Monday Morning in the Free World

IMG_5851_2lowresThe leader of the free world issued a statement on the Israel-Hamas fracas today. Yes Stephen Harper did. Yay Canada!!

The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.

Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.

Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

via What real support for Israel looks like | Power Line.

This sums it up for me.



Germany won the World Cup last night. You’ll not be surprised that I am not much of a fan of kickball/ soccer/ futboll/ (sic)football, but Jess did talk me into watching it. Silly Brits! Anyway, I did enjoy watching it, I found that an Indiana High School basketball background was useful for seeing patterns and such. The Germans showed me a traditional plan with four keys to it.

  1. Discipline
  2. Patience
  3. Conditioning
  4. Opportunism

Much like the reputation their army has had for about a century.

In other words, they were ready, and Argentina wasn’t. It was a good game, at least if you like a four corners offense in basketball. :-)


The Republican candidate for Senate in Iowa has suspended her campaign for two weeks because of another commitment. LTC Jodi Ernst will be on active duty at Camp McCoy.

BZ Colonel.

A Most Conservative Revolution

pic_giant_070314_AToday we celebrate for the 238th time, something the Founders did not want. Independence. What they wanted was restoration of their rights as freeborn Englishmen. Our revolution was in direct line of succession from Magna Charta, The English Civil War, and The Glorious Revolution (and its Bill of Rights upon which our own was mostly based).

Washington’s Army was very nearly the Roundhead army of Parliament reincarnate. And it was stood up for the very same reason. The “long train of abuses and usurpations” by the King which Jefferson documented, could have been written by the leaders of the Civil War. Lets look at that document, shall we.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Often we read Jefferson’s prose in the beginning and end of the Declaration and skip the “Bill of Particulars”. We shouldn’t. There written in plain English is the quest of the English Speaking people, for a stable, free and representative law. It is a quest that hearkens all the way back to Saxon times, and continues today.

We must note that this view was one that was very current in the England of 1776 as well. Edmund Burke said this:

We also reason and feel as you do on the invasion of your charters. Because the charters comprehend the essential forms by which you enjoy your liberties, we regard them as most sacred, and by no means to be taken away or altered without process, without examination, and without hearing, as they have lately been.

Charles James Fox said, in a famous speech, “I say, that the people of England have a right to control the executive power, by the interference of their representatives in this House of parliament.” And he even took to wearing the Buff and Blue colors of Washington’s army on the floor of Parliament itself.

William Pitt the Elder unsuccessfully attempted to have Parliament offer the Colonies what would be later called Commonwealth status.

So we see that we today celebrate a reluctant Independence but one that the Founders found necessary to maintain their rights, and they have passed on to us the responsibility to maintain them. It is no small responsibility but it one we must take seriously to be able to hand our freedom down to our posterity.

Enough preaching, How about a couple of videos? I like this one

I’m one of those curmudgeons who don’t think the National Anthem should be messed with but, I happily admit to loving this version. Consistency is overrated!

And finally, I would remind you that of all the nations in the world, only the Star Spangled Banner ends with a question.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

How that question is answered is up to us.


Its Time to Stop Controlling Kids

th1Leslie Loftus wrote an article over Father’s Day weekend that struck me strongly, and as right. The thing we’re not teaching our kids is judgement, I see it nearly everyday with young guys at work, they always have to have someone’s approval before doing the simplest thing, to the point that they are a supervisor’s nightmare–they literally can’t see work in front of their face. Leslie has some idea why, so read her article.

Gen Xers often joke—on Facebook, naturally—about how much trouble we would have wreaked if our youthful stupid mistakes had gone viral. But what could have mortified us 20 years ago we handled by destroying photos and negatives. Photo burning was a staple of late 90’s bachelorette parties.

Contrast that with the Dropbox porn story coming out of Virginia, in which two boys put a bunch of nude or semi-nude photos of female fellow students on Dropbox and passed around the password. A little flash nudity has been a staple of Truth or Dare games for generations. What’s new is the capture and distribution capability—and the children unprepared for its consequences. Today we have no simple fix to save these girls from crisis or, perhaps, the boys from incarnation.

After one of these events, a chorus begins to ask, “Where were the parents?” But I often wonder about the teens. How could they possibly think these acts were a good idea? Or put another way, for how long do we think parental supervision is the answer?

I don’t ask to assign blame, but to focus on the problem at hand. Controlling the Internet isn’t an option—not legally, not logistically. Sufficient supervision isn’t possible. I have tried every Internet filter variation, including prohibition. They all have exploitable flaws. We will have to teach children to use judgment.

But modern parents don’t like judgment. We like control. Some parents brave culture for their children, clearing all obstacles. Other parents set all the rules and boundaries for their children. In both cases, parents substitute their judgment for their children’s and leave each of them vulnerable to life.

Modern parents don’t like judgment. We like control.Stories of how well children of helicopter parents fare in the adult world are reaching legend. Some homeschoolers get heartache when their carefully pruned broods rebel. Similarly, many Christian denominations are puzzled by the trend of the young leaving the church, with only a fraction returning later and usually to more traditional Catholic or Anglican traditions.

via Its Time to Stop Controlling Kids and Teach Them Judgment.

She’s right but I don’t think she has it thought all the way through. Judgement comes from initiative taken–and consequences paid. You’ll hear many of us of my generation relate how we were told after breakfast (in the summer) “Go out and play, I don’t want to see you till lunch”. Those stories are true. Our parents trusted us not to, not get into trouble, they knew we would, but to figure out how to get back out. They trusted us to show responsibility for ourselves first in small things, like entertaining ourselves. They also knew that we, and they, would pay a price, usually in cuts and scrapes, occasionally in more serious things. About those cuts and scrapes, I can still hear Dad saying, “I didn’t feel a thing.” He wasn’t callous, if I hurt myself, he was all for fixing the hurt but he gave me room, to get a minor scrape or 20. And most importantly, to learn the lesson.

He never did anything that sapped my initiative, either. When I was about four, I managed to jack up an old car that was out behind the house, and take off a tire. He certainly didn’t praise me for it (I do suspect he was a bit proud, but thought it shouldn’t be encouraged), what he did was, at the earliest opportunity, remove the car, before I hurt killed myself. Similarly, since he was mowing 5 acres of yard, being a boy, I wanted to mow, about that same time he came up with a little riding mower, removed the blade, and designed an electric start system for it. Well I still couldn’t mow, but I could pretend, with real tools, and I did. I’ll bet I put 5,000 miles on that ‘tractor’.  And by the time I was ten, I fulfilled my quest, mowing the yard was primarily my responsibility, and you know something it was fun too. I still enjoy mowing, it reminds me of my childhood.

And one final example, like most people living in the country, dad had a shotgun, for all the uses we talk about, except that he wasn’t a hunter, he knew enough to, he just didn’t care for it. Growing up watching westerns, you know how much I wanted to play with that old .410! It was one of very few things forbidden, with serious consequences for violations, another was playing in the road. They were all things that could kill you. But about the time I was seven, on Christmas, there was that Daisy “Red Ryder” in all it’s glory. It came with a very serious lecture on firearms safety, and the promise that there were no second chances for violations. Even at seven, I knew those lectures were reserved for things that had real, life and death, consequences, and acted accordingly. When I was ten, it was followed by a .22, with a more advanced lecture involving the explosion of a watermelon. Lesson learned, to this day, a half century later, I have never had a firearms accident (except for breaking a stock when I fell down an ice hill).

What am I saying here, is simply this: You cannot teach judgement, you can only learn it. I always put it this way

Good judgement comes from experience

Experience come from bad judgement,

preferably others.

Here’s another part of that, I’ve said how I grew up around dad’s work and crews, especially as an early teen. One of the things I saw was this. The company got a report on every fatal accident in a rural electric in the United States, we all read them, and some formed the basis of safety meetings Thusly we learned not what to do but, what not to do, and we were all safer people for it.

And that is how you teach the two things that are lacking in most young people (and it is not their fault, in my opinion). Good judgement and initiative. Leslie’s right but she doesn’t go far enough. All kids have initiative, our challenge as parents and adults is to channel it and not destroy it.

A child needs room to learn, even by failure, even by losing, that’s how one learns to win and to pay the price for either. It’s the parent’s job to control the environment just enough to keep the costs of failure within bounds.

And do understand this, if you are a parent, you are your child’s hero.

Nobody ever died of a skinned knee.

Remembrance and Honor

Gettysburg_national_cemetery_img_4164And so as we move into Memorial Day weekend where we commemorate and remember those millions who have given their lives for our (and other peoples) freedom, we should also take time to remember President Lincoln’s words on 4 March 1865:

Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

As is usually the case, we seem to have done a lousy job of that, doesn’t it. It seems to be the way of nations to forget the warrior after the war. So it has always been, and so it may always be. But doesn’t have to be, America has registered many firsts, this would be a worthy accomplishment for the American people, to disprove Kipling’s words, once and for all time. Especially as we remember and mourn those that our neglect has taken from us before their time. :cry:

And that, would be a mission worthy of America

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Boko Haram: the Illusion of Clean Hands, and the End of Americans in Space

MichelleObamaBringBackOurGirlsThis is an outstanding article and it links through to more outstanding articles. I heartily recommend them all, I wish I was a good enough thinker and/or writer to produce these. Anyway, see you on the other side.

Grim has an interesting post up on the much ballyhoo’d photo of the First Lady’s recent foray into hashtag diplomacy. In it, he responds to a piece by Mark Steyn pointing out the yawning gap between political rhetoric and policy:

Contempt may well be warranted, but not for the failure to deploy special operators into this.

…You can’t drop a SEAL team if you don’t know where to drop them, and we most likely don’t have any idea. That’s not contemptible. It’s a fact of the art of war.

The right reason to feel contempt is at the posture, which makes our nation look weak and helpless. We probably can’t rescue these girls in a Hollywood-style raid, but we could wipe this group off the face of the earth in a few hours if we were willing to kill a lot of innocent people too. We could wipe them out in weeks, with less danger to innocents, if we were willing to deploy the 1st Cavalry Division for that purpose with a very loose set of ROE.

If we don’t do those things, it’s because we are choosing not to do them. It won’t do for the White House to beg, plead, or scold, or make sad faces in front of a camera.

Take responsibility for your choice.

via Villainous Company: Boko Haram and the Illusion of Clean Hands.

And that is what I find so contemptible about this whole hashtag thing. Grim is right, when done by Hollywood celebrities and average people it can be considered almost a form of “speaking truth to power” and in that sense, is good.

But when Michelle Obama and even more David Cameron stand there looking sappy with their signs. Just who in the hell do they think the are trying to persuade? They are “The Man”, although I suspect they are reluctant to admit it to themselves, it implies that they are responsible for many things, and they don’t want that to be true. But it is true, Elections have consequences. Now it up to the two of you, largely whether 276 Nigerian Christian teenage girls will live in freedom, live in slavery, or die. You, Barack, you wanted the job, you got it, you get the responsibility. Just like you are responsible for every person who dies because of Obamacare. Your policies, in great part, emboldened Boko Haram to commit this outrage. You, Obama, no one else, you are the captain of the ship, you bear responsibility.

th (1)The same is true for poor David Cameron, only more so. In a very real sense these are his girls, they are Nigerians and thus in a sense British, just like the Falklanders that Maggie restored to freedom all those years ago. Just like those Pakistanis that whole British and American armies fought to free from Imperial Japan.

Those who seek and find great prestige, always find that it comes with great responsibility. If you shirk the responsibility, you will find the prestige, and your honor as well, has left with it. And so has whatever share of manhood you had. Sad, really, for our so-called leaders. Sadder for us who are being so poorly led. Saddest of all for those girls in the Niger, and their dead brothers whom we have ignored. When great powers are led by small men, there is little protection for any of us, and soon they shall no longer be great powers either.

In other news, because of our intrepid stand in the Ukraine, Russia has announce that we will no longer be welcome in the (approximately 85% American built) International Space Station., Nor will they ferry our astronauts, after 2020. And they will quit selling us the rocket engines that we use to launch military satellites.

Soft power, it’s what for dinner.

Remember this.

Yeah, enjoy. That America died a few years ago, about 2008, if I recall. But we’ll be fine as long as China keeps selling us electronics for our defense department.

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Duty Is the Rent You Pay For Life

article-2625548-1DBD495E00000578-350_634x498There are some words that have gone out of fashion. Duty, Honor, Integrity, and Responsibility are among them. Why?

I think it is mostly that we have had it too easy, and we have been encouraged to do only what is necessary, not what is right, or to do our duty. We, and our countries are much the poorer for it. We have often talked here about the generation that won World War II, and undoubtedly shall again. But their older brothers and fathers were perhaps of even sterner stuff. That generation that fought the Great War have nearly been forgotten, and they shouldn’t be. They may well have been the real ‘Greatest Generation’.

In truth the British casualties in the Great War compared to the population at somewhat less than 2 % wasn’t all that horrible, in the American Civil War the ratio was about 3.5% and many estimates of the English Civil War were about 4%. But soldiers come from the working class while in the Edwardian model, the officer corp came from the educated upper classes, and do remember the divide was much wider then than now.  The British army lost roughly 12% of its effective soldiers, but and here is the kicker, it lost roughly 17% of its officers, Eton lost more than 1000 alumni, 20% of those who served.

Those men were leaders, who took their duties seriously, they died leading their men. They were quite likely the best of Britain, for instance UK wartime Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son, while future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law lost two. Anthony Eden lost two brothers, another brother of his was terribly wounded, and an uncle was captured, Rudyard Kipling lost his only son. We’ve seen this before but let’s look at it again.

Noting as I have before that all three of them were convinced Jack wouldn’t return, and very aware that he could have honorably avoided field service, they all thought that it was his duty.

A hard word, duty is.

At the same time, a fourteen year old girl was helping her family prepare the family home for use as a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers, and she too would lose a brother in the war, Fergus was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915 and another brother was on the missing list before they found out he was a POW. Fergus’s death badly affected her mother and she picked up the slack, to the point of even keeping the house from burning down, with some help from the soldiers.

The house castle of course, was Glamis and the girl was the Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. After the war she was one of the most famous and popular of debutantes. But she never in the course of a very long life, lost her bravery and her sense of duty. And we are far better off for it. Because she in fact married the King’s younger son, Prince Albert, and after the abdication in  1936 she became the queen.

And we very famously saw that sense of duty, now to the United Kingdom when she said, when it was suggested that the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to Canada because of the threat of invasion,The Princesses will never leave without me. I will not leave without the King and the King will never leave,” Of such attitudes are leaders made.

And her attitude never changed. The £ Daily Mail spoke of this saying:

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s death was much like her life – full of dignity, grace and the minimum of fuss.

Right up to the end, she showed the same stoicism and pluck that she had displayed through thick and thin for more than a century.

Nothing typified her resiliance more than her insistence last month on travelling 100 miles by helicopter to her daughter Princess Margaret’s funeral. Despite weakness caused by persistent illness, she went against the Queen’s wishes to attend and hid her feelings behind the palm of her hand as she carried out the saddest duty of all – watching a child laid to rest.

For death was something that Queen Elizabeth had never feared. Her steadfast faith, learned at her mother’s knee and which had sustained her through the dark days of the abdication crisis, the Second World War and her husband, King George VI’s premature demise, kept as firm as ever as she prepared to meet her Maker.

Her bravery had always been legendary, shrugging off the excruciating pain that necessitated two hip replacements in her mid and late 90s and the constant discomfort of a leg ulcer that refused to heal. When most people half her age would have thrown in the towel, there she was going about her duties as if she had not a care in the world.

No one to whom she chatted had the slightest inkling of the effort behind the twinkling blue eyes and golden smile as she mingled charmingly among her people. Once in a blue moon, she did confess to occasionally getting slightly tired, but quickly added that the affection that she received from the people she met, from whatever walk of life they came, ‘recharges me, gives me back my strength’.

Queen Elizabeth was born in the reign of Queen Victoria on a summer day so hot that the tar melted on the roads and working horses had to wear straw hats. She was the ninth of Lord and Lady Glamis’s ten children and her arrival on August 4, 1900, prompted so little interest that her grandfather, the Earl of Strathmore, failed to note it in his daily diary.

Read more:–last.html#ixzz31RgfojFR


I easily think we can all respect that as a life lived in duty to one’s people, and it would be a very good guide to those who think they should lead our peoples today. And yes, the title of this piece was one of her favorite mottoes.


I also think that I don’t say much more than the truth if I were to call her “The Queen Mother of the Free World” because her courage and steadfastness had very much to do with it being the Free World.


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