(Robert Reich on behalf of MoveOn.org on the US-Iran Accord.)
(Dennis Prager delivers a message on the US-Iran Deal.)
by Jeremy Griffith
Creator of The American Millennium
Robert Reich, a former Clinton Crony speaking on behalf of political action organization built by the Clintons, MoveOn.org, would like you to think that the current US-Iran Accord is a good idea, that it will lead to peace, and opposition to it will only lead to war. He’s wrong, dead wrong and here’s why.
Nations that want peace don’t call for the destruction of other nations. They try to work things out with other nations and find common ground. Iran, a Muslim Theocracy disguised as a Republic, has never done so. In fact, the sole aim of the Iranian Republic (Theocracy) is to dominate the Muslim World, destroy the Jewish State of Israel and then conquer or destroy the United States of America, who it calls, the Great Satan. Israel they call, the Little Satan.
From its inception, the Iranian nation has been opposed to a Jewish state and have fought for it’s destruction. They were involved in the Israeli war of independence, which Israel won handily despite overwhelming odds. They support terror organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas within Palestine, which constantly barrage Israel with rockets and car bombs, forcing the Israeli Defense Forces to retaliate in their defense. Iran has fought a proxy war in Iraq where they’ve tried to destabilize that nation’s provisional government and have been responsible for murdering over a thousand of our servicemen and women with their roadside bombs. The name of the nation, Iran, means Arryian in Arabic. Iran was a close ally with Nazi Germany and was all in favor of the destruction of European Jews at the hands of Hitler’s forces. They have one united worldview in that regard. Fortunately the Evil of Hitler’s Nazis has left the planet. But Evil still remains in the form of the Iranian government, led by radical Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khamenei.
People like Robert Reich believe you can make peace with these people. But they have no intention of honoring a peace. Like Britian’s Neville Chamberlain, Barack Obama and his allies go to make a deal with the devil that will all but assure the Iranians get the bomb, which they have stated they are more than happy to use. Winston Churchill, the next prime minister of Britain, that great leader, saw the danger of the Nazis and of Islam, and he fought against it his whole life. He steadied his nation and eventually led the way to ultimate victory against that Evil, with the help of the United States.
The world has a new Churchillian hero, the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who continually warns against the dangerous course the US is taking. They’ve ceded every point to the Iranians. There will be no rigorous inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, Iran will be allowed to do their own. Iran will get 150 billion in assets unfrozen which they will inevitably use for terror around the world. Military leaders on house arrest in Iran due to previous harsh sanctions are now free to roam, to visit Russia and plot more mischief around the world.
Congress had a chance to oppose this terrible deal, but they chose instead to vote in favor, locking the US into inevitable war. Some have even surmised that such a deal would require that if Iran goes to war with Israel, which is it’s aim, that the US would be required to enter that war on behalf of Iran against our most loyal friend and ally Israel.
Reich is an intellectual. He’s very good at making his argument. He says the only course other than this deal is war. Well Dennis Prager thinks otherwise. The answer to war is to continue with the rigorous sanctions that kept Iran largely in check. Peace Through Strength as Ronald Reagan envisioned it is how to face Evil in the world and is the strategy Reagan used to defeat the Soviet Union without firing a shot.
Reich makes distracting arguments to confuse young millenials who are afraid of all out war. He says the 12-year war we’ve been fighting is too costly, to injurious, and the cost in treasure takes away valuable assets required to help the American people at home. If the liberal progressive governments would spend discretionary funds more wisely, our schools would not be so ineffectual, our streets and bridges broken, and our infrastructure in such dire need of repair. Indeed, the US spends billions on health care and social welfare on people who are here illegally, because they don’t believe it is necessary to defend US sovereignty.
In my view, Prager makes the better argument. We need to put Iran on notice, and reinstate the sanctions that will keep the monster in it’s cage. We need new leadership in Washington, not those who will rush off to war, but those who will not shrink form defending US interests and the interests of our allies around the world.
Check out some of Reich’s claims about the budget and discretionary spending here. And then decide for yourself who is right, Reich, or Prager.
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.
By Jeremy Griffith
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.
by Jeremy Griffith
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.
After 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
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.
The American Millennium Online
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.”
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.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
My favorite media personality was illustrating a point on his show yesterday about how far we’ve come technology wise and what his vision or prediction of the future will be. Radio and Television star Glenn Beck utilized a fleet of cars, old and new to show the progress we’ve made just in the realm of transportation.
It’s a disturbing fact and maybe you’ve noticed it that cars of the past used to be so simple that someone with rudimentary skills could understand and repair or service their own vehicle. No longer. Now the highest end cars have so much complicated technology that only a specialist can work on it, and at great cost too.
Glenn Beck sees this as an unfortunate turn of events. He’s on the fence in regards to technology, nostalgic about the past but hopeful for the future. With technology like this, he said, no one will be able to understand or even tinker with their cars or their basic technology, like the high priest or priestess, we will be beholden to the mechanic or technical subject matter expert, Beck said.
I disagree. I see a different future. While many who are wealthy may want the hands off, don’t mess with the settings future, many more I believe won’t be able to afford that lifestyle and will try to go backwards for more affordable and manageable outcomes. I think technology will help them do that, so there is no need to convert to being Amish. Let me illustrate.
Glenn demonstrated with a newly minted 1911 .45 pistol, the results of 3D printing, fully made of metal and capable of use on the firing range. Amazing. It used to be a short time ago where 3D printing only came up with cheap looking useless toys made from plastic polymer. No longer, now you have a real metal gun that fires .45 cal ammo, just like a normal gun would. Politicians are calling these ghost guns are already making move s to ban them, even though there is no proof that a printed gun is more likely to be involved in a crime than a over the shelf firearm.
The applications are enormous and could revolutionized manufacturing in the United States and the world. A man in Japan was arrested created his own fully functioning fire arm from plans he adapted on the Internet. The applications go far beyond the personal liberty of creating your own fire arms however. I foresee a future in which the customer builds his own car with the help of subject matter experts.
Imagine a new car company unbeholden to the unions, where the employees own the company and where they help you manufacture your own car from scratch to your specifications. Maybe you want a small replica of a Mini-cooper. You’d even like to pick the color. A technician helps you build the design and loads the data into the computer. Then the 3D printer fires up. A metal framework for the car, with plastic printed body parts that will never rust. Maybe you want a carbon fiber exterior? Great.
Now fit it together on the assembly line. Don’t just stand there! With the help of a robotic arm and a helpful technician, you are helping to rivet your machine together.
Now comes the engine, a specially designed engine melding the past with the future, uncomplicated and easy for the owner operator to maintain. It drops right in and bolts in to the chassis. I prefer mine to be a diesel engine. The car will run on a mixture of cooking oil and diesel. The diesel tank will be used to start the motor, then after fifteen minutes, when the cooking oil is warmed up, the driver switches tanks. How much does the cooking oil cost to run? $0! So now I have a little green car that’s good for the environment and easy on my wallet. Restaurateurs will be only too happy to part with their used cooking oil for free since it would cost them money to dispose of it normally. I hope you like a car that smells like freshly cooked French Fries!
This may be a bit of a stretch and it is, but not much. My former co-worker Beth has owned two cars that have had this type of diesel/cooking oil operating system. Now she has to buy an old beater sedan or truck take runs on diesel. She doesn’t care about how it looks, she just wants a runner that gets her to work and back. What if there was a car company that could give her a new car that does exactly what she wants it to do, and looks nice at the same time! A company out in Milwaukee will outfit her with the system, she just has to supply the car. Sure it costs her $3,500 or so to install, but when you bought your car for less than $8,000, who cares?!
Instead of recycling that old car and going through the extra hoops to get it outfitted, what if there was a company that could do it all cheaper and more efficiently right in one location? Wouldn’t that be great. I envision such an entrepreneurial endeavor the not so distant future. F-you car companies!
How often have you bought a car at great expense with a huge loan only to hear years later that it was a recallable death trap that the union oppressed car companies didn’t bother to tell you about. Abandon those overpriced, taxpayer bailed out disasters and go with a company that actually serves the consumer needs. Have it your way isn’t a slogan just for hamburgers any more.
What if you wanted a car with a more retro-look, like that classic muscle car you had, or lusted after when you were a kid. Now you can. Just load the specifications into the computer and Whalah! Want something more futuristic? No problem. We have that too.
Something go wrong with your car that you can’t figure out. We’ll come get your car, pull it in to the shop and sort it out together. Eli Whitney designed the assembly line to make manufacturing easier. The unions used it to destroy manufacturing, over engineer vehicles and pay themselves $75 an hour to put in a single rivet. Now you will be able to assemble your own car with a little help form a trained SME.
You see, capitalism, real capitalism, with always find a way to get around the system. Crony capitalists will hire expensive lobbyists to bribe congressmen and women to get their public funding. A real capitalist will find a need and fill it, employing people in useful work and rewarding them for their effort. Eventually with companies like the one I’ve just described will create a shadow economy that is below the radar of traditional socialistic, crony capitalistic governments. Why do we need to pay taxes when we get no benefit from their “services”. Small enclaves will sprout up world wide of like minded people who want to be left alone, immune from the power hungry governments that tax and spend their economies to death.
In a future column, I intend to show how the Internet, in a similar Libertarian vain, will revolutionize education, freeing the parent and students from the failing socialistic government schools we see today.
In the meantime, envision a world where technology is freeing, where 3D printing will help the consumer solve their personal needs. Veterans will get new 3D printed limbs, a bike manufacturer will come up with an inexpensive pedal assist motor, helping the customer avoid high gas taxes and intrusive government taxes, a teacher will help struggling students in a home far away from her office with the help of the internet. Eventually there will be a separate Internet created that is privately owned, maybe several, that will be outside the reach of any overzealously intrusive government.
So there is hope for the future, not a dystopic Ayn Rand kind of future, but a brave new world where the entrepreneur defeats the power hungry bureaucrat, using hard work and technology.
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Glenn Beck talks about 3D Printing
3D Printed guns
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by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
Glenn Beck pivots in a big way on a two-hour special on his TV show Monday night. In the first hour the well-known radio and television mogul talked about his health care issues and how serious and mysterious illness has caused him to pivot and change direction.
Unwittingly, the American Millennium captured Glenn’s health care issue on camera in October of 2011. Since then, Glenn has talked with his audience about his health issues, even making fun of it in his controversial and entertaining stage shows. You can see a video we captured here showing Glenn taking off in the middle of a radio broadcast while his co-hosts Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere take over. Glenn winces in pain, unable to speak or continue the show, and then gets up and leaves. Gray and Burguiere take over without pause, without missing a beat. Later Beck comes back to the microphone and continues the show as if nothing happened.
In the first hour of Monday’s show, an emotional Beck addresses the audience telling the story about how his mysterious illness almost killed him. Now, however, having been given a reprieve of sorts, “a clean bill of health” as Glenn says, Beck now announces that he is going to dramatically change direction and get into film making, partnering with a talented and skillful painter and film-maker, telling positive personal stories through film rather than just talking about politics and the negative stories common to talk radio.
Is this all evidence of a long-standing health problem and a spiritual awakening, or is it just intelligent stagecraft designed to create and hold an audience? Time will tell. If it is all been faked, it has been faked over a long period of time. See video of the radio show in October of 2011. At one point on Monday night’s show, Glenn uses his wife as a prop, who says little on the show, but looks at the audience through the camera with a very somber look, acknowledging what her broadcaster husband says with one or two word affirmations.
In the second hour of the TV broadcast, Glenn dedicated his show to an interview which was a continuation of an interview he had on the radio show with a personality he called the C.S. Lewis of modern times, Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist of Indian heritage and author of the book Why Suffering? Finding Meaning and Comfort When Life Doesn’t Make Sense.
What does this all mean for the future of the Glenn Beck show and the media empire he is creating? The eccentricity of the media personality may be questioned, but the ultimate result will be evidenced in time, as fans like us continue to monitor Glenn’s shows, entertainment and artistic endeavors. Glenn’s health issues are also reminiscent of those of another famous conservative broadcaster, Rush Limbaugh, who lost his hearing in recent years and overcame the disability through a cochlear implant. The parallels between the two personalities are incredible; are they merely coincidental?
Watch Glenn’s interview with Ravi Zacharias on his website here.
Watch tonight’s episode of the Glenn Beck show here.
What the video of Glenn’s health care scare here.
The attached video appeared first on the Pat Gray Facebook fan Page. The page is hosted by the author and creator of American Millennium Online. The page is not associated with Glenn Beck, Pat Gray or any other media owned and operated by Glenn Beck.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
With hope for a better future, with aspirations and dreams, 848 new naturalized American Citizens were sworn in at a public ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center Sept. 24th.
I was a part of this journey since my girlfriend, the love of my life, embarked on it earlier this year. We decided together she’d been here long enough, now was the time to pursue becoming a citizen. We paid the money, $680 for the interview, biometric and other fees, with the help of family and friends. We borrowed a book to study for the test. We read all of the rules and did all the confusing paperwork. We called in to work in order to make the trips to Minneapolis and St. Paul for her appointments, we never missed one, and we were grateful for the people who helped us out and picked up or shifts.
We studied hard and in all, my baby’s interview took 9 minutes, 44 seconds, just enough to answer six questions of the battery of the 100 we studied, time enough to drop all her paper work on the floor and raise the wrong hand. Nervous as we were, she knew all the questions by heart and answered them succinctly enough to impress the interviewer. We did it, we were on our way to becoming a citizen. I was so proud of her.
My girl, Roselle Salvador Taburada, the Asian lady with the Spanish name, came here to America over seven years ago from the Philippines. She spoke English and had a degree in business management. He got her Green Card and got a job as soon as she was able. It wasn’t always easy. Her husband was a dud and her marriage failed. In her anger and despair she contemplated leaving and going back to the Philippines. But she stuck with it and got a better job, in food service. She was active with friends and with the community, earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and competing in tournaments. We’ve got her trophies on our bookcase in our home. She’s been active in the Philippine-American community. Her life was turning around and it seemed time to strive for the ultimate goal, citizenship.
On that happy day we were so excited. She wore a new pink dress that she picked out for the occasion. We left home early so as not to get lost in traffic and be late. It was cold and rainy and there was fog on the road. I just love driving in traffic on days like that. We found our spot and stood in line. There was a spot marked out for the new citizens there in the hall of the convention center. We got there early and had to wait. There were so many people there that we filled the hall. It was standing room only when we finally got in. About half an hour late, thanks to government inefficiencies, the doors of the hall opened and we started to get sorted. I couldn’t sit with my Rose, we were put in separate lines and ended up on opposite sides of the hall. I brought the wrong camera for the occasion, I thought I would be closer to the stage, and got photos I’m not real happy with. But we made it through and it was a nice ceremony.
The League of Women voters used up the waiting time before the ceremony and offered to register all the new voters. I commented about this to the two Mexican women sitting next to me, saying, “Look, it’s so nice of the League of Women voters to register new Democrats, uh, I mean ‘voters’!” They laughed politely. Both of the ladies, fast friends who had never met before that day, were amazing and fun to talk with. The younger one was from Peru and was there for a friend. She fiddled with her new Android Galaxy smart phone that looked more like a television. (I bet she got better photos than me.) The other woman had come from Mexico and had been here for over 20 years. I enjoyed listening to them speaking Spanish together, the syllables sound like music to me, unlike the German and Arabic I studied. It was fun talking and listening to their stories of their separate journeys to become citizens and their hopes for their relatives and friends who were being sworn in that day.
The League finished passing out pens and papers to the attendants and the ceremony got underway. The US District Court for the state of Minnesota was the host of the event and opened the ceremony as t hey would any other official court function. An assistant to a US district court judge opened the court session. She took the time to announce the numbers of people present from the different countries and had each stand in turn when they were announced. That’s when we learned the nationalities and the numbers of each applicant present. I remember a few; two from Iran, two from Iraq, 20 from the Philippines, one each from Canada, Israel, Australia and the UK. Many from war torn, disease-ridden Africa, including the largest number from the non-country of East Africa, Somalia: 98! Wow!
When the district court judge’s assistant completed the task of announcing all the applicants, she made a motion to open the court and recommended that the gathered applicants be sworn in as citizens, having been vetted as people of high moral character who have completed all of the requirements of citizenship. The judge took over and presided over the court, approving the recommendation of citizenship for all in attendance. There was a music video played with the patriotic Lee Greenwood song played. The judge had all the attendees stand and raise their right hand as the oath was administered. The oath, very similar to the oath I took as a newly commissioned lieutenant in the United States Army, was displayed on a large view screen at the front of the hall. The applicants spoke in unison, swearing allegiance to the United States, abandoning all allegiance to their country of origin and swearing to protect their newly adopted nation with force of arms if need be. It was a very moving ceremony. I cried.
I made the hail-Mary move of inviting our local state senator to join us for the ceremony and to the pleasure and surprise of both of us, she was happy to come. Carla Nelson-R from Rochester, found my parents in the large hall and sat with them for the ceremony. The judge recognized her as well as our Federal Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who sat up front with the judge and his assistant. We were happy to meet both of our representatives, state and federal on that important day.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Klobuchar made a few remarks. She talked about citizenship, and about her own path through life. She explained that her grandfather had been a coal miner in northern Minnesota, had taken care of his family and worked hard in the mine all his life, putting the children through school. Now a generation later, his grand-daughter was a United States Senator. It is that kind of determination and hard work that makes a US citizen and affords the citizen success later on, success they might not otherwise find in their country of origin.
I have no major qualms about what our Senator said up until that point. I was actually quite impressed with the history of or democratic senator, a story I had not heard before. Then she told the crowd in what sounded like a campaign speech, that she was for comprehensive immigration reform, to which the majority of the crowd loudly applauded. Except for me and the Peruvian and Mexican sitting next to me.
Comprehensive immigration reform, Senator?! What does that mean? We have a legal process that allows many, many people to enter the country legally every year, many who take the step to become legal citizens. On that day, 98 Africans who had escaped the black hole of that continent, Somalia, were sworn in and naturalized. What more do you want? Should we swing the doors open to everyone who wants to come? Should we invite even those people who don’t embrace our values? I think we ought to keep and embrace our current system or more clearly define how you propose to change it. I didn’t hear the Senator do that.
At the end of the ceremony, my parents and Sen. Nelson found us. I still hadn’t seen Rose, who was still up front getting her certificate of citizenship. I told the Senator, doubtful, “I don’t think we can get up there.” She said, “Don’t worry, let me take care of that.” She lead me through the crowd to the front where we found Rose. We then pushed to the head of the line to meet Sen. Klobuchar. Nelson introduced herself to the senator’s staffer, who waived us ahead. Because of Nelson’s clout, we got our photo taken with our Federal senator, a moment in time we will never forget. The Federal judge we missed, he had already escaped out the back.
Since the ceremony, we’ve gotten a lot of recognition for Rose on her achievement. We’ve registered to vote and we are studying the candidates. I hope the other new citizens sworn in that day are also happy with their achievements but also studying the issues that are affecting our state and our nation. I hope they will uphold their oath to protect and defend their new nation, abandoning interests in other lands. I hope. If they have the work ethic, patriotism and drive of the Pilipino immigrants I’ve met in the last two years, they’ll do fine.
Rose and I are very grateful for all the support we received from family and friends.
Rose always gets people coming up to her saying, “Congratulations dear, now you can pay taxes like the rest of us!” to which Rose replies, “You’re crazy, I already paid the taxes!” Do you think the IRS would let us by without paying taxes, you are crazy.
I’ve put off writing this column because I didn’t know quite what to say. I guess the major thing I want people to know is what it took for us to get here and our gratitude for all who helped and supported us. That’s all. And for all who want to come here and enjoy the benefits of citizenship I want to say this, please don’t violate our laws to do it. Do the right thing, the legal thing. The benefits of citizenship are massive, but so are the responsibilities. Both go hand in hand. Don’t take on this journey if you are not able to accept one without the other. There is a path and many have taken it and have been grateful for it. You can do it too, if you want to become a citizen of the United States of America.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
How much do you trust your government to do the right thing with your privacy and your freedom of speech? British citizens are finding out now that the answer to that question should be, “not very much”! It seems that a super-secret British spy agency is publishing a menu of options they have to provide politicians to hack into the social media accounts of citizens in the name of national security.
I learned about this first listening to Glenn Beck and have found creditable confirmation on a number of other websites. You can see Glenn’s comments on this issue here. Glenn Greenwald has an article here with a full description of the British government’s Internet capabilities. I’ve included the list here verbatim:
• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)
• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)
• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)
• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)
• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)
• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)
• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)
• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)
• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)
• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)
• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)
• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)
Now it would be great fun if you were computer hacker employed by the British or American governments monitoring the Internet activity of groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS. After all, they love to post videos of their exploits against the West there, videos for example of them blowing up American Soldiers or lopping off the heads of Christians and Jews and plopping them on spikes! Wouldn’t it be great if instead of going to the intended video posted by the terrorists, you would instead be misdirected to a video of an old lady power walking or Afghani Muslims humping a goat before getting blown up by a JDAM laser guided missile? I think it would be hilarious, but that is not likely to happen given the current political climate.
Instead of the above scenario, imagine something a little more realistic. Say you are a conservative blogger who doesn’t like Barack Obama much. Perhaps you don’t like the way he plays golf as the world burns; he sides with Palestinian terrorists instead of a free and democratic Israel; he allows Russia to run amok in Ukraine while shooting down Malaysian airliners; he invites millions of undocumented immigrants to flood the border while selling guns and other weapons to the drug coyotes who are bringing them over; he’s destroyed the economy with Obamacare; allowed an innocent Marine to rot in a Mexican prison and allowed his IRS and Justice Departments to target people who don’t agree with him. Because you have a dream of an idealized America with freedom for all, you’ve taken it upon yourself to remark on the many arrogant missteps of your government in your $5 blog and now you’ve raised the attention of the NSA, whose boss is the very president who you’ve been criticizing all this time, and he doesn’t like it.
So now the NSA or its British equivalent if you happen to be a Brit, has a solution to shut you up. They can use government paid hackers they retain on staff to hack your computer and implant hours and hours of child porn, while the FBI or IRS fabricate a reason to get a search warrant for your house and computer. And bam, you’re sitting in front of a judge and a jury with your government provided defense attorney who is late for his golf game with the president defending yourself against a child porn rap while all the time maintaining your innocence. Scary huh? And your only defense to a skeptical jury is, “I don’t look at that crap! I have no idea how it got there!”
Nice huh! And it’s not out of the way too much to imagine is it. See, when it’s just you, who is going to believe that you don’t look at child porn, or that you’ve hatched a scheme to overthrow the government or that you are cheating on your wife or whatever. You’re just you. In the meanwhile the government has all the legal machinery available to them in the form of any number of alphabet soup type agencies with which to go after you: i.e. the IRS, the DOJ, the NSA, the FBI. You’re bad and you’re fellow citizens will see it and you’ll be thrown into jail. You’re a nut who needs to locked up. It’s a communist dictator’s dream.
The only solution to this problem in my view is for everyone to get a gun and a blog and start writing. They can’t get us all, and when they go after one of us, they go after all of us. The IRS may have destroyed all of those emails and hard drives, and the DOJ won’t press any charges against the Lois Lerner types, but then the confidence in government will never be the same as long as the average citizen is an enemy of the state just for exercising his freedom of speech. Eventually the American Spring will happen and the end of progressive government will come to an end. The faster, the better. Our founders gave us a great, accountable, limited form of government. Progressives continue to try to take that away. They say the Constitution is too limiting, it’s a list of negative rights, whatever that means. We’ve got to send a message to our government that we reject being spied on and monitored, or free speech rights being curtailed and if they keep it up, we the people are going to throw them out of office and into jail.
In Great Britain, new organizations like News of the World, owned by billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch went down in flames when it was discovered that reporters were listening illegally to phone conversations in order to get the scoop on dirt in the lives of celebrities so they could print their stories first in their latest editions. You can find information about that scandal here. People went to jail for that and New of the World was forced to shutter their doors. If’ it’s illegal for journalists to threaten the privacy of citizens, then why is OK for the government to do it. It’s not, and western governments need to know it’s not OK.
Who do they think they are anyway?
Now comes the conspiracy theories! Imagine if the News of the World scandal was a made up scenario by the government to punish conservative media. It cost Murdoch and friends serious loss of reputation, money and people went to jail over it. How do you prove your government sabotaged your media organization? What if Sen. Weiner’s Twitter account was actually hacked in order to shut him up for who knows what reason? See, there is a slippery slope developing here.
By the way, if you suspect you will eventually be caught doing something illegal on the Internet, maybe you’re running an illegal scam, or you’re in charge of an online gambling ring, or the aforementioned child porn racket, just hire a conservative blogger to create a cover story for you. And save copies of everything. You may have a plausible alibi when you’re case comes to trial!
When the government and thieves alike have the power to hack into your accounts through the Internet or listen to your phone calls, no one is safe from people with nefarious intent. If someone doesn’t like you, and has these tools at their disposal, they can destroy you, your reputation, your life.
I suspect the private sector will be coming with a solution for this. Phones will have anti-listening or jamming software on them so that no one can listen in, Internet capable computers will have anti-spoofing software included, and there will be online reputation protection services cropping up dedicated to defending you in case you’re computer is hacked.
The bottom line is there is a lot of awful things happening on the Internet. Lots of great things too. The fact is that in a free society, information needs to be freely transmitted, the good with the bad. That is the marketplace of free ideas. When that capability is shuttered, bad things happen. It is better to tolerate the bad, then let the good be silenced.
In a free society, when the truth is given an equal footing, the truth always wins. That is the concept of the Free Marketplace of Ideas.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
The American Journalist should be a libertarian. He or she mustn’t necessarily be in the Libertarian party, but they must love America while at the same time be dedicated to the principles of small government, government accountability and liberty and opportunity for all people.
Sadly though in this writer’s opinion, the American journalist does not love America, is more aligned with European Socialists and Communists and carry the water for progressive politicians here at home. They say they’re fair and independent, but clearly they are not. I would cite examples, but all you have to do is flip on your TV. You’ll find it there.
To find a libertarian journalist is far more difficult, because you must find the exception to the rule. Libertarians in journalism are as rare as Bigfoot it seems. You might see them on TV or in print or on the web, but you’re not really sure of what you saw.
John Stossel comes to mind as such an example. You might know of others. For years nobody really knew his political affiliation. He probably didn’t know himself. But Stossel loves America and he loves telling stories about America. The government and big corporations probably dislike him quite a lot because he rips them apart on every show. That’s how the mainstream media used to be, not necessarily anti-government, but more of a watchdog of government. President Thomas Jefferson, our third president of the United States complained about the press, while at the same time he praised the necessity of having a free and independent press. Every administration since has had a love/hate relationship with the press.
Here’s a classic quote or two from Jefferson, for and against the national media, which at the time, was newspapers.
1) “I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.” –Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1814. ME 14:46
2)“Our printers raven on the agonies of their victims, as wolves do on the blood of the lamb.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1811. ME 13:59
3)“As for what is not true, you will always find abundance in the newspapers.” –Thomas Jefferson to Barnabas Bidwell, 1806. ME 11:118
4) “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.” –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491
5) “The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384
6) “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.
Here’s a quote from Jefferson, neither for nor against, that could very well have been directed at the modern mainstream media today.
“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” –Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632
It seems then as now, the mass media of a free republic must be independent, but is often corrupted by powerful forces within the government. There is no substitute for a free press if your aim is to limit government and keep it accountable unless your goal is to prop up a government regardless of what it does.
In order to keep free and open debate going about our public policies in government, we have to maintain a free press. How do we do that, when major corporations who are the beneficiaries of government acts control the medium which is used to report the news. The free market is one way, don’t buy the products, newpapers, magazines or TV who don’t stay sufficiently independent. But what if the media is funded through government, i.e. public radio and TV? Demand that those entities be defunded by the government. Those entities can chose to survive must do so on their own merit. Normal broadcast TV radio and other media are supported through advertisements. When consumers turn them off, revenue for the businesses buying ad space dries up and the media business either folds or they change their marketing strategy to fit the customer. Not so with public access. They get billions of dollars a year from the taxpayer and are not accountable to them at all.
If you are really serious about the independence of the media, then the blogosphere is an acceptable alternative. It will be evident to the reader the political bent of the blogger over the trained journalist, but you will be able to discern that bias up front as most bloggers have not yet learned how to distinguish from straight news and opinion. You will get information, and some opinion, wholly unfiltered by a biased media editor or producer who is more skilled at shading their opinion from view.
Better yet, get your own blog and write about the stories that matter to you. The good thing about a blog is that nobody controls it but you, until of course you piss off the government enough that they breathlessly call for censorship in the form of a “fairness doctrine”. When they do that, you can shamelessly slam your politician for abridging your first amendment rights. That’s always fun.
It’s too bad that the J-schools have abandoned their principles for partisanship. It can be seen mainly from the progressive left, but sometimes from the right as well. The question you have to ask yourself is, who do I trust and how do I validate the information I’m receiving in the national media? I would recommend looking for alternate sources of information to see what truth shakes out and what falls to the wayside. This can be a tedious process for those of us who do not work in this field. But as a media consumer and as an American, we all have the responsibility to vet the information coming to us so that we can make good sound decisions about our government and its policies.
A major tenant I learned from my J-school at St. Cloud State is this: the truth, when given a fair shake, always wins. I would say that the truth always wins regardless of whether it is given an even field or not. If it is heard, when compared to falsehood, it can be validated and the falsehood will eventually be discarded, being of no use whatsoever. But first, the truth must be heard.
Are you getting the truth from the news sources who favor? How can you tell? Have you validated anything they say? Think about it.
American Millennium Creator Appeals to the readers for Support of Veterans and an Imprisoned Marine
American Millennium Online
My name is Jeremy Griffith and I am the creator of The American Millennium Online. It is basically a blog website where I get to rant and tell my story and where my 5 or 6 fans, mostly my relatives and friends get to hear my political views. Today I want to talk about two very serious topics close to my heart and I’m recording it because I think it needs to be heard.
I’m a captain in the Army Reserves, and I’m a team leader. I’ve been in the Army 20 plus years. I have a soldier under my command who has spots on his lungs, probably from breathing noxious fumes in Iraq and the various burn pits in that country. I was on a FOB in Iraq and I remember the smell, it was awful. Not surprisingly he can’t get care at the VA because it wasn’t discovered until well after he returned from that country. Now he’s a good soldier and I can depend on him. He’s a Sergeant First Class so not a private, not a specialist, not even a buck sscergeant but a senior NCO. I don’t want to lose him, both as a soldier and as a friend. I’m disgusted at the VA and I’m angry at the treatment our veterans have received.
Whistleblowers at the VA including doctors have been coming out now and telling their stories about the horrible abuses and we learn of the heart break of their loved ones as the scandal builds to a crescendo. I think I agree with the VFW that it’s time for General Shinseki, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to resign, I don’t think he has the leadership style sufficient to fix what is broken at the VA. I have no confidence in the administration of Barack Obama to pick the right leadership, I don’t think anyone at that level gives a rat’s ass about our veterans, they should all be replaced and that’s why elections have consequences and leadership and character really does matter. IT DOES MATTER!
If we’ve learned anything about this president from Benghazi and Fast and Furious and all of the host of other scandals that they really don’t care. THEY DON’T CARE! Hillary Clinton the former Secretary of State said it best when she was being questioned by Congress about her actions or inactions in the Benghazi issue. She said, “What difference at this point does it make!?” Another White House official in an interview with Fox News, when questioned by commentator Bret Baier over Benghazi said, “dude, that was two years ago!” They just can’t believe that anything negative can have legs like they do. Well, we lost an ambassador and three guys trying to save his life, heroes, and the White House doesn’t care. How can we expect them to give a rip about the suffering of veterans in government health care. Answer: we can’t. So don’t waste your breathe.
“What difference at this point does it make!?” -Hillary Clinton
It’s too bad because I have a soldier who just lost his dad to cancer and now he finds out he may have cancer because of his service and he’s angry and bitter and there’s nothing I can do to help him, except appeal to you, my fellow citizens. Please, write to your congressmen and senators, I have, and appeal to them to fix the VA. Please write or call your local representative and give them an earful. It’s the only way we can show them our outrage at what is going on at the VA. You may know someone who is going through this with their loved one, for their sake do it now. I implore you.
Here’s the other issue I want to talk about today. Today as we speak a Marine Veteran, Sergeant Andrew Tahmoorissi has been sitting in a Mexican jail for over 52 days. His crime: he made a wrong turn from the parking lot at the VA where he was being treated for PTSD after his multiple tours of duty overseas and he found himself going the wrong way onto a highway and right to the Mexican border with no way to turn around or avoid the checkpoint.
Now this veteran, Andrew, was living out of his truck and had all of his possessions with him, including three registered fire arms. I heard about this on Glenn Beck today. It’s horrible. Glenn was saying that they had one of their journalists drive the route from the parking lot to the checkpoint and at the time, it was not well mark. It’s still bad today but it’s better than it was 52 days ago. It’s really close to the border and the roads there is a spaghetti junction that makes it really easy to get turned around. That’s what happened to this Marine. He got out of his car at the checkpoint and explained the situation to the border guards and asked to be escorted back around so he could go the other way. As part of their questioning of him he declared that he had his guns with him, he did nothing to hide that fact. He did the right thing. They arrested him and put him in prison where he has rotted in prison for 52 days, 35 of those days he was strapped to a gurney unable to move.
His mom Jill got on with GB today and told the story. Heart-rending. Jill said that one point her son called her and told her he was in prison with gang members and that he feared for his life, so certain was he that he was going to be killed. Later, he called again and said he had escaped from a particularly bad end of prison and that he had found a more secure location. After that, the guards punished him apparently for his escape and strapped him to a gurney and left him there for 35 days. Unbelievable.
Now Senator Duncan Hunter has arrived on the scene and has appealed to the State Department, Secretary John Kerry and the Department of the Defense, Secretary Chuck Hagel and appealed to them for help, and has gotten the cold shoulder. Because Hagel and Kerry don’t care. They don’t care, and meanwhile, a loyal Marine rots in one of the worst prisons in the world in Mexico, where the accused have to prove their innocence, not like the US where the prosecution has to prove guilt. It’s totally upside down. We applaud Mr. Hunter for his work in helping this Marine out and we would implore congress to act to pressure the State Department and the Defense Department. Please help. You can help to by calling your representatives and senators in your respective states and by going online to the White House.gov website and signing the petition there to demand the release of SGT Tahmoorisi. They need 100,000 signatures on the petition before the White House has to respond. So please go there now. I’ll include the link. Do what you can. Tell your neighbors about this story, read it on The Blaze and share the links on Facebook and Twitter. Get the word out. Time is not on our side. People have died in Mexican prisons before.
There’s a common thread in both of these stories, it is neglect of our veterans. I’ve been in the Army over 20 years. I’ve been mobilized once for a long tour here in the US, I’ve done an extended tour in Iraq, I’ve done two state mobilizations for National Defense. Everyday the Army drills into your head the Army Values, that spell leadership. The overall mantra is “Leave No Man Behind”! Well, this president leads people behind all the time, he’s narcissistic in that way. If Valerie Jarrett doesn’t tell him to do it, it won’t get done. He doesn’t listen to the people, he only listens to people who stroke his ego, and that is why it does matter. It does matter. I implore anyone reading this online or listening to my voice. Act now. Help my soldier, help this Marine. Do it now. God bless.
Read more about the Tahmoorissi story here at GlennBeck.com and sign the petition at WhiteHouse.gov.
The American Millennium
Facebook has become the document of record for my Personal Information Network, where I learned about the horrible situation at the Arizona VA where the director allegedly allowed seriously ill veterans to die while waiting for their medical claims to be considered.
I’ve been thinking about my response to this, but up until now I have been just too angry to put my thoughts down in writing, and so, my anger has been simmering.
Now we come to find out that this same director, while occupying another VA position in another state, under-reported the number of veteran suicides, perhaps purposefully, in order to brief better numbers to their bosses in Washington.
It was only because of resourceful doctors as whistleblowers who rescued digital records about to be destroyed are we learning about this at all. Kudos to them, they should be lauded as heroes.
In the meantime, the unaccountability of government continues to shock me. As I write this I am on active duty as a reservist on my annual training period. This morning I imagine that the flag was raised as I heard the cannon fire and the morning reveille. It woke me up as it does over the course of the last two weeks. In that time I’ve employed my skills (what little there are) as a plans officer in a training support unit devising plans to support training for customer units. I continually ask myself if the plans I am involved in drafting make enough sense for the companies of soldiers involved in the training to execute effectively. Do these plans contribute to mission success and mitigate the risk for the soldiers being trained. The thought of my responsibilities for these soldiers keeps me awake at night, and the butterflies in my stomach won’t let me rest. I constantly fear my cell phone ringing, have answered it before when a soldier asks a last minute coordination question.
It was worse when I was in Iraq in 2007. The butterfly wings in my stomach were made of broken glass. I was cognizant then that the orders and plans we drafted, if not well-thought out, could actually hamper a mission and get soldiers killed. And, so then as now, I take great care, as far as I am able, to make good plans, keeping the soldier in mind.
Thoughts such as these that I have when planning missions must not occur to people involved in the VA over in Phoenix. They must not lay awake at night as I do worrying about how to serve the soldier. Instead they must think that their resources are too thin, they time to precious to serve every soldier as they deserve so they compile lists of people to be crossed of and neglected, too hurt or too sick to deal with. It must not brief well to the bosses at the Pentagon. I mean, how embarrassing for them to have to report an unnervingly high suicide rate amongst veterans, or have to explain why an organization is so far behind on answering client requests for services. Horrible!
More horrible would be the thought on beloved family members baffled as to the reasons why their government, which promised services to their veteran loved ones, were allowed to suffer and died, the promises of care unkept!
Normally I would recommend that these negligent administrators be forced to actually go to the VA hospitals they serve and have to walk past and look soldiers in the eye whom they are responsible for caring for. But I think that would be a useless pursuit. They walk into their offices every day, they see, they just don’t care.
If these administrators do not care how they operate in our name in the effort to care for our veterans, then they do not have the right to sit in those highly paid positions. Those should be reserved in persons in whom we as the citizen taxpayers have the most high regard and faith. Those who damage our faith should be investigated, fired, fined and imprisoned for criminal negligence and neglect. At their sentencing they should be forced to listen to the complaint of loved ones who’s veterans they failed to serve.
And if t he VA administrator, General Shinskeki, cannot get his house in order, then as the VFW and American Legion have demanded, he should resign. He doesn’t serve at the pleasure of the president. The president, and the secretary, both work for us.
I have a modest suggestion for the rest of us who watch this scenario unfold. Why not go to the VAs in your neighborhood and ask to see the administrator. Ask them what they are doing in our name to serve our veterans. Develop community oversight councils to request a semiannual briefing from the administrators on the care of our vets. Demand the truth. It is our duty, all of us, to ensure that the promises of our government to those who serve it are fulfilled. Those government officials are accountable to us. Woe to us for not holding their feet to the fire.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium Online
It was a sad and rewarding day at the First Congressional District (CD1) Saturday April 5; sad because two contenders for the GOP endorsement were pealed away and a third strong candidate, Aaron Miller, emerged victorious. Now the real fight begins and Rep. Tim Walz-DFL is serious jeopardy coming from another military veteran.
The good thing about this weekend there at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea was there was a great contest between three strong conservative Republican candidates, Mike Benson, the former State Representative, Jim Hagedorn, and Aaron Miller. After two ballots, Mike, for whom I have all the respect in the world, bowed out. On the third ballot Jim followed suit, even though Aaron didn’t have quite enough votes to carry the day. After that the seated delegates in the hall voted unanimously to give the endorsement to Miller.
Now a word about Benson and Hagedorn. These are two scrappy, respectable, honorable men who took the fight to Tim Walz who has a horrible legislative record. I like Mike because when I was going through my masters program in New Media Journalism, he was a wealth of knowledge and helped my build my final project around the failed Voter ID law amendment that he co-authored. We lost that fight, but the struggle for voter integrity lives on and Mike and State Senator Carla Nelson and others were warrior leaders fighting that fight, and I am so grateful for Mike’s assistance. He gave a concession speech Saturday after the third ballot that was so classy that I was in tears. They don’t make them like that any more. Thank you Rep. Benson for fighting for us here in Minnesota.
Now Jim Hagedorn was a Washington bureaucrat who was also the son of a well known congressman. Despite being an insider in the Washington beltway, which I think hurt him in the eyes of some, he actually got legislation passed in his tenure there that reduced his agency’s budget and return substantial funds back to the taxpayer. I liked the happy warrior fight in Jim Hagedorn. He’s run twice now and he is a great debater and is always willing to take shots at the enemy. His quick wit is cutting and he get’s right to the heart of the matter. Despite that, he also was a very honorable soul who lived by the Ronald Reagan mantra, “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”. At the Olmsted County convention last month as I entered the Byron High School, I saw Jim Hagedorn and Mike Benson standing side by side campaigning together and handing out literature. I commented on this to Hagedorn when I said, “that’s neat! Campaigning right along with the enemy Jim?” To which Hagedorn replied, nodding at Benson, “That’s not an enemy, that’s just a competitor!”
I cast a ballot for each one of these men in turn as my duty as a seated alternate and I was saddened when I realized that both of my candidates lost. But that is politics and its now time to set our sights on the future and support the winner, a strong candidate in his own right.
Aaron Miller emerged the victor of that contest and deserves a look. He is a businessman, a family man and a 20 plus year veteran of the Army Reserve, having attained the rank of Sergeant Major, a capstone in any military career. Anyone who attains that rank, the highest pay grade of the enlisted grades, has been vetted by his peers and superiors to rise to that level and that is significant. He has significant experience in overseas deployments, progressed through the toughest leadership training in the world and has led his fellow Soldiers in combat.
Tim Walz, our current Representative in Congress, was also a Sergeant Major, briefly. He had the chance to serve in combat, but chose instead to occupy a post in the relative safety of Europe. We honor his service as a National Guard Soldier, in the very same division that I served, The 34th Infantry Division. But what we don’t appreciate is his record of service since then as a representative in Congress. More on that in a minute. With Aaron Miller as his challenger this time, Walz cannot run on his experience in the military. While impressive, it doesn’t compare to that of Sergeant Major Miller, who was a Civil Affairs background and multiple deployments in the dangerous combat zones of the Middle East. A garrison Sergeant Major simple doesn’t have the chops in my view to test well against a peer who actually led troops in theater. Period.
Not that people on the Democrat side really care about that. Walz’s military credentials were only useful in pulling away center left Democrats and independents who prefer a moderate candidate with a history of service. It does nothing for the far left radicals that is Walz’s real base.
Unlike Walz, Miller appears to be a strong conservative who better represents the values of southern Minnesotans of the First District. Walz likes to claim the moniker of the Moderate from Mankato, but he is far from it. Every opportunity he has, he has voted for the far left agenda, voting in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Let’s take a look at some of his votes recently. Walz says he is a veteran for veterans. But when it comes to veteran’s issues, his votes actually hurt. For example, when the sequester hit and the democrats partially shut down the government, full-time Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, without whom those reserve components would not run as sufficiently, were required to go to work for a month and not get paid. Republicans put together legislation that would pay those soldiers after the fact. Tim Walz voted against this bill.
Tim Walz also voted for the most recent budget, so that finally the democrats can be on record doing their jobs and passing a budget. But, that budget cut veteran’s benefits of retirees and medical retirees by 1 percent. Tim Walz signed on to that budget even though it hurts veterans.
And finally, Tim Walz has voted for the disastrous Affordable Health Care Act known as Obamacare that we know now hurts everyone across the board. Instead of extending coverage to the uninsured, it actually kicked the individually insured folks off their plans and forced them to get a more expensive plan from the government. This bill has been adjusted numerous times, contrary to the constitution, by the Executive Branch so that it lessons the pain on certain constituents during the election cycle so that it no longer resembles the bill as it was originally passed by congress.
Tim Walz owns this failure. He signed onto it and he owns it and that and many other reasons makes him vulnerable to a GOP challenger.
Aaron Miller during his acceptance speech following his endorsement said, “Someone said we should return Tim Walz to academia! Let’s not! Let’s just send him off to retirement where he can’t do any more damage!”
I agree! That’s why I think we should send Aaron Miller to congress this November and will do everything I can to support his candidacy!
Learn more about Tim Walz’s votes here.
Find out how you can support Aaron Miller here.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Diane Feinstein-D California, known for her obsessive pursuit to rid America of guns, has also set her sights on bloggers and amateur journalists. She along with Chuck Schumer support a Journalism Shield Law that would cover “professional” Journalists from having to reveal confidential sources but would not cover those of us who use the Internet to express our First Amendment Rights.
Her comments before a committee in congress the other day were chilling. In her view, special protection should not be conferred to anyone with a just a high school education and a $5 blog, but to regular journalists who earn a living writing for government approved news sources. What?! What did you say Diane, you fruitbat!?
You see, a proposed law would offer protection for journalists who quote anonymous sources so that a judge cannot demand that that journalist’s source be revealed in a court. That gives the government-approved journalist the freedom to write what they wish regarding some backwoods freedom party in Montana or Arizona or anywhere Liberals think of as remote and stockpile weapons and hand out copies of the constitution.
But If someone like you are me want to write a story using a confidential source about a politician who is benefiting from insider trading, or attempting to curtail our constitutional rights, or take away our guns, that blogger would be in trouble. Under the proposed shield law the blogger has no protection and can be hauled in front of the court to reveal their confidential source, also known as a whistleblower. If the citizen journalist reveals his source, that source can now become a target for scrutiny by the IRS, DHS and any other alphabet soup government agency the big government types want to throw at them as punishment for standing up to the government elites.
If that blogger or citizen journalist defies the court and does not reveal their sources, they open themselves up to contempt of court charges and can be thrown in jail. Their reputations can be then destroyed by the IRS, DHS and the rest of the alphabet soup agencies.
This is by design. Diane Feinstein, a congresswoman, has made a career out of eliminating rights of the average American and consolidating power in Washington among a few political elites. She will use a tragedy like a school shooting in Connecticut to grab all the firearms from law-abiding citizens, making the rest of us defenseless, and then she’ll co-author laws aimed and diminishing our First Amendment Rights to publically criticize public servants like her.
Diane should be ashamed of her self. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions ever, thank you Al Gore. It allows all of us to make our opinions known to the world for very little money. I can use my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform to share my viewpoint of the world around me. If I see a police officer beating a woman at a protest rally, I can instantly post photos or video on the Internet with my smart phone. If a politician says something ridiculous in a public forum, zap, it’s on my wall. If I’m really mad, like I am now, I can write an article including links and video to my blog so that all six of my readers can be made aware of what is pissing me off today. It’s totally awesome!
Here’s another benefit of the blogosphere: those of us underserved by the mainstream media can cover topics that not on the government approved story list. Here is a short list of stories covered in the blogosphere that don’t seem to get any attention from the MSM: Benghazi-gate, Fast and Furious, gun-running politicians, Obamacare Failures, the NSA spying, the TSA failure, the political gun grab, politicians and insider trading, illegal immigration and the border, the budget and budget deficits, the wars, and the list goes on.
It must be terribly frustrating for Diane and people like her to have this much freedom amongst the common people to criticize her when she has so little ability to counteract it, despite the fact that she has easy access to the mass media, and trained public affairs people on her staff. Despite this, poor poor Diane finds herself under assault for her radical leftist views and poor stewardship of the American political system. The shield law would be a good start to silence her stupid critics with their $5 blogs!
Liberals and big government types have tried this before with their so-called Fairness Doctrine aimed at silencing talk radio i.e. Rush Limbaugh. Thankfully it failed and now they are targeting you and me, who have easy access to the Internet. I have a suggestion for Diane. It’s time for you to retire. You don’t represent us; you don’t have any love for the constitution and the American People. It’s time to retire!
And if you have a blog or have a Twitter handle or a Facebook page, I would ask that you write about this topic and share it with your friends. Better yet, write directly to Diane Feinstein’s office and tell her what you think of her gun grabbing, First Amendment rights crushing governing style. Her contact info is below.
Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501
Nick Bernabe who writes for The AntiMedia.org has written at length about this issue. You can access his illustrative article here. His article includes a link where you can go to sign a petition advocating against this outrageous law. I have included the link here.
by Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
The defense of Ukraine depends heavily on whether or not they are able to defeat the awesome power of the Russian armor and motorized Infantry. That’s why I recommend the US support Ukrainian independence by flooding the region with Humvee mounted TOW missile teams.
The first job I received as a newly minted Second Lieutenant in the Army National Guard was as an anti-tank platoon leader. I trained as an Infantry officer at Ft. Benning Georgia, so when I came to the anti-tank company, it was kind of a disappointment. The other disappointment was that the unit was using the horribly underpowered ITV, Improved TOW Vehicle; basically a M113 Armored Personnel Carrier with a TOW Missile system mounted. It was a horrible system since the M113 was a carrier left over from the Vietnam War and horrible to keep maintained. It would have been much more effective if we had used Humvee mounted TOWs, with uparmorned or unarmored Humvees, it makes no difference.
Now I know it looks like I didn’t sell that well in the previous paragraph, but I’m telling you, it’s the TOW weapon system that is the key, not the vehicle. If you combine the TOW, (Tube Launched Optically tracked Wire guided anti-tank missiles) to the Humvee platform, you get a tank killing weapon system that is highly maneuverable and hard to defeat. I think this system would be the equivalent of Stinger Missiles against Russian Helicopters in Afghanistan.
I recommend the US send as many of these systems to Ukraine as possible and expert trainers to train the Ukrainian military in their use. In six to eight weeks of training, you could have effective TOW teams ready to defend against the tank threat of the Russians. You can augment this capability through the use of anti-tank land mines in a defense in depth against Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers.
Nothing would say “Fuck You” to Russia more than US Humvees with TOW missiles in the hands of Ukrainian National Guard and Army units and it would speak volumes to the former Soviet Republics who are looking to us for leadership and support.
Let a Russian BTR or BMP roll over the berm in their arrogance and find a well-trained TOW crew there waiting for them. The Russians, like the US, are way too dependent on their armored vehicles. So when they roll into a place, they in their arrogance feel like their enemies will just fold in awe of them. I want to see burning Russian tanks in the news. Let’s see how popular Vlad Putin is then, when his tanks are on fire and his men are dying on foreign shores.
The Ukraine has every right to their independence. They aren’t like the muslim countries we’ve made the mistake in supporting in the past. They’re much more sophisticated and westernized. The potential for a Jeffersonian Republic taking root there is far more likely than in any muslim country. Like Poland, Ukraine could be the new battle ground of a new cold war. The US has a huge opportunity in this moment and should take the lead. I would gladly volunteer for the duty of training those Ukrainian soldiers. Unhappily, our president doesn’t have the brass to do it. This, is how I would defend Ukraine if I was president. We’ll see what happens.
by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online
I saw “Son Of God” in theaters this week and I liked it. I would recommend it to any of my friends. It had all the tear-jerking drama of the greatest story ever told without the gratuitous gore and blood of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of The Christ” which came out a decade ago. While the acting was solid, it wasn’t quite up to par with “Passion”, but the viewer would be engrossed in the story without being grossed out.
I have to say, I found it hard to divorce the steely-eyed film critic from the Bible believing Christian I am, but I gave it a go this last Monday. I found it hard after a while to see through tears and I wondered if it wasn’t because of my faith in the story rather than the eloquence of the drama as portrayed. As I sat in the dark watching this film, I complied a best of list of 14 or so great scenes I think made this film a good one, if not great, and I added a short list of scenes I thought were not up to par. I found myself comparing the film to Passion of the Christ from film director Mel Gibson. The acting in this film wasn’t quite as good as Passion, the cinematography was excellent, the acting was good most of the time and there were just a few scenes I felt really didn’t cut it for me. Overall I thought this film would be of interest to Christians, who would appreciate the story told without all the messy gore brought to us by Gibson’s movie. I have no idea how this film would affect non-believers who are not familiar with the story in scripture.
Compliments go to Roma Downey who was one of the producers of the film and also portrayed the mother of Jesus in the film. I thought she did an outstanding job in the film and really connected with the audience. She really did a good job convincing the audience that she could be the mother of Jesus. That is not the most important work she did for this film however; that job was the one of bringing this movie, and The Bible mini-series to completion with her husband Mark Burnett. This movie was largely the extended version of the life of Jesus as told by The Bible Series that came out last year, but it was not a rehash that I worried it would be.
There were some notable characters that deserve some credit for the drama and delivery of the film. Sebastian Knapp, who played John, was one of the more believable of the disciples who connected best with the audience. Greg Hicks, a marvelously complex actor, played the charismatic and ruthless Pontius Pilate. Darwin Shaw gets an honorable mention as Peter. Diogo Morgado plays a passably good Jesus with just a moment or two where the acting and script is weaker.
There is one last character I’d like to mention who made an impression, the individual who played Barabbas, Fraser Ayres. He has two moments in the top fourteen.
And here they are; the top fourteen moments in “Son of God”.
#14 Jesus and Barabbas: Ayres and Morgado have a moment where Barabbas and Jesus meet for the first time. There are moments in the film in which Jesus seems to stop time with his authority from God and this is one of those times. Jesus is marching into Jerusalem on a donkey when he is confronted by Barabbas; who is trying to whip up the crowd. Jesus silences Barabbas with a gesture and you can see the loud-mouthed Barabbas instantly moved to silence by the power of the Son of God. Well played on Ayers’ part.
#13 Barabbas again, I like this rather minor character. The religious leaders are trying to trap Jesus in the Temple after the Lord overturns the money tables. “What shall we do?” they ask Jesus. “Should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Barabbas is there trying to start a riot, yelling that the Jews should “not pay”. He’s almost gleeful as he is enticing the crowd to violence. Jesus gives his legendary answer that one should pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Barabbas leaves, visibly deflated by what Jesus has said.
#12 Jesus feeds five thousand: Jesus and the disciples disembark the boat and find a crowd waiting for them. They have no food for them, only a basket with some fish and some bread. Jesus prays and then distributes the food. The Apostle John, as surprised as the rest, has a basket in his hand that was all but empty a moment before. Suddenly it is filled and John cannot contain his happy enthusiasm. It’s a great little moment.
#11 Pilate is practicing his fencing: while not strictly in the Bible, this scene shows how charismatic and ruthless Pilate is. He is dueling a servant and deliberately wounds him in the swordplay. The audience gets a feeling that this is not a governor to be trifled with, a hands-on guy who is willing to inflict a little pain if it serves his purposes.
#10 Mary Magdalene played by Amber Rose Revah is on the boat with the disciples. Thomas the Apostle played by Matthew Gravelle is griping about something, saying in essence that Jesus’s recent actions don’t make sense to him. Mary gives him an earful on having faith. I like this moment because it shows that it just wasn’t men who had contact with Jesus, but women played a role in the early church. Revah is a firebrand who I liked very much.
#9 Mary again: Jesus has been crucified and buried. The disciples are in morning and hiding. Mary goes to the tomb alone and finds the stone that covered the tomb opening is not only rolled away, it is shattered in half. The tomb is empty except for the burial cloths. Mary is dumbfounded. Suddenly Jesus appears in the mouth of the tomb and Mary is inside the tomb looking at Jesus backlit from the sun. I like this scene because it shows Jesus in the light of life and Mary, who represents all of us, in the darkness of death inside a tomb. Well done by both actors.
#8 Thomas, played by Matthew Gravelle, is talking to Jesus at the last supper. Jesus has told the disciples that he is about to be betrayed, but he tells his followers not to fear. He is going away and his friends will follow him soon where he is going. Thomas asks, “How can we follow you to where you are going when we don’t know the way?” Jesus responds, “I am the way!” Me crying!
#7 Peter renounces Jesus: After the last supper, Jesus is talking to Peter. Peter is adamant; he says that even if all leave, Peter will follow Jesus even to the grave, he will lay down his life for him. “Will you?” says Jesus. “Before dawn you will deny me three times!” You can see the blood ebbing from Peter’s face as he turns to follow Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Wow!
#6 Jesus is arrested: Jesus is about to be arrested and is kissed by his betrayer, Judas, played by Joe Wredden. A riot ensues and Peter rushes to defend Jesus, cutting off the ear of the captain of the guards. Jesus stops time again and everyone focuses on Jesus as he reprimands his disciple. “Those who take up the sword,” Jesus says, “will perish by the sword.” This is probably one of my best scenes in the movie. Well acted.
#5 John in exile: The Apostle John is one of the last disciples left alive after all of the others have died or have been murdered. He is living on an island all alone, exiled for his faith. Jesus appears to John and John is crying tears of joy. This is the moment he has waited for all his life, to see his Lord again. A visibly older and frailer John cannot believe his eyes as the Lord approaches him. Very moving.
#4 Jesus is marching his cross to the site where he is to be crucified. He stumbles and falls. His mother, played by Downey, stoops to help him and mother and son exchange glances and a few words. This is an incredibly moving moment. Not quite as strong as moments in “Passion” where Mary flashes back to Jesus’s boyhood, but still quite strong. This is one of the best moments of the film and best depicts Mary’s anguish at the event of her son’s death.
#3 Pilate and his wife: Jesus is being executed and you can see parts of his body marred by blood. The scene cuts to Pilate who is getting a massage with oil. His wife is there rebuking him for being involved in Jesus’s death. This scene is very well done. Now Jesus is suffering, but wait, it will be these two who will suffer later. Very well done.
#2 The Sea of Galilee as Jesus calms the storm: the disciples are in the boat and Jesus is not with them. This scene combines two separate scenes depicted in the Bible; one where Jesus is in the boat asleep during a terrible storm and calms the storm before everyone is killed. Another scene is where the disciples are in the boat and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. In this scene, the two stories are combined. We see the disciples in the boat about to be killed in a storm and then a ghostly Jesus, who was not in the boat, comes walking to them on the water. Peter goes out to him, walking on the surface for a while, but looking back, he loses his faith and his footing and plunges down. Jesus rescues him and rebukes him for his lack of faith. Foreshadowing? A good scene for everyone involved.
#1 The Great Commission: probably the most moving scene in the movie. Jesus is talking to the disciples atop a mountain. He commands them to preach the Gospel to the world and then vanishes in a brilliant light. Peter turns his back on the where Jesus once stood and strides away off the mountain. “Come,” he says, “We have work to do!” In this moment the disciples are transfigured from cowards into faithful and brave servants of Christ and Peter, who was a denier of Christ before, becomes their captain. Very cool.
And now for the not so great. There are moments in the Bible story of Jesus that resonate with every Christian. Sadly, in this movie, the acting or the script or something gets in the way and is not as strong as it could be. First on my list, the moment Jesus rescues an adulterous woman about to be stoned. It would be a great moment except; Jesus doesn’t follow the scrip as told by the original scripture. Instead, he makes it up and the line he delivers is not as strong as what the Bible originally reports. Very sad.
Number two: This is the most disappointing scene in the film and unfortunately, it is not Greg Hicks’s (Pilate) fault. Jesus is being interrogated by Pilate in prison. Pilate played by Hicks delivers his lines flawlessly and instead of getting torn down by the awe-impiring Son of God, we get a rather weak and mushy response from Morgado as Jesus. This is really upsetting because this is normally a great opportunity to show how Jesus interacted with people around him and Morgado doesn’t deliver. Bummer. Compare this scene with the scene involving the same characters in “Passion”. Jesus is played by Jim Caviezal, one of the all time best portrayals of Christ in film, and the very best portrayal in movie history of Pontius Pilate portrayed by Hristo Shopov!
While Shopov and Hicks are at their top of their game as the charismatic and complex Roman Governor, Caviezal and Morgado are not even in the same ball park. Clearly Caviezal is playing the World Series and Morgado is little league, but Morgado wasn’t at all helped by the script writer or the videographer at this point. Jesus as played by Morgado looked like a crazy person on acid with far too much hair. He didn’t know what he was doing, did not give the appearance of the second most powerful entity of the universe. Very disappointing.
Overall I think this show is worthwhile if you want to spend your time and money to see it. The characters with the exception of Roma’s Mary aren’t top billed actors, but they all deliver solid performances with very few exceptions. I would give it four and a half stars out of five, deducting half a star for some script and acting problems I previously mentioned. In comparison I give “Passion” four and a half stars as well, deducting half a star for Gibson’s obsession with dousing the audience in gratuitous blood and gore, and for scaring the B’Jesus out of us with a nightmarishly hermaphroditic Satan character. And that’s my view