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Topic: Rest in Peace (Read 25291 times)
Rest in Peace
April 07, 2008, 10:52:50 AM »
Charlton Heston on the 2nd Amendment
February 11, 1997
National Press Club
February 11, 1997
Today I want to talk to you about guns: Why we have them, why the Bill of Rights guarantees that we can have them, and why my right to have a gun is more important than your right to rail against it in the press.
I believe every good journalist needs to know why the Second Amendment must be considered more essential than the First Amendment. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the right to keep and bear arms is not archaic. It's not an outdated, dusty idea some old dead white guys dreamed up in fear of the Redcoats. No, it is just as essential to liberty today as it was in 1776. These words may not play well at the Press Club, but it's still the gospel down at the corner bar and grill.
And your efforts to undermine the Second Amendment, to deride it and degrade it, to readily accept diluting it and eagerly promote redefining it, threaten not only the physical well-being of millions of Americans but also the core concept of individual liberty our founding fathers struggled to perfect and protect.
So now you know what doubtless does not surprise you. I believe strongly in the right of every law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms, for what I think are good reasons.
The original amendments we refer to as the Bill of Rights contain 10 of what the constitutional framers termed unalienable rights. These rights are ranked in random order and are linked by their essential equality. The Bill of Rights came to us with blinders on. It doesn't recognize color, or class or wealth. It protects not just the rights of actors, or editors, or reporters, but extends even to those we love to hate. That's why the most heinous criminals have rights until they are convicted of a crime.
The beauty of the Constitution can be found in the way it takes human nature into consideration. We are not a docile species capable of co-existing within a perfect society under everlasting benevolent rule.
We are what we are. Egotistical, corruptible, vengeful, sometimes even a bit power-mad. The Bill of Rights recognizes this and builds the barricades that need to be in place to protect the individual.
You, of course, remain zealous in your belief that a free nation must have a free press and free speech to battle injustice, unmask corruption and provide a voice for those in need of a fair and impartial forum.
I agree wholeheartedly -- a free press is vital to a free society. But I wonder: How many of you will agree with me that the right to keep and bear arms is not just equally vital, but the most vital to protect all the other rights we enjoy?
I say that the Second Amendment is, in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America's First Freedom, the one right that protects all the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live without fear. The right to keep and bear arms is the one right that allows 'rights' to exist at all.
Either you believe that, or you don't, and you must decide.
Because there is no such thing as a free nation where police and military are allowed the force of arms but individual citizens are not. That's a 'big brother knows best' theater of the absurd that has never bode well for the peasant class, the working class or even for reporters.
Yes, our Constitution provides the doorway for your news and commentary to pass through free and unfettered. But that doorway to freedom is framed by the muskets that stood between a vision of liberty and absolute anarchy at a place called Concord Bridge. Our revolution began when the British sent Redcoats door to door to confiscate the people's guns. They didn't succeed: The muskets went out the back door with their owners.
Emerson said it best:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
King George called us "rabble in arms." But with God's grace, George Washington and many brave men gave us our country. Soon after, God's grace and a few great men gave us our Constitution. It's been said that the creation of the United States is the greatest political act in history. I'll sign that.
In the next two centuries, though, freedom did not flourish. The next revolution, the French, collapsed in bloody Terror, then Napoleon's tyranny. There's been no shortage of dictators since, in many countries. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Castro, Pol Pot. All these monsters began by confiscating private arms, then literally soaking the earth with the blood of ten and tens of millions of their people. Ah, the joys of gun control.
Now, I doubt any of you would prefer a rolled up newspaper as a weapon against a dictator or a criminal intruder. Yet in essence that is what you have asked our loved ones to do, through the ill-contrived and totally naive campaign against the Second Amendment.
Besides, how can we entrust to you the Second Amendment when you are so stingy with your own First Amendment?
I say this because of the way, in recent days, you have treated your own -- those journalists you consider the least among you. How quick you've been to finger the paparazzi with blame and to eye the tabloids with disdain. How eager you've been to draw a line where there is none, to demand some distinction within the First Amendment that sneers 'they are not one of us.' How readily you let your lesser brethren
take the fall, as if their rights were not as worthy, and their purpose not as pure, and their freedom not as sacred as yours.
So now, as politicians consider new laws to shackle and gag paprazzi, who among you will speak up? Who here will stand and defend them? If you won't, I will. Because you do not define the First Amendment. It defines you. And it is bigger than you -- big enough to embrace all of you, plus all those you would exclude. That's how freedom works.
It also demands you do your homework. Again and again I hear gun owners say, how can we believe anything that anti-gun media says when they cannot even get the facts right? For too long you have swallowed manufactured statistics and fabricated technical support from anti-gun organizations that wouldn't know a semi-auto from a sharp stick. And it shows. You fall for it every time.
Thats why you have very little credibility among 70 million gun owners and 20 million hunters and millions of veterans who learned the hard way which end the bullet comes out. And while you attacked the amendment that defends your homes and protects your spouses and children, you have denied those of us who defend all the Bill of Rights a fair hearing or the courtesy of an honest debate.
If the NRA attempts to challenge your assertions, we are ignored. And if we try to buy advertising time or space to answer your charges, more often than not we are denied. How's that for First Amendment freedom?
Clearly, too many have used freedom of the press as a weapon not only to strangle our free speech, but to erode and ultimately destroy the right to keep and bear arms as well. In doing so you promoted your profession to that of constitutional judge and jury, more powerful even than our Supreme Court, more prejudiced than the Inquisition's tribunals. It is a frightening misuse of constitutional right, and I pray that you will come to your senses and see that these abuses are curbed.
As a veteran of World War II, as a freedom marcher who stood with Dr. Martin Luther King long before it was fashionable, and as a grandfather who wants the coming century to be free and full of promise for my grandchildren, I am troubled.
The right to keep and bear arms is threatened by political theatrics, piecemeal lawmaking, talk-show psychology, extreme bad taste in the entertainment industry, an ever-widening educational chasm in our schools and a conniving media, that all add up to cultural warfare against the idea that guns ever had, or should now have, an honorable and proud place in our society.
But all our rights must be delivered into the 21st century as pure and complete as they came to us at the beginning of this century. Traditionally the passing of that torch is from a gnarled old hand down to an eager young one. So now, at 72, I offer my gnarled old hand.
I have accepted a call from the National Rifle Association of America to help protect the Second Amendment. I feel it is my duty to do that. My mission and vision can be summarized in three simple parts.
First, before we enter the next century, I expect to see a pro-Second Amendment president in the White House.
Secondly, I expect to build an NRA with the political muscle and clout to keep a pro-Second Amendment congress in place.
Third is a promise to the next generation of free Americans. I hope to help raise a hundred million dollars for NRA programs and education before the year 2000. At least half of that sum will go to teach American kids what the right to keep and bear arms really means to their culture and country.
We have raised a generation of young people who think that the Bill of Rights comes with their cable TV. Leave them to their channel surfing and they'll remain oblivious to history and heritage that truly matter.
Think about it -- what else must young Americans think when the White House proclaims, as it did, that 'a firearm in the hands of youth is a crime or an accident waiting to happen'? No -- it is time they learned that firearm ownership is constitutional, not criminal. In fact, few pursuits can teach a young person more about responsibility, safety, conservation, their history and their heritage, all at once.
It is time they found out that the politically correct doctrine of today has misled them. And that when they reach legal age, if they do not break our laws, they have a right to choose to own a gun -- a handgun, a long gun, a small gun, a large gun, a black gun, a purple gun, a pretty gun, an ugly gun -- and to use that gun to defend themselves and their loved ones or to engage in any lawful purpose they desire without apology or explanation to anyone, ever.
This is their first freedom. If you say it's outdated, then you haven't read your own headlines. If you say guns create only carnage, I would answer that you know better. Declining morals, disintegrating families, vacillation political leadership, an eroding criminal justice system and social morals that blur right and wrong are more to blame -- certainly more than any legally owned firearm.
I want to rescue the Second Amendment from an opportunistic president, and from a press that apparently can't comprehend that attacks on the Second Amendment set the stage for assaults on the First.
I want to save the Second Amendment from all these nitpicking little wars af attrition -- fights over alleged Saturday night specials, plastic guns, cop killer bullets and so many other made-for-prime-time non-issues invented by some press agent over at gun control headquarters -- that you guys buy time and again.
I simply cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack from those who either can't understand it, don't like the sound of it or find themselves too philosophically squeamish to see why it remains the first among equals: Because it is the right we turn to when all else fails.
That's why the Second Amendment is America's first freedom.
Please, go forth and tell the truth. There can be no free speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom to protest, no freedom to worship you god, no freedom to speak your mind, no freedom from fear, no freedom for your children and for theirs, for anybody, anywhere without the Second Amendment freedom to fight for it.
If you don't believe me, just turn on the news tonight. Civilizations veneer is wearing thinner all the time.
Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 06:43:25 PM by Crafty_Dog
Re: RIP: Charlton Heston
Reply #1 on:
April 07, 2008, 11:17:01 AM »
Charlton Heston on the culture war
February 16, 1999
Harvard Law School
Forum February 16, 1999
I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. 'My Daddy,' he said, 'pretends to be people.' There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling re-painted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.
As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: if my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty … your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.
Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, 'We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.'
Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.
Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from 'ridiculous' and 'duped' to a 'brain-injured, senile, crazy old man'. I know ... I'm pretty old ... but I sure thank the Lord ain't senile.
As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.
For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 -– long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist.
I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe.
I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite.
Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.
From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, 'Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!'
But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys-subjects bound to the British crown.
In his book, 'The End of Sanity,' Martin Gross writes that 'blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something, without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it.'
Let me read a few examples. At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.
In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDS -- the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not ... need not ... tell their patients that they are infected.
At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team 'The Tribe' because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.
In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.
In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.
At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students.
Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said 'Negroes.' Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said 'black.' But it's a no-no now.
For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly 'Native-American.' I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation Native American ... with a capital letter on 'American.'
Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate, used the word 'niggardly' while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, 'niggardly' means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign.
As columnist Tony Snow wrote: 'David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,' (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance.'
What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?
Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason.
You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your
counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge.
And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are-by your grandfathers' standards-cowards. Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers.
I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, 'Don't shoot me.'
If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion. If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe.
Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism. But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation?
The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people.
You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.
I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.
Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that Disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Viet Nam.
In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous law that weaken personal freedom.
But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of
the police dogs at Montgomery and the water Cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not Complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me. Let me tell you a story.
A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called 'Cop Killer' celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so-at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend.
What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of 'Cop Killer'-every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.
I GOT MY 12 GAUGE SAWED OFF
I GOT MY HEADLIGHTS TURNED OFF
I'M ABOUT TO BUST SOME SHOTS OFF
I'M ABOUT TO DUST SOME COPS OFF...
It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces Of Al and Tipper Gore. SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY ....'
Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said 'We can't print that.' 'I know,' I replied, 'but Time/Warner ís selling it.'
Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warners, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.
When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents. When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you ... petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.
So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.
If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.
Reply #2 on:
May 03, 2008, 06:44:04 PM »
Man who invented LSD and took first acid trip dead of a heart attack at 102
Article Launched: 04/29/2008 09:13:09 PM PDT
NEW YORK - Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical
discovery grew into a notorious "problem child," died Tuesday. He was 102.
Hofmann died of a heart attack at his home in Basel, Switzerland, according to Rick
Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, in a
statement posted on the association's Web site.
Hofmann's hallucinogen inspired - and arguably corrupted - millions in the 1960's
hippy generation. For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann
defended his invention. "I produced the substance as a medicine ... It's not my
fault if people abused it," he once said.
The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying
the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz
pharmaceuticals firm in Basel. He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when
a tiny amount of the substance seeped on to his finger during a repeat of the
laboratory experiment April 16, 1943.
"I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of
unease and mild dizziness," he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses.
"Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror," he said, describing his
bicycle ride home. "I had the impression I was rooted to the spot. But my assistant
told me we were actually going very fast."
Three days later, Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was a horror
trip. "The substance which I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was filled
with an overwhelming fear that I would go crazy. I was transported to a different
world, a different time," Hofmann wrote.
There was no answer at Hofmann's home on Tuesday and a person who answered the phone
at Novartis, a former employer, said the company had no knowledge of his death.
Hofmann and his scientific colleagues hoped that LSD would make an important
contribution to psychiatric research. The drug exaggerated inner problems and
conflicts and thus it was hoped that it might be used to recognize and treat mental
illness like schizophrenia.
For a time, Sandoz sold LSD 25 under the name Delysid, encouraging doctors to try it
themselves. It was one of the strongest drugs in medicine - with just one gram
enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people for 12 hours.
Hofmann discovered the drug had a similar chemical structure to psychedelic
mushrooms and herbs used in religious ceremonies by Mexican Indians.
LSD was elevated to international fame in the late 1950s and 1960s thanks to Harvard
professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan "turn on, tune in,
drop out." The film star Cary Grant and numerous rock musicians extolled its virtues
in achieving true self discovery and enlightenment.
But away from the psychedelic trips and flower children, horror stories emerged
about people going on murder sprees or jumping out of windows while hallucinating.
Heavy users suffered permanent psychological damage.
The U.S. government banned LSD in 1966 and other countries followed suit. Hofmann
maintained this was unfair, arguing that the drug was not addictive. He repeatedly
maintained the ban should be lifted to allow LSD to be used in medical research.
He himself took the drug - purportedly on an occasional basis and out of scientific
interest - for several decades. "LSD can help open your eyes," he once said. "But
there are other ways - meditation, dance, music, fasting." Even so, the self
described "father" of LSD readily agreed that the drug was dangerous if in the wrong
hands. This was reflected by the title of his 1979 book: "LSD - my problem child."
Hofmann retired from Sandoz in 1971. He devoted his time to travel, writing and
lectures - which often reflected his growing interest with philosophy and religious
He lived in a small picturesque village in the Swiss Jura mountains and remained
active until his early 90's.
Tell my wife I'll miss her
Reply #3 on:
May 07, 2008, 11:58:53 AM »
Sergeant's Last Words: 'Tell My Wife I'll Miss Her'
5637 Views 260 Comments Share Flag as inappropriate
Officer in New Jersey search for the only suspect still at large. (AP)
May 06, 2008
PHILADELPHIA – Nancy Braun was sitting on a couch watching one of her favorite TV shows, Trading Spaces, when gunfire erupted down the street yesterday morning.
“I heard three shots – real loud,” Braun said from a rocking chair on the front porch of her Schiller Street rowhouse. “Then a lady started screaming, ‘A police officer’s been shot!’ “
Braun and her boyfriend, Joe Czarnik, both 43, bolted out of the house and ran to Schiller and Almond Streets, she said. She was not wearing shoes at the time, she said, and ran in her socks.
In the street next to a compact police cruiser, Braun said, she saw Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. Others were trying to apply pressure to his stomach and an arm.
Keith Petaccio, 45, was at his front door greeting his wife as she came back after walking their dogs.
A police cruiser “flew by,” and Petaccio stepped outside to see what was going on just as the gunfire started, he said. He said he had run to Liczbinski.
Throughout the block as noon approached, chaos ensued.
A woman spun around yelling that a man had put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. People young and old poured out of houses and onto their porches. One man chased the shooter’s stolen Jeep as it bolted south on Almond Street. Others called 911 on cell phones.
An older man nearby had taken the fallen officer’s radio and was saying, “A police officer is down. He’s shot multiple times. Get an ambulance,” Braun said.
Braun yelled at another neighbor for towels to try to stop the gushing blood. She grabbed four kitchen towels and gave them to those trying to stop the bleeding, she said.
A neighbor tying to help Liczbinski looked up at Braun and said, “His arm is just dangling off.”
Petaccio said he had stayed with Liczbinski talking to him as he tried to save his life.
He said Liczbinski had looked at him and said, “I want you to tell my wife I’ll miss her.”
Joe Farrell was cooking breakfast for his children, he said, when he heard the shots feet from his porch. He yelled at the children to get down on the floor and ran out the door to help.
“They were holding rags on him trying to stop the blood from pumping out,” Farrell said. He said he had helped get Liczbinski into the back of a police car.
Minutes later, swarms of police and detectives arrived. They quickly strung yellow police tape for blocks around the intersection.
“I feel bad for the family and the police,” Braun said. “What they have to go through today, it’s horrible.”
Petaccio said that on Saturdays the neighborhood streets were usually filled with children playing. Yesterday few people were outside when the drama began.
“My heart goes out to his family,” Petaccio said. “I can’t believe it happened.”
Many of the porches in the neighborhood have colorful flowers hanging in baskets or in pots.
By 6 p.m., when most police cars had left and the police tape had been collected, some had placed flowerpots at the curb where Liczbinski fell.
(c) 2008 YellowBrix, Inc.
Reply #4 on:
May 13, 2008, 01:35:36 PM »
Fate may have led Irena Sendler to the moment almost 70 years ago when she began to risk her life for the children of strangers. But for this humble Polish Catholic social worker, who was barely 30 when one of history's most nightmarish chapters unfolded before her, the pivotal influence was something her parents had drummed into her.
"I was taught that if you see a person drowning," she said, "you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not."
Irena SendlerWhen the Nazis occupying Poland began rounding up Jews in 1940 and sending them to the Warsaw ghetto, Sendler plunged in.
With daring and ingenuity, she saved the lives of more than 2,500 Jews, most of them children, a feat that went largely unrecognized until the last years of her life.
Sendler, 98, who died of pneumonia Monday in Warsaw, has been called the female Oskar Schindler, but she saved twice as many lives as the German industrialist, who sheltered 1,200 of his Jewish workers. Unlike Schindler, whose story received international attention in the 1993 movie "Schindler's List," Sendler and her heroic actions were almost lost to history until four Kansas schoolgirls wrote a play about her nine years ago.
The lesson Sendler taught them was that "one person can make a difference," Megan Felt, one of the authors of the play, said Monday.
"Irena wasn't even 5 feet tall, but she walked into the Warsaw ghetto daily and faced certain death if she was caught. Her strength and courage showed us we can stand up for what we believe in, as well," said Felt, who is now 23 and helps raise funds for aging Holocaust rescuers.
Sendler was born Feb. 15, 1910, in Otwock, a small town southeast of Warsaw. She was an only child of parents who devoted much of their energies to helping workers.
She was especially influenced by her father, a doctor who defied anti-Semites by treating sick Jews during outbreaks of typhoid fever. He died of the disease when Sendler was 9.
She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939. In 1940, after the Nazis herded Jews into the ghetto and built a wall separating it from the rest of the city, disease, especially typhoid, ran rampant. Social workers were not allowed inside the ghetto, but Sendler, imagining "the horror of life behind the walls," obtained fake identification and passed herself off as a nurse, allowed to bring in food, clothes and medicine.
By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends -- a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women -- and began rescuing Jewish children.
She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler's children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.
Decades later, Sendler was still haunted by the parents' pleas, particularly of those who ultimately could not bear to be apart from their children.
"The one question every parent asked me was 'Can you guarantee they will live?' We had to admit honestly that we could not, as we did not even know if we would succeed in leaving the ghetto that day. The only guarantee," she said, "was that the children would most likely die if they stayed."
Most of the children who left with Sendler's group were taken into Roman Catholic convents, orphanages and homes and given non-Jewish aliases. Sendler recorded their true names on thin rolls of paper in the hope that she could reunite them with their families later. She preserved the precious scraps in jars and buried them in a friend's garden.
In 1943, she was captured by the Nazis and tortured but refused to tell her captors who her co-conspirators were or where the bottles were buried. She also resisted in other ways. According to Felt, when Sendler worked in the prison laundry, she and her co-workers made holes in the German soldiers' underwear. When the officers discovered what they had done, they lined up all the women and shot every other one. It was just one of many close calls for Sendler.
During one particularly brutal torture session, her captors broke her feet and legs, and she passed out. When she awoke, a Gestapo officer told her he had accepted a bribe from her comrades in the resistance to help her escape. The officer added her name to a list of executed prisoners. Sendler went into hiding but continued her rescue efforts.
Felt said that Sendler had begun her rescue operation before she joined the organized resistance and helped a number of adults escape, including the man she later married. "We think she saved about 500 people before she joined Zegota," Felt said, which would mean that Sendler ultimately helped rescue about 3,000 Polish Jews.
When the war ended, Sendler unearthed the jars and began trying to return the children to their families. For the vast majority, there was no family left. Many of the children were adopted by Polish families; others were sent to Israel.
In 1965, she was recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust authority, as a Righteous Gentile, an honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi reign. In her own country, however, she was unsung, in part because Polish anti-Semitism remained strong after the war and many rescuers were persecuted.
Her status began to change in 2000, when Felt and her classmates learned that the woman who had inspired them was still alive. Through the sponsorship of a local Jewish organization, they traveled to Warsaw in 2001 to meet Sendler, who helped the students improve and expand the play. Called "Life in a Jar," it has been performed more than 250 times in the United States, Canada and Poland and generated media attention that cast a spotlight on the wizened, round-faced nonagenarian.
After each performance, Felt and the other cast members passed a jar for Sendler, raising enough money to move her into a Catholic nursing home with round-the-clock care. They and the teacher who assigned them the play project, Norman Conard, started the Life in a Jar Foundation, which has raised more than $70,000 to help pay for medical and other needs of Holocaust rescuers.
Last year, Sendler was honored by the Polish Senate and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which brought dozens of reporters to her door. She told one of them she was wearying of the attention.
"Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth," she said, "and not a title to glory."
Sendler, who was the last living member of her group of rescuers, is survived by a daughter and a granddaughter.
For more information on Irena Sendler, or to contribute to the Life In a Jar Foundation, go to
Reply #5 on:
June 18, 2008, 11:41:35 AM »
Henryk Mandelbaum, 85; Jew was forced to empty the gas chambers at Auschwitz
From Times Wire Reports
June 18, 2008
Henryk Mandelbaum, a member of the Sonderkommando -- Jewish prisoners who were forced to empty the gas chambers at Auschwitz after fellow Jews were gassed and burned -- died Tuesday. He was 85.
Mandelbaum died at a hospital in the southern Polish city of Bytom several days after undergoing heart surgery, said Igor Bartosik, a historian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum who has co-written an upcoming book on Mandelbaum.
Bartosik said he did not know the exact cause of death, and hospital officials refused to comment.
Mandelbaum was Poland's last surviving member of the Sonderkommando, in which he was forced by the Nazis to search the body cavities of fellow Jews for valuables and pull out gold teeth and fillings after they were executed. They then had to carry the bodies to crematories for burning and when the crematories were filled to capacity they dug huge pits to burn the bodies.
"I thought I was in hell. Fire and smoke were everywhere. I had to clean the gas chambers and put the bodies in the crematoria, or burn them outside when the extermination was in full swing and the crematoria were not enough," he told reporters some time ago.
Mandelbaum was forced to do the work from his arrival in Auschwitz, at age 21, on April 10, 1944, until January 1945, when the Nazis forced him and other fit inmates on a death march to flee the advancing Red Army. He was able to escape the march and hid at a farm for several weeks. The Soviets liberated the camp Jan. 27, 1945.
During his months in the camp, Mandelbaum -- inmate No. 181970 -- witnessed the death of some of the 400,000 Jews brought in transports from Hungary in the summer of 1944, and handled their dead bodies.
"He saw people going into the changing rooms, he saw people changing, he saw the moment of the gassing, the throwing of the Zyklon [B gas] into the gas chambers, he heard the screams," Bartosik told the Associated Press.
Mandelbaum was born Dec. 15, 1922, in the southern Polish town of Olkusz.
As the oldest of four children, he went to work cutting stone in a quarry to help support the family when his father's butcher's business became bankrupt. He developed physical strength that helped him pass an initial selection at Auschwitz, separating those capable of work from those who were sent immediately to the gas chambers.
Bartosik said Mandelbaum spent decades trying to teach younger generations about what happened during the Holocaust. He gave guided tours of Auschwitz and spoke frequently to groups about his experience.
Mandelbaum found himself in the spotlight in May 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI visited Auschwitz. In an emotionally charged event, the German-born pope prayed at the Wall of Death, where the Nazis executed thousands. There he met with 32 camp survivors, most of them Catholics; he stopped to speak to each one, and kissed Mandelbaum -- the only Jewish survivor in the group -- on both cheeks.
Mandelbaum's parents, along with a brother and sister, were killed in the Holocaust. He is survived by his wife, a son, a sister and grandchildren, Bartosik said.
Reply #6 on:
July 14, 2008, 10:00:16 PM »
Notable & Quotable
July 15, 2008
Tony Snow in The Jewish World Review, 2005:
The art of being sick is not the same as the art of getting well. Some cancer patients recover; some don't. But the ordeal of facing your mortality and feeling your frailty sharpens your perspective about life. You appreciate little things more ferociously. You grasp the mystical power of love. You feel the gravitational pull of faith. And you realize you have received a unique gift – a field of vision others don't have about the power of hope and the limits of fear; a firm set of convictions about what really matters and what does not. You also feel obliged to share these insights – the most important of which is this: There are things far worse than illness – for instance, soullessness.
Reply #7 on:
August 05, 2008, 11:55:26 AM »
Of Good and Evil
August 5, 2008
"The hammer banged reveille on the rail outside camp HQ at five o'clock as always. Time to get up. The ragged noise was muffled by ice two fingers thick on the windows and soon died away. Too cold for the warder to go on hammering."
Thus did Alexander Solzhenitsyn begin "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," his reveille for the world about totalitarianism. Published in 1962, in the brief post-Stalinist thaw under Khrushchev, the novel about a prisoner in a Soviet prison camp made Solzhenitsyn at first a Russian sensation and later the country's most famous dissident after the Kremlin reverted to brutal form.
Russians found in Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday in Moscow at age 89, their own story told with clarity, courage and humanity. Ivan Shukhov's prison camp was, in reality, all of the Soviet Union. When "Gulag Archipelago," his monumental history of the Soviet penal system, was published in Paris in 1973, Solzhenitsyn made it impossible for serious people anywhere to excuse Stalin's crimes or the inhumanity of communist totalitarianism. His documentation showed that the commissars had the blood of 60 million victims on their hands. Communism's essence was exposed in relentless detail as slavery, terror and imperialism.
Expelled from his native country soon after "Gulag" came out, Solzhenitsyn's warning was also not always welcome in the West. Amid the trauma of Vietnam, many had begun to doubt the West's own moral purposes, or at least its staying power against Soviet discipline and aggression. "The timid civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles," Solzhenitsyn warned in his acceptance speech for the 1970 Nobel literature prize.
Sweden refused to let him receive his Nobel at its embassy in Moscow and, after his exile amid the heyday of "detente," President Gerald Ford declined initially to meet with him. It was arguably the worst moment of Ford's Presidency, offset in part by AFL-CIO President George Meany's embrace of the Russian exile and Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's invitation to speak on Capitol Hill.
For the rest of his life, Solzhenitsyn engaged in what he called "a struggle with falsehood," caring not a whit what his critics thought. His 1978 Harvard commencement speech solidified his reputation as a prickly recluse. But his diagnosis of threats to the West -- not least those from within -- remains bracing.
Solzhenitsyn warned of "an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses," and a "tilt of freedom in the direction of evil . . . evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature." His own prison-camp experience after World War II told him evil was all too real and had to be confronted.
However dourly Russian his warnings often were, Solzhenitsyn fortified the West with the truth and will to triumph in the Cold War. The great, inspiring irony of "Ivan Denisovich" is that it ends with Shukhov concluding that, even amid his icy prison, the day was "almost a happy one."
More from AS
Reply #8 on:
August 07, 2008, 07:16:17 AM »
Text of Address by
at Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises,
Thursday, June 8, 1978
I am sincerely happy to be here with you on this occasion and to become personally acquainted with this old and most prestigious University. My congratulations and very best wishes to all of today's graduates.
Harvard's motto is "Veritas." Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech today, too. But I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary but from a friend.
Three years ago in the United States I said certain things which at that time appeared unacceptable. Today, however, many people agree with what I then said...
A World Split Apart
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The split in today's world is perceptible even to a hasty glance. Any of our contemporaries readily identifies two world powers, each of them already capable of entirely destroying the other. However, understanding of the split often is limited to this political conception, to the illusion that danger may be abolished through successful diplomatic negotiations or by achieving a balance of armed forces. The truth is that the split is a much profounder and a more alienating one, that the rifts are more than one can see at first glance. This deep manifold split bears the danger of manifold disaster for all of us, in accordance with the ancient truth that a Kingdom -- in this case, our Earth -- divided against itself cannot stand.
There is the concept of the Third World: thus, we already have three worlds. Undoubtedly, however, the number is even greater; we are just too far away to see. Any ancient deeply rooted autonomous culture, especially if it is spread on a wide part of the earth's surface, constitutes an autonomous world, full of riddles and surprises to Western thinking. As a minimum, we must include in this category China, India, the Muslim world and Africa, if indeed we accept the approximation of viewing the latter two as compact units. For one thousand years Russia has belonged to such a category, although Western thinking systematically committed the mistake of denying its autonomous character and therefore never understood it, just as today the West does not understand Russia in communist captivity. It may be that in the past years Japan has increasingly become a distant part of the West, I am no judge here; but as to Israel, for instance, it seems to me that it stands apart from the Western world in that its state system is fundamentally linked to religion.
How short a time ago, relatively, the small new European world was easily seizing colonies everywhere, not only without anticipating any real resistance, but also usually despising any possible values in the conquered peoples' approach to life. On the face of it, it was an overwhelming success, there were no geographic frontiers to it. Western society expanded in a triumph of human independence and power. And all of a sudden in the twentieth century came the discovery of its fragility and friability. We now see that the conquests proved to be short lived and precarious, and this in turn points to defects in the Western view of the world which led to these conquests. Relations with the former colonial world now have turned into their opposite and the Western world often goes to extremes of obsequiousness, but it is difficult yet to estimate the total size of the bill which former colonial countries will present to the West, and it is difficult to predict whether the surrender not only of its last colonies, but of everything it owns will be sufficient for the West to foot the bill.
But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet's development is quite different.
Anguish about our divided world gave birth to the theory of convergence between leading Western countries and the Soviet Union. It is a soothing theory which overlooks the fact that these worlds are not at all developing into similarity; neither one can be transformed into the other without the use of violence. Besides, convergence inevitably means acceptance of the other side's defects, too, and this is hardly desirable.
If I were today addressing an audience in my country, examining the overall pattern of the world's rifts I would have concentrated on the East's calamities. But since my forced exile in the West has now lasted four years and since my audience is a Western one, I think it may be of greater interest to concentrate on certain aspects of the West in our days, such as I see them.
A Decline in Courage [. . .]
may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and weak countries, not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.
Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
When the modern Western States were created, the following principle was proclaimed: governments are meant to serve man, and man lives to be free to pursue happiness. (See, for example, the American Declaration). Now at last during past decades technical and social progress has permitted the realization of such aspirations: the welfare state. Every citizen has been granted the desired freedom and material goods in such quantity and of such quality as to guarantee in theory the achievement of happiness, in the morally inferior sense which has come into being during those same decades. In the process, however, one psychological detail has been overlooked: the constant desire to have still more things and a still better life and the struggle to obtain them imprints many Western faces with worry and even depression, though it is customary to conceal such feelings. Active and tense competition permeates all human thoughts without opening a way to free spiritual development. The individual's independence from many types of state pressure has been guaranteed; the majority of people have been granted well-being to an extent their fathers and grandfathers could not even dream about; it has become possible to raise young people according to these ideals, leading them to physical splendor, happiness, possession of material goods, money and leisure, to an almost unlimited freedom of enjoyment. So who should now renounce all this, why and for what should one risk one's precious life in defense of common values, and particularly in such nebulous cases when the security of one's nation must be defended in a distant country?
Even biology knows that habitual extreme safety and well-being are not advantageous for a living organism. Today, well-being in the life of Western society has begun to reveal its pernicious mask.
Western society has given itself the organization best suited to its purposes, based, I would say, on the letter of the law. The limits of human rights and righteousness are determined by a system of laws; such limits are very broad. People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting and manipulating law, even though laws tend to be too complicated for an average person to understand without the help of an expert. Any conflict is solved according to the letter of the law and this is considered to be the supreme solution. If one is right from a legal point of view, nothing more is required, nobody may mention that one could still not be entirely right, and urge self-restraint, a willingness to renounce such legal rights, sacrifice and selfless risk: it would sound simply absurd. One almost never sees voluntary self-restraint. Everybody operates at the extreme limit of those legal frames. An oil company is legally blameless when it purchases an invention of a new type of energy in order to prevent its use. A food product manufacturer is legally blameless when he poisons his produce to make it last longer: after all, people are free not to buy it.
I have spent all my life under a communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either. A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses.
And it will be simply impossible to stand through the trials of this threatening century with only the support of a legalistic structure.
The Direction of Freedom
In today's Western society, the inequality has been revealed of freedom for good deeds and freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him, parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead, he has to prove that every single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself; from the very beginning, dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy.
It is feasible and easy everywhere to undermine administrative power and, in fact, it has been drastically weakened in all Western countries. The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.
Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.
And what shall we say about the dark realm of criminality as such? Legal frames (especially in the United States) are broad enough to encourage not only individual freedom but also certain individual crimes. The culprit can go unpunished or obtain undeserved leniency with the support of thousands of public defenders. When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.
Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature; the world belongs to mankind and all the defects of life are caused by wrong social systems which must be corrected. Strangely enough, though the best social conditions have been achieved in the West, there still is criminality and there even is considerably more of it than in the pauper and lawless Soviet society. (There is a huge number of prisoners in our camps which are termed criminals, but most of them never committed any crime; they merely tried to defend themselves against a lawless state resorting to means outside of a legal framework).
The Direction of the Press
The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom. (I shall be using the word press to include all media). But what sort of use does it make of this freedom?
Here again, the main concern is not to infringe the letter of the law. There is no moral responsibility for deformation or disproportion. What sort of responsibility does a journalist have to his readers, or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? No, it does not happen, because it would damage sales. A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist always gets away with it. One may safely assume that he will start writing the opposite with renewed self-assurance.
Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers' memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one's nation's defense, publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: "everyone is entitled to know everything." But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era: people also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.
Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. In-depth analysis of a problem is anathema to the press. It stops at sensational formulas.
Such as it is, however, the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible? In the communist East a journalist is frankly appointed as a state official. But who has granted Western journalists their power, for how long a time and with what prerogatives?
There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the East where the press is rigorously unified: one gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment and there may be common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Enormous freedom exists for the press, but not for the readership because newspapers mostly give enough stress and emphasis to those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and the general trend.
A Fashion in Thinking
Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. There is no open violence such as in the East; however, a selection dictated by fashion and the need to match mass standards frequently prevent independent-minded people from giving their contribution to public life. There is a dangerous tendency to form a herd, shutting off successful development. I have received letters in America from highly intelligent persons, maybe a teacher in a faraway small college who could do much for the renewal and salvation of his country, but his country cannot hear him because the media are not interested in him. This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, blindness, which is most dangerous in our dynamic era. There is, for instance, a self-deluding interpretation of the contemporary world situation. It works as a sort of petrified armor around people's minds. Human voices from 17 countries of Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia cannot pierce it. It will only be broken by the pitiless crowbar of events.
I have mentioned a few trends of Western life which surprise and shock a new arrival to this world. The purpose and scope of this speech will not allow me to continue such a review, to look into the influence of these Western characteristics on important aspects on [the] nation's life, such as elementary education, advanced education in [?...]
AS part 2
Reply #9 on:
August 07, 2008, 07:17:04 AM »
It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development, even though in the past years it has been strongly disturbed by chaotic inflation. However, many people living in the West are dissatisfied with their own society. They despise it or accuse it of not being up to the level of maturity attained by mankind. A number of such critics turn to socialism, which is a false and dangerous current.
I hope that no one present will suspect me of offering my personal criticism of the Western system to present socialism as an alternative. Having experienced applied socialism in a country where the alternative has been realized, I certainly will not speak for it. The well-known Soviet mathematician Shafarevich, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death. Shafarevich's book was published in France almost two years ago and so far no one has been found to refute it. It will shortly be published in English in the United States.
Not a Model
But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through intense suffering our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive. Even those characteristics of your life which I have just mentioned are extremely saddening.
A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger. Six decades for our people and three decades for the people of Eastern Europe; during that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper and more interesting characters than those produced by standardized Western well-being. Therefore if our society were to be transformed into yours, it would mean an improvement in certain aspects, but also a change for the worse on some particularly significant scores. It is true, no doubt, that a society cannot remain in an abyss of lawlessness, as is the case in our country. But it is also demeaning for it to elect such mechanical legalistic smoothness as you have. After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor and by intolerable music.
All this is visible to observers from all the worlds of our planet. The Western way of life is less and less likely to become the leading model.
There are meaningful warnings that history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.
But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their decisive offensive, you can feel their pressure, and yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?
Very well known representatives of your society, such as George Kennan, say: we cannot apply moral criteria to politics. Thus we mix good and evil, right and wrong and make space for the absolute triumph of absolute Evil in the world. On the contrary, only moral criteria can help the West against communism's well planned world strategy. There are no other criteria. Practical or occasional considerations of any kind will inevitably be swept away by strategy. After a certain level of the problem has been reached, legalistic thinking induces paralysis; it prevents one from seeing the size and meaning of events.
In spite of the abundance of information, or maybe because of it, the West has difficulties in understanding reality such as it is. There have been naive predictions by some American experts who believed that Angola would become the Soviet Union's Vietnam or that Cuban expeditions in Africa would best be stopped by special U.S. courtesy to Cuba. Kennan's advice to his own country -- to begin unilateral disarmament -- belongs to the same category. If you only knew how the youngest of the Moscow Old Square  officials laugh at your political wizards! As to Fidel Castro, he frankly scorns the United States, sending his troops to distant adventures from his country right next to yours.
However, the most cruel mistake occurred with the failure to understand the Vietnam war. Some people sincerely wanted all wars to stop just as soon as possible; others believed that there should be room for national, or communist, self-determination in Vietnam, or in Cambodia, as we see today with particular clarity. But members of the U.S. anti-war movement wound up being involved in the betrayal of Far Eastern nations, in a genocide and in the suffering today imposed on 30 million people there. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? Do they understand their responsibility today? Or do they prefer not to hear? The American Intelligentsia lost its [nerve] and as a consequence thereof danger has come much closer to the United States. But there is no awareness of this. Your shortsighted politicians who signed the hasty Vietnam capitulation seemingly gave America a carefree breathing pause; however, a hundredfold Vietnam now looms over you. That small Vietnam had been a warning and an occasion to mobilize the nation's courage. But if a full-fledged America suffered a real defeat from a small communist half-country, how can the West hope to stand firm in the future?
I have had occasion already to say that in the 20th century democracy has not won any major war without help and protection from a powerful continental ally whose philosophy and ideology it did not question. In World War II against Hitler, instead of winning that war with its own forces, which would certainly have been sufficient, Western democracy grew and cultivated another enemy who would prove worse and more powerful yet, as Hitler never had so many resources and so many people, nor did he offer any attractive ideas, or have such a large number of supporters in the West -- a potential fifth column -- as the Soviet Union. At present, some Western voices already have spoken of obtaining protection from a third power against aggression in the next world conflict, if there is one; in this case the shield would be China. But I would not wish such an outcome to any country in the world. First of all, it is again a doomed alliance with Evil; also, it would grant the United States a respite, but when at a later date China with its billion people would turn around armed with American weapons, America itself would fall prey to a genocide similar to the one perpetrated in Cambodia in our days.
Loss of Willpower
And yet -- no weapons, no matter how powerful, can help the West until it overcomes its loss of willpower. In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal. Thus at the shameful Belgrade conference free Western diplomats in their weakness surrendered the line where enslaved members of Helsinki Watchgroups are sacrificing their lives.
Western thinking has become conservative: the world situation should stay as it is at any cost, there should be no changes. This debilitating dream of a status quo is the symptom of a society which has come to the end of its development. But one must be blind in order not to see that oceans no longer belong to the West, while land under its domination keeps shrinking. The two so-called world wars (they were by far not on a world scale, not yet) have meant internal self-destruction of the small, progressive West which has thus prepared its own end. The next war (which does not have to be an atomic one and I do not believe it will) may well bury Western civilization forever.
Facing such a danger, with such historical values in your past, at such a high level of realization of freedom and apparently of devotion to freedom, how is it possible to lose to such an extent the will to defend oneself?
Humanism and Its Consequences
How has this unfavorable relation of forces come about? How did the West decline from its triumphal march to its present sickness? Have there been fatal turns and losses of direction in its development? It does not seem so. The West kept advancing socially in accordance with its proclaimed intentions, with the help of brilliant technological progress. And all of a sudden it found itself in its present state of weakness.
This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
The turn introduced by the Renaissance evidently was inevitable historically. The Middle Ages had come to a natural end by exhaustion, becoming an intolerable despotic repression of man's physical nature in favor of the spiritual one. Then, however, we turned our backs upon the Spirit and embraced all that is material with excessive and unwarranted zeal. This new way of thinking, which had imposed on us its guidance, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any higher task than the attainment of happiness on earth. It based modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our days there is a free and constant flow. Merely freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones.
However, in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the Twentieth century's moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the Nineteenth Century.
An Unexpected Kinship
As humanism in its development became more and more materialistic, it made itself increasingly accessible to speculation and manipulation at first by socialism and then by communism. So that Karl Marx was able to say in 1844 that "communism is naturalized humanism."
This statement turned out not to be entirely senseless. One does see the same stones in the foundations of a despiritualized humanism and of any type of socialism: endless materialism; freedom from religion and religious responsibility, which under communist regimes reach the stage of anti-religious dictatorship; concentration on social structures with a seemingly scientific approach. (This is typical of the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century and of Marxism). Not by coincidence all of communism's meaningless pledges and oaths are about Man, with a capital M, and his earthly happiness. At first glance it seems an ugly parallel: common traits in the thinking and way of life of today's West and today's East? But such is the logic of materialistic development.
The interrelationship is such, too, that the current of materialism which is most to the left always ends up by being stronger, more attractive and victorious, because it is more consistent. Humanism without its Christian heritage cannot resist such competition. We watch this process in the past centuries and especially in the past decades, on a world scale as the situation becomes increasingly dramatic. Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism, radicalism had to surrender to socialism and socialism could never resist communism. The communist regime in the East could stand and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who felt a kinship and refused to see communism's crimes. When they no longer could do so, they tried to justify them. In our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat; it is zero and less than zero. But Western intellectuals still look at it with interest and with empathy, and this is precisely what makes it so immensely difficult for the West to withstand the East.
Before the Turn
I am not examining here the case of a world war disaster and the changes which it would produce in society. As long as we wake up every morning under a peaceful sun, we have to lead an everyday life. There is a disaster, however, which has already been under way for quite some time. I am referring to the calamity of a despiritualized and irreligious humanistic consciousness.
To such consciousness, man is the touchstone in judging and evaluating everything on earth. Imperfect man, who is never free of pride, self-interest, envy, vanity, and dozens of other defects. We are now experiencing the consequences of mistakes which had not been noticed at the beginning of the journey. On the way from the Renaissance to our days we have enriched our experience, but we have lost the concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility. We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. In the East, it is destroyed by the dealings and machinations of the ruling party. In the West, commercial interests tend to suffocate it. This is the real crisis. The split in the world is less terrible than the similarity of the disease plaguing its main sections.
If humanism were right in declaring that man is born to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to die, his task on earth evidently must be of a more spiritual nature. It cannot unrestrained enjoyment of everyday life. It cannot be the search for the best ways to obtain material goods and then cheerfully get the most out of them. It has to be the fulfillment of a permanent, earnest duty so that one's life journey may become an experience of moral growth, so that one may leave life a better human being than one started it. It is imperative to review the table of widespread human values. Its present incorrectness is astounding. It is not possible that assessment of the President's performance be reduced to the question of how much money one makes or of unlimited availability of gasoline. Only voluntary, inspired self-restraint can raise man above the world stream of materialism.
It would be retrogression to attach oneself today to the ossified formulas of the Enlightenment. Social dogmatism leaves us completely helpless in front of the trials of our times.
Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man's life and society's activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?
If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but -- upward.
 The Old Square in Moscow (Staraya Ploshchad') is the place where the [headquarters] of the Central Committee of the CPSU are located; it is the real name of what in the West is conventionally referred to as "the Kremlin."
Source: Texts of Famous Speeches at Harvard
Re-formatted in HTML by The Augustine Club at Columbia University, 1997
Reply #10 on:
September 10, 2008, 02:33:11 AM »
“I believe there are people out there that just have a warrior spirit, whether it’s fighting or something, they’ve got to do it. It’s hard to identify with me; it’s just something I do.”
---Evan Tanner, 2005
"I will do nothing lightly. When I walk, I will walk heavily. When I fight, I will fight with conviction. When I speak, I will speak strongly. When I feel, I will feel everything. When I love, I will love with everything."
"And to think, there are still places in the world where man has not been, where he has left no footprints, where the mysteries stand secure, untouched by human eyes. I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers."
It is a shame that in this society we've been taught to judge a man's worth by what he owns instead of who he is. Everything is surface, and so few look beyond it. A man will sell his soul, he will lie, cheat and steal, for money. If he has it, he can buy respect. Wear the right clothes, drive the right car, have the right friends, that's all that matters. Our lives are consumed in a selfish, self absorbed quest for possessions, the latest and the best in a never-ending cycle until the day we die. We forget what it means to be truly human. We forget the things that really matter. We lose the magic of what life should be.
I won't live by rules that make no sense to me.
- Evan Tanner
"College dropout, adventurer, seeker, traveler, ditch digger, dishwasher, cable tech, concrete worker, steel worker, salad prep, busboy, ski resort security, ski resort rental shop technician. I've worked in a slaughter house. I've been a landscaper. I've done drywall, tile, countertops, wood flooring, roofing. I have been a plumber, worked as a bottle collector at a bar, a bouncer, a doorman, a head of a security team. I have been a basket room clerk, a carpenter, a framer building beach houses, a truss builder. I've lived on a farm. I've lived in the city. I've earned money mowing lawns, selling on ebay, and fighting. A teacher, a trainer, and a coach sometimes. There was a time when I was younger that I didn't know any better than to be a liar, a cheater, and a thief. I have since learned to despise those things. I have had great friendships. I have had great loves. I have been a lover, I have been a son, a brother, and a friend. And I was once a world champion."
Richard Wright of Pink Floyd
Reply #11 on:
September 15, 2008, 08:32:30 PM »
Sax. 65 years old. Cancer.
Reply #12 on:
September 22, 2008, 03:47:43 AM »
RIP Dominic Pritchard KIA from war wounds to the spirit.
Reply #13 on:
March 18, 2009, 12:26:47 AM »
Ron Silver died on Sunday of cancer, at age 62, having starred in movies, theater and politics. As an actor, he won a Tony Award in 1988 for his performance in David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow," and more recently he was better known for his role as a hard-bitten political consultant on "The West Wing" on television.
But Silver's most notable legacy was his real-life political activism. A self-described life-long liberal, Silver rallied to the defense of his country and his hometown, New York City, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Three years later, he spoke at the Republican National Convention in New York, reminding his audience that "This is a war we did not seek. This is a war waged against us. This is a war to which we had to respond." He had held similarly hawkish views during the Cold War, and he rebutted those who see America as little different than its enemies: "History shows that we are not imperialists."
By his own account, he suffered professionally for those convictions, but he sought no sympathy for whatever price he may have paid in Hollywood for his stand on the war on terror or his vocal criticism of the United Nations, about which he made a documentary in 2005. In "Broken Promises," Silver held the U.N. to account for its failure to live up to its stated ideals, even as his acting colleagues derided President Bush for using military force against tyrants. His brother, Mitchell Silver, told the New York Times that Silver's politics "were not shared by anyone he knew." His politics, in other words, were born of conviction, not convenience, which is one way to describe an honest patriot.
Reply #14 on:
May 02, 2009, 09:53:40 PM »
Jack Kemp, Former Quarterback and Congressman, Is Dead
Mr. Kemp played for the Buffalo Bills, represented western
New York for nine terms in Congress and served as Bob Dole's
running mate in 1996. His spokeswoman and a former campaign
adviser said Mr. Kemp died after a lengthy illness, The
Associated Press reported.
Re. Jack Kemp, RIP
Reply #15 on:
May 03, 2009, 03:40:00 PM »
God Bless Jack Kemp. He was an inspiration to many including Ronald Reagan (and me).
What an optimist and believer in the best of all people. A great life and great accomplishments, but I am also left to wonder about what could have been.
IMO he was much fit to follow President Reagan than the sitting Vice President was. It didn't turn out that way. People I suppose doubted he was strong enough to defeat a candidate with the gravitas of Mike Dukakis. I don't know if he would have handled the Saddam crisis of 1990-91 as well as Pres. Bush I did but I think he would have been much better for the country economically which might have prevented the door for opening for the then governor of Arkansas.
In 1996 as a Republican I think we had the ticket upside down. Kemp was a poor fit with Dole because of different philosophies. Also I thought Kemp choked a bit in his VP debate, as any one of us might in that situation. It was disappointing because I know he was such a brilliant, enthusiastic, articulate and persuasive guy. I think his performance would have been different if he was there to defend his own views instead of those of the top of the ticket.
Pretty hard to find anyone who knew him who didn't find him to be a wonderful man and a great American.
As a footnote to the obits who give him credit for Reagan's Kemp-Roth tax cuts but point out that critics say the policy brought us deficits and debt, I would note that revenues doubled in the 1980's (
) and that the deficits came clearly from the spending side, just as they do today.
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #16 on:
May 04, 2009, 10:33:06 AM »
I am curious as to what you think about this comment from Spector who IMO ranks up there with Benedict Arnold and is proving himself to be a selfish disgrace:
****Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Democrat, said part of the reason that he left the Republican Party last week was disillusionment with its health-care priorities, and suggested that had the Republicans taken a more moderate track, Jack Kemp may have won his battle with cancer.
Mr. Specter, responding to a question from CBS' Bob Schieffer over whether he had let down Pennsylvanians who wanted a Republican to represent them, said he thought his priorities were more in line with those of the Democrats.
"Well, I was sorry to disappoint many people. Frankly, I was disappointed that the Republican Party didn't want me as their candidate," Mr. Specter said on "Face the Nation." "But as a matter of principle, I'm becoming much more comfortable with the Democrats' approach. And one of the items that I'm working on, Bob, is funding for medical research."
Mr. Specter continued: "If we had pursued what President Nixon declared in 1970 as the war on cancer, we would have cured many strains. I think Jack Kemp would be alive today. And that research has saved or prolonged many lives, including mine."
Mr. Kemp died Saturday of cancer. He had been the running mate of 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.****
Michael Jackson may be feeling a bit warm
Reply #17 on:
June 26, 2009, 12:19:10 AM »
Q: Why does Michael Jackson have a tough guy reputation?
A: He has licked every kid possible.
Q: Why did Michael Jackson get food poisoning?
A: He ate a nine year old wiener!
Q: Why were Michael Jackson's pants so small?
A: They belonged to somebody else.
Q: What do Michael Jackson and Walmart have in common?
A: They both have small boys pants at half off!
Q: How many Michael Jacksons does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. Michael Jackson only screws little boys!
Q: What did the man on the beach say to Michael Jackson?
A: Get out of my sun!
Q: What do Michael Jackson and zits have in common?
A: They both wait till your 12 to come on your face!
Q: How do we know Michael is guilty?
A: Several children have fingered him.
Q: Why does Michael Jackson like to lose foot races to little boys?
A: He likes to come in a little behind.
Q: How do you know when it's bedtime at the Jackson residence?
A: When the big hand touches the little hand...
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #18 on:
July 19, 2009, 01:27:19 PM »
Ex-Mossad chief Meir Amit dies at 88
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press
General (res.) Meir Amit, the former head of the Mossad who is credited with modernizing Israel's feared intelligence agency, died on Friday. He was 88 years old.
Amit, who headed the organization from 1963 to 1968, also served as the head of the Israel Defense Forces intelligence branch.
Amit, who was born Meir Slutzki in the town of Tiberias, grew up in a family that identified with the pre-state Labor movement. At a young age, he joined Kibbutz Alonim in the lower Galilee and enlisted in the Haganah. During the War of Independence, he served as an officer and commanded a company of soldiers. Following the war, he decided to leave the kibbutz to pursue a military career. He said he had convinced himself that the army, not just the kibbutz, is vital for the young state.
He commanded infantry and armored corps units before rising through the ranks and becoming a trusted aide to then-chief of staff Moshe Dayan. The relationship between the two men grew closer over the years, and Amit came to be regarded as a protege of one of the country's most charismatic military heroes.
By the end of the 1950s, he was sent to Columbia University in New York, where he completed a degree in economics. Upon his return, he was appointed head of Military Intelligence.
In 1963, after then-prime minister David Ben Gurion forced Isser Harel to resign the top post at the Mossad, he named Amit to head the organization. Amit was the only figure in Israel's history to hold the position of Mossad chief and head of military intelligence at the same time. He remained in the IDF for nine months after being tapped to run the Mossad before leaving the military and focusing solely on heading the agency.
During his tenure, he introduced new modes of operation and oversaw the transfer of a special unit which coordinated espionage activity in Arab states from military intelligence to the Mossad. Amit also contributed to the Mossad's standing as a key intelligence organ whose precise information aided in Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.
On the eve of the war, he was sent on a secret mission to brief top U.S. administration officials. Upon his return, he reported to the government that, in contrast with the assessments given by then-foreign minister Abba Eban, the administration would not oppose a pre-emptive military strike against the Egyptian army.
Other notable achievements of his term included the theft of a Mig-21 which was flown into Israel by a deserting Iraqi pilot, his efforts to reach a peace agreement with Egypt, the contacts and aid provided to the Kurdish rebellion in Iraq, and the expansion of Mossad's cooperation with foreign spy agencies.
"Generations of Israelis, entire generations of children owe Meir Amit a debt of gratitude for his immense contribution - a large part which remains secret - in building the strength and deterrence of Israel," President Shimon Peres said in a statement. "He was a natural leader, whom people trusted, and at the same time he was a visionary for the state."
BP Agent Robert Rosas
Reply #19 on:
July 24, 2009, 02:15:22 PM »
Acting Commissioner’s Message: Death of BPA Robert Rosas
It is with great sadness that Chief Aguilar and I share with you the tragic news of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas. Agent Rosas, age 30, entered on duty with the U.S. Border Patrol on May 22, 2006, and was assigned to the Campo Station in the San Diego Sector.
On July 23, 2009, Agent Rosas was shot and killed by unidentified assailants near Campo, California, after responding to suspicious activity in an area notorious for alien and drug smuggling.
Early reports indicate that Agent Rosas exited his vehicle approximately 18 miles east of the Tecate Port of Entry, near the Shockey Truck Trail, a short distance from the border. Agents working nearby heard gun shots and tried to contact Agent Rosas. When he did not respond, his fellow Agents rushed to the area to locate him, and found his body on the ground near his vehicle.
At this time, it is unknown where the shots originated or the whereabouts of the assailants. An international effort involving the FBI, ICE, the San Diego Sheriff’s Office, the Government of Mexico, and other partners is underway to locate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this atrocious act.
Agent Rosas is survived by his wife, Rosalie; a son, Robert, age 2; a daughter, Kayla Alisa, 11 months; and other family members.
The wearing of mourning bands is authorized and all CBP flags should be flown at half-staff from now until interment. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be relayed once confirmed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rosas family and all the friends and colleagues Agent Rosas leaves behind.
Jayson P. Ahern
WSJ on Novak
Reply #20 on:
August 19, 2009, 06:59:48 AM »
One irony of Robert Novak's long and admirable career as a journalist is that he wasn't a curmudgeon, though he played one on TV. In person, he was warm, loyal to friends and especially generous to young writers, even if he was fearless and unsparing toward the public officials he devoted his life to covering—or, to put it more accurately, uncovering. Novak, who died yesterday at age 78, was among America's greatest political reporters.
Novak first made a mark covering the Senate and House Ways and Means Committee for this newspaper. In 1963, he joined Rowland Evans to form a column-writing duo that broke more stories than many journalists write. Over a half-century career that ended only last year with a diagnosis of brain cancer, Novak afflicted politicians of all parties with his remarkable sourcing and nose for news.
He was attracted to LBJ, but over time he became increasingly skeptical of the political class and its habit of accruing power to itself. He was a staunch anti-Communist and became an advocate for supply-side economics. His column probably reached the apex of its influence during the Reagan years, as he chronicled the battles between the Gipper's true believers and the GOP establishment that sought to defeat them. He preferred the believers.
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.All of this earned Novak the moniker of "conservative" in Washington's taxonomy, but above all he brought to his work a reporter's skepticism about the powerful. This is in contrast to most modern Washington journalists, who have become apologists for the federal government's dominance in American life. Novak was as hard on Republicans who failed to live up to their small-government principles as he was on Democrats who sought to expand the welfare state.
In recent years, Novak became a target of the political left, both because of his gruff TV persona (he let people call him the "prince of darkness") and especially for his 2003 column that "outed" CIA analyst Valerie Plame. The Plame scoop was merely another case of Novak doing his job, and he protected his source (then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage) and behaved honorably even as others in the press corps abandoned First Amendment principles to cheer on a special prosecutor willing to throw reporters in jail.
Late in his life, Novak converted to Catholicism and we trust his faith provided solace in his final months. We are confident that St. Peter will soon be demanding to know who among the saints told Novak about how much the Angel Gabriel spent on his new halo.
Reply #21 on:
September 27, 2009, 03:16:43 PM »
William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon
and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New
York Times who also wrote books on politics and a treasury of
articles on language, has died at age 79.
Reply #22 on:
October 03, 2009, 10:16:47 AM »
Marek Edelman dies at 90; last surviving leader of doomed Warsaw ghetto revolt
He called for tolerance on each anniversary of the 1943 uprising, the first big Jewish revolt against the Nazis. After World War II, he became a cardiologist and fought communism in Poland.
Marek Edelman stands by the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes monument in Poland. His heroism in fighting the Nazis and communism in Poland earned him membership in the French Legion of Honor and Poland's highest civilian distinction, the Order of the White Eagle. (Alik Keplicz / Associated Press / April 19, 2007)
October 3, 2009
Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the ill-fated 1943 Warsaw ghetto revolt against the Nazis, died Friday in Warsaw. He was 90.
Edelman died of old age at the family home of his friend Paula Sawicka, where he had lived for the last two years. "He died at home, among friends, among his close people," Sawicka said.
Most of Edelman's adult life was dedicated to the defense of human life, dignity and freedom. He fought the Nazis in the doomed Warsaw ghetto revolt and later in the Warsaw Uprising. And then for decades he fought communism in Poland.
His heroism earned him membership in the French Legion of Honor and Poland's highest civilian distinction, the Order of the White Eagle.
One of the few survivors of three weeks of uneven struggle in the Warsaw ghetto, he felt obliged to preserve the memory of the fallen heroes of that first large-scale Jewish revolt against the Nazis. Each year, on the anniversary of the revolt, he called for tolerance.
"Man is evil; by nature, man is a beast," he said, and therefore people "have to be educated from childhood, from kindergarten, that there should be no hatred."
He also felt obliged to appeal repeatedly to the world for freedom and peace -- even when it had to be won in a fight.
"When you cannot defend freedom through peaceful means, you have to use arms to fight Nazism, dictatorship, chauvinism," Edelman said last year.
Edelman was born Jan. 1, 1919, in Homel, which was then in eastern Poland and is now in Belarus. His family soon moved to Warsaw.
When the Nazis invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Edelman was member of Bund, a Jewish socialist organization that later masterminded plans for resistance against the occupying Germans.
The Germans set up the Warsaw ghetto in November 1940, cramming more than 400,000 Jews from the city and from across Poland in inhuman conditions. After a year, almost half of the people there had died of disease and starvation.
The resistance plans were implemented April 19, 1943, when the Nazis moved to liquidate the ghetto by killing or sending the remaining 60,000 residents to the death camps of Treblinka, Majdanek and Sobibor, all in Poland.
But that April, the well-trained German troops encountered unexpectedly fierce resistance from a few hundred young, poorly armed Jewish civilians, determined to die fighting rather than in gas chambers.
"No one believed they would be saved," Edelman said. "We knew the struggle was doomed, but it showed the world there was resistance against the Nazis, that you could fight the Nazis."
The ghetto fighters inflicted heavy losses on the Germans, but eventually succumbed. More than 55,000 people were killed or deported to Nazi concentration camps when the uprising failed.
The uprising's leaders were rounded up in a bunker and, seeing no chance of escape, committed suicide on May 8, 1943.
The Nazis razed the ghetto street by street as part of their "final solution," in which they killed 6 million people in their effort to wipe out European Jewry.
Edelman was not in the bunker. With a small group of survivors, he left through the sewers to the Aryan side of Warsaw, where he found places to hide and helped coordinate Jewish partisan groups in nearby forests.
The deadly struggle was "worth it . . . even at the price of the fighters' lives," he said later. "They could not be saved, anyway."
In August and September of 1944, Edelman fought in the Warsaw Uprising, another ill-fated revolt meant to free the capital from Germans ahead of the advancing Red Army.
After the war, Edelman became a cardiologist in the central city of Lodz. He joined the democratic opposition and the Solidarity freedom movement, and was interned under the Dec. 13, 1981, martial law aimed against Solidarity.
In the end, the Solidarity movement led to the ouster of communists from power in Poland in 1989.
Edelman's wife, Alina Margolis-Edelman, worked as a nurse in the Warsaw ghetto, and after the war became a pediatrician. With their son, Aleksander, and daughter, Anna, she left Poland for France after the communist-sponsored anti-Jewish purges of 1968. She died in Paris on March 23, 2008.
But Edelman never wanted to leave Poland. "When you were responsible for the life of some 60,000 people, you don't leave and abandon the memory of them," he said.
He is survived by his son and daughter and two grandchildren.
R.I.P. Ahmad Diaa
Reply #23 on:
December 08, 2009, 08:56:53 AM »
"Our man in Iraq" is back home in America, but as also posted on the Iraq thread today he writes:
"One of the bombs today targeted the new location that the Iraqi HJC (Higher Judiciary Council) guys I used to work and coordinate with moved to (the old "Karkh Appellate courthouse"). That is where they moved much of the judicial operations to after the October bomb destroyed the Ministry of Justice building. Several of those guys did not survive the blast. One of them was a guy named Ahmad Diaa who I probably liked more than any other Iraqi I met over there.
"It is a very sad day for me."
So, for my friend, I pause to remember his friend Ahmad Diaa-- and all the other people who happen to be Muslim but who take a stand against the Islamic Fascism. The numbers of people who do so and the vastness of their courage often goes unnoticed.
Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 06:14:15 PM by admin
Reply #24 on:
December 08, 2009, 12:20:33 PM »
""Man is evil; by nature, man is a beast," he said, and therefore people "have to be educated from childhood, from kindergarten, that there should be no hatred."
He also felt obliged to appeal repeatedly to the world for freedom and peace -- even when it had to be won in a fight.
"When you cannot defend freedom through peaceful means, you have to use arms to fight Nazism, dictatorship, chauvinism," Edelman said last year.
Obama would be wise to shut up, stop lecturing us, and listen to this man who lived a thousand more lives than Obama will ever live.
As someone who has seen evil on a lessor less violent scale on a daily basis from everyone and their brother I can vouche that evil is in all of us and is due to our very nature.
If Obama and the rest of the crazy liberals have their way we will be sorry.
Col. Robert Howard
Reply #25 on:
December 24, 2009, 11:49:26 AM »
COL Robert L. Howard
1939 - 2009
This site is dedicated to Robert L. Howard, one of America's most decorated soldiers. He served five tours in Vietnam and is the only soldier in our nation's history to be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions within a thirteen month period. Although it can only be awarded once to an individual, men who served with him said he deserved all three. He received a direct appointment from Master Sergeant to 1st Lieutenant in 1969, and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in 1971. His other awards for valor include the Distinguished Service Cross - our nation's second highest award, the Silver Star - the third highest award, and numerous lesser decorations including eight Purple Hearts. He received his decorations for valor for actions while serving as an NCO (Sergeant First Class).
Robert L. Howard grew up in Opelika, Alabama and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956 at age seventeen. He retired as a full Colonel in 1992 after 36 years service. During Vietnam, he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and spent most of his five tours in the super-secret MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group) also known as Special Operations Group, which ran classified cross-border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. These men carried out some of the most daring and dangerous missions ever conducted by the U.S. military. The understrength sixty-man recon company at Kontum in which he served was the Vietnam War's most highly decorated unit of its size with five Medals of Honor. It was for his actions while serving on a mission to rescue a fellow soldier in Cambodia, that he was submitted for the Medal of Honor the third time for his extraordinary heroism.
Robert L. Howard is said to be our nation's most decorated soldier from the Vietnam War. He was the last Vietnam Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient still on active duty when he retired on Sept. 29, 1992. His story is told in John Plaster's excellent book, SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam.
It is important for future generations that we remember our military heroes and the great sacrifices they have made for us in the name of Freedom.
Excerpt from John Plaster's recent book SECRET COMMANDOS Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG - pg. 303:
"The day that President Nixon draped the Medal of Honor's pale blue ribbon around Howard's neck, I sat before the TV in my parents' living room watching the evening news. Coming on top of his previous decorations - the Distinguished Service Cross and multiple Silver and Bronze Stars, plus eight Purple Hearts - Howard's combat awards exceeded those of Audie Murphy, America's legendary World War II hero, until then our most highly decorated serviceman. At last, Howard would get his due. I flipped station to station, but not one of the networks - not CBS or NBC or ABC - could find ten seconds to mention Captain Robert Howard or his indomitable courage. I found nothing about him in the newspapers. Twisted by the antiwar politics of that era, many in the media believed that to recognize a heroic act was to glorify war. They simply chose not to cover the ceremony. It might as well not have happened."
NOTE: In 1917, the laws governing the award of the Medal of Honor ended all DOUBLE awards of the Medal of Honor. Click here for more information
Wounded 14 times in 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam,
Robert Howard was awarded 8 Purple Hearts and is believed
to be the most decorated living American.
Medal of Honor Citation
The Green Beret magazine - 1969
Special Forces Medal of Honor
MACVSOG Medal of Honor Print
Medal of Honor Flag
Other MACV-SOG (CCC) Medal of Honor recipients. Click on photo to read their citation.
Franklin D. Miller
Fred W. Zabitosky
John J. Kedenburg
George K. Sisler
Only 3,448 Americans have been awarded Medals of Honor.
Today only 95 of them survive.
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Major-General Miloslav Kaspar
Reply #26 on:
December 26, 2009, 04:16:12 AM »
Major-General Miloslav Kaspar
Major-General Miloslav Kaspar, who has died aged 95, fought with Czechoslovak forces in eastern Europe and France during the Second World War, and was responsible for choosing the team which assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the SS governor of Prague in 1942; after the war he served as an intelligence officer with Deuxième Bureau and MI5.
Published: 7:53PM GMT 25 Dec 2009
In March 1939 Kaspar was with his first regiment in the Slovak capital of Bratislava when the Wehrmacht marched in to proclaim the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia a German protectorate. Setting out immediately for Warsaw, he joined a Polish military intelligence unit which sent him on a training course. Three weeks later he was smuggled into Prague to command a Czech unit spying on the enemy.
On April 20 he produced a report on the troops and heavy armour in a parade to celebrate Hitler's birthday. He wrote it on wet paper, so that the message became invisible when it dried, and accompanied it with an innocuous note.
Major-General Antonin PetrakWhen his brother Pepa, an engineer, told him details of the Soviet-German pact which he had overheard while checking phone lines, Kaspar immediately led his comrades back to Poland. There they joined the Czechoslovak Legion, formed by Lieutenant-Colonel Ludvik Svoboda, and were captured by the Russians invading from the east as the Germans poured in from the west. Kaspar found himself moved to a series of Soviet prison camps previously occupied by Poles, whose graffiti ominously stopped in March 1940 (when the Russians carried out the Katyn massacre).
On being released when Russian-German relations deteriorated, he and his companions were sent to the Crimea, deloused, and dispatched to France to take part in the fighting at Coulommiers on the Marne. But they were forced to retreat south.
On coming to a badly bombed bridge over the Loire, Kaspar organised his men to carry across munitions and gun parts under fire, for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. When he reached the sea, the sight of Admiral Somerville's fleet departing to challenge the French at Mers-el-Kebir convinced him for the first time that victory was possible.
After the French surrender, Kaspar arrived in Britain, becoming an interpreter and instructor to the London Scottish and the South Staffords. As an intelligence officer with the Czechoslovak Legion he also helped to choose the team to assassinate the German governor Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. It was while stationed near Royal Leamington Spa that he met Paulette Pegg, the daughter of a Ministry of Health inspector, whom he married in 1944.
After escorting the exiled Czechoslovak government in London to Slovakia via the Black Sea early the following year, Kaspar was given a battalion for the 300-mile advance on Prague; he took the town of Vsetin, earning a Medal for Valour, and helped the Romanians fight off a German attack on a village under the Tatra mountains, for which he was appointed a knight of the Royal Order of the Star of Romania.
His brother Tonda, who was in a Prague prison, was taunted by guards who told him that there was no chance of Miloslav riding to his rescue on a white horse – so he was delighted to hear that Mila had appeared in Prague on a grey. But their elder brother Pepa was captured bringing ammunition to the barricades on the streets, and killed by SS men in front of his wife and daughter.
When the ceasefire was established Kaspar helped to transfer the Sudeten Germans back to Germany, then studied at the Czechoslovak military war academy for a year before becoming professor of tactics at the staff college. When the communists took over in February 1948, however, he was sacked. He quickly dispatched his wife back to England, and crossed the mountains into Bavaria the next night.
The son of a local official, Miloslav Frantisek Kaspar was born in Prague on February 12 1914 and went to the Realka grammar school. An excellent football player, he was offered a contract by Sparta, but he elected instead to go to the army officers' college at Hranice in Moravia. He found time to visit the Folies Bergère in Paris, where he saw both Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker, whose banana striptease became one of his party tricks in later life. But he also earned sufficiently high marks to be able to choose his regiment, the 39th Infantry.
After leaving Czechoslovakia in 1948, Kaspar joined his wife in Britain, where he accepted an invitation from the wartime Czechoslovak defence minister, Sergej Ingr, to continue in military intelligence. He worked first for Deuxième Bureau in Paris and Innsbruck, where he was involved in running agents behind the Iron Curtain, then moved to MI5 in Cyprus before going to Beirut, where he called himself Miles Kingdon of Skyways Airways.
On returning to Britain, Kaspar became an export manager for Ranco, a refrigeration company, and then Anglo-Nordic, which sold central heating. When he retired in 1978 he became chairman and then president of the Association of Czechoslovak Legionnaires Abroad, editing its magazine Osvobozeni (Liberation).
As the Soviet Union crumbled in the 1980s he wrote, with Josef Bursik (a Czech hero of the Soviet Union who had fought with the Russians during the war), an open letter to President Gorbachev asking for the return of Carpatho-Ruthenia, which Stalin had annexed. Sir Geoffrey Howe, the Foreign Secretary, thanked them, but there was no Soviet response.
When the Communist regime in Prague fell with the Velvet Revolution, Kaspar was offered promotion to the rank of major-general.
He turned it down because it came from a defence minister who was a former communist, but accepted the offer when it was renewed by President Havel.
Returning to Prague after almost 50 years, he found few relations and a country greatly changed by communist rule. He spent his last years in Surrey and Oxfordshire.
Mila Kaspar, who died on November 4, is survived by his wife and three sons.
Reply #27 on:
February 24, 2010, 11:42:39 AM »
Reply #28 on:
April 30, 2010, 07:52:20 AM »
Someone had called to say the Ku Klux Klan was coming to bomb Robert Hicks’s house. The police said there was nothing they could do. It was the night of Feb. 1, 1965, in Bogalusa, La.
Robert Hicks in 1965, the year of a sit-in by blacks at a cafe in Bogalusa, La., where he lived.
The Klan was furious that Mr. Hicks, a black paper mill worker, was putting up two white civil rights workers in his home. It was just six months after three young civil rights workers had been murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.
Mr. Hicks and his wife, Valeria, made some phone calls. They found neighbors to take in their children, and they reached out to friends for protection. Soon, armed black men materialized. Nothing happened.
Less than three weeks later, the leaders of a secretive, paramilitary organization of blacks called the Deacons for Defense and Justice visited Bogalusa. It had been formed in Jonesboro, La., in 1964 mainly to protect unarmed civil rights demonstrators from the Klan. After listening to the Deacons, Mr. Hicks took the lead in forming a Bogalusa chapter, recruiting many of the men who had gone to his house to protect his family and guests.
Mr. Hicks died of cancer at his home in Bogalusa on April 13 at the age of 81, his wife said. He was one of the last surviving Deacon leaders.
But his role in the civil rights movement went beyond armed defense in a corner of the Jim Crow South. He led daily protests month after month in Bogalusa — then a town of 23,000, of whom 9,000 were black — to demand rights guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And he filed suits that integrated schools and businesses, reformed hiring practices at the mill and put the local police under a federal judge’s control.
It was his leadership role with the Deacons that drew widest note, however. The Deacons, who grew to have chapters in more than two dozen Southern communities, veered sharply from the nonviolence preached by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They carried guns, with the mission to protect against white aggression, citing the Second Amendment.
And they used them. A Bogalusa Deacon pulled a pistol in broad daylight during a protest march in 1965 and put two bullets into a white man who had attacked him with his fists. The man survived. A month earlier, the first black deputy sheriff in the county had been assassinated by whites.
When James Farmer, national director of the human rights group the Congress of Racial Equality, joined protests in Bogalusa, one of the most virulent Klan redoubts, armed Deacons provided security.
Dr. King publicly denounced the Deacons’ “aggressive violence.” And Mr. Farmer, in an interview with Ebony magazine in 1965, said that some people likened the Deacons to the K.K.K. But Mr. Farmer also pointed out that the Deacons did not lynch people or burn down houses. In a 1965 interview with The New York Times Magazine, he spoke of CORE and the Deacons as “a partnership of brothers.”
The Deacons’ turf was hardscrabble Southern towns where Klansmen and law officers aligned against civil rights campaigners. “The Klan did not like being shot at,” said Lance Hill, author of “The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement”(2004).
In July 1965, escalating hostilities between the Deacons and the Klan in Bogalusa provoked the federal government to use Reconstruction-era laws to order local police departments to protect civil rights workers. It was the first time the laws were used in the modern civil rights era, Mr. Hill said.
Adam Fairclough, in his book “Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972” (1995), wrote that Bogalusa became “a major test of the federal government’s determination to put muscle into the Civil Rights Act in the teeth of violent resistance from recalcitrant whites.”
Mr. Hicks was repeatedly jailed for protesting. He watched as his 15-year-old son was bitten by a police dog. The Klan displayed a coffin with his name on it beside a burning cross. He persisted, his wife said, for one reason: “It was something that needed to be done.”
Robert Hicks was born in Mississippi on Feb. 20, 1929. His father, Quitman, drove oxen to harvest trees for the paper mill. He played football on a state championship high school team and later for the semi-professional Bogalusa Bushmen.
He was known for his generosity: at the Baptist congregation where he was a deacon, he bought new suits for poor members. As the first black supervisor at the mill, he helped a young man amass enough overtime to buy the big car he dreamed of. Children all over town called him Dad, his son Charles said.
A leader in the local N.A.A.C.P. and his segregated union, Mr. Hicks was the logical choice to head the Bogalusa Civic and Voters League when it was formed to lead the local civil rights effort. He was first president, then vice president of the Deacons in Bogalusa.
Besides Valeria Hicks, his wife of 62 years, and his son Charles, Mr. Hicks is survived by three other sons, Gregory, Robert Lawrence and Darryl; his daughter, Barbara Hicks Collins; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
By 1968, the Deacons had pretty much vanished. In time they were “hardly a footnote in most books on the civil rights movement,” Mr. Hill said. He attributed this to a “mythology” that the rights movement was always nonviolent.
Mrs. Hicks said she was glad it was not.
“I became very proud of black men,” she said. “They didn’t bow down and scratch their heads. They stood up like men.”
Maj. Dick Winters
Reply #29 on:
January 14, 2011, 11:21:20 AM »
Profiles of Valor: Maj. Dick Winters, Inspiration for 'Band of Brothers', RIP
America lost another World War II hero on Jan. 2, when Army Maj. Dick Winters (ret.) died at the age of 92. He requested that his death not be made public until after the funeral. On June 6, 1944, then-First Lt. Winters parachuted into the French village of Ste. Marie-du-Mont with the other members of the U.S. Army's E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The group was famously nicknamed "Easy Company" and became the inspiration for historian Stephen Ambrose's "Band of Brothers."
After Easy Company's commander was killed in a plane crash early in the assault, Winters led the company on its mission to destroy four 105mm howitzers and a 50-man German platoon to help clear the way for the invading Allied Forces' landing at Utah Beach. Winters lost his weapon during the drop and was initially isolated from his men, but he regrouped and led the successful assault, despite the unit's suffering 50 percent casualties. He later called his actions "my apogee" -- actions for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross. Ambrose wrote, "It surely saved a lot of lives, and made it much easier for -- perhaps even made it possible in the first instance -- for tanks to come inland from the beach."
When the war was over, Winters worked in New Jersey at a fertilizer plant, and later sold animal feed and ran a farm. He left his war experiences behind him, but his men never forgot. William Guarnere lost a leg in the Battle of the Bulge under Winters' command. After learning of the latter's death, Guarnere said, "I would follow him to hell and back. So would the men from E Company." Rest in peace, Maj. Winters.
James Q. Wilson
Reply #30 on:
March 03, 2012, 09:12:27 AM »
Re: James Q. Wilson
Reply #31 on:
March 03, 2012, 02:36:31 PM »
Quote from: JDN on March 03, 2012, 09:12:27 AM
This is a big loss.
CMH Winner dies at 92
Reply #32 on:
March 04, 2012, 10:44:18 AM »
WWII veteran who fought to fly flag at Virginia home dies at 92
Published March 04, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. – A World War II Medal of Honor winner who made headlines for his fight to fly an American flag in his Virginia front yard, has died. Retired Army Col. Van Thomas Barfoot was 92.
Barfoot gained national attention and even support from the White House in 2009 when he fought to keep his 21-foot flagpole at his Henrico County home after the homeowners association ordered it removed and threatened to sue him.
The association later backed off, but Barfoot's fight led to a state law making it tougher for homeowners associations to restrict the flying of the U.S. flag.
Jim Barfoot told WWBT-TV that his father died Friday after suffering injuries from a fall earlier in the week.
Bliley's Funeral Home in Richmond said the funeral would be private.
SLIDESHOW: Medal of Honor winner Col. Van Barfoot
Reply #33 on:
June 30, 2012, 02:31:22 PM »
Yitzhak Shamir, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Dies at 96, Officials Say
Yitzhak Shamir, who emerged from the militant wing of Israel’s pre-state militia and served as prime minister longer than anyone except David Ben-Gurion, promoting a muscular Zionism and expansive settlement in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, died Saturday. He was 96.
His death was announced by the Israeli government.
As head of the right-wing Likud bloc, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now leads, Mr. Shamir served as premier from 1983 to 1984 and from 1986 to 1992. He had withdrawn from public life over the past decade, silenced by Alzheimer’s disease.
Re: Rest in Peace: R.I.P. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hero of the 442nd
Reply #34 on:
December 18, 2012, 11:24:06 AM »
R.I.P. Sen. Inouye, Hero of the 442nd
December 17, 2012
We have just learned that Senator Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii) has passed away at 88. Whatever else the president pro tempore of the Senate was, he was a Nazi-socking badass of a G.I.:
In the fall of 1944, Inouye’s unit was shifted to the French Vosges Mountains and spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing a Texas Battalion surrounded by German forces. The rescue of “The Lost Battalion” is listed in the U.S. Army annals as one of the most significant military battles of the century. Inouye lost ten pounds, became a platoon leader and won the Bronze Star and a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant.
Back in Italy, the 442nd was assaulting a heavily defended hill in the closing months of the war when Lieutenant Inouye was hit in his abdomen by a bullet which came out his back, barely missing his spine. He continued to lead the platoon and advanced alone against a machine gun nest which had his men pinned down. He tossed two hand grenades with devastating effect before his right arm was shattered by a German rifle grenade at close range. Inouye threw his last grenade with his left hand, attacked with a submachine gun and was finally knocked down the hill by a bullet in the leg.
Dan Inouye spent 20 months in Army hospitals after losing his right arm. On May 27, 1947, he was honorably discharged and returned home as a Captain with a Distinguished Service Cross (the second highest award for military valor), Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 other medals and citations.
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #35 on:
December 18, 2012, 01:20:54 PM »
I did not care for the man's politics at all, but total respect for what you describe AND for the fact that IIRC his unit was an all Japanese-American unit looking to prove American loyalty in response to the camps set up for many Japanese-American citizens (see the Korematsu decision by the Supreme Court).
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #36 on:
December 18, 2012, 03:53:33 PM »
The article doesn't mention that he was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, or his relationship with Bob Dole or Phillip Hart (
for discussion of the impact of these three men; and
for a measure of the impact they had on the country and military/veterans service). Nor does it mention that he served Hawai'i continuously since before statehood. And, you do recall correctly, Guro.
Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 03:58:21 PM by bigdog
Reply #37 on:
December 19, 2012, 09:46:19 AM »
With much respect...
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #38 on:
December 19, 2012, 10:38:06 AM »
Bork was an outstanding legal mind, and during his nomination to the Supreme Court the target of a vicious, vicious, smear campaign by the Dems/liberals/progressives, and the rest of the usual suspects. Truly shameful! I would note that the Reps/conservatives/the right did not reciprocate in kind a few years later with the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. When this classy collective act was not reciprocated, the judicial nomination review process sank to new lows (e.g. the media lynching of Clarence Thomas).
Personally I opposed Bork's nomination on the grounds that he did not believe that there is a right to privacy in the Ninth Amendment, but I regarded him as an honorable man.
Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf
Reply #39 on:
December 27, 2012, 07:08:57 PM »
Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 09:33:27 PM by Crafty_Dog
Reply #40 on:
December 29, 2012, 04:28:29 PM »
His IQ was 170! I think Einstein was est. ~ a measely 165.
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #41 on:
December 29, 2012, 05:07:49 PM »
In which case one would think he would have played the end game of the Gulf War quite a bit better.
Reply #42 on:
February 01, 2013, 09:14:57 AM »
In 1968 Ed Koch was over at our home a couple of times for political meetings of a committee co-chaired by my mom and future Congresswoman and major femi-nazi Bella Abzug concerning the candidacy of Sen. Eugene McCarthy for the Dem. presidential nomination. At the time I thought him a weenie, but came to like and respect him tremendously for his time as mayor.
Re: Rest in Peace
Reply #43 on:
February 01, 2013, 09:54:18 PM »
I too was saddened to learn of his death.
He was one of the few Democrats who I truly admired.
Reply #44 on:
February 02, 2013, 02:37:09 PM »
A nice looking back interview with EK:
To fully appreciate Ed Koch, it helps to have lived in New York before he became mayor in 1978. The city was emerging from near-bankruptcy, the subways were graffiti-ridden and broken-down, the streets increasingly violent. Koch was a liberal mugged by reality whose three terms began the New York turnaround that has never arrived in Detroit, Newark, Philadelphia, St. Louis or much of Los Angeles.
Edward Irving Koch, who died Friday at age 88, was infused with an unrelenting vitality that made him popular if also sometimes a bit too much. He was drafted in 1943 and served as a decorated infantryman in France. Back home he became a lawyer and joined the reform wing of the Democratic Party, taking on the patronage machine that had emerged out of Tammany Hall.
As mayor, he inherited a city run into the ground by that machine and the celebrity liberalism of Republican John Lindsay. As recounted by Roger Starr in "The Rise and Fall of New York City," these mayors took money that should have gone for long-term investment and used it for short-term political gain by growing the welfare rolls and buying off public unions. The city was in a growing state of disrepair.
Koch proceeded to reinvest in public works, including new subway cars and stations. He cut the city payroll, at least for a while, and he stood up to union demands. He replaced the patronage appointment of judges with merit selection.
He was also the first mayor in years to attend to the deteriorating public face of the city, giving the police more power to deal with vagrants and banning loud noise on subways and buses. He restored the city's confidence for a time before his popularity waned and he lost in the Democratic primary to David Dinkins, who would go on to be Lindsay without the charm.
Though Koch disliked Rudy Giuliani personally, he was in a sense the policy forerunner of that Republican mayor who succeeded Mr. Dinkins and really brought New York back to life. Though a partisan Democrat to his grave, Koch was the kind of old-school liberal who could admit when liberal nostrums were failing. They don't make progressives like him anymore.
Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 01:02:10 PM by Crafty_Dog
Reply #45 on:
February 03, 2013, 12:05:42 AM »
Re: Chris Kyle
Reply #46 on:
February 03, 2013, 05:36:20 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on February 03, 2013, 12:05:42 AM
Horrible news. I'm very saddened to read this. Kyle was an American hero and a family man.
more on Chris Kyle
Reply #47 on:
February 03, 2013, 08:38:50 AM »
Lady Margaret Thatcher
Reply #48 on:
April 08, 2013, 07:34:41 AM »
I had tremendous respect for her.
LONDON— Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who became one of the most influential global leaders of the postwar period, died on Monday, three decades after her championing of free-market economics and individual choice transformed Britain's economy and her vigorous foreign policy played a key role in the end of the Cold War.
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother, Baroness Thatcher, died peacefully following a stroke this morning," said Mrs. Thatcher's spokesman, Timothy Bell.
Queen Elizabeth II and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron immediately issued tributes, with Mr. Cameron saying: "We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton." Mr. Cameron planned to cut short a trip across Europe and was due to return to London on Monday afternoon.
Mrs. Thatcher, who grew up in an apartment without hot water above her father's grocery store in Grantham, eastern England, went on to become Britain's first female prime minister and arguably the country's dominant political figure since Winston Churchill. She was 87.
She was a key ally and close friend of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, sharing with him a view on free-market, monetarist solutions to the economic problems of the day, as well as an uncompromising stance on how to handle the former Soviet Union, earning her the nickname "the Iron Lady." Together the two led a rightward shift in Western politics that extolled the virtues of a free-market economic system with little government intervention that has largely endured, though aspects, such as the deregulation of financial services, have been questioned during the credit crisis. In moves that were widely copied, Mrs. Thatcher took on Britain's all-powerful trade unions and privatized state-run industries, governing with a take-no-prisoners style that earned her both admiration and dislike.
"She showed everyone what a political leader with a powerful agenda could accomplish," said George Shultz, who was secretary of state to Ronald Reagan.
"She was the last outlier from the ideological wars against Marxism, an epoch-making politician, but an incredibly polarizing force," said Patrick Dunleavy, professor of political science at the London School of Economics.
Mrs. Thatcher is remembered within Britain mostly for her role in revolutionizing the fading economy in a process that caused huge social change, and for the successful retaking of the Falkland Islands, the British South Atlantic territory invaded by Argentina in 1982—after which she declared "We have ceased to be a nation in retreat."
In Europe, she is remembered as a prickly leader who thrived on confrontation, but who ultimately agreed to foster some of the European Union's most significant developments, such as the creation of a single EU market.
Mrs. Thatcher was forced from office after an interparty rebellion in 1990 after over 11½ years in power, making her the longest-serving 20th-century British prime minister. By the time the opposition Labour Party took power in 1997, its leader, Tony Blair, had forced his party to accept much of her legacy, dropping its commitment to nationalized industries and embracing free markets.
Even her ideological enemies admired Mrs. Thatcher as a person of conviction who eschewed the focus-group politics that characterizes many in her line of work.
"She said what she meant and meant what she said and did what she said she would do," said Tony Benn, a radical left-wing minister in the Labour governments that preceded Mrs. Thatcher.
Mrs. Thatcher herself described consensus as the process of "abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies… something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."
Born Margaret Roberts on Oct. 13, 1925, in the Lincolnshire market town of Grantham to Alfred and Beatrice Roberts, Mrs. Thatcher was schooled from an early age in an ethic of hard work and self-reliance. She grew up in a house with no hot water and an outdoor toilet. Her father, a Methodist lay preacher, was active in local politics and a major early influence.
"He taught her, don't go with the herd if you think that the herd is wrong," said Sir Bernard Ingham, who served as Mrs. Thatcher's press secretary for 11 years.
His interest in politics also provided the books and newspapers which would stimulate her own. The brutalities of World War II and the accounts of a young Austrian Jew for whom her father had arranged shelter in Grantham filled her with a hate of all totalitarianism. She later recalled in her autobiography that as a 13-year-old she took on a group of adults, to their "astonishment", in a prewar fish-and-chip shop queue after one said that at least Adolf Hitler had given Germany back its self-respect.
Mrs. Thatcher attended local state schools at a time when Conservative politicians were still mainly drafted from Britain's elite private schools. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and spent her early career in research laboratories.
Mrs. Thatcher took power following Britain's "winter of discontent" of 1978-1979, in which nationwide strikes over pay by public-sector workers from gravediggers to garbage men brought an economy that had for years been growing at half the rate of its peers close to a standstill. In her first two years as prime minister, the nation's economy shrank and unemployment rose by a million, hovering at three million until the mid-1980s. There was widespread rioting in inner cities as both these conditions and racial tensions fermented dissent.
Mrs. Thatcher responded with radical reforms, shaped by the ideas of free-market economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman on minimizing government control and allowing markets free rein in deciding the shape of the economy. "Without economic liberty, there could be no true political liberty," she told European leaders in 1979.
She took on Britain's then-powerful labor unions and whittled the size of the state through sweeping privatizations and the closure of unprofitable state-owned enterprises, from coal mines to steel plants. The resulting long showdown between striking coal miners and Mrs. Thatcher split the country.
Mrs. Thatcher said those who stood in the middle of the road risked getting hit by traffic coming both ways. "I'm not here to be liked," she often said.
"It was obvious by the late '70s and early '80s that change was absolutely essential but there was no effort to try and manage the change with an expansion of vocational education or training for people whose whole economic life was being shattered," said Neil Kinnock, who was leader of the opposition Labour Party for most of Mrs. Thatcher's reign.
Ian Lavery, who worked in coal pits in Ashington, a town in northeast England, watched his father, two brothers and several uncles all lose their jobs as miners. Mrs. Thatcher "ripped the heart out of the place in a short few years," he said. "There was never anything put in place to replace what was lost."
Mrs. Thatcher relished an argument, and got so bored on vacations that young Conservative politicians were dispatched to join her family so she could argue politics, colleagues remember.
"I watched some people in her presence who were intimidated and [would] not say much and I don't think she liked that. She enjoyed a good argument," said Mr. Shultz, a key figure in the Reagan administration.
Britain's economy recovered, in part as a result of the more flexible, U.S.-style labor markets she ushered in, helped by oil discoveries in the North Sea. In addition, Mrs. Thatcher began a widespread privatization program. Driven through amid often fierce public opposition, the program put inefficient, unprofitable state giants into private hands and provided a template for many other countries in Europe. By the end of 2009, state-run industry accounted for only 2% of the U.K. economy, compared with 10% in 1979.
Her deregulation of the financial industry helped turn London from an increasingly obsolete financial center into a rival to Wall Street. Known as the "Big Bang," for the many changes made at once, the 1987 deregulation moved trading from the floor to electronic screens and blew away barriers to entry, bringing in bankers and businesses from around the world.
Mrs. Thatcher's term was punctuated by several recessions. The worst, in the early 1980s, saw a peak-to-trough decline in output of 6%, though the more recent recession, caused by the credit crisis, has been worse.
While her government reduced annual inflation from the double-digit figures of the 1970s, it was only in the 1990s that inflation came under control.
"On macroeconomic policy, the record was patchy, but the theme throughout had been pro-business, pro-market," which laid the foundation for later successes, said Ken Clarke, a minister in the current government, who was in Mrs. Thatcher's cabinet throughout her time in power and became Treasury chief under her Conservative successor, John Major.
The close and candid relationships Mrs. Thatcher formed with both Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Mr. Reagan, and her vocal support of the uncompromising U.S. position toward the Soviet Union, proved an important element in the end of the Cold War.
At her first meeting with Mr. Gorbachev, she told her Soviet counterpart over lunch: "Welcome to the United Kingdom. I want our relationship to get off to a good start, and to make sure there is no misunderstanding between us—I hate Communism," said Sir Bernard, her press secretary at the time.
In her later years in power, the woman who famously said "the lady's not for turning" was criticized for her inflexibility. In November 1990, the longest-serving member of her cabinet, Geoffrey Howe, resigned over her hostile position on a process of European integration, under which more national powers, on issues from banking regulation to working practices, were moving to Brussels. In a resignation speech that kicked off a Conservative Party leadership contest—which Mrs. Thatcher lost—Mr. Howe told Parliament she seemed to "look out on a continent that is positively teeming with ill-intentioned people."
Her former Defense Minister Michael Heseltine challenged her for the party leadership. He failed to win, but garnered enough votes from Conservative members of Parliament to show they wanted a change. Mrs. Thatcher, who had won three national elections, was persuaded by her party and advisers to resign before a second ballot. John Major, her Treasury chief, became prime minister.
An emotional Mrs. Thatcher left Number 10 Downing Street on Nov. 28, 1990, and went to sit in the House of Lords, the upper house of the U.K. Parliament. As Baroness Thatcher, she continued to attack old enemies for a while, such as the European Union, and to exert a sometimes-divisive influence within the Conservative Party.
After a series of small strokes in March 2002 and the death of her husband, retired oil executive Denis Thatcher, she largely withdrew from public life the following year.
Write to Alistair MacDonald at
Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 07:58:54 AM by Crafty_Dog
Re: Lady Margaret Thatcher
Reply #49 on:
April 08, 2013, 09:41:19 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on April 08, 2013, 07:34:41 AM
I had tremendous respect for her.
Yes. She led Britain to a miraculous comeback, was President Reagan's equal and partner in leading the world toward freedom. She started two years ahead of him. These were historic times, standing up to the Soviet Union at its peak of power and standing up for economic freedom at home. She was alway the obvious answer to the question of whether a woman could be President of the United States. We can only hope to have a leader that great.
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