Wednesday, January 27, 2016

To Hell and Back by Ian Kershaw

Europe 1914-1949 This is another remarkable book that provides a thorough accounting of the people, events and ideologies that occurred during these momentous years. It contains 522 pages of text and 37 pages of Bibliography which are the documents he used to create this work. It is so detailed that it took me over three weeks to finish reading. It is the kind of book that requires concentration totally different from reading and enjoying a work of fiction. It is different from most WWI or WWII books in that little is concentrated on the battles but more on the events leading up to the wars and the aftermath. The one overriding issue was the lack of regard to humanity. Whole groups were treated as if they weren’t human. They were callously murdered by the millions. The Jewish people were hated the most. Many countries had large populations of Jews. It wasn’t just Hitler. It happened in Russia and other Eastern countries. In the second war the conquered nations were only too willing to aid the Germans in rounding up and sending them to their doom and taking their former properties to their own use. Even the several years after WWII was ended the slaughter continued, but this time Germans and other ethnic groups were forcibly removed from wherever they had lived and sent back to their own country. During these years millions more were killed but this time not by gas chambers but one by one with whatever means were available. It is so unbelievable that inhumanity could be so rampant. In today’s world we think of the 3,000 victims of 9/11 as outrageous. Don’t get me wrong, it was outrageous, but compared to multiple millions over the 35 years covered by this book it is minimal. I can’t say I recommend reading except by scholars. You will have your core belief in the humanity of man shaken. Jack B. Walters January 27, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

13 Hours- The True Story of Benghazi

Knowing who I am, you will not be surprised that I went to the theater yesterday to see this new film. It was similar to the true story about “The American Sniper”. It is amazing to me the footage from the actual location where this story played out. It was as realistic as anyone could make a film like this. It states that it is the true story based on the reports from those involved. I am inclined to agree. The six Special Forces guys refused an order to stand down but were delayed sufficiently that by the time they arrived at the Consulate they were too late to save the Ambassador. They did rescue other staff and under intense gunfire they returned to the CIA compound. Shortly thereafter and periodically throughout the night they fought off attacks by many men who are believed to be Al-Qaeda guerrillas. They kept bringing in heavier armament and finally mortar rounds registered direct hits killing two of our men. While all of this was going on, there was a drone overhead recording what was happening. A team was assembled in Tripoli and flown to Benghazi. It didn’t arrive until the fighting had ended. The staff was then driven to the airport for evacuation to Tripoli. The White House knew and various efforts were contemplated on bringing firepower but no orders were given to release them. This was clearly a well-organized attack well planned with many men and modern weaponry. Obama, Clinton and others proclaimed for a week thereafter that this incident was because of a video produced in California and not a planned Al-Qaeda attack. The supposition of some analysts surmised at the time that it was because Obama had declared Al-Qaeda to be diminished and to acknowledge that they were the attackers would be embarrassing. The handling of this episode which continued for 13 hours was disgraceful. These people deserved whatever assistance our Armed Services could provide. To not order a response and leave them to their fate I will never forgive, nor should you. Jack B. Walters January 24, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Do you ever wonder?

I must admit for the past months I have been watching and reading about the candidates for President. They as a group from both parties tell us over and over the ideas they have to restore America to its greatness. Reforming the Income Tax, becoming energy independent, creating good paying jobs for our workers, improving the health care system, solving the illegal immigration process, protecting us from the Muslim terrorists, stop the growth of debt to foreign countries and many other topics. Do you ever wonder if it is possible with our form of government that just by placing him or her into office as President that these great and wonderful achievements will miraculously appear? The President can request but cannot dictate to the Congress. The reason FDR was able to accomplish his goals was because he had his party to enact his programs. Think what has happened in recent years particularly from the Republican side. First we were told if they had the House (which initiates funding) that they could accomplish good things. When that didn’t happen they said give us the Senate so we gave it to them. How has that turned out? Since they have the majority but not super majority nothing gets past the Senate even if the House tries. So unless they can get control of the Senate even with a Republican President none of these great wonderful achievements can occur. There are so many issues that in my mind are important for our well-being, why is it that both parties cannot find common ground? It appears to me that no matter who becomes president that person will not be successful unless the Congress is overwhelmingly of the same party so your voting decision for a candidate must also be for the House and Senate of the same party. Only in this way in this Century can anything of value be accomplished. The party you choose, of course, is up to you. Don’t let the TV blitz adds funded by pacts persuade you to change your mind. They have been so successful increasingly in my life time that we have just become lemmings. Jack B. Walters January 21, 2016

Falling Oil Prices

The price of oil has been dropping over the past year to historic near record lows. This has been a boon to many industries and consumers. The credit should go directly to the discovery of fracking in America and other countries following our lead. In America many workers have been making high wages and together with their employers have stimulated our economy. It has brought America closer to energy independence from the OPEC cartel. Decreasing the exorbitant funds to these mostly Muslim countries could slow down their drive for total dominion over the world. Saudi Arabia is determined to put the fracking companies out of business and regain their control. Their strategy is working. It is reported that many American companies are filling for bankruptcies. Once this runs its course then OPEC will resume their dominance. Restarting fracking might take years to accomplish. The Sheiks in a country like Saudi Arabia can make any policy they desire while Democracies such as ours looks to the free market to decide winners or losers. Understanding what is happening our government should find the way to support our companies similar to what was done for General Motors to help them through this crisis period and prevent the Saudis’ from destroying our American production capabilities. Should that be done then they would be forced to reduce their production as the low cost is cutting drastically into their reserves and the world price would stabilize at a higher price. It appears to me that somewhere in the $50/barrel would allow our fracking industry to restart with sufficient cushion to cover their costs and make a profit. In this way we could regain our drive towards energy independence. Shouldn’t both political parties agree on this? This is such a simple idea which could avert this (in my mind) tragedy why haven’t we heard about in in the news media or from any politician? Are the two parties so locked in their hatred of each other that they are incapable of enacting sensible legislation? The answer is yes they are which is why there is so much anger by Americans with our present government which is incapable of doing what is needed to solve the problems of today. Jack B. Walters January 21, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Leonard Pitts editorial 1/14, 2016 Comparing Trump to Hitler

When Hitler gathered enough support to influence the German people to vote him and the NAZI Party into power it was during the years following the Depression which was devastating to the country. He did in fact restore Germany well ahead of all other countries including America. In his popular book Mein Kampf he laid blame for the depression on the Jewish people. That turned out to be acceptable to them. In fact the Jews were made scapegoats by most if not all European countries and were singled out for retribution. That they were responsible, of course, was not true. What is happening today with Muslims in entirely different? The zealots of the Islam religion carry out atrocities on a daily basis all over the world. The leaders clearly state their goal of converting all to Islam or they will be subjugated or killed. It is that simple. Do all Muslims support this, of course not, but there are millions who do. You should be aware that our current President has done all in his power to support Muslims. His ineffectiveness in fighting them in the Middle East is proof of that. With the overwhelming military we possess we could make ISIS disappear as an entity but our forces are handcuffed to where they cannot do the job. He has placed many Muslims in positions of authority sufficient, in my opinion, to confuse any effort to slow down their march to total dominance. Every time Muslims are identified as perpetrators of some heinous act he and his staff go out of their way to protect Muslim citizens by convincing Americans that these are just isolated happenings. Donald Trump, Ben Carson and a few others recognize the threat and propose dealing with it forcefully. It will never happen during the rest of Obama’s term nor will Hillary or Bernie should one of them become the next President. As each day goes by we drop further behind. My fear is that when Americans finally understand it will be too late. The thought of Sharia Law being the doctrine replacing the Constitution is sickening to me. I have granddaughters who I want to grow and become whatever they are capable of achieving, not subjugated to a status of inferiority and dominion. Jack B. Walters January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lights Out by Ted Koppel

My granddaughter Jada gave me this book as a Christmas present. She is aware of my ongoing interest in world affairs. At first I questioned the ability of Mr. Koppel to write such a book. As I finished I was satisfied that he had done extensive research and as a result presented a book that clearly states the threat America faces that cyber-attacks can cause great harm to our country. In fact cyber-attacks are occurring at an accelerating basis. We are all aware of the attack by North Korea on the Sony Co. which exposed many of their e-mails and financial data which caused considerable damage. Another serious breach was the identification of all 2.1 million current Federal employees and an additional 22.1 million retires and former employees. Their personal identification information was revealed. Government sources were quoted as claiming that the intrusion originated in China. Although threats to respond were made by our government nothing has occurred, at least to the author’s knowledge. We are also guilty of cyber-attacks. In concert with Israel we caused great damage to Iran’s centrifuges by causing them to speed up exceeding their capacity all the while the operators had no knowledge it was occurring. The centrifuges were destroyed setting back their nuclear program by several years. Iran responded by attacking Aramco in Saudi Arabia destroying 30,000 computers. He speculates that the intent was to affirm their ability without directly attacking America. While there are many ways to inflict damage on our country, the main emphasis of this book is on our electrical grid system. Decades ago we would not have been so vulnerable but with advent of computers, Internet and digitized records we are vulnerable to having systems breached. Consider the devastation that would result if grids supplying power to whole sections of the country were taken off line for days, weeks or months. People trapped in elevators, people starving as food supplies are used up. Without electricity there would be no way millions could survive. Chaos would be the result as people take action to feed their families. Only rural areas particularly in the West could conceivably support themselves as they did 100 years ago. Major cities would be the most vulnerable. No heat, no cooling, no gas for transportation. The National Guard and the military called out to attempt to control. Another way of crippling our grid would be simply to destroy large transformers which are located all over the country in unprotected places. The time period to replace could be years. The power lines could also be brought down by a small group of determined terrorists. There have been many programs proposed by members of Congress but the staggering cost has prevented many from being enacted. When you add up the cost of security already it is monumental. Just think, it has only been in the last decade that we even thought about security. Now it is centermost in our concern. We are bankrupting ourselves which in my opinion means the terrorists are winning. How tragic that we pretend we are secure with our military might when we can be brought down by a computer program. In the last chapters he describes ways people can prepare to at least provide a few days of supplies. It reminded me of the 70’s when bomb shelters were being placed in back yards. Remarkably the Mormon Church has created enormous warehouses in their communities all over the country. They as a group tithe. These funds have been invested in many ways to protect their people without assistance from government. The one weakness is what happens when hordes of people with guns break into these warehouses. That question was not answered. This is an easily absorbed book which should be read by Congress. Perhaps you may be interested as well, particularly if you want to prepare yourself. Most will not, leaving us to hope that somehow our government will take care of us. As of right now they cannot. Jack B. Walters January 5, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

H.Res. 569

You should be interested in checking out the above resolution. It was introduced by 82 Democrats in the House. Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States. You might ask why isn't this proper? My answer is; when or where has the House sponsored an act similar to this protecting the Jewish, Christian or other religions? This is just the first visible attempt by our government to single out Islam as something to be protected. I have read previously that this is what happened in Europe. Supposedly an agreement was reached with Saudi Arabia that the governments would protect Muslims from criticism just as this Resolution would do. In exchange the oil would flow smoothly from OPEC. Do you remember when Kerry said after the Charlie Hebdo mass murder in France that they were asking for it. For you who don't yet understand, Muslims will not accept any criticism of their religion and especially their Prophet Mohammad. Nor do they allow any Muslim to leave the faith. These acts are met with violence including death. Regardless of your party affiliation this Resolution signed by 82 Democrats should turn you all into instant Republicans. No other issue is as important for our survival as a free Republic. Jack B. Walters January 5, 2016

Saturday, January 2, 2016

1944 byJay Winik (FDR the year that changed history)

I highly recommend reading this book by anyone interested in American history. It is a well-researched book of 536 pages. I have read many books about WWII. This one filled in gapes. Although the title is 1944 the author keeps returning to earlier times when concentrating on a particular subject like the rise of Adolf Hitler from an aspiring painter to the position of Fuhrer over the Third Reich with total power over Germany. Other subjects include FDR, General Marshall, General Eisenhower and others. In this way he enhances the events of 1944 with information about the events preceding this historic year. While the book concentrates on 1944 it does lead up by starting with the Tehran Summit between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in November 1943. It was the first time the three had met and resulted in agreements on the next steps to take to defeat the Germany. Rather than repeat the battles fought I want to concentrate on what I believe to be the main reason the author wrote this book and that is the fate of the Jewish people who were slaughtered by the millions while the Allied nations took the position that winning the war was all important and that diverting resources towards saving Jews would not be of value. The really tragic issue is not just the killing but the indifference of the Allied nations and quite frankly the anti-Semitism that was predominate throughout the world. Before the war began in 1939 a boatload of Jews trying to escape Hiller was not allowed to embark in America supposedly based on immigration quotas but sold on the idea that some might be infiltrating to cause us harm. They were returned to Europe and consigned to the sure knowledge that death would soon be their plight. A second ship was also refused entry. There should have been no misunderstanding of the fate that awaited all Jews living in Europe. It began by burning synagogues and homes, shutting down their businesses and not allowing them to participate in normal living. This was followed after the war started by mass shooting and later on more sophisticated ways much faster and efficient. The gas chambers once started would kill thousands every day. There were U.S. leaders in the State Dept. that were alerted early on about the mass killing but the news was suppressed for any number of reasons, the foremost being indifference. Again that is the tragic part to me. At the time the immigrants were returned to Europe Hitler gloated “that see they don’t want them either”. To reduce the slaughter the request was made to bomb the rail roads leading to the death camps and bombing the gas chambers also. By the end of the war our bombers were targeting other sites near the camps but were not sent to destroy them. As I read the book and the allies were closing in from the East and the West amazingly the trains taking Jews to their deaths continued almost until the camps were overrun. No matter that the war was lost nor that Germany was destroyed as a nation, the drive to remove all Jews from Europe never stopped. It was even reported that Hitler had counted Jews living in America, England and all other countries as he looked to the future when no Jews would be left alive. I believe that Anti-Semitism exists today as it did then. Now it is driven by the Islamic sect in the Middle East but also around the world. Many Americans support groups that boycott products from Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. The goal of Islam has been to destroy Israel. At least the majority of Congress of both parties continues to support Israel as do I by contributing to AIPAC, the committee devoted to assuring Congress is informed on Israeli issues and thereby assuring their support. I should apologize for adding the last paragraph but don’t believe I will. Jack B. Walters January I, 2016