Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Paid In Full - Dec 31

Never has the number zero looked so beautiful. Had the landlord yell up to my bedroom as some mail had arrived addressed to me. It was from Wells Fargo Financial informing me that my minimum payment of $0.00 is due as of Jan 22, 2009. I'd been carrying around this small debt (under a $100) for some months now. While I was never worried about such a small amount, it was a burr in my saddle, a thorn in my flesh if you will.

As you may remember, I was recently laid off from my job of eleven years. From that, I received 19 weeks of pay plus my regular pay. Due to that minor windfall, I was able to pay off two small debts, one directly to Future Shop and the other one mentioned above. When I get a job in the new year, I hope to pay off my car loan as well (approx. $3000). In 2009 I will therefore be in a unique position. Full-time employment (hopefully!) with a better paying job and debt-free. I dare say I'll be in a privileged minority compared to most others in '09.

Not Only Debt Free, But Sin Free As Well

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

Having your financial house in order is critical. Few would argue that point, whether they be money gurus or someone balancing the books for their family. Yet who amongst us has been set free from the bondage of sin? For most, we use greater diligence on our yearly vacation plans than we do our eternal destiny. How foolish it would be to gain the world yet lose your soul! Due to His supreme sacrifice on the cross, I know that my sin debt to the Father is paid in full. That my friends, is worth more that any money debt you will ever incur. Please start the new year off right. Heaven awaits your answer!

Happy New Year Everyone!

This is my last post for 2008. How time flies! In February the X-Def will be celebrating it's third anniversary. This humble little blog has come a long way from a lark that I started on a mere whim. In January I'll give my own 'State of the Union' address on what 2009 will be like (Hint: It's going to be volatile). However I'll save that till the new year. In the meantime, I'd like to wish everybody a happy new year and please don't drink and drive. Ciao, 2008!

Johnny Cash

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alcoholism - Dec 28

Now it must be said that neither myself or any of my immediate family abuse alcohol. We partake to be sure - I consider myself an occasional drinker - but none of us overdo it. That is not to say that we're better than anybody else. We're not, just that we've managed to avoid this scourge. As we are still in the holiday spirit (pun intended) and there's still New Year's Eve to navigate, I think it's important to discuss alcohol addiction, or in everyday terms, alcoholism.

Denial Is The Greatest Enabler of Self-Destructive Behavior

Rationalizing our sins has become a national pastime. Why do we maintain a lie long after irrefutable evidence has been given witnessing to its corrupt and false nature? The truth stares at us an inch away from our face and yet we still practice denial. 'It cannot be there and it must not be there, therefore it is not there'. Perfect circular logic defeats truth once more. We die for a lie knowing it's a lie because pride prevents us from coming to the truth.

A Litany of (T)Error

  • I serve on the city council. Councilman are never drunks.
  • I'm a respected member of society.
  • I'm the local hockey/baseball/basketball/football coach. Coaches don't show up drunk at a game they coach, do they?
  • I make a six-figure salary. Only bums are drunks.
  • I've never gotten drunk in public. Only drunks get drunk in public.
  • I only drink to be sociable. I never get drunk in private.
  • I'm married with kids. My wife and kids love me and I love them back. Does that sound like an alcoholic to you?
  • I don't sip out of bottle in a brown paper bag in an alley somewhere.
  • I've got a mortgage and bills to pay. Drunks don't have mortgages, do they?
  • I'm a church elder. If you're a church elder, there's no way you can be an alcoholic.
  • I'm educated and literate. Only uneducated people abuse the stuff.
  • I drive a fancy car. Would I risk driving drunk if I have a nice car?
  • I need a drink to relax. What's wrong with a some relaxation?
  • I wear a suit and a tie. Only people with crappy clothes are alcoholics.
And the Most Dangerous Lie of Them All?

I'm a good person. Good people are never drunks.

Every single one of these statements is false. It doesn't matter how respectable you are or how much money you make. It doesn't matter what your job description is or your family situation. It doesn't matter what car you drive or the clothes you wear. Alcoholism respects no borders or social strata. Not one of these statements carries any legitimacy. They have absolutely nothing to do with alcoholism or substance abuse.

What's The Cure?

Our hearts deceive us. We see ourselves as whole when we're falling apart. We see ourselves as holy and good when we're full of sin. We think ourselves pure when we're corrupt. We've seen those that have gone their own way, living by their own rules and doing their own thing. The world lies and tells us, 'This is freedom!' while we still come to ruin. We live in a world which rationalizes and enables sin in the name of some kind of corrupt freedom. I think that's why people are drawn towards Jesus. He purifies and makes us whole (and holy). Christ did not come to condemn. He came to save the lost. He came to redeem, to show the way of grace and mercy for the lost sinner. That's the message Jesus brings to us each and every Christmas. A message of hope and love. Will you trust Him today?

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All The President's Men - Dec 23

No Christmas theme here. Very interesting stuff from stratfor's latest. As it turns out, neither the FBI nor the Washington Post were as altruistic as originally thought. Do we dare call it treason to conspire against a sitting president even if that president is a S.O.B.? Either way you slice it, Felt's betrayal of Nixon (with Woodward and Bernstein being the beneficiaries) had more to do with ego and ambition than patriotic duty. A must read!

Johnny Cash

The Death of Deep Throat and the Crisis of Journalism

December 22, 2008 | 1659 GMT

By George Friedman

Mark Felt died last week at the age of 95. For those who don’t recognize that name, Felt was the “Deep Throat” of Watergate fame. It was Felt who provided Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post with a flow of leaks about what had happened, how it happened and where to look for further corroboration on the break-in, the cover-up, and the financing of wrongdoing in the Nixon administration. Woodward and Bernstein’s exposé of Watergate has been seen as a high point of journalism, and their unwillingness to reveal Felt’s identity until he revealed it himself three years ago has been seen as symbolic of the moral rectitude demanded of journalists.

In reality, the revelation of who Felt was raised serious questions about the accomplishments of Woodward and Bernstein, the actual price we all pay for journalistic ethics, and how for many years we did not know a critical dimension of the Watergate crisis. At a time when newspapers are in financial crisis and journalism is facing serious existential issues, Watergate always has been held up as a symbol of what journalism means for a democracy, revealing truths that others were unwilling to uncover and grapple with. There is truth to this vision of journalism, but there is also a deep ambiguity, all built around Felt’s role. This is therefore not an excursion into ancient history, but a consideration of two things. The first is how journalists become tools of various factions in political disputes. The second is the relationship between security and intelligence organizations and governments in a Democratic society.

Watergate was about the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington. The break-in was carried out by a group of former CIA operatives controlled by individuals leading back to the White House. It was never proven that then-U.S. President Richard Nixon knew of the break-in, but we find it difficult to imagine that he didn’t. In any case, the issue went beyond the break-in. It went to the cover-up of the break-in and, more importantly, to the uses of money that financed the break-in and other activities. Numerous aides, including the attorney general of the United States, went to prison. Woodward and Bernstein, and their newspaper, The Washington Post, aggressively pursued the story from the summer of 1972 until Nixon’s resignation. The episode has been seen as one of journalism’s finest moments. It may have been, but that cannot be concluded until we consider Deep Throat more carefully.

Deep Throat Reconsidered

Mark Felt was deputy associate director of the FBI (No. 3 in bureau hierarchy) in May 1972, when longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died. Upon Hoover’s death, Felt was second to Clyde Tolson, the longtime deputy and close friend to Hoover who by then was in failing health himself. Days after Hoover’s death, Tolson left the bureau.

Felt expected to be named Hoover’s successor, but Nixon passed him over, appointing L. Patrick Gray instead. In selecting Gray, Nixon was reaching outside the FBI for the first time in the 48 years since Hoover had taken over. But while Gray was formally acting director, the Senate never confirmed him, and as an outsider, he never really took effective control of the FBI. In a practical sense, Felt was in operational control of the FBI from the break-in at the Watergate in August 1972 until June 1973.

Nixon’s motives in appointing Gray certainly involved increasing his control of the FBI, but several presidents before him had wanted this, too, including John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Both of these presidents wanted Hoover gone for the same reason they were afraid to remove him: He knew too much. In Washington, as in every capital, knowing the weaknesses of powerful people is itself power — and Hoover made it a point to know the weaknesses of everyone. He also made it a point to be useful to the powerful, increasing his overall value and his knowledge of the vulnerabilities of the powerful.

Hoover’s death achieved what Kennedy and Johnson couldn’t do. Nixon had no intention of allowing the FBI to continue as a self-enclosed organization outside the control of the presidency and everyone else. Thus, the idea that Mark Felt, a man completely loyal to Hoover and his legacy, would be selected to succeed Hoover is in retrospect the most unlikely outcome imaginable.

Felt saw Gray’s selection as an unwelcome politicization of the FBI (by placing it under direct presidential control), an assault on the traditions created by Hoover and an insult to his memory, and a massive personal disappointment. Felt was thus a disgruntled employee at the highest level. He was also a senior official in an organization that traditionally had protected its interests in predictable ways. (By then formally the No. 2 figure in FBI, Felt effectively controlled the agency given Gray’s inexperience and outsider status.) The FBI identified its enemies, then used its vast knowledge of its enemies’ wrongdoings in press leaks designed to be as devastating as possible. While carefully hiding the source of the information, it then watched the victim — who was usually guilty as sin — crumble. Felt, who himself was later convicted and pardoned for illegal wiretaps and break-ins, was not nearly as appalled by Nixon’s crimes as by Nixon’s decision to pass him over as head of the FBI. He merely set Hoover’s playbook in motion.

Woodward and Bernstein were on the city desk of The Washington Post at the time. They were young (29 and 28), inexperienced and hungry. We do not know why Felt decided to use them as his conduit for leaks, but we would guess he sought these three characteristics — as well as a newspaper with sufficient gravitas to gain notice. Felt obviously knew the two had been assigned to a local burglary, and he decided to leak what he knew to lead them where he wanted them to go. He used his knowledge to guide, and therefore control, their investigation.

Systematic Spying on the President

And now we come to the major point. For Felt to have been able to guide and control the young reporters’ investigation, he needed to know a great deal of what the White House had done, going back quite far. He could not possibly have known all this simply through his personal investigations. His knowledge covered too many people, too many operations, and too much money in too many places simply to have been the product of one of his side hobbies. The only way Felt could have the knowledge he did was if the FBI had been systematically spying on the White House, on the Committee to Re-elect the President and on all of the other elements involved in Watergate. Felt was not simply feeding information to Woodward and Bernstein; he was using the intelligence product emanating from a section of the FBI to shape The Washington Post’s coverage.

Instead of passing what he knew to professional prosecutors at the Justice Department — or if he did not trust them, to the House Judiciary Committee charged with investigating presidential wrongdoing — Felt chose to leak the information to The Washington Post. He bet, or knew, that Post editor Ben Bradlee would allow Woodward and Bernstein to play the role Felt had selected for them. Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee all knew who Deep Throat was. They worked with the operational head of the FBI to destroy Nixon, and then protected Felt and the FBI until Felt came forward.

In our view, Nixon was as guilty as sin of more things than were ever proven. Nevertheless, there is another side to this story. The FBI was carrying out espionage against the president of the United States, not for any later prosecution of Nixon for a specific crime (the spying had to have been going on well before the break-in), but to increase the FBI’s control over Nixon. Woodward, Bernstein and above all, Bradlee, knew what was going on. Woodward and Bernstein might have been young and naive, but Bradlee was an old Washington hand who knew exactly who Felt was, knew the FBI playbook and understood that Felt could not have played the role he did without a focused FBI operation against the president. Bradlee knew perfectly well that Woodward and Bernstein were not breaking the story, but were having it spoon-fed to them by a master. He knew that the president of the United States, guilty or not, was being destroyed by Hoover’s jilted heir.

This was enormously important news. The Washington Post decided not to report it. The story of Deep Throat was well-known, but what lurked behind the identity of Deep Throat was not. This was not a lone whistle-blower being protected by a courageous news organization; rather, it was a news organization being used by the FBI against the president, and a news organization that knew perfectly well that it was being used against the president. Protecting Deep Throat concealed not only an individual, but also the story of the FBI’s role in destroying Nixon.

Again, Nixon’s guilt is not in question. And the argument can be made that given John Mitchell’s control of the Justice Department, Felt thought that going through channels was impossible (although the FBI was more intimidating to Mitchell than the other way around). But the fact remains that Deep Throat was the heir apparent to Hoover — a man not averse to breaking the law in covert operations — and Deep Throat clearly was drawing on broader resources in the FBI, resources that had to have been in place before Hoover’s death and continued operating afterward.

Burying a Story to Get a Story

Until Felt came forward in 2005, not only were these things unknown, but The Washington Post was protecting them. Admittedly, the Post was in a difficult position. Without Felt’s help, it would not have gotten the story. But the terms Felt set required that a huge piece of the story not be told. The Washington Post created a morality play about an out-of-control government brought to heel by two young, enterprising journalists and a courageous newspaper. That simply wasn’t what happened. Instead, it was about the FBI using The Washington Post to leak information to destroy the president, and The Washington Post willingly serving as the conduit for that information while withholding an essential dimension of the story by concealing Deep Throat’s identity.

Journalists have celebrated the Post’s role in bringing down the president for a generation. Even after the revelation of Deep Throat’s identity in 2005, there was no serious soul-searching on the omission from the historical record. Without understanding the role played by Felt and the FBI in bringing Nixon down, Watergate cannot be understood completely. Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee were willingly used by Felt to destroy Nixon. The three acknowledged a secret source, but they did not reveal that the secret source was in operational control of the FBI. They did not reveal that the FBI was passing on the fruits of surveillance of the White House. They did not reveal the genesis of the fall of Nixon. They accepted the accolades while withholding an extraordinarily important fact, elevating their own role in the episode while distorting the actual dynamic of Nixon’s fall.

Absent any widespread reconsideration of the Post’s actions during Watergate in the three years since Felt’s identity became known, the press in Washington continues to serve as a conduit for leaks of secret information. They publish this information while protecting the leakers, and therefore the leakers’ motives. Rather than being a venue for the neutral reporting of events, journalism thus becomes the arena in which political power plays are executed. What appears to be enterprising journalism is in fact a symbiotic relationship between journalists and government factions. It may be the best path journalists have for acquiring secrets, but it creates a very partial record of events — especially since the origin of a leak frequently is much more important to the public than the leak itself.

The Felt experience is part of an ongoing story in which journalists’ guarantees of anonymity to sources allow leakers to control the news process. Protecting Deep Throat’s identity kept us from understanding the full dynamic of Watergate. We did not know that Deep Throat was running the FBI, we did not know the FBI was conducting surveillance on the White House, and we did not know that the Watergate scandal emerged not by dint of enterprising journalism, but because Felt had selected Woodward and Bernstein as his vehicle to bring Nixon down. And we did not know that the editor of The Washington Post allowed this to happen. We had a profoundly defective picture of the situation, as defective as the idea that Bob Woodward looks like Robert Redford.

Finding the truth of events containing secrets is always difficult, as we know all too well. There is no simple solution to this quandary. In intelligence, we dream of the well-placed source who will reveal important things to us. But we also are aware that the information provided is only the beginning of the story. The rest of the story involves the source’s motivation, and frequently that motivation is more important than the information provided. Understanding a source’s motivation is essential both to good intelligence and to journalism. In this case, keeping secret the source kept an entire — and critical — dimension of Watergate hidden for a generation. Whatever crimes Nixon committed, the FBI had spied on the president and leaked what it knew to The Washington Post in order to destroy him. The editor of The Washington Post knew that, as did Woodward and Bernstein. We do not begrudge them their prizes and accolades, but it would have been useful to know who handed them the story. In many ways, that story is as interesting as the one about all the president’s men.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Need For A Savior - Dec 22

Every Christmas shopping season it's the same. Every man (and woman) for themselves and a vacant parking space at the mall is pure gold. I think it's important to discuss the need for a Savior.

The Heart of the Problem

We are still saying 'Peace' when there is no peace. If Man is supposed to be intrinsically good, why all the madness? I do not believe that Man is good. Actually, I believe the reverse is true. Man's heart is incorrigibly wicked and corrupt beyond measure. Can this corruption be neutralized by a better environment, more wholesome programming on the TV or politically correct language? It is not through lack of effort we have tried this.

The Heart of Man

We want to do good and we aspire to do good but we cannot do good because we are supernaturally bound and in darkness. The 'good' that we do is based primarily on self-interest. That is, we do 'good' if it gives us the advantage. Such is our state in an unsaved world.

Scenario One: The Darkened Room

Imagine this. You're bound to a chair in a pitch black and windowless room. The room is a mess and is in dire need of organizing. You're told, 'Clean this room!' (Parents with teenagers apparently have some experience with this). Even if you managed to free yourself, how could you put anything in its proper place? The darkness is complete and so you stumble along trying to do your best. Working harder frustrates you all the more. The situation is hopeless.

Scenario Two: The Lighted Room

You're in the same messy room as above. However, you've been freed from your bonds and the room is now fully lit. Not only that, you've been given an instruction manual on how to properly clean the room. So you get to work. It's tough slogging but after a while you notice some decent progress. How much better off you are compared to the person in our first scenario!

So Which Scenario Are You In?

Would it surprise you that the majority of us are in the darkened room? That I believe is our problem. Moreover it is central to mankind's struggles. Due to the curse of our fallen nature, every single one of us has at some point in time found themselves bound in a dark room in need of organizing.

What Do All These Symbols Mean?

No point offering up a parable of sorts without the explanation. The bonds that envelop us is our sin nature. These are the desires of our flesh and the pride (and self-sufficiency) in our hardened heart. As long as we are bound up no such goodness can come from us. The darkness that we face is our lost state. The light that illuminates the room is our Savior, Jesus Christ. The instruction manual is God's word, the Bible. The messy room is that stuff in our lives - people, places and things. Everybody - and I do mean everybody - inhabits a messy room. See how much easier it is to clean the room when we are free and living in Christ? It's still hard work but now we are working with a plan and a purpose.

The Weight of the Problem

Please understand the severity of the problem. This is not a case where we've stumbled and we simply need to pick ourselves up. Rather we are in a deep pit which cannot be climbed or dug out of. We don't need practical atheism to give us encouragement from the sidelines. We don't need legalistic lectures on the dangers of deep pits. We need someone to rescue us! We'll probably need medical attention and a steady hand too once we're on terra firma. That's the remedy people need to hear. Jesus liberates us from the bondage of sin. Jesus rescues us and steadies us from our pit of despair. Jesus is the light that we need to shine into our messy rooms. Jesus is the Word and our instruction manual. Jesus loves us so much that He went to the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. That's the true meaning of Christmas.

To hell with 'Season's Greetings' and 'Happy Holidays'. God Bless Us Everyone!

Johnny Cash

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jehovah Jireh - Dec 13

'Permanently laid off due to a shortage of work' was the notice I got last Friday. Yep, I now join the ranks of the unemployed. To say I was emotional was an understatement. Angry, hurt, shocked, embarrassed, humiliated and frightened were just some of the feelings going through my head after I was called into the office. The last time I was this this low was when I totalled my beautiful Nissan Sentra after a mere three months. Now a decade of loyal service to the same employer has come to naught. If there's a silver lining to be found in all this is the fact that this is the best kind of release. A stellar ROE (Record of Employment) to be picked up on Wednesday with a glowing recommendation from my now former boss. What's left of my place of employment likely isn't going to last long. In a way, I've been given a head start over my former co-workers.

God Is My Provider

That's what 'Jehovah Jireh' means. It appears that God is going to have to be doing a lot of providing for me in the next few months. My regular pay plus vacation pay and severance pay are all due to me. It may give me a month or so before I find something. It may also mean the possibility of having to move back in with my parents. Good Grief! I'm closing in on forty and I'm still dependent on Mom and Dad. I had a feeling 2009 wasn't going to be a good year. Now I have the proof. I think of what's happened to me in the past six months and it hasn't been kind. A computer crash in August lasted for over a month before it was fixed. An involuntary move from my old place where I lived for twenty months - and now this. Strangely enough I've always managed to land on my own two feet. A 'temporary' job that lasted me a decade has come to a close. Will this be a doorway to a better job and a brighter future? I hope so. In the meantime, do pray for me. I'll need it!

Johnny Cash

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Remembering Our Fallen - Dec 6

A tragic milestone has been reached in Afghanistan. A hundred of our finest men and women have fallen. Here's my tribute.

A Primer on Military Rank Structure

Pte./Tpr./Gnr./Spr.: Private, Trooper, Gunner and Sapper. Privates are infantry, Troopers are armor, Gunners are artillery and a Sapper is an Electrical Mechanical Engineer (EME). The foundation of any army in the field.

Cpl and MCpl.: Corporal and a Master Corporal. Both are junior non-commisioned ranks. Bombadiers (Bdr.) are the corporal equivalent in the artillery.

Sgt. and WO: Sargeant and Warrant Officer. These are senior non-commisioned ranks. A MWO is a Master Warrant Officer and a CWO is a Chief Warrant Officer.

Lt. and Capt.: Lieutenant and Captain. Junior officer ranks. Major and above are senior officer ranks.

A Guide to the Fallen

A typical entry will look like this:

Cpl. Joe Bloggins - 21 - 1/1

Corporal Joe Bloggins died at the age of 21 on January the 1st (MM/DD). Entries are listed in chronological order from earliest to latest. Multiple deaths on the same day are separated by commas. Thanks to the Toronto Star for their touching tributes to each one.

Our Glorious Dead

2002 to 2005

Sgt. Marc Leger - 29, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer - 24, Pte. Richard Green - 21, Pte. Nathan Smith - 26 - 4/18/02
Sgt. Robert Short - 42, Cpl. Robert Beerenfenger - 29 - 10/2/03
Cpl. Jamie Murphy - 26 - 1/27/04
Pte. Braun Woodfield - 24 - 11/24/05


Cpl. Paul Davis - 28, MCpl. Timothy Wilson - 30 - 3/4
Pte. Robert Costall - 22 - 3/29
Cpl. Matthew Dinning - 23, Bdr. Myles Mansell - 25, Cpl. Randy Payne - 32, Lt. William Turner - 45 - 4/22
Capt. Nicola Goddard - 26 - 5/17
Cpl. Anthony Boneca - 21 - 7/9
Cpl. Francisco Gomez - 44, Cpl. Jason Warren - 29 - 7/22
Cpl. Christopher Wren - 34, Pte. Kevin Dallaire - 22, Sgt. Vaughan Ingram - 35, Cpl. Bryce Keller - 27 - 8/3
MCpl. Raymond Arndt - 31 - 8/5
MCpl. Jeffrey Walsh - 33 - 8/9
Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom - 23 - 8/11
Cpl. David Braun - 27 - 8/22
Sgt. Shane Stachnik - 30, WO Frank Mellish - 38, WO Richard Nolan - 39, Pte. William Cushley - 21 - 9/3
Pte. Mark Graham - 33 - 9/4
Pte. David Byers - 22, Cpl. Shane Keating - 30, Cpl. Keith Morley - 30, Cpl. Glen Arnold -32 - 9/18
Pte. Josh Klukie - 23 - 9/29
Cpl. Robert Mitchell - 32, Sgt. Craig Gilliam - 40 - 10/3
Tpr. Mark Wilson - 39 - 10/7
Sgt. Darcy Tedford - 32, Pte. Blake Williamson - 23 - 10/14
CWO Robert Girouard - 46, Cpl. Albert Storm - 36 - 11/27


Cpl. Kevin Megeney - 25 - 3/6
Pte. Kevin Kennedy - 20, Pte. David Greenslade - 20, Cpl. Aaron Williams - 23, Cpl. Christopher Stannix - 24, Cpl. Brent Poland - 37, Sgt. Donald Lucas - 31 - 4/8
Tpr. Patrick Pentland - 23, MCpl Allan Stewart - 31 - 4/11
MCpl Anthony Klumpenhouwer - 25 - 4/18
Cpl. Matthew McCully - 25 - 5/25
MCpl. Darrell Priede - 30 - 5/30
Tpr. Darryl Caswell - 25 - 6/12
Sgt. Christos Karigiannis - 31, Cpl. Stephen Bouzane - 26, Pte. Joel Wiebe - 22 - 6/20/07
Capt. Matthew Dawe - 27, MCpl Colin Bason - 28, Cpl. Cole Bartsch - 23, Pte. Lane Watkins - 20, Cpl. Jordan Anderson - 25, Capt. Jefferson Francis - 37 - 7/4
Pte. Simon Longtin - 23 - 8/19
MWO Mario Mercier - 43, MCpl Christian Duchesne - 34 - 8/22
Maj. Raymond Ruckpaul - 42 - 8/29
Cpl. Nathan Hornburg - 24 - 9/24
Pte. Michel Leveaque - 25, Cpl. Nicolas Beauchamp - 28 - 11/17
Gnr. Jonathan Dion - 27 - 12/30


Cpl. Eric Labbe - 31, WO Hani Massouh - 41 - 1/6
Tpr. Richard Renaud - 26 - 1/15
Cpl. Etienne Gonthier - 21 - 1/23
Tpr. Michael Hayakaze - 25 - 3/2
Bdr. Jeremie Ouellet - 22 - 3/11
Sgt. Jason Boyes - 32 - 3/16
Pte. Terry Street - 24 - 4/4
Cpl. Michael Starker - 36 - 5/6
Capt. Richard Leary - 32 - 6/3
Capt. Jonathan Snyder - 26 - 6/7
Cpl. Brendan Downey - 37 - 7/4
Pte. Colin Wilmot - 24 - 7/5
Cpl. James Arnal - 25 - 7/18
MCpl Joshua Roberts - 29 - 8/9
Spr. Stephan Stock - 25, Cpl. Dustin Wasden - 25, Sgt. Shawn Eades - 33 - 8/21
Cpl. Andrew Grenon - 23, Cpl. Michael Seggie - 21, Pte. Chad Horn - 21, Sgt. Scott Shipway - 36 - 9/3
Cpl. Mark McLaren - 23, Pte. Demetrios Diplaros - 24, WO Robert John Wilson - 27 - 12/5

May we never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Who Are You? - Dec 2

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
(Matthew 25:32-33)

I have a very active imagination. Thankfully, this serves me well and I keep out of trouble. So humor me for a little bit. Imagine two people, one is called Michael, the other Johnny. They are at the front of a rather large queue and before them is a man sitting behind a large and imposing wooden desk. It's clear this man is a person of authority and power. Michael, who is ahead of Johnny, steps forward to present himself to the man in charge. The conversation follows:

Man at Desk (MaD): Who are you?

Michael: I'm Michael of course.

MaD: Yes, I'm aware of that. However, I don't have you listed.

Michael: Surely you must! My dossier is sitting right in front of you!

MaD: Yes it is. But I still don't know who you are.

Michael: Have you surely not reviewed it?

MaD: I have indeed. This dossier laying before me contains every single idle word, lustful thought and careless whisper. It contains all the good and bad things about you. Every word ever spoken, every thought that has crossed your mind, every printed word that you've ever written and every deed committed can be found right here. In a way, I know you better than you know yourself. But I still don't know you. Do you understand?

Michael: I'm sorry, I don't follow.

MaD: You see Michael, the world sees what's on the outside. We here have the privilege of seeing what's on the inside. We get the complete picture, warts and all. We know what makes you tick. Upon review, we found that you led a selfish life. We know of your marriage, your business deals and the social circles you attended. Yet the whole thing was lacking because everything you did was based on personal ambition and self-interest. Starting to see the problem?

Michael (Realizing the gravity of the situation): Yes I do.

MaD: Pride and self-sufficiency don't pass muster with us. It really doesn't matter how good you are, rather, it matters more to us the reason why you did it in the first place. Did you encourage and assist others or stand from afar? Even when you did good you did so in order to prove your bona fides to others. Public displays of good works misses the point entirely. It's what's in the heart that ultimately carries weight around here. That's the reason why we don't know you. Please proceed to the left. Next!

(Michael sulks away, ashamed. The man at the desk puts away the old dossier and picks up a new one with Johnny's name on it. He looks up at Johnny and beams.)

MaD: Hello Johnny. I know who you are. Welcome home.

(Johnny, filled with gratitude, weeps tears of joy.)

Johnny: Thank you sir. If it pleases you I'd like to start right away.

MaD: Of course. Follow the line to the right.

There ends the exchange. So which one are you?

Johnny Cash