"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

This is My Country - Benjamin Franklin

I am a Master Mason, a Freemason, and I believe that America is a Masonic experiment. I greatly fear that the experiment is in the gravest danger. I believe our country, and our great experiment, is in peril because inferior men have thwarted the design of the Grand Architect, and have risen to power with their greed and self interest as their primary sights. I'm not talking of one religion versus another religion, or all versus no religion. I don't reference one party over another, or subscribe to one ideology or another. Rather, I proclaim American liberty. Those in the King's court are ambitious and the most "ideal" among them, justify their treason by their desire to keep their heads, or more often than not in our relatively "free" situation, their desire to adorn their heads with silver. As my Brother Franklin says, we are in a bad spot, men in high places have abandoned the values of America, greed and selfishness have replaced our national identity. Men who have the means to do better, who have educations, could do the right thing for their country. But they choose not to, because it's not worth it to them.

But there is hope that Americans will realize their birthright and rise to the occasion, to turn this situation around. Using the power granted us by my Brother Founding Fathers in our Constitution, we can continue the experiment. There is no time for delay, we are in crisis, and America is in her death throes while most of the citizenry watches Jersey Shore and makes fantasy football picks.

I agree with my brother Benjamin Franklin... This is my country, created by my enlightened Brothers, and I will be damned before I let the artful and designing, bolstered by the common ignorant and cowardly, take my country from us and turn it into some third world country. My Brethren created America, after long and thoughtful trial and tribulation against arrogance and power and superstition, and I will die before I contribute to its destruction by the ignorant who are unaware of those tribulations, and the immoral who simply don't care. I took an oath before God to preserve the United States of America. As requested by my Brothers who penned the law requiring me to do so.

Mark the tapes.

American Voice From Now - Very Sad Day for America

Today reminds me of 9/11, where people treated events without thinking, without regard to the law or what was right, and without considering the war that faced them and how to win it.

Today is a remarkably sad day for America, and our enemies rejoice. They have struck a massive blow to America (I pray to God it's not fatal), while our citizens rejoice at their nation's destruction.

The question that is unasked is this: if we are able to kill every superstitious cave dweller who hates the current American government's actions, at the cost of the Constitution and liberties of America, have we won or lost?

I fear that those in America, who do not love or actually care about America, are giving America to our enemies, as they have no use for it. They do so for a handful of silver, like Judas. This is an incredibly sad day for our country.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

American Voices from the Past - Samuel Bryan

Interesting paper published in Pennsylvania in October of 1787, while debates raged on whether or not individual States should ratify the Constitution (which did not yet contain the Bill of Rights). Samuel Bryan wrote "Centinel," Number 1 and argued that Pennsylvanians already enjoyed rights to a jury trial, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and were being asked to instead sign onto a Constitution that did not guarantee those rights and which gave great power to a federal government. Thankfully visionaries like him were able to get a Bill of Rights established to protect the People, prior to the Constitution being ratified. His paper has one particularly resonating section on just how important such liberty protections are:

If ever free and unbiased discussion was proper or necessary, it is on such an occassion.--All the blessings of liberty and the dearest privileges of freemen, are now at stake and dependent on your present conduct. Those who are competent to the task of developing the principles of government, ought to be encouraged to come forward, and thereby the better enable the people to make a proper judgment; for the science of government is so abstruse, that few are able to judge for themselves: without such assistance the people are too apt to yield an implicit assent to the opinions of those characters, whose abilities are held in the highest esteem, and to those in whose integrity and patriotism they can confide: not considering that the love of domination is generally in proportion to talents, abilities, and superior acquirements: and that the men of the greatest purity of intention may be made instruments of despotism in the hands of the artful and designing. If it were not for the stability and attachment which time and habit gives to forms of government, it would be in the power of the enlightened and aspiring few, if they should combine, at any time to destroy the best establishments, and even make the people the instruments of their own subjugation.

This work is part of the book, "The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates" by Ralph Ketcham.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Open Road & My Best Friend

I am facing by far the biggest battle of my entire life. I risk all that I have worked for these fifteen years. I risk my life, my liberty, and my financial well being. My wonderful wife agrees with my stance and supports me in this important battle. I knew there was a reason I had exceedingly high standards for a companion, and those standards led me to believe I would spend my life alone. When I met her, I was amazed that I had found a person who not only measured up, but exceeded those standards. It has proven a real source of humility these past eight years. I didn't expect that.

We made our own wedding bands, having engraved within them symbols of our independent values. Two different rings with one symbol in common. Her wedding band shows two companions on horseback on a winding road, a tribute to the poem from Walt Whitman that she had read aloud at our wedding, Song of the Open Road.

Some of those words are reassuring to me now:

Allons! whoever you are, come travel with me! 115
Traveling with me, you find what never tires.

The earth never tires;
The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first—Nature is rude and incomprehensible at first;
Be not discouraged—keep on—there are divine things, well envelop’d;
I swear to you there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell. 120

Allons! we must not stop here!
However sweet these laid-up stores—however convenient this dwelling, we cannot remain here;
However shelter’d this port, and however calm these waters, we must not anchor here;
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us, we are permitted to receive it but a little while.


Allons! the inducements shall be greater;
We will sail pathless and wild seas;
We will go where winds blow, waves dash, and the Yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Allons! with power, liberty, the earth, the elements!
Health, defiance, gayety, self-esteem, curiosity;
Allons! from all formules! 130
From your formules, O bat-eyed and materialistic priests!

The stale cadaver blocks up the passage—the burial waits no longer.

Allons! yet take warning!
He traveling with me needs the best blood, thews, endurance;
None may come to the trial, till he or she bring courage and health. 135

Come not here if you have already spent the best of yourself;
Only those may come, who come in sweet and determin’d bodies;
No diseas’d person—no rum-drinker or venereal taint is permitted here.

I and mine do not convince by arguments, similes, rhymes;
We convince by our presence. 140


Listen! I will be honest with you;
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes;
These are the days that must happen to you:

You shall not heap up what is call’d riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve, 145
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin’d—you hardly settle yourself to satisfaction, before you are call’d by an irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who remain behind you;
What beckonings of love you receive, you shall only answer with passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

American Worth

"No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause."

- The Great American, Rough Rider, Teddy Roosevelt

There is nothing I can add. End of blog post.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gentle Hands

I remember reading this book as a kid. A young man learns that his grandfather was accused of being a Nazi and of being involved with atrocities. In the book, the grandfather is a sweet man who spends much of his time in the garden. It's hard to imagine he could have been involved with such evil. The lesson is that monsters are not required. Regular people who love, cry, and show tenderness and gentility have the potential to murder and torture. The challenge of the Holocaust is to recognize that we all have this potential, and to ensure we do not find ourselves on the side of the criminal and immoral.

I remember visiting the concentration camp in Dachau on a deployment more than a decade ago. I was overwhelmed that while looking for the death camp, the town was beautiful and quiet and sidewalks were lined with cafes and quaint shops. I thought perhaps I had driven to the wrong place. I eventually found the camp nearby, across from a small fair ground complete with rides for children. I saw the showers, the bunks, the long courtyard and a memorial with a prominent cross attended by nuns. Given the role of the Church during this period of time, this was an interesting memorial.

I recently watched the "Judgment at Nuremberg" produced in 1961, starring one of my favorite actors, Spencer Tracy. Spencer Tracy's movies are thoughtful and relevant, and this movie while perhaps not historically accurate, is certainly relevant today as the world encounters real or feigned crisis that prompts new laws, and the ignoring of existing laws, in the name of security.

The movie is about law and morality. The defendants are Nazi judges who passed judgment on German citizens. Some were adamant supporters of Hitler, while others like Ernest Janning's character pictured above, knew Hitler and his laws were an abomination but chose to go along with them anyway, instead of protesting and losing position.

The prosecutor, an Army Colonel, opens with:

“The case is unusual in that the defendants are charged with crimes, committed in the name of the law. These men, together with their deceased or fugitive colleagues, are the embodiment of what passed for justice during the Third Reich. The defendants served as judges during the period of the Third Reich. Therefore you, your honors, as judges on the bench, will be sitting in judgment of judges in the dock. And this is as it should be. For only a judge knows how much more a court is than a courtroom. It is a process and a spirit. It is the house of law. The defendants knew this too, they knew courtrooms well. They sat in their black robes, and they distorted, they perverted, they destroyed justice and law in Germany! Now this in itself is undoubtedly a great crime. But the prosecution is not calling the defendants to account for violating Constitutional guarantees, or withholding due process of law. The prosecution is calling them to account for murder, brutalities, torture, atrocities. They share with all the leaders of the Third Reich responsibility for the most malignant, the most calculated, the most devastating crimes in the history of all mankind. And they are perhaps more guilty than some of the others. For they had maintained maturity long before Hitler’s rise to power. Their minds weren’t warped at any early age, by Nazi teachings. They embraced the ideologies of the Third Reich as educated adults, when they most of all, should have valued justice. Well, here they’ll receive the justice they denied others.”

Throughout the movie, various characters claim they did not know about the concentration camps. Some proudly and defiantly admit they did know. One defendant Nazi Judge, when asked about the changes after Hitler’s rise, relates that the judiciary became subject to something other than the objective rule of law, that they became subject to “what was necessary for the protection of the country.” He mentions that appeals were no longer allowed, replaced by special people and groups organized by the political establishment, race was introduced as a legal concept, and that there was the “inflation of the death penalty.” The result, he said, was to hand over the administration of justice to the hands of a dictatorship. Spencer Tracy's character asks him if the judges protested the attack on their independence. The defendant answered that a few did, some resigned, some were forced to resign, and others “adapted” themselves to the new reality.

Spencer Tracy reads the word of a well known legal writing published by the defendant, Ernest Janning, and comments on the idealism contained, and how it was like “our ideals.” He asks how a man could be guilty of sterilization and murder who wrote those words. Gentle hands.

Spencer Tracy interviews his two maids, a German man and wife, about life under the Reich. They don’t want to answer initially. Finally the wife says “We didn’t know about the things Hitler is accused of doing. Hitler did some good things, we won’t say he didn’t do any good things. He built highways, he put people to work. But the other things….” The husband then says, “And if even we did know, what could we do?” Spencer says, “your wife says you didn’t know….”

During the trial, one witness, a Communist, describes how he was taken by force to be sterilized. After his arrest, at the hospital, he relates that the nurse came in for his operation and said she thought the whole thing was terrible. The doctor came in and also said he thought it was awful. The prosecutor asks the witness, “were you in fact sterilized?” The witness nods yes.

While the American judges deliberate on the case, one American judge from the tribunal finds precedent from the opening of a French prosecutor during the International Military Tribunal. He reads aloud, “It is obvious that in the state organized along modern lines, responsibility is confined to those who act directly for the state, since they alone are in a position to judge the legitimacy of the given orders, they alone can be prosecuted.”

Spencer Tracy offers the verdict and sentencing for the defendants:

All are found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He mentions the great legal mind, Ernest Janning, in particular stating that he:

“...acted in what he thought was the best interest of his country. There is truth in this also. Janning to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did... Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial. If he, and all the other defendants, had been degraded perverts, if all the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe. But this trial has shown, that under a national crisis, ordinary, even able and extra ordinary men, can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them... There are those in our own country too who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made, in the life of every nation, at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat, then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival on what is expedient, to look the other way. Only, the answer to that, is survival is what? A country isn’t a rock. It’s the extension of one’s self, it’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted, that here in our decision, this is what we stand for. Justice, truth, and the value of a single human being.”

History repeats itself. Ordinary people with gentle hands can commit evil. The rule of law can be suspended by criminals in power, and unconcerned or immoral public servants who carry out the execution of unlawful orders. Those of us serving in such capacities today must hold firm to our oaths to the Constitution of the United States, the rule of law, and the guarantee of due process. May we never forget.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Soldier Raps About Using Violence Against a Citizen

Apparently a rapper, Soulja Boy, released a rap that insulted those in the Army and the FBI. He later apologized, after being contacted by many angry servicemen. Apparently some are trying to get the rapper's music banned from military bases. One soldier, Stephen Hobbs, made his own rap in response and posted it on YouTube.
Mr. Hobbs is talented and his rap is true to the genre, filled with violence and chest beating. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Hobbs has chosen to encourage violence, perhaps merely artistically, against a citizen who exercised his free speech, and Mr. Hobbs paints a picture of squaring off against the rapper using an Army M-1 Abrams and a .50 cal. Says the soldier, "I've got a whole Army, homie, go on and bring your hood, and we can step toe to toe, I bet I win, go on and bring your boys, and I'm gonna bring my men." While the soldier is using his free speech, he is representing the armed forces while doing so, and his free speech is not the substance of an American system of civilian control over its military. Despite the emotional applause from those who no doubt consider themselves American patriots, this rap response contains a philosophy more closely aligned with China or the old Soviet Union. His response, while clever and well done, is quite simply un-American. I see this attitude from those in uniform displayed to punish free speech not infrequently when the Westboro Church makes headlines. Support for violence against them, even support for using local law enforcement to unlawfully arrest them to prevent the church members from lawfully exercising their unpopular speech, etc. This type of popular "patriotism" erodes our country from the inside. It's a frightening trend when those who take an oath to support and defend the Constitution cheer lead its destruction, and soldiers seek to punish citizens they disagree with using violence. In song or in reality.