The State of The Union: US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg – A Visual Metaphor For Our Nation

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If you tuned-in to President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address, then you glimpsed perhaps one of the best, if not most optimistic speeches he or any other President has ever delivered to Congress.  But with his 43% approval rating at its lowest ever, and with 62% of the nation polling that “we are on the wrong track,” along with a $17 trillion dollar deficit, America’s infrastructure crumbling, and Obamacare’s implementation being less than ideal, anything less from a President facing such odds would have been unexceptional.  Furthermore, if his speech had not had such awe-inspiring rhetoric, the casket on Obama’s “lame-duck” last two years as President would have assuredly been sealed.  Ours is a Nation whose middle class is still suffering from, and may never recover from the “Great Recession of 2008.”  Perhaps that is why President Obama made certain to appeal to those suffering the most, the poor and middle class, and chose to send them yet again a message of hope.

From the beginning, President Obama started knocking optimistic “home-run” remarks “out of the park” with facts like, “Lowest unemployment on record in five years,” “More oil produced at home than bought abroad, and that is the first time that has happened in 20 years,” and business investors around the globe are telling us “China is no longer the best place to invest, America is.”  According to President Obama, despite the dire statistics and current economic trends, 2014 could still be “a break through year for America.”  His speech sought to appeal to an American middle class and a “spirit of citizenship.” Throughout the speech, America’s middle class was reminded of their potential power.  This was particularly true when the President stated it should be “the power of our vote, not the size of our pocket books that drives our economy.”

This be kind to the middle class, or be ready for class warfare strategy was a smart one for Obama, because for most of his presidency, many in the middle class have felt their suffering has been ignored by Congress and the President.  However, America’s middle class doesn’t want to be forced to give-up their way of life, a way of life they’ve grown quite accustomed to.  Nevertheless, they have seen their purchasing power “sold down the river” by government spending on two wars, and further eroded by corporate tax loopholes, and unpatriotic activities.  Not to mention all the ridiculous government rules and regulations that reveal an overt corruption and manipulation of America’s economy.  A sentiment of support for “the people’s position” that “the few” in power have broadened the gap between the rich and the poor, rather than seeking to narrow it, was revealed by the President’s remarks.  As Senator Barbara Boxer stated after the speech, President Obama did make it clear he had “a middle-class agenda” moving forward.

Obama set himself up to act with or without Congressional support in a unilateral way when he stated, “America does not stand still, and neither shall I.” He renewed his challenge to Congress to close Guantanamo Bay, and said he would veto any legislation that would seek to renew or increase economic sanctions against Iran.  He said America must fix its broken immigration system now, and that he was going to change the way America conducts its surveillance at home and abroad to ensure America’s trust in its government would begin to return.  Further remarks centered on the domestic front, included that the issue of climate change “was a fact,” and that “we owe it to our children’s children” to leave them with a cleaner America.  He also conveyed that “in a rapidly changing economy Americans must have the skills necessary” to “be ready to work Americans.”

He also conveyed in no-holds-barred terms, that Congress needed to restore the unemployment benefits they had just recently let expire.  He matched a person’s face to the unemployment problem, and used his first major personal appeal of the day, when he referred to a woman’s letter to him who had recently had her unemployment benefits cut.  He read some of her letter, and challenged Congress to give people like her a chance.  He stated,  “give them a chance,” and continued with, “they need our help right now,”  “but we need them in the game.”

He also was critical of standardized testing when he made comments about testing a students knowledge beyond their capability to fill-in a bubble on a multiple choice test.  He also conveyed that he wanted to make sure kids were being reached before it was too late.  In this regard, he challenged the states “to race to the top” for America’s youngest children “by making high quality Pre-K funding a priority.”  He then went on to reach out to those who felt trapped by student loan debt, and to corporations who might be willing to give young African-American males (whose unemployment rate is the highest in the nation) a chance to get a job.  President Obama made it clear that he “didn’t want the American dream to be an empty promise.”  Which for so many Americans as of late, it has become just that.

“The equal pay for equal work” portion of President Obama’s speech sparked the most positive energy from most Democrats and other Liberals in attendance.  When President Obama referred to corporate, “policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode,” he tickled the American working class’s funny-bone.  When he chastised American companies for continued income inequality, and allowing women to continue to only earn “70 cent for every dollar an American man earns,” he shamed many in the room, and reasserted a long held Democratic feminist view that “its been a long time coming” (and still hasn’t arrived).  When he said “when women succeed, America succeeds,” he reconfirmed his commitment to be serious about using government intervention on behalf of women’s rights issues in at least the corporate arena (although he did not mention the controversial military women’s issues that have made the headlines recently).  Ultimately, these pro-women remarks seemed designed to charm American women into believing equal pay issues would be an important part of President Obama’s administration for the remainder of his presidency.

Conversely, however, this same sentiment, when linked to women struggling with their health care concerns, seemed to receive less support.  In fact, when President Obama alluded to, “a broken health care system” that “we are in the process of fixing that” many Conservatives in the room, and across America bristled.  Nevertheless, Obama made many comments to stir his Democratic base, and he tried to convince them that he and Congressional Democrats would support and encourage working men and women in America struggling to make a “living wage” far better than any Conservative ever likely would.  In his speech, he spoke directly to the American public who has been suffering, when he made statements about encouraging states and companies to pay workers more.  The desire to help American families “make ends meat,” was also bolstered by his comments for American corporations to “Give America a raise!”  From the Conservative perspective, when President Obama made it clear that he would soon implement an “executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federal employees at least $10.10 per hour,” it was a source of contention for them.  But for Obama, it was simple, for those who wash the dishes for our American troops, or who work behind the scenes to assist them in some other fashion, they “deserve not to live in poverty.”

Ted Cruz, for his part appeared to not be watching the same speech, or just simply did not trust the President’s words over his previous Presidential actions, because despite Obama’s optimistic tone for Presidential action whenever necessary, and Congressional compromise whenever possible, Cruz made it clear in his remarks after the speech that Obama “doesn’t talk with Congress.”  He went on to say that in relation to the recent government shutdown, the President had called them into a meeting about the issue, and had said to them, “I will not compromise, I will not negotiate on anything.”  So in Cruz’s opinion, and for many others on the other side of the aisle, he believed Obama “is not interested in compromising.”  His argument was basically that if the President was serious about compromising on economic issues, and wanted to stimulate construction jobs, he would encourage Harry Reid to allow a vote on the Key Stone Pipeline project.  President Obama, for his part, said “I’ll cut red-tape in red states to get these policies past” in relation to putting natural gas on a fast-track to increasing clean energy production.  But Cruz chose to convey to Obama, “Don’t add regulations, and red tape.”  Clearly indicating he did not believe what he was hearing.  So it remains to be seen, whether or not an “imperial presidency strategy” as Ted Cruz puts it, will actually reach and appeal to so many Americans who now desperately want action.

The official G.O.P. response to the President’s speech came from Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a college educated woman who put herself through college by working at the drive-through at McDonalds, and so it was clear from the start that they too were speaking to the middle class.  It was also clear from the very beginning, that she was going to perpetuate the “different vision” concept when early on in her speech she conveyed the following:

“Tonight the President made more promises that sound good, but won’t solve the problems actually facing Americans.  We want you to have a better life.  The President wants that too. But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen.  So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision…  One that empowers you, not the government…”Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/01/28/Transcript-of-GOP-response-to-the-State-of-the-Union-address/UPI-17511390967356/#ixzz2rnHJTLwr   Ultimately, her speech was perceived as flat by the Democrats, and as a fresh face providing a clearly different vision for America’s future than the one President Obama has in mind.  But, at this point, many must wonder if the G.O.P. is not in total disarray, with four responses to the State of the Union address (if not five) – one was in Spanish – it creates an impression that the G.O.P. is being pushed (if not pulled) in many different directions by various “cult of personality” political figures within their party.

For his part, President Obama challenged Congress to a “a year of action,” rather than continued Conservative efforts to repeal the Affordable Health Care act.  Apparently, 40 times was “more than enough” in the President’s view.  He made it clear to all in attendance that he viewed such political obstructionist efforts and lawsuits from the political right as a detrimental force blocking positive political and economic change within America.  President Obama was also quick to point out early on, “The question for everyone in this chamber, is whether [you] are going to help or hinder this progress.”  He conveyed the impression that America is still a land of opportunity for us all, when he stated, “opportunity is who we are.”  He also tickled America’s funny bone a bit further when he reminded his audience of Speaker Boehner’s rise to political prominence from the hard work and humble beginnings of his bar-keep father’s example.  But he was less humorous, but no less inspiring, when he re-reminded Americans of his own monumental rise to power from a humble childhood being raised by a single-mother.

At a moment when he could have been far more combative, President Obama reminded America and Congress in far fewer words than President Bill Clinton’s stinging 1996 State of the Union address (the last time such a speech was delivered after not one but two Federal government shutdowns) that we have been hopelessly divided by an unproductive and distracting government shutdown.  In just a few eloquent lines, he stated the problem so succinctly, near the beginning of his address, when he said the following:

“For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government.”  He went on to say, “It’s an important debate — one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy — when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States — then we are not doing right by the American people.”

It was at this specific moment in his speech that he rhetorically slapped the Tea-Party’s hand (or perhaps “face” might be a better descriptor) for acting in a political self-serving way, when what the nation needed was cooperation and positive government action rather than inaction.  This powerful argument by the President conveyed to the Tea Party and the American people that the government shut-down, and the resultant lowering of America’s credit rating was a shameful and destructive tactic that only served to prolong the American middle class’s suffering.

But then President Obama took his “personal appeal” rhetoric to an all new high, or perhaps an all new low, depending on your perspective.  In what CNN’s Anderson Cooper called “The most moving moment of the entire evening” Obama introduced US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, told his harrowing war story, and spoke about his difficult road to recovery.  President Obama had met Sergeant Remsburg three times.  He met him first during the 2009 Summer D-day anniversary, and then later that year, Sergeant Rembsurg was hit by IED shrapnel serving his country near Kandahar province in Afghanistan.   He was found face-down, drowning in a flooded road-side ditch.  The shrapnel caused extensive damage to his brain, his right eye, and nerve damage to the left side of his body.  But he survived, and last summer President Obama saw him again in a V.A. hospital when he could not even talk.  It was there that the President was faced with the stark juxtaposition of witnessing someone who had once been healthy, but who, because of America’s longest war, had now been almost mortally wounded.  Hardly a dry eye could be seen within the Congressional chambers, and the longest standing ovation for the night was received not by the President, but by Sergeant Rembsurg.

In that politically charged moment of poignant Presidential theatrics, Sergeant Remsburg, who had served an amazing total of 10 tours in harms way, became a visual metaphor for America’s own war ravaged state of affairs.  The image of him saluting our President in Chief, and our President saluting him back, was a very powerful symbol of America’s own honorable struggle to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and do the hard work necessary to find our way back to the road to recovery again.  The stark and tragic visual of seeing him humbly wave at the President seemed to convey that as a nation, we might be battered, bruised, and might even have permanent shrapnel wounds, but we could overcome them.  The image of this horribly injured soldier who could still smile conveyed that America’s central nerve center of our entire nation might be horribly damaged, but the body politic could survive.  This was a very powerful image, for surely after the latest government “show-down,” I mean shut-down, Washington will never be the same.  But with a hope, with a determination, and with a blind patriotism that obscures the fact America will never be the same either, we were given an image of a man who showed us all that we must keep struggling forward, whether God blesses us for our patriotic efforts or not.

Towards the end of President Obama’s State of the Union address, he spelled-out the difficult challenge ahead for every American wanting to make our country great again.  Clearly, he used Sergeant Remsburg’s example of patriotic service to make an important political point.  President Obama made a dramatic and emotional speech that pulled at America’s heart strings, when he provided details of the Sergeant’s road to recovery. “Day by day he has learned to speak again, and stand again, and walk again, and he is working towards a time when he can serve America yet again.”  The President went on to say to the crowd (and to all of America) that “Nothing in life is easy.”  The audience was encouraged by the visual and the speech to make a link between Sergeant Remsburg’s patriotism and sacrifice, and the patriotism and sacrifice Americans themselves must be prepared to make, when the President went on to say about Remsburg that he “never gives up, and he does not quit.”  Encouragement and hope for a better tomorrow for all Americans was visually reinforced by the Sergeant’s great sacrifice, and from the President’s statement that “It is you, our citizens that make the state of the union strong!”

76% of viewers who watched gave a “positive, or somewhat positive” response to the President’s speech.  But one must keep in mind, when a Democratic President gives the State of the Union, more pro-Democrats tend to watch the speech, and vice-versa for a Republican.  Despite this fact, even Newt Gingrich begrudgingly admitted it was a good speech.  But even though it ended-up being a good speech, perhaps even a great speech, it was still ultimately a very long speech.  A long speech with a very long list of Presidential promises to be kept via more government intervention, at a time when America can’t afford to raise taxes.  Likewise, many moments during the speech seemed forced, if not down-right fake, and Congressional clapping was also relatively infrequent from both sides of the aisle.  In fact, Congressional leaders often only rose to Obama’s powerful words when they would see the camera’s being turned on above them.  So, “even if the people are watching,” politicians on both sides of the aisle obviously know how to put on a good show for the American voter whether it will make any difference in the American people’s lives or not.  However, hopefully, only reacting when you’re being watched, will not be President Obama’s, or his “Republican friends,” only measure of success moving forward in implementing the lofty goals expressed in this State of the Union address.

For if appearances have become the primary political currency over real substance today, then surely our Congress and our President are doing a disservice to our country, to the American middle class, to Sergeant Remsburg, and to all American personnel who have fallen in recent wars fighting to preserve America’s freedom.  When one gazes for long at the irreparable damage done to Sergeant Remsburg, and when one considers how few and far between the economic opportunities for America’s middle-class are to actually elevate America back to its previous levels of greatness, it begs the question to ask: Has America become to jaded and cynical to believe in patriotic Presidential speeches anymore, and can we afford any longer to take a politician at merely their word?  At this point, with so many suffering in America, actions speak louder than words, and Sergeant Remsburg’s 10 tours, and his self-sacrifice for all our freedoms should be the exclamation point on that harsh but important lesson learned.

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Will the rise of political activism spread globally by social media, which has caused world leaders to begin to lose their influence and control over all of us, be the impetus that will ultimately lead to the systematic collection and extermination of all peaceful protestors now being labeled as terrorists?

Will the rise of political activism spread globally by social media, which has caused world leaders to begin to lose their influence and control over all of us, be the impetus that will ultimately lead to the systematic collection and extermination of all peaceful protestors now being labeled as terrorists?.

There Should Be No Establishment of Religion (including Christanity) in America’s Public Schools!

Public School Crams Christianity
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After reading the article above, I am simply amazed!  I thought this issue had been resolved years ago, but then I became a teacher, and discovered I was wrong. Whether anyone likes it or not, any public school in any state in the nation is now an agent of the Federal government, and is thus subject to it’s laws. No establishment of religion means just that, a separation of church and state. Thus, if Sabine Parish school wants to indoctrinate it’s students to a specific religious faith. then it should simply become a private school. If it wishes to continue to receive federal funding, then it must comply with current Federal laws. For all who likely don’t like this arrangement, you should advocate for our Congress to legislate a return of our America to the Federalist principles and state’s rights it was founded upon. If you can get Congress to do that, then state’s might be able to decide this controversial issue for themselves based on a majority of the religious preferences of the people living within that state. Until then, I see a long drawn-out court case for Sabine Parish school, with them ultimately losing this case before the Supreme Court.  Unless of course the Court is about to over-turn the Lemon test and other past precedent and re-write decades of Constitutional case law.

Will the rise of political activism spread globally by social media, which has caused world leaders to begin to lose their influence and control over all of us, be the impetus that will ultimately lead to the systematic collection and extermination of all peaceful protestors now being labeled as terrorists?

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202 million people unemployed around the world, along with a weakening global economy, and an ever widening gap between the rich and poor, with very little genuine governmental action or reaction on behalf of the people, has created much suffering for anyone not rich.  Likewise, these economic and political hardships have generated a wave of social unrest that may yet destabilize established political regimes world-wide.  Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, along with live cable broadcasting, have been important technological tools for young people across the globe fed-up with no means for economic advancement and who have had their freedom thwarted by political regimes unresponsive to their needs.  However, now that evidence has surfaced that these technological advances in social movement mobilization are being monitored, and used by governmental law enforcement agencies and military regimes in at least one Arab nation (Egypt) to crack-down on protestors, it remains to be seen whether or not the internet will continue to be a force for positive democratic change, or whether or not it will become yet another tool for government repression.

Overview and History of the Global Uprising:

The Arab Spring, a term used to describe “the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010” was the first social movement to use social media to organize and protest against government repression” (Wikipedia).

“The [initial] catalyst for the current escalation of protests was the self-immolation of Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi. Unable to find work and selling fruit at a roadside stand, on 17 December 2010, a municipal inspector confiscated his wares. An hour later he doused himself with gasoline and set himself afire. His death on 4 January 2011 brought together various groups dissatisfied with the existing system, including many unemployed, political and human rights activists, labor, trade unionists, students, professors, lawyers, and others to begin the Tunisian revolution” (Wikipedia).

Causes of Unrest:

“Numerous factors have led to the protests, including issues such as dictatorship or absolute monarchy, human rights violations, political corruption (demonstrated by Wikileaks diplomatic cables), economic decline, unemployment, extreme poverty, and a number of demographic structural factors, such as a large percentage of educated but dissatisfied youth within the population” (Wikipedia).

Political Change Resulting from Global Social Movement Political Action:

These social movements have had mixed results, but clearly they have had sufficient impact to cause Western governmental leaders to take notice and engage in covert efforts to thwart their ultimate outcomes, because in general, as of December 2013 “rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests have broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests have occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and the Palestinian Authority” (Wikipedia).

More specifically, and perhaps more disturbing for governmental leaders world-wide, is the fact that these social movements aided by social media have led to the direct overthrow of governments in at least four countries.  “Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January 2011 following the Tunisian revolution protests. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011 after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown on 23 August 2011, after the National Transitional Council (NTC) took control of Bab al-Azizia. He was killed on 20 October 2011, in his hometown of Sirte after the NTC took control of the city. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the GCC power-transfer deal in which a presidential election was held, resulting in his successor Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi formally replacing him as the president of Yemen on 27 February 2012, in exchange for immunity from prosecution” (Wikipedia).

Other leaders in the region who have been affected by the social uprisings are the following: “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would not seek re-election in 2015, as did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose term ends in 2014, although there have been increasingly violent demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation. Protests in Jordan have also caused the sacking of four successive governments by King Abdullah. The popular unrest in Kuwait has also resulted in resignation of Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah cabinet” (Wikipedia).

It is important to point out however, that the unrest in the Arab world has not been limited to that region. “The early uprisings in North Africa were inspired by the 2009-2010 uprisings in the neighboring state of Iran. These are considered by many commentators to be part of a wave of protest that began in Iran, moved to North Africa, and has since gripped the broader Middle Eastern and North African regions, including additional protests in Iran in 2011–2012” (Wikipedia).

“Weapons and Tuareg fighters returning from the Libyan civil war stoked a simmering conflict in Mali which has been described as “fallout” from the Arab Spring in North Africa. The sectarian clashes in Lebanon were described as a spillover violence of the Syrian uprising and hence the regional Arab Spring” (Wikipedia).

Likewise, beyond the Middle East and North Africa, “in the countries of the neighboring South Caucasus—namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, and —as well as some countries in Europe, including Albania, Croatia, and Spain. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, and Uganda, and countries in other parts of Asia, including the Maldives and the People’s Republic of China demonstrators and opposition figures claiming inspiration from the examples of Tunisia and Egypt have staged their own popular protests. The protests in the Maldives led to the resignation of the President.” (Wikipedia).

“The bid for statehood by Palestine at the UN on 23 September 2011 is also regarded as drawing inspiration from the Arab Spring after years of failed peace negotiations with Israel. In the West Bank, schools and government offices were shut to allow demonstrations backing the UN membership bid in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron; echoing similar peaceful protests from other Arab countries” (Wikipedia).

Perhaps, most importantly for Western nations, is the realization that the “15 October 2011 global protests and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in the United States and has since spread to Asia and Europe, drew direct inspiration from the Arab Spring, with organizers asking U.S. citizens “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?” The protesters have committed to using the “revolutionary Arab Spring tactic” to achieve their goals of curbing corporate power and control in Western governments.” Furthermore, “the Occupy Nigeria protests beginning the day after Goodluck Jonathan announced the scrap of the fuel subsidy in oil-rich Nigeria on 1 January 2012, were motivated by the Arab people” as well (Wikipedia).

Western Government’s Response to the Global Social Movement Threat:

However, a disturbing trend has developed from these successes.  “Some critics have accused Western governments and media, including those of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, of hypocrisy in the way they have reacted to the Arab Spring” (Wikipedia).   In fact, some have gone even farther, to suggest these very same Western powers are trying to covertly thwart democracy.  “Noam Chomsky accused the Obama administration of endeavoring to muffle the revolutionary wave and stifle popular democratization efforts in the Middle East” (Wikipedia).

In Egypt the Arab Spring’s democratic uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak was ultimately thwarted by a military coup that may or may not have been supported by the United States.  Likewise, it has recently been discovered that Facebook and Twitter were monitored in Egypt, and were actually used against protestors there to quash their reform efforts and social mobilization.  However, the Egyptian military does not have the capability to monitor these social networks, so it would appear the NSA (or the U.K. equivalent) has been providing the Egyptian military with key details about protestors names, their plans, and how to help them crush democratic movements and protests in that Nation.  Why?  American, U.K., and French governmental officials do not like to see governments they’ve been manipulating falling like dominoes to democratic movements empowered by social media, electing new leaders they cannot control.

More Recent Global Protest Developments:

In Syria, their own version of the Arab Spring wages on, after “Syrian security forces arrested about 15 children in Daraa, in southern Syria, for writing slogans against the government” which caused major protests to soon erupt “over the arrest and abuse of the children” (Wikipedia).  This initial political unrest apparently sparked by the Arab Spring, the arrest of an old man, and “naughty children” has led to a devastating civil-war, war atrocities, and ethnic hatred that may take years of peace talks to stop, and may take several life-times to resolve.  Those peace talks are occurring now in Geneva, Switzerland, but the U.S. appears to be attempting to bully its way into dictating what peace in Syria will look like, rather than allowing the Syrian people to define it for themselves.

In the Ukraine, due to backroom deals, their president will not allow the country to distance itself from Russia, and join the European Union, which has led the Ukrainian people to fight and shed blood for greater freedoms, with protest leaders being kidnapped, tortured, and killed for their efforts.  In Thailand, protestors are attempting to topple the Thai Prime Minister for her support of amnesty for previous leaders related to her who were exposed for corruption and who left the country to avoid prosecution.   One of the primary leaders of the resistance was shot dead in the street along with nine of his fellow protestors as of the publication of this article.

North Korea and South Korea, divided by a civil-war and their own min-“cold-war” for decades, are at each others throats yet again because of joint U.S. and South Korean military “games” scheduled next month.  Turkey’s economy is on the decline, and major protests there have recently rocked it’s political and economic stability.  Likewise, Argentina power protests have left garbage in the streets, and uncertainty and worry about the future, with their peso value reaching an all time low. And even in China, Chinese protestors are calling for governmental transparency and for Chinese political leaders to have to reveal their earnings since it has come to light that many have secret bank accounts overseas.

In South Sudan, Christians and Muslims are killing one another for religious and ethnic differences, and that conflict appears to be on the verge of erupting into yet another Rwanda-like genocidal event.  Likewise, the Central African Republic is facing similar unrest due to dictatorship, and the oppression of it’s people via rape, torture, and murder, and the French and the U.S. recently intervened in that conflict in an apparent attempt to prevent yet another Rwanda.  Furthermore, it would appear, the Central African Republic is a micro-example of what the entire world might someday look like if the people’s concerns are not sufficiently addressed by governmental leaders.  A non-violent political protestor only truly becomes an armed “rebel,” “militant,” “extremist,” “insurgent,” or “terrorist” after they (or their fellow peaceful protestors) have been shot at enough times (or enough have been murdered) by government-backed military or police counter-insurgency authorities.

What Difference Does It Make?

The people of the world have awoken, and have chosen to rise up against their oppressors, by using social media to organize protests, and to circumvent the state owned and operated media channels.  However, rather than showing support for, or at the very least, tolerance towards democratic movements, protestors have instead been met by harsh “iron-fisted” opposition from pro-government leaders and supporters (whether Democratic, Communist, or Islamic).  These same government leaders have been aided by Western governments (most notably the United States, the U.K. and France – i.e. the major arms dealers), and have used surveillance organizations, the military, and/or other National and local law enforcement groups to suppress democracy and thwart political and economic change globally.  The internet is being turned against those who would use it to preach peace and political change to an eager, youthful, but impoverished and oppressed congregation.  Likewise, peaceful protestors are now unfairly being labeled as “terrorists,” rather than as “patriots” or legitimate supporters of democratic reform.  To the point where the term “terrorist” itself has lost it’s original meaning, and now appears to refer to anyone wanting to use non-violent political protest to change the status-quo – i.e. the repressive political and economic systems that have hindered liberty and financial success for so many for so long.

It remains to be seen whether or not “the peoples” of the world will be able to continue to use social media to rise-up against the oppressive government systems attempting to maintain their power and control over them.  Or, conversely, whether or not these same technological tools originally designed for greater freedom and communication will ultimately be used instead by powerful elites to identify and round-up millions of peaceful “terrorists” for re-education, further future enslavement, or immediate extermination.  Clearly, efforts are currently being implemented by “the few,” so as to eliminate the threat peaceful protesters pose to the established political and economic institutions that have been built and can only be perpetuated via the continued suffering and hardships of “the many.”  The internet and all social networks in the future will either be censored, or as has been leaked by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, it is already being used to create “social-profiles” of all users to identify all potential threats to established political and economic regimes for future elimination.

So be wary peace-loving “have-nots” seeking the means for greater economic opportunities and liberation through peaceful protest, because your desires and ambitions (once known as inalienable rights) are now an immediate threat to the “haves” currently in power.  Thus, you must also be bold, for your chance to create political and economic institutions and systems more responsive to the suffering of the many is now or never!  For surely tomorrow, you will be accused of terrorism, and will face charges of treason, and may even likely be put to death for your “thought-crimes,”  “peaceful assemblies,” and for daring to exercise your “freedom of speech” directed against all “Big Brother” governments who are desperate to maintain their power and control over you.  Power and control is slipping away from them a little more each day due to the unforeseen “people power” generated by political activism organized via electronic social media.  But now, the people must not make the same mistake, and be fooled into thinking the tool of their potential liberation can’t also be turned against them.  For in the not so distant future,  the latest technological vehicle of empowerment for the people may yet become the very way in which we are isolated, enslaved, or even annihilated.

A Political Discussion between a Tea-Party Texan and a Globalist Libertarian about Rick Perry, the G.O.P. and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

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Rick Perry Mellows on Pot

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Globalist Libertarian: I woke up this morning, turned on my computer, got online, and read an article from Yahoo News called “Rick Perry Mellows on Pot.”  I did a double-take, and to my “shock and awe,” as I read the article, I quickly realized I had awoken in an alternate Universe where Texas’s super-conservative Governor, and former Grand Old Party (GOP) 2012 Presidential hopeful, had actually announced his desire to decriminalize marijuana while still Governor of Texas!  No, he was not apparently using the drug himself to reduce his stress as the article title implied, but I was still quite surprised nevertheless.  After having spent many years of my life in rural and urban Texas, and knowing what a majority of Texan’s are like, this new political revelation makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland!

However, Governor Perry’s drastic change in tune regarding the War on Drugs might help to explain a few things regarding his last Presidential run. For example, him forgetting the Department of Energy as one of the three departments he would cut if elected President (they say short-term memory loss is the first thing to be affected). Mistaking a primary for a caucus, forgetting the voting age is 18 instead of 21, and getting the actual voting date wrong in the same speech (confused thinking is next). And of course, that very memorable campaign speech in New Hampshire where he was far more giddy than usual (euphoria). It didn’t help that he also gave people the impression he thought Woodrow Wilson was president only a decade or so ago (an inability to keep track of, or lack of concern about time). Rick, “don’t bogart that joint my friend,” if your planning on running again in 2016!

Expatriate Texan & Rick Perry Detractor: “Rick perry is an idiot and I cannot believe Texans keep him in office! If, heaven forbid he becomes president I will leave the USA forever!”

Globalist Libertarian: Madam, you didn’t get the memo? He is the new Texas Governor would-be President for the next decade, of the new Millennium. Cut from the same cloth as Bush W., and ahead of the curve in recognizing the G.O.P. has to reinvent themselves before our very eyes. With Christie bush-wacked by likely members of his own party, Perry could be the next “moderate” Republican in training. The G.O.P. has to find someone to compete against Tea Party candidates Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, so who better than a Texan Governor to compete with Ted, who is a mere radical Texan Rep? They couldn’t control Chris, to likely to support the working man, so they would rather see Rick get elected, he’s a “good o’l boy” from way back. Rand on the other hand, is going to be the nominee to beat in 2016, and John Kerry, Joe Biden, or Hillary Clinton are going to have their hands full with him… unless he has is own Howard Dean moment, or doesn’t try harder to distance himself from the G.O.P. of the past/present. Of course, Perry has already had his own Dean moment, so perhaps he has learned something from that, and will be more seasoned and better coached this time around. So you may want to have a bag packed.

Tea-Party Texan: “Hopefully Perry will ride off into the sunset as a well paid lobbyist. Folks think he is an idiot but you have to remember he is an Aggie. While you may not like him and consider him an idiot he has helped Texas to be the most prosperous state in the nation. By the next legislative session Texas is expected to have a budget surplus of $12 billion while all the liberal, progressive states are facing bankruptcy. Were Texas it’s own country it would be somewhere around the 10th largest economy in the world. While I don’t know who the potential nominees will be, I do know that the country desperately needs someone like Rand Paul or Ted Cruz to turn around the destructive policies of the idiots currently in power. We are going to need a true conservative since the last two moderate republicans couldn’t win.”

Globalist Libertarian: I might have to come down and try to get me a slice of that prosperity soon, since Alaska’s conservative Governor Sean Parnell is giving big-oil so many tax breaks apparently Alaska’s Department of Education is cutting 6% of their teaching staff. Or maybe that has just been the objective of Common Core all along, I’m not really sure. I think with the last moderate Republican, it wasn’t so much that he was a moderate, as it was that he was/is a Mormon. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz take the G.O.P. towards a path that redefines the party, I know some in the G.O.P. don’t want to take that path, because they feel if they nominate a “true Conservative” it is going to ensure once again that they don’t get the women, minority, gay, or youth votes. Issue politics was a great way to divide an conquer in the past, when White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (W.A.S.P.)s were on top and holding the reigns, but now with the numbers of these special interests growing, the G.O.P. won’t be able to win elections without at least appearing to be riding a more moderate horse, even if it is a Trojan horse.

That is why the Rick Perry’s of the G.O.P. may be changing their tune on the Drug War. After all, they can afford to, the War on Terror has surely eclipsed that war, and they can now do everything they once did in that perpetual war, to repress and incarcerate people, and even more. Plus, it gives us a new perpetual war to fight. People would have balked over the type of NSA surveillance, secret prisons, enhanced interrogation techniques, etc. they have been conducting (or are conducting now) if it had been used during the Drug War (unless in Columbia or other Latin American countries). Surely, they wanted to do more on U.S. soil, but the courts wouldn’t let them. With the War on Terror, they can get away with murder, and do, and the courts appear to be willing to rubber-stamp most of what they are doing in the name of national security.

Tea-Party Texan: Learned today that Texas been out a billion dollars enforcing the border because the feds will not. It’s hard to say what it will be like in 3 more years. With the economy, employment, and education destroyed and health care in the process of being destroyed, women, minorities, gays may be singing a different tune. They may want a change from all this “hope and change”

Globalist Libertarian: Good point, unless they choose to continue to be distracted by issue politics (like whether they can decide to have a baby or not, whether they can avoid being discriminated against or not, or whether they can get married or not), rather than the economy. I guess some issues you can’t get past, no matter how bad the economy gets (up to a point). However, old and tired “trickle-down” economics arguments won’t cut-it this time I’m afraid, the G.O.P. will have to reinvent themselves on that one as well. No one is buying that load of bull excrement anymore. But, in three years, your right, it won’t matter anymore, because America will be buying and importing so much cheap Iranian oil, and will be so busy using NSA surveillance to steal China’s moon mining technologies, that most American’s probably won’t notice the American Spring, or even be paying much attention to the $20 trillion dollar debt or global unemployment as high as America’s entire population.

$1 billion dollars for Texas to defend it’s borders from illegal immigration, because the Feds aren’t doing it. Wow! That is going to raise taxes! Also, with those kinds of expenditures, why is the state of Texas still a state, and not the Republic of Texas yet again?

I bet Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin neither envisioned that kind of money being someday spent to keep illegal Mexicans out of Tejas, nor could they have imagined 27 million Texan citizens being expected to fork-over $1billion in taxes to defend the Rio-Grande river after becoming a part of These United States. Isn’t national defense a Federal issue? When did that become a State’s right?

Tea-Party Texan: “As for the economy the democrats efforts have been much less successful than trickle down economics. I suspect a bit of reinvention on their part shall also be required. As far as oil is concerned, unless Obama and the EPA can figure out a way to stop fracking for oil and gas, the U.S. will close to being self sufficient in a few years. In regard to all the various social issues, it is amazing that with all the problems in this country is facing that the most important issue is the right to kill an unborn child or to be able to marry someone of the same sex or to have the right to screw up your mind and life dope. We are in deep and serious trouble.”

Globalist Libertarian: Total focus on rights granted by an ever encroaching government rather than on individual citizen responsibilities, but is that surprising?  I would have to agree with most of what you said just now.  Reinvention on both sides, fracking till the cows come home, and Iran in our back pocket as well. However, regarding your very last comments on issue-specific politics taking a front seat to the economy, it is amazing that the most important issues on the right seem to still be preventing women from choosing their own destiny regarding childbirth, being intolerant to those who love each other regardless of gender, and trying to find new and more advanced ways to interfere with a person’s right to privacy. We are indeed in serious trouble. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is still being defined in our nation, and the government is unfortunately being used as the primary means of accomplishing all three ends, despite the fact that it is probably least efficient for ensuring any of them.

I don’t think reinvention on either side is going to change Congress’s approval rating though. I predict an increase in political and economic instability in the U.S. and by extension, world-wide due to the U.S. government’s and America’s corporate leaders apparent inability or unwillingness to sufficiently address technological innovation, unemployment, employment training, infrastructure, and efficient human capital allocation. I find it unfortunate however, how the political Right and the corporate world in this country self-sabotage the economy the moment a Democrat is elected. However, I will readily admit socialism is not the answer either. A new focus on developing and mandating a corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business world-wide is the means to a better final product for all us in the future.

Rather than focusing on share-holder profit as the end-all-be-all, imagine what would happen if corporations directed more of their bottom-line focus on striking the proper balance between profits and maximizing employee retention and their quality of employment. Imagine if a companies popularity was determined by how effective and efficient it was at creating a product and service, uplifting it’s employees, while at the same time, minimizing it’s negative impact on the environment.

The market place and the citizens of all nations need to value and expect more from their corporations than profits, and more from their governments than laws and order.  Instead, we’ve come to expect too many privileges from our government, and too few services from our corporations.

Corporate entities have used their new found clout and influence globally as a virtual license to rob their employees of any real quality of life, steal from their customers by selling low quality goods and services, and pollute globally without restraint. Conversely, by design, most citizens of the world have become apathetic, ignorant, and/or helpless to make their own decisions about anything, or regulate “check” corporate or government interests. Those with the ability to recognize the real problem (that unethical and unrestrained capitalism and unlimited government corruption and abuses of power have replaced Communism as the next major world threat) have been labeled as protesting trouble-makers, would-be terrorists, and have been targeted for re-education or even elimination by a ruthless elite determined to hold onto their power and control “by any means necessary.” I’m afraid, no amount of “re-inventing” will resolve this issue. Revolutions are the only way issues like these get resolved.

Kuskokwim Reflections: How I found myself working as a deck-hand on a tug-boat delivering fuel to Native Alaskans on the Kuskokwim river

 

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I have always loved Alaska since my first trip up here back in 1984 when I was just fourteen. My father and mother divorced when I was three, and my grandfather (and then father) moved to Alaska to live and work at the petroleum processing facilities up North on the “slope” coming on-line after the “steel-snake” of a pipeline was constructed clear across Alaska. I immediately took to the fresh cold air, the wide-open spaces, and the adventure! On my first Alaskan job at the age of fifteen, they flew me out on a little Cesna prop-plane across the Cook Inlet to the base of “Sleeping Lady” (a well-known Mountain range on the other side of the Inlet from Anchorage), and then told me we were going to be landing out on the tundra when I asked “where are we landing?” I commercial fished out on the Cook Inlet for a 26 hour period, sleeping on top of the nets, using the cork-line as a pillow, and at one point I was awakened by a pod of fifty to sixty pale white Baluga Whales swimming by our boat! Since then, I have worked in Alaska in the oil fields numerous times at temperatures 45 or 50 below zero, on the “slime-line” filleting fish in Seward after I received my Masters Degree in Political Science, and have even been a banker in the “Alaskan Bush.” So let’s just say, I was “caught” by the “Alaskan freedom fever” early on in my life.
Perhaps this can help to explain why I found it so easy to leave Texas back in September of 2004, to finally move to Alaska. After the two week drive from Houston to Anchorage (via Denver and San Francisco) I started out as a bouncer at one of the local drinking establishments in Anchorage (mainly to look after my little sister who was tending bar). After I was able to find a real job with Wells Fargo as a management trainee I found myself being sent out to King Salmon, Alaska to help at that branch. This experience gave me my first taste of living out in the “bush” – a.k.a. rural Alaska. Rural Alaska is a bit different than rural America, because it requires a whole other level of survival skills. I enjoy testing myself, and seeing what I can handle, and not having someone “riding my back,” so the Alaskan bush suited me well.
After working for Wells Fargo a while, I got a better higher paying job with their competition back in town. But then “the slope” and “big oil” called me back to work for them for “the big bucks!” So I went from managing tellers and personal bankers at a “McBank,” to getting off the plane on the slope, driving 150 miles down the “Hull Road” to pump station III at the Northern base of the Brooks Range, and then once they had me trapped, they handed me my shovel and said “get to work!” A year later, beaten-up physically and a little worse for wear mentally, with $20,000.00 in my banking account, I left the slope and started substitute teaching again in Anchorage. After a semester of doing that, I decided I wanted to try my hand at working at sea (or on an Alaskan river) to see more of the state. So I hooked-up with Crowley, and was offered a job working as a deck-hand on a tug-boat around the same time I was offered a job working for a rural Alaskan  school district made-up of 14 schools spread out over an area roughly the size of West Virginia. Since I had already taken the physical, and had paid for the Ordinary Seaman’s credentials, I decided to wait on the teaching job. Thus, by doing so, I was able to see a very rural and pristine part of Alaska on the “corporate dime,” and after the season was over (and the rivers all froze), I got a job teaching Junior High and High School native kids on the “Aleutian Chain.”
By delivering fuel to the Native villages out on the Kuskokwim river I was able to learn far more about multiculturalism and Native culture and customs than I could ever learn out of a book, and it has helped me to better relate with my students and have interesting things to talk about. My native crew members, the villagers in tiny villages like Nikoli, and the incredible untouched beauty of the region filled me with wonder and a sense of happiness and freedom that one cannot find anywhere else in the world. But I guess the real reason I found myself out there, was because, like the fictional character Captain John Dunbar on the movie “Dances with Wolves,” I had to go out and see the “last frontier” before it was gone!
The last vestiges of the old west and the last frontier can still be located out on the Kuskokwim or Yukon rivers running through the heart of Alaska, but it is disappearing at an alarmingly fast rate. Just like the village I now teach in, the culture of these people is dieing with each elder who doesn’t pass on his / her knowledge to the next generation. I find myself trying to teach native kids how to cope in a modern American society to ensure “no kid is left behind,” rather than finding vast numbers of native elders preserving their unique cultures by being teachers of their children themselves. The “white man’s burden” seems to still be driving the process up here, and if you look carefully, you can still see the influence of the philosophy of “Manifest Destiny” at work.
I’m just afraid when I gaze out onto the beauty of the river (and these wild lands) that they will one day be tamed, and that the Kuskokwim river will be as modern as Mark Twain’s Old Mississippi river seems now. It is already happening, with every gas and diesel powered truck or flat-screen TV barged up the river, the “life-blood of progress” fuels the way towards the “easy life.” Unfortunately, once a people are introduced to an easier way of doing something, they seldom wish to go back to the “old-ways.” So four wheelers and snow machines replace dog-mushing teams, but then fuel prices go through the roof, and people can no longer afford to live in the bush! So instead of returning to traditional customs to solve modern economic dilemmas, urbanization runs rampant, Anchorage gets bigger, infrastructure develops, and the native villages die. This is what we call “American progress,” and it is killing-off the last truly wild places on this continent.
But where do we draw the line in the earth, and say enough is enough? When do we recognize that we must preserve more of the old ways and the natural places before they (and it) are all gone? I ponder these questions from the bow of our barge as we tow 150,000 gallons of diesel heating fuel, unleaded gasoline, and aviation fuel up-river towards “progress.” Basically, I am on-board a potentially giant ecological and environmental fuel bomb, but the native people living in the villages along this river “need” this precious cargo this winter, and my bills are getting paid as I work six hours on (and six hours off), 24 hours a day during this summer season. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I am doing anyone any favors while I am doing it, but then again, it’s cheaper than having it flown in at $7.00 or $8.00 a gallon!
Now that the season is over, and I am teaching again (in an isolated and very rural part of the Alaskan Peninsula), I can reflect on my experiences on the Kuskokwim river, and I know it was an experience of a life-time to tell my grand children about one day. However, I can’t help but feel a tinge of remorse, because I know the pristine beauty of that region of our world will not remain the same. The freedom and adventure I have chased in my youth will subside with age, the river banks of the Kuskokwim will be damned and bridged, and new roads will be built. Afterwards, cities will arise from the ashes of the Native villages formed along this river long before the arrival of the first Russian “gussaqs” – white men. The white Russian Orthodox crosses atop the highest points of these tiny beautiful river villages attests to the continued influence and change which has occurred in this region, and the half-empty outboard motors attached to every aluminum skiff docked alongside these same villages reminds me of my own part in this process of change. Petroleum may be the “life-blood of progress” out here, but it is also a viscous reminder of why we must preserve our natural wonders before we find ourselves wondering what has happened to them all.

Oneness

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Speak to me about your dreams.
Seek with me what our lives mean.
You are my Yin,
I am your Yang.
Seek with me what our lives mean.
We bring a beautiful balance to one another.
I am your Yang.
Two apart joined together as one.
We bring a beautiful balance to one another.
You are the light that pierces my darkness.
Two apart joined together as one.
Our breathes give action to what our joined lips create.

A 10th Anniversary 9/11 Message of Hope

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On this date 10 years ago, when the WTC was attacked, I was in Texas getting ready to teach my 9th Grade World Geography students, and the Math teacher came into my class and said a plane had hit the Towers. Like most, I thought it was a small aircraft accident until I saw the live feed of the second tower getting hit by a commercial airplane. I am half a world away now, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Back when I was in college, Muslims on campus were frustrated that we would support Israel blindly as they placed Muslims in the West Bank and Garza under martial law. That frustration had already taken deadly turns during the Reagan administration, with all the airline hijackings. Leading to the slogan that, “We would not negotiate with terrorists.” So when our politicians stopped listening to the concerns of fanatics (and even moderate Muslims), the pressure for them to do something more “noticeable” exploded during the Gulf War when we entered Saudi Arabia with American troops, which inevitably led to 9-11.  Never have I ever seen so many people die all at once on live TV (before or since)- it was the largest, most precise, cold, calculated, and destructive act of terrorism ever attempted.  The mass media was used as a naive tool of the terrorists when they displayed the horror of the scene to us over and over again.  I shudder to think what terrorists might ever do to top it, but a dirty-bomb would certainly do it.  Regardless of your political views, it is my sincere hope that none of us will ever have to witness such a wide-spread terrorist tragedy again.  Likewise, it is also my sincerest hope that one day we Americans will regain sufficient freedom in this country to remember what it was like to be free without fear!  Safety and Order should not be allowed to replace Freedom as a founding principle in this country.  Remember this important truism on this Patriot’s Day.  Fight Against “Patriot Act” Laws and Orwellian Political Principles!  Reason, political negotiations, and compromise should always over-rule emotion, political ultimatums, and divisive decisions.  We all lose when the fanatics are allowed to rule.

The Touch-Down Maker

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Hike! Adrenaline-rush forward, the front-line colliding with the opponent’s defense. I can hear myself breathing through my helmet, it echoes in my ears, my heart-beat rushing a hundred miles an hour. Blam! I take my first hit on my shoulder pads, but I bounce off, just cutting through the 2 hole made by our Strong Tackle. Now if I can just make it passed those lightning fast linebackers! I high-knee past the first one, as he dives to tackle me, and stiff arm the second one. Now it is just the free safety and me out in the back-field, and only he stands in my way to winning the game. Seven seconds left on the clock, 35 yards to go, can I make it to the end-zone before it’s too late! I do a quick little side-step to throw the safety off-guard, and he falls for it! I’m home free in the stifling heat, sweat streaming down into my eyes, the sting of success if I can just keep up the pace. 15 yards, to go, 10, 5, touch down! The crowd goes wild, I feel like a Roman gladiator after sleighing a wild beast! “Friday night lights” shine upon me, and make me feel more alive than I will ever feel again. The cheerleaders bounce up and down yelling my name, I am a glistening Golden Greek God!

 

But those lights of glory days past eventually fade, and then turn to black. Even the crowd must eventually go home, and then what is left for me, but the bruises, the bumps, and the broken bones. Yes, gold plated trophies may yet collect dust somewhere in my old alma mater, but few are likely to recognize my name.  Oh, I have my memories of having once seemed more with many.  A select few, our Team.  But I have lost touch with them, and my own PRIDE, on my last sprint towards my final “end-zone.”  But perhaps I have one last touch-down in me…

Chronicles of the Last Unicorn: A Fantasy World Gone Mad

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The unicorn came out of the fog, a small troll riding upon it with a giant smirk on his face. He had conquered and tamed the magical beast, and was riding through the enchanted forest to show everyone the last unicorn was now under his submission. The unicorn’s horn seemed to have lost some of it’s magical sparkle, with an evil troll having possession over it’s own soul.

Nevertheless, Gargon the Great knew what must be done, if the realm were ever to be free again from such terrible gloom. The wizard waited for his chance, and then he cast his be-witching spell upon the troll. The troll immediately froze solid and fell from the unicorn’s back, and the beautiful animal gave a great whinny that indicated it was grateful for having been freed from the evil troll’s attack.

It was not until after the auditory exclamation of satisfaction from the magical beast, that the unicorn saw his friend. Gargon the great approached the majestic animal with great care, for he knew the magic of his spell still lingered upon the beast. “Beware the evil trolls that would try to take your freedom away oh wonderous one,” Gargon replied.

But it was too late, the evil Witch of Denimon had foreseen the demise of her troll.  She summoned the ominous fire-breathing dragon from the dark depths of the magic abyss on the edge of her known realm, once she portended her incompetent troll had failed. And with a mighty swish of air and wind, the giant talons of the great ugly foul-smelling beast snatched-up and sunk it’s reptile talons into the pure innocence of the unicorn’s majestic back. The unicorn was swept up, and up, and up, and then hurled by the dragon over the great cliff of the endless abyss.  This is how the last unicorn fell into the babbling brook of truth far below, and no one knew for sure of her final fate.

Thus, with that one heinous and heartless act of cruelty, there seemed no hope left in the land for good to reign supreme once again, and Gorgon knew all was surely lost. No one was left to thwart the Witch of Denimon’s evil spell over the kingdom.

But then, from out of the far East, a great hulking warrior covered in the fur of many dead mammals, drew nearer, with the rise of the morning sun.   He was clearly ready and eager to do battle with all evil who might oppose him.  But that is another tall tale to be told at another time…