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This Has Never Happened Before – Active Duty Troops March on White House for Ron Paul

9:33 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Presidents Day, 2012.

Although the Pentagon and individual services strongly discouraged active duty military personnel from participating in Monday’s march on the White House by veterans and service members supporting Ron Paul, hundreds of them joined the thousands in the march and White House demonstration.

The demonstration had this poignant moment:

Standing at the gates of the White House, hundreds of veterans and active duty service members, including Schlegel, turned their backs.

Together, they saluted one second for every service member who has committed suicide during Barack Obama’s presidency.

After eight minutes of saluting, they observed a 21-minute silent prayer – one second for every service member who died abroad during President Obama’s term.

Coverage of this unprecedented event has been light in the mainstream media.  So has the fact that Paul has pulled in about twice as much as the president from serving military, and over 20 times as much as his leading GOP rival from this constituency, Mitt Romney.

The group formed up at the Washington Monument, then marched on the White House:

The group then marched in formation back to the Washington Monument.  The numbers of civilians walking behind the official veterans and active duty marching to show that “Ron Paul is the Choice of the Troops” was reported to be over 1,000 family members and supporters.  The official march of the troops and veterans themselves is believed to have been an additional over 900 people.  It is unclear at this time, how many members of the public may have been in the crowds to observe this historic public statement by our veterans in support of Ron Paul for President of the United States.

This was clearly a unique anti-war march by our nation’s veterans and perhaps could be referred to as one of the most unique in recent history.   The official march was heard in cadence to:  “End the Fed”, “President Paul”, “End the Wars” and “Ron Paul Revolution, Legalize the Constitution”.

There was initially to be active duty also participating in the march.  It is unclear after a warning was said to be issued by top military brass in the last couple of days whether the numbers of active duty members that actually marched today was affected by this warning instructing them not to participate.

Here’s video of the gathering at the Washington Monument:

And Here’s video of the march.  There do appear to be many active service members there, though one cannot be sure.  No doubt the Defense Department and Secret Service are busy  going through their photos and videos, trying to determine which people there are indeed active duty.  Will they be given the Lt. Dan Choi treatment?

Pearl Harbor Day Thoughts on Newt’s Books

4:50 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I’ve read seven books by Newt Gingrich.

I first read one of Newt Gingrich’s books in 1997.  The first edition of his book, To Renew America had come out.  Some friends were encouraging me to run for the Alaska Legislature in the 1998 cycle.  A bunch of Gingrichites had swept the Mat-Su Valley legislative slate in November, 1994:  Lyda Green in the Senate; Scott Ogan, Vic Kohring and Bev Masek in the House.  I decided to read Gingrich’s book so as to better understand where these people were coming from.

It was the only non-fiction book of his I’ve ever finished.  I found his arguments unconvincing, but he seemed more pragmatic in his conservatism than most “Contract with America” polemicists realized.  I don’t remember much about the book now, but this critical comment from Amazon.com might help:

This is an invaluable read for students of American history who want to understand what the “Republican Revolution” of 1992-1998 was all about. Newt is the Tim Leary to Rush Limbaugh’s Jerry Rubin.

I started reading his A Contract with the Earth (written with Terry L. Maple) when it came out, but had learned to distrust Gingrich as a political figure on environmental issues.  I found his ideas unworkable, and his concept of “ten commandments” for conservatives on the environment to be ridiculously unctuous:

A Contract with the Earth’s is, broadly, a manifesto that challenges those on the right to provide a strategy for repairing the planet and calls on government to embrace the concept that a healthy environment is required for a healthy democracy and economy. his approach, alternately branded mainstream and entrepreneurial environmentalism by the authors, requires that companies should lead the way in environmental issues while governments provide them with incentives to reduce their carbon footprint.

With its 10 “commandments”, A Contract with the Earth calls for politicians to abandon adversarialconservationists to form compatible partnerships. In one of the book’s themes, Gingrich and Maple argue that environmental efforts shouldn’t be exclusive to one political philosophy and reject the idea that free enterprise and a cleaner world are opposing forces.

In 1999, I picked up his book 1945 from the free book shelf at the barber shop.   It was the first of his many alternative history books written in partnership with William R. Forstchen.  Its premise is based upon a World War II in which Germany had not declared war on the US in December 1941, and after we had defeated the Japanese in the Pacific, were faced with a triumphant German adversary.

As these alternative history books go, it was a hilariously strange, somewhat inept attempt.  The denouement seems to be when Sgt. York of World War I fame, outwits and defeats German commando general Otto Skorzeny, in the latter’s attempts to destroy the Oak Ridge Tennessee atomic labs, in a sort of sniperfest in the Tennessee hills.  It was filled with way too much admiration for such German military figures as Skorzeny and Gen. Erwin Rommel.

I read all three of his Gettysburg series books.  Essentially, the plot is this:

On the second day of Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Longstreet and others convince Gen. Lee to abandon the Gettysburg position secretly, and come around to the south of the Union forces, between Gettysburg and Washington DC.  The Confederates decisively beat the Union forces.

Gen. Grant is called from Vicksburg to take charge of the shattered  Union forces.  The Confederates besiege Washington DC and occupy Baltimore.  They then defeat Gen. Dan Sickles.  But Lee’s forces have been weakened, and ultimately Grant defeats the rebels near Frederick, Maryland.  Lee’s retreat back to Virginia is stymied, and he surrenders to Gen. Grant.  The result is a late 1863 end of the Civil War, rather than one in early 1865.

Though the events in the book seemed plausible, the character sketches of historical figures were pretty shallow, and his supporting fictional characters, particularly those of African Americans who help in the siege of Washington and battle of Frederick, come across as caricatures Gingrich unconvincingly hopes to advance, showing he really does care for minorities.

Gingrich’s ongoing series about an alternative early Pacific War in late 1941, is further evidence that he admires strong military figures way too much.  He fixates over U.S. Admiral Bill Halsey, and other military icons.

In Pearl Harbor, Gingrich has the Japanese not only perform a third strike against U.S. military installations on Oahu, he improbably has them stay in Hawaiian waters, to try to engage the U.S. carriers that had been away during the sneak attack.  This was unfeasible, as noted by this critical review of the first book at Amazon.com:

The commitment of the [Japanese] 1st Air Striking Fleet was at the very limit of the operational range for the Japanese ships taking part in the attack. They had to refuel on the crossing and during the return to Japanese waters from fleet oilers. The IJN had insufficient oilers to support both all the other naval operations going down in South-East Asis and sustain a carrier force off the Hawaiian coast for several days of hard steaming.

If the IJN had committed three waves against Pearl Harbor, they would have had insufficient aviation fuel and ordnance to go hunting US carriers.

But hunt them they do, in book two – Days of Infamy.  Here’s a great comment from one of the readers who awarded the book one star:

The authors do not understand naval communications, in spite of the fact that one of their heros is a communicator, and communications play a huge part in their story. They have Japanese aircraft that did not carry voice radios having nice radio chats, and ships breaking radio silence over and over again thinking that a short broadcast would not reveal their positions, which was flat wrong for both sides. In fact, Japanese voice radios were unreliable and of poor performance, to the extent that most Zero pilots had their radios removed. Their only reliable long-range communications was HF CW keyed transmissions. Carriers in particular had limited numbers of radios that could monitor only one frequency at a time and had a large number of nets they had to monitor. Yet, the authors have the Japanese search aircraft each on a different frequency (wrong), has Navy strike aircraft talking to Army heavy bombers (different nets), and of course, with a politician as an author, the whole war stops and the admirals tune their limited number of radios to hear Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech. Only a politician would think that would happen.

All that having been said, I find it remarkable that Newt Gingrich the politician has taken such an abiding interest, as Newt Gingrich the “historian,” to constantly want to change the past in some way or another.  He has written (all in partnership with William R. Forstchen) eight alternate historical books – three about the Civil War, three about World War II, and two about the American Revolution.  In each, though he tries to humanize the historical figures – mostly generals and admirals, what one remembers, rather than these lame attempts, is his deep respect for hierarchical military structures, and how they are more reliable than personalities that inhabit them.  And of how politicians, whether they be Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill, are best off when they defer to their Grants, Lees, Halseys or Marshalls.  This unnatural deference to hierarchy may be part of the explanation of Gingrich’s conversion to Catholicism.

His main claim to having actually changed the past was picked up today by poll analyst Nate Silver, who wrote:

I have seen a lot of other commentators bring up versions of this point, but there is a reason why Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, see Newt Gingrich as by far their most qualified nominee and why they have been willing so far to excuse his periodic lapses from conservative orthodoxy.

The reason is simply that under Mr. Gingrich’s Congressional leadership, the Republican Party finally broke the New Deal coalition that had dominated American politics for more than a half-century, moving policy substantially to the right. That is a pretty impressive credential.

Silver, arguing that Gingrich is actually more conservative than his GOP rivals’ campaigns admit, continues:

The current 112th House is probably the most conservative since the New Deal on economic policy.

It is hard to say how much of this shift is because of Mr. Gingrich. Like the quarterback for a winning football team, he is probably given somewhat more responsibility for his party’s wins and losses than he truly deserves. Nevertheless, no other Republican candidate can come close to matching his record. It is also one that older voters in particular — with whom Mr. Gingrich performs extremely well — may be inclined to appreciate. Those older voters may have a keener sense of history and would have remembered that the House of Representatives had been dominated by Democrats for their entire adult lifetimes until Mr. Gingrich came into power.

As much as Gingrich both has sought to change history in his novels, and did in his congressional actions,  there is a lot of history he cannot escape.  I hope someone is going through all the old C-SPAN Book TV appearances he has made.  I understand he has made many comments over the years stereotyping various racial and cultural groups, at book tour events.  Maybe readers can help us find links.

On the one hand, Gingrich is far more comfortable in front of the media and in campaign appearances than any other GOP candidate.

On the other hand, he often doesn’t know when to stop talking.

More Lies From Palin and GOP Hacks on Obama’s Reference to the ’67 Borders

8:33 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Palin’s pathetic response to Obama’s pathetic speech:

Dear Mr. President, please allow our ally, PM Netanyahu, to respectfully arrive through the front door this time. Thanks,Concerned Americans.

First, a look at some of the other trash coming out on what was basically a reiteration of longstanding official U.S. policy on Israel’s borders:

President Obama reverses the policy of Harry Truman, Ike Eisenhower, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The issue that Obama is being trashed over is his statement:

The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

First, he said “1967 lines.” That rules out Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson was aware that those borders were about to be assaulted but did not warn the Egyptians, who were about to have their air force completely destroyed on the ground. Yet, during the Six-Day War, Israelis, through their supporters in the USA, held massive June 7th 1967 demonstrations in Lafayette Park, condemning LBJ. When he was approached by his aides Larry Levinson and Ben Wattenberg, with their request he address or send a message to the rally, he blew up (pp. 106-107, The Attack on the Liberty, James Scott):

The president exploded on Levinson soon afterward in a hallway confrontation outside the Oval Office that left the aide “shaken to the marrow.” “You Zionist dupe!” the president shouted, raising his right fist. “Why can’t you see I’m doing all I can for Israel. That’s what you should be telling people.”

The official US post-Six-Day War positions on the borders of Israel have essentially been those of the United Nations:

Although we have expressed our views to the Foreign Ministry and are confident there can be little doubt among GOI leaders as to our continuing opposition to any Israeli settlements in the occupied areas, we believe it would be timely and useful for the Embassy to restate in strongest terms the US position on this question.You should refer to Prime Minister Eshkol’s Knesset statement and our awareness of internal Israeli pressures for settling civilians in occupied areas. The GOI is aware of our continuing concern that nothing be done in the occupied areas which might prejudice the search for a peace settlement. By setting up civilian or quasi-civilian outposts in the occupied areas the GOI adds serious complications to the eventual task of drawing up a peace settlement. Further, the transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which states “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

The Nixon administration followed suit:

The expropriation or confiscation of land, the construction of housing on such land, the demolition or confiscation of buildings, including those having historic or religious significance, and the application of Israeli law to occupied portions of the city are detrimental to our common interests in [Jerusalem]. The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the June war, like other areas occupied by Israel, is governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provisions of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in laws or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation. I regret to say that the actions of Israel in the occupied portion of Jerusalem present a different picture, one which gives rise to understandable concern that the eventual disposition of East Jerusalem may be prejudiced, and that the private rights and activities of the population are already being affected and altered.My Government regrets and deplores this pattern of activity, and it has so informed the Government of Israel on numerous occasions since June 1967. We have consistently refused to recognize those measures as having anything but a provisional character and do not accept them as affecting the ultimate status of Jerusalem. . . .

and:

Israel, as occupant of the territories seized during the fighting in 1967, is bound by the Fourth Geneva Convention–that for the protection of civilians–but Israel refuses to apply the convention.

President Ford’s administration:

Clearly, then, substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the [Geneva] Convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the location of the borders of States of the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my Government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors.

President Carter’s administration:

This matter of settlements in the occupied territories has always been characterized by our Government, by me and my predecessors as an illegal action.

Again, Carter:

And I let Mr. Begin know very clearly that our Government policy, before I became President and now, is that these settlements are illegal and contravene the Geneva conference terms.Mr. Begin disagrees with this. But we’ve spelled this out very clearly on several occasions in the United Nations and other places that these settlements are illegal.

President Reagan’s administration:

The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transition period. Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlements freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs that a final outcome can be fee and fairly negotiated.

President Bush I’s administration:

Since the end of the 1967 war, the U.S. has regarded Israel as the occupying power in the occupied territories, which includes the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. The U.S. considers Israel’s occupation to be governed by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Conventions concerning the protection of civilian populations under military occupation.

and:

My position is that the foreign policy of the United States says we do not believe there should be new settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. And I will conduct that policy as if it’s firm, which it is, and I will be shaped in whatever decisions we make to see whether people can comply with that policy. And that’s our strongly held view.

President Clinton’s administration:

The Israeli people also must understand that . . . the settlement enterprise and building bypass roads in the heart of what they already know will one day be part of a Palestinian state is inconsistent with the Oslo commitment that both sides negotiate a compromise.

President Bush II’s administration:

Consistent with the Mitchell plan, Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop, and the occupation must end through withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries, consistent with United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338.

There is nothing in President Obama’s statement that is significantly different from statements from the administrations of all his predecessors, dating back to the beginning of the present occupation.

All of the GOP candidates are aware that Zionist organizations are openly threatening to withhold funding from his 2012 campaign. Palin has been the most cynical in her approach to this, as she believes all Jews who don’t to convert not just to Christianity, but to her particular flavor, will roast in Hell for eternity.

The 2012 campaign funding from traditional Jewish sources is more in play than it has perhaps ever been in American presidential contests. The organizations, PACs and post-Citizens United groups that hate Obama because he is black or who always tend to back the candidate most supportive of continuing Israeli expansion no matter what else, are ill at ease over the recent changes in the Middle East and North Africa. Their traditional support of Democrats is very much in play.

Palin’s fake Star-of-David is on the rise.