The Koreas –

Note:   The following is an excerpt from a book I am currently working on and expect to publish in the coming months.
The theme of the book will be “the facets of liberty”
Keep an eye out for it.
 

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The Korean peninsula provides a dramatic and clear illustration of the consequences of tyranny, and the contrasts between liberty and tyranny. As the satellite photo above shows, nights in North Korea are probably cold and miserable for most North Korean citizens, especially amid very cold winters. Couple this with a severe shortage of food and a government that uses food shortage as a weapon, and you see the worst form of oppression.

This contrast is a recent phenomenon. Both nations arose out of World war II in roughly the same economic and cultural conditions, with the North becoming essentially a client of the Soviet Union (socialism), and the South becoming a client of the United States (free market capitalist). Both however were previously a colony of Imperial Japan.

Eventually, and following the very brutal Korean War from 1950-53, the South came out of years of autocratic rule and developed a constitutional government and a free market capitalist economy which today is a worldwide economic powerhouse. In the United States, we can walk through any typical parking lot, or just watch the cars on the streets and highways, and before long you will see the familiar Kia’s and Hyundai’s. We reach in our pocket to pull out our smart phone, and chances are it will be a Samsung or LG. Same with the appliances in our kitchens and laundry rooms – South Korean Samsung. Shipbuilding and steel are also mainstays of the South Korean economy.

In North Korea, military products, mining, metallurgy, textiles and food processing provide the bulk of the economic engine, what little there is of it — and it seems the North has trouble growing an ear of corn for its badly underfed population.

There are many chilling economic statistics that highlight the disparity between North and South Korea. Gross Domestic Product (per capita) shows the North at $1,800 while in the South it is $32,400.

But the cost in individual human lives shows up in the disparity of physical characteristics of the Korean citizens:

Several reports have attempted to provide evidence on this matter. Pak (2004a) compared the heights and weights of North Korean defectors with South Korean heights and found a height gap of 5·9 and 6·6 cm for male and female young adults, respectively. Moreover, 20to 50-year-old North Korean female refugees were found to weigh 51–55 kg (Pak, 2004b). The South Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 20- to 39-year-old North Korean refugees seem to be 7 cm shorter than the average South Korean (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2006). According to South Korean officials, North Korean children lag 10–15 cm behind their South Korean counterparts in terms of stature (Yonhapnews, 2006). However, all these reports are based on North Korean refugees measured in South Korea.

(reference: https://timemilitary.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/heightandweight.pdf)

The few reports from escaping North Koreans would seem to confirm these numbers. We see increasing reports of fishing boats drifting on to the shores of Japan – many with the dead bodies of North Korean fishermen. We read of the North Korean soldier who escaped to the south but was shot by the border guards of the North. And we read of his malnourished body and a digestive tract infested with parasitic worms.

Returning to the satellite image above, it is instructive to recall that in the early 1930s under Joseph Stalin, a pogrom of deliberate starvation of the Ukrainian populace resulted in the deaths of from 7 million to 10 million innocent lives. But with a lack of satellite surveillance back then it was impossible to even surmise what might have been happening there. With North Korea, we can more reliably connect the dots to a line of great tragedy.

Yes, there is a great cost associated with the lack of liberty – paid for by the weakest among us. And with the juxtaposition of these two nations, that for centuries were one and the same, we can see both the cost and the value sides of that coin called liberty.

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Commentary by Dennis Prager

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https://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2018/01/09/im-back-heres-where-ive-been-n2431790

Read and weep?

An excerpt …

“ … In America, there is an epidemic of children who no longer talk [to] one or both of their parents. In a few cases, this is warranted. But in most cases, adult children are inflicting terrible, unfair pain upon their parent. This is one of a myriad of examples where believing in a God-based text is transformative. Secular callers tell me that they hardly need the Ten Commandments to desist from murdering anyone. That may well be true. But apparently, a lot of people could use the Ten Commandments to avoid inflicting terrible pain on (admittedly, flawed) parents. … “

Don Johnson – January 2018

 

And yet more information on hearing.

https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/some-proteins-act-almost-like-humans/

Those reading my posts often read of the marvel of the hearing experience. And yes … you guessed it – here is another interesting article. Much of my motivation in sharing these articles is due to the continuing deterioration of my own hearing. But much of my motivation is simply the fascination of learning about such a wonderful system that has been designed and engineered into our bodies.  So let’s delve into this article which shows the Intelligent Design of our hearing experience.

An excerpt from the article —

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ColoclearHairs

The Drum Major

Meet Daple, a protein in the inner ear. Those of us whose ears work properly can thank Daple for doing a good job when we were developing in the womb. Deep inside the cochlea of our inner ear, the robot-like Daple was guiding the construction of hair cell bundles, those important antennas that pick up fluid motions and transduce them into electrical impulses in the auditory nerve. Arranged like organ pipes, each hair cell bundle must line up properly to function. The individual hair cells have an assistant protein that puts them in their correct relative position, and another set of proteins controls the axis they need to line up on, but what brings these two functions together?

Until now, scientists did not know how these independent processes were coordinated. We can imagine the confusion of a marching band at half time without a drum major. Who directs the trumpets to go left and the tubas to go right? Who signals when things need to happen? The drum major has been found, a new paper reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and its name is — you guessed it — Daple. News from the Jackson Laboratory explains, how the band “concert” ends up playing on schedule and in tune:

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There’s more in the article, and I invite you to read it.
https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/some-proteins-act-almost-like-humans/

Thanks to the VA, I have what I think is the top of the line in hearing aides and accessories to help me navigate through life’s noises, sounds and conversations. But I can tell you these gadgets are a far cry from the “original equipment.”

For example, I now have a small microphone that I can place on a table and it picks up sounds very well, and voices quite nicely. This is great for one-on-one conversations and watching TV, and a big improvement. But when there are several or more  people talking and multiple conversations, or with the TV on, all those sounds are jammed into that single microphone and transmitted to my hearing aids.  It becomes very difficult to pick up individual conversations in such a scenario, and it is work to try to do so, and it sounds like everyone is in a steel drum. So in these circumstances I soon give up trying and tune out or leave the room.

Part of the wonder of natural hearing is the ability of the natural hearing system to separate out all of these competing sounds into a pleasing pallet of sound – even that bird singing in the background outside. And I do remember those days.

I know many of you reading this have been indoctrinated for years with the idea that all this is due to Darwinian evolution – natural selection over eons of time. I might suggest to you that it is well past time to abandon such thinking. A good place to start on such a journey is with your own body and body parts, as in the article. Darwin was wrong, and so are today’s “smartest in the world” such as a Richard Dawkins. Unfortunately,   those such as Dawkins have a strangle hold in the academic world and don’t allow alternative views to enter the minds of students, or any teaching contrary to the accepted dogma.

On the other hand, those actually involved in research and development in the world of biology (as opposed to teaching) seem to be working in an environment which ignores Darwinian Evolution and embraces Intelligent Design. Much of medical research shows a design and engineering approach to the mysteries of the body.

What say you?

Don Johnson – January 2018

How High Is Your Moral Bar?

A lot has happened in the year since I wrote this … not much very good.
President Trump may be having trouble draining the swamp, but he has sure exposed the fact of there being a swamp.
Will we continue along these destructive paths, or can we return/turn to the best moral code ever — The 10 Commandments.

A Yearning for Publius

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http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/10/12/have_you_seen_this_obama_video

For the die hard liberal/progressive Democrat left there are two moral bars at play – two bars that define what is morally acceptable in the culture and in political candidates.

The first bar is that which is acceptable behavior to the political Democrat left and to much of the American media.

That bar is very low and rapidly approaching ground level. Currently that bar is so low as to require – by government decree – that boys be allowed to use the girls rest rooms and locker rooms. President Barack Obama through his Department of Justice is in the process of redefining what people have known and accepted for millennia – that boys are different than girls and appropriate accommodations to these differences are made in the form, for example, of separate locker rooms, showers and restrooms.

That the state of North Carolina felt it necessary to codify into…

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Happy First Day of Advent

Blackrock Church — Fairfield CT

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Which is design and which is evolution?

A Yearning for Publius

Continuing an exploration into the controversy in the scientific community over Evolution/Intelligent Design/Creationism, I continually come across interesting articles and information concerning design in nature – in particular, design in living things … and in this article I highlight a few that have caught my attention recently.

The Urea CycleLNG Ship

One of the above images is man made and the other from nature – click on each for more information.

Now the hardened Evolutionary Biologist – people such as Jerry Coyne (former Evolutionary Biologist, now Professional Atheist) and Richard Dawkins (former Evolutionary Biologist, now Professional Atheist) , as well as the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) insist there is no controversy. They insist that the Darwinian evolutionary view is settled science and that Intelligent Design and/or Creation is nothing more than pseudo-science and religions superstition and bunk (and other more vulgar descriptions I prefer not to repeat here).

I grant that this…

View original post 2,832 more words

Holocaust survivor: I’m giving $1 million to help wounded American veterans, to express my thanks

At 83 years old, I am one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors – thanks to the American troops who rescued me in what seems like a lifetime ago. Since World War II, I’ve felt a deep connection to American troops for saving my life – a feeling that resurfaces every year on Veterans Day and throughout the holiday giving season.

And so this year I’m saying “thank you” to the American soldiers of the 1940s by donating $1 million to organizations serving wounded American veterans today.

My donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Services for Armed Forces program of the American Red Cross is my way of giving back, thanking previous generations of warriors for helping me. I hope this inspires others to give back as well.

Even though more than 70 years have passed since my rescue, it’s not too late to give back. That’s a lesson I hope the next generation recognizes, because it’s all too easy to let procrastination give way to inaction. But action is what brings hope to those who need it.

I have met many American people who I am lucky enough to call my friends. First, Americans saved us. Then decades later, they welcomed us.

As a child, I spent most of World War II hiding from Nazi invaders in my native France, where my parents moved after fleeing the pogroms in Poland. Unfortunately, with the German invasion in 1940, we were again at risk. On July 16, 1942, the French police led a big roundup of Jews in Paris. More than 13,000 Jews were detained before being deported to Nazi death camps.

 The police came to our apartment at 6 a.m. My parents managed to take me to my aunt’s home. She was married to a French soldier and was protected.

A few hours later, my mother was arrested as she and my brother were trying to get information about my father, who was hiding in a nearby grocery store. A concierge had pointed them out to the police. They ran, but my mother was not fast enough. She was detained and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. She perished there – probably within three weeks.

I was 7, and for the next two years I lived on borrowed time, shielded by other families on the outskirts of Paris. The same was true for my future wife, who was also a child in hiding. If the war had continued much longer, we would not have survived.

I vividly remember the arrival of the hundreds of thousands of American troops who landed in Normandy to liberate us in June 1944. They were our saviors, doling out packets of sweets to half-starved, war-weary children who had almost given up hope for freedom.

The gratitude I feel to these men is beyond words. They freed our country and they saved our lives. Without American troops, my family and I simply would not have existed. I think of that every time I look at our family photos.

Since the end of the war, life has been good to me. I’ve had a successful career as co-owner of one of Europe’s largest home appliance retailers, working alongside my brothers. I’ve also enjoyed raising my family, celebrating extended family gatherings of 20 people.

My wife and I have a deep sense of gratitude for America. So in the early 1990s, freshly retired, we bought a home in South Florida. I travel with my wife each winter from our home in Paris to the warmth of Miami Beach. We still appreciate our second home there, where we now spend almost a third of our time.

I have met many American people who I am lucky enough to call my friends. First, Americans saved us. Then decades later, they welcomed us.

But as I watched news stories this fall of hurricanes, flooding and wildfires striking America, inflicting suffering among civilians and veterans alike, I realized that I still had an important task left to complete in my life. I had not yet given back to the American soldiers who saved my life nearly three-quarters of a century ago.

That is why I want to help modern American veterans today. They pursue the tradition of the young men who landed on the shores of Normandy in June 1944 and who I will never forget. In giving this donation, I want to thank Americans with all my heart for coming to rescue us in our hour of need.

But I also want to make a public stand in support of America. I hope that my donation can trigger a movement and lead others to take action. My story shows it’s never too late to give back, especially for a cause that’s close to your heart. If it wasn’t too late for this octogenarian, it’s not too late for you.

Bernard Darty is a Paris native and retired co-founder of Darty Group, an electrical retailer operating more than 340 stores in three European countries.