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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Fear’ by Jan T. Gross Shows That Murdering Jews in Europe Didn’t End with Defeat of the Germans; ‘Ordinary’ Polish Gentiles Murdered Their Neighbors in Kielce in July 1946 — Among Many Other Locales

Posted by kinchendavid on July 31, 2006

Reviewed By David M. Kinchen

Hinton, WV  – The cruelty and depravity of “ordinary” people – to use a word popularized by both Daniel J. Goldhagen and his rival Christopher R. Browning – never fails to amaze me. Most particularly, the murder of Jews surviving the destruction of more than 90 percent of Poland’s 3.5-million-strong Jewish community was a fact of life in many cities and towns in postwar Poland and is vividly described by Jan T. Gross in “Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz” (Random House, $25.95, 336 pages, illustrated, indexed, sources, bibliography).

Gross created a firestorm of controversy with the publication by the Princeton University Press (where Gross teaches) of “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland” (2001), which showed that not only the occupying Germans were murdering Polish Jews, but also their Gentile neighbors. Half the Polish Catholic residents of the town clubbed, burned and dismembered the town’s 1,600 Jews in July 1941, killing all but seven. A government commission in Poland found that not only did Gross get his facts right but that many other cities had done exactly the same thing, something that Browning (see below) confirmed. In 1938, Jews numbered about 3.5 million, fully 10 percent of Poland’s 35 million people.

While the Germans ended up killing about 3 million non-Jewish Poles, only the Jews – as well as gypsies or Roma — were targeted as part of Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

“Fear” deals with several incidents of wartime Poland, including the cheering of Polish Gentiles as the Germans obliterated the Warsaw Ghetto in April 1943, during the uprising of Jews against their tormenters (pages 171-2). Shop girls and secretaries laughed about the Germans turning Jews into “cutlets” as the SS used flamethrowers to kill the militants who had held off the Nazis for weeks.

Gross concentrates on the murder of more than 80 Polish Jews in the town of Kielce on July 4, 1946, triggered by a an eight-year-old boy who falsely claimed he had been kidnapped by Jews and held in a basement. The pogrom, vividly described by Gross from reports of survivors and eyewitnesses, fits into a pattern described by Goldhagen in “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” (Knopf, 1996).

The book includes photos of the victims, including a young mother named Regina Fisz, who was butchered along with her newborn son who was shot in the head by her murderers pretending to be policemen protecting her. After reading the passage describing this atrocity (Pages 104-106), I asked myself “what God would permit this?” That night I had a nightmare about Kielce. Strangely, Gross includes only one reference to Goldhagen in his bibliography. Maybe it’s not so strange, as professional historians have long objected to sociologist Goldhagen writing about history; Gross, a sociologist himself, seems to be no exception. Gross is kinder to Christopher R. Browning’s “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 103 and the Final Solution in Poland” (1998) quoting Browning: (Page 179: about the role played by Poles in “rounding up and killing local Jews. We can gauge from this one example what a devastating impact the collusion of the local population had on the fate of those Jews who attempted to hide from their Nazi murderers. In Jozefow, Browning writes: ‘Poles help roust Jews from their dwellings and revealed Jewish hiding places in garden bunkers or behind double walls. Even after the Germans had finished searching, Poles continued to bring individual Jews to the marketplace throughout the afternoon.’”

To me this sounds a lot like the “willing executioners” so well described in Goldhagen’s best-selling book, which was honored by the Germans themselves shortly after it was published.

Gross says that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church – with the one shining exception of the Bishop of Czestochowa, Teodor Kubina — not only failed to condemn the pogrom at Kielce, but tried to explain it away, even raising the hoary lie of ritual murder. Bishop Kubina, Gross recounts, “spoke forcefully and unambiguously against anti-Semitism and the lie of ritual murder and he was promptly reprimanded by fellow bishops for having done so.” (Page 135).

Again, Gross and others writing about the role of the Catholic Church echo what Goldhagen says in his second controversial book, “A Moral Reckoning : The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair” (Knopf, 2002). I read this book when it was published and found it very helpful in understanding Roman Catholic Church’s state of denial that persists to the present over the destruction of Europe’s six million (at least three million from Poland) Jews.

Goldhagen, who was turned down for tenure at Harvard – surely a major miscarriage of the politics of academe – is the Rodney Dangerfield of Holocaust writers, getting little or no respect from his peers. Books like the two by Gross, along with “Cruel World” by Lynne Nicholas, which I recently reviewed, and “Witnesses of War” by Nicholas Stargardt (Knopf, 2006), which I soon will review, only serve to show how on target was Goldhagen’s 1996 book – as well as his 2002 volume “A Moral Reckoning.” Gross deals extensively with the conflating by Poles – especially the Roman Catholic Church – of Jews with Communism. It’s called “zydokomuna” or “Judeo-Communism” in Polish. He demonstrates that, while young Jews may have been initially attracted to Bolshevism in Russia because it ended the anti-Semitic rule of the Czars and – initially – promised an end to Jew hatred, the anti-Semitism of Joseph Stalin proved to be even worse. His various purges succeeded in eliminating Jews from positions of power from the top down, including the 1940 assassination of Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein), the brilliant organizer of the Red Army and the biggest threat to Stalin’s hegemony.

In Poland, the young Polish republic succeeded in defeating the Bolsheviks and banned the Polish Communist Party in 1918-22. Polish Jews, Gross demonstrates through voting lists in the country’s largest cities, aligned themselves with forces of Polish nationalism, Bundists (a Yiddish Marxist labor organization) or Zionists, not Communism, despite the stereotyping of the Catholic Church in their attempt to explain away ingrained Polish anti-Semitism.

Here is Gross (Page 198) describing Jewish voting habits in pre-WWII Poland: “Contrary to the myth of the ‘Jewish Communist,’ Jews provided only a small fraction of the electoral support of the communist parties. The evidence shows that not only were the overwhelming number of Jews not communist supporters but the vast majority of communist voters were not Jews.”

Gross points out that a 2004 survey by a Polish magazine found that 40 percent of those polled believed that Jews ran Poland – in a nation of 39 million people that has less than 20,000 Jews! He says that by 1949, from a combination of pogroms and emigration to Israel, the U.S., Canada, Australia and other countries, the nation’s approximately 200,000 surviving Jews had emigrated — finally achieved what Hitler set out to do in 1939: turn Poland into a country without Jews. Unfortunately, it resonates today as an anti-Semitic country, albeit one without a necessary ingredient of anti-Semitism: Jews. But, of course, most Muslim countries are Jew-free and they are as anti-Semitic as Nazi Germany.

Other stereotypes dealt with by Gross – and thoroughly demolished – include one held by both Russians and Poles that Jews couldn’t fight and were draft dodgers. In fact, of all the “nationalities” in the Red Army during that phase of World War II dubbed “The Great Patriotic War” when Russia fought with the allies – from June 22, 1941 on – Jews were third in the numbers receiving wartime heroism medals, Gross points out. They also fought in the Polish Army and – as the April 1943 Warsaw Uprising and other events showed – were valiant fighting men and women. More than a few of the Russian and Polish Jews became the nucleus of the armed forces that became the Israeli Defense Forces that defeated much larger combined Arab armies – many of them led by British officers – during the birth of Israel beginning in 1948. Quoting Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz — “Let it be stated here clearly the Party / Descends directly from the fascist Right,” Gross notes that “Poland’s Communist rulers fulfilled the dream of Polish nationalists by bringing into existence an ethnically pure state.” (Page 243).

Gross: “As to the persistence of the zydokomuna myth in popular memory one may attribute it among other reasons, to an attempt by complicitous Poles to deflect their own guilt over having contributed to the triumph of Communism.”

In his summation, Gross says that the postwar anti-Semitic pogroms in Poland occurred because “Jews were perceived as a threat to the material status quo, security, and peaceful conscience of their Christian fellow citizens after the war because they had been plundered and because what remained of Jewish property, as well as Jews’ social roles, had been assumed by Polish neighbors in tacit and often directly opportunistic complicity with Nazi-instigated institutional mass murder.” (P. 247).

The “Fear” of the title was operative on both sides: Gentile Poles feared Jews and had to destroy them or drive them out of the country. Jan T. Gross has written a truly masterful work of history and sociology in “Fear.” About the author:

Jan Tomasz Gross is the Norman B. Tomlinson ’16 and ’48 Professor of War and Society at Princeton University. He grew up in a Jewish family in Poland and attending Warsaw University, he emigrated to the United States in 1969 after being imprisoned during the March 1968 events. He later earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University, and he has taught at Yale, NYU, and Paris, in addition to Princeton.

Publisher’s web site: http://www.randomhouse.com


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MANN TALK: Androcentrism Augurs Apocalypse

Posted by kinchendavid on July 30, 2006

By Perry Mann

Hinton, WV   – “Mother Earth is a nurturing home of all life and should be revered and loved as in premodern (Paleolithic and archaic) societies. Ecosystematic malaise and abuse is rooted in androcentric concepts, values, and institutions. The many problems of human relations, and relations between the human and non-human worlds, will not be resolved until androcentric institutions, values¸ and ideology are eradicated.” (The words are those of Max Oelschlaeger quoted by Edward O. Wilson in a piece titled “Is humanity suicidal?”)


The title translated: Man’s centeredness bespeaks disaster; that is, man’s belief that he is the center piece of earth and the universe; that he has an immortal soul; that he is God’s chosen; that he is independent of all other life and Earth herself; and that he can build an environment that better suits him and flourish in it and in the process neglect, abuse and even destroy the environment in which he evolved—is a suicidal belief, if implemented speedily on the present track.


Man believed that his planet was the planet that was at the center of the Universe. He believed that the sun revolved around his planet. But Copernicus disabused him of the illusion. Man believed that God created the earth and the heaven and all else, including him in His image, in a few days. Darwin disabused him of this illusion. Man believed that God created the earth and all that is on it for his comfort and convenience. Man has pursued his comfort and convenience in a frenzy of indulgence all to the detriment and inconvenience and even extinction of other life. His androcentrism and purblindness have induced him to propagate himself to the point where standing room on Mother Earth is becoming scarce, elbowing to the margins all other life.


In short, he has in his hubris and arrogance pillaged and plundered and polluted the earth to an extent that his and all life is in danger of extinction. His arrogance and hubris will disabuse him of his androcentrism— apocalyptically—unless he sees the errors of his way. 


Edward O. Wilson in his piece profiles Earth’s protagonists and Earth’s antagonists in this war of Earth’s survival. The antagonists in his view are dubbed exemptionalists and he describes them as follows: “[They hold] that since humankind is transcendent in intelligence and spirit, so must also our species have been released from the iron laws of ecology that bind the remainder of life. No matter how serious the problem, civilized human beings, by ingenuity, force of will, and —who knows—maybe divine dispensation, will find a solution.”


Wilson profiles the protagonists: “When expressed as a full-grown philosophy as opposed to a mere cautionary sentiment, [environmentalists see] humanity as a biological species tightly dependent on the natural world. As formidable as our intellect may be and as fierce our spirit, the argument goes, they are not enough to free us from the constraints of the natural environment in which human ancestors have evolved.”


The problem of population growth to the exemptionalists is a no brainer: Its good for the economy and also it is a basic human right. But China with a billon or more souls on acres less than the acres of this country has restricted the number of children a family can conceive and birth. When this country reaches a population of a billion souls, who can doubt but that pro-lifers crowded and living cheek by jowl with many of the billions will have second thoughts about their position in regard to abortion? The earth cannot sustain an infinite number of humans, particularly, an infinite number wheeled by air-conditioned autos spewing tons of the stuff that kill us into the atmosphere.   


The environmentalists’s view is: “Many of the earth’s vital resources are about to be exhausted, her atmospheric chemistry is deteriorating and human populations have already grown dangerously large. Natural ecosystems, the wellspings of a healthful environment, are being irreversibly degraded.”

Further the environmentalists say: “Earth is our home in the full, genetic sense, where humanity and its ancestors existed for all the millions of years of their evolution. Natural ecosystems—forests, coral reefs, marine blue waters—maintain the world exactly as we would wish it to be maintained. Our body and mind evolved precisely to live in this particular planetary environment and no other.”


“Ecosystematic malaise and abuse is rooted in androcentric concepts, values, and institutions.” Man believes he is the center of the Universe. Thus, all else is subordinate and subject to his whim, want and desire. The rape of nature is not a crime since she was created for his pleasure. His values and morals are confined to that which is relevant only to humans. To kill other life is morally right. To do to other life what would be a crime to do to his brothers and sisters is no crime. His institutions reflect his belief in his divine creation and his authority over all creation. He has instituted capitalism which to all other life is the ultimate scourge, the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse in one on steroids.


A scourge equal to capitalism is religion, particularly that religion that believes God made man in His image and created the earth and all upon it for the benefit of man. This belief gives man carte blanche to convert the forests of the world into paper, lumber, and all else he can contrive from it for his convenience and profit, to dig up every resource that is profitable without regard to the hurt to the earth, to fish the oceans empty to supply his table, to drill and mine, to top mountains and fill streams, to extract nature’s treasures to warm his winters and cool his summers without any regard to the cost to come or to the cost  to all the other life that is related to him and sustains him. Man is the only species that is a threat to all other species.  


Revelation is a madman’s dream. But man’s centeredness is no dream but is  a nightmare of reality—an apocalypse— unless he can understand that he is an animal among animals and plants and related to all animals and plants and dependent on the welfare of all animals and plants for his survival as a species. And that all other life on this planet is dependent upon man to use his reason and conscience to maintain and enhance that which Nature devised to humankind.


                        * * * *

Perry Mann is a former teacher, a  lawyer, a former prosecuting attorney of Summers County and a regular columnist for the Nicholas Chronicle in Summersville and Huntington News Network. Born in Charleston, WV, in 1921, he lives in Hinton and on a farm in Forest Hill, Summers County.     



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PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Mainstream Media, PC Law Enforcement Trying to Explain Away Seattle Terrorist Attack

Posted by kinchendavid on July 30, 2006

“Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive” – Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)

By David M. Kinchen


Hinton, WVSpin control is operative in the news accounts I’ve read about the terrorist attack at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on Friday, July 29, 2006 that resulted in the death of one woman and severe injuries to several more. At least 3 women are in critical condition as I write.


Both Reuters and the L.A. Times quickly decided this was the act of a deranged man acting alone, not a terrorist attack. They grudgingly quoted police and city officials who are treating it as a hate crime.


Yes, it’s a terrorist attack when Muslims attack Jews. End of story.


This is a phenomenon happening all over Europe that is underreported by our MSM (mainstream media). Why? They don’t want to offend the peaceable Muslims, the same peace-loving types who slash the throats of Dutch filmmakers and cause Danish cartoonists to go into hiding. The same cartoonists are now portraying Israel as the reincarnation of Nazi Germany and aren’t afraid of being attacked by Jews. Jews in Stockholm are being advised not to call attention to themselves with distinctive Jewish skullcaps; I wonder if Muslims are receiving the same advice?


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a particularly sympathetic account of this terrorist, saying that:


“Those who knew Naveed Haq said Saturday that to them he was an enigma, a puzzle that they wish they could have solved before his deadly rampage in a Seattle Jewish center.

“Stunned and saddened by the news, some of Haq’s acquaintances recounted many of what they saw as the contradictions of his life.

“He held a degree in electrical engineering and was the son of a successful engineer, yet he couldn’t keep a regular job. He was smart, creative and skilled as a writer. He recently won an essay contest for a U.S. Institute of Peace scholarship.

“Yet Haq was frustrated at his lack of friends and female companionship.He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity.

“Haq had begun studying the Bible, attending weekly men’s spiritual group meetings, only to stop coming a few months after his baptism.

“He had told the group’s leader that he seen too much anger in Islam and that he wanted to find a new beginning in Christianity.

“Yet in the midst of his shooting spree in Seattle Friday, he declared himself an angry Muslim.

“Acquaintances said he never seemed the fanatic religious extremist he played out on Friday. Instead some think his anger was really directed at problems in his personal and professional life.”


So, P-I reporter, what do you want me to do, feel sorry for a would-be mass murderer because he couldn’t get his life together?


The Seattle Times, city’s the other big daily, tells us that the murder of one woman and the wounding of five others will be considered murder and attempted murder, rather than federal hate-crimes: “The man accused of barging into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and killing one woman and wounding five others will be prosecuted on state murder and attempted-murder charges rather than federal hate-crime laws, officials said.

“Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, appeared Saturday before Seattle District Court Judge Barbara Linde, who set bail at $50 million. Haq, wearing a King County Jail uniform, stood silent before the judge, occasionally whispering to his attorney.”

Again, in an attempt to humanize this terrorist, The Seattle Times printed a “We are shocked” statement from Haq’s family, repeating the familiar mantra that attacks on Jews are “utterly contrary to our beliefs and Islamic values. We have always believed and practiced in fostering love, peace and harmony with everyone, irrespective of religion, race and ethnicity.”

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske credited one of the victims, Dayna Klein, who is 17 weeks pregnant, with acting heroically and helping calm the explosive situation. Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said authorities are treating the shooting as a hate crime based on conversations with police during the rampage. Haq selected the Federation after doing a Web search looking for “something Jewish,” Kerlikowske said.


Here’s my advice: Follow the Chief’s advice and treat this both as a hate crime AND a murder and lock Haq up forever.


Advice to Jewish Centers around the nation: Do as the Los Angeles Israeli consulate does and hire Israeli guards who are more than just night watchmen. I’ve been in the consulate and the guards there make Chuck Norris and Sly Stallone look like 97-pound weaklings.


We send our condolences to the family of the dead woman, Pamela Waechter, 58, and to the other women who were shot in this cowardly act of terrorism.


We also stand in awe and pride of Davna Klein, who according to news accounts “after she was shot in the forearm covering her abdomen, she still rushed to call police and stayed on the line even as the gunman warned her to hang up the phone, the chief said.”



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‘ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW’: ‘Let’s Do The Time-Warp Again’ Midnight Friday at Huntington’s Cinema Theatre

Posted by kinchendavid on July 30, 2006

By Tony Rutherford

Huntington, WV  — The midnight movie that sparked other campy midnight showings returns to Huntington, Friday, August 4, 2006 at the Cinema Theatre, 1021 Fourth Avenue, Huntington.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975, directed by Jim Sharman) prior to its video release set records across the country as people turned out weekly to mimic the characters, dress as their favorite character, sing a long with the soundtrack (and even shout dialogue back) , hoist lighters in the air, and dance in theatre aisles. The cast includes Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick and Meatloaf.

When “Rocky Horror” begins its Friday midnight run at the Cinema, a few rules have been mandated by the management. Essentially, you can interact or shadow, but you can NOT toss items at the screen. One of the reasons that “Rocky” vanished from occasional showings related to the amount of janitorial clean up of the auditorium. Bottom Line: IF you want the flick to stay awhile, leave the toast, rice and other projectiles at home.

However, the odyssey of virginal Janet, Brad, her nerdish fiancé, the lecturing Dr. Scott, the transsexual Dr. Frank ‘n Furter, and the just ‘born’ Rocky has a wealth of opportunities for fun and interaction without messing up the theatre.

During prior runs at the Cinema and Camelot, “Rocky Horror” turned Friday nights into Halloween costume party gatherings, as audience members dressed like the out of this world characters. Although a few are regulars at costuming, the showings brought out occasional newbies who waddled in their girl friend or sister’s high heels as she beamed about the make up job she did on him.

Greater Huntington Theatre Corporation and WKEE FM are the sponsors for the midnight movie series.

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Arab Nations Are Lebanon’s Real Enemies

Posted by kinchendavid on July 28, 2006


By Joseph J. Honick

Bainbridge Island, WA There is a term – “benign neglect” — that often causes problems because theoretically good friends, siblings or parents who say they care also forget to show it sufficiently so that others can see this caring.

To read and hear the breathless commentary coming out the Hezbollah/Israeli conflict, one would believe the Jewish state has declared war on the nation of Lebanon with whom it historically enjoyed reasonably good relations.

It’s a lie, despite the imbalanced journalism out of various networks whose correspondents are either crowded into some safe studios or otherwise protected from most of the bombings. They seem to be in such profusion, not just from CNN and other American outlets, but from all over the world. How can a crowd of such people gather to see this conflict without one bomb from either side doing them in?

I cannot answer this question, but it is clear that there are many unreported facts that should be in the consumer media as well as the more formal publications like Foreign Affairs or an excellent industry sheet like O’Dwyer’s PR Newsletter. The latter for some time has reported the many millions dumped into the coffers of just one American PR/Lobbying firm, Qorvis, to sell the Saudi Arabian ideas and to say nasty things about Israel. And those are just the millions poured into an American firm, millions you have never read about in your daily newspaper or heard on the so called evening news or even seen in the flood of blogs that occupy the internet.

I cannot say why this is so, but there it is. It seems to have little to do with one’s political leanings to Republican or Democrats, though it is interesting that the more conservative elements have seen through the plethora of Arab propaganda without asking some key questions or permitting historical perspective to balance the rest of what we read and hear.

In the end, those Arab countries who have done their best to destabilize Israel for more than two generations, even before the state was born, have much to answer for — as does the so called “international community” which was impotent while holocausts were taking place in Africa and elsewhere but wide awake when it came time to condemn Israel.

Worse than Arab destabilization efforts have been their phony support for the Palestinian refugees. It would be futile to find really positive efforts by the oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others to build hospitals, schools, factories and other institutions that could have helped Palestinians to become competitive and productive people without having to rely on employment in Israel, employment cut short by terrorists who worried that peace might actually break out eventually.

Lacking such efforts, the field was left free to terrorists like Hezbollah, Hamas and others to look like saviors while preaching hatred to generations of young Palestinians who became proud suicide bombers and recruits to terror. Of course, the media never publish photographs and articles that feature wealthy Palestinians who seem to distance themselves from the refugees not very far from where they live.

One key question why such questions are never raised by even the most leading and legitimate commentators here and abroad?

Unlike Israel, whose population and geography are virtual specks in relation to her neighbors and the armies, Arab nations have never had a problem to let American put their men and women at risk in their behalf. The same bleating United Nations that so readily condemned Israel in the current campaign did not have the capacity to gain admission for Israel to the International Red Cross for more than 50 years.

Israel is entitled to search out and destroy terrorists like Hezbollah who choose to fight behind the shields of innocent people, from schools, churches and even hospitals so they can then charge Israelis with purposely hitting defenseless civilians — the kinds of people specifically targeted by Hezbollah in Israeli cities and villages.

Could it be that Hezbollah is not only a surrogate for Iran and Syria but the Saudis, Kuwaitis and others who seem not to suffer problems from these terrorist groups which seem to have huge financial resources to pay for immensely expensive rockets and other deadly arsenals? And why does no one ask?

In the end, despite the crocodile tears of governments who should be helping to avoid such conflicts, the real enemies of Lebanon as well as Israel remain the major Arab nations who always seem to lack the will to help themselves except to our money at the gas pump. Only in this and so many other instances over time, the neglect could hardly be called “benign.”

Joseph J. Honick is a contributing columnist to DavidKinchen.com and Huntington News Network and is President of GMA International Ltd.


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GUEST COMMENTARY: Why the World Should Stand Back and Let Israel Do What It Has to Do

Posted by kinchendavid on July 28, 2006


By Dave Wilson
Captain (Ret.) U.S. Navy

When I was in the Navy, I once witnessed a bar fight in downtown Olongapo (Philippines) that still haunts my dreams. The fight was between a big oafish Marine and a rather soft-spoken, medium sized Latino sailor from my ship.


All evening the Marine had been trying to pick a fight with one of us and had finally set his sights on this diminutive shipmate of mine…figuring him for a safe target. When my friend refused to be goaded into a fight the Marine sucker punched him from behind on the side of the head so hard that blood instantly started to pour from this poor man’s mutilated ear.


Everyone present was horrified and was prepared to absolutely murder this Marine, but my shipmate quickly turned on him and began to single-handedly back him towards a corner with a series of stinging jabs and upper cuts that gave more than a hint to a youth spent boxing in a small gym in the Bronx.


Each punch opened a cut on the Marine’s startled face and by the time he had been backed completely into the corner he was blubbering for someone to stop the fight. He invoked his split lips and chipped teeth as reasons to stop the fight. He begged us to stop the fight because he could barely see through the river of blood that was pouring out of his split and swollen brows.


Nobody moved. Not one person.


The only sound in the bar was the sickening staccato sound of this sailor’s lightning fast fists making contact with new areas of the Marine’s head. The only sound I have heard since that was remotely similar was from the first Rocky film when Sylvester Stallone was punching sides of beef in the meat locker.


Finally the Marine’s pleading turned to screams…. a high, almost womanly shriek. And still the punches continued relentlessly. Several people in the bar took a few tentative steps as though they wanted to try to break it up at that point, but hands reached out from the crowd and held them tight. I’m not ashamed to say that mine were two of the hands that held someone back. You see, in between each blow the sailor had begun chanting a soft cadence: “Say [punch] you [punch] give [punch] up [punch]… say [punch] you [punch]were [punch] wrong [punch]”.


He had been repeating it to the Marine almost from the start but we only became aware of it when the typical barroom cheers had died down and we began to be sickened by the sight and sound of the carnage.


This Marine stood there shrieking in the corner of the bar trying futilely to block the carefully timed punches that were cutting his head to tatters… right down to the skull in places. But he refused to say that he gave up… or that he was wrong.


Even in the delirium of his beating he believed in his heart that someone would stop the fight before he had to admit defeat. I’m sure this strategy had served him well in the past and had allowed him to continue on his career as a barroom bully.


Finally, in a wail of agony the Marine shrieked “I give up”, and we gently backed the sailor away from him.


I’m sure you can guess why I have shared this story today.


I’m not particularly proud to have been witness to such a bloody spectacle, and the sound of that Marine’s woman-like shrieks will haunt me to my grave. But I learned something that evening that Israel had better learn for itself if it is to finally be rid of at least one of its tormentors:


This is one time an Arab aggressor must be allowed to be beaten so badly that every civilized nation will stand in horror, wanting desperately to step in and stop the carnage… but knowing that the fight will only truly be over when one side gives up and finally admits defeat.


Just as every person who had ever rescued that bully from admitting defeat helped create the cowardly brute I saw that evening in the bar, every well-intentioned power that has ever stepped in and negotiated a ceasefire for an Arab aggressor has helped create the monsters we see around us today.


President Lahoud of Lebanon, a big Hezbollah supporter and a close ally of Syria, has been shrieking non-stop to the UN Security Council for the past two days to get them to force Israel into a cease fire.


Clearly he has been reading his autographed copy of ‘Military Success for Dummies Arab Despots’ by the late Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Ever since Nasser accidentally discovered the trick in ’56, every subsequent Arab leader has stuck to his tried and true formula for military success:

Instigate a war.


Once the war is well underway and you are in the process of having your ass handed to you… get a few world powers to force your western opponent into a cease fire.


Whatever you do, don’t surrender or submit to any terms dictated by your enemy. That would ruin everything! All you have to do is wait it out and eventually the world will become sickened at what is being done to your soldiers and civilian population… and will force a truce.


Once a truce has been called you can resume your intransigence (which probably caused the conflict in the first place), and even declare victory as your opponent leaves the field of battle.


This tactic has never failed. Not once.


In fact it worked so well for the Egyptians in 1973, that to this day they celebrate the Yom Kippur War — a crushing defeat at the hands of Israel — as a military victory! No kidding… it’s a national holiday over there!


President Lahoud has already begun to shriek like a school girl to the UN Security Council to “Stop the violence and arrange a cease-fire, and then after that we’ll be ready to discuss all matters.”


Uh huh. Forgive me if I find that a tad hard to swallow. He allowed Hezbollah to take over his country. He allowed the regular Lebanese army to provide radar targeting data for the Hezbollah missile that struck the Israeli destroyer.

He has turned a blind eye while Iranian and Syrian weapons, advisers and money have poured into his country. And now that his country is in ruins he wants to call it a draw.


As much as it may sicken the world to stand by and watch it happen, strong hands need to hold back the weak-hearted and let the fight continue until one side finally admits unambiguous defeat.




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GUEST COMMENTARY: Upcoming Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by kinchendavid on July 27, 2006

By  Tom Proebsting 

Moberly, MOThe Democratic Republic of Congo will be holding free elections soon, the first since they declared their independence from Belgium in 1960. After 32 years of rule by dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and several years of wars involving six other nations, the DRC may be ready for a change.


The United Nations has a peacekeeping force of 17,000 stationed in the mineral-rich nation. Election watchers from the South African Observer Mission will be in place until August to observe all phases of the election, including campaigns, voting, and ballet counting.


The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire, is the third richest African nation in mineral wealth. They boast 30% of the world’s diamonds. They also have copper, cobalt, gold, silver, and bauxite. The DRC even has an abundance of coltan, an essential element in cell phones. Much of this wealth is concentrated in the Katanga province, where the current president, Joseph Kabila, grew up.


Mr. Kabila assumed power in the Congo after the assassination of his then-president father, Laurent-Desire Kabila in 2001. He is a frontrunner in this Sunday’s elections. The voting selection offers a huge choice: 32 presidential and 9700 parliamentary candidates.


Not all is rosy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, however. Most of the villages have no TV’s, newspapers or electricity. Residents fetch water from wells. There are few roads and few jobs. The unemployment rates sits at 70%.


For its transportation needs, the region relies on maritime transport from Kisangani to the capital city of Kinshasa (both are Congolese cities). The transport continues to the port of Matadi (another Congo city) on the river Congo — which empties into the Atlantic Ocean — by rail to Kinshesa. There is an airport in the capital.


Many citizens cannot read or write, creating severe problems for the elections. After so many decades of being a colony and being run as a dictatorship, the nation is a humanitarian disaster zone. Its infrastructure was destroyed by years of war.


The problems of the DRC get worse. In spite of the peace agreement of 2003, the conflict continues, especially in the Katanga province where most of the wealth and corruption exist. Up to 1200 people die every day, 600 of them children. Most die from the ongoing conflict, disease, and famine.


The civil war lasted from 1998 to 2003. As many as four million died during it. There are now 2.5 million displaced persons, some living in tents or hovels.


Another problem is the already mentioned mineral-rich region of Katanga, where Human Rights Watch visited and reported on earlier this year. The Mai Mai’s, who formed to fight the invading armies of the earlier wars, are now waging an insurgency against the government. Their turf, centered in Katanga, is known as “The Triangle of Death.” They are terrorizing the locals with murder, torture, and rape.


The Congolese army was sent in to secure the strife-torn region and they used murder, arbitrary arrests, torture and rape against the Mai Mai’s, real or suspected. Their brutal counter-attack was only matched by the brutality of the rebels. In addition, the Army has war criminals from the previous conflicts, traitors and murderers. They infiltrate the ranks even up to the officers.


Finally, the situation of the Congolese runaway children is horrendous. Tens of thousands of children leave home because they are turned out or family violence forces them out. Without family care and support, they endure physical, emotional and sexual abuse by law enforcement personnel and ordinary citizens.


These severely abused children are robbed of a home, an education, their health, and their souls. They are the future of their nation.


The Democratic Republic of Congo plans its national presidential and parliamentary elections this Sunday, July 30, 2006. Many citizens are unaware of what democracy is, only knowing colonization, dictatorship, and wars. They know and trust tribalism and little else.


The upcoming vote is a positive development, but can it make a dent in the real Congo? How much improvement can an election bring when there is no infra-structure, when conflict still rages, when there are no jobs, when few are educated, and where life is short, nasty and brutish?


                       * * *

Tom Proebsting is a writer and blogger in Missouri. Tom Proebsting, 823 N. Ault St. Moberly, MO 65270

                     e-mail: truthprobe777@yahoo.com

Proebsting invites comments. Reply to: http://truthprobe.blogspot.com





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GUEST COMMENTARY: Students for Academic Freedom Exposes Florida Report as a Smokescreen; Policies protecting students’ academic freedom are non-existent on state campuses

Posted by kinchendavid on July 27, 2006

By Sara Dogan

National Campus Director,

Students for Academic Freedom

A recent report from Florida’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability requested by the Florida state legislature purports to illustrate the extent of current academic freedom policies for both students and faculty at public colleges and universities in the state. But an examination by Students for Academic Freedom of the specific policies and procedures in place in Florida state colleges and universities reveals that the report is a typical bureaucratic smokescreen and no such protections even exist.

The report claims that “All Florida public postsecondary institutions have language and policies addressing academic freedom.” Despite this assertion, the report omits any reference to specific policies providing students with clearly-defined academic freedom rights or specific links to where they might be found on official websites.

SAF’s examination of the student academic freedom policies at several public universities in the state reveals exactly why this is: The policies do not exist. While Florida’s colleges and universities typically have policies addressing academic freedom, these statements are almost universally dedicated to faculty and their responsibilities and do not offer any clear definitions of students’ rights.

The report in fact concedes this, with statements like, “academic freedom statements generally do not extensively address student rights” and “faculty grievance policies are more specific to academic freedom than are student grievance policies.” In other words, student grievance policies do not cover students’ academic freedom rights.

Despite the report’s failure to cite a single comprehensive policy on students’ academic freedom, media sources and opponents of the Academic Bill of Rights took the report’s assertions that current academic freedom protections for students are in place at face value, prompting SAF to undertake this further evaluation of the report.

Students for Academic Freedom is a national movement to promote intellectual diversity and to restore educational values to America’s institutions of higher learning. The organization recommends that colleges and universities adopt an Academic Bill of Rights to ensure that these principles are respected. The Academic Bill of Rights is available on the organization’s website at www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Twilight in the Desert’ Offers Convincing Proof That Saudi Oil Reserves are Exaggerated; Author Urges ‘Trust but Verify’

Posted by kinchendavid on July 27, 2006

Reviewed By David M. Kinchen

Hinton, WV  – I missed reading one of the most important books of 2005, “Twilight in the Desert” by Matthew R. Simmons (John Wiley & Sons, 448 pages, $24.95, just out in paperback for $16.95 with 464 pages). I saw a copy of the book on the coffee table of my host while visiting Chicago earlier this month and began reading it. I took it with me on the train and decided to review it (Don’t worry, Greg, I’ll send it back!)

Subtitled “The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy,” this important book by a Texas investment banker – he’s CEO of Houston-based Simmons & Company International, specializing in energy – disputes the claims that Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest petroleum reserves and can ramp up production to meet any demand.

“Twilight in the Desert” is an often heavily technology-laden book, offering detailed field-by-field assessments of Saudi Arabia’s key oilfields, comparing actual production potential with the often pie-in-the-sky claims by the kingdom’s oil company. Simmons provides a history of Saudi Arabia and its peculiar friendship and relationship with the U.S. that began in the early 1930s when American oilmen began exploring for oil in the kingdom shortly after it was founded in 1932.

Since speed-reading is back in vogue and the first 250 pages or so are packed with information about every oil field in the Kingdom, here’s my suggestion: Start at Part Four, Page 261, where Matt Simmons gives us his conclusions based on all the available Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) reports that he mentions in the first part of the book.

We should, he suggests, be very, very skeptical of the “two principal claims endlessly reiterated by the Saudi Arabian petroleum authorities:”

1. The proven oil reserves remaining in the aging giants and an array of lesser fields amount to something over 260 billion barrels.

2. The desert kingdom will be able to raise oil production to the level of 15, 20 or even 25 million barrels per day demanded by long-term energy forecasts.

Simmons says that the Saudis have been struggling to maintain production levels of seven or eight million barrels a day from the world’s largest oil fields – fields that have been producing since 1938 and have been major producers for more than 40 years.

“Exploration results have not been encouraging, and few of the smaller fields, the lesser ‘royalty’ or ‘commoners’ have produced significant quantities of oil,” Simmons writes. It’s a fact of petroleum life that “major oil fields peak, decline and deplete…although production can then be maintained at low rates almost indefinitely with with sufficient effort.”

This is the case with most lower 48 U.S. fields which have been producing – counting Drake’s field in Pennsylvania which began producing in 1859 – for more than 140 years. They’re still pumping oil near Beverly Hills High School and in the Baldwin Hills area of L.A., as well as the oil fields around Bakersfield. The East Texas oilfields, producing some of the best quality oil in the world, are still pumping out oil more than a century after Spindletop began producing near Beaumont, TX in 1901.

OK, forget what I said about jumping ahead to Page 261 for a minute and page back to Page 50, where Matt Simmons brings up the name Seymour Hersh – in my opinion our best active investigative reporter. Sy Hersh questioned Saudi reserve claims in a March 1979 New York Times story headlined: “Saudi Oil Capacity Questioned.” Hersh is a take-it-to-the-bank reporter.

Matt Simmons: “His story claimed that Aramco had systematically overproduced the major Saudi oilfields from 1970 to 1973 because the senior managers (essentially all employees of Chevron, Texaco, Mobil and Exxon) feared nationalization was imminent, and the shareholders wanted to extract as much wealth from these fields as fast as the oil could be produced.”

Sensibly, Simmons urges a review of Saudi production sustainability claims by an international forum. Considering the secrecy of the desert kingdom, this sounds unlikely.

Simmons: “As Saudi Arabian oilfields age and the world’s need for oil steadily rises, the probability increases month by month, year by year that we are approaching an oil-curtailing twilight in the desert kingdom that has provided the greatest single contribution to the world’s oil supply at the least expensive cost. When this desert twilight arrives, the world faces an energy future, and in turns an economic future, far different from the one that all current forecasts and human expectations assume. The need to begin creating an energy blueprint for a world that has passed peak oil output is so urgent that the citizens of all nations, in unison, need to demand energy data reform. The time to trust but verify is now, before twilight arrives and darkness begins to set in.”

“Twilight in the Desert” is a thought-provoking book that should spur our efforts to secure renewable sources of energy. In the long run, we’ll be out of oil sooner or later, so we must prepare for this condition starting yesterday.

The author’s web site: http://www.simmonsco-intl.com

Publisher’s web site: http://www.wiley.com/business

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GUEST COMMENTARY: Ohio Supreme Court Rules Unanimously to Protect Property from Eminent Domain Abuse; Legislation Still Needed to Halt Rampant Abuse of Eminent Domain in Ohio

Posted by kinchendavid on July 26, 2006

From Institute for Justice, Castle Coalition Press Release

Arlington, VA –  On July 26, 2006, in an historic ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously held that the City of Norwood, a Cincinnati suburb, could not use eminent domain to take Carl and Joy Gamble’s home of 35 years, as well as the rental home of Joe Horney and tutoring center owned by Matthew Burton and Sanae Ichikawa Burton, for private development-specifically, a complex of chain stores, condominiums and office space planned by millionaire developer Jeffrey Anderson and his Rookwood Partners.

In a unanimous and lengthy decision, the Court laid out a series of important legal opinions.  The Ohio Supreme Court explicitly rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo decision of June 2005, in which that Court held that local governments can take property from one person and transfer it to another because the new owner might produce more taxes or more jobs than the current one-so-called “economic development.” 

Second, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that state courts must apply “heightened scrutiny” to uses of eminent domain, especially when the property is being taken for use by another private party; according to the Court, lower Ohio courts should not simply rubber-stamp decisions by local government to take property.  Next, the Court held that statutes authorizing the taking of property cannot be vague.  The “deteriorating” standard used by Norwood “is a standardless standard,” and the Court rejected it.  Finally, the Court struck down Ohio’s statute that allowed property to be taken even before an appeals court ruled that the taking was legal.

“This decision is a complete and total victory for Carl and Joy Gamble, Joe Horney, the Burtons and every home and business owner in the State of Ohio,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Dana Berliner, who argued the case before the Ohio Supreme Court.  “The Court stopped the abuse of eminent domain by Norwood and told Ohio courts that it is their job to enforce the Constitution and make sure that eminent domain really is for public use.  Ohio has a terrible history of its cities abusing eminent domain for private development, and that abuse would have increased exponentially if the Court had ruled in favor of Norwood.”

“This decision will set an example for the entire country,” explained Scott Bullock, an IJ senior attorney.  “Other states will look to Ohio’s well-reasoned opinion in setting their own constitutional standards.  The decision also will affect future legislation in Ohio.  The Court has just told the Legislature that it cannot use the kinds of vague and standardless definitions that are so common under current Ohio law.  Today’s decision starts the reform of Ohio’s terrible eminent domain laws, but it is up to the Legislature to complete the task.”

“Our home is ours again!” exclaimed Joy Gamble.  “The Ohio Supreme Court has stopped this piracy.  Now all Ohioans are safe from the scourge of eminent domain for private profit.”

“The Ohio Supreme Court finally made us Americans again,” Carl Gamble added.  “We haven’t had the heart or the will to see our home of more than 35 years since the City and the developer forced us out and fenced it off, but I’m sure we’ll be taking a ride back up there today.  This is just terrific!”

Joy continued, “Our state Supreme Court did what the U.S. Supreme Court did not do; it protected our home.  The Ohio Supreme Court protected small property owners from the overpowering and overbearing city governments and the greedy developers.”

Joy added, “We stuck this fight out, but this victory would not have been possible without the Institute for Justice.  We can’t thank them enough for winning us back our home and our rights.”

For the time being, Carl and Joy will remain in their newly rented apartment in Kentucky, on which they have a lease for the next six months.  Joy concluded, “We’re just going to let this decision settle in.  But finally, our nightmare is over.”

“The Gambles deserved to win today and to get back what’s rightfully theirs-their home,” said Bert Gall, staff attorney at the Institute for Justice.  “They’ve won this battle not just for themselves, but for every single person who owns a home or business in Ohio.  They and all our clients are true American heroes.”

“Almost one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s universally despised Kelo decision, the battle between ordinary Americans and the abusers of eminent domain-tax-hungry officials and land-hungry developers-continues,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute.  “Today’s decision by the Court marks an historic victory for home and business owners across the country.  But this fight has to continue.  The Institute for Justice and our Castle Coalition are dedicated to making sure that owners throughout the country are protected from eminent abuse.”

The Kelo case has touched off a revolution not only in state supreme courts, like Ohio’s, but in state legislatures throughout the country.  Thus far, 30 state legislatures have passed laws giving greater protections for home and small business owners.

For more information: Christina Walsh
Assistant Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA  22203
(703) 682-9320

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