Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.
~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photos from WWII

I recently viewed some photos of aviation activity at Iwo Jima during the war in the Pacific theater.


A friend on the list where this URL was posted spoke of showing some photos of his father from WWII. That made me realize that, although this blog is sort of dedicated to my father, I have not posted the photos I have of his WWII activities. I don't have many, unfortunately, but here are a few.

Top photo: Only picture I have of the results of a bombing run over Germany by his B-17.

Second photo: He and his crew after completing training in the B-24. According to one of his crew I heard from, their B-24 training took place at Casper, Wyoming. For some reason, I have a vague memory that Dad had some training at Mountain Home, Idaho before going to the Casper Army Air Base . This photo, however, was taken in Topeka, KS before shipping out to England. He and his crew were transitioned into the B-17. Since the B-17 had a crew of nine, and the B-24 had a crew of ten, they lost one crewman, who was reassigned elsewhere. I believe they were switched because there had been such heavy losses of B-17s that the 8th Army Air Force needed the replacement crews.

Upper left: Dad next to one of the Stearman bi-planes he trained in as an Air Cadet in the Army Air Corps. He was actually discharged as an Air Cadet, and then had to re-enlist as a Second Lieutenant to begin his training as a bomber pilot. For the record, he learned to fly as a civilian before he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

Lower left: I don't know who his classmates were, but this was during air cadet training.

Right: repeat of the top photo.

Here is a brief note written in 2003 from David Gabriel, his radio operator:

> Reg - - Since I did not keep a diary my recollection of > events involving my service in the armed forces is > somewhat foggy. In June 1943 I turned 18 and had > completed a year of college. I was inducted in September > and was place in the Air Force and sent to Sheppard Field > Texas for Basic training. In January 44 I reported to > Sioux Falls, SD for radio school. In July I went to > Yuma, AZ for gunnery school. Then to Nebraska or > Oklahoma for crew assignment. Our crew trained on B24's > at Casper, WY. Then reported, I think, to somewhere in > Kansas for combat assignment. We were sent to New Jersey > and boarded the Queen Elizabeth for Glasgow, Scotland. > I recall that the QE headed south and that we crossed the > ocean with the ship changing course every few minutes > because of the German Submarines. Since the QE was a > very fast ship it took the ziz zag course as we did not > have an escort. We were housed on the very top deck and > when we disembarked at Glasgow we were one of the last to > get off and catch a train which took us to Eye, in > England.>

This from the recollections of James Starner, his tail gunner:

Your fathers crew was put > together in Lincoln > Nebraska late August 1944. Received flight training in > Casper Wyoming for > three months,training in the B-24 . Of the 27 crews in > the class, 27 fliers > were killed in training accidents. Leaving Casper crew > went to Topeka > Kansas where we were issued a new B-24. The morning they > were to fly out, > they put the crew on a train heading for the eastern > United States, > stopping in Indian Town Gap Penn. for several days than > camp Kilmer, New > Jersey. The crew left New York on the Q.E. in Dec. > 1944 and arrived in > Glaskow Scotland six or seven days later with 16000 > troops on board. Left > Glaskow by train and arrived in Diss England Dec. 24 > 1944. Arrived in Eye > England at the 490th bomb group by truck at almost > exactly 2:30 am. > Christmas morning 1944. After the War Smiley, Ross and I > came home on the > Q.E. with 14000 troops. Dave Gabriel came home on a > liberty ship.I believe > R. Thibodeau and Hubbel flew back from England destined > for Japan after a > furlow in the USA. Do not know how Rhodes,Mennillo, and > Brown got home. I > arrived home in Aug. 1945 for a thirty day furlow and > that was extended for > an additional 30 days more for all veterns. I was > discharged Nov. 2 1945 > from S A C Air base in San Antonio Tex.Two years and two > days in the > service. Would like to add that on the way home on Q.E. > saw Jimmy stewart on > the stair way with 8 to 10 other officers. I spent my > 20th birthday Aug. > 13t in Stone , England waiting shipment home. The war in > Japan ended Aug. > 14. James F. Starner

Dad's crew told me that he remained behind with his B-17 (and his co-pilot, Ernie Mennillo? Bombadier Hubble? Perhaps both, but I can't confirm that) to do some "Chow Hound" runs, flying food and supplies to desperate civilians in Belgium and Holland. He was also tasked with picking up several loads of French prisoners used by the Nazis as slave labor in Yugoslavia, to repatriate them to France, as he spoke French. He would have been assigned to the Pacific Theater if the war against Japan had not ended.

I won't bore you with a bunch of stories of what my father's crew experienced, but they told me of one incident where they lost a couple of engines coming back from Germany, due to flack, I think. They had to put down, and the only place available for anything except a controlled-crash landing was a very short metal runway built for fighters that they spotted in Holland. Dad landed on that short strip, and the crew all got out without injury. The Dutch dressed them in Dutch uniforms and smuggled them out, enabling them to return safely to England where they were assigned another aircraft.

I wish my father had spoken of his experiences, but like many other veterans, he didn't like to talk of the war. He died when he was only 50 (1973), so perhaps he would have gotten around to it if he had lived longer. Hard to believe he was only 21 years old and in command of a B-17 and crew, bombing the Germans in Europe. Compared to the 21 year-olds of my generation or today? I know we have many good soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines of that age, men whose courage and devotion to our country are unquestionable. But, to think of what those young men were capable of and actually did in WWII? They were incredible.

[Edit: as I read this again the day after Memorial Day in 2011, I realize I mistakenly stated they landed in Holland. It was actually Belgium, per the crew. Can't remember why I wrote Holland.]

Friday, January 21, 2011

Glacier National Park, Montana

A friend on the Glock list I frequent mentioned having been to this National Park, and I offered to post a few photos I took September 2010. They don't do justice to the incredible beauty of the terrain, but will give you a taste. They are even more dramatic in winter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Poor old paranoid guy

I started this blog at the suggestion of the husband of a cousin, a very nice guy who is also an RN, as I am currently (one of a large number of occupations in my life :-) I think he imagined reading about my further travels, in an RV now that we sold the cruising sailboat. Little did he know that, reading various excellent blogs on the Web, I would be moved to speak of Liberty, and the obstacles present in attempting to reclaim it.

Based on the few comments (only two people have bothered, and one is my sister ;-) I have gotten here, I take it that my cousin's husband - and anyone else who has stumbled upon this site - find it either a pitiful shadow of real bloggers out there - as do I, but I'm not trying to match them - or way over the top. As far as family goes, they are very nice folks. Caring, compassionate, bright. Because they have been raised and live in the liberal heart of the East - Connecticut, Massachusetts - I can imagine their chagrin at reading what this poor old paranoid guy has to say about our government, about the muslim threat, about the socialist agenda of the liberals.

I know my cousin's father - who I love dearly and respect - is a Democrat. My conservative sister and I have had discussions with him, and while we managed to do so without any rancor on either side, could no more bridge the gap than we could leap the Grand Canyon. Still love the guy, but he has too much experience believing the liberal lies and perhaps too much invested in that world view to change. Quite possibly that is the case with what few others might read these feeble wanderings.

Having come to an appreciation of how desperate our straits are, how close we are to no longer having any true liberty at all (flown anywhere recently?), rather late in life, I prize this knowledge immensely. I was hoping that I could open a few eyes, get some folks to begin to question that which they have accepted as truth for lo, these many years. Then introduce them to the real thinkers out there. The folks at Washington Rebel, Jihad Watch, Pete at WRSA, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Glenn Reynolds and the people at PJTV, etc. Allow them to educate themselves to the truth that has been denied them by the Mainstream Media and what the government schools taught us.

I realize I am not reaching many, if any, of these folks. My fear is that, having read something they don't like, perhaps believing me a "racist" because I don't buy the "religion of peace" bullshit and speak out against the muslims, they will not read that one thing I might say that turns on a light, that opens their eyes enough to cause them to go on to a full awakening. I do understand that, being passionate about what is happening in our country and around the world today, I may very well come off as a bit too radical for their taste.

Well, it certainly isn't my responsibility to create an epiphany in the hearts and minds of family and friends. Nonetheless, it is a good cause, and one I will continue to try to accomplish. If nothing else, this blog aids me in trying to arrange my thoughts and my beliefs into some fashion of a coherent philosophy of life and liberty - or at least, what is left of both. If any of you have managed to read to the end, you have my thanks for your patience and perseverance.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Evil That Men Do

In psychology it is called "projection": a defense mechanism that involves taking your own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people. This is displayed by the Left, Democrats and outright socialists, as their SOP - standard operating procedure. No where have we seen it displayed as blatantly as in the outrageous lies they have spewed after the murder spree in Tucson by Jared Loughner.

The Left, in the form of various "pundits" and politicians has blamed the "Right" for causing this psychotic individual to lose all restraint, to kill and wound the people he shot. They claimed it was due to the "vitriol of the Right", to Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck. They blamed it upon conservative talk radio and Fox News.

Yet, it is most often the case when we see an assassination such as this, or mass killing, it turns out the killer leans Left. Loughner was a fan of The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, which - for those of you who were confused about the political spectrum by your teachers in high school - is as far Left as Communism (differing only in who controls the means of production.) Both are totalitarian, as far from freedom and liberty - the terrain of the Right - as you can get. JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald - a fan of Communism who actually went to the Soviet Union and Cuba and traveled back. Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because he (Sirhan) supported the Baath party, and hated Jews. Since he believed that RFK supported the Jews, he decided to assassinate him. Here is a list by Michelle Malkin of a number of recent attacks, all perpetrated by members or admirers of the Left: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin011411.php3

No one on the Right has claimed that Loughner shot Giffords and the others because he was a Democrat (although he did work for several of Giffords' campaigns) or because he listened to progressive talk radio and TV. They realize Loughner was simply psychotic, and political speech really wasn't a significant input. Even though it can be demonstrated that a mentally-ill mind can be more easily manipulated or influenced by the propaganda and mind games of the Left (hell, the Left seems to attract the mentally ill), no one on the Right has suggested that Loughner was driven by anything more than his psychosis.

The Left, however, has no compunction whatsoever about accusing the conservatives in our country for every bit of violence that has occurred, especially if it involves a firearm. Yet, what do we see emanating from the emails, Tweets, and sound bites of the Left? A call _for_ violence. Sarah Palin has received a drastic increase in the number of threats against her life since the shootings in Tucson. Tweets calling for her assassination have been posted across the Internet and wireless networks.

So. The greatest display of vitriol, of threatened violence, comes from the Left. Not the "gun-slinging" Right. Not from conservatives, but from progressives, liberals, Democrats. Is this what they mean by calling for a reduction in the amount of heated rhetoric? No, it is projection, plain and simple: ascribing their own fears, deficiencies, and violent fantasies to the Right.

The Left had better remember this: conservatives are slow to anger. They are mostly responsible, and give the benefit of the doubt where they may, compromise when they are able. But, if they are attacked with actual violence, they are the ones who not only possess the weapons the progressives fear, they also know how to use them to the greatest effect. America is not Nazi Germany, nor Stalin's Russia, nor Mao's China, nor Pol Pot's Cambodia. We have not allowed ourselves to be disarmed, and we will not. We are an armed people who will resist any attempt by the totalitarian Left - be it Communism or Fascism - to herd us into box cars or concentration camps - or death panels. We will not go gentle into that "good night".

Friday, January 7, 2011

Of Oaths and Loyalties (T.L. Davis)

T.L. Davis, of Washington Rebel fame, wrote a brief appeal to those who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I believe it to be pointed primarily at those in law enforcement. http://tlinexile.blogspot.com/2011/01/of-oaths-and-loyalties.html

Those of us who have served in that field all took the oath. Some were obviously ignorant of what that really meant, while some just as obviously knew but didn't care. They "crossed their fingers", they lied. And some of us knew and meant what we said.

T.L. wants them to consider the fact that the time has come to choose sides. To either support and defend the Constitution, and thereby truly serve the citizens we were hired to protect, or to remain lackeys of those in power, those who shake their heads and exclaim, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" He points out a very good reason even beyond the morality of honoring your oath: that law enforcement, the line dogs, will be fed to the rioting crowds when the elite decide it is time to use them as a shield, a delaying tactic. Soon, however, the time to choose will have passed.

Hopefully, a few at least will realize they need to return to operating by the Constitution, to the right way of doing things, to serving and protecting citizens - from our own government, if necessary. Those that don't will find themselves standing alone out there, when the hordes have crashed the gate and are no longer restrained by rule of law. (Just as so many LEOs these days are no longer restrained by rule of law. Not even the Constitution.) They will be standing alone when the gangs and the illegals and the rioting looters run over the top of them. Any armed citizens that would have stood side-by-side with them will turn away. Why protect those who refused to protect you? Why defend those who used their authority to demean and harass and arrest and even kill citizens, citizens who were without any intent to do harm, to do wrong.

The men and women who were involved in the arrest and persecution of David Olofson know what I am talking about. The cops who shot and killed Erik Scott. The Feds who kidnapped Elian Gonzalez, and condemned him to return to Cuba. Lon Horiuchi, may he rot in hell forever.

There are good cops out there too. But they remain silent when wrongs are being done. They remain silent when their brother officers are beating and killing citizens, shooting foreign visitors in darkened doorways. And they continue to enforce laws that are unConstitutional. "Following orders" was an excuse not accepted at Nuremburg. It won't be accepted here, either, when the center fails.

Coexist with the Religion of Peace? Islam Itself Refuses

I have seen the bumper stickers, oh, so clever, which display the Crescent, the Mogen David, and the Cross, all within the word: "COEXIST". Often this sits right next to an "Obama '08" sticker.

Now, I know progressives are not the most logical of individuals. Although calling a progressive (read "liberal" any time I write "progressive") an individual, well, that's an oxymoron. They cringe at the thought of being an individual, preferring life within the herd - or flock - to rugged individualism. Hell, they don't believe the individual has any rights which aren't subordinate to the needs of the "many", the collective. Even so, how do you reconcile a belief that the major religions of the world should "coexist" when the first one mentioned - the Crescent being Islam - refuses to coexist with any other religion, world view, or rule of law?

The recent spate of killings of Coptic Christians in Egypt and elsewhere demonstrates this, as does Islam's almost 1400 year history. How do you ignore what the Quran itself tells muslims about tolerating no disbelief, no G-d except Allah, no prophet except Mohammed? [For those who mention the "peaceful" passages of the Quran, remember that they are replaced by the later, jihad-laden passages. Per the teachings of Islam itself, later edicts abrogate - replace and override - earlier passages and edicts.]

So how do these folks sporting these bumper stickers imagine coexistence is going to happen? When the few moderates who practice a mild (but not authentic) version of Islam are murdered? Just as "Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani governor, was assassinated this week because he was critical of Pakistan's blasphemy law." Assassinated by his own bodyguard, mind you, who reportedly pumped forty bullets into him merely because Taseer defended a woman who spoke up to defend her own faith and was consequently gang-raped by a number of muslims, practicing their "religion of peace" upon her body. She was subsequently convicted of blasphemy by a muslim court, under Sharia. And sentenced to death.


As the tough guys in high school would have said, "I got yer 'coexistence'. I got it right here."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Overpopulation Myth

I actually had another more important topic to post, but I was so impressed with this post from an engineer (i.e. a person intimately familiar with numbers who doesn't have a reason to spin them like an accountant or statistician ;-) that I had to digress for this brief message.

Of course, the people who make their money - and their "fame" - from the Anthropogenic Global Warming myth, or other "green" fantasies, don't want you to do the math. They want to convince you with their pseudo-science, and their outright lies, that we are in the middle (have been since we started walking upright) of a crisis that requires the efforts of such demi-gods as Albert Gore, Paul Ehrlich, et al to save humanity. The fact that ALGORE has gotten filthy rich (er) off of his pounding the pulpit should be ignored ("Ignore that man behind the curtain!"). Ignore the fact that what he claims is necessary for you to do to save the planet isn't necessary or even desirable for him. He can use millions of "carbon credits" to heat and power his over-sized home, fly around the world, and be driven in limousines instead of using public transportation - even when it is provided, as it was at the Copenhagen climate conference. Not to mention mauling an outcall massage provider. His panting must have raised the CO2 level considerably.

So. This engineer took about fifteen minutes of his time - that's all it took to disprove Ehrlich's horror fantasy - to show why overpopulation is actually a myth. This is a photo of Paul Ehrlich at Stanford, who claimed we were all going to starve to death due to overpopulation. I think this was supposed to occur sometime in the 1990's ;-) Here is the URL: http://www.simplyshrug.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=63:the-overpopulation-myth&catid=31:general&Itemid=50%29

but I'll post the article for the URL challenged.
The Overpopulation MythPDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:30

As many have come to expect, I typically deal with financials and numbers. I am not an economist or CPA or even MBA by trade; I am an engineer, so I actually understand numbers, rather than merely pushing them around. And most of the last editorials have been about finances, but I felt it was time to take a short respite and address a different topic for today.

Recently, as I prepared for another jaunt to my second home in Shanghai, China, a friend of mine asked about the population of that nation. I answered it was somewhere beyond 1.3 billion people at the time, and that China, India, and Southeast Asia together combine for just over 3 billion people.

This was apocalyptic and frightening, my friend replied, for clearly there is no way the Earth can support 3 billion people, let alone the nearly 7 billion living and breathing on the face of planet today. So I sat down and - as a good engineer is led to do by some inate, twisted drive buried deep within, whipping our minds unmercilessly - plunged into the straightforward facts of the situation.

According to the US Census Department, the World population is shy of 6.8 billion; for purposes of this editorial and to keep things relevant for the next few years, I will round up to 7 billion. And in the interest (or tortured masochism) of fellow mathematical-leaning folks, I will include the relevant calculations as entered on my trusty Hewlett Packard HP-28S calculator (a true beauty of a computing device) I will show the appropriate RPN keystrokes as well.

The population of the world we will define as 7 billion. What is the density of a large US city, say New York City as a whole? Well, New York City is 790 square kilometers, and has a population around 8.3 million people, giving us a density of (8.36 790 ÷) about 10,500 people per square kilometer. Now granted, NYC is not the wide-open spaces, but it is a density that millions live with in a space-loving nation like the US, so it shouldn't be considered too packed.

So how much land would we need to house all 7 billion of us if we lived in such density? Well, we would need (79 8.36 790 ÷ ÷) 666,265 square kilometers. A big area, no? Well, let's look further...

Upon examining the US, we find out that Texas fits the bill nicely. In fact, Texas has 261,797.12 square miles of land, and that is (261792.12 1.602 1.602 × ×) 671,877.17 square kilometers! Which is, in fact, more than the area we need to house all 7 billion of us at typical New York City densities. Meaning every man, woman, and child living and breathing on the face of the Earth could fit in relative comfort within the land territory of the State of Texas.

The other 49 states: empty. Canada? A wasteland as empty as the northern extremes of Nunavut. Europe? Empty. Asia? Nobody home. Africa, Australia, South and Central America, all the islands? None left. The entire world outside of Texas contains not a single living, breathing person.

But how realistic is that? Surely water would be a problem wouldn't it? Well, let's find out... It is recommended that 50 liters per person, per day, be used as an adequate amount for consumption, sanitation, and cooking. That works out to (79 50 × 19 ÷) 350 billion liters of fresh water, per day, to keep all of us properly hydrated. That's a lot of water! Given there are 1000 liters per cubic meter, we need 350 million cubic meters of fresh water, every day. Yes, a large volume! But is it really?

Take the Columbia River, the 4th largest in the US, and the main division between the States of Washington and Oregon. The average outflow of water is 7,500 cubic meters per second. How long would it take the Columbia to give us our 350 million cubic meters of fresh water? Well, it would take (3506 7500 ÷) 46,667 seconds. Or (46667 60 ÷) 777.8 minutes. Or (777.8 60 ÷) just under 13 hours.

With just over half the daily average outflow of the Columbia River, we could meet the freshwater needs of the entire world's population. Now, that is a big pipeline to Texas, but if we could get everyone there in the first place, the pipeline is child's play!

To recap: so far, we can put every living person on the planet within the land territory of Texas, with density about equal to New York City (not just Manhattan; all 5 boroughs). And we can give them all adequate water with just over half the water from the Columbia River.

But what about food? Clearly that is of concern! Well, apparently 300 square meters will feed one person for one year. Since a kilometer is 1000 meters, we could feed (1000 1000 × 300 ÷) 3333 people per square kilometer. We'll call it 3000 people per square kilometer to make things even. And that means (79 3000 ÷) 2,333,333 square kilometers to feed everyone.

The total farmland in the US is about 922,000,000 acres. There are 247.1 acres per square kilometer, so that is (9226 247.1 ÷) 3,731,282 square kilometers. Hey, that's more than 2,333,333! In other words, the farmland in the US could feed everyone!

So what have we ended up with? Well, every person in the world could live inside of Texas without overcrowding. We could all have water with just the Columbia River alone. And we could easily feed ourselves with just the farmland within the US as it exists.

Canada. Mexico. Alaska. Central America. South America. Europe. Asia. Africa. Australia. Greenland. All the islands. All the oceans. The Great Lakes. All empty, devoid of people. No need to farm or live there.

Now that we have the numbers, are we really overpopulated? I would argue a resounding "NO" and I think any who say otherwise are simply not adding it up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Montana Legislative Session in Helena, MT


For those of you living in or who visit Montana and consider your gun rights important, the Montana Shooting Sports Association is having a "meet and greet" with Montana state legislators on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 in Helena, MT at the Colonial Inn.

The reception will begin at 5:30 PM and go to 8 PM. There will be food and adult beverages available. This will be your chance to mingle with legislators and discuss the issues on the MSSA Legislative Agenda. For any of you who can attend (I encourage it), I will conduct a briefing session (also at the Colonial Inn) about the 20 bills on the MSSA Legislative Agenda, from 3 PM to 5 PM. Inquire at the colonial front desk about what room the MSSA briefing will be in. This briefing session will enable you to speak with authority about the issues on the MSSA Legislative Agenda when you visit with legislators at the Reception later. Montana Shooting Sports Association http://www.mtssa.org

For those of you who don't know Gary Marbut, he has been the driving force behind most, if not all, of the great gun laws we have here in Montana. MTSSA has been successful in getting the state legislature to treat the Second Amendment better than any other state, save possibly Vermont. Now that Arizona and Alaska have permit-less carry they have made giant strides also, but Montana has been gun-friendly for a lot longer, and I have no doubt that Gary will see to it that it gets better still. I'm not yet a resident of Montana, but my wife and I love the land and the people here, and are seriously considering making our home in Montana beginning in 2011. We plan to be there.