Thursday, November 25, 2010

PatriotPost.US Alert:: TSA Invasive Body Scanners

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breaking: An investigation by The Patriot Post has determine that the three primary manufacturers of full body scanners being purchased by TSA with Obama (taxpayer) "stimulus" funding, are located in (you guessed it) Democrat congressional districts favored for such boondoggle funding in California and Massachusetts.

L-3 Communications ($165 million contract) is in Massachusetts congressional district 7 (Demo Rep. Ed Markey). American Science and Engineering is in Massachusetts congressional district 5 (Demo Rep. Niki Tsongas). And, Rapiscan ($173 million contract) is in California's 36th congressional district (Demo Rep. Jane Harman).

If you think the TSA scanners now being deployed at airports around the nation -- thanks to $73 million in Obama (taxpayer) stimulus funding -- are not invasive, you might reconsider after viewing this virtual strip search, which is a low resolution of the much higher resolution TSA scans now being used.

Is there a privacy issue here? Want your wives and daughters scanned or searched using the "enhanced pat down procedure" if a woman refuses to subject herself to the scan? Did you know that TnA, er, uh, TSA employees have cached these images? Reuters reports and thousands of them have been posted on the Web. Further, there are also health related concerns about scanner radiation.

When it comes to airport security matters, we put some stock into what the Israelis have to say. In April of this year, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority, Rafi Sela, who has been an expert in security and defence technology for 30 years, said of the body scanners: "I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747. That's why we haven't put them in [Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport]." (Obviously Sela's security decisions are not directed by politicians with stimulus money to burn.)

Sela believes a "trusted traveller" network would be better because pre-approved low-risk passengers would be subject only to expedited screening and higher risk individuals could then be subject to much more proven technology like automatic sniffers now used to detect explosive residue on airline baggage.

As for the "random search" procedures in effect at U.S. airports, Sela says, "Random searches are like Russian roulette." He is an advocate of behavioral profiling, but that would offend the sensibilities of travelers who actually fit the profile of a terrorist.

View a list of airports with scanners.
Links to more info on the new TSA protocols:
Assume the position:

Assume the position 2:

Assume the position 3:

Pilot Association says NO:

Columnist Steve Chapman concludes, "The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11 — long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days. The agency is rolling out new full-body scanners, which eventually will replace metal detectors at all checkpoints. These machines replicate the experience of taking off your clothes, but without the fun. They enable agents to get a view of your body that leaves nothing to the imagination. For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: "enhanced" pat-downs. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones — breasts, buttocks, crotches. If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you'll love the enhanced pat-down. And you'll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers. Besides the indignity of having one's body exposed to an airport screener, there is a danger the images will find a wider audience. The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And you think we are FREE?

What follows is an email newsletter from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and if it doesn't 1) scare the heck out of you and 2) overwhelm you with outrage, I don't think anything will.



See my blog "Have We Gone Insane?"  "HOMELAND SECURITY?" (Another nasty joke on "We the People" or is it Homeland Prison?  



Check out what one judge has done to the will of the people of Oklahoma that do not wish to use International law or sharia law......In Defense of the Sharia Ban

Dear Defender of Freedom,
Help make sure this is the last Thanksgiving a mother is away from her son! 
Thanksgiving is time every year when we all travel many miles to be around the ones we love. I wish I could tell you that Stephanie Mohr was going home this Thanksgiving to be with her son Adam. Stephanie is sitting hundreds of miles away from Adam in a jail cell where she was sentenced to spend 10 years of her life for a “crime” she didn’t commit!

This holiday season and all year long, LELDF has one goal and that is to defend those officers that have been wrongly accused for actions taken in line of duty.
Please click here to learn more about LELDF and our mission!

Please -- let me explain.

Stephanie received more than 25 letters of commendation and two awards during her years on the police force. But all that matters to the bureaucrats at the federal Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is that she was a white police officer whose police dog bit an illegal immigrant on the leg back in 1995.

You may have heard about her case. On the night of September 21, 1995, she was on patrol with her police dog, Valk. The area she patrolled, Takoma Park, had been suffering a rash of burglaries.

So when her partner, Sergeant Anthony Delozier, and Stephanie got a call for back-up from an officer who had spotted two men on the roof of a nearby store, they knew they might have found the criminals.

When they arrived, the situation was tense. The two suspects, Ricardo Mendez and Herrera Cruz, had been ordered down from the roof and told to face a wall. They were shouting back and forth to each other in a stream of Spanish. And then it happened.

Mendez made a move -- as if to flee the scene. Stephanie instantly released her dog, Valk, who was trained to perform the police department’s standard “bite and hold.” That’s exactly what Valk did -- he bit Mendez on the leg and held him until the other officers and she was able to handcuff him. Thankfully, a police helicopter was overhead and had monitored the arrest.

Both of the suspects were charged with 4th degree burglary. Herrera Cruz pled guilty, was sentenced to time served, and deported to Mexico. Mendez was convicted of illegally entering the U.S. and selling crack cocaine and was deported to San Salvador.

As for Stephanie Mohr, she was relieved to get two dangerous drug dealers off our streets.

So imagine her shock -- five years later -- when the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was going to indict me for “violating” Mendez’s civil rights by allowing her police dog to bite his leg!

At first, Stephanie simply could not believe it.

Ricardo Mendez was a convicted felon. An illegal immigrant. And it was her duty to release Valk and stop Mendez from fleeing the scene that night back in 1995! But the facts didn’t matter to the bureaucrats in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

They had been looking for cases of “police brutality” to investigate.

And Stephanie was exactly what they wanted:

A white police officer whose police dog had bitten a San Salvadoran immigrant. Her fellow officers testified in court that she had done her job by the book. The P.G. County police training clearly states that if a felony suspect makes a move, they are authorized to release our police dogs.

The jury agreed and voted to acquit her 11-1. And that’s when things really got ugly. Civil rights groups were furious. Everyone from Amnesty International to the NAACP declared the arrest “racist” and demanded an investigation of Stephanie and of the police department. The Justice Department insisted on a second trial because of the one lone juror who had sided with the prosecution.

The second trial was a circus.

The government flew Mendez in from San Salvador and Cruz from Mexico at taxpayer expense to testify against Stephanie. That’s right -- they wanted the jury to take the word of two convicted felons over the word of decorated police officers! To make matters worse, they stacked the jury with minorities who would be sympathetic to illegal immigrants. They drummed up minority witnesses who accused Stephanie of using racial epithets against them – without a shred of proof! And this time, their strategy worked.

Stephanie was convicted and sentenced to prison for ten years. Ten years -- for putting her life on the line every day and arresting a dangerous drug dealer! Stephanie left the courtroom in shock, without a chance to even kiss Adam or his daddy good-bye. Stephanie has been here in the Alderson, West Virginia prison now for seven years.

Stephanie thinks about Adam every constantly. Stephanie says it is an unimaginable pain. Maybe something only a mother can feel.

Stephanie missed seven of his birthdays and this Thanksgiving will be another holiday that Stephanie is separated from her son.But with your help, by donating $25, $50 , $100 or as much as you can afford to The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund we can try to make sure this is the last holiday Stephanie has to spend in a cold jail cell.

If you’ve heard of LELDF then you know we are the best friend a police officer could ever have. LELDF helps defend good officers who have been unfairly persecuted for their split-second, use-of-force decisions in the line of duty.

After I heard about her case, I told everyone on my board, including former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, about it. Since then, LELDF has been defending Stephanie Mohr. We have filed two appeals with the U.S. Court of Appeals, and paid for legal briefs, expert witnesses, and research. We have recently filed a Petition for Commutation of Sentence with the President and a Habeas Corpus Petition with the Bureau of Prisons to force them to grant Stephanie an early release to her home or a half way house so she can be employed.

I would like to tell you that Stephanie’s story is unique but the fact is, that police men and women are wrongly accused every year for actions taken in line of duty.

Will you help LELDF defend Stephanie and other officers in a similar situation by sending a tax-deductible contribution to the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund?

The U.S. Department of Justice has had unlimited federal tax dollars to spend on the cases against officers like Stephanie. But she must rely on the generous hearts of people like you to help clear her innocent name and send her home to her son Adam.

So all I can do now is hope that good Americans like you will come to their defense.

Any gift you can send -- be it $25, $50, $100, or $500 -- is tax-deductible. These officers have no other choice. They must rely on good Americans like you to right the wrong that has been done.


Dave Martin
Chairman, LELDF

P.S. If she can be sent to prison for doing her job, then every police officer in this nation faces the risk of being put behind bars for protecting your family and mine. Won’t you please help me clear her name and get Stephanie home to her son before she misses another Thanksgiving?
Thank you for any donation that you can spare. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have We Gone Insane?

Have we gone insane? There was a time when sane men and women, who are our elected officials would never have even entertained the idea of body scanners our invasive body searches.  The chairman of the Homeland Security(?) committee, The Honorable Mr. Rockefeller, stated in his opening statement that the proposed changes to airport security were receiving comments from all quarters.  "I appreciate peoples concerns.  I understand there is a frustration.  I realize some of these screening procedures appear invasive." (emphasis added by me).

He goes on to characterized this unconscionable and barbaric procedure as "unavoidable".  What is the matter here?  Have we raised a nation of blundering idiots?  This is the best that can be presented?  

The pity of it all is that experts such as Charles Slepian, who was the guest of Janet Parshall on yesterday's "In the Market with Janet Parshall" will tell you that these procedures DO NOT WORK.  For example, these searches will not pick up an explosive that is in powder form such as one person who was caught with powder in his underwear.  Answering Janet's question about training reveals the absurdity of TSA's hiring practices. He states that the minimum training requirement of 40 hours with another 20 hours or so of on-the-job training.  Policemen get 6 to 8 months in an academy and they are not being trained in bomb detection. A military person will go through a special bomb detection school which is after other schools that lead up to it.  It takes many months and sometimes years before they are put in the field. "Yet we don't make an effort to hire them."

He goes on to say that we don't use the kinds of people who can profile, such as retired police officers.  He also says that "we do not build a security force in the United States based on security skills, we base it on job need and that's unfortunate."  "We take the people who need a job and we give them the job, we give them the minimum training, but they are not prepared to undertake the responsibilities of that job. It's as simple as that.  If it were otherwise, we would take some of those many many thousands of young men and women who are coming back from military service who are dealing with bombs in the field, and dealing with IED's, they are also dealing with personalities, they also do profiling.  We would be taking some of those police officers who do the 20 years and are out and have a vast, vast well of experience and we don't use them either."

"We have the wrong people doing the wrong jobs to protect America" 

There is so much wrong about the direction being taken and these by the very people who we elect to do our will.  

Please, do not become complacent because we made a change in this last election.  That was merely the "shot fired across the bow".  We need to fire all of the political establishment (class).  

We need term limits for everyone, including the Supremes (all Federal judges).

We need the Fairtax bills in both House and Senate passed and signed into law

We need the Federal government out of education.  The states need to "man-up"

We need the Federal banking system removed.

We need the Federal government to divest themselves of all businesses such as Freddie Mack and Fanny May.

We need to abolish unions for government workers

We need to get the government out of unions in general.

We need limits on how long a person can work for the State department, Defense department, etc.

We need legislation that is a) read by and understood by every congressman b) understandable down to the 5th grade level c) is paid for up front 

We need to balance the budget and make it against the law for the government to go into debt.

We need to revoke all legislation that exempts the politician from any program or law.

We need to secure our borders and enforce laws currently on the books.

We need to have humane immigration that allows us to have a guest worker program and paths to citizenship that are not as difficult and costly as they are currently.

As to airport security.............maybe it's time to borrow from our friends...........


A great alternative to body scanners at airports

The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.
It's a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with none of the whining about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials. Justice would be swift. Case closed!
You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system: "Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight number ____. Shalom."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

IMPRIMIS - Hillsdale College - Mike Pence Address September 2010

MIKE PENCE graduated from Hanover College in 1981 and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law in 1986. After running for Congress in 1988 and 1990, he was named president of the Indiana Policy Review Commission, a state think tank based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1991. He was first elected to Congress from Indiana’s 6th District in 2000 and was most recently elected to a fifth term in 2008. That same year he was elected to serve as House Republican Conference Chairman. During the 109th Congress, he also served as chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House of Representatives.

October 2010 • Volume 39, Number 10

The Presidency and the Constitution

Mike Pence
U.S. Representative, Indiana’s 6th Congressional District

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on the Hillsdale College campus on September 20, 2010.
The presidency is the most visible thread that runs through the tapestry of the American government. More often than not, for good or for ill, it sets the tone for the other branches and spurs the expectations of the people. Its powers are vast and consequential, its requirements impossible for mortals to fulfill without humility and insistent attention to its purpose as set forth in the Constitution of the United States.
Isn’t it amazing, given the great and momentous nature of the office, that those who seek it seldom pause to consider what they are seeking? Rather, unconstrained by principle or reflection, there is a mad rush toward something that, once its powers are seized, the new president can wield as an instrument with which to transform the nation and the people according to his highest aspirations.
But, other than in a crisis of the house divided, the presidency is neither fit nor intended to be such an instrument. When it is made that, the country sustains a wound, and cries out justly and indignantly. And what the nation says is the theme of this address. What it says—informed by its long history, impelled by the laws of nature and nature’s God—is that we as a people are not to be ruled and not to be commanded. It says that the president should never forget this; that he has not risen above us, but is merely one of us, chosen by ballot, dismissed after his term, tasked not to transform and work his will upon us, but to bear the weight of decision and to carry out faithfully the design laid down in the Constitution in accordance with the Declaration of Independence.
* * *
The presidency must adhere to its definition as expressed in the Constitution, and to conduct defined over time and by tradition. While the powers of the office have enlarged, along with those of the legislature and the judiciary, the framework of the government was intended to restrict abuses common to classical empires and to the regal states of the 18th century.
Without proper adherence to the role contemplated in the Constitution for the presidency, the checks and balances in the constitutional plan become weakened. This has been most obvious in recent years when the three branches of government have been subject to the tutelage of a single party. Under either party, presidents have often forgotten that they are intended to restrain the Congress at times, and that the Congress is independent of their desires. And thus fused in unholy unity, the political class has raged forward in a drunken expansion of powers and prerogatives, mistakenly assuming that to exercise power is by default to do good.
Even the simplest among us knows that this is not so. Power is an instrument of fatal consequence. It is confined no more readily than quicksilver, and escapes good intentions as easily as air flows through mesh. Therefore, those who are entrusted with it must educate themselves in self-restraint. A republic is about limitation, and for good reason, because we are mortal and our actions are imperfect.
The tragedy of presidential decision is that even with the best choice, some, perhaps many, will be left behind, and some, perhaps many, may die. Because of this, a true statesman lives continuously with what Churchill called “stress of soul.” He may give to Paul, but only because he robs Peter. And that is why you must always be wary of a president who seems to float upon his own greatness. For all greatness is tempered by mortality, every soul is equal, and distinctions among men cannot be owned; they are on loan from God, who takes them back and evens accounts at the end.
It is a tragedy indeed that new generations taking office attribute failures in governance to insufficient power, and seek more of it. In the judiciary, this has seldom been better expressed than by Justice Thurgood Marshall, who said: “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” In the Congress, it presents itself in massive legislation, acts and codes thousands of pages long and so monstrously over-complicated that no human being can read through them—much less understand them, much less apply them justly to a people that increasingly feel like they are no longer being asked, but rather told. Our nation finds itself in the position of a dog whose duty it is not to ask why—because the “why” is too elevated for his nature—but simply to obey.

Imprimis (im-pri-mis), [Latin]: in the first place
EDITOR Douglas A. Jeffrey
Timothy W. Caspar
Emily Thiessen
Monica VanDerWeide
Angela Lashaway
Fred Hadra
Lucinda Grimm
Patricia A. DuBois
Kim Ellsworth
Wanda Oxenger
Mary Jo Von Ewegen
Copyright © 2010 Hillsdale College

The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College.
Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.”
ISSN 0277-8432
Imprimis trademark registered in U.S. Patent and Trade Office #1563325.

An audio version of Imprimis is available online at

America is not a dog, and does not require a “because-I-said-so” jurisprudence; or legislators who knit laws of such insulting complexity that they are heavier than chains; or a president who acts like, speaks like, and is received as a king.
The president is not our teacher, our tutor, our guide or ruler. He does not command us; we command him. We serve neither him nor his vision. It is not his job or his prerogative to redefine custom, law, and beliefs; to appropriate industries; to seize the country, as it were, by the shoulders or by the throat so as to impose by force of theatrical charisma his justice upon 300 million others. It is neither his job nor his prerogative to shift the power of decision away from them, and to him and the acolytes of his choosing.
Is my characterization of unprecedented presumption incorrect? Listen to the words of the leader of President Obama’s transition team and perhaps his next chief-of-staff: “It’s important that President-Elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.” Or, more recently, the latest presidential appointment to avoid confirmation by the Senate—the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—who wrote last Friday: “President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field again.”
“Take power. . .rule. . .leveling.” Though it is the model now, this has never been and should never again be the model of the presidency or the character of the American president. No one can say this too strongly, and no one can say it enough until it is remedied. We are not subjects; we are citizens. We fought a war so that we do not have to treat even kings like kings, and—if I may remind you—we won that war. Since then, the principle of royalty has, in this country, been inoperative. Who is better suited or more required to exemplify this conviction, in word and deed, than the President of the United States?
* * *
The powers of the presidency are extraordinary and necessarily great, and great presidents treat them sparingly. For example, it is not the president’s job to manipulate the nation’s youth for the sake of his agenda or his party. They are a potent political force when massed by the social network to which they are permanently attached. But if the president has their true interests at heart he will neither flatter them nor let them adore him, for in flattery is condescension and in adoration is direction, and youth is neither seasoned nor tested enough to direct a nation. Nor should it be the president’s business to presume to direct them. It is difficult enough to do right by one’s own children. No one can be the father of a whole continent’s youth.
Is the president, therefore, expected to turn away from this and other easy advantage? Yes. Like Harry Truman, who went to bed before the result on election night, he must know when to withdraw, to hold back, and to forgo attention, publicity, or advantage.
There is no finer, more moving, or more profound understanding of the nature of the presidency and the command of humility placed upon it than that expressed by President Coolidge. He, like Lincoln, lost a child while he was president, a son of sixteen. “The day I became president,” Coolidge wrote, “he had just started to work in a tobacco field. When one of his fellow laborers said to him, ‘If my father was president I would not work in a tobacco field,’ Calvin replied, ‘If my father were your father you would.’” His admiration for the boy was obvious.
Young Calvin contracted blood poisoning from an incident on the South Lawn of the White House. Coolidge wrote, “What might have happened to him under other circumstances we do not know, but if I had not been president. . . .” And then he continued,
In his suffering he was asking me to make him well. I could not. When he went, the power and glory of the Presidency went with him.
A sensibility such as this, and not power, is the source of presidential dignity, and must be restored. It depends entirely upon character, self-discipline, and an understanding of the fundamental principles that underlie not only the republic, but life itself. It communicates that the president feels the gravity of his office and is willing to sacrifice himself; that his eye is not upon his own prospects but on the storm of history, through which he must navigate with the specific powers accorded to him and the limitations placed on those powers both by man and by God.
* * *
The modern presidency has drifted far from the great strength and illumination of its source: the Constitution as given life by the Declaration of Independence, the greatest political document ever written. The Constitution—terse, sober, and specific—does not, except by implication, address the president’s demeanor. But this we can read in the best qualities of the founding generation, which we would do well to imitate. In the Capitol Rotunda are heroic paintings of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the victory at Saratoga, the victory at Yorktown, and—something seldom seen in history—a general, the leader of an armed rebellion, resigning his commission and surrendering his army to a new democracy. Upon hearing from Benjamin West that George Washington, having won the war and been urged by some to use the army to make himself king, would instead return to his farm, King George III said: “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” He did, and he was.
To aspire to such virtue and self-restraint would in a sense be difficult, but in another sense it should be easy—difficult because it would be demanding and ideal, and easy because it is the right thing to do and the rewards are immediately self-evident.
A president who slights the Constitution is like a rider who hates his horse: he will be thrown, and the nation along with him. The president solemnly swears to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He does not solemnly swear to ignore, overlook, supplement, or reinterpret it. Other than in a crisis of existence, such as the Civil War, amendment should be the sole means of circumventing the Constitution. For if a president joins the powers of his office to his own willful interpretation, he steps away from a government of laws and toward a government of men.
Is the Constitution a fluctuating and inconstant document, a collection of suggestions whose purpose is to stimulate debate in a future to which the Founders were necessarily blind? Progressives tell us that even the Framers themselves could not reach agreement in its regard. But they did agree upon it. And they wrote it down. And they signed it. And they lived by it. Its words are unchanging and unchangeable except, again, by amendment. There is no allowance for a president to override it according to his supposed superior conception. Why is this good? It is good because the sun will burn out, the Ohio River will flow backwards, and the cow will jump over the moon 10,000 times before any modern president’s conception is superior to that of the Founders of this nation.
Would it be such a great surprise that a good part of the political strife of our times is because one president after another, rather than keeping faith with it, argues with the document he is supposed to live by? This discontent will only be calmed by returning the presidency to the nation’s first principles. The Constitution and the Declaration should be on a president’s mind all the time, as the prism through which the light of all question of governance passes. Though we have—sometimes gradually, sometimes radically—moved away from this, we can move back to it. And who better than the president to restore this wholesome devotion to limited government?
* * *
And as the president returns to the consistent application of the principles in the Constitution, he will also ensure  fiscal responsibility and prosperity. Who is better suited, with his executive and veto powers, to carry over the duty of self-restraint and discipline to the idea of fiscal solvency? When the president restrains government spending, leaving room for the American people to enjoy the fruits of their labor, growth is inevitable. As Senator Robert Taft wrote:  “Liberty has been the key to our progress in the past and is the key to our progress in the future.… If we can preserve liberty in all its essentials, there is no limit to the future of the American people.” Whereas the president must be cautious, dutiful, and deferential at home,his character must change abroad. Were he to ask for a primer on how to act in relation to other states, which no holder of the office has needed to this point, and were that primer to be written by the American people, whether of 1776 or 2010, you can be confident that it would contain the following instructions:  You do not bow to kings. Outside our shores, the President of the United States of America bows to no man. When in foreign lands, you do not criticize your own country. You do not argue the case against the United States, but the case for it. You do not apologize to the enemies of the United States. Should you be confused, a country, people, or region that harbors,
shelters, supports, encourages, or cheers attacks upon our country or the slaughter of our friends and
families are enemies of the United States. And, to repeat, you do not apologize to them.  Closely related to this, and perhaps the least ambiguous of the president’s complex responsibilities, is his duty as commander-in-chief of the military. In this regard there is a very simple rule, unknown to some presidents regardless of party:  If, after careful determination, intense stress of soul, and the deepest prayer, you go to war, then, having gone to war, you go to war to win. You do not cast away
American lives, or those of the innocent noncombatant enemy, upon a theory, a gambit, or a notion. And if the politics of your own election or of your party intrude upon your decisions for even an
instant—there are no words for this.  More commonplace, but hardly less important, are other expectations of the president in this regard. He must not stint on the equipment and provisioning
of the armed forces, and if he errs it must be not on the side of scarcity but of surplus. And he must be the guardian of his troops, taking every step to avoid the loss of even a single life.  The American soldier is as precious as the closest of your kin—because he is your kin, and for his sake the president
must, in effect, say to the Congress and to the people: “I am the Commander-in-Chief. It is my sacred duty to defend the United States, and to give our soldiers what they need to complete the mission and come home safe, whatever the cost.”
If, in fulfilling this duty, the president wavers, he will have betrayed his office, for this is not a policy, it is probity. It is written on the blood-soaked ground of Saratoga, Yorktown, Antietam, Cold Harbor, the Marne, Guadalcanal, the Pointe du Hoc, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a thousand other places in our history, in lessons repeated over and over again.
* * *
The presidency, a great and complex subject upon which I have only touched, has become symbolic of overreaching. There are many truths that we have been frightened to tell or face. If we run from them, they will catch us with our backs turned and pull us down. Better that we should not flee but rather stop and look them in the eye.
What might our forebearers say to us, knowing what they knew, and having done what they did? I have no doubt that they would tell us to channel our passions, speak the truth and do what is right, slowly and with resolution; to work calmly, steadily and without animus or fear; to be like a rock in the tide, let the water tumble about us, and be firm and unashamed in our love of country.
I see us like those in Philadelphia in 1776. Danger all around, but a fresh chapter, ready to begin, uncorrupted, with great possibilities and—inexplicably, perhaps miraculously—the way is clearing ahead. I have never doubted that Providence can appear in history like the sun emerging from behind the clouds, if only as a reward for adherence to first principles. As Winston Churchill said in a speech to Congress on December 26, 1941: “He must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below, of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants.”
As Americans, we inherit what Lincoln in his First Inaugural called “the mystic chords of memory stretching from every patriot grave.” They bind us to the great and the humble, the known and the unknown of Americans past—and if I hear them clearly, what they say is that although we may have strayed, we have not strayed too far to return, for we are their descendants. We can still astound the world with justice, reason and strength. I know this is true, but even if it was not we could not in decency stand down, if only for our debt to history. We owe a debt to those who came before, who did great things, and suffered more than we suffer, and gave more than we give, and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for us, whom they did not know. For we “drink from wells we did not dig” and are “warmed by fires we did not build,” and so we must be faithful in our time as they were in theirs.
Many great generations are gone, but by the character and memory of their existence they forbid us to despair of the republic. I see them crossing the prairies in the sun and wind. I see their faces looking out from steel mills and coal mines, and immigrant ships crawling into the harbors at dawn. I see them at war, at work and at peace. I see them, long departed, looking into the camera, with hopeful and sad eyes. And I see them embracing their children, who became us. They are our family and our blood, and we cannot desert them. In spirit, all of them come down to all of us, in a connection that, out of love, we cannot betray.
They are silent now and forever, but from the eternal silence of every patriot grave there is yet an echo that says, “It is not too late; keep faith with us, keep faith with God, and do not, do not ever despair of the republic.” ■

Sam Knecht, chairman and professor of art at Hillsdale College, has produced an oil painting of the signing of the American Constitution. Measuring over 5'x9', it will hang in Hillsdale’s Kirby Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. To view the painting online, go to