Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Propaganda, Totalitarians, and Somnambulism

Propaganda indoctrination springing from totalitarian regimes can have two human reactions: apathy and indifference to everything happening around you, admitting to yourself that there is nothing you can do about it, or the intense desire to study and understand it as if that process alone begins to redress what is wrong with such a system.

Take for example, the much maligned and hated Christopher Columbus. It is not possible that one single human being had caused all the havoc the leftist academia and their worshippers are heaping upon his memory.
Columbus managed to sail his way to the new world, and on October 12, 1492 sighted land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas, even though he was looking for a western passage to China and India. There is such rabid leftist and misplaced hatred for this man as if he was the biggest genocidal maniac in the history of the world. The cause of such virulent reactions is likely the decades of propaganda indoctrination in schools masquerading as history.

“Totalitarians are very ingenious in arousing latent guilt in us by repeating over and over again how criminally the Western world has acted toward innocent and peaceful people.” (Dr. Joost Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind, p. 71)
Can we coexist with a totalitarian system?  It is highly unlikely because the definition of coexistence of the totalitarian is quite different from the definition of the free citizen, living in peace with one another. To a totalitarian, coexistence means total subordination to their whims, plans, and ideology. “The psychological roots of totalitarianism are usually irrational, destructive, and primitive, though disguised behind some ideology.” (p. 74)

The citizens of totalitarianism become robots, speak in whispers, and look over their shoulders, officially bombarded by speeches and slogans that are empty and devoid of meaning and logic. Human beings must conform to survive and thus become robots. Man becomes mentally coerced and intimidated. Humans then become herds of sheeple—indoctrinated by enthusiasm and happy expectations for promised change and then followed and replaced by feelings of terror and panic. Dr. Meerloo calls it “personal and political somnambulism” or sleepwalking. (p. 82)
In the March 7, 1968 episode of Dragnet, titled “The Big Departure,” teenagers are determined to start their own country on an island off the coast of California. To finance this new country, they are caught shoplifting, and the infamous Jack Webb gives them a lecture that seems fitting even today.

Every generation feels dissatisfied with what they possess even though they have opportunities and wealth that other nations can only dream of, but they expect the world to understand their misplaced dissatisfaction. Without a real poverty baseline or point of reference, they have no idea how well off they truly are when compared to other nations or other points in history. Nothing is ever perfect but usually each generation lives better than the previous one.
“You are taller, stronger, better educated, and you live longer than the last generation. And we don’t think that’s all together bad. You probably have never seen a quarantine sign on your neighbor’s door, diphtheria, scarlet fever, whooping cough. Probably none of your classmates have been crippled with polio,” said the Dragnet character Jack Webb.

Leftist academia is quick to point out that Americans are war mongers and thus immoral. But a lot of people around the world are “free today to make their own mistakes because of it” and to spew the venom of progressivism.

“You are in a hurry, you grew up on instant orange juice, flip a dial--instant entertainment, dial seven digits--instant communication, turn a key, push a pedal--instant transportation, flash a card--instant money, push a few buttons--solve a problem, but some problems you cannot get quick answers to no matter how much you want them.”
You want equality, social justice, instant gratification and reward without effort. How can you justify stealing from the rich and the middle class and giving to the welfare class as “entitlements” when they never made an effort to earn it, paid taxes into such a fund, nor were they entitled to? How can you hurt somebody or steal from someone who was never responsible for the wrongs of the past? Where is the social justice in that?

Jack Webb’s advice resonates for people with experience and common sense. “Don’t break things up in the name of progress. Don’t break a stick over someone’s head to get them to see the light. Be careful of his rights! Your property, your rights, and your person are not any better than his. And next time, you may be the one to get it. You knew a man who killed six million people and called it social improvement.”  A new country will never solve your problems-- just make the old one work. (Dragnet, Jack Webb’s the Big Departure speech)
A 1981 movie, My Dinner with Andre, explained reality through the lens of boredom, an “unconscious, self-perpetuating form of brainwashing created by a world totalitarian government based on money.” In this theory, the process of boredom makes a person fall asleep and a sleeping individual cannot say no.

“I met this Swedish physicist who told me that he no longer watches television, reads newspapers, completely cuts them out of his life, because he really does feel the wind leading into some kind of Orwellian nightmare and everything that you hear now contributes to turning you into a robot,” explained one of the characters.

New Yorkers, he said, are a classic example of people who want to leave their town but they can’t because “New York is the model for the new concentration camp that has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards and they have this pride, they built their own prison and they live in this state of schizophrenia where they are both guards and prisoners and, as a result may have lost the capacity and the ability, having been lobotomized, to leave or even see it as a prison.”  

He lamented that he and his friends should get out but “the problem is where to go because it seems quite obvious that the whole world is going in the same direction.”
He continued, “It’s quite possible that the 1960s represented the last burst of the human being before it was extinguished, and this is the beginning of the rest of the future. From now on, all there is going to be around are these robots, feeling nothing, thinking nothing. And there will be nobody left around to remind them that there was once a species called a human being with feelings and thoughts, and history and memory are now being erased, and soon nobody will really remember that life existed on the planet.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

History Forgotten, the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrians Today

“Around the world, Christians are facing violence, persecution, brutality in a way we have not seen in generations.”  – Rey Flores, “The Wanderer”

Yazidi boy in Iraqi Kurdistan
August 2014 Photo: Wikipedia
The leftist charlatans with their fake “war on women” movement are deafly silent in the face of a real genocide, the deliberate and brutal torture and killings of Christian men and women.  Yazidi women and girls are kidnapped, raped, and driven into a life of slavery to ISIS as forced converts to Islam.
A small army of resistance is fighting the scourge of ISIS, in a valiant attempt to save what is left of their Assyrian tribes and of their women.  ISIS is bent on eradicating them, their religion, their ancient culture, and any archeological remnant of their history. Their churches are destroyed while ancient artifacts and monuments are blown up. Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II said that “forced displacement on the basis of religious beliefs, be it Islam or Christianity, is a crime against humanity,” referring to the war crimes inflicted upon his people by ISIS in Mosul.

Pope Francis spoke in 2014 about the Armenian genocide during Mass in the Armenian Catholic rite at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  Church leaders and the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan were in attendance. He spoke about humanity witnessing “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” in the 20th century.  “The first, which is widely considered, ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people,” he said. The Nazi Holocaust and Stalin’s mass killings were followed by other genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bosnia.

In 2015 Pope Francis mentioned three “massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the last century, the “Great Crime,” the methodical genocide of Armenian Christians who “were killed because of their faith,” and the “atrocities of the Nazis and of the communists, along with other mass killings…”

As Christians, it is our duty and responsibility to keep alive the memories of those killed, the Pope said. “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” Pope Francis continued.

BBC News reported on April 12, 2015 that Turkey was angry with Pope Francis’ description of the mass killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule in WWI as “genocide.”  Turkey plays down the genocide as smaller numbers of deaths resulting from the WWI clashes in which ethnic Turks have also suffered.  

Most Western scholars regard the 1.5 million Armenians civilians, who were deliberately deported between 1915-1916 to desert regions where they succumbed to starvation and thirst, as genocide. Countries like Belgium, Canada, Argentina, France, Italy, Russia, and Uruguay recognize the mass killings of Armenians as genocide.

For the first time, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered condolences in 2014 to the grandchildren of the Armenians who were massacred in 1915. This year marks a century since the atrocities were committed, and, until all countries recognize that the genocide had occurred, it is an incomplete mourning exacerbated by denial stories to this day.

Why were Armenians massacred by the Turks? To understand the reason, you must understand who the Armenians were, how, and why they lived under the Ottoman Empire, and their status as non-Muslims, “non-believers,” and second-class citizens.
Armenians are ancient people who lived in Anatolia some 2500 years ago. They had their own distinctive alphabet and culture. There are 6 to 7 million Armenians today, half living in the Republic of Armenia, while the rest are scattered in the U.S., Russia, France, Lebanon, and Syria.

In the year 301 A.D., the King of Armenia was the first ruler to adopt Christianity as the official state religion, even before the Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Captured by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, Armenia was absorbed into the Islamic Ottoman Empire, along with a large swath of European lands. As subject of the Sultan, Armenians had less freedom, had to pay higher taxes, were discriminated against, and were not allowed to serve in the military.

Unhappy with the second-class citizen status, by the end of the 1800s, Armenians demanded equality. In the 1890s the Bloody Sultan who was presiding over a weak government, used massacres as a way to maintain law and order.  In 1894-1896 200,000 Armenians were killed during the Hamidian massacres under the rule of Abdul Hamid II, a foreshadowing of what was to come in 1915.

When the Young Turks forced the Sultan out in 1908, Armenians were allowed to serve in the military. In 1912-1913 the Christian regions of Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire.

According to Vahaken Dadrian, Director of the Genocidal Research at Zoryan Institute, as quoted on a film aired on PBS,

“For the first time in recent history, the glorious Ottoman army suffered a major military defeat at the hands of their former subject-nations, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs,” losing in two weeks 75 percent of their former European territories.
The despair borne by such a loss in the Balkans gave rise to a deep hatred against Christians, inflamed by Ottoman refugees’ stories, refugees thrown out of Christian lands, turning angry Turks against their indigenous Christian population, the Armenians – “Revenge, revenge, revenge, there is no other word.”

Ambassador Henry Morgenthau published in 1918 his personal account of the Armenian genocide. Chapter 24, The Murder of a Nation, describes in grizzly detail how Armenian men, who were formerly soldiers and cavalrymen in the Turkish army, were stripped of their arms and transformed into road workers and “pack animals.” Carrying heavy loads onto their backs, these men were whipped and bayonetted by the Turks into the Caucasus Mountains, sometimes waist-deep through snow. 

“They had to spend practically all their time in the open, sleeping on the bare ground. … They were given only scraps of food; if they fell sick they were left where they had dropped,” while the Turks robbed them of their possessions and their clothes. “Squads of 50-100 men were taken in groups of four, marched to a secluded spot a short distance from the village,” they were stripped naked and shot, having been forced to dig their own graves.

Morgenthau described the fate of an entire Armenian regiment sent to Diarbekir. Agents notified Kurdish tribesmen to attack and kill these weak and starved soldiers “that they might gain that merit in Allah’s eyes that comes from killing a Christian.”

Ambassador Morgenthau explained how “throughout the Turkish Empire a systematic attempt was made to kill all able-bodied men, not only for the purpose of removing all males who might propagate a new generation of Armenians, but for the purpose of rendering the weaker part of the population an easy prey.”

When thousands failed to turn in weapons, the Turks ransacked churches, desecrated altars, marched the naked men and women through the streets, letting them be whipped by angry Turkish mobs. Those imprisoned who did not manage to flee into the woods and caves were subjected to the “bastinado” torture, the beating of the soles of the feet until they burst and had to be amputated.

Crucifixion, pulling of fingernails, of hairs, of eyebrows, tearing of flesh with red-hot pincers, and then pouring hot oil into the wounds were some of the barbaric methods of torture drawn from the records of the Spanish Inquisition.

Torture was just the beginning of the Armenian atrocities. What was to come was the actual destruction of “an entire Armenian race” by deporting it to the south and southeastern part of the Ottoman Empire, the Syrian Desert and the Mesopotamian valley. Morgenthau said, “The Central Government now announced its intention of gathering the two million or more Armenians living in the several sections of the empire and transporting them to this desolate and inhospitable region.” They knew they would die on the way of thirst, starvation, or murdered by “Mohammedan desert tribes.”
The deportations took place through the spring and summer of 1915. The entire Armenian population of villages was ordered to appear in the main square, sometimes with little time to prepare, their homes and possessions confiscated for “safekeeping” and then divided among Turks. Once the deported Armenians had traveled several hours, they were attacked and killed in secluded valleys by Turkish peasants with clubs, hammers, axes, scythes, spades, and saws.

The “caravans of despair” originated in thousands of cities and villages in the Ottoman Empire.  Ambassador Morgenthau described how village after village and town after town were emptied of its Armenian population and, in six months, “about 1.2 million people started on this journey to the Syrian desert.” He believed it absurd that the Turkish government claimed to deport Armenians to “new homes,” the real intent was extermination. He concludes, “The details in questions were furnished to me directly by the American Consul in Aleppo, and are now on file in the State Department at Washington.” (Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story:  A Personal Account of the Armenian Genocide, Henry Morgenthau, Cosimo Classics, New York, 2010)

Henry Morgenthau Sr. (1856-1946) “details how Turkey fell under the influence of Germany and how this led to the Armenian Genocide. In a trial run of the extermination of the Jews, the Germans orchestrated the murder and exile of the Armenians from Turkey, with ‘Turkey for the Turks’ as a rallying cry. The similarities to the Holocaust are chilling.”

Also chilling is the recent discovery made by Stefan Petke of the Technical University of Berlin who uncovered rare WWII footage that documents the existence of Muslim units (The Free Arab Legion) in the Nazi army who were used as ‘working soldiers’ because they “were a complete failure in the battlefields of Tunisia in 1943.”,7340,L-4645922,00.html

The Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s mass starvation of his own people seems forgotten because schools spend no time discussing the atrocities committed. The good people of the world turned a deaf ear then just like they are doing today. The Ottoman/Islamist ISIS massacre against Christians continues to this day in Iraq and the good people of the world are doing little to help the victims.






Saturday, December 26, 2015

Why Is Donald Trump Good for America?

In New Hampshire August 19, 2015
Photo: Wikipedia
The often ostentatious Trump irritates Democrats, the liberal media, and the establishment Republicans for many reasons. They cannot understand how his popularity soars in the polls no matter what he says and what they do to unseat him, or what dirt, real or imagined, they try to dig up.

Donald Trump is a populist and a nationalist. He loves his country and does not like the path that the current administration and its supporters on both sides of the isle have chosen for 320 million Americans, even though at least half have vociferously expressed their desires, to seemingly deaf elected representatives and senators, to maintain our sovereignty, our Christian roots, our market-based economy, our traditions, and our exceptionalism.

Donald Trump is a successful alpha male, which Hispanic populations, with their cultural machismo, greatly respect. He is a billionaire who has experienced success and failure, yet has come back unscathed like a Phoenix bird from the ashes of bankruptcies, divorces, law suits, and other life-altering events. He is wise and knows how to manipulate and keep his enemies closer. He is brash and doubles down on his opinions which later turn out to be based on fact. He comes back with evidence to support his opinions.

Trump is not intimidated by media bullies, cyber bullies, and other individuals whose jobs are to take him down at all costs. He is loud, he is insulting at times, but he fights back. He does not roll over and play door mat to the ruling elites. He is a successful politician in his own right already. It takes guts and knowing the ropes to maneuver the mine-field of business in order to be so successful. He does not need the financial support of PACs even though political endorsements are beneficial. He does not have to compromise his belief system in order to receive money from big donors.

Unlike many politicians, Hollywood, and other assorted famous individuals, he has raised, in spite of his many divorces, a beautiful family, with highly successful, intelligent, and educated children. He believes in the American dream built the right way and in the success of our Judeo-Christian nation.

Donald Trump understands well the threat of unchecked immigration, open borders, of Islam, and of ISIS. He sees the need to build a fence along the southern border where people who wish to do us harm are entering day and night, hidden among those who are mostly economic refugees looking for a better life which their countries have failed to provide. But we have to care of the needs of our own population first.

Trump’s background and history are well known - he is an American born and raised in the United States to two American parents. His credentials are public knowledge and easy to access. He has America’s interest at heart and understands that we must preserve our Constitutional Republic if the country is to survive in the form that has made it the most successful nation on the planet for almost 240 years.

Because of his business acumen, Trump understands the damage that the many free trade agreements have wrought on the American manufacturing and on our trade imbalance: NAFTA, CAFTA, TIP, TPP. These trade deals are destroying our manufacturing sector, turning our country into a service economy, staffed with many foreign nationals who are brought here in ever-increasing numbers to replace American workers and professionals at half the wages, not the living wages liberals are advocating.

Someone said, Trump took a $1 million loan and turned it into a $10 billion empire. Even though he may have inherited some money from his dad, Trump is a man who knows how to make money, how to make a corporation highly successful despite temporary setbacks. He elegantly and cleverly defined and redefined “the art of the deal.”

Trump is not a supporter of political correctness, a liberal-forced form of free speech self-censorship. “The big problem this country has is being politically correct. I don’t have time for political correctness.”

Trump would hire the best minds in the business to deal with whatever problems may arise. He is fair, measured, and deliberate, but is not afraid to say, “You are fired.”

Donald Trump supports things that hard-working, tax-paying Americans care about such as jobs, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of the press, a press that reports the news not manufactures them to please the ruling administration, military strength, securing our borders, taking care of our veterans, ending crony government, enforcing the Constitution, and praising American exceptionalism instead of criticizing America on foreign soil.

Despite the media narrative, women and Hispanics love Donald Trump. Lobbyists are apoplectic because he has accepted no special interest money like the other candidates. He is a great negotiator who knows how to win in order to build an empire, a skilled executive, an honest man who does not deceive the public with polished and clever rhetoric coached in lies. Trump knows how to make sound decision and would thus help cut wasteful Washington spending.

In the face of so many vicious attacks from all directions, from “friends” or foes, Trump did not lose his resolve, patience, or his courage. Speaking without a teleprompter, Donald Trump is himself and listens to his audience. He understands the dangers our nation is in, attacked by those who do not want to maintain our borders, our language, laws, and our culture. He understands that such a nation would become a global entity under the aegis of U.N.

Donald Trump fearlessly speaks about the Christian persecution, the need to protect our gun rights, the need to curtail illegal immigration because it does not benefit the American citizens, it hurts those who are at the bottom of the pay scale and the legal immigrants who are already here and struggling to overcome their poor prospects. Trump understands the dire situation created by the true, two-digit unemployment, and our unpayable national debt approaching $19 trillion.

Trump may be the only qualified candidate who can truly say, he will devote all resources necessary to make America great again and to bring back the American dream.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Technology and the Delusional Mind

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” – Winston Churchill

The Ship of Fools
I often wondered if progressives around me live in an alternate reality. How else can people so fat claim poverty and oppression when citizens of other countries live on less than $2 a day and are so thin, you can count their ribs through their skin?  What causes this obvious delusion?

There are quick answers - mental illness, mass hysteria, abundance, lack of jobs, lack of a moral compass, disintegration of families, the MSM telling them constantly that they are oppressed and enslaved to the “evil” white male, too much drug use, and indoctrination in schools to the detriment of history, causing them to lose the ability to grasp reality and to discern real from nonexistent.

Liberals have even invented the term “affluenza” in a misguided attempt to excuse bad behavior and criminality of their affluent offspring who don’t understand the difference between right and wrong.

When one loses touch with “verifiable reality” and becomes dependent on someone else to interpret reality for them, delusion sets in, a “more primitive stage of awareness” when rumor and falsehood become truth set in stone. Such deluded humans are controlled by retrograde and primitive thinking. Retrogression is caused by constant false information coming from the media, teachers, and the government.

If humans no longer think for themselves and don’t verify information against reality, their sole experience comes from dogma. It is thus not surprising that large groups of people act on command under “powerful mass emotions” and hysteria. Rational thinking is absent, replaced by submissiveness to ideologies overwhelming them with false information, in this case extreme liberalism, termed “progressivism.” There is nothing progressive about collectivism, communism, Marxism, Maoism, Stalinism, Castroism, and statism. Progressivism should actually be called regressivism, regressing to a failed ideology which resulted in the mass murder of 100 million people.

Radio, television, computers, electronic games, cell phones, and social media destroy face to face communication, discussion, affectionate relationships, attention, human interaction, and love. The creative mind is destroyed by turning a person engrossed in a blue screen into a mindless and devoid of feeling drone, an obedient soul, un-adapted and unable to cope with reality, easy to submit to authority, incapable of discerning what is real and what is contrived.

Technology saves us a lot of time, extra work, and aggravation. But in using it, conversation and direct human contact have become a lost art. People go out to dinner and everybody is on their smart devices, lone persons staring in cyberspace. Conversation, free exchange of ideas, human contact, and the creative spirit are gone.

The fascination with smart devices is an addiction with strange sexuality, with unresolved emotional turmoil, with the need to connect with total strangers while dressed in pajamas, with the narcissistic need for momentary celebrity, and with aggressive fantasies.

These addictions steal our free time, robs us of creativity and uniqueness, we become denizens of a pseudo-world in cyberspace; parents have no time for their children, children have no time for their parents, and become totally enrapt in the fantasy and the magic offered by the blue screen while hypnotized into this form of non-verbal but mesmerizing communication.

People have died texting and driving, stepping in front of a moving car, into a deep hole, over a ravine, into a pole, while totally engrossed into the hypnotizing blue screens of their smart devices.

Our cyber world and real world are interdependent now. We erased the physical sovereign boundaries and added the Internet web of highways across oceans. Dr. Meerloo’s words of sixty years ago seem quite fitting. “The machine that became a tool of human organization and made possible the conquest of nature, has acquired a dictatorial position.” (Joost A. M. Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind, p. 166)

The need for speed, for instant communication has altered the thinking process because machines can now do the thinking for us. The thinking process becomes devoid of emotion and creativity. A “moral problem gets repressed and is displaced by a technical or statistical evaluation.” Thus children and adults alike become victims of the “paralyzing and lazy-making tendencies” of our advanced technology.

Without the free exchange of ideas which allows for the expansion of the mind, it is easy to see how delusion can set in, prey to the first smooth-talking individual that comes along and mesmerizes the listeners.

Dr. Joost A. M. Meerloo explained in his 1956 book, “Rape of the Mind,” which focused on “the psychology of thought control, menticide, and brainwashing, how small and large communities are susceptible to collective delusion, often under the influence of one obsessed person.” Without what he terms, “free verification and self-correction,” dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Ceausescu and others were made possible.

Dr. Meerloo gave examples of crews at sea or communities cut off from the world, which, because of their isolation, had experienced “contagious religious mania coupled with ritual murder.” These people became victims to their own limited viewpoint.

Delusion can be seen today among some young people who do not understand how deluded they are because they’ve been exposed their entire lives to the same misguided and false narrative, information limited and channeled by the ideology of the left.

Delusions are instilled by organizing and manipulating younger generations by Twitter, Facebook, and other MSM outlets that hide reality and only report what they want their minions and followers to know. If a delusion is carefully implanted by educators, it can be quite difficult to correct because these delusions consist of rumors fed as reality, without the opportunity to verify the manufactured information.

In totalitarian societies most people are not allowed to be free thinkers and become victims of delusion. Massive and constant brainwashing in schools and universities, fed by continuous propaganda, make it almost impossible for students to view anything objectively. Dr. Meerloo called it “mental pollution” which leads to “mental contagion” caused by totalitarian propaganda. Even “free citizens in a free country must be on their guard to protect themselves” from this mental contagion.

History had demonstrated painfully time and time again that countries and citizens, in which “governments supervised and limited the flow of ideas into the minds of men,” did not fare well. There is a reason why we have the First and the Fourteenth Amendments.

Yet free thinking and individuality are under attack by progressive ideologues who pollute the deluded masses with the failed ideas of collectivism, multiculturalism, impossible coexistence with Islam, and the superiority of primitive cultures, all represented in the globalist Common Core standards of education.






Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Harold, the American Soldier at the Battle of the Bulge

Today, December 22, 2015, marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. I dedicate this essay to my friend and mentor, American solider and WWII veteran, Harold Turner.

Harold Turner in a Veteran's Day
A two-hour flight later I was in my beloved South, assaulted by humidity and cold. A heavy and constant rain made it difficult to drive my rented Corolla. I expected humidity and hot and I was shivering in my light clothes.

The roads were deserted compared to the heavy constant traffic in D.C. Once in a while a solitary car would pass going in the opposite direction. I had the excellent road all to myself. The dense vegetation and trees displayed lovely shades of green. Hanging lavender wisteria formed nature’s intricate draperies. White, pink, and fuchsia azaleas were in full bloom. Yellow daffodils dotted the landscape. The sky was grey and dreary but the scenery was bursting with color.

I was excited to make the two and half hour drive from the airport to my Mississippi destination. I wanted to see my friend Harold and his lovely wife Lois, my adopted mother in the U.S. since 1978. I could not have stayed without her emotional support and devoted friendship; I was so home sick. Adapting to America was difficult to say the least and she was my thoughtful, loving, and learned advisor.

Harold is a WWII survivor. There are not many left like him, literally and figuratively. He is 93 years young, full of life and energy, straight and moving with a purpose, always smiling, optimistic, and jocular. I never tire of his war stories. I wished I had recorded all of them for the last 37 years.

The house is the same as I remembered it, embracing the visitor with a welcome home comfort that is soothing to the soul and body. No matter when you arrive, you are always welcome in Lois’ home and she has something sweet to eat that she prepared herself, no store bought foods in her house.

The lovely garden in the back is exploding with greenery and a myriad of buds. Lois always had flower beds and birdhouses, while Harold, with his green thumb, planted a sizable garden every summer. His tomatoes were delicious! Harold still fiddles with a small patch of vegetables if he is not too busy bird hunting.

Harold was drafted his senior year in high school. He spent three years in the army, 1943-1946, two of them overseas, as a private first class. At the end of the war, he was offered a good rating of Sergeant First Class if he re-enlisted but Harold chose to build a career as a successful businessman instead.

Harold brought out his prized brand-new Luger pistol in its original holster. He was proud of this WWII souvenir confiscated from a German soldier during the Battle of the Bulge. Holding the cold and heavy weapon, I read the German writing and the caliber. It was made in Prague, Bohemian Weapons Factory, model 27, caliber 7.65, same as a 32 today. The Germans produced around 450,000 such pistols during 1939-1945.

Fought in the winter of December 16, 1944 through January 25, 1945, Harold describes the Battle of the Bulge in the forests of the Ardennes region of Wallonia, Belgium. The Allies front line bulged inward on wartime maps, hence the name. At the Battle of the Bulge, the largest and bloodiest battle fought by United States in World War II, of the 600,000 American troops, 89,000 were killed in this battle. The enemy suffered more than 100,000 casualties. The German soldiers of the National Socialist Workers Party (Nazis) eventually lost the battle because they were unable to supply their armored columns with fuel. The Allies constantly bombed the fuel refineries, including those in my hometown of Ploiesti.

Harold described the Battle of Hürtgen Forest as if it happened yesterday. With his lilting Southern accent, he pronounced it Hurricane Forest. A series of fierce battles were fought in a 50 square mile area east of the Belgian-German border from September 19, 1944 to February 10, 1945.  

In the Battle of Aachen, Harold’s company lost half of its 165 soldiers. To seek shelter, the soldiers built a hut from tree tops and mud. His artillery outfit shot down 494 German planes with the M45 Quad mount, nicknamed the “meat chopper” and “Krautmower” because the four barrel, .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns delivered a high rate of fire and was highly mobile against enemy aircraft.

German warplanes would attack at low altitude and then would rapidly retreat to avoid Allied fighters. The M45 Quad mount units were a strong deterrent to strafing runs by German warplanes because of the large firepower and because the four 50 caliber barrels could be "tuned" to converge upon a single point at distances which could be reset quickly.

The Hürtgen Forest claimed the lives and limbs of 33,000 soldiers (U.S. 1st Army) in combat and non-combat losses. It was dubbed the Allies’ “defeat of the first magnitude.” The Germans defended the area staunchly because it was the staging zone for the Ardennes Offensive, to become the Battle of the Bulge, and it encompassed a strategic dam. When Aachen eventually fell on October 22nd, the U.S. 9th Army had suffered heavy casualties.

Harold was the master cook and baker. He did not just feed the troops; he fed the entire battalion three meals a day. Fierce fighting forced him to serve one meal per day sometimes. He tells the story of the emaciated soldiers whom everyone thought dead but returned, having been saved from starvation by a Belgian woman who sacrificed and cooked her last rooster to feed them.

With limited resources, Harold always kept a pot of coffee on or warm biscuits, cooking with a 9 pound M1 Garand rifle on his shoulder. The cook was everyone’s lifeline and the soldiers tried to protect him as much as possible, sometimes setting up kitchen quarters in a thicket.

Harold had many close calls with grenades that should have gone off but didn’t or “seeing eye to eye with a low flying German pilot.” He does not speak of the horrors of war, the killings, the loss of limbs, and the utter destruction. His mission was to feed and nourish the soldiers.

While in Normandy, a young Frenchman named Louis Carmelich (Carmelex), Harold is not sure about the spelling of his last name, came by the kitchen quarters looking for something to eat.  Harold gave him a few slices of bread, field rations, and chocolate bars. Louis took them home to his parents and returned a couple of times. He came back one day with a piece of charcoal and paper and offered to draw Harold’s portrait. He drew a large number 7 and from it, soon the likeness of an American soldier emerged. It was young Harold. I am trying to imagine how Harold made it home to the States with Louis’ charcoal portrait rolled up in his backpack, but he did. The paper is slightly yellowed by the passage of time but the framed portrait hangs proudly in the Turners lovely home.

The Battle of the Bulge ended January 16, 1945 and more than three months later, the Nazi soldiers surrendered after Hitler committed suicide in his bunker.

Seventy-one years ago and thousands of miles away from his home and family, Harold, a young lad out of high school, was on a mission to feed an entire battalion fighting the common enemy, Nazi Germany. He is an unsung hero who deserves his place in history for his selfless service to our country in defense of freedom. To Harold Turner and all servicemen and women from World War II, your sacrifice and bravery will not be forgotten!

On this peaceful Christmas day 2015, we should remember President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s message of hope to the nation on Christmas Eve, 1944:

It is not easy to say "Merry Christmas" to you, my fellow Americans, in this time of destructive war. Nor can I say "Merry Christmas" lightly tonight to our armed forces at their battle stations all over the world- or to our allies who fight by their side.

Here, at home, we will celebrate this Christmas Day in our traditional American way- because of its deep spiritual meaning to us; because the teachings of Christ are fundamental in our lives; and because we want our youngest generation to grow up knowing the significance of this tradition and the story of the coming of the immortal Prince of Peace and Good Will.















Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Union of Convenience

Sculpture outside of European
Central Bank Photo:Wikipedia
The European Union started with six Western European countries after World War II as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 (Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands). By 1973 the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Ireland joined what had become known as the European Community. Greece became a member in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986, Austria, Finland, and Sweden in 1995, eight former communist countries in 2004 (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) plus Malta and Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and Croatia in 2013, the 28th member.

A recent primer on the EU attempts to clarify the dysfunctional union of 28 countries which has not been very successful in promoting “peace, stability, and economic prosperity,” by harmonizing laws and common policies on economic, social, and political issues as envisioned by a hand full of European socialist elitists.

To join the European Union a country must first have a functioning democracy and a market economy. This is interesting since a lot of the former communist countries were in social and economic chaos following the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. They were not exactly functioning democracies or supply and demand-based economies; they were former dictatorships with centrally-planned economies, some of which are still struggling with their understanding of what a democracy is.

The EU members share a customs union, a single market in which goods, people, and capital move unimpeded by borders, a common trade policy, and a common agricultural policy as dictated by Brussels. A common currency, the euro, is shared by 19 countries; these nations had to give up their monetary policies, no longer controlling interest rates, the money supply, or their ability to mint and print their own currencies.

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) with its Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) cooperate with the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) “to forge common internal security measures.”

To govern this multi-national behemoth, the EU has established numerous bureaucracies:

-          The European Council (composed of EU heads of state or government and the President of the European Commission; this president is appointed by the member states to facilitate a consensus) – The Council meets several times a year at “EU Summits” in order to set EU policy

-          The European Commission – is the EU’s executive branch composed of 28 commissioners, appointed ty agreement to five- year terms approved by European Parliament; one commissioner is president and the other 27 have specific duties such as trade, agriculture, energy, etc.

-          The Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers) – represents national governments and enacts legislation put forth by the commission; the presidency of the council rotates every six months among its members; the country holding the presidency sets the agenda

-          The European Parliament – elected directly by EU citizens to represent them for five-year terms; it has 751 members who were elected on May 2014; each nation has a number of seats proportional to their country’s population; the Parliament cannot initiate legislation but it can share legislative power with the Council of Ministers in specific areas, accepting, amending, or rejecting proposed EU legislation via “ordinary legislative procedure;” the Parliament allocates the EU budget with the Council Members of the European Parliament caucus (MEPs), not based on nationality, but political affiliation via the eight political groups;  some MEPs are non-affiliated; the pay for these functionaries is quite generous

-          The Court of Justice – ruling on binding laws

-          The Court of Auditors – looks at management of finances

-          The European Central Bank – manages the euro and monetary policy

-          Advisory committees – in charge of regional economic and social issues

 (Kristin Archik, The European Union: Questions and Answers, September 4, 2015)

On economic and social issues, EU member states have given up their national sovereignty because the EU decision-making has been transferred into the hands of a supranational authority. Decisions in foreign policy require “unanimous consensus of all 28 member states.”

Are you still a state if your borders no longer matter?  It became quite painful to watch the smaller countries in Europe, with their open borders, being invaded and trampled by the hordes of so-called “refugees” from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Turkey, demanding passage to Germany and Sweden where the welfare systems are more generous.

The Lisbon Treaty, signed and effective since December 2009, attempted to give EU more influence in the foreign policy of each country and to increase “democratic transparency.”

The U.S. has supported the European Union for political reasons of “democracy building” and for trading partnerships. EU and U.S. are pursuing a comprehensive free trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), not unlike the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Disputes remain on issues of data protection and climate change.

Some U.S. Congressmen are beginning to pay attention since the European Union has been plagued by the Greek debt crisis, the massive migration from the Middle East and Africa, and “the rise of anti-EU populist political parties.”

The movers and shakers in key bureaucratic EU positions are:

-          Donald Tusk, the former Prime Minister of Poland, is the President of the European Council, appointed for a two and a half year term

-          Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, is President of the European Commission

-          German MEP Martin Schulz is the President of the European Parliament

-          Federica Mogherini of Italy is the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

EU member countries handle their own fiscal policy but the monetary policy is directed from Brussels for those members that have adopted the euro as their national currency. Denmark and the U.K. have opted out of the euro. Nineteen of the 28 EU countries use the euro which is beneficial in trading and in tourism.

After a country becomes an official candidate to the accession to EU, the applicants must adopt EU laws and regulations. Becoming a member of the EU has transformed some European countries into “functioning democracies and more affluent societies” but they did so at the expense of large and successful western economies that have paid for this transformation. Driving across Eastern Europe, it is easy to see the massive construction, modernization, and remodeling projects paid with EU funds and loans. There are six countries currently under consideration to EU membership:  Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, and Iceland.

Further read:

CRS Report IN10065, The 2014 European Parliament Elections: Outcomes and Implications, by Kristin Archick.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Climate Change Has Been Tamed

The COP21 was a seminal moment in the history of the planet. The wizards of the Paris conference, reportedly 147 heads of states, their very large entourage, and thousands of delegates and journalists from 195 countries will be remembered as the slickest con-artists ever in the history of humanity.

Paris, the City of Lights, of culture, of learning, of civilization, is a perfect place for such a gathering. Decadent, rich, storied, and romantic, it provides the perfect destination for bureaucrats who avoid poor places like the plague. The elitist choice is always the most luxurious and expensive locales where they can travel, live, eat, drink, and party in style at the expense of the hapless worshippers of Gaia who foot the bill.

These tin pot bureaucrats and their developed world brethren have finally succeeded, through the audacity of persistence, power, pressure, and blatant lies, to fleece seven billion people who willingly gave up their lifestyles and their fortunes in order to save the planet from an impending doom and gloom presumably caused by man alone.

We are so lucky!  We are getting a new life and the assurance from the gods of climate that we will live in balmy weather and glorious climate across the globe, with plenty of water and no harsh weather, only sunshine and blue skies, anytime, anyplace, on a blessed and abundant earth, protecting its most precious inhabitants: wild animals and the elites.

We can now rest assured and with confidence that blizzards and heat waves, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, mudslides, and other weather and climate related events are a thing of the past.

The whizzes of the Paris COP21 conference have tamed the climate and we no longer have to fear anything.  The science is settled – all discussions or debates will cease. Deniers will be marginalized, ridiculed, silenced, fired, or jailed if too persistent and annoying.

The seas will no longer rise and flood some obscure pacific island or some city built unwisely below sea level; the oceans will no longer acidify and kill marine life; the fish stocks in rivers will self-replenish, the delta smelt will thrive again once the agricultural industry will be completely destroyed; the globe’s temperatures will no longer rise by 2 degrees because now, we are going to pay through our noses more taxes to the climate lords and their lucrative climate change industry dominated by renewables.

Climate science elites will make sure that our paper money will stop pollution, volcanic activity around the globe and at the bottom of the oceans. The oceanic currents will flow the right way. El Nino will sit with them at the discussion table and will tame and subdue its activity. The sun will cooperate and stop flaring whenever it wants. Everything will now be under the sly control of the bureaucrats at the United Nations who, ever so wise, have no idea how many countries have actually signed this existential and unenforceable proposal. Or is it a gentlemen’s agreement, paraded as a treaty?

The third world nations are already salivating at the prospect of dividing 100 billion each year with more to come in the future. The planet must be 100 percent renewable green in a short time.

We will all be singing kumbaya in our dark and dank caves once all the dams are blown up, the rivers restored to their pristine state, the salmon and other migratory animals and birds will be safe from encroaching development, and the polluting coal power plants will be closed.

Wild animals and birds will have nothing to fear as long as birds avoid flying into the chopping blades of the wind turbines or into the solar panels’ vaporizing heat flux. Animals may have to move away from the constant and maddening thump-thump noise of wind turbines and away from millions of acres of solar panels.

China and India will finally breathe fresh air again. Nuclear power plants will be a thing of the 1970s, replaced by renewable wind and solar power.  Coal mines will be closed, “dirty” coal will no longer provide energy, and cars and planes will rust in place while the elites will whiz by in their expensive solar automobiles and private planes. What a perfectly dystopic planet that will be! Who needs civilization when the animals of the planet will be safe?

Musings on Indoctrination by Teachers

Caliphate crescent moon
Photo: Wikipedia
The depth of blatant ignorance and naiveté of American teachers, even smart ones, is astonishing. I have asked one of my former students, who is a math teacher, why she placed a crescent moon and a star together as a topper on her Christmas tree, an exact and huge replica of the symbol of the Islamic Caliphate. She replied that she did it for her son who likes the moon.

Is it any surprise that teachers across the country willingly indoctrinate their students many hours a day into the tenets of Islam, collectivism, environmentalism, and perverted and inappropriate for their age sexuality, in an eager attempt to implement Common Core (Conformity Core) as dreamed and financed by Bill Gates' millions and other billionaires who are determined to change the character and the fabric of this country to the detriment of its citizens, forcing three alien ideologies inside the minds of our children, Islam, Communism, and Environmentalism.

The third ideology, environmentalism, a Gaia-worshipping religion onto itself, has been successfully advocated for decades and it has now born fruit at the CO21 Paris conference. Congress is funding all the climate nonsense in its Omnibus Bill due to pass this week, including all the funding necessary for the regime's planned Muslim and Hispanic invasion of this country, an overt attempt to change the demographics of this country because progressives have decided that we are not multi-cultural and diverse enough.

Colleges and universities are busy cesspools of fascism where independent thought and divergent opinions and discussions are verboten by the progressive left, eager to stifle any free speech with political correctness and overprotection of any self-proclaimed racist minority students who shout down anybody who has inexistent "white privilege" also known as work ethic.

Instead of emphasizing our American character of generosity, inventiveness, entrepreneurship, hard work, and altruism, qualities that have made America an exceptional country, raising the standard of living, health, and safety of many other nations, professors of fluff and often ridiculous social studies subjects are busy preparing tomorrow's global citizens, persons without a country, without a culture, without a common language, and without borders, angry, confused and divorced from their roots and their history.

Why would we the people support such preposterous national self-suicide without as much as a whimper? Because decades of brainwashing and drug use have turned the nation into a lazy society, numbed and dumbed down, entertained with the proverbial Roman pane et circenses, game and circuses - sports, beer, smoking pot, and reality television.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

College Endowments and Donations on the Taxing Block?

Congress is looking at college and university endowments and at their donors as a source of revenue. Tax endowment fund earnings have been exempted from federal income tax and those who contributed to such endowment funds were able to “deduct the value of their contributions from income subject to tax.”

A recent CRS report is advising Congress on their “options for changing their tax treatment” in order to increase federal revenue and to “encourage additional spending from endowments on specific purposes” such as tuition assistance. This administration has promised free tuition and it must find ways to fund that promise.

The policy options discussed were as follows:

1.      “A payout requirement, possibly similar to that imposed on private foundations, requiring a certain percentage of fund be paid out annually in support of charitable activities; (distributing more financial aid to students)

2.      A tax on endowment earnings;

3.      A limitation on the charitable deduction for certain gifts to endowments; (some of the endowment money is spent over a long period of time yet the donor takes the entire tax deduction immediately)

4.      A change to the tax treatment of certain debt-financed investments in strategies often employed by endowments.” (off shore investment for example)

The report did not discuss the ever-escalating cost of higher education but it did mention Senator Chuck Grassley’s and Representative Peter Welch’s 2008 round table discussion, “Maximizing the Use of Endowment Funds and Making Higher Education More Affordable.”

A hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee focused on “The Rising Costs of Higher Education and Tax Policy” is also mentioned.

A university maintains a fund called endowment in either cash or property. Income from any endowment can be used to cover the operating costs and capital expenditures, to fund special projects, or to reinvest. Universities can have hundreds or thousands of funds, based on special agreements made with various individuals who donate with strings attached such as how the fund is to be used, when, and how the principal or the income earned are to be used.

Some endowments are dedicated to scholarships and others to faculty support. A true endowment is a permanent endowment. When a period of restriction expires, the university can use the funds as they wish – these are considered term-endowments. General gifts and bequests are considered quasi-endowments. Congress is looking at all three types of university endowments.

Endowments are tax-exempt because they are part of tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations or the endowment itself has a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. Any contribution to such endowments is tax deductible to a contributor under the Internal Revenue Code Section 170. Additionally, any investment earnings of an endowment are also tax free. A university is considered charitable and educational in purpose and it is thus tax exempt.

According to the writers of the CRS report, “College and University Endowments: Overview and Tax Policy Options,” dated December 2, 2015, “If the return from endowments of colleges and universities were taxed currently at 35%, the revenue gain is estimated at $16.2 billion for FY2014. If only private universities and colleges were subject to a tax, the gain would be estimated at $11.1 billion, since public institutions are responsible for 31.7% of assets.” (p. 7)

The data for this report was collected from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), and the Internal Revenue Service. The report lists 25 private colleges with the highest per student endowments. The top ten listed are Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford University, MIT, Rice, University of Chicago, Pomona College, Swarthmore College, and Amherst College. (pp. 11-12)

The CRS report also lists the top 100 colleges and universities with large endowments and their cumulative share. (p. 28)

Statistics show that the average endowment per student in 2014 at private doctoral-granting universities was $214,300 and the median was $70,900. (p. 12)

The total college and university endowment for 2014 was $516 billion, with assets concentrated with 11 percent of institutions holding 74 percent of endowments. Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford held each more than 4 percent of total endowment assets. (Summary, p. 2)

The average payout rate (spending) from endowments was 4.4 percent and endowments earned a 15.5 percent average rate of return in 2014, resulting in income of $79 billion. (p. 16) According to the CRS chart, the payout rate has oscillated between 4.2-5.1 percent from 1998 through 2014. (p. 14)

College and university endowments make investments in equities (buying stocks in a company, derived dividends, and capital gains from the sale of the stock), fixed income (U.S. Treasuries, money market instruments, mortgage and asset-backed securities, and bonds), and alternative investment strategies (hedge funds and private equity).

College and university endowments could be a potential cash cow for the federal government in need of additional revenue to add to its spending ceilings, exacerbating the $18.8 trillion in national debt.