The View From 1776
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Is Iraq, Was Vietnam, a Quagmire?
Senator Kennedy and his fellow liberals long for an ignominious defeat in Iraq; anything to discredit President Bush. Almost from the start of the military action, they sought to identify Iraq with Vietnam and the false image of quagmire and defeat projected by the media in the 1960s.
As Jeff Lukens writes in the article below, Vietnam was not a military defeat for us nor a quagmire, but a public opinion victory for the North Vietnamese and their American liberal sympathizers such as Hanoi Jane Fonda. We now know from documents and conversations with our former enemies that they were being trounced militarily, and that they forced us into a stalemate only because of media distortions that dispirited the American public.
Our Intentions Were Noble in Vietnam
By Jeff Lukens
Thirty years after Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, we remember the Vietnam War as a black hole from which we could not extract ourselves. It has become associated with such terms as “unwinnable,” “futile” and “quagmire.”
We owe a better remembrance for the blood-sacrifice our veterans made in this misunderstood war. In the Cold War, the belief was that if South Vietnam fell to the communists, then like dominoes all the countries of Southeast Asia would follow. While we may still debate the merits of our involvement there, everyone should agree our intentions there were noble.
In the 1950s, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem’s government was harsh and unfair to its people. Ho Chi Minh was the communist leader in the North, and was a popular hero for his resistance to the Japanese in World War II. Because Diem opposed communism, the United States chose to support him, but this put us in a tenuous position with the South Vietnamese people.
President Kennedy’s inaugural address best expressed the American outlook. “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” While these are eloquent words, we unfortunately were not prepared to follow through on them.
We had to confront communism, but do it within defined limits, and not attack into the North. Our fear was that China might intervene as they did in Korea in 1950. We confined our involvement in Vietnam in those years to military advisors.
By 1963, however, the insurgency had Kennedy reconsidering his support for Diem. Our first major blunder in Vietnam was Kennedy’s knowing involvement in the coup in which Diem was assassinated. At that point, the U.S. had become committed to South Vietnam’s defense. Johnson surely couldn’t abandon the country when Kennedy himself was assassinated just three weeks later.
Things only got worse, and military advisors alone would not be enough to stave off collapse in South Vietnam. Our second major blunder was Johnson’s decision for a major expansion of ground troops in 1965. In hindsight, this is where we should have possibly gotten out, but national pride and Kennedy’s words still rang true, so we pressed on.
Soon, liberals began to say America was immoral for being involved in Vietnam in the first place. And Johnson, a liberal himself, became the object of their scorn.
Johnson wanted the appearance that all was under control. A “credibility gap” emerged between what he was saying and what was happening on the battlefield. By its nature, war is unpredictable and is never totally “under control.” When the Tet offensive happened, Johnson’s credibility, and the reasons why we were fighting, were irreversibly damaged.
The Vietcong were virtually annihilated in Tet. Tet also solidified the South’s opposition to the North. Yet, journalists surreally portrayed the battle as a major defeat to folks back home.
Though the protests grew louder, most Americans continued to support the cause of freedom for which we were fighting. As we have discovered again in Iraq, once we are committed to major military action, our utmost priority is to win.
With Nixon’s election, liberals were unleashed in their opposition to the war. Showing true fortitude in the face of great hysteria, Nixon maintained an orderly U.S. withdrawal. By 1973, he had successfully extracted our troops from the war only to become mired in Watergate. Yet, with the help of his “Vietnamization” program, the South Vietnamese were fighting the war almost entirely on their own.
Then we threw it all away just two years later. A few months after Nixon’s resignation, antiwar Democrats in the “Watergate Congress,” made the biggest blunder of all by voting down appropriation for South Vietnamese aid.
The cutoff in aid lead directly to the North Vietnamese invasion that resulted in the collapse of South Vietnam. It was America’s greatest foreign policy disaster. The execution, imprisonment, starvation, and so-called reeducation of millions of people were failures of American trustworthiness and honor on a grand scale.
No one wants what happened in Vietnam to happen again. By our experience there, we have learned that when we use force, the goal must be clear, militarily attainable, and supported by Congress and the American people.
Some will say that we should have never gotten involved in Vietnam, but because we did, the dominos did not fall. Vietnam was lost, but the holding action there enabled Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia to all remain free from communism.
For that, those who sacrificed so much in that war can deservedly take pride.
Jeff Lukens is a MoveOff Network member, and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He can be contacted at http://www.jefflukens.com
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Reviewing Plans for Iraq
In his Wall Street Journal column, Bret Stephens reviews the several liberal “plans” for getting out of Iraq and compares their probable results with those of the latest tactics proposed by the administration.
For the benefit of those who are not subscribers to the Wall Street Journal online, the entire article is reproduced below:
Our Options in Iraq
By Bret Stephens
?January 30, 2007;?Page?A16
These are our options in Iraq: We can withdraw troops and equipment as fast as our Galaxys and Globemasters can carry them home (or to Okinawa). This is the Murtha Way. We can cap troop levels at 140,000 and withdraw them no later than Inauguration Day, 2009. This is Hillary’s Way. We can redeploy our forces outside of Iraqi cities, conduct limited training and counterterrorism missions, urge reconciliation among the various political factions and seek diplomatic openings with Syria and Iran. This is the way of Sens. Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden. We can advocate and facilitate the partition of Iraq. This is the (Peter) Galbraith Way. Or we can surge troops into the toughest neighborhoods of Baghdad, Ramadi and Najaf and keep them there indefinitely.
That is the President’s Way. It is going to mean many more American casualties—perhaps as many in the months ahead as we’ve seen over the past four years. It may fail for lack of troops, or insufficient cooperation from the Iraqi government. It could be defeated in the field, or it could succeed—only to be undermined in Washington, much as Gen. Creighton Abrams’s 1972 battlefield victories in Vietnam were. It lacks an endgame. It’s a political loser. But it is the only strategy on the table that aims at victory and has a chance of succeeding.
Consider the alternatives in their turn. The intelligent case for immediate withdrawal is that it means no more Americans need die in a war that is already lost. For Iraq, the consequences of American withdrawal will surely be grievous: ethnic cleansing on a massive scale; the collapse of the current government; the creation of an al Qaeda statelet in Anbar province; a rush by Iran, Saudi Arabia and perhaps Turkey to fill the vacuum; a regional war of Sunnis and Shiites and factions in between; a Mideast nuclear arms race.
Advocates of immediate withdrawal would counter that all this was foreordained by the invasion of Iraq (or at least by the bungled occupation) so it may as well happen sooner rather than later. But what are the consequences of immediate withdrawal for the U.S.? Well, see above, and ask yourself if it’s a price the U.S. can afford to pay. Unless you agree with Boston Globe columnist James Carroll, who sees geopolitical catastrophe as a pathway to redeeming America’s soul, the answer is probably not.
What about Hillary’s Way? Its political convenience is to prevent Iraq from being a millstone around the neck of the next administration, presumably hers. Its strategic virtue is that it offers a window to get things right in Iraq, finally, and the pressure to do so quickly.
But it fails to address the obvious objection, which is that once a date-certain for U.S. withdrawal is set, Sunni insurgents, Shiite Mahdists and outside powers like Iran need only bide their time before moving in. And because of Sen. Clinton’s proposed troop cap, it prevents the U.S. from sufficiently altering facts on the ground to give the Iraqi government a chance to stand on its own. Given the choice between postponed and immediate withdrawal, at least the latter stands to save American lives. Otherwise, the results are the same.
Now take the Hagel-Biden Way, itself mostly a reprise of the recommendations of Jim Baker’s Iraq Study Group. At a hearing last Wednesday of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Hagel waxed pontifical on the subject of “coherence of strategy,” accusing the administration of having no coherent strategy either in the past or for the future. For his pains, and for standing on the right side of opinion polls, admiring pundits have praised the Nebraska Republican as a profile in political courage.
As for the merits of his own strategy, spelled out in a recent USA Today op-ed, that’s another story. With Mr. Biden, the senator wants to redeploy U.S. forces outside of Iraqi cities. He seems to have missed the fact that, except for the politically critical Green Zone in Baghdad, that’s where the troops have mainly been for two years, in keeping with the “light footprint” strategy that everyone now agrees failed. Next Mr. Hagel wants to “transfer responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence to Iraqi forces under an appropriately expedited timeline.” Another interesting idea, given how much of the sectarian violence of the past few years has been instigated by elements within the Iraqi interior ministry.
And Mr. Hagel wants to “engage Iraq’s neighbors and the international community to build a regional framework to help support and sustain a political solution and national reconciliation.” Which neighbors would those be? Iran, which mass-produces IEDs and finances the most radical among Iraq’s Shiite groups? Syria, which serves as sanctuary for Baathist holdouts and transfer point for Sunni insurgents? The “coherence” of the Hagel-Biden plan itself rests on the incoherent assumption that the regimes that so far have worked hardest to abort Iraq’s rebirth as a federal and democratic state can now be enlisted to midwife the effort.
Finally there is partition. There is a seductive neatness to the idea that, by dividing Iraq into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish states, one cuts the proverbial Gordian knot of the country’s dysfunctional politics. But Iraq’s population isn’t so neatly divided, not least in Baghdad where one in four Iraqis live. How are they to be moved, resettled, compensated and so on?
Proponents of partition argue that such dilemmas are already in the process of resolving themselves, as Shiites and Sunnis abandon previously mixed neighborhoods. This is what logicians call the “Is-Ought” fallacy, and it would have the perverse effect of putting the U.S. behind the very forces of the sectarian aggression that so far we have sought to quell. Nor does it address the long-term question of just what kind of states Kurdistan, Basrastan and Fallujastan would become, whether they’d be viable, and whether they would be hostile or friendly to American interests.
Which leaves us with the Bush Way. It proposes to assume a responsibility—the responsibility for everyday security—the U.S. military relinquished when it first allowed Baghdad to be looted. And it takes as its premise the idea that “national reconciliation” in Iraq can only be accomplished in the absence of chaos. These are the fundamental responsibilities of an occupier. It’s too bad we didn’t do it sooner. That’s no reason not to start now.
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Betting Your Retirement Savings on Al Gore
James V. DeLong’s article on TCS Daily presents a useful analytical approach to assessing the global warming hype.
Al Gore and company are betting that global warming is a 100% sure thing and that the 100% certain cause is CO2 accumulations.
If the new Democratic Congress, as threatened, legislates on the basis of Mr. Gore’s dire predictions you will have paid for their actions with a drastic reduction in the future value of your assets, very possibly without affecting global temperatures at all.
In contrast, successful investors in assets of all kinds know that making money depends upon realistic measurement of the odds. And the odds of anything in the real world, including Mr. Gore’s disaster predictions, are seldom anywhere near 100%.
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Wishful Thinking in the Senate
Liberals still offer no realistic plan to deal with Iraq.
I have several times posed the question: “Pull out of Iraq, then what?” To date, nobody in the liberal cohort has essayed an answer.
The question is ignored, making it obvious that liberals, Republicans and Democrats alike, in reality are interested only in winning elections and believe that doing so by acceding to uninformed public opinion is the only matter that need concern them.
Columnist Michael Barone analyzes the latest bit of liberal blather, the Senate resolution denouncing President Bush.
So the upshot of the resolution is that we should keep doing for some undetermined period of time pretty much what we have been doing, though it hasn’t been working, and we should not do the different things that Petraeus thinks have a chance—he’s not guaranteeing success—of working.
What the resolution tells us is that most members of Congress, echoing what they think is the view of most voters, yearn to return to the holiday from history that we thought we were enjoying between the fall of the Berlin Wall and Sept. 11, 2001. And that they have no idea at all of how to get there.
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Sunday, January 28, 2007
Scientists seeking ultimate answers to the origin, nature, and future of the cosmos have pursued a long series of mutually exclusive, speculative theories. Liberals embrace these speculations as scientific truth, even though they have less basis in verifiable fact than 5,000 years of faith in God recorded in the Bible.
Every attempt to date to unify cosmological and nuclear particle theories has foundered on newly observed, unreconcilable, opposing sets of facts. Seeking to bridge these gaps, cosmologists, nuclear particle physicists, and mathematicians have drifted far into the realm of abstract speculation.
Science at the outer limits of knowledge, both at the cosmological and sub-atomic levels, has come increasingly to resemble the speculations of medieval scholastic philosophers dealing in doctrinal abstractions.
Subatomic particles, found and unfound, and cosmological theories with strange names abound: bubble universe, worm holes, cold dark matter, big bang theory, string theory, superstrings, domain walls, great attractors, mini-black holes, Higgs fields, inflationary universe theory, leptons, bosons, muons, neutrinos, quarks, supergravity, tauons, supersymetry, etc.
Existence of some of these is verifiable. In other cases they are abstract theoretical concepts that attempt to explain inconsistencies in other theories, concepts that cannot be verified in the world we inhabit because the accelerators needed to produce sufficient energy would be larger than the earth, or because the predicted phenomena have never been found.
In their own fields scientists see no contradiction between such speculation and the supposedly fact-based, empirical, inductive, scientific methodology that they project to taxpayers who fund their research. Nor do they recognize the hypocrisy in championing these contradictions while denouncing 5,000 years of documented historical experience that supports the existence of God and the human soul.
There is nothing wrong with speculative thinking in science. But let’s be consistent. Stop dismissing as ignorant superstition God and the verifiable difference that religious faith makes in people’s lives. Both science and religion are efforts of human intuition and Divine revelation to understand as much as possible of the reality underlying the material phenomena perceptible by the limited range of human senses.
Science, since Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum (1620), has aimed at what used to be called “conquering nature” via the scientific, inductive method of experimentation. A large part of scientific research since the mid-18th century has been energized by the conviction that all phenomena can be explained by natural processes. Implicit is the rejection of God and the presumption that the cosmos is entirely controlled by mechanical, materialistic forces.
Humans have an instinct to believe that they have created and can control anything that they can describe and name. Humans aspire to becoming God by acquiring knowledge.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 1:1-5)
Many scientists believe that they can penetrate the Mind of God and thereby become immensely powerful, or that there is no God. Christopher Marlowe’s Tragical History of Doctor Faustus exemplifies the former in the character of the man who sells his soul to the Devil for power and knowledge. The French philosophers of the Revolution exemplify the latter.
Among other things, the vast multiplicity of cosmological and nuclear particle theories violates the principle of Ocham’s razor: the simplest explanation in a welter of possibilities is the preferred one. The simplest answer to what has stumped the best physics, mathematical, and cosmological minds is God. The universe was designed and created by God, a Being outside of and predating the universe, a Being whose nature is so multi-dimensional as to be utterly beyond the comprehension of human minds.
Darwin’s evolutionary biology depicts the world as an amoral domain governed by material influences that are without design or purpose, a world in which all life forms are the cumulative products of chance. Cosmologists and physicists, at the same time, take the opposite view, that the origin and ultimate end of the universe is the product of design inherent in mathematics and the laws of physics and chemistry, a universe therefore that had a precise, identifiable beginning and a foreseeable end.
Liberals, priding themselves on their tough-minded rationality, have no trouble in swallowing whole both of these mutually exclusive world views. It seems to be necessary only to label something scientific for their uncritical acceptance.
Liberals readily accept the intuitively impossible quantum phenomenon of photons, at a distance from each other, responding to impulses on only one of the photons. But, because their professors told them that religion is ignorance, they are unwilling to consider the truth recounted by eye witnesses to Jesus Christ’s miracles, people who willingly died excruciating deaths to attest to those miracles.
Ironically, mathematical and theoretical abstraction is leading theoreticians in the physical sciences into a realm of impenetrable complexity, ever closer to the religious and philosophical realm in which the Bible is the paramount authority, a realm in which one cannot escape a world of Divine intelligent design.
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Saturday, January 27, 2007
Liberal Jihad Against Christianity
Liberals have never been content to live and let live. They have always worked to destroy existing society.
It started with the French Revolution in 1789. Radicals destroyed the monarchy, wiped out most of the aristocracy, confiscated the Catholic Church’s property, made priests and nuns paid employees of the political state, and took control of education so that nothing but the doctrine of socialism could be taught. To quell resistance they instituted the Reign of Terror, slaughtering more than 70,000 dissidents.
The English Fabians at the end of the 19th century were more subtle, but held that same long-term goals: discredit Christianity and promote state take-over of the entire economy. American liberal-progressive-socialists pursued the Fabian tactic of creeping socialism, accelerating the pace with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.
It’s as obvious as a train wreck that liberals can’t institute a socialist make-over of our government without dismantling the Constitution’s original structure and intentions. Doing that has required only judges and bureaucrats who reinterpret the general directives of the Constitution without reference to their original intent. There was no need to undertake the process of amending the Constitution in accordance with its Article V provisions.
Franklin Roosevelt put it this way in his 1933 inaugural speech, Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangements without loss of essential form….
Since the late 1960s student radicalism, the left-wing have become more openly aggressive. Don Feder, a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant, describes the propaganda and speech-control tactics of the anti-Christian left in The Times, “Fascists,” and the Religious Right, which can be found here.
Breezing through the bookstore at Reagan National Airport the other day, I came across a new volume with the intriguing yet subtle title, American Fascists ? The Christian Right and The War on America by former New York Times’ correspondent Chris Hedges. But, as the saying goes, tell us what you really think.
No hyperbole here. In the introduction, Hedges makes it clear that he actually is comparing evangelical opponents of abortion and gay marriage to the monsters who burned books, ran death camps and plunged humanity into a world war that left 63 million dead…..
Colorado Senator Ken Salazar has called Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family “the Anti-Christ of the world” (for demanding that he vote to end the filibuster of Bush judicial nominees). Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, labeled Christian broadcasters “sort of our homegrown Taliban.”......
In a profile piece in The New Yorker, Al Gore compared the faith of George W. Bush to Saudi Whabbism. In its May 2005 issue, Harpers Magazine ran a cover story titled “The Christian Right?s War on America.”.....
And, last fall, seminal political thinker Rosie O?Donnell instructed viewers of ABC?s “The View,” that “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state…...
Ask yourself: Over what institution does the left exert the greatest control (even more than over Hollywood and the news media)? Answer: Academia. Now, what institution most closely resembles a police state in its posture toward dissent? Same answer.
At American colleges and universities, Christian student groups are being told to renounce their principles or lose official status.
Conservative newspapers are burned. Conservative speakers are shouted down or assaulted with impunity. Students who vigorously challenge leftist dogma are suspended or expelled. Professors are denied tenure for failure to parrot the party line.
If you?d like a preview of an American fascist state, look at higher education. If Hitlerism ever comes to America, it won?t be marching with crosses and Bibles, but mouthing the platitudes of multiculturalism (cultural Marxism), while goose-stepping to the beat of Sgt. Pelosi?s PC Band…..
The original lie of the Left is that America was a nation founded on a secular worldview ? one nation under who-knows-what, with liberty and justice for all. The monumental task of historical revisionism started 60 years ago and continues to this day….....
Alexis de Tocqueville didn?t write for the New York Times. But this early 18th century theorist identified the source of America?s greatness, when he wrote: “In the United States the sovereign authority is religious?there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened nation on earth.”
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Friday, January 26, 2007
The Importance of Families
Why is preservation of traditional marriage, between a man and a woman, vital to preservation of a good political society?
Malachi, a prophet who probably ministered in the 60 years after the first groups of Israelites returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, gives us God’s Word on the subject.
Having endured the Babylonian captivity for 70 sears, few of the returning Israelites had ever experienced the proper religious life of the pre-captivity period. Moreover, the Jerusalem to which they returned was a desolate ruin that had been destroyed and plundered by Judah’s enemies.
In those discouraging circumstances, Malachi admonished the Israelites that the only hope of regaining their former prosperity and political integrity was to remain faithful to God and not to turn to false gods.
The key point in the following passage is that a good and enduring society requires godly offspring, which can only happen in a godly family setting.
Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
“Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty.
?“So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” (Malachi 2:13-16)
Today’s paucity of godly families and godly offspring is the flip side of our increasingly atheistic and materialistic society. As in the days of the Old Testament prophets, sooner or later, God will bring foreign enemies to overwhelm us if we continue on our present path.
Many commentators have noted the declining birth rates that have attended the turn toward atheistic materialism in Western European nations, and our own Northeastern states. In nations like France and Germany, the birth rate is almost too low to keep the population of native Germans and Frenchmen from declining. Same-sex “marriages,” whether desirable for other reasons or not, contribute nothing to the birth rate.
Two dangerous consequences are looming ahead. First, the non-working elderly constitute a rising percentage of the population, imposing an increasingly costly burden upon the socialistic welfare-state that will eventually bankrupt those societies. Second, there are ever fewer young people to defend those societies against the onslaught of Muslim jihadists, whose fecundity rates are much higher, producing vast armies of young people trained to die as suicide bombers.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007
One Reason for Off-shoring Manufacturing Jobs
When high schools fail to teach the basics in English and mathematics, students can’t learn to operate manufacturing equipment, even when it is computerized. Reader Richard Becker explains why.
EDUCATION FOR CNC MACHINING
By Richard Becker
The Front Range Community College, North Campus, is contemplating shutdown of their Machining Technology program for the 2-year Associate of Applied Science Degree in programming, setting up and operating computerized CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine tools of manufacturing. A problem created by failure of the high schools, failing to introduce students to CNC as a potential career option that requires the identical high school education as college preparation, on the assumption that the core basics of reading, writing and math are not essential for acquiring “manual vocational skills”! And, failure to properly teach them reading, writing and math as essential for gaining skills and knowledge.
CNC is a process where a computer built into each machine operates the machining procedure digitally via servomotors and other electronic devices replacing manually operated machine tool controls of the past. A “high tech” concept that has existed since 1977, and requires Information Technology combined with machining practices and core knowledge to create a machining “program”. In this case, programming is a matter of inserting in the proper sequence the codes to instruct the computer which machining sequence to select in the proper order.
An academic high school education has always been essential in the machining/manufacturing industry. A 1951 second edition textbook MACHINE SHOP MATHEMATICS for high school graduates as vocational and apprenticeship students seeking machinist skills and knowledge. Chapter 1 Shop Arithmetic states in the opening paragraph that “Arithmetic is the basis for all mathematics”. The last paragraph states: “This chapter will deal with a review of the principles involved in the solution of shop problems concerned only with fractions and decimal fractions, since it is assumed that those who will use this text will have mastered the four fundamental operations as applied to whole numbers” ; addition, subtraction, multiplication and division! (emphasis added). Chapter 7 Geometric Construction teaches geometric principles as the basis of machine drawings. Chapter 8 Shop Trigonometry states: “Trigonometry, as far as the apprentice is concerned, deals with the solution of right and oblique triangles. He will find many applications of trigonometry in his daily work, especially angle boring and tapering”. It addresses the solution to problems using the trig tables or the Pythagorean theorem.
When the above textbook was found in a thrift store, it contained a 3-page, neatly typed report on “Gear Cutting, showing that written communication is essential. The report was critiqued by the instruction as per an English or other academic field instructor going over homework assignments.
It also contained a folded sheet of notebook paper covered on both sides with mathematical calculations, either from doing the exercises at the end of the math chapter, or using the text for reference on the job and performing math calculations when setting up a machining production job.
Existence of a textbook illustrates that reading and reading comprehension was essential in acquiring core machining knowledge in preparation for each class, and applied in the direct labor workplace. No different in principle in accepted academic courses, where assigned chapters are to be read in preparation for the next class. Basic knowledge required to understand the instructor meeting with the class to explain and demonstrate the principles for that lesson. Then, students enter the lab containing machine tools and apply the concepts learned for reinforcement. A concept contrary to that of school officials who have assumed that academically deficient individuals become “machinists” by having an instructor showing them what button to push and when to push it.
The required Machining Technology textbook list, acquired from the Front Range CC bookstore, lists the “CNC Programming Handbook” by Peter Smid. A copy is available for checkout or review by anyone who wishes to verify its existence and content. See to view the text and a list of contents.
The book has a college level reading and reading comprehension requirement. It covers the basics of control panel functions. Chapter 4 Coordinate Geometry covers the principles of the Cartesian Coordinate system as the basic element of CNC machine tool functions. The work area of a vertical machining center is divided into four quadrants: Quadrant I X+Y+; Quadrant II X-Y+; Quadrant III X-Y-; Quadrant IV X+Y-! If that is puzzling, check the textbook and look on page 17 as students would do to understand it.
Chapter 52 Math in CNC Programming states, in a box for emphasis: “The knowledge of trigonometry is essential to any serious CNC programming”! Under “Basic Elements”, it covers Arithmetic and Algebra, followed by Order of Calculations (as applied to CNC) and Geometry as taught (presumably) in high school for college preparation purposes. On page 480, it teaches trigonometry as required in application to calculate unknown angles when setting up for machining an angle.
Scattered throughout the textbook are examples of programming for specific functions. for example, from page 403: N28 G90 G54 G00 X-2.5 Y-2.0 S4000 M03 T01 is a line of code for “XY start position for peripheral chamfering”! N28 denotes a line of code; G90 Absolute Dimensioning mode; G54 Work coordinate offset 1; G00 Rapid Positioning (of the work under the milling head in the Z axis); X-2.5 Y-2.0 coordinate location of beginning of the chamfer via the Cartesian Coordinates; S4000 rotational speed of the milling cutter in rpm, based on the ductility of the material, cutting lip angle, number of flutes of the milling cutter, and the finish desired; M03 Circular interpolation counterclockwise; T01Cutting tool #1 in the magazine.
The above is an explanation of just one line of code in a total of 44 lines in three blocks of machining information. Each block concerns use of a different milling cutter. In many cases, machining companies require a programmer/operator to program for a production run. Also, knowledge of codes is essential because operators are also responsible for editing the machining program codes to adjust it to maintain dimensions specified by the design engineer as per the drawing called a “print”. It is essential they know which line of code needs to be changed, and in which direction; - or +, to bring it into specifications.
The supervisor running the production facility has not the time to “babysit” an employee who has not the knowledge to setup, program, and operate the machine tool. When assigned a machine to setup, program and operate, he or she is expected to apply skills and knowledge to get the job done and produce the first item for the supervisor to check against the print and verify that it is in specifications before beginning actual production.
The most common CNC machining facility is called a “job shop” that takes in machining work by the “job” from companies who have a need for precision machined items assembled into their products but it makes more sense to job it out rather than go to the expense of setting up and equipping an in house facility. That includes manufacturers of computer “high tech” hardware such as disk drives, CDrom drives, hard drives etc. A “Job Shop” provides a MACHINING SERVICE ( part of the “service industry”) and the supervisor is too busy bidding on jobs, ordering materials, and assigning machining jobs to be setup and run, and has not the time to be telling academically and CNC ignorant employees how to perform the tasks for which hired.
Many schools have adopted the Applied Technology, or similar program, involving a table-top CNC miniature milling machine and turning center to replace the old “shop” courses. It is assumed by many that the program produces students who can obtain good-paying jobs in machining. That is a perceptual fallacy, because there exists a huge difference between simple CNC machining concepts taught in applied technology courses and the real machines used in industry. Machines with multi axes dominate, and are more complex and more powerful than the “toys” used in schools to “teach job skills” though only serve to introduce students to the concepts of CNC machine setup, programming and operating.
Another major reason that an academic high school education is essential, is new machining businesses starting up. After working in a CNC programmer/operator capacity for a few years to get some solid experience, many go on their own to establish their own machining business. Perhaps buying a machine and installing it in their garage until business picked up and a larger space is reuired to house other machines and hire experience people as business expands.
Besides precision machinists producing machined components in quantity for assembly into consumer items such as computer hardware and other “high tech” items to “low tech” items such as aluminum castings for paint sprayers, there are tool and die makers, mold makers who use the identical machines to produce precision components for punching and forming dies, and moldmakers using the identical machines for producing steel molds used for producing precision plastic items by injecting melted plastic into the molds to form cellphone bodies and other items of a “high tech” and “low tech” nature. To many computer users, “hard drives” are “high tech” disk and CD roms, and CD burners are abstract items that merely “exist” or are but a slot into which a disk or CDrom or CDdisk is inserted to record or retrieve information, but fail to consider the mechanical device behind the slot.
Education • (1) Comments
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Immigration Remains a Hot Issue
Reader Lewis Lafontaine gives us his perspective.
Appeasement on our Borders
By Lewis Lafontaine
President Bush is fond of saying that he believes in the “Rule of Law,” yet he does not secure our borders which is his Constitutional duty. The War in Iraq is justified by telling the American public that our young men are dying in Iraq so the terrorists will not attack American soil with weapons of mass destruction. Despite this grave threat to national security the President and Congress refuse to secure American borders and continue to allow illicit drugs to pour through our borders.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. ~ Winston Churchill
This policy of immigration appeasement ruins the lives of millions of Americans, is expensive to the taxpayer and represents a decline in western civilization. While millions of American families go without health care insurance, the illegal immigrant gets free health care, public education and Social Security Benefits. This appeasement is rationalized away by saying ?America is a nation of Immigrants,? but in fact all the nations of planet earth are composed of immigrants. Unlike the immigrants of colonial times who eked out a living in the wilderness or died, the illegal immigrant of today is subsidized by the American taxpayer from the cradle to the grave.
Americans believe in paying a debt for their crimes whether it is: littering, jay walking, speeding, robbery, rape or murder. Unlike the illegal immigrant, American citizens have no ?sanctuary? cities which they can flee to in order to circumvent the ?Rule of Law.? The establishment of sanctuary cities undermines Constitutional concept of ?Equality under the Law.?
This hypocrisy is not lost upon the average American. There is a reason why Joe Arpaio is the most popular sheriff in the nation. Most Americans do love their country and respect the ?Rule of Law.?
It is a curious fact that human beings think with words. Language is the vehicle for the expression of ideas and is the basis of human dialogue and communication. Commonality of language is important for the survival of a nation state. Anyone who has watched a foreign film with subtitles can testify as to how difficult it can be to watch but imagine living in a society replete with foreign languages and no subtitles at all.
U.S. English Inc. reports that there are 322 languages spoken in the United States. 207 are spoken in California and 59 in Wyoming. There are 135 languages spoken in Los Angeles County alone.
Education is a Pillar of Freedom and the youth of America should be encouraged to be multilingual but there is wisdom in a nation state possessing a core language which in America is English. American society is becoming a veritable Tower of Babel. What Roman Emperor, Senator, Centurion, Citizen or Slave would have ever dreamed that their mother tongue of Latin would one day be a dead language? It can happen to us.
There is great practicality, beauty and majesty in each American saying:
I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
President Bush, with the support of republicans and democrats from both houses of Congress, is promoting a ?comprehensive? immigration plan which includes amnesty for some thirteen million illegal immigrants.
This appeasement is rationalized by claiming that the illegal immigrants are necessary because they will do work that Americans will not due. This is an insult to our forefathers who settled and developed the wilderness as well as to families who need to have both parents working full time today in order to support their families. The failure of the President, Congress, The Immigration and Naturalization Service, and other governmental agencies which ought to protect its citizens collude to reward the illegal immigrant and thereby denigrate the Rule of Law.
The illegal immigrant can forge identification papers, work under the table without paying taxes and get free health care insurance. If an American citizen were to forge identification papers or work under the table without paying taxes, he would go to jail if caught. No sanctuary cities for him. The American citizen gets no free health insurance. He must go bankrupt before getting free health care or go without. The business who hires the illegal immigrant is not prosecuted. This simply makes a mockery of respect for ?Law and Order.?
Semper Eadum ? Always the Same ~ Elizabeth I
The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who loves other women as much as he loves his own wife. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
In 376 A.D. the Roman Emperor Valens did what no Roman Emperor had ever done before him. The scene was on the frontier of the Roman Empire at the River Danube. Valens allowed a horde of Gothic refugees to enter Roman territory. Valens offered the Goths ?amnesty.? Years later these Goths would revolt and kill the emperor and most of his Army at the battle of Hadrianople.
Perhaps history will not repeat itself, but it would not wise to underestimate the wisdom of Elizabeth I. The Goths made no secret of their antipathy towards Rome and our neighbors to the south make no secret of ?La Recnquista? or the re-conquering of the Southwestern United States. Tick Tock…. only time will tell.
Americans in general are not opposed to immigration and do not believe that the options of immigration and security are either/or propositions. Americans do not want a Berlin Wall which was built to keep people in, but a wall to keep illegal immigrants and potential terrorists out. Critics of such a wall miss the most important element of the wall, which is a GATE
When a visitor comes, It is expected that he will firstly knock on your front door, introduce himself, state the purpose of his visit, and enter only when invited. It is expected that he will speak the language of his host and not take advantage of the liberality and good will of the host. The same ought to be true of entering this nation. In civilized nations it is considered rather poor form to break basement window and sneak into the home of your host. Americans expect immigrants to obey the ?Rule of Law? as well as ?The Rules of Hospitality.?
These Rules would include:
? Approach the gate and announce who you are.
? State the purpose of your visit i.e. work, school, tourism, permanent citizenship.
? If working, give proof of where you are working and living, as well as how long you will be working and where you will be living. Your employer will verify this and comply with all U.S. labor laws. Upon completion of your work you may return home through the gate from which you entered.
? A student would do the same as a worker but would provide the name of the educational institution he is attending. Upon graduation the student may return home in the same manner as a worker or apply for permission to stay in the United States.
? The Tourist would get a temporary visa and provide Immigration with his travel itinerary, and, upon completion of his vacation, return home refreshed with many Kodak memories of his visit.
? Immigrants seeking permanent asylum or permanent citizenship would apply with the understanding that they would need to learn English as their primary language and swear Allegiance to the United States of America above all other nations.
Compliance with these Rules of Hospitality is not symptomatic of xenophobia, but rather indicative of both common courtesy and common sense.
Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it. ~ Andrew Jackson
Foreign Policy • (1) Comments
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Public Opinion: Experts vs Vox Populi
Tension between government by experts (intellectuals, bureaucrats, and independent legislators) and the voice of the people (expressed in elections and opinion polls) complicates politics in our Federal republic.
Relying too heavily on opinion polls or elections is a short road to disaster when the government must determine critical policies that involve intricate financial knowledge, broad knowledge of history, economics, and foreign affairs. The general populace can be too easily misled by propaganda and ignorance of the subject.
But looking exclusively to an expert elite opens the path to tyranny, as the history of socialist collectivism demonstrates. Intellectual cadres, working through an impersonal bureaucracy, display, as a comedian once observed, all the sensitivity of the IRS and the efficiency of the Post Office.
The issue is as not a new one. Aristotle noted in his study of ethics that the objective of virtuous conduct is the Golden Mean between extremes. Courage is a virtue, while too little courage is cowardice, and too much is rashness.
In our Federal republic, the aim is a balance between wisdom based on experience and careful analysis, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a sensitivity to the shifting winds of public opinion. The balance wheel is political leadership to educate and channel those opinion winds in the proper direction.
Complete reliance on experts produces arrogance and leads to arbitrary exercise of power that threatens the inalienable natural-law, individual rights prescribed by the Bill of Rights. A judicious reliance upon expert knowledge, coupled with thorough airing of all views through the legislative process, leads in the direction of sound and stable government.
In the opposite direction we had the week-to-week policy shifts of President Carter, whose declarations of firm policy frequently were reversed as soon as a clamor arose from liberal pressure groups. Similarly, if we are to credit Clinton political advisor Dick Morris, President Clinton never announced a policy before testing public opinion and modifying the policy to fit current public opinion. Various committee hearings in the wake of 9/11 suggest that President Clinton failed to nail Osama Bin Ladin after the first World Trade Center bombing and after the bombings of our African embassies, because he believed that public opinion would not have supported aggressive action.
The recent re-election of Connecticut’s Senator Joseph Lieberman exemplifies the conflict enunciated by Edmund Burke, the father of Anglo-American conservatism. As Burke saw his Parliamentary duty it was to exercise his best judgment on behalf of his constituency, rather than simply to vote as momentary, and often uninformed, public opinion urged.
Senator Lieberman lost the Democratic Party primary to socialist insurgent Red Ned Lamont, who advocated almost immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Running as in independent in the general election, Senator Lieberman decisively defeated Mr. Lamont, while advocating keeping our troops in Iraq long enough to prevent a take-over by Al Queda, Baathists, or Iran.
Mr. Lamont, unencumbered by even the slightest experience in foreign affairs, based his entire candidacy upon going with the flow of highly emotional public opinion. Senator Lieberman chose to follow the course dictated by his judgment and experience.
The tension between experts and general opinion is as old as our Constitution. The two year debate before ratification of the Constitution was waged between groups known as the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.
Federalists wanted a strong national government curbed by internal checks and balances. As Washington wrote, attempting to govern under the Articles of Confederation had been a bad joke. Any objection by a state could halt action, gravely threatening our survival amidst the wars among England, France, and Spain.
Anti-Federalists objected that we had just fought a bloody war against England to free ourselves from the arbitrary power of the king. They were adamantly opposed to creating a powerful national government that would take up where George III had left off. The promise of a Bill of Rights allayed their concerns sufficiently to secure ratification of the Constitution.
This set the stage for conflicts that persist today between the powers of the Federal government and the rights of states and individuals.
The Federalists, under George Washington and John Adams succeeded in alienating enough states-rights and individual-freedom partisans to elect Thomas Jefferson to the presidency in 1800. The precipitating issue was one near the head of today’s list: dealing with immigrants.
Following the turmoil of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-94) several thousand French refugees fled to the United States. Many of them were radicals who transferred their socialist advocacy to the American political system, promoting revolutionary action in newspapers and political organizations. A smaller number of Irish radicals immigrated and pursued similar action.
The Federalists met the threat to internal stability with a heavy hand, passing the Naturalization, Alien, and Sedition Acts in 1798, which gave the Federal government power to invade what the states saw as their field of jurisdiction, local police powers. Moreover, the Sedition Act, by giving the Federal government authority to prosecute for seditious speech, ran afoul of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.
Calling these acts “The Federalist Reign of Terror,” Jefferson’s Republican party won the 1800 elections.
A similar conflict arose with the Sedition Act of 1917, when Jefferson’s successors, the Democrats, confronted the efforts of socialists and anarchists to overthrow the Constitution to prevent our entry into World War I. Ironically, liberal icon Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote the Court’s opinion upholding the 1917 act.
In that year, the Federal government essentially took over American industry to mobilize for the war, but President Woodrow Wilson rescinded nearly all of the government’s extraordinary powers within months after the 1918 Armistice.
In that era, both Republicans and Democrats believed in the original concept of limited national government, leaving as much regulation as possible at the state and local levels.
With a modified gold standard in effect through the 1920s, Congress could not pass new spending bills without facing public disapproval by levying new taxes. The Federal Reserve, under a gold standard, could not create money with bookkeeping entries to finance government programs.
Members of Congress voted to protect both the national interests and the special interests of their constituents, but voting based on opinion polls was not the practice.
Beginning in 1933 with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, however, that governmental self-restraint ceased. Roosevelt called for creating emergency powers to enable state-planning modeled on the Soviet Union and Fascist Italy.
Agriculture, our largest employer in 1933, was nationalized. Socialist and Communist labor unions were elevated to a position of favored power by the New Deal. Industry was placed under state-planners by the National Recovery Administration (NRA), our version of Mussolini’s Fascist State Corporatism. The NRA set production quotas, prices, and labor rates. Tax revenues, predominantly at the state and local level before 1933, were taken over by the Federal government, which tripled income tax rates.
Since 1933, continuing collectivization of power at the Federal level has effectively neutered the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights, permitting the Federal government to run roughshod over states’ rights and the supposedly inalienable rights of individuals.
With an ever expanding scope of regulatory power in the Federal government, along with institution of the socialist welfare state, public opinion has become a loose canon on the gun deck threatening to wreck the ship of state. The public have been taught that they are entitled to a Federal government that provides for their daily needs by taxing “the rich,” ending the ethos of self-restraint at the Federal level.
Out of the New Deal socialization of our government has come the liberal-socialist-progressive theory that changes in public opinion amount to amendments to the Constitution, despite the specific amendment procedure laid out in Article V of the Constitution. It is this theory that liberals use also to justify activist judges who rule according to politically-correct public opinion.