Archive for November, 2013

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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I originally published this piece on November 26, 2009.  

The older I get, the more I appreciate Thanksgiving.  Maybe it’s because it is uniquely American.  Yes, I know Canada has a Thanksgiving Day, too, but what comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving?  That’s right.  Pilgrims.  And not Pilgrims with that signature lilt in the voice, ending sentences in “Eh?” But what I also enjoy is this holiday’s Christian roots, and the irony of lefties enjoying the holiday without serious consideration to what this holiday is really about.  A time of reflection and giving thanks to God for the extraordinary providence he has bestowed upon us.What’s that you say?  Only a rube would express thanks to God?  Only a superstitious idiot would do such a thing?  Yeah.  Those Founding Fathers were real idiots, weren’t they?  Case in point?  Noted foolish Christianist and tyrant, George Washington:


A Proclamation  

 WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”  

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.  

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wife, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.  

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.  
(signed) G. Washington  

Why, the unmitigated gall!  A sitting U.S. President having the nerve to invoke God in his official capacity as President!  Didn’t he know that The Constitution contains a “wall of separation between church and state”?   Actually, no.  He didn’t, because the Constitution contains no such thing.  And the private letterof Thomas Jefferson’s from which this  false doctrine was later transplanted into the Constitution by the Court in the twentieth century wasn’t yet written.  Jefferson, that noted author of this fabled Constitutional premise , was not even in the country at the time the Constitution was written, as he was serving as the nation’s Minister to France.

This is a time of year for reflection and giving thanks.  I’m thankful for my family, both the one I was born with, and the one I chose.

I’m thankful for the Providence God has bestowed in my life, and the Providence that he has bestowed on our nation.

I’m thankful for second chances, and the fact that we can still abandon the insanity that a reckless minority and our elected officials are inexplicably wedded to, and determined to force us into.

And yes, I will be taking some time over this Holiday on my knees and in audience with the very same Creator that the Father of our country sought in times of adversity and times of plenty.  Why don’t you join me?

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So I was just in the car and heard that a “Federal Study” on the Joplin tornado has concluded that stronger building codes and a better detection and early warning system could have saved lives.

Now back in the 80s when we heard stories on mohair subsidies, $500 hammers and toilet seats, and federal studies on katchup flow rates, the fact that the Feds were setting $100 bills on fire, stacks at a time, for “NO DUH!” moments like this was slightly amusing. But now that we have a debt approaching $20 TRILLION DOLLARS, there isn’t anything to smile about.

But even worse than that is the idea that this kind of thing should even be something the Feds are involved with. Any single process that can be performed by man can be made SAFER. The question is “At what point does the cost in doing so become prohibitive?”, and let’s face it. The same government that spent 3/4s of a Billion on a healthcare insurance portal website that doesn’t work nearly as well as ecommerce sites put together for a FRACTION of the taxpayer dollars pissed away on Healthcare.gov shouldn’t be the ones you trust to make that decision, even IF it had the authority to do so.

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Mr. President:

Up until now, I have decided against writing about your astonishing lies you told to the American people over and over and over again to sell your signature piece of legislation, ObamaCare, to the American people, because I numbered among the roughly 49% of Americans who KNEW you were lying when you told the lies, and despite how brazenly you presumed at authority you never had.

I was part of the 49% of Americans asking where you got the authority to make the unilateral changes to the implementation of this law when Congress had not been dissolved or disbanded, and therefore still held their constitutional legislative powers.

I was one of many people who listened to your recent apology/attempt to gaslight the entire nation about what we all heard you say to us over and over and over again about “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.  Period”, and like so many others, I was disturbed by the otherworldliness of it.

But upon watching this testimony today,

and reading the transcript of your remarks at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting, especially this gem :

And it was that what was already going to be hard was operating within a very difficult political environment and we should have anticipated that that would create a rockier rollout than if Democrats and Republicans were both invested in success.

One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and — and that makes, I think, the — the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and finetuning the law more challenging.

I let both sink in.

First, while your pathological avoidance of accepting any responsibility for anything that goes wrong on your watch, and the army of drones willing to sacrifice their own credibility to help maintain that fragile illusion will no doubt object to me saying it this way, YOUR ADMINISTRATION KNEW that despite having passed a law that requires people to purchase a product, and yet the portal YOUR ADMINISTRATION created to help people purchase those products was deliberately made live, despite the fact that there was absolutely no chance of it EVER being able to accept a payment, because NO payment or accounting system had been built into the software.  NONE.  Even by government standards of incompetency and failure, this is a monumental lowering of the bar.  Now I’m sure that if we were in a forum where you would actually HAVE to respond to me, you would tell me how you didn’t know, it never came up in the meetings, the dog ate your homework, but it would all avoid a salient and undeniable fact:

You ASKED us for the job Mr. President.

While I’m sure Harry S. Truman’s desk sign got lost somewhere, the fact is that the buck DOES stop with you, no matter how much you try to worm and weasel your way out of that reality.  It is your responsibility because you are the leader, and as such are tasked with the responsibility of making it work.  And even if this were not true, as the head of the entity doing (or in this case failing) at the work, there is the matter of not just what you knew, but what you should have known, a legal concept you would be familiar with if you ever actually had to do work as a lawyer.  If the people YOU put in charge of this weren’t informing you of just how woefully unprepared they were, then as the leader, that doesn’t speak well of your judgement.

However, based on your remarks today, especially the excerpt above, and your previous statements and yes, lies, I can just as easily assume that you DID know and either your ego wouldn’t allow you to admit that government’s ambitions have finally outstripped its competence, or that you are so delusional that you cannot contemplate the thought that opposition to this mammoth usurpation of personal sovereignty is actually against the interests of the people who you claim to be helping, and therefore, the opposition doesn’t HAVE to be invested in your failure.

While we’re on that subject, a great many of us are bone-weary of hearing nothing but excuses and blaming others from the person we hired to sit in the big chair after he campaigned for the job.  Frankly, I’m not sure how a group of CEOs, people who understand the demands and responsibilities of leadership, and the consequences of failure, could even stand to be in the same room with you today.  But since your attention has undoubtedly strayed to ways you can improve your short game, I’ll cut to the chase.

I’m not alone when I say I’m not interested in your half-hearted apologies when yours lies were finally so obvious even Helen Keller asked “REALLY???”.  And strapping the lukewarm apology to another lie when delivering it was an act of a man person unworthy to occupy the office of President.  We don’t want anymore apologies.  We don’t want any more excuses.  No more executive orders; no more imperial edicts further warping and disfiguring the law you made your top priority so that you and your associates can escape the consequences of it.

We want your resignation,  and the resignations of everyone you enlisted in this repulsive power grab.  We want you to go play on the beach in Hawaii, and eat your waffle, play even more golf (is such a thing possible?) and stop trying to continue to drive the car further into the ditch.  We don’t want you to pick up a mop, since your attempt at cleaning this mess up has only made the stain larger.  In fact, the biggest favor your could do this nation in retirement, aside from building houses with Jimmy Carter and keeping your wishcasting to yourself is to eschew any use of the honorific “Mr. President”  in your ignominious retirement, just to save the rest of us the embarrassment of having lived in a country dumb enough to elect you twice, despite your extraordinary lack of experience, and inability to perform any of the tasks of the job we gave you.

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…and Satan was in front of me. He was wearing a parka, and had a cart full of rock salt.

Last Friday, I raised Martin Bashir’s ratings significantly by linking to his disgusting passive-aggressive attack on Sarah Palin. Today, I read the story of his on-air apology.

From Mediaite:

Bashir opened Monday’s show with a complete and abject apology. “Last Friday, on this broadcast,” Bashir said, “I made some comments which were deeply offensive and directed at Governor Sarah Palin. I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin, and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers, and anyone who may have heard what I said. My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate, nor fair. They were unworthy of anyone who would claim to have an interest in politics, and they have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said.”

“In the battle of ideas, America leads the world in whole-hearted discussions and disagreements,” he continued, “and these arguments can be heard on a daily basis. But what I did on Friday had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that great tradition, and I am deeply sorry. Upon reflection, I so wish that I had been more thoughtful, more considerate, more compassionate. but I was not. And what I said is now a matter of public record.”

“But if I could add something to the public record,” Bashir added, “it would be this: That I deeply regret what I said, and that I have learned a sober lesson in these last few days. That the politics of vitriol and destruction is a miserable place to be, and a miserable person to become. And I promise that I will take the opportunity to learn from this experience. My hope is that it will renew in me a spirit of humility and humanity, that looks for the good and that builds upon the great things that this country has to offer to all of us, regardless of our political persuasion. This will be my guiding light and compass in the days ahead. But once again, I am truly sorry for what I said on Friday.”

While I doubt that any of his colleagues at MSNBC felt any shame at what he said (heck, even after someone explained it to him, I’d wager even Al Sharpton thought it was pretty good), the fact that he led the broadcast with it, and avoided the kind of weaselly crap we have gotten used to in a forced media apology, in the spirit it invoked, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as to its sincerity, and say good for you, Marty.  Even if you’re saying this because your Mom made up half your audience that night, and she was appalled at what you said, you clearly gave some thought to the apology.  Good for you, and thank for deciding to NOT be a scumbag.

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Ignorance isn’t made less ignorant when it speaks in clipped British intonation.  And unhealthy fixations aren’t made less disturbing when broadcast as a hit piece.  Unfortunately, no one told Martin Bashir, the mentally handicapped version of Piers Morgan, who is the perfect choice for the MSNBC line up.

“Given her well-established reputation as a world-class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history.”

“So here’s an example,” Bashir continued. “One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer, who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750, and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation.”

“What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but is the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime,” Bashir added. “In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby ‘catched eating kanes had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, s-h-i-t in his mouth.'”

“This became known as ‘Darby’s Dose,’ a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of inhumanity. And he mentions a similar incident in 1756, his time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. ‘Flogged punch well, and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper, made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth,'” Bashir recited.

“I could go on, but you get the point,” Bashir said, concluding “When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”

Now the fact that Bashir invoked her ignorance not once, but twice in his pseudo-scold is just more evidence that the universe has developed a complete immunity to outbreaks of irony that would have shattered its fabric into millions of shards in previous eras.  To start with, there is nothing particularly ignorant or offensive in her reference to debt slavery, or the suggestion that the profligate borrowing and spending of the Federal Government might lead to just that.  Debt slavery is a flavor of slavery that has been around almost as long as the custom itself, and is still actively practiced in the world today, as people get themselves into hock with moneylenders, condemning themselves, and sometimes their children to slavery as a means to pay back that debt.  Nor is slavery a practice confined to the African experience, as civilizations all over the world have taken slaves as spoils of victory, such as was practiced by the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans, Arabs, and others.  Perhaps Marty could have spared us all his two minutes of hate if he hadn’t been ignorant of the power of the internet and search engines, and spared himself the embarrassment of his powerful projection and a display of passive-aggressive poo flinging, in which he can giggle to himself in a snide aside about his cleverness in not directly saying that someone should shit in Sarah Palin’s mouth and piss in her eyes without, you know, actually saying it.

While this moment of triumph undoubtedly entertained Marty’s small intellect, and his tens of viewers, I cannot help but to feel disgusted, and wonder why this is even remotely acceptable to the very same people who would be calling for the head of a conservative commentator making similar suggestions about Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, et seq.  Nor, as I have previously observed here, and here, is this particularly vile type of “attention” an isolated incident when it comes to Palin, who isn’t even a candidate for office, and hasn’t been since 2008.

That said, I eagerly await an explanation from the proggies and leftists cheerleading this kind of disgusting attack against Sarah Palin how such attacks aren’t skirmishes in the “War on Women” that they constantly crow about whenever someone suggests that since we aren’t supposed to care what goes on between women’s legs, it is ridiculous to assert that it is a woman’s “right” to make taxpayers fund what goes on there.  Not that I actually expect any of them to actually make an attempt, even a half-hearted one.  Which would and should be to their shame.  If they had any.

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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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I had an interesting conversation this week with another businessman who has had enough.

The topic came up when he learned that I am business attorney, and he started to talk to me about the never-ending stream of regulations and taxes, and how he wondered if government didn’t do some of it just to find out how much we would let it get away with.  I smiled, I nodded, and then I told him about my recent odyssey with the Census Bureau.  We both got a laugh out of that, especially when we talked about how long the survey was, and how they just presumed that I would be willing to surrender that time to the government without a peep.  This lead to a discussion about how it doesn’t take very many agencies, bureaus, and offices making “insignificant” demands on you time, and on your earnings before it really starts to add up.  And of course, none of them ever take into consideration that their “insignificant” demands are coming along with all the other “insignificant” demands…not that it would matter, of course, since their demands are important, and must be responded to.

Then he said “I’ll go you one better.  A few years back, I got one of those forms where they wanted me to pretty much inventory EVERY item in my business, then compute the tax and send it to them.”

“Ok…” I said.

“Yeah.  I thought about it for a minute, realized how many HOURS that would take to do, hours that I wouldn’t be using to earn money, and so I looked at the form, and saw that it was a $40.00 fine to not fill out the form and send it back.  I wrote on it “I’m not going to take the HOURS necessary to do this.  Bill me for your fine.”  And I never heard anything more.  They send a new form every couple of years, I answer the same way.  And I’ve never been contacted by anyone looking for their fine.”

We both laughed.  And for a few minutes, I was glad.  It makes me happy to see even small acts of defiance against an out of control government.


I was introduced to a new song last night.  And it made me very, very happy to know that there are people willing to be the nail that stands up, at a time when so many allow themselves to be intimidated by a tyranny of political correctness, and small-minded thugs who keep finding new ways to take what doesn’t belong to them.

A friend of mine let loose today with a good rant on Facebook today on the chronic misuse of the word “tolerance” and how the ones who use it most clearly don’t understand it based on their intolerance of those they disagree with.  I’m proud to count her, and others like her, as friends.

As our President continues to hamfistedly attempt to gaslight the nation about his blatant lies, and as he sets the tone from the top down of a government culture that pays lip service to accountability, yet remains blissfully consequence-free in light of its mendacity and failure, there is a rising anger that will eventually remind our public “servants” that service and employment both come with accountability, and that we will not let those who serve us continue to enjoy good fortune at our expense, and a cushy sinecure that none of us could ever hope to dream of.  The fact that they continue to let this attitude build, while flaunting their disrespect and lack of self-awareness in our faces demonstrates the kind of bad judgement that converts dismay due to lack of respect to a desire to instill fear.  I don’t think it will be pretty, but I do think it will be instructive, and occasionally, “pour l’encourage les autres” has its place.

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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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