Searching for truth

It is hard to know what is true. Too often truth simply escapes us or worse yet we accept as truth what is delivered to us by individuals who are motivated to define the truth in their own best interest. When you lack a depth of knowledge on a subject or the ability or desire to search out the truth for yourself, discovering the real truth is nigh to impossible.

In the Muslim countries, such as Afghanistan, the population is largely illiterate. Their truth comes to them from Imams, tribal leaders and corrupt governments who tell them what their chosen god wants them to do. We know how that has turned out for the rest of the world.

In the land of the free, we have a different problem. A large percentage of us profess to be Christians, but we neither practice nor study it. Instead, we let others define it for us. Typically it is a mega church television preacher who tells us that God wants all of us to be wealthy and he will provide wealth if we just ask Him for it. Or we buy the prayer shawl that will bring us miracles if we wear it while praying. Or worse than that, we allow disciples not of God to bring us the truth. In America, we have allowed ourselves to be dumbed-down on Christianity and we are just too busy to seek the truth for ourselves.

I accept that the Bible is the truth. I do not have a perfect understanding of everything I read from it most days. But I do ponder it and I do pray for clarity in understanding the words and applying it to my life and to understanding what is happening around me.

Unless it comes from someone I know and trust I take with precaution any conversation that begins by telling me what the Lord requires of me. I double down on that when it comes from a politician. I grow even more skeptical if the person doing the talking has never demonstrated to me by his walk that he is indeed a follower of Christ. My skepticism increases dramatically when the person implies that I can only fulfill God’s requirements for me if I use him or the government as a middle-man. There is a middle-man between God and us, but He does not reside in Washington.

At the National Prayer Breakfast this past week, the President told us that Jesus’ teaching supports his ideas on progressive taxation.

[at the National Prayer Breakfast] Obama said that as a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke. – Charles Riley, Obama: Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy, CNNMoney, February 2, 2012

It always bothers me whenever anyone cherry-picks a few words from scripture and uses them to support any argument or point of view, especially when there might be ulterior motives. The partial line of scripture to which the President referred comes from Luke 12:48. To understand it, you must read it in context with the preceding verses.

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. (verse 48)From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded [emphasis mine]; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:42-48 (NIV)

I just might be wrong. I know some Bible scholars, that I trust implicitly, who will see this. I am confident they will tell me in rather blunt terms if I am off base. This scripture passage is about fulfilling ones personal responsibility not passing it off to another entity to meet the obligation for you – like government. When you give money to the government, it does not forego your responsibility as a Christian to help those in need. If you have been blessed with much, your responsibility to be wise with it increases accordingly. Just remember that there is no middle-man between you, your personal relationship with God, and fulfilling your responsibilities.

Many people will unquestioningly accept the President’s words and insist along with him that it is indeed Biblically supported that the wealthy must give more of their money to the benevolent government that will then do some good with it. Some who are not Christians will label those who claim to be as hypocrites for their unwillingness to give more money to government to help our nation’s down-trodden (who have flat screen TVs, air conditioned homes and now free cell phones). This passage of scripture should, if anything, put fear in to the government entrusted with the welfare of a free nation, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. And it would, if the head of that government was a true Christian.

“I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion,” he said. Eric Marrapodi, Obama reflects on faith in prayer breakfast speech, CNN Belief Blog, February 2, 2012

This could be a true statement, but one is left to wonder about the source of the scripture.

Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. [emphasis mine] In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” [emphasis mine] – Nicholas Kristof, Obama: Man of the World, New York Times, March 6, 2007

Class warfare, pitting the poor against the wealthy, is not about fulfilling any Christian Biblical principle or meeting ones Christian obligations.

Our education system has accomplished the same for our general understanding of our nation’s history and form of government as has the bombardment of worldly views veiled as Christianity. We have children leaving our high schools who lack the most basic understanding of our Christian heritage, our history or our constitutionally guided representative republic form of government. In many cases, they have been taught about the sins of America, but rarely about her good. They lack a basic understanding of our economic system, the concepts of individual liberty, God given rights and the constitutionally imposed limitations on our government. They enter our liberal institutions of “higher” learning as empty vessels. There they learn about the evils of economic freedom and the virtues of communism, Marxism and socialism. God and Christian concepts not allowed or are talked about as mythology along with the “truth” of Darwinism. Our children are not being taught American Exceptionalism. They are not told the heights at which this eagle has and could conceivably soar. Instead, they are taught about the evils and that the eagle and her wealthy have soared too high and both must be brought down to the level where all men and all nations are equal. With their indoctrination completed, these previously empty vessels now filled are ready to vote for the message delivered to them that most closely coincides with the message of their indoctrination – another concept of fascism, communism… but most certainly not a concept embraced by a free republic. We have traveled far down that road.

My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” – Charles Hurt, OBAMA FIRES A ‘ROBIN HOOD’ WARNING SHOT, New York Post, October 15, 2008

“In the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable: a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.” Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto

“Labor is the source of wealth and all culture, and since useful labor is possible only in society and through society, the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society.” Karl Marx – Critique of the Gotha Program

He when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? – Ronald Reagan, quoted by Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, Page 197.

The Gipper drew a clear distinction for us between Marxist thought and the American idea of economic freedom.

Karl Marx was the Communist father of Marxism. Our President’s ideas on taxation and class warfare (spreading the wealth around) are rooted in the Communist Manifesto, not the Holy Bible. Unfortunately, too many Americans know too little about the contents of either to fully understand that.

God save us.

©2012

American Promise – American Dream

When a promise or dream defines a national state of mind, a charlatan, with support of his equally fraudulent comrades, hoping to change the nation rather than lead it toward the promise and the dream will always try to define both to suit his self-interest.

What is the American promise? What is the American dream?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – The Declaration of Independence

Is that not the answer to both questions? The promise: all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. The dream: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Politicians and their allied frauds throughout our history, and even more so in our present, have tried to redefine the promise and the dream into material terms. An education, home ownership, abundance…. It is the dream formula for failed nations.

When a man believes the dream is material and he cannot obtain the material objects that fulfill it, then he is left to conclude that the dream does not extend to him. He becomes convinced by unscrupulous and evil men that “the dream” is only obtainable by select groups. His situation is therefore unjust and can only be corrected through drastic change. A man that will ensure the loss of all his freedom and with it any real hope of achieving the materially defined dream offers him hope by promising the type of change that only he can provide. I will take and give to you what is rightly yours. I can and will deliver to you the American dream.

The problem facing a benevolent guarantor of hope is that when dreams or promises do not belong to him, he cannot take them away. In the same vein, he cannot give to you what does not originate with him… endowed by their Creator…. He can, however, take material things from one and give it another.

Our President has publicly professed that he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I am not personally convinced that his walk supports his profession of faith, but only God knows his heart so that is something the two of them will settle on the appropriate day.

If we are led by a Christian man, would he not steer our nation toward following two of God’s most basic commandments? Those are the commandments that instruct us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to not covet his property. To love my neighbor as myself means simply, at least in my un-theologically trained mind, that I want the same good things for my neighbor as I want for myself. What I want for my neighbor are certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I want him to have the freedom to make choices that will enable him to acquire the wealth and material possessions that he may desire – just as I desire for me. I do not covet his property in any form. What my neighbor acquires through the exercise of his unalienable Rights is his to do with whatever his conscience guides him to do. Taking his property and giving it to me, or anyone, because some man or government is convinced that a portion of my neighbor’s wealth rightly belongs to me or to the nation that promises to redistribute it to me, is not a Christian concept. It is also not a concept on which our nation was founded.

As I write this, around our country Americans are praying for a miracle that will return our nation to its underpinning which is very clearly expressed in the words of the Declaration of Independence … with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence… that set this nation on the path to becoming the most blessed nation known since the days of Solomon. The founding of the United States of America and the development of its Constitution led free republic is a miracle from God. It is a miracle that changed the world. It is one we are bound to preserve, because miracles are just that.

By definition, miracles must of course interrupt the usual course of Nature; but if they are real they must, in the very act of so doing, assert all the more the unity and self-consistency of total reality at some deeper level. – C.S. Lewis, Miracles

Understand the miracle that interrupted the usual course of [human] nature. Understand the promise. Understand the dream. Understand Who we should follow. Long live our blessed nation.

“I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance [as the framing of the Constitution] …should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being.” – Benjamin Franklin, from The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, quoted here from A Miracle that Changed the World, The 5000 Year Leap

© 2012

The Fighting Spirit

It is an election year, a.k.a. the silly season in America. If you are a talk radio junkie, you may need to kick your habit until at least the second Tuesday after the first Monday in November. If you do not, some neurotic radio head may plant doubt in your mind. So much so that on election day you may declare that there is no use and stay home, thus guaranteeing that America falls on over the cliff which is now her wobbly perch.

I enjoy listening to the people with great voices who talk for a living. They are the background noise I need while I work. Mostly, I must admit; I listen because they cancel out my tinnitus. Their time slots in my work day are presently replaced by music – something that soothes my mind rather than assaulting it. When a radio head tells me that the only guy for them is Ron Paul, I hear the old analog dial spinning in my mind searching for something else. The same goes for Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or any other candidate for as long as any of them remain in the race.

The most destructive thing pundits, especially those with millions in their listening audiences or millions reading their books, can do to our electoral process is use their voices to shill for one candidate or another during primary election season. When they do this, they become no more useful to their listeners than is the remaining liberal media. They become MSNBC and undeserving of my time. I do not need a microphone driver to do my thinking for me. Most Americans do not.

I also love the brilliance of the television political panels that tell us who the only candidate is with any chance of winning the general election. Typically it is the polished, over-rehearsed one with nice hair and a lot of cash. He is the one who, although unspoken, would class up the cocktail party circuit and blend well with established Washington. He is after all, presidential. Then they tell us about the ones who could never win a general election. One cannot win because he travels the campaign trail towing his personal baggage car and his style is destructive rather than collaborative. One has a good message, but lacks the necessary charisma, cash, and establishment backing and, his social views scare away independents. Or, in their assessment, the one who is just plain nuttier than squirrel crap.

When all of their predictions and nuanced reasoning falls flat on its collective butt they are at a loss to explain why. They cannot explain why because they avoid the message while assessing the messenger. He may have won this time, but the polls tell us….

“Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. America loves a winner. America will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise a coward; Americans play to win.” – General George S. Patton

General Patton just explained to all you over rated pundits, who could not figure it out, why Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina. The more you jump up and down on him while pushing others at us, the stronger he is likely to become.

For as long as I can recall, the accepted American and hopelessly liberal media has reviled and labeled every conservative voice. Liberal politicians, with the help of an eager media, have defined conservatives with every despicable brand one might imagine. If the liberal politicians proclaim it and the liberal media defends it and if it remains unchallenged, it must be true. Conservatives are greedy, money grubbing, middle class hating, homophobic, fundamentalist Christian racists who want to hold America hostage to their evil ideology. The ideology that insists that freedom is God-given and that people do not need government directing and meddling in their personal lives.

What is the typical conservative response? Assume self-defense mode. When you defend against nonsense, you give the nonsense validity. Conservatives, the nuanced, intellectually superior beltway version of conservatism at least, must stay on message. They must address only the issues and keep to the high ground. They must never utter a phrase that can be twisted to further define them as greedy, money grubbing, middle class hating, homophobic, fundamentalist Christian racists who want to hold America hostage to their evil ideology. It is a pathetic little media and mental war that conservatives have lost for decades. They have lost it for one simple reason. They are not playing to win. They are playing not to lose. There is a big difference. Why do you think the sports guys describe a football game strategy as conservative? It is a classier way of saying trying not to lose.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

Like him or hate him, Newt Gingrich broke the code. Americans understand the code. When you are in street fight, one that may decide whether you live or die as a nation, you better be prepared for some eye-gouging, toe stomping and hair pulling. You better be prepared to land some solid body blows on your opponent and keep pounding him until he is on the ground and then when he is down jump up and down on him some more. Otherwise you become John McCain.

“Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that “we are holding our position.” We’re not holding anything. …. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!” – General George S. Patton

Americans love a good fight. Americans love a fighter. Conservatives, do you want to win? Then find and hold on to the fighting spirit. It is that simple.

©2012

Spectacular Failures

Those of us who served in the United States Army occasionally encountered people of dubious character, never quite sure what drove them, but most certain about what lay at their center. It was a large narcissistic, ultimately destructive ego that often led to their spectacular failure (a phrase I stole from a trusted friend). It was a self-centered approach that took advantage of cultural shifts to promote themselves and their like-thinking cronies.

Too often their approach to leading was at the expense of honorable men and women who did not stand to influence their careers one way or another – or so they thought at the time. At some point in their lives, demonstrated competence gained them promotions. At least, we like to believe that is what advanced them. At some other point, they lost focus of who they were and what they represented. Then their character flaws failed them, but not before the lives and careers of many others were harmed along the way.

In recent decades, there has been insidiousness at work that is destructive to the honor and integrity of our force. It has multiple heads, but a single focus. That focus, at least to this old retired Soldier, is the transformation of the world’s greatest fighting force into the world’s greatest social engineering laboratory. Added to that are the in-service politics driving selections for important assignments. Unscrupulous character deficient leaders are always standing by to benefit from social experiments and crony politics.

Understand one thing clearly. If our military is to remain the great force that it is, people who enter it and who are now serving must conform to the standards of the force. The force cannot continually reshape its culture and standards to accommodate individuals, groups and most frighteningly incompetence.

Writing this, I fully expect the sharp knives to come out. But, I do not care. I have had those stuck into me before, often from the same characters who at the time were smiling to my face and shaking my hand. When I was serving, I always said what I thought. Now I stand at a point in life, where it matters even less to me what people think or say about me. What is important is to speak out about what I see happening to the great institution that gave a wayward teenager a good home for most of his life. I pray that others in and out of the service will do the same. If we do not, we fail the many young Americans who dutifully and trustingly enter the United States Armed Forces.

In my book, The Three Meter Zone, in the chapter titled Build the Foundation, I wrote about Trust and Confidence. I recounted a story written in third person because I had no desire at the time to publicly embarrass the leader who owned this piece of my personal history. He was having enough issues at the time and the lesson from the story was more important than its characters. Leaders must have and keep the trust and confidence of the led.

It was not until I arrived at my new assignment at Fort Myer, Virginia that I learned the back story. My first assignment there was as the Command Sergeant Major (CSM) for what was dubbed “Headquarters Command Battalion.” Yes, it was as insignificant of an assignment as it sounded and rather disappointing to say the least. The man I replaced was headed for an assignment in Germany. One highly sought after by CSMs from the personnel field. It was not the assignment promised me in my trust and confidence story, but another. His experience level was much less than what one would expect for the assignment he was given, but he was well-connected to the Office of Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA). His selection angered senior and experienced CSMs from his field. Too make an already too long story short, after his assignment it became time for selection of a new SMA. The man selected to be the new SMA was the man who broke his handshake personal commitment to me for reasons he proclaimed “he was not at liberty to discuss.” What did the personnel CSM do? He decided that he did not want to be a CSM after all. He gave up the sought after wreath on his rank insignia and with it the privilege of leading soldiers to do what? Return to the office of the SMA and work for the newly selected one. I do not have to give any more detail about this SMA. You will recall that he flamed out rather spectacularly. Following his court martial on sexual harassment charges he was discharged forever to be remembered for the last thing.

There are some very important assignments for NCOs in our Army. They should always be filled based on merit with men and women of demonstrated competence and high character. One of the most important is the Commandant of the Army’s Drill Sergeant School. The person responsible for being the example to and training the trainers that teach young Americans how to be Soldiers. On September, 21, 2009, the New York Times ran a long complimentary article hailing the selection of CSM Teresa King, the first woman, as the school’s new commandant. Not long ago, the Army Times reported that she was suspended from her duties.

“If we outline the allegations, people will jump to conclusions that she is guilty of those allegations,” said Col. Chris Kubik, a TRADOC spokesman. “We don’t want any sort of prejudgment. There may not be any substantiation to it, so we don’t want to mar Sgt. Maj. King’s good name — she does have a distinguished record and we don’t want anybody prejudging her.” –Army News Service

It is quite interesting that none of the reporting news services will “outline the allegations” that caused CSM King’s suspension. I hope they understand that bad news does not get better with age nor does it just go away in today’s connected world. If true, the allegations are disheartening. Unchallenged rumors are of bogus college degrees in her records, a sexual relationship with an enlisted Soldier junior to her and a drinking problem. If they are true, it is another spectacular failure of Army leadership. For the sake of our Army, let us hope that CSM King is not remembered for this last thing.

The Army must take a hard look at itself. It cannot continue to select and place people of questionable character into important leadership positions. In the name of political correctness and social engineering, are we failing America’s Soldiers and ultimately America herself?

©2012

Looking beyond the wars he inherited…

That is the opening phrase of the Associated Press article announcing plans to further decimate our Armed Forces. And in the name of what? Frugality? It is the most irresponsible and dangerous act in recent history otherwise I might break into hysterical laughter.

Once upon a time in the Army, thinking and planning was based on what is essential. Not how much something costs, but whether doing it or not doing it is difference between success and failure. Living and dying. If the objective is to simply cut the national budget, then you can hack and slash until you get it where you want it, but not at the expense of putting our nation in danger.

What is our objective? Is it to defend our nation?

Some years ago, I participated in a research project on the World War I battle of the Meusse-Argonne. The offensive ended on November 11, 1918, which was also the end of the war to end all wars. The research did not begin with the battle itself, but necessarily with the pre-war years and the state of our Army from the beginning. It was important for us to learn what it took to win the decisive campaign of the war.

Before World War I, the strength of our ill-equipped standing Army was less than 100,000 men. With the rapid buildup for war we did not have sufficient equipment, even small arms, for the men we were sending to battle the Germans who had arguably the best Army on the planet at the time. We were so poorly equipped that many of our ”Doughboys” completed only rudimentary basic training and never fired a rifle before setting sail for Europe. Once there, they learned to shoot with British Enfield rifles. After all, we did not have any. The Europeans had a low opinion of us and our abilities, but welcomed the replacement stream of bodies.

So, how did we ultimately defeat a well-trained, battle hardened, and well-equipped German Army? We overwhelmed them. American Soldiers represented an infinite replacement stream of bodies while the German stream, worn down by years of war was rather finite. At the top of the Konigstuhl, in Heidelberg, Germany there is a German War cemetery. Some German Soldiers killed in World War I were re-buried there after the cemetery was built during the National Socialist years. Teenagers. We were not the better Army. We were not better trained or equipped. The Germans simply ran out of Soldiers. They filled their cemeteries with a lost generation of teenagers.

In the Army it is understood that the Generals will sometimes make mistakes. It is also understood that it is ultimately the Soldiers who pay for them. But understand clearly that it is the mistakes and ill-conceived miscalculations of politicians that ultimately fill our gardens of stone with the bodies of American Soldiers.

Not long ago, I wrote about Carter’s Army. It was an Army beaten down and worn out by years of combat in Vietnam. Its morale busted by liberal politicians, their allies in the media and a seemingly ungrateful public. Carter’s defense cuts further hollowed out the force. Our Army was in a sad and dangerous state. It was brought to that state by political bungling of a war and political disdain for those serving in uniform. Instead of regenerating the force, Mr. Carter cut it.

At the height of the Cold War, our standing active Army strength was around 760,000. Down came the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union. Washington politicians were dancing in the marble hallways of the Capitol as peace dividend dollar signs destined for pet projects and cronies rang up in their beady eyes.

But not so fast, insisted Sadaam Hussein.

Being the only nation on the planet with the ability to project such power, we ultimately deployed the heavily armored 7th Corps to the desert. They rolled through and over Iraq’s “elite” Republican Guard and decimated the world’s 3rd largest standing army in short order. Political intervention prevented the complete destruction and ouster of the madman. We encouraged revolution then turned our backs while Hussein filled mass graves with would be revolutionaries.

With that great victory, it was finally time to cash in the peace-dividend. There is no more 7th Corps and our Army was reduced to nearly half its Gulf War strength. We were built down, made leaner. Large conventional force on force wars were over or so we were told. Now we were able to focus on important things. Political correctness or the inability to tell the hard truth lest feelings are hurt and our diversity or better described as out of one many rather than out of many one.

Now we have been at war for a long time. Our Soldiers are tired. Their equipment is worn. Political bungling has been the norm. They have endured all of it. Now some politicians believe that we can cure the national debt by cutting the military while we are still fighting the war that Iran started with us in 1979. All of this while throwing money by the bucket load from every government window in the land. Liberal ideology once again trumps reality. Unless we rid ourselves of inept Washington leadership, more young Americans will necessarily become again the infinite stream of replacements trying to restore peace to a world brought to turmoil by political idiocy.

Do you ever watch those wildlife shows on television? The predators do not attack the strong. They cut out the weak and kill it.

Truthfully, he is looking beyond the fate of the country he inherited and the one thing that keeps our nation safe, the powerful military he inherited that keeps the predators away.

©2012

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