Day: August 10, 2018

A Tale of Three Cities


Charles Dickens wrote the classic A Tale of Two Cities a century and a half ago.  It’s a story about two famous cities of the times, Paris and London, around the time of the French Revolution.  These cities were the height of sophistication and enlightenment in the world, long before American cities caught up.

Three American cities did catch up and were at one time shining beacons of American success: San Francisco, Chicago, and Detroit.

San Francisco was the gateway to the Pacific and lands beyond – a beautiful city on hills with the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco to Marin County, one of the wonders of the modern world.  Chicago was the hub of transportation and commerce, connecting the eastern and western halves of the United States.  Detroit was an industrial behemoth, home of the auto industry and the assembly line, bringing prosperity and convenience to millions.

Songs were written to celebrate these great cities.  Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco.  Chicago was Frank Sinatra’s kind of town.  And the Motown music genre began in the Motor City.

As Dickens wrote, “[i]t was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”  Perhaps the best of times for these American cities was 50 years ago, when they and their leaders basked in the age of wisdom.  Today, these cities are facing the worst of times, due to their own foolishness.  What happened?

San Francisco is being overrun with the homeless and illegal aliens due to its sanctuary city status and virtue-signaling leadership.  The streets are littered with human feces, hypodermic needles, and syringes, turning the once beautiful “City by the Bay” into a cesspool.  What’s the response of San Francisco leaders?  Banning plastic straws.

Chicago has become more dangerous than many cities in the war-torn Middle East.  This past weekend was another example of the killing fields of Chicago: “[a]t least 72 shot, 13 killed in Chicago over violent summer weekend, police department says.”  What’s the mayor of Chicago doing in response?  Maintaining and bolstering Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city” and virtue-signaling to fellow progressives, prioritizing illegal aliens over Chicago residents.

Detroit, in 1960, was the richest per capita city in America.  Fifty-some years later, in 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy.  Now it’s a squatter’s paradise.  Homes once owned by residents, then lost to foreclosure, are now owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority.  Today, it’s first come, first served as to who lives in these abandoned homes.  The Detroit Free Press notes “[d]ead bodies, wild dogs, squatters in government-owned Detroit houses.”


Via Wikimedia Commons.

How did these three beautiful and prosperous American cities morph from the best of cities to the worst of cities in only a couple of generations?  Let’s look at who is in charge.

San Francisco has not had a Republican mayor since 1964, the height of Motown music in one of the other cities we are discussing.  For the past fifty-plus years, San Francisco has been led by a procession of Democrats.

Then there are the state and national leaders, from Governor Jerry Brown to Senators Kamala Harris, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein, the last employing a Chinese spy in her office for twenty years while accusing President Trump of colluding with the Russians.  She was doing more for China than for her own city.

As a quick aside, Senator Feinstein responded to this news with the following: “The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information).”

Note how the FBI told the senator of its concerns.  The agents did not insert a spy in her office, then obtaining a Title 1 FISA warrant to spy on the senator and her entire staff.  This is how the FBI handled concerns over Russians involved in the Donald Trump campaign.  Agents did not warn Trump over their concerns, as they did for the senator.  Anyone surprised?

Chicago’s last Republican mayor finished his term in 1931, almost a century ago, followed by a string of Democrat mayors up to the present time.  At a national level, Chicago is currently represented by Democrat senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

Detroit’s last Republican mayor finished his term in 1962, around the time the Supremes were singing “Where Did Our Love Go?”  Now they would be singing, “Where did our city go?”  Since the early 1960s, Detroit has had a succession of Democrat mayors, including Coleman Young and their famous hip-hop mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now serving a long prison term.  Michigan, similar to Illinois and California, has two Democrat U.S. senators.

Anyone see a common thread here?  Cities run by liberal Democrats, implementing liberal policies, with predictable results.  These are certainly not the only American cities ruined by Democrat governance – there are also Newark; New Orleans; and Washington, D.C. to name a few others.

Then there are entire countries following this pattern.  Venezuela went from the richest economy in South America to financial and social ruin, with starvation and civil unrest – thanks not to the U.S. Democratic Party, but to its international brethren, the socialists.

This is the same political and economic philosophy shared by many American Democrats, including the cheated almost nominee Bernie Sanders and his mini-me, self-proclaimed Democrat socialist and rising star on the left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  She, as another interesting aside, had a bad night in this week’s primary elections, with all of her endorsed candidates losing.

As goes Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco, so goes the nation under similar leadership and guidance.  You won’t hear this on CNN or MSNBC, as they are busy running interference for leftist politicians and policies.  Yet their organizations would be the first to be nationalized under a socialistic government.  Not that it would make any practical difference, as the media are already a mouthpiece of the Democratic Party.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  The tale of these three cities is an important part of this history.  To ignore it means that many other cities, and the entire nation, could rapidly go from the best of times to the worst of times.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Charles Dickens wrote the classic A Tale of Two Cities a century and a half ago.  It’s a story about two famous cities of the times, Paris and London, around the time of the French Revolution.  These cities were the height of sophistication and enlightenment in the world, long before American cities caught up.

Three American cities did catch up and were at one time shining beacons of American success: San Francisco, Chicago, and Detroit.

San Francisco was the gateway to the Pacific and lands beyond – a beautiful city on hills with the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco to Marin County, one of the wonders of the modern world.  Chicago was the hub of transportation and commerce, connecting the eastern and western halves of the United States.  Detroit was an industrial behemoth, home of the auto industry and the assembly line, bringing prosperity and convenience to millions.

Songs were written to celebrate these great cities.  Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco.  Chicago was Frank Sinatra’s kind of town.  And the Motown music genre began in the Motor City.

As Dickens wrote, “[i]t was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”  Perhaps the best of times for these American cities was 50 years ago, when they and their leaders basked in the age of wisdom.  Today, these cities are facing the worst of times, due to their own foolishness.  What happened?

San Francisco is being overrun with the homeless and illegal aliens due to its sanctuary city status and virtue-signaling leadership.  The streets are littered with human feces, hypodermic needles, and syringes, turning the once beautiful “City by the Bay” into a cesspool.  What’s the response of San Francisco leaders?  Banning plastic straws.

Chicago has become more dangerous than many cities in the war-torn Middle East.  This past weekend was another example of the killing fields of Chicago: “[a]t least 72 shot, 13 killed in Chicago over violent summer weekend, police department says.”  What’s the mayor of Chicago doing in response?  Maintaining and bolstering Chicago’s status as a “sanctuary city” and virtue-signaling to fellow progressives, prioritizing illegal aliens over Chicago residents.

Detroit, in 1960, was the richest per capita city in America.  Fifty-some years later, in 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy.  Now it’s a squatter’s paradise.  Homes once owned by residents, then lost to foreclosure, are now owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority.  Today, it’s first come, first served as to who lives in these abandoned homes.  The Detroit Free Press notes “[d]ead bodies, wild dogs, squatters in government-owned Detroit houses.”


Via Wikimedia Commons.

How did these three beautiful and prosperous American cities morph from the best of cities to the worst of cities in only a couple of generations?  Let’s look at who is in charge.

San Francisco has not had a Republican mayor since 1964, the height of Motown music in one of the other cities we are discussing.  For the past fifty-plus years, San Francisco has been led by a procession of Democrats.

Then there are the state and national leaders, from Governor Jerry Brown to Senators Kamala Harris, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein, the last employing a Chinese spy in her office for twenty years while accusing President Trump of colluding with the Russians.  She was doing more for China than for her own city.

As a quick aside, Senator Feinstein responded to this news with the following: “The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information).”

Note how the FBI told the senator of its concerns.  The agents did not insert a spy in her office, then obtaining a Title 1 FISA warrant to spy on the senator and her entire staff.  This is how the FBI handled concerns over Russians involved in the Donald Trump campaign.  Agents did not warn Trump over their concerns, as they did for the senator.  Anyone surprised?

Chicago’s last Republican mayor finished his term in 1931, almost a century ago, followed by a string of Democrat mayors up to the present time.  At a national level, Chicago is currently represented by Democrat senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

Detroit’s last Republican mayor finished his term in 1962, around the time the Supremes were singing “Where Did Our Love Go?”  Now they would be singing, “Where did our city go?”  Since the early 1960s, Detroit has had a succession of Democrat mayors, including Coleman Young and their famous hip-hop mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now serving a long prison term.  Michigan, similar to Illinois and California, has two Democrat U.S. senators.

Anyone see a common thread here?  Cities run by liberal Democrats, implementing liberal policies, with predictable results.  These are certainly not the only American cities ruined by Democrat governance – there are also Newark; New Orleans; and Washington, D.C. to name a few others.

Then there are entire countries following this pattern.  Venezuela went from the richest economy in South America to financial and social ruin, with starvation and civil unrest – thanks not to the U.S. Democratic Party, but to its international brethren, the socialists.

This is the same political and economic philosophy shared by many American Democrats, including the cheated almost nominee Bernie Sanders and his mini-me, self-proclaimed Democrat socialist and rising star on the left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  She, as another interesting aside, had a bad night in this week’s primary elections, with all of her endorsed candidates losing.

As goes Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco, so goes the nation under similar leadership and guidance.  You won’t hear this on CNN or MSNBC, as they are busy running interference for leftist politicians and policies.  Yet their organizations would be the first to be nationalized under a socialistic government.  Not that it would make any practical difference, as the media are already a mouthpiece of the Democratic Party.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  The tale of these three cities is an important part of this history.  To ignore it means that many other cities, and the entire nation, could rapidly go from the best of times to the worst of times.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn, and Twitter.



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White Republican Michigan Voters Chose a Black Guy


White Republican voters chose a black conservative over a white billionaire in Michigan.  How can that be?  Democrat Andre Carson of the Congressional Black Caucus said the Tea Party (conservatives and Republicans) is racist and wants to see blacks “hanging on a tree.” 

Folks, as a black Tea Party activist since 2008, I can tell you this is the evil slander of salt-of-the-earth patriotic white voters I have been fighting.  Black conservative John James won Michigan’s U.S. Senate Republican primary because he shares the values of most Americans.  James boldly expresses his desire to help Trump Make America Great Again.  Voters chose James because of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin, fulfilling the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

John James is a combat veteran endorsed by President Trump.  But wait a minute.  According to fake news media and Democrats, Trump hates blacks.  That’s another hate-generating evil lie promoted by the American left.

It is extremely exciting and refreshing to see a fellow black American in the political arena evoking traditional principles, which lead to real empowerment and success – not just for blacks, but for all Americans.  America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it.  And yet, evil leftists relentlessly seek to hide this truth from the masses, particularly minorities.  Leftists want blacks believing that white America schemes 24-7 to keep blacks down and that blacks’ only hope is to keep voting for Democrats.  Disgusting.

Ponder this, folks: most mega-rich black celebs worked their butts off, took risks, made responsible choices, and exploited the opportunities and blessing of living in America.  These blacks would not be enjoying the wealth, power, and influence they have earned had they followed the Democrats’ philosophy of relying on government to take care of them – allowing government to control every aspect of their lives.  So rather than wealthy blacks telling fellow blacks to follow their traditional path to success, they tell blacks to stick with the Democrats.  Rich blacks tell blacks to keep voting for Democrats to get more welfare.

Generational welfare leads to wasted lives, anger, poverty, out-of-wedlock births, and jail.  Wealthy blacks ignore this glaring truth and choose to join the American left in hating America, whites, conservatives, and Republicans.  This is extremely unfortunate and counterproductive.

If a white person suggests that urban blacks follow the same road to success as black millionaires, that white person is called a racist who obviously does not know what it is like to be black in this awful racist country.  If a black person suggests that blacks leave the Democrats’ government dependency plantation, stop having babies out of wedlock, stay in school, stop murdering each other, and assume responsibility for their lives, that black is called a sellout Uncle Tom who has abandoned his blackness.

Chicago just suffered another bloody weekend, one of the bloodiest in the city’s history: 74 people shot, 12 of them dead.  These egregious black deaths are the result of blacks murdering each other, not racist white cops.  Blacks have been murdering each other in record numbers in Democrat-controlled cities like Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago for a long time.  But rather than addressing the problem of black-on-black crime, leftists beat up anyone who dares to mention it.  The American left insidiously creates a media firestorm over rare incidents in which a white person or cop shoots a black.

Chicago Democratic mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy said Mayor Emanuel does not support the police.  Well, duh – the mayor’s Democratic Party is part of the American left’s coalition spreading the lie that cops murder blacks on sight.

In typical leftist fashion, Emanuel accused McCarthy of pandering to Fox News and Trump-supporters.  Notice the misdirection in Emanuel’s response.  This is what leftists always do.  Rather than truthfully addressing the issue at hand, they change the subject by resorting to name-calling – racist, sexist, homophobic, and so on.

Kanye West, Candace Owens, and 37-year-old John James are part of a growing movement of younger blacks for whom the scales have fallen from their eyes.  They see the fraud of the Democratic Party and how it has been playin’ blacks for decades.  These young blacks pose a huge threat to the Democrat stranglehold on the minds of up-and-coming black youths.

For this reason, expect the Democrats, fake news, and Hollywood to do everything in their power to destroy John James in his quest to win the Senate race in November.  This patriotic brother will need your support and encouragement.  When the entire wrath of the American left descends about you, it can be extremely challenging.  Ask Sarah Palin.

John James, thanks for your outstanding military service to our country.  Congrats on your win in Michigan.  America truly appreciates you, and we who desire to see our country made great again have your back.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth
http://LloydMarcus.com

White Republican voters chose a black conservative over a white billionaire in Michigan.  How can that be?  Democrat Andre Carson of the Congressional Black Caucus said the Tea Party (conservatives and Republicans) is racist and wants to see blacks “hanging on a tree.” 

Folks, as a black Tea Party activist since 2008, I can tell you this is the evil slander of salt-of-the-earth patriotic white voters I have been fighting.  Black conservative John James won Michigan’s U.S. Senate Republican primary because he shares the values of most Americans.  James boldly expresses his desire to help Trump Make America Great Again.  Voters chose James because of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin, fulfilling the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

John James is a combat veteran endorsed by President Trump.  But wait a minute.  According to fake news media and Democrats, Trump hates blacks.  That’s another hate-generating evil lie promoted by the American left.

It is extremely exciting and refreshing to see a fellow black American in the political arena evoking traditional principles, which lead to real empowerment and success – not just for blacks, but for all Americans.  America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it.  And yet, evil leftists relentlessly seek to hide this truth from the masses, particularly minorities.  Leftists want blacks believing that white America schemes 24-7 to keep blacks down and that blacks’ only hope is to keep voting for Democrats.  Disgusting.

Ponder this, folks: most mega-rich black celebs worked their butts off, took risks, made responsible choices, and exploited the opportunities and blessing of living in America.  These blacks would not be enjoying the wealth, power, and influence they have earned had they followed the Democrats’ philosophy of relying on government to take care of them – allowing government to control every aspect of their lives.  So rather than wealthy blacks telling fellow blacks to follow their traditional path to success, they tell blacks to stick with the Democrats.  Rich blacks tell blacks to keep voting for Democrats to get more welfare.

Generational welfare leads to wasted lives, anger, poverty, out-of-wedlock births, and jail.  Wealthy blacks ignore this glaring truth and choose to join the American left in hating America, whites, conservatives, and Republicans.  This is extremely unfortunate and counterproductive.

If a white person suggests that urban blacks follow the same road to success as black millionaires, that white person is called a racist who obviously does not know what it is like to be black in this awful racist country.  If a black person suggests that blacks leave the Democrats’ government dependency plantation, stop having babies out of wedlock, stay in school, stop murdering each other, and assume responsibility for their lives, that black is called a sellout Uncle Tom who has abandoned his blackness.

Chicago just suffered another bloody weekend, one of the bloodiest in the city’s history: 74 people shot, 12 of them dead.  These egregious black deaths are the result of blacks murdering each other, not racist white cops.  Blacks have been murdering each other in record numbers in Democrat-controlled cities like Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago for a long time.  But rather than addressing the problem of black-on-black crime, leftists beat up anyone who dares to mention it.  The American left insidiously creates a media firestorm over rare incidents in which a white person or cop shoots a black.

Chicago Democratic mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy said Mayor Emanuel does not support the police.  Well, duh – the mayor’s Democratic Party is part of the American left’s coalition spreading the lie that cops murder blacks on sight.

In typical leftist fashion, Emanuel accused McCarthy of pandering to Fox News and Trump-supporters.  Notice the misdirection in Emanuel’s response.  This is what leftists always do.  Rather than truthfully addressing the issue at hand, they change the subject by resorting to name-calling – racist, sexist, homophobic, and so on.

Kanye West, Candace Owens, and 37-year-old John James are part of a growing movement of younger blacks for whom the scales have fallen from their eyes.  They see the fraud of the Democratic Party and how it has been playin’ blacks for decades.  These young blacks pose a huge threat to the Democrat stranglehold on the minds of up-and-coming black youths.

For this reason, expect the Democrats, fake news, and Hollywood to do everything in their power to destroy John James in his quest to win the Senate race in November.  This patriotic brother will need your support and encouragement.  When the entire wrath of the American left descends about you, it can be extremely challenging.  Ask Sarah Palin.

John James, thanks for your outstanding military service to our country.  Congrats on your win in Michigan.  America truly appreciates you, and we who desire to see our country made great again have your back.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth
http://LloydMarcus.com



Source link

Danger Ahead: The Game-Changer Drone


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.  The unease of rulers may result from personal factors, constant worry, lack of sleep, and guilt for past odious actions, but also often from fear of assassination.  The list is long of the sad stories of the deaths of murdered kings.  The Bible tells the story of Joab, commander of King David’s army, who killed the king’s rebellious son and rival, Absalom.

A quick survey of some of the well known victims illustrates the targeted killings.  Phillip II of Macedonia was assassinated in 336 B.C. and Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C.  For a number of centuries, the 8th through the 14th, an Islamic sect called the Assassins was active in the areas of what is now Iran and Syria, killing, often under influence of hashish, caliphs, viziers, sultans, and Crusaders for political and religious reasons.

The Renaissance illuminates a catalogue of tyrannicide.  Rulers and challengers for power continued to be subject to assassination, which then influenced official policy: Henry IV in France in 1610; Russian tsars Paul I and Alexander II and Rasputin in 1916; Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in May 1812, the only British prime minister to suffer this fate; Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914; and Leon Trotsky in Mexico City on August 21, 1940.

The U.S. has lost four presidents to assassins, and Huey Long in Baton Rouge on September 10, 1935; Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968; and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968.  In recent years, other countries have lost leaders or leading figures; among them are Mohandas Gandhi in Delhi on January 30, 1948; Anwar Sadat in Cairo on October 6, 1981; Olaf Palme in Stockholm on February 28, 1986; Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995; and Benazir Bhutto, prime minister in Pakistan and the first woman to head a democratic country in a Muslim-majority nation, in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

Though some attempts at assassination failed, the most memorable and significant being Operation Valkyrie, the attack on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 in his Wolf’s Lair field headquarters, most assassinations, successful or not, throughout history have been well planned, with perpetrators using crossbows, knives, firearms, bombs, car bombs, or poison.  An event in Venezuela on August 4, 2018 showed a new departure, the newest attempt at targeted killing of leaders, ominous in its implication.  At a military rally celebrating the National Guard in Caracas, attended by President Nicolás Maduro, at which he spoke, an alleged attack on him was made by two drones equipped with explosives.  Minor damage and casualties were caused in the failed attempt.  The world is now aware of this technique of assassination.

Few would mourn the loss of the 56-year-old Maduro, former bus driver, trade union leader, member of the Venezuela National Assembly, vice president and protégé of Hugo Chévez, whom he succeeded as president in April 2013.  In the election, widely seen as a “show election,” on May 20, 2018, Maduro was re-elected president for a term of six years.  His victory was predictable and inevitable, since opposition candidates were prevented from running, were arrested, or were in exile.  Maduro’s government had arrested the critical mayor of Caracas in February 2018, and the government controlled the electoral council.

Under Maduro’s rule, the rights of citizens have been abused by human rights violations; use of violence; repression; criminalization of demonstrations; arbitrary detention on false charges of conspiracy; rule by decree; drug money-laundering; profits from the cocaine business; military prosecution of civilians; and assault, torture, and assassination of critics.

Though Venezuela has large oil reserves, estimated to be the largest proven oil reserves in the world, the country has been plagued by economic mismanagement, by corruption, crime, high inflation, poverty, hunger, bad health, and malaria outbreaks.  Because of the poor conditions, a considerable number, reaching a million at one point, have left the country.

On July 31, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury, calling Maduro a “dictator,” who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people, imposed sanctions on him, froze his assets, and asserted that U.S. persons were prohibited from dealing with him.  This action came a day after Maduro held elections for an assembly that would replace the democratically elected National Assembly and would revise the constitution.

Already Maduro has blamed others for the attack: the ultra-right; U.S. citizens in Florida; individuals in Bogotá; the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos; Yankee imperialism, though not Russian collusion or Vladimir Putin.  In spite of this absurdity, his experience, genuine or a stage farce intended to dispose of political opponents held responsible and possibly charged with murder, treason, and terrorism, is important because of the use of drones as an instrument of assassination and the knowledge of accessible technology to produce drones.

Pilotless drones have some time been used for surveillance and more recently as risk-free remote killing instruments in military warfare.  They have been used against terrorists, and for the most part, they are accurate and reduce the risk of civilian casualties.  The U.S. has Predator drones in bases in Kuwait, Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, and Incirlik airbase in Turkey and has used them in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.  The U.K. in Syria has used “vacuum bombs” (thermobaric missiles) that suck oxygen to create a powerful high-temperature explosion.  Russia has used drones to jam U.S. signals.  Hamas has used drones against Israel, as has Hezb’allah, which, at an airstrip in North Lebanon, has deposited and later used various drones – Ababil-3, small with limited range, and the larger Shahed-129, similar to the U.S. Predator.  Hezb’allah boasts that it is a constant threat to Israel.

The danger to the world is immediate, as drones, unmanned flying objects, are proliferating.  Technology to produce them is accessible and does not require considerable funding.  Commercial drones are available to be used for violence.  The significance of the event in Venezuela is that it demonstrates that the use of drones is increasingly possible as a threat of assassination of political leaders.  The democratic world recognizes that safety and security measures are vitally needed.  The U.S. is responding with appropriate counter-technology.  Radio frequencies can be jammed.  Safety nets can be use to grab a drone near a high-risk area.  High-powered microwaves and compact laser weapons systems are being developed to dispose of drones.  It is comforting that the U.S. is beginning to see the light. 

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.  The unease of rulers may result from personal factors, constant worry, lack of sleep, and guilt for past odious actions, but also often from fear of assassination.  The list is long of the sad stories of the deaths of murdered kings.  The Bible tells the story of Joab, commander of King David’s army, who killed the king’s rebellious son and rival, Absalom.

A quick survey of some of the well known victims illustrates the targeted killings.  Phillip II of Macedonia was assassinated in 336 B.C. and Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C.  For a number of centuries, the 8th through the 14th, an Islamic sect called the Assassins was active in the areas of what is now Iran and Syria, killing, often under influence of hashish, caliphs, viziers, sultans, and Crusaders for political and religious reasons.

The Renaissance illuminates a catalogue of tyrannicide.  Rulers and challengers for power continued to be subject to assassination, which then influenced official policy: Henry IV in France in 1610; Russian tsars Paul I and Alexander II and Rasputin in 1916; Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in May 1812, the only British prime minister to suffer this fate; Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914; and Leon Trotsky in Mexico City on August 21, 1940.

The U.S. has lost four presidents to assassins, and Huey Long in Baton Rouge on September 10, 1935; Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968; and Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis on April 4, 1968.  In recent years, other countries have lost leaders or leading figures; among them are Mohandas Gandhi in Delhi on January 30, 1948; Anwar Sadat in Cairo on October 6, 1981; Olaf Palme in Stockholm on February 28, 1986; Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995; and Benazir Bhutto, prime minister in Pakistan and the first woman to head a democratic country in a Muslim-majority nation, in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

Though some attempts at assassination failed, the most memorable and significant being Operation Valkyrie, the attack on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 in his Wolf’s Lair field headquarters, most assassinations, successful or not, throughout history have been well planned, with perpetrators using crossbows, knives, firearms, bombs, car bombs, or poison.  An event in Venezuela on August 4, 2018 showed a new departure, the newest attempt at targeted killing of leaders, ominous in its implication.  At a military rally celebrating the National Guard in Caracas, attended by President Nicolás Maduro, at which he spoke, an alleged attack on him was made by two drones equipped with explosives.  Minor damage and casualties were caused in the failed attempt.  The world is now aware of this technique of assassination.

Few would mourn the loss of the 56-year-old Maduro, former bus driver, trade union leader, member of the Venezuela National Assembly, vice president and protégé of Hugo Chévez, whom he succeeded as president in April 2013.  In the election, widely seen as a “show election,” on May 20, 2018, Maduro was re-elected president for a term of six years.  His victory was predictable and inevitable, since opposition candidates were prevented from running, were arrested, or were in exile.  Maduro’s government had arrested the critical mayor of Caracas in February 2018, and the government controlled the electoral council.

Under Maduro’s rule, the rights of citizens have been abused by human rights violations; use of violence; repression; criminalization of demonstrations; arbitrary detention on false charges of conspiracy; rule by decree; drug money-laundering; profits from the cocaine business; military prosecution of civilians; and assault, torture, and assassination of critics.

Though Venezuela has large oil reserves, estimated to be the largest proven oil reserves in the world, the country has been plagued by economic mismanagement, by corruption, crime, high inflation, poverty, hunger, bad health, and malaria outbreaks.  Because of the poor conditions, a considerable number, reaching a million at one point, have left the country.

On July 31, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury, calling Maduro a “dictator,” who disregards the will of the Venezuelan people, imposed sanctions on him, froze his assets, and asserted that U.S. persons were prohibited from dealing with him.  This action came a day after Maduro held elections for an assembly that would replace the democratically elected National Assembly and would revise the constitution.

Already Maduro has blamed others for the attack: the ultra-right; U.S. citizens in Florida; individuals in Bogotá; the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos; Yankee imperialism, though not Russian collusion or Vladimir Putin.  In spite of this absurdity, his experience, genuine or a stage farce intended to dispose of political opponents held responsible and possibly charged with murder, treason, and terrorism, is important because of the use of drones as an instrument of assassination and the knowledge of accessible technology to produce drones.

Pilotless drones have some time been used for surveillance and more recently as risk-free remote killing instruments in military warfare.  They have been used against terrorists, and for the most part, they are accurate and reduce the risk of civilian casualties.  The U.S. has Predator drones in bases in Kuwait, Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, and Incirlik airbase in Turkey and has used them in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.  The U.K. in Syria has used “vacuum bombs” (thermobaric missiles) that suck oxygen to create a powerful high-temperature explosion.  Russia has used drones to jam U.S. signals.  Hamas has used drones against Israel, as has Hezb’allah, which, at an airstrip in North Lebanon, has deposited and later used various drones – Ababil-3, small with limited range, and the larger Shahed-129, similar to the U.S. Predator.  Hezb’allah boasts that it is a constant threat to Israel.

The danger to the world is immediate, as drones, unmanned flying objects, are proliferating.  Technology to produce them is accessible and does not require considerable funding.  Commercial drones are available to be used for violence.  The significance of the event in Venezuela is that it demonstrates that the use of drones is increasingly possible as a threat of assassination of political leaders.  The democratic world recognizes that safety and security measures are vitally needed.  The U.S. is responding with appropriate counter-technology.  Radio frequencies can be jammed.  Safety nets can be use to grab a drone near a high-risk area.  High-powered microwaves and compact laser weapons systems are being developed to dispose of drones.  It is comforting that the U.S. is beginning to see the light. 



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