Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

For a while now, some conservative pundits and individuals have portrayed our current political predicament as being akin to the “zombie apocalypse”.  It is an easy comparison to make, and it isn’t even a new one, as demonstrated by our friend, Packy East, in this clip:

But ask I drove to work this morning, listing to a discussion about the ridiculous and costly nature of public sector unions, and how government, led by the EPA, was standing in the way of what should be a very simple infrastructure improvement that would allow American businesses to remain competitive moving forward into the 21st Century, and this story about the Bureau of Land Management harassing a rancher in southern Nevada, I realized that the zombie analogy wasn’t entirely accurate.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the zombies are still out there, shuffling along, and multiplying quickly, but I realized this morning that there is a better analogy of the relationship between our government and its citizens:


I trust no further explanation is necessary.

Those who are paying attention will get it.

Those accustomed to stupid government tricks will get it.

The zombies will engage in ad hominems to prevent others from getting it.

The grievance pimps will take to their fainting couches with wicked, crippling cases of the vapors.

And it will still be true.

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The SUV came to a stop in front of a large building across the street from the House of Commons.  As Cooper stepped out of the SUV and looked up at it, pausing for a moment.  Lise stopped next to him and said “It’s a little imposing.”

Cooper, without taking his eyes off the black wrought iron fence in front said “I never thought so.”

She turned to look at him and said “I forgot.  You’ve been here before, when it was under the previous management.”  He turned to her and smiled.  “Not really.  There was no Ambassador-In-Residence at the time.  Mostly, it just seems weird without seeing Marines in front.”

After going in, they were ushered in to a large room.  They had been waiting less than a minute when a door opened at the far end, and an older gentleman in a plain naval uniform said “His Royal Highness will see you now.”

Cooper and Jake stepped forward, when Lise said “Colonel, this audience is for you too.”  Cooper turned, “You aren’t coming, Major?”  Lise smiled.  “I’ve met His Royal Highness before, Cooper.  And if he needed to speak to me, I would have been told.  Now please, don’t keep him waiting.”

Once inside, Cooper noticed the room was paneled in wood, much like the offices of the Prime Minister, across the street, where one of the most famous portraits of Winston Churchill was taken.  The King, wearing a British Admiral’s uniform, sat behind an enormous desk.  He looked up as Cooper, Jake, and Rick advanced another step. Almost imperceptibly, he appraised the trio, and his eyes lit up.  “Cooper Wilson!  I’m sorry for the way we made contact with you, but under the circumstances, we weren’t of a mind that you would come willingly.”  Cooper pursed his lips, then said “I guess you were right, your Highness.”

The King turned to look at Jake, and said “You must be Jake.  I hope you are enjoying our hospitality.”  Jake stole a glance at Cooper, who gave the barest nod.  Jake turned back and said “Yes sir, I mean, Your Highness.”  The King turned to the other side and said “And Colonel Gearhart!  Your exploits make exhilarating reading!  It is an honor to meet you!”

The King motioned to three chairs that were set before the mammoth desk.  “Gentlemen, please.  Sit.”  The trio sat.  “Jake, I hear you like to read.  The Major will be in shortly with a few books from our library here in the palace that I think you will enjoy.”  As if she heard, Lise came in with a handful of books, and kneeled next to Jake, whispering softly to him.

Looking at Rick, the King said “Colonel, I have some orders from your superiors.”  He handed some pages across the desk to Rick’s waiting hands.  “I’ll give you some time to read them, while I talk with Cooper.”  He stood and said ” Cooper, let’s take a short walk.”

The two walked, side-by-side, through an ornate hallway.  After what seemed like an eternity to Cooper, the King said “I am sorry.  Although we’ve known for some time that you were here in the Dominion, we had hoped to leave you alone.  Events caused us to bring you in.”

Cooper said nothing as they walked.  “I trust you know that the war is not going well, and that our truce with your country is tenuous at best.”

Cooper, nodded, and said “I’m sorry to have to correct you, Your Highness, but it isn’t MY country, and it hasn’t been for a very long time.”

Both men fell silent with the realization that neither one was home at this moment.

They walked a few more steps when the King said “I’m told that your property has been returned to you.”

Cooper smiled as his hand instinctively went to his pocket, where the battered compact Bible rested.  “Yes, Your Highness.  I’ll be…discreet.”

The King smiled.  “That isn’t why I brought it up, Cooper.”  He stopped and turned.  “I’m bringing it back.”

Cooper’s eyebrow rose.  “Bringing what back, Your Highness?”

The King paused.  “Christianity.”  Cooper’s eyes went wide.

The King smiled.  “Come now, Cooper.  You and I both know it never went away, it just went underground.  People like you have kept that flame burning over these long years.”

Cooper considered the words carefully.  “Why are you telling me this?”  “Because we will have a chaplaincy in our military again.  I want you to lead it.”

Cooper stopped, stunned by the words.  “I don’t have any military experience.”

“I didn’t either, at one time.  You have courage.  You proved that when we brought you in.  I don’t need you to fight like a soldier.  I need you to fight like a Shepard.  It won’t be force of arms alone that wins this war.  I think you know that.”

The two walked on in silence for a few minutes.  “Cooper.  I want you to understand, this decision was not one we arrived at lightly.  But we have arrived.  There are a lot of people, both civilians and military are ready for this.  And we didn’t just hold on to that Bible of yours.  We have printed thousands.  You are being offered a commission as a Commander in the British Royal Navy, although we will probably promote you before long.  And although he will probably protest, I have asked the Republic of Texas to second Colonel Gearhart to our service, to work with you, and to keep you safe, since I doubt you’ll stay away from danger.  They have agreed.  I think they believe that our plan will be objectionable to the US Government.  The Major will also be part of your detail, although her primary duty will be working with Jake.”

Cooper considered the offer for a few minutes.  “There have to be others who are much better qualified than me.”

“We don’t think so.  But while you think about it, I would appreciate it if you can do me a favor.”

Cooper asked “What’s that?”

“Pray with me, Commander.  Things are going to start moving very quickly, and like your Dr. Franklin at the Constitutional Convention, I would like to seek the guidance and protection of the providence that we once sought.”

Cooper nodded, and got on his knees.  The King joined him, and Cooper prayed a sincere prayer for help and guidance.  As they rose and walked back to the King’s office, the King said “Whether you accept the offer or not, I would ask you, as a personal favor to me, to keep praying like that.  I suspect we’ll need them.”

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Unbelievable! When you don’t have a narrow mind I guess you don’t think that way! – an old friend on Facebook, in posting a link to an occupydemocrats.com piece titled “Watch the Coca-Cola Ad that is Driving Conservative Xenophobes Nuts.”

I know that I have stated it before, but one of the single most pernicious lies about Attorney General Holder’s “Nation of Cowards” accusation is the implied belief that Americans will permit an honest discussion about anything.  Deflection and dissembling have been elevated to an art form for those with responsibility who refuse to take any for their failures.  That’s the reason why we still don’t know what President Obama was doing when he wasn’t doing anything to help Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the security detail that was denied aid.  It’s the reason why we can follow the trail of the “non-story” of IRS abuses from the former IRS official who was so convinced that the scandal isn’t a scandal that she pleaded the Fifth before Congress, to the White House, where the person in charge can apparently hire people who can act completely on their own, without any responsibility being taken for those actions by those that did the hiring.  Well, that and racism…because no one would have the temerity to ask such questions of a white President.

I can’t help but to be both alarmed and exasperated in a climate where people can “rule”, but not be responsible for what happens on their watch, and where “tolerance” is repeatedly preached by those who have none for those who disagree with them, and believe that their offense at an opposing viewpoint permits them to discredit the offending opinion by denunciation.  And even that isn’t enough, if the opposing opinion is uttered by a public figure.  Punishment becomes the order of the day, with threats of boycotts and attempts to get the offender fired, like in the case of Phil Robertson.  (With an almost reckless disregard for the fact that Dan Savage is still considered an expert on bullying, not because of his deft prowess and considerable skill at practicing it, but because he is against it…for some people.)

As disappointing as this state of affairs is, it shouldn’t be too unexpected.  After all, we have United States Supreme Court Justices engaging in the same kind of behavior from the bench.
(Justice Kennedy in Windsor v. United States, at pg 20 “The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group.”)

Justice Scalia rightly noted what had occurred with this statement, and made this clear in his dissent.

The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” Ante, at 20. Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some once-Confederate Southern state (familiar objects of the Court’s scorn, see, e.g.Edwards v. Aguillard482 U. S. 578 (1987) ), but our respected coordinate branches, the Congress and Presidency of the United States. Laying such a charge against them should require the most extraordinary evidence, and I would have thought that every attempt would be made to indulge a more anodyne explanation for the statute. The majority does the opposite—affirmatively concealing from the reader the arguments that exist in justification. It makes only a passing mention of the “arguments put forward” by the Act’s defenders, and does not even trouble to paraphrase or describe them. See ante, at 21. I imagine that this is because it is harder to maintain the illusion of the Act’s supporters as unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob when one first describes their views as they see them. [Emphasis Mine]

And so this is where we find ourselves.  Opposition to gay marriage is unquestionably the result of hatred or homophobia.  No other rational explanation exists.  Opposition to the President and his policies is because of racism.  No other rational explanation exists.

And when you disagree with a commercial that takes a lyrical celebration of America, and morphs it into a multi-cultural reinterpretation in the languages of other nations, it’s because you’re a xenophobe.  It can’t be that you see it as yet another assault on the ties that make e pluribus unum.  It can’t be that you understand that language shapes thoughts and perceptions, and become the lens through which understanding is formed.  It can’t be because you aren’t convinced pressing “1″ for English has been an option that has helped immigrants think of themselves as Americans first, and hyphens a distant second.

No.  Instead, you’re either afraid of the “feriners”, or filled with hatred of them.  Or there is something wrong with your cognitive abilities.   No valid reason for objection exists.  Because those with opposite views just know this to be true.

I could ask “What is the value of freedom of expression when those that tout the “correct” viewpoints won’t defend them and instead shout down those who oppose them?”, but it might mean more when those touting today’s “correct” viewpoints find they have reason to ask the same question tomorrow, or next week, or next month…

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No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get away from the legalized marijuana issues.

I was talking with an acquaintance this week about idiocy of Washington’s tax scheme for legalized marijuana.  He’s a numbers guy and is well-versed in tax bureaucracies, and their miraculously functional illogic.  We had started out by discussing how the measure was sold in this state, which focused almost exclusively on “new tax revenue” and “being able to focus law enforcement on other matters other than marijuana-related offenses”.  (I’ve lived in this state for 13 years, and I can say I was aware of any great law enforcement push to enforce the laws when it comes to marijuana.  But then, that may be influenced by the fact that police departments pass out munchies to those openly defying the law, so there’s that…)  It also flies in the face of data which is pretty clear that we don’t have an epidemic of incarceration solely because of marijuana possession and use.

The dual-mindedness of the people in this state on this issue simply boggles the mind.  The state has undergone a crusade against smoking in which some counties decided that bad second-hand smoke studies were a good basis for banning smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants specifically set up to cater to smoking customers, and the state legislature followed shortly after with a ban on smoking in all public places, including within 25 feet of any doorway.  This was followed by local authorities moving to ban people from smoking in their own residences if they live in public housing.  The legislature, not to be out done, came back with a proposal to ban smoking in an automobile if there are children present.  And yet these very same tyrant wannabes needed a drool rag to wipe up after their tax lust.  I have yet to hear how all but banning the smoking of tobacco products can be an imperative for public health, and yet pot smoking doesn’t create some of the very same harms we’re preventing with the anti-smoking crusade.  The utter dishonesty of it sickens me.  Putting aside the addiction issue.  Putting aside the evidence (yes, I know that the studies are mixed) regarding how much longer marijuana impairs you than alcohol does, I defy anyone in the public health community to tell me that smoking tobacco is a public health threat that requires increasing restrictions on liberty, but that lighting up a joint is something that the government should be cool with.  But then, if there was any honesty, it would require an admission that the government is ok with harm to its citizens, as long as it is getting paid.

But then the police being able to concentrate on “other offenses” is really a poor argument too.  It isn’t an accident that as part of the move to legalize recreational marijuana use, the state legislature had to set limits for legal impairment for drivers with regard to their use of marijuana…meaning that they knew what everyone knew, and didn’t want to discuss.  That as with alcohol, there would be people who would not be able to stop themselves from using, and driving, and that like with alcohol, people would be harmed as a result.

And now, in the fashion we have come to expect in this country, it appears that even toking up isn’t immune to forces of entitlement and the playing of race cards, as this story in The Root demonstrates.

When I read this story earlier this week, I realized that if the Earth was going to have an extinction-level collision with an asteroid, I’d probably be up on the roof, writing “Hit Here First”.  Just the very idea that white people will get all the good weed is a fair condensed version of everything that is wrong with this country today.   I read the headline, and thought to myself that I would give my last dollar to be able to go back in time, and be right there to respond to Rodney King’s famous question with an emphatic “NO!”

We aren’t even fiddling while Rome burns any more.  We’re sitting in the ashes, and blaming each other because it is too hot.  With stratospheric “real” unemployment numbers, a government addicted to spending what it doesn’t have, and an educational system that would have made Ponzi blanch at its brazenness, people now want to worry that someone might get a better buzz than they did, simply because of their skin color.  And the people who are most worried don’t seem to care that each of those problems with society are magnified in “their communities”…a problem which the community organizer in chief is unable or unwilling to solve, opting instead to use race as a wedge, and pursue redistribution.  But then, smart people realize that the “If a man is hungry, take someone else’s fish at gunpoint and give it to him” is a plan that simply discourages fishing.

Then there is the “WHAT?” factor to the underlying logic.  I grew up next to a large urban center(and went to college in it) that was living under similar economic conditions before Obama and the Democrats took them nationwide.  It didn’t seem to affect the ability of persons of color to obtain Hennessy, Couvoisier, Tanqueray, etc.  In fact, I never once heard a concern uttered about the white people getting all the good booze.  The article suggests that we had to have Obama as President to get us to the point of seriously considering marijuana legalization.  It seems only fair that since he is intent on limiting the economy so that everything but the amounts we spend on his vacations and golf is a finite resource, that someone could now publish a piece about the fear of segregation of pot based on race and NOT do so as a work of satire.

Things like this almost make me want to root for the collapse of our civilization.  But instead, it may prove more profitable for those in power to simply let us fade away in a cloud of smoke and mellowness…as long as someone with a different skin color doesn’t get a better class of weed.  Maybe we could get Philip Morris to come up with a couple of premium blends.  Then we could solve the problem, AND make an evil corporation cool again.

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I saw a post today on Facebook talking about how wrong it is that the Presstitute Corpse was all over the story about a top Chris Christie aid and a childhood friend of his colluding to snarl up traffic for the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey getting on the George Washington Bridge. [Apparently, they decided to "punish" the mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, for refusing to endorse Christie in his campaign for governor, so multiple lanes leading to the bridge were shut down for a "traffic study".]  Basically, this post took the position that the same media that was fairly disinterested in the IRS being used to target the Administration’s critics, and really cannot be persuaded to dig very hard into Benghazi shouldn’t be making a big deal about this abuse of power, because it shows that Christie can be a badass.

It’s right and it’s wrong.

First, the attitude of the Presstitute Corpse with regard to the abuses of power and scandals of the Obama Administration is contemptible, and the logic is laid bare in this exchange between DNC Chair Debbie Wassermann-Schultz and CNN’s Don Lemon.  The sad truth is that both deserve a great deal of scrutiny and criticism.

I don’t want a Presidential Candidate (I wouldn’t have chosen Christie anyway) who establishes his “badass” creds by abusing power, or allowing those close to him to do so without his knowledge *winkwink*.  And it isn’t ok when one of “ours” does it, simply because it has become second nature to the Executive Branch in Washington DC.

Abuse of power is the worst abuse of the public trust because it takes something that exists for the benefit of citizens, and turns it against them.  And when it is used to specifically punish or deter the exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of association, it becomes particularly repugnant.  While we have an undercurrent in society today that finds retaliation against the exercise of these rights acceptable, especially if the retaliator was “offended”, this concept is anti-American, and belies a weakness in those finding such “offense”.  If your ideals are so delicate that you cannot adequately defend them, and instead must “punish” those who believe differently, you’re the one with a problem.  If you cannot convince those who believe differently than you to see it your way, and you believe that the appropriate response is to “punish” them, you’re the one with a problem.   And if you are so “offended” by a differing opinion that you must squelch it, you’re the one with a problem.

You want a candidate who is a badass?  Find one who isn’t afraid to be unapologetically conservative.  Find one who isn’t afraid to go to those places where conservatives “dare not walk”, and plainly and patiently explain why conservative principles, especially smaller government, create opportunity and an economic climate in which the limitations on people’s accomplishments and standard of living are up to them, and not simply reduced to what government let’s them have.  Find one who will not retreat, and will not compromise freedom…but most of all, find one who is a good enough leader that he or she will not be “surprised” by a close aid or staffer who believes it ok to use the offices of government to punish people who disagree with them.

If Christie knew about this, he isn’t worthy of the nation’s trust in Federal office.  If he didn’t know, then he isn’t ready to be trusted with this kind of authority.  But if the Presstitute Corpse believes that it is appropriate to turn this into the biggest scandal since Watergate when it couldn’t be bothered to turn the same scrutiny on the IRS, on Benghazi, on Solyndra and other “green energy” graft, they are committing malpractice, and need to be held to account, too.


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So once again, a member of academia decided to give President Obama a tongue bath in public.  This time, the offender is Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and eduminication at NYU, who published a shallow bit of wishcasting called “End Presidential Term Limits” at the WAPOO.

I actually resisted writing about this nonsense for a day or so, but I keep finding it in friends’ feeds, so I finally put on my waders and ventured in.  The dumb is strong is in this “expert”.  I find this disappointing, as historians usually have to demonstrate an ability to connect the dots, but, I don’t think Professor Zimmerman ever has.

Professor Zimmerman starts by lamenting the fact that term limits force the executive to use persuasion rather than personality to get second-term agenda items passed:

In 1947, Sen. Harley Kilgore (D-W.Va.) condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict presidents to two terms. “The executive’s effectiveness will be seriously impaired,” Kilgore argued on the Senate floor, “ as no one will obey and respect him if he knows that the executive cannot run again.”

Of course, it isn’t the job of the Senate or the House to “obey” the President.   That’s not why they are elected, or in the case of the Senate, why they were once appointed by the state legislatures.

I’ve been thinking about Kilgore’s comments as I watch President Obama, whose approval rating has dipped to 37 percent in CBS News polling — the lowest ever for him — during the troubled rollout of his health-care reform. Many of Obama’s fellow Democrats have distanced themselves from the reform and from the president. Even former president Bill Clinton has said that Americans should be allowed to keep the health insurance they have.

Of course, even Bill Clinton wouldn’t have dreamed of simply declaring that some parts of the law were hereby suspended or altered by executive fiat alone.

Or consider the reaction to the Iran nuclear deal. Regardless of his political approval ratings, Obama could expect Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and John McCain (Ariz.) to attack the agreement. But if Obama could run again, would he be facing such fervent objections from Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)?

Of course, a President not suffering from extraordinary narcissistic tendencies might actually take such opposition from members of his own party as an indicator that his chosen negotiator eagerly accepted the offer of a crisp new Ten Dollar Bill in exchange for two Twenties, and that he betrayed multiple strategic partners in the process.   Alas, Obama is not that President.

Probably not. Democratic lawmakers would worry about provoking the wrath of a president who could be reelected. Thanks to term limits, though, they’ve got little to fear.

Seriously,  for a “history” professor, he seems to have ignored one of the major features of the American Republic.  The executive’s wrath should not be something “feared” by members of Congress.  It would interfere with their duty to their constituents, the independence and judgment they are intended to exercise in their own elective service, and would completely violate the whole notion of “separation of powers”.  Even as someone who purports to support lowercase “d” democracy, it should be apparent to Professor Brain Donor that there is value in the ability to persuade Congress and the American People that your initiatives and agenda items have value, will work, and most of all will not limit, or harm the freedoms of the American people.  This is likely the primary reason that Professor Zimmerman and other tyrant worshipers in academia advocate for precisely the opposite; the President has never been successful at such persuasion.  Either because he is not willing to make his case in a many in which he has to treat those he “rules” as equals, let alone their representatives, or because he simply isn’t capable, as it would stretch him far outside his comfort zone where he utters glittering generalities, and his audience swoons and fawns, or the darker, more revealing place where he adopts the pose of the unrepentant ideologue, banging his shoe against the podium while denouncing those who dare to question his divine pronouncements, made completely without the burden of ever having to cross the line from intellectual conceptualism to actual implementation and management of reality.

That was the argument of our first president, who is often held up as the father of term limits. In fact, George Washington opposed them. “I can see no propriety in precluding ourselves from the service of any man who, in some great emergency, shall be deemed universally most capable of serving the public,” Washington wrote in a much-quoted letter to the Marquis de Lafayette.

Washington stepped down after two terms, establishing a pattern that would stand for more than a century. But he made clear that he was doing so because the young republic was on solid footing, not because his service should be limited in any way.

There is a lot of assumption in these two paragraphs, almost all of it wrong.

First is the assumption that we are in the midst of a “great emergency” that only Obama is “the most capable of serving the public during”.   While things are bad, every electioneer will tell you that “America stands at a crossroads” and “only XXXXXX can save the country”.  But the fact remains that Obama’s administration is marked by lurches from one crisis to another, several of which were of his own making, while he continued to blame his predecessor for these crises as his chosen method of dealing with them.

Second is the idea of service.  While he has occasionally paid lip service to the concept, his actions and other statements make it clear that Obama and his retinue do not believe that they “serve” the American people, but instead “rule” them.  It is this mindset which they govern from, and defend policies injurious to freedom, whether it is the belief  that “sometimes, you’ve just made enough money”, to “you didn’t build that”, to justifying a brazen lie by telling people that insurance they freely chose and contracted for would no longer be available to them, because they we “bad apple” policies, and that young men in their 20s were absolutely better off with a government approved high deductible, high premium policy that ensures availability to contraceptives, maternity care, and mammograms to them.

Finally, the history professor omits some facts.  In Washington’s time, Federally elected office was not the cushy sinecure with insider trading opportunities, incredible perks, and quid pro quos that they enjoy today.   Even when the capitol was in New York City and Philadelphia, serving in office required sacrifices from those who did so.  These sacrifices were financial, in which the office holder often let their own careers atrophy while they served for much lower pay, and they spent a lot of time away from home and their families when communication and travel were both much, much slower than they are today.  While Washington acknowledged that he served a second term because his closest advisors convinced him to do so, he also had no wish to become an American “King”, and had himself spent many years away from his home in the service of his country.  He was tired, both in general, and specifically with regard to the strife that had erupted between those who served with him.  While he did not advocate term limits, he certainly didn’t foresee career politicians becoming so wedded to the office that they would die there after serving multiple terms either.

That’s why the GOP moved to codify it in the Constitution in 1947, when a large Republican majority took over Congress. Ratified by the states in 1951, the 22nd Amendment was an “undisguised slap at the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote Clinton Rossiter, one of the era’s leading political scientists. It also reflected “a shocking lack of faith in the common sense and good judgment of the people,” Rossiter said.

What this fails to recognize is that to pass the 22nd Amendment also relied on the “common sense and good judgment of the people”, unlike a great deal of other changes to the Constitution that were wrought through an overreaching judiciary instead.  And the left still practices this double standard today, as the litigation over Proposition 8 in California demonstrates.  But Rossiter also had the luxury of living in an era when it was easier to pretend that “common sense” and “good judgment of the people” went hand in hand.  We do not.  Common sense dictates that you cannot increase sovereign deficits by Trillions of dollars in short spans of years for very long before you have severely hampered the freedom of future generations.   And passing the point where more people rely on the assistance of the government than their own efforts for their sustenance pretty much guarantees that the “good judgment of the people” will not have anything to do with “common sense” as it creates an incentive to elect others to enrich themselves as they carry out the direction to loot from the present and the future for their constituencies.

He was right. Every Republican in Congress voted for the amendment, while its handful of Democratic supporters were mostly legislators who had broken with FDR and his New Deal. When they succeeded in limiting the presidency to two terms, they limited democracy itself.

He was wrong, because even then, “the people” did not directly elect the President, rendering the notion that an amendment placing term limits on the office as a limitation, ridiculous.  As I have already pointed out, the left only believes in lower case “d” democracy when the plebes vote correctly, as dictated by their leftist betters.

It’s time to put that power back where it belongs. When Ronald Reagan was serving his second term, some Republicans briefly floated the idea of removing term limits so he could run again. The effort went nowhere, but it was right on principle. Barack Obama should be allowed to stand for re-election just as citizens should be allowed to vote for — or against — him. Anything less diminishes our leaders and ourselves.

That “power” was never actually there.  And actually, the notion that we should continue to be able to re-elect the same person because of some notion of their “indispensability” is a great diminishing of ourselves, because it presumes that we as a nation are incapable of producing capable leaders who can govern through persuasion rather than fear, and can unite, rather than divide while preaching about the incivility of their opponents.  I wouldn’t be in favor of it even with Reagan, but at least a third term of Reagan offered the prospect of a President who loved this country, and saw no need to “fundamentally transform” it into something that it was never intended to be.


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“Cooper, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go anywhere right now.” said Lise, her eyes burning holes in Rick’s head.

Major, I appreciate the kindness that you have shown, but I hope you can appreciate the reasons why I really am not inclined to trust you right now.” replied Cooper, barely concealing his irritation.

“We aren’t ready to move you yet, Coop,” said Rick, who seemed amused by the altered dynamic between Cooper and Lise, “we’re still working out the logistics.  But we need to be ready.”

“You seem to presume a lot, Colonel.” said Lise.  “But I know you have Mr. Wilson’s best interests at heart, which is why you’re still here.  Maybe we should at least finish breakfast.  We have fresh eggs, and even bacon.”

“You ever hear the phrase “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.”?”  Rick leaned in closer to Lise’s angry features.  “I assure you, ma’am.  I am NOT braggin’.”  He paused for a moment, and then stood back up, turned to Cooper, his face changing to a smile, and then said “But hell, I’ve never turned down bacon.  Too bad we don’t have any biscuits and gravy, right?” he asked as he winked at Cooper.

Cooper dished up the eggs and bacon, and sat at the table with Lise and Rick.  For a few moments, they ate in silence.  Finally, Rick asked Cooper “How’s he doing?”  He didn’t need to say Jake’s name.  Cooper knew that was who he was talking about.  Cooper finished chewing the piece of bacon in his mouth, and then answered in a low voice “Better than I would have expected. “

Rick put his fork down, and asked “Does he ever ask about them?”

Cooper closed his eyes and inhaled slowly.  He remembered the night terrors that would wake Jake up screaming for two or three years after they had escaped into Canada.  He didn’t say their names.  He didn’t have to.  Cooper knew what was caused it, and hated himself for the thanks he said mentally that Jake woke up screaming first, so that he didn’t increase the boy’s anxiety.  Cooper remembered the utter despair of those nocturnal moments, as he felt his own heart shredded anew with the pain of memory, and then felt it multiplied by thousands as the shaking boy’s eyes met his own, and he saw them die anew in Jake’s eyes.  “No.” Cooper replied, his voice catching in his throat.  “No, he doesn’t.  But I’d be lying if I said that I thought it wouldn’t bother him to see you again.  I know that it’s dredging up a lot for me.  Not that I’m not happy to see you, Old Man.  It’s just shocking to see someone I was sure died before my eyes years ago walking in on my breakfast.”

Cooper opened his eyes, screwed on a smile, and turned to Rick.

Rick looked up at Cooper sideways, and a grin spread across his face.  “Imagine my surprise when I didn’t wake up dead, hoss.”

Cooper chuckled. “I wasn’t saying I was disappointed.  I’m just surprised, Old Man.”

Lise had silently observed the exchange over the empty orange juice glass in front of her.  Both of the men sitting across from her were strong, in their own way, and had the easy way about them of men who have been friends a long time.  She had considered Cooper, as he kept himself collected while reliving tragedy in front of her.  The profile she was tasked to compile on him just got more complicated, and more…personal.  She was joking with him earlier about sleeping with him, but there was something about the man that she was starting to feel attracted to.  She looked up to face Agent Smith as he walked into the room, looked to her, and nodded almost imperceptibly. She straightened her posture slightly, and said “Mr. Wilson…Cooper… I’m afraid that the Crown really isn’t done entertaining you as a guest yet. “

The two men stopped talking and turned to face her.  “What?” Cooper asked.

“I said that I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a guest of the Crown a while longer, Cooper.” she said firmly, trying to act more confident than she felt.  Rick shifted uncomfortably and said “What part of “Your security is for shit” did you have problems understanding?”  Lise turned to Rick, and let the mask slip. “You do not know as much as you think you do, Colonel.  When we became the seat of the Crown, we also became the base of the Crown’s intelligence services and its special forces.  We know all of the US personnel in the Dominion.  We know all of them in Ottawa…including ones who the Republic of Texas haven’t yet identified.  We can account for all of them, and right now, none of them is unaccounted for, or moving to act against Cooper or Jake. ”  She turned to face Cooper, her expression softening.  “Cooper, we knew you were here in the Dominion the moment you crossed the border.  We’ve known where you’ve been.  We didn’t scoop the two of you up until we learned that the US received intelligence about you being in Canada.  We know you aren’t a threat to us.  We picked you up to protect the two of you.   And no matter how belligerent the US might be, they will not be in too great a hurry to open up yet another front in their never-ending war against those who oppose them. “

Cooper listened, realizing that Lise had just let far more slip than she intended to.  For a moment, he wondered if she was actually British Intelligence, and then realized that it didn’t matter, because even if she wasn’t, she was working with them, and that they had their own plans for him.  He became so lost in his own thoughts that he soon lost track of the conversation between Lise and Rick, but judging from the body language, he guessed that Rick was hearing things that he didn’t want to hear.  Cooper wondered if it would be worth the trouble to try to leave, as he considered Lise’s words, and how they not only took him in to custody with apparent ease, but the care that they had taken to not harm him or Jake.  He decided that he’d stick with it, and see where this was going.   Cooper’s train of thought came to an abrupt halt when he realized that Lise and Rick had stopped talking and were looking toward the doorway behind him.  Cooper turned to see Jake standing in the doorway, looking at Rick with obvious confusion.

Rick swallowed, and said “Hiya, Jake.  It’s been a while.  You grew up.”

Jake’s face clouded, and he moved to Cooper’s side.  “Dad…” he said to Cooper, who took his hand and squeezed it.  “I know son.  I was surprised, too.”  And then Jake sprung forward, and surprising everyone, threw his arms around Rick’s neck, and hugged him.  Rick looked as if he wasn’t certain how to react, and then seeing the look on Cooper’s face, raised his arms, and embraced the young man, reluctantly at first, and then tightly as he heard the young man’s quiet, gentle sobs.

Lise watched in silence, surprised how moved she was by what she was witnessing.  Agent Roy walked in to the room, looked at Lise, and said “It’s time.”  Cooper turned to Lise, the question plain on his face.  “Gentlemen, we’re going to take a little trip.  Someone wants to meet you, Cooper, and you, Jake.”, she said as he let go of Rick and turned to face her.  She looked at Rick and said “You can come too, Colonel.  Your exploits are not unknown to who we’re going to see.”  “Who is it who wants to meet us?” asked Cooper.

Lise smiled.  “His Royal Majesty, King Charles.”

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Cooper Wilson woke up shivering.

As the dark and blurry room came into focus, he remembered where he was.  Jake still slumbered on a bed on the other side of the room.  Cooper sat up, listening to the wind gust outside, and watching his exhaled breath roll away from his face.  He was never one to trust his fate to people he didn’t know, and yet here he sat, miles from his home, and light years away from the life he’d once lived there.

The door to the cabin swung open, and a cold wind rushed through, and the cold, hardened rain driving in behind it, and rattling on the floor like a hand full of bbs thrown against its surface.  Silhouetted by the dim evening light, stood Evan, water dripping from his hair to his face, with another, taller form behind him.

“Dad?  This guy walked out of the forest, knocked out the sentries, and then came up to me and asked me to bring him to you.  He knew my name.  Who is he?”

The taller figure took two steps forward so that the grey light from the cabin’s one window shown on his face.  “You’re a hard man to find, hoss.  What are you doin’?” The Texas drawl of his question still hung in the air as Rick Gearhart’s face broke into a wide grin.

“RICK!” exclaimed Cooper, as he leapt off of the broken down bunk that has been his bed for the last three nights.  “What are you doin’, Old Man?” he asked as he pumped Rick’s hand.  He stood back, his eyes rolling over the man in front of him.  Rick was wearing a camouflage set of fatigues, and a camouflage jacket, and a Texas flag patch on his right hand shoulder.

“Well, I’m tromping all over the Cascades instead of leading my men, because a certain yankee who for some reason has been determined to have some symbolic value to a whole lotta people who love freedom seems to have gotten himself into a pickle.” He paused.  “We saw the broadcast.  Of your mother.  I read the dossier on Teresa.  I’m sorry.”  The two men stood silently, looking each other in the eye, both jaws hardening at the memory.  “Still,  I’m not kidding.  I got called to the capitol.  It seems that when you were singled out for a particularly brutal punishment, some people wanted to know why.  And when they figured out that you and I are friends, well…let’s just say that they decided it was time for me to take a little trip.  You are a symbol right now to an awful lot of people who have fallen back to that last box that defends freedom.  And I have been ordered to bring you back with me.”

“You can’t take my Dad anywhere!” Evan shouted.

Cooper turned and said “Evan, Rick is a friend.  An OLD friend, and probably one of the few that I would trust without any hesitation.  What he is offering is to take us somewhere where we wouldn’t have to look over our shoulders for the rest of our lives.”

Evan regarded the lanky Texan standing in front of his father.  “How did you guys get to be friends?  He looks old enough to be your Dad.”

“Never mind that.  It’s time to go.”  Cooper said, motioning at Jake, who had been sitting up on his bed, and quietly listening to the exchange.

Outside the cabin, the sentries, just average people who had been part of the chain of people smuggling Cooper and what remained of his family out of western Washington, were coming out of the woods, rubbing their heads, and looking at Rick with some irritation.  Rick had been telling Cooper about the helicopter in the woods that he and his pilot had used to fly in from Canada.  He had just shouldered Jake’s bag, and started to ask Cooper about his condition when a shot rang out, and one of the sentries fell as his face disintegrated into a bloody mess.  Another shot rang out, and a few yards away, another sentry crumbled.  Then the sound of weapons fire filled the woods.  The cabin behind them exploded, and soon, one of the remaining sentries was tugging on Cooper, trying to drag him away as he shielded Jake.  To his right, Evan scanned the trees, holding the rifle dropped by the first sentry, trying desperately to find someone to shoot back at.  And then, in the hail of gun fire, Evan fell in front of Cooper and Jake.  Cooper looked into the unblinking eyes of his oldest son, and the two growing red stains on his chest, and knew he had joined his mother and grandmother.

Cooper knew he was yelling, screaming Evan’s name, even as a kind of silence seemed to descend on his ears with the knowledge that his oldest son was dead.  He instinctively held Jake closer as the boy writhed and cried and screamed his brother’s name.  Cooper could feel more arms grabbing him, dragging he and Jake away from Evan’s side.  He looked, the silence in his ears masking his and Jake’s shouting and crying, and the sounds of the battle around them, and saw Rick motioning for he and Jake to run to the east.  Cooper’s mind struggled to comprehend the fact that he couldn’t seem to hear Rick’s voice at all, when he saw Rick’s body jerk as a shot tore through his chest, then another, and another.  Rick’s face seemed frozen in a mask of surprise as his knees buckled, and he fell to the ground.  Cooper was only dimly aware of even more hands dragging he and a now quietly sobbing Jake into the woods behind the smoking embers of the what had been the cabin, as the rain seemed to grow in its intensity.

“What?” Cooper asked, aware that someone had just addressed him, the memory melting away in the morning sunshine of the safe house kitchen.

“I said, you don’t look happy to see me, hoss.” boomed Rick.

“I’m sorry.  It’s just that I…”

“I know.  I thought I was dead too.  But then, after that day, I thought YOU were dead too.  And then we learned differently.”

Lise shot Rick a perturbed look.  “You weren’t supposed to come yet, Colonel.”  Her voice taking a noticeably hard edge on the last.

Cooper considered this.  She was clearly more than she appeared, and he became even less comfortable with the idea of her being in his head, not believing that such a thing was possible.

Rick turned to Lise, and said “Well, Major, the problem is that your security is for shit, as is your country’s ability to keep a secret.  They know he’s here, and they aren’t going to let a little thing like Canadian sovereignty get in the way of their plans for him.  He isn’t just an assignment to me, he’s a friend, and I have no intention of letting your incompetence and false sense of security get him and his boy killed.”

Cooper watched them both stare each other down, feeling a little like a bone being fought over by two dogs, when Rick turned to him and said “Get your stuff, hoss.  And get Jake ready to go.  We need to get out of here, because they are coming, and they are willing to make an international incident over this.”

Cooper looked at his friend and asked “Why?  Why do I matter so much to them still?  Its been a few years, and they got me gone and presumed dead.”

“Presumed dead?  You’re Public Enemy Number One to them, hoss.  Any time they lose a battle with “insurgents”…I never thought that would mean people like me… YOU get the blame.  Whenever a shipment of goods goes missing, YOU get the blame.  Hell, the way the government tells it at home, you’re a ghost, a bogeyman, and a rebel mastermind all rolled into one.  Of course, this probably doesn’t help either.”  He put a small, plain-looking book on the table.  Cooper picked it up, and started thumbing through it.  He recognized a few essays as ones he’d written in what felt like a lifetime ago, along with others written by some people he’d known, and some he did not.  Confusion clouded his face as he looked back to Rick.  “Yeah.  I know.  But the guys running the government on our side felt it would be good for our troops to be able to have these are reminders of why we’re fighting.   Because of the way they tried to make an example of you so early, I think you just won the prize of being picked as the face of the resistance.”

Cooper blinked, and then felt the growing anger as his gazed turned to Lise.  “But if this is true, how could I not know?  How could I not have any idea?”

Lise replied “Just because the current government of the United States publishes propaganda, doesn’t mean we have to repeat it.  We knew you weren’t to blame for all the things they blamed on you.  We’ve known where you have been all along.  And we didn’t move until we did, because they didn’t know where you were, and you weren’t in any danger.”

Cooper turned to Rick, and asked “So what’s the plan?”

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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  - Hebrews 11:1, NKJV

Today, was the second of two sermons on Isaiah 40.  As we started today’s portion, I reflected on the remarkable nature of the message of the Chapter.  Prospectively, the nation of Israel was headed for the seventy-years long Babylonian Captivity, and the first message God had for them was “Comfort!”

I pondered that as the Pastor started with today’s message.  Isaiah knew that Babylon was coming to take all that Israel had…its riches, its livelihood, and its people.  And still his word for them was “Comfort!”, knowing that there would be 70 years of bondage.  My mind kneaded this message in the face of what was coming to them, and in light of portents that seem all too frequent, such as the modern harbinger of bondage that I read about this morning, in which a Virginia lawmaker has floated the idea of making doctors accept Medicaid and Medicare patients.  The commonality was striking.  The common denominator of both is the concept of bondage…the centuries-old nemesis of freedom.  Putting aside the cruel irony of a nation that will still recoil with an obvious shock and horror from things even remotely associated with a past regarding slavery based on the color of skin, and the belief in the ability to own everything about another human being, but almost enthusiastically advocate for government to own the labor of a person, without any corresponding responsibility to them, I think that we, like Isaiah’s Israel are heading for dark times.

So much of what the world knows about bondage is rooted in the physical.  I suppose that is to be expected, as with the nihilism that comes with it.  When all you have is only what you can see, it gets very easy to believe that it is all there is, and more importantly, to become very hopeless about it.  But the truth is that bondage is first a spiritual condition.  And often, those so deeply held in the grips of it spiritually are the least able to recognize it.  This also makes it ok to urge it on others.  We see this at work in a culture that preaches tolerance, but holds its darkest contempt and hatred in reserve for those who do not see the world as they do.  We see it in a culture that creates grand designs on the idea of diversity, but ruthlessly hounds those who do not believe as the majority does.  It works overtime in a culture that exhorts a private right to murder the most innocent among us as the ultimate expression of “choice”, when only one choice is given any consideration.  In such a culture, the leap to the “right” to that which your neighbor has worked for isn’t as much a leap as it is a slow inevitability.

Still, by the time we get to the end of the chapter, we have the reminder that we too can be brought up on the wings of eagles.  And as I considered that, and 2 Kings 6:16-17, I found a calmness in the idea of trust…even when not all is revealed, enough already has been to know that bondage is what Christ came to break, and while we may have to suffer it for a time, it will not be eternal.

16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  –2 Kings 6:16-17 NKJV


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Occasionally, I set out watching a movie with the expectation that it is going to be awful, and then discover that it really was entertaining.  This was one such film.

I can hear some of you now…”But Blackiswhite, it’s about vampires and the Civil War!  That’s ridiculous!”

And my head is nodding yes, but let me remind you of something.  The title is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Suspension of disbelief is just part of the package when you sit down to watch it, don’t you think?

Honestly, despite the fact that the script had very few “A-ha” moments, and you marvel at the main character’s inability to see something that was right before him all along, the story managed to stay engaging, due in large part to the portrayal of Lincoln by Benjamin Walker as a talented, yet not overly bright rail-splitter turned vampire hunter who louses up his first opportunity to dispatch the vampire who killed his mother years earlier, and is saved, then tutored by Henry Sturges (played by an amused Dominic Cooper) in the ways of killing the nightstalkers without ending up an entrée.  We then see Mr. Lincoln blaze a bloody trail through twilight Springfield, Illinois, until he captures the attention of “Adam”, so-called because he is the “oldest of us”, brilliantly played by Rufus Sewell, who stole the movie in an exchange with the young Mr. Lincoln while he had him at a disadvantage.  I won’t reveal too much, but the money quote was part of that exchange, in which Adam looks down on a struggling Abe, and gives him a taste of his own perception of human nature, built on an immortal’s experience.

“May I share with you one of the revelations of my five thousand years?  We are all slaves to something.  I, to eternity, you to your convictions, others to the color of their skin. “

It went on, but this struck me as an honest nugget of truth about the human condition, presented in a manner far more subtle than I have come to expect from Hollywood.

The movie, and Abe’s life progressed after this, giving a very sinister undertone to the Civil War, and an alternate take on the bloodshed of Gettysburg, and the steps taken by Lincoln and his friends to address this new threat that brought him out of his retirement from vampire hunting, and into a genuine climax, and the necessary denouement which is so often lacking in many modern films.

In closing, don’t expect Oscar-caliber performances, although Rufus Sewell played the arch-villain with an undeniable flair that also managed to not be heavy-handed.  Frankly, his performance alone made the film worth watching, but a fun script and interesting dialogue helped the film considerably.  It’ll never make my top 20, but I wasn’t cursing the fact that I wouldn’t get the rental fee and the hour and forty-five minutes back either.  I call that a win.

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