Build Your Own Temple: Making Sense of the Tragedy in Virginia

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

Many of you already know that yesterday a deranged young man destroyed the lives of two TV journalists in Virginia. It has been remarked that it is the first Social Media murder ever, since it happened on live TV.

 

Apparently it was the gunman’s goal to create horror and fear in people and to incite a race war. He deliberately destroyed the lives of his former co-workers and every life that touches theirs, who holds them dear.

 

Attempting to make sense of the senseless, I called my brother, a much wiser man than me. He put it to me in this way. He said, we all have to build the temple from our end.

 

It was like an experience he had in Bosnia in the service. There were people in tanks destroying a bridge. They were not able to appreciate the functionality and beauty of the bridge, were jealous of the artistry of those who created it, and in their jealousy and resentment, unable to produce a work of their own as beautiful, they chose to destroy and tear down that which others had built.

 

That is what I think encapsulated the mind of this person who murdered those innocent journalists in Virginia yesterday. A former TV journalist himself, he was never able to enjoy the same success as that of his coworkers. Unable to emulate their success, and unwilling to do the hard work on his own, he chose instead to tear down others.

 

The Bible tells us, “Do you not know that you are God’s Temple, and the spirit of the Lord dwell’s within you?” My brother put it to me this way. You have to do the work to build your life as a temple of God. You are building your end of a great extension bridge that leads to God. And God is building the bridge from the other end. It is futile to focus on the beauty of the bridges or temples of others. While you can appreciate the work of others, you have to work on your own. It is useless to try to tear down the bridges and temples of others and will only lead to your own destruction.

 

My brother’s daughter plays the flute, and plays it beautifully. He goes to her concerts and listens. He tells me he will never play the flute, but he appreciates the artistry and skill it takes to play a piece of music. I have seen some magnificent things in my life, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Israel, the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Cairo Museum, Mesada. In Germany I walked through a great museum dedicated to work made completely of porcelain. I will never have the skill to create such artifacts of beauty. I’m not supposed to. But I can appreciate the hard work and skill of others. I’m supposed to be working on my own temple or bridge, such as it is.

 

In many ways the individual who committed those awful murders is not unlike the Taliban, or Isis today, who are tearing down the things that others have built. They don’t believe in the gods of others and so they cannot appreciate the artistry and beauty. In 2001 the Taliban destroyed the beautiful statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Today Isis is tearing down the monuments of others in Syria and Iraq. Moreover, they are destroying the lives of others who are not like themselves, Christians, Yezidis, and even other Muslims. Unable to build the temple from their end, they have to pull down the walls of others. Ultimately they will only destroy themselves, as this young murderer has done.

 

In the Bible there is a story about the city of Jerusalem. There was no wall around the city to protect it from invaders, and so the people were instructed to build their own portion of a wall, nearest to where they live. Everyone pitched in and built the wall, and so it got done much faster than if it had built by a crew of workman, and everyone had a hand in its construction. We all have a role to play in building the wall around our city. We must each concentrate on doing our part.

 

In our lives we may only lay a few stones in our temple or bridge, and that’s ok, because God is doing the vast majority of the work anyway, from His end. We won’t meet him in the middle; we won’t even make it a quarter of the way. But we must lay as many stones as we can in our lifetimes, and allow God to do the rest.

 

If you are building a temple, why would you let things that are unclean enter? That is what this young man did. Described as a troubled gay, black man, he let hatred and envy into his heart. He was fired over two years ago because he was impossible to work with. Feeling he was wronged apparently, he chose to destroy the lives of those he perceived had wronged him. Unwilling to build his own temple and to continue to work to build his own life, he tore down what he had built and what others had built as well. Envy, hatred, a feeling of victimhood destroyed him. We shouldn’t let it destroy us. We have to make our own temples clean so that the Lord will want to dwell within us and complete the work that we are helping Him with.

 

I challenge you to build your temple and to hold in your heart the lives of the people touched by this tragedy. Pray for the families, friends and coworkers of the dead, so that they can feel our love for them, so they won’t be burnt up and destroyed by their grief.

 

This weekend Glenn Beck and company are marching in Birmingham, Alabama. They are marching for unity in a time when the whole country seems to want to tear it all apart. I think we should pray for him and for the people who march for peace and love that the people who want to tear down and burn and create enmity between us are not successful.

 

Build the temple from your end.

 

1 Corinthians 3:10-17 NIV

 

10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

Jeremy Griffith at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem 2008

Jeremy Griffith at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem 2008

I hate Direct TV!

This is my latest rant against the unacceptable service I received from Direct TV in Rochester Minnesota. They feel like they can lock you into a contract and then jack up your rates without warning. Then, if you decide to leave your contract before the two year contract is up, they charge you an extra month and a half to pull out of your contract early. If and when you inevitably cancel their worthless service, they will take their dish off the wall or off the stand, and leave it there for you to dispose of at their own cost. If you rent, they leave it for your land lord to dispose of, or leave it to you, the renter. If you have multiple renters in an apartment complex, they will hang one Direct TV dish for every subscribers, cluttering up the rental property against the wishes of the land owner.

So, Direct TV, since you are so disinterested in the well-being and satisfaction of your clients, I have a little video message for you. Thank you for making my little polite Asian honey bear feel like crap every time she was on the phone with you. I would have liked to reach out through the phone and strangled numerous people on the other end of the line.

Instead, enjoy my little un-endorsement. We will now be enjoying Sling TV for a third of the price. I hope you enjoy having fewer customers than you did before as your business model slowly dies.

Jeremy Griffith

Road to Fallujah: a review of the documentary film by Mark Manning

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

I like documentaries, as everyone knows, and I came upon another one on Netflix that I wanted to review that was different than ones I’ve reported on in the past. This one is Road To Fallujah, a documentary by Mark Manning and it takes place in Iraq during the height of the war.

 

Manning reports that he is a retired underwater construction worker who worked on off shore oil rigs for some 20 years before finding an interest in documentary film making. He left his job, took a night class and armed with a camera, he left for Iraq to as he described it to discover the myths of why we went to war in the first place.

 

In the documentary, he follows a number of family members who lost loved ones in Iraq while they were working in Fallujah as contractors. A number of events were boiling up in the city of Fallujah and a couple of American contractors were caught up in the crossfire. The mob shot and killed the contractors, burned them in their car, then hung their bodies on nearby bridge. The event was well documented on news outlets at the time and led to the Marines’ eight-day invasion of the massive city. Reporters of every network, repeating what they heard from military sources, were calling the city of Fallujah a hotbed of insurgency and terrorism. And it was, but Manning and his team tell another story that has been overlooked. He tells the story of the suffering of the civilian population of that city who lived there at the time and were forced to flee the devastation.

 

The viewer will be bombarded with the stories of families who lost loved ones in that battle. The refugee camps in the surrounding hills were filled with the dispossessed who were living under the worst possible conditions, drinking foul water and finding little food or shelter. It’s heart-rending.

 

Manning and his team interview a number of former military members who were involved in the invasion to get their take, which I thought was fair.  All agree that more could be done to protect and sustain the civilian population, but at the time, they complain that resources were being focused on Baghdad, and not on Fallujah. The people of Fallujah had to fend for themselves.

 

I liked this documentary in that it showed me a side of the Iraqi invasion that I hadn’t seen before, that is not often reported on, the civilian casualties. At the same time, I think it unfairly attacks the soldiers who fought there and their leaders who made decisions. Remember that Fallujah, while important and strategic was one eight day battle in a larger campaign to rid the country of insurgency. The reason why the battle was so brief was to prevent civilian casualties from ballooning out of control.

 

A lot of blame has been lain at the feet of the first American Ambassador to Iraq, Paul Bremer, who made the decision to disband the Iraqi Army and recruit a new army in its place. That put a lot of career government officials and soldiers out of a job, many of whom were Bathist party officials loyal to Saddam Hussein. Bremer worried that in leaving those officials in place, the future of Iraq would be jeopardized. Perhaps when the Americans were gone, another Bathist, perhaps a friend of Saddam, would rise to power and take over, governing much the way as Saddam did. Bremer hoped for better and that’s why he did what he did. Was it a mistake? Perhaps. But Bremer’s actions weren’t the only factors. The mistakes of Iraq were compounded by mistakes made by the Iraqi government, with president Al Maliki, who deliberatively separated Sunnis from Shia and alienated them from participation in their own government.  In the film, Bremer gets all the blame. Maliki isn’t even mentioned.

 

And there are other factors. Fallujah didn’t happen in a vacuum. It was a hotbed of the insurgency and they were getting arms and munitions from the Iranian Quds force which they were using to kill Americans and members of the Iraqi provincial government. That had to stop. According to the film maker, American soldiers were terrorizing locals in Fallujah, taking over a local school as their headquarters and preventing school children from going to school. I guarantee nobody was going to school in that environment at that time. Parents and students would have been justifiably upset and would have wanted to protest. Which they did. But, it’s never a good idea to throw rocks at soldiers, they’re libel to fire back, and they did.

 

Manning and his team mates have done a relatively good job putting together this movie and showing that you can’t just paint everyone with the same brush. There was collateral damage with a face and Manning shows that face to you. I don’t like how he relies overmuch with war footage from the news sources, but I suppose it was necessary to tell the story. It would have been dangerous to get his own footage and he wasn’t imbedded with combat units. His safety would not have been guaranteed. It’s important to know what locals in Fallujah felt about the war. It’s also important that that may not have been the same in every area of the country. The Kurdish north for example would have a far different outlook then people living in the center of the country or the south.

 

Sure leaders have made mistakes in the war, but it was a complicated situation. If any one of us had been given the reigns of that operation today, would it have turned out as well, better? Who knows. It’s pointless to speculate. I think that some people would have liked never to have gone over there at all, which is the real point of this movie.

 

Fast forward to today. Whether it is former Saddam Bathists running the country or Islamic Jihadis, the result is much the same, suffering for the Iraqi people with no relief in sight. Someone should do a documentary on that.

 

Desmond Tutu makes a poignant appearance in this film. He says basically if you go to strike your neighbor ultimately you will be surprised that you will injure yourself, and I think that is true. Americans know this instinctively and that is why we hate war. We hate evil too and when evil rises we want to help, which is why we choose to keep our military strong. It’s not simply enough to refrain from striking, what if you see someone striking your neighbor, do you stop them? Or do you stand by and do nothing? We’ve done both. In Rwanda we refrained from action, in Bosnia we stepped in. In both we were criticized.

 

I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to understand the human cost of war. I give it a 6 out of 10. I think the social political issues are bigger than this one film which is why I recommend you take it with a grain of salt.

Find out more about Road To Fallujah here at http://www.theroadtofallujah.com/.

 

White Shame: MTV Documentary Special Holds Millennials Responsible for Racism They Didn’t Cause

 

By Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 
 

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Last week, MTV released a one-hour special documentary produced and starring by documentarian and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. The documentary, while interesting and technically well shot and produced, fell short of its goal in my estimation.

 

In the film, Vargas, an undocumented Filipino immigrant, flies around the country and recruits millennial youth to join in a group conversation about race, an interesting premise. In the process of these discussions, Vargas asked the kids to define their beliefs about the meaning of the term ‘white privilege’. In offering their definitions in this heavily edited film, it is not clear if they are just answering the specific questions or they are defining the way they actually feel about being white.

 

In one discussion, a young white college freshman expresses frustration in her efforts to obtain scholarships for her university of choice. The reason, she feels is that far too much emphasis is made to give people of color those scholarships that someone like her should get by merit. When Vargas points out documented evidence that no, whites still get more scholarships as a percentage of population than do people of color, the student became uncomfortable. “I feel like you’re attacking me, “ she confesses.

 

In other conversations it becomes clear that many of the students, especially young males, are unwilling to open up about their feelings of race. They parse their words carefully so as not to come off as being racist.

 

And, that is the over all problem I hade with this short documentary film. Vargas asks carefully crafted questions about race that the young millennials, who don’t have the intellectual tools to recognize the tactics and fight back, are unable to cope with. Vargas’s technique is subtle, but real. He lays all of society’s problems with race squarely at the feet of white people and their white privilege and the youth are unable to fight back because they don’t want to be labeled as racist.

 

The strongest moment in the film happens in a rural white home where a young man is an instructor on the topic of white privilege in schools. His stepfather is a staunch conservative who has no idea of the kind of instructional program his stepson is involved in. Vargas and the young teacher reveal this to the old man and his wife over supper at their home. You can feel the tension in this particular scene as the young teacher expresses his frustration over attempting to talk to his step-father topics where the two men have vastly different views. Any one who has a difficult relationship with his father knows how this feels. It is clear by the look on the older man’s face that he is surprised by his stepson’s comments, and though he doesn’t agree on much, he listens politely. One wonders what the conversation would have been like if the participants were not aware they were being filmed. I feel like this was a great moment in this film, but it is one of only a few. Vargas could have done so much more with moments like this.

 

I would have liked to have seen more interracial interaction. But Vargas chooses to interview young white people almost exclusively, which I think is an opportunity missed. There is one scene where he does have an inter-racial discussion as a white southern gay man invites his black friends home to his mostly white southern community. There is a discussion about race and the black guests react emotionally when some of the young white students cavalierly use the word ghetto in conversation. We’re meant to automatically connect with this emotional young black woman as this supposed ‘trigger word’ is used, but like so much of this film, it falls flat. The word doesn’t have the same emotional impact as the N-word and the filmmaker fails to give back story about why there is such an emotional tie in to this word for this person.

 

There is one more scene that I want to mention. A young man is attempting to organize a city block party in his community but is running into roadblocks. There is a city requirement for a certain number of neighbors to sign off before the party is authorized. Much of this traditionally white community has given way to a huge insurgence of Asian American immigrants. The new immigrants have a sort of closed off community and decline to interact to this man and his petition. “Do you mind that this community has changed so much?” Vargas asked, implying the influx of so many Asians, who apparently don’t speak English and don’t choose to interact with their white neighbors.

 

“No, this is my home. I don’t mind that it’s evolved,” he says.

 

Overall this is a well-organized, well-shot documentary worth seeing. But I think it falls well short of it’s goal of having a well thought discussion about race. The difficulties of race relations in America today are not clear cut and this film makes light of the complexities, unfairly putting most of the blame on white people and unnecessarily shaming white millennial kids who had nothing to do with racism in this country.

Ultimately I feel that we will have an end to racism if we just people in academia and the work place by applying the standard enunciated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, that we all be judged not on the color of our skin but on the content of our character. In order to realize that dream we must do away with artificial programs of favoritism such as affirmative action and base our judgement for everyone on merit and hard work.

Watch the full episode of White People here.

http://www.mtv.com/shows/white-people/white-people-full-episode/1736982/playlist/#id=1736982

 

Three Men and a Truck: Matt and His Friends Help Liberate Libya

A critique of Point and Shoot, a documentary film by rebel filmmaker Matthew VanDyke

By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online

 

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Recently I watched a war documentary filmed over five years by Matthew VanDyke. I’m a sucker for war films, but this one was way different that anything I’ve seen before, and definitely worth watching. You can find it now on Netflix.

 

The famous author Mark Twain is quoted as saying that the way to learn about a writer is to read his books. I think the same is true of the filmmaker. And so, even though I’ve never met Matt, I feel like I know him after watching this film. Here is a geeky guy from Baltimore, painfully awkward, looking for a “manly adventure”.

 

Most of us would join the military or something and go on deployment, but apparently for this guy, that never crossed his mind. I can see why. The guy is so tall and lanky, and painfully awkward as I said, the MEPS doctor would take one look at him and disqualify him as “unable to adapt to military life”, perhaps find a medical reason for doing so. One glaringly obvious reason to disqualify would be his OCD against bugs, germs, closed in spaces and other phobias that would be prohibitive for the life of a Soldier. And so, there is probably good reason this young man never darkens the door of a recruiter.

 

Instead he gets his Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies or something and flies off to Africa with his Kawasaki bike and tours the country side for several years, filming himself as he goes. It’s kind of a Che Guevara type of motorcycle adventure, without the homicidal mania and the talk about communism. If that was the sum total of his adventure it would still be worth watching.

 

But the contacts and friendship Matt makes in Kaddafi’s Libya is preamble for the chapters that follow. Matt comes home to his girlfriend, wife? He never explains that part, and then the war in Libya happens and he’s drawn back to a war zone, this time to fight and not to document. In Iraq he embedded for a Baltimore paper to cover the war there from a Soldier’s perspective. They taught him how to load and shoot the various weapon systems. When he got to Libya, his experience handling weapons made him the SME, the subject matter expert, which is a frightening prospect.

 

In the midst of fighting that war he is captured in an ambush and spends a painful 5 months recuperating in solitary confinement in a Libyan prison. He goes a little nuts in prison, as one can well imagine and has visions about how the secretary of state Hillary Clinton comes to his aid and frees him. Of course he realizes after the fact that none of this is true. His release is secured because other prisoners riot and break out of the prison, and just happened to open the door of his cage on their way out the door. Matt is returned to the war and to his friends. He comes to realize that not all of his friends made it, having been killed in the ambush that landed him in prison.

 

Towards the end of the film, Matt describes how he participates in the final fall of the Kaddafi regime, fighting in a major battle. He’s not actually sure if he’s killed anyone, the enemy is always too far away and too impersonal. When he gets up close and personal with one sniper he fires, and misses his target. Then the end of the war arrives and Kaddafi is killed. Matt can take leave of his friends and go home.

 

Before the film wraps up, Matt meets up with his old Libyan friend Nuri. They go to the beach and go for a swim. It’s picturesque, very different from the conflict in the scenes before. Peaceful. There is nothing martial about Matt and his friends at all, they are all just peaceful people caught up in an ugly war for liberty. The videography is great and story is moving. I highly recommend it. Two thumbs up.

 

I’ve seen a few war documentaries in the past and I’ve enjoyed them. But this one is quite different. In this one, an awkward American turns from filmmaker to fighter in less than five years. If you met him on the street, you wouldn’t make him for a combat veteran, not like the ones I’ve seen. But in some ways he’s braver than many combat veterans I know. Courage is when you go outside your comfort zone and do the right thing even though it’s difficult. People who gravitate to the military and go on deployment are brave sure, but they’re built for that sort of thing. It’s not all that far out of their comfort zone. Matt is a fish out of water and yet he adapts. You won’t see him in a Navy SEAL bar acting all cavalier. He looks like a geek from Baltimore, a little more mature than when he left.

 

In some ways I admire this young man more than others who went with regular Army units to fight. When I went to Iraq, I was surrounded with the best trained, best equipped fighting force in the world. I felt pretty safe, having done some of that best of training myself at the home of the Infantry, Fort Benning Georgia. Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.

“Matt and his friends had nothing; they were three men in a truck. That is a special kind of courage/slash foolishness, sometimes the distinction is too thin to really be sure.”

In a way I feel smallish following watching this film. I had all the best training in the world and in my retirement I watch angrily as ISIS takes over the greater Middle East, and Iraq where I was stationed for over 15 months. I could train, I could teach, I could mentor, and yet, here I am. I found myself yelling at the screen telling Matt and his friends, maneuver, don’t sit still, flank, find cover, return fire, go! But Matt and his friends didn’t have the training I had, just the availability. As the tragedy of the Christian and Yazidi genocide continues in the Middle East I wonder if more young men of little or no training will take up arms and join the “manly adventure” to liberate oppressed peoples. Maybe those few men and their truck will be more valuable than all the elite brigades the American Military has ever fielded?!

 

 

Science Class Kills Faith Amongst Millennials

 

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
The author at Fort Snelling, MN

The author at Fort Snelling, MN

I’ve often felt that science class kills faith amongst today’s youth and 20-somethings, and that’s too bad because, while science is interesting and helpful in understanding our universe, it doesn’t even touch the most interesting questions such as, “who am I” and “why am I here?”

 

Many years ago now the Star Trek franchise explored this idea in their first motion picture staring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Shatner played the often emotional hotheaded, hard-charging star ship captain, while Nimoy’s played the alien half-Vulcan character which was much more complex and interesting, complete with a struggle against unnecessary human emotion.

 

Kirk and Spock encounter an alien entity that is on it’s way to Earth, presumably to invade. The crew of the Enterprise must figure out how to stop what appears to be a vastly superior life form before it decimates the planet. They learn through exploration that the life form is something humans created many years ago, a living breathing artificial conscious that is exploring its own meaning and attempting to find it’s “god” or creator.

 

Spock risks his own life to conduct a mind-meld with the creature (don’t make me explain that to non-trekkers!) and discovers the entity’s ulterior motive. There is a touching moment when Spock is recovering in the sick bay of the space ship Enterprise where the Vulcan explains his Earth-shattering discovery to his captain and friend, Jim Kirk. “This simple feeling is beyond Veeger’s (the entity) grasp. No feelings, no hope, no answers. It’s asking questions!”

 

“What questions?” Kirk asks.

 

“Is this, ALL that I Am?” replies Spock, grasping his friend’s hand. “Is there nothing more?!”

 

Science classes in both high school and college kills any pursuit of this question by brain washing students into thinking they are just animals, though high functioning animals on the food chain with the rest of the animals. They are the results of millions, sorry, billions of years of mistakes and chance mutations unguided by any sentient being that eventually ends up in a complex world we live in. Any indication that all this complexity is the result of intelligent design is merely a mirage or coincidence.

 

Serious scientists deny the metaphysical as being non-existent or irrelevant, unless of course they need it to explain something they can’t explain. Frank Sherwin illustrates this phenomenon in his article for ICR “The Strange Metaphysical World of Evolution”. You can read the article here.

 

Sherwin states, “Secular colleges and universities, the media, and the Internet are alive with vitriolic accusations regarding the supposedly unscientific nature of creation science.

“But is evolutionary science itself “scientific”? In opposition to what is normally claimed, it would seem that when it comes to the supernatural, secular science not only believes in it—it also depends on it.”

 

Sherwin sites examples of when supposed secular scientists drift into the metaphysical.

Apparently, evolutionary scientists believe in ghosts. When tetrapod tracks are found in Earth strata far deeper than their fossilized remains, that causes a problem of dates for the evolutionist, a factor of 18 million years worth.

Of course, scientists who believe in abrupt appearance or intelligent design have a solution to this problem. There was a flood and all of these creatures lived around the same time and were buried and fossilized at the same time, a theory the evolutionist totally reject as fantasy. But we are expected to believe in “ghost tracks”?

Sherwin has another example. Evolutionary biologists explain away seemingly complex design as compatible with the evolutionary model by citing, “magic” as their excuse. What?

Kathryn Applegate of BioLogos said, “The bacterial flagellum may look like an outboard motor, but there is at least one profound difference: the flagellum assembles spontaneously, without the help of any conscious agent.” Acknowledging that “the self-assembly of such a complex machine almost defies the imagination,” Dr. Applegate assures the reader that this is not really a problem, because “natural forces work ‘like magic.’”5 

 

A little explanation may be in order. Some bacteria exhibit motility through a projection like a hair that moves in a rotary motion like an outboard boat motor, called a flagellum. It moves them forward and backward, at different speeds and is really complex, making it hard to explain away through evolutionary methods. If evolution were a fact, then any mutation to create such a complex motor would have to be made in one step, which is not what the evolutionary model espouses. Any half measures of evolution would render such a system worthless and would die off before the trait was passed on. And this is a one-celled organism we’re talking about, not a more complex life form like a dog, an ape, or a man.

 

When explaining the motion of the cosmos, and why it defies evolutionary computer models, evolutionists make things up to explain it away, conjuring up dark energy and dark matter to bridge the gap.

 

Frank explains, “evolutionists believe in mysterious powers, like “the 5th Force: a mysterious new power [that] is shaping our cosmos,” according to New Scientist. The article says, “A force that keeps changing its spots might explain the mysteries of dark energy,” although this cryptic dark energy “has never been seen or produced on Earth.”3

Sherwin continues, “Some evolutionists believe in invisible hands:

“Our findings confirm that cooperation does not always require benevolence or deliberate planning. This form of cooperation, at least, is guided by an “invisible hand,” as happens so often in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.4”

 

My millennial nephew would swear that his eyes will bleed if he hears one more time that it takes just as much faith to believe in “science” that it does for “religion” that is translated, “evolution” vs. “creation”. Well cover your eyes and ears young nephew because I would reply that it does, and while evolutionists don’t mention it in textbooks, they sure will cite their faith in candid interviews outside the classroom.

 

Churches help the evolutionists inadvertently by contributing to the millennial unbelief by being irrelevant to their needs. There are ways to reverse that but it will take effort, and that is that churches need to address the issue of science in a way that educates the student on the errors and shortfalls of evolution and presents scientific information about creation that isn’t insulting to the intelligence of our youth. That means that youth pastors will have to get science instruction themselves before they present to the youth. But that is a subject for another day.

Bottom line is this, science is great, but is only one leg of the three legged stool called truth. The other two legs are called religion and philosophy, both touching the metaphysical realm that scientists say don’t exist. Ignoring a thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The problem of who we are, where we came from and what we might become are questions that are too weighty for science alone to answer.

 

 

Response to Celebrity Gun Grabbers

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

OK, so the above video is my response to the dopey celebrity gun grabbers in light of the recent events in Charleston. While we morn for the people who died and their families, we are not willing to sacrifice our constitutional rights to self defense because of any tragic event.

Have you noticed the common factor in all of these tragedies? Safe Zones! Safe or gun free zones are not safe. When law abiding citizens are deprived of their right to self defense, the psychopaths come out of the wood work and murder people in mass where they know there won’t be any resistance. There aren’t any mass shootings at police stations or gun shows.

Notice something else. Violence is not limited to guns. All over the world, violent mass casualty events happen in the absence of guns. In Great Britain, a soldier was murdered by a Muslim with an ax adjacent to his own barracks. In Japan, people with long knives murdered many people. In Boston and Oklahoma City, bombs made out of house-hold items were used.

It’s not a matter of the accessibility of guns. It’s the state of the heart and soul of people. And regular folks deserve a fighting chance. A society disarmed by the state is as safe today as a baby seal during hunting season, not very much.

Let’s stop the dopey lists and celebrity videos demanding that the rights of citizens who murdered no one yesterday be sacrificed because some knucklehead racist wanted to start a race war. Let’s use common sense. Bad guys don’t follow laws.

You want to stop these mass casualty events? Buy a gun, take a safety class, get your permit to carry. Don’t live in a state where you can do that? Change the laws or move to a state that recognizes your rights. End of story.

Watch the dopey celebrity gun grabbing video at the website below.

http://www.upworthy.com/one-minute-of-fed-up-celebrities-talking-about-guns-is-actually-worth-your-time?c=ufb3

A personal anecdote about a church experience in the south in the shadow of the Charleston tragedy

 

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Now I write a personal anecdote about a church experience I had as a young man attending the Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning Ga. I share this in light of the tragedy that is happening in Charleston North Carolina today.

 

A young white man in his early 20s went into a church and blew away nine innocent black people attending a Bible study. My heart goes out to the family and friends of these unfortunate victims. I am reminded of an incident that happened to me as I walked into an African-American church in Columbus Georgia over 20 years ago.

 

I was attending the Infantry School as a newly commissioned officer and I was looking for a temporary church home. I had attended a grandiose Methodist church in downtown Columbus with a huge chapel and large congregation and I was underwhelmed. I felt like a stranger in that church that was so cavernous and ornate. No one greeted me and I was alone in a crowd. I was looking for something else.

 

On a later Sunday I found myself in an African-American Methodist Church, much smaller than the one I had attended the previous Sunday. I didn’t know it was a black church. I have to admit I was very uncomfortable; I wasn’t sure how I would be received as a white person in that predominantly black congregation. I didn’t want to cause any trouble. The reaction I got from parishioners was very different.

 

A large black woman in a colorful dress and matching hat greeted me. She was bubbly and cheerful and welcoming. I found that her attitude was common to the people who attended that church, who didn’t seem to notice or care that I was a different ethnicity. I remember the service lasted 3 hours and the preacher was very dynamic. The music was loud and heartwarming. I never had the opportunity to attend again, but I always remember that day, when total strangers from a different state, a different race, welcomed me as if I was a brother.

 

How horrible for the people of Charleston today who grieve over their neighbors who lost their lives at of all places, a Bible study. A maniac with a gun attended with them for an hour listening to their words and study and interacting with them, before deciding to go ahead with his deadly plan, ending the lives of people he didn’t even know. It’s a shame. It’s worse: pure evil.

 

I know that many who hear about this news will grieve along with the people of Charleston, as I do. When I think of these events, I am reminded of the warm and loving Christians who welcomed me when I was a stranger. With that warmth in my heart, I embrace the victims of this tragedy and their families. I hope that God will embrace them as they cross over through the pearly gates.

The words of our Lord Jesus as they appear in the gospel of Matthew 25:35-40

 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

jlg

 

Update: Marine Convicted for Religious Expression in the Workplace

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 

This is an update to the story I wrote previously about a Marine convicted for religious expression in the work place. I’ve obtained court documents posted by the Marine defendant’s lawyer posted on the website of Liberty Institute. You can view a story as well as get links to the documents here.  

I’ve read the documents and they discuss the background regarding the Marine posting religious quotes on her workstation, and subsequently being ordered to remove them. Her refusal to remove the quotes led to her court-martial and discharge from the Marines. The original story from Fox News discusses the charge of religious intolerance, and briefly mentions the other charges in a paragraph or two lower in the story. According to Liberty Institute Attorney Michael Berry, the subsequent charges happened months later and in his view are trumped up to give the court-martial complaint added weight. Charges including dereliction of duty, disobeying a superior officer or failing to report to your work area as ordered.

Allegedly, the Marine did not report because of a hip injury and a restriction order from her doctor. If the doctor’s order conflicts with the order of the Marine’s superiors, making her unable to work, then the testimony of the doctor should reflect that and the Marine should be acquitted. If the medical orders do not conflict and the Marine disobeyed orders, failed to report and failed to report in proper uniform, then court martial may be justified. I just don’t know from these documents what the doctor told the court or if he even was allowed to testify.

I don’t like the fact that I did not see these facts presented in any of the original reporting. The documents presented by the attorney address the alleged religious intolerance of Sterling’s superiors, they do not address the other items except as a footnote. I share these details for a desire to establish fairness and to inform the reader. This story may be updated further in the future.

Read the original Fox News Story from Todd Starnes here. 

 

Christian Marine Convicted, Discharged Over Bible Verse

I can’t remember a time when I have been angrier than I am today. I learned today that a Christian Marine was given a dishonorable discharge for placing Bible verses on her computer.

Read the whole story from Todd Starnes of Fox News here.

A staff sergeant who was her boss told her to remove the Bible verses, which might be in his words contrary to good order and military discipline and she refused.

The Marine represented herself at trial, a mistake, and was convicted and discharged, having been busted down to private and given a bad conduct discharge, which makes it difficult to find a job in the civilian world. Now she’s hired attorney Paul Clement from Liberty Institute and they are taking her case to the Military Court of Appeals.

It is my wish that everyone who reads about this will pray for Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling and her attorney that she may be successful in her lawsuit and appeal. What are we if not a people of faith as Americans. It is ingrained in our heritage. The motto of the Marine Corps is “Sember Fidelis” which is Latin for “Always Faithful”. What is the Marine Corps without faith? They should change their motto to “Numquam Fidos”.

I not only ask you to pray, but to act.

I am acting by writing this column. I am also sending a printed copy of this column to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, along with a Bible and the copy of my favorite Bible verse. It is an appeal that he do something, the right thing, to correct this outrage. If he does not, then shame him. He should resign. How intolerant is it to get rid of a servicemember because of her public proclamation of faith? Where is his Sergeant Major who advises the commandant, does he endorse this decision?

I encourage everyone to write to the commandant, as I am, and to express your displeasure, firmly but respectfully. Send him a copy of your favorite translation of the Bible and a Bible verse. If you are not a Christian, send a copy of your own Holy Scriptures, or some other token of faith. Let them see how displeased we are that this Marine was persecuted in this way.

What was the Bible verse on Sterling’s desk, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” A good one for a Marine if I might say. It is a variant of the verse in the King James Version of Isaiah 54:17 which reads, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”

To the Marine Corps Commandant I’ve sent this verse, which is I think also very fitting for a Marine, from the NIV version: Psalm 144:1-2

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,

who trains my hands for war,

my fingers for battle.

2He is my loving God and my fortress,

my stronghold and my deliverer,

my shield, in whom I take refuge,

who subdues peoplesa under me.”

 

Shame on you Commandant, if you let this injustice stand. Shame!

I will be sending my messages to the following address listed on the Marine Corps website. I encourage others to do the same. Let’s fill up his office with Christian and religious texts and paraphernalia.

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

Commandant of the Marine Corps

Headquarters, US Marine Corps

3000 Marine Corps, Pentagon

Washington, DC 20350-3000

(703) 614-2500

Jeremy Griffith, CPT, LG, USAR (Ret.)

Jeremy Griffith, CPT, LG, USAR (Ret.)

Jeremy L. Griffith

CPT LG USAR (Ret.)

www.americanmillenniumonline.com

Open Cover Letter of a Frustrated Job Seeker

by Jeremy Griffith

The American Millennium Online

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Dear potential employer, I am a Soldier, recently retired from military service. I have over 22 years of service, including many months in combat zones. I have sacrificed my future so that I can serve my country and preserve our freedom here at home. I have had many days of training, including complicated logistics and tactical training. I have a commission in the United States Army from one of the premiere leadership schools in the country, Army ROTC, the Reserve Officers Training Corps. I further tested my mettle at Fort Benning Georgia, completing the infamous Infantry Officers Basic Course, a course so hard not a single female peer has yet to finish. In my career I’ve worked with the very best of Army leaders, some of them who have graduated from West Point, Virginia Military Institute, The Citadel, Army Officer Candidate School and the various state academies. We all received the same pay upon commission, and had the same job requirements.

dress uniformAfter service as a combat arms officer, an Infantry Officer, an accomplishment I am very proud of, I was asked to make the transition to become an Army Logistician, supporting the war fighter in battle. My work is not for the faint-hearted or the slow witted. It takes careful consideration and patience to provide the materials, parts, food, vehicles, fuel and other necessities to the war fighter to make him successful on the battlefield, and yet, I have competed every mission and task put before me flawlessly.

A Logistician in Kuwait

A Logistician in Kuwait

I put down my coveted blue Infantry Cord, pridefully displayed over my right shoulder of my dress uniform, for the red piping and the insignia of the Logistician. I did this because the Army asked me to. I have moved at least two brigades to the theater of war and back again, without losing a single piece of equipment under my charge. Flawless execution for countless 20-foot containers and many companies of rolling stock.

Returning home

Returning home

In my military career, I have held various challenging positions of leadership, often serving in positions above my pay grade since no other senior officers were available to serve in my stead, or because such an officer had shirked their duty when I did not. I was an anti-tank platoon leader, an Infantry Company Executive Officer, a support platoon leader, a light truck platoon leader, a Movement Control Team Commander, an assistant operations staff officer, an assistant logistics officer, a public affairs operator, and a trainer/mentor team commander. Often I served in these posts without having any training specific to the position I was required to fill. I had to learn the position OJT. I did this by listening to the junior and senior Non-Commissioned officers in my command, who had experience where I had none. That’s how I learned and how we were successful together.

Casevac -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Casevac -photo by Jeremy Griffith

In my civilian career I haven’t always worked in journalism, my preferred profession. Multiple deployments have made that difficult for me. When I received my commission, I also earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, print journalism from St. Cloud State University. I did not sit on my laurels however, I also earned my masters degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida. And though I haven’t always worked in journalism, I have had an unbroken period of employment, much of it serving as an IV Technician at the Mayo Clinic. I have run to the patients’ rooms and stuck sharp needles into their arms so that desperately ill people could receive blood products or medicine to save their lives. Most of the patients I’ve served are adults, but some were very young children, who don’t understand why you are hurting them, even as you try to help them. My heart has ached for my patients, especially for the very ill children. This I think demonstrates I have accepted work other people would avoid, because no job is too low for me, no task unimportant.

Public Affairs Operator

Public Affairs Operator

I see that you have proprietary requirements and software that you would like me to be familiar with; things like Photoshop, In Design, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, etc. That’s nice. I am familiar with some of them, but not all. Most programs have instruction manuals and as a Soldier I have had to work with many proprietary systems that I was previously unfamiliar with and yet had to learn anyway, despite my lack of experience, or a validated trainer to mentor me. I dug into the manual and learned what I needed to to be successful. I’ve had to be flexible in that way. I’m sure if hired I will be able to quickly get up to speed on what ever processes and software you are currently using, and when technology forces change, I will adapt quickly yet again.

Firefight -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Firefight -photo by Jeremy Griffith

I’m sure that my qualifications can be intimidating for some. Very few in the private sector can boast of my experience. I know that I am overqualified for many of the positions I will apply for. Yet, don’t be anxious. I have been forced to work under substantial pressure with many different people from all walks of life and have still been a valued member of that team. I’ve worked with Iraqi contractors in operation Iraqi Freedom and Noble Eagle, I helped protect vital assets and air ports in Minneapolis-St. Paul for the 2007 Republican National Convention, working with local police, sheriffs, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. I’ve provided informatics for the state Adjutant General in support of Operation Caregiver, in support of inpatient shut-ins during a state workers strike. I’ve dealt with the media as a public affairs operator as part of my extra duties as a staff officer, getting out to the public the message of what my unit is doing in the name of the citizens who are our bosses. As a reporter I’ve written many headline, front page stories of general interest to the community and I continue to share stories and commentary through my blog, WWW.AmericanMillenniumOnline.com.

Graduation - PAO

Graduation – PAO

I’m sure that if hired I will be an extremely important member of your team and an asset. If you choose to pass me over in favor of someone less qualified, I would appreciate a call of explanation.

Regards,

A Soldier.

Governor Dayton alone on mandatory pre-K funding, will shut down education anyway, potentially causing layoffs

by Jeremy Griffith

The American Millennium Online

AmericanMillenniumOnline.com creator Jeremy Griffith at Jefferson's house. Thomas wasn't home.

Jeremy Griffith, The American Millennium

The Minnesota legislative session has ended and the Governor has left in a tiff as he always does. This time he’s mad that there wasn’t mandatory pre-kindergarten funding in his new education budget, despite the fact that educators and administrators and practically no one else supports such funding.

Republicans from the district met with constituents this week to discuss the outcome of the latest legislative session, including the non-sensical veto of the education bill by the Governor. That budget provides $17 billion additional dollars to education to students and districts in the state. But because the governor didn’t get his pet project, mandatory Pre-K, he vetoed the bill, at the end of the session, without any discussion or negotiation with the legislatures.

Ultimately, the Republicans will no doubt be blamed for the shut down and the inevitable layoffs in the districts, especially the Republican Majority House of Representatives. But the fault is purely on the part of the democrat Governor Mark Dayton, who has no support from legislators on the right of the eisle, no support from educators and school administrators, and very little support from his democratic base. In fact, school administrators have called on the governor to abandon ideas of funding school mandatory pre-k because the districts have no teachers available and trained, no facilities and are ill prepared for adopting such a program.

The parents have their students in school already for 13 plus years from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Colleges and Universities have them for another four or more. But that isn’t enough time to indoctrinate students in the liberal world view. Which, in my view is another good argument for abandoning the current school system and asking for a program that involves homeschooling with after school programs, and vouchers for schools that are failing students in the inner cities.

Governor Dayton has listened to zero of his constituents in regards to his unreasonable desire for mandatory pre-K. It’s time that people started calling his office and telling him how parents really feel.

“The governor really doesn’t know what to do about phone calls from constituents,” said State Senator Carla Nelson-R. “He really doesn’t respond well to pressure, either from phone calls or at the negotiation table. Which, is really why people should call the governor’s office right away.”

Call the governor and tell him how you feel at 651-201-3400 or toll free at 800-657-3717.

A legislative special session is required in order to avoid a shut down of education in the fall. Only the governor can call for a special session, but he cannot end it, which is why local legislators have an opportunity to work on this and other legislative issues if such a session is called.

Read more about the Governor’s veto and impending education layoffs at the Daily Globe here.

http://www.dglobe.com/news/3749428-funding-dispute-forces-education-layoff-notices

The Fighting Season: Ricky Schroder’s Documentary on the Fight in Afghanistan is Awesome Cinematography!

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Jeremy Griffith, the creator of The American Millennium Online.

Two thumbs way up for the first two episodes of The Fighting Season by executive producer Ricky Schroder. All through the two first episodes I was shouting at the TV non-stop and cheering the Soldiers and their leaders and booing their vile opponents. I felt like I was watching a melodrama, except the action was very real!

The Fighting Season is following elements of the 10th Mountain and the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan as they have a two fold mission there, roll up the carpet and leave things to the local nationals, and continue to fight the enemy insurgents until their last day in country. I appreciated the vignettes transitioning from the warfighters on the ground actually putting rounds on target and taking fire from insurgents, to the American Colonel mentoring the Afghani National Police, to the officers and staff planning the operations. Every aspect of the war effort is covered in this documentary. It is taught and insightful and brutal.

I appreciated one scene early on that was part of an interview with a young captain who was the brigade intelligence officer. He was explaining that the fight we are involved in now in Afghanistan is not against an insurgency that wants to win back their nation and drive out invaders. These opponents are a brutal mob who wants to gain control of the country and restore the brutal regime that was in place before; the one that prevented girls from going to school, who had women in basic slavery day in and day out and would kill Soldiers and civilians, anyone that doesn’t bend to their regressive point of view.

Watching this extraordinary documentary had me emotional even as I think of recent events in Iraq where I served as part of the surge back in 2007. The fall of Ramadi in Iraq is a significant set back for the United States and the world. ISIS is now on the door step of Baghdad and as such, will no doubt take over the country very soon. It illustrates clearly how the successes gained through the blood and tears of our fighting men and women can be so easily lost by short sighted and arrogant politicians.

This is not about war, this is war! – quote from the Ricky Schroder made for TV documentary “The Fighting Season”.

But we are 14 years down the road, I get that, and people are tired of sending young men and women to die in foreign theaters. I get it. In the end of the day, Afghanistan and Iraq has to fight for themselves and maintain the gains that we have given them, we cannot safeguard them forever. So it’s heart-rending to watch the news as thousands of civilians flee ISIS on foot in the heat even as their military and police forces drop their weapons and run.

I think about and fear for the lives of three hundred plus Marines currently stationed at Al Asaad Airbase in Iraq who are there to train the Iraqi Army and police and find themselves surrounded by ISIS. I wonder if they will find relief soon, able to leave their mission before they are unable to leave and are overwhelmed by the terrorists, forced to fight to the last man. Remember that this administration has left people die before, abandoning Ambassador Stevens and four of his brave protection detail in Benghazi, Libya. Will this administration do that again to the Marines and other support personnel now in Iraq?

I worry about the 3rd BCT, 4th ID now stationed in Kuwait out of Fort Carson, Colorado. Is this heavy brigade going to go over the berm into Iraq to relieve those Marines? What dangers will they face? Or will Barack Obama keep them in Kuwait doing training exercises and watching over the berm with bated breath? Will Obama unleash the dogs of war or will he keep them chained?

Ricky Schroader and his team of producers and documentarians have in my mind created the greatest war documentary since Restrepo and Brothers At War. In the first and second episodes I could see, actually see AK-47 rounds pass between the Soldiers and the filmakers as they are taking cover behind thin trees and tall grass. Meanwhile, many miles away, an army Major and his staff at the tactical operations center is listening to radio traffic and watching the action through the eyes of drones even as they try to direct air support to relieve the besieged platoon on the ground.

“This is not “Call Of Duty”! -quote from “The Fighting Season”

In another Vignette, an Army Colonel mentoring the Afghan National Police is driving in convoy with his men and checking checkpoints to make sure the locals are executing their duties properly. Traffic is intense and the Soldiers heads are on swivels, looking out for trouble. The colonel gets out of the vehicle, to the chagrine and horror of his men and he engages local businessmen in the bazaar, buying fruit from the vendors and talking to them about local issues. The men chastise him, fearful he is putting himself at risk unnecessarily. The colonel just laughs them off saying, “you can’t do this job staying in the car! They have to see you doing the job.”

A female Army captain speaks at one point about her work with Afghan women. The strict rules of conduct in that country forbid men to search or even talk to strange women, so the nation is training women police officers and female Soldiers like this young Army Captain is mentoring them. The captain talks about her role as an advisor and shares her admiration for the leader of the local police, a woman of renown, who has championed women’s and human rights in the country.

Meanwhile, at one of the Forward Operating Base, the commander of a brigade combat team of the All American 82nd Airborne is planning an op in a beleaguered part of the country. The snow has melted in the mountains and foreign and local insurgents are returning to fight, the fighting season has begun. The colonel coaches his men through the Army’s military decision making process, MDMP as they come up with courses of action for the spring and summer campaign. He rejects the early COA he receives and tells the staff to go back to the drawing board. The colonel presents a final draft of the plan to his boss, a one-star general who is the deputy commander of the task force. Problems are found in the air logistics piece of the plan; the unit is taking too many turns, about 8 round trips, in helicopters to get to the objective. The brigadier is concerned that the unit might be telegraphing their intent and making themselves too easy a target for insurgents with rocket propelled grenades. The planners of the 82nd are pushed back to their offices to revise the plan once again.

Meanwhile, a female First Sergeant, in charge of logistics for the upcoming mission, is trying to figure out how to best provide material support. She’s loading containers of supplies and equipment for air movement and the containers have become too heavy. She’s got to double check the packing list inside to see what’s in there and what can be removed, and one of her knuckle-heads has misplaced the key to the container lock. She’s pissed, swearing up a blue streak to subordinates on the phone. They better get this right or there will be a woman’s wrath and Hell to pay.

I really like this series and I can’t wait to watch the last three episodes on this week on Audience on Direct TV. I highly recommend it. I covers all aspects of the operations, from the Soldiers on the ground to the planners and leaders, and to the logisticians who almost never get credit for their very important work in providing support for the meat-eaters and trigger pullers. I like how the filmakers are hardly ever heard from in the movie and they allow the stories to be told from the point of view of the servicemen and women.

Mr. Schroder and his small team took enormous risk with this documentary, putting themselves in harm’s way to film it. The film is beautifully shot and amazingly dramatic. This should win an award and I recommend anyone see it who has had a loved one in a combat zone and has asked the question, “what is it like over there?” This series answers that question beautifully and I can’t wait to see the rest. Huah!

In the Eyes of Fans the World Over, Pacquiao Wins Epic Battle

Manny Pacquiao's ebulient peronality and straightforward fighting style makes him a winner in the eyes of fans all over the world.

Manny Pacquiao’s ebulient peronality and straightforward fighting style makes him a winner in the eyes of fans all over the world.

 

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

 

Mayweather may have won a technical fight between himself and underdog opponent Manny Pacquiao, by in the eyes of the adoring fans the world over, Manny, a modern day Robin Hood, was the winner.

Mayweather’s technical win seems to hinge on a weak punch, run away and hug strategy. Using his longer reach, the black American would keep his Filipino opponent away at distance, and keep on throwing week punches every time Pacquiao would try to step in and fight. There’s a reason for this. Pacquiao is a dangerous fighter who knocks people out. In the close fight, Manny wins. That’s why often when Manny did step in, Floyd would wrap him up and hug him. It’s a good strategy if you aren’t looking for a real fight, but it makes the outcome less clear.

Floyd Mayweather's run and hug strategy may have won him the fight in technical terms, but made him the loser in the eyes of people watching.

Floyd Mayweather’s run and hug strategy may have won him the fight in technical terms, but made him the loser in the eyes of people watching.

Given all the “points” that Mayweather accumulated from the judges throughout the fight, Floyd chose not to engage Pacquiao anymore, choosing instead to run around the ring and keep away. Already this weak punch, run and hug strategy has given rise to humorous memes on the Internet.

Some of those memes include the following:

Pacquiao is a fighter, Mayweather is a marathoner!

Or,

Pacquiao is a figher, Mayweather is a hugger!

Or,

Mayweather: Free Hugs!

And Etc. From the very beginning the back stories of the respective fighters suggested an epic battle between good an evil. Pacquiao is the epic small town hero and national champion of the Philippines. He smiles, he worships God openly, and he interacts with fans. On contrast, Mayweather is all about the money, in fact that is his monicker. In the lead up to the fight there was awkward video of a Mayweather fluncky hanging bottles of expensive wine in a expansive room in one of Floyd’s overpriced houses. The weird video showed just how out of touch Floyd seems to be with the common people. He is a franchise fighter and business man who cares primarily about himself and fails to connect to people.

So it was Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker apparently. Ultimately the professional boxing style wasn’t very entertaining for most people who aren’t fans of boxing who only tuned in because they hopped to see a real brawl, which didn’t materialize.

There was a telling moment when a rude interviewer was talking to Manny after the fight. He looked very uncomfortable next to Manny as he basically asked him why he was such a loser, being out-boxed by the American opponent. Manny smiled and said simply, “I think I won the fight!” That shocked the interviewer, who countered. “Well, what about Mayweather’s power. Could you feel that in the ring?” To which Manny smiled, with his bright personable smile and said, “I can handle his ‘power’!”

Because there was no power to Mayweather’s punches. A martial arts practitioner will tell you that you can’t break a board or a brick by punching it at the full length of your punch, which is what Floyd was doing to Manny. The target has to be closer in, and the fighter must punch through the target for there to be any power. Whatever power was in Mayweather’s punches was pretty much extinguished at full reach when they occasionally made contact with Pacquiao’s face or body. Analysis given by the announcers demonstrate that the fight was basically judged by the number of punches thrown versus the effectiveness of those punches, which came out hugely in Mayweather’s favor. It seems an odd way to judge a fight that seemed largely to come out as a draw in the eyes of the viewers.

Many are already speculating on whether there will be a rematch, but I find that highly unlikely, based on the build up to this fight. It might take another five years, at which time, the fighters will be well past their prime. The only way Mayweather would schedule such a fight is if he could capitalize on it for more money. He can find the money elsewhere, and much easier too.

The fight was largely a disappointment to Philippines fans, who put a lot of emotional stock in their hero. But the loss doesn’t diminish Manny at all. If nothing it elevates him through the sorrow of disappointment in the eyes of the fans who admire his straight forward, honest fighting style. I was in a house filled with Filipino immigrants that night and all of them were angry at Mayweather for cheating and running rather than fighting. Many asked the question: why doesn’t he get penalized for that? Isn’t that illegal? I’m not a boxing fan, so I don’t know the rules, which seemed to favor the American and weigh against his Filipino challenger.

The rules of society don’t make much sense sometimes and often heroes of the past find themselves at odds with them. Jesus Christ, Robin Hood, Davy Crocket, etc. all were victims of this, but in the end it did not diminish them, but elevated their legend. At the end of the day, Manny Pacquiao was elevated again on the shoulders of people who love him and identify with him. In the meantime, the ‘winner’, Floyd Mayweather will be able to cash in, while at the same time be the subject of ridicule not unlike Pontious Pilate, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Santa Anna.

One more observation on the fight before closing. Did anyone notice the weird opening? There were three national anthem’s played. The United States and the Philippines, and I get that, but why was the Mexican Anthem sung? It was a weird awkward moment to be listening to an anthem played for a participant who wasn’t there, had no dog in the fight. Apparently the PC police are in full force. The excuse was, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Whatever. It would have been better if it had not been played. Leave the PC crap at the door. All it did was cause snickers amongst the impatient fans who waited hours to see the primary fight card.

The so-called epic matchup

The so-called epic matchup between Mayweather and Pacquiao ultimately was a disappointment to people watching.

Related

http://uproxx.com/sports/2015/05/twitter-internet-reactions-mayweather-pacquiao/

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/03/asia/pacquiao-fans-call-for-mayweather-rematch/index.html

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2452396-mayweather-vs-pacquiao-money-the-clear-winner-as-pac-man-fails-in-title-fight

http://deadspin.com/floyd-mayweather-is-a-coward-1701842801

A Veteran’s Unsolicited Advice For a Young Lieutenant

Jeremy Griffith

The American Millennium Online
Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

Captain Jeremy Griffith in Baghdad 2007

 

I recently ran across an uplifting article about a young lieutenant in the Army National Guard here in Minnesota. Uplifting, because it looks like a young officer just beginning his career is on top of the world and is looking for an exciting and action packed life. As a recent retiree, I feel it’s my duty to throw the cold water of reality on the situation.

 

Luke Dery has been in the Minnesota Guard a while now and has his first platoon leader position, a platoon of medics. You can read about his story in Star Tribune here. Apparently he’s got a degree in biology from the University of Minnesota and is working on an MBA. Good for him. The life is challenging, but he’s enjoying it. Good for you.

 

Now here is what you can expect in your future that the recruiters at ROTC didn’t explain. With luck you probably had “the talk” with your first platoon sergeant. Hopefully, like mine, he or she is a seasoned veteran with loads of advice for a new LT. He or she probably pulled you aside and said, “You got all the book learnin’ LT, now listen to an old salt and let me tell you how it really is.” In lieu of that scenario, here is my advice to you.

 

Enjoy your time in the Guard, but be wary. Get to the rank of Captain as fast as you can and don’t dawdle. Stay healthy and in shape, and pray you don’t get hurt. PT sucks when you’re hurt. If they pull out the command chair for a company for you, take it! And, when your two or three years is up in the command slot, GET THE HELL OUT! You’ll have all the leadership experience you need to look impressive to prospective employers from platoon leader to company commander, but beyond that, the Guard becomes your career, not your civilian job.

 

Don’t expect to always have cake walk two week annual training periods. More often than not, as a leader, they’ll ask you to do more, maybe three to four weeks, which will leave your civilian employer scratching his head. The longer you stay, the more pissed off your civilian employer will get. Don’t breed that animosity. And if you are deployed, forget about it. You’re employer will really be pissed and if they’re good, they’ll hold your slot, if not, they’ll find a way to fire you for cause. They’re required to keep your slot by law, but if they word the paper work carefully, they will find a way to let you go.

 

If you do decide to make the Army your career, get out of the Guard after your command and join the Reserves. The process is fairly easy and there is usually a mass exodus from the Guard to the Reserve at the captain level. The Reserve recruiter will understand. I’m sure it will be easy to place a medical services officer and there will no doubt be a major slot with your name on it. And then the way is paved for you to Lieutenant Colonel and beyond. But not if you stay in the Minnesota Guard. Don’t do as I did and wait too long. Opportunities are wasted if you wait.

 

Hopefully now that the “wars” are over, you’ll settle down in a routine, but I wouldn’t count on it. Thank your lucky stars you missed out on the West Africa Ebola Mission! Barack Obama won’t be president forever and the war on terror is far from over. In a new administration, the deployments might kick up again and you can expect to spend long periods away from home. Embrace the suck. Wives and girlfriends aren’t terribly understanding after the second or third deployment.

“Thank your lucky stars you missed out on the West Africa Ebola Mission!”

And prepare to watch your men die. That is what platoon leaders and company commanders do on deployment. There’s no way around it. Commanders’ duty is to make sure their units are well trained and equipped. Ready to go. Training breeds confidence, confidence removes fear, fear breeds hesitation, hesitation will get you killed. The old drill sergeants will tell you that a well trained soldier is more likely to survive and that is partially true. A well-trained crew in an uparmored vehicle driving down the main supply route can be easily picked out. They drive aggressive, they own the road, the gunner is out and alert, his head on a swivel. The crew looks badass and Haji don’t wanna fuck with them. They’ll fuck around with the crew that doesn’t look prepared for a fight. Haji is a coward, but he ain’t stupid.

“Training breeds confidence, confidence removes fear, fear breeds hesitation, hesitation will get you killed.”

An ill prepared crew will get killed far more often than a crew that is properly trained. A crew that sucks in training will not be confident in you, the leadership or their skills and they’ll eventually balk at doing their jobs under stress. Then you’ll have to discipline the whole platoon and squad. Don’t be that guy.

 

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you won’t lose anyone because you’re good. You will. You just won’t lose as many. The ones you do lose will be the good ones, the best of the best and that will make it all that much harder. Navy SEALS get killed, and there is no one better than they are. Sometimes Haji gets lucky.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you won’t lose anyone because you’re good. . .  Sometimes Haji gets lucky.”

Take a good pen with you on deployment. You’ll need it to sign the letters back to family members explaining to them how you lost little Johnny or Janie. No form letters. Family can see through that shit. Make it personal. If there are tear stains on the paper, all the better. Its hurt to write those letters. It’s supposed too. You can type it out to make it official, but then you sign with your nice pen. Make it personal. Families will thank you for your candor. They’ll resent you if you do it half-assed.

 

As a platoon leader of medics, you have the bravest of the brave working for you. Everybody loves Doc. Get over the notion that your platoon will be all yours during deployment. Most likely you’ll have most of your medics farmed out to other units, aka detached and Opconed, where you will have little influence in the lives and fortunes of your men. The gaining unit will have responsibility, hopefully they’ll get a good unit. More than likely you’ll hear a few horror stories, so be prepared.

 

Minnesota Guard is a combat arms driven state. If you aren’t Ranger qualified and aren’t an Infantry or Armor guy, they powers that be won’t understand your value and they won’t respect you. So they won’t hold command slots open for you. And you can forget about field grade, unless you’re a surgeon. That’s why it’s important to jump ship early. Only you can manage your career.

 

I’ve had good moments in my career and bad. Hopefully you will benefit from my bad experiences. Here are a few of the shittier assignments and experiences I’ve had that you can look forward to.

 

*Soldier of mine suffering from spots on his lungs, VA won’t pay because the problem wasn’t identified in theater. Probable cause, burn pits. Sucks to be him. Minnesota VA is better than most, and still won’t do much. Embrace the suck.

 

*I once had to sit on a young lieutenant in jail. Yes, a lieutenant! A young African-American officer went AWOL at Annual Training, and then when he decided to show up to work, he threatened to assault his company commander, also African American. The decision was made to throw him in jail at Fort McCoy over night and let a few of us captains sit on him to make sure he didn’t hurt himself, because contracted police at Ft. McCoy don’t provide jailors. Units have to do that. I’m retired now, and that knucklehead is still in. How does that work?

 

*I was asked to provide security for the St. Paul Airport and the Army and Air National Guard air assets for the Republican National Convention in 2008. Local law enforcement response teams as well as the FBI where deploying from there. The Coast Guard had helicopters deploying from there to monitor the air space around the rivers. There were other assets deploying from there that I could not recognize. In preparation to make a decent base defense, I asked for barrier material, concertina wire, serpentine road obstacles, shot guns with less-lethal bean bag ammo, M9 Berettas, body armor, protective masks, CS gas, and a shelter for my 8 Janes and Jonnies. I got plastic barriers and a trailer. My guys had to be out there in the hot weather in their battle rattle with no weapons of any kind with our good looks and verbal judo checking ID cards of people coming into the airport. I didn’t get any of the training I requested, because I didn’t get the weapons. Thank God for Homeland Security and the local South Saint Paul Police Department who had their weapons, otherwise I would be out there in the wind alone. Embrace the suck.

 

*During my tenure, a Command Sergeant Major was relieved of duty for harassing female soldiers on deployment. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a female lieutenant who refused to take it anymore and reported him. The CSM should have been busted to E-1 and kicked out. Instead he was busted from E-9 to E-7 and allowed to quietly retire. The good old boys network was in full force. Embrace the Suck.

 

*On deployment to Iraq I had a less than stellar soldier attached to me for a long term work detail. He related this story. He was injured on deployment and couldn’t work and was not allowed to rotate home. He also had the bad habit of showing up late for work detail and hanging around his girlfriend’s living area after hours, for which the unit tried corrective action. To correct some of his behaviors, the unit decided to lock him in to a shipping container over night without a cot or a blanket. When the corrections didn’t hold, the soldierwas farmed out, that is Opconed, to me where he was slightly better than totally worthless. (I actually got him showing up on time four times out of seven!) I approached the unit command to try to find out more about his situation. I advised that nowhere in the UCMJ did I find that you could incarcerate a soldier for Article 15 procedures in a shipping container. You can take pay, you can demote a soldier, you cannot lock people in a box. I politely recommended that he be placed in housing with a sergeant who could keep a better eye on the lad from here on out. “Tut tut, young captain!” I was told, as the sergeant major patted me on the head like I was a puppy. “We handle things our own way in our company.” I advised JAG of the situation, but in theater, JAG doesn’t work for the soldier, he works for the commander. A soldier can get representation, but the Trial Service doesn’t have offices in theater. The soldier had to make a call to some rag bag kicking up his heals somewhere in Europe. After a 20 minute call, the soldier decided his situation working with me was better than what was going on with his unit and that he would gut it out until the end of deployment. Embrace the Suck.

 

*I saved the best for last. I once had to do a 10-6 investigation on a soldier and his unit. What was his crime you ask? Embezzlement? Assault? Disrespect to a senior officer? Nope, nope, nope! ADULTERY! The smuck cheated on his wife, with a female soldier in his unit. A Military Police Company! Sounds medieval doesn’t it, but the Army can and will prosecute you for that. That’s awesome! I was in a room, interviewing a 20-something pregnant beauty with doey blue eyes and long dark hair as she sniffled and moaned about how much her douche bag husband had hurt her and their family. It doesn’t get any better than that. I had a long talk with members of his unit, after which I thought, this is going nowhere. I got nothing. If this kid is smart he’ll lawyer up and say nothing and then I got nothing expect an unhappy bride who is 8-months along. I finally got the knuckle head in my office. “So!” I told the young sergeant. “Are you cheating on your wife and if so, why?!” I had a 30 minute discussion, on tape, as the soldier explained how and why he had tried unsuccessfully to cheat on the Missus, after I had read the soldier his rights. I made recommendations to JAG for conduct unbecoming and called it a day. I didn’t hear how it went, but I hope they busted the soldier back to specialist. Two weeks later I got a call from the wife. They had gotten back together and were trying to make a go for it. I was asked to drop any charges. I told the young lady that this episode might be a pattern of behavior and that I’d already submitted my findings to JAG. It was up to them. I hope she is doing well, but again, I never heard.

 

And that young lieutenant is a brief summary of the kinds of things you might find yourself dealing with if you stay in the guard. Take my advice with a grain of salt. Mind your own career because no one else will. I hope you have good, true leaders above you who recognize you’re worth. Be aware of those who don’t, and when you think you’ve had enough, move on with your life. It is your life and career to manage. Hopefully, it will be a good one.

“It is your life and career to manage. Hopefully, it will be a good one.”

 

Ziggurat of Ur, Camp Adder Iraq

Ziggurat of Ur, Camp Adder Iraq

Cities Under Siege: a reaction to Ferguson documentarian Orlando De Guzman

by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium

 

Recently I watched a video documentary on Ferguson entitled Ferguson: A Report From Occupied Territory produced by documentary film-maker Orlando De Guzman. I was initially skeptical after listening to an interview of Guzman on MPR. I have recently watched the whole documentary and would concede some points as potentially valid. Some of what Guzman said, however are a matter of dispute.

 

The Ferguson documentary begins with an analysis of what has happened between an on duty police officer Darren Wilson and a black American 18-year old Michael Brown who the officer shot and killed in a confrontation. The documentary goes on to much more than just this confrontation and explores alleged structural racism in and around St. Louis, Missouri. The problem I had with the initial set up was that De Guzman seems to gloss over important facts about the confrontation between the officer and the deceased suspect; namely that he was the suspect in a strong armed robbery of a local convenience store, that Brown had man handled an Asian American store clerk, refusing to pay for a box of cigars that he purposely stole, and that when confronted with a police officer, instead of obeying the lawful orders of the police officer, Brown attempted to overpower the officer, potentially to kill him with his own gun and that during the melee, the officer prevailed in defending his life and as a result, shot Brown dead.

 

Now it’s too much to say that this matter is not in dispute, but if you were to dispute it, you would be arguing with grand jury testimony with which the officer was cleared of wrong doing, much of it given by black American witnesses living in the neighborhood, grand jury witnesses who actually saw the events as it happened and reported truthfully as to what they saw.

 

In light of this testimony and the forensic evidence, including the bullet fragments found in the officer’s car and retrieved from the body of Michael Brown, and video evidence of the strong armed robbery, I come to the conclusion that the grand jury came to, that Michael Brown had committed a crime and compounded his crime by refusing to surrender to an officer and in doing so contributed to his own death. That I think is pretty cut and dried. And when you know those facts, the substance of the argument that an innocent man was randomly gunned down in the street for being black quickly erodes.

 

Robbed of that argument, the film-maker does what the Eric Holder Justice Department did, and that is to look for problems elsewhere. They could not convict Darren Wilson, although his reputation has been ruined. Instead they went after the local institutions of government and law enforcement and they may have come across an interesting nugget.

 

Apparently, the municipalities around St. Louis, MO have been targeting largely African-American populations with horrendous fines from anything from jay-walking to seat-belt violations. Night courts filled with white officers and legal personnel preside over large numbers of black people who are forced to pay onerous fines for very slight malefactions. In poor neighborhoods people have to make decisions on whether or not to pay the fines or buy bread. And that has caused a lot of anger in the black community, and rightfully so. I don’t agree with the practice of creating revenue for municipalities through fines issued by law enforcement. Municipal government may be at fault. Unable to meet their budgets, they find other revenue streams that are not appropriate and thus alienate the poor in those areas.

 

De Guzman claimed that this is because of racism. Perhaps. Ultimately it can be demonstrated that the black community suffers the most and that angry blacks have an argument to make to state and local authorities. I fail to see how this problem is an excuse to burn cars and businesses and to shoot police officers in the face, which has happened in Ferguson and was not covered in the documentary.

 

It seems to me that the film-maker, while making some valid points, only picks and chooses those facts that fit a certain narrative. The truth is much more complex and difficult. It’s not, dare I say it, a black and white issue. It should be noted that St. Louis proper still rates among the highest in violent crime including murder. If you are of the middle class and you can move, why wouldn’t you move to a less violent and crime ridden community? An awful lot of blame is laid on white people who don’t want to stay in violent neighborhoods because Racism!

 

Ultimately I think the documentary is thought provoking and beautifully shot. De Guzman is obviously a very good story teller. But there are facts that don’t fit the narrative that are glaring to the informed and it gave me a bad taste in my mouth after listening to the interview and watching the documentary. Yes problems exist. These small municipalities seem to be preying on the poor with onerous, ridiculous fines to increase their revenue. That has to stop. There is another thing that has to stop. Disobeying the lawful orders of police officers, violence and crime, including burning cars and stores, ruining livelihoods of people who are not involved in the violence, or the municipal policies that target blacks. Had the documentary been more honest about those problems, I would have rated it higher. I’d like to see this documentary shown to the public in other venues and then have discussions on what people saw. I’d also like to see the documentary play about Ferguson by the playwright Phelim McAleer based on the grand jury testimony. Given these multiple sources and others, I think a clearer more complete view of what has happened in Ferguson will begin to emerge that will not be tainted by only one person’s narrative viewpoint.

 

Watch the Orlando De Guzman documentary here.

Also, you can watch the interview of The Blaze’s Dana Loesch with playwright Phelim McAleer here. We’d love to hear your thoughts so, don’t forget to leave a comment below. Tell me if you think I’m off base or on point.

The Guns of Lexington-Concord: Celebrating 240 years with Appleseed Project

The British retreat after the battle of Lexington-Concord

The British retreat after the battle of Lexington-Concord

by Jeremy Griffith

American Millennium Online

 

 Today is the 240th anniversary of the Revolutionary War’s battle at Lexington and Concord. To celebrate, my girlfriend and I participated in an Appleseed Project Event here in Rochester, learning how to shoot like true riflemen and learning about the events of that historic battle.

 

The Appleseed Project is a group of volunteers who train citizens on basic rifle marksmanship. Their weekend events take place annually and all across the country. It’s a fun two days of instruction and training, and the volunteers mix in a little history during the breaks.

 

Highlights of this weekend included a gentleman who war period clothing, carrying a musket, who spoke on those early days of the Revolutionary War. There were three events, or three strikes of the match that led those early Americans, who considered themselves Britians, to take arms against their own regular troops and revolt. Eight bloody years of war followed those days and the outcome was not at all certain. We know how it ended, but many of us do not know the details of that day.

 

Two stories told over the weekend made a major impression on me. Following the battle for Lexington and Concord, another young rider sounded the alarm for revolutionary militia to defend their homes. On April 26, 1775, 16-year old Sybil Ludington, the daughter of a veteran colonel of the French and Indians War, Henry Ludington, set out on a journey twice as long as the journey of Paul Revere, about 40 miles, to sound the alarm for local militia. She rode her pony Star, and tapped on the windows with a stick to wake up the men. At one point she beat off a highwayman (robber) with that same stick. Her heroism earned her the praise of revolutionaries and George Washington himself. He epic ride is commemorated in a foot race in Carmel, New York.

 

Another story that impressed me this weekend was of the oldest veteran of that battle and the war. This veterans name was Samuel Whitmore. At 78 years of age, he was a very old man at the time of the battle of Lexington and Concord. A veteran of the King George’s War and possibly the French and Indians War, Whitmore was a trained rifleman. He took up his weapon and fired several times at British troops from behind a brick wall. His fire was so deadly accurate that the Brits took off after him and between vollies, was able to get close to him. Whitmore was shot in the face at close range and bayoneted many times. The Brits left him for dead, but Whitmore survived that day. When revolutionaries found him bleeding on the ground, it is said he was attempting to reload his weapon. Whitmore survived the war and died at the age of 98.

 

From old to young, many risked their lives for freedom against the tyranny of King George. Today many of us don’t take enough time to appreciate their sacrifice.

 

Rose and I didn’t not score enough in the weekend of shooting to become riflemen, this time. But we got good pointers and are well on our way to bettering our marksmanship. Rose, a Philippine immigrant and new American citizen, learned a lot about our history during the weekend’s event. Many of you have no doubt read about her journey to citizenship from an earlier blog post. This weekend was good reinforcement to what we studied up until the time of her swearing in back in September of last year. Now I’ve got her addicted to shooting. She complained bitterly about the old tube fed rifle I loaned her and now she wants to buy her own modern rifle. I don’t blame her. It was a lot of fun.

 

I am grateful for the instruction and coaching from all of the volunteers, especially Marta, who helped Rose so much these past few days. It could not have been a better weekend.

 

I was so busy concentrating on my shooting that I did not shoot a single video or photo. I’m told though that photos of our event will be posted on the Project Appleseed-Minnesota Facebook page shortly.

 

If you are looking for a fun event for all ages. I highly recommend one of these events. A schedule is posted on the Project Appleseed website for your area.

 

https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaProjectAppleseed?fref=ts

 

https://appleseedinfo.org/

 

Battle of the College Theses: An Adventure in FOIA, Volume 2

Netcentric Hubris and the Challenges of Netcentric Leadership, a War College Thesis by Kurt Schlichter invokes in the mind of the author the image of the novel Ender's Game and it's associated movie; conjuring images of child generals using technology to pull the strings of the automaton soldiers below.

Netcentric Hubris and the Challenges of Netcentric Leadership, a War College Thesis by Kurt Schlichter invokes in the mind of the author the image of the novel Ender’s Game and it’s associated movie; conjuring images of child generals using technology to pull the strings of the automaton soldiers below.

by Jeremy Griffith

Creator of the American Millennium Online

 

Kurt Schlichter, conservative columnist and close friend of the late Super-blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Kurt Schlichter, conservative columnist and close friend of the late Super-blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Recently I embarked on a journey to test FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act, probing the government like a curious kid with a stick, stabbing at a gator. What I’ve found stunned and surprised me, as so far I have found the government gate-keepers I’ve dealt with amazingly helpful and uncharacteristically polite.

Let me backtrack to the beginning. In a previous missive I wrote on Storify, I wondered out loud and with amazement how easy it is for the New York Times and Judicial Watch to obtain and publish online the graduate work of one General El Sisi of Egypt, now that nation’s president. While still a military officer, El Sisi attended our own US Army War College and wrote a thesis as his final project where he opined on Democracy in the Middle East, a document the New York Times obtained and published without comment. Intrigued I wondered how I would fair as a poor blogger who does not buy ink by the barrel. I selected a document I wanted by an author I knew, not knowing the exact title or even if the item requested in fact existed. I expected to be sandbagged by the government, and frankly I was ready to blast their inefficiency for what I believed would be a long and winding run-around course.

Not so. I was after all, dealing with the US Army War College, and apparently, they do things differently there. After sending a couple of stray e-mails to departments who had nothing to do with my request who had no idea what I was talking about, I was politely directed to the right “desk”. The reply I got was timely and polite. “Yes Mr. Griffith,” the fellow said. “You can have that. Would you like it in digits or on paper?” It was like the gentlemen was a clerk at Walmart asking if I wanted paper or plastic.

Two days ago I received the document I had requested and since then I have devoured the contents with glee and was not disappointed. The accompanying note read, almost apologetically, “Not sure if this is the final draft. It was all I could find. Regards!” I tore open the plain envelope and perused the thesis I found inside. I was a kid at Christmas.

I knew anything written by this author had to be good. Kurt A. Schlichter is known to me and is probably well know to you as well from his popular, snarky columns on Red State and Townhall. In my previous edition, I even theorized aloud what the title of the project would have been, something patriotic and heartwarming to conservatives who love America and equally disgusting and stomach wrenching for those who don’t. I reflected that feeling in the title of that article, a little tongue in cheek. I found myself learning something new just discovering the actual title of the document, which was not a disappointment. And yes, It was about leadership, just as I knew it would be.

Netcentric Hubris and the Challenge of Netcentric Leadership by LTC Kurt A. Schlichter. How about that for a title? I immediately googled “Hubris” and “Netcentric”.

hu·brisˈ(h)yo͞obrəs/noun

  1. excessive pride or self-confidence.
synonyms: arroganceconceithaughtinesshauteurprideself-importanceegotism,pomposity, superciliousness, superiority; More
  • (in Greek tragedy) excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis.

 

Net-centric or netcentric refers to participating as a part of a continuously-evolving, complex community of people, devices, information and services interconnected by a communications network to achieve optimal benefit of resources and better synchronization of events and their consequences.

In military connotation frequently associated with terms “Net-centric Operations (NCO)” and “Net-centric Warfare (NCW)”. Many people use the terms “net-centric” and “network-centric” interchangeably. Some consider “network-centric” to refer to activities within a particular network and “net-centric” to refer to activities that cross networks.

Many experts[who?] believe the terms “information-centric” or “knowledge-centric” would capture the concepts more aptly because the objective is to find and exploit information, the network itself is only one of several enabling factors.

 

A great read. I found out from COL Schlichter that the Army with all its technology and information systems is better able to micromanage its junior leaders, something Schlichter believes is a habit to be resisted. Leaders at the top are using the tools at hand to micromanage, working the levers of control and making dancing automatons out of their captains, lieutenants, and sergeants. Like marionettes on a string, those junior leaders execute the plans of their masters and introduce no decision making of their own.

Schlichter masterfully illustrates in his argument that the Army should refrain from this practice, instead leaning upon the time tested leadership style of centralized planning and decentralized control. Yes, the leader at the top can better see the battlefield from where he stands in the OP Center. But is that sight picture true? Does it cut through the fog of war? No. Instead, the leader must accept a certain amount of risk, depending on the junior leader to make the appropriate decision at his level. I was so impressed with the logic of this document that I published it online for you to read for yourself. There are the footnotes at the end, like breadcrumbs. You can follow the trail to the source, where you can read for yourself, testing for yourself if the author’s conclusion is true. Unclassified? Yes it says that at the top, so no problems there.

The experience I’ve had with the War College is like going on a camping trip with your family to the source waters of the mighty Mississippi River. You pile into the family station wagon and you go. When you arrive, you park, and you walk down to the river. You cross the narrow inlet, where the water slows to a trickle. Dipping your hand into the cold rushing water, you lean down and drink. Cool. Refreshing. Clean.

It’s like the Army is saying. “Yes citizen. You can have the final projects of our warrior leaders, and at no charge! We are proud of what we do here and in the leaders we train. You have the right to know what it is we are doing in your name. Read the words of the warrior leaders we’ve trained, be enlightened, and enjoy.” Wow. Just, wow.

I get an altogether different feeling when I try to find the educational documents written by some of our political leaders, which are as elusive to find as the Holy Grail.

To their credit, Mother Jones, that leftist publication, has done a little footwork for us. Very little. They got half of Ted Cruz’s Princeton Undergraduate work, Clipping the Wings of Angels: The History and Theory behind the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. A doughnut stained operative wandered into the Princeton’s Mudd Library to the place where student theses are stored and with camera phone in hand, photographed 48 pages of the 115 page document. It’s like the operative didn’t want the conservative politician’s undergrad thesis bad enough to get the whole thing! Was he/she interrupted during their surreptitious photography session by a roving security guard? One wonders. Maybe they were just too cheap to pay the $0.35 per page fee to get the whole thing? “That’s enough of this pro-constitution, flag-waiving crap! Our readers will get the point. Cruz is a juvenile, nationalistic scumbag. Let’s go.” Is that what they told themselves on their way out of the library, angry security guard in pursuit? Hmmm. Well, fear not, dear reader. I’ve paid the fee and hopefully I will get the full document here shortly.

Check out what one commenter said about the Cruz document at CNN iReport here!

Meantime, good luck trying to FOIA a similar document from Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Hussein Obama II. The president apparently did some kind of project for graduation when he matriculated through his various schools. FactCheck.org assures us that is so. But it wasn’t the kind of thesis that is required to be retained by the school and indeed, the professor who advised the young Barrack on this thesis doesn’t even retain his copy. Lost it in a move, he says. Oh well.

Hillary’s thesis on the other hands isn’t quite so difficult, to get your hands on, but a little bit of a challenge, at least according to Bill Dedman, MSNBC Investigative reporter, who details his adventure with the seldom seen document. (Dedman? Good name for a writer who accidently crosses the Clintons. One wonders why an investigative reporter is necessary to find this document of Hillary’s? Wouldn’t the Lifestyle editor be better?)

Dedman admits in his article from May of 2007 that Hillary’s thesis, based on an interview with vaunted socialist thinker and activist Saul Alinsky, was sealed for a brief time for convenience when the goddess Hillary was in her role as First Lady, at her own request. But since she started running for office of President the record was unsealed once more so the peasants can view it, if they can afford the plane ticket from Rochester Minnesota or Phoenix Arizona or where ever you’re from to come to the library and seek an audience with the aforementioned manuscript. Like a high priest going into the temple, Dedman has graciously volunteered to read the holy scripture for us, a line of rope tied around his ankle in case for whatever reason he upsets the gods and is struck dead in the process. He has pierced the veil to enter the holy of holies for us and has interpreted the document to save us all the trouble and hassle. How good of him.

You and I can’t judge for ourselves the tenure and structure of the article for ourselves, that is just too awkward. We’ll just have to take Dedman’s word for it. Footnotes? Really, what good are they? Why test the research acumen of the goddess, what Hubris you have, peasant? I like that word, I learned it earlier.

No there seems to be a definite trend here that is not surprising. If you are a right wing wacko bird like Ted Cruz who is running for president, or a war-mongering former comedian turned lawyer, columnist like Kurt Schlichter, an operative of the left will get your documents and use your own words to smear you. But, If you are Barack Obama, or Hillary Rodham Clinton, special care is taken by the gate-keepers to protect your college work so as to tamp down the unfair criticism of the unwashed masses.

And that really is the point right? There is a ring around the leftist prophets of progressivism that doesn’t extend to the lovers of the constitution. No, not for you. But there is still hope. We are told that Hillary and Barack got Ivy League educations and are more than qualified to be our leaders, even though we can’t judge their work for ourselves. We can judge them. Both have works of literature that has been edited and vetted and put out for the masses after the approval and polish of the acolytes. And we have their promises and words on the TV. Yes we can judge them and we will.

Happily Barack is not running for office again, although I predict he’ll be around in the wings for quite some time. As for Hillary, if she gets past her current dilemma with the press over her missing emails and private server, with the help of the press, then she is well on her way to be the presumptive nominee.

The democrats have cause for concern this time around, however. The GOP has a deep bench filled with conservatives as well as a moderate or two and with luck the right guy or gal will rise to the top to challenge the goddess. Ted Cruz, cum laude from his respective institution of Princeton and a champion debater with a record for excellence, leads the way. I can’t wait to see a debate between Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz. It’ll be better than fireworks.