Fighting for Freedom

We celebrated Memorial Day last Monday, and the 30th will be the traditional observance, so this seems appropriate. PJ Media’s Claudia Rossett tells us:

Not since the eve of the 1989 Tiananmen slaughter have we seen China’s communist regime more clearly girding to demolish a vibrant democracy movement. Thirty-one years ago, China’s Communist Party shut down democracy protesters in Beijing by shooting them in the streets. This time the CCP’s target is the former British colony of Hong Kong, where protesters turned out in huge numbers last year to defend the rights and freedoms that China promised them for at least 50 years after the 1997 British handover. Now, while the world grapples with the China-spawned coronavirus pandemic, China is preparing a national security law that would override Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous system. Under this law, as previewed by China’s authorities, Beijing could criminalize any activity in Hong Kong it deems a threat, and send mainland security operatives into Hong Kong as enforcers. Hong Kongers have richly demonstrated that they are a freedom-loving people, unlikely to bow down en masse and obey. The stage is set for a nightmare showdown.

Precisely how that’s likely to play out is a sickening question. Over the past year, Beijing’s quisling administration in Hong Kong has made copious use of tear gas, water cannon, threats, bans, beatings, and arrests (more than 8,000 to date). All this has failed to quell Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Is it likely that China’s dictator, President Xi Jinping, brandishing his new security law, would go so far as to reprise in Hong Kong his Communist Party’s 1989 Tiananmen tactics, and default to wholesale gunfire? Don’t rule it out.

Last year, especially among those with vivid memories of Tiananmen on June 4, 1989 (myself among them) there was plenty of worry that a Hong Kong massacre was in the cards. But perhaps it was a serious deterrent to Xi that the world was watching, bigtime, and he was in no hurry to sponsor a bloodbath so horrifying that it might end Hong Kong’s role as China’s chief financial portal to world markets.

And American authorities have indeed said that if China suppresses the freedom of Hong Kongers, both China and Hong Kong will come under American sanctions, as will their political leaders. Not a happy prospect, but what has really changed since John Kennedy stood on the platform on the east front of the Capitol on January 20, 1961, and said this:

For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

Later on, in his address, he also said this:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

And so today, as on that cold and snowy day, that I and many of you remember clearly, he laid out what it means to be “the keeper of the flame of liberty”, and that is the mission of America in this century as it was in the last.

But today, many of us see much of America in the same position as the Hong Kongers, beset by totalitarian administrations. Well, we’ve been there before too. The first time against the foremost empire in the world, and with God’s help we won through.

And so, perhaps, we look weak to China and others, but what I see our citizens doing, even as the Hong Kongers are, is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength that will win through

This post will continue in a day or so, but Bruce Springsteen has a very clear idea of how freedom is won.

Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree
I say freedom is won through the barrel of a gun
Had a brother in Iraq, he didn’t come back
I ask why oh why do soldiers gotta die
Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree
I say freedom is won through the blood of someone’s son

Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree
I say freedom is won through the barrel of a gun
Daddy died in Vietnam, he was killed at Khe Sahn
I ask why oh why do soldiers gotta die
Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree
I say freedom is won through the blood of someone’s son

Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree
I say freedom is won through the barrel of a gun
Had a brother in Iraq, he didn’t come back
I ask why oh why do soldiers gotta die

Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm.

From an excellent article at: The Imaginative Conservative.

Remember that …

The question I posed about the Civil War? It gave our historians quite a bit to talk about and I learned so much from reading the comments.

I stumbled upon this just now and after watching, I thought of the historians here at Nebraska Energy and wondered what their take would be.

Without further ado, please enjoy this video. Oh … it starts out lame but go with it.

‘Murica, F**k Yeah!

John Hinderaker at PowerLine asks the question, “Shutdowns, what is the point?” It’s a very valid question and no politician anywhere is answering it coherently.

John quotes Robert Skidelsky, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University.

The default policy response has been to slow the spread of natural immunity until a vaccine can be developed. What “flattening the curve” really means is spacing out the number of expected deaths over a period long enough for medical facilities to cope and a vaccine to kick in.

But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually.

Doing this, however, lifts the cap on non-exposure gained from the lockdown. That is why no government has an explicit exit strategy: what political leaders call the “controlled easing” of lockdowns actually means controlled progress toward herd immunity.

Read the linked article but I think that’s about right, and it leaves the politicians between a rock and a hard place. They have to back off, or the economy will die and/or the people will revolt. So they obfuscate and lie. It won’t serve much longer, at least in America.


To that last phrase, America is still America, at least outside the cities, PJ Media had an excellent story from Califonia last Wednesday. Jeff Reynolds reports that.

In a time of non-stop bad news coming from every corner of the media during the CCP pandemic, a reminder of the American spirit can encourage us out of the doldrums. That’s exactly what inspired former PJTV contributor Chris Burgard to create the new country song and video, “American Heart.” With the subtitle, “You can’t lock down an American Heart,” the video has caught fire, with more than 20,000 views in the first 48 hours since its release.

With good reason. The song came out of a desire to show that fear had kept America in shackles, and that we have the power to reject it.

I asked Chris how this song came about, and he tells a very cool story. He says that the video shoot, which took place on his California horse ranch, met with strong skepticism at first. It took several weeks to put together a shoot, and at first it was just Chris and his guitar. Too many folks he invited declined, citing the virus as a reason to stay inside.

As he began setting up the video and the music, however, folks began to emerge. Soon, he had a full, professional, concert-quality country band at his ranch. Check below for the bios—there are a lot of big names in the industry that came together for this effort.

Viewers should not see this as a partisan issue, Chris told me, but rather a return to American values. Let’s leave behind fear and let’s return to the rugged sense of American freedom that we all inherited.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Famericanmadeband2020%2Fvideos%2F2983395038423957%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Click that link! You know you want to and I can’t embed this one. You won’t regret it.

American Heart

Two months into COVID lockdown, we felt the country could use some inspiration.

Friends and neighbors agreed. So we started a band, recorded a song, and got the neighbors together to make this video.

We hope it makes folks happy and does a little bit to lift up our country. A portion of the proceeds from each download goes to COVID19 related charity, Meals For Heroes.

“Getting this many people to come out to do a nice Pro-American, Christian video is huge,” Burgard said. “The fact that you did it during Covid lockdown? You’re here because people are starting to figure out, yes we need to be cautious, yes we need to be smart, but we’re not frickin sheep. Ok? This country was founded on freedom. This country wasn’t founded on fear.”

Chris Burgard

So go download it already. What better way this year to start Memorial Day weekend!

 

As my neighbors out here in Nebraska would say:

Cowboy Up!

Time and Place.

Sen Daniel Inouye, former Captain AUS 442d Regimental Combat Team
Holder of the
Medal of Honor
The Bronze Star Medal
The Purple Heart
The Presidential Medal of Freedom
and, at his death
The President pro tempore of the United States Senate

Ordinarily, if we have enough, I have been mostly alternating between Audre and myself during the week. We tend to about equal views (and that pleases me). But I’m going to break pattern today since it was my turn yesterday to have an internet outage. And besides this continues on from yesterday’s about American heroes. Enjoy! Neo.

 

Still thinking about all the information contained in the documentary The War. The personal interviews, though, is what really stays with you. The faces, the voices, the eyes of the men interviewed feel like they become part of you somehow. Perhaps it’s because we see the faces of our fathers or uncles, or brothers who served. They share a look to their eyes; it’s more than an ‘I’ve seen a thing or two’ look, that look also has deep tones of sadness.

The second favorite interview is with Daniel Inouye; yes, that Daniel Inouye. Mentally and physically strong. Focused. Assured. Confident. Quite striking and remarkable. His contribution to the war effort is something that almost sounds made up, but he had witnesses to his heroism. This is just a snippet from Wikipedia about his time in WWll: (after he had blown up the other two bunkers) – As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Lt. Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, coming within 10 yards. As he raised himself on his left elbow and cocked his right arm to throw his last hand grenade, a German soldier saw Inouye and fired a 30mm Schiessbecher antipersonnel rifle grenade from inside the bunker, which struck Inouye directly on his right elbow. The high explosive grenade failed to detonate, saving Lt. Inouye from instant death but amputating most of his right arm at the elbow (except for a few tendons and a flap of skin) via blunt force trauma. Despite this gruesome injury, Lt. Inouye was again saved from likely death due to the blunt, low-velocity grenade tearing the nerves in his arm unevenly and incompletely, which involuntarily squeezed the grenade tightly via a reflex arc instead of going limp and dropping it at Inouye’s feet. However, this still left him crippled, in terrible pain, under fire with minimal cover and staring at a live grenade “clenched in a fist that suddenly didn’t belong to me anymore.”[13]

Inouye’s horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker began hastily reloading his rifle with regular full metal jacket ammunition (replacing the wood-tipped rounds used to propel rifle grenades), Inouye quickly pried the live hand grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. The German soldier had just finished reloading and was aiming his rifle to finish him off when Lt. Inouye threw his grenade through the narrow firing slit, killing the German. Stumbling to his feet with the remnants of his right arm hanging grotesquely at his side and his Thompson in his off-hand, braced against his hip, Lt. Inouye continued forward, killing at least one more German before suffering his fifth and final wound of the day (in his left leg), which finally halted his one-man assault for good and sent him tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. He awoke to see the worried men of his platoon hovering over him. His only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them back to their positions, saying “Nobody called off the war!”[14]

The remainder of Inouye’s mutilated right arm was later amputated at a field hospital without proper anesthesia, as he had been given too much morphine at an aid station and it was feared any more would lower his blood pressure enough to kill him.[15]

What can I say? All the truly profound things have been said about war and heroism. If you’ll pardon me, I’ll just say that was one tough som’bitch. He was, after his return and college, the Democrat Senator for Hawaii. For years. He voted for some things I would have been against, and against some things I would have been for, but gosh, he earned his right to say his piece. A stellar member of the Great Generation.

Fast forward to today. Who is the loudest, nastiest, snidest Democrat Senator from the State of Hawaii? Maizy Hirono. I have very little to say about her – but only because she brings out the absolute worst in me. So I’ll just leave this video as a small sample of the difference in time and place between Daniel Inouye and Maizy Hirono. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w8ml5lQvOo.

Commencement and the ‘Pseudo Elites’

The other day, Purdue’s president, Mitch Daniels gave a noteworthy commencement address, which came to me via Emily Jashinsky at The Federalist. Let’s check it out but do read it all.

Purdue celebrated its own landmark this year, our 150th anniversary. Since it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by our most famous alumnus, Neil Armstrong stories were abundant. My favorite claims that, later in life, Commander Armstrong took to telling corny, lame jokes about the moon, and when nobody laughed he would say, “Well, I guess you had to be there.”

A year or so ago, a major national journalist visited our campus and later wrote a gracious, complimentary article about what he saw here. While I enjoyed his accounts of the progress and successful results he thought he had witnessed, my favorite part of the column was a single phrase, basically a throwaway line. He described Purdue as “a happy place.”

That got me wondering how many college campuses these days would strike a visitor quite that way. I hope it’s been that kind of place for you.

That strikes me. Most of you know that while I am a Purdue Alum, I didn’t graduate. Mot Purdue’s fault other duties just intruded more than was compatible, but for all that, while I never considered going back, it does remain a happy memory for me. Like so many of us, it was my first chance to live on my own, and I loved it. A happy place indeed, even while the Vietnam war was disrupting so many campuses.

But one thing I never expected to worry about, but now do a little, is your being lonely. I have known you and met thousands of you personally in an environment that, despite our size, does a pretty good job of getting people together, creating bonds among them. A thousand clubs. Dozens of faith-based organizations. Our Greek system and, maybe our best examples of true communities, our co-op residential houses, where students not only live but cook, clean and do repairs together. And, most recently, the “learning communities,” where thousands of Boilermakers live in mutual support with others who are studying the same subject matter.

But elsewhere, the academic journals and lay periodicals are now filled with research about the “epidemic of loneliness” in our society. Surveys report record numbers of Americans living alone and suffering from strong feelings of isolation. Many view it as a new public health crisis, linked to rising rates of depression, anxiety, even suicide. A lack of strong social relationships has been found to raise the risk of premature death by 50%.

Obviously, the last few months have really made this worse, and while the liberty-loving people of America are fighting for the right to again associate with others, we have not got it done yet. But it is a real problem, too many of us live our lives staring at our screens. I know I do. But right now, as Audre alluded to yesterday, it is a lifeline, the ability to associate with others like ourselves pretty much anywhere in the world. But I, and I suspect a lot of you, miss the touch, feel, the smell of others, let alone a smile of welcome at our arrival. Soon, I hope.

One of the things Mitch is warning against here is something that  J.B. Shurk wrote about in American Thinker the other day …

When Governor Gretchen Whitmer or J.B. Pritzker or Jay Inslee or Gavin Newsom opens his mouth or any of the exhausting municipal Marxists like Bill de Blasio and Lori Lightfoot starts barking orders, more and more Americans only hear “womp, womp, womp.” That’s a good thing. When elected representatives confuse their “public service” with titles of nobility giving them license to make demands beyond their delegated authority, Americans have a duty to just “walk away.” America is a “safe place” from entrenched aristocracy. We rule ourselves here; elected “servants of the people” are meant to take care of the public chores we’re too busy to perform ourselves. We pay them for this. In America, we’re our own feudal lords and ladies.

For all their talk of the “little guy,” the left sure does gravitate toward nobility and special classes with extra-special privileges. It’s not just their obvious devotion before the altar of celebrity or fashionable “groupthink” causes. They are transfixed by titles of any kind. Because we kicked all the dukes and duchesses, barons and baronesses, earls and countesses back to the other side of the pond, the left confuses education with the “right to rule.” Affixing “Dr.” before their names has become the only opportunity for them to separate themselves from a sea of commoners. And after having spent decades trying to wean society from signaling simple respect by addressing each other as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms., they are now often the only ones who demand verbal recognition of their special status. We have become a nation flooded with so many meaningless and laughable Ph.D.s, it seems, [interestingly at Purdue in my day, it was averred that Ph.D stands for  ‘Piled high and Deep’, something I still believe almost always] not because their holders consider education a path toward greater enlightenment, but so that they can become new members of a noble peerage class entitled to demand newfound privilege and respect nowhere else due.

He makes a lot of sense to me, so I think you should read it all.

And so, Hail Purdue, and our new Alums, and Liberate America.

Sunday Funnies; Are We There Yet?

Farmer George is starting to sound rather reasonable, isn’t he?

 

 

And, of course

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