In Defense of Our Nation

Secretary of State James Madison, who won Marb...

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A great nation is dependent upon its people.  A great nation is a nation of laws, prowess and great leaders.

In times of crisis America has been that nation.  We have along history of greatness, devotion, strength, and most importantly a sense of who we are.

We move from the 20th Century into this new century and much has changed. But yet much has remained the same.  The challenge is to look at what we have accomplished in our short history, the creation of a Democracy, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, a Civil War, the American Industrial Revolution to becoming a World Leader and  a beacon for liberty.  The past came with sacrifice and pain which in all likelihood must count as something toward our greatness.

Today, we appear to suffer from a lack of knowledge on what made us who we are. We, as a people suffer from false interpretations of history, or a thorough incompetence of history. We require relearning American History and the importance of knowing and understanding it so that we can maintain our nation of laws and a sense of who we are.
Relearning history does not require recreating history to meet our expectations or biases, it requires a clear understanding of our past without political correctness, bias, or even factional interpretation. So much of our present is tied up in factionalism, (ex.Tea Party) political correctness, and just plain old poor education that our current and future leaders lack;  the overall preparedness for leadership

Today, we have business people who are more concerned about money then the good of the economy or government.  Business leaders and government leaders have no concept of “Noblesse Oblige”  and it shows in our current state of affairs.  The Congress     and the office of the Presidency lack the will to conduct themselves as the standard bearers of democracy.  The political infighting in this country has drained us of strength necessary to solve the many problems we face.  Our leaders are weak, our public is caught up in factionalism which is destructive to the very purpose of our founding.  And while all this is going on, corporations and large financial powerhouses are eroding the voting of the average American. Individual voters cannot compete against super political  action committees (PAC’s) or groups, and of course the 2 party system uses its power to sway and confuse the public.  Another aspect of our history and political system is that the parties control the political process even as they rotate power between each other.

The media of the 21st Century is no different then it was in the 19th. Their biases and choices are forever present, they select vocabulary, confuse issues, rewrite or slant positions for or against a candidate or the issue.  Of course politics is about election or re-election and thus the media must comply or be without news. The media is so complicit in the machinery of politics that when new ideas, new election processes (ex: Americans Elect) or political candidates from 3rd parties compete the process is stacked against the newcomer.

But then, our democracy is ugly and full of the public with their individual concepts and precepts of how each of us should live.  That is why the public was a concern for James Madison, he knew that the public had many biases and operated from factions. According to Madison the public was dangerous and needed to be controlled or led by those in Congress. What we got was the public in Congress with its biases and factions.

In Defense of our Nation we must not shrink from our role as the world’s leader, but we must have the strength and conviction to know what must be done at home. As the world’s leader we must regain the political, economic, and social strengths of our greatness. Wars of intrusion, national interests, oil, or the perception that we must intervene in the internal affairs of others whatever the reason must be weighed carefully.
A nations leadership on the world stage is both internal and external.

The sovereignty of this nation also dictates that the suspension of any rights under the Constitution due to war, terrorism, fear, politics or religious view is a slippery slope that this nation cannot allow or endure.  The rights of the people are paramount. We must not return to the parts of American History that are disgraceful, violated law, or were just plain bad. We cannot on the other hand forget the impact of the past for it is what made us.

In Defense of Our Nation the voters must screen out factions, biases, political ideologies, and demand accountability, integrity, and less ugliness from the public. We need a government that we can respect and one the world respects.

America’s Forgotten Patriots

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Why has America Forgotten her Patriots?

Patriotism is defined as zealous love for one’s country.  Realizing that patriotism takes many shapes and designs I thought it would be interesting to put an old veteran’s perspective on what a Patriot is.

A Patriot is a person who reacts to a call to duty, gives his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness a new direction.  The patriot is not defined by ethnic background, religion, or even by life style.  The Patriot comes from all walks of life and joins the military for his own personal reasons.

The Veterans of WWII were to large degree draftees, but we must remember millions of Americans met the call and volunteered.  They received probably the greatest gift that could get them into civilian life the GI Bill. Millions took advantage of that gift and our country prospered. But, then there is the wounded and those who stayed for the promise of the benefits to come, especially those of head trauma, referred to as shell shock, combat fatigue, cracking up,  or whatever term so chosen. They are with us today, and forgotten. I know of veterans who felt they did not get the promised healthcare. Medicare which came out in the 60’s also had an impact on those promised medical benefits. My father who served for 26 years in both the Army and Air Force reminded me of the contract and commitment that was not honored.  He never understood nor accepted the idea of paying for his medications, however small.  These veterans were told at times they could not use the medical facilities because of medicare. How quickly they were forgotten,  and they were the Greatest Generation.

Korea, The Forgotten War, A Police Action, again when the fighting was done, the Forgotten Patriots seemed to be wished away, unseen, unheard, and left to their own devices.  Again, the medical was as good as expected, but you see thousands fell through the cracks of the military medical boards and the VA, especially those of head trauma, referred to as shell shock, combat fatigue, cracking up,  or whatever term so chosen.  The Korean veteran may be the only one who truly understands the cost and impact of a war without end.  For those of you who do not know, the war has never ended, we signed an armistice.  I cannot make light of this subject for my father was trapped in Pusan.  The Korean War veterans  are with us today, and generally forgotten, again they are America’s Forgotten Patriots.

Vietnam, the Ten Thousand Day War, the War against Communism, the Undeclared War, or better still the Vietnam Conflict.  Vietnam adds to the legacy of Forgotten Patriots.  The casualties were enormous, the price so steep we lost a generation. We lost a generation through political intrigue, congressional ineptitude, poor leadership, and a diminishing morale.  The financial rewards and the educational possibilities were in a small way a motivator for some. But you see, it wasn’t as simple and clean as politicians would like to make it.  The physical and mental stresses were not understood nor an acceptable failing, or crisis for a soldier, airman, marine, or sailor.  One just didn’t give in.  Maybe that is why we had a prison in Long Bien called LBJ, Long Bien Jail.  I cannot speak to the Veterans of WWII or Korea about harassment and or other indignities to fellow soldiers. But, I can from a Vietnam veterans position.  Amongst the blood, sweat, tears, and the enemy there was this insidious racial, ethnic, and sometimes religious harassment that was taking place.  There was a breakdown in discipline and order among the men as well as the civilians who sexually harassed .  The combat soldier is a rare breed and many suffered greatly and did not get the medical treatment necessary for the return to civilian life. Each and every service member from the era has his own thoughts, memories, dreams and nightmares.

When the veteran came home it was to a bitter and divided country, lacking in leadership, moral courage, and dignity. Our veterans did receive better healthcare than previously in history, but the casualties and the  pain and suffering  didn’t seem to abate.  The Forgotten Patriots were those in most cases suffering from the mental images that would not or will not go away. The destruction of such a large segment of the population is not a subject for dinner conversation. These veterans are on our streets, homeless, in prison, in hospitals and in some cases just lost. The American people, the military and the VA let too many of the Forgotten Patriots fall through the cracks.

In September  2001  an act of terrorism destroyed a fabric of this nation and millions of young men and women made the sacrifice. We are now involved in Terrorism, Al Qaeda, Taliban, and other pursuits.  The casualties may be low compared to past wars, but the mentality is still with us, a soldier is not or should not show stress, or weakness. It appears that we have learned a lot about the human body and yet the mind alludes us. Post Traumatic Stress  Syndrome (PTSD) is another name for shell shock, battle fatigue, and is also called severe brain injury.  The amount of PTSD seems to me to be greater today than before and that is because of the media coverage.  I am aware that the military has acknowledge that there is a major problem and they have attempted to treat the soldier on the field or in-country hoping to salvage the soldier. Has it worked well? I cannot speak to that , more has to be done to help treat and medicate the soldiers suffering from such a terrible condition. When the Army has its highest amount of suicides in its history, when veterans commit crimes for no known reason, and families are torn asunder then maybe not enough is being done. The Military Medical Boards and the Veterans Administration must get the diagnosis right. With the resources available to this nation it appears that congress and the president have Forgotten our Patriots. To consider cutting, suspending or limiting access to any or all medical treatment is unpatriotic.

The Gulf War, the War in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan have been far more costly than most would know. Our volunteer force is limited in size, but large in scope.  The veterans of today’s military have carried their obligation, their service and their sacrifice with great courage and fidelity.  A sharing of the burden for this great nation is not too much to ask. I have always felt that all young men and women should serve our country in some form.  We the American people have an obligation to America’s Patriots, and a special commitment to those who are and can be called America’s Forgotten Patriots.

At the beginning the question was “Why has America Forgotten her Patriots” in short it is because we collectively have a short attention span . We don’t like to be reminded of the costs, sacrifices, and burden war brings us and time is both a healer and an eraser of memory.  Far too many of our citizens lack the knowledge of what it takes to understand and participate in civics and government, which makes it difficult for them grasp the importance of the military, its costs, and their obligations to America’s Patriots. Today, there is a new element it is the All Voluntary Military . An all volunteer military has desensitized far too many of our citizens to the burden of war. It eliminates the potential of broadening our ability  to educate the citizenry in all aspects of the American society from culture to business from economic class to economic class.  Our Patriots are America’s Patriots and they can and should come from all walks of life.

The related sites and articles are provided for those who want to learn more.

Scalia To Synagogue – Jews Are Safer With Christians In Charge

photograph of the justices, cropped to show Ju...

Scalia To Synagogue – Jews Are Safer With Christians In Charge.    This article is from 2004.  It is just one of several that have comments and a track record on Justice Antonin Scalia.  I have read numerous accounts and have come to the conclusion that his interpretations of law, and the Constitution are wrong. Being conservative is not wrong. Using your conservatism and personal religious views together in judging a case can violate the essence of the Constitution.  Cases must be judged on the merit of the law not what this judge or another judge may feel.

Why Doesn’t Government Work?

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It is because it reflects our society…..

A couple of favorite poems came to mind from when I was in Vietnam during the Vietnam War and I have adapted them here.  The originals go like this:

We the Unwilling

We, the unwilling,

led by the unknowing,

are doing the impossible for the ungrateful.

 

We have done so much,

for so long,

with so little,

we are now qualified to do anything

with nothing.

 

The newly adapted version which reflects our current times.

We the Uninformed

We, the uninformed,

led by the unscrupulous,

are doing the unreasonable

for the unforgivable.

 

The image is in keeping with the sacrifice of those who served. The poem is a reflection of the pain and anger.

Why doesn’t government work? Because she is reflecting who we are and not what she is.

 

 

Republicans and Democrats Lack Patriotic Leadership

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The financial crisis of 2011 is a victim of  “No Leadership”.  Everyone crises foul, everyone knows the potential outcome, and yet the three major parties;  Senate ,House, and President lack the ability to communicate to the American people in a meaningful way.

Let us begin with the president.  He has not yet communicated what the budget should be. He has said on numerous occasions what he does not want.  That is not leadership. Being President of the United States requires some leadership by laying out a plan and having the guts to see where it goes.  President Obama should have led 4 to 6 weeks ago.

The Senate does not lead, at the current moment, if they had a plan where was it?   Senator Harry Reid and Senator Mitch McConnell spoke about giving the president temporary authority to end the debt crises.  Senator McConnell’s idea is a violation of the Constitution. Only the House has budget authority.  It appears that so far the country is losing ground due to a failure of “Patriotic Leadership”

And then, the Republicans give us Cut, Cap, and Balance. Do I believe all Republicans are ideologically blind to the danger of defaulting on our debt?  No! But being adamant on not raising taxes on a select few, or dealing with millionaires who make money on hedge funds, or even looking at the huge corporations that can afford a per cent of their earnings go into eliminating the debt is not being prudent. Cutting items from the budget requires skill, cooperation, and a balance so that the social programs such as Social Security and Medicare are not cut.  Can they be modified or adjusted?  Yes. Perhaps looking at who receives Social Security benefits  and their eligibility. One idea, eliminate dependent children from receiving a parents Social Security for school when the adult is alive and receiving it.  Another way to help is end full retirements for members of the House and Senate.

Capping expenditures should be tied to the requested new taxes.  The new taxes cannot be used to pay for existing or new expenditures. Taxes must be used only for debt payoff.  Streamline all Congressional and Executive committees unless specific to the protection of the people.

Balance Budget Amendment is a non- starter.  It is only an ideological and philosophical argument that is not practical in world finance.  Those individuals that think that we are above paying our bills or not meeting our debts are nor very Patriotic to the Nation as a whole. They are holding the US hostage in order to make a political statement.

This country demands better. WE are a Republic and the country must become Progressive in a way that is beneficial. Progressive in the future must be what our founding fathers wanted Republicans of a Republic.

House GOP Ignores Thomas Ethics Scandal To Launch Frivolous Attack On Justice Kagan | ThinkProgress

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House GOP Ignores Thomas Ethics Scandal To Launch Frivolous Attack On Justice Kagan | ThinkProgress.

I was astounded by the ignorance of our laws and Justice Thomas’s complete disregard for the sanctity of the Constitution. His corruption is in the arena of bribery, especially the hearing of cases from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). I find it also a violation of trust and breakdown of the principles of our Constitution. There is no doubt in my mind that Chief Justice Marshall would have criticized, demeaned and criminalized Justice Thomas’s action.

There is a role and purpose of the Supreme Court ; it is to insure that the cases it hears receive a fair hearing in accordance with the Constitution, it has an equally important role and that is to interpret the laws in accordance with the Constitution, but also to perform a checks and balance on the legislature.  Both of these purposes are vital to the Republic in which we live.

Justice Clarence Thomas has violated his sacred trust.

What is equally disturbing is the callous disregard by the GOP of vacating its responsibility to investigate potential ethics scandal brewing. To attack another justice is low, it is political and it is crass. The GOP appears to be looking for anything that will discredit those they disagree with.  This political process is called Diversion it is a common theme in politics, it is meant to divert your attention away from the real issue at hand.

The House of Representatives needs to do its job and investigate Justice Thomas and remove him from the court.

A new kind of War

There are many terms used to justify war, even when the final decision is made “to declare war” is never used anymore.  We do not dare “declare war” for the consequences are momentous, self-destructive, and at best incompetent if utilized for the wrong political and economic reasons.  We have wars of liberation, combating terrorism, wars to protect our vital interests and many others.

Libya is essentially a civil war, a war in which the people are trying to oust a dictator, Muammar Qadhafi. It is interesting how the western nations, Europe and the U.S. decided to get involved. The U.S. encouraged the European nations to assist the rebels because we wanted a short presence in the conflict. The president has over the recent past been using unmanned weapon systems to aid the Europeans in the Libyan conflict, ultimately aiding the rebels in their overthrow of their government.  According to President Obama this not an armed conflict because of the use of  unmanned aircraft.

Any and all use of military force by any definition is armed conflict. But, remember we have always used selective terminology to define our conflicts so the American public is brought along for the ride.

Desert Storm was a justified short-term war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. It was quick, decisive, and goal achieving.

In September 2001, America changed, we were deeply effected by the events that took place in NYC.  George Bush, President of the United States, and the American people wanted revenge. We were now going to fight a new war, a war of revenge.

Afghanistan would be the country requiring our immediate attention. We managed to remove a repressive theocracy type dictatorship and actually make a difference in dealing with Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization. This effectiveness only lasted until the president lost track of the stated goal and mission. It has been 10, almost fruitless, years in Afghanistan. At this time in history we are sorely behind schedule in accomplishing our mission in Afghanistan.  It will turn out to be a negotiated settlement because we put our resources in Iraq, the Karzai Government is weak and corrupt, and the significant failure of our diplomats to really understand the nuances of the culture and religious variables at play. We once again addressed a problem from our historical and moral perspective even though we initially began or involvement with revenge. There will be no winners. We can only attempt to participate in the development of a form of a republic. The emphasis must be on the development of a republic with clearly defined rights. The immense task of  aiding in creating a working government will require long,tedious and testy discussions. It is essential that we leave in a timely manner once a government is fashioned to the agreement of all parties.

Iraq was essentially George Bush’s war. The shift from Afghanistan allowed the strengthening of Al Quida in the area. It should also be noted that there is a significant value placed  on Iraq, oil. Iraq was considered vital to our national interests because of oil. Politically it may have been a way to remove Saddam Hussein under false pretenses. Of course we are still there with fewer troops, but the terrorism is still an everyday occurrence. The formation of a government is still not complete.

This era has changed us and because of terrorism, we are fighting a new type of war, revenge Let us not do it for revenge in the future it will destroy us. Let us do so because  of our need to preserve our way of life.

It has been a long 10 years costly to those who serve, but not shared across the country. If you are wondering about that last sentence, here’s what it means. Our troops and their family’s are brave, heroic, sometimes stoic. They are American Soldiers, Marines, Airman, and Naval Personnel who gallantly serve. But, there is a segment of the population who does not serve and they should. All Americans have a duty to this country not just the select few who qualify. A draft should be in place for 2 years for high school graduates. All men and women should participate at least 2 years.

Many of the young I deal with really do not understand the sacrifice, responsibility, or the commitment it takes to protect and preserve a republic such as ours.