Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leaders Worth Following

Chuck Norris writes in his Thanksgiving article about A leader we all can follow
William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony, was born in 1590 in a small farming town in England. Tragically, his father died when he was only one year old. His mother, Alice, then raised him until he was four, when she remarried and sent him to live with his grandfather. But his grandfather died when William was only six. Further tragedy hit when his mother died only one year later. So he was then sent to live with two uncles.

At 18, William fled England's religious persecution with other Separatists, arriving in Amsterdam in 1608. In 1609, he moved with his Puritan church to Holland, where he resided for the next 11 years. He was a silk weaver by trade.

In 1620, at 30 years old, William and his wife, Dorothy, sold their house and joined the Mayflower expedition and sailed for America. Tragically, after enduring the difficult crossing of the Atlantic, and while the ship was anchored at Cape Cod and the men were exploring on land, Dorothy fell overboard and drowned.

As he had done repeatedly throughout his life, William endured through the loss of his wife, only to have to face with the other pilgrims one of the harshest years of their lives, during which only half of them survived. Bradford himself got sick and wasn't expected to live, but recovered.

In 1621, Bradford was elected second governor of Plymouth, and, because of his superior leadership and ability to endure, he was re-elected nearly every year thereafter. His duties included managing the colony's finances, communicating with investors and neighbors, overseeing the courts, formulating policy and law, etc. Many of his letters, poems and writings survive to this day.

One thing that has made America great is its long lineage of valiant leaders in every generation. These are the type of men and women about whom our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, described, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

Mr Norris also gives another example of the type of leadership our country needs in Gen James Amos, the new commandant of the US Marines. He elaborates on the vast qualifications and experiences of Gen Amos, and the vetting process during his confirmation:
Amos' poise and leadership was vividly on display for the country and world to see, when he was grilled by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee for an hour in a hearing in which the questioning was almost exclusively about gays in the military. Sadly, Washington seems more concerned with political correctness than asking Amos about what unique contributions his leadership would bring or how he would manage Afghanistan warfare, strategies and success. Yet, all of Amos's responses were sympathetic yet solemn about military compliance, troop camaraderie and combat effectiveness.

Amos was again on the hot seat when he spoke recently with reporters during a Southern California visit to mark the Marines' 235th birthday. With American troops on the battlegrounds in Afghanistan and still deployed in Iraq, Gen. Amos said now is not the time to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military.

Amos explained, "This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness. … There's risk involved. I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk … laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers. I don't know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that's what we're looking at. It's unit cohesion; it's combat effectiveness."

It takes guts, conviction, selflessness and true concern to reply like that, especially when you've been newly appointed to a position, are addressing hot bed issues and disagree with both the Defense Secretary and the commander-in-chief! Quite frankly, Amos' public dissent against the White House took Defense Secretary Gates somewhat by surprise, because he wanted to keep opposing opinions private. But when capping public dissent buries personal conviction and troop welfare, free speech is muzzled and morals are compromised. As Gates and Obama even know, one sign of good leadership is the ability to agree to disagree agreeably with your superiors (even publicly) and yet rally unity and press forward together.

I applaud Gen. Amos for being a man of integrity and conviction. He deserves the accolades of military personnel and all citizens alike. Americans should feel proud and safer to have him serving as the commandant of the Marines. If we had more leaders like him in this world, we wouldn't be in half the hurt that we are. In fact, as an Air Force vet and honorary Marine, I say with millions of others, "Ooh-rah!"

Mr Norris then concludes:
I know you'd join me in giving thanks this Thanksgiving for leaders like Gen. Amos and all the rest of our service men and women around the world. It is their service and sacrifice that allow us the freedom to enjoy the peace and prosperity of our festive turkey day.

Lastly, with gratefulness in our hearts, I'd encourage and challenge Americans everywhere to once again heed the call of William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony, in 1623, who admonished: "Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings."

God bless the legacy of William Bradford! God bless Gen. James Amos and all of our military leadership! God bless all of our service men and women! And God bless the United States of America!

To which, we can only add a hearty “amen”.

A Joyful Thanksgiving 2010

We appear to be back up and running after several computer glitches over the past few weeks. We had a system crash almost a month ago, so we reloaded all software. We then had a hard drive crash about two weeks ago. We now have new internal and external drives, a couple of new cards, and software re-loaded again, so we’re thankful for the end result.

We of course realize that this is just a minor inconvenience when compared to what many are going through these days, yet it was very frustrating at the time so we’re using this experience as a Thanksgiving illustration. The Apostle Paul writes that we should

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1Th 5:16-18)
Many would say that this is impossible. We might be able to give thanks for minor inconveniences, but what about major tragedies? Notice however, that these verses tell us to give thanks “in” all circumstances, not “for” all circumstances. Thus, in all circumstances, we can be thankful for God’s sovereignty and trust Him to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28).

Happiness is a fleeting feeling, but joy is a state of mind based on our faith in God. So, even though we’re a few days late due to computer problems, we wish everyone a very joy filled Thanksgiving weekend.

Voter Standards: DWTS vs POTUS

The television program Dancing with the Stars has played to record audiences this season thanks to the inclusion of Bristol Palin, the daughter of the former Alaska governor. Ms Palin’s success has resulted in conspiracy theories involving the Tea Party, as well as exploding heads in the media and on the far left. A Wisconsin man even shot up his television in disgust over a performance.

I've never watched DWTS (or American Idol or any other reality show) so I can't comment on Ms Palin's dancing ability or lack of. What has interested me is the usual biased media coverage and the reaction from the “tolerant police” on the left. For example, as reported by Yahoo:

"ABC just might be on the verge of outsmarting itself; using Palin's cult of personality to juice this cycle's ratings while ensuring a result that just might give the lie to everything `Dancing With the Stars' stands for," wrote Eric Deggans, critic for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
Unlike many of the articles, Yahoo offered some non-conspiracy reasons for Ms Palin’s success:
Many of Bristol Palin's supporters readily conceded she wasn't the best dancer. But they admired her pluck and willingness to put herself on the line.

Gretchen Offord, a women's crisis counselor from Shasta Lake, Calif., said she detested the condescension that was directed Palin's way by many of the professional dancers and judges on the show. "I tend to have sympathy for people who have the odds stacked against them," she said. Offord voted for Bristol. She doesn't particularly like Sarah.

Susan Gonzalez, a 26-year-old teacher from Washington, D.C., said she and many of her friends became fans of Bristol as the season went along. "There's something about her that I think every girl in her 20s can relate to," she said. "She's very vulnerable, and watching her gain confidence over the course of the season was kind of interesting — the fact that she's not the best, and she knows she's not the best, but every week she goes on and puts on a brave face." Monday was the first night Palin looked like she was enjoying herself, Gonzalez said. "She kind of seemed relieved that it was over," she said.

In the end, Bristol finished third (of three) in the final. Jennifer Grey was the winner, but all the headlines screamed Bristol Palin comes up Last, Again, on "Dancing". Just for grins, I googled “Bristol Palin” along with the exact phrase “last place” and received 249,000 results. Several wrote “Surprising probably no one, Bristol Palin came in last once again during last night's DWTS finals” or similar words.

Many of the comments by readers of the leftist blogs can’t be printed here, but here’s one from Yahoo.

however you slice it, these retards were voting for who palin was rather than competence. Obviously they either don't think competence is important or don't even know what it is. Unfortunately there are a lot of them. They are called conservatives or in their purest form "tea party." Not good for anybody, even themselves.
So now, competence during an election has suddenly become important to those on the left. Ms Palin typically received low scores from the show’s judges, but made up the difference during the voting by the viewers. The media and the critics on the left thus claimed that the voting became a contest based on popularity and personalities rather than on qualifications.

Yet, this is the same media that deliberately played down the issues (and the candidates’ qualifications or lack of) during the last US Presidential election. Realizing that the socialistic Dems could not win on experience (competence or qualifications), or a platform of higher taxes and spending, redistribution of wealth, killing babies, record deficits, amnesty for illegals, and gutting our defense, the media purposely buried the issues and concentrated on “Barry’s” personality.

While those on the left always march in step with the media’s worship of the chosen one, most independents were so caught up in the sound bites of making history that few bothered to check his slight, but very revealing record.

Now however, when Ms Palin advanced week after week on her popularity, the left and the media cry foul. They recoil in horror at any suggestion of a literacy test for voters in a presidential election, but suggest a PHD in the Arts be required in order to vote on DWTS. They send the message that the candidate's qualifications and competence don’t need to be considered when voting for the nation’s highest office, but when voting for DWTS contestants, a much higher standard must be applied.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thank You Lt Robert Michael Kelly

During this Thanksgiving weekend, here’s a patriotic family the we all should be thankful for. From the Daily Mail: Hats off editorial in the Charleston WV Gazette:
LT. Gen. John Kelly, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, commanded the Multi-National Force-West in Iraq in 2008-09. He recently e-mailed family and friends:

"As I think you all know by now, our Robert was killed in action protecting our country, its people, and its values from a terrible and relentless enemy, on 9 Nov, in Sangin, Afghanistan," Kelly wrote.

"He was leading his Grunts on a dismounted patrol when he was taken. They are shaken, but will recover quickly and already back at it.

"He went quickly and thank God he did not suffer. In combat that is as good as it gets, and we are thankful. We are a broken hearted - but proud family. He was a wonderful and precious boy living a meaningful life. He was in exactly the place he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do, surrounded by the best men on this earth -- his Marines and Navy Doc."

First Lt. Robert Michael Kelly was buried at Arlington on Monday. His big brother, Capt. John Kelly, escorted his body from Dover Air Force Base.

"Many have offered prayers for us and we thank you, but his wonderful wife Heather and the rest of the clan ask that you direct the majority of your prayers to his platoon of Marines, still in contact and in 'harm's way,' and at greater risk without his steady leadership," Gen. Kelly wrote.

All American families benefit from the defense of their nation and its freedoms.

Some American families make outsized contributions to that security.

God bless the Kelly family. Our nation owes you our gratitude.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sgt Guinta Receives Medal of Honor

Last week, Army Staff Sgt Salvatore Giunta became the first living soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. Seven other brave troops were awarded this top honor posthumously during these wars.

After it was announced that he would receive the award, Sgt Giunta downplayed his heroics, saying that his actions in Afghanistan were merely what every American soldier experiences day in and day out during their tours of duty in that country. In recent interviews, he declined to discuss the events which brought him the medal, citing the painfulness of recalling them. This is certainly understood by most soldiers. My son returned from a tour of duty with the US Marines in Afghanistan a few weeks ago and has great difficulty in talking about his experiences.

Thus, the details of the events on October 25, 2007 are told by a group of reporters who were embedded with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Sgt Giunta’s unit. According to an ABC News Interview and ABC News Report

Giunta's squad of eight soldiers was ambushed during a nighttime patrol in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan, an area so dangerous to American troops it had become known as the "Valley of Death."

An Army specialist at the time, Giunta charged headlong into a wall of bullet to rescue his squad leader, who'd been knocked down by a bullet to his helmet, and dragged him to cover. Giunta survived a bullet to the chest, but his life was saved by the protective body armor he was wearing. Under fire, Giunta immediately proceeded to recover two fellow soldiers wounded in the attack who had become separated from the main part of the squad.

It was after this that Giunta saw two Taliban fighters dragging away the body of another wounded soldier, Sgt. Josh Brennan, who was also one of his closest friends. Giunta threw grenades at the insurgents and after firing all his rounds forced them to drop Brennan to the ground. While under fire, he provided care to Brennan until medical help could arrive. Brennan did not survive his wounds nor did the squad's medic, Spec. Hugo Mendoza. Five other members of the squad also were hurt in the ambush. So fierce was the firefight that when the unit returned to base they discovered that every one of them had pieces of shrapnel or bullet holes in their gear.

At the ceremony, Sgt Giunta saluted his friends and fellow soldiers:
The Brennan and Mendoza families were in attendance at today's ceremony and received sustained applause when President Obama introduced them. Several of Giunta's squad mates also were on hand for today's ceremony and received a similar round of applause when they were introduced.

Following today's ceremony, Giunta displayed his characteristic humility when he said that though receiving the award was "an incredible experience," he added," I want to make it be known that this represents all service members from all branches that have been in Afghanistan since 2001 [and] Iraq since 2003, who were there yesterday, are there today and will go again tomorrow. I really appreciate them, because without their service I have nothing."

He called the ceremony bittersweet because days like today remind him of the night when "I lost two dear friends of mine, Spc. Hugo Mendoza and Sgt. Josh Brennan. And although this is so positive, I would give this back in a second to have my friend with me right now."

Giunta also praised the "unsung heroes of heroes of this war" who "never come back and return a handshake or give a hug or see their family. And we have to give the time to remember them. Because that is the quality of American soldiers we have willing to go to war, to fight and do whatever is necessary until the battle is done."

To Sgt Giunta, we say congratulations, and “Thank You” to you and every other brave soldier who is putting it all on the line daily for our freedoms.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You Can Be a Mainstream Media Reporter

So, you say you'd like to work for CNN, MSNBC, PBS, the New York Times or any of the other self-proclaimed "mainstream" media outlets. Andrew Klavan has produced a very helpful video that will greatly aid you in achieving your goal. If your scores are high enough, you might even land a spot on The View.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mr Obama’s Veterans Day

Who says that Mr Obama doesn’t love his country and honor our veterans? Just the week, Mr Obama paid tribute to those "who have sacrificed on behalf of this great country”. Oh wait… my bad. He was actually addressing the veterans and country of Indonesia.

Per an article in the NY Post – Bam AWOL on Veterans Day:

Today is Veterans Day. Do you know where your president is?

With his feeble flame of "hope" thoroughly doused here in the United States by last week's elections, President Obama has set out around the globe in search of throngs still enthralled by his flowery rhetoric. He found them, of course, in Indonesia this week by telling them about how Americans must stop mistrusting Islam.

So that is why your president is halfway around the world instead of being here in the United States to celebrate the sacrifices American soldiers, sailors and airmen have made around the world to keep the real, still-burning flame of freedom alive.

Obama honored our veterans from afar by laying a wreath during a ceremony at an Army base in South Korea last night. That is a distance from here matched only by the chasm that has opened up between him and the voters who elected him two years ago. This aloofness of his really is becoming a problem.

Not that Obama doesn't appreciate the sacrifices of veterans. He absolutely does. Just ask the Indonesians. He was in Jakarta for their Heroes Day this week to honor their veterans "who have sacrificed on behalf of this great country."

"This great country" of course, being Indonesia. "When my stepfather was a boy, he watched his own father and older brother leave home to fight and die in the struggle for Indonesian independence," Obama told the audience. And the White House wonders why so many people think there is something foreign about this guy.

In the same speech, Obama gave voice to a harsh criticism he has heard about freely elected governments. "Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress" he said.

The shocking statement raises the question: Where has Obama heard this fatuous claim and with whom has he been talking politics? Thankfully, your president tepidly disputed this calumny against democracy, but the alarming questions remain. He went on to tell the Indonesians, "Democracy is messy".

"Not everyone likes the results of every election. You go through ups and downs," he said. At least it sounds like Obama is starting to get the message voters sent him last week.

Yet, despite the lack of support for the liberal politicians, and outright hostility from the (out of the) mainstream media, our brave veterans continue to do their job better than anywhere else in the world. And for that, we are very grateful. Please thank a veteran for your freedoms today, and any other day.

Veterans Day 2010

Once again, we’d like to wish a very Happy Veterans Day to all those who have bravely served in all branches of our military. For the history of this great day, see our Veterans Day 2009 article or the US Dept of Veteran Affairs history page. The following is the commemorative video released by the VA:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy 235th Birthday US Marine Corps

Today is the 235th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. This is an important date at our house. Our son Justin recently returned safely from his first marine deployment in Afghanistan. In an article entitled A Legacy is Born, commemorates the founding of the corps in 1775:
During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps.

A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore. The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776..

Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.

Many organizations nationwide hold a traditional annual birthday cake ceremony, often accompanied by a parade, speeches and other activities, to mark this anniversary.

In the meantime, while President Obama (“Barry” to his friends and family back home) makes another tour of Muslim nations and promotes his globalist agenda at the G20 summit, our brave men and women of the US Marines continue to fight for our freedoms and sovereignty.

So, to all our past, present and future Marines, we thank you for being Semper Fi and say a heartfelt “God Bless”.