Saturday, November 17, 2012

AMERICAN RAMBLINGS

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HISTORY IS A FUNNY THING.  WE THINK WE UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST AND YET WE DO NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT WHAT IT WAS.  ONE OF OUR BIGGEST PROBLEMS TODAY IS OUR LACK OF KNOWING THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR OWN PAST.  EVEN DURING THE LAST 130 YEARS.  

   ASK THE AVERAGE AMERICAN ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN OUR NATION OVER THIS TIME PERIOD AND FEW CAN TELL YOU ANYTHING ABOUT IT.  WE DON'T KNOW WHO OUR PRESIDENTS WERE AND WHAT HAPPENED DURING THEIR TIME IN OFFICE.

   OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCHOOL HAVE KITTLE IF ANY KNOWLEDGE OF OUR NATION, IT'S CONSTITUTION OR THE WARS WE HAVE FOUGHT.  THESE THINGS ARE NOT TAUGHT AND WHEN THEY ARE BROUGHT UP WE FIND THAT HISTORY HAS CHANGED FROM WHAT WE OLSER AMERICANS LIVED THROUGH.

   REALITY HAS BECOME WHAT SOME WRITER HAS PUT IN A BOOK AND IS OFTEN NOT THE TRUTH.  OUR PEOPLE ARE BEING LIED TO AND TOLD A VERSION OF HISTORY THAT FITS THE STORY THAT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS DETERMINED IT SHOULD BE.  ALMOST ALWAYS WHAT HAS BEEN STATED IS SHADED OR AN OUTRIGHT FALSEHOOD.

   THE POLITICAL HISTOTY OF THE AMERICAN BLACKS IS A PRIME EXAMPLE.  ACCORDING TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS THE DEMOCRATS HAVE FOUGHT DOR THE RIGHTS OF ALL BLACKS SINCE ABRAHAM LINCOLN.  THE TRUTH IS THAT EVERY CHANGE IN THE LAWS TO ENABLE THE BLACK RACE TO PROGRESS HAS BEEN RIGOROUSLY FOUGHT AGAINST BY THE DEMOCRATS.  YET THE LIES TELL A DIFFERENT STORY.

  THERE WAS A STORY TOLD MANY YEARS AGO ABOUT A CAR THAT WHOEVER OWNED IT HAD TO TELL THE TRUTH AT ALL TIMES.  I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SEE ALL POLITICIANS OWN SUCH A CAR.  IT WOULD MAKE FOR AN INTERESTING NATION.

  AMERICANS USED TO VALUE THE TRUTH.  WE HELD IT AS A POINT OF PERSONAL HONOR THAT OUR WORD WAS OUR BOND.  I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN A DEAL OR CONTRACT WAS CONFIRMED BY SPITTING IN YOUR HAND AND SHAKING THE OTHER PERSONS HAND.  THIS WAS A CONTRACT SEALED WITH AND BY A FOUNDATION OF HONOR.  THIS ISN'T POSSIBLE ANY LONGER AND I BELIEVE WE HAVE LOST SOMETHING VERY PRECIOUS .

   GOD WAS REVERED IN OUR NATION FOR 0VER TWO CENTURIES  AND WE WERE PROUD OF THE FACT THAT WE WERE BLESSED AND LED BY GOD.  WE SAW OUR NATION GROW FROM A FEW SMALL COLONIES STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE ON THE EASTERN COAST OF AMERICA INTO THE WEALTHIEST, MOST POWERFUL NATION ON EARTH. BUT TODAY WE HAVE THOSE WHO HAVE DONE LITTLE AND STRIVEN FOR NOTHING EXCEPT POLITICAL POWER TELL US THAT WE WERE HANDED EVERYTHING BY SOMEONE ELSE.
  WHO THAT SOME ONE ELSE WAS THEY DO NOT KNOW . BUT THEY SURE WANT US TO BEKIEVE WE DID NOT EARN IT BY THE SWEAT AND HARD WORK THAT IT TOOK.  IT SURELY WAS NOT BECAUSE OF THEIR EFFORTS.  HAED WIRKIS ANATHEMA TO THEM.

  WHAT A CRAZY WORLD THIS HAS BECOME WHERE TRUTH IS WRONG, LIES ARE RIGHT AND TO SPEAK HONESTLY IS POLITICALLY INCORRECT.  I MUCH PREFER THE OLD WAYS AND MANNERS.  DON'T YOU?. 

Hezbollah Remains Wary amid Israeli Operations in Gaza

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Hezbollah Remains Wary amid Israeli Operations in Gaza

November 17, 2012

While Hamas is preparing for an Israeli ground assault into Gaza, Hezbollah's movements on Israel's northern frontier bear close watching. Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Nov. 17 called on the Muslim world to retaliate against Israeli actions in Gaza. Naturally, many are looking in the direction of Lebanon, where Hezbollah, Iran's most capable militant proxy, could open a second front against Israel.

Though Iran would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the spectrum of its militant proxy strength, especially after supplying Hamas with the long-range Fajr-5 rockets that have been targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Hezbollah will likely be extremely cautious in deciding whether to participate in this war. The group's fate is linked to that of the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad; should Syria fracture along sectarian lines, Lebanon is likely to descend into civil war, and Hezbollah will have to conserve its strength and resources for a battle at home against its sectarian rivals. Indeed, Hezbollah has already been preparing for such a scenario by seizing control of villages along the Orontes River Basin in order to maintain connectivity with Syria's Alawite community.


At the same time, if Hamas is able to bog Down Israeli ground  Forces by drawing them into a war of attrition in densely populated Gaza City, Hezbollah may see a political opportunity to burnish its credentials as the region's leading "resistance" movement. In this case, Hezbollah would likely monitor the situation until it could be assured that Israeli forces are sufficiently constrained on the Gaza front before it begins attacks on the northern front. Hezbollah is not looking for a major confrontation with Israel, and the tens of thousands of additional Israeli reservists called up compared to Operation Cast Lead suggest that Israel is already preparing for a two-front contingency. If Hezbollah does decide to participate in the war, it would be carefully timed to drive an already embattled Israel toward a cease-fire so that Hezbollah could claim a largely symbolic victory at relatively little cost.

With Hezbollah uncertain how the Israeli-Hamas battle will play out, the group appears to be taking a cautious approach. Stratfor has received indication that Hezbollah has prevented radical Palestinian groups in southern Lebanese refugee camps from firing rockets into northern Israel. In addition to an increase in the number of patrols by the Lebanese army and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Hezbollah has been deploying numerous operatives in plainclothes along the border to monitor the situation. Hezbollah has also installed cameras around the Ain al Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon to monitor traffic from the camp to its outside environs. Whereas Hezbollah completely controls movement into and out of Palestinian refugee camps in the deep south, Ain al Hilweh lies completely within a Sunni neighborhood. For this reason, Hezbollah has rented a number of apartments around the camp, especially in al Ta'mir area, to keep a close watch there.

For now, Hezbollah appears intent on not allowing the battle in Gaza to spill into southern Lebanon. It remains to be seen whether that calculus would shift should Hamas succeed in wearing down Israeli ground forces.

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VIDEO: IS 1984 NOW ? SEN RAND PAUL

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THE DECLINE AND FALL OF AMERICA

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The Decline and Fall of America

 The Decline and Fall of America

A few days after the election of 2012 the very talented Michael Ramirez published a political cartoon that perhaps conveyed a more profound meaning than he anticipated. He depicted a pair of hands extending from star-studded sleeves (presumably from a mendicant Uncle Sam), which were held in supplication, as though waiting for a handout or petitioning voters to relinquish more of their earnings to the federal government. There’s another way of interpreting this image, however; the hands appeared not only pathetic and a bit contemptible, but also aged and withered, as though belonging to an old man. In which case, this representation captured perfectly the situation of the United States as it enters the second decade of the 21st century: America is getting older and is entering a state of decline.
No one understood the dynamics of aging societies approaching decrepitude better than Mancur Olson, an economist who taught at the University of Maryland until his death in 1998. Olson’s crowning achievement was a book published in 1982 titled, “The Rise and Decline of Nations.” Olson argued that the proliferation of interest groups (collusions or distributional coalitions, in his terms) eventually spells doom for the societies they inhabit. And proliferate they have, from 6,000 in 1959 to 22,000 at the beginning of the 21st century, according to the Encyclopedia of Associations. Like it or not, every man, woman, and child in the country is represented by an interest group.
But when we say “interest group,” what exactly do we mean? America’s master political thinker, James Madison, said it best with his definition of “faction” in Federalist 10, as comprising “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community(italics added). So much for our contemporary, naïve notions about how factions (interest groups) proclaim to represent some greater good.
It gets worse, especially considering three additional developments. First, America’s mammoth federal government constitutes an interest group itself, which means it does all the things other public and private groups do to protect itself. Second, about half of the population receives some form of aid from the federal government, according to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, and these recipients constitute perhaps the most behemoth group of them all. Third, cclose to one-half of the entire population does not pay federal-income taxes, a figure that climbed from 12 percent in 1969 to 34.1 percent at the beginning of the Bush administration to its current figure as President Obama starts his second term. The question is: What does all this mean for the destiny of America?
Prepare yourself for some very bad news. As societies age, they “tend to accumulate more collusions and organizations for collective action over time,” which in normal speak means that societies become infested with interest groups just like arteries become more rigid and clogged with body gunk as you get older—a phenomenon Jonathan Rauch referred to as “Demosclerosis.” Further, groups “reduce efficiency and aggregate income in the societies in which they operate and make political life more divisive.” Example: anyone read the healthcare bill lately? And the thousands of regulations in existence and forthcoming? And consider its huge increased costs?
The keystone of this argument is a passage that is terrifying in its implications and is worth quoting in full: “The typical organization for collective action [interest group] within a society will … have little or no incentive to make any significant sacrifices in the interest of the society” and “there is ... no constraint on the social cost such an organization will find it expedient to impose on the society in the course of obtaining a larger share of the social output for itself” (italics in original). This means nothing less than it says: a group will kill its host, the American republic in this case, before relinquishing even a modicum of benefits for itself.
Nations die this way, empires collapse, societies atrophy, and countries implode (like the old USSR) or are conquered from without. In the United States, this phenomenon cannot be blamed exclusively on Democrats or Republicans; both parties represent coalitions of groups that all want something from the government. Indeed, if there is any difference between Republicans and Democrats in this regard it is that President Obama has accelerated this process over the last four years. But institutionalized selfishness was a going concern before he came along.
All of which is suicidal, right? Yes, it is. Can anything be done to arrest or reverse this process? Absent some kind of revolutionary demolishing of governmental interventions, no, there probably is not. What, then, might happen to America? Considering the current economic situation, some kind of collapse is of course possible. Most likely the United States will change into something else, into a “soft” totalitarian society envisioned by Alexis de Tocqueville, where its citizens are “cared for” but weighted down by mountains of rules and bereft of any dynamism, creativity, or imagination—subservient, socialist, and senile.
And we will have no one to blame for the fall of our country but ourselves.

THE GATHERING STORM

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The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm


"Cry Havoc!, and let slip the dogs of war."

-- Act III, Scene 1, Julius Caesar


Not that you haven't noticed, Gentle Reader, but the world is coming apart. Again. Beginning with the Middle East, where, to put it as diplomatically as possible, all hell is about to break loose on Israel's border with Hamasland, aka Gaza. You can see war coming by the rockets' red glare, hear the bombs bursting in air as the first deaths are tallied. How many more before the hurly-burly's done, the battle's lost or won?

Hundreds of explosive-laden rockets have been fired at random this year into Israel's Negev, its arid South. This week, as was bound to happen, one of them struck an apartment building in a little Israeli border town with fatal results.

Meanwhile, the Israelis have been responding with targeted raids against Gaza's terrorist leaders, doubtless hoping to disrupt Hamas' command rather than having to launch still another full-scale invasion of Gaza, which would be Gaza War No. 3 by my uncertain count. Like the first two, it would come complete with casualties military and civilian on both sides, and all the unpredictable dangers of a war spiraling out of anybody's control. As if any war were ever uncontrollable.

An antiseptic term like collateral damage can't cover the real and painful suffering already being experienced on both sides of Israel's southern border, And the toll is about to grow, Events are already taking on an unstoppable momentum of their own.

Gaza's war-lovers have set out to make life within range of their rockets unlivable. Israeli civilians in the country's south dare not move far beyond the nearest air raid shelter. Families huddle, schools close, children cover their ears, and all wait for the next siren to sound, if it does at all before another blast reverberates. And the range of Hamas' missiles continues to expand -- until not just Israel's coastal cities are hit but the suburbs of Tel Aviv, where sirens are sounding again and the public shelters have been reopened.

No country can live that way, and it's clear that the Israelis, while they have put up with a lot, don't propose to put up with any more of this. Not without a forceful response. Reserves are being called up, up to 75,000 of them now, and once Egypt's prime minister ends his visit to show that country's support for Gaza, the ground war could begin. And all bets will be off. Or as that noted military analyst Bette Davis might put it, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"

In short, there's more news to come out of the tough neighborhood known as the Middle East, and it's not likely to be good news. Israel waits like a coiled spring, the Gazans stock up on food and necessities, the curtain is about to go up on another tragedy.

At this point the only faint hope of preserving the peace, or what has passed for it in that part of the world these past few years, is that Israel's air campaign will be punishing enough, precise enough, effective enough, and go on long enough to make a ground campaign unnecessary to restore the uneasy truce that Gaza's rocket-launching crazies have just about blown apart.

Behind the scenes, despite all the bellicose talk from their leaders, Egyptian and Turkish envoys, at the urging of American ones, may yet get Hamas to call off its attacks, but the odds against that are long. How reason with the unreasonable?

This is the world after the Arab Spring, which brought hope and danger in at least equal measure. So long as aggression is tolerated, as it has been for so long as rocket barrage after rocket barrage has fallen on Israel's civilian population without an effective response, the pressure on the Jewish state to strike back will increase. Till the inevitable explosion erupts. And it looks as if it's about to. Once again.
How bad the looming war will be, and how long it might go on, will depend not just on the fortunes of war but of diplomacy. An increasingly isolated Israel, unsure of its security, knowing it can depend only on itself, is bound to strike out alone at some point rather than wait any longer. Just as it has done in the past.

The moral of the story: The surest road to war is to ignore threats to peace. And now these accumulating threats against Israeli civilians, and actual attacks, are about to bear the usual, bitter fruit of aggression too long ignored. Israeli tanks are already rolling into position. More rockets have fallen -- on Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba . . . The day's news begins to read like the Book of Judges, full of war and rumors of war.

It may be only a matter of days, maybe hours, before the dogs of war are unleashed. Havoc is about to ensue. And nobody has written the end of this tragedy. For we are only at the beginning of this act.

Tags: Israel , Gaza , Syria , bombings

WHAT RON PAUL GETS WRONG

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What Ron Paul Gets Wrong

What Ron Paul Gets WrongCongressman Ron Paul has just delivered his valedictory address in the House of Representatives. And he has told TV interviewers that the American Revolution was a wonderful example of secession. He's a much better OB/GYN, I'm sure, than he is a student of America's history. He could be cited for political malpractice.
If the Founding Fathers and the Patriots who fought and won the Revolution were seceding, why is it that none of them ever called it secession? They certainly had the word back then. They invoked the well-known right of revolution. They had read their John Locke and their Montesquieu, to be sure, but they most often listened to sermons advocating independence--especially those of the New England clergy.
Then, again, why is it that the Confederates of 1861 did not claim that their Secession movement was an exercise of the right of revolution? They were careful not to call it revolution. That's because if they as slaveholders had a right of revolution--to secure what they regarded as their unalienable rights--then so did their slaves.
No one was more eloquent on this point than Thomas Jefferson. Although a slaveholder throughout his life, and never able to disentangle himself from that peculiar institution, Jefferson wrote at length about the injustice of slavery. "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." Speaking of slavery, Jefferson said "we have the wolf by the ears."
Movingly, he said "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and His justice cannot sleep forever." He went on to say that in a revolution by the slaves to secure their undeniable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, God would be on the side of the slaves.
Congressman Paul is wrong to suggest that our American War of Independence was an act of secession from the British Empire. Those Whiskey Rebels on the Pennsylvania frontier in 1794 were certainly unhappy with taxes on their only cash crop, corn. They rebelled against the Excise Taxes imposed by the new Washington administration. President Washington himself led troops into the field to put down that rebellion by force. It was an overwhelming show of force, too.
President Andrew Jackson was himself a slaveholder, but when in 1832 South Carolina tried to nullify federal laws within their state's borders, Jackson called it treason. And he rattled his saber. Ex-President James Madison backed him up to the hilt. Madison compared the leader of the "Nullies"--John C. Calhoun--to the serpent in the garden. Tough stuff.
When Virginia's governor told Jackson he could not march troops through the Old Dominion, Old Hickory roared back. He would march at the head of the army, he said, and if any man tried to bar his way, "I will hang him as high as Haman!"
Virginia backed down. South Carolina backed down. And John C. Calhoun, it is recorded, became even paler.
What Ron Paul is talking about is dangerous. Those of us who are dissatisfied with the election results--and there are millions of us--have no recourse but to ballots. There must be no recourse from ballots to bullets, said Jefferson. Said Lincoln.
If Ron Paul wants to advocate revolution or civil war, he should say so openly. If he wants to invoke the right of revolution, he should tell his followers to count the cost. We suffered 630,000 dead in the Civil War. Is he willing to lose that many again? Or, with our population increase, ten times that many?
Other politicians, those in Lincoln's time, pooh-poohed the idea of much bloodshed from secession. One fire-eating secesh leader said he would wipe up with his handkerchief all the blood that might be shed over secession.
Such careless men were not hanged, mercifully. But they deserve the awful censure of history.

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