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Friday, November 30, 2007

Support Our Troops: Part II

Support Our Troops: Part II

I have previously written about Soldiers’ Angels, an outstanding and well-run volunteer organization that has been such a blessing to our men and women in uniform, especially those deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth is that there are many fine groups supporting our deployed Armed Forces.

One of these groups is AdoptaPlatoon (, founded by Ida Hägg while her son was an Army Soldier deployed to Bosnia. Similar to Soldiers’ Angels, AdoptaPlatoon was started as a personal effort that blossomed into a national "Moms Across America" effort in support of our troops.
Mrs. Hägg is tireless in her efforts to bring a little bit of hometown USA to the men on the front lines of freedom. With the support of thousands of Moms, she sends things the troops need, as well as "comfort" items they would like to have, on a platoon by platoon basis. 

One of the most popular items sent by AdoptaPlatoon has been sun glasses—cool sun glasses. After all, these macho men want to look cool as well as tough, especially when they are off duty and have to face the hot sun each day. The more practical items are notes of encouragement from home and even stuffed Christmas stockings. The letters, like the one that follows, make you proud of our American men and women in uniform:

"I just wanted to send you a sincere thank you for the packages that were sent from AdoptaPlatoon and your supporters. My troops and I enjoyed the thoughtfulness of the packages. It is nice to have the support from home. This is my second tour to Iraq. For some of my troops it is their first tour over here. It is nice to have a package waiting for you after a mission. My troops and I want to thank you again for the packages, we enjoyed them very much. My soldiers wanted me to express their appreciation; it was obvious there was much time, thought, consideration, support and love packed into each box. Especially heart-warming were the cards and letters you included expressing your support for our service here in Iraq. You all have touched our hearts with care packages filled goodies, bringing a satisfying smile! Rest assured your message of support has been received by many and has certainly inspired positive influence on our platoon morale. Again, please pass on our sincerest appreciation to everyone involved with you and your organization and to the great citizens of the United States of America supporting our Armed Services. God bless you all."--SFC Jordan, GSE Platoon.

It’s hard to add to those sentiments. It is truly a privilege to have AdoptaPlatoon as a client. It’s the kind of organization we love to work for.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving Wishes 

Most of us have great Thanksgiving memories—trips home to be with the family, a great, sumptuous turkey dinner with pumpkin pie and all the fixings prepared by Mom. We may have even encountered a couple of blizzards along the way. Oh yes, did I forget the football games? Shame on me!

While Thanksgiving is now celebrated in other countries around the globe, it is a uniquely American holiday which originated long before there was a United States of America. The first Thanksgiving actually occurred in Virginia, in Jamestown, but the Thanksgiving we usually think of is the one that was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts by the Pilgrims. In both cases, the parties took time to give thanks to God for delivering them safely across the ocean and for preserving them in the American wilderness.

We also know that they joined with the Indians in this celebration. In fact, a number of these Native Americans were instrumental in helping them to grow corn, harvest oysters and other crustaceans, and identify other edible fruits and vegetables. Together they celebrated and gave thanks for this land that is called America.

Today, you and I can be thankful for so much. It is literally impossible to count all our blessings. But first and foremost on my list is thankfulness for the freedom that was won by our forefathers in the American Revolution, and for those who have fought and died in so many wars to preserve that freedom. Like countless others before them, the men and women in uniform today deserve our gratitude, our thanks, and our support. Let’s make sure to remember them in our prayers as they continue to put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom they have secured for us.

It’s my hope that you and yours enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration this year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

John McCain: Political Hack

John McCain: Political Hack

In my business I have had the opportunity to meet lots of politicians. To a great extent, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, they are all about the same. Their primary purpose in life is to promote themselves and grab the highest office they can acquire. Putting them into one lump, they are about the most self-serving group of people you will ever meet. Don’t get me wrong. There are exceptions on both sides of the aisle, but for the general run-of-the-mill politician, public service is about as far apart as the North Pole is from the South Pole. They are generally more interested in the perks of the office than the people they serve. It says in the US Constitution that there will be no royalty, but as Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." They have special parking places at the airports, all expense paid junkets around the world, limousines at their beckon call, and special treatment that common people like you and I just don’t receive.

Some have even gone way beyond the pale to exercise their power to obtain perks and privileges their colleagues don’t have. Mike Mansfield was at the top of the pyramid when it came to getting the very best the taxpayers could provide. While he was Majority Leader of the US Senate he lived like royalty. And because of the power he wielded, he was able to force airlines to provide nonstop service from Washington, DC to Helena, Montana (I believe it was TWA that took one for the airline industry so that Prince Mike would take care of them). As you might imagine, a flight from Dulles Airport to Helena, Montana is not exactly a high traffic, money making route, but to appease the Senator, TWA made sure Prince Mike had his flight on his schedule to Helena.

More recently, John McCain one-upped Prince Mike. You see, the Senator didn’t like the fact that he had to travel all the way to Dulles to catch a nonstop flight to Phoenix, Arizona. What an ordeal! The fact that the regulations at close in Reagan National Airport did not allow cross country flights didn’t deter Senator McCain. Nope. He got the regs changed and here’s how he did it.

It seems that Dulles was in the process of adding underground rail transportation for the more than 30 million passengers who use the airport annually (it’s the most used airport in the DC area). This, of course, entailed building an underground tunnel to house the train. The project began several years back and has not opened yet, but is scheduled to do so in 2009, although it is well behind schedule.

One of the reasons it’s behind schedule is because His Excellency, Senator McCain, put a "hold" on construction until the Federal Aviation Administration could figure out a way for him to fly nonstop from Reagan Airport to Phoenix. Well, it took about six months, but the FAA "found out a way" to change the situation so that the Senator could have his nonstop flight to Phoenix. It didn’t matter to McCain that millions of air travelers suffered inconvenience for six additional months. What counted was getting the privileged service he deserved.

This is the same Senator McCain that has played the role of a maverick in the Senate voting against President Bush’s tax cuts, holding up judicial nominations, and authoring the onerous and unconstitutional McCain-Feingold law that restricts your free speech and mine, but not that of the drive-by media. Why did Senator McCain care about "campaign reform?" He didn’t and he doesn’t. But he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar as a member of the Keating Five and this was the only way he could get the heat off of himself.

I honor Senator McCain for his faithful service to his country as a POW. As the son of the CINCPAC Commander he suffered some of the worst abuse when he was imprisoned. But in light of his character and lack of understanding of the way a free society works, his military service, as great as it was, hardly qualifies him to be President of the United States.

As full disclosure, more than 20 years ago, I appeared voluntarily in front of a special committee set up by John McCain and his good friend, John Kerry. Both of these Vietnam veterans were catching heat for doing nothing in regard to the possibility of Americans still being held captive in North Vietnam. One of those they were catching heat from was my client, the late Colonel Jack Bailey (USAF), who, several years after being a client, did some things that were questionable. 

Anyway, instead of holding hearings to look into the stories that Americans might still be held captive, the Johns decided to go after the organizations who were pressing them for answers and after their fund raisers. It was a typical McCain-Kerry stunt and it turned out to be a bust, but it was good air time for the self righteous. So if you wonder why I feel no sympathy for John McCain in his passionate pursuit of the White House, that’s admittedly part of the reason. But make no mistake about it, John McCain is no conservative. He stands for one thing and one thing only—John McCain.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Calling on God

Calling on God

Isn’t it interesting how we think we really don’t need God in our lives until things get a little rough and then we are ready, willing, and able to call on the Almighty to get us out of our mess? That’s what the Founders did when things got rough in their contest with Great Britain. They declared a day of prayer and fasting. It’s what General Patton did when the weather got bad and he couldn’t move his troops forward. He needed good, dry weather, so he called on God.

Of course, that’s what God tells us to do. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you." (Psalm 50:15). But God isn’t a candy shop or a Mr. Fix-It. He isn’t only there when we think we need Him, He’s there all the time and we need Him all the time. He’s there to accept our thanks and praise and He’s there to comfort us in times of distress, and yes, He’s there to hear our prayers. In fact, God always hears the prayers of believers and He always answers their prayers. But sometimes His answer is not "yes," sometimes it could be "no," or "later."

Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to hear a powerful person humbly come before God and ask for his help. That’s exactly what Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, did the other day along with assorted lawmakers and ministers and he did it on the steps of the Georgia capitol building. Governor Perdue has tried filing law suits and has tried using threats, but now he’s down on his knees to the Almighty. One can hope that it’s not a last recourse, but rather a realization of the fact that just as God has power over the wind and the waves, He also has power to send rain and sunshine.

This public recognition of God is welcome in a society that has forgotten its roots. In just one generation we have forgotten that all blessings come from our Creator and that He does indeed govern the course of nations and of men.

Let’s join with Governor Perdue asking God for much needed rain in Georgia. The lakes are shrinking and the water tables are declining. Some say it’s only a matter of weeks before Atlanta itself will run out of water. And after that rain comes, let’s not forget to thank Him for the rain and all the other blessings that we take for granted each day of our lives. In fact, let’s make it a point to talk with Him each day and to count on Him not only for rain and our daily needs, but also trust in Him to take us to a perfect place (without all these problems) through faith in His son, Jesus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Support Our Troops – Part I

Support Our Troops – Part I

If you say, "I support our troops," that’s great because tens of thousands of young men and women are on the front lines of freedom and they deserve our support. But what is it that you are doing in support of our troops? It’s nice to verbally lend support of our men and women in uniform, but there are many ways to provide real, concrete support for our young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as in Korea and other lonely and dangerous places around the globe).

One of those ways is to give financial support to one or more of the many great troop support organizations, often led by mothers or wives of deployed men and women. In fact, in virtually every war, groups spring up spontaneously to perform this worthwhile service. For the current conflict one of these groups is Soldiers’ Angels (, a truly remarkable organization led by Patti Patton Bader. (Patti is a grand niece of General George Patton.) For the record, Soldiers’ Angels is a client of Fund Raising Strategies (; I serve as President of this company.

Patti is truly an amazing individual. When her oldest son was shipped off to Iraq, Patti began sending him a box of goodies each day. When she heard back from Brandon that the other guys in his company could also use some support and encouragement, the packages started going out in even greater quantity. But that was just the beginning.

Although Patti has an incurable disease, she didn’t let that stop her from expanding her support from her son’s unit to soldiers throughout the Iraq theater. That’s when Soldiers’ Angels was born.

Today more than 145,000 active (and I mean really active) "Angels" volunteer to help support our troops. They embroider blankets for injured troops, they sit up all night holding the hand of a wounded soldier, they ship out tons and tons of support items – everything from toiletries to X-Boxes. 

Soldiers’ Angels has given away more than 2,200 lap-tops to disabled and wounded veterans of this conflict so that they can communicate and develop skills to sustain themselves after the war is over. When needed, they send over Kevlar blankets for protection. There is literally nothing Soldiers’ Angels won’t do to help, support and encourage our troops.

Millions of dollars in goods and services are provided to America’s active duty warriors and to those who have returned home with injuries. It is impossible to list all the support given by Soldiers’ Angels to our men and women in uniform, and it’s all done out of love.

So if you say that you support our troops and want to put those words into action, I strongly recommend Soldiers’ Angels as a worthy recipient of your financial support. Maybe you even want to volunteer as an "Angel" who writes and supports men and women who serve in dangerous, lonely spots around our globe. After all, these young folks are putting their lives on the line, isn’t a little support in order? You can even donate frequent flyer mileage. The government limits travel support to the spouse or mother of soldiers, but Solders’ Angels makes sure that more family members can also travel to support their injured love one. By the way, Patti’s youngest son, Bretton, is now serving in Fallujah, Iraq. So check out the Soldiers’ Angels web site ( today, and please keep Bretton and all our men and women in uniform in your daily prayers.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Great Read!

A Great Read!

When I read a novel or other book that I think is worthwhile, I like to tell friends and family about it. I just finished reading Missing Witness (Morrow) and this is one of the best murder mysteries I have read in a dozen years. It is really terrific. And the good news is that this is the first book by Gordon Campbell. And what a book it is!
Missing Witness is a Perry Mason thriller on steroids. Campbell is an attorney and that is a huge advantage in being able to steer the reader through the intricacies behind the scenes of a murder trial. He also gives you a good look at the goings-on in a law firm.

The gist of the story is that a newly minted lawyer (Doug McKenzie) from a prestigious law school decides to accept an opportunity to team up with a legendary criminal lawyer (Dan Morgan) to defend a young woman who is accused of murdering her husband. Strangely, Dan and Doug are hired by the father of the murder victim.

For the first two thirds of the book it’s just a good read traveling along at 55 miles per hour. I was thinking that this book is OK, but nothing special. Then, wham! The afterburners kick in and the story proceeds at warp speed. The twists and turns keep the reader off balance and you never quite know what to expect next. 

This is a page-turner and a mind-boggler. While I think some of the characters could have been better developed, the story is truly unique and fast-paced. There are few books that I would recommend unequivocally, but if you like murder mysteries, this is one I wholeheartedly recommend. You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism. Not!

Dissent is the Highest Form of

Patriotism. Not!

We seem to live in a bumper sticker society. People don’t take time for serious reading anymore. If it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, it’s meaningless. At least that’s the impression I get from time to time. 

While some bumper stickers can be entertaining, others are incomprehensible, and others are just dumb, such as the one I saw recently. It read, "Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism." You hardly know where to start with such an inanity.

Let’s begin with the idea that "dissent" is patriotic. My fourth edition, American Heritage College Dictionary defines a "patriot" as, "One who loves, supports, and defends one’s country." It defines "patriotism" as, "Love of and devotion to one’s country." Those are pretty straightforward definitions and it would be more than a little contortional to fit "dissent" into a definition of being patriotic.

Dissent is dissent, it’s not patriotic. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, but it has absolutely nothing to do with patriotism. And, in fact, in some cases dissent is clearly unpatriotic if it involves burning the American flag or otherwise expressing your hatred for America.

As for the phrase, "highest form of patriotism," one hardly knows whether to laugh or cry. Higher than Nathan Hale giving his life for his country? Higher than the sacrifices of our founders? Higher than men (and women) who have died defending our country in battle? Higher than those who put their lives on the line each day to make it possible for others to dissent?

Give me a break. Dissent is dissent. Patriotism is patriotism, whether it’s that certain feeling you get when they play the national anthem, or when you visit American shrines like Valley Forge, or when an honor guard carries the American flag in a parade. Patriotism is about love, and dissent is about anger.

Thursday, November 1, 2007



The truth is that I had significant reservations when the decision was made to invade Iraq – both the first time and the second time. I was not convinced that it was possible for a democracy to exist in the Middle East. Yes, it’s true that Saddam’s Bathist regime was secular, but it was also a brutal dictatorship. And Saddam himself was an ego-maniacal ruler with delusions of grandeur. He and his sons were sadistic and deranged. Nevertheless, his violent dictatorship held the passions of the various brands of Islam in check. Was it really possible that a democracy, in any form, could exist in this blood soaked region?

Having those reservations, I must say that the current situation is very encouraging. There truly is a natural human desire for freedom and the visible evidence of this desire was the last election held in Iraq. Who among us would go to the polls if there was a not too unlikely chance that we would be shot or blown up? It’s great to espouse freedom and talk about the importance of voting, but Iraqis not only voted, they also turned out in record numbers. That human desire for freedom expressed itself when entire families risked injury and death to cast their vote. It was truly inspiring.

Yet the violence and bloodshed continued and each day our newspapers and major television networks led with the deaths of Iraqis and our American soldiers. In the halls of Congress folks like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, et. al. trumpeted the failure of the war. Senator Reid even stated that "The War is lost."

Now Harry, Nancy, Ted and their friends are certainly entitled to express their points of view, although I must admit that it often seems as if they are cheering for the other side. When do attacks on our military become akin to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater?

In their position as leaders they relentlessly heralded the deaths of our troops, while yet asserting that they support the troops. OK, that may seem inconsistent to me, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

But now there’s silence regarding the current situation in Iraq. Silence from The Washington Post, the LA Times, and the New York Times. Silence from CBS, NBC, CNN, and ABC. Silence from Time, Newsweek, and US News. Silence from Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Jack Murtha, Hillary Clinton, Barak Obamma, et. al.

Why the silence?

They weren’t silent when General Petraeus testified before Congress. They weren’t silent when our troops were dying. They weren’t silent when the war was going badly. Why are those on the left so silent now?

You and I know the war is going better, much better. The surge (which they all opposed) is clearly working. So why is this dramatic change not touted in the big newspapers and on the national television networks and by political leaders on the left? Aren’t they pro-America first, and liberals second? Aren’t they intellectually honest?

Their silence is deafening. 

There is only one logical conclusion. They are silent because they are more interested in seizing political power, than they are in protecting and securing the safety of the United States of America. They would rather see America suffer defeat and see Iraq fall under the complete sway of the terrorists than to see our troops and the United States succeed.

They are silent because they are not intellectually honest. All they do is attack, attack, attack. Clearly their policy is rule or ruin.

Can there be any other conclusion?

To be sure, the war is not over. But shouldn’t we as Americans, regardless of our political stripe, hail and celebrate the success of our armed forces in the field of battle? Have we become so partisan and so corrupted that it’s all about power and politics and there’s no longer any room for love of country?

Shame! Shame!

In this case silence is not golden. It’s just dishonest and unpatriotic.