A few years ago, UK physicist and cancer researcher David Robert Grimes with a smirking mug shot at, where else, The Guardian, sneeringly dismissed the science behind those who are against abortion. He wrote, among other things:

One of the most inflammatory arguments against abortion is rooted in the assertion that the foetus can feel pain, and that termination is therefore a brutal affair. This is extremely unlikely to be true. A foetus in the early stages of development lacks the developed nervous system and brain to feel pain or even be aware of their surroundings. The neuroanatomical apparatus required for pain and sensation is not complete until about 26 weeks into pregnancy. As the upper limit worldwide for termination is 24 weeks, and the vast majority of pregnancies are terminated well before this (most in the first 9 weeks in the UK), the question of foetal pain is a complete red herring. This is reflected in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’s report on foetal pain, which concludes “… existing data suggests that cortical processing and therefore foetal perception of pain cannot occur before 24 weeks of gestation”.

His snarling dismissal of people’s concern for the pain that an unborn child can feel is now irrelevant, however. That line has been crossed, even as it is circumscribed by all the same conditionals and supposed safeguards that were originally used to describe the choice to have an abortion in the early days of Roe v. Wade.

Governor Ralph Northam – the head of the Commonwealth of Virginia and a pediatrician himself – said the following in an interview:

When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother with the consent of the physicians — more than one physician, by the way.

And then in the radio interview, he said this:

And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that is nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mothers.

Which means that a child is an accessory from the moment it’s conceived, according to this worldview. And you can always return the accessory if its quality is not to your liking. It will feel pain, it may even have been delivered and be resting there on the multifunctional hospital bed that its mother is also lying on. If they decide it is deformed or wrong somehow, the baby will quickly be put to death.

Of course, Northam’s staff is already qualifying his comments and giving standard excuse that they were taken out of context. Nonsense. Should Virginia’s and New York State’s laws become the new standard around America and elsewhere, then any child will always be a potentially unwanted entity in the law’s eyes who must be granted permission to live. A fallen little angel guilty of the sin of being alive with a wizened face, awaiting for approval to remain breathing.

But Northam’s comments are not generating much airtime in most of mainstream media. We don’t talk about this, only a few nods to the crazed reactions of those of us who would support those who believe we must try to provide succor and care for the unborn or recently born.

Alongside abortion-on-demand, as euthanasia enters the customs of one country after another descending down from the aged terminally ill to depressed teens, and as pain is either medicated or the pained person eliminated, we move one more step towards a rather dreadful singularity, where human life is only valid if it is both attractive and intelligent. The sick, muddled masses who are judged ignorant and wanting are to be pruned from our society, one by one, under the banner of diversity, choice, and enlightened evolution.

God help us all.

Not only was Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel at the center of failed Obama-era criminal reform policies (in this case, PROMISE = Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support & Education), but the sheriff also had a far more venal reason for not taking responsibility for the police inaction leading up to, during, and after the Parkland shooting.

According to Real Clear Investigations’ Paul Sperry, Sheriff Israel’s son Brett Israel got off with a 3 day suspension for a violent sexual assault on a 14-year old student. It involved grabbing of genitals and using a baseball bat to simulate sodomy. Two seniors – one of them Brett Israel – were involved in grabbing, kicking and holding down the 14-year old. And sexually assaulting him.

That’s a felony crime, but because of the rules of Obama’s failed experiment with youth crime prevention, Brett Israel, a white privileged kid, got away with violent sexual assault. And guess who administered this travesty as the school’s on-site police officer?

Deputy Scot Peterson.

Yes, the now-retired (on a $8,700 a month pension) deputy who hid behind concrete walls outside the school as Nikolas Cruz went on his rampage killing 17 and wounding many more.

So. A 14-year old suffers a violent sexual assault in 2014 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Deputy Scot Peterson decides not to prosecute the offender for a felony and instead opts for a lesser charge which resulted in a 3-day suspension. And then in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland Shooting, Sheriff Israel allows Deputy Peterson to quickly retire despite the ongoing investigations regarding the shooting. On a full pension. Here’s RCI’s Paul Sperry:

People familiar with the case say Peterson could have referred Israel for felony charges, but reduced the crime to “simple battery,” making him eligible for a leniency program requiring no arrest. “The school district’s disciplinary matrix requires no law enforcement action required regarding the incident,” the deputy wrote.

“A child was sexually assaulted, and Peterson reduced the charges to fit a matrix and report it as information. This allowed the deputy to put it away and not do anything,” said Arreaza, who is suing both Israel and Peterson on behalf of Anthony Borges, a Stoneman Douglas student who survived the massacre, despite being shot five times.

Arreaza said that the same lax disciplinary culture meant Cruz was never expelled or sent to the juvenile justice system despite committing multiple offenses every year throughout middle and high school. Peterson was warned at least twice of the threat Cruz posed as an active shooter but failed to investigate the matter. Peterson had an office on the Stoneman Douglas campus, where he’d been posted for nine years.

Sheriff Israel is defying calls from all sides for him to resign. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Association of Deputies have filed a formal call for him to resign, for goodness sake. His own f#cking deputies want him gone. But with newly elected Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about to assume office, he likely will soon be fired anyway.

Justice delayed is justice denied, but at least the sheriff will see some consequences for his appalling leadership in Broward County. Good riddance.

Could the Me 262 Have Turned the War in Germany’s Favor?

© 2018 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.

The outcome of World War II still has a tremendous impact on the political and economic relationships in effect throughout the world. The events that occurred nearly 80 years ago resonate with a profound relevance that persists even to this day.

In the European Theater of World War II (September 1939-May 1945), the British and American allies mounted an intense aerial bombing campaign against German military and industrial targets beginning in the latter stages of 1942. The scope and intensity of the Allied campaign really picked up steam in 1943, as the Americans and British both ramped up their bomber production into high gear. The British concentrated on a night wide-area “carpet bombing” strategy, while the Americans (aided by their use of the precision Norden bomb sight) conducted a daylight campaign intended to be more exacting and surgical in nature. Churchill was moved to say, “We shall bomb those b*st*rds around the clock! We shall never let them sleep!”

The daylight campaign held the most danger for the attackers of the two strategies by far, since no fighter escort aircraft existed in 1943 with the range necessary to accompany and protect the American B-24 and B-17 bombers from German interceptor aircraft all the way to and from their targets deep inside Germany. Unprotected and in plain daylight view of German fighters, American bombers took a tremendous beating during this time frame. A prime example was the October 14, 1943 raid on the Schweinfurt ball bearings factory, which came to be known as Black Thursday. German fighter planes extracted the astonishing toll of sixty 4-engined B-17’s shot down out of the attacking force of 291 bombers. Each American plane carried a crew of ten, so the loss of life was quite significant. Dozens more American bombers were damaged and never flew again after limping their way home to England.

During this time period, American P-47 Thunderbolt and British Spitfire fighter planes only had the range to escort the bombers partway to target and again on their last leg home. The Germans simply waited for the Allied fighters to turn for home and then they pounced on the unprotected bombers.

But in early 1944, the Americans introduced a new version of their P-51 Mustang fighter with an American-built version of the famous British Merlin engine. The new model (the P-51B or C, depending on where it was built) had incredibly high performance—even better than the famous German Me 109 and FW 190 fighters—and most importantly, it now had the range to accompany and protect the bombers all the way to and from the most distant targets in Germany. So from 1944 onwards, the air war in the skies above Europe were characterized by furious fighter-to-fighter dogfights, as German fighter planes tried to break through American fighter escort cover and get to the American bombers.

The Americans held tremendous numerical and logistical advantages in this contest. First of all, there was a huge and unending supply of well-trained American pilots to fill their ranks. Germany, by contrast, had been at war for two full years longer than America and had a smaller population pool upon which to draw for pilots. Furthermore, Germany itself was under constant attack—unlike the United States—and was also involved in a resources-killing front in the East against the Russians.

This all added up to a European air war of frightening attrition, where losses on both sides were high. It was a situation that spelled eventual, inescapable doom for the Germans, since their supply of experienced, well-trained pilots dwindled precipitously in the face of unending months of costly air combat against the Americans.

Because of the pressure of constant attacks, by 1944 the Germans could hardly afford to interrupt their fighter production lines in order to switch over to new, improved types and they could barely afford the time to adequately train new pilots. Therefore, the older Me 109 fighter (a veteran of the Spanish Civil War in the mid-1930’s!) continued to be built in huge numbers (1944 was actually the peak of German fighter production) and soldiered on long after it had passed its peak effectiveness. Meanwhile, new fighters never made it to front-line service in numbers meaningful enough to make an impact.

But…what if a truly superior German fighter had been available in significant quantity in the 1943 and early 1944 timeframe, before German industry was under such stress from Allied bombing and before the ranks of experienced German pilots became decimated by years of unending combat? Would that have altered the course of the air war over Europe? Such a scenario was, in fact, within the Germans’ grasp.

That aircraft was the Messerschmitt Me 262. Widely recognized as the world’s first operational jet fighter, the Me 262 was a twin-engined, single-seat interceptor possessing extremely high performance—over 540 mph. To put its performance into context, in the 1943-44 time period (when the 262 was essentially ready for active deployment), the fastest conventional piston-engined Allied fighters of the day (the British Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX and American P-47B Thunderbolt) had top speeds of barely higher than 400 mph. Even the new Merlin-engined Mustang of 1944 was only a little faster, at around 430 mph. That extreme margin of ascendancy over an adversary is rarely achieved during wartime and would have given the Germans an incredible edge over the Allies.

Interestingly, the 262’s toughest opponent proved to be the rancorous bureaucratic infighting at the highest levels of German command. Incensed at the Allies’ bombing attacks on Germany and furious over the generally negative turn of the war’s direction against Germany, Hitler wanted the 262—designed to be a fast, high-altitude interceptor, optimized for the role of bomber destroyer—to be converted into a fast, low-altitude ground attack aircraft, to strike targets in England. Although theoretically it could have been reasonably successful performing that task, the 262 did not have the load-carrying capacity to be a truly impactful bomber and pressing it into such a role just squandered most of its aerial performance premium.

So intense was the controversy inside Germany over the 262’s mission, that at one point, Hitler absolutely forbade any mention of the 262 as a fighter!

Bomber versions of the 262 were made and pressed into service. Developmental issues with the then-new jet engines affected production, so the absolute number of aircraft completed was limited. Bombing success with the 262 was disappointing and the damage inflicted by their use as a bomber was negligible.

However, the scale and damage of the Allies’ bombing attacks continued to rise and countering these attacks soon became the overriding concern of the German war effort in the West. By the time the decision to allow the 262’s use as an interceptor was made in 1945, Germany was already suffering from severe material and fuel shortages. Franz Stigler, a 262 pilot, recounts in the book A Higher Call by Adam Makos that in 1945, that the metal used in 262 production was so poor (quality raw materials were simply too difficult to obtain by that point in sufficient quantity) that the pilots had to exercise undue care so as not to over-stress the 262’s engines or else they’d self-destruct. Excessive ground maintenance was also required just to keep them flying. If Germany had made final development, mass production and deployment of the Me 262 a priority in late 1943—certainly well within their capabilities—then neither situation would have existed since they would have been manufactured with better materials.

Had large-scale 262 production commenced in late 1943, the front-line German interceptor units would have been equipped with the new jets in time to counter the Americans’ introduction of the P-51B into its long-range escort role.

Once the P-51B was active, the intense fighter-vs. fighter combat that took place between the German Me 109’s and FW 190’s and the American fighters would have been largely avoided by the Germans. The 262’s great speed and new tactics they devised would have enabled the Germans to avoid much fighter vs. fighter combat and their aircraft losses—and most importantly, pilot losses—would have been dramatically lessened. American bomber losses would have been far higher, especially since the bombers’ defensive machine gun turrets had difficulty accurately tracking the 262’s great speed and getting a bead on them for firing.

The resulting lower German losses of both planes and pilots would have had a negative ripple effect for the Allies in all aspects of the war. The destructive impact on German industrial and equipment production by the Allied bombing campaign would not have been as effective as it was. Since the Allies would not have had complete air superiority, the D-Day land invasion of mainland Europe would likely have been postponed well past the actual June 6, 1944 date. If the Me 262 was the main interceptor in the West, then greater quantities of the FW 190—a far better piston-engined fighter than the Me 109—could have been sent to the Eastern front for the fight against Russia. With a higher number of better, more experienced German pilots available on all fronts, the Germans would have put up far tougher resistance and for the Allies, achieving final victory would have been costlier and taken longer.

In the end, America’s far higher industrial production capability and fuel supply, unhindered by enemy bombing attacks, would have prevailed, regardless of the performance of any one aircraft on either side. America would eventually have simply overwhelmed Germany with the with sheer numbers of armaments it delivered to the battlefield. But the Germans’ misdirected production and deployment decisions concerning this one aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me-262, can quite plausibly be said to have profoundly affected both the duration and cost of World War II—the results of which still define the majority of international relationships and boundaries that exist in the world today.

Sources

Famous Fighters of the Second World War, Green, William, Doubleday, 1960

Hitler’s Luftwaffe, Gunston, Bill, Crescent, 1977

A Higher Call, Makos, Adam, Berkley, 2012

The First and the Last, Galland, Adolph, Metheun, 1955

Airwar, Jablonski, Edward, Doubleday, 1971

 

 

Shall I talk about the top twenty 2017 tweets of President Trump? How about Alvin Kamara’s awesome Santa Cleats which have resulted in a fine by the NFL, delivered in an envelope to the New Orlean’s Saints running back? It looks like those 32 yards he ran for in the Christmas Eve game are going to be the most expensive of his career. Or maybe I should dive right in to Trump’s interview with the NYT in which he says that the Mueller probe:

… makes the country look bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position.

No? How about if instead I talk just for a moment about a wonderful, very talented, very hard-working artist who suddenly left us in September.

Tom Petty.

It was a warm snap, in I think December, in 1979, and I was jogging past the house where the cool people lived in college. The windows to Andy’s room were open and the thunder of Stan Lynch’s opening drum roll turned my head as the opening chords (F#minor, D, and E) of Refugee poured out the open window. I swiveled and kept jogging up the path, through the front door, and up the steps into Andy’s room, and we sat and listened to Tom and the Heartbreakers’ early masterpiece. More were to come of course, but this was the first time when it felt like they really could do anything they set their minds to.

Over the previous year, Andy had made me listen to their first two albums, as he would shake his head and say “I can’t believe they’re not huge!” So that mild December afternoon in 79 was like a confirmation of all the expectations that the few early TP fans in our circles had nourished.

By the time I belatedly saw their 2008 Super Bowl half-time show on Youtube, it was a year or two after the event. Sorry, I haven’t followed Super Bowls religiously for a long time. I watched the opening chords of American Girl and I started weeping. But they were tears of gratitude for all the wonderful music Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have given us. And just to remind everyone, Tom Petty was very much alive and kicking when I got mushy watching the halftime show on Youtube.

I’ll let music critics argue over who the greatest rock bands are. TP and the Heartbreakers were one of the best. Try playing Mike Campbell’s solo in American Girl. It was twenty years ahead of its time. It took punk, post-punk, 80’s big hair, grunge and post-grunge, for guitar solos to catch up to what he did back in 1976. Try playing the guitar-piano combination in the chorus of Here Comes My Girl. Fascinatingly, Tom said in the VHS series on great albums that you had to come from the South to play the riff that floats behind Petty’s vocals and Stan Lynch’s backup vocals.

Try playing that magic handful of chords that Tom plays in Learning to Fly. Try to get that beautiful ache in just your rythm guitar playing. Now try to do it on a Rickenbacker. Not easy, huh? Now sing please.

De Tocqueville writes about the optimism and confidence that he found that women in America were raised into. It’s there in the opening lines to Tom’s song American Girl:

Well she was an American girl, raised on promises

But that would be to ascribe political ends to Tom Petty’s music, which he would probably laugh at a little. I have no idea who he voted for. I don’t care who he voted for. I have no idea what he yelled at his screen when somebody said something on CNN, or MSNBC. Or Fox.

Maybe he read Faulkner. Maybe he had to read Carson McCullers’ a tree a rock a cloud in high school, the way I did. Maybe he was haunted by that story, the way I was. Likely not. Because he was someone who had his own stories to tell and who had the drive , talent and the need to tell them. And that drive and talent would produce a gem of an artist that could only have come from one country.

America and the world are better for Tom Petty’s music. Happy New Year.

Oscar Lopez Rivera returned from active duty in Vietnam to Chicago in 1967, the year Che Guevara was captured and executed as the Argentine terrorist who was Castro’s henchman and was an even crazier radical. The Che who later tried to inspire a revolution among reluctant Bolivian campesinos who were far more obedient to Moscow than to Guevara’s vision of their future. Yes. Che Guevara was even more extreme than Fidel Castro. He got sent to Africa and Bolivia for one reason: to conveniently die and become a perfect martyr for the Castro regime in Havana.

Terrorist? How dare you, you might say Manuel. Che has been lovingly analyzed, deified, and portrayed as a revolutionary, a freedom fighter, a humanist (by those who haven’t actually read his actual violent, hate-filled words) even. How dare you shine a little light on every leftist’s most cherished dream: to be a Latin America Revolutionary! Look at sub-commandant Marcos down in Chiapas, Mexico in the mid-90’s. He rode a horse across a stream and smoked a pipe while wearing a balaclava as he gave press conferences. And the progressive world fell to their knees before their latest hero. Ah, those green hypnotizing eyes that caused wealthy Mexican women to sigh lustfully. But you know this Manuel.

So 1967 was a key year for Puerto Rican native Oscar Lopez Rivera. That’s because fellow Puerton Rican Filiberto Ojeda Rios had returned from a 6 year stay in communist Cuba that very same year. And was now organizing radical, violent groups – ok that sort of classifies as terrorist doesn’t it? – to overthrow the democracy in Puerto Rico and establish a marxist state. Ojeda Rios’ groups were founded on strict marxist-leninist revolutionary principles. Che would have been pleased. Che clearly knew and perhaps helped train Ojeda Rios.

At some point in the late 60’s or early 70’s Lopez Rivera left his community organizing work in Chicago and joined Ojeda Rios’ marxist terrorist groups. By the mid 70’s they were actively involved in a massive bombing campaign against targets in America. People died and property was violently destroyed. Banks were robbed as well – a rather typical form of activity for leftist terrorists needing cash for their guns and bombs. Of course, you know this Manuel.

But this is all justified in the eyes of progressives because America keeps the noble and suffering people of Puerto Rico under the heel of Uncle Sam. Billions and billions and billions of dollars worth of oppression. To finance government, education, health, industry, infrastructure. To keep living standards light years ahead of Cuba. Evil. Pure evil. To allow Puerto Ricans to freely migrate to America as proud owners of American passports, and prosper and inspire others. Like you Manuel. Though you were born in Manhattan. Evil.

Ojeda Rios died about 10 years ago in a shootout with the FBI in Puerto Rico. But Lopez Rivera was tried and jailed in 1981. He’s still there because he refused a pardon from Clinton in 1999. He would not swear to give up violent terrorist activities. Now that’s a man of principle.

Are Ojeda – and the late Rios – little Patrick Henrys? Give me liberty or give me death? No. Because Henry was fighting for the liberty of his fellow Americans under the rule of law. The perverted, failed attempts throughout Latin America to replicate the American Revolution’s astonishing success, are still there for us to witness. From Havana to Caracas to Quito. The American Revolution had faith (mostly Puritan) and a clear eyed view of classic enlightenment thinking and the founders knew well the dangerous history of previous failed republics. The Latin American revolutionaries have Marx, the French Revolution, and other European radicals as their guides. Not the same. Never was. Never will be.

But you know all this, Manuel. You’ve studied history and politics. More than most. So go ahead Manuel Lin Miranda and shed tears for Oscar Lopez Rivera. And when he is released from jail, invite him to a “command” performance of Hamilton. Ahh the “viva’s!!” in audience that will pour forth! And then Lopez Rivera can take you backstage and start to carefully explain to you – young misguided Miranda – why Hamilton was an evil colonialist. And why true liberation is only possible in a worker’s paradise like Cuba. And suggest you travel to Cuba, Manuel. Not to bring Hamilton to a government-sponsored theatre in Havana. No. To learn the art of true political theatre: radical political theatre.

Who knows Manuel? Maybe you too can disappear into the jungles of Colombia perhaps. And join the FARC in it’s glorious last days of drug trafficking and kidnappings and killings. And become a true revolutionary. And not just a talented artist, creating exciting work as he exercises his First Amendment Rights – even as he educates and entertains Americans and other adoring fans from around the world – in the world’s most successful republic. One that has allowed you to pursue life, liberty, and happiness to it’s glorious fullest possibilities.

You are the model to be admired and imitated, Manuel. Not Che Guevara. Not Filiberto Ojeda Rios. Not Oscar Lopez Rivera. You. Even when you tweet wrong-headed praise of a violent man.