Saturday, October 31, 2020


This month's entry comes from a long (long) time friend and colleague.  He's one of the smartest and most  versatile people I've ever known--a legal immigrant (!) who built two extremely successful businesses including an industrial plating firm.  Some of his products are orbiting alien worlds; others keep American warfighters in the fight.

As election day approaches, Mr. B's words assume greater importance than ever.

The post originally appeared in David Leeper's earlier this year.


The current dismal state of our nation and the political and social mess we are now in compels me to write this letter to my fellow Americans.

I am an American by CHOICE, not by accident of birth. I was born and raised in South Africa and served eleven and a half years in the South African army. I took my South African citizenship very seriously due in part to the insidious, ongoing, brainwashing literally from kindergarten on. To question or disagree with an edict put out by the government never crossed our minds! This is the moral price one unconsciously pays for being born into an autocratic system of government.

In 1977 I was invited to teach at a world famous school in Arizona, a great honor and, for a young man, a great adventure. Little did I know at that time it would change my life forever.

The owner of the school was a former lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps (Corpse? Re Obama) and a retired political science professor. He was hard-core dyed in the wool believer in Freedom and the Constitution. I ate most of my meals with him and his wife, beginning my education, and in short order my conversion into a FREEDOM loving AMERICAN. 

Two years after my arrival in America I returned to South Africa to visit my parents. My mother was driving us to the family home in Johannesburg and I turned to her as we left the airport and said, “You know Mom, I can never come back to live in this country.” It was a pivotal moment, a metamorphosis that literally came in a flash. All the input from years of indoctrination and then a short two-year tango with Freedom synthesized into a new American. Me!

I love America and the principles for which it stands. 

My proudest day came when I was sworn in as an American CITIZEN. I was no longer a two-bit subject. 

I am in total awe of the founders and their wisdom in propagating what I consider the greatest document about the balance of freedom and government ever written: The U.S. Constitution.

I read it, I study it, and I now understand WHY the Articles and Amendments exist. IT is close to perfect. WE, The People on the other hand are not. 

That our past is checkered with wrongs and inequities isn’t open to debate. But with time we have identified and made a concerted effort to correct these wrongs. However, in today’s climate nothing we’ve done is good enough. I believe this is about the politically inspired manipulation by the brainwashed Left and its supporters, both foreign and domestic, looking to destroy America. 

To understand the basis of my concerns we need a quick history lesson. Remember, those who don’t learn from history….

America was from 1787, with adoption of the Constitution, arguably the freest, fastest growing and most prosperous nation in the world. The rot began with our Congress in 1913. (Pretty much as it is today.) That was a very bad year for freedom, here’s why. 

The passing of the 16th Amendment literally gutted the independence of the States and gave almost total fiscal power to the Federal Government. The Federalist system of checks and balances put forth by our founders eviscerated. What the traitorous Congress did was usurp the power to tax from the State to the Federal (Central) government. That gave Washington the power to tax the individual American citizen. 

That same congress passed the 17th Amendment. Once again the checks and balances on government were castrated. Instead of the House being elected by The People and the Senate from the State house, the 17th Amendment changed the election of Senators also to the People. So in reality what’s the difference? Two years to the House and six years to the Senate. Add another major travesty that year thrust upon We the People; the establishment of the Federal Reserve. You need to research exactly who the Fed is and who controls it. America The Free is an illusion, as you’ll see. You will be outraged!

One more bayonet thrust into the gut of We The People was the 1935 Butler vs. The United States case in which our Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom decided the Founders’ idea of the General Welfare Clause was interpreted and applied incorrectly. Seriously! And thus was born the ever expanding Welfare state spurred on by the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and others of the Progressive ilk. 

Today we are in a similar position, betrayal by elected politicians who swore an oath of allegiance to uphold and defend the Constitution. We might as well add the Supreme Court to the list of miscreants, apparently putting politics over the law. But I digress.

This coming General Election is no longer about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. This is no longer about Republicans and Democrats. This is no longer about Conservatives and Progressives.

This IS about FREEDOM verses TYRANNY.

This IS about CHAOS verses RULE OF LAW.


Being American is about Freedom. Real Americans are free in their heart, their soul and spirit. Freedom is what has made ours the most powerful nation in the history of the world. WE THE PEOPLE have made this happen in spite of government and its continuous goose-stepping attempts to trample our rights in the name of power.

The congress of 1913 I absolutely believe betrayed us, and I believe the Left leaning contingent of Congress in 2020 is in lockstep once again to attempt wrestling power from We The People. 

I have lived in a country that switched systems and can tell you there is no going back. If the Socialists (that’s being gracious) win this next election, we, as the Light of Freedom for so many in this world, will be extinguished and the rest of the few remaining freedom loving counties will fall too.

You have a choice to make. 

The time has come to stop looking at personalities but rather examine the substance of what these people represent. It’s really that simple. Time to use your brain and reason to override the out of control emotional hurricane engulfing so many. Like a hurricane it is totally destructive and short sighted.

One last thought. To you reading this who have children and grand children. How are you going to look them in the eye when they ask you, “How was it to be free Grand-whatevergender?” 

Again, a simple choice, your emotions selling your grandchildren and future generations into what will be tantamount to bondage, or your brain choosing freedom for future generations like that which we’ve enjoyed?  I guess it’s a matter of how selfish and short sighted you are.

Pinch your nose; take a deep breath and vote for FREEDOM.

Saturday, August 15, 2020



Among my most valued colleagues is Stephen Hunter, Pulitzer Prize movie reviewer for The Washington Post.  In summarizing Saving Private Ryan (1998) he wrote, “This movie is about a generation that put its heart on the shelf, dialed its minds down into a small, cold, tunnel, and fought with its brains.”

In newspaper terms, I cannot think of a more fitting “lead” for the current blog.

With the VJ Day 75th anniversary this month I'm reminded that we've all grown up with The War as a huge influence upon our parents and ourselves.  Here's a short personal compendium. 




My parents’ generation seldom referred to “World War II.”  Mostly it was “The War” and everybody knew which one.  It was an all-consuming endeavor that defined the era for millions.  We boomers grew up knowing our parents were involved at least to some extent.  My father was trained as a naval aviator but saw no combat.  My mother worked in a shipyard; her cousin was in the Women’s Army Corps.  An uncle was a Marine Corps officer in the Philippines.  


My wife’s father was a teenaged sailor awaiting the invasion of Japan in 1945.  Her uncle, a Princeton PhD, worked on the Manhattan Project; her aunt was an army nurse on a hospital ship.  


My parents’ family doctor, whom my mother credited with saving us when I was born, was a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania.  Sixteen years later he signed my student pilot's medical certificate.  As an army flight surgeon he had been decorated for rescuing crewmen from a crashed bomber in the Gilbert Islands.


My Oregon hometown (1940 population 513) lost two young men: a marine at Tarawa and an army flier in North Africa.  The American Legion Post still bears their names.  


My county seat had the army airfield where the Doolittle Raiders were recruited.

My father’s childhood best friend bailed out of a P-38 near Paris just after D-Day, captured by the Luftwaffe.  Two of Dad’s flight school room mates died: one disappeared on a Catalina flying boat in the Aleutians; the Hellcat fighter pilot was killed by nervous U.S. gunners off Japan.  One of my flight instructors earned a Navy Cross and Purple Heart flying Corsairs off the same carrier.  

My best friend’s grandfather was the general who ran clandestine operations in China and oversaw disposition of U.S. assets at war’s end.  When he returned home he took the one man he most trusted--his enlisted driver--and turned him into a millionaire.  My friend and I had a mutual pal whose father commanded a tug at Pearl Harbor.

A schoolmate’s father swam away from a sinking destroyer in 1942.  Another’s father was caught by the Luftwaffe trying to escape Occupied Europe after his B-17 was shot down in 1943.  


One of my college professors had been a “wrench bender” on B-29 Superfortresses in the Mariana Islands.

As a deferred student, a future aviation colleague worked on the proximity antiaircraft fuse at Cal Tech, under pain of “death or worse” for revealing it.  


A history colleague lost an uncle in Italy, fighting with the First Special Service Force, better known as the Devil’s Brigade.  (The William Holden movie repeats frequently on cable.)

All are gone now yet we still feel their presence....


Reflections from some friends.

From a navy and army veteran:

Rick's and my parents were nine and eight at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.  Dad's father was a steamfitter/welder, he spent the war at the Mare Island Navy Yard.   


His brother, our great-uncle, was a forward observer/artillery spotter with the 45th Infantry Division, KIA at Anzio. 


My ex-wife's great-uncle was a sailor in USS Barton (DD-599).  He went down with the ship during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 November 1942, following hits by two Long Lance torpedoes fired by the IJN destroyer Amatsukaze


The father of one of my best friends at University of New Mexico NROTC flew FM-2s with VC-10 off the escort carrier Gambier Bay and another CVE during the Battle off Samar (fighter ace Joe McGraw).  

From a Vietnam War naval aviator:

Personal count:

Dad and his brother wounded in Italy.  Uncle KIA 8th Air Force. Another Navy uncle campaigned through the Pacific.  Developed a bad drinking habit and, I understand, was killed in a car wreck within a year of coming home.  Only a couple of pix of him and buds on an R&R beach remain as evidence.

From a Vietnam War army vet:

My dad had already been admitted to medical school before the draft began, and thus was exempted.  However, due to a BB gun mishap as a boy he was functionally blind in one eye and would have been 4-F in any case. But, upon receiving his MD, he became acceptable for the doctors draft and was commissioned a first lieutenant.  After being processed he was assigned to an army field hospital scheduled to participate in the first wave of the Japanese invasion.  As chance had it, his locker was deployed on ahead, but his own travel was stopped by the big you-know-what. My dad never had a bad word to say about that bomb.


The same pattern seen here can apply to any war, any event, any era.  The difference is that today we’re where we were in 1940, seventy-five years after the Civil War.  So please folks, if you have the opportunity to record someone’s experiences:




Tuesday, June 30, 2020


“We would hire you today but you’re the wrong sex and the wrong color.” 

That was the shortest job interview I ever had, and it was also the first.  Straight out of college with my newly-printed journalism diploma, I approached a Portland radio-TV station that employed a former University of Oregon J-school colleague.  He was two years ahead of me at the U of O, but we’d been acquainted tolerably well so I gave it a shot.

That was in the 1970s.  As in, forty-plus years ago.  In those days anti-white bias was accepted as “reverse discrimination” in which “reverse” is the adjective and “discrimination” is the noun.  Just thought I’d mention it.  But today we’re riding the same semantic merry-go-round again. 

Now we’re hearing a great deal about the wider matter of White Privilege and “reparations” for slavery.  So what are we to make of the 360,000 or so white Union soldiers who died to free the slaves?  If “reparations” are to be paid to descendants of slaves, logically (!) compensation should be made to descendants of those who died to free them because those soldiers’ relatives received almost nothing.

I asked some history colleagues and Veterans Administration sources about Civil War “GI insurance” for Union KIAs.  Apparently there was none.  This is the most detailed response, from a friend finishing the history of a Wisconsin regiment: 

“The family would get whatever money was due to the soldier, such as pay and enlistment bonus.  Certain next of kin: widows, parents (if they could demonstrate need), and minor children if orphaned could apply for a pension, but it was not always automatic. Rates varied over time but they were not generous.” 

My VA source (a Vietnam War platoon leader) is a retired attorney who says the first wartime death benefits arose in World War I.

Now, for some personal perspective, here’s the lowdown:

Two of my paternal great-grandfather's older brothers from Ohio served in the Union Army and survived.  They were the fortunate ones.  (Their cousin born in 1863 was named in honor of Copperhead politician Clement Vallandigham.  His northern party favored a negotiated settlement with the South, resulting in a military tribunal, imprisonment and deportation.)  

A brother of my maternal, Barrett, great grandfather from a Maine regiment died in Confederate captivity.  Two Union Tillmans from Maine and Massachusetts (cavalry) died of other causes, plus another in U.S. Colored Troops.  Another distant kinsman, Private Tillman Westfall, died in an Ohio cavalry regiment.

Sothen: what are we to make of “reparations” as one of many routes to offsetting White Privilege?  We The People are expected to dip into the U.S. Treasury (already billions in debt) and pay atonement money to people who were never slaves and who have never known anyone who was a slave.  In fact, it seems uncertain how the recipients of Reparations would prove eligibility.  And for that matter, what degree of consanguinity would apply?  How many generations and how many tenth cousins six times removed? 

Some definitions are required.  Would reparations only apply to descendants of black American slaves from 1776 to 1865 or from 1619?  And where’s the documentation?  

Would payments be based upon the number of slave ancestors, or do recipients get the same amount whether they had just one such ancestor or ten, or one hundred?  Some phenotypically “white" Americans have black slave ancestors.

I'd guess that most non-black Americans today don't have a slave-owning ancestor. Is it fair for taxpayers all of whose ancestors arrived here after 1865 to contribute to this fund?  

What about black and American Indian slave-owners?  Many if not most black Americans descend from slave owners.

How about American Indians, Asians and Latinos?  

How would the total amount be derived?  No matter how high, it would never be deemed enough.  Abolitionists wanted every family of freedmen to receive forty acres and a mule, but few did.  With four million freed slaves, there might have been a million such families.  The value of forty Southern farmland acres and a mule today would run around $120,000, thus about $120 billion en toto.  At present possibly eligible population of perhaps 40 million, that's only $3,000 per person, which probably wouldn't be acceptable.

And how many additional Reparations will ensue?  (In ’86 Reagan foolishly signed a one-time good deal amnesty on behalf of illegal immigrants.  Yeahright…)

You see where we’re headed…

Usually I allow myself 1,000 words for each blog but this month I don’t see any point in expounding beyond what I’ve already written.

Besides, I’m working on two more books that I hope will enhance my self-employed, non-pensioned White Privilege.