Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another Week, a Further Drop

As the oil spill magnifies and the president’s indifference to real problems soars we find his presidential index in free fall. Gradually he has gone from -12% strongly disapprove to -17% during the course of the week. Absent the “strongly” modifier we find him at -9% of likely voters on Rasmussen. It would appear that folks—likely voters at least—are catching on to this “hope and change” shtick. My dad used to wear me out saying, “familiarity breeds contempt.” Finally I can see documentary evidence that he was right. This was always in opposition to those who insisted that “once you get to know him, he’ll grow on you.” Maybe they were right as well: growing on us like a malignant cancer.

His image was certainly not enhanced by the remarks of one his most loyal sycophants in the media, Helen Thomas. Her open mike comments about returning all the Jews to Poland and Germany as a solution to problems in the Middle East didn’t help. She, of course, may be excused for whatever insanity escapes her pie hole by virtue of her advanced age—what is she now? 108? 109? Actually, she will be 90 in August, 2010. She fled UPI after 57 years when they were acquired by a news service associated with the Unification Church under the leadership of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. (Ed: No relation to your host.) Two months later at 82 she found a new employer, Hearst Newspapers, and fortuitously escaped unemployment and remains, as she has been for decades, “the Sitting Buddha.”

Meanwhile, back at the White House, golf and “date nights” continue to dominate the activity list. Will it be only a matter of time until the 7-iron shows up on the presidential seal? To the best of my memory, Ike was the last president to have such a love of the game. For those with curiosity about the results posted on his scorecard you would more easily find information on his academic record. Fortunately for the commander-in-chief, a birth certificate is not required to play.

Barring some momentous occurrence, this will be the last post of the week. It will require some time to cleanse the mind and heart in advance of Sunday services. These are trying times and I urge you to include your country in your prayers. Every little bit helps.

In His abiding love,
Cecil Moon

Friday, June 4, 2010

US Army! Happy Birthday to You!

June 3rd marked the 235th anniversary of the founding of the United States Army. We at Zion Beckons offer congratulations and prayers for their continued success in every endeavor. As one who volunteered to be with them during the Korean era for three years, I look back with great affection to those with whom I served, with gratitude to those who preceded me, and a kinship to those who have followed to uphold our noble traditions.

Given the capabilities and responsibilities of our current army, we find them well prepared and willing to continue to uphold our liberties anywhere they are called. As a gift to you, our readers, we have an exceptional video of the US Army’s greeting to Pope Benedict XVI on his first visit to the United States a couple years ago.

It is the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” done by a group of exceptional individuals, both the US Arny chorus and the band. This link will take you to Hot Air and the video. Watch it; it’s great.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

The Nashville Flood

I you were to equate the importance of news with the amount of air time (or article length) you would see the Nashville Flood as mere blip on the screen. What flood, you say? On the first weekend of May, the Cumberland River rose to 13 feet above flood stage, killed thirty people, and caused at least a billion dollars worth of damage to Nashville and the surrounding areas close to the river which would include the greater portion of the central business district. Even the legendary Opryland Hotel complex with its expansive indoor gardens was a victim.

Apparently the flood could not compete with the “Times Square Bomber” and the early days of the BP oil spill for coverage. (Ed: yes, that started over a month ago.) Even the marital problems of Sondra Bullock and Jessie James claimed a huge portion as well. Even though the spill took 11 lives at the offset, surely the loss of 30 plus Nashvillians should trigger some emotional response. No one has died so far in the Bullock/James dust-up. For comparative dollar loss, the financial threat from the recent socialized medicine initiative is greater by a factor of 1,000.

I was privileged to live briefly in Nashville in the late seventies. As a result, I can understand why I have heard no plaintive calls from the locals to “save us.” It is an area well steeped in a “do-it-yourself” culture. It is a rare circumstance when the individual with the assistance of his family and his neighbors cannot solve whatever problems they face. Whenever I confronted a problem which exceeded my skills, I was advised by older family members to give “Willis” or “Billy Bob” a call to find the solution. If they didn’t know they always recommended someone who did.

Typical of those who were on-call to render aid were these guys who remind me a lot of those I knew in the Nashville area in this picture.

No doubt, this may well be part of the reason we have heard few reports from the greater Nashville area of looting and vandalizing private property. No poignant pictures of folks wading waist deep in flood waters with the loot from their last foray. These same guys would be delighted to take their bass boat out to rescue survivors clinging to roof tops. One last note: upon very careful examination of this photo I noted that each pictured individual is practicing superb gun safety and none are covering the triggers.

The spirit of independence is alive and well in Nashville, Tennessee.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, June 3, 2010

180 Years Old and Still Current

Nearly 180 years ago, we were visited by a man sent by the French Government to examine our political and economic system in addition to our prisons. He was here for 9 months and in 1835 published Democracy in America. Here follow some of Alexis de Tocqueville's observations.

''I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country.

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.”

The following is a choice observation:

"It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting.”

The controls in de Toquevilles’s book have long since graduated past the barely noticeable to the monstrously and obviously oppressive. This precipitous slide into governmental intrusion in the lives of its citizens has moved at a glacial pace over the last 175 years but has ground individual agency in its path. They key has been the ever expanding “network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform,” which have overtaken our society and rendered us to the status of children.

Each of us has his own example of the bans and prohibitions which he has encountered in an attempt to perform the simplest of tasks. The statutory publications of the agencies would require more than a common semi to carry.  Enough is enough!  The time has come for the adults to regain control and regain the liberty we have so carelessly squandered.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Note: Thanks to Knowledge is Power for the quote.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Obama’s Katrina?

To acknowledge the legitimacy of the obvious comparison is to assign a measure of truth and avoid the villain in the issue. While I am reluctant to cut the narcissist in chief any slack on nearly any matter, there is no evidence (at the moment) for his complicity in the oil spill which currently plagues the Gulf. At the same time, we must acknowledge that Bush, even with limited warning, was not in a position to implement the steps necessary to over-ride the local officials in the evacuation of New Orleans. In both cases, any action taken by either president would far supercede the responsibilities of the job they both campaigned for.

In both circumstances, I would prefer to take advantage of the existent expertise in the customer base at the old Cochise Trading Co. (a firm formerly operated by your host) in Houma, Louisiana. As Gulf Coast residents, worker’s on the rigs, and experienced with the caprices of local weather systems; they had the knowledge, honed by experience, to deal with both natural and manmade emergencies. It should be obvious to just about anyone that their combination of experience would be far better than any collection of Washington bureaucrats safely ensconced in luxury homes within the beltway.

The constant rain of criticism on both presidents is revealed as partisan politics at its vilest level. Anyone with the least skills of observation would have recognized the dysfunctional nature of the local New Orleans power structure. Monies dedicated to levee enhancement over decades to protect the city were mysteriously diverted to less urgent projects. The resultant flooding was not subject to “if” it would happen, but “when.” The residents paid a dear price for that mis-management.

Presidents of both parties have stood idly by as enviro-nazis have insisted on moving oil rigs ever further into the Gulf beyond the continental shelf with ever deeper rig locations. Even the least experienced in these matters understand the problematic differences between drilling at 100’ and over 5000’. These are not regulations which are specified in legislation from the congress but flow from the irresponsible bureaucrats. Through bungling restrictions from these agencies, the “burn” was thwarted, protective dikes have not been built and in general, the disaster has been allowed to proceed apace. This is your government in action. Although it appears that Obama would perpetuate this mindless behemoth, their current action is not a result of his influence.

The problem here is that a huge segment of our population has come to falsely believe that the federal government can furnish “cradle to grave” protection from every threat. In a vigorous economy and in an uncertain natural world, there will be mishaps. Certain natural rules of order are in place that, when violated, will result in a disaster. To presume that each of these is preventable is sheer insanity. It is especially true when both the natural world erupts and human mis-management occurs simultaneously. (See: Hurricane Katrina)

Part of building a convenient infrastructure is the creation of death traps and hazards. For a full run-down on these go to this site site and inventory just how many different ways we manage to kill and maim ourselves. We live in a dangerous world in which we are responsible for our own protection through recognition of potential danger. The idea that one’s government can protect them from every hazard and should be constantly responsible for our well being is insane, irresponsible and unrealistic.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It’s Time for a Reality Check

We currently face, as a people, the most dire threat to the republic since December 7, 1941. The worst of it is that to wrap your mind around the immensity of the threat, requires the abandonment of age old notions of our social construct. Roosevelt at his worst gave lip service to patriotism, support for the military, and had the capacity to identify the enemy. Johnson obviously wrestled with his own demons as he declined to continue in office. Even Carter, a book length disaster on his own, managed to hide much of his incompetence behind an assumed “spiritual” façade. Clinton also, when faced with hard choices for his agenda, managed a turn to the center to appease the public clamor for restraint.

Each of the aforementioned brought a measure of executive experience to the office. Roosevelt was governor of New York, Johnson as House member, senator and finally vice president, Carter as a two-term Georgia Senator and then governor, and Clinton as attorney general and then governor of Arkansas, all brought considerable prior service to the job of president. Each, although subject to criticism in their own right, did not require “on-the-job” training to manage the basic necessities of governance. To varying degrees, each of these men recognized certain aspects of the public will and acted accordingly.

Some challenge the value of experience by asking the legitimate question, “Does he have twenty years of experience or one year of experience twenty times?” That may well be valid if the job is fastening pop rivets but the presidency requires a far more varied level of expertise. All too often successful management boils down to not specifically knowing how to get the job done but rather which person to task with the assignment. Little would be gained by having the president descend to the BP well head in a diving bell to assess how to repair the gusher. Micro-management of government should be shunned in favor of securing those who know the widely varied fields of government with an intimate base of knowledge to be competent. Individual professionalism should always trump partisan party politics.

Our current chief executive claimed about two years ago, before the election that if he were chosen it would be then that; “our planet began to heal” and “the rise of the oceans began to slow.” What seemed a presumptive statement at the time has now turned into a source of legitimate ridicule. Quite the contrary, we find not just gushers deep under the sea but every where we look is an uncontrolled effusion of our national wealth and security. Our treasury is spewing national resources uncontrollably. Our borders are unable to control the flow of illegals. We have observed resurgence in the flood of murderous attacks on American citizens by radical Islamists. There are serious leaks in nearly every aspect of our economy; jobs, housing markets, high finance, manufacturing with little actual realistic action being taken to stem the tide.

In response to these national tragedies we are getting “shout outs,” “date nights,” shameful avoidance of our established national military heroes, capitulation to tin-pot dictators, insulting behavior to former loyal allies, crushing suppression of faith, manufactured race crisis, socialized medicine which we can ill-afford, and the continued propagation of the global warming myth. Couple these complaints with an endless round of campaign appearances for upcoming office seekers and one wonders when they find time for maintenance on Air Force I. (Does the DNC pony up its share for the use of that plane?) It is safe to assume that the end is not in sight.

As one inventories the stable of replacements within a constitutionally mandated order, the prospects are not inviting; Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton……. .What’s that old commercial line? “Trading a headache for an upset stomach,” just barely describes that outcome. Obviously, the solution lies with the electorate. If they rise as a body and demand the restoration of national purpose and integrity with their votes in November it would be possible to emasculate the ongoing effort to destroy the country. Barring that, I must conclude I have overestimated the American thirst for liberty.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 148

We live about a mile from one of the many venerable local cemeteries. As we passed on Sunday morning on the way to church, it was decked out in fresh flowers and other remembrances from those who survived, to honor those who didn’t. It is a place of sublime beauty and peace and of great importance to our neighbors and our friends. While we have no relatives there, we can certainly understand the feelings of those who do. For us, as we drove to church, it provoked memories of more familiar resting places which house the earthly remains of our kin. Those who raised us are all long gone to their just reward. It also provoked warm feeling for the countless others, in our military, whose names are unknown to us, who sacrificed so much for our families. May God grant them the rest which they have so well earned.

Part of the service at church was the presentation of a New Testament to a fine young man who reports for basic training on Tuesday. It is a lovely volume which is scaled to fit in his breast pocket. In previous conversation with him, I had mentioned that I had one as well, nearly sixty years ago which I carried throughout my three year stint. I neglected to mention that mine had a steel plate in one of the covers. I am personally convinced that the spiritual significance of the book was of far more value than that physical aspect. I still have it!

“Meaning of a Flag-Draped Coffin”

The following was sent to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends. At a military funeral, it is tradition for the honor guard to remove the flag prior to interment, fold it thirteen times and present the result to family members. It is a moving ceremony and invariably reflects the honor and respect the members have for both the deceased and the flag.

After some research, it was determined that there is no official “script” to accompany the folding of the American flag for presentation. The one printed here is usually attributed to a former chaplain at the Air Force Academy but should not be construed as official. For your consideration; here follows the note:

”All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Read it and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our 'GOD GIVEN' rights and freedoms.

Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon the coffin and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers. Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day! The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today. There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.”

Official or not, it will bring a deeper meaning when I see Old Glory dutifully and respectfully folded for presentation.

And Finally

Granny put a new hummingbird feeder out and it raises one question. Where were those critters hiding before the new feeder appeared? Suddenly, the air is full of them. They bring a whole new definition to the concept of avian speed. The only one which can be positively identified is of course, the most common—the ruby throated. The feeder was hung from a vacant support which is only about 5’ from the regular bird feeder. There appears to be no conflict between the two groups of birds. This is no doubt because they use completely different feeding systems. When the hummingbird tongue is extended for an entry to the feeder (or flower?) it appears, with the long beak, to be as long in total as the bird itself.

From my chair at the computer, it is exactly 12’ to the feeders through a huge window. This is exactly what I had in mind when I designed and built the room and the covered deck. Further, my grape experiment is coming nicely and they are more than half way to the roof top trellis in less than two years. God is good.

We have elected to stow the extreme rant for this occasion and curb our critical tendencies. There will be much left to complain about tomorrow. Enjoy your Holiday and a day of remembrance for those who gave their all to provide the freedom to continue our lives in liberty.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon