a definition of terms…

I am no hand at debate, and I don’t like confrontation. Almost anyone who knows their talking points can out-argue me, or confuse me, because the shock of a suddenly heated debate will cause all my intelligence to fly out the window. I really have to understand my subject matter, to the nth degree, before I’ll even consider discussing it with someone, because of my lack of debating skills.

So, I really love an author that explains things clearly, because I love to learn, and my tendency to confusion under fire annoys me. Wouldn’t you be frustrated if you knew you could be a scatterbrain in certain circumstances, but in normal, day-to-day life, you have no such tendencies? I like to read and I like to learn about many subjects, especially history. Eventually, my love of history brought me to my interest in politics, especially the conservative side of things.

When I was in school, I always had the slight feeling of “that doesn’t sound quite right” when our history teachers taught us something. It wasn’t like having evolution shoved down my throat in biology, which just plain made me mad, that I have to learn something that’s only a THEORY, no matter how many times scientists shout that it’s proven. You can yell all you want, it doesn’t prove anything. Go review the scientific method, and get over yourself.

But in history, you learn what they teach, and memorize things in order to pass the next test. You don’t take time to try and figure out why something just didn’t sound quite right. So, when they tell you that JFK and FDR were the best presidents, that Teddy Roosevelt saved us from big, bad corporations, and that Abraham Lincoln and the North were completely in the right, during the Civil War, you accept it as fact… or factual enough to memorize and pass the test.

I’ve learned much more about history and politics, since I left school, than I ever learned while I was there, and more than I ever would if I went to college. Though, I suppose if I’d had to debate my subject in college, I’d have become a serious recluse, refusing ever to come out of my hole again. Instead, I just read what I like, and think about whether it matches up with what I already know, and whether they actually use their sources properly.

A good author explains themselves very clearly, and defines its terms for those who might possibly be confused. I’ve learned a lot about capitalism, in the last few years, when I couldn’t have told what it was, before, if my life depended on it. I read and understand many words in context, but if you asked me to explain them, I’d be sunk. So, when I read Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, I was very pleased to find that he defines his terms in words that normal humans can understand. Remember, I want to ingrain my understanding of some things, so that when someone blows up in my face, I don’t forget what I was about to say.

Words like ideology, pragmatism, and dogma are spelled out for anyone to understand. Technically, I should know them, but if you wanted to argue with me about them, my experience isn’t great enough to remember them. And so, not only the textbook definition, but some of the modern connotations that can be spun around them are explained. Then, Mr. Goldberg discusses how he sees them, when those at the other end of the political spectrum don’t agree with him at all.

The Tyranny of Clichés is about how liberal debaters, whether in the mainstream media, Hollywood, or the higher-ups in our government, use certain phrases to paralyze open discussion and honest debate. Believe me, I understand this stratagem more than most, because people do it to me by accident… until I can check my encyclopedia again. When someone throws the phrase “violence never solves anything” or “better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished” at you, they’re trying to silence you without argument. They may think they sound clever, while I’m left with a feeling that what they’ve said doesn’t sound quite right, but since I never thought about it, what do I say?

A few hours later is when I come up with the response that those statements are both stupid. But I’m not sure I would’ve been rude enough to tell someone that, to their face. But, of course, “violence” can solve things. If someone attacks me, with rape on the mind, and I defend myself with my Ruger SR9, then I sure did just “solve” that. And when Goldberg presented his point on the “ten men” idea, I had to think about that, too. If I’m sent to prison for a crime I didn’t commit, that’s bad. But what about those guilty men that could go on a shooting rampage, and kill my family? Would I rather they were free to ruin someone else’s life? Our justice system isn’t perfect, but I would rather they made a mistake in my own case, than let ten murderers go free.

I really liked the chapter on “social justice”, which points out that no one seems to really know what it is, just that it’s a good thing. Well, if it’s an indefinite term that can mean whatever anybody wants it to mean, as long as it promotes their agenda, how is that good? Just because it SOUNDS good, doesn’t mean it IS good. And the separation of church and state chapter only hammers home something that already annoys me, the modern-day belief that we need to stamp God and religion out of public life. It’s screwball, unconstitutional (Jefferson mentioned the separation of church and state in a LETTER to a friend), and completely against what the Founding Fathers believed. And I haven’t even touched on the idea of the Constitution being a “living document” that “evolves”. Gag me. Or rather, I wish someone had gagged Woodrow Wilson, before he promoted that idea.

This book was a great read, and I learned a lot. Even if you’re liberal-minded, I think there’s much to be learned about how certain clichés can be used to stifle a good discussion. And the willingness to listen and discuss things is really something that’s needed, nowadays. No one, conservative or liberal, will change their mind if they’ve just been trampled on. You can railroad me and win the debate, but I’ll still think I’m right. And so, thank you, Mr. Goldberg, for your great book which has explained so much and from which I was able to learn a few things.

the joys of brick and mortar…

The day that the last Barnes & Noble book store closes will be a sad, sad day. I pray that this day never comes, but with the closing of Borders and other stores, it could possibly be in our future. Don’t get me wrong, I love small bookstores, antique book stores, and used book stores. If they sell books, then they have my love, pretty much guaranteed. But there’s nothing like getting a coffee and wandering through a huge store full of NEW books. I love the smell, the variety of subject matter, the array of color, and even the sections full of journals, games, music, and stationery. It just makes me happy!

Of course, this is coming from the owner of a Kindle Fire, and now that I own one, I don’t think I’ll ever be without one. But I see it as an addition to owning books, full of all the gimmicks you’d get on an iPad (apps for FB, e-mail, Angry Birds, etc.), but without the necessity of going over to the iEverything crowd. I shop on Amazon, download music from them, and (in general), dislike the layout of iTunes. So, the Kindle Fire fits my needs, and I can satisfy some of my book buying urges by downloading endless amounts of free books.

When I drove my brother to the airport, my plan for the evening was to visit the Barnes & Noble. I hadn’t been in a while, and I needed my actual-paper-book and coffee fix. And even when you aren’t treating yourself to Starbucks mochas and lattes, you can get a regular coffee, and add enough nutmeg and cinnamon to make it seem special. So, I nursed my wonderful cup of coffee, and began to peruse the merchandise.

You’ve probably heard this before, but yes, I always start at the front, making my way through the new stuff and the bestsellers, looking to see if I’ve missed anything, when looking online. Then, I steadily progress past all the wooden tables on the center aisle, stopping to look at items of interest, chuckling over stuffed Spiderman dolls that are offered with all the movie gear, and feeling sorry for some of the school kids, when I see the school reading table.

I hated everything they ever made us read in school, but I noticed that some Tolkien and other books of interest were included in the collection… which made me wonder which awesome school let you read The Lord of the Rings for English Literature. Then again, if they follow the normal rules of English classes, is it possible to make a class HATE Tolkien, because they generally succeed in making kids hate everything else that they study? I still shudder at the sight of Lord of the Flies, Jacob Have I Loved, 1984, and The Call of the Wild. I always have a slight feeling that I shouldn’t hate a book that won a Newbery Medal, but 8th or 9th grade ruined Jacob Have I Loved for me. And with Jack London being a classic American author, and considering I like the movie White Fang, I have an idea that I should give his books another chance. But I never do, because with all the other things to read out there, why would you go back to something you absolutely abhorred?

Since I find the Paranormal Romance section to be a laugh, I skirted the Young Adult Fiction, this time around, figuring that I’d give it a better look some other time. I know there’s some good stuff buried in there somewhere, but at the moment, it’s hidden by all the vampires, werewolves, mermaids, demons, and I don’t remember what else.

Instead, I started in the Politics & Current Events shelves, found that they had nothing I hadn’t seen (or wasn’t reading already). Having just finished Jonah Goldberg’s newest book, I’ve continued on to Jason Mattera’s Hollywood Hypocrites, with plans to finally read Goldberg’s previous book, Liberal Fascism, sometime soon. And if you’re waiting for me to commentate on these books, you’ll have to be patient. I like to write up several books at once, so aside from telling you that I loved The Tyranny of Clichés, you can just continue to be patient.

I really wanted to look at Military History, until I got stumped by it. You see, my recent reading of Rilla of Ingleside gave me an extreme interest in World War I history, but the bulk of military history books are about World War II. Nothing wrong with that, and a book store will sell what is most popular. But I found myself glaring at HALF of one shelf, with the only WWI histories they carried. Which book on the Great War would I pick?

Then, I cheated. Sort of. Yes, I was in Barnes & Noble, but I had my Kindle with me, so I turned it on, and went to the B&N website. It still wasn’t finding what I wanted, so I committed the cardinal sin of looking up what I wanted on Amazon. While in a Barnes & Noble. I know, you’re shocked. But I finally started getting some reviews on the handful of books I was staring at. The World Crisis: 1911-1918, by Winston Churchill, i supposed to be a phenomenal history, but not recommended for first time readers of the subject. Likewise with the other 4-5 general histories they had. It’s been suggested that A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918, is the place to start. Of course, you can’t look up WWI without coming across Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Guns of August. So, there’s much to take in, and too much can be overwhelming.

I decided to settle for less than a history, for now. But if you’ve ever read Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, to get a good view of the battle of Gettysburg, then you may see why I picked up Jeff Shaara’s To the Last Man: A Novel of the First World War. You may find my interest in this subject to be odd, but as terrible as World War II was, the people that went into The Great War had no recent memories of what war was even like. The Civil War was only a memory to the elderly of that time, and the young people of Canada and America looked at this fighting across the ocean to be a place to find glory. It wasn’t right up in their face, like during the Civil War. But in World War II, the fighters of The Great War watched their children go to fight, and some of those children may have known (from their fathers) that war was not glorious.

Anyway… my meanderings brought me to Christian Fiction, where I picked up a new one of the A.D. Chronicles, by Bodie & Brock Thoene. I don’t read all of their books, but I really love this closer look into what it was like during the time of Christ. Some of the most well-known stories in the Bible get a second look, seeing what it might have been like to really see Christ and walk with Him.

Into the Children’s books, and after I managed to get past all the books about Brave, I was pleased by the huge selection that B&N carried. There’s a huge display of beautifully illustrated books, but I was captured by some of the ones that I read as a child. Nothing can beat Blueberries for Sal, Corduroy, and The Little Engine That Could (with the original illustrations). As I turned the pages of these books, I remembered what it was like to be a child, entranced by the pictures, while my mom read me the story. My memories of some of the words are more vague, but even when I was too young to read, I would look at the pictures endlessly. Watching the dolls and toys on the train, as they begged the passing train engines to help them get over the hill. Following Corduroy as he wandered around that dark mall, searching for another button for his overalls. These pictures are imprinted in my mind!

Amongst the books for older children, I continued to resist the newest book by Trenton Lee Stewart, because I want to get The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict after it comes to paperback. Something about the cover of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall, caught my attention. I think it’s a recent publication, but it reminded me of older books like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and others. Would it be as classic as those, or did it just look that way? The Water Seeker, by Kimberly Willis Holt, also looked to be a good read, as it follows the story of a boy, gifted with the ability to find water, on his journey across The Oregon Trail.

I wanted to find the sequel to The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood, but I couldn’t find even the first one. You may wonder why I don’t just pick these up on Kindle, but I don’t WANT to own everything on Kindle, now that I’m back in the U.S., and don’t need to save space. It’s more satisfying to turn pages and be able to see where the bookmark is, no matter how handy reading e-books might be. Besides, I have the first book in paperback, and I want a matched set.

While in the mystery section, which I don’t usually pay any attention to, I was looking to see if there were any new Georgette Heyers. That’s really the only reason I go into the Romance or Mystery sections, because just the covers of the romances make me feel slightly dirty when I come out again. Besides, someone might SEE me in there!  : )   But they didn’t have any new Heyers, so I stopped to examine some books by Tasha Alexander and P. J. Alderman.

Haunting Jordan (Alderman) seemed to have two mysteries, old and new, wrapped up in a tale of fixing up an old house that was home to some garrulous ghosts. I’m not usually into ghost stories, but just the term “garrulous ghosts” made me want to have a look. And I was curious about And Only to Deceive, from Alexander’s Lady Emily series. It seems to be tied up with an arranged marriage, a young widow, and the letters of her deceased husband, set in Victorian times. I think we’ll have to see if our local library carries any of these books.

Passing by the sales tables, on the way to the checkout, always leaves me with the desire to buy the brand new Calvin & Hobbes comic books. I want my own copies, but I also want to send a set to my Aussie girls. I can’t imagine growing up without the hilarity of Calvin & Hobbes, but they’re just not as popular over there. Using soft soap in public restrooms always reminds me of the one where Calvin tells his mom that he’s been saving up his boogers to donate, and then finds out that people don’t need them donated. Soft pump soap (as opposed to foaming soap) is slimy and gross, and I think that Calvin’s boogers may well have gone into the making of it.

And so, that finishes my book ramblings for the day. Now that I’ve finished reading Twelfth Prophecy, by Bodie & Brock Thoene, I have to figure out what else I want to read next. I’ll probably pick out another fiction story to rotate with Jason Mattera’s books. Enjoy your own summer readings, and let me know if there’s anything good that I need to look into!

a passport to freedom…

When was the last time you looked inside your passport (if you have one), and not just to see how terrible you look in your picture? Or perhaps you like to count how many stamps you have in it, proving that you’ve visited a certain number of countries? I have my “baby passport” still, from a trip that my parents never took, and I sure looked cute in that picture. I can’t say that for any other photo I have in a license or passport, since then.

Right before getting on the plane in Brisbane, I was expecting to need my passport, so while holding it ready, I began to look through it. And a few minutes later, when an official came by and told me I didn’t need it right then, I ignored him and kept reading. Because I had discovered that the back of this all-important booklet isn’t just blank pages. In fact, every page has a unique and beautiful design in the background, created to go along with a famous quote.

With the quotes starting back during the times of our Founding Fathers, I was pleased to find they had chosen so well (mostly), really giving you an idea of what our country is about. I don’t think I had heard the one by Daniel Webster before.

Of course, near the end, I thought the Native American quote was quite odd (why are we thanking the animals, again?), and the quote from Lyndon B. Johnson, while pretty, I’m still a bit iffy to its meaning. Was it just poetic, or is he speaking about using his Great Society to transform us?

And before anyone calls me on the spelling of the first quote, it was printed in the old-fashioned handwriting and spelling, as if to suggest that Francis Scott Key himself wrote it into the cover of my passport.

But overall, I found it to be a great representation of what this country was founded for, and what we believe in. We believe in freedom, and nobody’s going to take that away from us.

Since I don’t know the rules surrounding taking pictures of a passport (it’s probably not allowed), I won’t be including any. I thought that I’d just let the quotes speak for themselves. Starting on the front page…

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” –Francis Scott Key, writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the United States National Anthem

“…And the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” –Abraham Lincoln

“The principle of free governments adheres to the American soil. It is bedded in it, immovable as its mountains.” –Daniel Webster

“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.”
–George Washington

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” –excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

“We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” –John F. Kennedy

“This is a new nation, based on a mighty continent, of boundless possibilities.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world, it must first come to pass in the heart of America.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

“For this is what America is about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the start that is not reached and the harvest sleeping in the unplowed ground. Is our world gone? We say “Farewell”. Is a new world coming? We welcome it — and we will bend it to the hopes of man.” –Lyndon B. Johnson

“May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great oceans of the world.” –inscribed in the Golden Spike, Promontory Point, 1869

“We give thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach to us people. We are glad they are still here and we hope it will always be so.” excerpt from the Thanksgiving address, Mohawk version.

“The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.” –Anna Julia Cooper

“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds… to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.” –Ellison S. Onizuka
I would put that last quote into the quirky category, too, except the facing picture in the book was of a satellite and outer space, so maybe they just mean we should fund NASA some more, instead of taking care of the national debt. On the third and fourth reading, I’m still uncertain of Johnson’s quote, because the man was anything BUT poetic, and he did grow our government enormously. Perhaps that’s the new world he refers to?

I’m not sure which Thanksgiving address is coming from the Mohawks, because I didn’t think they were there with the Pilgrims. I sure hope that the animals will always be here, too, because otherwise we’ll go hungry. But rather than skip over the odd quotes, I wanted to show you the full range of quotes. I’d say “good job!” to whoever designed them, this time around.

who says there’s no bombshell?

I get my random bits of news from the Yahoo homepage. I admit it freely. It doesn’t cover the big news properly, but it keeps me aware of what’s going on at home, with lots of stupid stuff mixed in. Hey, can I help it if I like randomness? You should see my music playlists.

From there, I promptly go to Breitbart.com to get the actual news.

My friends will tell you that I post a lot of Breitbart.com articles on Facebook, and I don’t know whether anyone reads them or not. For all I know, they sit there and think, “Ah, yes, Rachel’s posting another one of those articles, and it’s clogging up my News Feed.”. I’m talking about my conservative friends, too. Since I’m the most prolific reader of politics that I know of, when I see something interesting, I share it, and they’re allowed to read it or not, as they please. I don’t argue with people about what I post, I just post it and let them decide for themselves.

So, I remember the day that Whitney Houston died, and at first, at the very top of Yahoo’s homepage, there was a “rumor” posted about her death. Then it became a reality, and then every top article for the next 72 hours were all about her and her legacy. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Bodyguard soundtrack, and listened to it hundreds of times when I was younger. She had a glorious voice, at one time, and I’m sorry she’s gone.

Then, on March 1, Andrew Breitbart died. Somehow, Yahoo actually got around to posting the news, so while half awake, I was able to get over to Breitbart.com to see if it was true. Painful as it still is to think about, it was true. But within the hour, I was unable to find that article ANYWHERE on Yahoo. The death of Andrew Breitbart, a New Media, conservative patriot had passed away, and the media didn’t care. In fact, they hardly waited any time at all, before saying the most disgusting things I’ve ever read about someone, while Andrew’s family were still in the initial throes of their grief.

Considering the mainstream media’s priorities (eulogize Whitney, trash or ignore Andrew), I was not surprised to see their treatment of the Derrick Bell videos. Andrew Breitbart announced at CPAC that for this election, we were going to vet the president, something that the media chose NOT to do, last time around. These videos he had of Obama’s college years were going to be a bombshell to the world’s image of “the One”, as I believe Oprah once called Obama.

Then, the Derrick Bell videos went up, and the media said… “Where’s the bombshell?”. Literally. Soledad O’Brien asked Joel Pollak of Breitbart.com where the actual bombshell was, and then sidetracked the discussion into an argument (on her side) of what Critical Race Theory actually is. Piers Morgan asked Dana Loesch “What’s the big deal?”, concerning these videos. By the way, did you know that O’Brien was a huge fan of Derrick Bell, but still doesn’t see what the bombshell is?

And on Yahoo, I saw an article proclaiming that “The Obama Video Bombshell Fizzles”, or something to that effect. Going back to look again, several minutes ago, I can’t find that article anywhere on the Yahoo homepage. Plenty of details about Snooki’s baby nickname, the recent Hollywood engagements, and other stuff. So, I searched “Obama Video Fizzles”, and got tons of articles that asked the same questions that Morgan and O’Brien asked.

You see, if they keep joking about it being no big deal, or acting like they can’t see a bombshell, then they may actually convince their audience that there isn’t one. I know many people that are suspicious of the media, but choose not to look beyond what they say. I used to be one of them. But at this time, when we need to get the country’s concentration back on our President’s radical background, instead of on Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke, and the “contraception scandal”, we need to look further.

For those of my friends who notice my Breitbart.com FB posts, but never read them, this is for you.

The Derrick Bell videos show a young Obama introducing Professor Derrick Bell at a rally, at Harvard Law School. Obama tells his audience to “open your minds and hearts to the words of Derrick Bell”. Sound innocuous? Well, it isn’t, when you look further into who Derrick Bell was.

Derrick Bell believed in the subject of Critical Race Theory, which suggests that racist thinking, white supremacy, and the need to subjugate blacks is embedded in the very fiber of our government, the Constitution, and our own selves. Bell even created a movie about the idea that if space aliens came to Earth, while Reagan was President, they could offer us countless gold in order to pay off our national debt, in return for being given all the blacks on the planet. Reagan, of course, would accept this offer, and the Jews would only try and stop him, because of fear that they’d be the next scapegoats.

Bell also agreed with the sentiments and beliefs of Louis Farrakhan, didn’t think the civil rights movement went far enough (he considered it a sham), and the rally at Harvard was about the school needing to hire a black female professor that was as radical as he was. Bell didn’t want a conservative black woman teaching at Harvard, so his protest was not just about the hiring of more minorities.

If you want a really good definition of Critical Race Theory, who better to explain it than Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan? President Obama put her on the Supreme Court, and she knows the subject very well. (see Elena Kagan Taught CRT) At the end of Kagan’s four-point discussion of CRT, she says this, “Fourth, and relatedly, critical race theory insists that the law –legal doctrines of all sorts — be reformulated, fundamentally altered, to reflect and incorporate the perspectives and experiences of so-called “outsider groups,” who have known racism and racial subordination at first hand.”

Before I had even finished reading the article, what leaped to my mind was some things that Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor had said, long before she ever reached the Supreme Court. Yes, the article mentions it later, but I remembered it before that. Sotomayor believes that a “wise Latina” can come to a better conclusion than a white male, because of her life experience.

And yet, the media says, “Where’s the bombshell?”. Oh, sure, Obama was young then, I’m sure he’s learned his lesson since, they say. Well, has he? The man that once asked his audience to “open their minds and hearts” to Derrick Bell, and who made all of Bell’s books assigned reading in his classes, is the same man who is now President, and put two Justices on the Supreme Court who believe in CRT. Kagan and Sotomayor have taught it and believe it. Is the fact that Obama put these two on the Supreme Court an accident? They just happen to believe something that he “flirted” with, when he was in college? Elena Kagan’s explanation of CRT is that these minorities “experiences” should be “accepted and incorporated in the law”. What about the law? It doesn’t sound like the law even matters to them, because since it’s “inherently racist”, then maybe it shouldn’t be followed?

Barack Obama looked up to Derrick Bell, taught his books, imbibed his beliefs, and even had several visits from him in 2010. I believe that Obama didn’t give up his college beliefs, he only hid them from public view. And I think that the Breitbart “bombshell” is going to prove it.

Breitbart.com is continuing to report on this, and no matter what the media does, the subject isn’t going to go away. Andrew Breitbart’s legacy was to leave us with the ways and means to go around the mainstream media, which regularly lies to us and hides the truth. Whether they’re telling outright lies or hiding the truth, it’s all the same. They can’t be trusted, and the truth about our Presidents radical background needs to be made public. The media is having fun concentrating on the Republican primaries and Sandra Fluke, but the truth IS going to come out.

Andrew Breitbart wanted the American people to know the truth. And his death is not going to change that. It will only make those that come after him more determined to make his dream come true. Don’t worry, Andrew. We won’t let you down.

 

 

Farewell, Andrew Breitbart…

I woke up, went online, and I think I first saw the news on Yahoo. If I hadn’t checked the BIG websites, I never would have believed it could be true. But it was. Andrew Breitbart has died. I still haven’t recovered from the shock. But while I never even met him, his dear wife and four children have just lost a husband and father. I’m praying for them, and hope you will, too.

Really, I say that I think the news was on Yahoo, but there’s no proof of that, now, because I can’t find it listed anywhere on Yahoo’s search page. And I’ve been checking all day. When there was just the possibility that Whitney Houston had died, it was listed at the top of the page. When there’s a rumor that Snooki might be pregnant, it’s on the front page. But when our country loses one of it’s greatest culture warriors, a giant of the conservative media, and a flat out good man, I can’t find a thing. Yes, that is our mainstream media for you.

I’ve got to get this out of my system. I love Emerald, but the only Aussies in town who have any idea of how American politics work, well, they’ve lived in the U.S. at some point. So, I have no one that I can talk to about the loss that my country barely realizes. And as far as I know, I’m the only one of my friends and family who reads Breitbart’s websites religiously, has read his book, and keeps up with his appearances at conservative and Tea Party functions. I’m floundering, and if I can’t talk about it on my blog, then what’s left?

I didn’t pay attention to politics, when I was growing up, though my dad talked about it enough for me to be aware of who was President, and what the problems were. I didn’t really know anything about Reagan, as he became President when I was a baby, and my awareness of George H. W. Bush only materialized when he lost his second election. I overheard discussions about Clinton, but I still didn’t soak much of it in. And though I’ve voted in every election since I turned eighteen, I didn’t really take a serious interest until I was well into my twenties.

Whether it started with Ann Coulter or Human Events, I’m no longer sure. Whichever it was, the one led me to the other. I picked up a copy of Coulter’s Treason, and was surprised and delighted to find it full of Cold War history. I barely remembered what I’d been taught in school, and I’m pretty sure that it was all wrong. So, finally figuring out what the Cold War was, as well as how it began… this was marvelous. From there, I read everything Coulter ever wrote, including High Crimes and Misdemeanors, even though the subject of Clinton’s sex life was pretty off-putting.

If Coulter’s books came first, I’m betting there were quotes from Human Events in them, which I then heard was Ronald Reagan’s favorite newspaper. I immediately got a paper (yes, the actual paper) subscription, but quickly found that I preferred reading the online articles. I’ve never looked back, getting hooked on reading internet pundits, as well as anything I can find on Cold War history and books that give the politically incorrect truth about our country.

Somewhere along the line, searching the pundit sites, I discovered BigHollywood.com. This website was created by Andrew Breitbart as a conservative group blog, where Hollywood conservatives could write about everything concerning movies, music, actors, and all the politics that are mixed into the lot. I loved the different viewpoints which were still all basically conservative, though the writers were of all types and religious backgrounds. Some were people I would get along with, some were people that I would be confused or intimidated by, but every one of them loved their country, and wanted to see change wrought in our culture.

I discovered BigHollywood right before Breitbart launched BigGovernment, and then in the following years, BigJournalism, and BigPeace. Each one of the BIGs had a different purpose and slant to its writing, and I’ll admit that I still read BigHollywood the most. But no matter where I was reading, Andrew Breitbart wasn’t avoiding his own creations. He regularly wrote articles for the sites, showing that he was still keeping up with the times, and his writing was always interesting, pertinent, and on-target. Also, fun!

As I did more reading, over the years, and watched his interviews, online, and finally read his book, I found out what Andrew Breitbart’s real purpose was in creating these websites. He called himself a “culture warrior”, as he believed that culture was upstream from politics. If you change the culture of a country, you’ll affect the politics. So, as the years have gone by, and our movies and music, and Hollywood itself have become more liberal, the conservative have been fighting over politics, but not attempting to fix the culture.

Andrew’s goal was to allow the conservatives of Hollywood to come out of hiding, be able to write on his blogs, and show that there were still people from the Right living there. He believed that the more people support conservative music and films, the more that Hollywood will take notice. Also, he wanted people to be aware of the things that liberal Hollywood says about us, as the actors have become activists, no longer hiding their contempt for Middle America.

If you read his book, Righteous Indignation, you’ll see how Andrew immediately understood the advantages of the Internet, which allowed him to get the conservative media narrative out there, when the mainstream media was only feeding us lies. Organizations like ACORN were brought down, because live footage of their corrupt dealings were published by Breitbart’s websites.

Next to Sarah Palin, Andrew Breitbart was probably the most popular speaker at any Tea Party rally, and whether on talk shows or just confronted on the street, he never backed down from any liberal argument. He was a fighter, and pulled no punches with anyone. I don’t like confrontation, myself, and will avoid them at all cost, so I’ve even been startled to watch videos of him verbally “hitting back”, when someone struck at him. Blunt, never intimidated, and right! Liberal activists didn’t know what to do with him.

And now he’s gone. Fifty years of “what-should-have-been” has flashed before my eyes. All the books he’ll never write, and the arguments he’ll never finish. So, it’s for us that he left behind to finish what he began, and take our culture back. To keep our government accountable for its actions. And to not allow the mainstream media to “rule the narrative”, as Andrew was wont to say.

I never met him, but because of everything I’ve been reading, seeing, and hearing from him for the last several years, I felt like I knew him. And I’m crushed that he’s gone.

Thank you, Andrew. For everything. We will miss you.

a day for presidents…

I have always loved history. And if you’re going by my school grades, then remember that my history grades were pretty good until high school. Once I reached high school, they employed the same teaching method as the English classes… dissect the book, in essay format. Yes, I know that this was supposed to be good practice for the Advanced Placement exam, but I thought I’d left dissection behind in Biology. Apparently not. We were required to write essays that nitpicked down to the last detail, canceling any interest or opinion you might have on the subject. When all you care about is getting a good grade, why pay attention to more details?

Warren G. Harding

But if you forget about the grading bit, I always enjoyed learning about history, whether it was American history or not. I’m a bookworm, so I like a good historical fiction book, too, that makes you feel like you’re living back in the “old days”, too. But now that I’m out of school, I’ve discovered that most of what I was taught in school was actually garbage.

How do I know that? Well, I’ve never stopped my reading, and over the years, I’ve imbibed biographies and general histories, and gotten the backdrop on many things that interested me when I was younger. But now that I’m out of school, and doing this for my own benefit, I have time to think about it, not just look no further than the next grade.

Who wrote the history books? Well, in any conflict, the winners get to write the history books, so despite growing up in South Carolina (I was born in New York), our books still taught us that the Confederacy was deluded, the North was in the right, and Abraham Lincoln was a god disguised as a man. And because I’ve always liked history so much, it’s probably the subject I remember best from school. So, when I read a book that tells me something different than they told me when I was 15, I set back and say, “Wait a minute! They never taught me that!”.

Yes, my post-school education has taught me to think. I’m not saying that what I believe about certain subjects is completely right or perfect, but I can now read any book I like, on any subject, check their references, and if the conclusion I come to disagrees with the majority, then I won’t get an F on what I think. There’s freedom in life after grades, you know.

So, just recently, I finished reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism. When I first heard of this book, several years ago, I barely knew what the word “capitalism” meant. I told myself that I would probably never read that particular P.I.G. guide, and continued on to the more fun ones, like The Politically Incorrect Guide to English & American Literature, or The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution.

If you’ve never read a P.I.G. (Politically Incorrect Guide), and you enjoy seeing the conservative, politically incorrect side of history, and find out what they never taught you in school, these books are for you. They cover subjects from the Civil War, the Sixties, the Bible, and global warming to the Vietnam War, the South, science, and the Founding Fathers. I recently went and looked on the Regnery Publishing website, and I’ve read either 19 or 20 books in the series, because I can’t remember if I’ve read the one on science. I’m pretty sure I still need to read the one on the Middle East.

I can now say that from all my reading in the last few years, I have a much better idea of what capitalism is, how the free market works, and the kinds of things people do to mess it up. So, I was finally ready for the P.I.G. to Capitalism. It was very informative, interesting, and never dull. Really! I learned a lot, but I won’t try to explain it to you, because I’ll just confuse you. If the subject interests you, then read it, and if it doesn’t, think about it.

Calvin Coolidge

Then, the other day, I realized that Presidents Day had just gone by without me realizing it. Of course, they don’t celebrate it, here in Australia, and I’ve never paid a lot of attention to that holiday, when I was at home. That’s because somewhere during my teenagerhood (is that a word?), I found out (probably from watching the musical Holiday Inn, starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby) that it used to be called George Washington’s Birthday.

Now, at this stage of the game, I don’t know which states celebrate which, but our South Carolina calendars always had Presidents Day written in. And I was brought up to think this was a bit silly, because why should we be celebrating the bad presidents as well as the good? And why didn’t George Washington get to keep his birthday celebration to himself, when Martin Luther King got his own holiday? So, I took notice of the day, when we were let of from school, it being an In-Service Day, but other than that, we paid very little attention.

But with Presidents Day going by, Regnery published The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama, by Stephen F. Hayward. Oh, boy, I had to download it to my Kindle, immediately. Because since graduating, I’ve read any number of books about Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and many more, and I know for sure that what I was taught in school was WRONG.

The book begins with an explanation of what the Founding Fathers intended for the Presidency. His office was never supposed to be the size it is now, and they would be alarmed, if they could see it. From there, it gives a succinct explanation of the Electoral College, which I was extremely grateful for. I’ve heard people say that we need to get rid of the Electoral College system, and I’ve heard them complain about George W. Bush winning over Al Gore, in 2000, because of it. But what they don’t realize is the reason the Founders put it in place.

The Electoral College was intended to prevent the country from being swayed by whoever happens to be popular. Being able to directly vote for the President would allow whatever person who happens to be the recent fad to take over the Oval Office. In essence, the candidate could campaign in several states with large populations, and they would achieve the majority, without ever reaching out to any of the small states. But the Founders intended the Electoral College to achieve a “constitutional majority”, where the candidates had to have a wider appeal to all the states, not just staying in the West or the North. In 2000, George W. Bush won majorities in more states than did Gore, which is why he received more electoral votes, and it means that Bush was more widely acceptable, not just achieving a local majority vote.

I “learned” in school that our best presidents were Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and JFK. This was because FDR saved us from the Great Depression and because… I don’t know why JFK was supposed to be on that list. Maybe because he was handsome. We were also taught that our worst Presidents were “do-nothing” men, such as Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding. Yes, I remember being taught that “Silent Cal” barely ever said or did anything, and Warren Harding was only known for the Teapot Dome Scandals.

If I hadn’t already learned more about them than I ever knew before, this book would open my eyes further. It begins with Woodrow Wilson, who is supposed to be the wonderful President that brought us safely through the first World War. Actually, Woodrow Wilson was a racist who believed that blacks were not as highly evolved as whites. His belief in the works of Darwin and Marx also made him despise the Constitution, and do his best to get around it. There was much more to this man that came up with the idea of the “living Constitution”, and how much damage his Progressive thinking did to our country. But you’ll have to read the book, to find out.

Warren G. Harding is regularly slammed as a man that was ill-prepared for the Presidency, and that when he did come into office, it was one scandal after the other. But the chapter on Harding reveals the truth, that he was an intelligent man (though he didn’t go to college) who let the free market take its course, when the U.S. headed into a recession, and when things corrected themselves ON THEIR OWN, the Roaring Twenties were the eventual result. And by the way, Harding gets a bad rap for using the word “normalcy”, when it actually WAS in the dictionaries at the time. But I remember his use of the word being mocked in my history book.

Richard Nixon

“There is not a menace in the world today like that of growing pubic indebtedness and mounting public expenditure.”  –Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge was Ronald Reagan’s role model. If that doesn’t tell you something about him, right from the start, I don’t know what will. He could read Greek and Latin, wrote his own speeches, had a razor-keen wit, and he is the only President to receive an A+ grade from the author of this book. He believed in limited government, revered the Constitution, and those who quote him as saying “The business of America is business”, have their quote wrong. He actually said that “…the chief business of the American people is business… Of course, the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence…. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it.”

People should know that it was Herbert Hoover who made the Great Depression worse, that FDR furthered all of Hoover’s works, as well as denying the dangers of Communism, and FDR even had a huge number of Communist spies working in the government. But no, FDR said Stalin was his friend, and denied the atrocities occurring in Russia.

Those that still want to think about the glory of JFK and “Camelot” should know that John F. Kennedy was a sex addict, addicted to drugs (some for his health problems, and some just because), and a coward that abandoned the Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs incident. And he very likely stole the Presidency, with tons of voter fraud, but Richard Nixon was too gentlemanly to contest it, though many statesmen thought he should. It should also be remembered that JFK called Joseph McCarthy, and defended him against all comers, when most of the government thought McCarthy was delusional about Communist spies.

If you think FDR helped expand our government, it was nothing to what Lyndon Johnson did, in the name of a “war on poverty”. Crime escalated drastically, during LBJ’s Presidency. But that is forgotten, when it comes to vilifying Nixon over Watergate, which only the result of liberals wanting to prevent Nixon’s shutting down all their unnecessary programs. After they managed to get Nixon to resign (but he wasn’t impeached), they could hold this threat over any other President that disagreed with them.

It’s quite interesting that Jimmy Carter’s F grade is more a result of what he did AFTER he was President, than before. He continued to interfere with all the incoming Presidents, even to communicating with foreign leaders, without telling our President.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan. Enough can’t be said about this man, who did his best to return our country to what the Founding Fathers had intended. The liberals stood back in shock, as he won the Cold War, got the Berlin Wall to come down, and did it all with grace (and humor) under fire. There’s also an interesting discussion in the book about the Iran-Contra Affair and “presidential prerogative”. It bears a second and third reading, as I’ve never heard the term used before. And it goes back to comments made by Thomas Jefferson, in bygone days, about times when the President must take the initiative for something that the law doesn’t cover. It’s a very interesting subject.

The abuses of power by both Bill Clinton (and his wife), these are innumerable. I didn’t know everything there was to know about the selling of presidential pardons, but a goodly few of them are covered in the book. Our Founding Fathers would have vomited over the excesses of William Jefferson Clinton. Can someone tell me again why he got to have two terms as President?

I have not skipped over Truman, Ford, and the Bushes on purpose. I don’t think I can do them justice, at present. Yes, I think W. made some mistakes at the end of his Presidency, but I will be forever grateful that he was President when he was. I think some people have judged him too harshly on certain things, and not just liberals. But like other presidents, history will vindicate him.  And I hope to read Decision Points, sometime soon.

Finally, I come to our current President. I do not like what he is trying to do with our country, but I won’t be going into any extensive criticism here. But I think Stephen Hayward is spot on, in everything he says about Obama. Our President is trying to continue in the footsteps of Wilson, FDR, and LBJ, and remake our country into what it wasn’t meant to be. Like in the now-famous painting by Jon McNaughton, he has trampled on the Constitution, and looks down on the American people. I can only hope that in the upcoming election, the people of American will make the right decision.

a tuesday to never forget…

There once was a Tuesday morning that I have never forgotten. I was 21 years old, but now, ten years have gone by. But I still have a copy of the e-mail that I sent to my cousin (her family was living in Indonesia) on the day after the attacks. You will see, right away, that some of my facts are inaccurate, but remember, we still didn’t have all the details. With barely 24 hours since the attacks, we were still figuring things out.

I was still in shock, but knowing my cousins were out of the country, I badly wanted them to see things through my eyes. I’ve changed nothing in this letter, except a few grammar or spelling mistakes (and adding the picture, of course), since then. Everything else you’re reading is original.

September 12, 2001

Dear Hannah and everybody,

I know Dad has written already, but I thought I’d write as well. I saw what he wrote. I don’t know what you’re hearing over there. It’s been… insane? Weird? Shocking? Unreal? I don’t know what word quite describes what happened. I don’t think there is one. Tragic?

I was at work for an hour, yesterday, when I overheard one of our regular customers mentioning something about a crash, to an employee. Two customers had already tried to change the channel on the TV, since all we get is court TV. But they do newscasts every hour. As things progressed, they moved it up to every half hour, and then constant.

We watched the plane hit the second tower, repeatedly. As home videos off the street came in, we saw all sorts of views. The first hit came at quarter to 9 in the morning. The second followed at 9. Such timing was probably planned, because most people, if they were going to be at work, were there by 9.

We heard about the evacuations. Then we heard about a fire at the state department. The White House was evacuated. The Pentagon was on fire. We heard that a plane had hit the Pentagon. Then the plane went down in Pittsburgh. Rumors that Camp David had been hit. That an undisclosed target had been hit. We heard there was another hijacked plane out there that hadn’t hit a target yet.

These “rumors” were on the news. They didn’t seem to be rumors, but a few of them never became anything. There were no more crashes after the Pittsburgh, Pentagon, and WTCs.

Then we heard that the towers had collapsed. At first, I thought it only meant partly. We watched the pictures. I thought the billowing smoke was hiding one of the buildings, when in reality, the building had fallen. We literally couldn’t believe it, and still find it hard to believe. It’s surreal. As soon as you’re away from the TVs, you can imagine it hasn’t happened. The explosions and buildings falling look like pictures from a movie, such as Armageddon, for example.

We weren’t watching constantly, mind you, but I was often updating those that couldn’t be within the vicinity of the TV. We watched as the flight numbers were announced. We imagined what it’d be like to know a member of your family was bound for California (as they all were) and got flown into a building, instead.

They still aren’t giving numbers on casualties in the buildings. Over 30,000 people worked in those buildings. Then, more footage from the streets came in.

Some of these I saw at work. I was going to Jane’s, after work, so I watched a good bit there, too. A photographer took photos of stuff down there. People jumped out of windows, rather than be killed in the inferno. The windows from the top! The 70th floor and higher, at least. We watched one person fall, about 10 seconds before the first building fell. And it just collapsed in on itself, the smoke and dust billowing out, sprinkler style, as it went down. Then, the other one went down.

There was about an hour to an hour and a half between the crashes of the planes, and the falling of the buildings. That’s all the time there was for people to get out. The elevators weren’t working correctly, so people were being trampled in the stairs. Firefighters and policemen arrived in time to help get people out and their vehicles, at the least, were buried in the building wreckage. The unofficial count is that several hundred policemen and firemen are missing.

The newscast people interviewed people who watched, people who escaped, rescue workers. An ambulance man was crying as he tried to tell what he’d seen. You couldn’t see as much with the smoke and dust, and up close, you couldn’t even breathe. He saw bodies and pieces of bodies, all over.

A man in a bandana was interviewed, and said he worked in the WTC buildings. He had been late for work. He guessed it just wasn’t his number, that day. A girl I work with is from New Jersey, and her bro works there. He was not in the building when it occurred. Don’t ask me why.

The Pentagon crash has had them announcing possible victims from 100 to 800 people. The plane hit an area where the rooms were being remodeled, so not as many were in that section as there could have been.

The Pittsburgh area crash occurred in a field in Amish land. Rescue workers had no hope of survivors. They found no pieces of the plane bigger than a phone book.

As Dad already told you, everything was evacuated in the area. Congress. All government buildings. The Sears Tower in Chicago, as well. The Lincoln Tunnel was closed. Yesterday, all over the country, large companies were closed. The banks were closed. The malls were closed. Air Force planes were on alert in Washington and New York.

This morning, at Ground Zero, as the former WTC site is being called, the search for survivors continued. Nine survivors were pulled from the wreckage, that I’ve heard. Nine out of a possible 20 to 30 thousand, or higher. Today, they found the rooms the hijackers stayed in and what rental car they were in, and got some info from that.

Yesterday, before the later crashes, the Pentagon and Pittsburgh, there were cell phone calls made, saying they were being hijacked and stuff. There were claims of the hijackers using knives, which backed up what people were starting to believe. Easier to believe than how they would get guns aboard. The hijackers had to have some skills in flying, though the big planes are easier to fly than others.

They’re sure the pilots  were killed before the crashes occurred. Even at gunpoint, no American would fly into buildings like that, without trying to swerve. No, they had to have been subdued or killed.
We’ve seen footage of Arabs, Palestinians, and Muslims dancing in the streets, singing that God is good, and throwing candy, when they heard what happened to us. It makes me want to cry, almost more than watching the crashes, to see people rejoicing in the death of thousands. Dancing! To know that thousands of mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, children, brothers, and sisters have died. Some never knew what happened. Some watched out the windows as it happened.
Barbara Olson, the wife of some political person, along with others, called their loved ones on their cell phones from the planes, to tell of the hijackers. Olson called her husband. George W. Bush has said we will “hunt down” the people behind this. He called those that did this a “faceless coward”. People are crowding into blood banks to help. Those terrorists wanted this country to fall apart.

It’s not going to be that easy, but I don’t think we’re going to collapse as they hope. Bush and his colleagues are serious about finding answers and they’re going to take action.

It has occurred to me that the hijackers themselves are receiving their punishment right now. Nothing the government can do would compare to what they’re going to have to deal with for eternity. Sadly, as someone also mentioned to me, many people in the towers and elsewhere, are now in the same condition. We can only hope that some called on their Savior at the last minute.

Right now, behind me, Dad’s watching the news, as they talk of more rescue work. There have been more survivors. Few and far between, but there are survivors. A few airplanes are in the air again, today. Just a few. Yesterday, all airports were closed. Linda was in DC when this happened. Last I heard, she was unable to leave by plane or anything. I understand her taxi driver took her and the kids in. Her husband was down here. He said he’d drive her out when he was able. I can only imagine what they’re going through.

Two of my managers were extremely frightened, yesterday, because they have children in the Army. Caleb J. is in the Marines. I wondered if anything with Uncle Dave would change, because of this [retireding from the Army]. We’ll find out when he gets back, this weekend.

Another co-worker of mine was supposed to be flying to Kiev, this Friday, but doesn’t know if they’ll still be able to go. There was a bomb threat at Tri-County Tech, today. I called home, when I found out, wanting to see if Matt was there, in class, today. No, he’ll be there tomorrow. I’m sure it was a prank. Well, that’s not a strong enough word. Somebody’s taken advantage of what’s going on in this country. Sickos.

It’s been insane at work, today. Yesterday, it was dead. Today, everybody wants the papers. We were supposed to get 300 copies eac, of the Washington Post and the New York Times. Then, the post wasn’t coming. I left work today, and the Times still hadn’t arrived. Everybody wants the papers.

The news, right now, has a lady being interviewed, whose husband was on the plane that crashed near Pittsburgh. She received three cell phone calls from him. She was first told that the plane had been hijacked. Somebody had been stabbed to death. She told him about the WTC crashes. She begged him to not draw attention to himself, and he said he couldn’t do that. That plane never made it to DC, as it maybe was meant to. They think the passengers on that plane made an effort to prevent the hijackers from achieving their aims.

I know this hasn’t been a happy letter. Don’t worry, we’re alright. No important stuff is anywhere near us. We’ll keep you updated. I’m sure you’ll hear stuff where you are, but I thought maybe I could tell you some, too. Since you can’t be here, it probably doesn’t seem real or anything. It DID occur to me, though, that Dad flew through New York City, just this last Saturday. Not exactly  a close cal, but it gives me a squirmy feeling, just the same.

I love you guys. Pray for your country. I know you will, but I thought I’d say it, anyway.

Love,

Rachel

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” –Ephesians 6:19

trampolines & sunshine…

It was a lovely, warm, winter day, and I finally decided to wake up. I know, a warm winter day seems like a contradiction, and I understand the disbelief involved with comprehending it… but it’s true. It is winter, here, and it’s about 70 degrees outside (low 20s for those who speak Celsius). Can you blame me for choosing to enjoy the weather, and read a book in the sunshine?

The weather was warm, but not hot enough to make a cup of cappuccino unappealing, so I took mine outside with me, carefully climbed onto the trampoline with my Kindle and my drink, and set to reading. After my cuppa was finished, I sprawled out, half in the shade and half out, soaking up the sunshine, and working my way through Ann Coulter’s newest book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America. I love a good book, especially an Ann Coulter book. Think it wouldn’t be your cup of tea? If you like history and you’re upset with where our country is headed, you’ll definitely like this book.

As I read, the chooks meandered underneath me, in their everlasting quest for food. The back doors of the house were closed, so they actually had to  forage, instead of stealing the cat’s food. Speaking of which, the cat was even whinging at me, though as always, she has plenty of food in her dish. I continued to enjoy my sunshine, ignoring the resident wildlife. Wouldn’t you?

Later in the afternoon, I came outside again, and briefly considering climbing into the girls’ “tree house”, which is really just a small platform with a few wooden steps nailed onto the tree trunk. How fun, to read a book while sitting in a tree! But the sunshine was calling me, not the shade. So, I returned to the trampoline, with another cuppa, let the rays of the sunset warm my back, and read some more. A lovely way to start and finish the day, don’t you think?

In addition to my laziness about doing anything but reading (when was the last time I did that?), my goal has been to not let Coulter’s book gather dust (figuratively), like Breitbart’s book managed to do when I got over here. That, and I went to the library the other day and I am probably being a little too ambitious. I borrowed two more of Kate Morton’s books (The Shifting Fog and The Distant Hours) and Walt Disney: The Biography, by Neal Gabler. Considering that each of these books are between 500-600 pages long, I may be biting off more than I can chew.

Oh, not for my normal book reading habits, of course! My “chewing” capabilities are more than capable, when I’m at home. If all three books were really good, I’d probably whip through them in two weeks. I give myself a little longer for the biography, since it’s a little heftier, subject-wise, and the print’s smaller.   : )   But instead, I’m here in Australia, with correspondence to keep up with, early wake-up times, early bedtimes, and several energetic kids to keep up with during the day. And on my weekends, I often do other things… like check out local scenery and visit the shops (which are closed when I get off work, during the week). I hope to go visit The Gemfields, soon, a local tourist attraction, and the reason that Emerald and all it’s local towns are named after precious stones. So, where do I find the time for 1,500 pages of books? As I said…. ambitious.

I hope my friends in the U.S. will receive a break in the heat, soon, so that they can enjoy the sunshine (with a good book), also… and without it killing them. Otherwise, anybody staying outside for an extensive period of time should be in the pool (or lake), not next to it.

the bluestocking revived…

It seemed, for a while there, that my reading tendencies were going to remain buried forever. Case in point: When I left the U.S., right before getting on the plane in L.A., I began to read Andrew Breitbart’s Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!. Almost two months later, I finally finished it, on my flight to Brisbane. This is not normal for me. I should have finished it in a day… two, at most.

Despite being on vacation for a week, I never had any time to read while I was away, either. But the plane trips were handy, as you’re not supposed to be using electronic equipment when they’re taking off and landing (and I’m still not certain if a Kindle uses enough power to mess up a plane’s instrumentation). So, I had an actual book with me (yes, made of paper!) on the plane, which I read after finishing Breitbart’s book.

So, if the conservative American political scene interests you, then Breitbart’s book will be right up your alley. Actually, it’s not just for Americans, though he aims it at us, because the culture war is being fought, all over the world. The media is the same, all the world over, as far as I can tell. Telling us what they want us to know, not the truth that we want to hear. So, Righteous Indignation takes you through Andrew Breitbart’s journey from liberal (far-left) college “student” to conservative culture warrior. He believes, and has acted on, using the amazing tool of the Internet to take the culture war right to the doorstep of the mass media.

Breitbart created the Big websites, which I’ve been reading for several years now (BigHollywood is my personal fav), and holds no punches when it comes to defeating the media at their own game. Also a Tea Party favorite, if you want to know more about this fascinating culture warrior, please read his book.

My plane trip continued with me pulling John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began. It’s written about a group of Aussie teenagers that go on a camping trip, and return to find their world forever changed. Australia has been invaded, they don’t know where their families are, and life as they know it will never be the same. This series is pretty much unknown in the U.S., and having only read the first book, I don’t know where the story will take me. But it’s a thrilling adventure, set in a very different country from my own, and yet. If you can find these books in the U.S., then I’d definitely suggest reading them.

In the last few minutes on my Kindle, before having to turn it off again, I began to read Ann Coulter’s newest book, Demonic, which I had downloaded shortly after arriving in AUS. I’m only a chapter or two into it, so I’m still reading about the mob mindset, and how liberals act very like them, most of the time. It’s a fun and interesting read, as are all of her books. As blunt and provocative as Coulter can be, she always stands for truth, and her books do no less. What more would you expect of the woman who wrote the book that helped bring Bill Clinton down? As far as I can remember, I only became interested in politics after reading her book, Treason, which covers an enormous amount of history, including the subject of the Cold War. Most of what I read in that book, they didn’t teach us in school, which frankly makes me mad.

I love history, so it only took a book on both history AND politics to get me hooked. Since then, I’ve read an enormous amount of politically incorrect books, anything on conservative politics that I can find time to read, and anything that supports our Constitution. We live in a great country, and we want it to remain great. More people should read up on where we came from and how to keep from losing the freedoms that we hold most dear.

And finally, the reason that I haven’t gotten back to Demonic. Yes, I know, I jump between different types of books, just like a grasshopper. But my mom recommended it, and I borrowed it from the library, so I had a time limit. And then, of course, once I started, I was hooked. I started reading The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. Written by an Australian and set in both England and Queensland, it revolves around the story of a young woman that, up until she was 21, believed she knew who she was. A revelation from her father told her otherwise, and it changed her life, and the lives of all around her. Nell’s quest to discover where she came from, and who she really is, takes her to England and back.

I found this story to be fascinating. It jumps from one time period to another, but I didn’t find it jarring. It just left me wanting to know more of the story, and kept me trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. You find yourself seeing from the viewpoints of most of the characters, by the end of the book, and you’re surprised and shocked at what secrets some of them are hiding. And tied into all of this is a grand old English estate, with a hidden garden, reminiscent of The Secret Garden, but despite the title of the book, the story is driven by the characters, not the garden itself.

And so, that covers my most recent readings. Having only just read about Glenn Beck’s (co-written with Joshua Charles) The Original Argument: The Federalists’ Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century, there’s a book I’d love to get my hands on. Who wouldn’t love to read a more understandable version of The Federalist Papers? But then again, since I probably have the original on my Kindle, maybe I should get going and read that.

through a distant political glass…

I will start off by saying… they encouraged me to keep talking. I do not, in general, talk about politics when no one is interested, especially when I’m in a different country, where no one either knows or cares about American politics. But I received encouragement, so I didn’t shut down. In fact, we had a really interesting conversation, not just about politics, but about history, both Australian and American.

Secondly, I will state that… well, she asked for it. Sort of.   : )   Ok, I couldn’t resist. We had just had a great dinner, and as we digested, several conversations started up, with several different groupings of people. I was talking to two of the ladies, and I’m afraid one of them started me off. I don’t remember how the subject of politics came up, but what I do remember, clear as day, is someone saying, “I like Obama. He’s cool.”

I couldn’t stop myself. My immediate response was, “Why?”. What did they have to go on, to make this statement about someone so far from this country? Oh, I know how the media works in the United States. Biased as all get-out. Beyond that, even. So, how could the truth about our leaders actually trickle down to Oz, unless they know the right websites to look at? Because, for sure and certain, you will not get the truth from your newspaper. Or your television. Or in the movie theaters.

Before I continue, it wasn’t until later that evening that someone mentioned to me that in Australia, there’s a party called the Liberal Party, and if I remember this correctly, they’re conservatives. I mention this, because my discussion of American versus Aussie politics gets interesting, when we have a Democratic Party (who’re liberal) and a Republican Party (who’re conservative). Confused yet? But when I refer to liberals and conservatives, I’m usually not capitalizing them, and I’m referring to their mindset, rather than the name of their party. I hope that helps.

Once the “Obama is cool” statement had been made, I had an Aha! moment. If people who don’t know much about our country or our politics think that Obama is cool, then they probably think that Bush was a moron. Well, that’s what the mass media tells them. Don’t think I haven’t seen the “Dubya-isms” DVD on a shelf or two. And if you’re going to diss George W. Bush to my face, in all seriousness, you might want to watch your step. And for any Americans who are going to protest that Bush was NOT an angel, and in fact, didn’t act very conservative, as he increased the size of our government, and did vote to bailout some large companies before he left office, I’m aware of that. I just want to let some people get a glimpse of how real Americans see things.

In our Wednesday night discussion, I went back in time, and gave a short explanation of Reagan through Obama. I think I did pretty well, but won’t attempt to recreate that here, because I have no idea how I did it, then, as we jumped to other discussions of history, here and there.

The mass media would like everyone to believe that George W. Bush was a clodpole, an idiot, unable to put together an intelligible sentence, who doesn’t know what the inside of a library looks like, and somehow managed to steal the election in 2000. The impression of a bungler that can’t speak proper English might work on a foreigner, because they don’t realize that Bush is a Texan, a Southerner, and don’t we love our Texans? George W. Bush believes in the American dream, stands up for our military, salutes the flag with pride, and was there for our country, in our darkest hour of need, after 9/11. I don’t even like to imagine what would have happened in this country, if Al Gore had been President during that time.

George W. Bush is a Christian man who may not have been so vocal about his faith and belief in prayer as Ronald Reagan (one of our greatest presidents) was, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Bush brought his country and his job before the Throne in prayer, while in the Oval Office. For those (like Paul McCartney) who slam Bush’s intelligence, they seem to ignore the fact that Bush had a B.A. from Yale, and an M.B.A from Harvard. You don’t get a Master’s Degree just by sneezing, even if you do have trouble pronouncing “nuclear” correctly. And as for that, about half the people in the United States can’t pronounce that right, to the annoyance of those of us that can.   : )

As for Bush’s ability to read, you can find an article online, written by Karl Rove, who held an annual reading contest with the President, while in office. So, when he wasn’t in conference calls on Air Force One, our President was reading 95 books a year to Rove’s 110 (or 51 to 76, depending on the year). And for those of you who know my love of reading, both fiction and non-fiction, I couldn’t keep up with the reading list that those two men put across. Half of them were histories and biographies. I recognize some of the books on the list, books that I’ve SEEN on the bookstore shelves, and they could be used for door stops. No joke. These morons think our President couldn’t read, when his wife was a librarian? He may have out-read his wife, too.

And then there’s our current President. Cool? Based on what? Oh, he’s mesmerizing when he talks, they say. Have they ever heard him when he doesn’t have a teleprompter on hand? The man who thinks our country has 58 states (we have 50, if any Aussies are reading this)? The man who says that we cling bitterly to our guns and our religion? Who tells Joe the Plumber that he thinks we should spread the wealth around? Who, when questioned about abortion, says the question is “above his pay grade?”

Some people suggest that he’s a Muslim. You know, it’s not my call whether he’s a Muslim in hiding or not. Yes, he grew up in Indonesia, and went to a Muslim school, so he knows all about Islam. Does that make him one? I’ve no clue. But when he tries to claim that he’s a Christian, I don’t believe a word of it. He went to a “church” in Chicago for many years, and his pastor was one “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright. Ever heard of him? The man that preaches sermons that include “God d–n America!” in them? The hateful diatribes that proceed from that pulpit are not even remotely Christian, so how could Barack Obama have ever learned to be one?

But he doesn’t have to be a Christian to be a good President, you say. Ok, then what should a President be? Wouldn’t you say that a President of the United States should be honorable, truthful, patriotic, have leadership qualities, and stand up for the law of the land, our Constitution? Yes, I know that all of our Presidents have NOT fit that description. I won’t even discuss Clinton. But just because they haven’t all been like that, shouldn’t we still aspire to have Presidents like that?

If our President should be the soul of honor, then he should be honest, fair, and worthy of respect. Didn’t he promise that the American people would be able to review every law that came through Congress, that it would be out there, openly, for everyone to see and inspect, before it was put up for a vote? What exactly happened when ObamaCare was passed, then? Was this honest or truthful, or worthy of respect, our President’s behavior, or that of his liberal minions?

How about patriotic? When the national anthem is played, you either put your hand over your heart, or you do a military salute towards the flag. Our President has been known to do neither. He is not pro-military, and does not have any respect for “our boys”. Barack Obama had no leadership experience, going into the Presidency, and hasn’t developed much, since then. As a leader of a country, he should not be bowing to Middle Eastern or Communist leaders, and yet he will diss our allies (or harangue them), as in the case of Israel, and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And what about our Constitution? Yes, I probably should have started with that, but this whole thing is completely out of order, I know. Our Founders created the Constitution with the intention of the main power belonging to the states, limiting the federal government, and protecting our God-given freedoms. The United States was created in order that we would have religious freedom, as well as the freedom and opportunity to become anything that our skill and tenacity will allow.

Our current President does not believe in America. He believes that we need a government that completely controls our lives, because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves. The thinks that the government knows all and must become all, which is socialist thinking. And that’s a whole ‘nother subject that I’m trying to not get into.

And so, in the attempt to keep from rambling any further, I will close with this. President Obama may appear “cool” to some, but we want more than the coolness factor from our President. We want a man that cares about, believes in, stands up for, and lives for his country. George W. Bush knew this, and did it. President Obama does anything but.