Day: March 6, 2017

og-fn-foxnews.jpg

$21.8 million in ObamaCare tax credits awarded to individuals who were not eligible to receive them


The Affordable Care Act exchanges awarded $21.8 million in advance premium tax credits to individuals who were not eligible to receive them, according to an audit from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Advance premium tax credits are awarded to those with low to moderate income to help rein in the cost of purchasing health care insurance on the exchanges.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for overseeing the Obamacare exchanges which should ensure that an individual who applies for the tax credit has his identity verified and that the individual is eligible to receive the payment.

Individuals are asked a number of questions regarding their personal information such as their address, telephone number, date of birth, and out-of-wallet questions to determine their identity. After this process, individuals can submit an application to see if they are eligible to receive benefits.

The audit found that the exchanges did not successfully verify the identity of 35,276 individuals, and these individuals received $112 million in advance premium tax credits. The report notes that the majority of these applications—99 percent—had no verification process performed on them, and 251 failed identity verification.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.



Source link

Lynch Mobs of the Left



(2) Publish their names. 


(3) Seize all their grain. 


(4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram. 


Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so. 


Reply saying you have received and carried out these instructions. 


Yours, Lenin.” 

Thus did V.I. Lenin command leftist mobs in 1918 to be whipped up by his Bolshevik organizers. Mob agitation and propaganda (agit-prop) became a major attack strategy of the radical Left in Russia, picking innocent targets to hang and destroy by propaganda. This is also what George Soros witnessed in in Budapest, when Nazi-incited mobs killed Jews and put them on cattle cars for the death camps. Soros sold the furniture of deported Jews to begin building his fortune. He has said “it was the happiest time of my life.”

In Leninist jargon, Obama is an “agitator,” not an “organizer.” The words “community organizer” are just an inversion of “communist agitator.” And this is the model for all of the mob activities so persistently found to be the tool of the left.

What the United States is witnessing today is a leftist lynch mob seeking innocent victims. The other day, Rick Santorum was targeted by a Twitter mob. Today it may be you. They will use anything: The oligopoly media, Pravda on the Hudson (The New York Times), the Washington Post, and “professors” who live off taxpayers, to agitate the innocent and the ignorant. You can watch it happen. When you see it, please keep track of who, when, how, why. If you don’t see the string-pullers behind the scenes now, you will soon, because the playbook is always the same. 

The aim of agitation-propaganda (or agit-prop) is to overthrow legitimate governments. It is a major part of Obama’s hero Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which should be called “rules for mob agitators.” This moment has been prepared by Obama and Hillary (who wrote a fawning bachelor’s thesis justifying agit-prop), both acolytes of lynch mob agitator Alinsky. 

Alinsky learned agit-prop from the Russian progroms around 1900, which persecuted his (Jewish) parents, who then fled to Chicago. The city then became a center of Leninist agitation. 

In Alinsky’s rules, agitators must:  “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”  In Russia, it was the Jews. In Obama’s Jakarta, where the Indonesian civil war broke out in 1965, (The Year of Living Dangerously,) it was mostly the overseas Chinese who were scapegoated. The dynamic began in France when rabid mobs attacked shopkeepers over government-triggered price hikes at the dawn of the French Revolution.

For Lenin it was the kulaks — the pathetic “rich peasants” in what was becoming Soviet Russia. In a lesser, but no less valid manifestation, for The New York Times it was Justice Clarence Thomas when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and any number of conservatives and Republicans, who learned to kowtow, to mouth the party line from the NYT and WaPo, so that even today House Republicans are afraid to speak up against lynch-mob agitation by the left. 

Today the lynch mobs are organized by Obama and Michelle, who have been joined by Valerie Jarrett, living in their home to be at the very center of things. Today’s lynch mobs have been picked and trained by George Soros front groups. The mobs are mostly ignorant adolescents, led by today’s agitators. 

This is all standard operating procedure on the totalitarian left. 

The Democrats have a long, long history of mob agitation. In the Civil War, they defended black slavery, as conservatives know very well, and not a single liberal will confess today. The KKK was a Democratic Party front group to keep blacks cowering in fear after Republican President Abe Lincoln signed the Emancipation Declaration of 1863 and the Reconstruction began at the Civil War’s end.

Segregationist Democrats called themselves Dixiecrats, another word for KKK enablers. They accomplished by lynching and terrorism what federal and state laws could not: Keeping black people shaking in fear. 

“Fear” is what agitators aim to create. 

To quote Lenin’s master, Karl Marx, 

“In his article, The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in ViennaNeue Rheinische Zeitung, No. 136, 7 November 1848:

“… there is only one means to shorten, simplify and concentrate the murderous death throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new, only one means – revolutionary terrorism[5] …”

Marx was not a “great philosopher,” as the Bolshie BBC wants you to believe. As an economist, he never produced a single original thought. He was a scapegoating rabble rouser, and agit-prop artist, and one of the most destructive human beings in history. In the 150 years after Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto of 1848, an estimated 100 million people were murdered by the international left — not by accident, not as an unintended side effect from trying to make the world better, but as a matter of deliberate policy. 

Lynch mobs are a traditional feature of Muslim jihad, too. The “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s mentor, specializes in whipping up racist rage and anger against whites, with the exception of leftists who support his “cause.” Father Michael Pfleger, another vicious mob agitator in Chicago, sounds like Hitler on one of his radio rants (see YouTube). 

In the Muslim world, “spiritual leaders” (imams and mullahs) practice television and radio propaganda, often paid for by Saudi oil billionaires, to whip up mobs. The West refuses to admit that ISIS murder and rape battalions follow jihadist commands to the letter. All their bloodthirsty cruelty against children and women, homosexuals, Coptic Christians in Egypt, Jews, women who don’t cover their faces and bodies, all that cruelty is carried out by male mobs whipped up by their “spiritual leaders,” especially on Fridays. 

If you want a definition of evil in the world, this is it. If you don’t recognize it already as a kind of routine massacre of the innocents, do your homework. 

You will never understand today’s rage on the left, or its real effort to overthrow American constitutional government, if you do not understand lynch mobs — KKK, Leninist, Soros-sponsored, and Obama-controlled. 

Do your homework and you may save your country. Ignore it and try to find a better place to live. 

 

“Comrades! The kulak uprising in your five districts must be crushed without pity. The interests of the whole revolution demand such actions … You must make an example of these people. 


(1) Hang (I mean hang publicly, so that people see it) at least 100 kulaks, rich bastards, and known bloodsuckers. 


(2) Publish their names. 


(3) Seize all their grain. 


(4) Single out the hostages per my instructions in yesterday’s telegram. 


Do all this so that for miles around people see it all, understand it, tremble, and tell themselves that we are killing the bloodthirsty kulaks and that we will continue to do so. 


Reply saying you have received and carried out these instructions. 


Yours, Lenin.” 

Thus did V.I. Lenin command leftist mobs in 1918 to be whipped up by his Bolshevik organizers. Mob agitation and propaganda (agit-prop) became a major attack strategy of the radical Left in Russia, picking innocent targets to hang and destroy by propaganda. This is also what George Soros witnessed in in Budapest, when Nazi-incited mobs killed Jews and put them on cattle cars for the death camps. Soros sold the furniture of deported Jews to begin building his fortune. He has said “it was the happiest time of my life.”

In Leninist jargon, Obama is an “agitator,” not an “organizer.” The words “community organizer” are just an inversion of “communist agitator.” And this is the model for all of the mob activities so persistently found to be the tool of the left.

What the United States is witnessing today is a leftist lynch mob seeking innocent victims. The other day, Rick Santorum was targeted by a Twitter mob. Today it may be you. They will use anything: The oligopoly media, Pravda on the Hudson (The New York Times), the Washington Post, and “professors” who live off taxpayers, to agitate the innocent and the ignorant. You can watch it happen. When you see it, please keep track of who, when, how, why. If you don’t see the string-pullers behind the scenes now, you will soon, because the playbook is always the same. 

The aim of agitation-propaganda (or agit-prop) is to overthrow legitimate governments. It is a major part of Obama’s hero Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, which should be called “rules for mob agitators.” This moment has been prepared by Obama and Hillary (who wrote a fawning bachelor’s thesis justifying agit-prop), both acolytes of lynch mob agitator Alinsky. 

Alinsky learned agit-prop from the Russian progroms around 1900, which persecuted his (Jewish) parents, who then fled to Chicago. The city then became a center of Leninist agitation. 

In Alinsky’s rules, agitators must:  “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”  In Russia, it was the Jews. In Obama’s Jakarta, where the Indonesian civil war broke out in 1965, (The Year of Living Dangerously,) it was mostly the overseas Chinese who were scapegoated. The dynamic began in France when rabid mobs attacked shopkeepers over government-triggered price hikes at the dawn of the French Revolution.

For Lenin it was the kulaks — the pathetic “rich peasants” in what was becoming Soviet Russia. In a lesser, but no less valid manifestation, for The New York Times it was Justice Clarence Thomas when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and any number of conservatives and Republicans, who learned to kowtow, to mouth the party line from the NYT and WaPo, so that even today House Republicans are afraid to speak up against lynch-mob agitation by the left. 

Today the lynch mobs are organized by Obama and Michelle, who have been joined by Valerie Jarrett, living in their home to be at the very center of things. Today’s lynch mobs have been picked and trained by George Soros front groups. The mobs are mostly ignorant adolescents, led by today’s agitators. 

This is all standard operating procedure on the totalitarian left. 

The Democrats have a long, long history of mob agitation. In the Civil War, they defended black slavery, as conservatives know very well, and not a single liberal will confess today. The KKK was a Democratic Party front group to keep blacks cowering in fear after Republican President Abe Lincoln signed the Emancipation Declaration of 1863 and the Reconstruction began at the Civil War’s end.

Segregationist Democrats called themselves Dixiecrats, another word for KKK enablers. They accomplished by lynching and terrorism what federal and state laws could not: Keeping black people shaking in fear. 

“Fear” is what agitators aim to create. 

To quote Lenin’s master, Karl Marx, 

“In his article, The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in ViennaNeue Rheinische Zeitung, No. 136, 7 November 1848:

“… there is only one means to shorten, simplify and concentrate the murderous death throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new, only one means – revolutionary terrorism[5] …”

Marx was not a “great philosopher,” as the Bolshie BBC wants you to believe. As an economist, he never produced a single original thought. He was a scapegoating rabble rouser, and agit-prop artist, and one of the most destructive human beings in history. In the 150 years after Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto of 1848, an estimated 100 million people were murdered by the international left — not by accident, not as an unintended side effect from trying to make the world better, but as a matter of deliberate policy. 

Lynch mobs are a traditional feature of Muslim jihad, too. The “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s mentor, specializes in whipping up racist rage and anger against whites, with the exception of leftists who support his “cause.” Father Michael Pfleger, another vicious mob agitator in Chicago, sounds like Hitler on one of his radio rants (see YouTube). 

In the Muslim world, “spiritual leaders” (imams and mullahs) practice television and radio propaganda, often paid for by Saudi oil billionaires, to whip up mobs. The West refuses to admit that ISIS murder and rape battalions follow jihadist commands to the letter. All their bloodthirsty cruelty against children and women, homosexuals, Coptic Christians in Egypt, Jews, women who don’t cover their faces and bodies, all that cruelty is carried out by male mobs whipped up by their “spiritual leaders,” especially on Fridays. 

If you want a definition of evil in the world, this is it. If you don’t recognize it already as a kind of routine massacre of the innocents, do your homework. 

You will never understand today’s rage on the left, or its real effort to overthrow American constitutional government, if you do not understand lynch mobs — KKK, Leninist, Soros-sponsored, and Obama-controlled. 

Do your homework and you may save your country. Ignore it and try to find a better place to live. 

 



Source link

1488812132161.jpg

IBM plans quantum leap


IBM has announced a major new initiative to make universal quantum computers available commercially. IBM Q will offer up the power of quantum computation via the IBM Cloud platform, a first for the industry, and potentially a major step forward for the field.

Quantum hardware has already been made available by the likes of D-Wave, but its hardware is limited in the kinds of computation it can achieve. IBM Q marks the first time that a universal quantum computer is being offered up. A universal quantum computer is capable of tackling problems that are too large for a conventional system, so IBM Q would have many applications beyond what’s possible with current technology.

IBM is pledging that universal quantum computing systems will be made available to select industry partners over the coming years. The company expects to increase the capabilities of the hardware as time goes on.

The goal is to produce a system with around fifty qubits, which should be able to demonstrate the benefits of quantum computing over traditional methods. IBM will collaborate with other companies and organizations to develop applications that harness the power of the new hardware.

“Classical computers are extraordinarily powerful and will continue to advance and underpin everything we do in business and society,” said senior vice president of IBM Systems, Tom Rosamilia. “But there are many problems that will never be penetrated by a classical computer. To create knowledge from much greater depths of complexity, we need a quantum computer.”

IBM is also making improvements to other areas of its quantum ecosystem. In May 2016, the company launched the IBM Quantum Experience, which offers online access to a five-qubit quantum computer, and has since been used for hundreds of thousands of experiments carried out by thousands of users.

Today, a new API is being released that simplifies the process of building an interface between the five-qubit quantum computer that’s at the heart of the IBM Quantum Experience, and classical computers. The online platform is also being outfitted with a new simulator that can model circuits with up to 20 qubits. In the first half of 2017, IBM will also release an SDK to help users build simple applications and software programs for use with the Quantum Experience.

It’s clear than IBM is eager to make quantum computers available to all, from enthusiasts to industry clients. IBM Q seems to be a long-term, far-reaching project, but it’s poised to help foster the next wave of advances in this field.

Lots of work has already been done to make quantum computing technologically possible, and now it seems that the focus is starting to shift toward applications. Over the next few years, it seems that we’ll see IBM create commercially available systems with steadily increasing qubit counts — but alongside that process, the company will work with others to hash out how this hardware can be put to good use.

If IBM Q is a success, it could help determine how quantum computers are utilized by ordinary people, as well as researchers and enterprise users. It’s one thing to design hardware that’s a step beyond classical computers; harnessing that power is a different challenge altogether.



Source link

The Left's Romance with Violence


The political Left is a dangerous place for the free expression of ideas. Its activists immediately assume bigotry in anyone who disagrees with them, and that automatic opinion has poisoned every attempt at a national dialogue. Liberalism has declined into a closed system of thought and behavior — a plantation of unfinished minds in service to an ideology of force. But as the experience of freedom makes us unfit for slavery, so the experience of knowledge makes us unfit for handbooks of liberal instruction. The idea of a freedom-loving and self-governing America is lost upon social theorists; and it is quite possible that there is no solution to the liberal problem in America, for the freedom that leftists desire for their own political activity includes the license to deny that same freedom to others.

Activists within the Democratic Party no longer find any political value in the principle of freedom. What is it, then, about federalism and self-governance that threatens the Left? Freedom is so fundamental to the character and growth of nations that one wonders why liberals are so intent on limiting it only to the few who govern. Let them step forward and tell us — without riot and without throwing stones at the questioner — why they have diminished their core principle of “liberty” to an archaism, to a relic and curiosity of times past, to be shelved in academic reformatories and studied and scorned under moonlight. Let them explain the benefits of totalitarianism. Let them tell us why they have chosen to occupy the lesser world of the bureaucratic state that would enforce an equality of condition upon all persons beneath the state; and then let them tell us why history should not regard them as the victims of their own delusions.

Progressivism attracts the intellectually malnourished, and the appearance of that movement deceives us; but there is greater progress in standing upon a principle of justice than in running forward to embrace an evil. Deceptive, predatory, and extortionate, its message of “inclusion and social justice” is given over to the pursuit of power, entitlement, and satisfaction of political greed. Its scripture is not of the world but of social theory, demanding a sacrifice of both intellectual honesty and individual conscience. Modern liberal culture has built an educational system politicizing every study of nature and human value, a system of intellectual slavery that is good only for the master.

The system binds generations of students to an ideological post; and their ability to reason effectively extends no further than the length of their chains, for their instruction is the only truth they need to know. It is the same for every cultish belief, whether religious or secular, and followers of the liberal faith exhibit their knowledge of that “truth” by memorizing and repeating the catechism in the protected spaces of university campuses and social media ghettos where no one may question his received wisdom. Their handbooks tell us that self-reliance is now considered anti-social; that intellectual honesty serves only to weaken one’s commitment to the new liberal order, and that a personal sense of right and wrong can only stain the collective purity of correct thought. The new doctrine of forcible equality seems a prologue to any number of post-apocalyptic tales that reduce humanity to its most fundamental tribal instincts. But in the progressive’s dictionary, this is what the Left mean by “democracy.”

The British author and socialist, H.G. Wells, famously remarked in the conclusion to his Outline of History, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” Mr. Wells, following the unspeakable ruin of the First World War, often remarked upon the perpetual contests of ignorance from which mankind has suffered periodic turns of civilization and collapse. But if the new liberals of our era cannot learn from the history of real events, if they believe that its lessons do not apply to them, if they lack the courage to inquire into the nature of their own beliefs — then what have they to teach another? To forfeit intellectual honesty for the rank perception of political identity is a moral offense. If our teachers win honor only in classrooms and exhibit their corruption by persuading students to believe in the false doctrine of social justice, if we learn only the reformulated prejudices of failed ideologies, if we must receive our instruction by rote from revisionist handbooks of correct thought, if we are to learn value from the profligate and truth from those whose hearts are full of deception — then education is catastrophe!

There can be nothing more harmful to the idea of America or to her people than the experiment, emerging from the new Left, of an institutionalized culture of revisionism; and if we continue to think and act along the ideological lines of force generated in our schools, then our capacity to reason, to comprehend, to ask the right questions and to prepare ourselves for the duties of civil and open society will regress further into an argument to justify our indoctrination. Democracy itself is at risk under the revised arts of liberal instruction, for there is not sufficient reason in all our language to adopt measures that elsewhere have contributed to the destruction of free societies.

America’s democratic system of elections has been sufficient thus far to break the hold that party ideologies have had on the administration of government. But national sentiment has now swung the pendulum of power urgently to the right, and there it must remain until the liberal puts down his arrogance, his fundamentalist doctrine, and his tribal compulsion for revenge. If power is the only object worthy of pursuit for the liberal establishment, then let their fallen angels reign in the hell prepared for them by their defeat. And should it take a hundred years in hell for the incestuous relationship of the Democratic Party, its entitlement culture, and a virulently dishonest press to end, then that will be a century of justice.

An informed citizenry is the only true government. It is the direction of knowledge over force, for that virtue alone separates the autonomous genius of human society from the coercive genius of the state. We hear the Left in their final agonies, vexed by howls and pinches in defeat — understanding now, a world too late, that they let America slip through their fumbling hands. But when Democrats who were elected to represent the people’s interests have calculated instead to bring them harm with new laws that served only to advance a determined ideological agenda, it is best to remove from them all hope of returning to their instruments. President Trump has shaken the political earth, and anything made of the Left’s weak argument will fall of its own corruption. In the aftermath of a transformative election, the American people have torn liberalism open to the bleeding center, and we are hearing the screams of a dying animal. When those who have abused their power begin to act like victims — when the guilty cry foul — we know we have done a good thing.

Philip Ahlrich can be reached for comment at phahl@icloud.com.

The political Left is a dangerous place for the free expression of ideas. Its activists immediately assume bigotry in anyone who disagrees with them, and that automatic opinion has poisoned every attempt at a national dialogue. Liberalism has declined into a closed system of thought and behavior — a plantation of unfinished minds in service to an ideology of force. But as the experience of freedom makes us unfit for slavery, so the experience of knowledge makes us unfit for handbooks of liberal instruction. The idea of a freedom-loving and self-governing America is lost upon social theorists; and it is quite possible that there is no solution to the liberal problem in America, for the freedom that leftists desire for their own political activity includes the license to deny that same freedom to others.

Activists within the Democratic Party no longer find any political value in the principle of freedom. What is it, then, about federalism and self-governance that threatens the Left? Freedom is so fundamental to the character and growth of nations that one wonders why liberals are so intent on limiting it only to the few who govern. Let them step forward and tell us — without riot and without throwing stones at the questioner — why they have diminished their core principle of “liberty” to an archaism, to a relic and curiosity of times past, to be shelved in academic reformatories and studied and scorned under moonlight. Let them explain the benefits of totalitarianism. Let them tell us why they have chosen to occupy the lesser world of the bureaucratic state that would enforce an equality of condition upon all persons beneath the state; and then let them tell us why history should not regard them as the victims of their own delusions.

Progressivism attracts the intellectually malnourished, and the appearance of that movement deceives us; but there is greater progress in standing upon a principle of justice than in running forward to embrace an evil. Deceptive, predatory, and extortionate, its message of “inclusion and social justice” is given over to the pursuit of power, entitlement, and satisfaction of political greed. Its scripture is not of the world but of social theory, demanding a sacrifice of both intellectual honesty and individual conscience. Modern liberal culture has built an educational system politicizing every study of nature and human value, a system of intellectual slavery that is good only for the master.

The system binds generations of students to an ideological post; and their ability to reason effectively extends no further than the length of their chains, for their instruction is the only truth they need to know. It is the same for every cultish belief, whether religious or secular, and followers of the liberal faith exhibit their knowledge of that “truth” by memorizing and repeating the catechism in the protected spaces of university campuses and social media ghettos where no one may question his received wisdom. Their handbooks tell us that self-reliance is now considered anti-social; that intellectual honesty serves only to weaken one’s commitment to the new liberal order, and that a personal sense of right and wrong can only stain the collective purity of correct thought. The new doctrine of forcible equality seems a prologue to any number of post-apocalyptic tales that reduce humanity to its most fundamental tribal instincts. But in the progressive’s dictionary, this is what the Left mean by “democracy.”

The British author and socialist, H.G. Wells, famously remarked in the conclusion to his Outline of History, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” Mr. Wells, following the unspeakable ruin of the First World War, often remarked upon the perpetual contests of ignorance from which mankind has suffered periodic turns of civilization and collapse. But if the new liberals of our era cannot learn from the history of real events, if they believe that its lessons do not apply to them, if they lack the courage to inquire into the nature of their own beliefs — then what have they to teach another? To forfeit intellectual honesty for the rank perception of political identity is a moral offense. If our teachers win honor only in classrooms and exhibit their corruption by persuading students to believe in the false doctrine of social justice, if we learn only the reformulated prejudices of failed ideologies, if we must receive our instruction by rote from revisionist handbooks of correct thought, if we are to learn value from the profligate and truth from those whose hearts are full of deception — then education is catastrophe!

There can be nothing more harmful to the idea of America or to her people than the experiment, emerging from the new Left, of an institutionalized culture of revisionism; and if we continue to think and act along the ideological lines of force generated in our schools, then our capacity to reason, to comprehend, to ask the right questions and to prepare ourselves for the duties of civil and open society will regress further into an argument to justify our indoctrination. Democracy itself is at risk under the revised arts of liberal instruction, for there is not sufficient reason in all our language to adopt measures that elsewhere have contributed to the destruction of free societies.

America’s democratic system of elections has been sufficient thus far to break the hold that party ideologies have had on the administration of government. But national sentiment has now swung the pendulum of power urgently to the right, and there it must remain until the liberal puts down his arrogance, his fundamentalist doctrine, and his tribal compulsion for revenge. If power is the only object worthy of pursuit for the liberal establishment, then let their fallen angels reign in the hell prepared for them by their defeat. And should it take a hundred years in hell for the incestuous relationship of the Democratic Party, its entitlement culture, and a virulently dishonest press to end, then that will be a century of justice.

An informed citizenry is the only true government. It is the direction of knowledge over force, for that virtue alone separates the autonomous genius of human society from the coercive genius of the state. We hear the Left in their final agonies, vexed by howls and pinches in defeat — understanding now, a world too late, that they let America slip through their fumbling hands. But when Democrats who were elected to represent the people’s interests have calculated instead to bring them harm with new laws that served only to advance a determined ideological agenda, it is best to remove from them all hope of returning to their instruments. President Trump has shaken the political earth, and anything made of the Left’s weak argument will fall of its own corruption. In the aftermath of a transformative election, the American people have torn liberalism open to the bleeding center, and we are hearing the screams of a dying animal. When those who have abused their power begin to act like victims — when the guilty cry foul — we know we have done a good thing.

Philip Ahlrich can be reached for comment at phahl@icloud.com.



Source link

1488798448546.jpg

NASA avoids space crash


Close call! NASA’s Mars-orbiting spacecraft shifted course last week to avoid a collision with Mars’ dark moon Phobos.

The MAVEN spacecraft — short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN — has been orbitng Mars for more than two years, monitoring the Red Planet’s atmosphere. On Feb. 28, it performed a rocket motor burn to speed up just a little bit and change trajectories to avoid crossing paths with Phobos, NASA officials said in a statement. The total speedup was just 0.4 meters per second, which is less than 1 mile per hour.

Researchers noticed that Phobos and MAVEN had a chance of colliding March 6. That gave them a week of advance notice in order to pull off the small maneuver to avoid a crash. Now, the two will miss each other by about 2.5 minutes (before, their orbits were crossing the same point within just 7 seconds of each other). This is the first time the spacecraft has moved to avoid encountering Phobos, officials said in the statement. [Mars Photos from NASA’s MAVEN Probe]

“Kudos to the [Jet Propulsion Laboratory] navigation and tracking teams for watching out for possible collisions every day of the year, and to the MAVEN spacecraft team for carrying out the maneuver flawlessly,” Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator and researcher at the University of Colorado in Boulder, said in the statement.

Phobos is a lumpy, asteroid-size moon orbiting very close to Mars, streaked with stretch-mark grooves . Phobos and its slightly smaller sister moon Deimos are both dark gray, which makes them among the least reflective objects in the solar system . Phobos has been moving closer to Mars over time and is destined for an eventual descent into the planet — one collision that moon won’t avoid.

Email Sarah Lewin at slewin@space.com or follow her @SarahExplains . Follow us @Spacedotcom , Facebook and Google+ . Original article on Space.com .



Source link

Trump, NATO, and the Burden of the Past



With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, NATO found itself without a mission. “Mission accomplished” is not good news for a military alliance — it needs enemies for self-preservation.



Source link

Ask James Rosen and Angela Merkel about Obama Spying


Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Sunday that he would have been aware of any FISA court-ordered surveillance of Trump Tower and the Trump surrogates within during the campaign by the Obama administration., He says he was not, implying there was none:

A former top intel official under President Obama asserted Sunday that President Trump’s phones were not tapped, contradicting a claim made by the current president.“Obviously, I can’t speak officially anymore, but I will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as [Director of National Intelligence], there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign,” James Clapper said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Clapper maintained that he would’ve been told of there was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order to survey Trump’s phones on “something like this.”“I can deny it,” Clapper said, asserting that an order related to Trump or Trump Tower does not exist to his “knowledge.”

Clapper may think that the Obama administration is incapable of such an act, the same Obama administration that used the IRS in a way Richard Nixon only dreamed of in targeting the Tea Party movement. Such an act would indeed make Watergate look like, well, a third-rate burglary. Clapper forgets as well how the NSA and the Obama administration spied on world leaders, starting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

President Barack Obama knew of the organization’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel — and approved of the efforts, a National Security Agency official has reportedly told a German newspaper.


The Economic Times writes the “high-ranking” NSA official spoke to Bild am Sonntag on the condition of anonymity, saying the president, “not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.”


The Economic Times also reports the official told Bild am Sonntag that Obama did not trust Merkel, wanted to know everything about her, and thus ordered the NSA to prepare a dossier on the politician.

The Obama administration spied on many world leaders and, speaking of interfering in elections, interfered in the Israeli election in an attempt to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu.

The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday.


Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report.

Of course, the Obama administration was not above surveillance of the press and treating respected reporters as criminals. Take the case of Fox News reporter James Rosen, named by the Obama administration as a criminal co-conspirator in a case involving violations of the Espionage Act:

The Justice Department named Fox News’s chief Washington correspondent James Rosen “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in a 2010 espionage case against State Department security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. The accusation appears in a court affidavit first reported by the Washington Post. Kim is charged with handing over a classified government report in June 2009 that said North Korea would probably test a nuclear weapon in response to a UN resolution con


demning previous tests. Rosen reported the analysis on 11 June under the headline ‘North Korea Intends to Match UN Resolution With New Nuclear Test’. The FBI sought and obtained a warrant to seize all of Rosen’s correspondence with Kim, and an additional two days’ worth of Rosen’s personal email, the Post reported. The bureau also obtained Rosen’s phone records and used security badge records to track his movements to and from the State Department.

The James Clapper who denies Obama administration spying on the Trump campaign is the same James Clapper who once lied to Congress, saying that the NSA wasn’t conducting surveillance of the American people. As U.S. News and World Report noted, his recent resignation didn’t assuage critics who believe James Clapper, like other Obama administration personnel, dodged a perjury bullet when he testified before Congress on the issue of NSA surveillance of American citizens:

Some lawmakers reacted to the long-expected resignation announcement from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday by wishing him an eventful retirement, featuring prosecution and possible prison time.


The passage of more than three years hasn’t cooled the insistence in certain quarters that Clapper face charges for an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.


About three months after making that claim, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the answer was untruthful and that the NSA was in fact collecting in bulk domestic call records, along with various internet communications.


To his critics, Clapper lied under oath, a crime that threatens effective oversight of the executive branch. In an apology letter to lawmakers, however, Clapper said he gave the “clearly erroneous” answer because he “simply didn’t think of” the call-record collection.


Clapper later told MSNBC he considered the question akin to asking, “When did you stop beating your wife?” and so gave the “least untruthful” answer.

Critics who say president-elect Donald Trump has no right to disparage our good and faithful intelligence servants or to be skeptical of the intelligence they gather might be willing to accept “least untruthful” answers but others are not. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized in June 2013 after Clapper’s testimony:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper struggles to explain why he told Congress in March that the National Security Agency does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans. “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no,'” Clapper told NBC News on Sunday.


Least untruthful? Lying to Congress and the American people is just that, except in Clapper’s mind. And it seems to depend on the meaning of “collect,” a reminder of President Bill Clinton’s defense that charges of his lying depended on the meaning of the word “is.”

The record of James Clapper and the Obama administration on truthfulness is suspect. The Obama administration has spied on world leaders, American citizens, and the press. It is said that Trump has provided no proof of Obama administration surveillance, which is hard to do in a tweet. But Breitbart’s Joel Pollak has put together an interesting timeline of the surveillance scenario, including not one, but two FISA requests with such items as:

1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied…


4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services….


7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the existence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

Yes, that’s the same Brietbart Trump adviser Steve Bannon ran. But if there’s a credibility contest between Clapper, the Obama administration, and Team Trump, my money is on the latter.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.   

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Sunday that he would have been aware of any FISA court-ordered surveillance of Trump Tower and the Trump surrogates within during the campaign by the Obama administration., He says he was not, implying there was none:

A former top intel official under President Obama asserted Sunday that President Trump’s phones were not tapped, contradicting a claim made by the current president.“Obviously, I can’t speak officially anymore, but I will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as [Director of National Intelligence], there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign,” James Clapper said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Clapper maintained that he would’ve been told of there was a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order to survey Trump’s phones on “something like this.”“I can deny it,” Clapper said, asserting that an order related to Trump or Trump Tower does not exist to his “knowledge.”

Clapper may think that the Obama administration is incapable of such an act, the same Obama administration that used the IRS in a way Richard Nixon only dreamed of in targeting the Tea Party movement. Such an act would indeed make Watergate look like, well, a third-rate burglary. Clapper forgets as well how the NSA and the Obama administration spied on world leaders, starting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

President Barack Obama knew of the organization’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel — and approved of the efforts, a National Security Agency official has reportedly told a German newspaper.


The Economic Times writes the “high-ranking” NSA official spoke to Bild am Sonntag on the condition of anonymity, saying the president, “not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.”


The Economic Times also reports the official told Bild am Sonntag that Obama did not trust Merkel, wanted to know everything about her, and thus ordered the NSA to prepare a dossier on the politician.

The Obama administration spied on many world leaders and, speaking of interfering in elections, interfered in the Israeli election in an attempt to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu.

The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday.


Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report.

Of course, the Obama administration was not above surveillance of the press and treating respected reporters as criminals. Take the case of Fox News reporter James Rosen, named by the Obama administration as a criminal co-conspirator in a case involving violations of the Espionage Act:

The Justice Department named Fox News’s chief Washington correspondent James Rosen “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” in a 2010 espionage case against State Department security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. The accusation appears in a court affidavit first reported by the Washington Post. Kim is charged with handing over a classified government report in June 2009 that said North Korea would probably test a nuclear weapon in response to a UN resolution con


demning previous tests. Rosen reported the analysis on 11 June under the headline ‘North Korea Intends to Match UN Resolution With New Nuclear Test’. The FBI sought and obtained a warrant to seize all of Rosen’s correspondence with Kim, and an additional two days’ worth of Rosen’s personal email, the Post reported. The bureau also obtained Rosen’s phone records and used security badge records to track his movements to and from the State Department.

The James Clapper who denies Obama administration spying on the Trump campaign is the same James Clapper who once lied to Congress, saying that the NSA wasn’t conducting surveillance of the American people. As U.S. News and World Report noted, his recent resignation didn’t assuage critics who believe James Clapper, like other Obama administration personnel, dodged a perjury bullet when he testified before Congress on the issue of NSA surveillance of American citizens:

Some lawmakers reacted to the long-expected resignation announcement from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Thursday by wishing him an eventful retirement, featuring prosecution and possible prison time.


The passage of more than three years hasn’t cooled the insistence in certain quarters that Clapper face charges for an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.


About three months after making that claim, documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the answer was untruthful and that the NSA was in fact collecting in bulk domestic call records, along with various internet communications.


To his critics, Clapper lied under oath, a crime that threatens effective oversight of the executive branch. In an apology letter to lawmakers, however, Clapper said he gave the “clearly erroneous” answer because he “simply didn’t think of” the call-record collection.


Clapper later told MSNBC he considered the question akin to asking, “When did you stop beating your wife?” and so gave the “least untruthful” answer.

Critics who say president-elect Donald Trump has no right to disparage our good and faithful intelligence servants or to be skeptical of the intelligence they gather might be willing to accept “least untruthful” answers but others are not. As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized in June 2013 after Clapper’s testimony:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper struggles to explain why he told Congress in March that the National Security Agency does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans. “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no,'” Clapper told NBC News on Sunday.


Least untruthful? Lying to Congress and the American people is just that, except in Clapper’s mind. And it seems to depend on the meaning of “collect,” a reminder of President Bill Clinton’s defense that charges of his lying depended on the meaning of the word “is.”

The record of James Clapper and the Obama administration on truthfulness is suspect. The Obama administration has spied on world leaders, American citizens, and the press. It is said that Trump has provided no proof of Obama administration surveillance, which is hard to do in a tweet. But Breitbart’s Joel Pollak has put together an interesting timeline of the surveillance scenario, including not one, but two FISA requests with such items as:

1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied…


4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services….


7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the existence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

Yes, that’s the same Brietbart Trump adviser Steve Bannon ran. But if there’s a credibility contest between Clapper, the Obama administration, and Team Trump, my money is on the latter.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.   



Source link

694940094001_5346599656001_5346590735001-vs.jpg

EXCLUSIVE Ex-Iraqi VP: Trump will find Middle East region in chaos


As President Trump begins to lay out his policies for the Middle East, he will find a region in chaos — and impossible choices ahead.

But in an exclusive interview with Fox News, the former vice president of Iraq, Ayad Allawi, said he looks forward optimistically to the president’s policies, as he looks back sadly at former President Barack Obama’s errors.

Speaking at his home in central Baghdad for the first time since Trump’s election, Allawi is now able to open up about Obama’s major mistakes, which critics say brought Iraq into turmoil and which Trump will need to address.

“America has lost a lot of potential friends here in the region. … and this is something that the new administration has to address.”

Obama’s principal error, says Allawi, was his disengagement from a country and a region which desperately needed U.S. support. At a time when Iraq couldn’t stand on its own, Obama left — leaving a vacuum for Iran to fill. Iran’s new influence, he says, is behind much of the bloodshed.

“When our American friends left Iraq in 2011 they never laid down the issues that would strengthen the Iraqis to face the challenges ahead — their sudden withdrawal in 2011 without the necessary preparation left us many problems to face.

Allawi, who also served as interim prime minister in 2014-2015, was very clear about Iran’s impact.

“It’s leading to bloodshed, to catastrophes and to wars around the Middle East….It has been a destabilizing factor. It’s destabilizing Iraq, it’s destabilizing Syria – it’s destabilizing other areas.”

This Iranian influence, he said, could be traced firmly back to Obama. In 2010, Allawi won the elections in Iraq, winning the seats, but was pressured by the Obama administration to back down — in a direct interference with the political system.

“Biden came several times here; in fact, he used to come once a week to convince me to withdraw my interest and I told him we are not interested in withdrawing.”

Eventually Obama got his way, and Iranian-backed Nouri Maliki stepped in. This is the moment Allawi sees as a turning point for Iraq… Today large parts of the army are under Iranian control (via their support for Shia militias) and many state institutions also answer to Iran. 

Today another country is also moving into the region – Russia. But Allawi believes Russian President Vladimir Putin can and should be worked with to defeat ISIS.

“I don’t think we should look at competition here between the U.S. and Russia, but rather as supplementing each other, and this is what I look forward to — what the new administration will do.”

Allawi also doesn’t believe the battle against ISIS is the final one.

“I can see a lot of problems that will emerge after ISIS is defeated because I always say that not only is the military victory against ISIS enough, it needs to be supported by political gains.”

Allawi says he hopes to unite Iraq — Sunni, Shia and Kurdish — but acknowledges it won’t be easy — Iraq is engulfed in sectarianism — and many in the region, not least Iran, thrive on division.

He also hoped for U.S. support moving forward.

“We don’t want to see more American power here, we don’t want to see more American troops here, we don’t want to see more Americans being killed here in this country. But we need the political leverage of the U.S. to help Iraq and to develop Iraq.”



Source link

198067_5_.png

The Battle of Britain Saved Western Democracy


It’s been said that winning entities — whether sports teams, warring countries or business rivals — share one overriding characteristic: they minimize their serious errors. An occasional misstep along the way perhaps, but they rarely beat themselves with a critical unforced error.

Certainly, Boston’s two highest-profile sports teams have displayed opposite sides of that trait: for decades the hapless Red Sox would find a way to snatch defeat from the virtually-certain jaws of victory, from Johnny Pesky inexplicably holding the ball allowing the Cards to win the World Series in 1946, to no defensive replacement for Bill Buckner against the Mets in 1986, to leaving Pedro in against the Yankees too long in 2003 when it was obvious to everyone that he was out of gas. The Patriots, on the other hand, always seem to find a way to win, defying the odds time after time and making all the clutch plays. They hardly ever commit grievous mistakes that doom their effort. Talk to the great golfers and they’ll tell you the same thing: It’s not scoring eagles and holes-in-one that count, it’s the avoidance of the disastrous double and triple bogeys that makes for a winning round. Not so much getting the “2” on a Par 4 as it is avoiding the “7.” In boxing, they say, “Don’t fight the other guy’s fight. Don’t hook with a hooker.”

Minimize the errors. Avoid the mistakes. Play or fight smart. War is no different — the winning side is usually the one that commits fewer major blunders.

This is instructive as we look at Germany and Britain in the early stages of World War II. War in Europe erupted on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Poland fell within weeks and after a quiet winter period known as the “Phony War,” Germany resumed large-scale hostilities in the spring of 1940. German forces smashed through the “Low Countries” of Holland and Belgium and swung around to invade France from a point behind its main defensive eastern border with Germany.

With German forces slicing through the French countryside, France found itself in grave danger of quick defeat. The British sent military aid to France (The British Expeditionary Force or BEF), but it was a lost cause. The French — despite their world-leading military efforts against Germany in World War 1 (1914-1918) — showed no real interest in fighting for their homeland’s survival this time, and French resistance quickly collapsed. By the end of May 1940, the Germans had pushed French, British, and other Allied forces to the French coastal town of Dunkirk. There, virtually the entirety of the European Allied armed forces were cornered and defenseless, awaiting destruction at the hands of German Panzer divisions.

However, using sports analogies again, Germany 3-putted. They dropped the game-ending pop-up. They missed the “gimmie” 20-yard winning field goal. They let the Allied armies escape largely intact, as Britain organized an unlikely, heroic boatlift and carried nearly 400,000 soldiers off the beaches and safely back to England. Confusion and political infighting on the Germans’ side over what forces to use and how best to attack led to one of history’s greatest military “unforced errors.” With a decisive victory easily within their grasp, the Germans let it get away. And almost a half-million Allied soldiers lived to fight another day.

Still, the big-picture war situation for Britain was dire. They stood alone against Germany and a very substantial portion of their equipment had been abandoned on the beaches of Dunkirk. A final, conquering German invasion of England was sure to come, probably by fall 1940.

But before a sea-launched invasion could take place, Germany would need to establish air superiority over southern England, destroy their major logistical and defensive targets and reduce the effective fighting strength of the Royal Air Force (RAF) to the point where it didn’t pose a major threat to German invasion forces.

The German air offensive against Britain that began in the summer of 1940 is known as The Battle of Britain. All of Western society and culture as we have come to know it depended on the outcome of this battle. Had Britain lost, the world would be in a completely different condition today. Very, very few large-scale armed events from the last 50-75 years — not Stalingrad in 1943, Korea 1950-53, Vietnam 1964-75 or Iraq in 1991 — carried anywhere near the same “everything in Western culture will change instantly” potential as did a British loss to the Germans in 1940.

Unlike the Pacific, where it could be convincingly argued that America’s inherent structural advantages over Japan in raw materials, industrial capability, and matériel would eventually prevail, no such absolute guarantee could be made for the West vs. Germany, especially absent the logistical staging/launching point that the actual physical island of England represented. Germany had immense industrial capability, very advanced technology and unfettered access to crude oil reserves, crucial to sustaining long-term military operations.

Therefore, without Britain, a continued European war against Germany might have proven impossible — hence the significance of the immediacy of Britain’s survival.

Germany began its air operations in July 1940. Even though its Heinkel 111, Dornier 17, and Junkers 88 bomber aircraft were better-suited for tactical close-support missions than the longer-range strategic responsibilities they were being tasked with here, the Germans could have accomplished the goals set before them had they followed a sound strategy.

Broadly stated, those responsibilities were:

  1. Destroy the ability of British early-warning radar stations to detect incoming German flights. Radar was in its infancy in 1940, and Britain was an early-adopter of the nascent technology. The Germans failed to recognize its strategic significance and thus let both the radar installations and their very vulnerable above-ground operations centers get away essentially unscathed.
  2. Degrade the RAF’s southern airfields and reduce the fighting strength of British Fighter Command. Britain’s survival essentially came down to the ability of their fighter planes to mount effective defensive measures against incoming German bombers. If the Germans pressed home repeated, relentless attacks directly against British airfields, then the Brits would be drawn into an aerial war of attrition that would soon cripple their ability to implement an effective defense of the country. German and British fighter planes and pilot quality of the time were roughly equal; an extended air-to-air fighter plane conflict favored the Germans because of their greater numbers and less threatened resupply resources. They needed to keep the pressure on the British fighter assets: engage its fighters in deadly combat, damage and degrade their airbase facilities and damage the logistical support system that supplied those bases.

This was all well within Germany’s equipment and technical capabilities at the time. Initially, they followed the “anti-fighter base” strategy and it was effective. British commanders privately worried amongst themselves that Fighter Command would not remain an effective fighting force much past late summer of 1940 if German attacks continued apace. But the Law of Unforced Military Errors intervened and Britain’s fighter force — the West’s lifeline — was spared virtually certain destruction.

Rivals: British Supermarine Spitfire I and German Messerschmitt BF109 E-4

For reasons still not entirely clear to historians, Germany abruptly switched its tactics from attacking British fighter airfields and instead began bombing British cities. Some people have put forth the theory that the Germans mistakenly bombed London in late August, causing the British to retaliate by bombing Berlin on August 25th. The Germans, not realizing their navigational error that led to them bombing London, thought that Britain was initiating a war on their cities, so they responded in kind.

Others posit that Hitler, accustomed to very fast victories early in the war and growing increasingly impatient with the slow progress of the air campaign that was dragging on for months, wanted to switch tactics. They say he felt that bombing British cities would break the will and spirit of the British public and cause them to pressure their government into surrender in order to stop the destruction and civilian casualties.

Regardless of the actual reason, the Germans did change their tactics from a game-winning strategy to a game-losing one. With the pressure off their airfields, British fighter strength recovered. Technical and performance shortcomings of German bombers (such as short range/limited time-over-target and inadequate, small bomb loads) were exacerbated, since the large cities were farther away (forcing the Germans to trade bombs for added fuel) and the small bomb loads limited the amount of truly serious damage that could be inflicted.

British fighter strength increased. German losses mounted. The amount of strategic damage inflicted by the Germans that curtailed the Brtis’ ability to actually wage an effective defensive war was markedly reduced. Although tragic, the air attacks on London increased the British public’s resolve to keep fighting.

By the late fall of 1940, far from having established air superiority in preparation for an invasion of Britain, the Germans had been fought into a bloody stalemate. Numerical fighter losses on each side were roughly equal. German tactics and bomber aircraft had been exposed as woefully inadequate for the task. A likely winning starting strategy to the battle was switched for no militarily sound reason partway through the conflict, and Britain survived.

And so too, arguably, did Western culture and democracy as we know it today.

It’s been said that winning entities — whether sports teams, warring countries or business rivals — share one overriding characteristic: they minimize their serious errors. An occasional misstep along the way perhaps, but they rarely beat themselves with a critical unforced error.

Certainly, Boston’s two highest-profile sports teams have displayed opposite sides of that trait: for decades the hapless Red Sox would find a way to snatch defeat from the virtually-certain jaws of victory, from Johnny Pesky inexplicably holding the ball allowing the Cards to win the World Series in 1946, to no defensive replacement for Bill Buckner against the Mets in 1986, to leaving Pedro in against the Yankees too long in 2003 when it was obvious to everyone that he was out of gas. The Patriots, on the other hand, always seem to find a way to win, defying the odds time after time and making all the clutch plays. They hardly ever commit grievous mistakes that doom their effort. Talk to the great golfers and they’ll tell you the same thing: It’s not scoring eagles and holes-in-one that count, it’s the avoidance of the disastrous double and triple bogeys that makes for a winning round. Not so much getting the “2” on a Par 4 as it is avoiding the “7.” In boxing, they say, “Don’t fight the other guy’s fight. Don’t hook with a hooker.”

Minimize the errors. Avoid the mistakes. Play or fight smart. War is no different — the winning side is usually the one that commits fewer major blunders.

This is instructive as we look at Germany and Britain in the early stages of World War II. War in Europe erupted on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Poland fell within weeks and after a quiet winter period known as the “Phony War,” Germany resumed large-scale hostilities in the spring of 1940. German forces smashed through the “Low Countries” of Holland and Belgium and swung around to invade France from a point behind its main defensive eastern border with Germany.

With German forces slicing through the French countryside, France found itself in grave danger of quick defeat. The British sent military aid to France (The British Expeditionary Force or BEF), but it was a lost cause. The French — despite their world-leading military efforts against Germany in World War 1 (1914-1918) — showed no real interest in fighting for their homeland’s survival this time, and French resistance quickly collapsed. By the end of May 1940, the Germans had pushed French, British, and other Allied forces to the French coastal town of Dunkirk. There, virtually the entirety of the European Allied armed forces were cornered and defenseless, awaiting destruction at the hands of German Panzer divisions.

However, using sports analogies again, Germany 3-putted. They dropped the game-ending pop-up. They missed the “gimmie” 20-yard winning field goal. They let the Allied armies escape largely intact, as Britain organized an unlikely, heroic boatlift and carried nearly 400,000 soldiers off the beaches and safely back to England. Confusion and political infighting on the Germans’ side over what forces to use and how best to attack led to one of history’s greatest military “unforced errors.” With a decisive victory easily within their grasp, the Germans let it get away. And almost a half-million Allied soldiers lived to fight another day.

Still, the big-picture war situation for Britain was dire. They stood alone against Germany and a very substantial portion of their equipment had been abandoned on the beaches of Dunkirk. A final, conquering German invasion of England was sure to come, probably by fall 1940.

But before a sea-launched invasion could take place, Germany would need to establish air superiority over southern England, destroy their major logistical and defensive targets and reduce the effective fighting strength of the Royal Air Force (RAF) to the point where it didn’t pose a major threat to German invasion forces.

The German air offensive against Britain that began in the summer of 1940 is known as The Battle of Britain. All of Western society and culture as we have come to know it depended on the outcome of this battle. Had Britain lost, the world would be in a completely different condition today. Very, very few large-scale armed events from the last 50-75 years — not Stalingrad in 1943, Korea 1950-53, Vietnam 1964-75 or Iraq in 1991 — carried anywhere near the same “everything in Western culture will change instantly” potential as did a British loss to the Germans in 1940.

Unlike the Pacific, where it could be convincingly argued that America’s inherent structural advantages over Japan in raw materials, industrial capability, and matériel would eventually prevail, no such absolute guarantee could be made for the West vs. Germany, especially absent the logistical staging/launching point that the actual physical island of England represented. Germany had immense industrial capability, very advanced technology and unfettered access to crude oil reserves, crucial to sustaining long-term military operations.

Therefore, without Britain, a continued European war against Germany might have proven impossible — hence the significance of the immediacy of Britain’s survival.

Germany began its air operations in July 1940. Even though its Heinkel 111, Dornier 17, and Junkers 88 bomber aircraft were better-suited for tactical close-support missions than the longer-range strategic responsibilities they were being tasked with here, the Germans could have accomplished the goals set before them had they followed a sound strategy.

Broadly stated, those responsibilities were:

  1. Destroy the ability of British early-warning radar stations to detect incoming German flights. Radar was in its infancy in 1940, and Britain was an early-adopter of the nascent technology. The Germans failed to recognize its strategic significance and thus let both the radar installations and their very vulnerable above-ground operations centers get away essentially unscathed.
  2. Degrade the RAF’s southern airfields and reduce the fighting strength of British Fighter Command. Britain’s survival essentially came down to the ability of their fighter planes to mount effective defensive measures against incoming German bombers. If the Germans pressed home repeated, relentless attacks directly against British airfields, then the Brits would be drawn into an aerial war of attrition that would soon cripple their ability to implement an effective defense of the country. German and British fighter planes and pilot quality of the time were roughly equal; an extended air-to-air fighter plane conflict favored the Germans because of their greater numbers and less threatened resupply resources. They needed to keep the pressure on the British fighter assets: engage its fighters in deadly combat, damage and degrade their airbase facilities and damage the logistical support system that supplied those bases.

This was all well within Germany’s equipment and technical capabilities at the time. Initially, they followed the “anti-fighter base” strategy and it was effective. British commanders privately worried amongst themselves that Fighter Command would not remain an effective fighting force much past late summer of 1940 if German attacks continued apace. But the Law of Unforced Military Errors intervened and Britain’s fighter force — the West’s lifeline — was spared virtually certain destruction.

Rivals: British Supermarine Spitfire I and German Messerschmitt BF109 E-4

For reasons still not entirely clear to historians, Germany abruptly switched its tactics from attacking British fighter airfields and instead began bombing British cities. Some people have put forth the theory that the Germans mistakenly bombed London in late August, causing the British to retaliate by bombing Berlin on August 25th. The Germans, not realizing their navigational error that led to them bombing London, thought that Britain was initiating a war on their cities, so they responded in kind.

Others posit that Hitler, accustomed to very fast victories early in the war and growing increasingly impatient with the slow progress of the air campaign that was dragging on for months, wanted to switch tactics. They say he felt that bombing British cities would break the will and spirit of the British public and cause them to pressure their government into surrender in order to stop the destruction and civilian casualties.

Regardless of the actual reason, the Germans did change their tactics from a game-winning strategy to a game-losing one. With the pressure off their airfields, British fighter strength recovered. Technical and performance shortcomings of German bombers (such as short range/limited time-over-target and inadequate, small bomb loads) were exacerbated, since the large cities were farther away (forcing the Germans to trade bombs for added fuel) and the small bomb loads limited the amount of truly serious damage that could be inflicted.

British fighter strength increased. German losses mounted. The amount of strategic damage inflicted by the Germans that curtailed the Brtis’ ability to actually wage an effective defensive war was markedly reduced. Although tragic, the air attacks on London increased the British public’s resolve to keep fighting.

By the late fall of 1940, far from having established air superiority in preparation for an invasion of Britain, the Germans had been fought into a bloody stalemate. Numerical fighter losses on each side were roughly equal. German tactics and bomber aircraft had been exposed as woefully inadequate for the task. A likely winning starting strategy to the battle was switched for no militarily sound reason partway through the conflict, and Britain survived.

And so too, arguably, did Western culture and democracy as we know it today.



Source link