If you would like to add a comment to any of the threads here on AADB, registration with blogspot.com is not required. Simply click on the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of an essay, and either enter a nickname under ‘choose an identity’ or post your comment anonymously. Serious comments are always welcome.

REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

11/30/2006


Extending thanks to two friends, John Cooper (a frequent commenter and occasional contributor here), and First_Salute (screen name), a faithful lurker, who both discovered, and then fixed on their own, some formatting problems with the blog.

Apparently, when viewed in Firefox (which I do not use, so was not aware of the problem), there were text-centering problems and coloration problems that rendered some of the posts virtually unreadable.

Both John and ‘First’ took it upon themselves to put their heads together and they solved the problem.

(With friends like this, who needs computer literacy? :)

At any rate, thanks guys!

~ joanie

P. S. In the future, should anyone ever discern any formatting problems in viewing this blog on his/her browser, please let me know (aanddbetrayed@hotmail.com). Thanks!

11/27/2006

A Desperate Plea to Democrats


As regular readers here know, I am not enamored of performers/celebrities. To say that I avoid them like the plague would be a vast understatement. And to say that I avoid listening to their political pronouncements could conceivably qualify as the understatement of the century.

But, (as they say) some rules were made to be broken. :)

I was lying in bed one morning a couple of days ago, in that interim state of consciousness between genuinely asleep and ‘just five more minutes and I’ll be ready to face the day’. The television was on in the bedroom, and tuned to FoxNews. Somewhere in a dark, barely-conscious recess of my mind I heard a male voice talking. And it was talking in a way that made my brain neurons instantly start rapid-firing.

Turns out the speaker was none other than Dennis Miller (comedian, and member of the aforementioned generally and perfunctorily disdained ‘performer/celebrity’ cadre). I sat up and took notice. And I witnessed what amounts to a modern American miracle: A ‘celebrity’ was making political sense. As a matter of fact, he was hitting the equivalent of a series of editorial home runs.

Below is a transcript of his rant. Watching it live on FoxNews was much more powerful, because his harangue was accompanied by extraordinarily effective visual aids (just a few of which I have poorly attempted to replicate here) and absolutely priceless sarcastic facial expressions.

At any rate, kudos are due to Mr. Miller. He has dared to stick his head above the Hollywood crowd and utter rational, intelligent (if irreverent), patriotic political rhetoric – words that won’t win him any friends in Hollywood. But he’s at least laid the groundwork for a new friendship here in south-central Pennsylvania. :)

_____________________

I want to shoot the election results through the prism of a brilliant book I just finished called ‘America Alone,’ by Mark Steyn.


Steyn’s incredible. He makes Thomas Paine ...


... read like Professor Irwin Corey.


And he reminds us that the war on terror is like skiing a double black diamond run. We better commit to it and carve this turn or we’re eventually gonna catch a dirty bomb for it.

And so I want to ask a favor of my liberal brethren and I’ll ask nicely because you did just win:

Please please keep your eye on the Radical Islamic Terror Ball. I really don’t care what else you do. Raise the minimum wage to $7.15 (I could use the extra deuce.) Just stay frosty about the Islamo-fascists.

Now I don’t know exactly how we fix Iraq. Maybe Neil Kinnock’s suggestion by way of Joe Biden that we partition off Iraq is the way to go. The Sunni here. The Shia there. The small Kurds here. The large Kurds there. But I do know this about Iraq: We can’t leave until it’s won. And hopefully won in a William-Tecumseh-Sherman-like rout.


If our exit strategy in Iraq is premature, we better get to work on our entrance strategy for the next throw-down, 'cause whether we like it or not this thing is on. And probably on for the next few generations.

And also, Nancy dear ... Now that you’ve won, can you and yours please shut up about the WMDs? Endlessly fixating on our insertion point into this war is like worrying about which entry ramp you used to get on a trans-continental highway. Who cares now? We’re driving. Keep your shockingly wide eyes on the road, okay doll?


This Al-Masri guy proclaims that he wants more of our blood and Al Qaeda won’t stop until they light up a brown paper bag filled with dog dung on the front steps of the White House.


And we counter by trotting out George McGovern, to lead some tactile touch encounter group under the same dome our enemies live to destroy.


Wake up! George Bush’s main achievement is that, as of today, the ‘Days Without an Accident’ sign on the American warehouse wall reads ‘1893’. And the only truly empirical way we can judge Bush (that is, no more terror attacks on domestic soil since 9/11), he gets an A+.

Don’t screw it up, dems! We’re all watching!


_____________________

(Thanks, Dennis. You’re a breath of fresh air surrounded by a sea of left-leaning, self-important, hypocritical, ignorant, pompous, self-proclaimed ‘experts’.)

~ joanie

11/22/2006

Repeat After Me:
'Krauthammer for President!'
:)



My husband and I were vacationing in Moosehead Lake, Maine in the autumn of '95 when the verdict in the O. J. Simpson murder trial was announced. We were just preparing to leave to visit Quoddy Point (the easternmost point in the continental United States) when it was announced that the jury was about to re-enter the courtroom.

So we sat down together in our motel room and awaited a verdict that we absolutely assumed was a foregone conclusion. When the forewoman announced the ‘not guilty’ verdict, we responded in a way that surprises me, in hindsight. We didn’t jump up and scream, ‘What the heck?!?!’ We simply stared at each other, for what seemed like an eternity, in utter disbelief. Not only disbelief that this arrogant, narcissistic, self-absorbed brutal murderer was going to be set free … but disbelief that glib attorneys (as opposed to the incompetent ones involved in the prosecution) had once again succeeded in perverting law beyond recognition of the rational mind, and taking abominable advantage of the unbounded ignorance and justice-blind bias of twelve of Simpson’s so-called ‘peers’. The rest of our day was spent in half-hearted sightseeing, occasionally discussing our contempt for a system gone awry, and leaving unspoken (until much later) our growing fears for our country’s crucial, but fast deteriorating, concept of the rule of law.

Fast forward eleven years ...

Below, in its entirety, is an article by Charles Krauthammer (the most brilliant man in Washington) that appears in today’s issue of Time.

Krauthammer says exactly what I have been saying here at home ever since news of the Simpson book and television special hit the airwaves – but the venerable Mr. Krauthammer says it ever so much better than I ever could!

Why We Should Let O. J. Speak

Rupert Murdoch has just canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special in which Simpson (presumably) describes how he would have half-decapitated Nicole Simpson and stabbed Ron Goldman had "the real killers" not done it first. The cancellation is certainly justified on grounds of decency, sensitivity and, given the universal public revulsion, commercial good sense. But I would have done differently. I would have let O.J. speak.

I thought the outrage was misdirected and misplaced. The attention and money Simpson (and Fox) would have garnered from the deal are not half as outrageous as the fact that every day he walks free. The real outrage is the trial that declared him not guilty: the judge, a fool and incompetent whose love of publicity turned the trial into a circus; the defense lawyers, not one of whom could have doubted the man's guilt yet who cynically played on the jury's ignorance and latent racism to win a disgraceful verdict; the prosecutors, total incompetents who bungled a gimmie, then shamelessly cashed in afterwards; the media that turned the brutal deaths of two innocents into TV's first reality-show soap opera.

Worst of all was the jury, whose perverse verdict was the most brazen and lawless act of nullification since the heyday of Strom Thurmond. Sworn to uphold law, they decided instead to hold a private referendum on racism in the L.A. Police Department.

The result was a grotesque miscarriage of justice. And there it rested, frozen and irreversible. I wanted to hear O.J. speak because that was the one way to, in effect, reopen the case, unfreeze the travesty and get us some way back to justice. Not tangible throw-the-thug-in-jail justice. But the psychological justice of establishing Simpson's guilt with perfect finality.

This is especially important because so many people believed — or perhaps more accurately, made themselves believe — in O.J.'s innocence. Everyone remembers gathering around the television at work to watch the verdict, and then the endless national self-searching over the shocking climax: not the verdict, but the visceral response to the verdict — the white employees gasping while the black employees burst into spontaneous applause.

Pollsters found that nearly 90% of African-Americans agreed with the verdict. Almost a third of whites did too. What better way to eliminate this lingering and widespread doubt about Simpson's guilt than to have the man himself admit it. But for that you need his confession. The fact that he prefaced his "I did it" with the word "if" is irrelevant. Simpson will always avoid unqualified admission if only to avoid further legal jeopardy for, say, perjury.


But has there ever been someone who responds to the murder of an ex-wife — a death he publicly mourned and pretended to be so aggrieved by that he would spend the rest of his days looking for "the real killers" — to engage in the exercise of telling how he would have cut her throat?

No survivor of a murdered spouse who is innocent could do anything so grotesque. Can you imagine Daniel Pearl's widow writing a book about how she would have conducted the beheading of her husband? Or Jehan Sadat going on television to describe how she would have engineered her husband's assassination? Such things are impossible. The mere act of engaging in so unimaginably repulsive an exercise is the ultimate proof of Simpson's guilt.

Who cares if O.J. profits financially? There is nothing in that injustice — and a further injustice it undeniably is — that compares to the supreme injustice of the verdict. And exposing the verdict's falsity — from the killer's mouth no less — is worth whatever price we as a society would have paid in the sordidness of the TV spectacle and the book.

After such an event, anyone persisting in maintaining Simpson's innocence would have been exposed as a fool or a knave. The interview and book would have been valuable public assets to rub in the face of those who carried out the original travesty — Simpson's lawyers, his defenders and, above all, the jury — and those who continue to believe it.

Here's the television I really will miss now: the cameras taken into the homes of every one of those twelve willful jurists who sprung O.J. free 12 years ago and made a mockery of the law by trying to turn a brutal murderer of two into a racial victim/hero. I wanted to see their faces as the man they declared innocent described to the world how he would have taken — nonsense: how he did take — the knife to Nicole's throat.

11/21/2006

Three Wounded Amish Girls
Are Back in School

Donations Near $4 Million for
Victims of Nickel Mines Shootings

© Bill Coleman, used with permission

According to doctors at Hershey Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and various other regional hospitals in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, none of the five wounded girls who were victims of the October 2nd shooting at the West Nickel Mines School in Bart Township/Paradise were expected to live. Yet, miraculously, it appears that all of them will … although two of the five will most likely be permanently disabled.

I, personally, have been sent checks and money orders, totaling in excess of $2,200, by friends and acquaintances in six different states, with accompanying notes saying that they don’t know where best to send a donation, and asking that I forward the money in their behalf to the fund that I believe will use it best.

If you multiply that by the probably countless other similar examples, the outpouring of love and concern throughout the world in support of the families involved in this tragedy has been monumental … and indescribably touching.

And the courage, and will to live, demonstrated by the five young girls who did not immediately succumb to their injuries has been nothing short of miraculous.

Not to mention the abundant love and grace of God, that has been apparent every day of the fifty days that have passed since the tragedy … which should be sufficient to encourage careful reflection on 1 Thessalonians 5:18: In everything give thanks! The Amish community does so each and every day, and they portray that joy-filled lesson through personal, faith-inspired example. What better lesson for the rest of us to take to heart as Thanksgiving approaches?

Below are excerpts from an article by Brett Hambright, which appeared in today’s Lancaster Intelligencer Journal:

As worldwide donations for victims of the West Nickel Mines School shootings approach $4 million, three of the girls wounded in the Oct. 2 attack have returned to classes.

Two other girls who survived the shootings suffered severe head wounds and are likely to have long-term disabilities. One is home while the other remains hospitalized, a spokesman for the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee said Monday ...

... Five classmates of the wounded girls were killed after Charles Carl Roberts IV stormed their one-room schoolhouse in Bart Township. Roberts shot all 10 of the girls before killing himself.

The schoolhouse was razed 10 days later, and classes were moved to a building on a nearby farm.

One girl who sustained shoulder, hand and leg injuries is attending school full time ... Two others with lung, abdominal, facial and leg injuries also are back full time, aside from time away for daily physical therapy treatment ...

One girl remains at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and ‘is recovering more than expected. She has some ability to communicate’ ...

... Another girl is home but semi-comatose. Those who have visited her [say] she ‘miraculously survived.’

Several funds were established for the victims’ families, which may eventually face massive medical bills. The money also will be used for counseling services, transportation costs and construction costs for a new school, which is expected to be built in the upcoming months.

For the time being, hospitals have waived the majority of medical costs. The families are waiting for these institutions to say they need to start paying ... but some institutions have indicated they can continue covering expenses.

$3.2 million has been raised by fundraising programs.

That figure does not include Capital Blue Cross’ pledge of $500,000 for medical expenses. It also does not account for other smaller funds, [according to the] Mennonite Central Committee.

MCC and three other agencies with local offices — Anabaptist Foundation, Mennonite Disaster Services and Coatesville Savings Bank — have collected most of the funds being overseen by the Nickel Mines Accountability Committee.

The public continues to donate ... it is a daily occurrence, with donations cresting immediately after the funds were established, but there remains a fairly steady stream of contributions.

It Takes a Family (Part I)


I heard Alan Keyes speak at a local Republican Committee banquet when he was running for president back in 2000. I won’t go into his speech or my reaction to it (that’s a topic for another day), except to say that his main political premise was that every ill from which America suffers can inevitably be traced to a single source: the breakdown of the nuclear family.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about his assertion in the six ensuing years, and I lean toward believing that he is right. It may seem a stretch to attribute the cause of the threat that Islamic fascism poses to the free world, or the invasion of illegals across our southern border, to the breakdown of the nuclear family, but I believe that, once one peels away all the layers of societal/political circumstances that have allowed both to thrive, even those seemingly unrelated threats would not exist to the degree that they do … if at all … if the nuclear American family, and the profound and far-reaching effect that it has on what we like to call ‘civilization,’ were not involved in a painful and purposeful process of incremental disintegration.

Time and energy permitting, I intend to write about this sad process, and its terrible consequences, in several essays over the next few months. Even though I have done much thinking about this idea since the Keyes banquet six years ago, his insightful observation on the family and America’s decline represents too interconnected and convoluted a process/relationship to tackle in one sitting. And, as always, I’d like to solicit input from other readers here, either debunking or adding to what I have to say. I (as have others, I am sure) have learned from many incredibly insightful comments here, and I’m sure will continue to do so. :)

To scratch the surface tonight, I’d like to make an observation regarding the generalized behavior of students in our schools, with the axiomatic assumption that changes that have occurred in that behavior, in, say, the last forty years, can and must be traced backed to simultaneous changes in what is expected, or tolerated, from them at home.

I attended high school in the sixties. A city high school. There were recognized groups of kids in my high school, as there always are in any school. The most ‘troublesome’ group were the ‘hoods’ – those who wore black leather, were often bikers or wannabe bikers, and generally threw their weight around a lot more effortlessly than the rest of us. The hoods were the ‘bad guys/girls’ of the school. Bad guys or not, their ‘bad’ never involved threatening or badmouthing a teacher. Teachers were authority figures, and authority figures, by definition, were afforded a degree of respect that included no verbal attacks, even by the ‘worst’ among us.

Not so in today’s average high school.

We live in a rural area in south-central Pennsylvania, within an excellent (as 'excellent' goes these days) school district – the kind of district in which parents and prospective parents seek to settle, so that their children can have the benefit of a 'good education'.

Yet, even in our school district, it is not entirely uncommon for a student to argue with a teacher about the amount of homework that is assigned, to verbally tell the teacher that he does not intend to do an assignment because the amount or content is ‘unfair’, or to evaluate, aloud, something a teacher says in the course of class instruction as ‘ridiculous’ or ‘stupid’. Of course, such behaviors are milder, but significantly more frequent, than much more obnoxious, disrespectful, even violent behaviors ... which is my purpose in mentioning them: their actual acceptance as part of more-or-less tolerated behavior in the modern American classroom.

That which we tolerate is a reflection of what we have become.

Our son, Dan, teaches high school physics in a small city. I recently told him that I was considering writing something that included this subject and asked him to provide me a recent personal example of the kind of fairly regular disrespectful behavior that the average teacher is forced to address. He told me this:

Several weeks ago, a junior girl in one of his physics classes approached him and asked him for his signature on a paper that would have allowed her to drop out of his class. He was already well aware that this girl is an underachiever who wastes more time than she uses productively, who has little focus or ambition, and who tends to quit anything that does not come easily.

He refused to sign the course waiver, telling her, at the same time, that he believes that she is an intelligent girl who is capable of doing well in the course, that quitting is not an option, and that he would be willing to spend after-school time in the class with her, or respond to e-mail inquiries, about any of the subject matter that she does not understand … now and in the future.

She walked up to him, and told him, ‘Unless you do as I ask, I am going to make your life a living hell' (verbatim).

Dan handled the situation promptly and well (he always does), but assured me that such arrogance and disrespect, though not an everyday occurrence, is not uncommon either – in many classes, in most schools.

I believe that several character traits, dramatically less prevalent in the youth of forty years ago, are evident in the modern representative examples I have cited above:

(1) disrespect for authority

(2) a belief that (even reasonable, by most civilized standards) boundaries are made to be crossed

(3) an unwillingness, inability, or disinterest in achieving (or even recognizing, or caring about) one’s potential

(4) a self-absorbed view of the world

(5) a lack of comprehension of the concepts of planning, organizing, or goal-setting

(6) a belief that difficulties or challenges are to be avoided rather than confronted

Readers of this weblog are familiar with the fact that I hold teachers’ unions, and the modern public education establishment, in general disdain (with exceptions, of course). But, as regards the inherent causes of the dramatic increase in the abovementioned behaviors and character traits in significantly more of the youth of today, I believe (as would Alan Keyes) that the seed for such self-destructive behaviors are planted at home.

These behaviors have causes whose roots run deep and wide, and which affect many other aspects of our societal decline … and their future ramifications will affect more than the lives of those currently involved in the battle to shape the minds of children who refuse to recognize, or have been rendered incapable of recognizing, that their mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Education should consist of a series of enchantments, each raising the individual to a higher level of awareness, understanding, and kinship with all living things ... Unknown

(to be continued … )

11/08/2006

The Day After ...


More than two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson observed, ‘Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.’ Jefferson believed that America's survival lay primarily in the character of her people.

Likewise, Samuel Adams warned future generations by referring to ‘good manners’ as the vital ingredient a free society needs to survive. Adams said, ‘Neither the wisest Constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.’

As many of you know, I spent a lot of time over the past three weeks speaking to people about the need to re-elect Rick Santorum. While I was uplifted by the average person’s willingness to listen and comprehend -- and by the number who seemed to be swayed toward voting republican after listening and questioning -- it is still very disturbing to be personal witness to the number of voters who had intended to vote based on superficial perceptions resulting from snippets of campaign advertising, much of which was sheer distortion or out and out fabrication. For every one voter whose door was approached by a conservative intent on informing him, I am sure there were a thousand who entered the voting booth yesterday never having been ‘set straight’. It is beyond disheartening.

So, while I returned home every night uplifted by the fact that people are very one-on-one receptive, the ‘bigger picture’ is pretty grim.

With each succeeding year, the American populace becomes less informed and more special-interest oriented. Combining the ongoing illegal alien problem (whose solution is nowhere in sight) with the ‘education’ that our children are receiving in our public schools (placing less emphasis on our proud heritage, and civics in general, every year – focusing instead on phony, leftist multicultural philosophies), and the Marxist influence in virtually every institution of higher education, exactly what kind of optimistic view can we embrace of the intelligence/knowledge/allegiance of the new (both alien and youth) voters coming down the pike? Where is there a reason to believe that future disingenuous, un-American, anti-liberty candidates and programs will be held accountable by a citizenry that is even more apathetic, disinterested, special-interest-oriented, or leftist-indoctrinated than today’s voters?

Patriotism requires allegiance, education, strength, endurance, courage, resolve, and action. But it does not require the wearing of rose-colored glasses. Until our leadership addresses the illegal alien problem, until the number of voters who feed at the government socialist welfare/entitlement trough (as forewarned by deTocqueville) can be dramatically reduced, and until we determine to educate our children as to their proud heritage and the dangers posed by relinquishing it, election results will continue to fall in favor of powerful liars who can voice the biggest promises to the host of least informed minds.

I believe we are fighting a losing battle. But, unless and until the battle is lost, we are called to continue to do our part to keep the enemies (both foreign and domestic) at bay. To do any less would hold us just as accountable as those passive, 'sideline Americans' who choose not to be a part of the crusade to reclaim this republic from the scoundrels who call themselves leaders, but who bear no allegiance to our Founders and their vision.

I believe the results of yesterday’s election will have strong and insistent implications for the future of our republic. Barring a miracle of God, or a personal/spiritual epiphany on the part of the generally apathetic and/or ignorant-by-choice citizenry (the former is always possible; the latter grows more unlikely with each passing day), I believe that the following events are very likely to occur over the next few years.

Prepare for a dramatic increase in the invasion of America by an irresponsible, parasitic, malevolent army which chooses to thumb its nose at the critical concepts of the rule of law/national sovereignty by illegally crossing our southern border with the over-riding purpose of reaping the benefits of two-plus centuries of courage, moral sacrifice, work, excellence, and unprecedented prosperity … without any intention of contributing their own. In the process, and under the governance of left-leaning American ‘leadership’, they will play an integral role in the realization of the socialization of America. Even worse, we will witness the complete erasure of our borders, and the establishment of a North American Union, in knee-jerk deference to the eventual vision of one-world governance, under which our Constitution will become increasingly ridiculed, mocked, and eventually declared entirely irrelevant, and the vagaries of Marxist/socialist-authored and implemented international law will take precedence.

Personal and corporate industry will find themselves under relentless attack, with government, academia and media working feverishly to revoke the citizens’ right to keep the fruits of their labor, and replace it with a monstrous entitlement state which will ensure a massive, far-reaching, involuntary redistribution of wealth – aimed at punishing personal and business excellence and ambition and promoting personal and business mediocrity, with the end result being a dramatic increase in the power of the state and complete dependence on state largesse for our existence.

There will be continued erosion in respect for, and protection of, the institution of marriage and the nuclear family. Government will become even more of an advocate for homosexual rights, abortion rights, and laws which will continue to attack and destroy any notion of the importance personal responsibility for one’s own actions. Families will find themselves under relentless attack, with the government usurping increasing power over the lives and minds of the children of America, and with parents finding themselves serving simply as biological creators and temporary physical custodians of wards of the state.

Government intrusion into the education of our children will escalate. Despite the unconstitutionality of the federal government dictating education policy, it will continue its aims at leftist indoctrination of the generations to come through the political power implicit in loans, grants, regulations, activist court decisions, and curriculum manipulation. Government-controlled curricula will continue to downplay, if not eradicate, the importance of our constitutional heritage while indoctrinating our children in environmental mythology, globalist doctrine, and sexual liberation. As a result, future generations will not understand their proud roots, nor be willing to defend the noble society which emerged from them.

The federal government will continue to pass laws focused on driving up the cost of medical care, so as to eventually allow the government takeover of that all-important industry. The direct takeover of medical care in programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the free hand that trial lawyers have obtained in dictating the terms of care (while coincidentally lining their own pockets, and those of the politicians to whom they choose to contribute) have played a major role in the destruction of what was once the most excellent health care system in the history of the human race. The government’s interference in the healthcare free market through ERISA mandates related to HMOs and other managed-care organizations, and the medical aspects of our tax code, will continue to undermine healthcare in America, while lining the pockets of the privileged few, driving good doctors out of business, and eventually placing the government in complete control of our health and well-being. When medical care is forced to circumvent government rules and bureaucratic management, it will not be long before the quality of each and every American’s life will be profoundly and inalterably affected.

The left will eventually impose its own brand of ‘faith’ on the American culture – a secular humanist ‘faith’ in which man and his needs and follies are the focus of ‘worship’, and the mention in the public square of the name of the one and true God becomes legally and politically verboten … there will arise an incrementally, governmentally-imposed ‘faith’ in which moral absolutes are deemed criminally intolerant and situational ethics are raised to the level of holy sanctimony.

The war on Islamic fascism will be transformed into a series of compromises with evil, including the retreat of American forces from the Middle East, which will result in brutality against liberty-oriented Middle Easterners that will rival the bloodshed that occurred in the killing fields of Cambodia. Our enemies, in the Middle East and the Far East especially, will become dramatically emboldened, and our genuine allies, Israel and Taiwan especially, will find themselves looking down the barrels of vicious, barbaric, unyielding guns … and, when they turn around to see who is watching their backs, they will see nothing but darkness.

There will be another terrorist attack (if not a simultaneous series of attacks) on America, made possible by a deadly combination of open borders and failed paper-tiger policies, which will make the holocaust of 9/11 seem like a walk in the park. The increased demands for vigilance, defense of sovereignty, and sense of nationalism that occurred five years ago have all but evaporated into the political ether, and the after-effects of what was surely our final wake-up call have fallen by the wayside. There will be no more wake-up calls. There will be death blows, after which America will be brought to her knees, pleading for mercy with barbaric madmen, and no longer capable of even whispering the word ‘freedom’, let alone defending that noble, precious, God-given gift.

The democrats controlled congress for forty years, from 1954 through 1994. Ronald Reagan was entirely responsible for paving the way for the Republican Revolution. The miraculous and providential accomplishments of the Reagan Revolution are now nothing but a fond memory. And, to those who believe that the pendulum will eventually swing back, and that conservatism will regain the prominence and power necessary to reclaim our beloved republic from the scoundrels, I say there is no time to wait to reclaim her again. We have run out of options and wiggle room. The hot breath of a mad and unprecedentedly barbaric and determined adversary, bent on our annihilation, is breathing down our necks now. They will not be denied ... nor does our current leadership – especially after yesterday’s election results – appear to have what it takes to hold them at bay.

The majority of Americans cannot continue to accept, at face value, leadership which says what we want to hear, and then proceeds to do as they wish (which, in the case of the current, and now future, leftist leadership on the Hill, requires the eventual subjugation of American citizens to the state, and the eventual subjugation of the American state to globalist governance). Simply put, the future of our republic will lie in the willingness of her people to take the time, and expend the effort, to look beneath the surface. Believing the words from the mouth of a leader is a conscious choice that must be made by every concerned citizen. As with any choice, it cannot be made without critical thought. Believing their words was okay when our leaders in Washington were virtuous. It is a deadly practice when they are anything less.

Over the last twenty-four hours, I have heard countless references to the need for bipartisanship and building bridges. Bridges are only as desirable and powerful as the relevance of what lies at the other end. I, for one, want no part of bridge-building, when doing so means creating a meandering, but single-minded, path to self-destruction.

Adieu, for now.

11/03/2006

Reflections


Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey ... H. Melchert

This will most likely be my last post here for a while, so I thought I would write something non-political for a change – something more introspective and philosophical that might cause anyone who happens by here to reflect, or maybe consider some ideas he hadn't before afforded much brain-space (on the other hand, he may leave here scratching his head and muttering, ‘What the heck is she smoking?’ :)

The following observations are not meant to be maudlin. If any readers see them in that way, I offer my apologies in advance. My intention is quite the opposite. I simply offer them as three short and simple ‘tales’ ... all of which I believe speak to the fleeting nature of our earth-bound life, and the natural, innate human desire to leave some kind of permanent personal mark on the ever-changing landscape.

Recent happenings in my family circle have caused me some reflection on the concept of our mortality, and I have somehow become acutely aware of the passing of time, the changing of the seasons, etc.

... which often puts me in mind of a scene from the lovely movie 'A Trip to Bountiful', in which Geraldine Paige portrays an elderly woman whose final, heartsong yearning is to return, one last time, to what remains of her dilapidated and abandoned childhood home on the economically beleaguered Texas Gulf coast. Looking plaintively over the overgrown fields surrounding her nearly-a-century-ago childhood home, she reflects:

Twenty years from now, I’ll be long gone. The river will still be here ... the fields ... the trees ... and the smell of the Gulf. But it’s so quiet now ... so eternally quiet.

My papa always had that field over there planted in cotton. It’s all woods now. But I expect someday people will come and cut down the trees and plant cotton again ... and maybe even wear out the land again. And then their children will sell it and move to the cities.

And then trees will come up again.

We’re all just a small part of all of God’s plan.



We live toward the end of a completely forested, dead-end road in a remote part of our township here in south-central Pennsylvania. Toward the other end of our road, nearing where it meets a main township road, sits a beautiful, well-maintained horse farm that has been in existence since 1831 … a full thirty years before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter.

Just a few hundred feet from that farm, across a main township road, stood an old red, weather-beaten barn that has to have stood there at least as many years as the old horse farm … through the Civil War, both World Wars, and all of the events, both momentous and unnoticed, that have occurred in the interim.

That old barn sat on the edge of a fallow field that stretches just about as far as the eye can see, and its only companion was a young (in comparison) maple tree that stood sentinel alongside it.

Two weeks ago, someone had painted on the side of that barn, in gnarly, irregular letters: ‘For Sale’, accompanied by a phone number. I didn’t think much of the crooked lettering until, one day last week, I drove by and saw three young Amish men dismantling the old barn (old barn wood is a valuable commodity, since old wooden barns are becoming more rare with the passage of time). Without realizing that it was happening, I found myself audibly sobbing, as I drove toward town, with a river of tears streaming down both cheeks.

The nearby development of upscale houses that began construction last year surely intends to invade and digest the barren farm field in the not-too-distant future, and the removal of the old barn was, no doubt, a necessity in order to accommodate the march of (what we like to call) ‘progress’.

The young maple tree now stands sentinel there alone, with just the remnants of the weathered stone foundation of her older companion, still stubbornly clinging to the ground, insistent on reminding her of simpler, sweeter days.



Directly across the street from the building in which my office is located stands another field. At the edge of that field, adjacent to the road, once stood three lovely oak trees, the largest and oldest of which was damaged about five years ago during a spring thunderstorm that was accompanied by especially strong winds. I suspect that the two younger specimens on either side of her were her acorn ‘offspring’.

Man did nothing to repair the damage that the storm wreaked on the mother tree, and, over the ensuing five years since the storm, insects have had their way with her. Just last winter, the top three-fourths of her gave way and came hurtling earthward, leaving simply a tall, insect-riddled hollow stump. Pieces of her former self still litter the ground.

That stump is scheduled to meet the township road crew’s chainsaw within the next couple of weeks.

When leaving my office this afternoon, I reminded myself to capture the last remaining evidence that that lovely old oak … most likely witness to the Great Depression and beyond ... ever graced that particular spot of ground. Two weeks from now there will be no earthly evidence that she ever existed, but for the two younger versions of her that still stand to either side of her remains.



Below is a short story that I first read several years ago. It appeared in a book many years before my first reading of it. It is a telling and touching story for those who view man’s mortality as something that evokes both awe and dread. And I offer it here as a human counterpart of the simple tales of the barn and the oak.

But For This...

by Lajos Zilahy


He didn’t stop to wash the turpentine from his hands, but merely dried them on the rag that was hanging on a nail behind the door.

Then he untied the green carpenter’s apron from his waist and shook the shavings from his trousers.

He put on his hat and, before going out the door, turned to the old carpenter who was standing with his back to him, stirring the glue. His voice was weary as he said:

‘Goodnight.’

A strange mysterious feeling had shivered in him since morning. There had been a bad taste in his mouth.

For a moment his hand would stop moving the plane, and his eyes would close, tired.

He went home and listlessly ate his supper.

He lived at an old woman’s, the widow of Ferenz Borka, in a bare little room which had once been a wood shed.

That night – on the fourth day of October, 1874 – at a quarter past one in the morning, the journeyman carpenter, John Kovacs, died.

He was a soft-spoken, sallow-faced man, with sagging shoulders and a rusty moustache.

He died at the age of thirty-five.

Two days later, they buried him.

He left no wife, nor child behind, no one but a cook living in Budapest in the service of a blank president, by the name of Torday.

She was John Kovacs’ cousin.

Five years later, the old carpenter in whose shop he had worked, died, and nine years later death took the old woman in whose shed he had lived.

Fourteen years later, Torday’s cook, John Kovacs’ cousin, died.

Twenty-one months later – in the month of March of 1805 – in a pub at the end of Kerepesuit, cabbies sat around a red clothed table drinking wine.

It was late in the night; it must have been three o’clock. They sprawled with their elbows on the table, shaking with raucous laughter.

Clouds of thick smoke from vile cigars curled around them. They recalled the days of their military service.

One of them, a big, ruddy-faced, double-chinned coachman whom they called Fritz, was saying:

‘Once my friend, the corporal, made a recruit stick his head into the stove …’

And at this point he was seized by a violent fit of laughter as he banged the table with the palm of his hand.

‘Jeez!’ he roared.

The veins swelled on his neck and temples and for many minutes he choked, twitched and shook with convulsive laughter.

When he finally calmed down he continued, interrupting himself with repeated guffaws.

‘He made him stick his head into the stove and in there he made him shout one hundred times ‘Herr Zugsfiere, ich melde gehorsammst’ ... poor chump, there he was on all fours and we paddled his behind till the skin almost split on our fingers.’

Again he stopped to get over another laughing spell.

Then he turned to one of the men, ‘Do you remember, Franzi?’ Franzi nodded.

The big fellow put his hand to his forehead.

'Now ... what was that fellow’s name ... '

Franzi thought for a moment and then said: ‘Ah ... a ... Kovacs ... John Kovacs.’

That was the last time ever a human voice spoke the name of John Kovacs.

On November the tenth, in 1899, a woman suffering from heart disease was carried from an O Buda tobacco factory to St. John’s Hospital. She must have been about forty-five years old.

They put her on the first floor in ward number 3.

She lay there on the bed, quiet and terrified; she knew she was going to die.

It was dark in the ward, the rest of the patients were already asleep: only a wick sputtered in a small blue oil lamp.

Her eyes staring wide into the dim light, the woman reflected upon her life.

She remembered a summer night in the country, and a gentle-eyed young man, with whom – their fingers linked – she was roaming over the heavy scented fields and through whom that night she became a woman.

That young man was John Kovacs and his face, his voice, the glance of his eye had now returned for the last time.

But this time his name was not spoken, only in the mind of this dying woman did he silently appear for a few moments. The following year a fire destroyed the Calvinist rectory and its dusty records that contained the particulars of the birth and death of John Kovacs.

In January, 1901, the winter was hard.

Toward evening in the dark a man dressed in rags climbed furtively over the ditch that fenced in the village cemetery.

He stole two wooden crosses to build a fire.

One of the crosses had marked the grave of John Kovacs.

Again two decades passed.

In 1920, in Kecskemet, a young lawyer sat at his desk making an inventory of his father’s estate.

He opened every drawer and looked carefully through every scrap of paper.

On one was written: ‘Received 4 Florins, 60 kraciers. The price of two chairs polished respectfully Kovacs John.’

The lawyer glanced over the paper, crumpled it in his hand and threw it into the waste paper basket.

The following day the maid took out the basket and emptied its contents in the far end of the courtyard.

Three days later it rained.

The crumpled paper soaked through and only this much remained on it:

' ... Kova ... J ... '

The rain had washed away the rest; the letter ‘J’ was barely legible.

These last letters were the last lines, the last speck of matter that remained of John Kovacs.

A few weeks later the sky rumbled and the rain poured down as though emptied from buckets.

On that afternoon the rain washed away the remaining letters.

The letter ‘v’ resisted longest, because there where the line curves in the ‘v’ John Kovacs had pressed on his pen.

Then the rain washed that away too.

And in that instant – forty-nine years after his death – the life of the journeyman carpenter ceased to exist and forever disappeared from this earth ... but for this ...