Archive for May, 2009

By W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Originally published at Human Events

This week in American military history:

May. 24, 1818: Gen. (future U.S. pres.) Andrew Jackson and his expeditionary army march into Spanish-controlled Florida, easily capturing the Gulf-coastal town of Pensacola.

Col. José Masot, the Spanish governor, retreats to nearby Fort San Carlos de Barrancas (originally built by the British as “the Royal Navy Redoubt”) where he briefly puts up a token resistance — to save face — before hoisting the white flag there, too.

May. 26, 1917: U.S. Army Gen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing is named commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which is destined for European combat the following year.

May. 27, 1967: USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) — the last conventionally powered American aircraft carrier — is launched.

May 28, 1918: Almost one year to the day after Pershing is named commander-in-chief of the AEF, elements of the soon-to-be-famous 1st Infantry Division, (“the Big Red One”) under the command of Lt. Gen. Robert Lee Bullard launch the first major attack by U.S. forces in World War I near the French town of Cantigny. In doing so, the Americans strike and the defeat a far-more experienced German army under the command of General Oskar von Hutier.

The attack opens in the wee hours with a two-hour artillery bombardment. Then at 6:45 a.m., whistles are blown along the American trench lines, and soldiers from the division’s 28th Infantry Regiment — destined to become known as the “Lions of Cantigny” — clamber over the top and into the open. Supported by French aircraft, tanks, and mortar and flame-thrower teams — the Americans advance over a distance of 1,600 yards in three waves at marked intervals behind a creeping artillery barrage. By 7:20 a.m., the German lines are reached.

Fighting is grim; one American sergeant will write: “About twenty Dutchmen [Germans] came out of the holes, threw down their rifles and stood with their hands up. The doughboys didn’t pay any attention to this but started in to butcher and shoot them. One of the doughboys on the run stabbed a Dutchman and his bayonet went clear through him.” In the town, the Germans are flushed from hiding places in shops and houses. French soldiers with flamethrowers are called up to assist in clearing the cellars of buildings.

Lt. Clarence Huebner (destined to command the 1st Infantry Division in the next great war, and rise to the rank of Lt. Gen.) watches in horror as one of his badly burned enemies rushes from a flamed-out cellar. It was “just as I had seen rabbits in Kansas come out of burning straw stacks,” he will recall.

The Germans — who, like so many others throughout history, had dismissed the Americans as not having the stomach for real fighting — develop a quick respect for their new foe.

Bullard’s headquarters will issue a statement, a portion of which reads: “The moral effects to flow from this proof of reliability in battle of the American soldiers, far outweighs the direct military importance of the actions themselves.”

May. 28, 1980: The first female midshipmen graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.

May 29, 1945: Elements of the famous 1st Battalion, 5th Marines capture Shuri Castle — the palace of the Ryukyu kings for centuries — during the Battle of Okinawa.

(Coincidentally, this author served as a rifle-squad leader with 1/5. But the Battle of Okinawa took place about 14 years before he was born.)

May. 30, 1868: “Decoration Day” — the predecessor to Memorial Day — is first observed by order of U.S. Army Gen. John A. Logan, who had decreed on May 5: “The 30th day of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

Maj. Gen. (future U.S. pres.) James A. Garfield presides over ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery (the former estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee), and approximately 5,000 participants decorate the graves of both Union and Confederate dead — about 20,000 of them — buried on the grounds.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: “This Week in American Military History,” appears every week as a feature of HUMAN EVENTS.

Let’s increase awareness of American military tradition and honor America’s greatest heroes by supporting the Medal of Honor Society’s 2010 Convention to be held in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, 2010 (for more information, click here).


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My Dad sent me this in an e-mail. I thought I would share it:

Some people have trouble with all those ‘shall’s’ and ‘shall not’s’ in the Ten Commandments.. Folks just aren’t used to talking in those terms. So, in middle Tennessee they translated the ‘King James’ into ‘ Jackson County ‘ language…..no joke (posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Gainesboro , TN ).

(1) Just one God
(2) Put nothin’ before God
(3) Watch yer mouth
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin’
(5) Honor yer Ma & Pa
(6) No killin’
(7) No foolin’ around with another fellow’s gal
(8) Don’t take what ain’t yers
(9) No tellin’ tales or gossipin’
(10) Don’t be hankerin’ for yer buddy’s stuff

Now that’s plain an’ simple. Y’all have a nice day!

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Climate change has a new Knight in Shining Armor – Henry Waxman (D-CA). His 900+ page Climate Bill, also known as Cap-and-Trade or more affectionately as Cap-and-Tax, is supposed to somehow stop, and possibly reverse, Global Warming. Waxman, and other supporters are obviously not true believers in the climate change cause, or CO2‘s role as a root cause.

It should be plainly obvious that an energy tax will have absolutely no effect on either global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, nor average temperatures. Not one additional inch of arctic ice will be gained. Snow will not magically form on Mount Kilimanjaro. Ocean levels are not about to drop. The money collected will have an impact on our energy consumption, but only until people discover the loopholes. In winter, they may use their fireplaces more often. Plans for homemade methanol and ethanol stills will receive far more hits on Google. Sales of candles and kerosene lamps will increase. Demand for meat will shift to cheaper cuts and more chicken will be purchased. Overall, poverty will increase. Not one of these things will “save the world.” Economies shift when under pressure. Like a bean-bag chair, pressure on one end causes a rise on the other.

The taxes raised may partially be used to fund “green” energy facilities, or find its way into researching better batteries, but it will only be a fraction. Like taxes collected for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Cigarette, Alcohol, Gasoline, et. al., none of the money will be set aside for its intended purpose. All of the money be placed straight into the general fund, where it will be spent to further yet more government encroachment upon our liberties. Furthermore, requests for this money for its rightful purpose will be looked upon as an annoyance. Lawmakers will treat grant requests as they would a housefly. Attempts to audit the fund, should anyone be so bold, will be stonewalled and blocked by the same people who promise “transparency.” We are witnessing the birth of yet another Sorelian Myth.

Social Security is protected by such a myth. As such any attempt to repair the situation and perform the necessary economic triage is seen as heresy and fought tooth-and-nail. What is worse, like the taxes collected before based upon the promise to fix whatever dire emergency the Democrats created (usually out of thin air), since nothing will be done about the actual problem, it will remain. This will later be used to increase the tax amount. You will hear cries of “more must be done” echo through the halls of Congress, Academia, and on every MSM news program.

If Waxman and Obama were true believers, if they were honestly disciples of the “evil CO2” myth, then they would demand that the sources of this harmless molecule be cut off. A partial list of things that would be illegal would include: all fuels, barbecue grills, candles, leaf burning, carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, rubbing alcohol, leavened breads, Pop-Rocks, baking soda, food animals, household pets, styrofoam and packing peanuts, paper, plastics, glass production, metal production, house fires, forest fires, volcanoes, flatulence and exhaling.

Since cars and planes would no longer be possible, large sections of roadways, parking lots, and airports would be converted back into fertile soil and planted. Of course, without machinery, it would take some time to chip all the concrete and asphalt away…especially without exhaling. But look on the bright side, at least we would never get to read another 900 page bill again.

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Nancy Pelosi has indeed jumped out of the proverbial frying pan, and into the fire. In her recent news conference Thursday, one brave reporter had the unmitigated gall to ask her if she was going to produce evidence of accusations that “the CIA Lied”. Taking a cue from Kabuki Theater and Bill Clinton, an obviously flustered Madame Speaker, dodged and attempted redirection. She stands behind her statement. She is not going to answer any more questions.

Typical of Democrats in trouble, she labeled the questions regarding her accusations as a “distractive mood”. By Monday, this will be considered old news. We might even hear “We need to move past all this divisiveness,” first by the talking heads of the MSM, then by her highness herself. The Democrats are amazing at turning bad news about fellow Democrats into uninteresting old stories, then turning those into myths.

Pelosi, and her fellow Liberals, honestly believe that these kind of statements do not mean anything. Lies are just as valid as the truth, and myths are the equivalent of history. This allows them to insert either lies or truths whenever it suits them politically. Like a child playing with Lego blocks, the mismatching pieces will not deter them from their overall goal – more power.

To say that this is frustrating would be an understatement. How do you argue with someone for which a legend can be supplanted for the authoritative on a whim? Reasonable people would throw their hands up in defeat within minutes. This tactic has allowed the Democrats to win most arguments by default, and it is repeated consistently to their joy. It must not be allowed.

While I do not know the legal details, it would seem to me that there must be some repercussions available to both the CIA and the House Republicans. Bold faced lies, especially those which are so detrimental, cannot be tolerated. Surely this series of events is actionable. Thursday, Representative Steve King (R-IA), read a privileged resolution into the House record. The resolution calls for the Speaker to lose her security clearance. This should be the minimum action taken, and I would add that censure be called for as well.

“If the Speaker is unable or unwilling to provide evidence to support her allegation, that she and Congress have been lied to by the CIA, the American people will be left with no choice but to conclude that she made this allegation for political purposes,” King concluded. “Until her allegations are proven, she should not receive sensitive or classified information pertaining to the national security interests of the United States.”

We can only hope that California’s voters, when next given the choice, remember that their representative in Nancy Pelosi is a known liar, and therefore cannot be trusted. This prevarication cannot be allowed to morph into a myth. Words must mean things and untruths and slanderous statements must have consequences.

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Haiku is an interesting form of Japanese poetry. A triplet of non-rhyming verses with a 5-7-5 pattern to the syllables. This has been sweeping Twitter, so I thought I’d take a stab at it.

Deer in the headlights
My lies pile upon more lies
Bush must have caused this


ACORN gave me cred
I will remake this country
I Won is my cry


Spending money now
Spending more money later
ACORN has my back

You can do this with Biden too!

Obama’s right hand
My gaffes are fodder for Rush
Please give me Rogaine

There is more in Hot Air’s Greenroom and Michelle Malkin

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Actor, Comedian, and farmer Paul Rodriguez, once a strong proponent of Democrats, has switched sides. Not over health care, or immigration reform, or even Iraq. He switched sides because of a fish, specifically Hypomesus transpacificus – the Delta Smelt. This tiny fish will cause the ruination of Southern California’s Central Valley area, some of the most fertile land on Earth. It will render thousands of farmers and farm hands unemployed. This fish is in a fight with the farmers, all over water.

The pumps which supply the valley with water from Northern California have been switched off after a judge ruled in favor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and their report claiming that the pumps are hazardous to this minnow sized fish. Last week, Lester Snow and other California water regulators urged the federal government to reconsider it’s protections for the endangered Smelt. In previous years, the water pumped in has been restricted, this year it has been cut off completely. And without water, there is no farming. What is especially damaging is that farmers have already planted, so without their crops they will be ruined.

Rodriguez helped create the California Latino Water Coalition, has led marches of several thousand people, and spoke to many of the Democrats he helped get elected – so far nothing has worked. On the Mark Levin Show on May 13th, Rodriguez said,

When I called [them] I was told to ‘stick to the jokes’…So now I realize that it was really the Republicans who had my best interests at heart all along.

Unemployment, already high in California, is skyrocketing in the valley. For example, Mendota, a small town in Fresno County, has seen its unemployment rate jump to 35%, high even for a community with a large population of seasonal farm workers. Greater Fresno is above 13.2%. And the impact to California’s $20 Billion agriculture industry is incalculable. Todd Diedrich, and almond grower, has been forced to let two thirds of his 1,500 acre farm go fallow.

What is clear is that environmentalists, along with California lawmakers and the FWS, have teamed up to kill off farming in the 400 mile long valley. When asked about the policy and it’s effects on the farmers and workers Lloyd Carter (a Gerry Brown appointee and environmental activist) said,

They’re not even American citizens for starters, right? Do you think that we should employ illegal aliens? What parent raises their child to become a farm worker? These kids they are the least educated people in America, or in the southwest corner of this valley, they turn to lives of crime, they go on to go on welfare, they get into drug trafficking and they join gangs.

To environmentalists, the farmers are irrelevant. The food supply is irrelevant, the health of California’s agriculture industry is irrelevant. Saving a tiny fish from harm is all that matters, and no compromise will be allowed. It is possible that another solution can be worked out, but in the meantime trees, plants, and animals go thirsty while the workers go hungry.

It is absolutely insane.

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It’s also great to watch if you’re feeling nauseated and would rather not stick your fingers down your throat.

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