Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Collect 1st Sunday of Advent, New Translation.
Lord Grey, the British Foreign Minister described the beginning of the war as "The lamps are going out in Europe". The immediate costs in dead and treasure of this ultimately pointless war were horrific. The horror of the trenches scarred the psyche of the Western world. The resulting despair allowed political movements to come to influence and power, which have changed for the worse Western culture, the holocaust and gulag being just the tip of the iceburg. Too many of the lamps are still out.
It is a hard truth that this is an especially appropriate day to remember our veterans living and dead. One of the very few bright spots were the solders and sailors whose dedication, loyalty, and valor shamed the politicians and “statesman” who sent them to war. They should always be remembered.
But also we need to remember that in other wars it was this same dedication and valor that bought our Freedom and Liberty, certainly against the forces released as a result of the First World War.
Enjoy the holiday, but remember to think of and pray for those who served.
Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
and boast of many nations.
For your dominion was given you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High,
who will search out your works
and inquire into your plans.
Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, nor keep the law, nor walk according to the purpose of God,
He will come upon you terribly and swiftly,
because severe judgment falls on those in high places.
For the lowliest man may be pardoned in mercy, but mighty men will be mightily tested.
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of any one,
nor show deference to greatness;
because he himself made both small and great,
and he takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.
To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed,
that you may learn wisdom and not transgress. Wisdom 6: 1-9.
It is nice to think of our leaders as the “Kings and Judges”
especially when they are from a different political party
and consider the wrath of God with unjust joy.
But This is a democracy; and at least on Election Day we all are the “Kings and Judges,”
as servants of His Kingdom will we rule rightly when we vote?
I have things I need to do,
Things I want to do.
Maybe when the weather is to cold for shooting.
I was going through old things and found the rifle I got for my 16th birthday. Either sell it or shoot it. Shooting is a lot more fun.
UPDATE 29 June 2012: I took first in our clubs spring .22 LR league.
Let us pray for President Obama,
that God may guide
his mind and heart, so
that all men may live in true
peace and freedom.
Almighty and eternal
God, you know the longings
of men’s hearts and you protect
their rights. In your
goodness watch over President
Obama, so that people
everywhere may enjoy religious
freedom, security, and
peace. We ask this through
Christ our Lord.
Picked up on open mikes, a conversation between Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and American President Barrack Obama
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
Let's see the nicest thing to said is that the President promised he would give up without cost a key negotiation item.
A more common interpretation is that his he will not announce his real post election agenda during the election, it may cost him to many votes. Who knows.
What makes that interesting is this just floated into my computer from an alternate universe.
Draft Executive Order to be issued the day after election (win or lose) by the President of the United States on his authority deriving from being Barrack H Obama.
The Constitution of the US is amended as follows:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We, Barrack H Obama, in Order to form a more perfect Commune, establish Fairness, insure domestic Tolerance, provide the Nomenklatura's Defense, promote the Welfare system, and secure the Benifits of Multiculturism to ourselves and our (unaborted) Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Article 1 Section 8
1: The Congress shall have Power [Delete to end and replace with] to legislate the wishes of Barrack H Obama Section 9 2: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. 2. No privilege of Habeas Corpus shall be granted.
3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. 3. Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws may passed.
7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.Except at the direction of President Obama, Statements and account of the receipts need not be published.
Article II Section 1
1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. Barrack H Obama. He shall hold his Office ,during the Term of four Years, for life
Article III Section 3
1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. Lesse Majesty against Barack H Obama
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, except for secularism, or permitting the free exercise thereof; or allowing the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. shall not be tollerated
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Privare property is an oxomoron thus it shall always be subject to searches and seizures for any reason or no reason, with or without cause.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. A person may be put in jeopardy as often as necessary to obtain a conviction, shall not have right to due process of law.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be tried at a time and place convenient to the prosecution, need not be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; be confronted with the witnesses against him; have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, or have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The powers that Barrack H Obama does not delegate to the States or the People are retained by Barrack H Obama.
Admendment XIII Section 1
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
Amendment XIV Section 1
1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside Barrack H Obama is a Natural born Citizen of the United States and the State in which he resides
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
To promote the policies of Barrak H Obamma a state may abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;any state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; and deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I went to Cambodia primarily to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. They were built in the 12th century, when Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire and the largest city in the world, with a population of one million. I had first read about Angkor Wat in a Buddhist-art class in 1972. By then, Angkor Wat was off limits to foreign visitors, shrouded in mystery and veiled by war. By some miracle, it and the other temples in the region were untouched by the long years of war. Several hundred years of neglect in the jungle have taken a toll, however, and in recent years many foreign universities and governments have sent experts and aid to help in the restoration of these spectacular wonders of the ancient world.
The other reason to visit Cambodia was to see the killing fields. During their five years in power, the Khmer Rouge killed somewhere between 1 and 2 million people, out of a population that had stood around 10 million. This didn’t come to light until after the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia and drove the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh. Pictures of piles of bodies and bones, reminiscent of Auschwitz, began to appear in the world press. Since then, many details have emerged about the Khmer Rouge’s killing spree. Everyone refers to this as the Cambodian genocide.
But calling these murders “genocide” troubles me.
Cambodia is now and was then one of the most ethnically unitary countries in the world: 95 percent of all Cambodians are ethnically Khmer; the remaining 5 percent include Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotians, Hmong, Cham, and others. And 95 percent of all Cambodians, of whatever ethnicity, are Buddhist. Most of the killings were Khmer on Khmer, although the Khmer Rouge did also target Cambodia’s very small Cham Muslim minority.
The term “genocide” historically refers to the mass extermination of a race or ethnicity, as with the Turks and the Armenians, or the Germans and the Jews, or the Serbs and the Bosnians. It doesn’t seem to fit what happened in Cambodia, except for the scale of the slaughter.
Note that economic and political groups are not listed. They were removed from earlier drafts because the communist Soviet Union had murdered millions in political and economic groups in the previous 20 years and they were not going to put themselves in trouble or limit future policy options.
The Communist Khmer Rouge was only doing what had been specifically excluded from the definition.
Why then do Cambodians and the world call the mass murders by the Khmer Rouge “genocide”? I can think of several possible reasons.
However, I suspect that the most important reason for the usage worldwide is that many people in the international media, international agencies, and international NGOs (not to mention academia) are reluctant to face up to the crimes committed by Communism in the name of equality. To do so might call into question the weight attached by them to equality as the most important social value and undermine the multicultural faith that evil is predominantly the product of inequality, racism, ethnic hatred, or religious fanaticism. That cannot be permitted, so such crimes must be either ignored or mislabeled. And, of course, the remaining Communist regimes in the world are only too happy to cooperate in characterizing the killing fields as the products of irrational paranoia on the part of Pol Pot and his gang rather than the perfectly rational result of the quest for perfect equality.
The Khmer Rouge leadership has been charged and tried for Genocide. It seems the Khmer Rouge left documents where they mentioned by name several sub-groups that are protected by the convention, totaling a few percent of those killed. Gregory H. Stanton of Genocide Watch seems very excited at finding a technicality to charge the Khmer Rouge with Genocide. This however only obscures the source of the tragedy. It was not a crime of racial or ethnic hatred, but a calculated policy to implement a political program.
To prevent recurrences we need to understand the actual sources and recognize that nice sounding political programs, not racial or ethnic hatred, that can only be implanted with gross human rights violations, are the problem. It is always necessary to look beyond the idealistic explanation; and ask can this actully promote, and be implemented with, respect to human dignity and human rights.
When a nation re-awakes, its finest sons are prepared to give their lives for its liberation. When Empires are threatened with collapse, they are prepared to sacrifice their non-commissioned officers. Menachem Begin, The Revolt 1951. Quoted from Bernard B Fall, Hell In A Very Small Place; The Siege of Dien Bien Phu, 1967
Today it is often commented that virtually none of the students of Ivory League schools serve in the volunteer military. I wonder if this means that our future leaders from these schools don't believe in creating a country most people would find worth living in?
DIEN BIEN PHU, about 1700, 13 March 1954. The the 141st and 219th Regiments of the 312th Viet Minh Division attack the 3d Battalion, 13th Foreign Legion Demi-Brigade at isolated strong point Beatrice. By 0200 it is over. Only a hundred of the 500 legionaries escape, the Viet Minh lose 600 dead and two to three times that wounded. A sign of events to come.
"Hell In a Very Small Place is the classic telling of the siege of Dien Bien Phu and will probably remain the definitive telling. Bernard Fall follows the siege with a "Date Line: Dien Bien Phu" coverage, but also describes the larger strategic and political questions, ties them together, in smooth narrative that very few authors successfully accomplish.
The Viet Minh held the northern stretch of Viet Nam since 1950. Stalemated for years as the French did not have the strength to drive them back to the Chinese border, and the Viet Minh could only slowly increase their strength to take the Red River valley. (Hanoi and Haiphong).
The French had recently granted independence to Laos. General Navarre, the French Theater commander ordered a "blocking position" at Dien Bien Phu on Route 41 into Laos to keep the Viet Minh from moving into Laos. General Cogney, the commander of the Northern comand decided the way to implement that directive was to use Dien Bien Phu as a "mooring point" to launch attacks against Viet Minh activities in the area. It was never the plan, as often assumed, to set up a strong point to draw the Viet Minh into a trap. General Giap, the Viet Minh commander saw this as an opportunity to inflict a major defeat on the French. His units were moving even before the French occupied Dien Bien Phu.
The French parachuted and captured Dien Bien Phu on November 20 1953. By January the "blocking position" mission was shown to be unrealistic, a full Viet Minh division easily bypassed it and went into Laos. The "mooring point" mission was shut down by increasing Viet Minh pressure. It was obvious by mid-January that if the French stayed there they would be defending against a major siege. Since the plan had been for a "mooring point" the base had not been constructed to withstand a siege and by January it was physically impossible to import enough material to properly fortify it in time. The French could have evacuated at that point but do not appear to have considered the possibility. At some point the operation slipped from a side show to the central action defining success or failure for the French in Indochina.
The siege started on March 13. After a month and half of intense combat it was obvious Dien Bien Phu would soon fall. The government in Paris issued orders that it would not surrender, the Americans surrendered at Corregidor, the British at Singapore and the Germans at Stalingrad but the French would not surrender at Dien Bien Phu. On May 7 the garrison commander, to save his wounded, announced that a unilateral cease fire would take place at 1730, the French destroyed their weapons, the Viet Minh walked in without opposition. There was no formal surrender or white flags.
The heart of the book is the story of an inadequately staffed garrison, in incomplete fortifications, with constant shortages of food, ammunition, medical supplies, and most everything, fighting desparate odds with bravery and skill. Almost every day these worn out soldiers would fight off a an attack then get up and counter attack. Of the 15,000 in the garrison only 3000 returned to French authority. Fall treats the soldiers of the Vietminh with equal respect and sympathy.
Some interesting items.
While the larger war was a guerrilla war in the tradition of Mao Tse Tung, in the Viet Minh dominated areas where the battle took place the only guerilla activity was French sympathizing tribes fighting the Viet Minh. The battle was a conventional war siege resembling the trench warfare of WWI or the formal sieges of the 17th and 18th centuries. The massive influx of Viet Minh regulars destroyed the French guerilla forces in this area.
To defend the airfield, key to the position, the French should have defended an area twice as large, with a correspondingly larger garrison, to large to be supplied by the means available. Parachuting supplies kept the the garrison going at a subsistence level. New units were parachuted in to replace losses.
How to build defenses to withstand modern artillery was published in everyones manuals since WWI. The French only tried to ship in one tenth of the needed engineering materials, the rest of the available cargo capacity was required for food, ammunition and other essentials; even if all the flights were dedicated to engineering materials there still should not have been enough to complete proper fortifications.
The French force was a multinational and multicultural; French mainland, Foreign Legion, Moroccans, Algerians, other Africans and Vietnamese. The French mainland units were 25 to 50 % Vietnamese. Vietnamese were the largest single group. The Foreign Legion at that time was mainly, eastern European Spanish German and French. This crated a number of problems, not only did rations have to be parachuted in there were several different menus. Any thing that looked like favoritism or not recognizing unit characteristics could have ripped moral to pieces.
The Viet Minh were taking a considerable risk. They committed over half of their regular force. They barely had the capacity to supply these five divisions. Their rations were no more generous than the garrisons. Casualties were heavy, but they had virtually no medical infrastructure beyond unit the level. Veteran units at the beginning of the battle filled with barely trained conscripts for the last phases. Morale was often poor. At the end of March Giap realized that the casualties were so heavy he would destroy his army if a continued. He called a halt to direct assaults and adopted the 18th century tactic of sapping and mining (dig trenches successively closer to the fort.) If things went wrong their war effort would be put back years if not lost. Fortunately for the Viet Minh the French never fully realized the opportunity and did not have ability to take advantage of it.
This books reputation as a classic in it's genre is well deserved. A superb presentation of a story that will be told for centuries, long after the issues of the war are forgotten. Fall is both fair and critical at the same time of people and decisions and makes a balanced analysis's of plans and events. There are excellent maps, and appendixes. It is clearly written, and leaves the reader with a good understanding of what happened and why. Readers without much interest or background in the subject might find the very detailed approach challenging. Other than that it is an excellent book and is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.
But we should remember what technology is — a delivery system, a pump — not our essence, not water itself. Human nature remains constant and predictable while the ever-changing rate of technological growth obscures this insight. That I can talk to Argentina with a four-second dial, or find out how to treat leprosy on the Internet in ten seconds, or be constantly directed by a soothing female voice how to navigate through downtown L.A. does not thereby mean I have any more to say to an Argentinian than my great-great-grandmother might have, or that thereby I would be necessarily more or less willing to drop historic prejudices against lepers, or that I would have any more business in L.A. than did my grandfather with his nine-farmer open party-line, strung along the road with vineyard wire on eucalyptus poles. I could, of course, but that fact would hinge on considerations that might outweigh the speed or ease of my knowledge and decision-making.
I bring all this up because in the last two weeks I heard and read some strange things about how technological changes have transformed our very politics and way of life. . . . true to an extent — but not to the extent that we think
Cell-phoning simply has accelerated what was — or was not already — there. I like finding the GPS directions to a Starbucks in a strange city, and appreciate those engineers who gave us such options. But coffee is coffee, existence is existence, and if I don’t use my saved time wisely, it is not necessarily any better invested than in stopping and asking directions.
The point is not to denigrate high-tech, but to remind us that it a tool that is as good or bad — to paraphrase Shane — as the person using it. But with one great caveat, today’s glitzy technology is so impressive, so captivating to the human brain that it has the ability to confuse us about master and slave, cause and effect, the pump and water in a way the abacus or the telegraph did not.
Not that I do not like technology, it's it's made the world a better pace, it's fun and it has paid my bills for years. But it is a tool, people are still people. I have the cartoon at top on my desk at work to remind me to be nice to my customers, they may have trouble finding the "any" key, but what they do is far more important than keeping the computers running.
Read the whole article.
The cartoon is from gapingvoid "Cartoons drawn on the back of business cards."
Girl, 14, Sues Family to Stop Abortion
By DAVID LEE
(CN) - A state court in Corpus Christi, Texas, extended an order preventing a 14-year-old girl's family from forcing her to get an abortion.
The girl filed a temporary restraining order against her family on Dec. 21 after they scheduled an appointment for her to get an abortion, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times
She is represented by attorneys with the Texas Center for Defense of Life, an Austin-based nonprofit. Stephen Casey, chief counsel for the group, told the Caller Times that "she has the people she's relied on her whole life pushing her in the direction she doesn't want to go."
Casey said the teen has the right to make the decision herself, no matter what her age.
This summer, President Obama proclaimed again that we “need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn’t end at conception.” In a sense, of course, he is absolutely right. But the problem is that, in another sense, he is completely wrong: Male responsibility really does end at conception. Men these days can choose only sex, not fatherhood; mothers alone determine whether children shall be allowed to exist. Legalized abortion was supposed to grant enormous freedom to women, but it has had the perverse result of freeing men and trapping women.
The likelihood of this cultural development was foreseen by the radical feminist Catherine MacKinnon, one of the critical voices responding to Roe v. Wade’s extension of the right of privacy to cover abortion. In an essay called “Privacy vs. Equality,” MacKinnon argued that “abortion’s proponents and opponents share a tacit assumption that women do significantly control sex. Feminist investigations suggest otherwise. Sexual intercourse . . . cannot simply be presumed coequally determined.” Indeed, she added, “men control sexuality,” and “ Roe does not contradict this.”
Furthermore, if MacKinnon is right, wherever women have not yet overcome gender inequality, involuntary sex and involuntary abortion will tend to be more frequent, precisely as a result of abortion’s availability. To the degree that a culture is built on machismo, for example, the legalization of abortion will make women relatively worse off by giving men another tool to manipulate women as sex objects. Again, to the degree that an economy employs mainly men, leaving women dependent on economic handouts, women will be much less likely to resist male pressures to make use of abortion. Wherever men make women’s decisions for them, the option of abortion will be a man’s choice, regardless of how the law may label it.
I HAVE A DREAM
By Dr. Martin L. King Jr.
[Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963]
When we lose his dream we are lost!
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
. . .The claim that the military made up the tale of her battlefield heroics is seriously misstated. And more than faintly ironic, given that it was the Washington Post that reported Lynch had “gone down firing,” that she had fought ferociously in the ambush of her unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, in southern Iraq in March 2003.
It was the Post — citing otherwise anonymous “U.S. officials” — that claimed Lynch had “shot several enemy soldiers” in the ambush.
It was stunning detail, but none of it was true.
Lynch never fired a shot at Nasiriyah. She suffered severe injuries not from gunfire, but from the crash of the Humvee in which she tried to flee the ambush.
The Aftermath interview made no mention of the account offered by Vernon Loeb, a reporter who shared a byline on the hero-warrior story about Lynch. Loeb, in an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air program late in late 2003, made clear the Pentagon was not the source for the erroneous story about Lynch.
In the Fresh Air interview–which I cite in Getting It Wrong, my new book debunking prominent media-driven myths–Loeb said of U.S. military officials:
“They wouldn’t say anything about Jessica Lynch.”
“I just didn’t see the Pentagon trying to create a hero where there was none. I mean …they never showed any interest in doing that, to me.”
The initial stories struck me as full of BS implausible, but there was not enough information to say what part was implausible.