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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

12/28/2009

It's Time to Take Back Our Government


... we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain

...from Plumb Bob Blog:
The outcome of the Senate vote regarding the Democrats’ health care monstrosity is actually moot. The fate of the dollar is already sealed; even without the new, dead weight of yet another unfunded and unfundable ball on the end of our fiscal chain, the collapse will come sooner rather than later. The massive debt accumulations, the rising mandatory spending, the inability of the government to find lenders, the unwillingness of government to even begin to address the easily recognizable fiscal disaster, and the abandonment of free enterprise and the rule of law, have all worked their corrosion; it seems unlikely to me that the nation will even be able to provide even the first dollar of the new health care regime. The outcome of this “debate” does not matter.

What matters is what the incident says about the Democratic party.

We’ve just witnessed a massive assault on individual liberty. Every word produced by the Democratic party during the “debate” was a lie; not a single claim from the party was true. At no time did they participate in the system in good faith; at every point they made every effort to hide their intentions, to bury the true effect of the bill under mountains of opaque verbiage. They passed their measures hurriedly, in the dead of night, knowing that they lacked the support of the nation, knowing that their own Senatorial support would evaporate if permitted exposure to the folks back home. Even the few who supported the measure are misled. None of the alleged goals of the new system have been met in the new bill. It is not cheaper. It does not increase access. It does not reduce claim assessments from unfriendly adjusters. It does not improve health care in any way; it simply adds power to the Democratic control machine. That was the goal: power to the Democratic party. And less liberty for you.

They used a technique I’m calling the Kamikaze Ratchet. They know perfectly well that there will be a voter reaction in 2010, and that many who supported this measure will face opposition that might not have had any force except for anger over the health bill. Some will lose their seats. They know this; that’s the Kamikaze part. The Ratchet part is that they’re betting that the new Congress in 2010 will not have the numbers, or the guts, to substantially change the new health regime. They may lose their seats, but the new Masters in Washington will have acquired their authority permanently.

The point is that the Democratic party is not a participant in the American experiment in liberty. It has not been, in fact, at any time since the beginning of the 20th century. At all points in time, the Democratic party has represented the element in American culture that wants to throw off the cumbersome engine of compromise required to keep the nation free, and replace it with a sleek, streamlined autocracy run by experts, an oligarchy of the scientifically-minded elite. They believe that they, and they alone, know how to make the trains run on time, how to usher in the Age of Aquarius, how to build a new and more perfect world. They’ve been hankering after the power to do what they have in their minds, unmolested. Their every move, from 1914 onward, has been to acquire that power in order to end Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.
Patriot American citizens support freedom-lovers and oppose tyrants no mater what their party affiliation. But the fact remains that this latest tyrannical obscenity of a health care bill was crafted in secret meetings and rammed through in the middle of the night by Democrats alone, with no Republican participation.

We may be non-partisan, but we're not blind.

Certainly the Republican party bears some of the blame, since during the last decades they too have initiated many government power grabs. But let's be clear: Never has such a massive amount of freedom been taken from the people by the majority party without a single vote from the opposition. The Democrats own this latest tyranny.

If you read the rest of Phil's excellent essay, he recommends that the States "where it appears that the majority of the citizens retain belief in citizen government" get together and secede from the Union. Phil is not alone in wanting to separate ourselves from the looters and thugs. In a recent (Nov. 2nd) guest column in the Transylvania Times, reader Meriam Matthews of Lake Toxaway wrote:
It has become clear that the ideological differences between the two main political world views - liberalism and conservatism - have become irreconcilable...

I find myself being forcibly married to half the country whose ideology I find morally and politically repugnant...and I want a divorce.

Here are my settlement terms: I want all the red counties...[and] the liberals can have the blue counties...We'll split North Carolina and take the Western half...

Give me back my Constitution. I want my taxes reduced, my incandescent light bulbs, my health car plan, my car, my church and my Bible. Hands off my Internet, the free market, my small business profits, my free speech...

I want my schools free of sexual and political indoctrination, the founding documents and history books free of historical revisionism...
While the idea of leaving the left to lie in the bed they have made is appealing, and with all due respect to Phil and Mr. Matthews, unilateral succession has been tried before with disastrous results. Not only did 260,000 Americans give their lives during the American Civil War, but the drastic measures President Lincoln used to prosecute the war fractured the U.S. Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence proclaimed to the world:
...Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Sure, it's theoretically possible for the U.S. Congress to call a Constitutional Convention with the intent of abolishing the current federal government and replacing it with another. But that will never happen, of course; Congress likes having unlimited power over us. Thankfully, there is another way out of this mess.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides the mechanism to peacefully change the government without the consent of Congress.
Congress...on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof...
I believe that the time has come to work toward that end. The last few weeks have made it abundantly clear that our so-called 'representatives' no longer represent the people, and instead, represent only their insatiable lust for power. We've petitioned them until we're blue in the face, and frankly, they just don't care any more.

There's an old Sicilian saying, "Don't ask for what you can't take," and I say it's time we stopped asking our U.S. legislators to respect the U.S. Constitution and instead, take back our government.

I believe we need to do that from the bottom up, starting at the County level, then the State.

The Asheville, NC Tea Party, of which I am a member, has been ahead of the game in supporting the Sovereignty of the States under the Tenth Amendment with its support of HB 849 - The North Carolina Sovereignty Act.

Unfortunately, that bill is being blocked by eight-term Assemblyman Bill Owens [D-Elizabeth City]. Last April, various Tea Party groups (including ours) presented Owens with a petition containing over 1,000 signatures, urging him to move this bill forward. But like our U.S. Representatives, he didn't hear us either. After repeated calls to his office pressing for a response, any response, to our petition, Assemblyman Owens issued this worthless statement though a voicemail message left by his assistant:
Representative Owens did see [the petition,] and he said that House Bill 849 probably would not be heard because it's the Senate's policy that they do not consider State legislation dealing with Federal policy, and that even if it passed in the House, the Senate wouldn't do anything with it.
-- Assemblyman Owen's assistant Linda, 6/2/2009
"Destructive of the ends of liberty..."
  • massive debt accumulations, unretirable in multiple lifetimes

  • rising mandatory spending, with no end in sight

  • inability of the government to find lenders to fund its appetite for debt

  • abandonment of free enterprise in favor of nationalized industry

  • casting aside of the rule of law in favor of the rule of men

  • full embrace of socialist government programs designed to keep an increasing number of Americans dependent upon the government

Those who stood aside as mute observers as this agenda came to fruition; those who assisted feebly in the effort by refusing to do their sworn duty (i.e. Assemblyman Owens). In the end, they share equally in the blame with those who put their full weight into the effort to push these agenda items through. All played critical roles in despoiling Liberty as given by the Creator and once guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution is a peace treaty which allows men to live together freely in peace and prosperity. We should all seriously consider the ramifications if we allow the government to trample this precious document upon which our very lives depend.

by John Cooper
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)
- with contributions by JaneQ Republican -

12/23/2009

Christmas Reflections


For the past nearly fifty years, there has been a small mom and pop grocery store in our neighborhood – a clapboard place that humbly occupied about 5,000 square feet when it first opened in 1962. Above the store is a small (perhaps 1,200 sq. ft.), but cozy, apartment.

The man who built the original store – I’ll call him Dave Martin (I’ll not use his real name, simply because I believe he wouldn’t have wanted me to) – was a man of Mennonite ancestry who combined his lifelong desire to own his own small business with the desire to provide a convenient, homey, affordable place for his neighbors to purchase their groceries, fresh meat and produce.

Though not very large or impressive, Martin’s Store has thrived for decades. It was the place to shop for groceries back in the sixties and seventies. Since its original foundation was laid, it has expanded four times, and now occupies about 12,000 square feet.

In 1984, Dave Martin decided to open another facility. Despite warnings from many business ‘experts’, both local and from other areas of the country, that he was biting off much more than he could chew, and overestimating the need for such an establishment, he built another substantially larger facility about ten miles down the road from his original clapboard store.

The new facility, which has now been in business for twenty-five years, offers 95,000 square feet and twenty-three aisles of grocery shopping, and includes a banquet facility that can seat up to four hundred people.

Shoppers come from all over south-central PA to patronize Martin’s store and it has earned a sterling reputation as a business of quality and integrity. During business hours, one cannot drive by the store without witnessing a parking lot overflowing with cars. In addition to the store itself, the Martin complex now houses a florist, a drug store, a medical lab and an insurance company.

Both of Dave Martin’s stores – the small clapboard grocery that opened the year before John Kennedy was assassinated, and the large, and expanding, business that followed twenty-two years later – are closed on Sundays. While the rest of the area is bustling with tourists, or antiquers, or locals out for a Sunday drive, the two Martin parking lots sit empty and motionless, as a visible reminder of Dave Martin's belief in the sanctity of the sabbath.

I knew Dave Martin for about twenty-five years before he passed away about ten years ago. As I have mentioned here on the forum before, I serve as an elected official in our small township. He used to come into my office at the municipal building to transact business now and then. He would always come toward the end of the day, and we would chat for an hour or so, after my office hours ended, and before each of us headed home for dinner.

He was a humble man of unquestionable integrity. He and his wife lived in the small apartment above the original grocery store. After the enormous success of his new and much larger enterprise, did he expand his ‘needs’ and increase his personal living requirements? No. Until the day he died, he continued to live in that modest little apartment. As far as I know, his wife is living there still.

His lack of desire to live more lavishly, when he could certainly have afforded to do so, had absolutely nothing to do with a miserly nature, or an inordinate desire to pinch pennies. It had much more to do with a realization of the relative value of material vs. spiritual things. The fact that what you have is not an accurate measure of who you are.

One particularly severe winter, the roof blew off the Catholic school in a nearby town. The church was having difficulty coming up with the $20,000 needed to replace that roof. Dave Martin, hearing of the church’s plight, wrote a $20,000 check to the roofing company, with the agreement that no one would ever know from where the funds came. You see, Dave was a Mennonite, and there may have been a handful of people who would have criticized his meeting another religion’s needs. And yet Dave saw all needs in the community as his own, and responded quite often, and quite anonymously, to more of those needs than we may ever know. It was only after Dave passed away, that the source of the funds for the school roof was revealed, and I am certain he would still have preferred otherwise. I am also certain that many other community needs were met as a result of Dave Martin’s quietly-opened, well-worn wallet.

When the blizzard of ’96 hit our area, leaving 36” inches of snowfall in its wake, Rick and I thought it would be memorable to see how far we could walk after the snow had stopped falling. Martin’s newer market was a mere two blocks from our home at the time, and it took us well over an hour to walk to the vicinity of the store. Upon setting foot onto the vast parking lot, more than waist-deep in fallen snow, we were astounded to see lights on in the store itself a few hundred feet away. Walking through the doors, we came upon the courtesy counter and saw none other than Dave Martin and his wife manning the store. There were no other employees to be seen. We asked them how on earth they managed to travel the ten miles from their apartment to this, the larger market, and they replied, ‘We slept here last night, knowing that we probably wouldn’t have been able to make it in this morning, and we couldn’t ask our employees to venture out in such a storm.’ The 95,000 square foot store was empty but for the Martins, a couple of state policemen, two other neighbors who lived across the street, and us. But the store was open, in case anyone was in need of anything.

On one occasion, when he was getting up in years, Dave Martin said to me in a moment of deep reflection, ‘I won’t be around forever, and I’ve asked my sons to honor my wishes not to do business at our markets on Sunday. I hope and pray that they will keep that promise after I am gone.’ There was a perceptible sadness in his voice, and an almost desperate longing for this particular wish to be honored.

Dave left us about ten years ago and his sons have thus far been true to their promise.

There are countless other examples I could cite of Dave Martin’s goodness. But I’ll simply end with this abbreviated list. My purpose in sharing at least a small part of Dave’s story with you is to express the belief that so often the people who most affect our lives, and who leave an indelible mark on our own personal view of the world, are those who do not seek to do so. They simply live their lives in quiet humility, seeking to put the needs of others above their own, and simply hoping, in some small way, to leave the world a better place than it was when they arrived.

If we, as a nation, once again begin to envision such character-laden people as role models ... even heroes ... and begin to question the genuine value of those among us who place wealth, fame, power and notoriety highest on their list of priorities, we will have placed ourselves back onto a pathway that leads to genuine and lasting prosperity.

At this most holy time of year, no matter our faith, or our walk in life, I hope we (myself certainly included) will all take the time to look around us for our own Dave Martins. Ask ourselves what we can do to be more like them. And tell them how much we appreciate their example. Choosing role models who place humility before notoriety, and others before self, will surely go far in helping us to become a better people, striving to serve as a reflection of His goodness and grace.

~ joanie

Reflections of a Digusted North Carolinian


North Carolina’s state budget is already at the breaking point. This year, lawmakers – desperate to raise revenue - hit us with $1 billion in state tax hikes including a 1% sales tax increase, and 30% increases in the excise taxes on beer, wine, and liquor. Even with all that, they only managed to delay the inevitable train wreck for another year by using $1.4 billion in federal “stimulus” funds and nearly $100 million from various state “trust funds”. Marianne Suarez of the Civitas Institute writes in Federal Health Care “Reform” Proposal Would Add $600 Million to N.C.’s Already Strained Budget:
Yet even as states such as North Carolina are struggling to cover their spending commitments, a central part of the federal health care “reform” effort is to further expand the second-largest state-funded program: Medicaid.

the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” further expands Medicaid eligibility up to 150% of the federal poverty level – adding more than 17 million people to the system nation wide. By some estimates, this move is expected to cost North Carolina taxpayers another $599 million.
In the few months since state budget was passed, the state has already overspent on Medicaid by $160 million, and that number is expected to climb beyond $200 million before the close of the fiscal year. Due mostly to high unemployment, Medicaid expenditures are approaching 9 percent higher than in 2008-2009. Not only that, but this year North Carolina has spent 4 percent more on the average enrollee than was forecast.

If DemCare becomes law, North Carolina is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall - over ten percent of the budget - each year as far as the eye can see. Guess who is going to pay for that? Ms. Suarez continues:
The move to expand government health care programs already in place – Medicaid and Medicare - was pushed through by Democrats as a positive alternative for the public option. In reality, forcing such a dramatic expansion of programs such as Medicaid will do nothing more than make health care more costly and less accessible to the same people it aims to protect. Because Medicaid reimburses providers at a lower rate than private insurance companies, fewer doctors are accepting Medicaid patients. Piling millions more people into the Medicaid program reduces their access to care, as more Medicaid patients attempt to compete for the attention of fewer providers. Moreover, those providers still accepting Medicaid patients will attempt to compensate for the low Medicaid reimbursements by charging the private insurance companies higher rates – thus driving up premiums.

Senator Reid’s proposal to expand Medicaid will not only make medical care less accessible to our nation’s most needy citizens, it will impose an unaffordable burden upon already cash-strapped state budgets. North Carolina’s state budget is already in a multi-billion dollar hole. Where does Sen. Reid think we will come up with another $599 million?
Not only will North Carolinians be taxed to pay for the expanded Medicaid program in North Carolina, but thanks to Democrat bribery in the Senate, they’ll be paying for Medicaid Recipients in Nebraska and Nevada as well. From Kate Obenshain at Human Events, Obamacare Bankrupting States:
“Sen. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback” for Nebraska may have given Harry Reid his coveted sixtieth vote, but it comes at a price for the other states, states that are already feeling the hammer of rising Medicaid costs.

Just coming to light is a concern that has been giving governors heartburn for months: the fact that states are going to be hit with a monstrous financial burden with the passage of Obamacare, and none are in a position to handle it.

…Ohio spends 39 percent of its state budget a year on Medicaid. Massachusetts spends 27 percent. [The HHS budget in NC accounts for 22% of the total.] On average, states fork over 20 percent of their annual spending on this joint state-federal program that originally began to assist women and children in poverty and the disabled.

…Who is going to get stuck with half the price tag? The states. Well, the states minus Nebraska. And probably Nevada…

…Dealing with the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, 48 states are already in the red -- in many cases due to their own profligacy -- and they expect to be facing even larger deficits next year.

The Congressional Budget Office forecasted that the expansion of Medicaid would add about $37 billion to states’ expenses. How would states pay for the increased costs? Cut services, including education, and yes, increase tax.

Those tax increases would be piled on top of several hundred million in federal tax hikes currently being bandied about to pay for the government’s power grab on health care. All this coming from a president who promised not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000.

Legislators have been getting an earful from the states on the devastating consequences of expanding Medicaid, but they aren’t letting that stop them. Or even slow them down.

Sen.Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has been outspoken in his advocacy for the states, but he has garnered little attention. He didn’t hold back when he said, “Any senator who votes to expand Medicaid and transfer the costs on to the states ought to be sentenced to go home and serve as governor for a few years and try to implement the Medicaid program which is bankrupting states and forcing funding cuts that will ruin public higher education…Unlike the federal government, states can't print money."
Sen. Kay Hagan absolutely doesn't care about any of this, but our Rep. Heath Shuler at least claims that he won't support any health care bill that will drive up the deficit. His offices are closed until Monday, January 5th, but you can contact him then (if it's not too late).

by John Cooper
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

12/21/2009

Carol For A Different Kind of Christmas


Yes, it’s that time of year at last; a time of peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and a momentary hiatus when the rats take a break from the rat race to actually be civil to each other. For the time being, at least.

What follows is not going to challenge anybody’s idea of a Christmas story. It’s a Wonderful Life will still emerge intact as the holiday tale of choice, as it should. This commentary will not emerge as a pretender to that throne. But it will, I hope, provide a snapshot of the year-end goings on of yours truly, and capture the tenor of the times, if not the spirit of the season. Sound good? O.K. Let’s get to it.

It’s been a threadbare year, but a good one, despite the hardships. I attended two benchmark 40-year reunions this year – that of my old Vietnam unit over Memorial Day, and my high school class of 1969 in August.

They were important events, because both – in different ways – served as a benchmark for how far we’ve come, both as respective groups and as a nation. But, as we forged into the holiday season, several seemingly unrelated events served to bring focus to a sea-change event soon to take shape inside the beltway.

As the holidays approached, I was all set and ready to make my annual pilgrimage over the river and across the desert from my Southern California enclave to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Problem was, this was the season my car chose to fall apart. And, on the meager living I eek out from the local school district, I found myself unable to make the journey – for either holiday.

“O.K.,” you may observe, “what’s the big deal? Happens to everyone sooner or later.”

True enough. But since the death of my daughter in a traffic accident six years ago – along with her three kids – I’ve taken to spending the holidays with Andy and Helena (once again) in the desert city where I spent fifteen years in my younger days. How do I describe my relationship with this couple?

They were the kind of people, who, if you had no place to go during the holidays, were welcome to spend it with them. That’s how it started. I was working at a local hotel at the time – Vegas observes no holiday season for its hotel workers – and Andy and Helena set up a rotating buffet, available to anyone coming off shift who wanted to partake of the feast. I came that year for Thanksgiving, came again for Christmas, and a tradition was born. I didn’t always make the trip – for many years, I spent the holiday with my daughter and grandkids in Atlanta – but that situation changed dramatically a few years ago as I’ve already mentioned.

Andy and Helena provided the only genuinely unconditional love I’ve ever received. There’s no better way to put it. And I was grateful that the door was still open after my daughter’s death when the holidays became, shall we say, less joyous than they should have been. I was still welcome, as was anyone who had nowhere to go, and wanted to partake of the fellowship and the feast. They never checked anyone’s pedigree at the door.

Since that time, and since all of us were getting older, and since I was uncomfortably close to the phenomenon, I often wondered – aloud at times, and to both of them – if the particular holiday we were then enjoying at the time was going to be our last. They were philosophical about it, as many elderly people often become as they grow closer to the end of the run. But last December – or more accurately last January – we crapped out.

Andy died.

He suffered from complications of COPD and emphysema. Andy loved his pipe and smoked it right up to the day he went into the hospital. He went in for treatment of a back injury, picked up a kidney infection, developed trouble breathing, and died. It happens when you’re 78.

But at least Andy had the best medical care available. At least he wasn’t confronted with some government bureaucrat, wringing his hands, shaking his head, and painfully informing his family that, due to fiscal constraints, his coverage under ObamaCare © would not permit the most efficacious treatment available. At least he was spared that. I mean, the man was 78 and retired. What useful purpose did he serve? What possible justification could merit spending tens of thousands of dollars to prolong his life? And for how long? But, I’m sure he would have had available a compassionate program of humane euthanasia to ease his suffering and thereby alleviate the burdens on an already fiscally strained public health care system.

At least he managed to escape before he had to confront that monstrosity.

Locally, Pastor Phil at my church, is the father of four adorable, precocious quadruplets. By all accounts, they are not the result of fertility treatments, but as natural as natural can be. The kids are four years old this year – slightly beyond the toddler years, but not quite ready for school.

Phil’s son, Chad, contracted childhood leukemia.

So, for Pastor Phil and his family, this holiday season is beyond bittersweet. It’s indescribable. It’s times like these that we find out what we’re made of. My church is noted for its vast productions and its congregation that has a hunger for the spotlight. We’re the lords of the manor, after all. We own the local valley – most of us anyway – and while hard times have hit us, they haven’t crushed us either.

But, at these times, you find out very quickly who’s grabbing for the microphone, and elbowing everybody else out of the spotlight with bold claims of miraculous healing as a result of their righteous prayers. Then you discover who among the flock has four-in-the-morning courage. I never knew I had it, but it looks like I do. I’m on the late-night hospital watch.

You see, Pastor Phil stands poised at the threshold of the fraternity of death in a most ghastly way. He stares into the face of losing a child. Trust me, that’s a fraternity nobody wants to be part of. And it’s growing at an alarming rate.

But, for all his anguish, at a time when he and Chad should be walking the Alta Loma nights, not holding vigil at a local hospital, Pastor Phil has private health insurance. And for all his concerns, well, one of them is not dealing with some federal officer who, with a pained expression on his face, patiently explains to this afflicted father that his son is only three years old, and far from a contributing member of society. In fact, it will be years before he can shoulder the burden of earning a living, thereby supporting the massive fiscal engine that fuels ObamaCare © and makes all this cutting edge medical care possible. Then again, just what could young Chad possibly do, even if he did reach the age of maturity? Every good job worth having has long since gone to India. Just what livelihood will he pursue in a nation that lives to consume? And not even goods we produce ourselves, but products manufactured for us by others.

I mean, didn’t Peter Singer, the award winning ethicist from Princeton University state in his defining position paper that humane euthanasia of infants was not only ethical but a moral imperative for defective children up to a month old? It was a matter of self-awareness, was it not? Or the lack thereof. And wasn’t that window of opportunity then extended to three months? And then six? Surely we could apply a compassionate program of humane euthanasia to this suffering child, now couldn’t we? Surely the death panel assembled to review this tragic case would approve it, would they not? Surely it would be covered. And it would spare the government countless thousands of dollars in needlessly prolonging the suffering of an innocent child. Without question, an enlightened populace could find its way to relieve this family of its painful financial burdens.

But, we can rejoice. Young Chad has only to concentrate on beating the disease, not beating the government.

And then there’s Holly. She cut quite a figure on the dance floor when her husband Rudy met her in 1975. Now she’s pushing 300 lbs., is plagued with a bad case of diabetes, fibromyalgia, and MS, with which she is confined to a wheelchair. Rudy takes care of her.

I also know them from church. I met Rudy in a small group. He’s a good friend, and a fellow Christian He’s also a Marine Corps veteran – I do keep running into them, now don’t I? – with twenty-twomonths service in-country in Vietnam behind him. A good man to know and a bad man to cross.

Rudy was a point man in a rifle platoon – nine months into a voluntary second tour – when he popped red smoke in a hot LZ and tangled with an RPG at close range. The blast blew his helmet to bits and peppered his skull with steel fragments. He spent twenty months in and out of naval hospitals when he came home, and when it was over, he came out with a steel plate in his head and a monkey on his back, as the John Prine song goes. A latter day Sam Stone if ever there was one. He got hooked on pain killers, and from there to hallucinogens. For all that, and after years of fighting the devil, he managed to get clean and stay clean. He retired with a pension from the U.S. Postal Service and a partial disability from the Marine Corps.

But he beat the odds. He did accomplish that much. Rudy came out the other side. There wasn’t much left of him when he did. A lot of him was gone. But he did emerge into the light.

He doesn’t say much anymore. It’s an effort for him to talk. But when he’s got something to say, well, he’s got something to say. And people listen to him. Right now, he’s retired, suffering from intermittent seizures, and takes care of Holly.

Holly has a problem controlling her blood sugar. Always has. Right now, she’s in a diabetic coma at the same hospital at which Pastor Phil’s son is undergoing chemotherapy. Holly is one sick woman. But Rudy has private health insurance as part of his government pension. He wonders how long it will last under ObamaCare ©. But right now, he doesn’t have to deal with an understanding health care official who patiently explains to him that his wife is a fifty-nine year old woman whose best years are behind her. He doesn’t have to hear about the massive financial burden she poses to a fiscally strapped system of medical care. And he certainly does not have to contend with a compassionate program of humane euthanasia, which could mercifully put her out of her misery and ease the pressures on a public system of health care that is strained to the breaking point.

So, I’m running Rudy down to the hospital since he cannot drive due to the seizures. But, Rudy is a brother veteran, so I’m happy to lend a hand. Like Helena and Andy, Rudy doesn’t care about anyone’s pedigree. He only cares who’s got his back. He had mine once.Now, I’ve got his. It’s only right.

So, this holiday season is one filled with burdens. And they’re coming with the power of an avalanche. It’s never a good thing to get buried under a spiritual snowfall, but even worse at Christmas time.

Then there’s my little predicament.

Since September, I’ve landed on the couch of one of my fellow Class of ’69 alumni. She was quite taken with my Normandy experience, and since I had to vacate my residence on the very day of the reunion, and since she took it upon herself to assist in my efforts to get this monumental saga of what went on during that delirious month of June 2004 in Europe, I have landed on her couch and have been there ever since. Rest assured, she’s tucked into her warm little bed every night, and I am awkwardly ensconced on the couch. No problem there. No desire to be anywhere else.

This isn’t charity, by a long shot. Every month, she gets a portion of the firstfruits of my meager little paycheck. It’s not much. And it’s certainly not enough for being rescued from these California winter nights, no matter how mild. But, she gets something every month. My idea, not hers.

Problem is, we’re as different as night and day.

Unlike Rudy, unlike Helena and Andy, unlike Pastor Phil, she is very much concerned with the pedigree of the peopleshe encounters. Compounding this, she has just been grafted in with the movers and shakers of the select group of insiders of the Class of ‘69, after forty years of being a beggar at the feast.

It’s a highly first-rate fraternity. All of them have private health insurance. All of them are completely unconcerned about what goes on in Washington. You see, they’re the 10%ers. Like the Washington elite, they will never have to contend with the limitations of ObamaCare ©. They are enormously competent, magnetically charismatic, and have made a lifetime practice of landing on their feet, on the top of the heap.

Well, you can’t bring a mutt to a gathering of purebreds. That’s a basic line of departure when dealing with the In Crowd. So, I’m expecting the We’ve-got-to-have-a-talk talk. Because you can’t move in those circles if you’ve got one of the great unwashed scum splashing mud on your nice, clean Gucci high heels, now can you?

As for me, I’m expecting my walking papers soon. If it was me who wanted to impress this elite group of sophisticated insiders of which she is now the newest member in good standing, I’d give me my walking papers on Christmas Eve. As a rite of initiation, it’s quite a gasser. No better way to impress the right kind of people than to shed your excess baggage on that night above all others. So, I’m packing and getting ready to hit the road.

But I’ll still be around for Pastor Phil, and Rudy, and Helena, if she survives. As long as they want or need the support, I’ll be around to lend a hand.

So, a hearty Merry Christmas, this joyous holiday season to all the movers and shakers who shape our world.

First of all, a joyous holiday season to MaryLandrieu (D-LA). Hope she enjoys snuggling up to her cash register on Christmas Eve. She’s been described as a $300 million whore, and I hear Elliot Spitzer is looking for her phone number. Hope it was worth it to sign her generation’s death warrant.

Then there’s Ben Nelson (D-NE). May he have a Merry Christmas that defies description. Hope he has no problem looking in the mirror considering he sold his country – or what’s left of it – into bankruptcy for 30 pieces of silver. Even Judas Iscariot had remorse after betraying the Lord. That speaks more highly of him than it does for Ben Nelson.

As for me, aside from my impending offer to hit the road, Jack, I’ve just been turned down (again) for VA medical coverage. My correspondence patiently explained to me that the VA has been called upon to extend its area of responsibility to service the needs of more diverse elements of our community (illegals) and, as such, cannot provide coverage to yours truly at this time. But I am welcome to reapply once the current health care legislation has been voted upon.

And that’s a wrap, this Christmas. Hope everyone has a good one. I intend to, wherever I end up. And, as Tiny Tim so eloquently put it, “May God bless us, everyone.” It’s a cinch bet ObamaCare © never will.

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

12/15/2009

Is Our President the Enemy
in this Final Battle?


Below is a letter that was forwarded to me by a friend last month. Before posting it as authentic, I did some research to determine whether it is. To my delight it was indeed written by the man to whom it is attributed (his photo is above, taken with a group of the soldiers he so reveres).

This venerable and much honored ninety-five year old WW II vet is well known in Hawaii for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes all over the country. A humble man without a political bone in his body, he has never spoken out before about a government official, until now. He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president.


Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13th of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II, retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a ‘rest home’ located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can't figure out what country you are the president of. You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

‘We’re no longer a Christian nation.’

‘America is arrogant’ -- (Your wife even announced to the world, ‘America is mean-spirited.’ Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of out war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.) I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don't think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said, ‘America hasn't lived up to her ideals.’

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, those 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom. I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue. You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more? You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts, who was putting up a fight? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are: terrorists.

One more thing: I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now. And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.

Sincerely,
Harold B. Estes


12/08/2009

Two Exemplary Letters

Yesterday I received from two friends copies of letters they had written. One of them had written to his (and my) congressman, and the other had written a letter to the editor of his local newspaper. With their permission, I am posting both letters here, in the hopes that the writers’ activism and the letters’ contents might spur the rest of us to do the same.



December 8, 2009


The Honorable Joseph R. Pitts
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Mr. Pitts:

I received your latest newsletter several days ago. The last line of the message on the front page asks recipients to let you know what they think. I shall do so now.

I think you have done Yeoman’s work on the Abortion issue for many years and for that I thank you.

I think many of the problems with health care today stem from government interference in the free market.

I think the current attempt by the government to take over health care is a ruse to destroy Capitalism and our free society in favor of a Socialist/Marxist society where government is the supreme authority in our lives, supplanting even my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I think the President of the United States is a Marxist who wishes to destroy (fundamentally transform) American society in favor of the aforementioned Marxist style government.

I think it is an outrage that you and your colleagues are not fighting this transformation every day on the floor of the House of Representatives and naming this administration for what it is; a Marxist/Socialist cabal of evil which will destroy freedom and our way of life if they are not stopped.

I think Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd should have been frog walked out of their offices when the financial meltdown occurred. Instead, they continue to work with our Marxist President in their attempt to take over every aspect of our way of life. And you and your colleagues say nothing and nothing and nothing. Absolutely outrageous!

I think John Murtha is probably the single most corrupt politician in Congress today, but he is a member of that very special “Old Boys Club” and so you and your colleagues say nothing. Shameful!

I think most of what is happening in Washington today is unconstitutional. The “General Welfare “ clause was never meant to grant government the kind of power which it has usurped from “the People” and you and your colleagues know that full well. And that includes your ideas for responsible health care reform.

I think you and your colleagues should read and study Congressman David Crockett’s speech to the House of Representatives in which he tells of a constituent who reminded him that money the government takes from the people by way of taxes was not his (Crockett’s) to give to another, no matter how righteous the cause may seem.

Finally, I think that Congress should be ashamed of the fact that they have spent my grandchildren into debt from which they will never recover. Add to that the fact that they are willing to allow a military defeat in order to pay for social reform which will ensure their power and wealth and you have a recipe for disaster for our freedom. And for reasons previously stated, I believe that you are complicit in the loss of that freedom.

Barry Up the Road



Editor—

Fifteen years ago during the Congressional debate over the future of Medicare, the Democratic Party was screaming “Republicans want to toss Grandma out into the street” after “making her eat cat food”. Remember "The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas"? Remember "Republicans Want Medicare to Wither on the Vine"?

None of that was true, of course, but now the Democrats are actually voting to cut Grandma’s home health care, hospital care, and even hospice care. For those who aren’t following the debate going on in the Senate right now, the Democrat plan raids the Medicare Trust Fund to the tune of almost half a trillion dollars - $436 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office - in order to provide for a new entitlement program for the uninsured.

These cuts include $137.5 billion from hospitals that treat seniors; $120 billion from Medicare Advantage, which is the insurance program that provides benefits to seniors which will be cut more than in half as a result of this $120 billion reduction; $14.6 billion from nursing homes that treat seniors; $42.1 billion from home health care for seniors; and $7.7 billion from hospice care, one of the most cruel cuts of all.

In the last two days, the Republicans have introduced amendments intended to protect our seniors, but they’ve been voted down by the Democrats every single time. On December 5th, the Senate Democrats made a grand show of “protecting home health care”, by passing a toothless amendment reading: “Nothing in the provisions of, or amendments made by, this Act shall result in the reduction of guaranteed home health benefits.” Then those very same Democrats – including Senator Kay Hagan – turned around and voted to leave the $42 billion in cuts to home health care intact. Senator Burr, on the other hand, voted to fully fund home health care for our seniors.

Yesterday the “Gregg Amendment” was voted on. This amendment was “to prevent Medicare from being raided for new entitlements and to use Medicare savings to save Medicare.” Once again the Democrats – including Senator Hagan – voted to raid Grandma’s Medicare Trust Fund to provide a new “universal health insurance” program (which still covers illegal aliens).

The Medicare Trust Fund is already forecast to become insolvent in 2017, and now the Democrats want to use it as a piggy bank for a host of new welfare programs. Where are the headlines reading “Democrats Want to Toss Grandma Out in the Street” or "Democrats Make Grandma Pay for Illegals' Health Care'?

John Cooper

by Barry Up the Road and John Cooper
(contributing Team Members of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

11/20/2009

The Crumbling Foundation


There’s a difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. And it has more to do with the contrasting seasons of the year. There’s a different sensibility to the two commemorations. It’s a simple distinction when you stop and think about it. Veteran’s Day celebrates those who served. Memorial Day honors those who fell. One comes in advance of the much-anticipated Thanksgiving holiday; the other, part of the first three-day weekend of summer.

And so it was this year as the early-November curtain-raiser for the holiday season approached. This year’s commemoration distinguished itself from the others in that it was the first Veteran’s Day I’ve had off since I’ve been one. It’s one of the few perks that come with working for a school district. The private sector – in which I spent the lion’s share of my working years – bears no such inclination. They suit up and show up, ready for work, Veteran’s Day or not.

Still, a job is a job, wherever it may be found, and a day off is a day off, for whatever the reason. So, I took the opportunity to do something constructive with my newfound free time. I decided to take my aging Honda Accord in to the dealer for a long-overdue cooling system flush. With Thanksgiving coming up, it would be very bad form to find myself stranded halfway between Barstow and Baker, California in the middle of the bleak and barren great desert nowhere.

It was a fortunate choice as it turned out. Because half an hour into my vigil, the service attendant approached me as I lingered in the lounge with an engaging smile that could mean only one thing – bad news. Sure enough, after 180,000 miles, my radiator gave up the ghost. After a pressure test, it turned out my radiator block had a crack in it, and was just this side of busting loose. So . . . $800 later, my Accord had a new radiator, new hoses, new belts, new coolant and a new lease on life. My wallet was considerably lighter in the process, but out here in the golden west, nobody rides for free.

So, as I sat there, watching nothing in particular on the Sony 60-inch plasma big screen – nothing too good for us Honda owners, particularly when we’re spending big bucks on car repairs – I contemplated the upcoming holiday season, and just what I was going to do now that my plans had vanished down the black hole of a big repair bill.

While I don’t spend my time traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house in the literal sense, I have been known to make my way over the mountains and across the desert to Las Vegas to spend time with what passes for family. I think I may have addressed this age-old maxim in a previous commentary. But it bears repeating. During the holidays, when you have nothing to do, no one to see, and nowhere to go, you go to Vegas. That’s been the plan the last few years, and I must admit, it’s worked out well. Not this year. My coach and four just turned into a pumpkin and a bunch of mice, and my glass slipper shattered on the floor of the maintenance bay of the service center.

Just at that moment, I noticed the program on the big screen, offered up for our viewing pleasure. It was CNN. I was astonished. I don’t get much CNN. Never have. Even during the dark, ominous days of George W. Bush, doing his best imitation of a free-spending liberal, all the while selling the country out to globalist, international mega-corporations, and pushing every open-border initiative that came down the pike, I couldn’t quite deal with CNN. Try as I might, while Fox News was busy drinking the Bush Kool-Aid ©, and ever hot, blonde infobabe on the Fox network harbored secret desires of being taken by force by the president, I simply could not go over to the dark side of the cable news world.

So the day was now complete. This repair bill broke me a day after payday, my holiday season vanished at the stroke of a pen, and a full month stretched before me until the school district I laughingly work for would cough up another monthly check. And what did I have on this state-of-the-art 21st century video marvel? CNN. As they told us during our first year home from Vietnam, “Happy Veteran’s Day, Asshole.”

Even the reporterette de jour – Kyra Phillips, who, on those rare occasions I deigned to partake of CNN didn’t seem too objectionable – was quoting the party line straight up and down this morning. It was Veteran’s Day, after all. And Kyra had one news piece after another related to the ceremonies of the day. Among them:

  • Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan – What drove him to the Fort Hood tragedy? Was he the real victim? (It was a “tragedy”, not a “terrorist attack”, of course. The word was never mentioned.)

  • Barack Hussein Obama at Arlington Cemetery – He shall beat our swords into plowshares and usher in a new era of international peace. (The play on words of Isaiah 2:4 was revolting, but what should I expect? It was CNN.)

  • The War in Afghanistan – War on terror or genocide? (And, in a related story . . . )

  • Soldiers of Afghanistan – Guardians of our freedom or war criminals?

OK. You get the idea. Trapped at the Honda dealership, soon to be relieved of every cent I had at the moment – or at least most of them – and held hostage by CNN.

Then I saw them.

They were an elderly couple. She was stoop-shouldered, white-haired, and frail. She tentatively ambled along with the assistance of a metal walker on wheels that doubled as a wheelchair. Her oxygen bottle was attached to the metal shaft of the chair, its gauges registering in time with her labored breathing. From the look of her, I gathered she suffered from an acute case of osteoporosis. Her husband was at her side all the way, as if he’d always been there and always would.

He helped her fold down the seat of the walker/wheelchair. And he patiently assisted her into the contraption, after which he poured her a cup of coffee from the courtesy window and sat down beside her. He was a slight man, gaunt, thin and short. He wore rimless spectacles, and bore the indelible mark of a man ravaged by the relentless onslaught of time. His skin was mottled, his flesh hung loose on his neck, his hands trembled slightly. On his head, he wore a simple, baseball-style cap with the logo WWII VETERAN on its crown, and as he took a seat next to his wife, I could see his oversized, gold-plated belt-buckle, which bore an unmistakable insignia – the eagle, globe and anchor of a United State Marine.

They sat opposite me, and I noticed – as Kyra Phillips rambled on about racial harassment of the oppressed army major who gunned down fifty of his fellow soldiers, a member of a subjugated ethnic minority, driven to unspeakable acts of brutality, no doubt, due to the inherent bigotry and hate of the military establishment – how they held hands, spoke softly, and the understated loving care they radiated to each other. A love, no doubt, grown deep and lasting with the passing of many years together, and countless joys and sorrows endured along the way.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Normally, I never miss an opportunity to thank this warrior of the last great crusade against evil for his service, particularly because there are so few of them and their numbers are dwindling daily. But there was something about this couple that spoke of the inherent privacy so typical of their generation. No doubt, they were here for the same reason I was – only for them it was perhaps something as simple as an oil change – and stopped by the lounge like the rest of us, to wait and watch and then go about the business of the day.

But it was Veteran’s Day. And he was a veteran. So was I. Nevertheless, I sat there, watching him tenderly care for the needs of his ailing wife, with whom, no doubt, he’d spent his entire adult life.

It was when Kyra was reporting about the shocking disparity of the racial breakdown among troops in Afghanistan, and how minority soldiers – particularly African Americans – bore an inordinate amount of combat operations that I got up, moved across the lounge, sat down next to him and introduced myself.

I told them I had been to Normandy in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, briefly explained how that experience totally reoriented my priorities, thanked him for his service and welcomed him home. It didn’t matter that he’d received a lifetime of recognition for his service to king and country. He was a WWII Marine, and he’d earned my respect.

I was about to ask the specifics of where he served, what he saw, and how he coped, when he extended his hand and said in a raspy voice, “Thank you, son. Horace Gilmartin, 5th Marines, Peleliu.” His hand was bony, warm and dry. His grip was frail, but firm.

Somehow, I knew what a profound admission he’d just given me. And somehow I likewise knew it was all I was going to get. His wife, Emily, smiled weakly. She bore the strained demeanor of an old woman accustomed to living in a world of hurt. We chatted briefly about nothing in particular. Yes, they were in for an oil change. No, they didn’t get out much anymore. Yes, they lived in a local assisted living home. No, he wasn’t planning to attend any Veteran’s Day ceremonies. He didn’t like leaving Emily alone, you see. And she wasn’t up to the strain anymore.

Shortly thereafter, Kyra ran a piece about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s terror trial being moved to federal court in New York, and the possibility that all charges could be dismissed due to illegal evidentiary collection procedures and the failure of U.S. authorities to properly inform the alleged suspect of his Miranda rights. (She actually used those very words – “alleged suspect”.)

Sure enough, they were childhood sweethearts. They’d been married for 65 years, just before he enlisted in the Marine Corps in their hometown in rural Kansas. Like so many returning Marines who passed through California on their way overseas, Horace vowed that if he ever survived the carnage, this was where they would live. He was discharged in December 1945 and they lived in the golden state ever since.

I asked him about the changes he’d seen over the years, and how he dealt with them.

Well, there certainly had been quite a few. And if it wasn’t for Emily and the kids, the grandkids, and now the great-grandkids, it would have been a lot harder to take. But then, men get old, and they long for the familiar things of bygone times; recognizable artifacts they can hang their hat on and in which they can rest easy. The more times change, he explained, the fewer these treasures are, and the more precious they become.

Kyra’s last item on CNN came up just as Horace’s name was called and he helped Emily to her feet. It was about universal healthcare, and a massive rally held in a Chicago suburb to celebrate the medical coverage that would now be afforded to the oppressed peoples of color of the Chicago projects. She gave particular emphasis to how the rich would finally be compelled to pay their fair share after so many years of largesse due to the lobbying efforts of special interest groups.

Horace didn’t say goodbye. He simply steadied Emily as she rose from the fold-down chair of her wheelchair/walker. He wouldn’t allow me to assist him. He offered no acknowledgment of our exchange, no goodbyes. He wasn’t being gruff, just reserved and private. I watched as Kyra signed off with a final item of how President Obama – due to the profound change he was ushering in to the national consciousness – may ultimately go down in history as the greatest president this nation has ever produced.

So much for Veteran’s Day 2009. I picked up my car, licked my financial wounds, mourned the passing of the holiday season that won’t be, and was on my way. But I couldn’t help but reflect on my encounter with Horace Gilmartin, USMC.

He was the foundation upon which the postwar world was built. Horace, and men like him, came home from the distant battlefields of the world, and erected a monument of prosperity, stability, and wealth. They had the good timing to hit the ground running when an unprecedented period of opportunity was just beginning. During the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan spoke of “Morning in America.” It was never more real than for the returning veterans of the bloodiest conflict in history, steadfast patriots and survivors of the Great Depression.

They wasted no time, taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded them by a grateful nation. And those who did not follow the path to higher education and professional careers made their own breaks in the hardscrabble world of the free market. They had witnessed unprecedented destruction, unimaginable poverty and unthinkable uncertainty. And so, they set about the task of building a bright future, providing for the next generation and protecting a country worth defending. If there was a unifying theme or sense of purpose which all of them shared, it was encapsulated in the lament so often heard by their spouses and children in the 1950s – “My children will have all the opportunities I never had as a child.”

And they were remarkably successful. If there was an unprecedented golden age which their children enjoyed in the years to come, it was due to this singular sense of purpose they brought to all matters they encountered. That, and the grace of God.

It is a complex and difficult topic, tinged with frustration and often tragic in its outcome, that the children of this amazing group of Americans were so different from their fathers. The group of pampered, privileged progeny that followed in the wake of the greatest generation was everything their fathers were not. While their parents were painfully aware of the vagaries of life, their children entered the world with a gilt-edged sense of entitlement. Where their parents valued their country, their children had nothing but contempt for it. If their parents spent a lifetime building a world that meant something, their children tore it down in a decade.

The reasons are myriad, fraught with controversy, and way too involved to go into in this commentary. Suffice it to say, Horace Gilmartin lived through some of the most desperate times his country ever faced. He built a life of significance in the postwar years that stood for everything he believed in. His legacy was upstanding, positive, decent, and lasting. And he has lived to see it torn down.

As I watched them depart the service lounge, I wondered what Horace thought of Kyra Phillips’ report. He sat there and listened for the bulk of her report before I sought him out. True to the temper of his generation, he said nothing, betrayed no expression, offered no opinion. It could be that’s what happens to men who reach a point where the only thing to look forward to is the next world. After all, there is only so much any man can accomplish – individually or collectively – before being called home to his rest and reward.

But the groundwork he laid was strong. And a strong basis often comes under strong attack. For the brilliance of its luster, it is ironic indeed that the underpinning upon which our current culture was built lasted but one generation. Out of its crumbling foundation is emerging a land filled with resentment, laden with alienation, consumed with hatred.

We live in a country that has no sense of itself; rotted by the corruption of political correctness, denuded by the fraud of multiculturalism, weakened by the onset of globalism. It is a nation in which terror suspects are tried in civilian courts, possibly to be released on a technicality. It is a society in which an Islamic terrorist is not only permitted to rise through the ranks of the United States Army as an officer and a gentleman, but is lauded as a victim of hate by journalists who all but celebrate his acts of murder, and will not so much as own up to what he is – a terrorist. And it is a culture where evil men are hailed as visionaries, while those who stand to oppose them are condemned as extremists.

It is a land in which Kyra Phillips inherits the earth.

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)
Euro-American Scum can be reached at euroamericanscum@gmail.com.

11/16/2009

In Remembrance of The Six Million
Who Died At the Whim of a Mad Regime


Every year Israelis take a day to remember the Holocaust. At 10:00 AM sharp, they stop whatever they are doing ... driving, reading, living ... they stop and stand at attention. The sirens blast a remembrance of the six million who died at the whim of a mad regime.

I ask you to watch this breathtaking three-minute video and then reflect on two things:

(1) Our President has declared September 11th (the anniversary of another holocaust of its own kind) a ‘national day of service’, this year and every year to come.

(2) The interspersed visage, in the above video, of another madman who has declared as his, and his country’s, destiny the annihilation of the state of Israel.

I offer the following for your consideration, from a post on National Review Online:
______________________________

I am 34 years old, born in the U.S., raised as a (nominal) Muslim in Iran, and returned back to the U.S. in 1990 (thank Goodness). I converted to Catholicism in 2002, and became a reservist in the Navy (through the Direct Commission Officer program) in 2004. Growing up in Iran, religious instructions in schools started in 1st grade. Sixth grade is when our religious instructions began in earnest by the Basij goons (the true believers) and their fellow-travelers. My family and I left Iran after I finished 9th grade, but by that time I had had a steady ideological diet on Supremacy of Islam, the place for dhimmis, the primacy of Jihad and martyrdom for years. With this background, may I offer a few observations:

1) Islam is indeed the problem. Although I can, I will spare you recitation of chapter and verse in the Qur'an were Muslims are called to Jihad and establishing the global caliphate.

2) I agree with you that we should not "out loud" call Islam the problem. There are many muslims which are peaceful, because they actually are NOT either very devout or do not pay particularly close attention to pertinent violent passages. To the extent practical, we should refrain from poking them in the eye over the barbarity of the true form of their religion.

3) Having displayed my "sensitivity and inclusivity" bona fides in point #2, I don't think we should shrink from calling attention to the fact that our enemy is Violent Islam. This is for our own population's benefit. People in the West (and Americans particularly) in large majorities have fully internalize the fact that Violent Islam poses an existential threat to the long term survivability of Western Civilization, and therefore the future of their progeny. It is entirely irrelevant if Violent Islam is the true Islam, a fake one, or a fringe element. What is important is that it's followers be killed or disabled, one way or the other. There is no converting these people, trust me.

4) The long term solution to Violent Islam, I sincerely believe, is some form of mellow nationalism. In Iran, the teachings of the Basij people had relatively little impact on any of us. One of the chief reasons is because Iranians have a very strong sense of nationhood. They consider themselves Iranian first, Muslim second. Doctrine of Jihad has relatively shallow influence on someone with mooring in something other than Islam. Notice that you see very few Iranian suicide bombers. You don't see many Turks pulling the chord on their suicide belts either. The Iranian regime financing and support of terrorism is another matter entirely.

5) Having said that, inculcating and nurturing a sense of nationhood in Arab lands, Pakistan and Afghanistan is an exceedingly difficult task. There is a very nebulous sense of nationhood in these places as I am sure you know. What binds people is tribalism and Islam, which is as noxious of a combination as you can get. Whatever the mechanism, the West has to encourage the formation of as secular a notion of nationalism as it possibly can in these places. I instinctively cringe at the concept of secular nationalism (which is poisonous to the West), because you often end up with effete bunch of pantywaists like the French, or brutal aggressors like the Germans or Russians. But if somehow we could inculcate the French-pantywaistism in Muslim lands, maybe they would be too busy complaining about the cloudiness of the wine or runiness of the hummus to consider murderous Jihad. I am of course being flippant, but honestly, short of turning the whole place into glowing radioactive glass, I don't see any other cure which preserve the life of our own citizenry in the short- to medium-term.
______________________________

It’s time to stop the insanity by filling America’s positions of leadership with those who will call evil by its rightful name ... and those who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s allies rather than incessantly pandering to those who seek their, and our, destruction.

    Get it all on record now ... get the films ... get the witnesses ... because somewhere down the road of history some b@$&^*d will get up and say that this never happened.

    ...General Dwight David Eisenhower,
    Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Europe 1945
~ joanie

11/10/2009

The Ant and the Grasshopper


OLD VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

MODERN VERSION:

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , ABC, CNN, and the rest of the MSM show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house while the news stations film the group singing, ‘We shall overcome.’ Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackled, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2010.

11/07/2009

Report on a North Carolina Tea Party


I served as the spokesperson for my area of North Carolina at a Tea Party that was held at our representative’s office (Heath Shuler) on Thursday afternoon.

A neighbor went with me, but nobody else from my neighborhood accompanied us. We got there early, and were admitted into to the Congressman's office to speak with his public relations guy. I explained that we intended to give him a bunch of letters to the Congressman, written by people in my area, and we agreed to have the 'ceremony' out on the back steps at 12:15. He told me he had received a 'statement' from the Congressman, which he would read, and I thanked him and asked if he would also tell the crowd what he intended to do with the letters, and would the Congressman ever read them since the vote was to be on Friday.

About 150 people showed up, which was more than I was expecting, and I continued going around gathering letters. A lot of folks didn't get the word to bring them, but one gentleman with foresight had brought a stack of note cards and envelopes so people took those and scribbled messages on them. One person even took a tiny page out of my pocket memo pad and wrote something on that. We stuffed it all in the 2" deep cardboard box I had made, which ended up bulging with over 80 letters in it. (I kept a tally on the back of the box because this reporterette who showed up wanted to know how many there were.)




When the appointed time came, we all assembled on the back steps of the Congressman's office. One person gave a short speech, we all sang America the Beautiful and God Bless America, and then it was my turn. I introduced the PR guy to the crowd and then said in my best spokesperson voice:

‘On behalf of these citizens who have peaceably assembled to petition their government for redress of grievance, I present these 80 letters to be delivered to Congressman Heath Shuler, our elected representative.’
That was it. The PR guy then read Shuler's miserable statement which basically said, ‘I haven't made up my mind yet.’ Snort...what a miserable loser. Then he told us that the letters would be faxed to DC that afternoon (before shredding, no doubt).




We all then walked down the hill to the busy intersection below, and held up our protest signs for about 45 minutes. This corner is near the entrance to a main hospital, so there was a lot of traffic. It was my sense that we got a lot more 'thumbs up' this time than in August. I didn't even see any extended middle fingers!

My friend and I left a little early because he has a bad foot (car accident), and we're both old and tired. On the way home we stopped at a BBQ place and pigged out. While we were eating, I got a text message from Erika, the head of the Asheville Tea Party who was up with Michelle Bachmann in DC, asking how it went. I texted her back with "Great! 150 people and 85 letters".

After I got home, got furiously licked by our three dogs (they missed me), I settled in to watch Glenn Beck followed by Fox News to see how it went in DC. I was disgusted to see another ‘balloon boy’ media frenzy over the murders at Ft. Hood. Sure, that was a big story, but why not wait until you actually know something before blaring it all over the airwaves?

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that Muslim killer chose the time of his attacks specifically for the purpose of preempting all news coverage of the DC ‘House Call’. But maybe it was just the phase of the moon... Thank God for the Internet or we'd never know anything.

So what did Rep. Shuler do after getting all those letters from Asheville and a personal visit from twelve of his constituents who drove all the way to DC to meet with him? He and the other ‘Blue Dog Democrats’ ate dinner with Obama at the White House.

Remember the scene near the end of Braveheart where William Wallace was betrayed by William the Bruce? That's how I feel at the moment: Betrayed.

by John Cooper
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

11/03/2009

The Greatest and Most Spontaneous
Outpouring of American Political
Activism Since the Vietnam War ...


Below is a copy of a letter that a good friend of Rick’s and mine wrote today to his congressional representative in North Carolina. I am posting it here on AADB in the hopes that John’s activism will spur others to do the same.

It’s easy to claim that writing to our ‘leadership’ in D.C. won’t make a difference (and I suspect that that claim is correct more often than not). But if we sit back and do nothing more than complain, then, after the fall of America as we once knew it, we may ask ourselves ‘What if I had voiced my opinion more loudly and forcefully and often? Could I have made a difference?’

Regret is one of the most painful, and useless, emotions. Get up off your couches. Turn off your television sets. And do what you can, before the opportunity to do so evaporates before your very eyes.

Here is (one of) John’s valiant attempt(s) to make a difference:
___________________________

Dear Rep. Shuler --

Are you crazy?

On just about every issue of our time, you are working AGAINST the wishes of the people who elected you, and FOR the far left agenda of Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco.

We want jobs, and you give us tax increases and more regulation.

We want common-sense health care reform, and you intend to curse us with a Soviet-style medical bureaucracy loaded with massive taxes, free care for illegal aliens, death panels, and taxpayer-funded abortions. (Don’t tell me all that stuff isn’t in the bill because, unlike you, I’ve actually read it.) And then you have the gall to send us the tab for $1.3 trillion and tell us it’s "deficit neutral".

We want America to become energy independent and yet you and Pelosi block drilling for oil and natural gas here at home. You block the construction of nuclear power plants and hydroelectric projects. Your only instinct is to slap massive taxes on gasoline and electricity via the foolish Cap and Trade bill that YOU voted for. (Your vote and one other were responsible for the passage of Cap and Trade.)

In these tough times, we want the government to spend less and budget more like the rest of us have to do in our own lives. But instead you vote for more wasteful spending and massive deficits at every opportunity - debts that can never be repaid. And you have the nerve to put a “National Debt Clock” on your website.

We want tort reform but YOU want to tax states that enact tort reform. (That’s in Pelosi’s health care bill, too.)

We want less government intrusion into our lives, and you’re using your office to increase the power and influence of the federal government at every level.

You don’t even read the bills before you vote on them. (Apparently you just vote the way Ms. Pelosi tells you, which must make your job a lot simpler.)

You took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, but your leader Nancy Pelosi says, “Are you serious?” when asked where in the Constitution is Congress granted the power to force citizens to buy health insurance.

You’ve seen the greatest and most spontaneous outpouring of American political activism since the Vietnam War, and your response is to run and hide from your constituents - you won’t even meet with us or listen to what we have to say.

All I can say is keep walking that plank. You’ll be reaching the end of it come next November.

-- John Cooper

10/31/2009

GDP Numbers ... Sleight of Hand ... Rabbits and Hats ... Carnival Barkers ...


The GDP figures released yesterday, indicating a surprising 3.5% growth in the third quarter, are largely a combination of (1) adroit sleight of hand, and (2) non-free-market economic manipulation.

The American economy is primarily being fueled by enormous government deficit spending, which by nature cannot be sustained. It’s all part of an all-too-familiar pattern. When the left takes over an economy, growth usually moves in unnatural spurts as the government spends money it doesn't have. Then comes the hangover. It may take a while to set in, but once it does, it’s fierce.

In 1971, the first full year after Allende was elected in Chile, the Chilean GDP grew by nearly eight percent. Then the house of cards began teetering and the country slid into chaos, ultimately resulting in a military coup.

I'm not saying America is in for anything even remotely similar, but the important lesson to be learned from Chile’s myopia is that initial GDP figures following a dramatic leftward swing in leadership don't prove that socialism works. There is no avoiding the dark destination that will result from spending what we don’t have and funneling those funds into non-free-market ventures. That particular road is well-traveled, well-marked and littered with bodies. We will never return to anything even remotely resembling genuine prosperity as long as we abandon free market principles and focus instead on a well-oiled printing press intent on providing handouts to a long line of special interests.

Take a look at the current categorizations of unemployment:
______________________________________________________

U1: Percentage of labor force unemployed 15 weeks or longer.

U2: Percentage of labor force who lost jobs or completed temporary work.

U3: Official unemployment rate per ILO definition.

U4: U3 + ‘discouraged workers’, or those who have stopped looking for work because current economic conditions make them believe that no work is available for them.

U5: U4 + other ‘marginally attached workers’, or ‘loosely attached workers’, or those who ‘would like’ and are able to work, but have not looked for work recently.

U6: U5 + Part time workers who want to work full time.
______________________________________________

The recently released figures show that unemployment continues its march -- yet another 520,000 Americans got pink slips last week. The government accountants are conveniently using the U3 numbers and ignoring all others.

Because of this unrealistic procedure, they are conveniently able to keep the unemployment rate at 9.8%, even though every week we have another half million new filers. If we include those who have dropped off the rolls, or who have taken part-time work (i.e., if we use the U6 numbers), unemployment sits at 17+%. Hardly a sign of economic recovery by anyone’s rational measure.

In this latest GDP quarterly report, Cash for Clunkers caused a temporary spike, but what we are witnessing is a lagging indicator. The same is true of the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers.

If we want to examine a real leading indicator, how about considering the fact that GM is looking for yet another (count ‘em ... that would make three) government bailout. Hmmmm ... could that be because Cash for Clunkers provided merely a temporary artificial boost, and, going forward, more and more taxpayer-funded auto-maker crutches (green ones sporting the bearded faces of old American leaders) are in the offing?

Retail outlets are already starting Black Friday door-buster sales … in October. For retail to be attempting to attract money that people plan to spend on the holidays before Black Friday is virtually unprecedented. How’s that for a leading indicator?

State and local governments are out of cash.

The housing market, while receiving a temporary boost from the first-time-buyer tax credit, has continued its decline.

Commercial paper is in the process of collapse.

Workers who thought their traditionally-safe jobs would continue to be so are finding themselves furloughed and laid off, and their former employers are not refilling those positions.

The container shipping industry has fallen off a cliff. Packaging sales are down significantly. Unless I am unaware of some kind of new ‘packaging technology’, one still needs boxes to pack and ship stuff.

Transportation (primarily shipping, railroad and trucking) are all down as well. Unless companies are hiring mules or hefty carrier pigeons on the sly, it looks as though very little in the way of nuts and bolts are moving anywhere these days.

All of the current ‘robust’ GDP data simply proves one thing (irrelevant, unless you’re into number tricks): that future demand has been successfully pulled into present figures. However, the success of this revolutionary kind of accounting has effectively evaporated any real hope for a genuinely improving economy in the near term.

~ joanie

10/14/2009

Behold a White Horse


“Perfect freedom has no existence. A grown man knows the world he lives in. And for the present, the world is Rome.” – Pontius Pilate

This time around I wasn’t going to do it. For the past couple of years, it seems there has been an avalanche of articles about death, disease and dying. Even though I find myself in the season of decay – let’s face it, it’s that time of life – I wasn’t taking the bait.

Innocent young girls dying of brain tumors, children dying in car accidents, greatest generation veterans dying suddenly in their sleep, Rangers who came home and Marines who didn’t. It’s all the same, and I had reached a point where I was done with it. No more. Not one more commentary about how a funeral was the focal point of the demise of the country.

And then I was alerted to yet another tragic passing of yet another vibrant young person, once again in the defense of his country. And once more, my interest was piqued.

I didn’t know Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, USMC. I knew nothing of his life and had no vested interest in his death. And except for the recently concluded gathering of the Class of ’69, of which I am a member in good standing, PFC Hogan’s passing would have escaped my attention entirely.

It seems the last opinion peace I submitted to this forum contrasting my 40-year high school reunion with a similar gathering of my Vietnam unit earlier this year touched a nerve with several members of the aforementioned Class of ’69. Following its introduction on this site, I was astonished that the article was so evocative as to generate such profound insights among my fellow survivors of the 60s. I received a series of substantive emails regarding a wide variety of issues all of us were dealing with during those early years. Most were complimentary. Some were not.

One such exchange was from a woman who was among the most gracious at the Class of ’69 reunion. She was someone I hardly knew in high school, but could hardly fail to notice, then or now. And it was during just such an exchange, a few days after my commentary was posted, that she mentioned the passing of Lance Cpl. Hogan. It seems this woman is a professor at a local Orange County (California) university, and Donald Hogan was her student.

That alone would not have been enough for me to get up early on Labor Day morning to attend a funeral. It likewise would not have motivated me to drive upwards of sixty miles on the last holiday weekend of the summer to pay my respects to someone I never knew. Then she mentioned that Lance Cpl. Hogan had been recommended for a posthumous Medal of Honor.

That got my attention.

And so it came to pass that I found myself on the last three-day holiday of the summer, winding my way through the once-legendary California canyons, on a crystal clear day of brilliant sunshine, contrasted by razor sharp shadows – the harbinger of what passes for fall in Southern California – to bid a bittersweet adieu to a Marine I never knew.

The ceremony was to be held at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Hills, right smack in the heart of South Orange County. This was something of a novelty. It was primarily a military service – or at least one based on a Marine who died in the service of his country – but would be held at a civilian church. This was not unheard of, but it was unprecedented for me. Up to now, all services of this type have been held on military reservations. At least the ones I’ve attended.

To adequately describe the setting, one must have a clear picture of what life in South Orange County, (Calif.) is like. As one who has lived on its fringes for what amounts to forever, and worked there for close to twenty years, I have a hard time knowing where to start. It’s like the blind man who grabs the elephant by the trunk and then proceeds to draw the wrong conclusions about the beast.

First off, the South OC is the place winners go when they have won. Doesn’t matter what they’ve won, it’s simply a place of triumph. They don’t set up shop on their way up the mountainside to wealth and prosperity. They go there when they’ve pitched their tent at the summit. We’re talking about the 1%ers here. Yes, there are working stiffs in the South OC, but the further south you go in the county, the fewer they become.

To cite an example, years ago when I was living in Las Vegas, my significant other and I took off the entire month of August and spent it in Newport Beach. One morning we went to Sunday brunch at a place called The Arches on Pacific Coast Highway. Our waitress – a forty-something woman with the distinct attitude that she didn’t have to wait tables for a living – lived in Laguna Beach, not far from the Labor Day memorial service I was soon to attend. As it turned out, we were on our way to that very destination on that long-ago afternoon.

It had never been a favorite destination of mine as a dorky teen in the 60s. My beach hangouts were typical – Huntington Beach to cruise chicks and pretend I was cool, Newport Beach for The Wedge, and San Clemente because, well . . . San Clemente, in close proximity to Camp Pendleton, had Marines. And, young as I was, I envied and admired them, even then. Laguna Beach, while picturesque, was an artist’s colony, as it remains today. It also had something of a gay community, although back then they were operating well under the radar, unlike now. And it was pricey. Not the place a California teen – dorky or otherwise – would choose to hang out.

So I asked our waitress what people do in Laguna Beach. Her answer was blunt and to the point – “Do? Nothing.”

My companion figured it out before I did. If you had to work, you didn’t live in Laguna Beach, or anywhere else in South Orange County for that matter. As an aside, our waitress was the wife of one of the major psycho-therapists to the rich and neurotic of the South OC. And even in the olden, golden daze of 1984, he was billing at $115 an hour and getting rich doing it. She worked, because, as she put it, she got tired of sitting home alone, staring at the ocean from their hilltop estate and drinking $200 bottles of Dom Perignon. Oh well, it’s a dirty job, as they say.

But, that’s life in the South OC. The few working stiffs there are can mostly be counted in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Tustin and Irvine. For the environs of Newport Beach on south, it’s the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Mostly. Laguna Hills is smack dab in the middle of this culture of wealth and comfort. And I’d been there many times, so I didn’t expect many surprises on this day. Not many.

It used to be Reagan country. And when I pulled into the church parking lot, it seemed like those times never went away. The trappings of opulence were everywhere. The immaculately-tailored men of all ages looked like they stepped off a GQ cover. The women would have been right at home in Beverly Hills, Park Avenue, or . . . well . . . the South OC. It could have been a fund-raiser for the RNC, were it not for the real reason all of them gathered together on that sun-drenched morning.

It was a mixed crowd – and by that I mean, civilians and Marines. And the contrast was stark, particularly among the age group that knew Lance Cpl. Hogan and loved him. His fellow Marines were magnificent in their dress blues. If there are more superbly attired fighting men anywhere in the world, I don’t know where you would find them. The Marines were immaculate, ramrod straight and intimately acquainted with the price of defending the country. On this day, they came to count that cost and mourn the loss of a brother. The women – little more than high school girls really, many of whom appeared to be college coeds, and, I assumed, grew up with Cpl. Hogan – were young, fresh, beautiful and possessed of that look of total, complete, absolute devastation that bespoke of an insular life, into which no senseless tragedy had ever intruded. Until now. In the picture-perfect world of the fresh and beautiful of the South OC, even those few who chose to go in harm’s way and defend the country came home unscathed and intact. Only this young man didn’t.

There was even a contingent of veterans from the Veterans of Vietnam International Bikers on hand. They were seated in the back of the church, off in a corner, isolated by one entirely empty pew in front of them and another behind. That’s typical. Even though they were appropriately attired, and came with the best of motives – to honor a fallen warrior – they had too hard an edge to them, and they put people off, particularly among the landed gentry of the South OC. That always happens. But they know who they are and so do I. So I took my place by their side and was seated among them.

The service was a mix of the Episcopalian liturgy – which I found vaguely familiar, being similar to the Methodist variety – and Marine green. Perhaps the most poignant moment occurred when Cpl. Hogan’s platoon sergeant addressed the assembled congregation. He spoke of how all freedom comes due in blood, and just as the blood of Cpl. Hogan bought the lives of his fellow Marines, so the blood of the Savior secures eternal life for all who choose to embrace Him. That’s one Marine who gets it. But then most of them do.

After his remarks, the memorial message by the priest was bland indeed. And after the call to colors, presentation of the Purple Heart, folding of the flag and the playing of Taps, we were done. I didn’t stay for the reception, and didn’t linger with the Vietnam biker brigade. After all, I didn’t know Cpl. Hogan, and was a stranger to the assembled congregation. So, it was off to the parking lot, and on to enjoy what remained of Labor Day 2009.

Then I saw them.

He was the epitome of success. I’ll call him Mr. Magnificent, because he truly was. Tall, tanned, with a full head of salt and pepper gray hair, brilliant white teeth, and a radiant smile you just knew closed many a multi-million-dollar deal across the length and breadth of the South OC. His charcoal gray suit fit perfectly, and he carried himself with an assurance that spoke simply and clearly that the world was his oyster. His wife – a high-maintenance blonde, with an attitude to match and tasteful but expensive gold jewelry – was clearly irritated about something. Could be memorial services for fallen Marines on Labor Day didn’t fit into her plans. And their nubile, teenage daughters – undoubtedly the next generation of hot blonde trophy wives to be kept in a style to which they have become accustomed – were bored and annoyed. I mean, school was starting up the next day and they had better things to do than go to “some stupid funeral” as they put it.

I followed them out to the parking lot where they all piled into a brand new Lexus. Nothing noteworthy there, the South OC boasted of such vehicles by the thousands. It was the bumper sticker that caught my attention. Partly because new vehicles of this stripe usually didn’t trumpet such trailer-trashy decorations. But mostly because it was a blast from the past, particularly the gray and dismal Jimmy Carter 1970s. As they drove off, I could read it.

HANG IN THERE AMERICA! THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING!

And before I could suppress the thought, it flashed into my head. Before I could smile in support, a grimace crossed my face. Before I could embrace this simplistic notion that all we had to do was put a man with an “R” after his name into this or that office, I remembered with a sigh that this is not the 70s, and Ronald Reagan was not waiting in the wings to save us from a fate worse than.

Let me put it another way: Ronald Reagan is not coming back.

I marvel at what creatures of habit we all are. Could be it’s because we’ve been doing it so long, we don’t know any other way. Or maybe it’s just that we can’t bear to realize the landscape of power has changed profoundly and irrevocably. All we have to do is elect the right candidate with the right letter after his or her name, and everything will be fine.

The only problem is, the moving paradigm shifts, and having shifted, moves on. And anyone who believes the alphabet soup approach to leadership and power still holds better think again.

Since the late 80s – since Reagan left office, when you get right down to it – both political parties held basically the same orientation. Power and control focused in the hands of a few, and enough scraps from the master’s table to keep the serfs in line and the electorate voting for them. They just approached this end from different extremes of the political spectrum.

For the left, it was simple: Create a permanent underclass that is eternally oppressed, resentful, trapped and dependent on radical leftist policy-makers, not only for their well-being, but their very survival. As such, a global, borderless society of low-paid wage slaves, poorly educated, and bereft of any real skills is just what the doctor ordered. What better constituency to have? Eternally poverty-stricken paupers, frightened and hopeless, looking for whatever they can get from whoever will give it to them. It’s the perfect world for ultra-liberal office holders who gleefully confiscate the wealth they need (of all that remains) to distribute it to the peasants and keep them in line. Enough handouts and the voters will happily support the very politicos whose purpose in power is to keep them dependent and desperate.

But then this is old news. It’s been going on since the days of the Great Society. Liberal dogma is a slam dunk to figure out. However, the devil you know often beats the devil you don’t know.

Among the Republican faithful of the South OC – and for the rest of the country, for that matter – we’re all waiting for the next standard bearer. Failing that, we’ll settle for the next charismatic charmer who says all the right things about securing the borders, cutting taxes, fiscal responsibility, and growing American jobs.

My advice to all you GOPers out there – don’t hold your breath.

What you’ll get is some slick, fast talking hustler, who looks good on television, knows how to campaign to the right, hit all the appropriate talking points, and vote for every open-border amnesty, every offshoring measure, every unilateral free trade agreement, and in general every piece of legislation that concentrates power in the hands of a select few elitists while the very constituency who put him in power can go pound sand. Just like the left, only they approach the issues of power and control from the opposite direction.

Do any of you suppose Barack Obama would hold the unprecedented position of power he now commands without a betrayal of monumental proportions by the supposed conservative heart of the Republican Party? If not, it’s time to wake up and stop drinking the Kool-Aid ®.

It’s one thing to hit all the appropriate conservative talking points on the campaign trail. Republican politicos – as opposed to conservative, there is a difference, sad to say – have been doing that since the days of Barry Goldwater. The difference is, Goldwater had the courage of his convictions, unlike the current batch of so-called conservative Thespians who figure they can tap dance their way into office and throw their supporters on the grenade once they’ve gotten there. It’s called integrity, and it died with Ronald Reagan.

The electorate, while easily manipulated, isn’t that stupid. At least not yet. When they’ve been stabbed in the back by the latest version of Judas Iscariot masquerading as conservative officer holders, why should they vote for more of the same? Why shouldn’t they vote for a radical leftist like Obama? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, as they say. If the conservative candidate they vote for is going to spend money like a drunken sailor, overtly destroy the currency, abolish the borders and our national sovereignty along with it, why bother voting for a political chameleon when you can have the genuine article? There’s a reason Reagan won two elections by massive landslides. He was a true ideological conservative, and people knew it. Sad to say he was the last of his kind.

The inevitable question remains, if the two-party system is irrevocably broken, what then? I can tell you what won’t work. Forget about grass-roots activism. Don’t bother with local support of municipal and state-wide candidates. You’ll just run into the latest smooth-talking up-and-coming RINO politicians. They’re smart enough to know political sweet talk will get them into office. They’re not smart enough to realize it won’t keep them there. What they’re banking on is enough dissatisfaction with the current regime to garner sufficient support to put them over the top. And they just might get it. Then the politics of power will cycle again. Only the names will change, and, of course, the letter after those names.

No, there is no resolution to the void of leadership by doing the same old thing the same old way. What remains is adapt and survive. And the realization that, once and for all, a once great nation is a mockery of its former self. Mr. Magnificent and his prosperous South OC family on their out of the parking lot in their new Lexus is the new standard bearer for what passes for the citizenry of a once-sovereign nation. No matter which way the wind is blowing, cut a deal, take care of business, make sure the check clears the bank, and above all, to hell with everybody else.

After all, it’s every man for himself, these days.

But, you may ask, if things are so bleak, what about a contemporary revolution? I think I covered this point in a previous commentary. Bottom line is, don’t expect one while NFL Prime Ticket is on Sunday afternoon. A revolution would require a visionary leader, committed to the cause, and a sufficiently dedicated core of followers numerous enough to make a difference and willing to pay the requisite cost in blood. Not when the game’s on, I can tell you.

So, the na├»ve, gullible, and eternally optimistic patiently wait for the man on the white horse. They recount Reaganesque tales of glory of the giddy 1980s when the shining city on the hill was a tangible entity, with definable features. They wax nostalgic for a time when wages were high, taxes were low, and conservatism was the standard bearer for individual human dignity and defined by opportunity for all – big and small alike. They revel in the memory of a leader who not only loved the country, but valued it, and realized a strong nation was an absolute moral imperative in a world consumed by darkness and evil. Contrast that with the globalist paradigm in Washington today.

But don’t expect that conservative leader to appear. If the man on a white horse does come riding over the seven hills to the rescue, he is more likely to be Napoleon Bonaparte than Ronald Reagan. More Judas Iscariot than Pontius Pilate. And we’ll probably be so fed up by that time, that we’ll be willing to make a deal with the devil if it comes to that.

It’s what we’re used to, after all. And it’s what we deserve.

As a postscript, I could not help but inquire about the Medal of Honor recommendation for Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan, USMC. According to the few remaining contacts I have at Camp Pendleton, Cpl. Hogan was not recommended for the Medal of Honor as of Labor Day 2009. He still has not.

    “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” – Revelation 6:2.
by Euro-American Scum
(contributing Team Member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

Euro-American Scum can be reached at euroamericanscum@gmail.com