Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turkey changes ROE: Sending Troops into Syria

(CNN graphic)

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Turkish forces to enter Syria to create buffer zone along border

30 June 2015

 Turkey, for the first time since the war in Syria began four years ago, is preparing to send troops into Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorized a change in the rules of engagement which were agreed to by the Turkish parliament, and the changes would allow the Turkish army to strike ISIS and Assad regime targets. 

The goal of the new policy is not new: to create a buffer zone inside Syria for Syrian refugees fleeing the regime’s bombing, but Erdogan has also suggested that the main target of the intervention, if it takes place, will be to prevent the Syrian Kurds from creating a Kurdish state in the Kurdish regions of Syria.

US Law enforcement: anti-government extremism bigger threat than radicalised Muslims

Things that make you say "hmmmm."  From Homeland Security Newswire:

Anti-government extremism most prevalent terrorist threat inside U.S.: Law enforcement
29 June 2015

U.S. law enforcement agencies rank the threat of violence from anti-government extremists higher than the threat from radicalized Muslims, according to a report released last Thursday by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security (TCTHS). The data were collected in early 2014, before security agencies began noting increased activity and recruitment of Americans by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). In follow-up telephone interviews with law enforcement personnel, the officers did not modify their initial responses in light of ISIS threats within the United States.

The report, Law Enforcement Assessment of the Violent Extremism Threat, was based on survey research by Charles Kurzman, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and David Schanzer, director of TCTHS and associate professor of the practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

”The data show that we have two distinct, serious, ongoing terrorist threats in the United States,” Schanzer said. “Tragic incidents of violence, whether they be in Charleston or the Boston Marathon, tend to exaggerate the magnitude of the threat, but both will require consistent societal and law enforcement vigilance in the foreseeable future.”...

Iran nuke deal one-sided?

Yes, that header is a rhetorical question, as US John Kerry risks breaking his other leg in the rush to have a deal with Iran, ANY deal.

Found an interesting article about one of the unheralded side deals made with the US along the way of negotiations.

From Israel National News

Report: US Released Iranian Prisoners as Precursor to Deal

Four prisoners released to Tehran in 2012-13 as part of 'wish list' Iran sent US for nuclear deal; three Americans still held by Iran.

By Tova Dorin

The US withdrew "red lines" with Iran long before the current round of nuclear negotiations began, according to a report released Sunday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Washington helped expedite the release of four Iranian prisoners in 2012 and 2013 as part of a precursor to negotiations negotiated via a "wish list" Iran sent to the US in 2009.

Of those, it said, three had been convicted of sending arms or other materials to the Islamic Republic while sanctions were still being imposed on its nuclear program. Not all of them had completed their full sentences for their crimes, and one, scientist Mojtaba Atarodi, returned to Iran days after his conviction.

US officials reportedly worked with Oman to return the prisoners to Iran.

The Washington Free Beacon theorizes Tuesday that the prisoners were returned as part of a prisoner swap in 2011 to free four American hostages being held in Iran.

It also notes, however, that three additional Americans are still being held there in 2015 - and that if a prisoner swap is not made explicit in the nuclear deal due to be announced by Tuesday night, releasing more Iranian prisoners may be on the agenda.

Prisoner swaps have become more common since Barack Obama became the US President, both with terror groups in the Middle East and with former sworn enemies of the US. ...

Go read more interesting details here.

My usual warning ever relevant:  PAY ATTENTION.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Video: President Bush first pitch perfect after 9/11

Opening World Series Pitch after 9-11-01.

 Almost 14 Years Ago

Most people are not aware that a secret service guy dressed as an umpire the night President Bush threw out the first pitch during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

UK: Armed Forces Day - Soldier ON!

Armed Forces Day 2015

Despite the murderous attacks yesterday by the terrorist thugs of ISIS, this article shows just how stooopid they really are:

Public urged to attend Armed Forces Day events after 'Isis plot foiled'

 The Sun reports it tipped off authorities about planned London bomb attack after Isis leader recruited undercover investigator from newspaper

27 June 2015

Grenadier Guards undergo drill and music rehearsal in London ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday. Photograph: Lynda Bowyer/Demotix/Corbis

Police have encouraged the public to attend events as normal after it was reported that an Armed Forces Day parade had been targeted by Islamic State(Isis).

An intended suicide bombing of a parade in south London on Saturday would have targeted soldiers from the same unit as murdered soldier Lee Rigby, according to The Sun.

The plot to explode a pressure-cooker bomb – to kill soldiers and bystanders on the route – was revealed after one of its leaders in Syria unwittingly recruited an undercover investigator from the newspaper to carry it out, the report said.

It is alleged that a figure in Isis, whom it named as Junaid Hussain from Birmingham, told the investigator: “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar(unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afganistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb.

“They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We’ll hit them hard InshAllah.”...

Of course, morons like Anjem Choudary had to chime in on the numerous attacks yesterday - via twitter.

 Whatever.  Go read the rest of the above article here.

To all our Military?  THANK YOU for your Service.

Soldier ON!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Israel halts defence talks with US pending Iran deal

From Israel National News:

Israel Freezes Defense Aid Talks with US Pending Iran Deal
Senior officials in Defense and Foreign Ministries decide to suspend talks with US on security aid until after Iran deal is finalized.

By Cynthia Blank
June 25, 2015

A joint meeting of senior representatives in the Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister's Office resulted in the decision to temporarily suspend dialogue with the United States regarding defense aid to the Jewish state.

The freeze will remain in place until the conclusion of talks between Iran and P5+1 world powers on Tehran's nuclear program, if not later.

The main reason for suspending the dialogue, officials told Walla! News, is the mounting tension between the White House and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.

Other officials though have suggested Israel may prolong the freeze until a new US president is inaugurated in early 2017, thereby avoiding contact with current US President Barack Obama, whose relationship with Israel has been contentious.   [emphasis mine]

Oren: Obama intentionally abandoned core principles of Israel's alliance with America

After years of 'diplomatic' reticence former envoy to the US removes the gloves.
In polite diplomatic circles, former ambassador to the US Michael Oren is the Israeli envoy to love, current ambassador Ron Dermer the one to hate.


Now no longer a diplomat, but a Kulanu MK, Oren has taken the gloves off. That much is evident in excerpts that have emerged from Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide – his upcoming book about his tenure as ambassador to Washington from 2009-2013 – and as he speaks and writes more about those tumultuous years as part of promoting the book.

In an op-ed piece Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, entitled “How Obama Abandoned Israel,” Oren wrote that US President Barack Obama had intentionally abandoned two key principles of the American- Israeli alliance: that there be no public daylight between the two states, and that there be no surprises.

While both Netanyahu and Obama have made mistakes in the relationship, only one – Obama – “made them deliberately,” Oren wrote....

There is more, which adds balance to the above comments, here.

Video: "The IRS is lying" says Issa

Really?  IRS lied?  Colour me shocked - or NOT!  Take a look:

Jun. 16, 2015 - Rep. Darrell Issa sounds off on the tax agency’s refusal to hand over 6,400 recovered Lois Lerner e-mails.

More recently, Twitchy.com has this:

When Lois Lerner’s hard drive crashed, it really crashed: An ‘impact of some sort’ turned it to scrap

June 25, 2015


Lois Lerner says her hard drive crash was "due to an impact of some sort." ...[...]
Democrats really have some terrible luck with their technology. The Internal Revenue Service claimed in 2014 that it had lost two years’ worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official accused of specifically targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny and review to the point of harassment.
Asked if Lerner had a Blackberry or iPhone while she was working at the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen just couldn’t say. Some intrepid digging, though, showed that Lerner did indeed have a government-issued Blackberry — which “was removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal” after Congress had started its probe into IRS wrongdoing.

Imagine our non-shock to learn today that when Lerner’s hard drive crashed, it really crashed. As The Daily Caller reports, it was destroyed by “an impact of some sort,” like somebody hitting it or smashing it, and its pieces were sold for scrap.

The news comes from today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the emails....

Go check out more of the must read incredulous tweets here.

UK: Brum Cops knew about muslim rape gangs - did nothing

This is a story that has been known about by the authority for years.

From JihadWatch:

UK cops knew Muslim rape gangs were targeting schools 5 years ago, did nothing24 June 2015

“The predominant offender profile of Pakistani Muslim males… combined with the predominant victim profile of white females has the potential to cause significant community tensions.” In other words, don’t say anything about this, because if you do, you’ll be charged with “racism.” The British authorities, all over the country, let the Muslim rape gangs — which were operating according to the Qur’an’s permission of men to take sex slaves (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50) — operate with impunity. Better societal death than charges of “Islamophobia.” Carve that on Britain’s tombstone.

Britannic Death Watch Update: “Police knew grooming gangs were targeting Birmingham schools five years ago but did not alert public,” by Jeanette Oldham, Birmingham Mail, June 24, 2015:

West Midlands Police knew five years ago that Asian grooming gangs were targeting children outside schools across the city – but failed to make the threat public.

Documents obtained by the Birmingham Mail show the force were aware pupils were at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) back in 2010.

The confidential report, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act, also shows police were worried about community tensions if the abuse from predominantly Pakistani grooming gangs was made public....

Many more disturbing details here

Thursday, June 25, 2015

UK: RAF pilot earns Air Force Cross for 'great courage'

Heroes DO walk ( and fly) among us!

Published on Jun 25, 2015An RAF pilot who averted a major disaster after narrowly avoiding a crashed jet on a runway has been awarded the Air Force Cross for his bravery.

Flight Lieutenant Timothy Eddy was given the award at Buckingham Palace following the incident in South Sudan.

In this YouTube exclusive Forces TV speaks to the man himself about the mission.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Iran nukes: Kerry desperate for a deal - any deal


As the June 30 deadline approaches for Obama and Kerry et al to prove their historic statesmanship, the stench of  their desperation has been noted.

From Jerusalem Post:

For Kerry, Iran deal would be a legacy hit after many misses


 Critics and supporters of Kerry agree that an Iran deal would seal Kerry's legacy despite his earlier failures.

Washington - If US Secretary of State John Kerry pulls off a nuclear deal with Iran, it will be a singular achievement in a long career in which the grand prize has eluded him.

His 2004 presidential election loss, lack of legislative monuments despite 28 years in the Senate, and failure, like many before, to bring peace to Israelis and Palestinians have contributed to a view that he struggles to seal major successes.

The 71-year-old has expended remarkable energy in pursuit of what would be an historic agreement with Iran, flying tens of thousands of miles and holding dozens of meetings with his Iranian counterpart. He plans to attend the possible last stage of the nuclear talks in Vienna ahead of a June 30 deadline, despite breaking his leg late last month.


Still, critics say he has broken some classic rules of negotiation, overshadowing the principal US negotiator Wendy Sherman; meeting Iranians regularly rather than holding himself in reserve; and exuding an air of eagerness for a deal.

Veteran negotiators say Kerry's willingness to meet the Iranians so often makes it look like he is chasing a deal, rather than intervening only when the toughest issues remain.

"Being secretary of state by odometer is a very false measure," said Richard Armitage, a deputy secretary of state under Republican President George W. Bush.

"The administration is too eager," added Armitage. "Iranians can smell this.  [emphasis mine] And if the secretary of state is willing to airmail himself in at the 11th and a half hour every time, what incentive is it for the Iranians to give you their bottom line?"...

Good question. Read much more here.  

It is the Iranians who continue to scream their historical refrain "death to America," while Obama continues to assert that - under his watch - America is more respected on the world stage.

I suppose Iran didn't get that memo.

Stay tuned...

Related: Iran stored nuclear equipment in Sudanese arms factory destroyed by Israel in October 2012: Saudi memo

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mr "no strategy against ISIS" Obama: Watch this video

Earlier this month, POTUS again said - on the record and for the world to hear - that he still has 'no complete strategy to fight ISIS..'

Meanwhile, Kurdish women are stepping up, breaking traditional roles, and going to Military boot camp, so they can fight against ISIS on the frontlines. An incredible video on one such training camp should be required viewing for Mr Obama.

Her War: Women Vs. ISIS
15 June 2015
The town of Serekaniye in Syria is the last major town bordering the “Islamic State”. The mainly Kurdish local population is determined to fight the murderous ISIS and prevent them from entering their town. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were formed after the Syrian Army's attempts to combat the jihadist threat failed. Among its fighters are young women, who chose to defend themselves and their families from the belligerent invaders. RTD visits a YPJ female training camp to learn about these courageous young women and to see how they train to face the enemy.

 Mr Obama needs to learn to 'fight like a girl' - a 16 year old Kurdish girl.

[Brat note:  if the video doesn't show full screen here, follow the link on the title, and GO watch]

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day: What makes a dad?

[Reprise from 2010]

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagles in flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
And there was nothing more to add,
He knew his masterpiece was complete,
And He called it – Dad.
Author unknown

Today is a day to to officially celebrate dads. (Did you know that Fathers Day is over one hundred years old? Looking good there, dad!) As we all know, for many this day is hard to celebrate, but today I honour all the dads.

The fathers whose children lost their lives on 9/11; the children who lost their fathers on that day.

Since 9/11, many families have been separated from their dads. Young dads have taken up arms to serve their country, often-times leaving newborns, young ones at home. Many fathers - veterans themselves - have seen their sons, the pride of their hearts, put on the uniform, leave home and go overseas to fight for other families' right to freedom. 

As those of us who love our military and their families know all too well, some of these young fathers, young sons, only return to their loving families to be buried in sacred ground. Those fathers, and those fathers' sons, may be gone from our human sight, but I truly believe they are always with us. 

Just as I wrote on Mother's Day that motherhood is forever so, too, is fatherhood. No geographical, nor human distance can ever break the bond between a father and his child.
My own list of special fathers who are always in my heart is long. It would take a biiiiiiiiig book to acknowledge them here, but they all know how I feel about them, today and every day.

For all the dads out there, who are blessed enough to still be a presence in your childrens' lives: 

Happy Fathers Day

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Charleston: Prayers for the murdered

Clementa C. Pinckney 41– The longtime state legislator and pastor of Emanuel African Methodist church (where the shooting took place) was the first victim to be identified.

Tywanza Sanders, 26 – Allen University in Columbia confirmed Sanders, one of the school’s alumni, was participating in Wednesday night’s Bible study session when he was killed in the shooting. He graduated just last year with a degree in business administration.

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 – The mother, track coach and reverend at Emanuel African Methodist church, was also killed in the shooting.

Cynthia Hurd, 54 – Charleston County Public Library released a statement saying it was devastated by the “senseless shootings” on Wednesday night that killed one of its own, St. Andrews regional library manager Cynthia Hurd.

Ethel Lance, 70—According to the Post and Courier, Lance had worked for 30 years at the church. “I’m lost, I’m lost,” Lance’s grandson, Jon Quil Lance, told The Post And Courier. He described her as “the heart of the family.”

 Susie Jackson, 87 – According to the Post and Courier, Jackson was Lance’s cousin and a long-time church member.

Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49 – The Charleston County coroner identified Middleton-Doctor as a reverend who retired in 2005 as the director of a community development block program of Charleston County.

 Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74—The coroner said Simmons was the only individual who did not die at the church. He was transported to a nearby hospital after the shooting but died in the operating room.

Myra Thompson, 59 – The Post and Courier identified her as a pastor of the church. She was an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, according to the Greenville News.

More on the slain here.  (with pictures.)

Praying for them, and all who love them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

IRS: Is Lois Lerner a criminal?

Thus far, Lois Lerner has managed to evade/avoid the official title of 'criminal'.  Thus far, she has not been convicted in a court of law of illegal activity.

However, today, Darrell Issa has this update - on social media - about ongoing investigations into the 'shady' dealings that Lerner has refused to account for:

Many have asked for updates on what steps are being taken in the Lois Lerner case. The answer is that the Treasury Inspector General’s investigation is still in progress. 

Most recently, the Inspector General’s office was able to forensically retrieve 6,400 of Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The IRS had testified falsely, before Congress and in federal court, that the emails had been lost when Lerner’s hard drive crashed, and could not be recovered. 

Deputy Inspector General Timothy Camus has publicly confirmed what most already suspected: that there is “potential criminal activity” in the IRS’ targeting of conservatives and the subsequent cover-up. The Inspector General’s thorough investigation should continue until the full truth is exposed.

In the meantime, you might read Wake Up America's  2013 piece on her;   History Of IRS Official In Charge Of Targeting Conservatives Traced Back To 1996 FEC Job

Refresh your memory of some IRS history here: IRS robbers and thugs: A Cautionary Tale

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Letters to the White House

Not the usual sycophantic blatherings that the White House usually chooses to share!

First up from Charlie Daniels:
An Open Letter to President Obama 

June 8 2015

 Dear Mr. President,

This letter is not written in a spirit of hate, disrespect, nor is it motivated in any way by racial bias and is written with respect due the office and the awesome tasks that have been laid on your shoulders.

I write this letter because I am a tax paying American citizen who has experienced the American Dream and wants his children and grandchildren to have the same advantages and opportunities that he has had.

And no, Mr. President, I was not born into a one-percenter family, I come from a blue collar background, never went to college, have made a living doing manual labor and went into my chosen profession at ground level, worked hard and sacrificed to achieve success.

On April 13, 1967 I arrived in Nashville, Tennessee with a wife, a two-year-old baby, a twenty-dollar bill and the clutch out of my car.

I won't go into the mountains and valleys that I've traveled since then except to say that I have been successful and somebody did help me build the business I own. Almighty God, not the government.

I employ thirty people, good citizens and family people, hard-working people, the kind of gun-clinging, God-fearing folks who make America the greatest nation the world has ever known.

Mr. President, it seems to me that you have little faith in American ingenuity, American capability, American exceptionalism and even American patriotism.

You seem to think that America needs a monolithic, big brother type government to oversee and regulate every aspect of American life, that citizens are not competent to control their own affairs and make their own decisions without some oppressive bureaucracy to call the shots.

Mr. President, the answer is not government, conversely, the problem is government. A government that has doubled the national debt, increased unemployment, lowered take home pay, increased food stamp participation and disability claims and introduced socialized medicine.


Your petulance is unbecoming, Mr. President, and your criticism of anyone who disagrees with you is downright unmanly. You come off like a spoiled child who has been denied his way.

And while you blame your shortcomings on opposing political parties, you had both houses of Congress and the White House in the first two years of your term. Plus an electoral mandate to do just about anything you wanted to, so the least you can do is cowboy up and take the blame for the messes you've made.


 Mr. President, the office you hold is not a place for the faint of heart and when you draw a red line you'd dang well better be willing to back it up, because when you don't every tyrant and despot in this world takes it for a sign of weakness and will take advantage, Putin and China being a prime example....

There is much more of Mr Daniels' plain talk here.  GO read.

Within the comments of that open letter to POTUS, a US Marine felt compelled to share HIS letter to FLOTUS.  Take a look:

Marines Letter To Michelle Obama… This Marine Tells Her Like It Is!
Mike Shepard 30/5/2015

It sickens me that I have to take time to write you this letter. I am a Marine who doesn’t recognize color because every color has lived and died for you. You live in a free country to blame your life on the color of another man’s skin. All colors have given their lives for an educated woman to have the freedom to be so ignorant. I don’t blame black people for the ignorance that comes from your mouth. I love all colors because I love all that God creates. I don’t have to like you to love you because we can’t always like the ones we love. Just because I don’t like you today doesn’t mean I can’t like you tomorrow. I don’t like you or your husband today because of what you’re doing to this country. Isn’t it funny how the truth always reveals itself in time. You and your husband never showed this side of yourselves in 2008 before he was elected.

You both live better than 99% of the people in this world because of this country. You said that you are for the first time proud to be an American. Well, I will tell you that most of us are ashamed of you. You and your husband have become millionaires off the people of this country, but demonstrate very little appreciation for all that we give. White, black, brown or indifferent millions have fought and died for you to have the freedom to say the ignorant things you say. You are educated, but clearly have very little common sense. You blame past generations of Americans for the troubles of a few. Stop blaming white people for your misery and take a look at yourself in the mirror....


This country doesn’t owe you anymore than it owes me....

You know there is more from yet another articulate member of our Military.  GO read it here.

I would like to think that Obama and the Missus would read and learn from these letters.  Sadly, I know that won't happen.  One, because I am sure that the mail processes within the White House will ensure they never see them, and two, even if POTUS and FLOTUS did manage to see them, they could never concede that within these words are absolute truths.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Video: Iran - How to con America and get a nuclear bomb

"Those who ignore history, are doomed to repeat it."

From Clarion Project: 

How to Con America - And Get a Nuclear Bomb!

Jun 15, 2015
How to Con America and Get a Nuclear Bomb in 4 easy steps. How did Iran manage to dupe America to be set firmly on the road to nuclear weapons? What happened to the ironclad deal America had insisted on. It seems Iran cleverly dodged inspections, refused to close nuclear facilities, increased their centrifuges and continue to enrich uranium. No deal is better than a bad deal. Stop a Nuclear Iran.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Video : "Star Spangled Banner" - Flag Day 2015

Now more than ever, we all need to be mindful of WHY our flag, our heritage is so important:

I wrote this piece a few years back, and posted it on Tanker Bros. Now seemed like a good time to post it here. :)

I first heard the Star Spangled Banner at a July 4 community barbeque many years ago. Fresh from my homeland just two days previously, I stood in small town America and watched, and listened, as everybody joined to sing this anthem. (And yes - that was my first exposure to that great American institution: barbeques!)To this day, whenever I hear this, I remember that first July 4 and am reminded of the amazing display of patriotism, unity.

Those were the days when America was torn apart by the Vietnam war, when neighbour argued with neighbour over the back fence about the validity of the US involvement in a land far away. But, at that barbque, celebrating a most American holiday, there was no evidence of the tears in the fabric of American society. For those few shining moments, there was a unity, a common bond of purpose.

Many years have passed since that first time. I have travelled many miles of the heart, and learned many things - worked with thousands of children from around the world in both America and Canada. You have to know that I was raised with a visceral love of my country. To this day I get goosebumps whenever I hear MY national anthem, no matter the miles separating me from my homeland. I can sing every word, and taste, and feel, and smell the land of my birth.

So here we are in another war in a land far, far away (for now! We all know that in reality, THIS war is already in our own backyards.) And yes, the Star Spangled Banner is still sung in small towns, and big cities across the land. Today though, because of what I have seen, I often pause and wonder: do these people really REALLY understand, mean, what they are singing? Do Americans today LIVE the meaning of the words? Sure, we all teach our children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (at least until it is totally outlawed by the dimtwits), and we still raise the young people of our nations to revere the flag - that symbol of what their forefathers and mothers fought for, bled for, and died for. My daughter is blessed. She has been nurtured in the love of two countries. For her, it is as natural as breathing to know all the words of MY national anthem, and sing them with pride and allegiance. She also, because of her birthland, is able to sing another national anthem (in both official languages no less!) and understand what every word means. She LIVES them, because we have been discussing what the words mean - the concepts behind them - since she could talk. Years ago, James Clavell was struck when his young daughter came home from school and proudly recited what she had learned that day. Word perfect, she recited rote fashion:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag,
and to the Republic for which it stands:
one Nation indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.
October 11, 1892

A really interesting history of the origins of the Pledge of Allegiance here.

Clavell asked his daughter what that all meant after she had finished. She had no clue. Imagine that. Clavell then wrote a short story (by his prolific standards anyway. lol) called "The Children's Story." You can find the text of the whole story online - I did. Please, go read that here. I came across a copy of this a few years back, and I remember how it resonated for me. At the time, I had worked with many kids, was a mother myself, and was currently working in a classroom of impressionable 5 year olds. Is there anything more precious? That may sound like a throwaway comment, question, but it really is not.

And then just last week I got an email about the Star Spangled Banner from an American friend. In it, is a speech which Isaac Asimov gave in 1991 about The Star Spangled Banner. And yes, I went and actually found a copy of this speech on the Freepers site (lol) You can go here for that. Is well worth a look for the comments alone. However, because I think it is important, I am going to copy and paste the entire email my friend sent me - with HER comments as a preface...;)

"When I was a teacher, I taught English and reading, but for several years I taught history. I was very familiar with the national anthem, and my students enjoyed when I told them the story of how it came to be written. I, too, told it in story form and the kids loved it when I pretended to peer into the early morning fog while asking, "Can you see it? Whose flag is it? Who won?" I think they understand it better now. It has some.....uh..ahem..rather antiBritish sections, but that was a loooooong time ago! We're buddies now! LOL" (my note: Yes - we ARE!!!)


I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem -- all four stanzas. This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. "Thanks, Herb," I said.
"That's all right," he said. "It was at the request of the kitchen staff"

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas. Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before -- or had never really listened. There was a standing ovation. But it was not for me; it was the anthem.

More recently, while conducting a seminar, I told my students the story of the anthem and sang all four stanzas. Again there was a wild ovation and prolonged applause. And again, it was the anthem and not me.

So now let me tell you how it came to be written.

In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved in an American war.

At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message,
"We have met the enemy and they are ours." However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession.

Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack.

The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England.

The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west.

The central prong was to head for the mid-Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong.

The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D.C.Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1,000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort.

On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release.

The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start.

As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.

As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over,
"Can you see the flag?"

After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Entitled "The Defense of Fort McHenry," it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called, "To Anacreon in Heaven" -- a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key's work became known as "The Star Spangled Banner," and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.

Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key:

Oh! say can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

("Ramparts," in case you don't know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort.)

The first stanza asks a question.

The second gives an answer:

On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mist of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
'Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

"The towering steep" is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure. In the third stanza I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise? During World War I when the British were our Staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is:

And where is that band, who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war...and the battle's confusion.

A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling):

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,

Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven - rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto --"In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope this will help you to look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears. Pay attention to the words. And don't let them ever take it away ... not even one word of it.

So back to my question: Is there anything more precious than young children earnestly reciting the words on which your country was founded.

My answer? Yes - there sure is. More precious than the recitation, is the teaching ALL our children what love of country means. Concepts like loyalty, honour and duty to one's country seem to be in short supply in some schools these days.

But I suggest to you that it is critical today, that we each read, re-read words like this, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Not just read, or mouth the words, but really understand, feel and taste the importance of what our founding fathers gave us.

Now it is imperative that we stand firm at the gates. Now - as parents, educators of the precious young minds we are charged with moulding, it is vital that we instil in every child what 'country' means. Today, just as throughout our history, we must remind ourselves what we stand to lose if we are negligent in OUR duty. We dare not abdicate our responsibility for our young ones. We MUST teach our children well.