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Cooper Wilson stood before the mirror, his thoughts making him too preoccupied to really pay attention to his reflection.  He absently tugged at his collar while he considered what he was about to do.  The throne speech had been simple, and direct.  The West, the King said, had grown complacent, and had allowed itself to hate the beliefs that had made the West different from the East.  The West allowed itself to be seduced by the idea that all beliefs were of equal value, and that humanity had thrown God off of his throne, without ever being cognizant of installing its own vanities in a seat that was never unoccupied, despite man’s best efforts.  And in a short stretch of time, the world that was characterized by those vanities became seared by them.  As a result, he was lifting the ban on Christianity, and would be instituting a new chaplaincy in the Commonwealth Military.

The days and weeks that came after seemed like a blur to Cooper.   While he did not have to handle to logistics of this new command within the military, he was nonetheless its head, and expected to see and be seen in this new role.  Many under his command were those who had kept the faith alive as an underground movement, from one side of the Commonwealth to the other.  And though many risked everything to shepherd their flocks, they came when the call went out.  Many of their stories touched Cooper, and many more made him feel ashamed, believing that in comparison, his faith was small, and their trust and deference to his authority, undeserved.  This feeling became that much more acute when he realized that he would, in the course of his duties, give orders that would undoubtedly lead to death for some of them.

“Are we ready?”

Lise’s voice snapped his eyes into focus, as he silently appraised his reflection, and thought to himself “You’ll do.”

He turned, and she immediately set upon him, taking it upon herself to straighten his tie, as a look of consternation fell across her face.  She brushed off his shoulders, stopping when she came to the old United States flag on his arm.  His eyes followed hers, and he said “Stop.  Please.  I feel self-conscious enough already without you staring at it.  Her eyes met his, and her lips pursed, then opened as if to say something.

“I think it suits you, hoss, and frankly, I think you have earned the right to wear it.”  Rick Gearhart’s voice boomed from the doorway.

Cooper nodded, and stepped in to the short hallway leading to the pulpit.  Before stepping out, he closed his eyes, and whispered “Lord, let me do no damage to it.”, and then he stepped out before a cathedral filled with men and women in uniform.

 

 

The most powerful word in the country today is… “Offensive”.

The words of a Facebook acquaintance hung there on the group page, taunting my mind away from a more basic Sunday morning meditation.   It worked, and my mind started milling the words, prompting my immediate rejoinder “If that were true, it would work for everyone, non?”

But the more I thought about it, the more I came to consider the “wrongness” that lead to the statement being made in the first place.  I realized that it isn’t about the rank hypocrisy that sees nothing wrong with an entitlement for some people to invoke “offense” as a means to stop discussion, debate, questions, behavior or beliefs they do not like, but is incapable of even considering that other parties might be offended by the discussion, debate, questions, behavior or beliefs of the those invoking “offense”, let alone capable of invoking “offense” themselves.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think being able to end all discussion, debate, questions, behavior, or beliefs by claiming to be “offended” is unhealthy for a free society, offensive to liberty, and childish in the extreme.   As long as it is impossible to have an honest conversation, because it will almost certainly “offend” someone, it will be impossible to address any issue of import.  It doesn’t take long before this will lead to financial impairment, social impairment, and impairment of national security. (See President Obama, Second Term)

But the really, really odious part if this is that I often hear “Offense” uttered like an incantation from many of the same people who speak of “reason” being superior to faith, and a basis for them to assume an intellectual superiority that they clearly haven’t earned, while they often put faith in “facts” that have expiration dates due to constantly changing nature of scientific paradigms.  The illogic of presuming that rights which are guaranteed by law are subject to override if only they can apply their completely subjective responses to the exercise of those rights would be laughable if it wasn’t pursued with such zeal and dedication.  Orwell himself couldn’t have conceived of the sheer scope of the vanity and delusion that have combined to impose a bizzaro-world rhetoric to such a degree that sincerity and directness are relegated to criminal status.

The saddest aspect to this current state of affairs is that too many of us allowed ourselves to be cowed by this practice, as if offending someone, or at least those granted a de facto privileged status by the arbiters of acceptability, is a combination of the worst sin and the worst crime that a person can commit.  The fact is that this extraordinary power and cancer on society wouldn’t be powerful at all if we didn’t let it.  But this requires a boldness to push back, that too few have the backbone to exhibit.  Start responding by saying “SO???”  Ask them to explain why they are suffering from the alleged “offense”.  Put the onus on them to prove why it should matter to you, and to everyone else, rather than giving what has morphed into a generic and reflexive complaint the presumption of legitimacy without the burden of proving it.  It is your duty as a citizen and a member of society to engage people who don’t want you to engage in an honest discourse.  It is your birthright to be able to do so without the threat of sanction by government, or those who want to destroy the very way you live, and censor your very thoughts.

STAND.  BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

“The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”Jim Hightower

“To see the right and not to do it is cowardice.”–Confucius

So if impeachment simply isn’t an option, because those in Congress are afraid of losing their jobs because they might actually DO their jobs, then why bother with the ongoing investigations of the weaponizing of the IRS, of Benghazi, and of Fast and Furious? Seriously. If you’re willing to let an Executive usurp your power with his pen and his phone without lawful and rightful consequence provided for in the Constitution, then why pretend that anything else done by government on his behalf (and likely at his behest) is of any consequence?

And if we have so many of our “countrymen” willing to clap and cheer an Executive all but DARING Congress to publicly wallow in it’s impotence in the face of this brazen flouting of our most basic law, do we really have a common ground with those who willingly trade their sovereignty and lawful authority for a despot bearing “gifts” paid for by others?

Seriously, if Congress is willing to neuter itself in order to avoid a confrontation over whether we are going to be a nation of laws or a nation of [small, petty, vindictive] “men”, then the coup is complete, and every day that passes in which no one in authority is willing to publicly pronounce this brings us closer to the purge which must inevitably follow. And if we can expect no courage now from the ones we have elected to be our voices, we have no right to expect any from our neighbors on that black day.

One can only hope that the deepest, darkest, hottest reaches of Hell are reserved for those who could have taken a stand, and instead decided that they only needed to be courageous as soon as we elected enough others like them, for the future of freedom itself rested upon their slight shoulders, and either by a lack of character, or just weak ones, they shrugged.

So I heard President Sub Par on the news at lunch making all sorts of demands in relation to the Malaysian Air shoot down…a cease fire in the area between all parties, access to the crash site for investigators, blah, blah, blah blah, and all I could think was “Who does he think he’s kidding?”

During his tenure in the Oval Office, he’s squandered any authority that the Presidency  might have still carried over from his infinitely more qualified predecessors, and has done his best to ensure that he has built none of his own.   I physically cringe whenever I hear this pretender adopt the manner of an irritated professor, and presume to lecture anyone, let alone foreign leaders who have already tested him, only to learn that the force of his conviction will never take him any farther than he can comfortably hear his own voice and the approval of his reality-challenged sycophants.

It scares me that he can walk out in front of cameras and the presstitute corpse, and pretend that he’s really felt all along that the shoot down was an “outrage of unspeakable proportions” when yesterday, while in campaign mode, he spent all of less than a minute to pontificate that it “may be a terrible tragedy”, before launching back into a scripted speech that contained a number of attempts at jokes.   Anyone observing the Great Narcissus for any period of time at all would have to wonder if he at least waited until he got off the podium before he could concentrate on how Presidential and Important he looked, or how he could get his golf handicap down.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  As a President, he is most unserious man to ever hold the office.  His ME-centric approach to all things domestic and foreign is embarrassing, as is his contempt for the America that was worthwhile and a beacon of hope to people all around the world.  When he offered his unsolicited opinion on the events in Israel, I was not surprised by what I heard.  Much like his criticism of the Cambridge Police revealed his willingness to weigh in on that matter without having a clue what he was talking about, his comments about the need for Israel to “show restraint” revealed to the world that he either hasn’t bothered with his security briefings (something REAL Presidents get out of bed in the morning and attend before going to do actual work), or that he didn’t pay attention to any briefing given.  Either way, he is an embarrassment and the primary reason for our current tarnished prestige in the world today.  I find myself somewhat disheartened when I hear some pundits try to craft an analogy that would serve to make the situation clear to anyone capable of logic independent of ideology.  “What if it was Mexico lobbing missiles in at U.S cities?”  they ask.  I just shake my head.  “How is that different from allowing passage through their country to ours by a wave of people utterly willing to break our laws as if it is their right to do so?” I ask in reply.   If President Selfie didn’t want to go see the chaos on the border himself when he had a chance, because he didn’t “want a photo-op”, why do you think that other threats to this country would affect him in any meaningful way?  He doesn’t understand America.  Whether it’s been “at some point, you’ve just made enough money” or berating citizens who “bitterly cling to their Bibles and guns” or his curiously selective recitations of the Declaration of Independence or his fundamental mischaracterization of American exceptionalism, he revels in demonstrating that he doesn’t get this country.   If it were Mexico lobbing missiles at American cities, I’m sure that he would summon members of La Raza and Mecha to the White House so he could publicly and abjectly apologize to them “on behalf of all Americans” and then try to find a way to surrender to them.  For him, the only times tragedies happen is when someone asks him a real question and he just wants to finish his waffle, when he is asked a question he’ll pretend is above his pay grade, despite his previous expressions of clear opinions addressing the matter from another side, or when his subjects expect him to do his job and he just wants to enjoy his taxpayer-funded Hawaiian vacation.

Like previous expressions of outrage, and breathlessly declared red lines, I expect nothing will come today’s remarks.  After all, we’ll soon be paying for yet another lavish vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for him and his family, far away from the relocation centers all over the country where the last stage of ICE’s “Catch and Release” kabuki theatre is being played out.  Besides, he has more important things to worry about.  Like the nagging grocery carts his wife wants to put in our grocery stores around the country…because it would be impossible for us to properly feed ourselves without her enlightened guidance.  They only have to make sure we do what they say, and not what they do.

I’m ashamed to admit that I was amused for a bit.  When the Hobby Lobby decision was first handed down, the deluge of butthurt and really bad analysis from the Left was entertaining.  It offered a glimpse into a mindset that has been wrongly conditioned to think that religion was something confined to various buildings dotting the landscape of the country for a few hours a week…a diversion for people not smart enough to take advantage of an opportunity to sleep in, rather than a deeply held conviction that guides the actions of those who believe, and that as such, will be expressed in the actions taken by the holders of those beliefs, including what they do, and what government may try to force them to do, with their own property.

But the howls continued.  The vitriol continued.  And expressions of hatred were aired without restraint or condemnation, once again giving lie to the Left’s own sermonizing about civility and tolerance.

As a student of history, I wasn’t disturbed by the Hobby Lobby ruling, because it brought about the correct result.  I was disturbed by the fact that it wasn’t a unanimous ruling, which in and of itself shows just how far we have strayed from first principles.  And as the wailing and gnashing of teeth continued to grow into a low roar, fueled by ignorance and indigence that someone should be allowed to dissent and not participate in the high holy sacrament of killing unborn children, I saw yet more confirmation of a clash of beliefs being perpetrated by a creed that is still inexplicably permitted to masquerade as value neutral, when it is nothing of the sort.  Secularism as practiced today has death at its heart, and as such it can be nothing but a cancer that is embraced and nurtured by too many in society until the tumor in our collective head has grown so large that it threatens the very nature of who we are as a people.  Our society still utters the expressions of freedom, but does so in contradiction to the convictions that inform our actions.  These soulless supplications are offered both as ruse, and rebuke, intended to convince the less vigilant among us that there is no cause for alarm, and to portray the watchmen as hysterical and ridiculous.  And in this climate, usurpations and entitlements are magically and mystically transmogrified into “rights”,while real rights, which government is obligated to protect and defend, are consigned to wither and fade in the shadow of the “rights” “given” (and protected by nothing other than) by the artifice and caprice of government, which is more interested in redistributing private property and the bounty earned by it, than in defending it.

A healthy society is one that understands that morality is a cultural necessity.  No society has long lasted when every man has done right in his own eyes, without a common frame of reference to which everyone can refer.  Government works best when it accepts and codifies those guard rails which delineate the boundaries between what is acceptable and what is not.  It is an unhealthy society which rejects what has been shown to have value, and provide a framework that allows society to grow and thrive, in favor of a government that assumes the mantle of moral authority based on what it determines is true, is right, and is acceptable, because there is no anchor for any of these determinations other than the desires of 50% +1.  Some may say that this sickness is a product of the 20th Century.  I’ve come to understand that the body politic has been infected with this particular hubris from much longer, but I do think that it accelerated, at an exponential rate, in the 20th Century.

The standing complaint of human degeneracy remains against us.  Causes have been operating—and of late years with fearful rapidity and strength—to produce a state of moral obliquity and practical atheism among us, appalling in magnitude and of alarming consequence.  It has become of late quite customary to sneer at the Puritanism of our fathers, and to speak with contempt of the severity of their manners and the bigotry of their faith.  This impious treatment, by the present corrupters of society, of a generation of men whose lofty principles and illustrious virtues they seem utterly unable to comprehend, is well adapted to not only arouse the deepest indignation, but to excite the most lively concern.  There are two quarters from which these evil influences chiefly proceed.  A class of men without conscience, and reckless of all moral restraint, have gained ascendancy in the public favor, and assume from their prominent position to mould and direct the public sentiment of the nation.  Their general influence upon the public morals has been like the wind of the desert, –poisonous, withering, and destructive.  Another and very large class of men moving in the lower walks of life form a significant element of our American population, whose hard and vicious instincts , gratified without compunction and paraded everywhere in the most offensive manner, would seem to render them well-nigh incapable of reformation.  Apparently insensible to all the nobler sentiments of public morality and virtue, and ever ready to perform their congenial part in the general demoralization the demand that all the higher classes shall pander to their depraved appetites, as the price of their patronage and support.  In this reciprocal play of the baser passions the common principles of morality are daily sacrificed, and the strong and the weak join hands in carrying down the nation to the very verge of ruin.  No man can observe the conditions of society in our country, and the obvious impulses of human conduct, without feeling that the perils against which the fathers warned us, and which have so faithfully and constantly pointed out ministers of religion, have, not withstanding, increased at a fearful rate, without seeing the most alarming departures from the standard of individual rectitude and social integrity have occurred among us within the century that is past.
Byron Sunderland, Washington D.C., April 14, 1863.

And now we have come to a point where a vocal segment of society have decided that a recognition that someone else’s right to not participate in the use of a substance or device that they personally find repugnant to their faith should be subordinate to government’s “ability” to make them pay for another’s choice to use such substance or device.  We have come to that point where a recognition of the right of conscience is considered to be a “denial of access” and abridgement of the recipient’s “right to choose” with their benefactors money.  And those who protest loudest because they see in this recognition a threat to a river of blood money so long and casually extorted from the taxpayer feel absolutely no guilt in their perversion of terms and concepts in their efforts to gin up outrage against the affirmation of the obvious, which is still obviously stated, and has remained such in a more than a century’s worth of a campaign of deception and subversion by their own design, because honesty in their intentions never would have obtained the support they otherwise enjoyed.

Jonah-HexBefore I get started, I have to confess that before I watched this movie, I was prepared to hate it.  The reviews that I was aware of were brutal and punishing, and knowing the treatment that many DC characters had gotten on the big screen, it wasn’t difficult to believe that once again, the Hollywood treatment had messed up yet another in the comic company’s vast pantheon of heroes. I forgot that critics make their bones not by fair reviews, but by bruising ones.  Jonah Hex isn’t The Dark Knight, but it isn’t Green Lantern, either. First, let me say that I was surprised at who was in this movie.  I recall that when it came out, much was made of the inclusion of Megan Fox in the cast.  I’ve never been impressed with her acting skills, or the unscripted words to tumble from her lips, but neither one of those things is why she is cast in movies, and she appears to have been cast in this film for precisely the same reason.  John Malkovich plays the villain, a Confederate general who decided in the late days of the war that civilians were legitimate targets, and who killed Hex’s family in front of him after Hex disobeyed Malkovich’s order to blow up a hospital, and killed Malkovich’s son, who was also his best friend, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, after he drew on him.   Other familiar faces in the cast include Will Arnett, Michael Fasbender, and Adian Quinn. The movie opens with Hex, played by Josh Brolin, explaining how he found himself to be better at waging war than he had expected, until he’d made a decision to abide by his conscience, and what that decision had cost him.  That decision also left him with one foot still stuck in the afterlife, and the ability to talk to the dead…a skill that comes in handy in his post-war career as shadowy bounty hunter with a price on his own head.  We soon learn why his own head carries a price, as his aimless existence once again becomes focused when he learns from agents of the US government that the man who took everything from him, played by Malkovich, wasn’t dead after all, and with the aid of a doomsday weapon never built by the Federal government, means to finish the war with the destruction of Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. The film proceeds to from confrontation to confrontation until Hex finally gets it right, and rids himself, and the world, of his old commanding officer, earning himself a pardon, and an interesting job offer, from the President, played by Aidan Quinn.  I enjoyed Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Hex, a disfigured man shaped by the brutality of war and the loss of his family, who seems at peace with the unusual ability to talk to the dead, and his quick and sometimes humorous responses to the dead, and to the living who are about to join them.  I am aware that this film is sometimes compared to the truly awful big screen adaptation of Wild, Wild West, which I can only assume is because of the doomsday weapon Malkovich intends to use against Washington D.C.   I understand the comparison, but it isn’t a fair one.   The acting is better, the script is more coherent, and Jonah Hex is paced much better than Wild, Wild West. In closing, this is not an edifying film.  You will not become a better person because you watched this movie.  It is not uplifting, although the ending makes clear that Hex understands that he has been given a second chance.  It won’t change your life, and you won’t rave to your friends about how great it is.  But it is a fun movie to watch while eating popcorn, and not taking it, or yourself, too seriously.

1.  Getting up early and being informed is for suckers.
The nice thing about being President is that your daily calendar is published for God and the whole world to see.  The bad part is that everyone can see that the current occupant of the West Wing doesn’t do that much.  Maybe everything George W. Bush’s fault six years into the new administration because he actually started his day before 10 am, and actually attended security briefings.

2.  At no time was anyone in the Obama Administration actually aware of what the Obama Administration was actually doing.
It doesn’t matter what the issue is.  Gun running to narco-terrorists south of the border?  Nope, they knew Nussink! One-size-fits-none “health care” in the VA being rationed to the point of death? Thank you television news for bringing it to our attention.  IRS targeting of groups with opposing political affiliation? The Devil you say! (These aren’t the emails leading to the White House that you’re looking for) An ambassador and his defenders attacked and a President MIA while those brave Americans died calling for help?  Damn that film maker for posting a movie that the jhadis probably didn’t have any means to watch anyway!  We took over a car maker in bankruptcy, but at no time were we aware of any mammoth manufacturing defect for which we fined the car company a record fine for attempting to cover up, while we were the ones owning the company.

3.  Every situation and scenario can be adequately addressed with a furrowed brow and a stern condemnation.
No matter the crisis, no matter the problem, no matter the failure of the person who asked us for the job twice, the answer is the same.  Words of outrage, a furrowed brow, an empty gesture.  I’d pay real money to hear someone, anyone in the White House Presstitute Corpse ask Spokesclown Jay Carney why the empty suit who keeps saying “I will not rest until…” has to take so many vacations and starts his day so close to Noon every day.  What would be better is if that is followed by another member of the Presstitute Corpse following up by channeling Inego Montoya by saying “He keeps saying “I will not rest until…”, but I don’t think that phrase means what he thinks it means.  I don’t see bags under his eyes, and they don’t appear to be bloodshot, either.”

4.  If a problem isn’t solved by throwing money at it, then the only answer is to throw more money at it.
The pResident who campaigned on fixing the problems with the VA made sure that more money got put into the VA, and in the face of some questions from the Presstitute Corpse on the continuing failure of the VA, his spokesidiots are quick to point out that he’s made more spending on the VA a priority throughout his tenure.  That’s it.  The only tools in their toolbox are to say that they are “Mad as hell” and throw more money at the problem.

5.  Accountability is a word to be spoken when campaigning and in front of microphones when your failure can no longer be concealed.
But at no time does it ever mean that someone should actually lose their job because things went wrong and people died on their watch.   Because if such a thing were to happen, someone might get the idea that the buck should actually stop with the occupant of the Oval Office, and then he’d have to pay for his family’s extravagant lifestyle.   But as a famous member of this administration once famously asked “What difference does it make?”

6.  There is no lie too big, too stupid, or too insulting to say in an attempt to deflect deserved criticism and anger.
At no time has this administration ever acknowledged the first rule of being in charge, which is that EVERYTHING is your fault.  In the magical world of the Obama Administration, government is the answer to every question, and when government fails, it is:

(a) George W. Bush’s fault;

(b) Your fault, because you have some misguided notion that government’s authority is actually limited because it cannot hope to do many of the things it attempts in a responsible and efficient manner;

(c) ATM’s;

(d) George W. Bush’s fault; and

(e) Someone, anyone else’s fault…be it a film maker, or 1/2 of 1/3 of government…anyone but the person who asked to sit in the big chair and be the chief executive.

7.  Laws are for other people.
I’ve written extensively about the lawlessness of this administration, and how we are only a nation of laws when they can be applied to opponents, not members of the administration, and their own ultra vires activities…a legacy that is corrosive to society, because it correctly creates the impression of selective enforcement and punishment, and because it fosters a contempt for the law and legal processes as a means of peaceful dispute resolution.  These are hallmarks of a banana republic, not a constitutional republic.

8.  You don’t have to deliver results.
All that matters is that you convince people that you just care more than the other guy.  Which is why this administration doesn’t deliver results (well, that and the fact that they have no idea how to do so), but they do a hashtag selfie better than any other government in the world.

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