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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Obama’s Buildup of Military Forces In the Civilian Sector

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” — Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment creates a number of rights relevant to both criminal and civil legal proceedings. In criminal cases, the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to a grand jury, forbids “double jeopardy,” and protects against self-incrimination. It also requires that “due process of law” be part of any proceeding that denies a citizen “life, liberty or property” and requires the government to compensate citizens when it takes private property for public use.

Our Founders believed that private property was an essential component of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The concept of “Happiness” was defined by our Founders as Property. As James Madison stated in his1792 Essay on Property;

“… In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.

Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho' from an opposite cause.

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own….”

The Fifth Amendment is the logical extension of the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.

Both of these Amendments are pertinent to this blog post and should be taken into consideration when reading it. They are a part of our basic rights under the Constitution!

President Barack Obama considered deploying the U.S. military during the Cliven Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada under the approbation of a Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities signed in 2010.

The Department of Defense directive provides U.S. commanders with the emergency authority to use military support to quell domestic disturbances where needed to “prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property” and when “necessary to restore government function and public order.” A second condition is when Federal, State or local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”

The military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft, and also authorizes the use of drones in operations against domestic unrest, though it prohibits the use of armed drones.

The directive and information that Obama considered deploying the U.S. military in Nevada were revealed by Bill Gertz of The Washington Times last Wednesday and famously ignored by the rest of the corporate establishment media. Deploying the military in a domestic law enforcement scenario is a violation of Posse Comitatus.

According to Gene Healy of The Cato Institute — a Libertarian Think-tank writes:

“The Posse Comitatus Act is no barrier to federal troops providing logistical support during natural disasters. Nor does it prohibit the president from using the Army to restore order in extraordinary circumstances — even over the objection of a state governor.

What it does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role. That reflects America’s traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that’s well-justified.

There are good reasons to resist any push toward domestic militarization.

As one federal court has explained: “Military personnel must be trained to operate under circumstances where the protection of constitutional freedoms cannot receive the consideration needed in order to assure their preservation. The Posse Comitatus statute is intended to meet that danger.”

Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, commander of the federal troops helping out in New Orleans, seemed to recognize that danger when he ordered his soldiers to keep their guns pointed down: “This isn’t Iraq,” he said.

Soldiers are trained to be warriors, not peace officers — which is as it should be. But putting full-time warriors into a civilian policing situation can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty.

It can also undermine military readiness, because when soldiers are forced into the role of police officers, their war-fighting skills degrade. That’s what the General Accounting Office concluded in a 2003 report looking at some of the homeland security missions the military was required to carry out after Sept. 11, 2001.

According to the report, “While on domestic military missions, combat units are unable to maintain proficiency because these missions provide less opportunity to practice the varied skills required for combat and consequently offer little training value.”

The GAO also concluded that such missions put a serious strain on a military already heavily committed abroad.

American law calls for civilian peace officers to keep the peace, or, failing that, National Guard troops under the command of their state governors. So perhaps we should stop treating the National Guard as if it’s no different than the Army Reserve.

As Katrina made landfall, there were 7,000 Louisiana and Mississippi Guard troops deployed in Iraq. Among them were 3,700 members of Louisiana’s 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, who took with them high-water vehicles and other equipment that could have been put to better use in New Orleans.”

Gertz stated in his May 28, 2014 article:

“A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans.

The directive contains noncontroversial provisions on support to civilian fire and emergency services, special events and the domestic use of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The troubling aspect of the directive outlines presidential authority for the use of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, in operations against domestic unrest.

“This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” said a defense official opposed to the directive.

Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”

“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.

“In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.

The conditions include military support needed “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.” A second use is when federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”

“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions,” the directive states.

Military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft. The directive states clearly that it is for engaging civilians during times of unrest.”

A defense official opposed to the directive told Gertz, “This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.”

Actually it’s not the latest, though it may be the latest revealed. The regime has been arming alphabet soup agencies at an alarming rate, even as it works in nefarious and extra-legal ways to disarm law-abiding Americans and propagandizes against them. All the while, the regime is arming al-Qaida-linked terror groups in Libya, Syria and elsewhere, demonstrating exactly who the regime considers “terrorists.”

According to Gertz, defense analysts say there has been a buildup of military units within non-security-related Federal agencies, notably the creation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. “The buildup raises questions about whether the regime is undermining civil liberties under the guise of counterterrorism and counter narcotics efforts,” according to Gertz.

Agencies with SWAT teams include the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Education Department.

Gertz continues in his May 28th Article:

The militarization of federal agencies, under little-known statues that permit deputization of security officials, comes as the White House has launched verbal attacks on private citizens’ ownership of firearms despite the fact that most gun owners are law-abiding citizens.

President Obama stated at the National Defense University a year ago: “I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone or with a shotgun — without due process, nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.”

A Pentagon official who defended the directive said it was signed in December 2010 after four years of thorough consultations within the Pentagon and with other federal agencies The 2010 directive replaced several previously published directives in 1980, 1991, and 1993. The last time military forces were used to quell civil unrest was 1906 following the San Francisco earthquake to protect the federal mint and restore order in the city.

The official said: “I suppose that in a very extreme case, one can imagine a combination of natural and man-made disasters that result in the cascading failure of communication infrastructure, or some electro-magnetic pulse that shuts down all electronic communication.”

“In the event that it should happen in today’s day and age, we would want our senior military leaders in the field to do all they can to assist their fellow Americans to prevent significant loss of life or malicious destruction of property and to protect federal property or federal governmental functions,” the official said.”

So not only has the regime assumed the authority to disappear Americans without trial or Habeas Corpus under the Congress-passed National Defense Authorization Act, it has assumed under a simple DoD secretary’s signature the authority — and granted it to military commanders — to attack Americans with wanton force if it determines they are a threat. And the second most powerful man in American government, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has called Bundy supporters “domestic terrorists,” which crosses the threshold needed by the NDAA and the directive to deploy force against Americans standing up to government abuse and overreach.

We have come a long way distant from the basic concepts of our Founders belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Over the years presidents and Congress have been chipping away at our basic rights. In the last 100 years under the egis of Woodrow Wilson’s administrative state. Today the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (once the General Land Office staffed by land surveyors and cartographers) now has SWAT teams and the EPA has the power to control the use of your land if they consider the puddle in your back yard should be environmentally protected as a wetland. This is the totality of the fourth branch of our government — the Administrative State.

Friday, May 30, 2014

It’s Time for Mexico to Act Like a Civilized Nation

“Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” — ― Alexis de Tocqueville

On May 28, U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who is being held in a jail in Tijuana for crossing into the country with firearms, appeared before a Mexican judge for what was supposed to be his first evidentiary-type hearing. It wound up being delayed until June 4 because on Wednesday of this week Tahmooressi fired his initial attorney Alejandro Osuna.

On March 31, Tahmooressi was arrested by the Mexican border patrol after he accidentally drove across the San Ysidro checkpoint and into Mexico with his three legally owned guns. It is a crime to knowingly enter Mexico with firearms and ammunition. The sentence can be up to 30 years in prison.

Tahmooressi's arrest has reignited the debate about Mexico's legal system. Based on my conversation with a former State Department official who spent 15 months on the border handling numerous border issues including the arrests of U.S. citizens, the hearing on June 4 will be “very cut and dry.”

The judge will determine basic facts. There will be questions such as did Tahmooressi violate Mexican law by entering the country with guns? Can Tahmooressi read? Can he see? Were the international border signs properly posted, warning that it is illegal to enter Mexico with firearms?

According to a spokesman for Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), theSgt. Andrew Tahmooressi judge will also determine if Tahmooressi really does suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as he has alleged. Mexican prosecutors are apparently conducting an independent psychological analysis. Tahmooressi’s attorney is in possession of his Department of Veteran's Affairs mental health records to prove his claims about his condition.

There is no dispute that Tahmooressi violated Mexico's gun-control laws, even though it was an accident. According to the Mexican Consulate General's website, "Claiming not to know about the law will not get you leniency from a police officer or the judicial system."

But legal procedure is not the only issue in this case. Tahmooressi’s “honest mistake” defense invokes an equally important issue of politics.

According to the former U.S. official, Mexico takes its sovereignty seriously and feels as if the United States does not respect its laws and independence.

For example, the U.S. and Mexico have inherent differences in criminal sentencing. Mexico does not have a death penalty; it views such punishment as cruel and unusual. Texas, on the other hand, does have the death penalty.

At the time Tahmooressi was arrested, Mexico was pleading with Texas not to execute convicted murderer and rapist Ramiro Hernandez, a Mexican citizen. Texas disregarded Mexico’s request and executed Hernandez on April 4th.

The Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry opposed Texas’ decision, stating, “This is the fourth case of a Mexican being executed in clear violation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice. The Government of Mexico expresses its most vigorous protest at the failure to comply.”

Mexico might be thinking, “You did not listen to us (about Hernandez) so why should we listen to you (about Tahmooressi)? You want us to respect your right to prosecute and punish. Now you must respect our right to prosecute and punish.”

Mexico may also be upset because our agencies and officials have a decades-long pattern of entering its country to fight the War on Drugs without its permission or knowledge.

In the nineties, U.S. Customs agents carried out Operation Casablanca, a money-laundering sting, without Mexico’s knowledge. This operation caused great friction between the two countries. “Casablanca was a hard punch to mutual cooperation and trust because it implied, in some ways, the violation of bilateral and international agreements,'' said then-foreign ministry official Miguel Ruiz Caba Mfas.

According to a report on Fox News Greta Van Susteren, a crusader for the release of Tahmooressi the officer found him guilty of crime from beginning.

This week past week we were reminded of the sacrifices of our military heroes on numerous TV shows. Today we are reminded of by a high-profile story in the news right now. We have an explosive international incident developing over the false imprisonment of a U.S. Marine hero in Mexico. Remarkably, our President and Secretary of State have not even chosen to bring this issue up with Enrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico.

I believe the United States would have great leverage in this situation – if we had a real leader running this country. Unfortunately, we have the weak, feckless, neutered, bowing Barack Obama. Our President doesn’t understand American exceptionalism. Our fearful leader doesn’t believe in the greatness of our military. He certainly doesn’t understand what Donald Trump would call “the art of the deal.” It’s time to explain the situation to our southern neighbor. It’s time to make an offer he can’t refuse. This is the letter a real leader of the United States would send to the President of Mexico to rescue a true American hero and patriot, who is languishing in a filthy, dangerous Mexican jail under false pretenses. Here is what I would tell the President Obama if he were to ask me for my advice.

“Dear President Enrique Peña Nieto:

Greetings from the United States of America — you know, the great Nation just above your crime-ridden country, who has taken in millions of your citizens and spent hundreds of billions of dollars in welfare, food stamps, housing allowances, healthcare, education, police and prison costs, free meals at school, and income tax credits on your citizens here in our country illegally. I think you owe it to us to listen to what we have to say.

I write you today because you’re holding one of our citizens hostage in one of the hellholes that you call a federal prison. The citizen you are holding is my Marine. His name is Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. He is an American hero. During the four years he served in the U.S. Marines, he did two tours in Afghanistan. While on the battlefield, he saved the lives of eight Marines from the Taliban; and in a separate incident he saved a Marine from bleeding to death after that soldier lost both legs from an improvised explosive device explosion. This American hero is now languishing in your prison in Tijuana, Mexico.

What crime did he commit? Murder? Robbery? Kidnapping? Drug smuggling? No those are the things that happen to law-abiding citizens in your country every day. But Tahmooressi didn’t do any of those bad things. He accidentally drove across the border in his own vehicle with three legally owned guns. Yes, that’s his “crime.” Bad driving and getting lost. This American hero entered your country because of poor signage leading to your border outside San Diego (possibly combined with confusion from his post-traumatic stress disorder).

As a result of that honest mistake, my Marine has been under constant death threat from Mexican drug gangs in your prison. Because you can’t control your own violent prisoners, my Marine has been isolated in a filthy prison cell, chained to his bed for weeks. This is called torture, and it is a violation of his civil (and human) rights.

I want to make sure you understand the gravity of this situation. Your Mexican citizens enter our country illegally, and we let them live and work here. Our citizens are kindhearted enough to oppose deportation of millions of your citizens for fear of breaking up their families. We hire your citizens and provide them with a better life than they ever had in Mexico. They send money home to Mexico that keeps your economy afloat. That money comes from our citizens and taxpayers. Even Mexican felons are treated better in our prisons and legal system than they are in your country. That’s why your citizens are willing to die to escape to our country.

Let’s also discuss your military. This U.S. Marine hero made a mistake wandering into your country. But your military has purposely wandered onto U.S. soil many times, which is a violation of U.S. laws. But we have chosen not to arrest your soldiers. We’ve given our neighbors the benefit of the doubt. Is this how you treat us in return?

Let’s review the direct military aid we’ve gifted to your country. Between 2008 and 2011, the Department of Defense gave $428.7 million worth of equipment to Mexican security forces, including planes, Black Hawk helicopters and scanners. Last year alone, we trained more than 3,000 Mexican troops. All this money came from U.S. taxpayers — like Tahmooressi’s parents.

My Marine was armed with three firearms because he has the Constitutional right to own and possess those firearms in the United States. I understand that your country does not have those same rights. That’s too bad for you and your citizens. I’ve noticed that even though you have disarmed your citizens, gun violence is out of control in Mexico. It’s strange how in your “gun-free” country, there are incredible numbers of gun murders. It appears that taking guns away from law-abiding citizens has not worked out very well for your disarmed citizens.

I understand that you have “issues” keeping your citizens from crossing over into our country and keeping drug lords from smuggling drugs into our country. Until now, we have never properly addressed these issues with you. I think that time has come. But we will deal with those issues at a later date. Right now, we have only one issue on the plate. Rest assured, the future of American-Mexican relations depend on the resolution of this issue.

I hope you will consider this a formal (but friendly) request, as one neighbor to another. As the Commander in Chief of Tahmooressi, I’m giving you until 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time tomorrow to return my Marine (along with his truck and weapons) to the U.S. border crossing in San Diego.

I will have the appropriate U.S. officials and military officers waiting there at precisely 5 p.m. to inspect the condition of my Marine and to report his physical and mental condition to me immediately. I expect him to be in perfect health.

If you choose to disregard my simple and reasonable “friendly” request, please be aware that I have already ordered the U.S. Marine Corps commandant at Camp Pendleton to have his 100,000 Marines “stand to” and ready to proceed into Mexico to retrieve my Marine.

One way or another, my Marine is coming home — whether you send him home or we have to come get him. We leave no man behind. If we are forced to retrieve Tahmooressi at great effort and expense to the United States, we will also send you a bill for the $500 million or so we’ve spent on training and equipment for your military since 2008.

I’ll deal with the hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve spent on housing your citizens illegally in the United States at a future date — after this incident has been resolved to my satisfaction.

This is not a threat. This is a promise. I pray, for your sake and for your citizens’ safety, that you choose to do the right thing, neighbor. But know one thing: One way or another, my Marine is coming home by tomorrow evening at 5 p.m.


Barack Obama

The President of the United States of America

P.S. Semper Fi.

No doubt this letter will never be sent by our sitting President. Remember President James Madison went to war in 1812 with the greatest power in the world over British attempts to restrict U.S. trade and the Royal Navy’s impressment of American seamen. It’s about time for President Obama to step up the plate and protect not only his citizens, but those who he commands.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shame on the History Channel

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

George Santayana’s comment on remembering the past rings true, but the History Channel’s memory is a bit clouded when it comes to World Wars 1 & 2. Tonight I finished watching there 3 part, six hour miniseries The World Wars” and found it to be not only inaccurate in many places but at the level for a second grader.

The series produced by the History Channel and narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town), this three-night event series features interviews with contemporary leaders, including John McCain, Colin Powell, John Major and David Miliband, along with noted historians from around the world.

According to the History Channel’s promo piece:

“An assassination in Sarajevo sparks a global war. For the next 30 years, deadly fighting rages across Europe, Africa, China and the Pacific.

Hitler. Churchill. De Gaulle. MacArthur. Patton. Stalin. Mussolini. We know them as legends. But they first learn what it will take to rise to greatness as young soldiers, fighting for their lives on the frontlines.

This is the story of a generation of men who come of age in the trenches of World War I, only to become the leaders of World War II. The lessons they learn on the frontlines shape them as they rise to power—and haunt them as the deadly fighting breaks out again. Some become heroes, forged in courage under fire. Others emerge as the most infamous villains the world has ever seen.

Theirs is one story—the story of a 30-year global struggle. A fight that will either save the world—or destroy it.”

While the concept of linking WWI and WWII into one world war of 30 years in length with only pauses here and there is a good and, what I believe, a valid concept their execution missed by a mile.

Anyone who has studied 20th century history and men like Wilson, Churchill, Hitler, and Stalin should be embarrassed at what the producers and writers of this series fed the viewing public. Those who are not familiar with the events of the 30 year period from 1914 to 1945, as no doubt most of today’s high school and college graduates are, will get a very flawed picture of the reasons, players, events, and ramifications of this period and how they affect us to this day.

Here are a few of the more glaring oversights and inaccuracies dished out by the series:

Wilson’s Reasons for Entering World War I:

The series portrays President Woodrow Wilson as a man who had no desire to intervene in the First World ar. Yes, they mentioned the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania (1915) by a German U-Boat of the coast of Ireland and the infamous Zimmerman Telegram urging Mexico to enter the war on the side of the Central Powers in 1917. These events turned public opinion against Germany and gave Wilson a green light for declaring war on Germany but Wilson had designs on entering the war as he always was a Europhile since the time he spent at Johns Hopkins University a hotbed of progressivism and Europhiles where those like John Dewey had great influence.

They did not mention the resignation of Wilson’s Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan over what he believed was a dangerous action to enter a world war some 5,000 miles away. Nor was there any mention of Coronel House Wilson’s closest advisor and advocate of intervention into the war.

There was no mention of Wilson’s efforts to counter opposition to the war at home. Wilson pushed through Congress the Espionage Act of 1917 and thThomas_Woodrow_Wilson,_Harris_&_Ewing_bw_photo_portrait,_1919e Sedition Act of 1918 to suppress anti-British, pro-German, or anti-war opinions. While he welcomed socialists who supported the war, he pushed at the same time to arrest and deport foreign-born radicals. Citing the Espionage Act, the U.S. Post Office, following the instructions of the Justice Department, refused to carry any written materials that could be deemed critical of the U.S. war effort. Some sixty newspapers judged to have revolutionary or antiwar content were deprived of their second-class mailing rights and effectively banned from the U.S. mails.Mere criticism of the Wilson administration and its war policy became grounds for arrest and imprisonment. A Jewish immigrant from Germany, Robert Goldstein, was sentenced to ten years in prison for producing The Spirit of '76, a film that portrayed the British, now an ally, in an unfavorable light.

Also absent from the narrative was that Wilson set up the first western propaganda office, the United States Committee on Public Information, headed by George Creel (thus its popular name, Creel Commission), which filled the country with patriotic anti-German appeals and conducted various forms of censorship. All of these actions were in direct violation of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.

Lenin and the Communist Revolution:

This was one of the most glaring inaccuracies of the series. While their mention of the German’s secretly bringing Vladimir Lenin into to Russia from his exile in Switzerland was correct the rest of this segment was totally distorted. The series writers had Lenin storming the Winter Palace and overthrowing the Tsar Nicholas II.

Actually there were two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first was led by members of the military, civilian workers groups, and members of Russia’s parliament — the Duma. This revolution took place in March of 1917. The outcome of the demonstrations and strife was the abdication of the Tsar and his eventual being placed under house arrest by the provisional government.

When the leader of this provisional government, Alexander Kerensky, a young and popular lawyer and a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party while instituting reforms that provided more civil liberties he did not withdraw from the war. . This is when the Germans smuggled Lenin into to Russia.

The political group that proved most troublesome for Kerensky, and would eventually overthrow him, was the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin had been living in exile in neutral Switzerland and, due to democratization of politics after the February Revolution, which legalized formerly banned political parties, he perceived the opportunity for his Marxist revolution. Although return to Russia had become a possibility, the war made it logistically difficult. Eventually, German officials arranged for Lenin to pass through their territory, hoping that his activities would weaken Russia or even – if the Bolsheviks came to power — lead to Russia's withdrawal from the war. Lenin and his associates, however, had to agree to travel to Russia in a sealed train: Germany would not take the chance that he would foment revolution in Germany. After passing through the front, he arrived in Petrograd (St Petersburg) in April 1917.

With Lenin's arrival, the popularity of the Bolsheviks increased steadily. Over the course of the spring, public dissatisfaction with the Provisional Government and the war, in particular among workers, soldiers and peasants, pushed these groups to radical parties. Despite growing support for the Bolsheviks, buoyed by maxims that called most famously for "all power to the Soviets," the party held very little real power in the moderate-dominated Petrograd Soviet. Lenin and his followers were unprepared for how their groundswell of support, especially among influential worker and soldier groups, would translate into real power in the summer of 1917.

On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a 25 October date). The October revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia's short-lived provisional parliamentary government with government by soviets, local councils elected by bodies of workers and peasants. Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army, immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army, in a series of battles that would become known as the Russian Civil War.

While the Bolsheviks did storm the Winter Palace it was not the Tsar who was overthrown, It was the Kerensky Provisional Government. I realize the story of the Russian Revolution and the rise of the Communist state is long and complicated but at least the writers of the series could have gotten this fact correct.

Versailles Peace Conference and Wilson’s 14 Points:

This was a topic very lightly covered. Too integrate the two world wars together the Versailles Peace Treaty is a subject that cannot be brushed over as it laid the groundwork for the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party to power and should be considered as the single most cause of WWII.

There was no mention of Wilson’s 14 Points and how the European Leaders pretty much ignored them. It was Clemenceau of France, upon hearing of the Fourteen Points, was said to have sarcastically claimed “The good Lord only had ten!” While the 14 Points were the basis for the armistice they were not really incorporated into the final treaty.

There was no mention of Wilson failing health and the conference and the role played by his foreign policy advisor “Colonel” Edward M. House.

The fact that the Japanese, members of the winning side, walked out of the conference when they felt left out was brushed over with a light touch.

There was mention that the Germans were not present, but once again it was given a one or two sentence statement. The German snub and enormous reparations were the primary reasons for the rise of the Nazi Party and Adolph Hitler. The reparations demanded were the cause of the collapse of the German economy which resulted in the civil unrest in Germany.

The Failed League of Nations:

No mention was made of the League of Nations and how Wilson, a proponent, was unable to get the treaty accepted by the United States Senate. This resulted in feckless organization that had no power to enforce penalties on violators and without the treasure of the United States it was bound to failure. Nations will act in their own self-interest and that’s the way it was to be.

Mussolini’s Rise to Power:

Benito Mussolini was shown as a fascist dictator, but no mention was made of his corporatist policies which tied him closely to the Italian industrial leaders, which without their support he would have been relegated to the trash heap of failed wanabe dictators. It was the Italian industrialists that really made El Duce.

Hitler’s Annexations and Territorial Grabs:

While some time was given to the German reoccupation of the Rhineland and their takeover of two-thirds of Czechoslovakia little mention was made of the plebiscites in the French Occupied Saarland and the Anschluss with Austria.

The Battle of Britain and the Blitz:

This one really bugged me. The series had the Battle of Britain and the Blitz reversed on the timeline. They had the Blitz (the German night bombing of London and other cities in the UK coming prior to the RAF’s battle to stop the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over Britain. The Battle for Britain, or has Churchill described it as “Their Finest Hour” took place in the skies of England from July 10, 1940 to October 31, 1940.

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. The battle received its name from a speech Winston Churchill delivered to the British House of Commons on June 18, 1940, in which he stated "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin." The German objective was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centers, such as Portsmouth, were the main targets; one month later, the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed, the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing strategy – the Blitz.

Regardless of the ability of the Luftwaffe to win air superiority, Adolf Hitler was frustrated that it was not happening quickly enough. With no sign of the RAF weakening, and Luftwaffe air fleets taking punishing losses, the Luftwaffe was keen for a change in strategy. To reduce losses further, a change in strategy was also favored to take place at night, to give the bombers greater protection under cover of darkness. On 4 September 1940 after a RAF night rain on Berlin, in a long address at the Sportspalast, Hitler declared: "And should the Royal Air Force drop two thousand, or three thousand kilograms then we will now drop 300,000, 400,000, yes one million kilograms in a single night. And should they declare they will greatly increase their attacks on our cities, then we will erase their cities.”

The Blitz lasted from September 7, 1940 to May 21, 1941 and took the lives of 40 thousand civilians and injured as many as 139,000.

By preventing Germany from gaining air superiority, the battle ended the threat that Hitler would launch Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain. However, Germany continued bombing operations on Britain, known as The Blitz. The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defenses, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender, is considered its first major defeat and a crucial turning point in the Second World War

The Use of Documentary Footage:

The use of documentary footage was atrocious. In many scenes of German bombers shown during the Blitz and the invasion of Poland German four engine bombers were shown and in some cases the editors used footage of American B-17 bombers. At no time during WWII did the Germans use long-range four engine bombers. These scenes mad the series look amateurish and the documentary film researchers and editors could have done a proper job.

Roosevelt’s Constitutionally Illegal Support of Britain and Lend Lease:

No mention was made of Roosevelt’s providing illegal military support to Great Britain or his policy of Lend-Lease without it would have been almost impossible for England to survive.

The Battle of the Atlantic:

No mention was made of the German U-Boat campaign that almost destroyed Great Britain’s ability to survive. The German U-Boat offensive in the Atlantic cut off much of the war materials and foodstuffs until the United States entered the war after Hitler’s Declaration of War on the U.S on December 11, 1941. Once the U.S entered the WWII they were able to provide convoy support thus allowing the buildup of forces in the U.K. This was a major factor in the Second World War.

Japan’s Reasons for the Invasion of China and Korea:

The series focused on Roosevelt’s oil embargo which was correct but did mention Japan’s need for more natural resources than oil. They needed timber, iron ore, copper, rubber and other precious metals for their war effort, resources they did not have.

While the United States was still struggling to emerge from the Great Depression at the end of the 1930s, and would do so partly because of the war, Japan had emerged from its own period of depression, which had begun in 1926, by the mid-1930s. Many of the young soldiers mobilized into the Japanese army by the early 1930s came from the rural areas, where the effects of the depression were devastating and poverty was widespread. Their commitment to the military effort to expand Japanese territory to achieve economic security can be understood partly in these terms. The depression ended in the mid-1930s in Japan partly because of government deficits used to expand greatly both heavy industry and the military.

The Japanese military faced a particular tactical problem in that certain critical raw materials — especially oil and rubber — were not available within the Japanese sphere of influence. Instead, Japan received most of its oil from the United States and rubber from British Malaya, the very two Western nations trying to restrict Japan's expansion. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's embargo of oil exports to Japan pressured the Japanese navy, which had stocks for only about six months of operations.

The Japanese army, for its part, was originally concerned with fighting the Soviet Union, because of the army's preoccupation with Manchuria and China. The Japanese army governed Manchuria indirectly through the "puppet" state of Manchuria and developed heavy industry there under its favorite agencies, disliking and distrusting the zaibatsu (large Japanese corporations). But the Soviet army's resistance to Japanese attacks was sufficient to discourage northern expansion.

The Japanese army, for its part, was originally concerned with fighting the Soviet Union, because of the army's preoccupation with Manchuria and China. The Japanese army governed Manchuria indirectly through the "puppet" state of Manchukuo and developed heavy industry there under its favorite agencies, disliking and distrusting the zaibatsu (large Japanese corporations). But the Soviet army's resistance to Japanese attacks was sufficient to discourage northern expansion.

Meanwhile in 1937, the intensification of Chinese resistance to the pressure of the Japanese military drew Japan into a draining war in the vast reaches of China proper, and in 1940 into operations in French Indochina, far to the south. Thus, when the navy pressed for a "southern" strategy of attacking Dutch Indonesia to get its oil and British Malaya to control its rubber, the army agreed.

While it seems that economic factors were important in Japanese expansion in East Asia, it would be too much to say that colonialism, trade protection, and the American embargo compelled Japan to take this course. Domestic politics, ideology and racism also played a role.

Japan’s Brutality in China:

While much space was given to the Nazi’s brutality and the Holocaust no mention was made of Japan’s brutality during WWII. No mention was made of the Rape of Nanking or the Japanese Unit 731, a united devoted chemical, biological, and human experimentation. Also no mention was made of the Battan Death March. Possible this was done to preserve sympathy for Japan after the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Russo-German Pact:

Not much space was given to the 1939 Russo-German Pact. Without this agreement with Stalin’s Soviet Union it is doubtful that Germany would have invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. This pact allowed Germany and the U.S.S.R. to spilt Poland in two giving each party their portion. Eventually Hitler voided the Pact on June 1, 1941 when he invaded the U.S.S.R.

The North African Campaign and El Alamein:

The series claims that the first use of American troops in the European Campaign was the Invasion of Sicily. This is blatantly wrong. The first use of U.S troops was in North Africa with the landings at Algeria. They did not even mention the fighting in North Africa and the defeat of Rommel’s Africa Corps. They wanted to focus on Patton’s performance in Sicily. No mention was made of the British Eighth Army’s final defeat of the Africa Corps at El Alamein and the eventually dominance of the Mediterranean. This cut off Hitler’s supply of oil from Libya and the allies ability to build air bases where their long-range bombers could reach other oil fields in Romania.

General Patton vs. General Eisenhower:

Not one word of mention was given to General Eisenhower the appointed Supreme Commander of all allied forces in Europe. The focus was on Lt. General Patton and his part in Operation Fortitude, a ruse conceived by the British to disguise the Normandy site for the invasion by forcing Hitler to believe the real invasion would take place at the Pas de Calais.

Fortitude was one of the major elements of Operation Bodyguard, the overall Allied deception stratagem for the Normandy landings. Bodyguard's principal objective was to ensure the Germans would not increase troop presence in Normandy by promoting the appearance that the Allied forces would attack in other locations. After the invasion (on June 6, 1944) the plan was to delay movement of German reserves to the Normandy beachhead and prevent a potentially disastrous counter-attack. Fortitude's objectives were to promote alternative targets of Norway and Calais.

The planning of Operation Fortitude came under the auspices of the London Controlling Section, a secret body set up to manage Allied deception strategy during the war. However, the execution of each plan fell to the various theatre commanders, in the case of Fortitude this was Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) under General Dwight D. Eisenhower. A special section, Ops (B), was established at SHAEF to handle the operation (and all of the theatre's deception warfare). The LCS retained responsibility for what was called "Special Means"; the use of diplomatic channels and double-agents.

While this faint was important it did not surpass the job Eisenhower did in planning the Normandy invasion and his tireless efforts of holding the allied coalition together — especially when it came to Charles De Gaul. If one did now know better watching this series would have you believe Patton won the war in Europe with his tanks. Yes General Patton’s role was not insignificant, especially during the Battle of the Bulge, but so were the efforts of many others. It was Eisenhower, as Supreme Commander, who made the tough decisions and held the political wolves at bay.

On the other side of the world the focus was on General MacArthur the overall commander of the army forces in the Pacific Theater. No mention was made of Admiral Nimitz, the overall naval commander and co-commander with MacArthur, and the role of the Marines in the brutal island-hopping war nor the naval battles such as the Coral Sea, The Battle for Leyte Gulf, The Philippine Sea, and Guadalcanal carried out in that theater of operations.

The Yalta and Potsdam Conferences:

Mention was made of the Tehran Conference between the big three; Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin where Stalin agreed to enter the war against Japan at some point. However, no mention was made of the Yalta Conference where to get agreement on unconditional surrender by Germany a physically weakened Roosevelt surrendered all of post-war Eastern Europe to the Stalin’s Soviet Union while a war-weary Churchill looked on. Also no mention was made of the Potsdam Conference after victory in Europe where President Truman got the same terms of surrender for Japan. I will say, however, that I thought Winston Churchill’s role in WWII was accurately displayed.

I began watching this series with great expectations but as the series drew on I became more and more disappointed with its soap opera appearance. I guess I was expecting too much from a six hour TV mini-series. Some of the historians had a chance to save the series with more cogent remarks but they fell into line with the writer’s narrative. It’s a shame as a series such as this had great possibilities to educate the viewers who were not aware of the history of the two world wars and their linking into a conflict lasting 30 years.

If you have the time and want to watch a comprehensive history of the Second World War I would suggest viewing the “Winds of War” and its companion series “War and Remembrance.” While a dramatic series it packs in a ton of accurate history.

If we want to follow George Santayana’s advice we have to view the past in a clear and accurate manner, not through the eyes of a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States." — John Adams.

This Memorial Day morning I had to get up at 05:00 to take my daughter to the Ontario Airport to catch a flight to Dallas, Texas. Traffic was light and_FHP5166 the trip to the airport was easy and quick. On the way home we passed the Medal of Honor Cemetery in Riverside, California. I immediately began regretting that I did not have my camera with me so I could stop at the cemetery and take some photos of all the little American Flags posted at each grave site. The last time I attempted to enter the cemetery on a Memorial Day the line to get in was huge. Perhaps tomorrow I will drive up early in the morning and see if the flags are still there.

Fortunately last night I watched on PBS the 25th Memorial Day Concert from the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. This was a very inspiring program hosted by Gary Senise and Joe Mantegna, one of the stars of the CBS show “Criminal Minds.” Both are patriots who devote of the time and treasure to support our veterans. This show was produced to honor the veterans, alive and dead, with many in attendance. It was jot, as most Hollywood-type productions are made to honor the stars.

Memorial Day provides a stark contrast between the best of our nation's Patriot sons and daughters versus the worst of our nation's civilian culture of consumption.

Amid the sparse, reverent observances of the sacrifices made by millions of American Patriots who paid the full price for Liberty, in keeping with their sacred oaths, we are inundated at every turn with the commercialization of Memorial Day by vendors who are too ignorant and/or selfish to honor this day in accordance with its purpose.

Indeed, Memorial Day has been sold out, along with Washington's Birthday, Independence Day, Veterans, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. And it's no wonder, as government schools no longer teach civics or any meaningful history, and courts have excluded God (officially) from the public square.

According to Michelle Malkin writing in Human Events:

“A government that fails to secure its borders is guilty of dereliction of duty. A government that fails to care for our men and women on the frontlines is guilty of malpractice. A government that puts the needs of illegal aliens above U.S. veterans for political gain should be prosecuted for criminal neglect bordering on treason.

Compare, contrast, and weep:

In Sacramento, Calif., lawmakers are moving forward with a budget-busting plan to extend government-funded health insurance to at least 1.5 million illegal aliens.

In Los Angeles, federal bureaucrats callously canceled an estimated 40,000 diagnostic tests and treatments for American veterans with cancer and other illnesses to cover up a decade-long backlog.

In New York, doctors report that nearly 40 percent of their patients receiving kidney dialysis are illegal aliens. A survey of nephrologists in 44 states revealed that 65 percent of them treat illegal aliens with kidney disease.

In Memphis, a VA whistleblower reported that his hospital was using contaminated kidney dialysis machines to treat America’s warriors. The same hospital previously had been investigated for chronic overcrowding at its emergency room, leading to six-hour waits or longer. Another watchdog probe found unconscionable delays in processing lab tests at the center. In addition, three patients died under negligent circumstances, and the hospital failed to enforce accountability measures.

In Arizona, illegal aliens incurred health care costs totaling an estimated $700 million in 2009.

In Phoenix, at least 40 veterans died waiting for VA hospitals and clinics to treat them, while government officials created secret waiting lists to cook the books and deceive the public about deadly treatment delays.

At the University of California at Berkeley, UC President Janet Napolitano (former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security) has offered $5 million in financial aid to illegal alien students. Across the country, 16 states offer in-state tuition discounts for illegal aliens: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. In addition, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the University of Michigan Board of Regents all approved their own illegal alien tuition benefits.

In 2013, the nation’s most selective colleges and universities had enrolled just 168 American veterans, down from 232 in 2011. Anti-war activists have waged war on military recruitment offices at elite campuses for years. The huge influx of illegal aliens in state universities is shrinking the number of state-subsidized slots for vets.

In 2013, the Obama Department of Homeland Security released 36,007 known, convicted criminal illegal aliens, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. The catch-and-release beneficiaries include thugs convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and thousands of drunk or drugged driving crimes.

The same Department of Homeland Security issued a report in 2009 that identified returning combat veterans as worrisome terrorist and criminal threats to America.

In Washington, Big Business and open-borders lobbyists are redoubling efforts to pass another massive illegal alien amnesty to flood the U.S. job market with low-wage labor.

Across the country, men and women in uniform returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have higher jobless rates than the civilian population. The unemployment rate for new veterans has spiked to its worst levels, nearing 15 percent. For veterans ages 24 and under, the jobless rate is a whopping 29.1 percent, compared to 17.6 percent nationally for the age group.

A Forbes columnist reported last year that an Air Force veteran was told: “We don’t hire your kind.”

It should be noted here that the “evil” Wal-Mart Company has pledged to hire 100,000 vets by 2016. To date the company has hired 22,000 vets and counting. This is the company the Democratic Party’s union supporters hate and call evil for the non-union policies.

Malkin continues:

“And last December, Democrats led the charge to reduce cost-of-living increases in military pensions — while blocking GOP Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ efforts to close a $4.2 billion loophole that allows illegal aliens to collect child tax credits from the IRS, even if they pay no taxes. The fraudulent payments to illegal aliens would have offset the cuts to veterans’ benefits.

America: medical and welfare welcome mat to the rest of the world, while leavings its best and bravest veterans to languish in hospital lounges, die waiting for appointments, and compete for jobs and educational opportunities against illegal border-crossers, document fakers, visa violators and deportation evaders.

And we still have Marine Vet languishing in a Mexican jail while our government does nothing to get him home. Shame on us.

In his essay "The Contest In America," 19th-century libertarian philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

It is that "decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling" which accounts for why so many "miserable creatures" have downgraded Memorial Day to nothing more than a date to exploit for commercial greed and avarice. While units large and small of America's Armed Forces stand in harm's way around the globe, many Americans are too preoccupied with beer, barbecue and baseball to pause and recognize the priceless burden borne by generations of our uniformed Patriots. Likewise, many politicos will use Memorial Day as a soapbox to feign Patriotism, while in reality they are in constant violation of their oaths to our Constitution.

That notwithstanding, there are still tens of millions of genuine American Patriots who will set aside the last Monday in May to honor all those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who have refreshed the Tree of Liberty with their blood, indeed with their lives, so that we might remain the proud and free.

Since the opening salvos of the American Revolution, nearly 1.2 million American Patriots have died in defense of Liberty. Additionally, 1.4 million have been wounded in combat, and tens of millions more have served honorably, surviving without physical wounds. These numbers, of course, offer no reckoning of the inestimable value of their service or the sacrifices borne by their families, but we do know that the value of Liberty extended to their posterity — to us — is priceless.

Who were these brave souls?

In the Civil War an estimated 620,000 Americans died

In the First World War there were 417,465 military deaths from all causes with 204,000 wounded, many of which were permanently disabled.

In the Second World War over 16 million served and 420,000 of those made the ultimate sacrifice with 670,000 wounded. Some with wounds that never healed. Today less than 10% of those members of that “Greatest Generation” are still with us. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with and interview five of those members in 2008.

The Korean War gave us another 36,000 dead with 92,000 wounded.

The Vietnam War caused 58,209 military deaths, the names of all of which are carved into the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. Another 153,000 were wounded, some with severe mental problems and are suffering at the hands of the Veterans Administration’s failed health care system.

Finally the Iraq-Afghanistan war, with Afghanistan being the longest war in our nation’s history has given us 6,717 killed (Iraq 4,488, Afghanistan 2,229) and 50,897 wounded (Iraq 32,222, Afghanistan 18,675) with many more suffering the effects of PTSD, a mental disabling disease that will affect them the rest of their lives. It should also be pointed out that due to the advances in battlefield medicine roughly 60% of those wounded would have died in previous wars. No it is up to the corrupt Veterans Administration to provide life-time care for these brave volunteers. And this does not take into account the suffering the families of these fallen and wounded have to endure.

On 12 May 1962, Gen. Douglas MacArthur addressed the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, delivering his farewell speech, "Duty, Honor and Country." He described the legions of uniformed American Patriots as follows: "Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms”.

Gen. MacArthur continued:

“His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.”

Duty. Honor. Country — these are not for bargain sale or discount.

On Memorial Day of 1982, President Ronald Reagan offered these words in honor of Patriots interred at Arlington National Cemetery: "I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice."

President Reagan continued:

“Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.

It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. . The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery.

One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have2012-05-24-alexander-4 known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GIs of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: "O! say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" That is what we must all ask.”

For the Fallen, we are certain of that which is noted on all Marine Corps Honorable Discharge orders: "Fideli Certa Merces" — to the faithful there is certain reward.

Thomas Jefferson offered this enduring advice to all generations of Patriots: "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all those generations who have passed the Torch of Liberty to succeeding generations. In accordance, I humbly ask that each of you call upon all those around you to observe Memorial Day with reverence.

In honor of American Patriots who have died in defense of our great nation, lower your flag to half-staff from sunrise to 1200 on Monday. (Read about proper flag etiquette and protocol.) Join us by observing a time of silence at 1500 (your local time), for remembrance and prayer. Offer a personal word of gratitude and comfort to any surviving family members you know who are grieving for a beloved warrior fallen in battle.

On this and every day, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces now standing in harm's way around the world in defense of our liberty, and for the families awaiting their safe return.


"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." — John 15:12-14

Monday, May 5, 2014

Two Good Things In One Day

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." — James Madison

It’s not often that two good things happen of the same day but today we had just such a happening.

The first thing was a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of the Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway et al. The Supreme Court ruled that a town in upstate New York did not violate the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month” who was almost always Christian. (See Washington Post Report)

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that divided the court’s more conservative members from its liberal ones, said the prayers were merely ceremonial. They were neither unduly sectarian nor likely to make members of other faiths feel unwelcome.

“Ceremonial prayer,” he wrote, “is but a recognition that, since this nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond that authority of government to alter or define.

In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the town’s practices could not be reconciled “with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share of her government.” What else would you expect from the four progressive, non-tolerant liberals sitting on the Court?

Town officials in Greece, N.Y., near Rochester, said that members of all faiths, and atheists, were welcome to give the opening prayer. In practice, however, almost all of the chaplains were Christian. Some of their prayers were explicitly sectarian, with references, for instance, to “the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.”

Two town residents sued, saying the prayers ran afoul of the First06SCOTUS-articleLarge Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion. They said the prayers offended them and, in Justice Kennedy’s words, “made them feel excluded and disrespected.” That’s it folks two residents out of a town of 94,000. I guess 93,998 have to bow two the wishes of 2 malcontents that are offended.

But Justice Kennedy said the relevant constitutional question was not whether they were offended. “Adults often encounter speech they find disagreeable,” he wrote.

Justice Kennedy said traditions starting with the first Congress supported the constitutionality of ceremonial prayers at the start of legislative sessions. He added that it would be perilous for courts to decide when those prayers crossed a constitutional line and became impermissibly sectarian.

“To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian,” he wrote, “would force the legislatures that sponsor prayers and the courts that are asked to decide these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, a rule that would involve government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town’s current practice of neither editing or approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined all of Justice Kennedy’s opinion, and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas most of it.

Justice Kennedy did suggest that some prayers may be unacceptable if offered consistently over time, including ones that “denigrate nonbelievers or religious minorities, threaten damnation or preach conversion.”

Town officials had tried, he said, to recruit members of various faiths to offer prayers.

In dissent, Justice Kagan said they had not tried hard enough. “So month in and month out for over a decade,” she wrote, “prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits.” How hard were they supposed to try? Perhaps they should have scoured the state and nation for volunteers. Ridiculous!

In 1983, in Marsh v. Chambers, the Supreme Court upheld the Nebraska Legislature’s practice of opening its legislative sessions with an invocation from a paid Presbyterian minister, saying that such ceremonies were “deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country.

Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, said the case from Greece was different. The prayers at the town board meetings were often explicitly sectarian, they said, and residents were forced to listen to them in order to participate in local government.

“No one can fairly read the prayers from Greece’s town meetings as anything other than explicitly Christian – constantly and exclusively so,” she wrote in her dissent in the case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, No. 12-696.

Moreover, she said, the clergy “put some residents to the unenviable choice of either pretending to pray like the majority or declining to join its communal activity, at the very moment of petitioning their elected leaders.”

These 4 liberal progressive justices will go to any length to disrespect the intent of our Founders when it comes to religion and the First Amendment.

As I drive east along SR 91 in Orange County there is a cross high upon a hill surrounded by a chain link fence that is clearly visible from the freeway. There is an even larger cross visible from the northbound I-215 in Riverside County near Murrieta. Both crosses are on private property, but very visible to and motorist driving east or north past the respective Christian symbols. I am waiting for the day when some bone-headed person brings an atheist group to town to bring a suit for the removal of these crosses on the grounds that they are “offensive” to them and cause such a distraction that they could cause a traffic mishap. To paraphrase Justice Kennedy’s comment on offensive speech; there are things I see and hear that I don’t like, but I just ignore the moron who said it and go one with my life. I used to live in the neighborhood where a mosque was located and I drove by every day. In fact I drove by it so often I no longer saw it. All I have to say to those who supported the two malcontents in the Town of Greece is “get a life.”

The second good thing that happened is Speaker of the House John Boehner finally after 601 days of spinning, obfuscating, lying, cover-up, political posturing, and Congressional hearings appointed a select committee to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi on the night of September 11, 2012 when terrorist carried out a planned attack on our consulate and left the ambassador and three others dead. No more “what does it matter” Mrs. Clinton, now, hopefully we will get to the truth.

To head this committee Boehner selected a very good congressman. His name is Trey Gowdy from South Carolina. He’s got fifteen years of120622_trey_gowdy_reuters_640 prosecutorial experience at both the federal and state levels. (Fun fact: I was watching an old episode of “Forensic Files” on HLN a week or two ago and who popped up onscreen but a young, dark-haired Trey Gowdy, discussing a murder case he’d won in South Carolina.) He’s also been out in front of the caucus in accusing the White House of Benghazi cover-ups: He’s the man who claimed last summer that they’d been giving CIA agents linked to the incident new identities to hide them from House investigators, and he told Greta Van Susteren just a few days ago that he has evidence that the White House is deliberately withholding documents related to the attack.

Boehner’s statement in appointing Gowdy.

“With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice. Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come. His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel. I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration. I plan to ensure he and his committee has the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts. This is a big job, but Rep. Gowdy has the confidence of this conference, and I know his professionalism and grit will earn him the respect of the American people.”

Gowdy may not be a Sam Ervin of Watergate fame but he is damn close. According to Hot Air:

“Smart politics twice over. Part of the reason Boehner agreed to the select committee was to unify the party ahead of the midterms; after Ben Rhodes’s e-mail became public, refusing toSam_Ervin form a committee would have been another flashpoint between the party establishment and the grassroots to go along with amnesty and increasingly tepid opposition to ObamaCare. It stands to reason that if you’re going to do something to placate your base, you might as well choose a conservative in good standing for chairman too. If he’d appointed a centrist and the committee came up with nothing, righties would have accused him of a whitewash. They can’t do that with Gowdy in charge, and if Gowdy comes up with nothing too, then Boehner can distance himself from it by saying it was largely a tea-party production all along.

The other reason it’s smart politics is that not only is Gowdy a respected prosecutor, he’s consistently one of the most dynamic members at House hearings. (You’ve watched enough clips of him on this site to know that.) Boehner doesn’t know what he’s going to get by way of evidence but he will insist on some political payoff from this ahead of the midterms, and Gowdy’s just the guy to deliver that. You want clips of John Kerry or Hillary Clinton sweating under a tough cross-examination to dominate the day’s news cycle on cable? He’ll do that for you better than virtually anyone else.

One question, though. Will Democrats participate in the committee? Here’s Adam Schiff telling Chris Wallace yesterday on FNS that he thinks the party should boycott. I hate to admit it but that’s sound strategy. They’re taking a risk in doing it: If the GOP turns up compelling evidence of Obama’s or Hillary’s negligence on the night of the attack, the fact that Democrats refused to take part in the investigation will make them look complicit in the cover-up and whitewash. If the GOP doesn’t turn up something compelling, though, the boycott will make it easier for Democrats to argue that it was a kangaroo court all along that the public should either pay no attention to or actively punish Republicans for organizing. In fact, Dems can cite their boycott as a reason for the public to downplay or ignore any evidence that Gowdy does uncover. E.g., “We knew Republicans would be grossly unfair to the administration and blow their findings out of all proportion. That’s why we didn’t participate.” It’s a way to delegitimize the effort, which is the whole ballgame for them right now.”

Be that as it may the Democrats better buckle up during the coming weeks. It’s going to get rough and explosive just like Watergate did. There are too many skeletons that have been stashed away in their closet and it’s up to Gowdy and his staffers to drag them out. It’s also a good time for Gowdy and some of his staffers and investigators to make a name for themselves. Over the past 20 months people have been shuffled around, demoted and promoted. Documents have been uncovered and no doubt some folks are fearful of their political fate. Washington is no bastion of loyalty when things get tough. Ask John Dean of Jeb McGruder.

Recognizing a serious threat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted the expansion of the House GOP probe of Benghazi as an “election-year stunt.”

Close, but no cigar. The real stunt came during the election of 2012, and it was carried out by Democrats.

That’s when the White House went into full fudge mode to protect President Obama from responsibility over the terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.

The desperate effort included lying about the attack, a fact that is now undeniable thanks to the release of a secret email written days later.

In it, an Obama aide said (Ben Rhodes) a goal of having U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice do five TV interviews was to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

But there was no protest about a video before the Benghazi attack, and CIA analysts said they knew instantly it was a planned terror operation. The date — the 11th anniversary of 9/11 — was one of many telltale signs.

The slaughter came only two months before Election Day in a campaignbenghazi270_20140505_194906 where Obama insisted that Al Qaeda was on the run. He couldn’t say “never mind,” with Mitt Romney breathing down his neck.

So his campaign and the White House tried to obscure what the president knew and when he knew it, and the question now is whether they committed a crime. The email was released in response to a private group’s lawsuit, after being withheld from congressional subpoenas asking for all Benghazi documents.

In promising a select committee would pursue the case, House Speaker John Boehner used the “O” word, accusing the White House of illegally “obstructing” Congress.

That carries echoes of Watergate and Monicagate, so Hilary and the Democrats buckle up it’s a rough road ahead.

To me this was very good news as I called for such committee in my blog of May 10, 2013.

The mainstream media declared the Benghazi story insignificant long ago. To the extent it is covered, the focus is usually on the horrific and unnecessary deaths of four Americans. The Obama administration dismisses it as a lot of fuss about a few silly talking points. Remember Hilary’s “what does it matter” comment.

But everybody is missing the big-picture story of the Benghazi affair and its cover-up. It’s about the White House using the intelligence community for its own political purposes, and lying to the American public in order to win an election. It’s about abuse of power, and that is a big deal. It always has been about the abuse of power and the cover-up. It always is. Those who abuse that power use their minions in the media to assist in the cover up and then wait while the public just forgets about. Too the relatives of those four dead Americans do not have the luxury of forgetfulness.

That’s why the administration cannot be allowed to investigate itself. That’s why it is time for Congress to appoint a special committee to get to the bottom of the story. Benghazi is no longer just a political issue. It’s not just a partisan witch hunt. It goes to the heart of what our system of government is all about.

If it turns out that Benghazi and the cover-up were just a series of junior level mistakes that’s the end of it. But if it turns out the administration was using the military and intelligence communities for political purposes prior to the attack, during the attack and in a subsequent cover-up, it must be held accountable. Because once the precedent is set, future administrations will feel no reluctance to do the same.

America has the most powerful military and intelligence services in the world, probably in the history of the world. They have an infrastructure that endures separately and beyond any administration or politician.

At the same time, the military-intelligence complex takes its orders from the American people, through their elected/appointed representatives in the White House and Cabinet.

It’s a sacred trust at the heart of our Constitution, as set out in civilian control of the military. But it comes at a price — that our civilian leaders do not abuse that power and bend the military and intelligence communities to do their political dirty work.

The president doesn’t order the military to seize political opponents. He doesn’t order his intelligence community to lie about national security for political purposes. He uses the military or intelligence communities to protect the United States and our citizens, not to help him win elections.

That’s the heart of the Benghazi scandal and cover-up. The White House twisted intelligence to suit its political needs.

It is now incumbent on Rep. Gowdy and his select committee to act and act like a hungry dog digging for his bone. There have been countless hearings into Benghazi by numerous congressional committees, but none have had subpoena power to demand the paper trail, or to force government workers to testify about what they knew and when they knew it.

The questions I see at the heart of the Benghazi scandal and cover-up are specifically:

Did the White House fail to provide adequate security at the Benghazi consulate because it didn’t want to acknowledge that a terrorist threat remained, even though Bin Laden was dead?

Did the White House order the intelligence community to change its analysis so the president could claim his policy was a success, rather than a failure, just a few weeks before an election?

And, finally, what was the relationship between an overzealous White House staff and the president himself? What did the president know, and when did he know it?

This is no longer just a political issue. It’s not just a partisan witch hunt. It goes to the heart of what our system of government is all about. That’s why it’s time for Congress to act and to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.

That’s why Benghazi matters.

I am sure in the coming weeks I will have more to say on this issue.