Wednesday, June 20, 2007




DEBKAfile: A third US carrier, the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise Strike Group is speeding towards the Persian Gulf

June 21, 2007, 12:17 PM (GMT+02:00)

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, the US naval build-up off the shores of Iran marks rising military tensions in the region, accentuated by last week’s Hamas victory which has endowed Iran with a military foothold on Israel’s southwestern border.

The USS Enterprise CVN 65-Big E Strike Group, the US Navy’s largest air carrier, will join the USS Stennis and the USS Nimitz carriers, building up the largest sea, air, marine concentration the United States has ever deployed opposite Iran. This goes towards making good on the assurances of four carriers US Vice President Dick Cheney offered the Gulf and Middle East nations during his May tour of the region.

The “Big E” leads a strike group consisting of the guided-missile destroyers USS Arleigh Burke DDG 51, USS Stout DDG 55, Forrest Sherman DDG 98 and USS James E. Williams DDG 95, as well as the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg CG 64, the SS Philadelphia SSN 690 nuclear submarine and the USNS Supply T-AOE 6>

On its decks are the Carrier Air Wing CVW 1, whose pilots fought combat missions in the Gulf and Arabian Sea during 2006. The Air Wing is made up of F/Q-18 Super Hornet strike craft, the Sidewinders Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-86, the 251st Marine Fighter Attack Squadron MFA, and the Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ 137.

The 32nd Sea Control Squadron VS consists of S-3B Vikings. The Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAQ 3 flies E-2C Hawkeye craft. The Fleet Logistics Support Squadron VRC is based on C-2A Greyhounds.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report Washington is considering deploying the fourth US carrier for the region in the Red Sea opposite Saudi Arabian western coast to secure the three US carriers in the Gulf from the rear as well as the Gulf of Aqaba and Suez Canal.


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HK P7: A Triumph of Technology over Marketability?

By David Tong

Most regular readers of this website like single-action pistols, and I also prefer my service-type handguns in .45ACP constructed with little to no plastic on them, as it’s my view that using plastics are just a cost savings method for the manufacturer. True, they may be more ultimately durable and they are a little nicer to the touch when it’s very warm or very cold out, but they are generally also less than perfectly balanced in the hand, especially as you run the magazine down.

Heckler & Koch as a company has always gone in a different direction than most mainstream manufacturers of handguns, often employing innovative operating systems and feature sets, and they also have a strong military and law enforcement following because their products are usually very well engineered and manufactured. Up until the introduction of the USP, a rather conventional Browning-type tilt lock short recoil action, the only polymer framed pistol they have ever built was the nearly forgotten double-action only 9mm VP70 of the 1970s, which was not a strong seller at all, being more a neutered full-auto machine pistol with shoulder stock than sidearm.

The P7 was the result of German police pistol trials of that same decade. After WWII, the German military and police largely used the old Walther P-38, renamed P-1, a double-action single stack 9mm of considerable bulk for its power, due to the same lower barrel mounted pivoting locking block which both weakened and widened the slide and which the current U.S. military Beretta 92 shares. A later variant of the P-1 was the Walther P-5, which served to address slide cracking by enclosing the formerly open topped slide with an enclosed slide with a small ejection port. This pistol, though shorter than the P-1, was also just as wide, and was not as easy for plainclothes police officers to conceal as other designs.

H&K studied a 1920’s American patent for a squeeze cocking design, and even modified a 1911 pattern pistol to test its feasibility and ergonomics, before deciding that the cocking lever be relocated from the rear of the grip to the front. The reason for adopting this design was to produce a pistol which was rendered completely safe unless the cocking lever was depressed fully while in the firing grip, as well as to render the pistol completely inert if dropped accidentally. It requires a bit over seven pounds to initially depress, but only 2.5 lbs. to keep it depressed for firing, not much different from the "firm handshake" level of force to properly control any other pistol, though some police agencies have noted that the proprietary nature of its manual of arms have prevented bad guys from shooting a disarmed cop.

While the squeeze cocker was the P7s main difference when presenting the pistol from its holster, there were a few other interesting technical developments incorporated into the design.

First was the use of a frame mounted gas cylinder just below the fixed barrel. This is unlike the usual gas piston used to operate a rifle action, in this case gas from the fired cartridge vented into the cylinder and a ridged piston mounted to the slide was forced forward until pressure levels dropped to allow the slide to recoil and recock the striker, a gas delay system. The use of this design means that there is no actual locking mechanism, meaning the slide and frame are of minimal dimensions in both height and width.

A striker fired pistol, where there is no traditional external or internal hammer, can have a very low "bore center." What that means is geometrically, the center of the bore can lie very close to the base of recoil support, which of course is the long axis of your arm, hence lessening muzzle "flip" or rise on successive shots. No other pistol has as low a bore center as the P7, and when you combine that with the relatively-low powered 9mm cartridge in an all steel pistol, fast repeat shots are more easily obtained than with most other pistol designs.

The fixed barrel, just as in a revolver or a pocket automatic, has the theoretical advantage of being more mechanically accurate because the barrel is not moving with the slide as in all other service caliber pistols. However, properly designed Browning tilt lock actions are more than good enough in this regard.

The barrel itself is a hammer forging, something which the Germans and Austrians have employed for over 40 years, because it is an inexpensive way to build a decent if not outstanding barrel. It features polygon rifling that dispenses with the usual cut lands and grooves, and produces about 5% more muzzle velocity than a conventional barrel due to better gas seal, plus it’s a fair bit easier to clean. (The P7 has regularly shown some faster velocities when checked on the chronograph against pistols having conventional rifling and of the same bbl length…SAC)

The P7 barrel also has shallow chamber flutes, which uses the gas of the spent case to float it out of the chamber. The extractor is only used to clear the pistol administratively, and assists to guide the empty case out for more consistent EJECTION. (This is true. I recall an HK representative firing a P7 sans extractor at a tactical school. It worked just fine….SAC)

The grip of the P7 is the same 110 degree angle employed by the 1911 and used by most service pistols today. However, H&K did something interesting here too. They used a nearly 90 degree angle for the magazine insertion, and with the typical high-quality all-steel magazine they produced, the feeding of the cartridge bypasses the usual feed ramp on the frame and heads straight into the chamber, thus improving feeding. Indeed, Massad Ayoob once stated that the P7 he lent to students of his shooting school 15 or so years ago was the most reliable auto pistol he had ever encountered to date, digesting some 4000 rounds before requiring the gas cylinder to be cleaned due to slow cycling and finally, stoppages. This compares very favorably with the latest well-manufactured designs.

Note near straight-line magazine angle to enhance feeding

Not only does this more nearly perpendicular magazine angle help feeding, it also allowed the 4.13" barrel to be located more to the rear of the pistol, thus shortening its overall length, again aiding in concealability. The P7 is only ½" longer than a Walther PPK, and hardly wider, to put it in the proper perspective, yet it is really no narrower than a 1911.

While detail stripping is best left to a trained armorer, as most "modern" designs typically need to be, field stripping of the P7 is the easiest of any service pistol in the world in my experience. Remove the magazine and clear the chamber. Retract the slide about 3/8" while depressing a disassembly button and lifting the slide up and forward. For example, this is much faster than the Glock, as that pistol requires the trigger to be squeezed and "decocked" before the disassembly slides can be depressed and the slide removed, and the Austrian pistol is considered one of the easier ones extant. If one owns a P7M8 (8 shot single stack 9mm), the P7M13 (13 shot double stack 9mm), or the P7M10 (10 shot .40 S&W), one can even remove the striker assembly without tools for cleaning.

Pistol field-stripped; disassembly button to rear of receiver at top of grip

My personal P7 was built in late 1982, and is a former West German Interior Ministry police pistol.

It has a rather frustratingly slow to use heel-type magazine release and magazines have to be extracted by hand before the fresh one can be inserted. The later M8, M10, and M13, and the rarely seen K3 variants went to an ambidextrous steel lever located just behind the trigger which sweeps downward and magazines simply fly out for fast reloads.

The slide itself appears to be a thin walled machined forging, with a breechblock that houses the striker assembly that is welded in place from its underside. The frame also appears to be a forging, but with extensive use of stamped steel trigger mechanism parts. The only plastic pieces on the pistol appear to be the thin, stippled stocks, the magazine floorplate retention plate, and the white dots on the sights.

The P7 has several "issues" besides the 9mm cartridge’s power, and those include the gas cylinder transferring heat to the inside of the trigger guard after about 35 rapid shots causing the need for the average shooter to let it cool, as well as the cleaning of the sharply ridged piston and its cylinder. While heat can be a concern, this is probably more an illusory issue than a real problem, tactically, because if one hasn’t solved a social encounter within the first 2-5 shots, it probably won’t matter anyway. It was addressed, again, in the later M8, M10, and M13 by lengthening the trigger guard and installing a plastic heat shield on the frame over the trigger, but those pistols merely delayed the time and round count until discomfort.

The matter of keeping the piston and cylinder properly clean HK addressed by providing a small bronze brush with each new pistol to scrub out the cylinder, while conventional bronze "toothbrushes" can be used to remove powder fouling from the piston. A gas cylinder reamer is theoretically available, as is a striker disassembly tool.

Accuracy of the piece is not quite comparable to that of my long since departed M8, and 5 shot groups of Winchester white box 115gr. Ball averaged three inches, and the most potent ammunition I tried was the Winchester Ranger SXT 127gr. "+P+" which averaged a bit over four inches. There is no "free lunch," though as the recoil level of the latter cartridge, boosted to the 9mm’s power limit (approximately 1300fps) in order to increase its statistical "stopping power," is actually sharper and quite a bit noisier than the .45ACP. It wouldn’t offer any real advantage for fast repeat shots for the experienced pistolero, and this in an all-steel pistol weighing some 32 ounces empty, nor was there an accuracy advantage, though the 9 is not really known for its gilt-edged accuracy either.

All shots were point of aim, point of impact, thus showing H&K regulated the fixed sights well for this range. The sights, befitting a combat piece, leave lots of light showing around the Patridge-style front blade, making it easy to pick up but lacks a bit of precision at longer range. HK does offer three different front sight heights to regulate elevation, and the relatively clean single action trigger system means you aren’t fighting a heavy, creepy pull, and the pistol essentially becomes a paperweight the moment it leaves your hand. Extraction is aided by the fluted chamber, which incidentally does not impair reloading of the fired cases, and ejection is brisk.

As expected, the all-steel magazine fed the pistol without a hitch, in contrast to "low cost bidder" 1911 or Beretta 92 magazines which are often the cause of unreliability. At over $50 each retail, they’d better be good, and they are.

Do be careful to release the squeeze cocker when re-holstering though, as there have been reports of negligent discharges by law enforcement officers who failed to remove their trigger fingers from inside the guard.

Finding holsters for the older model P7 can be a challenge due to the smaller trigger guard, though I was able to look online and find a neat German-made pancake-style thumb-break concealment rig as well as a former German police Level II security duty rig without much difficulty. However, I believe Don Hume Leather still manufactures several current models for the piece as well as the later M8 and M13.

P7 with German police holster and magazine

Historically, the pistol is interesting in that the Germans began the 20th Century by adopting an all-steel, single-column magazine, striker fired, 4" barreled 9mm service pistol of unusual design and operation (the P-08 "Luger") and nearly ended that century the same way, at least for police use. I personally would love to see HK build the "P7M7" in .45ACP, which they only built six prototype feasibility examples of, but this is an impossibility due to both cost and marketability reasons.

P7M10s made for the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. I have not personally shot one but found that the greatly increased slide height and thickness spoilt the decent balance and feel in the hand compared to the original 9mm, and this was done of course to attenuate slide velocity. They are also rather prized collector’s items at this point, bringing upwards of $1500 at the time of writing making them sort of moot for most of us when other good .40 caliber service pistols can be had for less than half that figure.

Needless to say, if you like and trust the 9mm, and can afford to purchase one of these now sadly discontinued pistols, do it. They are the last of a dying breed, when service and defense sidearms were built of machined steel to last generations, and if you look at the quality and ultimate durability, you might even think the price is "cheap," especially given the "resale value" of HK products.



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LEVITICUS CHAPTER 26, VERSE 19 (we are a declining power and have not won a major war since WW II.) Britain is down to a 25 ship Navy. They ruled the seas for 400 years. Israel is ruled by the "EREV RAV"...go to google and do a search on the erev rav. We are imploding from within.




« Fire in Arizona’s Coronado National Forest (Getty Images)

Illegals Setting Fires to Cross Border

Coronado National Forest employees could call it a war zone. Some illegal aliens, particularly human and drug traffickers, are resorting to extreme measures to cross the border between Mexico and the remote southern Arizona forest.

Border Patrol agents in the region face the highest rate of illegal border crossings in the nation—nearly half a million illegals crossed here in 2006. Agents also confiscated 100,000 pounds of marijuana that was being smuggled through the forest last year (
Washington Times, June 19).

The Times also reports that last month the Border Patrol caught over 300 aliens and 600 pounds of marijuana in a 3-mile stretch over 10 days. In response to the agency’s activities within the operation, illegals set at least five fires in an attempt to burn agents out of one observation post. The fires were not the only ones set by Mexican smugglers. In fact, Forest Service firefighters have seen armed smugglers walk right through their ranks as they were trying to battle fires. Now, law enforcement officers must accompany firefighters when they are sent to put out the flames.

The fires correspond with a 100 percent rise in attacks on Border Patrol agents, including threatening with deadly weapons, assault and crude firebombings. Illegals have targeted agents with Molotov cocktails and grapefruit-sized rocks wrapped in gasoline-soaked rags and set on fire. Agents have been shot at, and some Border Patrol vehicles have been rammed, according to the Times report.

Besides threatening the lives of border agents, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and the users of the forest system and spoiling acres of wilderness, the increasingly violent and still unchecked problem of illegal immigration has far-reaching ramifications. For more on illegal immigration’s effect on America’s borders, laws, government and citizens, read
“The Trouble With Immigration” and “Nation: A Place With Borders.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Stephen Camp & More


Best Buys In Handguns, Part III: Used/Surplus


Aaron Brudenell

Many folks interested in firearms will choose the ones they collect for a number of reasons. Some accumulate products from one gun maker, a specific time or event, or even a single model that may have been copied by numerous manufacturers. Whatever a person’s criteria, most of us will find it hard to resist an obvious bargain even if the item is outside the scope of what we normally fancy. This writer is no exception, in fact, I find myself particularly susceptible to a splendid deal at a gun shop or show. Part of my interest, like many others I’m sure, comes from remembering a time when I was younger and much less able to afford the things I wanted most of all. The big advantage in choosing a highly affordable firearm later in one’s collecting is that you tend to have a greater benefit of experience in spotting a truly useful bargain rather than something that’s just cheap.

Say you have $200 and need a handgun for self-defense. The list of new firearms that can be had at that price isn’t a long one and many of them are of notorious quality and not to be generally trusted for one’s life if there’s a suitable alternative. I found two very good used ones in this price range, and feel sure others exist (both on this site and elsewhere). I was able to obtain the Smith and Wesson K-frame revolver for just under $200 from a retail store specializing in used and surplus firearms. The Makarov pistol was purchased for around $150 from a licensed dealer at a local gun show; however, I’ve noticed prices on this and similar models slowly drift up to and even slightly beyond the $200 mark in the time since. Here’s the first lesson: conspicuous bargains don’t always remain so!

Here is a picture of the 3" Model 10 and the Makarov pistol. Each handgun has its own strong points compared to the other, but both of these do have one thing in common: reliability.

Each of these handguns is a used firearm previously issued to a military or law enforcement agency and that’s a great place to start looking, regardless of how much money you have to hunt for a bargain. The revolver was reportedly one of many issued to a large metropolitan police department in France that probably upgraded to semiautomatic pistols like so many other agencies. Because it was sold abroad and imported back into the US, it bears the dot matrix stamp of the importer. In all other respects, it’s a standard K-frame model 10-5, the standard .38 Special successor to the original Military & Police revolver made before World War two. The only unusual feature is the barrel, which is a tapered 3" version unlike the more common 4" variety.

Makarovs were the main sidearm for many of the Soviet block countries for the latter part of the cold war and were produced by Russia, East Germany, China, and in this case, Bulgaria. East German models are widely considered to be best of all, however, I find the Bulgarian model to be in a close 2nd place! Chinese guns can be of inconsistent quality and I don’t care for the Russian models, which have an adjustable rear sight (an unnecessary addition of size in my view). The exact history of this Bulgarian Makarov is not known, but the double circled "10" indicates it was made in the state run arsenal and these pistols were most likely used by military and police agencies in that country until sometime after the fall of the iron curtain. As with the revolver, this handgun was imported and bears a similar dot matrix identifier of the importer (the same one as it turns out).

When comparing this pair of options, more differences exist than the usual "revolver" versus "semiautomatic" debate but first I’d like to consider the commonalties. Both handguns have numerous grip options available and this is very important if one is to select a handgun for their primary defense arm. Most of the Makarov grips are similar in style and shape, however, differences in thickness and texture are significant enough to fit most people’s needs. I chose the East German style of grip because I have small hands and like the texture. Many friends of mine have opted for the soft rubber Pearce grips that fill larger hands and soften recoil. Like any K-frame Smith and Wesson revolver, there is a virtually endless supply of grips available for the model 10 and the mismatched pair of small factory panels suits my needs adequately.

Both the Makarov and Model 10 have outstanding accuracy and reliability to the point I’d be hard pressed to distinguish one in either category. The biggest limitation for each in accuracy is their sights and in both cases, I remain satisfied given their role as a rugged self-defense gun. Because each has both single and double-action capability, they can be carried safely and ready to fire quickly or cocked for more precision shots. Recoil for both is also comparable—standard pressure ammunition for each is mild enough for a novice to master and the +P .38 Specials have the same extra impulse as a few of the heavier recoiling (higher bullet weight) rounds available for the 9x18mm chamber.

Ammunition is the first obvious area of distinction between the two firearms with .38 Special being much more available and diverse in the US than 9x18mm. I often refer to the "Walmart Test" of ammunition availability and clearly you’re more likely to find .38 Specials than 9x18mm wherever you buy your ammunition.

That said, however, the Makarov can be re-barreled quite easily for .380 ACP with minimal cost and I’ve tested several unmodified 9x18mm firearms with .380 ammunition and found surprising reliability with only a slight loss in accuracy. This is not to be considered a recommendation—it’s probably comparable to firing .22 Long Rifle cartridges in a .22 Magnum chamber. Problems with certain short bullet designs and the occasional split case should be expected and I think it’s better to buy a good supply of surplus ammunition for the long term. But in an emergency or if 9x18mm cartridges become rare the Makarov will not become a paperweight. With the pistol in this article, I tested 9 brands of .380 ammunition and only had problems with Winchester Silvertips and some cast reloaded ammunition, both of which had rather short overall lengths.

The Makarov pistol is notably smaller than the revolver and lighter by about 1/3 pound. These are both key features when considering a handgun for concealed carry self defense. The Makarov also has 50% more firepower with a capacity of 8+1, which compares favorably to a six-shooter. Even though the Makarov’s magazine requires a heal release and is slow to reload by modern pistol standards, it’s still quicker than the Smith and Wesson and preloaded magazines are easier to manage than revolver speed loaders and strips. I also find the Makarov to be much more natural to point shoot than the revolver although this ultimately amounts to a personal choice and/or a selection of grips. I come to this conclusion with no lack of experience with Smith and Wesson wheel guns that I’ve owned and used without complaint but for me, with the right grips, the Makarov just fits better.

The Smith & Wesson also has its advantages over the Makarov. For starters, both the double and single- action trigger pulls are lighter and a touch smoother. Additionally, it’s hard to argue with the simplicity of a double-action revolver. The Makarov’s safety is not a bad one: down takes it off while up decocks the hammer and locks the entire action (hammer, trigger, and slide). But with the revolver, as long as the cylinder is fully closed, the gun will function fully with or without ammunition and there are no safeties to forget or worry about. Dry fire practice is always more realistic with a revolver than with a semiautomatic and if firing for effect, the solution to a failure is simply to pull the trigger again. The last and most significant revolver advantage would have to be power.

The S&W Model 10 in any of its configurations is a proven design and in a caliber that is probably more potent than the 9x18mm Makarov. Its primary limitations remain but a six-shot capacity and slower reloading.

The Makarov holds more shots between reloading than the revolver and despite its magazine release being at the butt of the gun, it is probably quicker than speed strips with the revolver. With speed loaders, the revolver might be just as fast or faster. This would depend upon the skill level of the user. Notice also that even though slide-mounted, the safety on the Makarov works in a natural direction. Down for fire and up for safe.

For self-defense, I’m a big fan of the Speer Gold Dot, which is a good bullet design and in most cases loaded to a healthy power level in factory ammunition. The latest .38 Special + P Gold Dot is a 135 grain bullet that leaves this 3" barrel at around 1000 feet per second. The 9x18mm Gold Dot has the same velocity but is only a 90-grain bullet. Both of these are good options but I would expect the 9x18mm Gold Dot to be less effective by more than a single shade of gray. If one is after heavier weight non-expanding bullets to maximize penetration, good options also exist for both. Fiocchi .38 Special FMJ’s can be had in 158 grain while the Wolf brand 9x18 JHP is available in the 120-125 grain range and doesn’t expand in most media. As with expanding bullets, the edge in the heavier non-expanding projectiles still favors the revolver. (Note: For those interested, there are articles on snub ammunition as well as expansion and comparison tests between 38 Special, 380 ACP and 9x18mm Makarov in "Other Handguns.")

Here are two 9x18mm rounds that were fired into water. The Wolff (left) did not expand while the Silver Bear did. (Bullet and jacket separation is not uncommon when firing into water.)

Speer's excellent Gold Dot bullet expands reliably in 9x18mm.

Although both handguns have their respective strong points, neither would leave you inadequately prepared for most uses and for my own purposes, I plan to keep both! The last and final advantage of finding suitable budget guns is that you can avail yourself of more options than you could with less affordable pieces. There are plenty of other affordable used bargains out there and as newer designs replace older ones, one can expect the quality and list of advantages to grow rather than shrink.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

And Ya'akov Went on to Sukkot...(Gen. 33.17)

Normally one does not pray for war. Usually in war the righteous in this incarnation of their lives suffer with the wicked. It is a messy business. Those who build networks of chessed institutions suffer with those who plan parades of homosexuals. Those who vote for kindness to their fellow Jews suffer with those who vote for Kadima. At first glance it seems that war is bloody and unfair.

Of course, according to Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato's classic
The Way of HaShem, the righteous suffer often to perfect their souls because of sins done or imperfections fostered in previous lives. Sometimes they just suffer for the sins of the generation so that the world itself will not be destroyed by those sins. Be that as it may, War is usually Hell.

The upcoming war that is the final battles of Gog UMagog that will probably take place some time between tomorrow, the 29th of Sivan, and when Gog W. Bush leaves office in January 2009 (Winter 5769) will be no exception to this rule. It will be bloody, lo aleynu, maybe even the bloodiest war in all of history, may Heaven spare us. Yet, the Talmud in several places tells us that in the seventh year there will be war, and when we daven the shmonah esrei (18 blessing prayer), the seventh blessing is a blessing for redemption. Why is this the case?

This is so because the war in the seventh year of Gog UMagog is really the beginning of the redemption process even though Mashiach does not show up until the eighth year. The only question becomes how do we know which year of the eight year process we are in now in the year 5767. The Al Aksa Intifada began a day and a half before Rosh HaShana 5761, and Israel was condemned by the United Nations for defending itself by a vote of 92 to 6 on Hoshana Rabba 5761.

See my article on The South Asian Tsunami . It was the beginning of Israel's agony of the last generation, our Gog and Magog agony, before Gog W. is elected later that Fall. Counting seven years leads to the conclusion that our seven years are up this summer of 5767, a year which ends in a seven. The more classic interpretation, though, of the word "shvi'is" describing the seventh year is the Shmittah (sabbatical) year which is next year 5768. Rav Kaduri ztl. is quoted as saying that the Gaon of Vilna's iterpretation of the word shvi'is is just that, the sabbatical year.

The Gaon according to the Saintly Rav Kaduri even said that the seven years of Gog U Magog would begin on Hoshana Rabbah (the seventh day of the Feast of Booths) in the first year of a shmittah cycle and would conclude in the eighth year, which is the first year of the next Shmittah cycle. The seventh year would be the year of the war. The eighth year would be the year of Mashiach's timely arrival. Therefore it is no accident that while 9/11 was a week before Rosh Hashana 5762 and while 9/11 itself was therefore on the 23rd of Elul 5761, Gog launched his air war against the Taliban in Afghanistan on Hoshana Rabba 5762, the first year of a Shmittah cycle.



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LEVITICUS CHAPTER 26, VERSE 19 (we are a declining power and have not won a major war since WW II.) Britain is down to a 25 ship Navy. They ruled the seas for 400 years. Israel is ruled by the "EREV RAV"...go to google and do a search on the erev rav. We are imploding from within.



Tensions rise as drought worsens, threatens to spread

Chicago Tribune
Jun. 18, 2007 04:54 PM

ATLANTA - North and South Carolina are fighting over a river. In Tennessee, springs are drying up, jeopardizing production of Jack Daniels whiskey. The mayor of Los Angeles is asking residents to take shorter showers. And in Georgia, the governor is praying for rain.

More than a third of the United States is in the grip of a menacing drought that threatens to spread before the summer ends.

While much of the West has experienced drought conditions for close to a decade, the latest system is centered over Alabama and extends to much of the Southeast, heavily affecting Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North and South Carolina and Virginia as well as parts of Arkansas and West Virginia.

Parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee are experiencing a level D4 drought, the most extreme level charted and the worst in the nation. Severe drought conditions are moving north, into Kentucky and closer to the Midwest.

"It's one of the worst droughts in living memory in the Southeast at this point," said Doug LeComte, a drought specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "This happens only about every 50 years or so."

The severe conditions have forced cities to establish tough water restrictions, basically banning everything from watering lawns on weekdays to wiping out summertime rituals such as cooling off children with water hoses.

As lawns turn brown and tempers flare under the sweltering heat, neighbors are snitching on one another, turning in those whose lawns appear too green. And officials in some cities are dealing with those perpetrators by imposing hefty fines, turning off water service to homes and throwing chronic abusers into jail.

In Columbia County, Ga., near Augusta, officials are receiving at least a half-dozen calls a day from people turning in their neighbors. So far they have turned off water to 50 homes that violated the water ban at least three times. Wellington, Fla., has issued more than 2,000 citations, with fines ranging from $75 to $250 for repeat offenders.

The Birmingham, Ala., area has some of the toughest repercussions for those who ignore its ban on using lawn sprinklers or decide to wash their cars in driveways. Residents are being told to use hand sprayers or fill buckets to water their flowers and grass. In the city of Birmingham, violators face hefty surcharges for using more than the allotted amount of water.

In Atlanta, where rapid growth is contributing to the water shortage, outdoor water use is banned during the week. In suburban Forsyth County, violators can receive up to a $1,000 in fines and up to 60 days in jail for the second violation. The fire chief in suburban Roswell, Ga., is considering banning Fourth of July fireworks in that city, fearing that a spark could ignite fires.

Extreme drought in at least 95 Georgia counties has hurt the state's $54 billion agricultural industry. Officials said farmers throughout the South are being hit hard, with losses to cotton, peanuts and corn.

Farmers in California, Kentucky and Alabama are selling their herds because a shortage of hay to feed them.

"Farmers are reporting nothing but dust. It's dire straits," LeComte said.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue proclaimed June 11 as a Day of Prayer for Agriculture and joined more than 250 people at the Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon to pray for rain. It came that night, but the downpour wasn't nearly enough to make a difference.

In the meantime, some residents are finding ways to conserve water. Suzan Satterfield said she uses "gray water" from her morning shower to water her plants.

"I have a big potted begonia that looks like it's on death's door if I don't water it every evening," said Satterfield, 40, of Norcross, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. "So toward the end of my shower when I am rinsing off, I stop the drain and collect about six inches of water in a bucket."

She said she usually collects about three bucketfuls each day, and her plants seem to thrive on the soapy water.

Jerry Hamilton, the distillery plant manager for Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, Tenn., told the Associated Press recently that the stream that supplies iron-free water for its whiskey recipe was flowing about one-third to one-half its normal rate. Officials said the distillery is conserving the water from Cave Springs, which has been used for 140 years, using it only for whiskey.

South Carolina and North Carolina are battling over the Catawba River, which provides drinking water and electricity for the two states. South Carolina has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to ban a plan by two suburbs of Charlotte to pump up to 10 million gallons of water a day from the river.

Unless a resolution is found quickly, the states could end up in a water war like the one involving Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Those states have been embroiled in a court battle over how to share the water in the Chattahoochee River for 16 years.

Experts blame the Southeast's drought on a persistent high-pressure system that has kept rain away from the area. In California, an abnormally dry winter is the culprit.

Americans use an average of 100 gallons of water a day, and they're being urged to cut their demand to put less pressure on the supply.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants residents to reduce their water use by 10 percent through small changes, such as taking shorter showers and sweeping sidewalks instead of spraying them down.

People will have to learn to conserve or pay a price in the future, LeComte said.

"This is a reminder that these major droughts can happen anywhere," he said. "Whether this is a trend or not, it will make people rethink their use of this valuable resource and realize that it is not infinite."



יט וְשָׁבַרְתִּי, אֶת-גְּאוֹן עֻזְּכֶם; וְנָתַתִּי אֶת-שְׁמֵיכֶם כַּבַּרְזֶל, וְאֶת-אַרְצְכֶם כַּנְּחֻשָׁה. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.
כ וְתַם לָרִיק, כֹּחֲכֶם; וְלֹא-תִתֵּן אַרְצְכֶם, אֶת-יְבוּלָהּ, וְעֵץ הָאָרֶץ, לֹא יִתֵּן פִּרְיוֹ. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield her produce, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.