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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

lessons from the 761st tank battalion. - A tribute to Black History Month.

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“They gave a good first impression, but I have no faith in the inherent fighting ability of the race. Individually they were good soldiers, but I expressed my belief at the time, and have never found the necessity of changing it, that a colored soldier cannot think fast enough to fight in armor.” General George S. Patton Jr. [1]

General Patton made these remarks after giving a speech to the 761st tank division during and after World War II. The day before the division entered the war, General Patton assembled the troops there and gave them a short and frank pep-talk. The 761st was the first black fighting tank division in the United States Armed forces. This short article reflects on those men and the situation they found themselves in back in the 1940’s. My hope is that reading this article will remind us of what we are capable of as Americans in light of the financial crisis we find ourselves in.

First it’s important to understand how and why these African Americans were assembled before who many consider to be one of the greatest military minds of our time. They were there purely of their own volition. They volunteered because as one of the 761st veterans puts it, “This was our country too.” Second, the United States (especially the south where these men enlisted) was pretty segregated. Another veteran noted that as he was heading off to enlist, his friends and family told him to be careful because they hang black folks down there [2]. As I listened to an interview with numerous members of the 761st, I was struck by the fact that they all expected to find an Army that would look past color, I suppose I would too. Instead what they found was an Army that didn’t want them. In fact during their training, most of them only saw one white person: Their commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Bates. After the first black regiment was trained, all the people doing the training left, except for Colonel Bates, and so the 761st battalion was left to their own devices. Bates volunteered to lead the 761st for two reasons: First the armed forces would not allow a black man to have a command. Second, Bates was against segregation and wanted those black servicemen to have a friendly face.

In the time leading up to combat, they trained hard and they trained long. Even though they knew the Army did not want black people on the battlefield: The black man was an inferior fighter and white servicemen did not want to serve next to them. Remarkably they didn’t loose hope and continued training harder; they knew they would be judged by “a higher standard” and that their chance would come to prove themselves.[3] I know, working harder doesn’t sound that remarkable, and yet it has been forgotten by a lot of people in our society; we want something for nothing. We have forgotten that our fellow citizens owe us nothing and that even if no one comes to our aid in life, we are still duty-bound to try harder. It is interesting that the Army’s reluctance to put African Americans on the battlefield, lead to the silent creation of one of the best fighting tank battalions in the war. The Tuskegee Airmen (the first black military airmen) had a similar story. Their flight record was so distinguished that white pilots flying bombers would ask for the “colored pilots” to escort them in to hostile air space.

The 761st did get their chance when General Patton decided to use them to provide cover for infantrymen. Their hard work culminated with a visit from General Patton himself. Patton stood atop a ‘Halftrack” and said the following to the gathered men:

“Men, you're the first Negro tankers to ever fight in the American Army. I would never have asked for you if you weren't good. I have nothing but the best in my Army. I don't care what color you are as long as you go up there and kill those Kraut [SOB’s]. Everyone has their eyes on you and is expecting great things from you. Most of all your race is looking forward to your success. Don't let them down and damn you, don't let me down!”[4]

So off to battle they went and prove themselves they did. The following represents only some of their accomplishments:[5]

• Medal of Honor for Ruben Rivers.
• Presidential Unit Citation by President Jimmy Carter on January 24, 1978.
• Warren G. H. Crecy was nominated for the Medal of Honor and received a battlefield commission.
• 11 silver stars.
• 69 bronze stars.
• They fought in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria.

Our country now faces some very serious difficulties. These difficulties touch the lives of every American in some fashion. What will we do? What will you do? Many have taken the route of holding their hands out waiting for the government to save them. All the while demanding that they be saved! May we learn the lessons of the 761st tank battalion who were never given anything and expected nothing. In the face of real adversity they worked hard and prepared, looking for opportunity to serve their country and represent their race. Allow me to make the observation here that black Americans historically have risen to every challenge, particularly when they were given nothing and expected nothing. From the 761st to the Tuskegee Airmen and the civil rights movement. On the other hand, and this goes for all of us, when we are taught to feel entitled, that is the moment we falter and our human dignity evaporates.

We would do well to learn from the men of the 761st and to apply these lessons to our lives. To my fellow Americans who have lost their jobs and who may feel down in the dumps right now, may the words of Patton re-ignite a fire within us to try harder and face adversity in life with courage.

General Patton is, “…expecting great things from you. Most of all your [family] is looking forward to your success. Don't let them down and damn you, don't let me down!”

Danian Michael
Political Agenda

Foot notes:

[1] “War as I knew It.” by George S. Patton.
[2] “First to fight. The black tankers of WW II.” From the history channel.
[3] Ibid.
[4] “Come out fighting – The epic tale of the 761st tank battalion. 1942-1945.” By Trezzant W. Anderson
[5] Ibid.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Unfairness Doctrine

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I like freedom and I like the free market. I know it’s not perfect but I think it results in the least amount of people being oppressed. Just ask yourself, what is the alternative? I can hear some of you say, “Let the government determine what’s fair,” because your man is now in the Whitehouse. But what about people like me; Christian-conservatives, is it ok for those of my kind to be oppressed?

In this presentation I’m going to tackle the folly that is the fairness doctrine and I’m going to try and make the argument that every American has a dog in this fight.

The fairness doctrine basically states the following: Holders of a broadcast licenses who cover controversial issues, must cover those issues in a manner that is balanced and fair. The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. Sounds benign, it even sounds noble. Who would be opposed to radio stations being fair and balanced? As a matter of fact, Fox News has made fair and balanced reporting an end unto itself, and now they are No. 1. So what’s the big deal?

Let me start by saying that building this website was the easy part of my goal to be a prominent political pundit/ talk show host. Granted I did get a 13 week taste of being a talk show host (see the “Radio Show Archives”). But let me tell you, building an audience for this site is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It’s not easy finding that chemistry that clicks with all of you on a large scale. Chemistry of the sort that make you want to tell someone else about this site and keep you coming back can be quite elusive and for some hopelessly elusive. Now let us expand outwards to the bigger outfits; CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, Radio ONE, Clear Channel, and on it goes. They spend a lot of money to get all of you (all of us) to tune in. In the broadcast industry your ear is everything. What am I trying to say? At such time in the future when I figure out that right chemistry that makes people in masses tune in, you can be sure that I will allow nothing to ruin that. Conservative Talk radio for whatever reason, has figured out that right chemistry, and liberal talk radio has not. The government now wants to tell me your humble host, that I must now after all my hard work, present a view that is known to have been rejected by you, for the goal of being fair and balanced. Well as I have said before, your ear is everything in media and advertisers only buy ad space based on how many ears are listening to their programming, not to mention the subjective nature of what constitutes fair and balanced programming. I for example, think that as a whole, there is balance in the media with the advent of conservative talk radio. And yet democrats in congress think things are so far out of wack, that we need a fairness doctrine.

Nat Hentoff, the prominent writer and civil liberties advocate, described his own ordeal under the old restrictions:

“I was in radio under the reign of the Fairness Doctrine, at WMEX in Boston in the 1940s and early 50s. We did not have any of the present-day contentious talk radio shows, but we covered politics and politicians. I was often the announcer for the mellifluous appearance of the legendary James Michael Curley (played by Spencer Tracy in The Last Hurrah). And we did offer political opinions on the air. I, for example, did so on my jazz and folk music programs.

Suddenly, Fairness Doctrine letters started coming from the FCC and our station’s front office panicked. Lawyers had to be summoned; tapes of the accused broadcasters had to be examined with extreme care; voluminous responses had to be prepared and sent. After a few of these FCC letters, our boss announced that there would be no more controversy of any sort on WMEX. We had been muzzled.”

This is the logical conclusion to the fairness doctrine: The removal of all things controversial and/or the loss of revenue to radio stations; basically the end of conservative talk radio. The democrats in congress know this and so what we have here is a direct violation of the first amendment – the government creating laws that violate free speech and freedom of the press. I fear that the new administration has such a deep hatred for how our country functions that they will stop at nothing to reshape it in their mold, even if it means shredding the constitution and silencing opposition. Please note that as of late, only talk radio will be affected by this new doctrine. If that doesn’t raise a flag for even the staunchest liberal, I don’t know what will. I wonder what Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Stabenow and Senator Tom Harkin would say if the republicans in congress introduced a fairness doctrine for the congress of the United States. That no matter how people vote in elections, congress shall always have equal number of democrats and republicans represent the people. Of course the democrats would object saying, well the people voted and we don’t want to mess with that. And to that foolish comment I would say, “Well the prominence of conservative talk radio represents a vote of the people and more importantly their free speech. If the American people decided tomorrow that they no longer want to listen to talk radio that is the moment conservative talk radio will end.

How long will it be before the government forces my pastor to preach atheism in our church? I want all of you to think about that thing in your life that is of benefit to you, that thing in your life that promotes your wellbeing. Now think of the government stepping in and dictating to you that you must now do the opposite with equal time. What would you say to that?

This is not strictly a conservative problem, this is your problem. Because what we have in the passing of this stimulus bill and now, talk about censoring descent, are the rudiments of an irreformable socialism. Stand guard my friends, stand guard!

Danian Michael
Political Agenda

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus we can believe in

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Once again, your humble host has taken one of the team yet again. I actually went through the Stimulus bill with a fine-tooth comb and came up with the following condensed version of how the government intends to spend 900 billion dollars of their soon to be, borrowed, printed and hijacked (from you) money.

The following is what I found:

• $209,000,000, for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities.
• $20,000,000,000, for the expansion of food stamps.
• $40,000,000,000, for health insurance for the unemployed.
• $3,000,000,000 for scientific research.
• $3,000,000,000 for welfare expansion
• $44,000,000, for necessary construction, repair, and improvement activities.
• $245,000,000, for the purpose of maintaining and modernizing the information technology system.
• $350,000,000, for Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations.
• $50,000,000, for necessary expenses to carry out rehabilitation of structural measures.
• $5,838,000,000, for gross obligations for the principal amount of direct and guaranteed loans.
• $1,800,000,000, for an additional amount for the cost of direct loans, loan guarantees, and grants, including the cost of modifying loans.

Ok so this is just a small (very small) fraction of the Stimulus Bill. But please understand that I had to read through 50 pages of this monstrosity to bring you just this small fraction. This is not easy reading and everything of substance that is stated in this bill is showered with a monsoon of words, making the substance of the bill very hard to come by.

Now president Obama has said that passing this bill is necessary to save our economy. The question for all of us is, does that make any sense; if it does make sense then by all means, pass the stupid package. My contention is however, that this does not make any sense.

First we ought to understand that there is no money to do any of this spending. And so the government must take out a loan or print new money to make this happen. Money it does not print will be borrowed and if the borrowed money isn’t from a foreign entity those moneys will be borrowed from you. But here is the kicker; the government doesn’t borrow money from its citizens, it takes money from its citizens. And take money it will. Now my question to all of you is this; which of the scenarios I just listed for acquiring $1,000,000,000,000.00 (1 trillion dollars) will have a stimulating effect on our economy? If you are up to your neck in debt (which our government is) would it be a good idea to borrow more money than you have ever borrowed before to better you financial situation? Investment banker, Bernard Madoff was finally caught because the economy went sour and people wanted their money. Now many have asked, what will happen if China and all the other holders of our debt, start insisting on repayment? Do you know what the answer typically is; well China will never do that because they need our economy. Now does that sound like a good financial strategy to you? What would happen if Bernard Madoff was asked way back then when he started his scheme, “hey what if all these people start asking for their money?” And he said, “They are not going to do that because they need me to make all kinds of money for them?” Well we know what would happen, as a matter of fact: Madoff’s scheme crashed. And that is exactly what Barack Obama and the democrats in congress are offering; a ponzi scheme; using fake money to create fake wealth and success, all the while advancing a pretty liberal agenda that would never fly through the normal process. President Obama went on television last night and did exactly what he and his fellow democrats have been accusing George Bush of for years. George Bush was accused of using fear of a second terrorist strike to advance a secret agenda to take over oil in Iraq. At least with President Bush, he took no steps to acquire Iraq’s oil. Those accusations were purely speculative, born from conspiracy theorists. But note that Barack Obama didn’t even flinch in employing the use of fear, saying that if we don’t act now and ram through this bill, the American economy will have catastrophic failure. And I don’t have to speculate as to his hidden agenda; they’re actually written down in the stimulus bill – The expansion of welfare and universal healthcare to name a few.

Here is another angle to consider: Whatever you might think of George Bush, his policies for the most part were reversible. Actually, only one of his enacted policies was not reversible. It’s the one where an entitlement was expanded. I’m of course talking about his expansion of Medicare. My point is this, this stimulus bill contains the expansion of some major entitlements. For example, it contains the rudiments of universal healthcare. When these new entitlements are signed into law, there will be no going back. And our government will do anything to keep these new entitlements going because to get rid of these new programs will mean politicians being thrown out of office. No politician will act for the greater good, if that greater good antagonizes their greater good. Instead our government may start taxing our income at 100% (slavery). Not only will Barack Obama be our first black president, he will also be the first black slave owner. They could first prove their ability to successfully manage social security before taking on anything else; now that would be an acceptable good-faith gesture for me?

Finally, and this goes for all of us; never make decision out of fear. When I look back through the pages of my life and remember the decisions I made out of fear; fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in, fear of upsetting someone I care about - all those decisions, without exception resulted in disaster. Our president is afraid - afraid of failure, afraid of being a single-term president and he’s afraid of not being thought of as, “The One.” Not to mention his liberal worldview which grows out of a fear of being accountable.

Some of you may not know this but Michigan has the worst economy in the country with its high unemployment (already at 10%) and its high taxes. Our new president has the liberal play-book open and he is using that book to the letter – just as Jennifer Granholm the Governor of Michigan did. So here now is change we can believe in: President Obama will change the United States of America to the United State of Michigan.

Danian Michael
Political Agenda