In Federalist 69 Alexander Hamilton responded to the criticism that the Presidency under the proposed Constitution established an elective monarchy which would be a perpetual threat to American liberties:
Hence it appears that, except as to the concurrent authority of the President in the article of treaties, it would be difficult to determine whether that magistrate would, in the aggregate, possess more or less power than the Governor of New York. And it appears yet more unequivocally, that there is no pretense for the parallel which has been attempted between him and the king of Great Britain. But to render the contrast in this respect still more striking, it may be of use to throw the principal circumstances of dissimilitude into a closer group.
The President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years; the king of Great Britain is a perpetual and hereditary prince. The one would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace; the person of the other is sacred and inviolable. The one would have a qualified negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an absolute negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of declaring war, and of raising and regulating fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the sole possessor of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments. The one can confer no privileges whatever; the other can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies. The one can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation; the other is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time, can coin money, can authorize or prohibit the circulation of foreign coin. The one has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction; the other is the supreme head and governor of the national church! What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us that things so unlike resemble each other? The same that ought to be given to those who tell us that a government, the whole power of which would be in the hands of the elective and periodical servants of the people, is an aristocracy, a monarchy, and a despotism.
One can only imagine what Mr. Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers would make of this:
According to a senior Democrat familiar with the plans, Obama will announce on Thursday that he is providing temporary protections to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. His orders will make up to 4 million undocumented immigrants eligible for temporary protective status and provide relief to another 1 million through other means. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If anyone doubts that we have gangsters at the helm of the federal government who have nothing but contempt for traditional American liberties, the Obama administration quite nicely continues to supply plenty of evidence to support their hostility to the Bill of Rights, as Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air notes:
The U.S. Department of Justice has joined the discussions over a controversial float in the Norfolk Independence Day parade.
The department sent a member of its Community Relations Service team, which gets involved in discrimination disputes, to a Thursday meeting about the issue. Also at the meeting were the NAACP, the Norfolk mayor and The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
The float was created by a Nebraska veteran, Dale Emmerich, and featured a zombified mannequin figure standing in front of an outhouse bearing the sign, “Obama Presidential Library.” Emmerich said the mannequin represented him and other veterans, and the float was a comment on the horrors of the VA scandal. Which, given the level of broken trust, deceit, and death exposed at nearly every level of that corrupt system, I cannot begrudge the man his dissent. It used to be that we valued such things even when— especially when, dare I say— we disagreed personally with such speech or found it problematic.
I describe the content of the float to put us all on the same page but it’s irrelevant because making a parade float that offends people is not in any way against the law. Charles C.W. Cooke on the virtues of the formerly universally understood freedom to mock one’s leaders:
Now for the obvious question: Why? What, exactly, was the problem here? Nobody was killed. Nobody was injured. Nobody had their material or spiritual interests injured, nor were they stripped of their livelihoods. No federal or state laws were broken. Indeed, not even private rules were broken. More to the point, there was no “discrimination dispute” of the sort with which the DOJ likes to concern itself. Instead, a few free people were vexed because a politician that they like was depicted in an unflattering light. One might well ask, “So what?” Once, Americans tackled the Oregon Trail. Are they now in need of their political “discussions” being arbitrated by glorified social workers sent by Uncle Sam?
In a typically risible statement, Nebraska’s state Democratic party described the incident as one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.” That this is almost certainly true demonstrates just how much progress the United States has made in the last 50 years — and, in consequence, how extraordinarily difficult the professionally aggrieved are finding it to fill their quotas. If a fairly standard old saw is among the worst things to have happened to the Cornhusker State in recent memory, the country is in rather good shape, n’est-ce pas?
“The float was political satire and an expression of political disgust. There was no racism involved, no hate for anyone,” Remmich said. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If there is anyone who doubts that almost all the media functions today as unpaid press agents for the Democrat party, today’s presidential press conference should erase all doubts. Allahpundit of Hot Air explains why:
It ran for one hour and six minutes, with 12 different reporters being called on — although, notably, not Ed Henry of Fox News — and between them they couldn’t muster one question about the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov or the spectacle of National Park Rangers locking senior-citizen tourists out of war memorials and/or inside their hotels. I admit that, near the end of it, when Twitter was already starting to buzz about the oh-fer on this week’s two unhappy topics, I started rooting for the press corps to ignore them, not unlike how you might root for an opposing pitcher when he’s throwing a perfect game against your team in the ninth. On the one hand, it’s a disaster for your interests; on the other hand, you’re seeing something historic in process. Today, we all witnessed a perfecto — no runs, no hits, not the barest insinuation in front of a national television audience that the federal government’s behavior towards the public this week has alternated between almost literally unbelievable incompetence and vindictiveness. Amazing. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
In the never ending effort of the Obama administration to see just how absurd they can be over the fake government shutdown, they have attempted to close down the Gettysburg battlefield. I say attempted because a lot of tourists are engaging in civil disobedience and touring the battlefield, playing catch me if you can with National Park Service Rangers. Go here to read all about it.
This of course is all part of a carefully orchestrated plot by the Obama administration:
A U.S. park ranger, who did not wish to be identified, told FoxNews.com that supervisors within the National Park Service overruled plans to deal with the budget cuts in a way that would have had minimal impact on the public. Instead, the source said, park staff were told to cancel special events and cut “interpretation services” — the talks, tours and other education services provided by local park rangers.
Instead of feeling pain the public has had a glimpse into just how mean, petty and spiteful the gangsters currently in power in the White House can be.
If there is anyone who does not think this country is currently run by a pack of gangsters, Father Z’s report on the below story will set you straight:
The U.S. military has furloughed as many as 50 Catholic chaplains due to the partial suspension of government services, banning them from celebrating weekend Mass. At least one chaplain was told that if he engaged in any ministry activity, he would be subjected to disciplinary action. [Let’s put this in the customary terms liberals always use when in a debate. The First Gay President’s administration wants to HURT people. They are determined to increase pain for the sake of their political agenda. They are gang members in a town they have overrun. They are mafia thugs who shakedown businesses and blackmail people. There. Now liberals will shout “FOUL!” and demand that we turn down the rhetoric and embrace civility, even as they incessantly use terms exactly like that for their opponents.]
“In very practical terms it means Sunday Mass won’t be offered,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services told me. “If someone has a baptism scheduled, it won’t be celebrated.”
The Archdiocese for the Military Services tells me the military installations impacted are served by non-active-duty priests who were hired as government contractors. As a result of a shortage of active duty Catholic chaplains, the government hires contract priests.
Broglio said some military bases have forbidden the contract priests from volunteering to celebrate Mass without pay. [They won’t let them even volunteer, which priests would want to do anyway. This is crazy. The Obama administration is trying to benefit from the pain people will have. This time I am not kidding. That’s what they are doing. They want to make little children cry because they can’t visit the Smithsonian. They want to disappoint elderly veterans. They want to ruin the trips of US citizens who want to visit American military cemeteries overseas where their father is buried. They want to ruin vacations – in a time when the economy is difficult – to national parks. The list goes on.]
“They were told they cannot function because those are contracted services and since there’s no funding they can’t do it – even if they volunteer,” he said. [What if they said they would bring their own candles and not turn on the lights? Is it a matter of the money it costs to open the chapel?]
John Schlageter, general counsel for the archdiocese, said any furloughed priests volunteering their services could face big trouble.
“During the shutdown, it is illegal[?!?] for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so,” he said in a written statement. [This president – according to his own whims – decides which laws he wants to enforce and which not, which interest groups receive his benefice and waivers, and which not. Through the president’s HHS MANDATE Catholics are to be forced to pay for immoral things and then be denied services. I wonder: Are any rabbis or imams being threatened? I’d like to know.]
A well-placed source told me that a furloughed Air Force chaplain was threatened after he offered to forgo pay. The chaplain was told he could not go on base or enter his chapel offices. He was also barred from engaging in any ministry activity.
The source told me the chaplain was told that if he violated those orders he and his supervisor would be subjected to disciplinary action – with the possibility of being fired.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, called those developments disturbing. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
One of the interesting things about the IRS scandal is how obvious and ham-fisted the bias against conservative groups was:
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:
• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to “drive the progressive change.” According to its website, its mission includes “support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people’s interests and make tough choices.” It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.
• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. “It would be fair to say we’re on the progressive end of the spectrum,” said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after “a pretty simple, straightforward process.”
• Progress Florida, granted tax-exempt status in January 2011, is lobbying the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. The group did not return phone calls. “We’re busy fighting to build a more progressive Florida and cannot take your call right now,” the group’s voice mail said.
Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Attention, attention! All IRS employees who gave “special” attention to conservative groups at the behest of your politicial masters. You are being thrown under the bus! I repeat, you are being thrown under the bus!
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.
Holder’s announcement came about four hours before an inspector general’s report on the IRS portrayed the tax agency as plagued by disarray and “insufficient oversight” during its struggles to review the cases of hundreds of advocacy groups that claimed they should be tax exempt.
The audit, which drew some backlash from IRS officials, also underscored what the agency had acknowledged last Friday: that the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria” for evaluating tax-exempt groups, in part by singling out scores of conservative Tea Party and “Patriot” organizations for increased scrutiny →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
It is hard to keep up on the IRS scandal as disclosure followed disclosure today, all damning to the IRS and the administration. Here is the latest:
1. Low Level Employees in Cincinnati- Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea party-affiliated groups.
Go here to the Washington Post to read the rest.
2. Confidentiality, What’s That?-The IRS released confidential applications of Tea Party groups to Pro Publica, a left wing thinktank. How do we know this? Pro Publica told us so today:
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted  conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year .
In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six  of those  public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)
Go here to Pro Publica to read the rest.
3. Who Else Knew?-The current acting commissioner of the IRS knew in May of 2012 that Tea Party groups were being targeted. How do we know this? The IRS disclosed this today. Gee, do you wonder why they didn’t disclose this last year? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
Article Two, Section One of the Impeachment Articles Against Richard M. Nixon
As Obama begins his process of “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind” news is getting out on the Inspector General of the IRS’s report on the targeting of Tea Party groups and other conservative groups:
At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.
But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
If there is any doubt that we are dealing with gangsters at the helm of the nation, this story should remove that doubt:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom is always brilliant but he outdoes himself in a remarkable post where he explains just how ominous for the Republic the Benghazi scandal is:
I have very little I wish to say today, so sick to my stomach am I from hearing yesterday’s testimony on Benghazi, wherein career civil servants were very obviously, and oftentimes visibly, working to restrain their anger, outrage, and outright disbelief at what their own government had done (and hadn’t done) to secure the lives of Americans.
In short, the subtext of yesterday’s testimony was precisely this: it does matter. And those Democrats who have spent the last 24 hours trying to dismiss or diminish or deflect the testimony as a non-story — a tack that the mainstream press has aided them with, failing for the most part to even mention the hearings, much less provide any in-depth coverage of the revelations, save for the occasional story informing us that there were no revelations — are no better than any third-world goosestepping apparatchik whose job it is to provide cover for a Dear Leader.
They sicken me in a way I cannot even put into words — and that’s saying something, given my occasionally-documented facility with the language. These people are monsters of a sort, but even that appellation can do their rank cynicism and their easy disregard for conscience no real justice.
And the media, without doubt co-conspirators in what is a major scandal — and an even more major cover-up — are so committed to progressive activism, and to their own self-styled righteousness and compassion (which, relying on a surreal tautology and the anti-foundationalism at the heart of their ideology, they presume to claim is a function of their progressivism: they are good, so therefore what they do is good; and what they do is good because it’s being done by good people), that they have found a way to convince themselves that their biases, be it by omission or by massaging of the facts to report that there’s nothing new to report, are somehow noble and are in the service of a Greater Good. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
There is an old saying in the military: once is an accident; twice is carelessness; third time is enemy action. Faithful readers of this blog will recall this post here about an Army briefing which labeled Christians, including Catholics, as extremists. Another incident has arisen this week.
An officer at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where my brother was stationed when he was an Armor officer in the Army, recently sent out a 14 page e-mail to subordinates which makes for interesting reading. Here is the e-mail from Lieutenant Colonel Jack Rich:
Subject: Domestic “Hate Groups” (UNCLASSIFIED)
Many events have been taking place across the country – just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don’t just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.
We need to make sure that we maintain our standards – starting with reception and integration. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Hattip to Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air. Back in 2008 Obama stated that if elected he would create five million green jobs over the next decade. At this stage it becomes monotonous to bring up the fact that the promises of Obama bear as much relationship to reality as a lightning bug does to lightning, but the failure of Fisker Automotive can be taken as a symbol of the failed economic policy of the Obama administration.
In 2009 the Obama administration authorized a half a billion loan guarantee to Fisker, and about 193 million was spent. When Fisker opened a plant in Delaware, Veep Biden was on hand. The car company is now reeling to bankruptcy after spending 600K on each 100K Fisker Karma it sold:
Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.
The Anaheim, California-based company made about 2,500 of its $103,000 Karmas before halting production last year, disrupting its plans to use a $529 million U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. (GM) The Karma was assembled in Finland.
Fisker stopped manufacturing cars late last year and fired three quarters of its remaining workers April 5. The company’s first repayment of $20.2 million on the Energy Department loan is due April 22, the report said.
A U.S. House panel is scheduled to hold a April 24 hearing on Fisker and its government financing. Invited witnesses include co-founder and namesake Henrik Fisker, who resigned last month; CEO Tony Posawatz and Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler, who helped start the company whose customers include singer Justin Bieber and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Martin Peretz had the dubious privilege of owning the money losing New Republic for 35 years. Last year he sold it to Chris Hughes, Facebook Tycoon and Obama insider. He is none too happy with the mag now.
Like many readers of the New Republic, I didn’t at first recognize the most recent issue of the magazine. The stark white cover was unlike anything the New Republic ran during my 35 years as the owner. Having read the cover story, I still don’t recognize the magazine that I sold in 2012 to the Facebook zillionaire Chris Hughes.
“Original Sin,” by Sam Tanenhaus, purported to explain “Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.” The provocative theme would not have been unthinkable in the magazine’s 99-year history, but the essay’s reliance on insinuations of GOP racism (“the inimical ‘they’ were being targeted by a spurious campaign to pass voter-identification laws, a throwback to Jim Crow”) and gross oversimplifications hardly reflected the intellectual traditions of a journal of ideas. What made the “Original Sin” issue unrecognizable to this former owner is that it established as fact what had only been suggested by the magazine in the early days of its new administration: The New Republic has abandoned its liberal but heterodox tradition and embraced a leftist outlook as predictable as that of Mother Jones or the Nation. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Back in my misspent youth in the Seventies I served some time in the Green Machine. (I like to think that I greatly contributed to the defense of the nation by leaving the Army.) While I was learning the mysteries of how to manuever squads, the other officer cadets and I would train with female officer cadets. Most of them found the fairly arduous training very exhausting. A few of them were as capable as the least physically in shape of the men. (I would have been in that category.) This was only basic training and not the type of training that would go on at an infantry branch school for the Lieutenants assigned to that branch. Women of course back in those days could not be assigned to the Combat Arms branches of the Army, and I do not recall one woman complaining about that.
However, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, on his way out the door, has announced a policy to allow women to serve in the Combat Arms. Since my service was a peace time comedy of errors, and I have an XY chromosome combination, I will defer to the observations of Captain Katie Petronio, USMC, made last year:
As a company grade 1302 combat engineer officer with 5 years of active service and two combat deployments, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan, I was able to participate in and lead numerous combat operations. In Iraq as the II MEF Director, Lioness Program, I served as a subject matter expert for II MEF, assisting regimental and battalion commanders on ways to integrate female Marines into combat operations. I primarily focused on expanding the mission of the Lioness Program from searching females to engaging local nationals and information gathering, broadening the ways females were being used in a wide variety of combat operations from census patrols to raids. In Afghanistan I deployed as a 1302 and led a combat engineer platoon in direct support of Regimental Combat Team 8, specifically operating out of the Upper Sangin Valley. My platoon operated for months at a time, constructing patrol bases (PBs) in support of 3d Battalion, 5th Marines; 1st Battalion, 5th Marines; 2d Reconnaissance Battalion; and 3d Battalion, 4th Marines. This combat experience, in particular, compelled me to raise concern over the direction and overall reasoning behind opening the 03XX field.
Who is driving this agenda? I am not personally hearing female Marines, enlisted or officer, pounding on the doors of Congress claiming that their inability to serve in the infantry violates their right to equality. Shockingly, this isn’t even a congressional agenda. This issue is being pushed by several groups, one of which is a small committee of civilians appointed by the Secretary of Defense called the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service (DACOWITS). Their mission is to advise the Department of Defense (DoD) on recommendations, as well as matters of policy, pertaining to the well-being of women in the Armed Services from recruiting to employment. Members are selected based on their prior military experience or experience with women’s workforce issues. I certainly applaud and appreciate DACOWITS’ mission; however, as it pertains to the issue of women in the infantry, it’s very surprising to see that none of the committee members are on active duty or have any recent combat or relevant operational experience relating to the issue they are attempting to change. I say this because, at the end of the day, it’s the active duty servicemember who will ultimately deal with the results of their initiatives, not those on the outside looking in. As of now, the Marine Corps hasn’t been directed to integrate, but perhaps the Corps is anticipating the inevitable—DoD pressuring the Corps to comply with DACOWITS’ agenda as the Army has already “rogered up” to full integration. Regardless of what the Army decides to do, it’s critical to emphasize that we are not the Army; our operational speed and tempo, along with our overall mission as the Nation’s amphibious force-in-readiness, are fundamentally different than that of our sister Service. By no means is this distinction intended as disrespectful to our incredible Army. My main point is simply to state that the Marine Corps and the Army are different; even if the Army ultimately does fully integrate all military occupational fields, that doesn’t mean the Corps should follow suit.
I understand that there are female servicemembers who have proven themselves to be physically, mentally, and morally capable of leading and executing combat-type operations; as a result, some of these Marines may feel qualified for the chance of taking on the role of 0302. In the end, my main concern is not whether women are capable of conducting combat operations, as we have already proven that we can hold our own in some very difficult combat situations; instead, my main concern is a question of longevity. Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?
As a young lieutenant, I fit the mold of a female who would have had a shot at completing IOC, and I am sure there was a time in my life where I would have volunteered to be an infantryman. I was a star ice hockey player at Bowdoin College, a small elite college in Maine, with a major in government and law. At 5 feet 3 inches I was squatting 200 pounds and benching 145 pounds when I graduated in 2007. I completed Officer Candidates School (OCS) ranked 4 of 52 candidates, graduated 48 of 261 from TBS, and finished second at MOS school. I also repeatedly scored far above average in all female-based physical fitness tests (for example, earning a 292 out of 300 on the Marine physical fitness test). Five years later, I am physically not the woman I once was and my views have greatly changed on the possibility of women having successful long careers while serving in the infantry. I can say from firsthand experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just emotion, that we haven’t even begun to analyze and comprehend the gender-specific medical issues and overall physical toll continuous combat operations will have on females.
I was a motivated, resilient second lieutenant when I deployed to Iraq for 10 months, traveling across the Marine area of operations (AO) and participating in numerous combat operations. Yet, due to the excessive amount of time I spent in full combat load, I was diagnosed with a severe case of restless leg syndrome. My spine had compressed on nerves in my lower back causing neuropathy which compounded the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. While this injury has certainly not been enjoyable, Iraq was a pleasant experience compared to the experiences I endured during my deployment to Afghanistan. At the beginning of my tour in Helmand Province, I was physically capable of conducting combat operations for weeks at a time, remaining in my gear for days if necessary and averaging 16-hour days of engineering operations in the heart of Sangin, one of the most kinetic and challenging AOs in the country. There were numerous occasions where I was sent to a grid coordinate and told to build a PB from the ground up, serving not only as the mission commander but also the base commander until the occupants (infantry units) arrived 5 days later. In most of these situations, I had a sergeant as my assistant commander, and the remainder of my platoon consisted of young, motivated NCOs. I was the senior Marine making the final decisions on construction concerns, along with 24-hour base defense and leading 30 Marines at any given time. The physical strain of enduring combat operations and the stress of being responsible for the lives and well-being of such a young group in an extremely kinetic environment were compounded by lack of sleep, which ultimately took a physical toll on my body that I couldn’t have foreseen. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Live Not by Lies is the last thing Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote before his exile to the West in 1974. Solzhenitsyn was one of the giants of the last century. Thrown into the Gulag while he was an artillery officer in the Red Army during World War II, he tirelessly, at the constant risk of his life, fought a lonely battle for freedom for three decades in the Soviet Union. His courage and literary skill inspired people around the globe, including me as a teen-ager and a young man. I never thought what he wrote would be applicable to the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Alas, in the Age of Obama Solzhenitsyn’s writings have an increasingly unpleasant contemporary ring to them.
So in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood–of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one’s family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies–or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one’s children and contemporaries.
And from that day onward he:
- Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
- Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
- Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
- Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
- Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
- Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
- Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question.
- Will immediately walk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
- Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed.
Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.
No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.
But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.
And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul- don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general–let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.
Even this path, which is the most modest of all paths of resistance, will not be easy for us. But it is much easier than self-immolation or a hunger strike: The flames will not envelope your body, your eyeballs, will not burst from the heat, and brown bread and clean water will always be available to your family. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading