Wednesday, June 26, 2019

National Identification Cards What S The Purpose

The Lancaster is probably the most famous of all the bombers of the second world war. According to Capt. Donald Macintosh (ex-second world war bomber pilot, and author) it was a lot smoother to fly than the Wellington; the experience of which was close to that of a fighter plane (with no payload, of course).

Survival rates on bombers.

The life of a second world war bomber pilot was probably the most dangerous of all the armed forces of the second world war. Less than 50% survived their tour; each tour consisted of roughly 25 operations or raids with the chances of survival for each raid being 96%. That is what the commanders always told the crew before a raid to keep up morale. But if you compound 96% over 25 times, the survival rate was closer to 50%. When Donald looked at his Florida academy group photograph after the war, he counted around half of those still alive.



Enemy fighter planes

Lack of rear radar (called Monica: only introduced later in the war)

An incompetent navigator

An incompetent rear gunner


Poor attitude

Bad luck

TRAINING – Rushed training caused a few deaths. President Roosevelt wanted to train pilots within 2 years which would be woefully short in peacetime, but due to the high chop rate they had no choice. Donald sometimes saw burnt-out bombers on the runway from fatal mistakes made by cadets. A fairly experienced New Zealand pilot and his crew died in a ball of flames in the air during training. They speculated it was because one of the crew members had smoked during the flight.

Also, the bombers used in training were not maintained properly, if at all. All the good maintenance staff were looking after the bombers flying real operations. This could cause engines to fail, which killed a few crew members.

In fact, Donald had several very near misses himself in just such scenarios. The excerpt: “The Landing” from his book is just one example of inexperience nearly killing him. “Russian Mechanics” is another; the Russians didn’t have the competence or equipment to maintain planes as Donald found out.

ENEMY FIGHTER PLANES – Fighter planes out-gunned and could out-maneuver bombers. The typical fighter tactic was to dive under the bomber and swing around and up, shooting up at the undercarriage. This wasn’t without total risk to the fighter, as the explosion of the payload could also destroy the fighter if he was too close. Donald experienced a Focke Wulf 190 first-hand using just this tactic.

The best defence was the cork-screw dive. This meant diving 45 degrees to the left, then 45 degrees to the right and then fly back upwards 45 degrees left. The odds though were still against you. At night time, if an enemy fighter was detected soon enough, the cork-screw dive was very effective at shaking them off. .

LACK OF REAR RADAR – Rear radar, or Monica as it was called, saved countless bomber crew’s lives. This enabled the crew to detect an enemy fighter sneaking up behind very early. The cork-screw dive maneuver was then quite effective. Using Monica, during night-time raids especially, allowed the bombers to easily shake off enemy fighter planes. Monica saved Donald’s life when it was introduced. It was a pity that his Squadron Leader also didn’t have it when he battled a German ace. See “Squadron Leader” for this story.

AN INCOMPETENT NAVIGATOR – According to Donald, the navigator was absolutely crucial to survival. If you got lost over enemy territory, you had had it. Not only could you accidentally fly over enemy fighter bases or flak installations, but your fuel would run out. Donald’s bomber crew experienced their fuel running out twice, once in training and once over Russia.

AN INCOMPETENT REAR GUNNER – Although, the rear gunner was not as important as the navigator, he needed to be very alert for detecting enemy fighter planes coming in from behind. He would call out the ranges and shout out the exact time when the pilot should cork-screw. The actual gunfire was usually inadequate to bring down the fighters; it distracted them more than anything else.

FLAK – At the end of the war flak was largely ineffective. This was because the German flak crews were the old men or inexperienced young boys who weren’t trained well enough to operate them properly. Of course, you could be exceedingly unlucky. If a professional flak crew were shooting at you, then you would be in trouble. When Donald was carrying out a raid over Holland, he flew over German Naval Gunners who shot down the plane three behind him, killing all but three of her crew.

POOR ATTITUDE – Those pilots and crew who didn’t put everything into it, who didn’t really want to be there, were often the ones who got what they wished for. Donald tells of an Australian pilot Tyrell, who had an apathetic attitude always asking when his leave was etc. He died on his first mission over Stuttgart.

Another important factor was team work amongst the crew members. Some crews couldn’t get along with each other. They constantly argued, even disobeying orders. Unsurprisingly, this raised the probability of not making it over a raid.

Nervous disorders were a common problem with crew members who were nearing the end of their active duty. In fact, according to Donald, at this stage of their careers just about everybody had some sort of nervous disorder, whether it was a nervous tic or the hand shaking when lifting up a glass or tea cup. It was far worse with bomb-aimers. They saw everything below: flak exploding just beneath them etc. Bomb aimers were usually relieved earlier of their duties than most since after a while they would crack up. “The Mad Gunner” is a short story of a bomb-aimer who had done around 70 raids and had completely lost it. He was allowed to continue because he loved doing it and also the fact that he was very good at his job.

BAD LUCK – A lucky flak shot, or something critical overlooked in maintenance was what usually happened. When Donald had to choose his bomb-aimer, he had a choice between Pete or his friend, George. They flipped a coin and Pete became his bomb-aimer and lived; George, however, never made it to the end of the war.
The worldwide illicit drugs business is by far the most profitable illicit global trade, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), earning some $320 billion annually. Compared to this, human trafficking at $32 billion and illegal firearms at $1 billion are a drop in the bucket. Afghanistan, producing 92% of the world’s illegal opium from its miles and miles of poppy farms, is by far the world’s largest contributor to the production of illicit heroin and morphine. For millions of addicts around the world, the dark force from Afghanistan that rules their lives can only be overcome through drug rehab.

Not surprisingly, no one has come up with a workable idea on how to stop it. The problem is that the chain of “narcodollars” reaches from the poppy farms all the way to the highest levels of Afghanistan’s government, with the Taliban insurgents in the mix in a very big way. At $3.1 billion, the opium trade is the equivalent of a third of the country’s total economy. Last year’s 6,100 tons of opium was worth $60 billion at street prices, and this year an even larger crop is expected.

As well as keeping the drug barons rich, the drug trade has affected Afghanistan’s citizenry in an unexpected and very negative way. Historically, poppy farmers and citizens rarely used the drugs personally. Today, according to UN reports, thousands of Afghani’s are abusing the drugs and becoming addicted, and desperately need drug rehab. But the country doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to support drug rehab facilities.

As for solutions, the U.S. is pushing for crop spraying and destruction. But thousands of farmers will be out of work and penniless. Replacing poppies with other crops won’t work because there’s no distribution system for exporting produce. Others are suggesting the opium trade be legitimized and production redirected for medicines. But the health industry won’t pay street prices to drug barons, so that probably won’t fly.

Meanwhile, here in America we continue to deal with street drug crime and lives being ruined through opiate addiction. Until a solution is found to stop the supplies of drugs from around the world, we can try to prevent addiction by our own example and through effective education. And we must care for those who suffer addiction with successful drug rehab programs that really work.
With the decisive Battle of Yorktown in Virginia in 1781, America freed itself from the shackles of tyranny. Now, Virginia-the first, permanent English-speaking colony in the New World-is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the historic battle.

The National Park Service’s Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Yorktown Victory Center, together with the town of Yorktown, are hosting stirring events and exhibits to bring clarity to America’s most important military victory-George Washington’s triumph of allied forces over the British at Yorktown in October 1781.

This year in Yorktown-along the sandy shores of the tidal York River near the Chesapeake Bay-will be special, beginning with timeless attractions, such as:

• The Victory Center, where visitors can “meet” Revolutionary soldiers, try on their uniforms and view artifacts from the sunken British ship “Betsy,” one of many British ships resting on the bottom of the York River; and

• The Yorktown Battlefield, where you can walk the fields and fortifications where General Washington forced the surrender of more than 8,000 British soldiers, effectively ending the American Revolution.

Then amid a backdrop of spectacular autumn foliage, Yorktown will host a four-day commemoration of the decisive battle beginning Thursday, Oct. 19. A small-town parade, traditional military Pass in Review ceremony, tactical field demonstrations and a live-action orchestral and choral event called “We Salute You-An American Symphony” will honor American military service.

Fireworks over the York River, an assembly of fife and drum corps from across the U.S., military bands and a naturalization ceremony will remind spectators and participants of the basic freedoms achieved 225 years ago in Virginia. Culminating with a ceremonial surrender of the British army at Yorktown’s Colonial National Historical Park, more than 2,000 reenactors will mobilize in a brilliant show of British redcoats marching to the actual field of surrender.

In addition, a new exhibit at the Victory Center depicts how different cultures helped shape American society. And the new Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown-a retail center with unique shopping and dining options-is another reason to return to Virginia for “Jamestown 2007: America’s 400th Anniversary” next year.
There are many reasons why countries, small and large, are reviewing the needs for national identification cards. Many of the reasons have to do with immigration, border control and some are simply economic. When considering national identification cards for a country, it’s fairly simple to understand the perceived need to clearly identify someone’s nationality for reasons from employment to citizenship benefits. Even when reviewing who should receive medical or any other service offered by a government to its citizens and to protect these services so they are not abused by individuals whose citizenship is with another country.

The only form of national identification is a printed piece of paper in many countries, and because of this many of these nations are reviewing their possibilities. These documents are simple to forge since they don’t contain a picture or other identifying marks other than being the person holding the document. Reducing the abuse of services and controlling costs is reason enough to implement a national photo ID card and database. Because of these needs and many others it is apparent that some of the information on the identification cards would include characteristics of the holder such as height, weight sex and eye color. Some nations have included items such as retinal scan information and finger prints into the national database and into the identification cards themselves.

Some of the countries that are entertaining or beginning this process do not have an up to date account on its current residents or even census information on their citizens. Implementing a national identification card into a country such as this allows for many other needed benefits, such as tracking the activity of its citizens when it comes to border crossings, criminal records, government employment history or military service. Presently many of these countries have databases to track these items, but most are independent of each other. Creating a national ID card would allow the merging of all of these databases into a common solution that would allow for a much simpler identification and review of an individual’s history.

As governments review these types of requirements, it has become in many cases a task for outsourcing. For many nations, undertaking the monumental feat of photographing, capturing information and providing ID cards to every citizen is too large for governments to handle efficiently. There have been a few companies providing solutions for nations and one of them is This organization has been providing photo identification cards for individuals for about seven years and have created solutions that incorporate much more than simply providing cards. In many cases solutions have been developed for countries that are not only easy to implement but also provide an economic benefit for the countries implementing them. Simply put, when outsourcing the identification card needs of a country to a provider such as, the costs are less expensive than they would be if a nation took on the burden of developing a solution internally. Because of the discounted expense, the country can charge the citizens less for the ID cards than they would if the nation was passing the expense along directly to the resident. This would still leave a financial margin that would be paid to the government.

It is hard to find an economic reason for a government not to implement a national identification card system. Advocates will shout that “big brother” is stripping them of their rights and privacy; but shouldn’t someone be watching our criminal records, military service and border crossings? Doesn’t a government have the responsibility to ensure that only their citizens are receiving benefits from their own country or should anyone be allowed to receive these benefits when their citizenship belongs to another nation?

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