Sunday, August 22, 2010


History is full of events waiting for someone to notice the connection between one piece and another. That's one of the things that makes history so interesting — there's always something new to learn, to notice.

Here's an example, taken from an article about historian William H. McNeill in the University of Chicago Magazine:

McNeill first noticed disease lurking in the shadows of historical documents when he was researching The Rise of the West. Like accounts of the Antonine Plague, historical records made passing mention of disease. But there was little analysis of their role in shaping history. "I read the story of Cortéz and couldn't believe it," McNeill says. The conventional story of how Tenochtitlan [modern-day Mexico City] fell to Hernán Cortéz and a small band of Spaniards in 1521 seemed to contradict common sense. At one point, the Aztecs had beaten the Spaniards back but did not press their advantage. "A considerable number of the Spanish were wounded in the retreat but there was no follow-up," McNeill says. "I couldn't figure out why the nephew of Montezuma, who organized the attack, didn't surround the Spaniards and bring them up to the top of that temple and cut their hearts out the next day. It's what should have happened."

And yet, it didn't. Instead, the Spaniards conquered Mexico and converted millions of Aztecs to Christianity. "I was sort of mulling this over in my head," McNeill recalls, "and somebody casually remarked that smallpox had broken out in Mexico City the night of the noche triste"—the night of the Spaniards' retreat—"and Montezuma's nephew died of it that same night."

The plague struck only the Aztecs. The Spaniards, who had developed an immunity to smallpox during repeated childhood exposures, were spared. The implication in the eyes of everyone who lived through the Aztec epidemic, McNeill argues, was the superior power of the Spaniards' God over the Aztecs' deities. "The whole history of the New World hinged on that episode," McNeill says. Suddenly he realized "there was a whole history that had to be written.

Sometimes you just need one more piece of information for an event to make sense.

Another Truth

"You know, if Obama had governed as a centrist postracial free-market pragmatist — which is how he positioned himself in the campaign — he’d be looking like one of the most successful presidents in recent history now."
    — Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit noting an article in the L.A.Times.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Santa Fe Cathedral Celebrates 400th Anniversary

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico, celebrated its 400th anniversary today. The special Mass was celebrated by Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Major congratulations are in order. Very little in the United States goes back to 1610.

A Clear Truth, Clearly Stated

"When leftists can’t win an intelligent argument they historically resort to violence. Whether they’re communists, socialists, Nazis or members of the SEIU, the game is the same."
    — Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jeff Bingaman Wants to Raise Your Taxes

Of course, they won't call it taxes — Jeff Bingaman calls it savings.

Senator Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico democrat, introduced the Automatic IRA Act of 2010 last week. The new legislation would require all firms with 10 or more employees that don't already offer a retirement plan to automatically enroll workers in an IRA. Workers who don't wish to participate would need to take action to opt out or change the default contribution amount and investments.

The default "standardized savins rate" is 3% of the victim's worker's paycheck — an additional 3% in addition to the deductions for federal taxes, state taxes, Social Security, Medicare, medical insurance, HSAs, life insurance, savings bonds, 401(k)s, etc., etc., etc.

It seems we've heard this siren song before. They oriinally sold Social Security as a "savings plan", as "retirement insurance". Of course, that was before Congress stole the money from the "lock box" to use for their general fund expenditures. Now Social Security and Medicare are recognized as taxes (and regressive ones, at that) — not savings, not insurance, and above all not voluntary.

This whole concept stinks. And I hope a lot of people contact Binaman's office to let him know they think so.

Social Security

So the Democrats' leadership is launching a new disinformation campaign, attacking the Republicans on Social Security. It'll most likely be the same stuff they've used before — "Republicans want to take away your Social Security." "Republicans want to throw Grandma out on the street."

Seems it might be instructive to look at a little history that came to me by e-mail:

Your Social Security

Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what and it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts!!!

Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message was removed.[see reference]

An old Social Security card with the
An old Social Security card with the "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION" message.

Our Social Security

Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

1.) That participation in the Program would be completely voluntary, but it is no longer voluntary.

2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program, but the individual tax is now 7.65% on the first $90,000 (plus the employer tax).

3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year, but Social Security taxes are no longer tax deductible.

4.) That the money the participants put into the independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the general operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, but under Johnson the money was moved to The General Fund and spent.

5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income, but under Clinton & Gore , up to 85% of your Social Security was made taxable.

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to 'put away' -- you may be interested in the following:

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratically controlled House and Senate.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the 'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----


Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A: That's right!

Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Then, after violating all these elements of the original FICA contract, the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!

And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it! If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe changes will evolve. But maybe not, since some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so.

Meanwhile, after screwing over the people of the United States, Congress gives themselves 100% retirement for only serving one term!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Day the War Began to End

Today is August 6th, the 65th anniversary of the day the crew of the Enola Gay dropped the never-tested "Little Boy" atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. That was the day the war between Japan and the United States — which began with the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 — finally began to end.

Here is something I heard from one of the atomic bomb program's participants in the Pacific.

Leon Smith, one of the 509th Composite Bomb Group’s three weaponeers on Tinian Island, was asked by a Japanese documentary film crew (including three individuals from Hiroshima) a number of years later how he felt when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. (By a flip of the coin, the other two weaponeers flew on the missions to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Smith would probably have flown on the atomic bomb mission to Tokyo had that mission been necessary, but flew on the post-war test at Bikini Atoll instead.) He recounted his response as follows:

I pointed out there had been a long war — intensive battles starting in the South Pacific, moving ever northward toward Japan. I talked about the 30,000 Japanese soldiers, 20,000 civilians, lost on Saipan. On Iwo Jima, which was roughly halfway to Japan and a fighter base, 60,000 Marines went ashore, and suffered the highest casualty rate they’d ever suffered in any Marine operation. The Japanese had 21,000 defenders. 20,000 died. The battle for Okinawa had just been completed at the end of June. There over 100,000 Japanese soldiers died. 125-150,000 civilians.

General Marshall believed that defending Japan were 2.3 million soldiers, 4 million navy men, and 28 million armed civilian militia. I said the invasion was scheduled for November of ’45. I thought the casualties would have been simply unreal — beyond comprehension.

I said, “How did I feel when the bomb was dropped? I felt a sense of relief.” I was confident that the war would soon be over. That I could go back and see my wife whom I’d seen very little since our marriage in 1941. The U.S. and its allies could go back to their homes and their families. And the Japanese could go back to their families. Yes, I felt a sense of relief.

Today is the anniversary of the Enola Gay’s flight to Hiroshima, the anniversary of the day Leon Smith’s relief began.
See Nuclear History for information on the atomic bombs and their use in 1945 to end World War II. Separate parts of that article deal with Hiroshima, Trinity, and Nagasaki.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a short 1998 interview with Paul Tibbets, then a colonel and the pilot who flew the Enola Gay over Hirishima on August 6, 1945.