Monday, February 16, 2015

Tanks in WWI

Tanks are now only a minor feature of WWI propaganda but I think it is important to combat propaganda wherever we see it.

The still widely-believed myth is that the invention of tanks by the British was a major factor in the defeat of Germany.  It wasn't.

It is true that the allies did produce and field large numbers of tanks, whereas Germany did not.  So it is clear that the allies at the time believed their own propaganda. Estimates vary but it is generally said that Britain produced around 2000 tanks and the French over 3000 while Germany produced only around 50. And the French Renault tanks were in many ways actually superior to the British designs.

The big flaws in WWI tank deployment were light armour, slow speed and a tendency to get bogged in the lush agricultural lands of Belgium and Northern France.  Even tracked vehicles could not traverse that ground whenever it was wet, and that was often.

The light armour was actually penetrable by rifle and machine gun fire in the early stages and up to the end was an easy kill for German field guns.  And Germany had a lot of those.

This handicap was greatly amplified by the slow speed of the tanks  -- 5mph for British heavy tanks.  It certainly gave German field gunners easy targeting.  So the tanks that did not get bogged were generally knocked out without too much trouble.

The British light tanks ("Whippets") did rather better than the heavy tanks but there were only about 200 of them fielded and the British themselves considered them as enough of a failure to cut  the numbers they had ordered.  They were designed as "fast" tanks but that was only 8mph.

But the tanks did have some engagements in which they helped so how can I be sure that they did not make a crucial difference overall?

I can be sure because almost up to the end Ludendorff was advancing. In his last great push, German troops got to within 50 miles of Paris.  But that push cost Ludenfdorff over half a million men and that left Germany with nothing like enough troops to take on the great wave of American troops that began arriving at that time.  The American troops did not play a large role in the actual fighting but the sheer number of them told Ludendorff that he was finished and so he asked for an armistice.  It was the arrival of the Americans that defeated Germany.  Just the prospect of fighting so many fresh and carefully-trained troops led to the surrender.


Food authoritarianism poorly based

The dietary guidelines endorsed by the US and UK governments for the past three decades, which demonise fat as the number one nutritional villain, turn out to have been based on flimsy evidence.

A new study in the journal Open Heart has found that these guidelines, which advise restricting fat to no more than 30 percent of total energy intake and saturated fat to no more than 10 percent, should never have been issued. The guidelines were based on a non-randomised study of fewer than 2,500 middle-aged men, most of whom were already sick-hardly a sound basis for issuing dietary advice to millions of healthy men and women of all ages.

This is not the first time official diet advice has later been undermined by evidence. Saturated fat, it turns out, is not as bad for you as once was thought. Even the link between cholesterol and heart disease has been questioned.

Another public health myth that was recently debunked: the obesity explosion. Just one year ago, the National Obesity Forum in the UK was predicting rates of obesity were going to increase much more than expected and policymakers needed to prepare for an exponential rise.

As it turns out, rates of obesity have levelled off in the UK, especially among children. In Australia, childhood obesity plateaued a decade ago and in New South Wales may even be declining.

The same public health lobby that vilified fat 30 years ago has now moved on to sugar, with some scientists claiming that sugary foods are as 'addictive' as cocaine. This anti-sugar line is being used to justify policies like soft drink taxes and school candy bans.

But with its history of falling for dietary fads, like fat yesterday and sugar today, should we really trust these diet nannies to make food decisions for the rest of us? With their record of making doomsday predictions that don't come to pass, like the obesity 'bomb', should we trust them when they claim to have identified a crisis requiring urgent government action?

There is no one nutrient that is responsible for obesity. A person can grow to an unhealthy weight by eating too much fatty food or too much sugary food-the real problem is eating too much, period. This simple wisdom is something that most people already understand. The only problem with it, it seems, is that if everyone already understands it then there's no work left for nanny.



Doubts About Obama's Hatred of Christianity Should Now be Erased

By Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

“For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.” – Revelation 12:12
“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” – Barack Obama to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

If anyone doubted Barack Hussein Obama’s deep hatred of Christianity and abiding love for Islam, those doubts should now be erased after Obama verbally attacked some 3,500 Christians at the recent National Prayer Breakfast.

Just days after ISIS burned a Jordanian pilot alive, Obama used the occasion to minimize the escalating brutality by Islamists and lecture Christians about their supposed history of intolerance, incredibly reaching back as far as a thousand years to make his point:

“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

And thus Obama’s hatred of Christianity has been revealed for the world to see.

Obama left out that the Crusades were a defensive measure against the Islamic conquest of the Christian world. Islam teaches war against “non-believers” and conversion by force. Christianity teaches that people must wage an internal spiritual battle that leads to repentance and inner peace.

Obama also failed to mention that some of the greatest abolitionists and civil rights leaders who eradicated slavery and Jim Crow were Christians. And that slavery still exists today in many Muslim countries!

Contrast Obama’s rebuke of Christianity to what he has said about Islam:

“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

"The Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”

“America is not – and will never be – at war with Islam."

Islam influenced Obama at a young age. His biological father and his stepfather were both Muslim. He lived in a Muslim nation. Obama was a close friend of Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and a member of his America-hating, anti-Israel and racist black church. As a result of his background, Obama has an aversion to Christianity and for America’s exceptionality.

Fundamentally transforming … the world

Obama not only wants to fundamentally transform America, he wants to transform the world and prop Islam up as a “great religion.” He wants Christians and Jews to doubt their faith and turn a blind eye to the evil nature of Islam.

Case in point: Iranian officials claim that Obama administration officials are “begging” them to sign an agreement on nuclear weapons. According to the Associated Press, the United States is conceding ground to Iran in talks and will now allow it to “keep much of its uranium-enriching technology.”

Obama’s love for Iran, a major state sponsor of terrorism, is no secret. In the past, he has openly gushed about this murderous Islamic nation:

“To the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran … your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place. … We know that you’re a great civilization and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.”

Obama’s affinity for Islam, his hostility toward Israel and his selfish political aspiration to negotiate “peace for our time” is empowering Iran and jeopardizing the security of the U.S. and our allies.

Iran has stated that it wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and a nuclear Iran could be the leverage Obama seeks to coerce Israel to allow a Palestinian state, which would be a major political and personal accomplishment for Obama.

Obama operatives are trying to undermine the upcoming March 17 Israeli elections – no doubt to support a more liberal Israeli leader. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that a U.S. taxpayer-funded nonprofit organization called OneVoice is actively working with a campaign operation called Victory 2015 (V15) – working hand-in-hand with Obama field director Jeremy Bird – in an effort to defeat Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why Obama is revealing his dark heart now

Obama knows “his time is short” and that he has no more elections. Despite losing both chambers of Congress, Obama is still acting like he’s in control – and Republicans refuse to stop him. They’re caving in on almost every campaign promise. The weaker the opposing force, the bolder Obama becomes.

Republicans are weak with Obama, like the West is weak with Islamists. Obama said the sound of Muslim prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.” If that’s true, what is the second prettiest sound – that of a man being burned alive or the sound of a human being’s head being sliced off by Islamic terrorists?




State officials in Ohio filed a lawsuit on Monday, Jan. 26 alleging Obamacare tax assessments against government agencies are unconstitutional. Unsurprisingly, the case was covered closely by major media outlets across the nation.

But while the Ohio case may be getting all the headlines, it could be a case brought forward by an unknown Pennsylvania tax collector that ends up taking down key provisions of President Barack Obama’s signature law when the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit considers the case in the spring.

Like countless other Americans, Jeffrey Cutler, currently the tax collector of East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania, lost his health insurance in October 2013 when his insurance company notified him that his plan did not qualify for renewal due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Cutler, who was covered by the same plan from 2007 to its cancellation in 2013, was pleased with his coverage and did not wish to obtain a different—and in his opinion an inferior—plan through the Obamacare exchange in Pennsylvania.

On Nov. 14, 2013, facing intense political pressure over thousands of cancelled policies, Obama announced a “transition policy” that promised to allow individuals like Cutler to keep, at least temporarily, health insurance plans that originally did not qualify for renewal under the ACA.

Cutler soon discovered, however, Obama’s promise was not a universal policy applying to all the states; only citizens in those states whose regulators chose to implement Obama’s transition policy would be able to keep their health insurance plans. In other words, the Obama administration gave individual states the power to decide for themselves whether or not existing federal law would be enforced in their own states.

Unfortunately for Cutler, Pennsylvania was not one of the states that mandated what became known as Obama’s “administrative fix.” Then-Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine did allow individuals to keep their insurance plans that would otherwise be cancelled by Obamacare mandates, but the decision was ultimately left to the insurance companies to decide whether or not insurance plans would be cancelled.

Cutler’s insurance company chose to cancel Cutler’s plan, and Cutler went without insurance in 2014, which means he now owes the federal government at least $95 for failing to have adequate health insurance coverage.

Critics of Obamacare, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), immediately questioned the constitutionality of the Obamacare administrative fix; they alleged the Obama administration violated the Constitution when it single-handedly, without the approval of Congress, altered the ACA’s clear provisions about when plans considered to be inadequate would be cancelled.

Cutler’s suit, filed on December 31, 2013, took a different approach. Cutler claimed the law violates the Constitution because it does not apply the law equally, which past Supreme Courts have determined is a guarantee of the Fifth Amendment.

Cutler, who is now represented by constitutional lawyers David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, argues that because the so-called administrative fix allowed states to apply federal law unequally, the Obama administration violated the Constitution.

Further, Cutler asserts that because the religious exemptions provided in the law do not apply to all religions—Cutler is Jewish born—the ACA violates his First Amendment rights as well.

The government filed for a dismissal in the district court on the grounds that Cutler, who initially sued without legal representation, did not have standing and that he did not sufficiently allege a legal claim. The court granted the motion and Cutler’s case was dismissed.

In an interview, Cutler said now that his case is being handled by expert constitutional lawyers Yerushalmi and Muise, he is confident his appeal will be successful. A brief laying out Cutler’s case will be filed in February and the government’s response is due in March. Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog

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