November 27, 2008


There is no better land to live for.

(You can view this message, rather than read it, on PJTV by clicking here. It's absolutely free and requires no registration; just select your connection speed on the left and off you go. That's how I'd prefer you see it, for what that may be worth.)

Tuesday night of last week, I got a call from a good friend of mine. I just wasn’t in the mood to take it, you know? You’ve been there. Anyway, he didn’t leave a message.

The next day got away from me, but the day after that I called his cell on the way to work just to catch up. His wife answered the phone. And then I found out that my good friend Richard had died in his sleep the day before. Just like that. Gone. He left a wife, a five year old daughter, and a son who’s not yet one.

So this is my Thanksgiving message. It’s not dreary or sad at all – on the contrary.

You see, my friend Richard worked for Boeing. He was a defense contractor, and, like so many of his fellow employees, he was a true-blue patriot who loved his country and spent his life making sure that she did not come to harm. I am thankful to him for that… to Richard and all those others, and I am thankful to live in a time where the very idea of a person in their mid forties simply up and dying is so stunning and unheard of that it takes a week just to process it. It’s because of men like Richard that we don’t have to worry about armed invasion – a fear borne by pretty much every human throughout all of recorded, and pre-recorded history. And I am especially grateful to the millions of other hardworking, dedicated people that have so far pushed the boundaries of medicine and science that death itself – which was commonplace for my father’s generation – now seems surreal and almost unnatural.

But of all the things I am thankful for on this most American of holidays, nothing surpasses the pride and gratitude I feel to live in a country where I may sit in this chair and write about whatever I damn well please, without fear of retribution or intimidation. It’s an amazing right. And I’ll continue to sit here and rail against the things I feel hurt our country and our people, knowing in my heart that the instant the people I oppose so passionately actually start to suffer the loss of their rights or freedoms I will be there defending them – armed, if necessary – and that the vast majority of them will do the same for me.

There was a headline on the Drudge Report on Tuesday about a Russian analyst predicting the break-up and fall of the USA. Don’t hold your breath, comrade. Today, all across this country, millions of people who go head-to-head on red state/blue state issues will go home, eat a bunch of turkey, and then passionately, perhaps violently, go at it again watching Auburn take on Alabama, or Florida play Florida State. And we’ll get about as hot and excited as we do about politics, and none of it will matter. Because when all is said and done, we’re all Americans, together. That’s not something that Russian analyst – or just about anyone else who’s not a part of this raucous, screaming family – has ever been able to figure out.

My office is located just a few blocks from LAX. Driving in to work today, I watched a Qantas 747 rotate, climb into a clear blue sky, and head on out to sea. I’ve been on that flight… twelve and a half hours at 85% of the speed of sound, and nothing but water after the first mile. We watch movies and eat dinner, perhaps sleep for a while, eight miles above the earth, flying through the sub-zero air with the speed of a musket ball.

This is a world of miracles. My friend Richard helped build them. We’re pilots, Richard and I, and pilots say “our friend has ‘Gone West.’” Someday, when they are older – and if I haven’t gone west myself – I’ll tell his children what kind of man their father was, and the part he played keeping this magnificent family safe and free and, for the most part, thankful.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. We earn it, every year.

Posted by Proteus at November 27, 2008 4:18 PM

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Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!


Richard has indeed earned a premium place in heaven. One right near the runway! We miss him dearly.


"we’re all Americans, together"

I hope you are right, because there seems to be a lot of Americans who seem to hate their country more than anything else.

I remember Richard.

He was the one that came up with the "God Button" term that Bill referred to at the beginning of his essay "Power." He was the one that got the rest of us involved in the naming of his brand new daughter. And his was a strident voice in the early conceptual days of Ejectia, and a vocal defender of the faith. A good man by any measure.

I will remember Richard.


I'm afraid nearly half the Americans in this country apparently despise our nation with a passion that is remarkable; Or if not simply hate, then a degree of blind, willful ignorance that amounts to the same thing in the end.

I fasted today rather than feasted. I had nothing to give thanks for. My nation, as I understood her, really no longer exists. In her place is now a Socialist State complete with a cult-of-personality Great Leader, sham elections, State controlled media apparatus, and subjects who are beholden to the 'goodness' of the State for their every need.

Except freedom. That has now pretty much vanished from the face of this Earth.

We are watching the wholesale conversion of the American people from freemen and citizens to subjects of the State - and the amazing thing is nearly half of them think this is a good thing. Tens of millions willingly HELPED destroy our electoral system and replaced it with their Great Leader.

No. Nothing to give thanks for this year, except as one would at a funeral when one was thankful that the deceased had been among the mourners for some years. Time for me to gear up and go off to war - maybe I'll get lucky.


I'm sorry you feel that way Orion. Is your life truly so miserable that you have nothing for which to give thanks? We live in the same great Union, you and I. We both see the same problems in that Union. But can't you see the good? You are alive. In light of the passing that Mr. Whittle mentioned, can you not see the opportunities that being alive presents? So long as you live, you have the ability to do something to right to wrongs you see, however small. Truly, the United States of America have strayed far from their founding principles - but they are still the freest place on Earth to live. So far as I know, no government thugs have arrested you for your discontent. That is a far cry better than many other places. Be grateful for that, my brother.
And let me say this in parting, with all the affection of a brother in arms: they cannot take freedom from the Earth. They may violate it, but it cannot be destroyed. Ultimately, you are free to choose what you do. Any person, government, or group may try and even succeed in attacking and penalizing you for your choice, but they cannot take that choice away. The ultimate freedom, your own self-determination, cannot be taken from you. It is that freedom by which revolutions, bloodless and otherwise, are won. If you give up, it still has not been taken from you; you have surrendered it. We are right and we are free - you are not going to surrender that are you? I have read your contributions here before, Orion. You don't strike me as a coward. You are free until you decide otherwise. Whether anyone else respects that or not, we are always free. For that, I give thanks today. Oyster out.

May God bless all this day of giving thanks. Yes, as a country, we have been very fortunate.
However, the time draws nigh when those that love freedom will have to choose a course.
My wish is to be healthy and able to choose.

As to your friend Richard and his family, comfort comes from knowing death is not the end.
Those that die in Christ will live eternally.

Thank you for this excellent post.

Condolences on the loss of your friend, Bill.

Orion, lay off the rhetoric a little-- Obama hasn't even taken office yet!

I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy daily, for the country I call home, and for all the other myriad blessings I've received.

The loss of a loved one so prematurely is always hard to bear. That you have such great memories, and know his time here was so fruitful is a pearl without price.
As usual, thank you for boiling things down to their essence. You have beautifully expressed the essence of this remarkable and unique celebration time. Your writing is truly something I am thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...

a Russian analyst predicting the break-up and fall of the USA. Don’t hold your breath, comrade.
I defer to the sage philosohper Charlie Daniels:
Well the eagle's been flying slow and the flag's been flying low
And a lot of people are saying that America's fixing to fall
But speaking just for me and some people from Tennessee
We got a thing or two to tell you all
This lady may have stumbled but she ain't never fell
And if the Russians don't believe that they can all go straight to hell
We're gonna put her feet back on the path of righteousness
And then, God bless America again
Now let's go out there and win one for the Ripper!

Sorry for your loss, Bill.
Thanks for the article.
Thanks, Oyster, for the uplifting reply to Orion.
I thank God I was born in America.
I bet Obama wishes he could do the same.

wow. comments spell check still doesn't recognize "Obama" as a correct spelling. That's hopeful.

Thanks for this post. I just had a 35 year old friend (mother of 3) pass away, and the shock and horror of it is still settling in, but you reminded me that we really do have so much to be thankful for in a place were something like this is just that; shocking and unexpected.

"...I may sit in this chair and write about whatever I damn well please, without fear of retribution or intimidation."

Sorry to strike a sour note here, but it didn't work out that way for Dr James Watson, did it?


I would think that a person who _hates_ this country is one who - wallowing in melodrama and lacking any perspective whatsoever - cannot find even one reason, in the greatest nation on the earth, blessed with an internal peace and prosperty others can only dream of, to scrape together an honest expression of thanks.

Grow up, you spoiled child.

Bill. Next time, take the call.

Bill, my condolances for the loss of your friend. I didn't know him, but I too work for Boeing. I'm just a cat, not an engineer or anything, but I too am proud to work for a very American company. I won't say more than that because, well, you know.

I'm also a foodie, and last year I was watching two of my favorite chefs--Nigella Lawson was on Rachael Ray's talk show. (I know, I know.) Nigella tells the story of a friend living in NYC who kept her on the phone for the entire time she was roasting a turkey. Imagine the phone bill! And what does the veddy, veddy British Nigella say to Rach? "I love that you have a holiday *just* for giving thanks." The clip might still be on Rachael Ray's show website. Since then I am more than happy to celebrate Thanksgiving, not that I ever wasn't.

For reasons that are too long to discuss here, I celebrated Thanksgiving by myself with the Kittenz yesterday. My next door neighbor called me, and was horrified that I would spend Thanksgiving alone. But the truth is, some years ago I had to fight hard to get my freedom back from a man. (Not *the* man, A man.) While I'd planned to be with a large group of people, that changed and I was all by myself with turkey, mushroom-sausage dressing, cranberry-ginger relish, pumpkin cheesecake, (all made from scratch, of course) and the best thing of all, the freedome of peace and quiet. Today, I went with a couple of friends to the Rennaissance Festival. Tomorrow I'll again make the leftover turkey chowder that had engineers following me around one day wanting to know what it was.

I know how it is not to want to answer the phone, and I usually don't. But a couple of years ago, I *meant* to call a lady from work during the holiday break. but didn't. KNow what? One beautiful Friday we went to work and were informed with an email message that she'd died. We were all shocked, but there was nothing more we could do for her.

No, comrades, I agree with Bill. We're not ready to hand over our freedom, what's left of it, just yet. Thank you, Sir.


The thing I find so interesting about the "all is lost" crowd is how many of them look back at dark days in history and say to themselves, "I would have stuck it out at Valley Forge, or on Iwo, or wherever," when all they can see looking back is that we ultimately succeeded. But success was never certain, and we have faced, and overcome, threats far more existential than this Marxist, who, it appears likely, is not so much a Marxist as he is merely a Narcissist.

If ground lost could never be retaken we'd have been finished a long time ago. I personally will NEVER give up on America, and all it takes to win is a belief that winning is ultimately inevitable.

And it is inevitable. So I say MAN UP, because what is asked of us is so much less than what was asked of our forefathers that it actually embarrasses me.

Bill: You misunderstand - I'm not giving up, I am understanding the reality. That doesn't mean I'm not fighting, it means I've decided that I need to change HOW I fight and how I will conduct myself. It's one thing to join in straight up battle, it's another to take the fight undergound. All is not lost, we've simply been flanked and surrounded. All is never lost - but a big part of winning is to fight the battle as it IS, not as you WISH it were. I imagine Washington was less than thrilled about the situation at Valley Forge.

Sastre: As to finding a single, solitary reason to express thanks, Sorry to disappoint you there, buddy. Yes, there are a very few things that I could say thank you for, but it would be like being thankful for not having AIDS because I only have leprosy. Or, being thankful that only MOST of my house burned down - hey, there's still some un-burned!

I'm having some really hard times right now and am severely depressed. That doesn't leave me terribly thankful. Job, I aint. Neither am I spoiled; I volunteer an immense amount of time and resources for my community (Firefighter/EMT, Soldier, teacher) Don't be quite so quick to pre-judge.

Fetterkey: Yah, I suppose. More like 'take power and begin to rule', as his own folks have said. :-D

Oyster: Yah, right now my life pretty well sucks and is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future. But your points are well taken and well said. I'll try to keep that in mind and man up a bit. But it's been a long run of really hard times and it's definitely wearing me down. But thanks!


Saturday, 12:45 am. Gunfire erupts somewhere close.
After checking on the sleeping wife and kids I give thanks to God for the stray bullets that didn't come through the walls or windows and strike any of my family tonight.

It sounds like only one squad and the sound is getting more faint.
They're not responding to the shots.

America, I love the country but HATE the city.

Bill, my deepest condolences on the loss of your friend. I also have had bad news this past week. My dear friend Mac died unexpectedly on 11-20 in Passaic New Jersey while dropping off wrecked cars. He leaves behind a beautiful wife Mary and 4 great sons and 2 grandchildren and a whole New England of friends.

Mac was the most wonderful human I have ever known and I am very thankful he was in my life - if only briefly. I have been very sad the last week and am only coming out of my shell. You see we did everything together - I did road trips with him and his boss, we cruised (both boat and car) and fixed his, my and others cars and cussed thru the whole thing and had a lot of great laughs in the process.

Mac was a patriot of the first order. He served in Nam on Swift Boats and completely agreed with the SBFT - Kerry was and is scum. He was a staunch conservative (loved Sarah by the way) and lived his life accordingly. He had a good amount saved for retirement which he will never benefit from but, Mary will never have to worry.

Orion, don't despair - the war is not lost - just this battle. We got our ass handed to us and frankly we deserved it. The Republican party has gone astray and must be held to account. I will not give up - Mac would be mad as hell to hear of such talk. We must go back to our conservative roots and really follow them - not just use it as window dressing.

PALIN IN 2012!!!


Unfortunately, I was the recipient myself of some terrible news yesterday, which subsequently brought on the black dogs, in all their miasmatic fury, and I'm afraid I overreacted to your post.

I have glanced at your blog, and read of the various issues your are laboring under; and I am sorry that I posted so quickly, and regret the words I used.

I wish you good luck, Orion, and hope your hard times will ease, and your future brighten, forthwith.


No stress, Sastre - there are plenty who have it much worse than I and as Bill put it, I need to man up. :-D

I hope YOUR times ease up as well so we can both stay in the fight. Hooah!


Um, would someone define "man up" for a female feline, please? I think I get it but I'd like a definition to be sure. And no, I don't find it "offensive." I'd like to use it in front of some of the puff-balls and metrosexuals that pass for men in my part of the US.


Tyger, "man up" is a currently-in-vogue shorthand phrase meaning, "stop whining and act like a man, for God's sake!" "Man" in this context connoting a self-assured adult who is responsible for and comfortable with his own judgments and actions, and is willing and able to make those judgments and take those actions when they're needed.


My condolences on your loss.

"Russian analyst predicting the break-up and fall of the USA."

As I recall it, he is working from the point of view of complete or near-complete economic collapse - which then precipitated political problems.

I agree with you that just our politics, even the current politics, would never do the job by itself.

I am not by nature an optimist. Having said that, I don't see how we get out of our current economic situation without a depression. We are economically boxed in on every side. So, although this is still the greatest country ever, we face economic challenges worse than anything we've faced before.

I hope that we can continue to be a great country at a significantly lower standard of living - I believe we can - because the economic CF, combined with our ever-increasing debt levels, seem to make such inevitable.

I, however, still have plenty to be thankful for. I am most assuredly grateful that my geat-grandparents chose America over Russia and Eastern Europe.

Also, in honor of our president-elect, I have bought a metric crapload of ammo and guns. Anybody coming to get them better bring more than a piece of paper.


There's not one of us who hasn't been there... the trick is to make sure we don't all go there AT THE SAME TIME. Good to have you back, and I wish I could snap out of dirges as fast as you do.

Tyger, Doug got "Man Up" exactly right: but I'll add one wrinkle, and that is this: it's calling someone out on their whining. I whine mightily sometimes (off camera, so to speak) and it is always a great joy to be in the presence of someone who tels me to "Man UP!" because it reminds me of how much this culture not only tolerates, but actually CELEBRATES hysteria and drama.

And I think the gender quality of the term is appropriate. A generation ago we would have simply said "be a man!" My dad raised me that way, and I'll bet most of the men here are the same. But now it's not just a natural state that you sometimes fall from: it's a plateau you have to climb to! Another bad sign! And another victory to set our sights on when reclaiming the culture from these metrosexuals (not that there's anything wrong with that!) and Narcissists (but there IS something very wrong with THAT.)

When was your last trip to Oz, Bill? We'd love to see you here!

Thank you, gentlemen, I had an idea that was close. Honest, I've never heard it anywhere until I read it here, so rest assured I'll be happy to use it liberally. I quit dating a couple of years ago, because, quite frankly, none of the males in my 'hood know how to "man up." Watch me tick off a few of the wussie boys with it.

I too have become and armed feline in honor of our new "President." I'll again earn the nickname "Tyger." And it ain't nice.

Admittedly, I'm not immune to feeling bad when things go wrong. One of the ladies at work passed around something similiar: "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!" Kind of the same thing, but I like "man up" better. Still, it's tough to do when things go wrong around you, good to get a reminder.

I too got some bad news--a lady in my religious group has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Lucky for her, she is an RN and works in a cancer-specific hospital, so now all we can do is pray for her to get through tomorrow's 10-hour surgery and make it to hte other side. She is a single mom with a teenage son, and they have been through a lot together. If the unthinkable happens, she at least had Thanksgiving, but of course, we're hoping for a lot more than that.

Thanks, everyone.


Posted by: Tyger | November 30, 2008 10:13 AM --

Tyger, one phrase in that post jumped out at me, and said, "This needs some emphasis at this time!"

That phrase is, "make it to hte other side."

It is a phrase my own folks (parents) used often, and it quietly reflects an undercurrent of determined optimism I believe is invaluable, especially in "tough times."

It (the phrase and its use), relies heavily on the premise that there is "another side."!

Believe me, as they raised ten (10) children between about 1936 and the 1980's, in the Pacific Northwest, they saw their fair share of adversity. During WW II, Dad was a firefighter at a military airbase, while Mom kept the food on the table, the kids coming, and the bills (pretty much) paid. Each of us children brought our own individual challenges for them, and the "world" was far from kind to them financially. Many of the recipes I use today were originally based on governement-issued cheese, (very similar to Velveeta), and meat, (similar to, if not equivalent to, Spam.

Each crisis they faced, and there were many, had "another side" which, when we got there, strongly reinforced our collective faith in family, duty, honesty, and this incredible nation.

Mom often phrased that faith in the statement, "This, too, shall pass."

I do not mean to minimize the challenge ahead. I merely offer additional reason and support to the "man up" exhortation. It will not be for naught.

Bill, thanks for the thoughts. You inspire.

"Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. We earn it, every year."

Hmm, I'm pretty sure I for one do not earn it. A day off, sure, but not the many things that I have to be grateful for. I mean, I do work hard at honorable work and treat family, friends, and strangers well, but there's nothing I could do to earn my good health when so many others are afflicted by chance. Likewise, the opportunity, peace, and freedoms granted to me merely by birth in this country have been earned, by and large, but not by me.

That's why I feel Thanksgiving is so vital.

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/01/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Brilliantly rendered and absolutely true. The only true immortality we achieve in this world is in what we leave behind for our loved ones, our neighbors, and our nation.

Richard left a lot, and Proteus did a fine job of expresing it. Thank you, gentlemen!

Would you or your friend be so patriotic if we weren't always in some war and your friend weren't making WEAPONS FOR WAR? I doubt it. Maybe you guys should try working for a car company or any non-defense industry and see what it's like to work for a real living. Would supporting wars and "our freedoms" be so popular if you were fighting for the economic well-being of your family? You guys are all so gung-ho until it's time for you to sign up yourselves, i.e. Cheney-I-had-better-things-to-do, or disappearing Bush, Rumsfeld, et al. Give me a break!


Clean-Up in aisle ReneBeanie... (another brilliant multi-post...)

FYI, Sir or Madame, many of those who comment on this blog have served long and most honorably in the Armed Forces of the Unites States.

Take your meaningless, irrelevant "Chicken Little" argument back to where you might garner some of the attention you crave...

You know not of which you speak. "Out, damn spot!"

buh bye..

ReneBeanie, you and your ilk are exactly what Mac and many others have sacrificed for. You would not be able to speak your mind in Russia or even Venezuela. You my dear would be hauled away and "dealt with" in any way they desired.

Veterans have given their all for you and for the life of me I cannot see why. They came back from Nam and were spat on and my buddy was having trouble finding a job and he went to unemployment in good ol Massachusetts and the mamma told him they didn't have any benefits for baby killers. He told her she could stick it where the sun don't shine (this is a family blog) and walked out the door. His mind was made up that day - liberals were the bane of freedom and were to be stopped at all cost. You are in need of some compassion you twit and I surely hope the good Lord gives you a healthy dose of it before you meet your maker cuz you will be going someplace you won't need mukluks.

Thanks, GHS... that one just got under my skin a bit, knowing your service, and that of so many others who comment here...

By the way, thanks again for your own service, and to all your compatriots in arms -- past, present, and future.

Without you all, there would be no Thanksgiving, no July 4, no US of A, and no liberty in the world. Tyrants, despots, and evil would prevail.

So. Thank. You.

Thank you for your comment Paul. As for ReneBeanie, those of us who have served (and who know better) take the mewlings of the spoiled adult children with a large grain of salt. The only reason to notice them at all is to make sure that casual observers don't come to believe that their logorrhea actually makes even a bit of sense.

Thanks, G - I got as far as "until it's time for you to sign up..." - saw my hands stretch out over the keyboard and heard the Human Torch in the back of my head (Flame On!)...

Then saw that you'd interrupted for a special announcement ;-)

- MuscleDaddy

('course now I have to go find something to set on fire...)

I am embarrassed to say that my FIRST response to ReneBeanie (a.k.a. Irene Sayer) was a typically longwinded diatribe that contested and mocked every flatulent sentence she'd barfed up. It was about ten times longer than hers (oy). Once posted, my second thoughts compelled me to write a short follow-up that essentially just said "why'd I do that?" In the end then, I deleted all my crap, and settled for the little tag on ReneBraindead's post.

Why CAN'T I resist arguing with the mental munchkins anyway?

So NOW, do we leave it where it is as an oozing example of stupidity-on-a-stick, or, now that she's had her fifteen minutes of flame, shall we scrape it off our shoes and move on?





I'm glad they're yours, not mine, GHS... You deal with them SOOOOOoooo much better than I would! Smile! We're here for ya' !

If you're going to be lighting things on fire, MD, just remember Rule 1: Pillage, then burn.

Right, right...


Does anyone have something to write on?

- MD

Tattoos on the back of the hand might work best...

Levi Leach
by Albert Watson

We hunt old records
Perusing each,
But find never mention of Levi Leach.

His name and fame
it seems are known
by places and events recalled, alone.

Pasture and orchard,
Apple and peach,
But never domain of Levi Leach.

A man may live and leave his name,
Beget a family,
Till the ground,
Friend and neighbor all around.
And elude historians just the same.

The poet says that a man's reach
must exceed his grasp,
Though as for Leach,
His deeds on earth outlive our scrawl.
Some would wish the same for all.

My condolences.

Hope you can continue writing what you want, but the experience of Joe the plumber indicates you may want to retain a good tax attorney for your upcoming audit.

Richard R.
Wow, I was sorry to hear about Richard. I had wondered if that was the same one who had worked with Dave R. over at Berkut engineering. The canard posts have finally started to pick up on it this week. I left Cali years ago and didn't keep tabs on the EZ community there since I've been a south easterner for 15 years. I didn't know he was working for Boeing. it makes you stop and pause when you hear about a young man in his forties that is actually younger than you go into the west.

Bill keep doing what you do. I miss it when you don't post often. I'm trying to keep up with pajama's for my fixes.

Third Long-Ez in progress. Keep 'em flying!!

Orion: been there, stil there, won't be there long.

I started a business 3 years ago, sunk my life's savings into it. Got screwed over by my partner and lost everything: my house, my life's savings, my future. Still trying to avoid bankruptcy over it.

I've been working in L.A. while my wife and kids were in Reno, because there's no work for me in Reno and I finally found a job that enables me to support a family here.

In October, I lost my wife. We were married over 22 years, and she was only 45 when she passed away. I saw her for only three weekends between May and her death.

Still there is much in my life to be thankful for. I'm putting a roof over my children's heads. I'm able to stave off bankruptcy. And while I didn't see my wife very much the last six months of her life, I was able to give her peace of mind by stabilizing the finances. And while I'm away from my kids, I have seen first-hand how they have pulled together, grown up, and started thriving. There are a lot of people who don't have nearly so much in life.

All I have to do to beat this is get up every day and work. How hard is that?

You can make a life, or you can make excuses.

Bill, my condolences for the loss of your friend. I'm hoping your talented friend is the same one I have lost contact with over the years, one Steven Stipp, if it is we were stationed together at Ramstein AB a longgggg time ago, he was a member of the Ramstein Special Insurgent Team. Hope we can get in contact some time, still have the drawing he did for me, flying P-51s over Germany.

Yo Jeff! I thought I recognized that name! Long time no read INDEED! I've still got MY copy of that drawing too, full scale.

Tawk t'me, dude!

(a.k.a. Steve Stipp)


Condolences at the loss of a friend. I know how it is, especially when it is totally out of the blue.

To all - As for "manning up", I am reminded of a couple of things that one of my Rangers told me:

1. Never think you are beaten. If you do, you are.

2. Never give up, never give in.The only time you are a loser is when you surrender while you still have the means to carry the battle to the enemy.

3. NEVER pass up an opportuniy to eat, sleep or poop.

To "man up" is to recognize that all is not lost; it merely requires a change in tactics and strategy. The Annoited One may be President, and he will have my loyalty as a military officer, but in the end, he is a man and is fallible. His past history and associations show us where he has been and what he will do given the opportunity. If he does that sort of thing while in office, he can expect the same treatment that the current President received.


Always remember, Kbob (and any other active duty military reading this), your oath was to protect and defend the Constitution. If this new president tries to issue clearly unconstitutional orders to our military, it is your duty to refuse them.

Doug Loss,

History has demonstrated that governments can always find thugs enough to do their dirty work. A constitution has not and will not stop them. A sufficiently honorable military might. However our military has a long tradition of being subordinate to civil orders. The question is, will they obey their oath or their orders?

I suggest we need to be ready to defend our own rights rather than depending upon others. Unfortunately, tradition again may win the day. We traditionally expect our government to do that. Yet it is our government who is the primary violator of our rights. We have meekly gone along to get along for well over a century. Will we continue to follow tradition or will we do what only we can?

Great post!

Would you like a Link Exchange with our new blog COMMON CENTS where we blog about the issues of the day??

Bill Whittle is an inspiring essayist, surely one of the best I've ever read. And he takes a justifiable pride in the accomplishments of our great nation, which include defeating the Nazi menace of sixty years ago. But, to be fair, I must also admit that he seems blissfully unaware of the darker realities of our history. While espousing a love of democracy our foreign policy architects have repeatedly propped up oppressive dictatorships around the globe. The regime in South Vietnam was a corrupt dictatorship, pure and simple. Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was supported by our State Dept. and CIA as a bulwark against Communism in the region for many years and Saddam was given American weapons to wage a war of aggression against Iran. Even Osama bin Laden and his Mujahadeen warriors were openly supported by the Reagan Administration when they fought against the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Our economic exploitation of foreign lands is no secret to anyone on Earth except, it seems, for Americans like Bill Whittle. We are, at the moment, an empire on the wane, collapsing from within as we cater to the greed of Big Banks and dysfunctional corporations with tax dollar bail-outs rather than to allow our beloved system of "capitalism" to weed out the failures and cleanse itself. Our Congress is almost totally corrupted by the financial enticements of lobbyists and we are well on our way to national bankruptcy while focussed on the latest sports scores and Hollywood gossip. As a work in progess we have a long way to go as a society and we forget that at our own peril.


I think the real problem is not that Bill is "blissfully unaware of the darker realities of our history", but rather that you, like so many these days, seem inclined to solely focus on those "darker realities".

"The regime in South Vietnam was a corrupt dictatorship, pure and simple."

Maybe so. But has what transpired there since then been preferable? I think not....and the men making the decisions at that time did not have the luxury of hindsight.

"Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was supported by our State Dept. and CIA as a bulwark against Communism in the region for many years and Saddam was given American weapons to wage a war of aggression against Iran".

I think it has been proven that most of Saddam's weapons were Soviet, but even so. They were fighting an open and belligerent enemy of the USA in Iran. What should we have done? Please elaborate. And this time, you have the luxury of hindsight.

"Even Osama bin Laden and his Mujahadeen warriors were openly supported by the Reagan Administration when they fought against the "Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union in the 1980s."

Yes, they were. But mainly through the machinations of (Democratic) Congressman Charlie Wilson. Again, use your time machine. What would you have done? I'll admit, the funding of the Mujahadeen might have been arguable, but the abandonment of them at the end was extremely short-sighted. But who knew?

"Our economic exploitation of foreign lands is no secret to anyone on Earth except, it seems, for Americans like Bill Whittle."

Can you explain this? I guess it is a secret to me as well. As far as I can tell, every foreign land we come into contact with ends up better in the long run. Sort of how the British "exploited" everyplace on the planet up until the 1940's. However, when you look at the places that have been "exploited" by British and Americans, and have taken what they were given, they're the only places on earth that aren't complete basket cases. Rhodesia being a perfect example of what happens when you reject it.

"We are, at the moment, an empire on the wane, collapsing from within as we cater to the greed of Big Banks and dysfunctional corporations with tax dollar bail-outs rather than to allow our beloved system of "capitalism" to weed out the failures and cleanse itself. Our Congress is almost totally corrupted by the financial enticements of lobbyists and we are well on our way to national bankruptcy while focussed on the latest sports scores and Hollywood gossip. As a work in progess we have a long way to go as a society and we forget that at our own peril."

Well, you're half-right here. Except the problem isn't "capitalism", it's the psuedo-socialism we are sinking into, which, if you think is bad now, wait until the new administration takes over.

Anyway, I have never posted here, only read. A great deal. Just two cents worth.


Bill, I have to tell you, I have a LOT of respect for the AVERAGE American's resolve.
Well maybe not the average one, but there is enough "right stuff" to go around.
My inspiration is drawn from sports atheletes, in the football highlights.
My friend, the balls and grit demonstrated by men who were raised, under basiclly the same circumstances as anyone else, serve as a BEACON, to the rest of us mortals. The message they bring is " you set your own barriers, your own walls , that keep you from your dreams!" Some of the EFFORT displayed is beyond superhuman, bordering miraculous, divine even.

A society, or an economy fueled by such industrious DRIVE, won't be held back for long by any credit crunch or other such buzz word. Hard work pays off, PERIOD, and you people know how to do that. Any free capitalist system benefits ALL, eventually. I'm running off athte mouth, but those football players were a superb analogy to the drive and vision of private individuals who set out to make a better mousetrap, as it were.
Your friend in a less(thank God!) Lieberal Canada

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