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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

3/27/2008

The Unfinished Business of 4 June, 1989


The protests that seem to be building around the world over Tibet in the run up to the Olympics should also be a reminder of the wider context of the Chinese human rights record.

Few better examples exist than when the "People's Liberation Army" cleared Tiananmen Square of pro-democracy demonstrators in June 1989 using the most brutal of means. The death toll of this exercise ranges in estimate from several hundred to two or three thousand.

Below is a slide show of photos from those protests and the clamp down on June 4th 1989 set to the music of John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen".

It starts with a sense of hope as the mainly student protestors gather in the square. A professor character is to be seen with a megaphone. Various students speak out publicly for the first time. The iconic "unknown rebel" briefly stops a column of tanks holding nothing more than two carrier bags.

Then the mood darkens as the early stand offs with the military begin. Eventually the one sided battle starts with students fighting bravely but against tanks and bullets with little hope of success.

It ends with tragic scenes of the aftermath and the plea that this should never be forgotten.

Despite the world's corporations falling over themselves to become established in this emerging superpower, recent events leave me with a sense that some business remains unfinished in China.

While the economy goes from strenth to strength the ordinary Chinese are politically controlled almost the same as ever. Surely eventually this disconnect may come to the surface and require addressing ? There has been no reckoning with the past by China and therefore it cannot ultimately move on until this happens.

This moving compilation by a youtube user (Alonsolegend) is a reminder that human rights concerns in China are about so much more than Tibet and more specifically about a group of students who dared to stand up for freedom in the early summer of 1989, who failed so tragically but who freedom loving people everywhere should never forget.


To the Heroes of Tiananmen

(The music does add to this short film so watching with the sound on is recommended. It is 6 minutes long but I can recommend watching it all).

by Luis
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

3/25/2008

Easter With The Old Corps

marine corps emblem.jpg

It dawned the kind of day that made a million or more WWII sailors and Marines who passed through southern California on their way to war vow in one voice, “If we ever live through this nightmare, we’re going to live here.”

It was picture perfect. Not merely a day right off a postcard, it was a day for all seasons. While a good portion of the rest of the country lay frozen under a blanket of ice that even veteran east coasters are, by now, getting sick of, the local populace was treated to crystal clear blue skies, balmy shirt sleeve temperatures, and air so clean, it hurt your lungs to breathe it.

And so, this early season Easter morning began with the healthy optimism that comes only with the first real breath of spring, giving the community its first real respite from the dank, dreary, seemingly endless winter.

For a church like mine, comfortably ensconced at the foot of Mt. Baldy and overlooking the San Bernardino and Pomona valleys, the turnout was immense. Sure, we had our regular attendees. But we were also treated to what I call the 2-fers – out in earnest for the first time since Christmas Day. (You know the 2-fers? They show up on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday, and figure that’s enough for one year. But it makes pastors hearts swell with hope. For one Sunday, at least, the pews are full and the coffers are bursting.)

I arrived early. We don’t hold a sunrise service. Unlike this day, we’re often as not treated to borderline freezing conditions – due to the altitude more than the inherent harshness of the Golden State climate. So we start our marathon Easter Sunday messages at 7:30. By that time, at least the sun is up. We go straight through until around 1:00 or so, and everybody who comes gets a healthy dose of faith, hope and charity, not to mention self-esteem going out the door. But, since parking is often a problem on such days, I got there ahead of the crush, for the kickoff service.

As I was walking into the main courtyard from the parking lot, I was stopped by a man wearing an immaculate gray suit, starched white shirt and magnificent burgundy silk tie, impeccably knotted. He smiled at me, shook my hand and wished me a Happy Easter. I’ve been a member now for going on four years, and I can normally pick out the usual suspects. But this man I’d never seen before today. At first, I took him for a parking attendant, but they don’t wear suits. Shorts, tee-shirts and orange vests are their attire on good days and bad. Then it occurred to me: he was a 2-fer. He struck up a conversation that went something like this:

“Uh, do you own a suit?”

I informed him I did.

“Don’t you think it would be appropriate to wear a suit on Easter Sunday?”

I thought, Gimme a break. We do laid-back California casual out here. The pastor doesn’t wear a suit, not even on Christmas Day. I don’t even think he owns one.

But I held my tongue, waiting to see if his All-American smile would waver. It did not. I also waited to see where he was going with this repartee, considering he was not getting an explanation of any kind, let alone a satisfactory one.

He stared at me, all the time with his winning smile. I shrugged and turned away. But we weren’t done yet. No, there was more to come.

“That your car?” He asked, gazing at my 2000 Honda Accord. And I could still hear the smile in his voice.

He watched me get out of it, so I assume the question was rhetorical.

“Kinda dirty, isn’t it?” He observed.

Now I was starting to get really annoyed. I had half a mind to explain to him that workers in the brave new global economy often can’t plunk down $15 for a car wash, and where I live does not allow for the washing of cars. But I didn’t. And that was fine because he was quite content to complete his morning’s friendly piece of advice before assuming his newfound role of unofficial church greeter.

“Don’t you think it would be nice to wash your car before Easter Sunday?”

And with that, he was off to greet another family coming up the walk – this one, more appropriately attired than I, so I’m sure there was no need for further admonishments.

How could I be so blind? It’s not about the risen Lord. It’s about a suit and tie and a clean car. O.K. Chalk one up to experience, I thought. Then, as I approached the donut and coffee line, who should I run into but the president of our elder board. He too was smiling with the radiance of an exploding sun. But there was a different, more tangible reason for his delight this morning.

The man is a senior vice-president for a French-own engineering firm that manufactures precision laser guidance systems for American smart weapons. He had just concluded a companywide reorganization that required him to travel non-stop across the country since January. He was thrilled to report that on Good Friday, they handed out pink slips to over 1500 American engineers nationwide. This completed a project which offshored the R&D, not to mention the manufacturing to China. His French handlers were so impressed that they awarded him and his wife an all-expense paid, month-long cruise of the Mediterranean – from the south of France to the Greek islands. He was thrilled. Hard work, innovation and loyalty paid off again. God is good.

I inquired if it was really necessary to lower the boom on Good Friday. His smile thinned a bit and he remarked – in all sincerity – that they were aiming for Christmas Eve, but couldn’t bring it off due to some major delays from corporate, so Good Friday was selected as a satisfactory back up date.

After our conversation, somehow I lost my taste for donuts and coffee. I ambled over to the grass, which was bursting forth in hues of brilliant, deep green. It also afforded a breathtaking view of the nearby valleys. I ran into one of our small group leaders there. He was looking over the valley, pointing out to a visitor all the business interests he owned from Corona, down to Anaheim Hills, and back through Ontario and Upland. He explained to his guest that he and his wife were orchestrating a much-delayed family reunion. Over 100 people coming in from all over the country. He went on to remark that their live-in domestic, Ophelia, had been working feverishly on a home-cooked, nine-course Easter dinner for over 100 people. She’d been at it since 3:30 that morning. And if she didn’t break for lunch, she should have the meal prepared and ready to serve by 4:00 that afternoon. Needless to say, Ophelia would not be attending Easter Sunday services. Not when there were meals to cook, dishes to wash, laundry to do and toilets to clean. And all at a better price. When it comes to doing the jobs Americans won’t do, don’t expect any days off.

That’s my church. And I don’t apologize for any of its members. It reflects a small community that is an island of extreme wealth in a sea of threadbare desperation. But its members have a heart of generosity and a full understanding of the love Paul writes of so eloquently in I Corinthians 13:

    “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – I Cor. 13:13.
My church knows the value of this verse, has taken it to heart, and put it into action. They walk the walk. They know their largesse comes not from their own effort, but by God’s grace. And I have been the recipient of countless expressions of their generosity in these trying times. They’re my family. And I won’t leave them.

But on this day – with all the movers and shakers moving and shaking to their own designs and the beautiful blonde trophy wives just bursting out of their summer sundresses – pomposity reigned supreme. It happens from time to time. And it was at just such a moment, with the sanctuary doors swinging open that I decided to take my open-collar, shirt-sleeved self, and my dusty old Honda, and set out for, shall we say, a more appropriate venue.

What does the Bible say? When your heart is troubled – road trip.

I had an idea of where I wanted to end up. But, considering the two-hour drive that would get me there around 9:30, I wondered if I could get in at that late hour. As it turned out, there was no cause for concern. The roads were deserted. It was reminiscent of the Sundays of bygone years – when everything was closed except perhaps one corner gas station. Those peaceful Sundays were emblematic of a slower-paced time, long before the now time-honored tradition of selling ourselves silly 24/7 became an accepted practice. They’re gone for good, sad to say, never to return. The drive hearkened back to the days when California really was the land of opportunity, and all things seemed possible.

An hour later, after a glorious carefree drive along deserted California freeways, I pulled up to the main gate of the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Oceanside, CA. I feel a kinship to the Marine Corps. Why would an aging ex-paratrooper – who never served so much as one day in the Corps – hold such a bond, you ask? Because the Marine Corps is first cousin to the Airborne. We’re cut from the same mold, share the same commitment, and possess the same burning desire to be the best. We also share the same sober realization that in order to defend the country, we end up counting the cost.

I got lucky. The Marine standing guard was one who attended my Normandy address a year and a half ago, and he remembered me. I explained to him my situation – I came on short notice, did not have a pass to the base, and would it be possible to attend one of the services currently underway at the Marine Corps chapel?

He told me to wait and made a phone call. I got lucky again. The XO who arranged my presentation in the first place was on duty, and he gave me visitor access, provided I agreed to an armed escort. (Pendleton is on a war footing. Has been since 9/11. A lot of us have forgotten that. The Marines have not.)

So, I got an armed escort to the next chapel service which was starting about an hour later. It was well worth the wait.

The service was conducted by a Navy chaplain from San Diego. I wish I remembered his name, because the man knew his Bible, knew how to rightly divide the word of Truth, and possessed a singular eloquence that touched the hearts of the most hard-bitten fighting men.

It was a service for men, conducted by men, and with the burdens of men in mind. To be sure, families were welcome, and in attendance. But crossing the threshold of the chapel, the sense that this was a world of serious responsibilities shouldered by men was tangible and unmistakable.

The chaplain began with a simple premise – all freedom comes due in blood. Just as the freedom our country enjoys today came due in the blood of patriots who defended it, so the perfect freedom of God’s grace came due in the blood of His Son.

From there, the message was simple.

Christ condemned.

    12 Pilate answered and said to them again, ‘What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call King of the Jews?’
    13 So they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him!’
    14 Then Pilate said to them, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more ‘Crucify Him!’
    15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” – Mark 15:12-15.
Christ crucified.

    35 “Then they crucified Him and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” – Matthew 27:35
Christ risen.
    17 “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God.’” – John 20:17
Christ coming again in power and glory.

    15 “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19:15-16
Simple. Powerful. Effective. Much like the Marines themselves.

He concluded that the risen Savior will indeed return to judge the nations. He offered the sobering comment that when He did, the compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace that attended His first advent will not be available. All those doors will be closed. What remains will be judgment. Until that time, the Marine Corps is the sentinel of freedom and is charged with standing the watch until God’s justice will be established on earth for all time. That responsibility rests squarely on their shoulders. And they will count the cost in blood, as the Corps always has, from the day of its inception.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, from the oldest, most grizzled sea salt, to the youngest boot.

Looking over the assembled gathering, I realized I was gazing into the face of the Old Corps. They were today’s active duty Marines, but they will be tomorrow’s Old Corps. Ultimately they will take their place beside their brother Marines from Khe Sanh and Con Thien; the Chosin reservoir; Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa; Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry. They all bore the world-weariness of men who had stared into the face of the Gorgon and survived. They carried the mark of men who knew the truth about evil loose in the world and the cost of destroying it.

It was a poignant moment. A moment so sweet, it hurt. As the gathering slowly dispersed, and I headed for the Oceanside marina before the long trek back up the hill, I got the sense that the Marines of Camp Pendleton that day understood they stood watch during the twilight of their country. But true to their calling, they would keep their commitment to the end, come what may.

    "7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.” – II Timothy 4:7.
It was true of Paul, writing to Timothy from a Roman prison awaiting execution. It was true of the defenders of the country throughout its chequered history. It is true of the Marines of Camp Pendleton today.

The Oceanside marina led down to the beach on its north side. The water was the same sapphire blue as the sky. There was barely a horizon. The late-morning sun glinted off the waves with the sparkle of chipped diamonds. The surf didn’t amount to much, but the surfers were starting to appear in earnest. And even though the day was bursting forth in all its sun-drenched glory, the moment still had the feel of twilight time.

The drive back was as picturesque as the journey down. I could see my mountain, clear as crystal, from forty miles away. I got back in time to spend Easter dinner with one of the brothers in the congregation. He recently lost his stepfather – Loyal Nixon from my previous commentary – and we spent a bittersweet afternoon of food, fun and remembrance.

It really is a good congregation. And it is a family in the best sense of the word. But on this day, given a choice between those who pay the price for defending the country in its last days, and those who reap its last benefits, I’ll cast my lot with the Old Corps every time.

What can I say? This ex-paratrooper likes being around guys who like to jump.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at eascum@yahoo.com

3/22/2008

The Truth About Black Liberation
Theology and Trinity Church

Black Liberation Theology.jpg

Despite the efforts of most of the main stream media (and Obama himself) who are trying to spin the incidents regarding Barack Obama's preacher and spiritual advisor into something acceptable to the American people, along with his speech regarding race, by doing some individual research it becomes clear that the spin will simply just not wash.

Let me preface what I am about to say by stating emphatically that I do not believe the teaching of Reverend Wright or Black Liberation Theology are at all subscribed to by most blacks in this country. I believe it is a minority of radicals whose voices are being given dispproportionate weight in our media. I have many friends in the black community who are traditional Christians who accept Jesus Christ and His aotnement and teaching for the love, long suffering, reason, and forgiveness that they represent to all of us, of all creeds and colors alike.

But the Trinity Church of Christ, to which Obama belongs, subscribes to Black Liberation Theology, which we shall see does not represent those things, and therefore gives voice to Reverned Wright's and others' hateful dialog.

I believe that Obama will not leave that Church for one simple and obvious reason. Despite his new found disgust in "some" terminology that Wright employed, Obama in all likelihood agrees with the theology that the church teaches. He is raising his kids in it, and intends to stay with it.

Most of us feel strongly about the Christian churches we attend. If the clergy depart from the theology that we accept in our hearts, we leave them and find a congregation and doctrine that we subscribe to and will make better men and women of us (through the atonement of Jesus Christ) and allow us to help others. If the clergy sticks with the theology we accept in our hearts, we stay with them.

Obama is staying with the Trinity Church and continues to remain close to Wright, despite Wright's disgusting statements...and to be sure, these statements are not statements from one or two sermons alone. No, Reverend Wright is an ardent supporter and preacher of Black Liberation Theology which is at the heart of who he is and what he has said.

This same Black Liberation theology subscribed to by Trinity is clearly what Obama subscribes to. His actions in this regard tell us so. He's been going and donating to that particular church for over twenty yerars. As stated, he is raising his kids in it, immersing them...baptising them into it. And Reverend Wright has done the immersing and baptising.

While it is true that that church has done a lot of good in the black community, helping them to rise socially, taking care of their needy, it is also true that the underlying doctrine must be understood in order to bring into focus the good it does and reconcile it against the hate its preacher also spreads.

That theology can easily be reconciled to its good actions in the black community and the hateful rhetoric it employs by simply studying it. This is something that most of the main stream media has either not done, or refuses to do, because the underlying doctrine is so repulsive that it should negate any major candidate in any way closely associated with it...and that is something that most of the media and the DNC do not want to do. Again, Black Liberation Theology is the admitted theology of Reverend Wright and the congregation. It is something that has helped form Obama and his views and it is therefore worthwhile to understand if we intend to consider him for the office of the Presidency.

It is not your traditional Christian message in the least.

Wright admits that he preaches his brand of that theology which is based, in part, on the works of one James Hal Cone, the recognized pioneer in the black brand of this theology, and someone who has been the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.

Wright refered to Cone and his "pioneering" efforts in his contentious interveiw with Sean Hannity on Fox News in 2007, HERE.

Cone himself is much written and describes this theology in his book A Black Theology for Liberation, which is one of many books he has written. One notable quote in that book decribing Cone's Black Liberation Theology is as follows:

"Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love."

That theology accepts a perverted and wrested interpretation of Jesus Christ where it describes him as a poor black man (or man of color) living under oppressive white European rule (the Romans) and that he was as much about social change and bringing down government as he was about spiritual liberation. He therefore meets Cone's (and adherants to this perverted view of our Savior) criteria for a God who supports their black power insurgency against what they describe as the ruling rich white men and women in America.

This interpretation perverts the love of all men that Christ taught, the peace, the forgiveness, and inner, spiritual focus of Christ and His atonement, which teaches us that the change His atonement brings within us heals us spiritually, creating a new man fashioned after Christ who teaches by example, love, and long suffering.

Speaking of these qualities, Cone sarcastically states in the book:

"There is no use for a God who loves white oppressors the same as oppressed blacks. We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile."

As if this love, and Christ's own words regarding it, are somehow a construct of the white race to keep people of color down. Disgusting, and really very, very tragic that people are being raised on this hate...because that is exactly what it is...and Cone says so.

"Black hatred is the black man's strong aversion to white society. No black man living in white America can escape it... While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism. "

Thus Black Liberation Theology changes Christ, the God of peace and love, into a God of their own construction, a God of hate and revenge, who is hell bent on political and social change at any cost and who supports that hate and "revenge" to suit their needs.

This is the message about Obama's "church" (and others like it) that needs to be spread. I repeat, I do not believe it is at all subscribed to by most blacks in this country, and certainly not by society at large. But it has been hidden, growing...festering, and flying under the radar in these radical churches and because of political correctness it has been heretofore untouchable. But now the cat is out of the bag.

It is shocking, is is disgusting...and it is dangerous.

It is in no way related to, or derived from, American foreign policy or society. The fact is America, despite its problems and mistakes, has set more people free (even through a horrific civil war of our own) and and given them individual liberty (and thus individual accountability) and therefore truly assisted more people's on this earth than any other nation on it.

...and there is the rub. Christ teaches that all men are created equal in God's eyes, and that they are individually responsible for their actions with an inate ability to "Come unto Him" and be free. The American constituion, despite changes that required fire and blood to address (and, OBTW, that blood was shed in the civil war principally by white men fighting to, among other things, preserve the Union and free the blacks), sets down in law the same principles.

This theology, Black Liberation Theology, is a blatant attempt to mix and wrest and perevert Christianity into a construct for the age old battle against individual rights. It is a Marxist ideological, collective, class-struggle, and ultimately tyranical construct committed to destroying individual freedom.

This same type of liberation theology has been used for decades in Latin America to pervert Catholics and goad them into rising into Marxist rebellions in class warfare.

That is what this is...and it is the version accepted and practised by black radicals in this country and it is intent on changing this country into a socio-marxist state where wealth, opportunity, and position are not earned by individuals, but instead are handed out by the state...and in this case they simply want to be the ones in control of redistributing it all for their purposes and what they call "their" people.

by Jeff Head
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

3/21/2008

Blessed Easter

Christ.jpg

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:

    'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.'
That is the one thing we must not say.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic ... or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.

He has not left that open to us.

He did not intend to.

… C. S. Lewis

3/17/2008

Light-hearted 'gif's of the Day
-- and --
Jim Cramer's 'Expert' Advice



Jim Cramer.jpg

Video: Tuesday March 11, 2008: "Bear Stearns is fine!"

Should I be worred about Bear Stearns in terms of liquidiy and get my money out of there? No! No! No! ... Bear Stearns is fine ... Bear Stearns is not in trouble ... Don't move your money from Bear! That's just being silly! Don't be silly! ... Jim Cramer

Mr. Cramer's recent advice was made doubly unpalatable because it was issued, as always, as if he were talking to a group of kindergarteners -- and intellectually-challenged kindergarteners at that. If that unwise advice had been just a simple mistake based on bad information, or lack of information, it would be one thing, but for years this man has been dishing out market advice, ten percent of which smells of financial self-interest, thirty percent of which is flat out wrong, and sixty percent of which the average Joe could tell you himself. That people continue to listen to this man is beyond my comprehension.

~ joanie

3/15/2008

Believe Him at Your Peril

Obama-Wright.jpg

Early on in this interminable campaign, I was fervently hoping that Barack Obama would somehow manage to gain momentum and overtake Hillary Clinton (who made no bones about the fact that she figured she could simply waltz into Denver in August, the pre-ordained nominee – arrogance having never been a short suit of hers. She figured God himself wouldn’t dare deny her.)

When Obama began to win a few primaries and caucuses, I was thrilled to think that Her Highness might receive a comeuppance of sorts. But when Obama delivered his forty-five-minute victory speech last month after the Wisconsin primary, much to the chagrin of his handlers, he made public much of his ideology that the media, until then, had been successful in keeping under wraps.

It was after that speech that, for the first time ever, I began to think that Hillary Clinton looked good, relatively speaking.

As evidenced by that Wisconsin victory speech, and everything I have managed to dig up since, regarding his political ideology, Senator Obama is an avowed socialist – even crossing over the line into communist doctrine. Much of what he proposed in his Wisconsin victory speech might well have been lifted straight out of the teachings of Saul Alinsky or Karl Marx.

Yet that painful revelation proved to be just the tip of a monstrous iceberg. Now we are learning that Senator Obama also closely associates himself with virulent hate-America/black power crowds. They are among his circle of friends and advisors – people who despise the foundations upon which this republic was founded, who blame America for many of the ills of the world, who believe that many of the tragedies that have befallen our citizens (9/11 most prominent among them) were somehow ‘deserved’ because we are rapists and plunderers who prey upon the less fortunate of the world, and who believe that the time has come for black people to wrest power from the evil white man in order to mold America into a black-oriented culture.

I heard today that Obama now conveniently ‘deplores the divisive statements’ made by Rev. Wright – that he has not left Trinity Church because he knew that Rev. Wright would soon be retiring, and he simply wanted to tread water there until someone new took over.

The most hate-filled of Rev. Wright’s sermons that I have heard took place back in 2003. Senator Obama was a member in good standing during that particular toxic, hate-America tirade. Was it then – five years ago – that he decided to spend the next five years ‘treading water’ and listening to such anti-American garbage?

One of two things is true:

(1) Senator Obama is a pathological liar, who authors ‘situational’ explanations that bear no resemblance to the truth.

(2) He is an indecisive man, who refuses to tackle glaring problems, and prefers instead to assume the position of ‘spectator’, hoping the problem will simply go away.

I'm betting the farm on (1). But no matter which of the two is true, a man who practices either isn’t fit to be the leader of a Boy Scout troop, let alone rise to the position of leader of the free world.

These next eight months are going to be very critical in determining the survival of our republic. I pray every day that the American voter does his homework for a change, because walking into the voting booth and voting for a man who despises the real America -- the one envisioned by our Founders – will surely portend the tragic end of that magnificent vision.

~ joanie

3/05/2008

Another Trooper Goes Home

Another Trooper Goes Home.jpg

Euro-American Scum, a regular contributor here, has sent me the following essay for publication, along with this comment:

If you could so inform your readership that, due to my limited Internet access, I cannot engage in prolonged discussion, I'd also be grateful. I do enjoy the banter ... I can't tell you how much I miss being a regular contributor, and how I do so look forward to getting back to it someday.

I’d like to offer you just a little very brief background before you read the essay:

E-A-S is a Vietnam vet with a passion for studying American history, with a strong and devoted emphasis on the history of World War II. He traveled to Normandy, and beyond, in 2004 to participate in the observation of the sixtieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion and to pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust. In doing so, and as a result of other personal contacts with countless World War II heroes, E-A-S has developed a personal knowledge of that War, its significance and effects, and its participants, that few of us share.

E-A-S has recently found himself the victim of the 'new American economy', in which the outsourcing of hi-tech jobs and the condoning of criminal job-seekers who ‘will do the work Americans refuse to do’ has become the tragic norm. As a result, he has fallen on hard times. Thus his request that I inform readers here that he has limited internet access, and cannot engage in prolonged discussion.

-- Another Trooper Goes Home --

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us “To everything there is a season, A time to every purpose under heaven.” The Bible goes on to cite the various circumstances that life’s inescapable journey brings us to confront. And since the verses which follow have long since been immortalized by The Byrds in a 1960s pop/rock mega-hit, I’m sure a good many of you on the high side of 50 can recite them by rote. If not, you can look it up when you get a chance. I won’t waste precious bandwidth repeating the text of the Scripture here. Everybody benefits from reading the Bible.

One of the dubious joys of getting older is that we inevitably get increasing opportunities to attend various benchmark events in our own experience and the lives of others. Early on, most of these events are weddings. After all, we’re just starting out on our journey. And so are most of the people we know. Fast on the heels of such celebrations are the inevitable baby showers, christenings, dedications and so forth. First communions, bar mitzvahs, and various other rites of passage follow (faster than we would like to admit, I’m sure). Then, as we approach mid-life, there are high school graduations, college commencements, weddings of our kids, and the baby showers, christenings and dedications for our grandchildren when they come along. And the cycle begins anew.

Along the way, we cross over a subtle, but definitive line of departure. Sometimes we notice it. Sometimes we don’t. But among the benchmark events we attend, the number of funerals starts to intrude on the otherwise joyous celebrations of life. And so another Rubicon of life has been crossed. It starts out with an occasional heart-rending ordeal. Someone dies young and tragically, way before their time. Then, we begin to notice with increasing frequency how such events intrude on our otherwise genteel lives. We bid adieu to the older generation. This is a sad time, but it is also part of the natural order of things. As the years go by, we notice that the departed are no longer part of our parent’s generation. They’re closer to the our own age. Ultimately, we begin to part company with our contemporaries – family, friends, and associates. Somewhere, along the way, we make peace with our own mortality as we wind our way through the weary round of life.

Or we don’t.

Nowadays, I go to a lot of funerals. And so the seasons of life are marked. There’s a reason this time of life is called the golden years. Gold is the color of autumn, and autumn, for all its crisp splendor, is also the season of death.

I went to one such funeral on Saturday. It was a dreary day, dominated by a high gray sky, chilly temperatures, and a light drizzle. We don’t take well to such conditions here in California. Let’s face it, this is the land of sunshine, blue skies, streets paved with gold, and perpetual second chances. It’s been said that if the devil was run out of hell, he could get a second chance at establishing a demonic kingdom in California. Some say he already has.

So when the day turns out as it did on Saturday, it affects everybody’s mood, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. There was no definition to the day. It wasn’t exactly cloudy, it wasn’t exactly wet. And since snow and ice have been outlawed by statute when Jerry Brown was governor, we know nothing about such things, and wouldn’t know how to deal them if we did. So we won’t even go there. No, it was none of those things. It was . . . well . . . gray – depressing, indistinct, undefined; a day in which people could not get any traction about who they were, or what they were about.

I hardly knew the man. His name was Loyal Nixon, and we met briefly at a Men’s breakfast at church about a year ago. He was the stepfather of one of the members of said ministry, and we immediately hit it off. Our conversation was brief – less than half an hour before the morning speaker ascended the podium. But in that time, we forged a bond. It was the beginning of a deeper appreciation I came to have for the man, even though that brief snippet of conversation was the only one we were to share together.

You see, Loyal Nixon and I shared a heritage. And that heritage was both rich and noble, fraught with meaning, and brimful with significance. Loyal Nixon and I were both Screaming Eagles. Unbeknownst to either of us, we served in Vietnam at the same time, in the same place, and participated in some of the same engagements. It was entirely conceivable that I could have had his back at the same time he had mine.

The bond was both mythical and legendary. I won’t try to explain the appeal such lofty standards hold for those who aspire to them. Simply put, the main motivation for those of us who pursue the road to the airborne is the desire to set ourselves apart, to be the best. For those of us who pass muster, wearing the talismanic emblem of the 101st Airborne Division can forge a genuine brotherhood if we so choose to embrace it as such. However, Loyal’s participation in that elite unit revealed but a small part of the totality of the man. What follows is a brief excerpt from the funeral bulletin on Saturday:

    “Loyal was a retired Army officer and served 28 years on active duty in Korea, Germany, the Middle East, area of occupation in Lebanon, Panama, three tours in Vietnam and served a tour of duty with the Diplomatic Corps in Liberia, West Africa.

    “Loyal began his military career at 18 as a paratrooper and throughout his career has jumped from aircraft and helicopters in all areas of the free world. Loyal was a highly decorated combat veteran, holder of six bronze stars and numerous medals for bravery in action.”
Simply put, Loyal Nixon was the real deal. One meeting, one conversation, one look into his eyes told me that. There was an apocryphal anecdote going around Fort Benning when I was in jump school. It may have been true; more likely it was an urban legend. But it made the point it was intended to make all the same. It involved a exchange between a young airborne recruit, and his jumpmaster just before he boarded the aircraft that was to take him up for his first qualifying combat jump:

[Jumpmaster]: Son, why did you volunteer for the airborne?

[Recruit]: Sir, I like being around guys who like to jump.

Loyal Nixon had that effect on people. He was a man of character, integrity, and commitment. We used to describe such a man years ago as having steel in his spine. Those of us who are not blessed with such depth of character often like to rub up next to those who are. We like to think some of it will rub off. If we’re honest, we’ll admit that what we’re really drawn to is leadership qualities we do not possess.

Loyal Nixon was an African American. He grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina during the Depression. He enlisted in a segregated army and lived to see it integrated. He served through the better part of his adult life, and retired as a senior warrant officer. Undoubtedly, he endured his share scorn and ridicule from certain officers, noncoms and enlisted men who were not particularly thrilled to see a competent black man of skill, courage and integrity rise through the ranks. He lived to see the end of Jim Crowe in the South, and experienced the turbulent times and incendiary rhetoric of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

And through it all, Loyal Nixon never forgot who he was. Because he was a Christian, a loving husband and father and a genuine American patriot. In precisely that order.

Loyal Nixon was head of a bi-racial, blended family. And that is always a challenge, regardless of the specifics. But that challenge was made even greater because although we live in a nation of tolerance, we ourselves are often intolerant. We’re part of a culture of inclusion, but many of us are casually exclusionary. We may be saved by grace, but we are still firmly ensconced in a body of sin.

Loyal Nixon endured all this, and more. If he encountered injustice, he practiced fairness. If he endured prejudice, he fought it with love. If he experienced the selfish ambition of his contemporaries, he carried himself with a spirit of sacrificial service. He lived the dream and made it real. He embraced the best of what America was and made it his own. And he did so by knowing who he was, and living his faith.

    “He has shown you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justly,
    To love mercy,
    And walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
Loyal Nixon was definitely of the old school. He served his community, loved his family, and cherished his country, warts and all.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Upland, CA was filled to bursting on Saturday. The ministry leadership indicated they never had such a turnout. Rarely has a man been so respected. Rarely has he been so deeply beloved, by family and friends alike. He was laid to rest at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Riverside, California on Monday morning.

The 101st Airborne was well represented on that day. We weren’t numerous, but we were present and accounted for. We weren’t personally acquainted with each other, but we knew our own, all the same. That distinctive lapel pin and a subtle but definitive nod was all it took. And when the flag was folded and presented to his widow, qualities like loyalty, honor, service and sacrifice became more than a punch line of the mainstream media. They became what they are and always have been – the bedrock upon which the foundation of America was built and thrived.

Between the memorial service on Saturday and the burial on Monday morning, we spent an altogether typical Sunday for an evangelical church community. The talk was typical for an election year. We’ve already anointed John McCain is God’s next holy prophet of the truth, now that the current one – George W. Bush – is due to retire in short order. And we’ve already branded Obama as the latest Antichrist, now that the traditional one, Hillary Clinton, looks like she won’t make the cut. And then we rested. Because the serious business of lining our pockets with gold, throwing our friends and neighbors on the grenade in the process, and selling out our country for thirty pieces of silver is a full-time job, and was going to start up early on Monday morning. So a day of rest is essential if we’re gonna get the goods while the gettin’ is good, as they say.

And in the midst of this, Loyal Nixon went home. He didn’t go easily. The staff of the VA hospital at Loma Linda never saw a man fight so hard to live. Airborne all the way, right up to the very end. But when God calls us home, then home we must go.

So, between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, we celebrated a life, endured the pain of loss, and marked the tragedy of his departure.

We celebrated a life well-lived, and a legacy that will endure through the years. We endured the pain of loss, because the empty space he left in the lives of those who loved him seems cavernous. And we mark the tragedy, because Loyal Nixon, who served so faithfully, loved so fully, and cherished his country for what it was and what it is, departed this life for brighter shores. He will not be replaced.

There is no younger generation, waiting in the wings, with the courage of their convictions. There are no young people, who will live a life of sacrificial service for something worth defending. There is no one with the courage, conviction, and commitment to soldier on in a world where the distinctiveness of a nation that values freedom, cherishes human dignity and treasures the God-given rights of its individual citizens is eroding before our very eyes. Freedom isn’t free, as we all well know. And the price of freedom is dear. Someone has to stand a watch in its defense. And the sentry post will soon be empty.

But every now and then, we meet someone of singular substance. We gaze into their eyes, and see ourselves reflected in their soul. And if we’re truly fortunate, we take time to pause for some much needed self-reflection.

Once in a while we meet someone who reminds us of who we were, who we have become, and how we got there. And maybe, just maybe, we might rearrange a priority or two that could stand rearranging.

Occasionally, we meet someone who walks the walk, pays the price, and at the end of the day – or at the end of their lives – has something of substance to show for it.

Every now and then.

    “His lord said to him,
    ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
    you were faithful over a few things,
    I will make you ruler over many things.
    Enter into the joy of your lord’” – Matthew 25:21
Loyal Nixon – 1933 – 2008. Rest easy, my friend. I wish we had more time together.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

3/04/2008

Election Year Wisdom
From William F. Buckley

tyranny1.jpg

I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone -- not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the C.I.O. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man -- but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth ... William F. Buckley

I humbly sign on to Mr. Buckley's philosophy.

The most powerful and eternally important words of that quote (obedient to God and subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors) are overlooked by most Americans these days, as is evidenced by the character and integrity of the three remaining major contenders for the presidency.

The wisdom of our ancestors now finds itself tragically overshadowed by the power of the thirty-second sound-bite, the innate truth and integrity of which has been declared irrelevant -- 'charisma' and catchiness being deemed of more value.

After all, most modern Americans know very little about their ancestors (our Founders in particular) and consider it a waste of time to comprehend their sacrifice or their vision, let alone defend them.

Obedience to God, from whom all of our liberties flow, has largely found itself replaced by a willingness to allow a self-declared human elite to decide what is best for us. It has become acceptable for self-declared mini-gods to:

(1) entice us to abrogate our God-given individual freedoms in order to increase their personal and ideological power

(2) teach us to despise individual human excellence and genuine success based on ability and hard work

(3) employ dark and bold lies, claiming to love humanity and the earth, while all the while scheming to usurp individual liberties and author contrived threats to the environment in order to increase their own power and domain.

In this most crucial presidential campaign of our history -- when our liberty, sovereignty, and very existence as a free republic have never been more threatened, both domestically and internationally -- none of the three remaining candidates for president has consistently exhibited even a modicum of allegiance to defending individual liberty or adhering to the vision of our Founding Fathers.

We're navigating in very dark waters. Those who refuse to look beyond rhetoric, and who have no knowledge of the consequences of misplaced trust, might do well to take a few steps back, silence the 'party unity at all costs' mantra, and consider how the survival of the American republic will be affected by incessant compromise -- granting credence and privilege to those who have no respect for our Founders or the original blueprint of this republic, and who view our God-given liberties as expendable.

American politics aren't about solving problems, nor are they any longer about addressing the concerns of the people ... American politics are about joining a very small, very elite fraternity ... which makes up its own rules, provides for its own best interest, and whose members are not subject to the laws and provisions that govern the proletariat ... American politics have become, at best, a taxpayer-funded brothel and/or liars club comprised of hedonistic opportunists. Many claim the system is corrupt. I submit it isn't the system; rather, it is the ne'er-do-wells who have been permitted to conscript it.

One of the primary causal factors in the creation of our form of government was to eliminate kings and queens. Yet that is exactly the way those on Capitol Hill behave. There are only so many reasons a person is willing to spend tens of millions of their own money to get a job that pays $165,000 a year -- and while certain of those reasons may be altruistic, it's a safe bet that the greater majority of same are totally self-serving ... Mychal Massie


~ joanie