All posts by JD Pendry

Sometimes life needs a reboot

Recently, I reviewed a book manuscript written by an old Solider and mentor. Great story that some publisher or movie screenwriter would be wise to grab hold of. I’m envious. I can’t share details, but the story stirred memories of another time. A time when our country was not in great shape. War protestors were in the streets while Americans were fighting and dying in a place only a few short years earlier most Americans had never heard of. Unfortunately for those in combat, it was a politically managed war. For the Soldier’s part, it was not about politics. It was about the Soldier standing next to them and survival. Thanks for the trip down memory lane my friend.

In September 1971, I was in basic combat training at Fort Ord, California. Monterey, Carmel by the Sea beautiful places. But, I was on Planet Ord known for fog, sand, ice plant and Vietnam Combat Veteran Drill Sergeants. Although the draft era was coming to an end, there were plenty draftees. There were also Reservists and National Guard. It was Regular Army (RA) that seemed the rarity. That was me. During that time, volunteering to serve wasn’t in vogue. The connected managed draft deferments or Reserve unit assignments while others avoided the draft by going to Canada.

At age 16, I was a high school dropout working for minimum wage as an unskilled laborer in a Chicago factory. After a couple of years, I looked around at men twice my age still breaking their backs. I didn’t like that glimpse of my future. A couple of weeks shy of my 19th birthday I walked into the Recruiter’s office on North Clark Street. Two days later I was on an airplane to California.

After a tortuous couple of weeks, I developed a blister on the pinkie toe of my right foot. My Drill Sergeant was quite clear when he told us he wanted to see any blister or other such thing if we had one. I showed him mine. It was very painful. He handed me a half a bag of salt obviously pilfered from mess hall stores. He told me to get a small trash can put hot water and salt in it and soak my foot and that would take care of it. I did. Several days later I was admitted to Fort Ord’s World War II era hospital with a very swollen foot and lower leg. The Doc said it was cellulitis. All I know is that it was throbbing painful and near impossible to stand on.

I was admitted to the surgical ward. It was a large bay with beds on each side. Some of them held medical evacuees from Vietnam. I recall one skinny little troop around my age. He seemed fine except for the metal brace on his left leg that clamped around the bottom of his boot. He said he was a helicopter door gunner when he was wounded and now he was waiting medical discharge. It brought life into focus for me – a two-week old recruit. The hospital kept me for a couple of weeks. When I returned to my unit, my locker was cleaned out and my stuff locked away in the supply room. I was sent to another unit to complete training.

The next unit was odd I thought. There were only three platoons. It did not take long to discover that I was one of only three RA recruits in the company. There was a spattering of draftees (US) and the remainder were in the Army Reserve (AR) or the National Guard (NG). There were some well educated people, a lawyer or two, some athletes. Not typical of those I associated with on the factory floor or expected to find in Army basic training. All had their reasons for being there. The draftees because their number was up, the Reservists and Guardsmen trying to get service commitments behind them so they could get back to already established lives and the RAs just beginning life’s journey. One major difference. The US and RA expected to go to Vietnam following training. At least that is what the Drill Sergeants pounded into our heads. The National Guard, and I believe the Reservists also, still had to qualify with the M-14 because that is what their units had. The National Guard also had to have riot control training.

In the spring of 1972, I completed training. Like others, I expected my first assignment to be Vietnam, but as I would later learn Vietnam was in drawdown. In large numbers, Soldiers were leaving Vietnam. My first assignment was to Korea. In February, I arrived at the replacement depot wearing my winter green uniform via a Military Airlift Command (MAC) Northwest Orient flight out of McChord Air Force Base, Washington to Osan, Air Base, Pyeongtek, Korea. During the few days I spent there, a flight full of Soldiers wearing jungle fatigues arrived from Vietnam. It was not an adequate uniform for February in Korea. Talking to some of them, they were barely on the ground in Vietnam before they were diverted to Korea.

My service career began with I Corps, Camp Red Cloud, Uijeongbu, Korea. No matter where you’ve been – Northeast Asia or Southeast Asia – during that period the description of a town (Village or Vil in GI lingo) could be layered one over the other. The people, the streets, markets, alleyways, the shops and clubs catering to Soldiers were all about the same.

All things considered, for a directionless kid taken under the wing of a Korean War Veteran First Sergeant, it was a second chance on life. I’m thankful it turned out OK.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J.D. Pendry’s American Journal

Patriotism or Politics?

It is the solemn question for our time. For decades, we’ve been asked to pick an ideology, choose a political party, focus on one important issue, or choose the cause of the flavor of the day identity group. It’s refreshing and energizing when someone proclaims we should instead focus on America.

The first hymn at Sunday morning’s Church service was America the Beautiful. It’s the poem’s final version written by Katharine Lee Bates. Over the years, some have maintained it should be our National Anthem. Especially those who may view Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner as too “militaristic” or question his character in a 21st century context. Most do not know more than the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner. If they did, they would see that both Bates and Key attributed the greatness of our country and our freedom to God. Although Bates did it with more poetic flair than Key, their resounding message is the same.

Many Americans embrace the idea of Divine providence being responsible for our country’s historically rapid ascension to arguably the world’s leader. Both Bates and Keys embrace freedom as something worth fighting to preserve and per Bates written into law “confirm… thy liberty in law!”

Many others, we see and hear daily on every television channel, believe our national prosperity and freedom are products of deviousness. That we were set on a wrong path by the people of their time who founded our nation and wrote our Constitution. They view anything outside utopianism as evil. They spew a venomous hatred toward America. A tiny minority when compared to the total population, yet they are made to appear much larger through social and news media. Nothing good stems from such hatred. Nothing good can come from hatred no matter it’s origin. If hatred for any person or group is what motivates you, it is also what blinds you. It prevents you from seeing the truth or anything good.

We have been shown what is good. We can summarily abandon it or passionately hold to it.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)

I saw a disheartening news snippet a day or so ago. It was a video made by Prager U. Incredibly, there are young adult Americans who do not know what we celebrate on July 4th nor do they know the significance of the year 1776. It’s not good for our country when young people do not know the most significant events in our history like the birth of our nation or the current history of the political parties they embrace. When you don’t know what you don’t know, it is easy to become captivated by some smooth-talking person or ideology that life’s experience later teaches you was a far distance from the right way. But, by the time it’s learned, it’s too late. The young are easily swayed. I declare this from experience.

Many young voting age Americans are not well educated, by design I propose, about our history or the various forms of government employed around the globe. That the most leftward of the left hope to encourage these youngsters to vote for their globalist socialist, open borders, no immigration enforcement worldview is the only explanation I can come up with for their current socialist, pro-illegal immigrant anti-immigration enforcement message. They have no message or no ideas good for Americans. They’re building a platform built of hatred and dissent. One that ignores our laws. It is a strategy playing on emotion of hatred for our current administration and empathy for children brought here illegally. Too many destined for human trafficking or gang life. We hear about the two thousand separated from their parents, but nothing about the ten thousand that arrived without parents.

Now, the President is about to select a new Supreme Court Justice, and most likely not his last. There seems to be but one concern. Will the court overturn Roe V. Wade? There is no concern about the Constitution. The concern is about abortion. Would not the patriotic view be that we demand a judge who is a Constitutionalist?

There is a wave for socialism. The government should provide everything. A guaranteed job or wage, free education, free medical care. There is no understanding or knowledge of how socialism has destroyed nations and people. Anyone who does not sign on to the socialism wave is called a NAZI by people who do not know that Hitler’s party was the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. He promised everything the socialists want for today. Indeed, it sounds wonderful but at the end of the day it’s a totalitarian nightmare. We see it playing out in today’s Venezuela.

We have to choose. Do we want to be Americans defending our Constitutional Republic? A place where liberty is confirmed in law, where there is opportunity for anyone who’ll pursue it. Or do we want to devolve into something totally opposite. Do we want to continue to sway in the wind of politics and activism or stand up for and hold firmly to the things that made our country great? Patriotism or politics?

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal

How about a red, white, and blue wave?

Some are cheering for a blue wave, others for a red one. Others are dreaming of gray anarchy. From where I sit here in Wild and Wonderful, unless we fix Washington, I’m not sure it makes a hill of beans difference what we get. Politicians and groups of people want power. They’ll do most anything to get what they want. It’s an end justifies the means existence. Either they want power to push an agenda or to kowtow to the agenda of those to whom that are beholden. Except for the useful idiot piece, it is not your or I to whom they are bound. They promise what they believe garners votes then when elected they return to the Washington status quo. It’s a well trampled path of which most Americans are quite weary. What if someone happened on the scene wreaking destruction on the well-established political country club?

We find ourselves in a sad political situation left with no one to blame but ourselves. Well paid by our taxes and well-funded by wealthy donors the establishment, no matter their battle colors, do not want to solve problems. It’s not just the democrats or the republicans. It takes some of all of them. Together they fail our country. It’s, whatever it is, is always too hard to do or too hard to stop or we know it’s a bad situation for Americans, but it’s our new normal. Learn to live with it.

The Washington establishment comprised of career politicians and unelected senior career civil servants control everything. They thrive in an environment that keeps Americans at one another’s throats. Unless the swamp is drained the forgotten people, who mind their business and go to work every day often struggling to just make it, will always lose. Together these swamp rats play the media, who enthusiastically carries their water, like a Stradivarius. Both do and say all they believe is necessary to ensure an outcome preferable to people who own their souls. Even if their desired end means destruction of our country. They’ll still be grasping for power and trying to justify their actions as their pathetic souls swirl down the drain.

Somehow, they think with lies, deceitfulness and hatred they’ll always control the narrative and with it the direction of our country. The point they’re missing is quite simple. In 2016, there was no red wave. There was no blue wave. In 2018, there will be neither again. Just like 2016, there is going to be a red, white, and blue wave. With that election, America’s political landscape is changed. Likely forever and for the good. Fed up Americans rejected Washington’s failures. We rejected smug political hacks who continually crammed it down our throats. We elected a non-politician outsider who spoke to us about the issues that most affect us. And he did not speak to us condescendingly. He spoke to us directly and to the chagrin of the establishment he’s working double time to fulfill his commitments. He kicked down the doors to the country club filled with bought politicians and their wealthy donors and media cohorts. For us, he fights all of them. Every day he and his family endure a wrath of negativity, outright falsehood, and demonization. He’s the Washington establishment’s nightmare.

They, democrats and republicans, are working hard to ensure he doesn’t succeed. It’s due to their unbridled hatred and the fact that he kicked over their apple cart. Just as he promised. They truly hate the man that had no chance of winning, was not supposed to win, and who beat their anointed candidate. The establishment and their media pawns have tried every play in their books. They manufactured a bogus investigation. They’ve bankrupted and destroyed the lives of people who’ve worked for or were associated with him. Alleged news media, alleged entertainers and others have profanely attacked his family including his 12-year-old son and 4-year-old granddaughter. In contrast, I can recall a rodeo clown who was promptly fired because he once wore an Obama mask.

It’s not just the hatred of the man that’s a problem. It’s extended to the whole class of people who voted for him and in increasing numbers support him. They are a “basket of deplorables.” One MSNBC nitwit stated during a program that it’s not just the president that’s bad. The people who support him are NAZI guards, the bad guy. People have been attacked for wearing a MAGA hat. These bad Americans, in record numbers, still support and still attend his rallies.

Now public attacks are taking place against prominent people who work for him and prominent people who support him. Media and political hacks would have us believe these are spontaneous. They’ve spent entire media cycles trying to rationalize their own hatred. To use their nearly worn out phrase for justifying themselves, “this is not who we are.” Or is it? I ask all these pundits and so-called journalists to investigate the NAZI Brownshirts. They were the paramilitary wing of Hitler’s National Socialist party. They attacked Hitler’s political opponents and destroyed property. When you’ve completed your assignment explain to us about harassment of the director of homeland security, a state attorney general, the President’s press secretary, and an advisor. Maybe explain for us how you rationalize a member of Congress publicly calling for these acts to intensify. Then I want you to have the audacity to call someone else a NAZI. For your edification, history will recognize you and ANTIFA as NAZI kindred spirits.

You’ve hopelessly lost in the world of ideas. You are mired in hatred most Americans reject.  You have no chance of winning more elections unless it’s through fraud or voter intimidation. I know Democrats, reasonable people who do not support what you are pushing. They may never vote Republican, but a large number will probably not vote at all. You failed. Out of desperation, you’ve turned down a path leading our country to a dangerous destination. Sooner rather than later, someone is going to get killed behind your constant stream of hatred. You will not be able to disown it and you’ve already ensured an overwhelming red, white and blue wave.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal


Ever sit and wonder what the heck is going on? Wonder if you are out of touch with the rest of the world? Wonder if anyone is in charge? Of anything? Wonder if it is you that is directionless or is it everyone else? Around 6:00 AM this morning, I pondered some of those questions. Although there remains some confusion, I’m almost recovered from the endeavor.

I was out on the patio in my pajamas. I’m retired, growing older. Not near senility quite yet but carrying life’s whip marks. People expect me to walk out onto the patio in my jammies. I don’t disappoint though I don’t readily display my personals. Like my tattoo. Instead of parking it on one of those soft cushy patio chairs, I sat on the bench between the planters. You know, the little concrete one no one ever sits on because it’s for looking at. My first thought was dang that’s cold. I’ll have to try it sometime after the sun shines on it for a while. With some parts of my anatomy slightly puckered and shriveled, I crossed my legs and sipped coffee from my camouflaged mug. No matter how hard I focused on the problem, body heat refused to warm up my concrete seat. The Doc told me ice was good for inflammation in my arthritic hip so I figured it was a medicinal choice of seats. I’m insightful that way. I also believe a balanced diet is fried chicken in one hand and biscuits in the other. No. No one’s ever talked to me about cholesterol or heart disease. Besides I’m of the belief that a generous nightly sip of single blend sour mash whiskey cleanses the arteries just fine. Good for the mind too. And body aches. And the after affects of the nightly news and political speeches.

As the sun peeked out, I breathed in the fresh air and listened to the birds sing. I believe a gnat flew up my nose. It tickled and I snorted. The birds are lively this time of the morning. Wished one of them had eaten that danged gnat. Having been reared in the West Virginia hills, I longed to hear a rooster crow. At the same time, I was grateful to hear songbirds and not them doggoned crows. They’re as annoying as politicians and sound about the same. Reckon politicians eat road kill too? Sipping my coffee, I enjoyed nature’s sounds knowing full well that weed eaters and lawn mowers would soon ruin the morning’s serenity. Speaking of coffee, do you have one of those newfangled coffee machines. Don’t figure the price per cup. It may leave you sitting there mumbling mortgage coffee mortgage coffee. Fortunately, I don’t have a mortgage. From down in the valley came the low rumble and blaring horn of the passing through coal train. Never understood why they needed to blast that horn as they rolled through town. Morning wake-up call? It’s what you get for living near the railroad tracks. But don’t take that as an invitation to move up on the hill near me.

Sitting there, I concluded that God gave me a brief moment of peaceful tranquility to realize that I am doing just fine. I don’t consider it an epiphany, but rather a brief moment of clarity. These periodic moments of clarity concern me somewhat. Makes me wonder if it is only brief moments of clarity that I actually have fearing the present moment of clear thinking might leave me as soon as my butt thaws.

No, it’s not me, but some of ya’ll I’m concerned about. Now don’t take that personal. Some of ya’ll can be a sizeable group or just a few, but either way it’s not near as many as all ya’ll. All ya’ll generally applies to a known entity for instance Congress as in all ya’ll is crazy. Declaring concern for some of ya’ll leaves the possibility that I may fall somewhere into fringes of the sane group. The group that chooses to sit in the morning chill. In jammies. On a cold concrete bench. Drinking coffee. Enjoying the sounds of nature. Sorry, didn’t mean to wander off there.

I had a thought. Why do we have to bounce everything off what is supposedly mainstream. Main stream thinking. What the politician tells us most Americans believe. Or main stream media. What some news reader wants us to believe. I often think if what these folks are talking about is mainstream I’m hopelessly trapped way out there in the rapids and my waders are filling up with water. I have no hope of making it back to the calm waters of the mainstream. I’m headed over the falls and my barrel’s got holes in it. It’s scary being out here alone like that. I must avoid these moments of clarity. Blissful ignorance is the only way to survive. What were we talking about? Oh, I remember. The songbirds. Peaceful aren’t they.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal

Saving our democracy?

Eff Trump, save our democracy. It’s the battle cry of the day. Entertainers, professional athletes, and media types, demonstrating the psychopathology of a derangement syndrome triggered by Republican presidencies, profanely rant, rave, and break into hysterics before lamenting the loss of our democracy. Most politicians are democracy demagogues ignorantly postulating on the floors of Congress that we must preserve our democracy. Our school children run about demanding we protect democracy from whomever it is they perceive or have been taught is threatening it. Save our democracy rhetoric would be dandy if we had a democracy, but thankfully we do not. If we did have one, it would not be worth saving and by this time in our history we would have either destroyed ourselves or be begging for a dictator to rescue us from mob rule.

In a pure democracy, minority opinions or minorities of any sort do not matter. It’s the adage of two wolves and a sheep voting for what’s for lunch. In a democracy, there is no protection for the sheep. No matter how glorious it’s made to sound as it rolls off the tongues of the ignorant, the mob rules. There are no rights, there is no freedom, unless the mob deems it. As recent events demonstrated mobs, truth be damned, are easily whipped into a frenzy. When our billionaires lobby for a universal wage, the mob cheers and would most certainly vote for it. The mob would trade freedom for a gray suit of clothes and a free paycheck rendering us middle-classless and nationally destitute once we’ve incentivized idleness and drained the national treasury. I know, a tad bit exaggerated but it makes the point. Besides, before the end, a French styled Revolution would break out against the American bourgeoisie and Karl Marx would be overjoyed. But, let’s not sharpen the guillotines just yet.

Fortunately for us, our founders were learned critical thinkers. They didn’t have the Internet to make them lazy and ignorant, their social media was pamphlets and hand-written letters, one-page newspapers, or radical for the time a proclamation nailed to a tree. There were no news monopolies steering thought or public opinion.

In their original form, our founders read books many of them held in their personal libraries. For moral authority, they read the Bible. They read John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government (Hackett Classics) for the concept of natural laws; Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s, The Social Contract (Penguin Books for Philosophy) for the concept of sovereignty; Baron de Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws on separate branches of government with checks and balances. They were also influenced by Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (Bantam Classics) and invisible hand theory that it is people working in their own interests (selfishly or greedily or ever how you choose to characterize it) that grows an economy and the best thing a government can do is get out of the way. They studied forms of government and the reasons many of them failed.

From their studies, discussions and much debate they did arrive at a democratic form of government, but not a democracy. What our founders learned is that government by humans, even the supposedly cherished democracy, always seems to go a little haywire right before collapse. So, they reasoned that men should be ruled by law instead and created a Republic based on that concept. Our form of government is a Constitutional Republic, governed by The Constitution (the law of the land) that protects our natural rights, recognizes the sovereignty of the separate states, and has three branches of government executive, judicial, and legislative complete with checks and balances so that one branch cannot be superior to the others. Our economic system is forever tinkered with, but at its roots is Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Unlike the mob rule of democracy, the sheep has rights. Rights that are protected and guaranteed by our Constitution as amended by the Bill of Rights. We can never rely on the virtuosity of humans to protect our freedom or physical safety, instead we must rely on adherence to the law of the land lest the wolves have lamb for lunch.

Maybe if we began to educate Americans on the form of our government and actually re-instituted civics teaching at the elementary school level people would began to understand the virtues of a Constitutional Republic versus the drawbacks of mob rule.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal