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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

8/29/2008

Sarah Palin:
Integrity, Goodwill, and Clear Conviction

Palin1.jpg

It’s always safer in politics to avoid risk – to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built.

Politics isn’t just a game of competing interests and clashing parties. The people of America expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reasons. And the right reason is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good ... We are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear conviction, and a servant’s heart ... Governor Sarah Palin, 29 August, 2008.

_________________

Senator John McCain has just made the most brilliant decision of his political career by announcing that he has chosen Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his running mate.

The left will find, or manufacture, all manner of criticisms of Governor Palin over the next two months. Yet Governor Palin, despite the ‘shortcomings’ they will choose to invent or magnify, represents everything that has been sorely lacking in Washington for the past twenty years: integrity, ethics, a belief in limited government, a reverence for the United States Constitution, a belief in the sanctity of life and the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, a call for domestic oil drilling in ANWR and elsewhere, fiscal responsibility, a disdain for the power of special interests, and a reverence for truth over political expediency, no matter the cost of expressing it.

The main objection to her candidacy that will be voiced from the left will be her lack of experience. Some on the right (NRO in particular) have voiced that opinion already as well.

I see her 'lack of experience' (only in foreign policy) as something of a plus.

She has had experience in an executive capacity, as a mayor and as a governor. Although her former position was ‘only as a mayor’, during that tenure she succeeded in reducing government salaries, and reducing property taxes by more than sixty percent. I don’t care where one serves as a mayor –- be it a large metropolis or a small rural township -- those accomplishments are extraordinarily difficult to achieve, and not only did she achieve them but she won re-election by an overwhelming margin as a result. She was also elected President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. She was ‘only a mayor’, but she was respected sufficiently by her fellow mayors to be elected their leader and spokesperson.

That alone speaks well for executive ability on any level.

As governor, she successfully targeted corruption by passing a broad-ranging ethics bill, reduced the size of the state government -- in part by firing dozens of last-minute political appointees made by her predecessor and shelving state-funded construction projects that she deemed frivolous, defeated both democratic and republican pork-barrel proposals, promoted oil exploration, negotiated the go-ahead for a $40 billion natural gas pipeline (the largest private-sector infrastructure in American history), returned large portions of the state’s oil and gas profit-related surplus to the people of the state, and sold the governor’s 'frivolous' jet on ebay for $2+ million and deposited the money in the state treasury.

Palin also served as Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but resigned because she was disgusted by the 'lack of ethics' of other Alaskan republican leaders. She had blown the whistle on ethics violations and conflicts of interest, and met with great resistance. After she resigned, she exposed the ethics violations of several republican leaders -- among them the state Attorney General and the chairman of the state's republican party--and all of those leaders were forced to resign. Sarah Palin is not a party-over-principle leader, a welcome anomaly in today's political climate in which almost all politicians' allegiances are tied to the power structure that places them in office. The antiquated phrase 'of the people, by the people and for the people' appears to ring true to Governor Palin. She has been a public servant, rather than a panderer to special interest groups, or a feather-my-own nest power seeker, all of her political life. Refreshing, to say the least.

Some will undoubtedly say that her less-than-full-term stint as Alaska’s governor renders her a greenhorn politician. I say that the success she has experienced in accomplishing many of the things at the state level that we desperately need accomplished at the federal level renders her a superb executive.

A governor must exhibit far more critical, everyday decision-making abilities than a senator. Successful executive decision-makers wear many simultaneous hats, do significant research, and make decisions, both small and far-reaching, almost on a daily basis. Their job is comparable to that of a CEO, and is similar to that of a president, yet on a smaller level. Senators/legislators deliberate, in a group atmosphere, sometimes for weeks, months, or years. Being a successful governor prepares one significantly better for the presidency/vice presidency than being a senator. And the fact that one's 'apprenticeship' took place in Alaska rather than Washington D.C. is simply a matter of logistics.

If Sarah Palin is well-versed in foreign affairs (which many Americans are, despite not having served in public office), eager to learn, and willing to surround herself with advisors of high caliber, I do not see her lack of experience in that area as a detriment. Far more important than being an encyclopedia of detailed knowledge are good judgment, trusted advisors, and proven decision-making abilities.

Most American conservatives have been calling for ‘new blood’ inside the walled-off-to-non-elites Beltway. So many of our principled, idealistic conservative leaders, of the caliber of J. C. Watts, have left the arena in disgust. Others, of the caliber of Rick Santorum, have been forced out by the dishonest nature of the system. Special interests, media bias, big money, and voter ignorance and apathy all have the loudest voices in today's perverted political climate. The large majority of those who remain in power are simply entrenched, well-oiled cogs in the corrupt, self-perpetuating monster we call Washington D.C.

While the Obama camp calls for change and new blood, it continues to promote the same (if not a ratcheted up) vision of big government that the democrat party has embraced since FDR. Obama’s choice of running mate – a 40-year veteran, and often author, of the corrupt, big-government status quo -- reveals just how genuine his calls for change are.

The Obama camp’s claims of Palin's 'inexperience' had better fall on the electorate’s deaf ears, since their presidential candidate has no executive experience, and no foreign policy experience. The top spot on their ticket belongs to a freshman senator who, in his short tenure on the hill, has sponsored no meaningful legislation, and has a record of absenteeism from senate sessions and committee meetings that would be the envy of any young truant. As far as claims of inexperience are concerned, if the appearance of blatant hypocrisy is to be avoided, the democrats had better not go there.

A related aside ... Let's look at the top of the democrat ticket:

Barack Obama's resumé:

    (1) Nonexistent legal career (as a matter of fact, he brags about not accomplishing anything in the legal arena, as if doing so would have served as a negative).

    (2) Temporary adjunct part-time lecturer in law at the University of Chicago -- not a 'professor', as he claims.

    (3) 'Community Organizer' in Chicago. No definitive accomplishments ever mentioned.

    (4) Illinois State Senator (1997-2004). No successful legislation authored or sponsored.

    (5) United States Senator (2004-present) No successful legislation authored or sponsored.
Such 'accomplishments' pale in comparison to Governor Palin's lengthy and impressive political resumé.

In contrast to the other three candidates running for the highest offices in the land, and almost all other serious candidates running for national office, Sarah Palin is not a product of the Washington bureaucracy. She is not tainted. She answers to no one. She panders to no special interests. She is indeed new blood. She is not afraid to speak her mind, to buck the system (even if it means dissention in her own party). She recognizes that leadership is stewardship, not ownership. She is the real thing.

In these days in which self-serving ideologies are the primary focus of the ruling elite, a reverence for honesty, allegiance to the Founders’ vision, and the desire to be a genuine public servant stand at the brink of extinction. When we come across a leader who possesses those rare qualities, in addition to a sterling record of accomplishments at the state and local level, we cannot allow claims of inexperience (a half-truth) to hold us back from providing our full support.

Until today, I did not believe I could cast a vote for John McCain, despite the frightening alternative. After today’s announcement, I intend to do all that is within my power to ensure a McCain/Palin victory in November.

May the Lord prepare and strengthen Governor Palin for the barrage of hostile political and media attacks that lie ahead of her. The hits will be appalling, precisely because this strong lady of high ambitions and goals, and equally high principles, is exactly what America needs at this historically unprecedented point in our history.
_________________

I ask all readers here to take four minutes out of your day and watch this video. It integrates photos, music and video and paints an accurate picture of perhaps the major foreign policy difference between the republican and democrat tickets this year. Pay close attention to the final twenty seconds. They accurately depict, in symbolic microcosm, not only Barack Obama's opinion of America's troops, but the extent of his foreign policy 'expertise'.

McCain and Palin: Supporters of Our Troops in Word and Deed

McCain-Palin.jpg

~ joanie

8/27/2008

Russia: Biting Off More Than We Can Chew
(and agreeing when to bite)

Tskhinvali.jpg
    The ruins of Tskhinvali after Russia and Georgia fought over this town. The West in general has quite a lot on its plate already before having to bail out President Saakashvili for his rather rash expedition here.
Since the conflict between Russia and Georgia started a few weeks ago, many commentators (both those I genuinely respect and some "others"!) have written or spoken of the potential for a "new cold war" and the need to challenge Russia in its current tendencies.

Before I start to question the overall prevailing wisdom on Russia, I should declare my interests:

1) I have just returned from a week in Moscow where the accounts given on Russian TV and on English speaking but Russian sponsored news outlets give an account of recent events that is almost unrecognisable from the general "BBC/CNN" version of events we have in the west.

2) My wife is Russian by nationality but has Ukrainian parents and a Russian uncle and many Russian friends. Her family and friends demonstrate the reality of what happens when a big country splits into smaller component parts. Real people get stuck on all sides the new borders and calling everyone one side of new border "Russian" and everyone the other side of the side of a new border "Ukrainian" is extremely arbitrary and belies the more complex reality millions of families who are scattered either side of a new border. The same would be true of the UK if it were to split tomorrow. After all, some of the most powerful people who rule over a majority English population are Scottish and Welsh and many English would remain in an independent Scotland. Many other families have both Scottish and English parts.

This introduction is necessary as I realise with that combination of family background I will certainly offend someone reasonably close to me !(in the unlikely event they read this).

Firstly to the recent events themselves. My understanding from reading a variety of different accounts is that Georgia fired the initial artillery rounds and rockets onto the South Ossettian capital, Tskhinvali. To balance that I should also note that South Ossetian separatists, to some extent sponsored by Russia had been provoking the Georgian authorities for a long time. It is also true that the fact that most of South Ossetia has Russian passports is a little more than a goodwill gesture from Russia to a people who identify more closely with Moscow than Tbilisi. Prime Minister Putin is widely known to loathe Georgian President Saakashvili and giving Russian passports to people within the borders of Georgia was probably an effective way of annoying Saakashvili.

That said, my personal conclusion is that Georgia's response to Russian backed provocation was disproportionate. What is shown less frequently on Western TV is that the South Ossetian capital was extremely heavily damaged by Georgian weaponry. Once that happened it was unrealistic to not expect Russian to retaliate.

The brief occupation of large parts of Georgia was about demonstrating power over a much smaller neighbour. At a basic level a large country dominating a small country is not very appealing. Russia also worked on "degrading" Georgia's military by sinking boats, blowing up army bases and carting away weaponry. Again this is not appealing but I would suggest a reality of war. If Russia had walked past an army base without damaging it, it would have been a first in the history of military occupation.

There were however extremely unsavoury and non-standard elements to the Russian backed forces. These were mainly South Ossetian militia who burned down some Georgian villages and allegedly killed some villagers. I say "allegedly" as although I have read accounts from witnesses as far as I know these have not been verified by western media.

The Caucasus themselves are an extremely troubled area. Chechnya is nearby and Russians have suffered at the hands of Chechen terrorists, their own in-house Islamic militants. Bordering South Ossetia, North Ossetia includes the town of Beslan where 300 Russian children died at the hands of terrorists and a bodged rescue mission in 2004. Therefore the Caucasus are not tranquil Surrey and the average Russian could be forgiven for having a jaded view of goings on there.

However I do acknowledge the reality that Russia is trying to extend its influence beyond its internationally recognised borders. In addition to the Georgian breakaway areas, this includes the Crimea (it was rather arbitrarily made part of SSR Ukraine in 1954 having previously been part of Russia), Transdniester in Moldova and potentially the areas with majority Russian populations in the Baltic states, notably Latvia.

These are all likely areas of contention in the coming months and years for two reasons:

1) The majority population in these areas feel more Russian than part of the state they are currently in

2) It suits Russia to destabilise these states and extend its influence.

The two points are intertwined and while the Western media stresses 2), this would not be possible without 1).

So, back to "biting off more than we can chew". While it is laudable to talk of defending small states, it is as someone I don't often quote once said "time to get real".

The reality is Russia cannot be fought out of the areas it currently occupies in the internationally recognised borders of Georgia. While Russia sheds no tears about destabilising Georgia the other reality is there are many people in these areas who welcome Russia. The same would be true in Crimea, Transdniester and part of Latvia.

The same would most certainly not be true in Poland where Russia would be unwelcome by anybody. This brings us to a term much over-used in the Georgia conflict; "red lines". Russia was said to have crossed many red lines in Georgia. These red lines turned out to be rather meaningless as nothing happened when they were crossed, least of all to Russia.

So it is time for the West to agree some "real red lines", lines that Russia knows it cannot cross without provoking a united Western response and not a series of PR related trips by political leaders new (Sarkozy) and aspiring (Cameron).

The reason for this less than idealistic approach is "getting real". It is not "getting real" to demand Russia leaves South Ossetia today. The only real power that could cause that, the US, is more than busy in Iraq and Afghanistan. While we hardly dare to say it too loud, Iraq seems to be getting better but Afghanistan and potentially Pakistan is getting worse. Benazir Bhutto's widower said yesterday the world should acknowledge it is loosing the war on terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This needs addressing and addressing urgently. Pakistan's frontier province faces large number of Al Qaeda foreign fighters including Arabs, Uzbeks and Chechens. Last week 10 French commandos were killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, a big loss for France and the casualties of all countries in Afghanistan continue to mount.

Last week in Sochi, Russian President Medvedev, isolated by Western criticism, met with Syrian President Assad in Sochi to discuss military cooperation. There are big dangers here of an isolated Russia making new "friends" with countries such as Iran and Syria. While this hardly puts Russia in good light, how much worse it will be for the West to face Islamic extremists, rogue states and a nuclear superpower in an unholy alliance.

This may seem far fetched and it is clear that would be a fragile alliance. However it seems an unnecessary risk from the west choosing to wage war on too many fronts.

My view is that Russia and the West have more in common than divides them. For one, Russia and the West both face Islamic extremism at home and abroad. Chechen militants would be equally happy to set off bombs in Moscow or at US bases in Afghanistan. On my visit to Russia last week, not once was I faced with negative sentiment. I think a visit to some Islamic countries would be rather different. There is no real appetite for a big conflict with the West in Russia. The West needs Russian oil and gas but Russia needs Western revenue in return.

Russians do feel there are some double standards however. Foremost amongst these double standards is Kosovo. Kosovo was historically integral to the Serbian state, an ally of Russia. Despite allocations of atrocities such as organ harvesting and former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton warning of the dangers of Kosovan independence (including Islamic extremism in Europe), the West chose to recognise the independence this year. To now object to the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia seems inconsistent to say the least.

The difficult lesson which many may not agree with is that the borders of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic do not always make the logical international borders of the Russian Federation. There are two ways of dealing with this:

1) Accept that some "adjustments" will be made in the coming years but only tolerate this in areas where majority Russian populations exist.

2) Strengthen Western military to such an extent that it can both fight the war on Terror and pose a meaningful threat to Russian expansion.

At all costs avoid hollow threats as these both antagonise Russia but do not help its near neighbours. This is the worst of all worlds and is what has happened in the last few weeks.

Finally, accepting that "we are where we are", the West needs to agree meaningful "red lines" over which Russia must not cross without receiving a meaningful military threat. One obvious red line is the Polish border.

Whatever the agreements and disagreements on this, a key point is the need to "get real". In the real world military force can still change realities and such force can come from all sides. The need for a strong military to defend our freedoms and those of our allies is vital. Anyone who feels in the least bit concerned by recent events should be supporting a stronger military than we currently have. While I caution against biting off more than we can chew, it would be useful to have some teeth in the first place. It would also be more than useful that the West agree at what point Russia can expect to be bitten rather than the meaningless barking of recent weeks. My own view is that in the current world order, with plenty of conflicts ongoing, a major exercise to "defend" areas of majority Russian population in Russia's near neighbours is unrealistic and unwise.

The sad reality maybe that just as the world needs it more, the US lead by President Obama will turn away from military reality and opt for "smiling diplomacy" and hollow words instead. I suspect Obama has a few supporters in the Russian army.....

The main hope from recent events is more people will be awoken to the reality of the world and the need for adequate armed forces to defend that which we value. If we don't we should not be surprised when someone with such forces takes what we value for themselves. Focusing on adequate defence requirements and concluding the war on terror is probably a great priority than starting an adventure in Caucasus.

Russia can be made to see reason but it will need clear agreement on where the "red lines" are first and a certainty that force is available to defend the red lines in future.

by Luis
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

8/22/2008

Georgia on My Mind

Georgia Flag.jpg

Owing to the neglect of our defences and the mishandling of the German problem in the last five years, we seem to be very near the bleak choice between War and Shame. My feeling is that we shall choose Shame, and then have War thrown in a little later, on even more adverse terms than at present ... Winston Churchill in a letter to Lord Moyne, 1938

Western Europe can accept at least part of the blame for Vladimir Putin’s strategic ruthlessness. Nearly a year ago Western Europe dragged its feet in allowing Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, partly as a result of Putin applying oil-supply-related pressure to the Germans.

No surprise there. Western Europe prefers incessant bureaucratic quibbling to action, or even real diplomacy, anymore. So Putin rightly figured that, having been denied current membership in NATO, Georgia’s chance of successfully calling on Western Europe for defensive help was minimal to nonexistent.

As for America, President Bush has a dangerous habit of trusting world leaders exponentially more than he should. He calls Putin his ‘friend’. I suggest that Putin is no one’s friend, unless it is to his political advantage. Bush has been played like a violin, and only belatedly is he becoming angry and suspicious to the degree that he should have been long before this invasion.

Putin has Europe over a barrel (of oil), and, as a result, their leadership is willing to allow worthless pieces of paper, signed by a man who has no intention of abiding by the promises contained therein, to forestall any real action to defend Georgia – not realizing that Georgia is simply the first in a series of Putin-envisioned dominos, many of which will probably fall before the Europeans get their act together and genuinely attempt to stop the toppling.

By then Europe will not only find itself over a barrel; it will find itself entirely energy-dependent on Russia: the makings of a political extortion nightmare of unimaginable proportions.

Ralph Peters, author of Wars Of Blood And Faith, The Conflicts That Will Shape the Twenty-First Century, observes:

The determination, especially in Western Europe, to minimize the importance of the rape of Georgia -- Putin's actions amount to nothing less -- is gratingly reminiscent of the cries of "Why Die for Danzig?" that echoed in Britain and France in the late 1930s. And, while politicians and pundits will do their best to minimize the perception of a military threat from the new Russia, it bears remembering that, in 1930, the German Reichswehr had 100,000 men and equipment hardly fit for a playground, yet, a mere ten years later, the Wehrmacht had millions of men under arms, the best weaponry in the world, and most of Europe under its boot-heels. While it may be unhelpful to be an alarmist, it's even less useful to be willfully naïve.

Reading the beginning of the NATO reaction to Russia’s invasion provides us a realistic glimpse into the extent of the organization’s impotence. It is unclear exactly who – Russia or Georgia – is at fault. And delicate words such as ‘situation’ and ‘loss of life’ abound, rather than the more accurate ‘invasion’ and ‘murder’.

Nor does NATO impose any real punitive action. As a matter of fact, the only ‘action’ (if one wishes to stretch the meaning of the word) taken is the cancellation of an upcoming NATO Council-Russia meeting.

Putin must be quaking in his boots.

Matthias Döpfner, CEO of Axel-Springer, one of the largest newspaper publishing companies in Europe, sums up the Western European reaction quite accurately:

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewellery when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbour's house. Appeasement? That is just the start of it. Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Eastern Europe cannot afford to be so naïve, or to allow their perceptions and responses to be so oil-dependent. They have longer, and more painfully personal, memories regarding Russian aggression. As a result, they are not rolling over and playing dead as are the Western Europeans. The Baltic Republics, Ukraine and Poland are expressing solidarity with Georgia. Ukraine has told Putin that his fleet runs the risk of losing its Crimean base, and they are threatening to hand over to the West two ex-Soviet radar installations. And Poland has suddenly agreed to America’s terms regarding a missile defense system, of which Ukraine has now also asked to be a part.

History has taught them well. The Baltics, Ukraine and Poland are beginning to experience nightmares in which they are in Russia’s crosshairs, and, in the background, Western Europe and the U.S. are sitting in plush upholstered chairs, at a long, highly-polished conference table, debating over the wording of potential sanctions/threats of military intervention/expulsion from international organizations. The bickering is beautifully scripted and open-ended.

Depending on America’s, and Western Europe’s, response over the next few weeks -- whether we allow Georgia to become a Russian satellite -- Eastern European leaders may be forced to rethink their instinctive turn toward the West. We may well betray their trust.

In which case, no one – not America nor any nation of Western Europe – deserves to wear the title ‘leader of the free world’. The ‘free world’ will be leaderless, and less ‘free’ with each new notch carved on Putin’s belt. Not to mention the inevitable emboldening of Islamic fascists, Iran, North Korea, China, and other avowed enemies of liberty -- although all such tyrannical regimes/movements have been continuously emboldened since America’s last genuine leader left office in 1989.

Twenty years adrift exacts a terrible price.

Now envision President Barack Obama occupying the White House in five months and the nightmare ratchets up to a level far beyond human comprehension.

~ joanie

8/19/2008

Reagan Would Be Ashamed

Reagan Crying.jpg

I was just beginning to reconcile myself to the fact that I must vote for John McCain on November 4th – despite his numerous political negatives, the most egregious of which is his authorship of the McCain-Feingold bill, the most blatant attack on the right of free speech in the history of our republic.

I was just about willing to overlook his weaknesses, and his recent compromises of principle. And then I witnessed the senator’s newest national ad, in which the most prominent sentence reads, Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He'll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper again.

No worse than McCain-Feingold, for sure, but somehow, for me, it represents the camel's-back-breaking straw. Maybe I was looking for a final insult. This commercial provided it.

All I know is that Reagan would be ashamed.

I have been a republican (in name) since long before I was of voting age. I campaigned vigorously for Barry Goldwater in 1964, years before I was legally allowed to enter a voting booth. I sat enrapt before the radio in October of that year, listening to Ronald Reagan deliver his Rendezvous With Destiny speech, convinced that the Reagan vision of the republican party accurately represented the party that our Founders would have endorsed. Their vision had found a home there.

What a difference forty-four years can make.

The republican party bears about as much resemblance to the magnificent liberty/sovereignty vision of our Founders as rap music bears a resemblance to the magnificent creations of Beethoven and Mozart.

The GOP (not so 'G' anymore) has become a party that shares more with the democrats than it does with those courageous anti-slavery activists who painstakingly laid the party’s sublime foundation in an act of defiance against a tyrannical federal government more than a century and a half ago.

The party has been hijacked by a ‘leadership’ that prefers compromise over principle, and, as a result, the erosion of the tenets upon which the party was founded has now rendered its foundations unrecognizable.

I despise Barack Obama and his cotillion of Marxist/black separatist, anti-American mentors and advisors. In addition to the fact that he embraces terrifying ideological beliefs, he possesses no credentials that qualify him to serve as President of the United States and leader of the free world (see previous essays here on the subject):

Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up?

Saint Barack and the Missus

Questions for Obama

On Rainbows and Puppy Dogs

Is This America’s Future?

Who is Barack Obama? – The Question the Mainstream Media Won’t Answer

A Small-Town Pennsylvanian’s View of Arrogance

The Truth About Black Liberation Theology

Believe Him At Your Risk

Barack Obama Embarrassed by Billionaire Link to Home Deal

The Cat’s Out

But I also despise a ‘republican’ leadership that has bowed to the pressures of politically-correct special interest groups, and, in so doing, betrays those it purports to represent.

I believe that the eight most insidious threats to the sovereignty of our nation and the liberty of her people are:

    (1) the spread of Islamic fascism
    (2) the invasion of illegal immigrants that threatens to destroy the very fabric of our society
    (3) the incremental, open-ended theft of our liberties and prosperity by the hoax known as ‘global warming/environmentalism'
    (4) the economic and political power of trial lawyers over virtually every aspect of our lives
    (5) the anti-capitalist crusade that permeates much of American politics/academia/media
    (6) the purposeful dismantling of the finest healthcare system in the history of mankind, via the incremental imposition of socialist/universal health programs, the over-regulation of the insurance industry, the demonizing of drug companies, and the allowing, even encouraging, of frivolous lawsuits
    (7) the protection under law of the murder of more than a million unborn children every year
    (8) the incremental loss of religious freedom, and the gradual removal of God from the national conscience
If Ronald Reagan were running for president today, I can guarantee you that his political advertisements would include his plans to confront all eight of the above. Do any of you remember the Bear in the Woods presidential ad of 1984? It was not pleasant, but there were no punches pulled, and politically correct advisors were not consulted in its production.

Yet what issues do John McCain’s advertisements claim he will confront? All of the self-created ‘enemies’ that exist on the ‘enemies list’ of the politically correct: big tobacco, drug companies, big oil, and the like ... all of the ‘crises’ that leftists have manufactured -- global warming, corporate ‘excess profits’, corporate ‘evil’ in general (with oil, tobacco and drug companies highest on the list of capitalist 'villains'), human (even criminal/terrorist) ‘rights’, and the like -- in order to divert our attention from the crises that genuinely threaten to bring America to her knees.

No one has the right to call himself a republican who willingly joins the leftist, pseudo-environmentalist, anti-capitalist parade by promising to solve manufactured, or magnified-out-of-all-proportion ‘problems’ that merely serve as a smoke-screen designed to hide the genuine threats to our liberty and sovereignty.

John McCain is aiding and abetting the enemy within our borders – that growing majority in the political/academic/media arena whose over-riding purpose is to divert our attention from the enemy at the gate so as to focus our attention on mirage enemies, the destruction of which will require us to relinquish incrementally more of our liberties, and allow the ruling elite incrementally more power over our lives. And that is the over-riding focus of the left, and of those who are willing to compromise with the left: the creating of phony ‘enemies’, whose defeat requires the relinquishing of liberties, and the amassing of power by the ruling elite.

I have witnessed no more accurate definition of treason in my lifetime.

Whether Obama or McCain occupies the White House for the next four years, America is in for a rude awakening. I would prefer that a liberal democrat/avowed Marxist be blamed for the geopolitical/economic earthquakes that are looming over the horizon. At least that way we will have the whisper of a hope that a genuine conservative may be able to eventually take the reins and pick up the pieces.

I could not, in good conscience, cast a vote for a Marxist. But neither will I continue to vote for those who are willing to consistently compromise with the evil ideology of the left. Such imposters have succeeded in re-defining my party, handcuffing their genuine republican counterparts, and corrupting my government beyond recognition. And if an avowed anti-American Marxist must damage our beloved republic for four years in order for the republican party to recognize that it had better return to its roots, then that may well be the terrible price we must pay in order to embark on that long-overdue journey.

I will no longer play an active role in the hijacking of the republican party ... or the suicide of our beloved republic. I'll leave the heartbreak of writing her epitaph to others.

~ joanie

8/13/2008

Notes From The Road –
Kill A Biker, Go To Jail

1st_Cavalry_Patch.jpg

He was impossible to miss. He had to stand a good 6’5” and weigh in somewhere close to 320 lbs. I ran into him, quite literally, at the Flying J truck stop just over the North Dakota line between Billings, Montana and Bismarck, North Dakota.

As many of you know, in this, the afterlife for myself and America, I now spend my not-so-abundant free time delivering buses for a local delivery service when I’m not hauling cargo for the DOE/DOJ. This run was on behalf of the aforementioned alphabet-soup government agencies. And I was delivering . . . what shall we call it, a load of cargo? – Yes, that will do quite nicely – to a supply point somewhere in central Manitoba. You’d be surprised at the agreements this country has with our neighbor to the north. Well, maybe shocked would be a better word. Take your pick. Either way, I just drive the truck and deliver the merchandise. Anything that clears a check these days.

So there I was, on a six-day run out of Long Beach, California, a little past the halfway point in eastern Montana. There’s a reason they call it big sky country up there, I came to understand. That particular day, a Sunday it was, running east out of Billings, I counted the vehicles running in both directions of I-90 on the fingers of one hand. That part of the northern plains really is the great American nowhere. And at one point, the scenery was so magnificent, that I crested a hill, pulled off the road, turned off my diesel engine and just surveyed the landscape.

Nothing.

But it is quite a spectacular version of nothing if I do say so myself. Amber waves of grain. Can you dig it? Right there for all the world to see. Endless grain fields at all points of the compass; not a building in sight, billowing white cumulus clouds following the previous night’s rain, and a sky so blue, it hurt your eyes. Living in California, sometimes we forget the sky can get so blue. Brown skies, congestion, high prices and chronic rudeness everywhere you go – that’s life in the golden state. Every now and again, it’s nice to get a reminder of how magnificent the scenery can be in the heart of flyover country.

And then there was the quiet. You can actually hear the quiet up there. Nothing but the breeze, the grain fields rippling in the wind, the empty road and that fevered fiery blue sky. A man of faith might be reminded of a verse from the Bible:

    “Be still, and know that I am God . . .” – Psalms 46:10
A man of faith might. I confess I don’t feel the part much these days.

But, faith or no faith, tempus fugit. I had people to see, places to go, things to do. So, after an appropriate moment of spiritual communion, I fired up my rig and was back on the golden road to wealth, happiness and prosperity. Time waits for no man, and time was a wastin’.

It was early evening when I realized my massive diesel fuel tank was pushing uncomfortably close to the finish line. The problem with eastern Montana – that part of the state that opens up onto open plains after successfully navigating the Continental Divide – is that there’s no end to it.

There are also no truck stops. Or so it seemed.

But, there wasn’t much in the way of an alternative as I traversed the highways and byways of the great northern plains. Billings was two hundred miles or so to the rear. And I couldn’t make it back there even if I wanted to. Jamestown was some hundred miles ahead and seemed like a better bet. So, I forged ahead.

They say there are no atheists in foxholes. And to the truth of this fact of life, I can readily testify. There also are no atheists among truckers whose rigs are sucking fumes. Not one to do much praying these days, I nevertheless shot one skyward for deliverance from getting stuck out in the vast empty expanse of the open range, where the deer and the antelope play, but there is no cell phone coverage, no fuel stops, and no state trooper patrols that I could see.

Never let it be said God turns his back on us, even when we turn our backs on Him. Out of the golden afternoon sunshine, like an oasis in the desert, arose that beautiful Flying J just over the North Dakota line in the middle of this road without end. The Lord doth deliver, even when we’re sometimes past the point of believing He can or will.

Now, ever since I crossed into Montana and set out on I-90E from Butte the previous morning, I couldn’t quite figure out why there were so many bikers on the open road. The further along I went, the greater the number became. It wasn’t until the Flying J in North Dakota that I realized this was the week every biker in the world was winding his way to Sturgis, South Dakota like Muslim pilgrims to Mecca. O.K. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but it’s the best I can come up with on short notice.

Still, it appeared everybody who owned a motorized two-wheel vehicle was on the road to Sturgis. From weekend enthusiasts to outlaw Nazi biker gangs. And everyone in between. It was an armada of bikers, clogging the roads, jamming the motels, filling the truck stops, all on their way to the same place. And there was yours truly, right in the middle of it all.

So, when I pulled in to the Flying J, and prepared to fill my tank, I ran into a literal convoy of Harley Davidsons – representing different groups as it turned out – all pulling in at the same time. No problem, I thought. I’m there to fill up and pull out. Piece of cake. And it was. But fate took a turn when I realized I was out of bottled water and turned back to the mini-mart only to run into a group of six road warriors on their way back to the asphalt blacktop.

I literally collided with a walking mountain of a man, coming out of the mini-mart with his five compadres. I soon came to know him as Hippie Doc.

We stopped and stared at each other for a moment. And in that moment, I came to quickly regret my ailing prayer life. Considering in that moment, I thought life was all but over.

He was an aging gray-haired vagabond – with a chest-length scraggly beard and a braided ponytail. He wore a white tee-shirt over an expanse of massive belly, with an orange emblem that was unmistakable – Satan’s Stepchildren. But it was his leather vest that caught my eye. For one side of the vest bore the distinctive yellow and black shoulder patch of the Cav, underneath which was stitched “1st Cavalry Division Airmobile ’67-’68.

My response was immediate, “Garry Owen, sir!”

He grinned at me, took one look at my 101st Airborne hat – something I feel comfortable wearing in the heartland, but nowhere else, and responded, “Airborne! You’re close, but no cigar, trooper. 3/9 Charlie Blues, 1st Cav medic.”

Whenever I run into a fellow veteran – particularly of that era – my response is always the same, and automatic. “Thank you for your service.” I said. “And welcome home.”

After which, I got a bear hug that almost stopped my pump. Much back slapping ensued. And I ended up buying dinner for seven in the small diner of the Flying J truck stop between Billings, Montana and Bismarck, North Dakota. C’est la vie. I was on an expense account, and something told me I was on to something with this encounter.

Turns out Hippie Doc was indeed a medic in the 1st Cav, specifically among the 9th Cav forward artillery observation battalions. He was 61 years old as we sat down to eat together, which would have made him a 20-year-old medic during the Tet Offensive. That was before my time in the ‘Nam, but legend has it no unit sustained more fire or took more casualties than the Cav in the first few months of 1968.

And Doc was in the middle of it.

War stories are like elbows (not to mention another, less polite portion of the anatomy). Everybody’s got one. So, we didn’t spend a lot of time comparing notes. It’s typical of most war veterans. We just don’t go there. Our WWII fathers spent sixty years keeping quiet before they finally opened their hearts and shared their stories with their families, friends and a nation aching to hear of their exploits. So, in a way, our reluctance to revisit that dismal time was part of the tradition of men who’ve stared down the barrel of a gun. I considered it no great loss. What piqued my curiosity was what happened since. Particularly, how Doc ended up in the twilight zone in the great American nowhere – a drifter on the open road.

His homecoming was typical. He left home with a vague desire to make a difference. He came back to the bitter truth there was no difference to be made.

I asked him if he ever considered taking his skills as a medic and parlaying that into a career as a doctor. Lots of medics went down that road. Some made it. Some didn’t. But the desire to do some good was a powerful motivator back in the early 70s with an army of baby boomers all busy elbowing each other out of the way, in their grim, ruthless struggle to claw their way to the top, no matter what. And those in pursuit of the holy grail of wealth, prestige and power that the letters M.D. alone could bestow were the most ruthless of all.

Turns out, Doc traveled that very path. He spent two years at Mississippi State University in the pre-med program before he got fed up with the politics of academic destruction, and his own personal demons overwhelmed him.

“Oh, man.” He told me, reflecting on the cutthroat academic environment of aspiring doctors in those days. “It was screw your mother, fuck your buddy, and throw everybody, and I mean everybody on the grenade to save your own ass. Heal the sick? All we wanted was to play god and not answer to anybody. Man, I just couldn’t deal with that. We were supposed to heal the sick, not sniff after the brass ring like a mongrel dog after a bitch in heat.”

I could have quoted him chapter and verse on that score. I’m the only one in my family without the magic letters after my name. And I could tell him we were prepared to pay any price, bear any burden, destroy any competitor, and burn any bridge to attain the lofty status of swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood only an M.D. degree can confer. I know that story very well.

But I didn’t burden him with it. I was more interested in how an otherwise articulate, insightful man ends up on the fringes of society getting into God knows what.

During his time at MSU the nightmares came. His girlfriend freaked and left him high and dry. That kind of stuff happened back then. Some of those night terrors got to be pretty ugly. Especially in the years immediately following the now-legendary American bug out from the embassy roof in Saigon. It took a woman with some steel in her spine to deal with that. Some women had it. Some didn’t.

Then came the drugs and the booze. Anything to get some relief from the terrors, and get through the night uninterrupted. A stint in a VA psych ward gave Doc some relief, but not much. And, back in the days before Ronald Reagan, a VA psych ward was the last place any veteran would want to be.

Doc did a stint as a long-haul trucker – something I’m currently engaged in now. And it gave him some relief. I can see why. There’s something seductive about the open road. There’s a sense of freedom and peace if you work it right. But the road can also wear you out, which, after a six-day run into Canada, I can also attest to. You can’t live out there. Pretty soon, you’ve got to come home. And that presents a thorny problem when there’s no home to come home to.

But the same cutthroat practices in the trucking companies made Doc’s situation intolerable. “Man, they didn’t value the work we did, and they didn’t value us. They spent most of their time fucking over the very people who were making them rich. And they did it again and again.”

Then Doc bought a Harley and discovered the brotherhood of the shadow culture.

There were certain questions I didn’t ask him. How he got initiated into the brotherhood of the biker world was one of them. What he did to make a living was another. I knew enough to know that while this man may have been a disillusioned true believe, he wasn’t a plaster saint. His eloquence hardly qualified him as some latter-day poet laureate of the interstate. Biker gangs of the type he rode with have been linked to drug trafficking, racketeering, kidnapping, rape and murder. Hardly the romantic 21st century riders of the purple sage Zane Gray had in mind when he developed the genré.

But I did ask him how long he’d been riding the roads and what he got out of it. Turns out he joined his first gang in 1975 and had been riding ever since. What did he get out of it? He answered in one word.

“Respect, man. People treat us with respect, they get respect back. If they don’t . . .”

What a novel concept. Respect. Seems to me I read somewhere recently men crave respect more than they desire love. In my own experience, I know this to be true. I don’t know, in the midst of the contempt that is now my lot in life, as I grow old and useless in the new global utopia, that I would be driven to the fringe element of the back roads to scratch that itch. But that’s my choice. Other men made other choices.

We were getting ready to leave and I reached for the check when Doc said, “You know, this used to be a hell of a good country.”

All of a sudden I felt like Peter Fonda sitting around the campfire listening to Jack Nicholson say the same thing in Easy Rider. Nevertheless, Doc continued.

“I don’t know if we started to fuck ourselves over before we went over there (to Vietnam), or after we got back. I just know this ain’t the country I grew up in, it ain’t the country I recognize, and it ain’t the country I can abide anymore. It’s all about the money. Go ahead and fuck whoever you want in the ass, just so long as you get the money. Who knows? Maybe it was all a lie from the start.”

I asked him what he was going to do after Sturgis.

“Same thing I’ve always done. Keep on ridin’ ‘til my tank runs dry.”

Somehow I didn’t think he was referring to the gas tank.

And so, in the encroaching twilight, I watched Doc and his fellow members of Satan’s Stepchildren ride off to Sturgis, South Dakota. Somewhere between Billings, Montana and Bismarck, North Dakota, in the dusk of a summer evening, I felt sad and empty, as if something important had been profoundly lost.

I considered the parallel paths each of us walked as I watched this small group disappear over the horizon, the distinctive roar of their Harleys fading in the distance. Maybe the only difference between us was that I bought the lie longer than he did. Maybe Doc saw the truth of how dispensable all of us are and did something about it. And maybe he saw it early on. Maybe he recognized the fraud and the lie that we live in a country which no longer values the lives of each of its citizens or is committed to the provision that they should rise as far as talent and ambition will take them. Maybe he recognized that he was simply fodder to fuel the golden calf of international commerce, never to share in the fruits of its bounty. And maybe he acted out of the conviction men come to when they recognize that the foundation of their world is built on a swindle.

Somehow, I got a sense that the pond scum of the new world order rode in the shadows of the empty highways. Somehow, I realized what I knew all along – the wretched refuse of the world’s teeming shores were not welcome in America unless they worked cheap. What was left, got discarded like yesterday’s leftover garbage, whether they drove a rig for the DOE or rode a Harley Davidson for Satan’s Stepchildren.

I never caught up with Doc and his fellow riders along the length of I-94. I don’t make a habit of pushing my rig. Bad things happen when you do, I’m convinced. And since I was well ahead of schedule, there was no need to make time.

But I did come away from the encounter that to plan for a future in which the best leadership we can hope for is a left-wing Pontius Pilate or a rightist Judas Iscariot is folly. Doc and his compatriots live for the moment, and they live in the now. I’ve been doing that for the last three years while trying in vain to pound my eternally square peg back into the corporate round hole in which it never fit in the first place.

Maybe Doc was on to something. Maybe the now is all we can cling to because it’s all we have left.

Among the convoy of bikers on their annual pilgrimage there were other noteworthy happenings along the way . . .

I did notice, that along the entire length of Montana, and into North Dakota, I never heard a single word, nor glimpsed a single sign in Espanól. I must confess, I got used to it. I will admit that the further north you go, the English/Spanish signs morphed into English/French, which I can’t say is much of an improvement. But it is different. And everywhere I went, white people were working. Everywhere. In the restaurants, the motels, the truck washes, the grocery stores. So this is where they all went.

They bear the same malaise carried by Doc and to a lesser degree his compatriots. They’re tired, worn out, and suffused with the certainty that their work is not valued, and their individual value as Americans is not respected. They have no place in the global utopia, and are content to live out what’s left of their time on earth in the heart of the great American nowhere.

The run into Canada was uneventful save for two noteworthy events. Crossing at Emerson, I was lectured at length – and by that I mean at least five separate occasions during the checkpoint examination – that firearms were not allowed in Canada. There is no private ownership of firearms, I was informed. And to be taken with a weapon of any kind would result in my immediate arrest and possible imprisonment for up to thirty years. (They don’t execute anyone in Canada. They’re far too humane for that. At least as far as I know).

The other significant development that I learned was my Bible was considered contraband and would not be allowed into the country. How could I explain that I hadn’t opened it in weeks, nee months? The customs agent wasn’t the least bit impressed. It was the DOE that came to my rescue. Since I was dropping my load and flying back, I wouldn’t be coming back through Emerson to pick up anything I might leave in the custody of Canadian Customs. So, by the grace of the Canadian Immigration Office, I was permitted to bring this dangerously subversive volume into the country, provided that I never so much as mention anything about its contents to anyone.

No problemo.

Hmmm, let see. No guns. No Bibles. There’s a certain connection there. And it makes sense, considering Canada is a member in good standing of the brave new globalist utopia.

Other than that, Canada was wonderful. Hospitable people, magnificent scenery in the middle of high summer, and a government program for everything. What’s not to like?

I came home after a week on the road. I’m too old to be sleeping in airport terminals, but sleep there I did. The accommodations at Winnipeg International border on plush, but I’m about 30 years past the point where I can get more than an hour or so of uninterrupted sleep on lounge chairs. Oh, for the days of being able to sleep through rocket attacks at Ton Son Hut air base!

My first day home, I forgot that I routinely walked around the local area heavily armed and extremely dangerous. All nice and legal, of course. I have a California CCW which I put to good use every time I leave the house. On the road, and particularly on this run which took me across the northern border, there was no way I could carry my customary weapon for reasons already discussed. And, in truth, when I’m out there, I feel peculiarly safe, as if there’s some inherent level of stability in the heartland that I don’t enjoy at home. So, the day after I came home, I was still walking around unarmed and didn’t give it a second thought.

But, I quickly learned the difference later that afternoon.

I ended up at the local Barnes & Noble to kill some time. Let’s face it, when you don’t have a life, have nothing to do and nowhere to go, Barnes & Noble is a great place to do all of that. Oftentimes, bookstores like this and Borders will play selected CDs that they happen to be promoting at the time. I pushed through the revolving door of the bookstore and was instantly bombarded by the most oppressive, booming mariachi music I’ve heard this side of Tijuana. It was instantly capable of generating a migrainesque headache the likes of which I thought could only be inflicted by the worst hits of KC and the Sunshine Band.

During my absence, it appeared fully half the titles available for sale on the shelves were now in Espanól, up from perhaps a third the week before I left. And I didn’t hear the English language until a sales clerk called for a price check from her manager. Seems management hasn’t been replaced by the appropriate bi-lingual, cheap labor serfs that raise all boats by lowering the price of the goods we buy. But give it time.

Well, my pounding head needed a measure of relief, so I passed through the bookstore out in to the mall proper. On my way out, I ran into a group of Latinos – you know the type, young, shaved heads, tattoos, looking strangely reminiscent of the group that jumped me at a local eatery over Labor Day weekend last year. They shoved me aside, and had some choice comments in Espanól which I didn’t understand. One of them spat in my direction. He missed. But I did get the drift. I was a solitary, useless old man who didn’t belong anymore. They were young and strong and the wave of the future. And they worked cheap, whatever they did. I was also unarmed, as I suddenly remembered.

I went home and got my Glock 30. I’ve been carrying it ever since.

Sometimes it’s very good not to be afraid. Sometimes it’s very good indeed.

Welcome home, asshole.

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

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