Nazi than for the Jew?  "His [Edward Zwick's - Eric-Odessit] heroes remain fundamentally unsullied," Mr. Charity laments.  He clearly would prefer to sully them.

There is also this idiotic passage:

Zwick’s Hollywood liberal credentials are not in doubt, but his films have a surprisingly gung-ho undercurrent (they include such martial adventures as "The Last Samurai," "Glory," "The Siege," "Legends of the Fall" and "Courage Under Fire").

Tom clearly does not like plots where good guys are fighting the bad guys.  He must subscribe to the notion that "War never solves anything".  Well, I have to remind him that war did stop slavery, Nazism and Communism.  So, it did solve something.  And who cares about "Zwick’s Hollywood liberal credentials"?  He probably does lean Left, but it does not matter.  He made a good movie, movie I can relate to.  Older generation of my family lived this story.  I know people who were participants in similar stories.  And he made a movie about Holocaust where the Jews take up guns, shoot back and defend themselves, killing the Nazis.  That’s better than all the "Schindler’s Lists" and "Pianists" combined.

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | Articles, History | 13 Comments

Of Israel, media and “World Community”

A friend from Israel sent me a great article that describes the struggle Israel involved in, the media reporting on it, the "World Community" reactions to it, and frustration of all freedom-loving people, Jews and non-Jews alike, watching the news covering the events.  The article appeared originally as a post on an Israeli blog and has no title.  Since the author (her name is Julia) is originally from Russia, the whole blog, including the article, is in Russian.  For those willing and able to read the original article in the original Russian, please go ahead.  For the English-speaking audience, here is my translation:

You and your family came out of your house. You – let’s say, personally you – the head of family, your wife, two kids (5 and 10 years old), and your dogie, the beloved poodle, affectionate and silly. You go about your business and suddenly you are attacked by a bunch of wild dogs. One of them jumps on the poodle, the second brought down the little one and it looks like it is going to gnaw through his throat, while your wife attempts to drive it off, the third one got the oldest kid up into the tree and keeps barking below. A few more large and sharp-toothed dogs approach the place of struggle from several different sides. The most aggressive of them bites into your foot. You pull out a gun and shoot – first the one biting you, to get it out of the way, then – the one tormenting the child, afterwards – the one eating your poodle, and finally you shoot the one waiting for its prey under the tree. The rest scatter, but not too far, and they are standing at some distance roaring threateningly. You shoot one more dog, it falls, the rest runs away, now for good.
You help your wife the youngest child to get up, help the oldest to climb down from the tree; alas, the poodle is already beyond help. You call the ambulance which takes you all to the ER, where you, your wife and the bitten child get stitches and prescriptions for 40 injections into the stomach. At home you turn the TV on, and an anchor reports: “Today in Town N Mr. M. shot to death several vagrant dogs”. And a picture – a puddle of blood at the place of the fight, but, as far as you remember, the blood belongs to your poodle. Another news broadcast clarifies that one of the killed dogs, the one that was biting your foot, was an eight-months old puppy (never mind that it was a puppy of mastiff, still, it was a baby), the second (the one that attacked your child) belonged to a prominent member of the community. The third dog, which was barking under the tree, was completely harmless, had never bitten anyone, although barked at everyone and everything with and without any reason. And only the fourth one, that tore the poodle apart, was rabid. The anchors ask various experts some questions. The talking heads are talking on.
“Certainly,” says one, fine looking and well-fed, “dogs should not be killed. Moreover, in such unequal battle. Indeed, they do not have pistols, they honestly fight with their teeth. Furthermore, they were really hungry. It is possible to understand them”.
“Sooo,” the second, shaggy and bearded, guy timidly inserts, “but, what do you expect? For Mr. M. to bite them back?”
“No,” answers the third talking head, the bald and passionate one, “absolutely not. It was necessary to kill the rabid dog, but why the rest had to suffer? The puppy didn’t really do anything at all. It bit his foot, big deal! You don’t kill for this! The barking one also was not going to bite anyone. And the prominent citizen might now sue. For the murder of his dog”.
“Yes, but how do you determine, which one is rabid and which is not, in this extreme situation?” the news anchor asks.
“That’s why we are human, so we can distinguish between the rabid and not,” the bald one replies authoritatively, “we must not stoop to the level of animals. Nothing there was extreme. Indeed, everybody survived, did they not?”
“But wait,” interferes the representative of the society of the protection of animals. “How is it? Is it possible in general to shoot the living things? They trust us! We should feed them, protect them, not shoot them!”
You are amazed listening to this crap, then you go on-line and see the headlines: “Shooting of defenseless animals!” one site screams. And a photo with a puddle of blood on asphalt. “Unprovoked attack on dogs!” another site shouts. And a picture of a cute puppy face. “Let us protect our beloved pets!” the third one says, not to be too far behind the first two. And in the photograph – muzzle of an automatic weapon pointing toward a reader. You go to your own blog and describe events from your point of view. You don’t have photographs from the scene of the incident, so you get your camera out and take pictures of your child with stitches on the hands; then you post the photographs as an illustration. In the comments there are many of those who sympathize with you, but there are also home-grown investigators and moralists.
“Photoshop,” they confidently declare about the photograph.
“In general, why do you walk around with a handgun?” they question. Your answer “If not for that gun, we would not be alive now” follows this remark: “Well, great, then the dogs would remain alive”. To the observation “They killed our dog too” they with the knowledge on the matter declare: “This still needs to be verified, who killed your dog, you must have hit it yourself accidentally”.
“You kill puppies!”
“You should not live in dangerous neighborhood!”
“You should be taking another road!”
“If you fed them, they would not touch you!”
To the last slogan, something like “Death to the dog-killers!”, you answer exhaustingly: “Get lost, you, idiot”. The commenter gleefully rubs his hands and screams: “Look, how aggressive he is! Why are you so aggressive?” Yes, really Why do you think?

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January 12, 2009 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

My predictions for Obama Administration

These are just quick predictions without a lot of links.

1. The war.

The War on Terror, more properly known as the War against Islamo-Fascism, consists of 2 major overt parts, which are often separated by the Left: Afghanistan and Iraq.  I do not see any major changes in the action in Afghanistan, although there might be an escalation.  Al Qaeda will be kept at bay there, but unlikely completely defeated without any major action in the Afghan-Pakistan border region by either Pakistani or our military.

Iraq is a different matter.  Iraq has been largely pacified, thanks to the Surge for which neither Bush nor McCain got any credit.  Now it will be possible to drastically reduce the troop level there.  The bases will remain, but roughly around 16 months from Obama taking office most of the troops will be brought home or redeployed to Afghanistan.  It will happen roughly around 16 months from Obama taking office because that is what he promised.  Obama will proclaim that he brought the troops home.  It would have happened under any President, but Obama will take and get the credit for it.

2. Iran.

There will be no major change in the policy on Iran.  We might see some low level diplomatic contacts.  We might also see some nukes pointed to Iran, in case they do attack Israel.  Iran will get the Bomb, unless the Israelis bomb their nuclear sites and win some time that way.  There will be no effort to support the opposition in Iran, so no Iranian regime change during the Obama Administration.

3. Israel.

Amid the proclamations of undying support for Israel, the pressure to just take the hits from her enemies will increase dramatically.  If Israel does bomb Iran, she will be condemned by the whole world.  That will include the United States as well, although this country will not be as loud as everybody else.  The Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear sites will be used by some politicians as a justification to push for reduction of the American aid to Israel, and they may, or may not, succeed in it.  On the brighter side, the potential unfriendliness of the Obama Administration might untie Israel’s hands, which will be a good thing.

4. Economy.

If the new administration largely stays out of the economy, it will probably recover within 6 months.  It’s not that bad anyway, my job-searching experience this December is a testament to that.  The problem is the credit crunch, which will probably dissipate in 6 months.  But then, I am not an economist, so what do I know?  I mean, other than having 2 job offers 10 days after being laid off?

I don’t think Obama Administration will do much, except maybe allow the Bush tax cuts to expire.  That will probably reduce the potential growth of the economy, but will likely not stop it.

5. Health Care.

The subject of Health Care is the one on which I often part ways with my fellow Republicans.  So far I never supported what the Democrats have proposed on the subject because their proposals often tend to introduce a large government component into the health care system and try to make it like Canadian system, and based on my information this does not work.  But some of the Obama’s proposals on Health Care do make sense.  I definitely don’t see anything wrong with selling already existing government insurance like Medi-Cal or the Congressional insurance plan to the general public and making it compete with the private insurance plans.  I also don’t think people should be allowed to choose not to buy some health insurance for themselves and their families.  That is because this is not the choice they make.  It would be if in case of an accident those people would simply be left to die.  But they are not, and frankly I don’t think a civilized society should allow people to die if they don’t have the money to pay for their care and no charity comes along in time.  Thus, people who "choose" not to buy health insurance are actually sticking everybody else with the bill.  So, if they "choose" not to buy the insurance, the premium for their accidental coverage should be deducted from their paycheck or paid along with taxes.

6. The bottom line.

It’s not that bad.  We just need to prevent the cult of personality from getting too bad.  It is frankly getting ridiculous with a bunch of books by Obama and about Obama prominently displayed in the book stores and new calendars with Obama quotes being sold.  But hopefully it will be limited to that and will dissipate pretty soon.  We also need to make sure that Obama’s more sinister ideas, like his "civilian national security force" do not go through.  Hopefully nothing drastic will happen in the first 4 years, and with some luck we’ll get someone more reasonable into the White House in 2012.

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December 29, 2008 Posted by | Articles, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

America’s Birthday

July 4th was the Independence Day, the birthday of my adopted Motherland.  Unlike the great majority of the citizens of this great nation, I am an American by choice, not by birth.  My journey started in early winter of 1989, when my parents and I applied for permission to leave the old Soviet Union.  We knew at the time that we wanted to come to America, but we did not know much.  We knew that the free market economy makes more sense that the authoritarian economy of the Soviet Union.  We knew that, unlike in the Soviet Union, people were free to criticize the government in America, if they so chose.  We also knew that people were free to emigrate from America, if they so chose.  We knew that there was no state-sponsored anti-Semitism in America, which was obviously important for us, as Jews.  Finally, we knew that any problems we might have while living in America would not go against common sense, and their resolution would be entirely under our control.  For example, the problem of making a living is a normal problem, but the one that can be resolved by an individual through hard work and perseverance.  This is very different from not being able to get into college you want because of your ethnic origin or not being able to get an apartment simply because none are available.  (I since learned that there are problems here that go against common sense, but those are few, not as bad, and generally result of the leftist policies resembling the practices of the old Soviet Union.)  Since state-sponsored anti-Semitism was one of issues, we did consider going to Israel.  But Israel was a second choice for us because from the information available to us at the time it seemed that Israel had too many elements of socialism (this turned out to be true, although perhaps not as bad as we thought).

And so, on September 2, 1989, we finally left the Soviet Union, and on November 15, 1989 we finally arrived in San Diego, CA, USA.  From the beginning we were made to feel at home.  People accepted us as new Americans, even though we just arrived and weren’t citizens yet.  For the majority of people we encountered it did not matter that our English was heavily accented and limited.  What mattered was the fact that we were trying to learn English and become Americans.  We were welcomed with open arms.  Later one of my co-workers told me that, even though I did not have the citizenship at the time, I was just as American as anybody else: after all, this is a nation of immigrants.

And what a great nation this is.  Founded on the notion that all people have "unalienable rights… [to] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", it has never been perfect, but always strived to meet these ideals.  There are other countries that are free, similarly to the United States.  But only America was founded and exists to basically uphold the idea of liberty.  There are other nations of immigrants, like Canada or Australia.  But only America was created specifically as a place where persecuted people from anywhere in the world could find refuge.  And even though sometimes the admission of refugees becomes somewhat limited, America always returns to being this place of refuge and always proudly proclaims: "…Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  This great country has a national policy of "liberty and justice for all" and is not shy about it.

And so, after coming to this country with nothing 18.5 years ago, I am pretty happy with my life.  "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" are not just empty words.  It does not matter where you come from, or what your ethnic or religious background.  As long as you play by the rules and want to be an American, you are.  I am forever grateful for being admitted into this great nation.  And I am proud to be an American.  Yes, this is the song that gives me goose bumps.  Enjoy!

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July 6, 2008 Posted by | Articles | 6 Comments

Significant dates in May

The month of May has several significant dates in modern history, particularly in modern Jewish history. Those are the Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Independence Day and Victory in Europe Day (Victory Day in Russia). Additionally, the Memorial Day is also at the end of May. So, in commemoration of all these dates I’d like to present an article that I compiled several years ago. This article was originally published on the wonderful historical site called WW II Ace Stories. I highly recommend this site for World War 2 history and aviation history enthusiasts. I used the word "compiled" rather than "written" regarding the article because the article is based on the book "I Am My Brother’s Keeper" by Jeffrey Weiss and Craig Weiss.

In fact, there are chunks of text that were simply scanned out of the book. But I don’t think the authors would mind: after all, I am suggesting to people that they should buy the book and read it. It really is a very good book. The pictures are also from this book and the Internet. I dedicate this post to those, who fought back and saved or avenged themselves and their loved ones. So, without further ado, let me present the story of

Rudy Augarten – avenging the Holocaust.

(Click here to read the story.)

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May 17, 2008 Posted by | Articles, Book Reviews, History | 7 Comments

Obama’s speech

Last Monday Barack Obama gave his speech on race.  On the Left people continue to view him as a Messiah, while on the Right people continue saying how inadequate it was.  The speech seems to fail to convince anyone of anything.  Rather, Obama’s support is dwindling after vile rants of his pastor were revealed.  I heard parts of his speech while I was driving to work.  It did sound good.  And, ironically, Obama seemed to be saying: "Enough already talking about racial origins of people".  At least, it seemed that way to me.  I would never vote for someone like Obama based on his policies, but I could not care less about his race.

So, I started to think: "Is it fair to judge Obama by his associations?"  I started thinking about people I know.  Some of them harbor mistrust of Black Americans bordering on racism.  Others suspect every non-Jew of being anti-Semites.  I don’t hold either of these views, so I don’t think I should be judged by the views of those people.  But then I realized something.  Those people I know would not be able to promote those views in my presence without me arguing against them.  And if they would sound as vile as Obama’s pastor, they would not be able to maintain their relationship with me.  When I was looking for a Hebrew School for my older daughter to attend, I actually looked for the one I would be comfortable with.  So, in my case, I ended up with Chabad, even though neither my wife nor I are religious, because any Reform Congregation would likely be, in the words of Michael Medved, "Democratic Party with candles".  Furthermore, if a rabbi in my synagogue would ever say anything even remotely close to the kind of crap spouted by Obama’s pastor, I would never set my foot in that particular temple again, and my daughter definitely would not be attending Hebrew School there.  I would never allow my kids to be exposed to that kind of crap.  So, I guess, in my case, I really should not be judged by the views of the people I know.

But what about Obama?  For 20 years he sat there and listened to this stuff.  He picked this church, the church that reportedly Oprah Winfrey left, presumably because she would not stand for this crap.  He was married there and allowed his kids to listen to his pastor as well.  Some pundits on the Right are quick to say that, while they don’t accuse Obama of sharing his pastor’s views, they want an explanation of why he listened to Rev. Wright for 20 years.  That is political correctness at its worst.  I will not sugar-coat this.  I suspect Obama of sharing anti-American, anti-Semitic and racist views of Rev. Wright.  There are telltale signs of just that: his wife’s being ashamed of this country, his refusal to wear an American Flag lapel pin etc.  The fact that he kept coming to that church for 20 years can be most easily explained by the fact that he felt comfortable listening to his pastor’s rants.  There is no real way around it.  And so, there you have it: we have a Presidential Candidate from a the Democratic Party who very likely hates this country, or at least finds the views of his pastor justifiable.  Thus, I am not judging Obama by his association with his racist pastor.  Rather, I am judging Obama by his own views that allowed him to call Rev. Wright his mentor.  And those views are disgusting.

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March 23, 2008 Posted by | Articles | 3 Comments

A familiar story

Yesterday we visited out friend in Los Angeles.  Her little girl is the same age as my older daughter, and she had a birthday party, so we went there.  After the kids’ party we went to our friend’s house.  Later in the evening her parents came over.  We were sitting there and talking about life, politics, history etc.  And in the course of the conversation my friend’s father told me a story, his story.  It was a story I’ve heard before.  No, not from him.  But I’ve heard similar stories about members of my own family and about members of my wife’s family.  I’ve read stories like this many times.  Yet, when someone who lived through this and tells you about it is someone you know, someone sitting next to you at a dinner table, that tends to affect you much more…

My friend’s family is from Berdichev, a small town in Northern Ukraine.  Her father, Mr. K., was 4 years old when the Nazis entered the city in the early July of 1941.  The Jews comprised a very large percentage of the population, perhaps even a majority: the city was historically a shtetl and a center of the Jewish life in Ukraine.  The city’s male population of military age was in the Soviet Army fighting the Nazis, including Mr. K’s father.  The rest of the Berdichev’s Jews did not have time to evacuate and frankly did not think it was necessary.  You see, Berdichev was already occupied by the German Army once before, in 1918.  Back then the relationship between the Jews and the Germans was quite friendly.  There were Jews in the German Army, and the Germans of 1918 preferred to deal with the Jews: Yiddish is close enough to the German language, so they simply could communicate easily.  But in 1941 things were different.

According to Mr. K’s recollection, around mid-September of 1941 the Jews of Berdichev were rounded up and brought to the square in the center of the city, ostensibly to be moved somewhere.  Mr. K was there with his mother, his 6 years old older brother and his 2 years old younger brother.  His grandparents were also there.  The rumor had it that those with the little kids would be left alone, and so Mr. K’s mom sent his older brother to be next to the grandparents.  Soon Mr. K’s mom sensed that something was not right.  She told her parents that she had a feeling they they were all going to be shot.  So she decided to make a run for it.  She picked her youngest one up, took Mr. K’s hand and told her oldest to keep running with her and not to stop no matter what happens.  They ran.  The Germans were shooting at them, but they kept running.  Finally they got away far enough and hid in some orchard.  Mr. K’s older brother was not with them.  They have never seen him again.  Perhaps he was hit while they were running.  They were recaptured later that day, but by that time the Nazis were done with murder for the day.  As they were recaptured, an auxiliary policeman from the locals hit Mr. K’s mom in the shoulder with his rifle butt.  Ironically, a German officer intervened.  They were brought to the market place and placed in a line with a bunch of other Jews they thought were recaptured like them.  But it turned out that those people were the ones who had some skills deemed useful by the Germans: tailors, cobblers, jewelers, dentists etc.  Amazingly, all those people were released for the time being.  Mr. K with his mom and the little brother came back to their apartment.  They hoped that the oldest kid might come there if he was alive, but he was not there.  The apartment was already looted.  The only thing left there was Mr. K’s father’s green army-style wool blanket.  So, Mr. K’s mother said: "That’s it, we have to get out of Berdichev".  They picked up the blanket and left.  They figured that the further away from the city they get, the better chance they would have to survive.  The Germans and the local collaborators would be further away: they tended to stay closer to the city.  And the locals would be nicer.

They moved from one village to another for over 2 years, until the liberation.  Mr. K’s mom could sew, and so they would stay with people in a village until she would sew clothes for them.  Then the peasants would ask them to leave and go somewhere else.  You can’t blame those peasants for that: hiding a Jewish family in occupied Ukraine was extremely dangerous.  If discovered, the Jews had a chance of being sent to a camp: still some meager chance of survival.  But people hiding them would likely be shot on the spot, the whole family.  So, Mr. K with his mother and brother had to move around.  In the summer they hid in the farm fields, and in the winter people hid them in their houses.  They survived.  When the Soviets came back, it was still a liberation: as bad as Stalin’s regime was, it was better than the Nazis.  In 1944 they got that telegram dreaded by every soldier’s family: Mr. K’s father was killed in action.

So, there were only 3 people left out of a pretty large family: Mr. K, his little brother and their mom.  They survived, thanks to Mr. K’s mother’s resourcefulness and her will to save her children.  As for those Ukrainian peasants that hid them, there are no words to express my gratitude.  Clearly, Mr. K’s mom’s sewing was very meager compensation for the risks they took.  It had to be their simple humanity that prompted them to save this mother with her 2 young kids.  I hope those people had long and happy lives.

In this country among Jews Ukrainians often regarded as universally anti-Semitic.  There is some truth to it: from the time of Bogdan Khmelnytsky anti-Semitism was rampant in Ukraine.  But there were people who were willing to risk their lives to save other human beings.  They sometimes might bad-mouth Jews and even call them derogatory names, but they would still save them.  In fact, I knew people like that.

This is history.  But how is it relevant now?  Well, for starters, there are some nuts that insist that Mr. K’s story never happened.  And my and my wife’s family members were not murdered.  Those nuts want the world to believe them, rather than Mr. K.  They don’t want the world to believe the stories my grandpa told me.  There is one nut in Iran that accuses Mr. K of lying, while he himself wants to acquire weapons to make it happen again.  Look at this video that Judith Klinghoffer sent me:

While you are watching, pay close attention to those "salutes" so loved by Islamo-Fascists.  And, to refresh what you saw, take another look at the pictures in this article of mine.  There quite a number of people in the world that want to repeat Mr. K’s story once again, only this time ensuring that there are no survivors.  To this I say:

NEVER AGAIN!

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March 16, 2008 Posted by | Articles, History | Leave a comment

An open letter to Helen

Some time ago I engaged in an argument with a nice leftist lady named Helen.  The argument started in the comments section of the Bookworm blog post on the issue of racism and continued on this blog and Helen’s blog.  In the course of this very civil argument I suggested to Helen that she might find my "Reclaiming the Terms" article interesting.  She did read the article.  At first she commented that she will write more later.  I’ll take a liberty to offer her second comment here in its entirety:

After reading this again, Eric, I really don’t have much more to say. Etymology is an interesting field. But I do think it’s part of the reason the term “progressive” came into being. What you learned when you studied English has changed. All languages are living, dynamic, or else dead, like Latin. As times change, so does language. There are those who are mad because homosexuals use the term “gay.” They have to do what you have to do: Get over it.

It’s been a while, but it is time to respond.

Dear Helen,

It is a pity that you don’t have anything to say.  Because unfortunately you missed my point entirely.  What I said about English being my second language was meant as sarcasm.  The article has nothing to do with etymology.  You are right, the meaning of words often does change over time, but never to mean something 180 degrees opposite to the original meaning.

So, it is a pity that you don’t have any comments.  I was especially eagerly awaiting your comment on so-called "liberal" support for those "saluting" Palestinian policemen.  Let’s see that photograph again:

The link to the original Reuters page does not work any longer.  But this Time Magazine link still does:

I call this photograph "Hezbo-Jugend", similar to "Hitler-Jugend.  This one still works as well:

Here is the link directly to this last image.  So, do you have any comments on the "liberal" support for these people?

You say that the meaning of words changes over time.  Fine, let’s recap the meaning of the word "Liberal" in the modern sense, as you understand it.

1. Government-enforced redistribution of wealth, i. e. socialism.

2. Government-enforced limitations of speech, i. e. hate speech laws, political correctness etc.

3. Awarding of privileges based on race and ethnicity, i. e. Affirmative Action.

4. Support for racist organizations like "La Raza".

5. Support for the outright Nazis – see the photographs above.

6. Support for euthanasia, like in the Terri Schiavo case.

How do you like my list of "liberal" positions so far?  In addition to this list you can also often find pretty wild anti-Semitism on the Left.  In fact, 65 years ago there was a government that pretty much held all those positions.  They even used that "salute", now appropriated by the Palestinian Arabs, those darlings of the Left.  And, if you look at the videos of Obama rallies, they will remind you of those documentaries from 1930s Germany.  So, there is only one more step that remains for the Left: to raise its collective right hand forward and repeat after those Palestinians: "Sig …"

I sincerely hope that you will have something to say, especially about those photographs.

Best regards,

Eric.

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March 3, 2008 Posted by | Articles | 3 Comments

Confessions of a Libertarian

My Thoughts on Ron Paul’s Candidacy for President.

I used to be a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party.  In fact, while I stopped paying membership dues years ago, I still have the Libertarian Party card in my wallet.  I still hold many Libertarian views.  But I cannot and will not vote for Ron Paul to be President.  In fact, I probably would not vote for any Libertarian, despite holding many of Libertarian views.  Why?  There is a couple of reasons.

The main thing in the Libertarian philosophy that appeals to me is the basic principle of "live and let live".  In my view it is not Government’s job to protect people from themselves.  People should be free to do good or bad things to themselves, as long as they don’t harm others.  Government also should not be in the business of helping people: there are charities for that.  However, and this is where I part company with Libertarians, the Government should provide a minimal safety net.  Because relying on charities does not always work.  Here is why.  My personal test for any policy that sounds good in theory is this: let’s take it to its logical conclusion in practice and see whether I still like it.  In engineering this approach is called "worst case analysis".  It basically checks whether a given system would still work under extreme circumstances.  So, returning to politics, let’s say, for example, that someone who does not have health insurance and does not have a lot of money to pay for expensive treatment gets into a bad car accident.  If no charity comes along to pay for that person’s treatment, that person has to be left to die on the side of the road.  I don’t think that would acceptable in a civilized society.  That is why guaranteed minimal safety net is necessary.  And the only entity capable of guaranteeing such safety net is the government.

My other disagreement with the Libertarians is the view on foreign policy.  And this is the main reason why I would never vote for someone like Ron Paul.  Libertarians, Ron Paul among them, are uncompromising isolationists.  Because the term "isolationist" is historically associated with pre-World War 2 isolationism in the face of Nazi aggression, they now came up with the term "non-interventionist".  Can someone please explain the difference to me?  Because I don’t see any.  Maybe it’s the fact that English is my second language.

Ron Paul in particular now tries to ignore the history behind our current conflict with the jihadis.  Here is what he wrote (thanks to Sultan Knish):

Arab Muslims are tired of us.

Angry and frustrated by our persistent bullying and disgusted with having their own government bought and controlled by the United States, joining a radical Islamic movement was a natural and predictable consequence for Muslims.

We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, and we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanation of why he and his allies are at war with us.

Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.

This ignores the long history of conflict, starting with the Barbary WarsHere is what the Tripoli’s Ambassador to London Abd Al-Rahman told Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in response to their question about why American ships were being attacked:

…Jefferson would perhaps have been just as eager to send a squadron to put down any Christian piracy that was restraining commerce. But one cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (It is worth noting that the United States played no part in the Crusades, or in the Catholic reconquista of Andalusia.)

Ron Paul ignores the teachings of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. He seems to think that complying with jihadists’ demands will bring us peace.  But the truth is that the followers of Islamist ideology cannot be appeased and satisfied.  Ron Paul also ignores the history of Arab-Israeli conflict, in which multiple offers of peace by Israel were answered by more war from the Arabs.  Not to mention the fact that Israel is tiny compared to the sea of Arab land, so what occupation are we talking about?

Ron Paul thinks that should mind our own business.  He thinks we should just trade with everybody, no matter how horrible they might be, and respond only to a direct attack.  By the way, in regard to direct attack, Ron Paul actually had a good idea.  After 9/11/2001 he suggested that the Congress should issue Letter of Marque and Reprisal, introducing Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001.  This power of the Congress seems to be specifically designed to deal with non-governmental hostile entities, such as pirates or terrorists, and is similar to Declaration of War.  Thus, it would apply perfectly to our response to 9/11 attacks.  Unfortunately, Ron Paul’s suggestion did not pass.  But back to my disagreements with Ron Paul.  His idea taken to the extreme is analogous to a gun shop owner knowingly selling guns to a robber, as long as that robber does not rob his store.  Or, in a schoolyard situation, continue playing with a schoolyard bully, as long as that bully does not bully you.  But if he beats up your friend, well, that’s not your problem.  You do not intervene.

You see, isolationism is immoral.  And it always catches up with you.  Because if you just keep telling the bad guys that you have no quarrel with them, they will see it as a weakness and will attempt to take advantage of you.  You don’t need to go very far in history in order to see what attempts to avoid a fight at all costs lead to.  Yes, I am talking about World War 2.

Ron Paul seems to get his support from outright nuts (also here, here and here).  For the record, it is incorrect to say that Ron Paul is a Nazi.  He might be an anti-Semite and a racist, although I would not know that for sure, but he is definitely not a Nazi.  Why?  Because Nazi is short for National-Socialist, and Ron Paul is most definitely not a socialist.  But one has to at least ask why he is getting support from the Nazis and other nuts.  But what really exposes Ron Paul as either a fraud or a nut himself is this solicitation letter.  Just in case this link to New Republic goes away, I saved this letter here.  The nutty conspiracy theories spouted in this letter remind me of idiotic claims about Y2K disasters.  People were seriously talking about pacemakers stopping and cars not starting because of Y2K "because pacemakers and cars have computers inside".  Of course, anybody familiar with computer technology and electronics would know that this is idiotic.  But many people who always had problems setting up their VCRs believed these claims, and unscrupulous hucksters took advantage of them.  Well, in this letter Ron Paul sounds just like one of those hucksters.  So, either Ron Paul is one those unscrupulous hucksters peddling his crap and trying to basically defraud naive people out of their money, or he is a nut who believes this crap.  Or, at the very least, he is incompetent to make those predictions that never came true.  And if he would claim that he was not the one who wrote it, well, his name is on it.  And if he can’t control what gets published in his name, then he is just as incompetent.  Can you imagine a President giving a bad speech and then, as an excuse, saying that he wasn’t the one who wrote the speech?  So, there you have it.  I do disagree with Ron Paul on foreign policy.  But this solicitation letter goes beyond disagreement.  It simply kills my respect for the guy.  So, despite his libertarian views, many of which I share, I prefer Hillary Clinton to this guy.  Obama – that’s another story.  He is too committed to his leftist views.  So in case of a choice between him and Ron Paul I would simply skip voting for President.  But lucky for me, this is not going to happen.  John McCain is likely going to win the Republican nomination, so I will happily cast my vote for him in the general election.  He is far from ideal choice, but at least he will keep us in the fight against the islamo-fascists until someone better comes along.

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February 8, 2008 Posted by | Articles | 6 Comments

Reclaiming the Terms, Part 2: Immigrant

The immigration issues have not been in the news lately.  But they will come back eventually.  They always come back, until the issue will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.  Thus, even though I got to this issue only now, it is useful to touch upon.  This is a continuation of an idea that started this blog: a desire to reclaim the terminology of the English language.  The large part of the following first appeared as a comment and then on front page of Bill Faith’s original blog.  I’d like to have this all on my blog as well.

To start with, as in the first part of "Reclaiming the Terms" series, let’s consult Merriam-Webster:

immigrant:

one that immigrates: as a: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence b: a plant or animal that becomes established in an area where it was previously unknown
— immigrant adjective

However, in my view this definition omits a uniquely American meaning of the word "immigrant": someone who comes to a new country, learns the language of a new country, which is English in the case of USA, assimilate and become part of the new country.  I personally resent when people marching and waving other country’s flags are called "immigrants" to this country. That is because I am myself a naturalized American, i. e. an immigrant.  Those people waving Mexican flags and, as they say in Russian, pumping their right (kachat’ prava), are not immigrants.  They are unassimilated migrants at best, and foreign invaders at worst, their legal status notwithstanding.  Thus, we come to the core of the problem as I see it.  The problem, in my opinion, is not "illegal immigration", as it is commonly called.  The problem is unassimilated migration.  The legal status of those migrants is absolutely irrelevant.  I bet the majority of those people participating in so-called pro-immigrant demonstrations were in fact legal residents or citizens, many of them perhaps born and raised in this country.  If you were illegal, would you risk attracting attention to yourself by going to such demonstration?  Yet they cannot be called "Americans".  As a country, we failed to assimilate certain segment of newcomers. We did it by allowing the Left to declare them a protected minority and pander to them.  Why do we keep hearing that if you speak Spanish, you’ll get a better job?  Better job doing what?  Selling tacos in San Isidro?  Every time I go to a polling place, there are ballots available in Spanish. Don’t you have to speak English in order to cast an informed vote?  I am always tempted to demand a ballot in Russian.  I actually did it once, just for laughs.  The people at the polling place explained to me that there are not enough Russian-speaking immigrants, but if I want ballots in Russian, I need to write to San Diego Registrar of Voters and ask for them.  The worst part of it is that  had I demanded a ballot in Russian hard enough, I would probably get it. And that is really sad. And by the way, they do have ballots in Russian in Brighton Beach, which I resent just as much as the Spanish ballots.  I can understand older people not being able to learn English.  But people in their 20s and 30s?  My wife, as a nurse, had patients who were disappointed, to say the least, when she could not speak Spanish with them.  And they were themselves, or had family members who were young enough and have been in this country long enough to learn the language.  Yet, they never did.

The Left made it even worse.  They managed to brainwash the younger generation, whose parents came to this country to seek better life for their children, into hating this country.  The leftist teachers distorted history, and now these young people do not see themselves as Americans, but identify with some other group that was supposedly wronged by America.  Yet they were often born and raised in this country.  To further illustrate the irrelevance of the legal status to this much deeper problem, who would you prefer: one of those kids waving Mexican flags and dumping on this country, or someone who sneaked across the border at the age of, let’s say, 17, and a year later, out of appreciation for America, using fake ID, enlisted into the Marine Corps and put his life on the line for this country?  I would definitely prefer such an "illegal" Marine.  In fact, I would give him US Citizenship.  This is just a hypothetical, but I think it illustrates the point.  And no, I am not excusing the illegal crossing of the border, I am just saying that it is irrelevant to the issue of loyalty and assimilation, which is much more important in the time of war.

So, now we have a problem.  There is a segment of the population that is not loyal, and often openly hostile to this country.  You can call them "5th column".  How can we solve it?  First of all, the bleeding has to be stopped.  The border has to be secured.  It does not necessarily mean a wall, but most definitely means some sort of border troops, similar to what the Soviets had.  National Guard can play this role.  There was never a wall around the Soviet Union.  But there was a ploughed strip of land all around, where the footsteps were always visible, and there were border military patrols.  The border was secure.  By the way, as a side note, the Russians have now illegal migration problem on the Chinese border.  This is not really new: back in the 60s and 70s the Chinese Government would send civilians across the border.  The border dispute there is probably about 150 years old and it did at times escalated into an open border warfare.  My dad once on a business trip ran into a guy who used to be a helicopter pilot for the Soviet Air Force.  He told my dad that they were taken to hospitals treating Soviet soldiers mutilated by the Chinese and then given assignments to strafe those Chinese attempting to cross the border and destroy border villages.  Back then it worked to stop the Chinese infiltration.  But I don’t think they would do it now, so they do have a problem.

But back to our problem.  It is possible to secure the border.  Then the immigration process has to be streamlined. Ideally, the whole INS, or whatever it is called now, should be replaced, but this is just wishful thinking.  Any kind of guest worker program or work visas should be eliminated and replaced with just Green Cards.  So, for example, if some employer is willing to sponsor someone to come and work in this country, that person should get a Green Card instead of H1B Visa.  There should be strings attached: if that person does not state his or her desire to immigrate and become an American, the Green Card should not be given, and that person should not be allowed to come to this country.  Why?  Because the temporary condition for that person that prevents assimilation should be eliminated.  After 5 years, that person should be allowed and reminded to apply for Citizenship.  A year should be given for that.  Then another reminder should be sent, stating that if the Citizenship application is not filled up by the end of another year, that person will be deported and not allowed to come back ever, or for at least 10 years.  If that person is caught in the country illegally, the prison sentence should be extremely stiff, like 10 years.  You see, my idea is essentially that America should be for Americans, both old and new, native-born and naturalized.  Dual Citizenships could be allowed, but only with friendly countries.  The alliances come and go, so some friendly countries might become hostile.  Should that happen, those holding dual citizenship with those formerly friendly countries should be specifically asked at that time where their loyalties lie.  And if they choose that other country, they should be sent there.

So, if this is ever implemented, we will never have people who live here, but who will by definition never assimilate.  The only people living in the country would be either loyal Americans or those who are waiting to become loyal Americans.  So, what do we do with the people that are now illegally in the country?  Well, after the border is secure, and it is actually easier to come to this country legally, than illegally, those who are already here can be given an amnesty.  Why?  Because the only alternative to it is to round them up, men, women and children, including the kids who were born in this country, and throw them out.  Besides this being a logistical nightmare, I don’t think any of us are going to like what we see, if this is done.  Thus, anything other than a complete legalization will still leave an unassimilated chunk of population.  Any other idea, like requiring people to go to a country of origin and apply for Green Cards will not work: they are already here, they do not have a lot of money, and anything they would have to do to go back would cause tremendous disruption to their lives.  Besides, even if we give them a promise that they will automatically get Green Cards in their country of origin, still they would not feel that they have any guarantees.  So, they would just stay, and the problem will never be solved.  And that is just because we don’t want to reward their law-breaking of entering the country illegally.  Do we really want to keep a permanent 5th column in the country just for that?  The goal should be not just an orderly immigration, but also a thorough assimilation of immigrants, the way it was done 100 years ago.  So, what’s left?  The criminal background check.  That is a joke.  You can only check criminal backgrounds of those who come from friendly Western countries, and there are not many of those.  (Mexico is not a friendly Western country. It might not be hostile, but it is also not Western.)  Instead, immigrants committing crimes should be designated as "foreign criminals", somewhat similar to spies.  Now, that of course should apply only to premeditated crimes, not DUIs.  They should be given extremely stiff sentences, like 20 years, and then deported.  Perhaps, this should even include naturalized citizens.  And citizens involved in Islamo-Fascist terrorism should be charged with treason.  The punishment for treason during wartime is death.

Thus, here is my solution to the current immigration problem. We can call it "America for Americans". It does not stop immigration, but demands that every single immigrant assimilates and becomes a loyal American. What do you think? Did I solve "unassimilated migration" problem?

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August 4, 2007 Posted by | Articles | 4 Comments

Friendly fire and conspiracy theories

The reason I am writing on this subject is because some time ago I got an e-mail on this subject from from somebody I respect. Thus, although normally I would not dignify any conspiracy theory with an answer, in this case I felt that I needed to respond.

Friendly fire happens in wars. The Wikipedia article I link to lists numerous examples of friendly fire incidents throughout history. The most well known recent incidents are the accidental killing of 4 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and the death of Pat Tillman. It is always sad and tragic. In some instances friendly fire happened between future foes. For example, the highest-scoring Allied Ace Ivan Kozhedub is officially credited with 62 aerial kills. Yet his real score is 64. His 2 additional kills are American P-51 Mustangs. Apparently late in the war, while on a fighter sweep mission, he spotted a formation of American B-17 Flying Fortresses under attack by German fighters. He went in to lend a hand to the Allies and opened fire on the Germans. The Germans retreated, but Kozhedub found himself under attack by P-51 Mustangs escorting the bombers. Why? You see, Kozhedub flew Lavochkin La-7 fighter, which could be easily mistaken for the German Focke-Wulf FW-190. Look at the pictures for yourself:

Lavochkin La-7

Fig. 1. Kozhedub’s Lavochkin La-7.

Fig. 2. Focke-Wulf FW-190-A8. Spring of 1945.

In heat of battle it is pretty easy to mistake one of these aircraft for another. And if you have ever flown any Combat Flight simulator, you know that it is almost impossible to see the markings. Mustang was slightly faster than La-7, so the only way for Kozhedub to avoid being shot down by the unrelenting Mustangs was to shoot the Mustangs down. Unfortunately one of the Mustang pilots was killed. But the other managed to bail out and land in the area of Kozhedub’s airfield. When Kozhedub landed, he thought he was in huge trouble, but lucky for him, when the American pilot was asked who shot him down, he replied that he was shot down by a Focke-Wulf with a red nose. Thus, the incident was hushed up.

Sometimes friendly fire occurs when a party not participating in the conflict tries to gather intelligence on both sides. American Wayne Peake shot down an RAF Mosquito, while flying for Israeli Air Force during Israel’s War for Independence. The Mosquito was flying from Iraq. Aparently the British denied that they were flying there. So, an assumption that it was a hostile aircraft was very reasonable. There was another incident, also described here, when RAF Spitfires went down to the ground to look at the Israeli convoy just strafed by Egyptian Spitfires which fled the area. Needless to say, they were immediately engaged by the IAF, also flying Spitfires. 3 or 4 RAF pilots were shot down.

What all these incidents have in common is the fact that they are all regarded for what they are: unfortunate and tragic accidents that often happen in wars. There is however one such incident that is surrounded by conspiracy theories that even now, 40 years later would not go away. I am talking about the USS Liberty incident. Anti-Semites on the Left and on the Right are eager to scream about deliberate Israeli attack. For the Left this incident also presents a rare opportunity to be on the side of American military, just like the story of SS St. Louis gives them a chance to defend the Jews. In the case of SS St. Louis they get to defend the Jews, while blaming America. In the case of USS Liberty they get to defend American military, while blaming Israel. The incident was investigated in both countries. But it does not matter: the conspiracy lives on. Just like with 9/11 conspiracy theories, there people who believe that huge numbers of people in both countries are in on it. There are even people who actually justify a deliberate attack by Israeli forces on USS Liberty, as described on this conspiratorial site. Here the proponents of the conspiracy theory use a straw man argument, saying that those who justify the attack claim that USS Liberty was spying on Israel, and then go on to say that there were no Hebrew linguists on board, but only Arabic and Russian linguists. Yet then they go on to quote one of the survivors saying: "We heard their (Israeli pilots – Eric-Odessit) communications". So, which is it? The last time Israeli pilots communicated in English was during the War for Independence, when they all were American, Canadian and other British Commonwealth nationals. And those who were born in Israel, like Modi Alon and Ezer Weitzman, were RAF veterans. But in 1967 the language used by IAF was Hebrew. So, whatever survivors of the attack might have heard, they could not understand. In June NSA released the declassified intercepts of Israeli helicopter pilots participating in the rescue efforts. Here are the links to those transcripts in English:

Labeled 104, dated 8 June 1967, 1229Z-1244Z;

Labeled 105, dated 8 June 1967, 1247Z-1319Z;

Labeled 130, dated 8 June 1967, 1307Z-1311Z.

It is very clear that the helicopter pilots and their commanders did not know who the ship belonged to, although by that time they were already worried that a tragedy had occurred. The fact that there are no intercepts prior to the rescue efforts suggests that indeed there were no Hebrew linguists on board, and Liberty was not spying on Israel. So, what the hell did the survivors hear? Read the rest of the NSA document dump. Apparently, USS Liberty was ordered out of the area, but somehow did not get the message. Yet, the Israelis were assured that there were no friendlies in the area. Now put yourself in the place of Israeli commanders. You are assured that the only ships in the area are hostiles. You know that your enemies are not shy about using illegal tricks, like flying false colors. You would order an attack even if if you did see the friendly flag. In fact, I suspect the ship would have been attacked even if it was flying an Israeli flag. And by the way, if you have a combat flight simulator (any of them), try attacking a ship in it. By the time you the flag, you’ll be crashing into the ship.

On the other hand, what would be the motivation for Israel to attack an American ship? The conspiratorial site I linked to, as well as other sites like that one, mention some tactical reasons for it. But again, put yourself in the position of Israeli leaders at the time. Your tiny country is surrounded by enemies. The country that was your sole supplier of sophisticated weapons, like aircraft, just decided that they would be better off if they were friends with the Arabs. Yes, that was France. They even used your preventive strike on your enemies preparing to attack as an excuse to stop the shipment of Mirage fighter that you had already paid for. Out of 2 world superpowers, one – the Soviet Union – is openly hostile and supports your enemies bent on your annihilation. The other superpower – the USA – is somewhat friendly. You would hope to cultivate that friendship, and you have a good chance to do just that, since the rival superpower happens to support your enemies. Why would you risk alienating America and blow your chance for American support, even if you think that an American ship is spying on you? Les Kinsolving of World Net Daily wrote a couple of articles on the subject. In one he wrote:

…the theory that Israel, during the Six Day War in 1967, would have deliberately attacked the U.S.S. Liberty is utterly preposterous.

It is as preposterous as the idea that Capt. John Paul Jones would have been ordered by Gen. George Washington to sink the French troop ships bringing soldiers and artillery to help us win our war of independence. (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit)

This is exactly my thought.

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July 29, 2007 Posted by | Articles, History | 1 Comment

While we are on the subject of PC War

Originally posted on http://eric-odessit.spaces.live.com/.

While we are on the subject of PC War, here is an article I wrote during last summer for the Old War Dogs, after a long conversation with my college friend in Israel:



A PC War?


My conversation with a friend in Naharia.

Alex and I went to college together back in Leningrad, now St.-Petersburg, Russia. He now lives in Naharia, a little town on the North of Israeli Mediterranean Coast. Majority of Americans probably have never heard the name of this town until a little over a week ago, when Hezbollah rockets started raining on it. Knowing that he and another college friend were living in Naharia, I naturally got a little worried when Hezbollah started shooting at their town, so I e-mailed them, asking how they were doing. The other guy went to Tiberias with his family, to stay with yet another college friend. Alex chose to stay in Naharia, and on Wednesday I finally got a reply from him. It was my first vacation day, and I was still at home. So we established a connection via MSN Messenger and had a lengthy conversation about how things were in Naharia and in Israel in general. Below is the summary of what he told me.

1. The damage:
According to Alex, those Katushas do very little damage. They are pretty old and not very powerful, not to mention their inaccuracy. Of course, if one of those rockets hits your apartment, it will destroy it, but the rest of the building would remain pretty much intact.

2. The reaction of the population:
My friend was actually pretty disgusted with the fact that the whole North of Israel was effectively shut down. That was also the cause of his general pessimism about our overall perspective in the current global conflict (I obviously do not separate the Israel’s war for survival from the wars we are fighting: we are fighting common enemies). After talking with Alex I actually came to appreciate seemingly useless calls for business as usual, including shopping, after 9/11: the life should not stop because of the enemy action. We should look at Londoners during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz for an example: they kept their bombed out shops and cafes open for business. In contrast, Naharia, according to Alex, turned into ghost town, even though many apartments, especially the newer ones, have their own bomb shelter rooms. This does not reflect well on the residents of Northern Israel. On the other hand, there is no reason to keep people not needed for defense in harms way unnecessarily. I would like to think that, when it becomes necessary, the Israelis will stand and fight. Otherwise we are all doomed: Israelis are very similar to Americans, and what applies to them, applies to us.

3. The military action:
That is where the term “PC War”, as in “politically correct”, comes into play. According to my friend, the Israelis keep bombing and shooting at empty buildings, a la Clinton, in order to minimize Lebanese civilian casualties. They even go as far as notifying when they are about to bomb some building where they suspect Hezbollah might be, so that the civilians would evacuate. As a result, they damage the Lebanese infrastructure much more than Hezbollah’s capabilities. The only real way to deal with Hezbollah is to conduct a ground operation with full force, but they don’t do that because they don’t want to look as invaders and, most importantly, they don’t want to suffer casualties. As a side note, I saw the news this morning, and they said that the Israelis are preparing for the ground offensive. But that was CNN: my hotel does not have FOX. They also said that the Lebanese Army is going to fight the Israelis, which is totally beyond me: they should be joining the Israelis.

4. The competency of the government:
Alex is very unhappy with their Defense Minister. He says that the guy is basically a high school dropout who just rose through the ranks of government bureaucracy and is just a political appointee without any experience in defense matters (he is not a career military guy). He probably served in the military, since it is mandatory, but a private can hardly be a Minister of Defense.

5. The media:
The Israeli media is just as idiotic as ours. They just blabber their collective mouth without thinking of the consequences. For almost a week they reported every rocket hit with accuracy down to a street corner, in real time, both on TV and on the web. People who have even rudimentary understanding of military operations, let alone a real combat experience will immediately understand the meaning of this. If you are a Hezbollah terrorist launching rockets at Israel, you don’t need any forward observers: having a local news channel on along with something like Google Maps next to your rocket launcher will do just fine for your fire correction. It took a week for the Israeli government to stop the news media from being forward observers for Hezbollah. Can you imagine an ACLU lawsuit claiming a violation of the freedom of the press? The moonbats in this country would immediately scream: “Censorship!” At least, after a week the Israeli government stopped the craziness.

6. Why it has started and how it should end:
This is something that probably we all would agree with. Alex said that the whole mess started because Israel is no longer feared by its enemies. If any Hamas rocket attack would have been treated as an act of war that it was, and triggered a massive retaliation in response, if the original Hamas kidnapping of a soldier triggered an immediate full force invasion of Gaza, none of it would have happened. But the Israelis have waited too long, while just pumping their chests. My own comment is that they failed to follow a Teddy Roosvelt’s doctrine: “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. This kind of mess happens if you do just the opposite: speak loudly and carry a small stick. As for how this all will end, Alex was very pessimistic. He thinks that the most likely scenario is that the UN will impose the ceasefire, Hezbollah and Hamas will return the bodies of the soldiers, and the periodic attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas will continue, slowly chipping away at Israel’s dignity, will and long term chance for survival. That, by the way, applies to the rest of the Western World. I am not ready yet to share my friend’s pessimism, but he does make good points. The right way to deal with Hezbollah is, of course, a massive ground invasion, not just by Israel, but by an international force, including the Lebanese Army, in order to clear out Hezbollah. But of course, there is no international force capable or willing to do the job. UN forces in Lebanon routinely just drink tea with Hezbollah terrorists. The only force capable of defeating Hezbollah, other than fully committed Israeli Army, is US military. I don’t see that happening at this time. So, if Israel does invade, it will be condemned as an aggressor. The Lebanese Army will actually fight against IDF, even though the IDF will be doing their job for them, just because it is Israel. IDF should go in and clear out Hezbollah anyway. We’ll see if they will really do it.

There you have it. My friend is there, in the thick of it. While we were talking, he said that there was an explosion somewhere in the area. It probably wasn’t too close, since I did not hear it. I am still much more optimistic than my friend. But if we lose our will to fight, Robert Ferigno’s Islamic States of America will become a reality. I hope it does not happen.


In case you follow the link to the original Old War Dogs publication, let me clarify a little misunderstanding.  My friend George Mellinger, a. k. a. Rurik, noted that any international force would be counter-productive.  He is right, of course, but that is not what I meant.  When I talked about international force, I was day-dreaming about a coalition similar to the Allies of World War 2.  That is, after all, exactly what is necessary in order to fight this new kind of Fascism.  There is always hope.

December 12, 2006 Posted by | Articles | 1 Comment

Netanyahu: It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust – Haaretz – Israel News

Originally posted on http://eric-odessit.spaces.live.com/

 I found this interesting article through World Net Daily:



“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,” Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly, repeating the line several times, like a chorus, during his address. “Believe him and stop him,” the opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this.”


…………………………………………………………………………….


Criticizing the international community in his GA speech for not acting more forcefully in trying to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power – “No one cared then and no one seems to care now,” he said, again drawing on the Nazi parallel – Netanyahu warned that Tehran’s nuclear and missile program “goes way beyond the destruction of Israel – it is directed to achieve world-wide range. It’s a global program in the service of a mad ideology.”


I am in the good company.  Here is what I wrote for another blog a couple of months ago:



…I think it is … September of 1938. With that cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, a. k. a. “peace in our time”, we have just given away Sudetenland.


I think I’ll just go ahead and post the whole article here:



What year is it?


My calendar shows “2006”, but is it? A month ago I thought that it was September of 1939, and Poland (i. e. Israel) was already in the fight for her life, while England (i. e. USA) was engaging in the Phony War. Back in 1939 the British did not bomb the German factories because they were private property. Isn’t it similar to the way we are trying to avoid civilian casualties now? For that matter, Israelis engage in the Phony War of their own, dropping leaflets before dropping bombs. If they are trying to destroy mobile rocket launchers, doesn’t dropping of leaflets defeat the purpose?

Some people would say that the combat our troops engaged in over in Iraq and Afghanistan is hardly phony. The same was true for the combat of the Israeli troops in Lebanon a month ago. Indeed, the combat is very real, but the indecisiveness of both our and Israeli leadership creates a phony war situation.

Now I no longer think that we are in September of 1939. Instead, I think it is one year earlier, September of 1938. With that cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, a. k. a. “peace in our time”, we have just given away Sudetenland.

I finally understand why appeasement and the Phony War happened in the first place. I see it happening right before my eyes. Back in 1938 and 1939 the Western democracies simply did not have a stomach for a fight. They were hoping against all evidence to the contrary that they somehow will avoid the war. The British intellectuals did not see any reason to fight the Nazis. The Left in Britain and France conducted propaganda for the Nazis, even after the war was declared. And in this country there were and still are people who accused the Roosevelt administration in allowing the attack on Pearl-Harbor to happen in order to get America into the war. How eerily similar to the current situation! Many people now refuse to acknowledge the “gathering storm”, as Winston Churchill used to put it, and instead call those who see this gathering storm “war mongers”. Winston Churchill was called that too. Yet few now question his foresight. So, why can’t people see it now? Is it the lack of knowledge and understanding of history? It’s been said that “those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it”. Certainly with the way history is taught in American public schools, there is a little wonder that we seem to repeat history. My friend’s son told me when he was attending high school that the entire World War 2 period was skipped in their course. Their teacher said that World War 2 did not influence life in America enough to study it. Can you believe that!? Needless to say, that high school was in the ultra-leftist Santa Monica School District that is not in the teaching, but rather in the brain-washing, business.

I keep finding parallels in everything that is happening now to World War 2 and the time immediately prior to it. Truth be told, it is hard to say what role Israel would play. Would it be the role of Poland, taking the first blow, but going down with a hell of a fight? Or would it be the role of Czechoslovakia, the country that was given up and has given up without a fight? It seems that Israel will be a little bit of both. It is the indecisiveness of the Israeli leadership that forced this crazy cease-fire. Similarly, if the Czechoslovakian government had a will to fight in 1938, they would not have given away their territory. What would have happen if they would have told Chamberlain and Daladier: “No, we are going to defend our Sudetenland territory.” What would the Brits and the French do? It is very unlikely that they would have joined the Germans and attacked Czechoslovakia. In the worst case they would just do nothing. So, we always blame Chamberlain for Munich agreement, but somehow forget Czechoslovakian government itself. And what the Czechs did in the spring of 1939 was even worse. They surrendered just because Hitler threatened to bomb Prague. But they did have a pretty good air force for that time. What if Emil Hácha, who succeeded Beneš as the Czechoslovakian President after Munich, told Hitler: “OK, if you bomb Prague, we will bomb Berlin”? Similarly now Israel did not have to accept this cease-fire. Even after they screwed up initially, once they started fighting, they could continue. The world opinion should not have any bearing on their actions: most of the world is anti-Semitic and hates them anyway. As for America, the Left hates them anyway, and among the rest of the country they would gain more support if they would show the willingness to fight and win.

So, if the government of Czechoslovakia did not have enough will to defend their country back in 1938, do Chamberlain and Daladier deserve any blame for what happened? The answer is definitely yes. They, along with the rest of the Western world took seriously Hitler’s claims about abuse of Sudeten Germans by Czechoslovakian authorities. By the way, isn’t it amazing how similar it is to the Western media and many governments taking seriously all the fake allegations about Israeli abuses? The Brits and the French back in 1938 discouraged the Czechs from fighting and encouraged them to give up. The democratically elected Czechoslovakian government was trying to maintain peace and good relationship with their allies – other democracies. They did not want help from the Soviets, who did offer it: there was no telling where the help from Stalin might lead to. So, responsibility of the British and the French governments lies in their influence over the Czechs. Similarly, our government should not discourage the Israelis from fighting. We should be honest and open about our support for Israel, world opinion be damned. We are not gaining any sympathies in “Arab Street” by giving in and getting the Israelis to give in. They just see it as a weakness and use it against us. Why isn’t it obvious to people that negotiating with terrorists creates more terrorism? And now Israelis agreed to Kofi Annan mediating the release of their soldiers. This is obviously a terrible mistake, but we bear partial responsibility for it because we did not openly tell the Olmert’s government: “Look, you do what you have to do, and we’ll back you diplomatically”. Olmert did botch the war by his indecisiveness, but our discouragement did not help either.

So, what does it leave us with? What year is it? 1938 or 1939? I can’t say with certainty. What I can say is that Churchill’s “gathering storm” is upon us once again. It’s impossible to predict where the first blow will strike. Will it be an attack on Israel? Or will they go straight for us? Or, perhaps, will they strike both Israel and us simultaneously? Just like almost 70 years ago, Russia is playing both sides, but this time motivated not by any particular ideology, but strictly by economic interests. Will the Russians be, ironically, “the capitalists that will sell the rope on which they will hang”? Will the Islamo-fascists make a mistake of attacking Russia, pushing it toward our side? There have been enough attacks on Russia by Islamo-fascists, including the Beslan massacre of children, that should have brought the Russians to our side already. But apparently that was not enough. It will probably take a nuke in Moscow or St. Petersburg for the Russian politicians to wake up and realize that their allies are still the same people who were their allies 65 years ago.

What can I do in order to help people wake up? What can I do in order to contribute to victory? I am older now than my grandpa was in 1941. The US military will probably have no use for an out-of-shape 42 year old guy. I hope that whatever I do as an engineer, as well as writing these articles and participating in demonstrations in support of our troops, helps. I hope I can contribute to victory even just a little bit. But now it is still a waiting game. So, I am sitting in front of my computer, surfing the web and asking: “What year is it?”


I am still trying to figure out how to do this bloging thing.  I wanted to post this article somewhere and link to it.  But it does not seem to be possible.  I’ll just create “Articles” category, so all the articles will be there.

Link to Netanyahu: It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust – Haaretz – Israel News

December 11, 2006 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

Elections: past and future

Originally posted on http://eric-odessit.spaces.live.com/

Here is something I wrote in regard to the next elections:


 


Looking for wartime leaders.


The midterm elections are over. We did not vote for President this time, but the question of who might be worthy of this job was and still is in the back of my mind. But first a few thoughts on the Congressional elections. Our country is at war. We all had a choice between 2 parties: a Surrender Party and Let’s-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party. As bad as these options were, I’d rather have Let’s-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party in power. It is possible to turn this Lets-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party into a Fighting Party, but the time to do it is during the Primary elections. Unfortunately, the Surrender Party has won. Let’s hope that the fight will not be over in 2 years. This logic is also very relevant to those all important elections 2 years away.

Now on to the question of those wartime leaders. First of all, what are the qualities required in a leader of a nation at war? After all, in a free nation there is no “fuhrer principle”: a civilian leader, be it a President or a Prime Minister, does not tell the generals what to do. Thus, such a leader would have to concentrate on making strategic policy decisions and inspiring the nation. Thus, a leader like that would have to be willing to do what is right for the cause, regardless of personal consequences. This leader would also have to be defiant, not to be afraid to blatantly tell the truth, without worrying of offending anyone. Do we have someone in this country who possesses these qualities? Well, let’s start with our current President, who, although will finish his term in 2 years, is still useful as an example for this discussion. His record is mixed. After 9/11 he did talk about an attack on America as an act of war and the need to respond. But still, he immediately started to talk about our enemies in politically correct terms, calling Islam “Religion of Peace” and inviting members of organizations with known terrorist ties to special events related to commemorating the 9/11 attacks. So, Bush is a typical member of the Lets-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party. But is there anyone who understands that, when you are fighting a war, you are bound to offend people? That is, if you are fighting to win. Well, Rudy Giuliani comes to mind. He was not afraid to return the Saudi Prince’s check after 9/11, when that prince said something about 9/11 being the result of our support for Israel. Another example is Mitt Romney. He was unapologetic after stating that current terrorism threat comes from Muslim fascists and the hate is often preached in mosques. Recently he refused to provide official police escort for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami’s September 10 visit to the Boston area. The final example is “Govenator” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, Arnold cannot run for President, but his example is useful in order to illustrate what I am talking about. During this summer’s Israeli war against Hezbollah Arnold, along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, attended a rally in support of Israel. Local Islamists were, of course, very upset about this. The Mayor later apologized, but Arnold refused. In another example, he wasn’t shy about telling immigrants to assimilate into American culture. This is definitely something that both Arnold and I can relate to. There is something all 3 of these Republican politicians have in common, besides having some backbone. They are all belong to what usually called Moderate wing of the Republican Party. They are all socially liberal (libertarian might be a better term). This makes it very hard for them to get a Republican nomination for President. But here is what Republican voters have to wake up to: all those domestic social issues are irrelevant to fighting a war. So called Conservatives worried about offending anyone are not good wartime leaders, even if they are pro-life. And those who don’t try to be politically correct, but unelectable, are not useful either. Majority of people in this country don’t like abortions, but think that the Government should stay out of this issue. I happen to hold the same view. So, instead of trying to elect super-Conservatives, we should try to elect war fighters. And if such candidate happens to be very popular, like Giuliani, it is even better: makes it harder for the MSM to dump on them and undermine the war effort.

Now that was Republican side. But what about the Democrats? The Democratic Party wasn’t always a Surrender Party. Unfortunately, at this time it is unlikely that it will become Fighting Party any time soon. The last sane Democrat was recently kicked out of the party. Although, everything possible. If the Democrats manage to produce a war fighting candidate for 2008, such candidate will likely get my vote, even at the expense of domestic concerns. That is, if I will be convinced that this person will make a good war time leader. But, as I said, it is unlikely. There is, however, one potential Democratic candidate who possesses certain ruthlessness necessary for fighting a war. The problem with that candidate is that she cannot be trusted. I am talking, of course, about Hillary. She will do whatever is politically expedient for her. And if fighting the war the way it should be fought is politically expedient, she will be a war fighter. But she will do what is necessary for the wrong reason. But in the end, it does not matter why she would do what needs to be done. I am saying all this not because I all of a sudden became a supporter of Hillary Clinton. She will never get my vote. As I said, she can’t be trusted. However, if she does become President, which is a distinct possibility, not everything is lost. We simply have to shape the public opinion in such a way that she is forced to do what is necessary, even if it is for the wrong reason. We will suffer domestically because of her socialist policies, but it will not matter, as long as it does not interfere with the war effort.

To summarize, we need a leader who will be honest enough to say: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” We need someone who can be blunt and tell it like it is: “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering.” We need a leader who can explain our policy in very simple terms: “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.” Finally, we need someone who can summarize our goals thus: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Yes, I am dreaming about someone like Winston Churchill becoming our President. There is always hope.

December 10, 2006 Posted by | Articles | Leave a comment

   

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