Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Stirring The Debate.

How many wars against Israel do the Palestinians and by extension the Arabs have to lose before they will except that Israel and the Israelis are not going anywhere? Each succeeding war or infatada has only made their plight worse than before and hardened the resolve of the Israelis.

Let's be clear it is the Arabs that declared war against Israel in 1947 not the other way around. Although the Arabs feel they can tacticly lose repeated wars and still triumph in the end, the Israelis implicitly understand that they cannot lose even one. To think that if they were to lose, that the Arabs would not commit another horrific genocide is to deny history and their own declared intent. One virtual constant of history is that people who wage war against their neighbors and lose is that they lose territory as well. The shifting map of Europe over the centuries is ample proof of that. Who among us would propose that the Germans have a "right of return" to those territories east of the Oder river that now comprise nearly a third of Poland? It absurd on its face.

Israel withdrew in stages from Sinai in exchange for a lasting peace with Egypt. A peace that has survived even the assassination of Anwar Sadat. They withdrew from Gaza on the promise of peace. It wasn't the Israeli that betrayed that promise.

Are there bad actors among the IDF? Undoubtably. Just as there are undoubtably bad actors among Hamas and the Palistinian Authority. War does terribly things to people. Often instilling an incredible indifference to human life that those not involved can not begin to fathom. This war is no different than any other, filled with atrocities on both sides. The kind of things that can burn scars into people's souls that can never be forgotten.

My father had nightmares about things he encountered in the Philippines until he died. If he had had the strength he would have cursed the Japanese with his dying breath. I've known veterans of Viet Nam who feel the same way about their experiences. So who's to say if some of those IDF soldiers filmed shooting at Palestinian children hadn't seen a relative or friend blown to pieces in a suicide bombing? We can't possibly know. There is no excuse for the slaughter of innocents by either side. But to the best of my knowledge the Israelis do not systematically teach their children the kind of hatred and asperations to martyrdom that can be seen on Palistinian television every day.

Is there any solution to this terrible war or the seemingly endlesness of man's cruelty to man? I can only suggest that that can and will only happen when the Palistinians and by extension, the Arabs and Muslims in general, except Israel's right to exist and seriously mean it. Only then will it be possible to negotiate any change of status for Jerusalem or the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the West Bank.

Or perhaps it can't be solved by man alone and will only be resolved when Christ himself returns and shakes the Mount of Olives.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Change Of Tactics, Not A Change Of Attitude.

There are many things indeed in the political realm that make me weary. One of the worst is the notion that the conditions in Gaza are the responsibility of the Israelis. Why are the Palestinians not responsible for themselves or if not them directly what not their fellow Arab and Muslim neighbors? History would tell us that this latest allegedly peaceful protest entitled the "March for Return" is not a change in attitude but rather just a temporary change in tactics.

The Gulf States both Sunni and Shia make billions and billions of dollars every year from the sale of oil. But what funds they do funnel into Gaza and the West Bank goes largely into political operations, arms purchases and the straight up corruption of those in power with very little if any actually getting down to ground level for needed infrastructure and social services. For that they are sent with their hands out to the rest of the world saying "Oh look at how poor and deprived we are. You must feed and cloth and house us."

Anyone who thinks that given the opportunity the Arabs would not enter into another paroxysm of genocide again against the Jews is either naive, a fool or a flat out liar. It's been Muslim policy since Mohamad sent his army to slaughter the Jews of Medina for the offense of ridiculing him. It has shown little abatement since.

But rather than dwell on 1400 year old history let's concentrate on the more recent past. In the late 1930s the British expelled the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for stirring up violence against the then very small Jewish popjlation of Palestine. He went to Damascus and then after the fall of France made his way through Vichey to Berlin where he entered into well documented discussions on how to exterminate their common enemy, the Jews. Hitler provided him with a large estate outside Berlin (seized from murdered Jews) where he remained throughout the war. In exchange for this hospitality he made shortwave radio broadcast to the Arab world extolling the virtues of the Nazis and calling for them to join in an alliance against the dcadent West and the Jews in particular. He personally went to Nazi occupied Yogoslavia and recruited Muslim troops that became the dreaded 13th Waffen SS Division that became notorious for hunting down and murdering Jews all across the Balkans.

After the war when the British blocked attempts to have the Mufti tried for war crimes at Nuremberg he went to Egypt and joined the nacent Muslim Brotherhood and injected his virulent hate into that organization.

Then came 1947 and the partition of Palestine. This became the first opportunity to create a free and independent Palestinian state. They rejected the UN offer, in no small part because of the Grand Mufti. They choose a war of extermination instead, determined to finish what Hitler had started. They failed.

In the wake of that failure it was not the Israelis who confined the Palestinians to the refugee camps. It was their Arab brothers in Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. For nearly twenty years there after these same Arab states, especially Eqypt and Jordan had every opportunity to create an independent Palistinian state in Gaza and The West Bank. They made no such effort. It wasn't even discussed. What the world got instead was hate and threats and preparations for war from the U.A.R. and more failed attempts to destroy Israel.

When the Israelis withdrew from Gaza they left behind considerable amounts of economic infrastructure both agricultural and industrial. The Gazan's reaction was destroy the greenhouses and truck farms. Rather than use the industrial infrastructure to build farm equipment or exportable goods they converted them to building arms and converting needed construction equipment into rocket launchers.

In the 70 years since their independence the Israelis have become famous for making the desert bloom and becoming not just agriculturally self-sufficient but exporters of food to the world, much of which they give to the Palestinians along with free emergency medical care.

The only thing stopping the Palestinians from providing for themselves is their hatred, their arrogance, their ignorance and their political leaders who care more for destroying Israel and killing Jews than they do for providing for the welfare of their people.

He Gazans are suffering all right but their afflictions have been put upon them by their own leaders and their Arab brothers who have manipulated their plight for their own purposes for seven decades.  Frankly I don't see that changing any to soon. Certainly not if history is any acceptable guide.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Back Into The Backyard Workshop.

Some three decades ago I was finishing up a ten year stint at a large valve manufacturer and my employer made a gift to me of a surplus 8" x 16" sch. 80 pipe reducer along with an 8" sch. 80 pipe end cap. My intent at the time was to weld them together and make a large bell. This was something I had done a few times before on a smaller scale.

4" x 8" hanging on  simple angle bracket.
This 4" x 8" sch. 80 bell presently hangs on the side of my work shop. It is in need of some sanding and a new coat of paint but that will have to wait until other things are finished.

I also did a larger 6" x 12" sch. 40 that was donated to the church I was attending at the time and is used as the call to service bell. But as the old saying goes, life is what happens when you're planning to do other things and these parts languished in my storage building until last year when this project finally began.

The first step of course was to sit down at the computer and come up with a working design that I fully expected to refine as the job progressed. I decided early on that this was going to be a highly finished piece with pivot arms and a counterweight as is often seen with steeple bells.

One thing I do not have in my shop is a welder. Otherwise I would have done the welding myself. Fortunately I have a neighbor down the block who is a welding instructor at the local community college and I was able to persuade him to do the welding for me.

The tedious grinding and polishing begins.
The first step after I got the weldment back was to begin the grinding and polishing of the raw and welded forgings to a smooth clean finish. I started with an 80 grit hard disk and a soft touch to blend in the weld and remove all the remaining mill coating and scale. This alone was a two day process. I then progressed to an 80 grit soft disk to get down to where the smaller in perfections and pits in the surface were revealed.

Lots of fine detail work.
These places and the surface scratches left by the grinding wheels were then chased out with both a random orbit and a vibrating hand sander. I had to take special care to also remove the areas surrounding these pits at the same time so as not to create flat spots that would stand out on the finished surface.

The finished
polished surface.
This became an almost never-ending process of chasing smaller and smaller imperfections and scratches. I finally opted with mounting the bell onto a 4" x 4" post attached to my work bench. This made manipulating the bell much easier and allowed me to reflect light off of it from different directions making seeing where more work was needed easier as well.

It was now time to move on to what I call the counterweight pivot block assembly.

Counterweight assembly
before attaching pivot arms.
This was made from 4" x 4" fence post timbers with 1/4" steel plates sandwiched between them.  These plates provide added weight and stiffness to the assembly.

Sandwich plates with several
coats of self-etching primer paint.
There are two 3/8-16 x 5-1/2" long hex head bolts holding the long top plate to the long timber. Six long pieces of 3/8-16 all thread were then used to hold the completed sub-assembly together.

This assembly will be revisited after other other structures are completed.

This final assembly required careful fitting and
squaring up using half a dozen clamps.
Next came the mounting frame assembly. This consists of two A-frame sub assemblies, two runner sub assemblies that tie them together and an X-frame sub assembly. This X-frame will minimize any racking caused by the 110+ pounds of bell and counterweight swinging back and forth.

This assembly was made from standard 2" x 4"s, 1" boards cut to various widths along with two pieces of 3/8" plywood cut into matching octagons holding the X-frame together. All these pieces were assembled with wood glue and deck screws. All the openings and gaps were filled with plastic wood. The finished sub-assemblies and final assembly were sanded smooth with 80 grit then 100 and finally 120 grit sandpaper.

Aluminum pillow blocks
with bronze sleeves.
1" spherical bearings are used to mount the bell/counterweight assembly. This eliminates any minor misalignment issues with the pivot shafts.

Clapper ball with loop and
Bell mounting 3/4" eye bolt.
The clapper for ringing the bell is made from a 1-7/8" forged steel ball bearing. This is welded to a piece of 3/8" round bar that hooks through an eye bolt inside the top of the bell. The small eye welded to the bottom end is so the bell can be rung softly without rocking the whole assembly.

Initial fit up for alignment and balance checking.
Initial fit up was completed to check alignment and balance before staining, applying multiple coats of Spar Varnish to the frame and counterweight and clear enamel to the bell.

The as designed center of gravity came in right on target at just under one inch below the centerline of the pivot shafts. The bell swings with ease and very little effort.