Veterans Day 2010

To all those who stood before, stand now and will stand in the future to protect our freedoms, I thank you – God Bless you and yours.

Respectfully
WC

If you would like to send a personal message of thanks to our troops, via the USO click here.

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What is America?

America is my dad’s blue collar
Grandpap’s regal roses and
humble tomatoes
The mountains outside my window
And the 4th of July fireworks I watch
from my roof.

America is picnics, just because
Mom’s potato salad and
the home-made gnocchi
at Stephano’s on the corner

It’s school girls in blue plaid skirts
and Monday Night Football
Warm beer and bad hot dogs
at home games in the bleachers.

It’s the night sky
sparkling a thousand stars
and exhaling the scent of jasmine
and orange blossoms.

It’s young men and women in uniform
who say ma’am and sir
and go wherever they are called to
stand the watch.

It’s firefighters riding to the rescue
on long red trucks
facing the flames
despite the threat of becoming captive

The trucker who helps you
change a flat on the empty road
Endless highways and
open footpaths

It’s tap dancing and
baton twirling
band music
Jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll

It’s cowboys and cops
down home and up town
Wall street and main street
It’s vineyards and cattle ranches
Skyscrapers and the flat lands
The liberty bell
and the empty space in Manhattan

It’s Detroit city and L.A.
New York and San Francisco
Boise, Phoenix, Glendale, Sun City, Casper,
small towns, big towns
and wide open spaces

It’s barbecue ribs and pecan pie
It’s pot roast and pigs in a blanket
Iced tea and hot coffee

It’s innovation and tradition
History and unchartered territory

It’s helping hands
and open hearts
It’s rushing in when others
hesitate

My hand over my heart
when I sing…
Oh, say can you see…

It’s moms and dads
and the corner store
Lazy rivers and
roaring oceans

But mostly it’s the people
who carry inside
the certainty of personal liberties
whose pioneer spirit fosters
a can-do attitude
who never say, die
but try again
Who build their dreams
one brick at a time
who know that anything is
possible if you believe

copyright 2010

Does Anyone Want a Solution?

There is a lot of stuff happening in this country and the world today. I suppose that is always the case, although in the last several months it seems worst than it has been in the past. And honestly, much of what is happening I find personally scary and alarming. The deficit, the apparent disinterest on the part of our leaders in what the average citizen is concerned about, states going bankrupt, no legislative body showing any real concern about approving a budget much less making budget cuts, giving unelected officials the right to rule and regulate our personal lives, making the EPA part of a shadow government and in the future will tax us for exhaling, politician’s accosting private citizen’s and being defended for their actions, dissention being targeted as hate speech and terrorism, government taking over entire industries, the blame game left and right…..

In my opinion anyone who isn’t alarmed by such actions and much more is either delusional or has been living in a cave for quite a while.

But I for one, would really like to stop the blame game, the partisan rhetoric, and the gotcha games and pose a very simple question: Does anyone really want a solution? Seriously, let’s consider this shall we? In private life, most people when they encounter problems whether large or small tend to want to solve the problem. They may not always succeed but there is certainly an effort to find solutions to those things that work against us. Whether they are created by another person, a circumstance or a natural disaster. For example, last year we had horrible fires at the end of the summer in my community. In fact, I posted many pictures of the fires, some of which were literally down the block from me. I’m proud to say that my community, the firefighters, the police and so forth focused on the problem and did everything in their power to solve it. It did take a while and not everything tried work but I can truthfully say that a solution was everyone’s focus. And in the end, solutions were found, used and the problem was handled.

So, when it comes to larger problems, national problems, international problems, etc. why then is not a solution the focus? Why is the American public by and large satisfied to just let our leaders lay blame. It’s so and so’s fault because he did this and now this is why I can’t do that? A person elected to be a leader is supposed to be a leader and a leader is supposed to be the guy or gal who knows how to solve problems, right? Whether it is the president of the United States or the local city council member. But rather than solving problems PR damage control is the focus. Anecdotes about conversations with children are offered rather than finding solutions, nice speeches or not so nice speeches filled with excuses and finger pointing.

And all the while, while our leaders fail to solve existing problems they legislate more rules, regulations and attempts at taking over parts of our personal lives. Laws now exist that say American citizens must buy certain products or be fined or imprisoned. The government now must decide what we may eat, breathe, think, say and do. Those are not solutions those are impositions upon personal freedoms.

And then the causes….don’t get me started on those either. When was the last time you saw any cause that was for something rather than against something? In my mind being for something is much more likely to bring it about than being against something is likely to stop it.

I admit that I am a bit of a political junkie and I find the field interesting, fascinating and somewhat nauseating – and I love debate because I think it is debate that brings about different views, and can in reality if done sincerely can bring about real change. However, most political debate is about hating the side you are not on. About smearing and belittling people and degrading them in public forums. And I’m not talking about satire I’m talking about venom, hatred and vitriole.

I wonder if some of the most popular people to attack were on ‘the other side’ if they would be so hated. If Bill Clinton had been a Republican and gotten sex in the Oval Office while he was supposed to be doing the people’s business would he have remained in office? If Sarah Palin were a Democrat, would the ladies on the View be fawning over her left and right? If Al Gore had been a conservative would anyone have gone to see An Inconvenient Truth? If George Bush had been a liberal would his bailouts, prescription medicine initiative, and budget and deficit fall-out been hailed by the media? If Maureen Dowd spewed her venom about liberals would she even have a job? If Chris Matthews loved Chris Christie and got a tingle down his leg every time he spoke, would MSNBC issue his pinkslip?

The point I guess I am trying to make is maybe if we stepped back and viewed any leader whether public or private on the merits of what they were actually saying and doing from the standpoint of truly wanting to add to the solution to the given problem, rather than adding to turmoil would things change?

Personally, I think the time has come for Americans (at least) to stop and think. Forget what ‘side’ people are on and really evaluate if that person is trying to solve anything (particularly those things for which they are responsible for solving) just trying to get you worked up into a lather about something so you won’t notice that they are solving nothing.

No one would accept that kind of behavior in their private lives. Bosses who seek to bring the company down and fire good and effective workers are hated not revered. Co-workers who goldbrick and get paid for doing nothing and resented. Businesses that treat their customers with resentment and condescension don’t long remain in business, pastors and priests who exploit members of their congregations soon find their churches empty, criminals who steal, harm and injure other citizens are thrown in jail. Why do those who supposedly lead get a pass?

At the very least, it may be something to think about.

WC

All Gave Some – Some Gave All

You know, it is easy to forget that the personal freedoms we take for granted are not entitlements – but privileges hard won. And won through the efforts and often lives of others. People we likely never knew but who nonetheless were willing to and often did give their lives to secure our freedoms.

While Americans like to celebrate Memorial Day with barbecues, holiday sales, fireworks and alcoholic beverages it wouldn’t hurt any of us to stop at least for a moment to silently thank those who gave us our freedoms. Prayers, good thoughts, wishes spoken aloud, meditation – whatever floats your boat. Please find a way to say thank you – not just to those who have secured our freedoms and continue to do so but to the families of those injured and fallen men and women.

Regardless of the side of the political spectrum to which we align, we have much to be thankful for and many to whom we owe our gratitude. To all veterans, past, present and future and to their families I say, Thank you.

As the saying goes, ‘Freedom ain’t free.’

For those of you who missed it

Since the media is fond of under-estimating the numbers of interested and concerned citizens about the direction of the country… I thought I’d share some pics sent to me by a friend. These pictures are of the recent tax day rally in D.C., our nation’s capital for those of you who don’t know. Of course you wouldn’t have seen these in the MSM because, well after all…showing the real numbers is a little frightening even to them. Or perhaps especially to them.

As you can see it was several more than a few thousand. What do you think – are they all angry white guys? I think not. Nothing wrong with political dissention, right? I mean our Constitution guarantees it. Of course, according to some anyone dissenting from the right must be some sorta nut. Well otay then, count me in.

WC

Oh yeah, and one interesting note – unlike those who attended the inauguration of our current president – the Tea Party activists didn’t leave a ton of trash for the city to clean up. In fact, they left no trash whatsoever. Unless of course you include the politicians and they’re working on that one too.
😉

Independence Day

independence_day

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” –Patrick Henry

Happy Independence Day everybody. Next to Christmas, this is my favorite holiday because it reminds me of what a unique nation we are and of the incredible people who gave us our independence and at what cost.

A friend of mine did a documentary entitled, America! some years back and the links to all three parts are below. I  encourage you to take the time to watch, it will bring tears to your eyes and make you remember why you and so many others love this country.

America! Part 1

America! Part 2

America! Part 3

And as a final note, please pray for our guys and gals standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families — especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.

Enjoy your day.

The Great Melting Pot?

A friend recently sent me the following in an email. I found it unsettling and provocative – it is indeed a galvinizing topic – but I post it here for your thought and consideration. WC

We know Dick Lamm as the former Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of America’s finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, “Mexifornia,” explaining how immigration – both legal and illegal was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, “If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'”

“Here is how they do it,” Lamm said:

“First, to destroy America, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar, Seymour Lipset, put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.’ Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, and Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.”

Lamm went on:
“Second, to destroy America, invent ‘multiculturalism’ and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal; that there are no cultural differences. Make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.”
“Third, we could make the United States an ‘Hispanic Quebec’ without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: ‘The apparent success of our own multi-ethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentricity and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.’ Lamm said, “I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America enforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities.”
“Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school.”

“My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of ‘Victimology.’ I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.”

“My sixth plan for America’s downfall would include dual citizenship, and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other – that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic games. A common enemy, Persia, threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. “E. Pluribus Unum” — >From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the ‘pluribus’ instead of the ‘Unum,’ we will balkanize America as surely as Kosovo.”

“Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits. Make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of ‘diversity.’ I would find a word similar to ‘heretic’ in the 16th century – that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobe’ halt discussion and debate. Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of ‘Victimology,’ I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them.”

“Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis’s book ‘Mexifornia.’ His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don’t read that book.”

There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. (I edited, all but this line of the narrator’s editorial comments – as I am more interested in your comments at this point. WC)

(Origins: Richard D. Lamm was a Democrat who served as governor of Colorado for twelve years from 1975 to 1987. Of the above quoted third person account regarding his speech on the perils of multiculturalism, he told us (snopes.com) in mid-June 2005: “Yes, it is a speech I gave a year and a half ago in Washington D.C. It was a five minute speech, and I am amazed and gratified it has received so much coverage.”)

If you are interested in checking out the snopes page on this topic, you can find it here 

If you are interested in the book Mexifornia, you can find it here 

An article by the author of Mexifornia can be found here

And finally, I leave you with what I think is an appropriate quote about the great melting pot, America.
 

” …whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes… What, then, is the American, this new man? He is neither an European nor the descendant of an European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. . . . The Americans were once scattered all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest systems of populations which has ever appeared.” – Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer.

USS New York

A friend sent me this in an email and I wanted to share it.

It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship – designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, LA to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept 9, 2003, “those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,” recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. “It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.”

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the “hair on my neck stood up.” “It had a big meaning to it for all of us,” he said. “They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We’re going to be back.”

The ship’s motto? “Never Forget”

Now, that’s a motto I can relate to – I will never forget.  WC

War

 

War hasn’t been popular since WWII – although, I understand there were some anti-war dudes back then too – by and large, the country supported it. Many believed it would be the end of the world as we knew it and that it would all be for naught – but if we hadn’t entered WWII (spurred on by an unprovoked attack on American soil – any of this sound familiar?) we’d all be speaking German and possibly have only the color brown in our wardrobes.

Korea was an unpopular war – but I think mostly because we didn’t exactly finish the job. As evidenced by what’s going on in Korea today. A little fat dude with bad hair nuclear-izing his country, while most of his citizens starve to death (ah, the better to control them).

But, by far, I think the most unpopular war was Vietnam. Yep, that was stinker. Those who were tuning out, (big kudos to Timothy Leary) took exception to the idea that perhaps they might have to stand the watch for their country. They sure did take advantage of their personal freedoms but they sure didn’t want to have to actually defend them or protect them. Nah, that was better done by others. And they took it a step further too – by rejecting everything that was up to that point normal and American. Our military suddenly was the bad guy. The country was the bad guy. We who may have supported the fight against communism, were murderers, rapists and baby killers. Soldiers were spit upon and made to feel disgrace, all for the horrible act of going when their country called. And after years of war and thousands lost, the veterans of that war were at best ignored, and at worst tossed out like yesterdays’ trash. And it was decades before they were even thanked (much less honored) for their service. Do you remember that parade through New York City? I do. And I sat and wondered how many in that cheering crowd had made it their business to spit on these brave men and women just a few years before.

I wondered too, if all the voices drowning out common sense and reality, hadn’t been so loud if we’d have been able to finish the job there. If the millions who were murdered, tortured and turned into slaves of the Communist regime that claimed Vietnam after we left, would have had different lives. Better lives. I think they would have – but no, I don’t know.

I’m very familiar with all the arguments against war. It’s inhumane, it kills innocent civilians, we aren’t the world’s babysitter, it’s none of our business, it’s really a civil war, we shouldn’t be so imperialistic and on and on. That we are an evolved society and we should not have to resort to war to resolve our differences. We should be living on a higher plane and caring for our fellows. Let the United Nations resolve the woes of the world with diplomacy and charitable acts toward those less fortunate.

Well, I suppose those arguments have some validity. I don’t like the idea of killing people or being killed. I don’t like the idea of innocent civilians being killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I too, would like to see us all live better, more evolved lives. There’s only one problem. We aren’t.

While technology races from one new discovery and innovation to the next – we aren’t anywhere near to catching up in that progression. People still hate. People still crave power. People still give in to their baser instincts. People still seek to control others in their greed and craving for riches and land. In other words, the things that actually cause war, still exist.

Bill Gates, Apple Computer, Starbuck’s Coffee and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream have done nothing to actually alleviate the human conditions that breed war. They sure have made our lives more convenient and even tastier, but they haven’t changed men’s hearts or souls. And to me, that is what one must do in order to live in a world without war and to have peace.

What people do not like to consider or face, is that indeed, there really is evil in this world. And they are personified by the likes of Kim, Hussein, Chavez, Castro, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, et. al. Though they are probably a very small percentage of the population, the havoc they can wreak once given any sort of power is monstrous.

It only took a handful of brainwashed men and three planes to kill 3,000 of our citizens – and we didn’t even know who they were. They were not public figures, politicians, celebrities, religious leaders or 3rd world despots – they were ordinary men on a mission. One bred by hatred and fueled by denying these men and millions others, a normal life. Food, clothing, housing, a peaceful existence. If you starve a man long enough, it takes very little to turn them into whatever you want to turn them into. Killers. Priests. Religious zealots. Slaves.

So, the arguments to me, pro or con are beside the point. You’re arguing the wrong issue. The issue isn’t really whether war is right or wrong, good or bad. The issue is, how can we change the hearts and souls of men so they do not want to go to war in the first place?

Thoughts?

WC