Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On the 75th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Today, December 7, 2016, is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 2,403 Americans were killed in that attack. As reported in today's Wall Street Journal, over 100 surviving veterans went to Hawaii to participate in the day's commemorative activities. However, as the paper notes, organizers expect that this may be the last major gathering of the survivors. After all, most are in their nineties.

One of the survivor's explained the significance of the day, beyond the individual tragedies: "That (day) was when we were called to save the world." And save the world is exactly what American soldiers ultimately did.

Now, one might think that this historic anniversary, with the few remaining survivors nearing the end of their time on this earth, would be a front page story in every newspaper across the country. But, for the "paper of record," the New York Times, the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was not worth any space on the front page of today's paper. In fact, it was not worth any space anywhere in the paper!

You see, the elitists at the NY Times would never engage in such parochialism. They would certainly never demonstrate any semblance of patriotism or pride in this country. No, the people at the Times are citizens of the world, not of the United States. To people like that, the United States is no better than any other country. Besides, look what the USA did to Japan - we dropped nuclear bombs on their cities. Whatever the Japanese did to us, we did much worse to them. So, what is there to commemorate? We saved the world - who says?

It is difficult for me to constrain myself and not utter every four letter word in the book, all directed at the editors and publisher of the NY Times. But that has never been the approach of this blog. So, instead, I will simply express my agreement with the Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, who said: "I plan to go up and give them (each survivor) a hug. We are so proud of what they did for our country."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rep. Keith Ellison for Head of the Democratic National Committee?

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is the front runner for being the new leader of the DNC. He is being supported by the far left wing - perhaps now the dominant wing - of the Democratic party. Not surprisingly, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders support Ellison. But so does Chuck Schumer, the new minority leader in the Senate. As Nancy Pelosi overwhelmingly won the contest for minority leader in the House, there seems to be little evidence that the moderates in the Democratic party still exist in any great numbers. The party might more accurately be named the Socialist Progressive Party.

So, who is Keith Ellison? He has represented Minnesota's 5th congressional district since 2007. He was the first Muslim elected to Congress. From about 1989 to 1998, Ellison was involved with Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. In 1995, he claimed Farrakhan was not an anti-Semite. Also in 1995, Ellison organized a rally held at the University of Minnesota, at which Khalid Abdul Muhammad was a featured speaker. Said Muhammad: "...if words were swords, the chests of Jews, gays and whites would be pierced."

Muhammad previously spoke about why Hitler did what he did, saying: "They (Jews) went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped, they turned around, and a German in his own country, would almost have to go to a Jew to get money. They had undermined the very fabric of the society." In 1997, Ellison defended a woman who said that Jews are "the most racist white people."

When running for Congress in 2006, Ellison received $50,000 from CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations), which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. Holy Land was funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas. IN 2010 Ellison was instrumental in getting 53 other Congressmen to sign onto what became known as the "Gaza 54" letter to President Obama, urging Obama to pressure Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. The blockade was in place in order to deter Hamas, a terrorist organization, from being able to import more weapons used to kill Jews, and building materials used to build underground tunnels into Israel - also used to kill Jews. Somehow, even with the blockade, Hamas was able to get their hands on weapons and building supplies. Perhaps it did not occur to Ellison to question why Hamas used their building supplies to construct tunnels instead of building homes for the people of Gaza.

In 2012, the Minnesota Representative traveled to New Jersey to campaign against fellow Democratic Representative Steve Rothman. Ellison spoke at NJ mosques urging Arab-Americans to vote against Rothman in his primary election. Why would Ellison do that? Maybe it was because Rothman was a strong supporter of Israel. In 2014, Ellison was one of eight Congress members who voted against the funding of Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. Israel fought a war with Hamas in July and August of 2014, with Israel attempting to stop the incessant rocket attacks from Gaza. Hamas fires their rockets at civilian targets in Israel. Iron Dome has been said to have a 90% success rate in shooting down incoming rockets deemed to be a threat to Israel's civilian population.

Then there is this remark by Ellison in 2010: "The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to 350 million get involved, everything changes. Can I say that again?" Everything changes? What would that be, other than the end of bipartisan support for Israel?

But it appears that the Democratic party is there already. In a poll conducted from 11/18-11/23/16 by the Brookings Institution, it was found that 53% of Democrats view Israel as a burden to the US. Only 24% of Republicans feel that way. 55% of Democrats thought that Israel has "too much influence on American politics and policies." On the other hand, 54% of Republicans said that Israel had the "right level" of influence. Fully 60% of Democrats support economic sanctions and more serious measures against Israel, while only 31% of Republicans agree. (The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.5-3.04%.)

I am well aware that the Democrats move away from Israel commenced before Obama took office. But Obama has done everything he could do to express his displeasure with Israel and support for the Palestinians. It has clearly paid off as he has taken the Democratic party away from Israel with him. Just look at the numbers in the above paragraph. I am also aware of the fact that some of Trump's nominees, and potential nominees (mostly military), also view Israel as a burden.

As Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick explains in her 11/17/16 essay, "Jews, and particularly the Jewish state, along with evangelical Christians and cops are the only groups that you are allowed to hate, discriminate against and scapegoat in the (left's) authoritarian PC universe." So, are the left and the Democrats correct? Should the US be supporting Israel or the Palestinians? Israel or the Arab world? The Jewish state or the Muslim world?

There is only one country in the Middle East that shares Western values with the US, that shares the Judeo-Christian values - the values upon which this country was founded. That country is Israel. Whereas Arabs and Muslims regularly chant "Death to America," Israelis do not. The 9/11 terrorists were Saudis. Israel built a memorial to the victims of 9/11. The Saudis fund many (most?) of the mosques in this country, with their radical brand of Wahabbism, believing that Islam should govern all people.

What about all the financial aid received by Israel? Israel is required to use most of that money by making purchases from the US, generally military hardware. Israel then uses that hardware when fighting war after war against their Arab neighbors. Then, Israel notifies US manufacturers of any problems with the hardware, allowing necessary modifications to be made - which then directly benefits US military personnel. Need a proving ground for testing new military hardware? Without having to put US military personnel at risk? Without having to pay for a testing facility? It's called Israel.

Intelligence? The Israelis are second to none, including our European allies, in providing intelligence. Drones? Israeli technology. Training in urban warfare? US soldiers are trained by Israelis. Anti-missile systems? Developed in conjunction with Israeli scientists.

If we go just by the numbers, as Congressman Ellison suggests (8 million Israelis to 350 million Arabs and 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide), then Israel loses. If we go by everything else, then you know why Israel is, and should remain, our main ally in the Middle East. But Keith Ellison clearly disagrees. And as head of the DNC, what type of Democrats do you think Ellison will try to get elected to Congress? With whom do you agree - me or Ellison?

Trump's Bad Ideas

One of our President-elect's bad ideas is his belief that flag burning should be criminalized. This writer has always been a strong proponent of the First Amendment. I have even opposed the criminalizing of Holocaust denial, as has been done in a number of European countries. Classical liberalism teaches that we fight bad ideas with good ideas.

Said Trump: "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag...if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail." In the case of Texas v. Johnson, 491 US 397 (1989), the US Supreme Court held that flag burning was a form of protected speech. Make no mistake, flag burning is considered extremely disrespectful by this writer and by most Americans. But speech that is not controversial rarely requires protection; it is odious speech that the First Amendment really needs to protect. Flag burning is usually done to make a political statement, albeit an odious one.

In a dissenting opinion in the Johnson case, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote: "The American flag, then, throughout more than 200 years of our history, has come to be the visible symbol embodying our nation." I am concerned that the appreciation for the significance of the flag (and our Constitution) is not being passed on to the younger generations. I am concerned that some see it as a piece of cloth and nothing more. California law only requires students to engage in a "patriotic exercise" each day - not to recite the Pledge.

If we criminalize flag burning, what's next? What do we do with someone who throws the flag on the ground and stomps on it? What do we do with a Colin Kaepernick, who kneels during the playing of the national anthem, rather than standing with his hand over his heart while facing the flag? Criminalizing flag burning is a step down a slippery slope that we should not be taking.

Trump is taking credit for saving 1000 jobs at Carrier Corporation in Indiana. I assume everyone is happy for the people whose jobs are being saved. The question is, was it good policy? Indiana decided to give 7 million dollars in tax breaks in exchange for Carrier keeping those jobs there. Government should not be favoring any company at taxpayer expense; that is not how capitalism works.

Trump is also threatening to impose a tariff on the goods of any company that leaves the US and then tries to sell their products back in the US. Another bad idea that will only hurt consumers, increasing the cost of numerous goods. On the other hand, if Trump's promise to reduce corporate taxes and reduce the burden of regulations was a factor in convincing Carrier to keep some jobs here, then I can only say that I hope that Trump follows through with that promise. I do believe that he will.

Trump did not run as a conservative. He ran as a populist. In earlier posts I explained why I would never vote for Clinton, and why I would vote for Trump. I did not believe that I would agree with Trump on everything, but that I would on some things. I knew that I would not agree with Clinton on anything. So, I continue to be cautiously optimistic about a Trump Administration, notwithstanding these differences. Most of his top level appointments have been solid people.

The truth-uncensored started eight years ago, with the beginning of the Obama Administration. I have been highly critical of Obama's policies, which I believe have greatly harmed this country. Hopefully, Trump will do much better. The truth-uncensored will continue to report on the important issues facing our country and the world - under this new Administration.