Warning: chmod(): Operation not permitted in /home/sites/www.easttexasreview.com/web/wp-includes/nav-menu.php on line 538
Warning: file_put_contents(/home/sites/www.easttexasreview.com/web/wp-includes/../.htaccess): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/sites/www.easttexasreview.com/web/wp-includes/nav-menu.php on line 539
Warning: chmod(): Operation not permitted in /home/sites/www.easttexasreview.com/web/wp-includes/nav-menu.php on line 540
Warning: touch(): Utime failed: Operation not permitted in /home/sites/www.easttexasreview.com/web/wp-includes/nav-menu.php on line 544
Continue reading »]]>
Continue reading »]]>
Terrorists rely on concealment in order to launch surprise attacks.
Last week’s attempted attack on a high-speed train traveling from Holland to Paris via Belgium involved successful concealment, up to a point. At that point, the passengers surprised the terrorist.
Islamist terrorist Ayoub El Khazzani managed to evade security agency surveillance in at least five countries. Despite strict Belgian and French gun- and ammunition-control laws, not only did Khazzani acquire an AK-47 assault rifle, but when the moment came to wage armed jihad, he successfully evaded rail station security and slipped his AK with 200 rounds of ammo on board an elite trans-European express.
Wait, police spokesmen are wont to say, in a free society the cops can’t be everywhere all the time. Too true. And when targeting free societies, terrorists bank on it. Concealed in the open may be an oxymoron. Yet terrorists do conceal themselves in open societies by passing as peaceful members of that society.Khazzani passed as peaceful. He intended to surprise the train passengers, and he did, sort of. Reliance on surprise makes terror attacks a type of ambush. By definition, in an ambush, attackers strike from concealed positions. In a military ambush, where soldiers ambush soldiers, the attackers must remain concealed until the second they trigger the ambush. If surprise is lost and the ambush is discovered, the ambushers lose their advantage.
Khazzani muffed the transition from concealment to attack. A French banker, identified as Damien A., saw him in a lavatory with his weapon. He grabbed at Khazzani. Khazzani ran into the rail car where passenger Mark Moogalian (an American living in France) accosted him.
Now Khazzani is targeting unarmed civilians. Blown ambush? Shouting? No problem. He has firepower. He shot Moogalian.
But other passengers had more surprises. Instead of cowering, they responded heroically. First one, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, got to Khazzani, and then a second, and then four were on him.
He could not aim the weapon. In the hand-to-hand struggle, he pulled a pair of box cutters and wounded Stone. He drew a pistol. But Stone’s friends, Oregon Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and California college student Anthony Sadler, kept battering him. British businessman Chris Norman joined the fight. They disarmed and pinned Khazzani. To emphasize his disapproval, Skarlatos used the AK’s muzzle to make repetitive metal impressions on Khazzani’s head. Did the message get through? Khazzani was a finger twitch from eternity.
The en masse quick physical assault on Khazzani was somewhat like a tactic the military calls an instantaneous counterattack on a close-in ambush. In the ambush’s kill zone, the defenders have little chance, and so they instantly turn and assault the ambushers. Penetrating the ambush positions brings the battle to the ambushers. In the resulting melee, the ambushers lose the advantage of surprise.
It takes confident, trained and well-led combat units to respond that coolly and cohesively. But the comparison is instructive. Sadler, Stone and Skarlatos are lifelong friends, a cohesive group of people who depend on one another. That’s a unit. Stone and Skarlatos have military training. Skarlatos pulled a tour in Afghanistan. He told authorities that going after Khazzani “wasn’t a conscious decision. … We just acted.” Stone said Skarlatos said, “Go get ‘im.” He and Skarlatos went; Sadler followed. Norman said he fled until he saw the three Americans tackle the gunman. Courage instilled courage. Now there were four.
Stone is an Air Force medic. He staunched Moogalian’s bleeding and saved his life.
Can you train people to respond en masse to a terrorist attack? Sure. Group action by unarmed civilians can stop a lone gunman. A suicide bomber is another matter. Best be in a state that allows people to carry personal firearms. But an effective group response to any threat requires leadership, and in most situations, that means leadership by example. On the Paris express, I count five examples of leadership. One leader jostled in the lavatory. One gave warning. Three struck in a pack. Norman had the guts to follow. Free people in free societies can surprise you.
Continue reading »]]>
The Declaration of Independence
Throughout the 1760s and early 1770s, the North American colonists found themselves increasingly at odds with British imperial policies regarding taxation and frontier policy. When repeated protests failed to influence British policies, and instead resulted in the closing of the port of Boston and the declaration of martial law in Massachusetts, the colonial governments sent delegates to a Continental Congress to coordinate a colonial boycott of British goods. When fighting broke out between American colonists and British forces in Massachusetts, the Continental Congress worked with local groups, originally intended to enforce the boycott, to coordinate resistance against the British. British officials throughout the colonies increasingly found their authority challenged by informal local governments, although loyalist sentiment remained strong in some areas.
Despite these changes, colonial leaders hoped to reconcile with the British Government, and all but the most radical members of Congress were unwilling to declare independence. However, in late 1775, Benjamin Franklin, then a member of the Secret Committee of Correspondence, hinted to French agents and other European sympathizers that the colonies were increasingly leaning towards seeking independence. While perhaps true, Franklin also hoped to convince the French to supply the colonists with aid. Independence would be necessary, however, before French officials would consider the possibility of an alliance.
Throughout the winter of 1775–1776, the members of the Continental Congress came to view reconciliation with Britain as unlikely, and independence the only course of action available to them. When on December 22, 1775, the British Parliament prohibited trade with the colonies, Congress responded in April of 1776 by opening colonial ports—this was a major step towards severing ties with Britain. The colonists were aided by the January publication of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, which advocated the colonies’ independence and was widely distributed throughout the colonies. By February of 1776, colonial leaders were discussing the possibility of forming foreign alliances and began to draft the Model Treaty that would serve as a basis for the 1778 alliance with France. Leaders for the cause of independence wanted to make certain that they had sufficient congressional support before they would bring the issue to the vote. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion in Congress to declare independence. Other members of Congress were amenable but thought some colonies not quite ready. However, Congress did form a committee to draft a declaration of independence and assigned this duty to Thomas Jefferson.
Benjamin Franklin and John Adams reviewed Jefferson’s draft. They preserved its original form, but struck passages likely to meet with controversy or skepticism, most notably passages blaming King George III for the transatlantic slave trade and those blaming the British people rather than their government. The committee presented the final draft before Congress on June 28, 1776, and Congress adopted the final text of the Declaration of Independence on July 4.
The British Government did its best to dismiss the Declaration as a trivial document issued by disgruntled colonists. British officials commissioned propagandists to highlight the declaration’s flaws and to rebut the colonists’ complaints. The Declaration divided British domestic opposition, as some American sympathizers thought the Declaration had gone too far, but in British-ruled Ireland it had many supporters.
The Declaration’s most important diplomatic effect was to allow for recognition of the United States by friendly foreign governments. The Sultan of Morocco mentioned American ships in a consular document in 1777, but Congress had to wait until the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France for a formal recognition of U.S. independence. The Netherlands acknowledged U.S. independence in 1782. Although Spain joined the war against Great Britain in 1779, it did not recognize U.S. independence until the 1783 Treaty of Paris. Under the terms of the treaty, which ended the War of the American Revolution, Great Britain officially acknowledged the United States as a sovereign and independent nation.
Continue reading »]]>
Continue reading »]]>
By Khalil Bendib
As a political cartoonist who happens to be both American and Muslim, I often find myself at the intersection of media curiosity: Muslim, with all the stereotypical notions attached to that, but also a freedom-loving artist and a humorist.
I’m not just the butt of jokes, but a purveyor of them — a non-violent wielder of the pen, which I maintain is funnier than the sword.
I’m no stranger to controversy and censorship, and I’ve received my fair share of death threats over the years. So I’ve had ample opportunity to mull the thorny question of freedom of expression versus responsibility.
Was Charlie Hebdo, the satirical publication whose staffers were murdered by Islamic extremists in Paris, always the fairest and most responsible newspaper in the world? Of course not. I confess to have often cringed at its apparent double-standard when it comes to skewering Muslims and Jews.
But does anyone — ever — deserve to be harassed, hounded, or murdered for expressing an opinion, however egregious it may be perceived by some?
Voltaire’s biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall eloquently and definitively answered that question long ago: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.“
Personally, I will always remember January 7 as a day of infamy, a catastrophe delivering layer upon layer of misery.
As a human being, I feel disgust over the murder of 12 innocent people.
As an artist, I feel a profound sense of grief over the loss of four fellow cartoonists — including the great Cabu (also known as Jean Cabut), who inspired me as a young man to become a cartoonist.
And as a member of the worldwide Muslim community, I’m plagued with a nagging sense of shame and fear of the inevitable backlash that will follow in an already Islamophobic Europe, where most of my family still resides.
I worry that the unspeakable acts of a few will drown out the sincere protestations of the many that this kind of horror doesn’t speak in our name.
Former French justice minister Robert Badinter — no particular friend of the Muslim community — has warned his fellow citizens not to fall into the extremist trap of letting barbaric violence divide French society, of which nearly 10 percent is Muslim. But tensions are running high.
Yet beyond the social polarization — manifested by both senseless Islamist violence and the cheap Islamophobia of opportunistic politicians and media — lies a more interesting and nuanced reality: signs of hope and progress.
Long before this attack, French people were showing what it means to coexist in a multi-ethnic and pluralistic society.
Among the many good works he will be remembered for, cartoonist Georges Wolinski — who was among the cartoonists assassinated in cold blood in the name of wounded religious pride — once came to the rescue of Menouar Merabtene, the Algerian cartoonist best known as Slim, a close friend of mine who was fleeing from persecution in his native country.
Throughout the 1990s, a bloody civil war raged between Islamist militants and the autocratic Algerian government. Many artists and intellectuals opposed to the Islamist agenda were systematically assassinated in that conflict.
Out of simple human solidarity, Wolinski — a Jewish cartoonist from France — spontaneously intervened to secure a job for the beleaguered Muslim-Algerian Slim at the Paris newspaper L’Humanité.
Similarly, thousands of French people are mourning and praising slain Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet. He died pursuing men suspected of perpetrating the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Like the stories of North African Muslims standing in solidarity with their Jewish brethren against the Vichy government’s hunt for North African Jews during World War II, these simple stories tend to get lost in the din of terrorist mayhem.
But in the end, bullets and bombs can never silence the voices of laughter and friendship.
Continue reading »]]>
The toll of the victims of the epidemic – centered in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone – is rising. The World Health Organization now reports more than 7,400 confirmed or likely cases, and 3,431 deaths. On Sept. 23, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that without a more robust response, as many as 1.4 million cases could erupt in Liberia and Sierra Leone by January 20.
The virus is deadly, but not particularly infectious. It spreads only from direct contact from the bodily fluids – sweat, blood, vomit – of someone infected after the fever and other symptoms have occurred. Unfortunately, the incubation period – the time after someone is infected but before symptoms appear – lasts a week and sometimes as long as three weeks. People can travel long distances unaware that they are carrying the disease. This poses a challenge for health officials who must make the public aware so that they are cautious, without spreading panic. It also means that the entire world has a stake in countering this lethal epidemic.
The disease can be stopped. An American victim, undiagnosed, carried the disease into crowded Lagos, Nigeria. More people live in Lagos than in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone combined. A vigorous response – investigating all in contact with the patient, monitoring them, and isolating those who showed symptoms — cleared the virus with only eight deaths. Nigeria had the public health and governmental capacity to respond. But in West Africa, civil wars and chronic poverty have disrupted already meager local health systems. Doctors are scarce; health workers had no experience with the disease.
As Nigeria shows, we need mobilization, not panic, particularly with the chilling news that a Liberian, Thomas E. Duncan, tested positive for the disease in Dallas, the first case diagnosed in this country.
Duncan, now in critical condition, traveled to the U.S. without being aware that he was infected. However, he did come into direct contact with a woman while in Liberia, and he failed to report the truth on an airport health questionnaire. When he contracted a fever, he went to the hospital but was sent him home without proper testing. When his symptoms grew worse, he was taken back to the hospital and isolated.
Public health authorities have mobilized, identifying and monitoring all those who might have had contact with him. CDC officials fanned out in the hospital and in his neighborhood to investigate. Happily, as pediatrician Matt Karwowski reported to the Washington Post, “there was no resistance from anyone whatsoever … At every single door, people welcomed us in … They were also fearful, but not of us.” The CDC teams have been working 18 hours a day.
This epidemic is a human disaster. It will devastate not only its victims, but also millions more as economies freeze up, schools close, tourism dries up, and fear spreads. In this country, some will use the epidemic to fan racial divides or to posture on immigration. President Obama is already criticized for providing military assistance to build hospital units and transport necessary equipment and medicine in Liberia. Some treat Duncan more as a criminal than a patient, due to his failing to report the truth. His family reports that even those who have been cleared are now shunned in their community.
In Jesus’ time, lepers were treated as unclean, sowing fear and hatred. On one of his last nights, Jesus stayed at the home of Simon the Leper. He showed that we should be fighting the disease, not the person. That is a lesson we should remember in the days ahead of us.
By Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Continue reading »]]>
Continue reading »]]>
By Jim Hightower
Continue reading »]]>
Come start your holiday off right! Twenty vendors will set up in the LMFA side galleries with jewelry, candles, books, bath products, scarves, pottery, clothes and much more December 10 -13 for your holiday shopping pleasure. If you’d like to have a lunch catered by Perfect Catering from 12-1, call 903.753.8103 to make your reservations this week.
Longview Museum of Fine Art is located at 215 E. Tyler St., Downtown, Longview.
For more information, please go to fineart@LMFA.org
Continue reading »]]>
I mean it. We have the ability to have it all: peace, prosperity, health, happiness. Instead we see our government locked in a series of petty, ugly squabbles that do nothing but make things worse. It reminds you of those stories about lottery winners who, given an instant fortune, immediately squander it and wind up broke.One of the popular misconceptions about this sad state of affairs is that it’s equally the fault of all concerned — Democrats as well as Republicans. Polls taken beforehand indicate that only about 45 percent of Americans would blame the Republicans for the government shutdown. A third think the Democrats are at fault. And an additional 13 percent say both are to blame.
No. Not true. Wrong.
This mess — the shutdown as well as the looming debt ceiling crisis — is entirely a Republican Party production. The Republicans created it out of thin air, motivated by a fear of the tea party and an odd obsession with standing in the way of an expansion of health care for millions of Americans who are going without it.
They’ve called the Affordable Care Act a train wreck, a disaster, and another Pearl Harbor. What utter nonsense. It is instead a law passed by Congress and signed by the president of the United States, who then won reelection by five million votes. The Supreme Court has ruled it Constitutional. What more do you want, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval?
Republicans say that polls show that a slim majority of Americans don’t support the law. What they don’t say is that a full quarter of those people favor a further extension of the law, not repeal. The opposition to it is largely the result of the constant drumfire of lies, exaggerations, and propaganda that Republicans have sent out over the past two years.
The law isn’t perfect — no one claims it is — but the message from the voters is clear: Don’t kill it, make it better. Another general misconception is that the national debt is our biggest problem and the budget must be cut to shave it. No and no. Cutting government spending in hard times only makes times harder. We’re already hurting the economy by cutting government employment too much.
You can’t cut your way out of a recession. That’s what Europe is trying to do, with dismal results. The time to cut spending is when things are going good. Jobs or the lack of them is the biggest problem right now. Yet another misconception is that the fallout from a failure to raise the debt limit would not be that big a deal. It would be. Shutting down the government is a bad idea but somehow we’ll stagger through it out to the other side. If we default on our debts, however, it would be a catastrophe that would bring our economy to its knees and have ramifications that stretch far into the future.
You don’t mess with something like that. You don’t try to make it into a bargaining chip. You spent the money and now it’s time pay for what you bought. If that demands a higher level of debt, so be it.
President Barack Obama is right to refuse to even consider giving in to the threats of the House Republicans. If he were to bargain on the debt ceiling, he would leave himself and the nation open to continued blackmail. What I really don’t understand is why normal, sensible Republicans — conservative but reasonable — are allowing their party to be taken over by a gang of lame-brained thugs.
Otherwords Columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Continue reading »]]>
Today’s legal action was prompted by the State’s concerns about the potential for reduced airline service to several of Texas’ smaller airports that are currently served exclusively by American Airlines and American Eagle flights. In recent years, U.S. Airways has pursued a “capacity discipline” strategy, a business model that relies upon substantial reductions in both service and capacity – a phenomenon that has followed each significant legacy airline merger in recent years. If this strategy is continued when U.S. Airways’ executives take over leadership at the new American Airlines, some areas in rural Texas could see their travel options reduced as a result of the merger.
American Airlines and U.S. Airways compete directly on thousands of heavily traveled nonstop and connecting routes, including nearly 200 routes beginning or ending in Texas cities. According to the State’s antitrust complaint, the proposed merger would result in decreased competition, higher airfares and fees, reduced service and downgraded amenities. The dollar impact nationwide could exceed $100 million a year. The merger would make a combined U.S. Airways/American Airlines the largest worldwide carrier and reduce the number of the larger “legacy” airlines from four to three – U.S. Airways/American, United/Continental and Delta/Northwest – and the number of major airlines from five to four.
If the merger were approved, the three remaining legacy airlines combined with Southwest Airlines would account for more than 80 percent of domestic travel. American Airlines, which is being released under Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday, remains as U.S. Airways’ chief competitor in the marketplace. Therefore, removing American as a competitor in keeping fares and fees lower will likely only serve to increase those prices.