Songbirds

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

Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer

June 6, 1944
My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

Over at the pizza buffet

These days, it’s getting harder to wipe away the bovine scatology to get to what’s truly important. I don’t give a rat’s rear end what any celebrity says. That also includes politicians who would knock their grandma out of the way if she was between them and a television camera. I don’t care about twitter keyboard courage emboldened hissy fits. What is worse than who tweeted what are the twits making tweets into national news events. I’ve seen entire news cycles about tweet wars. Are we truly so shallow as to care about what ignorant people tweet or ignorant so-called comedians have to say – about anything? These jesters for profit work to make sure every other word of their shtick is profane. I’m guessing as children they giggled whenever someone said poopie and they never grew up.

Can’t we all just agree that Twitter is a cesspool. But it’s an obsession that even our President can’t let us get away from. The world’s problems solved or started in a designated number of characters. I couldn’t work that out of my mind while at the gym this morning. Which reminds me, I got an email from a guy named Robert. I think it was Robert. He thought my gym musings were nonsensical blather and I should retire again. Or some words to that effect. I can’t recall for certain because his email hit the trash bin faster than he could craft another literary gem. It’s like those courageous blasts of keyboard courage over the years I’ve conditioned myself to ignore. Besides, I’m a seasoned citizen now and there is no space left on the cranial hard-drive to store useless nonsense. Thanks to Bob, I think I’ll retire as soon as I can figure out how you retire from being retired. Second thought, I think Bob wished me dead.

Household 6 asked me what was on my mind. For those of you who are non-military oriented, 6 usually designates the unit commander. Just so you know who’s in charge at Pendry manor and any other military household. I told her there was nothing on my mind that could not be cured by a trip over to the pizza buffet. So, waist line be damned, off we went.

HH6 got herself a diet soda and I got unsweetened ice tea. Yes, I do know that in this part of America unsweet tea is Southern Sacrilege, but I needed a counterweight to the pizza calories. So, there I was minding my own business with a plateful of pizza slices and another of breadsticks and marinara sauce when HH6 arrived back at the table. “Where is your salad? You have to eat some salad.” Many of you youngsters will not recall the Dobie Gillis beatnik sidekick Maynard G. Krebs. Maynard would get look of shock on his face whenever someone mentioned work.  I imagine that’s about how I looked when HH6 told me I needed to eat some salad. Head down, I dutifully shuffled off toward the salad bar mumbling,” this ain’t the doggoned salad buffet.” I looked up just in time to avoid what would have been an epic collision with a couple of large humans carrying pizza stacked up on those tiny plates, cinnamon breadsticks and a chocolate chip cookie big as a frisbee. They had no salad. I forced myself to take a little salad out of the bin. Then covered it completely with bacon bits, cheese, much ranch dressing and headed back to the table. When I got back, HH6 looked at my salad and then gave me the look. I plucked an olive from the beautiful salad she was working on, dropped it into the ranch dressing, batted my big brown eyes and she crumbled. I still got it.

Off to work on something serious, maybe. Speaking of keyboard courage, I need to give John reason to send me another email with his condolences to my parents for raising an idiot. Right back atcha Johnnie boy.

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

Freedom’s Just Another Word – In measuring what counts, what enables or hinders economic and human freedom, Old Glory no longer flies atop the mountain.

On the Index of Economic Freedom, the United States ranks 18th. On the Human Freedom Index, we rank 17th.

Liberty, freedom, guaranteed rights, free market capitalism…. Does not our national anthem declare us the land of the free? Is it not often avowed, by us, that we are the freest earthly nation? In measuring what counts, what enables or hinders economic and human freedom, our flag no longer flies atop the mountain.

“the end of law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.” John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1690) (Hackett Classics)

John Locke was one of the most influential philosophers studied by our founders. His thoughts pepper our founding documents. His quote captures the reason we are no longer the gold standard for freedom.

…not to abolish or restrain… All you need do is listen to prevailing political and social debate. There is always a faction wanting to abolish what is important, our Constitution or significant portions of it. The Constitution is the law of our land. The document preserving and guaranteeing our freedom. Oh, but it’s antiquated goes the argument. Written for another time. The principles of freedom and limited government do not change with time. What changes with time is the socialist, globalist influence of the uber wealthy and politicians they own. What changes with time are teachers and professors who prefer ideological indoctrination to education and teaching critical thinking. Pick any one from the Bill of Rights and you will find arguments for ridding ourselves of it or restraining its practice by the citizenry. Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; the right to keep and bear arms; rights to life, liberty and property; other rights kept by the people; undelegated powers kept by the states and the people – just to name a few.

Read W. Cleon Skousen’s, The Campaign to Abolish the Constitution, while you ask where is the national push to preserve and enlarge freedom? But do not despair. President Trump has made significant strides in government deregulation and reducing the tax burden that is returning to us some economic freedom. Maybe he recalled President Reagan’s thought on how the government restrains economic freedom: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, Nothin’ ain’t nothin, but it’s free.” Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee

Kristofferson is one of the most prolific song writers of our time. He’s an Oxford Rhodes scholar, an Army Veteran Airborne, Ranger, Helicopter pilot. He accomplished all of that before he decided to pursue an incredibly successful music career. For all of the great lyrics he’s written, quoted above is my favorite. In the past I’ve spent time pondering it and have quoted it more than once whenever I am writing about our freedom. If you place it in the context of the song, when Bobby left (Bobby was a lady) him, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’s left was all she left to me”, all he had left was his freedom.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor and author, Man’s Search for Meaning.

I suppose that could be a sad situation. When you have no possessions, no attachments, no relationships or commitments you are free. Free to go and do as you please. But, I prefer to look at it differently. If everything is taken from you, you still have freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom to choose your own way, and freedom to choose your attitude. With that also comes the freedom to wallow in hopelessness and self-pity. And the freedom to understand that The Spirit of Freedom is the foundation of our country.

Freedom is often restrained by government, but government can only take freedom to the extent that we forfeit it. Freedom is a human birthright although much of the world’s population is not free. Just look at the UK’s Tommy Robinson incident. It is a total suppression of free speech and of the press. The British people, by allowing this to stand, have forfeited any illusion of free speech or free press. Our founders accepted this human birthright and enshrined it in our Constitution.

As I wrote in The Spirit of Freedom:

“The cornerstone of our nation’s foundation is trust in God and God given freedom. Preserved on this foundation is our most enduring principle. We arrive in this life as free men with unalienable rights, blessed by God, and equipped with the ability to reason, choose and distinguish right from wrong and good from evil. God instilled that spirit of freedom in the hearts of all men, not just those who were fortunate to have been born American. Being born in the world’s freest nation is indeed a blessing but being born here does not ensure freedom.

The gift of freedom and the blessing of life in the United States of America obligate us to defend the one place on this earth founded on the principles of trust in God and God given freedom. Allowing men to be the givers of freedom will crush the rock on which our nation stands. We must protect the foundation that lights the one true pathway of hope for the un-free world.”

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

 

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