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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)