|Chicago's Original 'Boss" Richard J. Daley|
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
With the Obama administration reeling from three (count-em 3) scandals the American people are now getting an idea what it is like to live in Chicago.
Chicago is the city where the dead vote and the ballot boxes still have to be stuffed just to make sure the dead don't change their minds.
As Studs Terkel once wrote: "Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt.”
When Obama was elected in 2008 I knew it would only be a matter of time before Chicago style politics took over in Washington. Now it has--and how.
Let's take a look at what has transpired in the past few days. Monday Obama and his Chicago minions found themselves in the bizarre position of reiterating Republican umbrage over the admission that the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups, while condemning his political opponents for generating "a sideshow" over his administration’s non-response to last year’s attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya.
By the end of the day Monday, the Obama administration found itself battling yet another potential crisis as lawyers for the Associated Press charged that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of its reporters and editors in what the news agency called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
Then, Tuesday the nation watched White House press spokesman Jay Carney get his knickers in a twist over persistent and hostile questioning from an obviously outraged mainstream press corps that until now had been the administration's biggest cheerleaders.
But just as in Chicago, where politicians never admit to wrongdoing--even as they are carted off to prison--Carney, Obama et al feigned ignorance of the Justice Department's raid on AP and the IRS targeting of conservative organizations.
"We must wait for the facts to come out," Carney wheezed under the bright lights of the White House press briefing room.
Actually, the facts are out. The IRS has already admitted some of its offices targeted conservative organizations for "special treatment" much to the delight (I am sure) of Obama and his Chicago acolytes. A report by the Inspector General, sure to be critical of the IRS, is due out later this week.
As for the Justice Department, there is little doubt that it subpoenaed phone records of editors and reporters. The question now is for what reason? And where did the order to do so come from?
“This is obviously disturbing,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Committee. “Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.”
Welcome to Chicago! That is the way politicians in the Windy City have behaved for more than 150 years.
Mark Twain was aware of that dubious legacy back in 1897 when he penned the following in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar: "Satan (impatiently) to Newcomer: The trouble with you Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here; whereas you are merely the most numerous." (From," 1897).
Those "Chicago People" may not be the most numerous in Washington, but they have managed to latch onto a lot of power--from the White House on down the line.
Finally, much to the chagrin of the Obama administration, Republicans rejuvenated scrutiny of the White House on Benghazi, including last week’s House Oversight Committee hearing that featured the No. 2 U.S. official in Libya at the time of the attack describing how his pleas for a military response to the assaults were rejected.
Last week, internal emails showed that Obama's senior aides and State Department officials edited out references to terrorism in early "talking points" put out by the administration last September.
In Chicago when politicians don't want something disclosed whistleblowers mysteriously disappear or suddenly lose their memories. It's the Chicago Way.
So what will the White House do now? As much as Jay Carney would like to, he can't make an irate press disappear. They will not go away and they will continue to ask annoying questions that will cause a president who somehow believes he should be politically inviolate to fret and fume.
Up until now, Carney has had a pretty easy job. He only had to field tough questions from a handful of reporters (most from Fox News). Now he has the entire press corps to deal with. It's about time.
Obama, who might be the most arrogant president in history, would do well to take a lesson from the original boss of Chicago, Richard J. Daley, who said:
"Power is dangerous unless you have humility."
Thursday, May 9, 2013
This will be short. About as short as the way the American media have covered the whistleblower testimony on the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador were murdered.
First, let me say I am fully disgusted by the lack of coverage of this hearing. Only Fox News has given the riveting testimony Wednesday by the three whistleblowers the kind of air time this hearing deserves.
Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya and the highest ranking official in the country at the time of the attacks, confirmed that there was, in fact, a firm “stand down” order given after the U.S. compound in Benghazi came under attack. Hicks testified that he was “effectively” demoted shortly after questioning talking points that later proved to be demonstrably false. Hicks also revealed that he was told not to speak with an investigating Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) alone.
|The Three Whistleblowers are Sworn in|
The two other whistleblowers, Mark I. Thompson, a former U.S. Marine and currently the Deputy Coordinator for Operations in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau and Eric Nordstrom, a Diplomatic Security officer who was the top security officer in the Libya in the months leading up to the Benghazi attacks were almost completely ignored by media coverage.
While Fox News provided almost wall-to-wall live coverage of the testimony, CNN devoted about 15 minutes to the hearings--preferring to hype the Cleveland abduction story. When MSNBC decided to cover the hearings it brought Democrat Elijah Cummings on who immediately dismissed the entire affair as an attempt to "launch unfounded accusations and smear public officials."
None of the three networks, NBC, CBS or ABC broke into regular programming to air any of the hearings. On its nightly news show, liberal maven and Hillary Clinton devotee Andrea Mitchell dismissed the hearings with this quip: "There is an obvious political undercurrent. Republicans are taking direct aim at Hillary Clinton, the country's most popular Democrat and a possible presidential contender."
ABC provided less than a minute of coverage and CBS's Sharyl Attkisson, who provided a balanced one minute report on the hearings, has been accused by CBS executives of 'wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue.' Why, because she apparently feels the hearings and the entire Benghazi episode deserve at least as much coverage as the murder trials of Jodi Arias and Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas tweeted just before Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder: "Right now Jodi Arias is regretting not killing an ambassador or a Philadelphia infant," the implication being that not only would the media not cover her trial, but would probably do its best to help her go free.
To see journalists more concerned with protecting President Obama and Hillary Clinton than finding out the truth about an attack that killed four Americans is truly disgraceful. It makes me wonder what kind of future my chosen profession has in this country.
Journalists are already viewed with suspicion by the public. When news organizations decide to cover stories based on partisanship, rather than on their traditional responsibility as "watchdogs" of government, our democracy is in big trouble.
After the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. we know the Nixon administration attempted to cover-up its involvement. The media were relentless in their pursuit of Nixon and his cronies and eventually the hearings and the media coverage forced Nixon's resignation.
In Benghazi, unlike Watergate, there were four deaths. Instead of outrage that Ambassador Stevens and three others were murdered, the media are towing the line of the Obama administration and keeping a lid on the entire affair. Where are the Woodward and Bernsteins of today?
And then there is the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who goes before the January Benghazi hearings and in response to a question of whether or not the State Department knew if the attack on the consulate was a spontaneous demonstration or a coordinated attack by terrorists, says heatedly: "At this point, what difference does it make?"
What difference does it make? How about who was giving the orders in the State Department regarding security in Benghazi and what the president knew and when he knew it? And how about our ambitious ex-secretary of state who is angling to be our next president?
The answers that may come from this hearing, despite the media's obvious stratagem to ignore them, will undoubtedly tell us what difference it makes.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Recently a column in USA Today suggested that journalism schools such as New York's venerable Columbia University should simply shut their doors because they have become irrelevant given today's deluge of Internet information and new digital delivery platforms.
Allow me to put on my Dean's attire for a moment. In the University of Illinois' College of Media, where I toiled 7 years as Journalism Department Head and 6 years as Dean, the objective was to turn out students who had learned the basic fundamentals of journalism--clear, concise writing, editing, producing compelling packages (for our broadcast majors) and, of course, good story telling that kept readers, viewers and listeners engaged.
I think teaching those fundamentals, with the understanding, of course, that one hones and tempers those skills in the competitive heat of the professional world, is a basic requirement of any journalism program--be it a school, college, department or simply a collection of courses.
Beyond that, however, I think it is absolutely critical that journalism students have a broad education in areas such as economics, history, political and social sciences, international studies, business/economics, law and even languages. We encouraged our students to specialize in at least one of these areas.
Now to Columbia University. Its journalism school is strictly a graduate program and traditionally was intended to take students who had backgrounds in one of the above areas and teach them how to be journalists. That is how we ran our graduate program at Illinois---most of our grad students came to us with bachelor degrees in areas such as law, business, political science, etc. We then did what Columbia did: teach them the fundamentals of journalism--be it print, broadcast, online, etc.
My college had about 1,200 undergraduate students, about 30-40 master's students and about 40 PhD candidates who were studying in our Institute of Communication Research.
As with all journalism programs, the College of Media has been in a state of flux as the world of professional journalism as changed and adapted to the realities of new technologies, delivery platforms, etc.
Students at Illinois are taught how to use the new technologies, but they are not short-changed on the fundamentals and responsibilities that are so important for journalism students to learn and embrace. I often told students that journalism is not about the journalist, it is about the people the journalist is responsible to. When journalists begin to believe they are more important than the story, then they have lost their way and forsaken those responsibilities.
In the USA Today column, the writer suggested that journalism schools employ old journalistic hacks who may have lost their jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth at Illinois (and at other first tier journalism programs).
During my tenure, I hired three Pulitzer Prize winners--hardly the kind of individual Michael Wolf alludes to in his scathing indictment of Columbia. Most of my faculty teaching in the journalism program were former professionals who brought real world experience and with it, professional credibility, into the classroom.
The College of Media also had a Department of Advertising and a Department of Media and Cinema Studies. Even in those departments we looked for faculty with professional backgrounds (Roger Ebert, for example, one of our journalism department's alumni, was a mentor and adjunct professor) in addition to academic and teaching credentials. The College also had a professional operation: WILL-AM-FM-TV and Online--the PBS/NPR affiliate for Central Illinois. Many of our students were able to get real world experience working at those operations.
The author of the USA Today piece wonders why Columbia isn't disgorging "information entrepreneurs." I am not sure what an "information entrepreneur" is. Is it a blogger who has never taken journalism classes? Hardly my definition of a journalist--no matter what kind of technology he/she is using.
Journalists and the organizations they work for need the trust of readers, viewers, listeners, twitter followers, web surfers, etc. They must earn that trust by being consistently accurate in their reporting and by producing stories that are "fair and balanced," to use a rather overused phrase.
Sadly, it seems that too many journalists (or those who like to call themselves journalists) have forgotten that and as a result, the public trust that we once took for granted is eroding.
The USA Today column does make a valid point about the employment prospects for newly minted journalists. Opportunities are more constricted compared to when I began working for the Chicago Tribune (1969). Newspapers are losing traditional readers, and while some are finding new readers via their online and mobile device editions, advertising revenues are not keeping up. News organizations, in the end, are businesses. If they don't make a profit they can't remain in business. That means fewer traditional journalism jobs.
At the same time, the skill sets demanded by news organizations have grown immensely. Journalists today must master a much more complex array of technologies than when I began back in the Stone Age. They must know how to shoot video, blog, tweet, do live stand ups, etc. By contrast, in addition to pounding away on a 10 pound Underwood typewriter (a what?), when I was first sent abroad as a correspondent, I prided myself in knowing how to use a telex machine (a what?).
Does that mean "non-traditional" journalists will supplant the more traditional variety? In some ways, they already have, up to a point. However, I believe traditional news organizations have a clear mission to provide the kind of vetting process that the Internet with its plethora of bloggers simply cannot.
For example, I may see an interesting piece online somewhere--produced by a blogger or by some organization with an obvious axe to grind--but I always go to a recognized news organization to see how it is reporting the same story or event.
Finally, if Columbia and other such institutions should shut their doors forever because "media experts" keep writing obituaries for the news business, then where will tomorrow's journalists come from?
Will they be the "information entrepreneurs" the article seems to be so fond of who have never heard of the Society of Professional Journalists nor the principles of journalism it stands behind and promotes?
Will they be an army of self-absorbed bloggers who have abandoned the practice of fair and accurate reporting in favor of their own un-vetted and idiosyncratic propaganda?
Or will society simply abandon the idea of privately-owned news organizations in favor of government-run websites and blogs without the traditional watchdog function that the Fourth Estate has traditionally provided?
That is not a world that any of us should feel comfortable living in.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Our society seems obsessed with labels. Take the word "Hero," for example. It is applied in the most absurd and inappropriate ways to people who don't deserve that distinction.
When Whitney Houston died, for example, I couldn't believe that people were calling her a "hero."
Why? Because she was a wonderfully talented singer who eventually threw her life and career away with a deadly addiction to assorted drugs such crystal meth, marijuana, cocaine and pills such as Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl?
How exactly does that make her a "hero?" Obviously, it doesn't. It doesn't even make her a good role model.
And what about others who have been accorded the "hero" appellation?
Remember US Airways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, who landed his plane full of passengers on New York's Hudson River after his engines conked out? Sullenberger was quickly labeled "hero"--a term he himself says is not appropriate.
"That didn't quite fit my situation, which was thrust upon me suddenly," he said. "Certainly, my crew and I were up to the task. But I'm not sure it quite crosses the threshold of heroism. I think the idea of a hero is important. But sometimes in our culture we overuse the word, and by overusing it we diminish it."
The Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission defines a hero as "someone who voluntarily leaves a point of safety to assume life risk to save or attempt to save the life of another."
|Capt. Chesley Sullenberger|
"When the engines stopped on US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009," Commission president, Mark Laskow wrote, "Capt. Sullenberger was not in a place of safety. On the contrary, he was in the same peril as the passengers whose lives he saved with his piloting skill. He did not have the opportunity to make a moral choice to take on the risk — it 'was thrust upon' him. I have no doubt that if he did have such a choice, he would not have hesitated to place himself in danger to save his passengers. That just wasn't the actual situation in which he found himself."
Once upon a time I served in the U.S. Army. I did my job and did it pretty well as my various awards and eventual promotion to Sergeant attests. But I was no "hero." I volunteered, I did my job and I left with an honorable discharge. When a soldier, marine, airman or sailor puts on his or her uniform they are just doing their jobs.
Yet, today, we apply the word "hero" to all servicemen and women who serve in the armed forces. How often do we hear people refer to "our heroes in Afghanistan?" They are not heroes. They are servicemen and women and they doing their duty serving their nation.
A hero is a person who goes above and beyond the call of duty and puts him or herself in harm's way to perform an act of selfless gallantry. You might argue that servicemen and women put themselves in harm's way on a daily basis, but that is their job--and they volunteered for that job. So how does that make "ALL" servicemen and women "heroes?"
I sometimes wear a baseball cap when I go shopping. On the front it identifies me as a U.S. Army Veteran--a fact that I am very proud of. Sometimes people see that and thank me for my service. When that happens I often feel a bit awkward. Yes, I did serve four years in active duty and another four in the reserves. But I don't feel anybody owes me a "thank you." I volunteered for the U. S. Army and I did the job I was assigned to do. I am certainly no "hero" because of it.
You want to know what a hero is? Here is a hero. His name was Roy P. Benavidez. Not long ago someone sent me an e-mail that contained the amazing story of his life.
|MSG Roy P. Benavidez|
In 1965 Benavidez was sent to South Vietnam as an Green Beret advisor to an ARVN infantry regiment. He stepped on a land mine during a patrol and was evacuated to the United States, where doctors at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) concluded he would never walk again and began preparing his medical discharge papers.
But Benavidez, who was known by the radio call sign as "Tango Mike Mike" ("That Mean Mexican") was not ready to accept that diagnosis.
Against doctors orders he began an unsanctioned nightly training ritual in an attempt to redevelop his ability to walk. Climbing out of bed at night, Benavidez would crawl using his elbows and chin to a wall near his bedside and (with the encouragement of his fellow patients, many of whom were permanently paralyzed or missing limbs), he would prop himself against the wall and attempt to lift himself up unaided.
After several months of excruciating practice that by his own admission often left him in tears he was able to push himself up the wall with his ankles and legs. After more than a year of hospitalization, Benavidez walked out of the hospital in July 1966, with his wife at his side, determined to return to combat in Vietnam.
Benavidez returned to Fort Bragg to begin training for the elite Studies and Observations Group (SOG). Despite continuing pain from his wounds, he became a member of the 5th Special Forces Group and returned to South Vietnam in January 1968.
That's when this man's incredible story heroism began. This is what his Medal of Honor Citation says:
"On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction.
"Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage.
"Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team.
|Medal of Honor Ceremony for MSG Benavidez|
"Prior to reaching the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader.
"When he reached the leader's body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter.
"Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, re-instilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire and so permit another extraction attempt.
"He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from behind by an enemy soldier. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he sustained additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. "
He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft.
"Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army."
The citation stops short of telling what happened when the helicopter reached its base. Benavidez was put into a body bag and as it was being zipped up, using what little strength he had left, he spit on the face of the medic to show he wasn't dead.
Roy Benavidez died on November 29, 1998, at the age of 63 at Brooke Army Medical Center, after suffering respiratory failure and complications of diabetes. He was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Now THAT is the definition of a HERO!
For those who want to see and hear more about Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez, you can do so by clicking on the following link:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Take a look at the Boy Scout Oath. It reads:
"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."
Now take a look at the Boy Scout Law. It reads:
"A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent."
Those are ideals the Boy Scouts of America strive to instill in all of its 3 million youth members and 1.1 million registered adult leaders. These members comprise 122,582 local Scout troops that annually log more than 34 million hours of community service.
These are the ideals and activities that I ascribed to when I was a Boy Scout in the 1950s.
What parent would not want their son to be in an organization that emphasizes such behavior?
Yet, now the Boy Scouts of America are coming under increasing criticism because of the organization's policy of excluding openly homosexual boys and leaders. The official policy reads:
"While the B.S.A. does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the B.S.A."
What kind of a distraction? you might ask yourself.
How about the thought of homosexuals taking your sons into the woods overnight? What could possibly go wrong? Right?
In 1998, the Boy Scouts of America fired any troop leader who announced his homosexuality, a decision that the Supreme Court supported in 2000.
The Supreme Court upheld the policy of the Boy Scouts of America to decide who joins their ranks in asserting that they have the right to bar openly gay troop leaders based on their constitutional right of freedom of association and free speech under the First Amendment.
That legal battle followed the discovery that a 42-year old scoutmaster of a New York scout troop repeatedly sodomized a young teen in his troop over the course of a three-year period during the mid-nineties.
And that case was not the only issue involving scout leaders and homosexuality. Ex-scoutmasters nationwide have recently faced charges ranging from rape to sodomy. Cases of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts have been on the upswing in recent years--from 70 a year in the 1980s to more than 200 a year in the early 2000s.
Let's look at some facts--facts that you won't hear or see in the mainstream media or mentioned by the Obama White House.
The US Census reports that homosexuals comprise 3-4% of the American population. The percent of pedophiles in the general population is about 4%, but according to FBI Crime Statistics, the rate is 35% among gay men. Can you imagine sending your young son off into the woods with boys and men who see males as possible girl friends, and who are 35% more likely to commit a sex crime?
For that reason, most parents of Boy Scouts view this as a safety issue more than a moral issue.
Naturally, if you raise these points you are accused of being homo-phobic, an anti-gay bigot, or some other form of 21st Century cretin.
Let's look at the Boy Scouts of America. Since its founding in the U.S. in 1910, more than 110 million Americans have been members.
It was started as a private, members-only organization--and it still is.
Recently, someone sent me a post by someone calling himself "The Dad." What he (or perhaps she) wrote made a lot of sense. Take a look:
"If you want to start a club shouldn’t you be allowed to decide who the members are? It’s your club. You started it. Why, if I start a Dallas Cowboys fan club, should I be forced to admit Redskins fans? And why in the heck would they want to join anyway? Start your own club.
"If you start a club for bald people, why would you want people with long flowing locks to join?
"If you start a club for bald people, why would you want people with long flowing locks to join?
"If you start a club to teach boys skills for life that you think are important, why should you be forced to allow people who hate your values to join and become leaders in your organization?It makes no sense.
"If you disagree with the Boy Scouts start your own club! The Scouts have worked hard for many years to create their organization, you have no right to move in and try and take it over. If you think your idea of what scouting should be is so much better – start your own organization and see how many people leave the Scouts to join your group."
Or, failing that, perhaps you might consider joining the Girl Scouts.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Recently I received an e-mail from a friend reminding me that this past December 29 was the 122nd Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
These people, in their winter camp, were murdered on Dec. 29, 1891 by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.”
Sound familiar? For "their own safety and protection" is the way the Obama administration is trying to frame its attack on the Second Amendment.
The kinds of weapons federal troops and other federal officers were after at Wounded Knee were the same kinds of weapons carried by our military at the time--repeating rifles, shotguns, handguns, etc.
|Burying dead Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee|
The e-mail pointed out that Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people--200 of which were innocent women and children. A majority of the Sioux already had peacefully turned in their firearms, but that didn't stop the U.S. government from gunning down the few that still held on to their weapons.
The e-mail (I don't know who wrote it) went on to say: "Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment--the right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine.
"When the United States Constitution was drafted “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard of concept, musket balls were a precious commodity in the wilds of early America, and were certainly not wasted “target shooting.”
The military weapon of that day was the musket or Kentucky long rifle. What several million gun owners have today is no different--with one major exception. Military issue weapons can be fully automatic, while the so-called "assault rifles" that Diane Feinstein and other gun control zealots are after are semi-automatic.
I own an M-1 Garand--the semi-automatic rifle that millions of GI's carried during WW II and the Korean War. It has an 8-round clip. That rifle is now illegal in New York, which has banned all weapons with a clip that holds more than 7 rounds. This is idiocy.
And it will not stop tragedies such as Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, or Virginia Tech. Deranged people who want to kill others will do so even without firearms. They can set fires, plant explosives, poison water supplies...there are multiple ways to kill people if you set your deranged mind to it.
Let's look at some facts.
The day that 20 Sandy Hook Elementary school children and 6 adults were killed some 55 million American children went to school and returned home. The fact is, the chances of a child being killed in a school shooting in the United States are remote, to say the least.
Federal statistics show that 70 mass shootings have taken place in America since 1982, leaving 543 people dead. While those crimes were horrific, during that same period 564,452 other homicides took place in the United States. That means that the mass shootings that so many gun control crusaders are concerned about represent just 0.1 percent of all murders committed in the U.S.
Yet, gun control zealots would have you believe that mass shootings are the primary cause of gun violence in America. Sorry, that is just not the case. Most gun-related homicides are committed during robberies, muggings, rapes, home invasions, car-jackings, pre-meditated murders or a so-called "crime of passion."
Almost none of the weapons used in those crimes would fall under the proposed weapons ban. More than 70 percent of gun-related homicides in America are committed with hand guns--not semi-automatic rifles.
Yet it is important to note that the Supreme Court has ruled twice (2008 and 2010) that banning handguns would be a violation of the Second Amendment and, therefore, unconstitutional.
|The Bill of Rights containing the 2nd Amendment|
The e-mail I received also said that is critical to remember that: "the Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defense purposes should such tyranny rise in the United States.
Yet as time goes on the average citizen in the United States continues to lose personal freedom and liberty.
"Far too many times," the e-mail continued, "unjust bills are passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for your protection.” The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, then expanded and continued by Barack Obama. It is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for the sake of “safety.”
If you examine recent history it doesn't take a professional historian to see that it is governments, not individual gun owners that are responsible for the greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life.
Let's take a quick look at how governments have behaved once they disarmed their citizens:
· In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
· In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
· Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
· China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million
political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
exterminated. In 1989 I covered the massacre of thousands of students at Tiananmen Square who dared oppose the Chinese government!
political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
exterminated. In 1989 I covered the massacre of thousands of students at Tiananmen Square who dared oppose the Chinese government!
· Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
· Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
· Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million. You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians discussing it.
Few Americans have ever heard of the "Battle of Athens, Tennessee, yet it is a prime example of why our founding fathers believed an armed citizenry is critical to our republic.
In 1946 several WW II veterans fed up with crooked local officials fought back against political corruption in McMinn County, Tenn. During elections, deputies that were part of the political machine, illegally seized ballot boxes and took them to the jail so they could stuff them thus ensuring another machine victory.
Angry veterans rushed to the local armory, armed themselves with M-1s and other military weapons and opened fire on the jail. After several hours the door to the jail was dynamited and opened. The deputies surrendered and the stolen ballot boxes were recovered. After the votes were counted, opposition candidates had won and the machine was defeated.
That event and Wounded Knee are both excellent examples of why the Second Amendment exists, and why Americans shouldn’t be so eager to surrender their Right to Bear Arms.
Without the Second Amendment we are little more than latent victims--sheep to be sheared and slaughtered by those who have the weapons.
Monday, January 28, 2013
I am not sure why any woman would want to go to war with a company of infantry grunts. Yet, if we are to believe those who are determined to use the U.S. military as a vehicle for social engineering, that is exactly what most of them are clamoring for.
I don't believe it
I don't believe a woman wants to be crammed into an armored personnel carrier or an amphibious assault vehicle with 15 to 25 hot, sweaty and stinking infantry grunts as they move into harm's way pressed together like so many sardines in a can.
I don't believe a woman wants to strap on a 70 pound pack, a 9 pound rifle and several hundred rounds of ammo to slog through some jungle or across a scorching hot desert so she can be "one of the boys."
First of all, in my opinion, she won't be able to do it.
Just look at what happened last fall in the USMC infantry officer training course when the first women to attempt the course washed out.
|U.S. Marines crammed into an AAV|
A female second lieutenant was dropped from the program last October after failing to complete required training due to unspecified medical reasons. It’s unclear whether she was injured or if she became ill.
The other volunteer, also a second lieutenant, dropped out in September after she was unable to complete the program’s introductory combat endurance test.
To be fair, nearly 30 men also washed out of the program.
That isn't surprising when you look at Department of Defense data that show 75 per cent of all American males are not fit for military service--and of the 25% who are, only about 15% will make it through basic training.
When I was in the Army, I went through basic and advanced survival-counter-intelligence training and even though back then I was in great shape, I was ready to go AWOL after all the abuse we got from sadistic drill instructors.
Granted, there are more wimps and weenies around today than there were back in the 1960s. Look at the male role models today--especially on so-called comedy series such as the highly regarded show "Modern Family." Two of the men in that show are gay and of the other two, one is a raging weenie and one is a 60-plus man in perpetual mid-life crisis with a Hispanic trophy wife 35 years younger than he is.
We had John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Gary Cooper, Marlin Brando, and Charles Bronson. Boys today have weenies and wimps.
A sad commentary on our society. But as long as boys are discouraged from being boys by schools that are more interested in social engineering than education by forcing little boys to behave like little girls we will see fewer and fewer men capable of military service.
As long as schools insist on wiping out any semblance of competition by awarding each participant in every athletic event a trophy even if they come in dead last, you are going to extinguish even the smallest competitive fires that may still be burning inside the next generation.
In schools that have no tolerance rules against any form of violence--even the traditional after school or playground scuffle that has always occurred between classic bullies and their victims--boys are punished for defending themselves. Girls, for the most part, are too intelligent to engage in such activities--at least they once were.
Maybe that is why the military brass is now so eager to bring women into the military. They need women who are more "manly" than the pathetic male specimens they are getting.
When I joined the Army in the 1960s, basic training was tough and to say that drill sergeants laid their hands on you is putting it mildly.
Recruits who couldn't do 20 push ups were kicked in the butt until they did. You couldn't get into the mess hall for meals unless you did at least five snappy pull ups on the iron bar outside the door.
I recall a couple of recruits who couldn't lift their 80-pound duffle bags filled with their army uniforms, fatigues, boots, hats, etc. As we walked down the battalion street inside Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. headed toward our assigned barracks, the two recruits lagged behind, dragging their duffle bags along the ground.
"Pick up that duffle bag, solder!" a sergeant screamed at one of the terrified recruits.
"I can't sergeant," the recruit responded. He was probably no more than 5' 3" tall and probably weighed just a little more than the duffle bag he was trying so desperately to carry.
"By God, you can and you will, you maggot, or you will sleep outside tonight!"
With that the sergeant lifted the duffle bag and threw it at the recruit, knocking him to the ground.
"Now get up and get that bag on your shoulder and move out smartly!"
The recruit was so terrified of the sergeant and the adrenalin was pumping so fast that he actually got the bag onto his shoulder and managed to somehow shuffle his way to the E-3-2 Company compound and into formation.
Basic training was one epithet-laced berating after another. And when it wasn't verbal, it was often physical. Punching, pushing, kicking, slapping.
We accepted it as part of our initiation into the U.S. Army. In fact, we came to expect it because we were convinced it was part of the toughening up process. Surviving it meant that we were becoming good soldiers.
As I understand it, that kind of abuse has been banned in the modern army.
I can't imagine any woman going through my basic training course with the hard ass sergeants I had.
Most of them were WW II, Korean War and Vietnam vets who had seen their share of combat. When we finally saw them in their dress greens during our graduation ceremonies we noticed that almost all had won purple hearts and medals for valor in multiple theaters of war.
"This man's' Army ain't for pansies, panty-waists and wimps," I recall First Sergeant Vega yelling at us during our first day of basic training. "You will leave here ready to kill the enemy or by God you won't leave here at all. We are here to kick your asses and by God I will put this size 12 boot all the way up your ass hole until it comes out your f...k'n mouths if I have to. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sergeant," we yelled back in unison.
"Good, and now if there are any little girls in the ranks I want you to fall out on the double," he said.
No one stepped forward.
"Good, that means every swinging d..k here is going to be a soldier or die try'n."
I wonder what kind of welcoming speech First Sergeants will be making to recruits in the new Coed infantry?
Somehow I don't think it will be the same--and neither will the Army.