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Even The Swiss Are Annoyed

It takes a lot to get the Swiss to involve themselves in something outside their borders. While every able-bodied male between 18 and 55 is a member of the national guard and keeps an assault weapon and ammunition at home, they try to stay neutral and don’t go looking for trouble.

Sometimes you have to speak up:

Neutral Switzerland does not often venture into political controversy. But this statement is likely to cause some irritation in Israel and the United States.

A spokesman for the Swiss foreign ministry said that, as the depository country for the Geneva Conventions, encouraging respect for international law was a declared aim of Switzerland’s foreign policy and the statement should be read in that context.

It says there is “no doubt Israel has not taken the precautions required of it in international law to protect the civilian population and infrastructure.

“The destruction of a power station, the attack on the offices of the Palestinian prime minister, the arbitrary arrests of a large number of democratically-elected representatives of the people and ministers… cannot be justified.”

July 4, 2006   6 Comments

Military Structure

Since most people don’t get involved with such things and often wonder what it means when people start talking about military units, I have a separate page, Organization, that is part of something I may finish one day about the Civil War. The information is an “ideal”, but it will give you a feel for unit sizes.

When someone says that a suspect is from Company B of the 1st Battalion of the 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, you can get a feel for what they are talking about and why someone in the 502nd is said to belong to the 101st.

July 4, 2006   Comments Off on Military Structure

Discovery Makes It

Frankly, I’m not sure I would want to fly when one of the safety concerns is circling vultures, but NASA launched the shuttle Discovery apparently successfully.

There were some pieces of foam shed during lift-off, but at a later time in the launch cycle and it is felt that they were carried away from the vehicle.

July 4, 2006   2 Comments

North Korea Celebrates the 4th

About that ICBM that was going to destroy Omaha, which is why they received so much extra Homeland Security money, the BBC reports on the launch.

The CNN coverage is in line with Pentagon “spokesperson”, Judy Tenuta who said: “Hey, it could have happened!”.

State Department “spokesperson”, Emily Litella said: “Never mind.”

Didn’t you hate it as a kid when you had dreams of explosions and rockets that would reach to moon, but you got a wimpy sparkler and two adults telling you to be careful with it.

July 4, 2006   2 Comments

Independence Day

John Trumbull's Signing the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

Independence wasn’t really achieved until September 3, 1783 when Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, and, to be factual, our current government only dates from March 4, 1789 when the first government under our Constitution was installed.

Liberty was not extended to all men until December 6, 1865 with ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, nor were women given the one of the most important rights of men until August 26, 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment recognizing their votes.

In truth, until July 2, 1964 when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, there was no mechanism to force government to recognize the rights of all American citizens.

This is the 230th anniversary of the signing, the 180th anniversary of the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act.

July 4, 2006   2 Comments