IN his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy expressed in two eloquent sentences, often invoked by Barack Obama, a policy that turned out to be one of his presidency’s — indeed one of the cold war’s — most consequential: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Kennedy’s special assistant, called those sentences “the distinctive note” of the inaugural.
They have also been a distinctive note in Senator Obama’s campaign, and were made even more prominent last week when President Bush, in a speech to Israel’s Parliament, disparaged a willingness to negotiate with America’s adversaries as appeasement. Senator Obama defended his position by again enlisting Kennedy’s legacy: “If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with John F. Kennedy, because that’s what he did with Khrushchev.”
So, it turns out Sarah Palin was absolutely correct when she spoke of “death panels” under Obamacare:
Death Panels Live! In his Politico piece calling for a revival of Obamacare’s original end-of-life-counseling provisions, Harold Pollack blames “Palin, Bachmann and McCaughey” for having “dragged comparative effectiveness research (CER) into the broader partisan knife-fight over health reform.” But of course the main person who dragged comparative effectiveness into the knife-fight was Barack Obama, expounding on red pills vs. blue pills to David Leonhardt in the NYT months before Palin’s “death panel” gibe (and doing it again in subsequent speeches and statements). … Obama also put cost saving through “comparative effectiveness” squarely in the context of end-of-life decisions when he questioned whether his terminally ill grandmother should have been given a hip operation. (While Pollack says end-of-life treatment is not one of the top targets for savings, Obama says it’s a “huge driver of costs.”)
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/09/poor-malia/#ixzz37EbJ7im6
Truth Revolt “…we actually put incoming applications aside so we could focus on the ACA related applications that came in over last summer.” A Veterans Affairs whistleblower from Atlanta will testify before Congress next Tuesday about widespread destruction of applications, retaliation against whistleblowers, and people being shifted from processing VA applications last summer to working on Obamacare enrollment.
Scott Davis is a program specialist at the VA’s national Health Eligibility Center in DeKalb County, Georgia. His story was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this past Sunday and appeared on the Neil Cavuto program on Fox News Wednesday. As opposed to previous whistleblower reports, which focus VA hospitals and getting to see doctors, Davis’ revelations are about the processing of applications by VA offices.
Read more at http://iowntheworld.com/blog/?p=242108#lGIDV828hsZ2Oqtj.99
The Founders never envisioned that the citizens would elect a man with no ethics. A man who would not follow the law. At one time the media was well enough balanced between left and right to get the word out to people. Now it’s not. They never envisioned a situation where the balance of powers among the arms of government would be so ignored…The Founders could not have envisioned an electorate that was so ignorant of the process of government and their important role in it.
I agree that the Founders could not have envisioned the exact details of what’s happening now. But I think the Founders knew that something of the general sort was a distinct and perhaps even likely possibility. The Founders were not naive, and they were students of both history and human nature. They tried to design a government that protected liberty as best it could, knowing it might not succeed and that there would always be highly-motivated forces working against it.
I’d like to pose the question in the article to my lefty neighbor and my non-lefty Canadian cousin who are both afraid of guns (you know who you are): would you pick up a gun to defend your family?
Smith & Wesson officially becomes the second gun company to pull out of California over microstamping – Bearing Arms
Basically, the leftists in CA are trying to ban private firearms ownership by making it impossible to buy, sell and own guns.
Here is the explanation of microstamping. The technical issues just prove that the stupid leftists in CA legislature just don’t know what they are talking about. The simplest reason why microstamping cannot work is the fact that firing pins are replaceable parts. They wear out with use and have to be replaced. Or, they can be replaced just to get rid of the stupid stamp.
Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family, for my wonderful wife and 2 beautiful girls. I am also thankful for the generally pretty good life I have. But who should I thank for all this? The religious people thank G-d for all their blessings. But I am not religious enough in order to do that. And then it dawned on me. I should thank this wonderful country called United States of America and its wonderful people.
So, thank you, America, for existing, for being a beacon of freedom in the world where freedom is far from being commonplace. Thank you for making freedom your “national idea”, if you will.
Thank you, American Armed Forces, past and present, for ensuring our safety and, as my kids would put it, "fighting the bad guys". It is you, who defends our freedom and wonderful opportunities this country provides.
Thank you, America, for accepting me as your own. You welcomed me, my family and friends and made us all Americans, part of your great people. You accept anybody who is willing to be accepted. You made acceptance and tolerance part of your ideology too.
Finally, thank you, America, for defending “liberty and justice for all” all over the world. Your young people volunteer to go and fight for what’s right and moral. If I were 25 years younger I would have joined them (lame excuse really, but that’s the only one I have). Winston Churchill once said: “The Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted all other possibilities”. He knew what he was talking about. It is only natural to try “all other possibilities”: people always look for easy solutions. But in the end Americans do the right thing, no matter what the cost, for doing the right thing is a part of American ideology too.
Thank you, America.
If this doesn’t scare you, nothing will. From Politico’s Bill Daley interview:
“And all President Obama has to do to achieve this [times "better" than the past three years] is make a startling end run around not just the Republicans but also the Democrats, in Congress.
All he has to do, Daley says, is operate in domestic affairs with the same speed, power and independence that he possesses in foreign and military affairs.”
Go read it all. And follow the links there. One in particular takes you to the Glenn Beck TV segment, where Beck demonstrates how some Democrats encourage Obama to circumvent the Constitution, and Obama is quite willing to do so. Then go to this post on Legal Insurrection:
Sometimes the Editorial Board of The NY Times gets it right, even if for the wrong reasons, as in this editorial, The Court and the Next President:
When Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. began the new Supreme Court term by congratulating Antonin Scalia on his 25th anniversary as a justice, it was a reminder that Justice Scalia is now 75 as is Anthony Kennedy and that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 78.
Since 80 is the average retirement age of justices over the past generation, whoever is elected president could shape the court for the next generation….
That’s about as much as The Times’ editors get right, and the rest of the editorial is devoted to bashing Republican candidates and the conservatives on the Court.
Again, read this one in full. And then think of these two in combination. Can you imagine what will happen if Obama gets a chance to pack the Supreme Court, like FDR did? So, for those who want a Conservative nominee, go ahead and support whoever you like in the Primaries, but once the nominee is chosen, support that nominee. It does not even matter if whoever is nominated and hopefully wins, nominates to the Court Justices as liberal as Obama would. Because hopefully whoever that will be, it will not be Obama. If you wait for some “real Conservative” to come along in 2016, and let Obama win in the meantime, you may not get a chance in 2016! The scariest part of that Glenn Beck segment is the moment when Obama says that it is tempting to change laws without Congressional approval, his audience cheers him on, chanting: “Yes, you can!” There is enough people in this country apparently that seem to think that giving the President that much power is a good thing. History is my hobby, and so I can think of one historical analogy in particular: the Enabling Act. Think this can’t happen in America? Would you like to take that chance?
… 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:
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".
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: https://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.
So, what do you think? Will Kevin admit that he was wrong?
20 years ago the old Soviet Union effectively disintegrated. Yes, it did last as a country till the end of 1991, but by the early September this disintegration was a done deal. Jewish Russian Telegraph is linking to an article on the subject and asking whether it was worth it:
As Muammar Gaddafi’s rule crumbles in Libya, the anniversary of another revolution is passing by almost unnoticed. In August 1991, a cabal of Kremlin hardliners moved against Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms they saw as weakening state power and giving too much autonomy to the Soviet Union’s constituent republics. Gorbachev was detained on a Crimean vacation and officially declared to be taking a health-related leave of absence, with an eight-man State of Emergency Committee taking the reins of power. After three tense days that saw tanks in Moscow’s streets and a deadly clash between Soviet troops and pro-democracy protesters, the coup failed, and the fallout helped hasten the end of the communist regime and the Soviet empire.
In my opinion, it was definitely worth it, especially for the Russians and other residents of the former Soviet Union. Although, I believe that it would have been easier for our government here in America to deal with a single entity, if a democratic Soviet Union was ever possible, the disintegrated Soviet Union is better than a totalitarian regime that existed before fall of 1991. And despite the authoritarian tendencies existing in Russia today, modern Russia is much more free than the old Soviet Union ever was. Russian nationalism is dangerous, but perhaps the good life made possible by the market economy will keep the dangerous tendencies in check.
Is there any difference? Especially, in light of Jimmy Hoffa Jr’s rhetoric:
Cranking up the anti-Tea Party rhetoric, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa called on workers to "take these son-of-a-bitches out" as he warmed up a crowd Monday in Detroit ahead of President Obama’s Labor Day speech.
But then, historically the mafia connection was always there. And, with rhetoric like this, Jimmy Hoffa Jr. was practically asking for this connection to be brought up.
As an engineer, I often get frustrated when politicians make pronouncements on some technical issues. I often know for a fact that what they might be saying is idiotic, and they have no idea what they are talking about. Technical progress does not happen because politicians just wish for it. And physics cannot conform to political sound bytes. Turns out, I am not the only engineer frustrated with technical illiteracy of the politicians. Here is an article in EE Times:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard reach 54.5 miles/gallon by 2025 (so many significant figures in that goal—the precision is truly admirable!). Before you say "huh?", note that this goal has many loopholes, subclauses, and qualifiers, befitting a number set by bureaucrats, see here.
After long period of neglect it was finally time to update my links. Some links that no longer worked got deleted. Some new links got added. All the new links are worth checking out. The ones I’d like to mention separately are:
HillBuzz, by former Democrats who after 2008 elections realized that the Democratic Party they used to support was very different from the leftist monstrosity it has become lately.
One interesting thing about HillBuzz authors is that the core authors is a Gay couple who used to support Hillary Clinton. They seem to have no problems with religious Christians who might not approve of their lifestyle, but agree with them on all the other issues. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that this Gay couple realizes that the religious Christians, while might voice their disapproval, will never do anything beyond that. On the other hand, we are facing the enemies that will kill them for their lifestyle. Add to this the fact that Socialism creates misery equally for everybody, Gay or straight, and you have a couple of Gays who are just as Right-Wing as I am: real liberals.
In light of the HillBuzz story, it is worth mentioning one of the deleted links, Charles Johnson’s Little Green Footballs. Immediately after 9/11 Charles was instrumental in starting anti-jihadi blogosphere. However, toward the end of Bush’s term he started vicious arguments on his blog with whoever he perceived not polite enough to our enemies. He also found himself arguing with religious Christians over issues that were ultimately irrelevant to our struggle against those who want to kill us. And he was willing to twist the facts and words of those who he disagreed with in order to advance his arguments. For example, in one of his attacks on Glenn Beck he twisted Beck’s argument to make him into an idiot, even though Beck was arguing the same point Charles was. All right, I’ll mention what it was about. Back then some video appeared on Youtube about some FEMA camps. The argument was made that Obama was preparing concentration camps. Glenn Beck showed the video on his program and then proceeded to talk about ridiculousness of this conspiracy theory, even bringing in experts to explain how ridiculous this theory about Obama preparing concentration camps was. For the record, I have no love for Obama administration and I do believe that comparisons between this administration economic policies and National-Socialist economic policies have merit. And there is no conspiracy in it. But that particular conspiracy theory was indeed ridiculous. Charles Johnson and Glenn Beck both pointed that out. But Beck also showed that Youtube video on his program in order to illustrate what he was talking about. Charles posted about it on his blog, portraying Beck as a supporter of the conspiracy theory he was arguing against. Well, anybody can make a mistake. But I saw that particular Beck’s program. So, I made a comment on Charles’s blog, pointing out his mistake. It did not matter: Charles continued piling on Beck. Lately Charles’s blog degenerated into vicious attacks against anybody who disagrees with him personally. So, I am not going to link to his blog any longer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, here is a couple of links to articles on Donald Trump’s possible Presidential run:
My own opinion? It can be summarized in the title of Larry Elder’s article, the 1st one I linked to: Doing the job the Media won’t do. Trump is blunt and unapologetic. And that is what I like about him. It will be hard for the leftist media to demonize him because he does not care what is said about him. The media will still be able to ridicule him enough for people not to take him seriously, and that might bring about Obama’s re-election. I am not sure whether he is the best candidate to beat Obama. Perhaps Romney might be better. He certainly might want to learn some bluntness from Trump. For now the danger is in Republican establishment ridiculing him. They should re-learn Reagan’s 11th Commandment:
"Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."
Tel Aviv University philosophy professor Asa Kasher co-authored the first IDF Code of Ethics and continues to work on the moral doctrines that shape the parameters of our army’s actions.
He has taught at the IDF colleges since the late 1970s and for a long time was the only professor talking to officers about military ethics. When the IDF decided to try writing a Code of Ethics, he was approached and appointed head of a team of generals that wrote a draft and then the final version of the 1994 code, which was approved by chief of staff Ehud Barak and prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
In the wake of Richard Goldstone’s belated withdrawal of the accusation that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in Operation Cast Lead, and the fresh round of moral argument the judge’s climbdown has provoked, I contacted Kasher to discuss the IDF’s ethics. I wanted to understand the thinking that underpins IDF dos and don’ts, the problematics of grappling with enemies that do not follow any such rules, and the gaping discrepancy, Goldstone’s reversal notwithstanding, between most Israelis’ certainty of the IDF’s morality and the international diplomatic, media and legal community’s relentless opprobrium.
The Underground Conservative provided full English transcript:
Never again! Never again! I am ashamed that he is allowed to speak here. I feel ashamed! I am German, and I am so sorry that someone like him can stand here and speak like Hitler! I am so ashamed! Where is everybody? Why are people not standing up in this country of ours? Why are you all keeping your mouths shut? Do you want Germany to be like those countries from which they all came? Do you really want that? You have to speak out! . . . Germany, you have to rise! Rise up, Germany!
What’s interesting is that toward the end of this video people she confronted tell her: “Stop the provocation”. So, confronting this new kind of Nazis is now called “provocation”. Good thing she was not arrested on top of that. That is certainly what modern dhimmy politicians might do.
Here is another interesting article on engineers and politics from EETimes:
…The 112th Congress has 541 members. The average age in the Senate is 62.2 years, in the House 56.7 years.
The top four occupations are business, public service, law and education. There are five engineers (chart below). None in the Senate. This meager representation is ridiculous for a profession that is crucial to the economy. But then we know that.
I often asked myself if I would ever consider running for office. The answer was always “Hell, NO”. I would imagine many other engineers would feel the same way. Why? Well, because politics often requires saying a lot without much substance, something engineers are not very good at. Those who would like to stick to engineering, like me, would not want to change careers. I don’t even want to be a manager. High level managers, on the other hand, are not much different from regular politicians. So, a high level manager in office would represent only marginal improvement over a career politician. Still, an engineer in a high political office is a nice dream to have.
Atlas Shrugs some time ago linked to this site dedicated to the opposition to Ground Zero Mosque. It in turn provides very interesting analysis:
One of the great questions of the 21st century is: What is the true nature of Islam? There are two distinct answers to this question from the media and leaders. The popular message is that Islam is one of the great world religions, a peaceful religion, a foundation of world civilization, its Golden Age was the highpoint of history, and it preserved Western thought while we were in the Dark Ages. The alternative message is that Islam is a brutal, backward, woman abusing, violent, intellectually narrow ideology that is out to annihilate civilization.
Which side is right? How do we resolve this issue? Can it even be resolved? If we turn to the “experts” of any of the opinions, they will tell you that their view is correct. What then is the ultimate authority that will give us a firm foundation for reasoning and judgment about Islam? Is it possible to use critical thought or must we just accept the authority of experts?
There is way to achieve consensus about ideas that goes beyond expert opinion. The use of facts along with logic is the basis of critical thought. The ultimate form of critical thought uses measurements and numbers to resolve questions. This paper will use the foundational texts of Islam and measure the importance of ideas by how many words are given to concepts. The assumption is that the more content that is devoted to a subject, the greater the importance of the subject is. As an example: the Koran devotes 64% of its text to the subject of the unbeliever. This is assumed to imply that the unbeliever is important in Islamic doctrine.
Obviously, you have to read the whole thing. People are busy and often don’t have time to read books like Koran for themselves. So, they often rely on other people to tell them what is there, so called "experts". But experts often insert their own opinions into their analysis. The analysis here seems to be devoid of opinion and simply presents facts. That’s what makes this analysis very valuable. Now, the site presenting this analysis obviously has an opinion and does not hide it. But facts themselves seem to be pretty cut and dry.
Powered by Qumana
Improving IED Countermeasure Technology – Using RF Capture and Playback Systems
By combining the Tektronix spectrum analyzer and X-COM Systems long duration RF signal storage system, a unique tool results for the recording, analyzing, and creating of new waveforms and complex RF environments to help tackle IED countermeasure technologies.
For those who might be interested, follow the link. There is a PDF that explains how it works. Tektronics is a company that makes various elecronic test equipment that I often use at work. Now I use their mixed-signal oscilloscope which I am quite happy with.
Powered by Qumana
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.
Powered by Qumana
I periodically get e-mails from Jewish Russian Telegraph, a blog maintained by Americans of the same background as mine out of Boston. One of their recent posts linked to this article/lecture by Vladimir Bukovsky, a famous Soviet dissident:
…Countless new theories, first of all linguistic ones, came into being. Remember Orwell saying that the leftists always seek to win the terminological war first. And so it went: you cannot call them Miss or Missis, because this is how we define their marital status – this is unacceptable. An unlikely form for the English language showed up – Mis. It is hard to pronounce, but it was only the beginning. They went on saying that it is indecent to say history (his story), you should rather say her story. Countless linguistic novelties fell on our heads: we were told that we cannot use the word seminary, because it is originated form the word “semen” – one should say ovulary instead. And, on the whole, how should we call women? It was a great puzzle for the new academics.
The word woman contains the word man and this is terrible. Call it female – even worse. There is the word male in it. So they coined a new term to define women: wofe (wo from woman and fe from female). And now we are to call them this way, otherwise we are male chauvinist pigs!
It sounds nonsensical. Aren’t there enough madmen in the world? I was once incarcerated with many madmen and got fully used to them. But the thing is that the present day society, especially American, is primitive. It takes in any folly and soon turns it obligatory to anyone. Especially the American society. Although the European societies are surely no less conformist. So we are to accept everything thrown at us for the sake of success. For life to go smoothly, it is by no means unacceptable to be non-conformist.
This kind of American pattern has quickly spread as mandatory. It is a mandatory paradigm, because it is incredibly incorporated into legislation. Among other things, this new feminist movement blamed men of sexism. In their view, all men are sexists because they see a sex object in a woman, therefore everything in relation with the woman or sex needs to be eliminated. Any flirt between a man and a woman was called an “oppressive action” (with exploitation in mind). Therefore, if you make a joke at your co-worker, or, even worse, your subordinate, you are in trouble – she will sue you and you will lose your job.
But it does not end here. You cannot say that women are less inclined towards certain professions. For example, the president of Harvard University said in a private meeting that women, due to certain reasons, perhaps lack of interest, seldom chose precise sciences, especially mathematics. He lost his position, because a wild wave of hysteria followed his remark. He had to write an application to quit the job. And this is a mass phenomenon, reminiscent of the terror of 1937.
You see, the Americans had a surge of insanity, which had exceeded the previously accepted threshold of insanity. They had a wave of unhealthy campaign for racial equality. The campaign started on a fully sound basis at the end of the fifties, sixties and seventies. At that time the remains of racism were really obvious, especially in the South, but in the North it was never there. This was a really unacceptable and meaningless phenomenon, and the case for racial equality was fully grounded. But, just like all other campaigns of the kind, after this campaign reached its goals, its activists carried on until they got to the point of absurdity and started demanding for “positive discrimination”. The activists behind this campaign were blinded by utopia. They did not believe that inequality was a natural state, that we are all born unequal. It is like the followers of Rousseau, who believed that a human being is like a piece of clay and you can knead it into any shape you like.
Therefore, the followers of the campaign took the fact that the racial equality movement did not produce a sufficient number of successful black people, such as professors, millionaires, etc., as their failure, and resolved to strive for equal results rather than equal opportunities. And so they started introducing the so called “positive discrimination”, which brought about the existing quotas. Those are not official, but they are working. Every university has to enroll a certain percentage of the black people. It has never been put down in writing anywhere, but everyone knows that if they don’t do this, they will have their eyes scratched, they will face endless court trials, and alike troubles. Quotas at work. Here is a private company, and, out of the blue, a public fury erupts – why is there only one woman on the board? Women make up about half of all inhabitants on the earth, so they should make about 50 per cent of all the board members. And so on. Isn’t it madness to push people to certain positions judging merely by the colour of their skin or gender, even if they could not claim such positions based on their personal characteristics and skills?
Let’s go back to the army. When women gained their right to serve in the army, they found a great niche: they go to the army, serve there for three months or so, file a case of sexual harassment, the court awards them several million dollars and they leave. It is a reasonable way to get rich in two or three years. In the US army, a new type of uniform appeared – that is of a “pregnant soldier”. I never have fancied I would live to see such a thing! The very concept of “pregnant soldier” is a terminological contradiction. Men are supposedly there to protect pregnant women. This riddle is not for my mind. Nevertheless, there is such a uniform.
The excerpts don’t really do this article justice. Yes, it is rather long, but you have to read it all. If you don’t have time to sit in front of a computer and read it, print it out and read it before sleep, or while you are riding on a bus or a subway, or even while you are sitting in a bathroom, but read it all. In fact, here is what I’ve done. I copied the article into a Word document and converted it into a PDF here. That way you can just download and print the article without anything else. I will leave you, though, with this chilling conclusion of the article:
I don’t see why we should repeat the same mistakes the West was making all those 70 years throughout the Cold War. You will also have political correctness, let me assure you. You are in the European Union, and political correctness is but an EU ideology. It will reach you from Brussels and become obligatory. And you will have nowhere to hide, because the Brussels decisions have precedence over the decisions of national parliaments. The problem is not the idea that you may discuss. The problem is that discussions on the idea are not allowed. Discussing it will soon be punishable by prison (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit. If you have any doubt that Mr. Bukovsky is right in his prediction, you can just look at Geert Wilders prosecution). Trust me. I am an old jailbird, and I know when it whiffs with prison. And in the West this whiff starts to appear. This is the thing. It is not a matter of free choice. It will reach you like a ban on smoking. Today you think that it does not concern you. It will. In the West they always thought that they had nothing to do with communism. They had. This is why it is better to be prepared in advance. And what is positive? Well, a positive side can be found about anywhere. Communism had its positive sides, too. If we were friends back then, we were friends for real, for ages, risking lives for each other. And this means something. Under communism, atheism and the struggle for domination made science develop in huge strides. We had great physicists, mathematicians – well, that is positive, who would argue? But this doesn’t mean that the very phenomenon was positive. You could have achieved the same things by other more vegetarian means, couldn’t you?
Powered by Qumana
The short answer to this question is that I don’t know. I’ve been so depressed about the direction this country is taking and, even worse, by people’s refusal to even listen to any alarms, that I simply did not feel like blogging. So, I just concentrated on my own everyday life. And whenever I had time for blogging I avoided it by finding something else to do. But today my wife took the kids skating (something I usually do, but I am sick), and I decided to get into it again. Let’s see if I will keep it up.
Powered by Qumana
Here is another video of indoctrination:
As it turns out, there is an Obama Scholars program offered by Arizona State University. Still, why is there a scholarship named after a live sitting President? As I said many times, this all is very reminiscent of the Soviet style cult of personality.
Powered by Qumana
Apparently, there is a new bill being pushed through Senate by none other than Joe Lieberman, along with Sen. Collins, called ‘‘Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010’’. Here is the article on the subject:
The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.
Lieberman has been pushing for government regulation of the Internet for years under the guise of cybersecurity, but this new bill goes even further in handing emergency powers over to the feds which could be used to silence free speech under the pretext of a national emergency.
Read the whole thing. Here is the original link to the bill itself in the PDF format. In case it goes away for some reason, I saved it to my site here. Now, admittedly, the sponsors of the bill are not Obama supporters and seem to be more concerned with possible cyber attacks than anything else. Still, giving the Federal Government that much power to control the Internet seems to be taking national security a bit too far. I first heard about it on the local radio show, and then found a link to it on Bookworm’s site. I’d be very much interested to see some legal analysis of this bill. Are my concerns justified?
Powered by Qumana
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?
Powered by Qumana
Yes, I know: when good guys give up, the bad guys win. I hope to be on the side of good guys, and so it is time for me to shake off my apathy. So, as a starting point, here is a couple of videos of Geert Wilders speech e-mailed to me by a friend.
Powered by Qumana
I haven’t updated my blog for a while. There is a number of reasons for it. But yesterday I started thinking about it. I came to conclusion that all the usual suspect reasons for being silent: busy at work, family obligations etc. are just excuses. The real reason is that I just was not in the mood to write anything. I am simply running out of arguments. Or, more precisely, my arguments are being dismissed by people who just refuse to listen. I am of course talking about politics and about what the current administration is doing to this country. Whenever I point out that what Obama is doing reminds me of the old country (Soviet Union), people say: "No, you are exaggerating". A friend sent me an article dismissing the claims that he is a Socialist based on the fact that people calling themselves Socialist say that Obama is not. Maybe, he is just not socialist enough for them. It is not just Conservatives in this country who call him "Socialist". Putin said that his economic measures lead to it. "Pravda" called him "Socialist" as well. Yet, first 25 years of my life’s experience are dismissed by people who are often my friends and agree with me. That particular friend that thinks that I am overreacting did not vote for Obama and does not like him much. Yet, she does not see much danger in tendency of schoolchildren singing songs about Obama. If I can’t persuade someone who often agrees with me, how can I hope to change the minds of people who voted for the guy? In recent poll they found that 50% of American Jews see Obama as strong supporter of Israel. Republican Jewish Coalition thinks that this is a good thing: now "only" 50% of American Jews are Democrat Party zombies. 50%?! After a member of this administration suggests shooting down Israeli warplanes should they fly to attack Iranian nuclear facilities!? People like those 50% will never be persuaded. They will be like those shot by Stalin’s secret police: shouting "Long live comrade Stalin!", as they were being shot.
And so, the name of this post is "Despair". Because that is my general feeling. Perhaps I am wrong to feel this way. I will try to force myself to post regularly: we should not be giving up. Please give me some time.
Powered by Qumana
Engineers are unique group of people. They tend to try to dig into things in order to understand how they work. They also tend to avoid jumping to conclusions and are hard to influence emotionally. In a word, they are nerds. So, here is a couple of articles brought to me by professional newsletters that I receive: Planet Analog and Power Management Design Line. But first, an excerpt from the Editor’s note from Planet Analog:
…And now, the "long-story long" version–in alignment with the analog world, I’ve always preferred to be on the trailing edge of leading developments; in other words, not being an early adopter. And I am also very hesitant and skeptical whenever a hot new development is heralded as the answer to all your problems, whatever ails you. (We see this repeatedly in our overhyped industry and society.) Finally, I’m not a fan of using frequent (out)bursts of under 140 characters; I prefer a longer 500-word column (sorry, it’s now called a "blog") or even a well-reasoned, articulated, full-length essay such as Raymond Chandler’s skillful The Simple Art of Murder or George Orwell’s timeless Politics and the English Language. (These are available online, but I am not sure if these are "legal" versions due to copyright ownership, so I’d rather not give any URLs.)
Equally important, as an engineer, I subscribe to Shannon’s Information Theory, which says that less (news) conveys more (importance). I certainly don’t want to add unnecessarily to the already too-high level of clutter and commentary noise around us, which reduces the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), thus obscuring and sometimes even burying worthwhile messages.
But given all that, there is a place for Twitter, when used appropriately and judiciously. It’s another tool which we can use–where it makes sense. So that’s what I will try do, by tweeting when there is something I think will be of interest or noteworthy, and not tweeting simply for the sake of being "out there" and trendy. I promise!
Beyond Newton’s Laws and Maxwell’s Equations: one thing that engineers know (or learn) is that in addition the laws of physics we have, there are also other "laws" that should limit our hubris; among these is the "Law of Unintended (or Unforeseen) Consequences". This was nicely shown in an article I came across from The Wall Street Journal about how and why the use of low-flow showerheads may actually increase water usage, "Under Pressure: Bathers Duck Weak Shower Heads". Unlike some technically obscure or hard-to-understand examples, this is a wonderfully clear one. It’s a lesson worth keeping in mind whenever you or a co-worker explain, with absolute confidence and certainty, the implications of design decisions, especially in the area of user interface and interaction (but not limited to those areas only).
I just excerpted the part that did not contain any professional stuff. But it does have a link to an interesting article about unintended consequences of stupid regulations. Do read it. Bill Schweber, the above-mentioned Editor, also supplied his own article on Global Warming:
I once heard that you should be skeptical of any discipline with the word "science" included. The reasoning is that the addition of "science" is merely a device for enhancing the credibility of a particular discipline. While that comment was made in connection with "social science," it also applies to climate science.
I’m not discussing here whether man-made global warming is real, or is part of other, larger forces, or not happening at all. What I am saying is that the discpline called climate science does not meet my standards for what can be legitimately be considered science.
Here’s why: I’m a strict constructionist when it comes to using the "s" word. Scientific theories are established by developing a hypothesis and a model, then verifying them by repeated experiments and control groups. In the case of climate science, researchers don’t have that opportunity, for obvious reasons.
Again, read the whole thing. While majority of people are not engineers, engineering perspective can be useful for understanding things. Finally, a bit of an explanation of the current Toyota problems, again by Bill Schweber:
We’re all aware of the two mega-recalls of Toyota vehicles. The quick and easy explanation is that "cars are too complicated" and "cars have too many processors and too much software."
Certainly, there is some truth to that (software-controlled cars creep me out), but the sticking-accelerator problem has nothing to do with electronics; it’s a mechanical problem with a mechanical solution. But the real problem which designers of mass-market, high-volume products really face is the law of large numbers. When you have tens or hundreds of thousands of a product out in the market, some of their incredibly obscure and subtle problems will eventually surface.
To those pundits in media who so quickly criticize the Toyota problem as a result of poor engineering and inadequate testing, I say "you have no idea what you are talking about." It’s only because the basic design is so good and reliable, and the number of units on the road is so large, that these problems can even have a chance to appear. The law of large numbers is tough to work around, and does not yield easily to amendments.
I still think that Toyota is a very good car, with solid and reliable design. But the article explains to those, who are not engineers, a little bit of what is involved in designing and testing a mass-produced product. So, again an obligatory recommendation to read the whole thing.
I really wish more people in this country got more interested in designing and making things. Just shuffling money will not sustain this country. Some time ago I posted an article by Jack Ganssle of Embedded.com about why he became an engineer. Now he wrote another article on this subject. He also referred to another article from EE Times. Both articles are interesting. But comments are just as interesting, if not more so. So, enjoy. See if you can relate to any of it. I certainly can.
Powered by Qumana
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.
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: TREASON. Here 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.
Powered by Qumana
Powered by Qumana
… are seen not only by the immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
I have a friend who is an Application Engineer for one of the major semiconductor companies whose chips I often use in my designs. He is of German descent. In fact, I think he was about 11 years old when he came to this country with his parents. A couple of days ago we were having lunch and talking about the recently uncovered videos of school kids singing songs in praise of Obama. Those videos were posted on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood blog and also shown on Fox News. As a side note, most of the videos were removed from Youtube since the story broke. But you can still see transcripts of them all. But back to the lunch with my friend. He told me that he was watching those videos on the news with his mother, who is in her early 70s. As they were watching, all of a sudden his mother told him that she remembered something similar from the time when she was a little girl, 5 or 6 years old. She told him that all the kids in her school were lined up and were taught to praise the leader of the country she lived in at that time. Did I mentioned that my friend’s mother is from Germany? As a little girl she was taught to say "Heil Hitler!" Now, looking at the video of those kids, she was absolutely terrified. Now, I have to say that, while my friend is a Republican and pretty much agrees with me politically, his mother is left-of-center and would have been a Democrat if she would get her American Citizenship. Still, tendencies toward the Nazi and Soviet-like cult of personality terrify her. As those of us who lived in the former Soviet Union, she too knows all too well what a cult of personality might mean. I did ask my friend if he prompted his mom to comment on those videos in any way. He said that no, it was totally unsolicited reaction of his mother.
I wish those Americans who do not have any personal experience with totalitarian regimes, upon seeing reaction to the news of those of us who do, would ask themselves: "What do those people with such experience know that they don’t know?"
Powered by Qumana
A couple of weeks ago my cousin from New York e-mailed me a poem in Russian. The poem was pretty good and reflected the feelings of pretty much every emigrant from the former Soviet Union I knew: the old country, in the form of Obama administration, is catching up with us. The poem was signed by someone named Alex Matlin of New Jersey. Although I like the poem, I was disappointed that it was in Russian and, thus, I could not share it with my non-Russian-speaking friends. So, I forwarded it to a bunch of my friends and suggested that they try translating the poem into English, if they were so inclined. One of them, Diana from Los Angeles, took a first crack at it. She sent me her version, and I improved on it the best I could. Then I googled the authors name and came up with his web site and contact information. I e-mailed Alex Matlin Diana’s and mine translation attempt. He tweaked it some more and sent it back to me along with permission to post it on my blog along with the picture of himself at the 9/12/09 rally in Washington, DC. Here is that picture below, along with both Russian and English versions of the poem. Note that if any of you, dear readers, decide to forward this poem to any of your friends, be sure to include the Russian version as well. It does not matter that you or your friends might not be able to read Russian. The fact that it was written in Russian originally makes it much more meaningful.
Прощай, страна моя родная!
От Сан-Диего до Детройта
Долой капитализма рабство!
Получат равные зарплаты
Мы к цели рвёмся неуклонно
Звучит сигнал: вперёд, к надежде!
Ведёт. Раздумывать не нужно:
Хамасу, Северной Корее,
Мы их накормим – всех, конечно,
Не будет нам пути обратно,
Мы будем все любить друг друга,
В своём стремлении упорном
И будут дети повсеместно
Не станут поклоняться люди
Ни христианство, ни еврейство
А следом – мы в победном звоне
Партийных разногласий раны
Все будут счастливы, до страсти
Темнеет небо, блещут звёзды
Как мы ни прятались, опять нам
Good bye my dearest land of freedom!
From Florida to Oregon,
Good bye, the chains of Capitalism!
And each, as country’s perfect cure,
We will achieve our final aim,
We’ve got our signal: On, to Hope!
He is leading! No time to waver:
Iran, Venezuela, Cuba —
We’ll feed them all, yes, everybody,
No turning back! Move forward only!
We’ll fall in love with everybody,
We will achieve our noble goal
And our children everywhere
We will discourage all religions,
The old Judeo-Christian values
With our victorious devotion
All the old quarrels of two parties
With love and passion we’ll be happy,
The sky gets dark, the stars are shining,
We tried to run, to hide, but no:
Powered by Qumana
This question has been bothering me for quite a long time. Of course, I myself tend to vote Republican. Most of the Jews I know, mostly from the former Soviet Union, also tend to vote Republican. But those who grew up in this country are Democrats, even though it seems contrary to their values. I am not the only one who is bothered by this. A good friend of mine from San Jose (let’s call him G. F., by his initials) sent me this analysis with permission to post it on my blog:
- Majority of American Jews vote for Democratic party predominantly because of the historical standing for civil liberties and freedoms – this is how it all started. In fact it started around 1916 when 55% of Jewish voters voted for Woodrow Wilson;
- American Jews are not Israeli Jews – besides immigrants from former Soviet Union – Israel is somewhere between gay rights and gun control on the list of their current Issues. I mean they all donate, but more action would be very nice;
- Most of the American Jews (I am not speaking about most of the immigrants from former Soviet Union) are shielded by comfortable living in their bedroom communities and a lot of pain and suffering Israel endures during the "peace process" does not necessarily translate directly to their (American Jews) decision making. I mean some of them do attend rallies to "stand with Israel", but this group of educated, intellectual thinkers cannot organize a rally that looks like a rally worth covering in the national news. Let’s say the media has a bias (it does) – so what? Jewish population is slightly larger than Muslim in United States, we are richer and more educated, there are tons of Jews in media and Hollywood. There is something terribly wrong here. Look at Pro-Palestinian rallies – they do look scary and impressive! Barbarians destroyed the Rome, remember?
- The 2. and 3. explains (in my opinion) why American Jews vote differently then Israeli – it has nothing to do with poor or great education – Israel has enough bright and educated who voted for Netanyahu or even Liberman
- 2., 3. and 4. brings us to the fact that American Jews love to deliberate about fairness, settlements, security fences (in the context of a land grab) – all current Democratic party line. By doing this they (we, us exercise a very noble (I am serious) intellectual game of continuing the fight for liberties, while "supporting" Israel. The problem is (in my view) that when this deliberations is done amongst ourselves – this is all fine (kind of), but bringing it out and agreeing with national agenda – brings back Israel on the map – making Israel sound as a sole cause of instability in the world. Never mind every single country in the Middle East having their own version of Hitler (or Stalin – whichever you like or dislike more at the throne, peddling their own version of fascism, oppressing their own people and killing their own Muslims;
- Which brings us to UN – because of the above Israeli Jews do vote differently and recently gave a fat middle finger to Obama in the form of not negotiating anything before the regimes they being forced to negotiate with agree with Israel’s right to exist. What also makes me feel good is that (excellent BTW) at UN did draw more hits on YouTube than Obama’s part 1.
- The Israel is changing so do American Jews – Americans just lag. Which brings us back to the voting. Based on my own research and everything above I came to the conclusion that attrition to Republican party amongst American Jews actually exists. Since both – Democrats and Republicans – had pretty bad candidates during 2008 election (Obama is horrible and McCain just suck), some (and I suspect a lot) just didn’t vote for a president at all or throw away their vote by giving it to someone outside of the public radar. Most likely only those who seriously to the left or right from the center voted for the president and the rest – just abstained. Which resulted in 78% Jewish votes for Obama and 21% for McCain – which didn’t make sense but does now. My prediction is that on next elections (unless of course Republicans will pull "Sarah Palin" again) Republicans will get their 30% or even above of Jewish voters if attendance (Jewish) will be high. I bet I do not need to explain how 3% error of 2% (total US Jewish population) looks like when statistical set is smaller. They will not necessarily vote for Republican party, but against Obama.
Consider this table:
Voted For Dem Voted For Rep President
45% 39% 1980-Carter->Reagan
67% 31% 1984-Mondale->Reagan
64% 35% 1988-Dukakis->Bush
80% 11% 1992-Clinton<-Bush
78% 16% 1996-Clinton<-Dole
79% 19% 2000-Gore->Bush
74% 25% 2004-Kerry->Bush
78% 21% 2008-Obama<-McCain
My only disagreement with my friend’s analysis is that he seems to have bought into the media demonization of Sarah Palin.
Updates are in the body of the post.
I often see some disturbing parallels between our current administration and Obama supporters on one side, and totalitarian regimes from history on the other side. Those totalitarian regimes had one important component: the cult of personality. I, along with others, mentioned this disturbing trend of Obama supporters to create his cult of personality before. But whenever I mention my concerns to many people I know, both Obama and McCain voters, they dismiss those concerns and insist that it will never happen in this country. Well, here is another disturbing video of kids singing praises to Obama, this time apparently organized by their teacher at some elementary school, and apparently during school time:
The video was removed from Youtube, but thankfully Bookworm has posted the transcript:
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand [?]
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama
It was a bit hard to make out what the kids were chanting, but it was clear that they were chanting the President’s name and said that he was number one. Go here and here to see some bits transcribed. There was also this "study guide", clearly pushing certain political agenda on kids. And this.
Am I still an alarmist? Are you scared yet?
Powered by Qumana
There are many people who share my views on the current administration who don’t think that comparing to leftist totalitarian regimes is useful. One of the most outspoken on this is Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Bookworm also suggested that it should not be done (also here). Even my fellow Protest Warriors argued against it. Back when I suggested comparing the leftist demonstrators to Nazis, it was not so much because I view the leftist ideology as similar to National-Socialism, but for the shock value: the Left does not expect anybody to compare them to Nazis. But any careful review of the leftist ideology will reveal their desire to perfect society by subordinating individual liberties to what they consider the common good, with the state as the enforcement mechanism. And there lie the similarities between the modern Left and the totalitarian regimes of the past and present, including the Nazi regime. Whenever the term "Nazi" invoked, people immediately think of the Holocaust. But that is not the only thing the German Nazis did. Jonah Goldberg in his "Liberal Fascism" brilliantly shows the similarities between the Left and the German and Italian versions of Fascism. He also points out that Hitler’s genocidal anti-Semitism was not at all common to all of such movements. In fact, Mussolini considered it stupid. I highly recommend this book. Whoever reads it will learn to look beyond the Holocaust and will see the horrors of totalitarian ideology even without Nazis’ genocidal policies. Whoever reads it will also learn that the horrors perpetrated by various totalitarians are the direct result of their desire to perfect society. As they say, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
As I was considering this post, I received an e-mail from a friend. The e-mail contained an open letter supposedly written by Ayn Rand in 1941. I attempted to verify that this is indeed her open letter, but only could find the same letter here and here. While reading it, I found myself largely agreeing with what Ayn Rand supposedly wrote back in 1941. Given similarity of my background to that of Ayn Rand, this is not surprising. Here is that letter, entitled "To All Fifth Columnists":
You who read this represent the greatest danger to America.
No matter what the outcome of the war in Europe may be, Totalitarianism has already won a complete victory in many American minds and conquered all of our intellectual life. You have helped it to win.
Perhaps it is your right to destroy civilization and bring dictatorship to America, but not unless you understand fully what you are doing.
If that is what you want to do, say so openly, at least to your own conscience, and we who believe in freedom will fight you openly.
But the tragedy of today is that you — who are responsible for the coming Totalitarian dictatorship of America — you do not know your own responsibility. You would be the first to deny the active part you’re playing and proclaim your belief in freedom, in civilization, in the American way of life. You are the most dangerous kind of Fifth Columnist — an innocent subconscious Fifth Columnist. Of such as you is the Kingdom of Hitler and of Stalin.
You do not believe this? Check up on yourself. Take the test we offer you here.
1. Are you the kind who considers ten minutes of his time too valuable to read this and give it some thought?
2. Are you the kind who sits at home and moans over the state of the world — but does nothing about it?
3. Are you the kind who says that the future is predestined by something or other, something he can’t quite name or explain and isn’t very clear about, but the world is doomed to dictatorship and there’s nothing anyone can do about it?
4. Are you the kind who says that he wishes he could do something, he’d be so eager to do something — but what can one man do?
5. Are you the kind who are so devoted to your own career, your family, your home or your children that you will let the most unspeakable horrors be brought about to destroy your career, your family, your home and your children — because you are too busy now to prevent them?
Which one of the above are you? A little of all?
But are you really too busy to think?
Who "determines" the future? You’re very muddled on that, aren’t you? What exactly is "mankind"? Is it a mystical entity with a will of its own? Or is it you, and I, and the sum of all of us together? What force is there to make history — except men, other men just like you? If there are enough men who believe in a better future and are willing to work for it, the future will be what they want it to be. You doubt this? Why then, if the world is doomed to dictatorship, do the dictators spend so much money and effort on propaganda? If history is predestined in their favor, why don’t Hitler and Stalin just ride the wave into the future without any trouble? Doesn’t it seem more probable that history will be what the minds of men want it to be, and the dictators are smart enough to prepare these minds in the way they want them, while we talk of destiny and do nothing?
You say, what can one man do? When the Communists came to power in Russia, they were a handful of eighteen men. Just eighteen. In a country of [170,000,000] population. They were laughed at and no one took them seriously. According to their own prophet, Karl Marx, Russia was the last country in which Communism could be historically possible, because of Russia’s backwardness in industrial development. Yet they succeeded. Because they knew what they wanted and went after it — historical destiny or no historical destiny. Adolf Hitler started the Nazi Party in Germany with seven men. He was laughed at and considered a harmless crank. People said that after the Versailles Treaty Germany could not possibly become a world power again, not for centuries. Yet Hitler succeeded. Because he knew what he wanted and went after it — history or no history. Shall we believe in mystical fates or do something about the future?
If you are one of those who have had a full, busy, successful life and are still hard at work making money — stop for one minute of thought. What are you working for? You have enough to keep you in comfort for the rest of your days. But you are working to insure your children’s future. Well, what are you leaving to your children? The money, home, or education you plan to leave them will be worthless or taken away from them. Instead, your legacy will be a Totalitarian America, a world of slavery, of starvation, of concentration camps and of firing squads. The best part of your life is behind you — and it was lived in freedom. But your children will have nothing to face save their existence as slaves. Is that what you want for them? If not, it is still up to you. There is time left to abort it — but not very much time. You take out insurance to protect your children, don’t you? How much money and working effort does that insurance cost you? If you put one-tenth of the money and time into insuring against your children’s future slavery — you would save them and save for them everything else which you intend to leave them and which they’ll never get otherwise.
Don’t delude yourself by minimizing the danger. You see what is going on in Europe and what it’s doing to our own country and to your own private life. What other proof do you need? Don’t say smugly that "it can’t happen here." Stop and look back for a moment.
The first Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Russia. People said: well, Russia was a dark, backward, primitive nation where anything could happen — but it could not happen in any civilized country.
The next Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Italy — one of the oldest civilized countries of Europe and the mother of European culture. People said: well, the Italians hadn’t had much experience in democratic self-government, but it couldn’t happen anywhere else.
The next Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Germany — the country of philosophers and scientists, with a long record of the highest cultural achievements. People said: well, Germany was accustomed to autocracy, and besides there’s the Prussian character, and the last war, etc. — but it could not happen in any country with a strong democratic tradition.
Could it happen in France? People would have laughed at you had you asked such a question a year ago. Well, it has happened in France — France, the mother of freedom and of democracy, France, the most independent-minded nation on earth.
What price your smug self-confidence? In the face of millions of foreign money and foreign agents pouring into our country, in the face of one step after another by which our country is [moving] closer to Totalitarianism — you do nothing except say: "It can’t happen here." Do you hear the Totalitarians answering you — "Oh, yeah?"
Don’t delude yourself with slogans and meaningless historical generalizations. It can happen here. It can happen anywhere. And a country’s past history has nothing to do with it. Totalitarianism is not a new product of historical evolution. It is older than history. It is the attempt of the worthless and the criminal to seize control of society. That element is always there, in any country. But a healthy society gives it no chance. It is when the majority in a country becomes weak, indifferent and confused that a criminal minority, beautifully organized like all gangs, seizes the power. And once that power is seized it cannot be taken back for generations. Fantastic as it may seem to think of a dictatorship in the United States, it is much easier to establish such a dictatorship than to overthrow it. With modern technique and modern weapons at its disposal, a ruthless minority can hold millions in slavery indefinitely. What can one thousand unorganized, unarmed men do against one man with a machine gun?
And the tragedy of today is that by remaining unorganized and mentally unarmed we are helping to bring that slavery upon ourselves. By being indifferent and confused, we are serving as innocent Fifth Columnists of our own destruction.
There is no personal neutrality in the world today.
Repeat that and scream that to yourself. In all great issues there are only two sides — and no middle. You are alive or you are dead, but you can’t be "neither" or "in between." You are honest or you are not — and there is no neutral "half-honest." And so, you are against Totalitarianism — or you are for it. There is no intellectual neutrality.
The Totalitarians do not want your active support. They do not need it. They have their small, compact, well-organized minority and it is sufficient to carry out their aims. And they want from you is your indifference. The Communists and the Nazis have stated repeatedly that the indifference of the majority is their best ally. Just sit at home, pursue your private affairs, shrug about world problems — and you are the most effective Fifth Columnist that can be devised. You’re doing your part as well as if you took orders consciously from Hitler or from Stalin. And so, you’re in it, whether you want to be or not, you’re helping the world towards destruction, while moaning and wondering what makes the world such as it is today. You do.
The Totalitarians have said: "Who is not against us, is for us." There is no personal neutrality.
And since you are involved, and have to be, what do you prefer? To do what you’re doing and help the Totalitarians? Or to fight them?
But in order to fight, you must understand. You must know exactly what you believe and you must hold to your faith honestly, consistently, and all the time. A faith assumed occasionally, like Sunday clothes, is of no value. Communism and Nazism are a faith. Yours must be as strong and clear as theirs. They know what they want. We don’t. But let us see how, before it is too late, whether we have a faith, what it is and how we can fight for it.
First and above all: what is Totalitarianism? We all hear so much about it, but we don’t understand it. What is the most important point, the base, the whole heart of both Communism and Nazism? It is not the "dictatorship of the proletariat," nor the nationalization of private property, nor the supremacy of the "Aryan" race, nor anti-Semitism. These things are secondary symptoms, surface details, the effects and not the cause. What is the primary cause, common to both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and all other dictators, past, present, and future? One idea — and one only: That the State is superior to the individual. That the Collective holds all rights and the individual has none.
Stop here. This is the crucial point. What you think of this will determine whether you are a mental Fifth Columnist or not. This is the point which allows no compromise. You must choose one or the other. There is no middle. Either you believe that each individual man has value, dignity and certain inalienable rights which cannot be sacrificed for any cause, for any purpose, for any collective, for any number of other men whatsoever. Or else you believe that a number of men — it doesn’t matter what you call it: a collective, a class, a race or a State — holds all rights, and any individual man can be sacrificed if some collective good — it doesn’t matter what you call it: better distribution of wealth, racial purity or the Millennium — demands it. Don’t fool yourself. Be honest about this. Names don’t matter. Only the basic principle matters, and there is no middle choice. Either man has individual, inalienable rights — or he hasn’t.
Your intentions don’t count. If you are willing to believe that men should be deprived of all rights for a good cause — you are a Totalitarian. Don’t forget, Stalin and Hitler sincerely believe that their causes are good. Stalin thinks that he is helping the downtrodden, and Hitler thinks that he is serving his country as a patriot. They are good causes, both of them, aren’t they? Then what creates the horrors of Russia and of Germany? What is destroying all civilization? Just this one idea — that to a good cause everything can be sacrificed; that individual men have no rights which must be respected; that what one person believes to be good can be put over on the others by force.
And if you — in the privacy of your own mind — believe so strongly in some particular good of yours that you would be willing to deprive men of all rights for the sake of this good, then you are as guilty of all the horrors of today as Hitler and Stalin. These horrors are made possible only by men who have lost all respect for single, individual human beings, who accept the idea that classes, races, and nations matter, but single persons do not, that a majority is sacred, but a minority is dirt, that herds count, but Man is nothing.
Where do you stand on this? There is no middle ground.
If you accept the Totalitarian idea, if the words "State" or "Collective" are sacred to you, but the word "Individual" is not — stop right here. You don’t have to read further. What we have to say is not for you — and you are not for us. Let’s part here — but be honest, admit that you are a Totalitarian and go join the Communist Party or the German-American Bund, because they are the logical end of the road you have chosen, and you will end up with one or the other, whether you know it now or not.
But if you are a Humanitarian and a Liberal — in the real, not the prostituted sense of these words — you will say with us that Man, each single, solitary, individual Man, has a sacred value which you respect, and sacred inalienable rights which nothing must take away from him.
You believe this? You agree with us that this is the heart of true Americanism, the basic principle upon which America was founded and which made it great — the Rights of Man and the Freedom of Man? But do you hear many voices saying this today?
Do you read many books saying this? Do you see many prominent men preaching this? Do you know a single publication devoted to this belief or a single organization representing it? You do not. Instead, you find a flood of words, of books, of preachers, publications, and organizations which, under very clever "Fronts," work tirelessly to sell you Totalitarianism. All of them are camouflaged under very appealing slogans: they scream to you that they are defenders of "Democracy," of "Americanism," of "Civil Liberties," etc. Everybody and anybody uses these words — and they have no meaning left. They are empty generalities and boob-catchers. There is only one real test that you can apply to all these organizations: ask yourself what is the actual result of their work under the glittering bromides? What are they really selling you, what are they driving at? If you ask this, you will see that they are selling you Collectivism in one form or another.
They preach "Democracy" and then make a little addition — "Economic Democracy" or a "Broader Democracy" or a "True Democracy", and demand that we turn all property over to the Government; "all property" means also "all rights"; let everybody hold all rights together — and nobody have any right of any kind individually. Is that Democracy or is it Totalitarianism? You know of a prominent woman commentator who wants us all to die for Democracy — and then defines "true" Democracy as State Socialism [probably a reference to Dorothy Thompson]. You have heard Secretary [Harold] Ickes define a "true" freedom of the press as the freedom to express the views of the majority. You have read in a highly respectable national monthly the claim that the Bill of Rights, as taught in our schools, is "selfish": that a "true" Bill of Rights means not demanding any rights for yourself, but your giving these rights to "others." God help us, fellow Americans, are we blind? Do you see what this means? Do you see the implications?
And this is the picture wherever you look. They "oppose" Totalitarianism and they "defend" Democracy — by preaching their own version of Totalitarianism, some form of "collective good," "collective rights," "collective will," etc. And the one thing which is never said, never preached, never upheld in our public life, the one thing all these "defenders of Democracy" hate, denounce, and tear down subtly, gradually, systematically — is the principle of Individual Rights, Individual Freedom, Individual Value. That is the principle against which the present great world conspiracy is directed. That is the heart of the whole world question. That is the only opposite of Totalitarianism and our only defense against it. Drop that — and what difference will it make what name you give to the resulting society? It will be Totalitarianism — and all Totalitarians are alike, all come to the same methods, the same slavery, the same bloodshed, the same horrors, no matter what noble slogan they start under, as witness Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
Principles are much more consistent than men. A basic principle, once accepted, has a way of working itself out to its logical conclusion — even against the will and to the great surprise of those who accepted it. Just accept the idea that there are no inalienable individual rights — and firing squads, executions without trial, and a Gestapo or a G. P. U. will follow automatically — no matter who holds the power, no matter how noble and benevolent his intentions. That is a law of history. You can find any number of examples. Can you name one [counter-example]? Can you name one instance where absolute power — in any hands — did not end in absolute horror? And — for God’s sake, fellow Americans, let’s not be utter morons, let’s give our intelligence a small chance to function and let’s recognize the obvious — what is absolute power? It’s a power which holds all rights and has to respect none. Does it matter whether such a power is held by a self-appointed dictator or by an elected representative body? The power is the same and its results will be the same. Look through all of history. Look at Europe. Don’t forget — they still hold "elections" in Europe. Don’t forget, Hitler was elected.
Now, if you see how completely intellectual Totalitarianism is already in control of our country, if you see that there is no action and no organization to defend the only true anti-Totalitarian principle, the principle of individual rights, you will realize that there is only one thing for us to do: to take such action and to form such an organization. If you are really opposed to Totalitarianism, to all of it, in any shape, form, or color — you will join us. We propose to unite all men of good will who believe that Freedom is our most precious possession, that it is greater than any other consideration whatsoever, that no good has ever been accomplished by force, that Freedom must not be sacrificed to any other ideal, and that Freedom is an individual, not a collective entity.
We do not know how many of us there are left in the world. But we think there are many more than the Totalitarians suspect. We are the majority, but we are scattered, unorganized, silenced and helpless. The Totalitarians are an efficient, organized, and very noisy minority. They have seized key positions in our intellectual life and they make it appear as if they are the voice of America. They can, if left unchecked, highjack America into dictatorship. Are we going to let them get away with it? They are not the voice of America. We are. But let us be heard.
To be heard, however, we must be organized. This is not a paradox. Individualists have always been reluctant to form any sort of organization. The best, the most independent, the hardest working, the most productive members of society have always lived and worked alone. But the incompetent and the unscrupulous have organized. The world today shows how well they have organized. And so, we shall attempt what has never been attempted before — an organization against organization. That is — an organization to defend us all from the coming compulsory organization which will swallow all of society; an organization to defend our rights, including the right not to belong to any forced organization; an organization, not to impose our ideology upon anyone, but to prevent anyone from imposing his ideology upon us by physical or social violence.
Are you with us?
If you realize that the world is moving toward disaster, but see no effective force to avert it —
If you are eager to join in a great cause and accept a great faith, but find no such cause or faith offered to you anywhere today —
If you are not one of those doomed jellyfish to whom the word "Freedom" means nothing —
If you cannot conceive of yourself living in a society without personal freedom, a society in which you will be told what to do, what to think, what to feel, in which your very life will be only a gift from the Collective, to be revoked at its pleasure at any time —
If you cannot conceive of yourself surrendering your freedom for any collective good whatsoever, and do not believe that any such good can ever be accomplished by such a surrender —
If you believe in your own dignity and your own value, and hold that such a belief is not "selfish," but is instead your greatest virtue, without which you are worthless both to your fellow-men and to yourself —
If you believe that it is vicious to demand that you should exist solely for the sake of your fellow-men and grant them all and any right over you —
If you believe that it is vicious to demand everyone’s sacrifice for everyone else’s sake, and that such a demand creates nothing but mutual victims, without profiting anyone, neither society nor the individual —
If you believe that men can tell you what you must not do to them, but can never assume the arrogance of telling you what you must do, no matter what their number —
If you believe in majority rule only with protection for minority rights, both being limited by inalienable individual rights —
If you believe that the mere mention of "the good of the majority" is not sufficient ground to justify any possible kind of horror, and that those yelling loudest of "majority good" are not necessarily the friends of mankind —
If you are sick of professional "liberals," "humanitarians," "uplifters" and "idealists" who would do you good as they see fit, even if it kills you, whose idea of world benevolence is world slavery —
If you are sick, disgusted, disheartened, without faith, without direction, and have lost everything but your courage —
— come and join us.
There is so much at stake — and so little time left.
Let us have an organization as strong, as sure, as enthusiastic as any the Totalitarians could hope to achieve. Let us follow our faith as consistently as they follow theirs. Let us offer the world our philosophy of life. Let us expose all Totalitarian propaganda in any medium and in any form. Let us answer any argument, every promise, every "Party Line" of the Totalitarians. Let us drop all compromise, all cooperation or collaboration with those preaching any brand of Totalitarianism in letter or in spirit, in name or in fact. Let us have nothing to do with "Front" organizations, "Front" agents or "Front" ideas. We do not have to proscribe them by law. We can put them out of existence by social boycott. But this means — no compromise. There is no compromise between life and death. You do not make deals with the black plague. Let us touch nothing tainted with Totalitarianism. Let us tear down the masks, bring them out into the open and — leave them alone. Very strictly alone. No "pro-Soviet" or "pro-Nazi" members of the board in our organization. No "benevolent" Trojan horses. Let us stick together as they do. They silence us, they force us out of public life, they fill key positions with their own men. Let us stick together — and they will be helpless to continue. They have millions of foreign money on their side. We have the truth.
As a first step and a first declaration of what we stand for, we offer you the following principles:
We believe in the value, the dignity and the freedom of Man.
— That each man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken from him for any cause whatsoever. These rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
— That the right of life means that man cannot be deprived of his life for the convenience of any number of other men.
— That the right of liberty means freedom of individual decision, individual choice, individual judgment and individual initiative; it means also the right to disagree with others.
— That the right to the pursuit of happiness means man’s freedom to choose what constitutes his own private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement; that such a pursuit is neither evil nor reprehensible, but honorable and good; and that a man’s happiness is not to be prescribed to him by any other man nor by any number of other men.
— That these rights have no meaning unless they are the unconditional, personal, private possession of each man, granted to him by the fact of his birth, held by him independently of all other men, and limited only by the exercise of the same rights by other men.
— That the only just, moral and beneficent form of society is a society based upon the recognition of these inalienable individual rights.
— That the State exists for Man, and no Man for the State.
— That the greatest good for all men can be achieved only through the voluntary cooperation of free individuals for mutual benefit, and not through a compulsory sacrifice of all for all.
— That "voluntary" presupposes an alternative and a choice of opportunities; and thus even a universal agreement of all men on one course of action is neither free nor voluntary if no other course of action is open to them.
— That each man’s independence of spirit and other men’s respect for it have created all civilization, all culture, all human progress and have benefited all mankind.
— That the greatest threat to civilization is the spread of Collectivism, which demands the sacrifice of all individual rights to collective rights and the supremacy of the State over the individual.
— That the general good which such Collectivism professes as its objective can never be achieved at the sacrifice of man’s freedom, and such sacrifice can lead only to general suffering, stagnation, and degeneration.
— That such conception of Collectivism is the greatest possible evil — under any name, in any form, for any professed purpose whatsoever.
Such is our definition of Americanism and the American way of life.
The American way of life has always been based upon the Rights of Man, upon individual freedom and upon respect for each human individual personality. Through all its history, this has been the source of America’s greatness. This is the spirit of America which we dedicate ourselves to defend and preserve.
In practical policy we shall be guided by one basic formula: of every law and of every conception we shall demand the maximum freedom for the individual and the minimum power for the government necessary to achieve any given social objective.
If you believe this, join us. If you don’t — fight us. Either is your privilege, but the only truly immoral act you can commit is to agree with us, to realize that we are right — and then to forget it and do nothing.
There is some excuse, little as it may be, for an open, honest Fifth Columnist. There is none for an innocent, passive, subconscious one. Of all the things we have said here to you, we wish to be wrong on only one — our first sentence. Prove us wrong on that. Join us.
The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. But not without Freedom.
Powered by Qumana
Below is the Republican Jewish Coalition Newsletter. I hope it will come out right on the blog. There are a lot of interesting articles there. Of particular interest are the ones about buyers remorse and analysis of Jewish vote.
Again, below is the post from last year. But there is nothing to add. Just remember…
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Al-Qaeda on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a state of war has existed between the United States and the followers of Islamo-Fascist ideology along with their supporters.
Powered by Qumana
Tomorrow the President is giving his speech to American schoolchildren. There has been some controversy: some people are worried that some leftist agenda will be pushed. My younger daughter is in kindergarten, and her teacher wisely decided that the kids in her class are simply too young for this. I like my younger daughter’s teacher: she has some common sense.
My older daughter is in 3rd grade. I e-mailed her teacher, asking for his plans regarding the speech, but he hasn’t replied yet. I have to say, I am disappointed by this lack of reply. But the speech itself is available on line. So, go read it, especially if you have kids in school. Having read it, I have to say that the speech itself does not concern me. It is simply an admonishment to do well in school. The teacher’s presentation might still get screwed up and tilted toward some leftist agenda, but one can hardly blame Obama for that. So, read the speech. Since Obama likes using a teleprompter, he is unlikely to deviate from the speech, as it is written. And I doubt there is a second version to be presented, insidiously created to fool the parents. So, there is no reason to worry about the speech itself. Just look out for the teacher’s presentation and make sure your kids are prepared for it.
Powered by Qumana
Senator Ted Kennedy has died last night. My condolences to his family. He was the last of the 4 brothers. 2 oldest ones were genuine war heroes. The oldest, Joe Jr., gave his life. Now media is singing praises to Ted. And that makes me very uncomfortable, to say the least. You see, the rule of not speaking ill of the dead does not always apply. I don’t think it applies in this case. No, I am not talking about politics. Bookworm said what needed to be said. Read it and follow her links as well. I agree with her conclusion: the man was, “at best, immoral and, at worst, evil”.
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?
Powered by Qumana
This e-mail is from Yaacov Ben Moshe of the Breast of the Beast:
There were the Blues Brothers of Moscow… This is not a Belushi and Akroyd spoof!
Yaacov Ben Moshe
I receive posts by Judith Apter Klinghoffer via e-mail. Judith blogs at History News Network, a very interesting and informative site that analyzes today’s events through historical perspective. Below is the post I received today. This will also serve as another test of posing via e-mail.
Judith Apter Klinghoffer http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/97816.html
Angering MSM and many economists Angela Merkel said no to stimulus. And, dire predictions aside, so far the numbers prove her right. Jim Cramer, sums it perfectly
The stocks that were thrown away yesterday are now set to have a good day because of a piece of information out of Germany that no one thought a thing about 24 hours ago. Or 24 days ago or months ago, or whatever.
What piece of information?
This one- German industrial output leaps higher
Roaring auto output pushed German industrial production higher in May by the biggest margin since August 1993, official data showed Wednesday, signaling the country’s deep recession might be near an end. The economy ministry said overall output in Europe’s biggest economy jumped by 3.7 percent in May from the previous month and added: “Industrial production may have passed the trough.”
This is at a time, the US is celebrating the fact that The U.S. manufacturing sector shrank in June but at a slower pace than during the prior month
Yes, prejudice blinds. German unemployment declines in June from 8.2% to 8.1% after having dropped from 8.4% a month earlier. In contrast, American unemployment rose from 9.4% to 9.5% in June after having risen from 8.9% a month earlier. As I have previously noted, both country had 7.2% unemployment rate in December 2008.
None of this means that Germany is out of the woods. It merely means that she is bound come out of them in a much better shape than had she wasted money in ineffective “make work” projects. I wish I could say the same about the US. And the “usual suspects” are talking about a second stimulus!
The other day I stumbled upon this article in the FrontPage Magazine:
Who won the Cold War? That’s a no-brainer. The United States prevailed while the Soviet Union collapsed, and the People’s Republic of China dumped Marxism; capitalism (free markets and private property) triumphed over socialism (centrally planned markets and state-owned property); an ethos of individual rights proved to be more resilient and healthy than collectivist ideology; relatively small, democratic government clearly was demonstrated to help a society prosper far more effectively than elitist Big Government.
How ironic, then, that voices in Russia and China are mocking our current Big Government policies. Those whose countries took the tragic, impoverishing detour through Big Government hell now react with scorn and derision as we Americans charge headlong down that same path. What an amazing spectacle it must be for them to see the victor of the Cold War borrow many pages from the losers’ playbook.
Read it all. And then read the article from Pravda that the FrontPage article refers to:
…The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.
These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?
These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.
Then came Barack Obama’s command that GM’s (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of “pure” free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.
So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a “bold” move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK’s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our “wise” Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.
Read this one in full as well. Granted, the article has a bit of anti-Western bent, blaming the West for Marxism. But other than that, the article is right on the money. And surely the irony of an article in Pravda, the former Soviet Communist Party newspaper, warning about dangers of Marxism must be appreciated.
This is the test post to all my blogs from my laptop.
While I am at it, let’s test the link to a good Bookworm post.
This is the test of posting by e-mail that I have just enabled.
What If Israel Strikes Iran?
The mullahs would retaliate. But things would be much worse if they had the bomb.
By JOHN R. BOLTON
Whatever the outcome of Iran’s presidential election tomorrow, negotiations will not soon — if ever — put an end to its nuclear threat. And given Iran’s determination to achieve deliverable nuclear weapons, speculation about a possible Israeli attack on its nuclear program will not only persist but grow.
So what would such an attack look like? Obviously, Israel would need to consider many factors — such as its timing and scope, Iran’s increasing air defenses, the dispersion and hardening of its nuclear facilities, the potential international political costs, and Iran’s "unpredictability." While not as menacingly irrational as North Korea, Iran’s politico-military logic hardly compares to our NATO allies. Central to any Israeli decision is Iran’s possible response.
Israel’s alternative is that Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs reach fruition, leaving its very existence at the whim of its staunchest adversary. Israel has not previously accepted such risks. It destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and a Syrian reactor being built by North Koreans in 2007. One major new element in Israel’s calculus is the Obama administration’s growing distance (especially in contrast to its predecessor).
Powered by Qumana
President Obama plans to raise America’s corporate taxes to even higher levels. This policy will be destructive to U.S. firms’ competitiveness, pushing more jobs and companies overseas.
I’ve finally figured out the Obama economic strategy. President Barack Obama and his team have been having so much fun wielding dictatorial power while rescuing "failed" firms, that they have developed a scheme to gain the same power over every business. The plan is to enact policies that are so anticompetitive that every firm needs a bailout.
Once that happens, their new pay czar Kenneth Feinberg can set the wage for everybody and Rahm Emanuel can stack the boards of all of our companies with his political cronies.
I know, it sounds like an exaggeration. But look at it this way. If there were a power ranking of U.S. companies, like the ones compiled by football writers for National Football League teams, Microsoft would surely be first or second to Google. But last week, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer came to Washington to announce what Microsoft would do if Obama’s multinational tax policy is enacted.The U.S. now has about the highest combined corporate tax rate, second only to Japan among industrialized countries.
"It makes U.S. jobs more expensive," Ballmer said, "We’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S." If Microsoft, perhaps our most competitive company, has to abandon the U.S. in order to continue to thrive, who exactly is going to stay?
At issue is Obama’s policy to end the deferral of multinational taxation.
The U.S. now has about the highest combined corporate tax rate, second only to Japan among industrialized countries. That rate is so high that U.S. firms have an enormous disadvantage versus competitors. The average corporate tax rate for the major developed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2008 was about 27 percent, more than 10 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate.
Powered by Qumana
Powered by Qumana
The other day I found this article:
The four of the Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, released to Bermuda from the Guantanamo Bay prison told FOX News that they are innocent, glad to be free and hold no grudges against the United States for their captivity.
The men, who range from 31 to 38 years old, also said they think life in China, where they face persecution, is worse than life at Guantanamo.
With the help of a translator, they said they didn’t know anything about Al Qaeda or Usama bin Laden, despite past allegations that they had aided the terror mastermind’s escape.
"I am not a terrorist. I have never been terrorist," one of the men told FOX News. "I want to live peacefully."
The Uighurs, released this week, are staying at a guest cottage complex on the island without security or electronic monitoring, but their attorney said they will have to periodically check in with local police.
The release of the Uighurs comes amid increasing political tensions in Washington over what to do with the more than 200 detainees being held at the Guantanamo facility following President Obama’s pledge to close the facility within a year of taking office.
But the Uighurs may be among the least threatening of the detainees whose fate must be decided, given that the Justice Department under the Bush administration already had decided that they should no longer be classified as "enemy combatants."
A September 2008 federal court motion filed by the Justice Department confirmed their change of status and declared that all 17 Uighurs being held at Gunatanamo should be resettled in a foreign country.
The Uighurs will be eligible for Bermudian passports in the future, but the U.S. has a mechanism in place to block their entry into the U.S. unless the federal government chooses to let them in.
Their attorney says the Uighurs are determined to stay in Bermuda as part of a guest worker program. There is a provision in that program that in limited circumstances allows guest workers to get Bermudian citizenship.
However, the transfer of the Uighurs has been criticized not only by U.S. Republican lawmakers but by the governments of the United Kingdom, which controls the territory of Bermuda, and China, which wants the Uighurs returned.
On Friday, some members of the Bermudan government who said they’d not been informed of the transfer questioned the wisdom of moving the inmates to the island located 640 miles off the coast of North Carolina, saying it could hurt tourism, which is Bermuda’s chief industry.
But the Bermudan government defended its decision to take the Uighurs, whom the U.S. feared would face torture if sent back to China.
The Uighurs told FOX News that they plan to make their home in Bermuda, probably working first in some form of manual labor. They also may open a restaurant and look forward to swimming and fishing.
The article is too small for excerpts. Still, you might want to go there for the comments. So, these 17 Uighurs were apparently captured in Afghanistan. Suppose, 16 of them are innocent. It takes only one to do tremendous damage.
Powered by Qumana
Bookworm has the most complete round-up of commentaries on the recent Obama speech in Cairo. Just go there and follow her links, including her own commentary. Indeed, there was some good stuff there and some not so good. But here is the article that points out some disturbing moral equivalency so prevalent on the Left:
Just days ago Obama traveled to Cairo, Egypt. It was his second trip in a short time to visit Muslim countries. He sent a clear message by not visiting Israel.
But this was code.
In Cairo, Obama said things that pose a grave danger to Jews in Israel, in America and everywhere.
And if his views are not vigorously opposed they will help create a danger as great as that posed by the Nazis to the Jewish people.
Just last week, Obama told his worldwide audience — more than 100 million people — that the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust was the equivalent of Israel’s actions in dealing with the Palestinians.
This remark is incredible on its face, an insult to the six million Jews who died as a result of Hitler’s genocide — and it is a form of revisionism that will bode evil for Jews for years to come.
While Obama acknowledged that “six million Jews were killed — more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today” — his discussion about the Holocaust was followed by this statement: “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.” (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
“On the other hand . . . ”?
Obama’s clever construct comparing the mass genocide of six million Jews to the Palestinian struggle will not be lost on the estimated 100 million Muslims who tuned into to hear him.
This is the worst kind of moral equivalency. Read it all. And now we hear about the anti-Semitic statement of Obama’s mentor. Do you think 20 years of attending this guy’s church rubbed off on Obama? You know, to certain extent I feel vindicated when Obama’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic associations come out: I hope that this will teach those 77% of American Jews that blindly voting for Democrats is not always good for them. But then, those people usually refuse to hear and see the evidence. Just like the Jews under Nazi occupation refused to see the evidence of mass slaughter, so the modern American Jews keep blindly voting for Democrats despite growing anti-Semitism on the Left. A disclaimer: no, I do not compare Obama to the Nazis. But the refusal to see the evidence on the part of the 77% of American Jews is the same.
Powered by Qumana
It’s been a while since this has been posted, but it is worth reminding.
Back when the Left was screaming about harsh interrogations (waterboarding etc.), and when Obama declared that those techniques would no longer be used, Dick Cheney asked for the results of those interrogations be released along with with those memos authorizing them. Indeed, the question of effectiveness of those interrogations is very valid. In fact, this question even gets asked by some leftist at Huffington Post. So, here is the summary of what those interrogations revealed:
Not one of the liberal pundits decrying the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) appears to have read the complete set of memos released by President Obama. I know this because I cannot find a single, plain-text version of the scanned memos anywhere on the web. And, the most critical section — the results obtained from EITs — is nowhere to be found.
Most of the anti-American leftists seem strangely incurious regarding the key question asked even at The Huffington Post: what did the enhanced interrogations reveal?
I (Doug Ross) herein present the actual results of the EITs as described in the partially redacted 5/30/2005 memo (U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, MEMORANDUM FOB JOHN A. RIZZO, SENIOR DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, "Re: Application of ‘United States Obligation; Under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture to Certain Techniques That May Be Used in the Interrogation of High Value al Qaeda Detainees’", originally classified TOP SECRET/NOFORN).
To put things in simple terms for any "progressives" reading along, here’s what the EITs revealed after 3,000 American civilians were slaughtered in cold blood by Al Qaeda:
• FACT: EITs produced 3,000 of the 6,000 critical counter-terror intelligence reports only after normal techniques had proven fruitless;
• FACT: EITs used on Zubaydah revealed KSM’s identity as a mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks;
• FACT: KSM ratted out a number of mass-murderers including Hambali;
• FACT: Hambali’s brother ratted out a cell bent on "9/11 Wave 2" on the West Coast;
• FACT: Zubaydah also revealed Padilla and his plan to detonate a simplistic dirty bomb in Washington, DC;
So, drones, you can either believe the CIA forged 3,000 documents and magically captured mass-murderers without EITs… or you can believe the truth.
Obviously, read the whole post by Doug Ross.
Powered by Qumana
There is a company called Vishay Intertechnology. They make all kinds of electronic components, which I, as an Electronics Engineer, use in my designs. In particular, they are the first ones I think of when I need to use filed-effect transistors (FETs, or MOSFETs, to be exact). I won’t get too deep into the technical details, but their FETs are very well suited for use in the switching power supplies. Recently I learned about amazing history of this company and its founder, Dr. Felix Zandman:
In the 1950s, patents were issued for the PhotoStress® products developed by Dr. Felix Zandman. These products reveal and measure stress distribution in airplanes, cars, and other structures under live load conditions. His research in this area led him to develop Bulk Metal® foil resistors, the most precise and stable resistors available — both then and now, over four decades later.
Dr. Zandman, with the financial support of Alfred P. Slaner, founded Vishay in 1962 to develop and manufacture Bulk Metal foil resistors. The Company was named after the village in Lithuania where relatives of Dr. Zandman and Mr. Slaner had perished during the Holocaust (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit). The Company’s initial product portfolio consisted of foil resistors and foil resistance strain gages.
Here is more:
A survivor from the Polish town of Grodno, Dr. Felix Zandman, immigrated to the United States and became an inventor and important industrialist there, in Israel, and in other countries. He named the electronics concern he established Vishay in memory of his beloved grandmother Tema Freydovicz, who was born in the town of Vishay, and the Jewish community there that had been annihilated in the Holocaust. The electronics plants he established in Israel also bear the same name.
This indeed is an amazing story. I sent these links to a friend of mine, an Applications Engineer from a Vishay distributor company, who is also Jewish. He did not know this history. But later, when he came to visit me in the office on business, he brought me a present from the local Vishay representative: the memoir of Dr. Felix Zandman. I am sure I will enjoy this book. And it is very satisfying to be able to use good products and support a good company and worthy causes at the same time.
Powered by Qumana
I haven’t posted for a while. Part of the reason for it is some feeling of apathy on my part. I keep encountering people who just refuse to hear my arguments about dangers of what Obama administration is doing domestically and internationally. On the other hand, not everything is bad: they do seem to make some responsible decisions, like the ones with restoring military commissions and blocking the release of photos of some GIs mistreating prisoners. Obama is now planning a trip to Europe and the Middle East. Apparently the trip includes a stop in Normandy to commemorate 65th Anniversary of the D-Day, a stop in Germany and in Egypt. The stop in Germany is what concerns me. I recently received an e-mail with a link to this story:
In a move aimed at healing the rifts of American foreign policy decisions, President Obama will make a trip to Europe next month, including a trip to Dresden, Germany. The trip will consist of several stops and the President will meet with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany. Also slated are several policy speeches.
Perhaps the most controversial is a planned speech in which President Obama will formally apologize for American ‘war crimes’ during the Second World War. This would be particularly comforting to Europeans, who have long condemned American foreign policy actions, especially regarding civilians.
This speech will also be welcome in Germany, who had over 12,000,000 of its citizens killed during the war. Mayor Johann Krupp of Augensburg in Saxony stated to DW that the speech will "help my great-uncle’s soul rest. He burned to death during the Dresden bombings."
I then followed a link provided by Weasel Zippers. There it all seemed like some sort of satire. I could not find this story at the Deutsche Welle web site. Could it be satire? I started digging some more. I found this Gateway Pundit post on the subject with more links. Do follow those links and read the articles there. And if you have have time for just one of them, go to this Pajamas Media article. It does seem that Obama is planning to go to Dresden and apologize at the very least for the Dresden bombing. Bookworm also has a post on the subject of Obama going to both Buchenwald and Dresden, where she points out that the myth of Dresden bombing just to terrorize German population and the city of Dresden having no military value was started by none other than Josef Goebbels. And here we come to the book review. The definitive book on the subject of Dresden bombing is "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945" by Frederick Taylor.
In the book Mr. Taylor proves beyond any doubt several things. First of all, the number of people killed was exaggerated 10-fold. As such, with 25 to 30 thousand people killed, Dresden did not have the most casualties of all the cities in Germany. The largest absolute number can be claimed by Hamburg, and the largest percentage of the population can be claimed by Leipzig. Further, Dresden also had significant number of legitimate military targets. First of all, it was the largest railroad junction in the Eastern Germany, through which the German Eastern Front was supplied. The Soviets requested in Yalta that Allies would bomb the German supply routes, and the Allies obliged. Dresden also had large tank repair shops, clearly a military target. Additionally, Dresden was home for a factory making communication equipment for the German Army and a factory making bombsights for the German bombers. The local cigarette factory was making rifle ammunition, since the equipment used for stuffing cigarettes can be also used for stuffing rifle rounds. Indeed, if you look at the history of Dresden, the ancient capital of Saxony, the claim that the city was devoid of any industry of military value would understandably seem as ridiculous as it really is. It is true that the city did not have much heavy industry, but it did have what in modern parlance would be called "high tech". All the jewelry historically produced in Dresden would just naturally evolve into it. The reason why Goebbels claimed the Dresden, of all other German cities, was an ultimate victim was because Dresden was a popular tourist destination before the war, particularly for the British and the Americans. The claim of Dresden victimhood was dismissed at the time. Obviously, in February of 1945 it was impossible to know that the war in Europe would end in May. But with the start of the Cold War the Soviets and their East German puppets were eager to paint the Western Allies in the bad light, so they resurrected the old Nazi lie. Now the blame-America-first crowd on the Left is eager to repeat it.
Other things that Frederick Taylor proves in the book are:
1. The blame for the high number of civilian death should placed squarely on the city Nazi leadership who built the nice bomb shelters for themselves, but neglected to provide adequate shelters for the population;
2. There was no strafing of the ground targets in Dresden by American escort fighter aircraft. Indeed, anyone who even played a Combat Flight Simulator game (this or this) knows that any air combat invariably sinks close to the ground, as the fighters maneuver and try to restore their air speed. So, imagine an American P-51 Mustang attacking a German Fokke-Wulf FW-190 from above and behind (a common mode of attack), close to the ground. The Mustang pilot lines up the German in his sights and opens fire. He scores some hits. But where do you think the bullets that missed the German aircraft go? That’s right, down to the ground. Now, what if you are a civilian on the ground and you did not see the Fokke-Wulf, but you did see the Mustang shooting, the tracers from its machine guns streaming to the ground? It would obviously seem to you like the Mustang was strafing something on the ground, even though the Mustang was in fact shooting at the German aircraft. Indeed, the air combat did take place during the day, when Americans bombed the railroad junction. But there were no ground targets to strafe, so there were no strafing attacks by the the American escort fighters.
The bottom line, this book should be required reading for anybody who wants to at least attempt to understand history. For President Obama it would certainly be better to read this book rather than the crap Hugo Chavez gave him.
Powered by Qumana
Over the last weekend Captain Philips of Maersk Alabama was freed from pirate captivity. I was very worried that the ransom demanded by the pirates would be paid, but that did not happen. Instead, 3 of the pirates were killed and the 4th was taken into custody. Many of my fellow Conservatives, including some in the comments of this LGF post, insist that Obama Administration does not deserve any credit for the successful conclusion of the Captain Philips’ drama. They insist that the only credit should go to US Navy SEAL team who executed the rescue operation. Mark Levine on his radio show pointed out that all Obama did was that he authorized the US Navy to secure the release of Captain Philips by all means necessary, including deadly force, and that is why he did not deserve any credit.
Well, let’s give credit where credit is due. To be sure, the credit for the most part goes to the US Navy and SEAL snipers who actually did what needed to be done. But here is why I think Obama also deserves some credit: he authorized the US Navy to secure the release of Captain Philips by all means necessary, including deadly force, and then got out of the way. That was exactly what he should have done. If it was Bush, we would all be screaming how well he handled the situation. Obama deserves the same. He let the pros take care of things and did not cause the pirates to be paid off. If the Captain was killed, we would all blame Obama, and rightly so. He also deserves to be praised for success.
Powered by Qumana
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.
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.
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.
Powered by Qumana
Here are several links from LGF:
Just read it.
Powered by Qumana
This is is what comes to mind when a former KGB Colonel and a current Prime Minister of Russia explains the dangers of socialism.
I get interesting e-mails from someone named Larwin. I am not sure who it is, but I am sure I have exchanged comments with this person on some blog. Larwin sent me a link to the Gateway Pundit post with links and comments on former Russian President Putin’s speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum. The transcript of the speech is here. Here is the money quote:
Esteemed colleagues, one is sorely tempted to make simple and popular decisions in times of crisis. However, we could face far greater complications if we merely treat the symptoms of the disease.
Naturally, all national governments and business leaders must take resolute actions. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid making decisions, even in such force majeure circumstances, that we will regret in the future.
This is why I would first like to mention specific measures which should be avoided and which will not be implemented by Russia.
We must not revert to isolationism and unrestrained economic egotism. The leaders of the world’s largest economies agreed during the November 2008 G20 summit not to create barriers hindering global trade and capital flows. Russia shares these principles.
Although additional protectionism will prove inevitable during the crisis, all of us must display a sense of proportion.
Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake.
True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.
The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.
In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.
Powered by Qumana
A Nazi hiding out in an Arab country? Converting to Islam? Wow, you don’t say:
BERLIN — Documents have surfaced in Egypt showing the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal, concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim, died in Cairo in 1992, Germany’s ZDF television and The New York Times reported.
Wednesday’s reports said Heim, known as ‘Dr. Death,’ was living under a pseudonym and had converted to Islam by the time of his death from intestinal cancer.
ZDF said that in a joint effort with the New York Times, it located a passport, application for a residence permit, bank slips, personal letters and medical papers — in all more than 100 documents — left behind by Heim in a briefcase in the hotel room where he lived under the name Tarek Hussein Farid.
Though he did not know Heim’s real identity, Egyptian dentist Tarek Abdelmoneim el Rifai said he knew him through his father, Abdelmoneim el Rifai, 88, who was Heim’s dentist in Cairo.
He told the AP on Wednesday that he only met Heim a few times, 20 years ago, but confirmed that he knew of his death.
"He died in 1992. I didn’t know that he was a doctor and that he is the most wanted Nazi war criminal. I am surprised," he said in a telephone interview.
"He introduced himself to my father as a German and I know that he converted to Islam and changed his name."
When he met Heim two decades ago at his father’s clinic, el Rifai said he had the impression he was on the run.
"The only thing I knew about him is that he fled from the Jews," el Rifai said. (Emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).
That poor German escaping from those murderous Jews! He was just a doctor, dedicated his life to science! Of course he was welcomed by another Jew-hating regime. Come to think of it, there seems to be a lot of Jew-hating doctors, just look at Hamas leadership! What, they don’t like the competition?
Read it all. Of course, it is not surprising that the Nazis find asylum in the Arab countries governed by the modern Jew-hating Nazi-like regimes. Another one, Alois Brunner escaped to Syria and might still be alive.
Powered by Qumana
MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia and its ex-Soviet allies want to help the United States stabilize Afghanistan, saying Moscow wanted "full-fledged" cooperation with Washington.
He spoke a day after the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan announced it would evict the U.S. from an air base key to the Afghan war. Kyrgyzstan made the move after getting a promise for $2 billion in loans from Russia — which resents the American presence in a region Moscow regards as part of its traditional sphere of influence.
The possibility of the base closure poses a serious challenge to the new U.S. administration and President Barack Obama’s plan to send up to 30,000 more American forces into Afghanistan this year.
"Russia and other (alliance members) are ready for full-fledged comprehensive cooperation with the United States and other coalition members in fighting terrorism in the region. This fight must be comprehensive and include both military and political components. Only in the case will this have a chance to succeed," Medvedev said.
It was not clear if Medvedev’s reference to "full-fledged" cooperation was an attempt to reassure Washington or an indication that Moscow would seek concessions in exchange for helping keep the Manas air base open.
Read it all. There were some news stories back in late 2001 – early 2002 about the Russians helping us in Afghanistan. It was all believable back then. But then Russia started being a pain in the ass. It is very hard to trust them. They always have some strange angle. At the same time, it is in their interests to be our allies, in my opinion. After all, they have their own problems with the islamists. But the idiots dreaming of Russia’s greatness might screw up the life for us and them.
Powered by Qumana
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.
Powered by Qumana
Correction: in the picture identifying Rabbi Goldstein of Chabad of Poway the rabbi is misidentified. Some people pointed out to me that the rabbi in the picture is actually Rabbi Leider. Sorry about that.
Yesterday there was another demonstration by by Hamas supporters. I wanted to counter it, but some of the supporters of Israel who are observant Jews would not be able to participate because of Shabat. I went there anyway, just to see what was going on and to alert the local news organizations that there would be a pro-Israel demonstration today. But the news weren’t there, according to the cops at the scene they got tired of those Hamas supporters. So I simply e-mailed the local news channels the information about our demonstration. In the evening, as if we needed more inspiration for the action today (not really, I was pretty gung-ho as it was), 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. The movie is very well made. What makes the movie and the real story itself particularly good is the fact that in it the Jews actually shoot back, the same fact that continuously annoys the Left about Israel. And so today we had a demonstration in support of the Jews who shoot back and defend themselves. Despite the short notice we had relatively descent turn-out: between 50 and 100 people. Doing your own demonstration is different from organizing a counter: you need more preparation and you need to have your own program for the rally. Just standing somewhere with signs and flags might get boring. We had a little bit of a program: we had fliers to give away, writing letters to Israeli soldiers, and a rabbi was putting tefillin on any Jewish man who wanted it. Next time we should plan it better. Of the local news channels only KUSI and NBC 7/39 showed up. Once they have their coverage on their sites, I will link to it. Below are some pictures from our rally.
There is our table with fliers.
Some of our guys with signs.
Rabbi Goldstein from Chabad of Poway. He was "the Water Rabbi" who distributed water to firefighter during the 2007 fires in San Diego.
Rabbi Mendy from Chabad of Poway.
Raj from India expressing solidarity with Israel and USA. He remembers Mumbai and other atrocities of Islamist terrorists.
A Protest Warrior sign.
More of our signs.
Powered by Qumana
What constitutes a successful counter-demonstration? When you do this, your audience is not the people you are countering: you will never change their minds. Your audience is general public. So, in countering your opposition you are successful if you get a descent news coverage. Fairly sizable crowd on your side is also pretty nice. The best situation is when the bad guys (and is this particular situation the Hamas supporters really are the bad guys) show their true colors for the general public to see. Well, San Diego Fox 5 Channel captured exactly that. In their video segment they interviewed one of our guys. He had just finished explaining to the reporter that the pro-Hamas people chants "From the river to the sea…" mean that they don’t want peace, but rather the destruction of Israel. And then, as if on cue, the Hamas supporters started chanting: "From the river to the sea…" That is what I call "success". See for yourself:
Powered by Qumana
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?
Powered by Qumana
Although technically today’s counter of the pro-Hamas rally in Balboa Park was not an official San Diego Protest Warrior action, it was in spirit of the San Diego Chapter of Protest Warrior. We met at the statue of El Cid in front of the Art Museum and the proceeded to the fountain in front of the Science Museum, where all the action was. Our turn-out was surprisingly good: News 8 reported about equal crowds on both sides, which it probably was. Although, initially we had slightly more people. Both sides just stood there and shouted at each other, but generally it was pretty peaceful. We tried to keep a distance of several feet between us and the pro-Hamas people in order to keep the police happy. The cops were trying to maintain neutrality but, as often in these situations, had their sympathies on our side. Apparently at one point one woman from the Hamas side started choking on something and was saved by a Jewish doctor from our crowd. A cop present at that scene commented: "That’s about sums it up". I hope I will be able to get more details of that particular episode. Overall it went pretty good, and we all had some fun. The only downside was that we left after the Hamas guys did their march because we thought that they were done. Turns out, they stayed. But they did not stay unopposed: some of our guys showed up late for the main thing and ended up being our 2nd shift. So, it all worked out. Below are some pictures and videos that I took.
These are 2 crowds with some distance in between.
Our crowd looks bigger.
Note conspicuous absence of American flags on their side.
More of us and them.
Us from the back.
They teach their kids to hate while they are young.
San Diego Fox 5 TV crew.
Below are the short videos I took with my camera. When we were chanting, we were at disadvantage: the Hamas guys had a couple of megaphones, but we had just our voices. Still, we managed. For those who still has illusions that the Hamas crowd wants 2 peaceful democratic states, Arab and Jewish, living side by side, pay close attention to the Hamas crowd chants. Their chants about "From the river to the sea…" should put an end to any illusions about their peaceful intentions.
Finally, some of our signs. They are pretty self-explanatory.
Powered by Qumana
What Israel is now doing regarding the rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza should have been done a couple of years ago, right after the Israeli civilians were removed from Gaza and the first rockets started raining down on Sderot. But it is better late than never. Here is the primer explaining what is happening and why:
Defending Israeli citizens from terrorist fire
A quarter of a million Israeli citizens have been living under incessant terror attacks from the Gaza Strip with thousands of missiles fired over the past eight years.
These missiles have been described as "home made" by the media. They are, in fact, deadly. Hamas has in its possession longer range Katyushas and Grad-type missiles which can cause devastation such as that on Monday 29 December as one Israeli was killed and 14 injured in a Grad attack on Ashkelon.
Israel left Gaza in 2005, giving Palestinians the chance to run their own lives. Despite this, more than 6300 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since then.
During the past year alone, more than 3000 rockets and mortars have been launched into Israel.
Since the end of a formal ceasefire (during which terror attacks continued) with Hamas came to an end on Dec. 19, more than 170 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians including a barrage of some 80 missiles on Dec. 24 alone.
As US President-elect Obama stated during a visit to Sderot five months ago, "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."
No other country in the world would have exercised the amount of restraint that Israel has shown for the past several years without responding.
Read the whole thing. And, in case someone thinks that this is just pro-Israel point of view, here is what Egyptian Foreign Minister had to say on the subject (thanks to LGF):
This is the proof that there are sane politicians in the Arab world, which in turn gives me hope that ultimately peace is possible.
Powered by Qumana
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.
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.
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.
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.
Powered by Qumana
On December 14 my older daughter had her 1st figure skating competition. She even took 1st place and got a trophy. Of course, all the kids were separated into the groups of 1 or 2 kids. My daughter was only one in her group, so she took the 1st place in the group of one. I understand that this was done in order to encourage the 1st-time competitors and prevent them from being too shy to perform on the ice. Still, I think it would have been better if they were in the groups of 3 kids, so there would have been some real competition, even though everyone would still get a trophy. But we all did enjoy the experience. Here is the video:
My little figure skater used my favorite song for her program:
My daughter have already picked the music for her next program. Let the record show that I did not suggest another Andrews Sisters song: it was entirely her idea:
Although, I do have to admit that I did have some influence on my daughter’s taste in music.
Powered by Qumana
I am putting this update at the top because the rest of this post is not very relevant any longer. It looks like I am starting a new job on 1/5/2009. It is a medical equipment company. I’ve been fascinated by the medical electronics ever since I graduated from college, so now is my chance to design some of it. Under the circumstances I would prefer working for a defense company in order to contribute more directly to the war effort, but unfortunately it did not work out that way. Still, I am quite happy about this new job.
There is also a career milestone for me. For me this is the first job ever when knowing someone who knew someone actually helped me to get the job, or get an interview, to be precise. This means that my professional network is finally starting to help. Here is what happened:
I actually sent my resume to this company back in September. But it is a big company, so I never heard anything. But after I got laid off I gave my resume to an Applications Engineer from a company whose chips I use (I should have done it back in September). This guy had a meeting with some engineers from a company where I am going to work and passed my resume over to them. They called me for an interview, and I got a job. I actually had an offer from another company as well, so I could choose where I wanted to go. So, there are jobs out there, just look at Monster.com.
The downside of this all is that I am not getting more time to blog after all.
Right before Thanksgiving I posted about a lay-off at my work. Back then I was not affected, although I knew that things weren’t good, so I was looking for another job. Well, another lay-off has happened just this Tuesday. This one affected me: I am now out of a job. The situation is not terrible: there are jobs out there, just look at Monster.com. But I can use all the help I can get, so I am posting my resume on my blog. I am posting it as a separate page on this site, as well as in PDF format. I am not showing my contact information on this version of my resume: this political blog is open to the general public, so it is probably not a good idea to have my home address, e-mail and phone numbers displayed for everybody to see. Your comments reach me through my e-mail, and the separate page makes it easier to reach me through comments. If you know anybody in need of an Electrical Engineer (Hardware Engineer, Electronics Engineer etc.), please direct them to my blog. If you request a copy of my resume in the Word format with all the contact information, please use your work e-mail, so I know that it is a legitimate company looking for an engineer. Thanks in advance for all the help.
On the brighter side, I will probably have some more time to blog, between looking for a job and doing all the honey-dos my wife assigns me now.
Powered by Qumana
This year my wife and I decided to put up some holiday decorations on our house for Christmas season. But, since we are Jewish, we were looking for Hanukkah decorations. One site we found is called "Christmas Central". And it has a wide variety of Hanukkah decorations. But it is the phrase at the top of this page that struck me as quintessentially American:
Christmas Central offers a wide variety of judaica decorations!
That is why I make it a point to say "Merry Christmas!" to my Christian friends.
Powered by Qumana
This becomes my annual Thanksgiving post.
Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family, for my wonderful wife and 2 beautiful girls. I am also thankful for the generally pretty good life I have. But who should thank for all this? The religious people thank G-d for all their blessings. But I am not religious enough in order to do that. And then it dawned on me. I should thank this wonderful country called United States of America and its wonderful people.
So, thank you, America, for existing, for being a beacon of freedom in the world where freedom is far from being commonplace. Thank you for making freedom your “national idea”, if you will.
Thank you, American Armed Forces, past and present, for ensuring our safety and, as my kids would put it, "fighting the bad guys". It is you, who ensures our freedom and wonderful opportunities this country provides.
Thank you, America, for accepting me as your own. You welcomed me, my family and friends and made us all Americans, part of your great people. You accept anybody who is willing to be accepted. You made acceptance and tolerance part of your ideology too.
Finally, thank you, America, for defending “liberty and justice for all” all over the world. Your young people volunteer to go and fight for what’s right and moral. If I were 20 years younger I would have joined them (lame excuse really, but that’s the only one I have). Winston Churchill once said: “The Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted all other possibilities”. He knew what he was talking about. It is only natural to try “all other possibilities”: people always look for easy solutions. But in the end Americans do the right thing, no matter what the cost, for doing the right thing is a part of American ideology too.
Thank you, America.
Powered by Qumana
Last Friday we had a lay-off at my work. I am still working, but some people unfortunately lost their jobs. One of them is a nice lady named Donna. She is a very good PCB designer. With her permission I decided to post her resume on my blog. She is very good at what she does. I, as a Hardware Engineer, had to work with her a lot. She often knew where to place components and how to route signals even before I gave her instructions. She is also very resourceful and was often find information necessary to complete her tasks on the Internet. Additionally, Donna can do some mechanical design. So, if you are in the electronics business, please take a look at her resume. I highly recommend her. She can be contacted via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powered by Qumana
… but not under military chain of command. That is one of Obama’s proposals. Little Green Footballs mentioned it here and linked to an article on the subject. But rather than reading quotes of Obama, take a look at this video of Obama talking about it himself:
In history there was a force that was just as powerful and well funded as the military, but not reporting to the military chain of command. In fact, it often was disliked by the regular military. Its name could be translated as "Protective Squadron" from its original language. In the original language it was called "Schutzstaffel". Its abbreviation SS is much better known. And it indeed was just as powerful as the Wehrmacht. It even had its own armored divisions. But it did not have its own air force: the SS fierce ideological convictions were no substitute for skills required for combat pilots. Still, the question remains: what exactly are Obama’s plans for this "civilian national security force"?
Powered by Qumana
That was a euphemistic name of the camp we were sent to when I finished 7th grade of school back in Odessa, in the former Soviet Union. We were sent to a collective farm to work in the fields for a week (or was it 2 weeks?). At the end of the school year we were required to write a letter of "request" to be sent to this camp. The letter was dictated to us in class. That was something we came to call "voluntary-mandatory", meaning that while "on paper" the required activity was voluntary, we really were not given any choice in the matter. Prior to 7th grade we were required to help in school with cleaning and repairs. Keep in mind that all that was cutting into summer vacation, so nobody was very anxious to participate in those activities.
Later, in college, we were sent to a collective farm for a month, usually in September. At least then it did not cut into the vacation time, and we were paid (although, very little). But it did cut into our studies, so part of the material had to be skipped.
So, why am I talking about it now? Because it looks like the "voluntary-mandatory" practices of my old country, that I thought I left behind and that I thought my children will never experience, are catching up with me. Enter President-Elect Barack Obama. On his transition site there is a section called "America Serves":
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit) a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
Now, you might notice that it says "setting a goal", which does not sound too ominous. However, it appears that the wording has changed: it used to say "require". Original wording is available here. There is also further analysis of this proposal here and here. Do follow these links: they are very useful for understanding what might happen. There is also another article describing Rahm Emanuel’s, Obama’s new Chief of Staff, views:
"…Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs."
To be fair, there is an argument to be made that the community service requirement is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact it already exists to a certain extent on local level: my wife had to do it in order to get enough credit for acceptance into the SDSU Nursing School. Furthermore, there is an argument to be made that even Rahm Emanuel’s idea of compulsory civil service has some merit, especially during war time. However, these ideas have a lot of similarities with the old Soviet Union, to which I have to point out. Additionally, these ideas have a potential of generating some "buyer’s remorse" among the young people who were so enthusiastic about Obama’s Presidency.
Powered by Qumana
It’s been awhile since I last posted anything. Unfortunately I was too busy to post. Now I have a little bit of time, so I can describe my reaction to disastrous (for my side) election results. There is a number of reasons why I am extremely worried about the new administration. The most important one is not the one Obama directly responsible for: the cult of personality. On the other hand, I found (via LGF) a great article by Steven Den Beste:
…In the mean time, those of us who didn’t want Obama to be president have to accept that he is. And let’s not give in to the kind of paranoid fever dreams that have consumed the left for the last 8 years. Let us collectively take a vow tonight: no "Obama derangement syndrome". Obama is a politician. He isn’t the devil incarnate.
So what are the good sides of what just happened?
1. It is no longer possible for anyone to deny that the MSM is heavily biased. The MSM have been biased for decades but managed an illusion of fairness. That is no longer possible; the MSM have squandered their credibility during this campaign. They’ll never get that credibility back again.
2. Since the Democrats got nearly everything they hoped for in this campaign, they’ll have no excuses and will have to produce. They’ll have to reveal their true agenda — or else make clear that they don’t really have any beyond gaining power.
3. Every few decades the American people have to be reminded that peace only comes with strength. The next four years will be this generation’s lesson.
Now, a few predictions for the next four years:
1. Obama’s "hold out your hand to everyone" foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They’ll love it in Europe. They’re probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already.
2. The US hasn’t suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we’ll get at least one during Obama’s term.
3. We’re going to lose in Afghanistan.
4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel. (This is the only irreversibly terrible thing I see upcoming, and it’s very bad indeed.)
5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that’s going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they’re not in his tank any longer. And because of that they are eventually going to do the reporting they should have done during this campaign, about Obama’s less-than-savory friends, and about voter fraud, and about illegal fund-raising, and about a lot of other things.
and 6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012. He may even end up doing an LBJ and not even running again.
Do read it all. I agree with Steven Den Beste that there should be no "Obama Derangement Syndrome". But I don’t share his expectation that the media will turn on him. I am also not as optimistic about Republican 2012 prospective. I do hope that Obama lied through his teeth during the primaries in order to get the nomination. That is because his promises were so far to the left, that any deviation from them would necessarily move Obama closer to the center. In the meantime, those of us who disagree with Obama, while hoping that he would do well, should not hesitate to point out where we think he is wrong. And while I am not going to say that Obama is not my President, as many of the Left said about Bush, my "Nobama" sticker is not coming off my car. I might even add "Don’t blame me…" sticker to it. I do hope that all the dire predictions that I had and that Steven Den Beste has in his article won’t come true. But I do think that we are in for a rough ride for the next 4 years.
Powered by Qumana
Well, one of the ways is to force the banks to give mortgage loans to people who can’t pay, providing the government guarantees to the banks, and then simply wait for the borrowers to default on the loans. A fellow Protest Warrior sent me this video:
Do you know who yells "Catch that thief!" the loudest in the marketplace? It is usually the thief himself. That old truth is still true.
Powered by Qumana
This is the title of Caroline Glick’s article on the recent ridiculous dis-invitation of Sarah Palin from anti-Ahmadinejad rally (sorry, I don’t remeber where I saw the link to the article first):
American Jews have good reason to be ashamed and angry today. As Iran moves into the final stages of its nuclear weapons development program – nuclear weapons which it will use to destroy the State of Israel, endanger Jews around the world and cow the United States of America – Democratic American Jewish leaders decided that putting Sen. Barack Obama in the White House is more important than protecting the lives of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.
On Monday, the New York Sun published the speech that Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would have delivered at that day’s rally outside UN headquarters in New York against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and against Iran’s plan to destroy Israel. She would have delivered it, if she hadn’t been disinvited.
The rally was co-sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, The Israel Project, United Jewish Communities, the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Its purpose was to present a united American Jewish front against Iran’s genocidal leader and against its genocidal regime which is developing nuclear weapons with the stated intention of committing the second Holocaust in 80 years.
I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country — leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.
Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York — to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan — and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.
Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator’s intentions and to call for action to thwart him.
He must be stopped.
The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation." Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.
The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.
The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.
So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.
If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.
Powered by Qumana
That is how I view Sarah Palin. Smears are going around about her. But good old snopes.com is enough to debunk them. Here is the interview with Sarah’s friends. And here is a glimpse into her views on America’s relationship with Israel, especially for those Jews who insist on blind loyalty to the Democratic Party.
Powered by Qumana
First there were reports of women fainting at his rallies. Then he announced that he will give his nomination acceptance speech at a stadium instead of the site of the Democratic Party Convention. Finally, there was this speech in Germany. And, to top it off, his statement about never having any doubts. Is it just me, or is there a troubling pattern? Let’s compare with some other big rallies at a stadium. Or with another guy that was never wrong. No, I am not suggesting that Obama is a Nazi. Although, his ideology does come close to another leftist ideology, Communism. And now this from Atlas Shrugs:
Here is what the book description says (no, I am not providing a link to this crap):
Ever since Barack Obama was young, Hope has lived inside him. From the beaches of Hawaii to the streets of Chicago, from the jungles of Indonesia to the plains of Kenya, he has held on to Hope. Even as a boy, Barack knew he wasn’t quite like anybody else, but through his journeys he found the ability to listen to Hope and become what he was meant to be: a bridge to bring people together.
This is the moving story of an exceptional man, as told by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Bryan Collier, both winners of the Coretta Scott King Award. Barack Obama has motivated Americans to believe with him, to believe that every one of us has the power to change ourselves and change our world.
It reminds me of the crap I’ve been told as a kid about the best child of all times, little Volodya Ulyanov. This is also the same kind of crap my parents were taught as kids: "Thank to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood". Here is a picture of my dad’s kindergarten class:
The kid 3rd from the left in the top row is my dad. The girl 1st from the left in the bottom row is my dad’s cousin. The picture was taken in 1946. The portrait above my dad is of Stalin. The photographer who took the picture begged my grandma to give him the picture back or just to burn it, but grandma just hid it. You see, the half of Stalin’s head on the portrait is cut off in this picture. That would mean a death sentence for the photographer, if the authorities would see it.
So, how do you like my dad’s "happy childhood"? I don’t want my kids to ever have to thank Comrade Obama (or Comrade McCain for that matter) for their happy childhoods. Just like that photographer, I am scared to death of this cult of personality. Go read this scary analysis (via Bookworm):
It is surreal to see the level of hysteria in his admirers. This phenomenon is unprecedented in American politics. Women scream and swoon during his speeches. They yell and shout to Obama, “I love you.” Never did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt. Martin Luther King Jr. or Ronald Reagan arouse so much raw emotion. Despite their achievements, none of them was raised to the rank of Messiah. The Illinois senator has no history of service to the country. He has done nothing outstanding except giving promises of change and hyping his audience with hope. It’s only his words, not his achievements that is causing this much uproar.
When cheering for someone turns into adulation, something is wrong. Excessive adulation is indicative of a personality cult. The cult of personality is often created when the general population is discontent. A charismatic leader can seize the opportunity and project himself as an agent of change and a revolutionary leader. Often, people, tired of the status quo, do not have the patience to examine the nature of the proposed change. All they want is change. During 1979, when the Iranians were tired of the dictatorial regime of the late Shah, they embraced Khomeini, not because they wanted Islam, but because he promised them change. The word in the street was, “anything is better than the Shah.” They found their error when it was too late.
Do read it all. And be afraid. Be very afraid.
Powered by Qumana
Below is the post from last year. But there is nothing to add. Just remember…
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Al-Qaeda on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a state of war has existed between the United States and the followers of Islamo-Fascist ideology along with their supporters.
Powered by Qumana
… must be suicidal. According to Jerusalem Post article from back in May, Gallop poll indicated that 61% of American Jews prefer Obama to McCain. In my view, this makes 61% of American Jews outright suicidal in their blind support for the Democratic Party. It’s not just Obama’s views on the current war, in which Israel is our staunchest ally. It’s not just Hamas’ active support for Obama’s candidacy.
Right before my family vacation was about to start, Obama was visiting Israel. As it is customary for dignitaries visiting Israel, he went to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Here is what Gateway Pundit posted about it:
An Israeli journalist called out to Obama: “Can you ensure that there will be no second Holocaust?”
Obama walked into the museum’s main building without responding…
Once again an Israeli journalist asked the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee how he’d help prevent a second Holocaust. "Senator can you assure Israel that there will be no second Holocaust despite Iran’s threat to wipe us off the map?" he asked.
Obama demurred, saying that it wasn’t appropriate to answer the question there.
"This is Yad Vashem!" the journalist responded.
Obama said he would answer the question at a later press availability.
Gateway Pundit provided some more links and comments, so go there. But can please someone explain to me why Obama refused to answer? It seems that it would not be harmful for his campaign, indeed, it would politically expedient, to simply reply: "Yes, I will ensure that there will be no other Holocaust". The Israeli journalist was absolutely correct: Yad Vashem is precisely the place to ask and answer the question like this one. Yet, Obama chose not to answer. To me it means that there are forces supporting Obama that would not accept his promise of ensuring that there will be no other Holocaust, even if that promise was given clearly out of political expediency. Obama clearly does not want to risk losing support of those people. To me this is pretty scary. And, my fellow American Jews, those of you who will vote for Obama are in fact suicidal. A comparison between you and Adam Czerniakow, the Chairman of the Jewish Council in Warsaw Ghetto is not fair to Adam Czerniakow, a very descent, albeit misguided, man. Perhaps better comparison is between you and Yevsektsiya – the Jewish Section of the Soviet Communist Party – a bunch of Jews who blindly supported leftist ideology without realizing that it would eventually destroy themselves and everybody around them, as it most assuredly eventually did.
Powered by Qumana
I have to apologize to those who find my blog interesting for my long silence: between trying to finish up all I had to do at work prior to my family vacation and then my family vacation I simply did not have time. Now hopefully I will be able to post something at least once a week, hopefully even more often.
Powered by Qumana
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!
Powered by Qumana
On May 12, 1948, Clark Clifford, the White House chief counsel, presented the case for U.S. recognition of the state of Israel to the divided cabinet of President Harry Truman. While a glowering George Marshall, the secretary of state, and a skeptical Robert Lovett, Marshall’s undersecretary, looked on, Clifford argued that recognizing the Jewish state would be an act of humanity that comported with traditional American values. To substantiate the Jewish territorial claim, Clifford quoted the Book of Deuteronomy: "Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them."
Since then, this pattern has often been repeated. Respected U.S. foreign policy experts call for Washington to be cautious in the Middle East and warn presidents that too much support for Israel will carry serious international costs. When presidents overrule their expert advisers and take a pro-Israel position, observers attribute the move to the "Israel lobby" and credit (or blame) it for swaying the chief executive. But there is another factor to consider. As the Truman biographer David McCullough has written, Truman’s support for the Jewish state was "wildly popular" throughout the United States. A Gallup poll in June 1948 showed that almost three times as many Americans "sympathized with the Jews" as "sympathized with the Arabs." That support was no flash in the pan. Widespread gentile support for Israel is one of the most potent political forces in U.S. foreign policy, and in the last 60 years, there has never been a Gallup poll showing more Americans sympathizing with the Arabs or the Palestinians than with the Israelis.
The story of U.S. support for a Jewish state in the Middle East begins early. John Adams could not have been more explicit. "I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation," he said, after his presidency. From the early nineteenth century on, gentile Zionists fell into two main camps in the United States. Prophetic Zionists saw the return of the Jews to the Promised Land as the realization of a literal interpretation of biblical prophecy, often connected to the return of Christ and the end of the world. Based on his interpretation of Chapter 18 of the prophecies of Isaiah, for example, the Albany Presbyterian pastor John McDonald predicted in 1814 that Americans would assist the Jews in restoring their ancient state. Mormon voices shared this view; the return of the Jews to the Holy Land was under way, said Elder Orson Hyde in 1841: "The great wheel is unquestionably in motion, and the word of the Almighty has declared that it shall roll."
Any discussion of U.S. attitudes toward Israel must begin with the Bible. For centuries, the American imagination has been steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures. This influence originated with the rediscovery of the Old Testament during the Reformation, was accentuated by the development of Calvinist theology (which stressed continuities between the old and the new dispensations of divine grace), and was made more vital by the historical similarities between the modern American and the ancient Hebrew experiences; as a result, the language, heroes, and ideas of the Old Testament permeate the American psyche.
The United States’ sense of its own identity and mission in the world has been shaped by readings of Hebrew history and thought. The writer Herman Melville expressed this view: "We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people — the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world." From the time of the Puritans to the present day, preachers, thinkers, and politicians in the United States — secular as well as religious, liberal as well as conservative — have seen the Americans as a chosen people, bound together less by ties of blood than by a set of beliefs and a destiny. Americans have believed that God (or history) has brought them into a new land and made them great and rich and that their continued prosperity depends on their fulfilling their obligations toward God or the principles that have blessed them so far. Ignore these principles — turn toward the golden calf — and the scourge will come.
Both religious and nonreligious Americans have looked to the Hebrew Scriptures for an example of a people set apart by their mission and called to a world-changing destiny. Did the land Americans inhabit once belong to others? Yes, but the Hebrews similarly conquered the land of the Canaanites. Did the tiny U.S. colonies armed only with the justice of their cause defeat the world’s greatest empire? So did David, the humble shepherd boy, fell Goliath. Were Americans in the nineteenth century isolated and mocked for their democratic ideals? So were the Hebrews surrounded by idolaters. Have Americans defeated their enemies at home and abroad? So, according to the Scriptures, did the Hebrews triumph. And when Americans held millions of slaves in violation of their beliefs, were they punished and scourged? Yes, and much like the Hebrews, who suffered the consequences of their sins before God.
Although gentile support for Israel in the United States has remained strong and even grown since World War II, its character has changed. Until the Six-Day War, support for Israel came mostly from the political left and was generally stronger among Democrats than Republicans. Liberal icons such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were leading public voices calling for the United States to support Israel. But since 1967, liberal support for Israel has gradually waned, and conservative support has grown.
On the right, the most striking change since 1967 has been the dramatic intensification of suppport for Israel among evangelical Christians and, more generally, among what I have called "Jacksonian" voters in the U.S. heartland. Jacksonians are populist-nationalist voters who favor a strong U.S. military and are generally skeptical of international organizations and global humanitarian aid. Not all evangelicals are Jacksonians, and not all Jacksonians are evangelicals, but there is a certain overlap between the two constituencies. Many southern whites are Jacksonians; so are many of the swing voters in the North known as Reagan Democrats.
U.S. opinion on the Middle East is not monolithic, nor is it frozen in time. Since 1967, it has undergone significant shifts, with some groups becoming more favorable toward Israel and others less so. Considerably fewer African Americans stand with the Likud Party today than stood with the Jewish army in World War II. More changes may come. A Palestinian and Arab leadership more sensitive to the values and political priorities of the American political culture could develop new and more effective tactics designed to weaken, rather than strengthen, American support for the Jewish state. An end to terrorist attacks, for example, coupled with well-organized and disciplined nonviolent civil resistance, might alter Jacksonian perceptions of the Palestinian struggle. It is entirely possible that over time, evangelical and fundamentalist Americans will retrace Jimmy Carter’s steps from a youthful Zionism to what he would call a more balanced position now. But if Israel should face any serious crisis, it seems more likely that opinion will swing the other way. Many of the Americans who today call for a more evenhanded policy toward the Palestinians do so because they believe that Israel is fundamentally secure. Should that assessment change, public opinion polls might well show even higher levels of U.S. support for Israel.
One thing, at least, seems clear. In the future, as in the past, U.S. policy toward the Middle East will, for better or worse, continue to be shaped primarily by the will of the American majority, not the machinations of any minority, however wealthy or engaged in the political process some of its members may be.
Of course, read it all. This article is completely in line with "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present" by Michael Oren.
Basically, this article is a review of this book. I highly recommend it. In addition to explaining the roots of American support for Israel, the book also helps to understand the roots of our current conflict with militant Islam, otherwise known as Islamo-fascism. The book details how jihad warriors, otherwise known as Barbary pirates, terrorized merchant shipping and even raided villages on the East Coast of the United States. It also explains that, far from being "Gentlemen of Fortune", the Barbary pirates had jihadi ideology and their governments’ support behind them. After reading this book one starts to understand that our current conflict has nothing to do with American foreign policy and perceived injustices perpetrated by the West. Rather, it is a conflict between religion-based totalitarian ideology and Western liberal values, similar to the other conflicts of the 20th Century between Western liberal values and atheistic totalitarian ideologies of Nazism and Communism. That totalitarian ideology has to be defeated. It cannot be appeased.
Powered by Qumana
Exxon-Mobile is a tiny oil company (even though it is the biggest of the U.S. oil companies.) At 18th in the world, it ranks way down in the scales. The other 17 companies are the real oil giants. They are all government-owned oil companies. Saudia Arabia. Kuwait. Venezuela. Pemex in Mexico. It is a very different picture from what you may have been thinking, or hearing.
You want to go after the "oil giants"? Good! Then look somewhere else. None of them are U.S. oil companies, which have shrunk and shrunk over the years, under environmentalist attack in the U.S., and through being shut out of foreign oil by the governments who own all the oil in their countries.
You really want to go after the "oil giants?" (Remember now, all of them are oil giants owned by the governments of other countries.) Then drill here! Drill now! What is happening to our energy is going to hurt everyone in the U.S. and in the world.
Powered by Qumana
Is Obama qualified to be President, according to US Constitution? Bookworm posted a link to the discussion on the subject at the National Review Campaign Spot and also had an interesting discussion in the comments to her post. Check it out! I don’t think anybody will dare to disqualify Obama from running, although I would not be surprised if it is brought up at the Democratic Convention by Hillary’s supporters. But it sure is interesting.
Powered by Qumana
Senior American statesmen like George Kennan advised Kennedy not to rush into a high-level meeting, arguing that Khrushchev had engaged in anti-American propaganda and that the issues at hand could as well be addressed by lower-level diplomats. Kennedy’s own secretary of state, Dean Rusk, had argued much the same in a Foreign Affairs article the previous year: “Is it wise to gamble so heavily? Are not these two men who should be kept apart until others have found a sure meeting ground of accommodation between them?”
But Kennedy went ahead, and for two days he was pummeled by the Soviet leader. Despite his eloquence, Kennedy was no match as a sparring partner, and offered only token resistance as Khrushchev lectured him on the hypocrisy of American foreign policy, cautioned America against supporting “old, moribund, reactionary regimes” and asserted that the United States, which had valiantly risen against the British, now stood “against other peoples following its suit.” Khrushchev used the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting to warn Kennedy that his country could not be intimidated and that it was “very unwise” for the United States to surround the Soviet Union with military bases.
Kennedy’s aides convinced the press at the time that behind closed doors the president was performing well, but American diplomats in attendance, including the ambassador to the Soviet Union, later said they were shocked that Kennedy had taken so much abuse. Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was “just a disaster.” Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.” Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak.” The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.
Kennedy’s assessment of his own performance was no less severe. Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the “roughest thing in my life.” Kennedy went on: “He just beat the hell out of me. I’ve got a terrible problem if he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him.”
A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to “throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam’s pants”: nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna — of Kennedy as ineffective — was among them.
Powered by Qumana
NOT LICENSED TO KILL
German Special Forces in Afghanistan Let Taliban Commander Escape
By Susanne Koelbl and Alexander Szandar
German special forces had an important Taliban commander in their sights in Afghanistan. But he escaped — because the Germans were not authorized to use lethal force. The German government’s hands-tied approach to the war is causing friction with its NATO allies.
The wheat is lush and green in the fields of northern Afghanistan this spring. A river winding its way through the broad valley dotted with walled houses completes the picturesque scene. Behind one of these walls, not far from the town of Pol-e-Khomri, sits a man whose enemies, having named him a "target," would like to see dead. He is the Baghlan bomber.
The Taliban commander is regarded as a brutal extremist with excellent connections to terror cells across the border in Pakistan. Security officials consider him to be one of the most dangerous players in the region, which is under German command as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. The military accuses him of laying roadside bombs and of sheltering suicide attackers prior to their bloody missions.
He is also thought to be behind one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan’s history, the Nov. 6, 2007 attack on a sugar factory in the northwest province of Baghlan. The attack killed 79 people, including dozens of children and many parliamentarians and other politicians, as they celebrated the factory’s reopening.
Germany’s KSK special forces have been charged with capturing the terrorist, in cooperation with the Afghan secret service organization NDS and the Afghan army. The German elite soldiers were able to uncover the Taliban commander’s location. They spent weeks studying his behavior and habits: when he left his house and with whom, how many men he had around him and what weapons they carried, the color of his turban and what vehicles he drove.
At the end of March, they decided to act to seize the commander. Under the protection of darkness, the KSK, together with Afghan forces, advanced toward their target. Wearing black and equipped with night-vision goggles, the team came within just a few hundred meters of their target before they were discovered by Taliban forces.
The dangerous terrorist escaped. It would, however, have been possible for the Germans to kill him — but the KSK were not authorized to do so.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. Is there anyone who even played a soldier as a kid, who does not find this story ridiculously pathetic? Don’t get me wrong: the German Special Forces soldiers are likely very good and professional, but their superiors are another matter. Dennis Prager often says that the Germans learned the wrong lesson after World War 2: instead of learning of necessity to combat evil even in their own midst they learned that it is always wrong to fight. I could not agree more.
Powered by Qumana
This blog was started from the article "Reclaiming the Terms" that I wrote and ever since keep shoving into people’s faces. In my article I insist that true Liberals are found on the Right of the political spectrum. But it turns out that sometimes you have to go even further. So, at the risk of flattering Bookworm again, I am presenting here another of her brilliant articles, in which she renames the illiberal Left into Statists and liberal Right into Individualists:
I’ve decided it’s time to jettison entirely the words “Left” and “Right” when used with reference to political ideologies. I came to this conclusion after a very interesting discussion with my mother. While we were talking about the military Junta in Burma, she let drop the fact that she believes that all tyrannies come from the political Right.
I was taken aback, especially when my mother explained to me that the Soviets, Nazis and Italian Fascists were all tyrannies from the Right. I could understand her confusion about the Nazis and the Italian Fascists — after all, Jonah Goldberg wrote a whole book trying to educate people out of their confusion on this subject — but her statement about the Soviets perplexed me.
Conservatives want to contract the power of the Federal government, not expand it, because they have recognized that tyrannies, regardless of the political ideology that powers them, are Statist. Republicans, I said, are Individualists. Given the opportunity to shape this country’s politics, they are the ones who are least likely ones to lead America into the tyrannical, militaristic regime she fears.
It was quite an amazing conversation because, by the end, she really grasped the difference between Left and Right. Right is not Nazis and Fascists and failed Communist states. In America, Right is about individual rights, and Left is about Statism — and it is Statism that, when it runs amok, is dangerous.
Anyway, because of the fact that this type of confusion has poisoned the meaning of these commonly used political terms, I think it’s more accurate to describe the two American ideologies as Statist and Individualist — and I know on which side of the political aisle I want to reside.
As before, excerpts don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article, so read the whole thing. And, as Bookworm, I know exactly on which side of the political aisle I am – on the side of individual liberty.
Powered by Qumana
Engineers were not very highly regarded in the former Soviet Union. In terms of salary, blue color workers were always paid more. In fact, if 2 people did the same job, but one had a title of engineer and another was technician, the technician would get higher salary. So, when Gorbachev came to power, he recognized that the Soviet Union was technologically lagging behind the West. So, the Soviet Government announced that they would promote the engineering work in order to raise its prestige. Mikhail Zhvanetsky, a famous Russian-Jewish satirist and a native of Odessa, joked that engineers got increased prestige, but not increased salary.
It turns out that in this country, while engineering pay is pretty good, the prestige of the engineering work is not very high. There is simply no glamour in it. Planet Analog, one of the professional publications whose newsletter I get at work, posted an article on this subject:
Commentary: Engineers need an image makeover
May 02, 2008 (1:43 PM)
At the recent ACE Awards dinner, our industry honored leading innovators, companies and products. It was good to see an appreciative audience for this well-deserved recognition. But then I realized we were preaching to the converted. The broader world still dismisses engineers and scientists as quirky outsiders.
This became clear when I was trapped and had to watch an episode of the dreadful "Beauty and the Geek." The show’s premise is that there is something wrong with the geeks, but with some help they can be made to be cool, if not actually hot. If I suggested that perhaps the beauties could benefit from a knowledge makeover, I’d be dismissed as, well, a geek.
It wasn’t always this way. Until about the 1960s, engineers were not only honored, they were respected. They were guests on popular TV shows for their accomplishments, not as oddballs to be mocked. Earlier in the 20th century, engineers were accorded more respect and stature than any other professionals.
We’ve come a long way from that world.
The Associated Press has announced it will hire 20 more reporters solely to cover celebrities, and they don’t mean scientists or engineers. And I’ll bet if eight-year-old Carson Page—the Editor’s Choice ACE Award winner for his impressive work with FPGAs—ever appears on the Leno or Letterman show, he’ll be there as an oddity, not a role model.
How did this transformation happen?
I think we are victims of our own success. In the past few decades, we’ve made such incredible progress in so many areas, at an ever-increasing rate, that we’ve made it all look so very easy. The public is no longer impressed by feats of engineering: They think all this amazing gadgetry just happens by itself, because we’ve made it seem that way.
What can we do? It wouldn’t be practical, or advisable, to squelch scientific and technological progress. But perhaps professional societies, universities and high-tech companies could team to launch an image campaign. One message might be: "If it weren’t for the nerd next door, you wouldn’t have (fill in the blank)." Here’s another: "Celebrity fades. Knowledge lasts."
As with so many engineering problems, there is no simple solution. Perhaps it is not even viewed as a problem. Our culture has moved to a new perception of what it values, and it’s not us.
If that’s the case, we have only ourselves to blame. But we owe it to ourselves, and certainly to the next generation of innovators like Carson Page, to do something about it.
The article is pretty short, so I just posted the whole thing here. It really is sad. My daughter recently had a "career day" at school. None of the kids said that they wanted to be an engineer. And I live in the area heavily populated by engineers. In addition to that, the whole society is technically illiterate. A friend of mine told me that in the 1980s, when VCRs first became available, people could not set the clock on the front display of the VCR. So the clock display kept blinking, and people were getting annoyed. Apparently some company like RadioShack came up with a kit to stop the blinking. It was simply a piece of black electrical tape that you would stick onto the clock display and cover it. The fact that someone was able to sell this thing has to be embarrassing. Part of the problem that kids nowadays don’t have to make anything themselves. You can buy everything. You can even buy a slingshot or a rubber band gun. What is that? Things like that kids should be building with their own hands, coming up with their own designs. Of course, it would be nice if there was some sort of a TV show about engineers. But, unlike doctors or lawyers, engineers don’t have drama associated with their work. So, a TV show would not be very exciting. Something like MacGyver would be pretty exciting, but most of the stuff MacGyver does is not necessarily realistic and definitely not something that you could try at home.
Oh, well. My older daughter still says once in a while that she wants "to be an engineer, like daddy". So, not everything is lost. Although, if my daughter becomes a nurse like mommy, I would be pretty happy too.
Powered by Qumana
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
Powered by Qumana
Obama recently gave an interview to Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic. After this interview many commentators on my side were quick to point out that Obama called Israel a "constant wound… a constant sore…" on our foreign policy. But here is exactly what he said:
JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?
BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable. I am absolutely convinced of that, and some of the tensions that might arise between me and some of the more hawkish elements in the Jewish community in the United States might stem from the fact that I’m not going to blindly adhere to whatever the most hawkish position is just because that’s the safest ground politically.
From reading his exact response it is clear that he did not mean that Israel is a "constant sore", but the conflict is. To accuse him of calling Israel a "constant sore" is to use a favorite trick of the Left: taking his words out of context. However, this does not mean that his interview is not full of crap. The Republican Jewish Coalition in its press release called Obama’s statement what it really is, in its proper context: excusing the inexcusable, or, in other words, another of the Left’s favorite things – moral equivalency:
RJC: Obama Excuses the Inexcusable
Contact: Press Secretary Suzanne Kurtz
Monday, May 12, 2008
Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2008 ) — In response to Sen. Barack Obama’s interview in the most recent issue of The Atlantic, the Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement today:
"Once again, Senator Obama demonstrates his questionable grasp of America’s foreign policy. Senator Obama manages to excuse the inexcusable actions of anti-American militant jihadists by putting the blame for their actions on America’s foreign policy. America stands with Israel because it is one of our strongest allies and the only democracy in the Middle East. Senator Obama naively believes that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will solve the global scourge of radical Islamic extremism. Yet Senator Obama never says how he will rein in Hamas’ daily onslaught on Israel or Iran’s scurrilous condemnations of Israel. Is it any wonder Hamas has endorsed him for president?"
In his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Sen. Obama described the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as ‘this constant wound.’ Sen. Obama said ‘that this constant sore, does infect all of [America’s] foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions.’
I transcribed the most jaw-dropping parts:
REPORTER: It may be hard to believe, but working in this tiny Internet cafe in Gaza City may just be one of Barack Obama’s biggest fans.
Before every U.S. primary, 23-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jayyab gathers 17 of his friends to try and rally support for Obama’s campaign in the U.S.
So why does a young Palestinian living in Gaza spend so much of his time and money on an election thousands of miles away?
ABU JAYYAB: [translated] It all started at the time of the U.S. primaries. After studying Obama’s electoral campaign manifesto, I thought, ‘this is a man that is capable of change inside America.’ As for potential change in the Middle East, he can also do that. I think he can bring peace to the area, or at least this is what we hope.
REPORTER: And the game plan? Ibrahim and his friends call random numbers in the U.S. before every primary to deliver one simple message:
ABU JAYYAB: [in English] Elect Senator Obama. I will change. I will achieve… the justice in the Middle East.
Powered by Qumana
… of not trying to alleviate poverty in the world, you might want to point to this news item:
Friday , May 09, 2008
By George Russell
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his top lieutenants on Monday are convening the first meeting of the U.N.’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis. Ban says it will “study the root causes of the crisis,” and propose solutions for “coordinated global action” at a summit of world leaders in June.
Donor listings on WFP’s website show that this year, as in every year since 1999, the U.S. is far and away the biggest aid provider to WFP. Since 2001, U.S. donations to the food agency have averaged more than $1.16 billion annually — or more than five times as much as the next biggest donor, the European Commission.
And while Canada, Australia, Western Europe and Japan have hastened to pony up an additional $260 million in aid since WFP’s latest appeal, the world organization told FOX News, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the international oil cartel, tossed in a grand total of $1.5 million in addition to the $50,000 it had previously donated.
The OPEC total amounts to roughly one minute and 10 seconds worth of the organization’s estimated $674 billion in annual oil revenues in 2007 — revenues that will be vastly exceeded in 2008 with the continuing spiral in world oil prices.
The only other major oil exporter who made the WFP list of 2008 donors was the United Arab Emirates, which kicked in $50,000. UAE oil revenues in 2007 were $63 billion.
By contrast, the poverty-stricken African republic of Burkina Faso is listed as donating more than $600,000, and Bangladesh, perennial home of many of the world’s hungriest people, is listed as donating nearly $5.8 million.
And those people talk about honor?
Powered by Qumana
They probably all do to some extent. So, whenever I would point out to someone, even someone who agrees with me, some outrageous lie by a leftist politician, the response I often get is: "Yes, but they all lie". I often found myself at a loss for words after that. Well, maybe I don’t have to be in such position any longer. Bookworm has brilliantly explained in her post that
In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.
As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.
We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.
And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.
The excerpts truly don’t do justice to Bookworm’s article. Go read the whole thing. I will have to remember her arguments the next time someone tells me that all politicians lie.
Powered by Qumana
My previous post dealt with the problem. This one has to do with the solution: Muslim Reform Movement. The fact is that we all can talk about violence inherent in Islam till we blue in the face, and we will still have a problem. Even if we defeat the the jihadis militarily now, they will come back later because the ideological basis for them will remain intact. So, they will have to be defeated ideologically as well. The only one way to do it in my opinion is to re-interpret Koran, de-emphasizing violence in it. So, we need to promote the genuine reformers of Islam, people who seek to re-interpret the religious doctrine of Islam. One of such organizations, Muslims Against Sharia, left a comment on this blog recently, and I am thankful for that. There are others:
I am adding these links to my sidebar. There are probably others. We need to scream as loud as we can, so that the media listens to these people, rather than CAIR. Front Page recently conducted a symposium of Muslim reformers. There is hope. Finally, it seems that Turkish Government got involved in the Muslim Reform effort:
Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam – and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.
The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.
Turkey is intent on sweeping away that "cultural baggage" and returning to a form of Islam it claims accords with its original values and those of the Prophet.
But this is where the revolutionary nature of the work becomes apparent. Even some sayings accepted as being genuinely spoken by Muhammad have been altered and reinterpreted.
Prof Mehmet Gormez, a senior official in the Department of Religious Affairs and an expert on the Hadith, gives a telling example.
"There are some messages that ban women from travelling for three days or more without their husband’s permission and they are genuine.
"But this isn’t a religious ban. It came about because in the Prophet’s time it simply wasn’t safe for a woman to travel alone like that. But as time has passed, people have made permanent what was only supposed to be a temporary ban for safety reasons."
The project justifies such bold interference in the 1,400-year-old content of the Hadith by rigorous academic research.
Prof Gormez points out that in another speech, the Prophet said "he longed for the day when a woman might travel long distances alone".
So, he argues, it is clear what the Prophet’s goal was.
According to Fadi Hakura, an expert on Turkey from Chatham House in London, Turkey is doing nothing less than recreating Islam – changing it from a religion whose rules must be obeyed, to one designed to serve the needs of people in a modern secular democracy.
He says that to achieve it, the state is fashioning a new Islam.
"This is kind of akin to the Christian Reformation," he says.
"Not exactly the same, but if you think, it’s changing the theological foundations of [the] religion. "
Fadi Hakura believes that until now secularist Turkey has been intent on creating a new politics for Islam.
Now, he says, "they are trying to fashion a new Islam."
Significantly, the "Ankara School" of theologians working on the new Hadith have been using Western critical techniques and philosophy.
They have also taken an even bolder step – rejecting a long-established rule of Muslim scholars that later (and often more conservative) texts override earlier ones.
"You have to see them as a whole," says Fadi Hakura.
"You can’t say, for example, that the verses of violence override the verses of peace. This is used a lot in the Middle East, this kind of ideology.
"I cannot impress enough how fundamental [this change] is."
Read the whole article. Generally conservatives like myself are skeptical about government involvement in anything. But in this particular case, placing government resources behind the project might be a good thing.
Powered by Qumana
We often hear that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, but just normal peaceful people going about their daily lives. That is definitely true for one simple reason: day-to-day activities tend to preoccupy people. But how big is that violent minority? Well, consider this post by Elder of Zion:
Read his complete analysis in order to understand the problem.
Powered by Qumana