NRA, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining

            The National Rifle Association’s Executive Director Chris W. Cox begins September’s American Rifleman political report quoting Harry Truman who once said that politicians seeking a friend in Washington, D.C. should get a dog.

            I would suggest to Mr. Cox that should the NRA desire that dog be its friend, it would behoove the NRA to not beat the mutt—or the membership of the NRA, myself included, who remain unconvinced the organization’s motivation in backing the DISCLOSE Act with an NRA exemption included was some noble statement of political opposition.

            This unconstitutional legislation, again euphemistically labeled as a campaign finance reform bill is designed to muzzle First Amendment rights, again. It should be vehemently opposed to the bitter end, just as was its precursor, the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act which met its end in the Supreme Court case Citizens United vs. FEC.

            “NRA is a single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members,” writes Cox, who also insists that, “Without NRA, the Second Amendment will be lost …”

            Both statements are the purest of hubris. I have supported the NRA for a number of years because, for the most part, the organization has been effective in battling the anti-gun forces, but the NRA is not alone in this vitally important fight. Until this latest abomination of First Amendment rights infringement, if it passes into law, is tossed out by the courts the NRA will be the sole gun rights group not muzzled by egregious legislation. The NRA tossed its allies in the fight under the bus on the DISCLOSE Act, and it smacks of cheap political trickery.

            Numerous firearms aficionados belong to several gun rights groups that lobby against Second Amendment abridgments. NRA members like me recall the hypocrisy of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s “I was for it before I was against it” stance on the Iraq war. The NRA’s we were against it until we got an exemption, so now we’re for it echoes that hypocrisy.

            Despite Cox’s eloquent protestations otherwise, the NRA excuse carries overtones of jack-booted thuggery (and we all remember the last time the NRA invoked jack-booted thuggery) trampling the First Amendment disguised behind noble intentions, only this time around the NRA is the jack-booted thug.

            Cox claims “ultimate responsibility for defense of the Second Amendment, but NRA’s actions illustrate that the leadership is out of touch with the membership that finances the battle. It is not only fair to criticize NRA leadership’s hubris, it is necessary when our lobby begins to resemble the misguided government that is stirring American voters to revolution at the polls.

            So NRA, if you want a friend in Washington don’t beat the dog, and if you desire to stay in Washington to fight the battle, don’t beat your membership. We are not that stupid; the NRA is not as omnipotent as its leadership so pompously states. Your membership speaks through its checkbooks and the NRA is not the only game in town.

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No honor restored, no dream reclaimed

            A number of acquaintances are heading to Washington, D.C., the last weekend of August and I would really like to be there too. It’s the 47th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and dueling events on the Mall promise to expose how far America has strayed from the noble revolutions of the nation’s founding and the Civil Rights Movement.

            The absolute last thing that restoring honor within ourselves and the country, paying tribute to our military and reclaiming MLK Jrs.’ dream should be is divisive. Yet two buffoons who profit well from divisiveness and race baiting are making a mockery of their stated aims of unity, and both must be called to task for their deed.

            Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, whose on-air persona channels Tammy Fay Baker’s delivery style minus the makeup, scheduled his Restoring Honor rally in conflict with a march planned by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the unveiling of a the MLK monument. Sharpton’s designer suits and James Brown hair styling cannot disguise the hucksterism behind the bluster.  

            “For Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to have a march, they have the right to do so. Many of us suspect they are using the symbolism of that day in a way that does not reflect what the day is about,” Rev, Al Sharpton said. “At no point will we interchange. We will not desecrate the march and what King stood for.”

            In defense of his choice of the same date, Glenn Beck said, “whites don’t own the Founding Fathers. Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Humans, humans embrace their ideas or reject their ideas.”

            It is the messengers, not the messages they espouse, that are misguided and wrong on so many levels. Beck and Sharpton specialize in the trivialization of the issues and emotional kick-to-the-gut appeals and psychological manipulation. Each has found their financially lucrative niche and watching them perform convinces many of us that spreading their version of the message to America is secondary to personal fame and gain.

            Beck and Sharpton present malicious caricatures of the miraculous accomplishments of the Founding Fathers and MLK, Jr. The separatist nature of their simultaneous events bears the truth of both men’s’ rejection of the unity evoked by America and the Civil Rights movement. The honor, sense of duty and the content of the character are lacking in these populist usurpers and those who promulgated the causes Beck and Sharpton espouse would be ashamed of both of them.

            I’d like to be there for these events, hoping an epiphany of divine revelation would manifest in their hearts as it does in so many Americans who are not fooled by profiteers.

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A master wordsmith’s passing a loss to all writers

            “America has lost its greatest wordsmith: James J. Kilpatrick has passed away at the age of 89. To those of us in the writing business, the loss is incalculable.”

            Jed Babbin, no slouch in the art of stringing words into sentences with meaning, writes about the passing of newspaperman and writer James J. Kilpatrick. Like my friend and mentor Jed, I read Kilpatrick’s columns in an effort to become a better writer. The man is gone, but the lessons of his “Court of Peeves, Irks and Crotchets” are a legacy to all aspiring writers—and Jed’s eulogy on The American Spectator worth reading.

          The pursuit of one perfect sentence is frequently lost in the speed and urgency of Internet reporting and blogging, but writers are judged by their words and should heed Kilpatrick’s advice.

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A soldier’s letter up at The Dakota Beacon

          I wrote a shorter version of this letter last week, but Steve Cates published this longer piece at The Dakota Beacon, a website worth a look.

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A few photos from the Border Rally

Jerry Stein with Jean and Clair Van Steenwyk next to the tall section of border fence on Glenn Spencer's ranch.

The day before the rally this rainbow appeared over the hills in Mexico beyond the fence where groups often gather to watch the movement of Border Patrol vehicles and wait for nightfall to cross the border.

Former Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth, left, signs Arizona Tourist News publisher Tony Venuti’s scroll of appreciation that will be sent to Gov. Janet Brewer for her support of SB 1070 after a tour of Tea Party and political rallies collecting signatures.

UBC Border Rally emcee Mike Broomhead introduces three Marine moms with sons serving in Iraq who support Arizona’s SB 1070 and demands for border security. The three moms are immigrants from Mexico, Estonia and Guatemala who entered the country and applied for citizenship legally.

Anti-SB 1070 protestors tried to block the stage Sunday during Sheriff Arpaio’s introduction by senate candidate J.D. Hayworth at the United Border Coalition Rally at the Border on a Southern Arizona ranch next to the Mexican border fence.

More to come later after I recover from the heat and sunburn of Sunday’s border rally, but I did stop by the old office and a sarsaparilla at Big Nose Kates.

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Outrageous photos from an anti-SB 1070 rally

These photos were sent to me by a good friend who served proudly under the American flag. These types of insults say more about the content of the perpetrators’ character than they do about the SB 1070 controversy. The commentary that accompanied the photos speaks for itself. 

 “I have permission from the person that took these pictures to pass them around.  They’re being sent to some news stations as well, although I doubt they’ll air them.  So please pass these around to all those you know, let people see how the illegals who broke our laws by coming here really feel about us!  

Photos from the Anti SB 1070 Rally in Phoenix on Saturday, July 31, 2010. If anyone has any doubts about what these illegals think of us and our country, check out these pictures taken by an acquaintance of mine who went to the rally in Phoenix the Saturday following Judge Susan R. Bolton’s ruling in response to the SB 1070 lawsuits.  The illegals had written all over the AZ and US Flags, laid them on the ground, and were walking on them!  




Notice the roll of toilet paper in this one.




 “Another acquaintance had this to say: 

 I shared those pics with my best friend who is a cop/detective. I asked him why nobody was punished for desecrating our flags. His response follows.
‘In response to your question about the legality of Desecration of the American Flag, you are correct, this is illegal. However, it is a crime with the Federal Government. Meaning the Feds will have to prosecute for the crime and considering they will not prosecute for illegal trespassing into the Country, what makes you think they will prosecute anyone for spray painting and walking on an American flag?????’ 

    I don’t know about you people, but I’m outraged over all of this!  Judge Bolton did nothing but to empower the illegals and their bleeding heart liberal supporters!  When is enough going to be enough?”

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Economy, espionage and ethics

Austerity ahead or no recovery is possible

            Here is a hint of what must inevitably happen in every city, state and federal government organization and department if this country is ever to recover from this economic depression, runaway government spending and debt. East St. Louis, Missouri laid off 30 percent of police and city workers because the municipality can  no longer pay its bills. Predictions are of criminals running wild in the streets as unions protest the cuts and demand their full wages, benefits and salary increases. Makes one wonder who the crooks are.

            Government, public sector and union obligations are an unsustainable obligation the country already cannot afford to pay and a harsh burden for generations far into the future. The nation’s very survival is contingent on Americans, from the poorest to the wealthiest in the private and government sectors to do more with less. It means fewer bureaucrats and managers, fewer police, fire and emergency services, cutbacks on welfare, unemployment and social programs, lower wages and taxes—in other words, major spending cuts across the board until the debt is paid down and the economy can really recover.

            It took decades to dig this financial pit and it will take decades to climb back out. The deeper the cuts and austerity, the sooner recovery can happen. It’s not just the little guy and the private sector that must “tighten their belts.” We are all in this together.

Espionage by any other name

            The apparent connection between WikiLeaks, hackers associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, accused source U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks founder, Australian Julian Assange, has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy to commit espionage against the United States, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

            Assange now claims White House and U.S. government sources warned him of possible attempts to detain and prosecute the man who claims the war in Afghanistan is immoral, but had no qualms about revealing thousands of documents and reports that will be fodder for Taliban death lists.

            Along with Assange and Manning, any government found to have abetted the revelation of 90,000 military documents, or failing to properly report contacts with foreign agents intent on interfering with the war effort, should be tried by military tribunals.

Electoral College hijinks 

            Blogger Josie Wales expounds on the unconstitutional attempts to eliminate the Electoral College and the consequences of progressives actually doing so.

            “Imagine (as painful as this might be) the progressive-statist utopia in which universal voter registration (without ID) exists, and the Electoral College does not. Voter fraud would run rampant as challenges to one’s qualifications to vote would be virtually non-existent. Illegals, dead people, and individuals voting in multiple jurisdictions could cast votes … since everyone within the United States would presumably be eligible (without ID).”

            It’s a bad idea that benefits only a faction desperate to hold on to power as the constituents professional politicians long ago stopped representing realize the profound and undemocratic future of the American experiment being foisted on us. Don’t be fooled. 

It’s racism, not ethics

            Here comes the race card in the Charlie Rangel-Maxine Waters ethics investigations underway in the United States House of Representatives.

            “There’s a ‘dual standard, one for most members and one for African-Americans,’ said one member of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaking on condition of anonymity.”

            Twenty members of the Congressional Black Caucus now support a House measure to rein in the ethics investigation panel created by Nancy Pelosi in 2008 to “drain the swamp.”

            Remember Maxine Waters’ “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” speech on the House floor when Speaker Newt Gingrich was under an ethics investigation in 1995?

            The current charges against two African-American members of Congress is merely the tip of the iceberg. The crooks, schnooks and incompetents in government should be rooted out, exposed and punished regardless of political party, length of service, political power or ethnic background. For the benefit of America, the panel should be enlarged and its authority expanded.

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Curses, foiled again!

          My grassroots attempt to get Human Events’ White House correspondent and friend John Gizzi the front-row seat in the White House Briefing room was foiled when National Public Radio got the nod from the WH Correspondent Association instead.

            Kudos to the several hundred who clicked the link on this blog to nominate Gizzi. It was worth the shot and he would have been a great choice. In consolation, Fox News also moved up to the front row where Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can continue to ignore the network President Barack Obama has chosen to feud with.

            Helen Thomas, who was forced to vacate the center front-row seat over anti-Semitic remarks, received a consolation prize for her pending 90th birthday. The Arab American Museum in Dearborn, Michigan plans a bronze statue of the woman with impressive journalistic accomplishments. When I met Thomas, she offered good advice, “Never stop learning,” but I got more and better advice from Gizzi.

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Letter from a soldier

            I’m acquainted with a number of military people serving in various branches, including several now serving in the Afghan combat zone. I received a letter from one of them worth sharing, but because this soldier is pursuing a military career, the lieutenant’s name will not be disclosed. The letter, which is paraphrased and quoted below, has no disclosures of confidential military information. This soldier, a veteran of Gulf War II, received a commendation for a series of reports containing suggestions on how to improve operations in Afghani villages were implemented and proven to work. His sobering words about the war belie those of the generals and the presidents who order soldiers into harm’s way.

            “We’ve been playing the Great game in Afghanistan for nine years now. I’m certain we will be nowhere close to pulling out on July 2011. At best, we probably have another five years here. The main reason is … our military is a superior killing force, and that is not what is called for here.”

            Negotiating with the Afghan government, tribal and village leaders “is necessary in my opinion, but far outside the purview of a military” soldier. Military commanders are asking soldiers “honed to close with and destroy the enemy … to do verbal judo with Afghani leaders.

            Looking at the Big Picture: $20 billion spent on “quick impact projects,” wells, schools, 2,000 kilometers of paved roads, etc. since 2001; In return, the deadliest two months of the nine-year war “more deaths, more IEDs, and more attacks than we’ve ever had in the war up to this point..

            Afghanistan is a country where “respect and honor are the primary currency” Afghani villagers are “interested in long-term survival,” but the million-dollar “American Giveaway” projects “make us appear shallow, materialistic” … “like we are trying to replace honor with money. Money can rent an Afghani all day long, but it can never buy one.”

            Unfortunately those projects make for better reports sent up the ranks than the ones about regular sit downs with village elders and polite inquiries about how the grandchildren are doing in school. In reality the soldier writes, those meetings “get us more allies. It gets us more reporting, and reduces attacks.”

             The lieutenant writes about the frustration of watching as some units learn this lesson while others never do. And every year the units change and troops “see this play itself out again and again … and the new guys start the dance all over again. We haven’t fought a nine-year war. We’ve fought nine one-year wars. If we could buy our way out of this conflict, it would have happened by now.” 

            Parts of this soldier’s letter could have been written 45 years ago during the Vietnam War when a demoralized military, lacking support from their own civilian commanders and the public back home, won nearly every battle despite perplexing rules of engagement, but ultimately lost the war.

            “There’s a decent chance that we will lose here. It won’t be because the enemy was better than us. It will be because we failed to adapt, we over thought, and we remained a military where followers of poorly thought out orders will be promoted over those that attempted to creatively implement their own.”

            Under the present Afghan war strategy, we are exporting a “welfare mentality,” one that fosters a segment of America’s growing nanny-state dependants and distrust of American government. It hasn’t worked here at home and it won’t work in Afghanistan.

            With great consternation it is often asked, “Where will we find them when we need ‘The Greatest Generation’ again?” I submit that because we need them now, we have already found them. After months of dodging mortar and rocket attacks living in combat conditions in the midst of the most unconventional wars America has ever engaged in, a soldier yearns for the end of military service. The members of the next Greatest Generation accept a longer view of their duty instead of walking away. There is no quit in America’s finest warriors.

            “Lately, I’ve had bass fishing, and women and wine on the brain. I need a rest, and there’s a good chance I’ll be back here in 18 months watching a rerun of everything.”

            I highly recommend reading this two-part column by Jed Babbin titled The Bonfire of the Neocons, Part I and Part II on The American Spectator website. Jed is an Air Force veteran, a deputy undersecretary of defense under George Bush, attorney and editor/writer. I had the privilege of working for him in Washington, D.C. You may disagree with his political views, but not on the methods required for a victorious outcome from the war on terrorism.

            The soldier’s letter from the Afghan battlefront echoes the sentiment that a failed strategy is, and has, prevented a clear victory after “nine one-year wars,” and little hope of achieving one unless the leaders change the way this war is run.

            The enemy this country and the coalition forces face in the war on terrorism has been identified and war declared. A choice must now be made to either fight to win, or withdraw from the battle–and huddle at home awaiting the attack that will certainly come. Either alternative is horrible to contemplate, but the choice must be made.

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At least he didn’t execute the team

          The Poor Sport of the Year Award goes to North Korea’s madman, the little dictator Kim Jung Il, his sons and the heir apparent.

            Playing in their first (ho-hum) World Cup Soccer Tournament in decades, a team heavily guarded to prevent defections had a hired Chinese cheering section in the stands for their three losses. North Korea blocked the live broadcasts of the first two games from the home fans.

            In the second game, the North Koreans lost to Brazil, 2-1, but played impressively enough that the little dictators allowed home fans to see the third game against Portugal live and in color.

            The game was an embarrassing shellacking for the team, but nothing compared with the public six-hour humiliation they were forced to attend upon their return home. The coach was thrown out of the sport for the teams “betrayal” of the dictator and the country.

            For his sportsmanship and dedication to the development of innovative athletic motivation methods, Kim Jung Il edges out the two clowns waving Mexican flags who disrupted the DiamondBacks/Mets game at Citi Field for the award. Keep yer damn politics out of sports.

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