A US Navy Vet’s Response to a Seriously Misguided Journalist

Published by Parcbench on December 16, 2009:

In yet another example of a liberal journalist bemoaning the concept of American pride and exceptionalism, Nick Fierro of the Chicago Tribune offers this response to the question, “What sports tradition would you like to see eliminated?”:

The national anthem should be eliminated from all but the most important sporting events in this country, such as Super Bowls, World Series and Ultimate Fighting title bouts.

Just kidding on the last one, but you should get the idea by now that having to stand for this song at every event and every level of sport from T-ball to the pros has become just a little ridiculous.

At one time, such as when this tradition began during World War II, it might have been a good idea to promote patriotism. Now, all it promotes is … nothing. It has become a mindless exercise.

Mindless exercise? Perhaps for people with no understanding of history and no concept of the miraculous circumstances surrounding the birth of a country founded by ordinary, courageous men who took on the world’s greatest power and risked certain death because of an unwavering commitment to freedom.

At great personal peril, our Founding Fathers forged ahead, spurred on by their deep conviction for Judeo-Christian principles and the right of individuals to control their own destiny. Pardon my patriotism, but I am proud to celebrate and acknowledge the fact that — well over 200 years later — I am a benefactor of their passion, determination and willingness to die for the cause of liberty. Singing the national anthem at a sporting event is a privilege, not some meaningless act “promoting nothing”.

Not surprisingly, Fierro caused quite a bit of controversy, particularly among US veterans and active-duty military, who know a thing or two about commitment to a cause greater than self. One of them, a friend and US Navy vet, penned the following to Mr. Fierro:

Nick Fierro,

I am not sure how you could write such a disheartening column/debate today especially while our country is at war. How can you say singing the National Anthem is a waste of time? You obviously have never served in the military, have no pride or appreciation for our veterans, or are simply looking for attention.

Honestly, everyone I attend games and events with are proud of the moment when we are offered the opportunity to demonstrate how proud we are to be Americans. Singing the National Anthem is an opportunity to bring a diverse nation together. Have you ever been to a game when there may be four or five different conversations going on sometimes in Spanish, French, Japanese, English or the many other languages locals and visitors alike share in our community? Yet when the Anthem is played all rise and speak one language or at least respectfully remain quiet. Maybe you are too busy or to weak to stand in the press box?

You wrote, ” having to stand for this song…… at every event has become ridiculous.” Then you go on to say, “all it promotes is…. nothing.”

This song promotes nothing??? This song is our National Anthem! I am disgusted by your words…I think about the meaning of  The National Anthem everyday, as do millions of thankful Americans.

Finally, there are 14 houses on my block. At least half have the American flag waving but only three of my neighbors have your newspaper delivered. It is my promise that by tomorrow, there will be 14 American flags flying, but ZERO tribune subscriptions delivered, thanks to your column.

I can understand your ignorance to a certain degree I guess, but your editors must and will be held accountable. I believe an apology to your readers and all the men and women sacrificing their lives for your freedom is in order.

Should you not, I promise to contact every news source possible regarding this matter. To think of the lives lost for YOUR freedom of speech and this is how you choose to show your gratitude. I am quite disgusted to say the least. I am not in the journalism business and my grammar may not be spot on but I have read youth blogs more profound than your garbage today.

P.S. I have served our country and have also witnessed my brothers die for your freedom, so yes, I am biased.

Ted Burke
Boca Raton

God bless our United States Military during this Holiday Season and always! And may journalists like Nick Fierro take the time to seriously ponder and absorb the significance of The Star Spangled Banner.


The Color Of Adultery

Published by Parcbench on December 15, 2009:

When the news of Tiger Woods’ indiscretions (to put it nicely) initially broke, I made a conscious decision to refrain from writing and posting commentary about it. From my vantage point, it was yet another repugnant, predictable story of an icon with remarkable talent, worldwide adoration, limitless financial resources and  a beautiful family shamelessly indulging in excess simply because he could. Tiger was sadly following in the footsteps of countless politicians, celebrities and celebrity athletes before him who’d abused their power to satisfy their own self-serving ends, regardless of the consequences.

In Woods’ case, his carefully crafted and (up until recently at least) astonishingly lucrative image of  a wholesome, bi-racial embodiment of the American Dream is a case-study in the art of deception, as Lisa Schiffren notes in an American Thinker piece:

Nor was Woods’ behavior unknown — except to the public. In one instance reporters had photos of a “transgression”…committed in a church parking lot, no less. These journalists agreed to keep it secret — if Tiger posed for a cover story at Men’s Fitness Magazine — a cover that would sell huge numbers. Normally Woods wouldn’t have been available, since he had an exclusive contract with Conde Nast’s Golf Digest. With full understanding of the situation, Conde Nast allowed the rival cover because he too profited from having Tiger remain an icon.

In a fascinating compare and contrast analysis, Schiffren offers a parallel between the world-famous golfer and the current White House occupant, in terms of the lengths to which powerful entities like the media were willing to go in order to preserve their own fabrication of a “transcendent” do-gooder with spotless credentials.

As if the thought of reporters deliberately withholding information on cash-cow Woods’ affairs isn’t outrageous enough, along comes Washington Post reporter Eugene Robinson, whose problem with Tiger isn’t so much his indulgence in tawdry, adulterous affairs with a seemingly endless list of women — it’s the fact that none of the women involved were minorities:

No offense to anyone who actually looks like Barbie, but it really is striking how much the women who’ve been linked to Woods resemble one another. I’m talking about the long hair, the specific body type, even the facial features. Mattel could sue for trademark infringement.

This may be the most interesting aspect of the whole Tiger Woods story — and one of the most disappointing. He seems to have been bent on proving to himself that he could have any woman he wanted. But from the evidence, his aim wasn’t variety but some kind of validation.

I’m making a big assumption here that the attraction for Woods was mostly physical, but there’s no evidence thus far that he had a lot of time for deep conversation. If adultery is really about the power and satisfaction of conquest, Woods’s self-esteem was apparently only boosted by bedding the kind of woman he thought other men lusted after — the “Playmate of the Month” type that Hugh Hefner turned into the American gold standard.

But the world is full of beautiful women of all colors, shapes and sizes — some with short hair or almond eyes, some with broad noses, some with yellow or brown skin. Woods appears to have bought into an “official” standard of beauty that is so conventional as to be almost oppressive.

So let me get this straight: the most “disappointing” aspect of the Tiger Woods scandal isn’t the fact that he repeatedly violated his marriage vows in the basest of ways, or willfully demonstrated complete disregard for the wellbeing of his two innocent young children — it’s the fact that he chose to denigrate the sanctity of his family with women who resemble Barbie instead of Oprah?

There’s so much absurdity in Robinson’s take, it’s hard to believe he’s considered a mainstream journalist writing for a respectable paper. I suppose in his mind, Tiger should have — in the words of another mixed race public figure — “spread the wealth around” by expanding his cabal of willing women to include at least a few Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. In Tiger’s defense, the EEOC hasn’t yet proclaimed the act of adultery with multiple partners, an “Equal Opportunity” proposition, mandating “diversity”. Perhaps in light of Eugene Robinson’s article, they’ll reconsider.

From Robinson’s perspective however, there is a positive angle to account for the lack of color among the Woods’ line-up of paramours: instead of being “disappointed” by Tiger’s obvious attraction to the Hugh Hefner standard of beauty, maybe the journalist could view Tiger as having too much respect for non-white women to think they’d put out for a married man just because he happens to be rich, famous and powerful.

Sound crazy? For those of us for whom adultery is adultery regardless of the color of the people involved, it makes about as much sense as Robinson using a tragic and harrowing tale of public infidelity as yet another excuse to  cry racism.


Ava Aston: The Soul of a Singer, The Heart of a Patriot

Published by Parcbench on December 9, 2009:

I originally “met” beautiful, talented singer/songwriter Ava Aston when a mutual  friend connected us on Facebook. The budding entertainer was seeking footage from the 9/12 March on Washington and photos from various, local tea party protests to enhance the video production of her newest single, We The People. Knowing of my involvement with all things Constitutional, our common friend sought me out for help, and I happily obliged.

The ensuing result was an inspiring anthem to American patriotism, designed to energize, inspire and — whenever necessary — life the spirits of dedicated citizens across the country who are fighting back against massive government, and standing tall for freedom.

Recently, my Conservative Republican Forum co-host Steve and I had the pleasure of interviewing Ava about her new song, her motivation for writing and recording it, and her experience as a right-leaning performer in an industry dominated by lefties.

What was your motivation for writing and recording We The People?

I am an unsigned artist, which means I have a day job. I live and work in the New York area as a bartender, so I do a lot of events. One day in particular, I was really mad after listening to a.m. talk radio, something I do regularly to stay informed. As I recall, it was Fashion Week in New York and I was doing an event at Banana Republic. The more I thought about what was bugging me, the angrier I got. So just as I’ve done from the time I was five years-old, I conceived a melody in my head, which I wrote down on a cocktail napkin. Then I began to list all of the things that were annoying me about this current administration.

By the time I left work, I had the first verse and chorus, which I immediately shared with my husband. He assured me it wasn’t silly, and encouraged me to keep going. By 4 a.m. the song was done. When I sang it to my mom over the phone, she was adamant about me recording it and producing a companion video. Because in my family, we’re like many others out there — we’re watching the news everyday and we’re horrified by what’s going on.  In some small way, I am hoping We The People will help keep the tea party movement mobilized and energized. It’s also a tribute to all Americans who are fighting so hard to preserve our freedom — first and foremost the US Military.

You had an interesting experience in DC when you recorded portions of the video. Please share that story.

Well, my honey and I drove down to DC from New York one weekend to get some footage of me singing with various shots of the Capitol and other Washington monuments in the background. The plan was to meet up with some Facebook friends who lived in the area, and include them as well. While we were still parking the car one of our friends called to ask if I was aware that there was a gay pride march going on that same day. I was completely taken off-guard as I had no idea anything like that was taking place.

Sure enough, as we walked along Pennsylvania Avenue, we were greeted with tons of rainbow flags and men making out everywhere. Lady Gaga was on a mike screaming out to Obama. And there we were, trying to capture some footage for a conservative video! It was actually kind of funny, in a surreal sort of way. We did manage to get the shots we needed in the end, although I did get a little peeved when people would repeatedly run in front of the camera with rainbow flags just as my husband was recording me singing. It was like, “Can’t you see we’re filming something here?”

Did you face any backlash as a result of making the song and video?

It’s funny, for the longest time I avoided any discussion of politics on my Facebook Fan Page, because I didn’t want to turn off any liberals who might be interested in buying my music. But when I was inspired to write and record We The People, I realized I had to get it out there using every avenue possible. And several fans did leave my page once I posted the video. I even had one critic on the right accuse me of “profiting from patriotism” which is hysterical, given the fact that, as I mentioned, I am an unsigned artist who works as a bartender to pay the bills.

Fortunately, my Fan Page numbers have been steadily increasing as I’ve made more like-minded friends.

Why do you think so many in the entertainment industry lean left ?

In my experience, and just to clarify, I don’t really know anyone famous — but in my experience, most people are unaware of the roots of the terms Republican and Democrat, and what they really mean. They get confused by the social issues. For example, my co-workers who are gay immediate think, “Well I’m gay so therefore I am a liberal Democrat”. Oh really. You might be socially liberal, but what about economic policy? What about national security?

If I were to create a questionnaire and ask my colleagues to complete it, I’d bet that generally speaking, the majority of them would come out on the conservative side. I base that on individual conversations I’ve had with people in which they’ll say in response to something I share with them — for example, the horrid healthcare proposal — “Oh no. I’m totally against that. I don’t believe in that.” Yet they continue to vote for politicians who support big-government socialism.

As for Hollywood, all I can say is it must the bleeding heart thing, although I can tell you that there have been times I’ve given my last dollar to a homeless person. As a conservative, that’s just in me; like other conservatives, I don’t need somebody to tell me to do that. The misconception that liberals are all about helping the unfortunate and that conservatives are just out for themselves is something that really needs to be shattered.

So many people are unaware; magnify that by the fact that they’re watching things like MSNBC, CNN and ABC, and it’s easy to tell why. I get so infuriated by what’s happening, it makes me want to scream. I tend to avoid a lot of discussion about politics at work because I get so frustrated when I’ll ask someone, “Can you believe what Congress did today?” only to have them stare back at me blankly, completely clueless as to what I’m talking about.

What influenced your conservatism?

My dad came to this country as an immigrant from Greece, with $20 in his pocket, and worked to make something of himself. You cannot do that in any other country in the world. You cannot be poor and turn yourself into a millionaire anywhere else but in the United States. But if they (The Obama Administration and Congress) keep going, it’s not going to be there anymore. America as we’ve known it will cease to exist.

Because of my father, I grew up believing in the American Dream, the individual’s ability and right to create a better life, and the Judeo-Christian values that shaped this country. For me, conservatism is simply a commitment to the US Constitution and our Founders.

Where can people buy your music?

At my website, Ava Aston.com. They can also listen to my music on the Ava Aston Facebook Fan Page; on my YouTube ChannelMySpace and on itunes.