December 7, 2011
BRUCE A. BRENNAN BLOG FROM THE WORLD AND MY MIND
The news as I see it and the views as I want them.
December 7 is … National Cotton Candy Day
This day lives on in infamy. The Japs got off easy. How did that “Tora, Tora, Tora” thing work out for the nips, anyway?
What led up to that Day in Infamy?
War itself generally makes little sense, but the attack on Pearl Harbor has always sparked the imagination.
3,500 Americans were killed or wounded in the attack on December 7, 1941.
Before The Attack
September 1940. The U.S. placed an embargo on Japan by prohibiting exports of steel, scrap iron, and aviation fuel to Japan, due to Japan's takeover of northern French Indochina.
April 1941. The Japanese signed a neutrality treaty with the Soviet Union to help prevent an attack from that direction if they were to go to war with Britain or the U.S. while taking a bigger bite out of Southeast Asia.
June 1941 through the end of July 1941. Japan occupied southern Indochina. Two days later, the U.S., Britain, and the Netherlands froze Japanese assets. This prevented Japan from buying oil, which would, in time, cripple its army and make its navy and air force completely useless.
Toward the end of 1941. With the Soviets seemingly on the verge of defeat by the Axis powers, Japan seized the opportunity to try to take the oil resources of Southeast Asia. The U.S. wanted to stop Japanese expansion but the American people were not willing to go to war to stop it. The U.S. demanded that Japan withdraw from China and Indochina, but would have settled for a token withdrawal and a promise not to take more territory.
Prior to December 1941, Japan pursued two simultaneous courses: try to get the oil embargo lifted on terms that would still let them take the territory they wanted, and ... to prepare for war.
After becoming Japan's premier in mid-October, General Tojo Hideki secretly set November 29 as the last day on which Japan would accept a settlement without war.
The Japanese military was asked to devise a war plan. They proposed to sweep into Burma, Malaya, the East Indies, and the Philippines, in addition to establishing a defensive perimeter in the central and southwest Pacific. They expected the U.S. to declare war but not to be willing to fight long or hard enough to win. Their greatest concern was that the U.S. Pacific Fleet, based in Pearl Harbor could foil their plans. As insurance, the Japanese navy undertook to cripple the Pacific Fleet by a surprise air attack.
The U.S. had broken the Japanese diplomatic code and knew an attack was imminent. A warning had been sent from Washington, but it arrived too late.
Early warning radar was new technology. Japanese planes were spotted by radar before the attack, but they were assumed to be a flight of American B-17s due in from the West Coast.
On December 7th 1941, on an otherwise peaceful Sunday morning on a beautiful Hawaiian island, the first wave of Japanese airplanes left 6 aircraft carriers and struck Pearl Harbor a few minutes before 8 AM local time.
In two waves of terror lasting two long hours, they killed or wounded over 3,500 Americans and sank or badly damaged 18 ships - including all 8 battleships of the Pacific Fleet - and over 350 destroyed or damaged aircraft. At least 1,177 lives were lost when the Battleship U.S.S. Arizona exploded and subsequently sank.
However, they did not sink any of our Pacific aircraft carriers and they left most of the fuel that was needed to win the war in the Pacific.
In one stroke, the Japanese navy scored a brilliant success—and assured their ultimate defeat.
The Japanese attack brought the U.S. into the war on December 8—and brought it in the war determined to fight to the finish.
I do not think this country and the hundreds of thousands of brave souls that fought, were injured or died to save the United States of America and save the world from itself, did so to see the U. S Post Office go out of business. The Post Office claims it is near bankruptcy. It uses the idiotic argument that in order to save a struggling business, it has to drastically cut services. This argument has been used many times by companies when they file for bankruptcy protection, usually 18 months before it ceases operation.
I do not understand how the post office can lose money. This is obviously because of poor management. The post office has a monopoly. How can you lose? Raise the price of stamps to $.80; sell advertising on stamps and on postal service vehicles; sell stamps that cost $4.00 that can be used forever. The person you send it to can then use it, etc. Let people design their own stamp with their picture on it, making it unique in the world. The potential upgrades are endless.
Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day. The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the cash-strapped Postal Service to quickly trim costs, seeing no immediate help from Congress.
The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America's business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix's DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities. That birthday card mailed first-class to Mom also could arrive a day or two late, if people don't plan ahead.
"It's a potentially major change, but I don't think consumers are focused on it and it won't register until the service goes away," said Jim Corridore, analyst with S&P Capital IQ, who tracks the shipping industry. "Over time, to the extent the customer service experience gets worse, it will only increase the shift away from mail to alternatives. There's almost nothing you can't do online that you can do by mail."
The cuts, now being finalized, would close roughly 250 of the nearly 500 mail processing centers across the country as early as next March. Because the consolidations typically would lengthen the distance mail travels from post office to processing center, the agency also would lower delivery standards for first-class mail that have been in place since 1971. Currently, first-class mail is supposed to be delivered to homes and businesses within the continental U.S. in one day to three days. That will lengthen to two days to three days, meaning mailers no longer could expect next-day delivery in surrounding communities. Periodicals could take between two days and nine days.
About 42 percent of first-class mail is now delivered the following day. An additional 27 percent arrives in two days, about 31 percent in three days and less than 1 percent in four days to five days. Following the change next spring, about 51 percent of all first-class mail is expected to arrive in two days, with most of the remainder delivered in three days. The consolidation of mail processing centers is in addition to the planned closing of about 3,700 local post offices. In all, roughly 100,000 postal employees could be cut as a result of the various closures, resulting in savings of up to $6.5 billion a year.
Expressing urgency to reduce costs, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in an interview that the agency has to act while waiting for Congress to grant it authority to reduce delivery to five days a week, raise stamp prices and reduce health care and other labor costs. The Postal Service, an independent agency of government, does not receive tax money, but is subject to congressional control on large aspects of its operations. The changes in first-class mail delivery can go into place without permission from Congress.
After five years in the red, the post office faces imminent default this month on a $5.5 billion annual payment to the Treasury for retiree health benefits. It is projected to have a record loss of $14.1 billion next year amid steady declines in first-class mail volume. Donahoe has said the agency must make cuts of $20 billion by 2015 to be profitable.
It already has announced a 1-cent increase in first-class mail to 45 cents beginning Jan. 22, 2012. That is like peeing on a forest fire. It should cost more than 45 cents to mail a letter in Maine and have it delivered to California within a week. Fix it properly or end the service. I bet a private concern will step in if the Postal Service went away and the law allowed private enterprise to take over.
Just a couple of thoughts I had and you should too or at least think about.
BRUCE A. BRENNAN
DEKALB, IL 60115
VISIT ANY OF THE SITES LISTED FOR REVIEW, RESEARCH, ORDERING MY WRITING PRODUCTS OR TO CONTACT ME.
Go to web sites below to buy books by Bruce A. Brennan. It is still a good time to purchase any of my books. The books are interesting and inexpensive reads. My third book is available. It makes a great Christmas present. More information will be forthcoming about my fourth book currently under construction.
www.barnesandnoble.com (do a quick search, Title, my name)
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Holmes the Ripper
A Revengeful Mix of Short Fiction
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." - Mark Twain