Checking your location on the grid is your duty every day.


Today’s New York Times shows us so many facets or our nation’s health that it is important to stop for a minute and reflect on what we do when we read the news each day.  Consider it your daily briefing on the state of your country.  You have a citizen’s duty to understand what is happening around you.

As a veteran you have an obligation to lead this country in a daily patrol in the direction of its own ideals and that obligation did not end when you took off your uniform and moved into civilian life.  You are the living embodiment of American ideals.  You are the man or woman who actually paid the price for America’s place in the world.  That gives you a major say in what goes on in this country but only if you demand it.  And keeping yourself informed on a daily basis on the direction in which your country is headed should be the basis for you demanding your daily five minutes at the microphone.


You must not only have an opinion, you are obligated to have an informed opinion.  So lets start today’s briefing.  Here is an article about a Senator getting caught having an affair with a friend’s wife, and he keeps things under wraps by steering work her way.  This was done to shut up her husband.  Of the incident, Senator Tom Coburn, the friend of the Senator in the wrong, offered this explanation for Senator John Ensign’s actions: "Judgment gets impaired by arrogance, and that’s what’s going on here." 

Now generally I do not give one whit as to who is sleeping with who.  I am no saint.  Let me just drop that line of argument at this point.  Let me simply tell you that a discussion with my ex-wife would not endear me to you.  The woman would tell you things that would have your eyes wide open. Trust me.

But when people who constantly talk about family values and are in a group that throws stones at other politicians for sexual piccadillos stray on their own account, well then turnabout is fair play. If I am going to call you a lousy, no good, fat mouthed "this or that" because you committed this or that human error, I had better watch my step if I do the same thing. Now I would be asking to have my teeth kicked in – metaphorically speaking of course.

This is more a look at a senator’s judgment than it is a moral lesson.  His judgment is not good.  His view of things is clouded.  Arrogance stole his ability to think.  Even a close friend of his said that to his own constituents. And that is my point. 

The elites who run our country, regardless of party and regardless of political philosophy are very prone to getting drunk on arrogance.  And then mistakes are made. And we are the people who pay for those mistakes, every day in thousands of ways. 

Arrogance is a poison that spoils the food for all of us at the national banquet table, not just the person who holds the bottle of poison.  You and I pay for this poor judgment in lousy decisions made by people on our behalf who have only their self interests in mind. 

We have a group of people running the country in Congress who are so detached from reality, so filled with hubris and arrogance that this man actually thought that this sort of illegal behavior could be carried out without discovery.  He thought he could make his lover rich and shut her husband up with inappropriate and possibly illegal patronage.  He got caught.  If he were smart, he would quietly step aside.

This is important to us only because this man, and others just like him, are making national security and national and global economic decisions every day for us.  How is his judgment on those levels, concerning those matters?  Is he equally as unfocused? Is he equally self-concerned?  Is he equally delusional? Do our needs and our hopes and dreams even enter his mind?

I would like to bet you that if a room were filled with Congressional decision makers in his position this morning there would be standing room only in the place!  He is not alone in influence peddling on Capitol Hill, trust me.  He sold influence to make a lover rich and keep a jilted husband quiet.  It did not work.

Do you honestly believe he is the only guy in Congress involved in this sort of illegal influence peddling?

And this is why party affiliation of any particular candidate for public office is nowhere near as important as whether or not he or she will be transparent with their constituents at every conceivable level.  Voters have an obligation, a solemn obligation, to make sure that they are placing a transparent politician into office (or back into office as the case may be). 

I will take an honest man anyday over the party of my choice.

I will take an honest, hard working, above board and slightly goofy candidate for public office any day over a Yale educated, polished, Brooks Bothers suited, silk tied handsome playboy who can talk the paint off a garage door. 

It is time for us all to reexamine what we want from public officials.  Do we want fine looking fifteen second television soundbites from handsome people or do we want contributory government?  The answer apparently is not as obvious as we would hope.  We need to think this through as a voting bloc, a group of veterans who could actually influence elections if we took this line of thought and put it into action.

Next up in the news is a story about China’s silence concerning its civil war between communist forces under Mao Tse Tung and Nationalists forces under Chiang Kai Shek  following World War II.  The Communist Party in China is celebrating its 60th year anniversary of its victory over Nationalists and the Kuomintang but it is largely silent about the incredible death and destruction amidst the Chinese people at that time.  The story is here.  There is a virtual news blackout in China concerning the horrors that both Chinese armies inflicted upon the people caught in the middle of the power struggle.

Yesterday I registered stunned rage at the Obamites attempting to silence or punish reporters in this country for using classified information as source material for discovering what our government is doing at all times. 

This is why.

Yesterday a protestor in Istanbul threw a shoe at the head of the Director of the International Monetary Fund during a speech in Istanbul, Turkey.  The story is here.  It might have been rude, but you have to give the Muslim world credit for this:  they certainly get involved in politics at the level of the individual.

Here is a story about China eclipsing Japan’s economy much more quickly than economists thought would happen. China will be the second largest economy in the world five years sooner than expected and that means they will have incredible influence five years sooner than we thought.  They have incredible influence now, what will it be like for us then?  You need to understand what this newfound power in China means to us; essentially it means a lot of our options are now off the table.  Get prepared for this day.

And finally in an editorial from the Times we have a sense of the ruling class imposing its will on a state’s population.  Is that allowable in our republic?

In a very important case concerning the right of the ruling class of a state to impose its view of morality on the population of the state, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld a ruling to impose sales restrictions on sex toys in the state.  A quote from the article says:

"The Alabama Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit court want to interpret the Lawrence ruling narrowly — focusing on the fact that the sodomy law that was struck down singled out a particular group, gay people, and applied to noncommercial sexual activity.

Alabama’s law against sexual devices is clearly based on the prejudices of the state’s governing majority, which may or may not represent an actual majority of Alabamians. And the question goes beyond sex toys. The 11th Circuit court discussed the state’s interest in public morality in 2004 when it upheld Florida’s law prohibiting gay couples from adopting. The issue could be headed to the United States Supreme Court, which often happens when two federal courts of appeals have reached opposite results. It would give the court a chance to expound on important issues of privacy, morality and minority rights."

In other words, is the "ruling class" of any particular region or state or national government reflective of the will of the majority of the people there or is it reflective of the will of the ruling class only?

This is a great deal more important than whether or not sex toys can be sold in Alabama.  This is about deciding just who is representative of the majority and how is that calculated.  This is the first time I have ever seen an editorial where the staff of a major newspaper in this country infers that there is a ruling class and that they may or may not actually represent the majority.


 CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)



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