Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Soldier’s Eyes

John Remembrance1

I had a long talk last night with some of my own. Soldiers. Canadian and American. Francophone, bilingual and English speaker, yet what bound us was the language we spoke. It is a language that forever divides us from everyone else, and unites us at the same time in a terrible brotherhood. Those whose eyes have seen what we have seen lose the world they knew, and are reborn into a new one.

Initiation is an old word, a magical world that describes the practice of undergoing an ordeal of transformation. Those who are initiates into the mysteries cannot truly speak to those who have not known them, for although they may hear the words, their eyes have not seen what the initiates have seen, and what is summoned when they speak those words cannot be seen by those who have not been through the same. The words are the same, but the dictionary was changed.

It is by the eyes you will know us. Eyes that have seen too much the poets will say. A pragmatist would point out the real issue is that these eyes can never stop looking for what they have learned to seek. Seeking and assessing threats, angles, and constantly updating action plans in every situation. Those who are quick to say paranoid are themselves frequently ambushed by things they lacked the situational awareness to track as a threat, and were therefore taken by it. Innocence of the threats around you is not a virtue, it is a handicap. Hyper vigilance is a coping mechanism for those who have not been able to separate operational and home environment. Sometimes it is because returning home they are no longer innocent, and are no longer blind to the threats that were always there.

When we left, we were ignorant of the lesser dangers that surrounded us even then.  Now we return, what we saw in innocence as safe, we see as surrounded by threats today.  Lesser threats, by in large.  Learning to adjust your threat response means adjusting your world view to accept that what you once thought of as safe is different from where you learned to live with danger only by a matter of degree.  On good days a very large degree, but subject to change without notice.  Awareness of that threat will either become intergrated into your new understanding of home, or you will literally never make it home; you will simply live your conflict on familiar earth.

Odin is the god who instructs me, who owns my loyalty and whose tools preserved me when my own strength and skills did not suffice. Odin is the one who taught me to see what ails his folk, his soldiers, the ones who have been there and done that, but not made it all the way home.

The lore is a dangerous thing to study, for who it is who reads it will change what lessons you see inside it. Returning to the lore with eyes that had seen too much already I saw for the first time the god of the price we pay, the god of the sights that cannot be unseen. He is not just the Victory Father, he is the hanged god, for those of us who bear the guilt of those things we have seen, and those things we have done that we cannot forget hang like gallows fruit on his tree. Bound by what we cannot unsee.

When first I read of the halls of Valhalla, I saw only the feasting warriors, the Valkyrie, the ever flowing horns and revels of the night, the endless battle of the day. To look again, you see everyone feasting, everyone laughing, all save one.

Odin sits at the head of the table brooding. His eye was given for knowledge, and he knows too much. He has ridden the iron road to Hel too often to learn the secrets of the dead, cast his eye too far into the well of wyrd to see what will be, and what he will pay in the end. He cannot unsee what he has seen, and he cannot rest until his duty is done, even though his watch will end only in his death in an attempt he will never know the success of, to save a remnant of a remnant of mankind.

All around him laugh, love, feast and live. His meat he feeds to his wolves as he broods over his wine, his watch unending. He has seen too much to ever know true rest, to ever know his watch is done. He is the god of those who have seen what must be done, and who will never be free of the cost of doing what must be done.

And yet….Odin Picture
Who is it but Odin who gives us poetry to capture the sights no words can convey, can tell the truths that none dare speak, and capture both the beauty and horror, the futility and nobility, the waste and the necessity, the tangled ugly purity we once called home, and in truth never fully left.

Who but Odin can teach us that we can be as we are, far from clean, far from safe, far from any pretentious of glorious knighthood, but very much the shield of our families, the sword of our state, the flame against the dark.

Soldiers eyes have seen things that other eyes have not. If our world is darker, if we will forever be trained to seek things that in your mind are unnecessary or paranoid, you cannot reach us with your words, for we come from a place where what you describe as paranoid, or unreasonable and unsubstantiated fear, was in fact a reality that was written in blood and bone, and whose reality once bore names, before they were reduced to flag draped coffins and memories. Your innocence of reality does not trump our awareness of it. There is no reason you should bear the cost of our knowledge, we don’t want anyone to have to bear it, but for those of us who do, we do, and your opinions are as uninformed as they are unwelcome.

Odin teaches us of our role. We are the ones who watch the shadows, who stand guard against the things that shouldn’t exist, but do. We are the ones who bear the cost of doing what must be done to create a place in this world where millions of people can actually believe that terrible things shouldn’t have to happen at all. Perhaps one day enough of the world will have sorted out the predators among us to make this true, but for now, it is enough to know we who bear the cost for this island of peace can at least witness our families enjoying that which we find no home in anymore.

We will come to your feast, even host it. We may follow enough of his lessons to learn to laugh and love again, but just as Odin gave one eye that will always and forever be lost in the vision of what will be, so are we forever unable to stop watching with a soldiers eyes. Our watch can never end, for innocence is ignorance, not grace, and we have learned too much to pretend otherwise.

Many hate us and fear us because we refuse to pretend that violence is not sometimes the best and only answer. If this was not true, we would not have police or soldiers, would have no word for guard, have no word for murder or rape. We do. We won’t pretend that evil does not exist, for we know both the cost we bear from stopping it, and the more terrible cost of standing aside and letting it work its will.

Many pity us because we are scarred by what we have seen, troubled by our knowledge, and by what we have learned about ourselves. I find it hard to understand that. Innocence is ignorance, not truth. Wisdom is knowing what lurks in the darkness, and choosing to love, to laugh, to build and to dream anyway. Odin teaches wisdom, it isn’t a pleasant school, nor are we ever able to lie to ourselves about ourselves again once we have learned from him, but it is far better to learn how to live honourably as the man you are, than see those you love suffer when you fail to match the man you thought you were.

Odin gave up an eye for knowledge, and on some level, a part of him died with that innocence. What remained was grimmer, colder, more dangerous, but at the same time now focused very clearly on becoming what he needed to be to respond to what he had seen. Odin was not the leader he needed to be when he got his glimpse into what would be. He set out then, and for the rest of time to become what he needed to be, accepting the cost, however terrible, that he could be the leader who could save what could be saved.

No illusions about glorious victories, parades or eternal peace. Just pay the price you have to, and keep the world from burning for one more day. It is ok if we see and relive nightmares behind our eyes when it comes time to sleep because in the morning we can hear children playing on the streets, unconcerned and innocent in the space we have defended for them.

It is enough.Freehold Oath Ring

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Asatru, Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister and Traitor

There are few greater charges in Heathenry than Oathbreaker.  Few greater crimes to any soldier or citizen than Traitor.  Yet, we who have served as soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces, have offered our bodies and our time, our blood, sweat, tears, and entrusted our honour to the direction of Canada’s Prime Minister and Parliament, have found that we have given that service not to the Right Honourable Prime Minister, who stands in service to the Canadian people for the honour of Her Majesty the Queen, but we have instead been expendable resources in the service of a liar to whom oaths, duty, loyalty, honour and law are only things that make pretty speeches, and earn poll points, not actual pledges that must be obeyed, or binding agreements.

 

At the 100 year remembrance of Vimy Ridge, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau stood on the field in which thousands of Canadians bled and died for their nation

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/vimy-ridge-battle-100-anniversary-wrap-1.4062848

 

Trudeau’s speech at Vimy Ridge

 

“Think of it, for a moment.  The enormity of the price they paid”

 

They paid in full.  In WWI, on Vimy Ridge, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought for the first time under their own leadership and direction, and did what no other nation on earth could do.  We broke the Germans at Vimy Ridge, and won our place in the sun as a great nation, no longer a British Dominion, but a nation with its own seat at the international table.  For this Canadians have paid in blood in every generation.  68,000 dead in WWI, 47,000 dead in WWII, over five hundred in Korea, and over 1800 dead in various peacekeeping operations world wide since 1947 (excluding Korea).  The wounded tend to outnumber the dead about three to one, counting only physical wound based trauma.

 

Lord Borden, Prime Minister of Canada during the First World War, the campaign that would see our finest fighting and too frequently falling, in the mud if Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Ypres, the Somme, gave us two famous speeches.  In the first, to Parliament on the eve of the Vimy campaign he vowed Canadian soldiers

 

“need have no fear that the government and the country [would] fail to show just appreciation of [their] service.” The Prime Minister considered it Canada’s “first duty” to support the troops and he promised them that none would have “just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith” with its men.

 

To be completely clear, as the dead and broken of the conflict mounted into a cost more terrible than any in the history of our nation, or our Empire at the time, the question of Canada’s commitment to its wounded was specifically addressed to Parliament, to the House of Commons, the representatives of the Canadian people, from the mouth of our Right Honourable Prime Minister

 

The “maimed,” “broken,” “the widow and the orphan” would each be protected because, the government re-assured its soldiers, “Duty and decency demand[ed] that those … saving democracy [should] not find democracy a house of privilege, or a school of poverty and hardship.”

 

Not just our wounded, but the families of the fallen would be cared for, reguardless of cost, as they have paid the ultimate price for this democracy, for this nation, and as we love both, so must we match that cost paid in the blood of our finest with the lesser coins of honour, respect, and material resources of one of the greatest and most prosperous societies on earth.

Back then, we had Prime Ministers who deserved the title of Right Honourable.  Now fast forward to Stephen Harper, the Conservative who pioneered the expendable Canadian Solider, who stopped the collection of statistics he didn’t want to answer for (want to know the Canadian Veteran suicide rate? so do we, but unlike the US, no Canadian leader will have to answer for statistics we stopped collecting).

Justin Trudeau during his campaign promised a real change.  In his own words:

“A Liberal government will live up to our obligation to Canada’s veterans and their families. We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”

Justin Trudeau Promise

I name him liar, traitor, oathbreaker.  Those were his words, that was his oath.  These are his deeds.  He took over as Prime Minister, and directed Crown lawyers to battle against Veterans Rights advocates who were demanding the promises about care for our veterans actually be followed through.

A recent PPCLI veteran asked our “Right Honourless” Prime Minister a why his government, rather than honouring the promise of his office, the Prime Minister of Canada, or of his own person when running for office in the last election to see that promise kept, is fighting to break the promise, and not spend what is needed and owed to care for those Canadian veterans and their families broken in service to our great nation.

Trudeau’s answer to why his government opposes Canadian Veterans in court asking for Canada to honour their commitment to care for their own veterans who had been wounded in service to Her Majesty’s Canadian government, acting under the direction and orders of her Prime Minister.  This is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s answer.

Trudeau Oathbreaker

“Because they are asking for more than we can give right now”

 

Those are the words of our Right Honourless Prime Minister

Right Honourless Justin Trudeau

Do not fall prey to the distractions of waving the false flags of the Kadhr payment, or this or that pet project, aid package, or social program that one political faction or another wants to link to this issue.  Consider simply this.

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

 

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.”

John McCrae

 

We have broken faith.  Our dead may not rest.  The torch is not fallen from our hands, the men and women who even now put their lives, their skills, dedication and honour as an offering to the great Canadian people have not failed their watch, nor their test.  It is we, we the people of Canada who have failed our defenders.  We failed those who served in their pride and power and came back broken, we failed those who served in life, and fell down into death in the sure and certain knowledge that their sacrifice was not in vain.  We failed those who gave their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers into our service, and received them back either broken, or in flag draped coffins.

The Right Honourless Prime Ministers, in succession from both sides of the political divide pose over the graves of our dead whose sacrifice they defecate on, pose in front of the serried ranks of our proud men and women whose bodies they will expend to buy poll points, and whose wreckage they reguard as safe in the current political climate to ignore, as their polls indicate that outside the month of November, Canadians can be counted on not remembering our politicians had oathed in their name to care for.

They shall not sleep , though poppies grow, in Flanders fields.  In Kandahar,  Korea, Cyprus, Syria, Congo, Kosovo, our dead stir.  Spirits who rested sure and certain that though they fell, they could trust that we who remained would see their brothers and sisters cared for, their dependants cared for, the oath we gave in exchange for their life blood, kept; these spirits stir now for our leaders oathbreaking denies them even their rest.
Shame on our leaders for making it so, but greater shame on each and every one of us, FOR WE LET THEM.  One after the other we teach these leaches that they may break faith with our living defenders, our dead, and those who gave their health and power to our service, and we will reward them for it.
Damn you Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper, and in fact every Prime Minister since Lester Pearson first whored us out for his political prestige.  Damn us for letting you.

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Current events, Faith, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Dog days of Democracy

Freehold Oath Ring

They call them dog tags, and we who wear them understand the irony of the situation.  Dog tags are worn by the defenders of the state, the soldiers who serve the people, but who take their orders and direction from a group of entitled elites who occupy the houses of the people, and conduct themselves not as the servants of the public, but as the lords on high.

That is fine.  Democracy does not reward the tellers of truth, so the houses of the people are filled with those who seek power by any means necessary.  Some few are crusaders for one cause or another, not all of those crusaders are in any way safe, sane, or helpful to the state, but at least they are not simply for sale as the rest of them are.  The mix of the mercenary, visionary and fanatic float in a sea of institutionalized corruption where it is actually impossible to determine where the legitimate political process and press ends, and criminal behaviour begins.  Oddly enough, some of the worst actions are legal, and some of the illegal ones ought to be praiseworthy.  This is Democracy, it’s a shitty system whose only redeeming feature is it actually sucks slightly less hard then everything else we have tried.

Today in our fair north, our politicians are busy stealing from the dogs, we who bleed to defend the freedom of our people to reward those who screw all of us who risk our lives so that the many can be kept safe by a few their leaders continue to stab in the front, the back, the pocketbook, the home, and family; in between posing at the memorials for our dead and praising the deeds of those they screw with every stroke of the budget pen.

Today in our sunny south, our politicians cheer and pat themselves on the back as they strip health care from tens of millions of their citizens, make it possible to charge the elderly even more than before, defund planned parenthood, while at the same time allowing insurance companies to not cover women for pre-existing conditions ranging from rape to C-sections.  Don’t worry, those who make more than a quarter million dollars per year (after all allowable deductions) will no longer bear the terrible burden of paying a few percent towards the cost of millions of their poorer citizens health care costs, so I guess that is worth cheering for right?  Women, the elderly, the injured, sick, or unemployed should be thankful that the richest among us will no longer be burdened by their needs to stay alive.

Around the necks, to the north and the south hang the dog tags of those men and women who stand in the defense of their nations, offering their blood, sweat, and tears to the governments that increasingly seem utterly unburdened by the need to defend anything but their own agenda.

No one accuses the wearers of the dog tags of intelligence.  When we speak of the dogs who share our homes, or the dog-tag wearing soldiers the kind speak with reverence, the privileged with amusement at the dogged loyalty of the uniformed defenders of their nations.  Loyalty is not actually stupidity, although it would be stupidity indeed were we to expect a matching loyalty from our leadership, a matching commitment to our people from our elected leaders.  Most of us are not actually stupid enough to do so, but it is not FOR the leaders we serve.  We serve for the people.

You remember the people?  Our legislators seldom do.  We serve, some give up their lives, and most give up their health as we expend ourselves in the service of the land of our birth, because our people are actually worthy of that service.

In Canada, our leaders are busy punishing their loyal guardians for the twin crimes of being too loyal to rebel, and bound by law not to speak out.  Sucks to be a soldier right now in the north, but we actually have it better.  In the US, the soldiers get to sit back and watch their leadership condemn millions of the people they signed up to defend to death, so the same rich assholes who generally send the soldiers overseas to die to enforce an economic hegemony that benefits only those same rich assholes, can save a few percent by not paying their share of the health care that would allow the less well off to also be covered.

It is a sad time to be wearing dog tags, as neither nation particularly seems to be worthy of the service of its defenders right now.  It doesn’t matter.  Soldiers, like dogs, are renowned for their faithfulness in serving their masters, whether they are actually worthy of that service or not.

Right now it really helps to remember you are there to serve the people, because those who sit in the houses of the people, those who call themselves public servants while serving only their own political ideologies and not their folk, are a far cry from being worthy of the service of the least of our soldiers.

Somehow all this is supposed to anchor neatly in Christian theology, as the same leader in the US freed the churches to openly (and tax deductably) play politics.  I don’t get it myself.  I am just a poor Heathen, and figure Christ would be shitting a crucifix at what was just done in the US.  My own lore looks at the question of taxing the rich and looking after the sick a little differently than the Republican reading of Christianity.  From the Havamal:

39. If wealth a man | has won for himself,
Let him never suffer in need;
Oft he saves for a foe | what he plans for a friend,
For much goes worse than we wish.

40. None so free with gifts | or food have I found
That gladly he took not a gift,

Nor one who so widely | scattered his wealth
That of recompense hatred he had.

70. It is better to live | than to lie a corpse,
The live man catches the cow;
I saw flames rise | for the rich man’s pyre,
And before his door he lay dead.

71. The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,
The deaf in battle is bold;
The blind man is better | than one that is burned,
No good can come of a corpse.

Gods knows I am not a politician, and my leadership has always been on the small unit scale, where loyalty, commitment, and success of mission was more important than appearance and dogma.  Perhaps it is different in the higher strata of power; because from down here among the actual people, it looks a lot like a leadership in both halves of North America that has little to no comprehension of who they serve, or what the honour that supposedly justifies their personal glory and power is supposed to look like.

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Current events, Uncategorized

Disabled Veterans: Who stands on guard for them?

Who stands on guard for them?

Nithling Justice Minister

In our anthem, we proudly offer the promise, of true patriot love, to stand on guard for thee.  Now I ask the question, for the sons and daughters who take up arms, and stand on guard for thee, who stands on guard for them?

Once it was the Canadian people, for under their direction the government of Canada vowed it would match the commitment of those brave men and women who offered their very lives for their country, that those who suffered loss through that service would be honoured and compensated for their losses for the length of their lives.  Once to offer your life, and come back wounded, was to know that your nation would look after you in life, as you risked your life to look after it.  No more.

 

In a 1917 speech by Prime Minister Robert Borden during the First World War: “The government and the country will consider it their first duty,” Borden said, “to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of people at home that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith with the men who won and the men who died.” [1]

This is the Canada that was, a Canada that was worth the blood of its sons and daughters.  We stand now at the hundred year anniversary of Vimy Ridge, where the Canadian Army undertook under its own banners and leadership a task the mighty British Army and proud French Army had both undertook and failed.  We stood for the first time not as a child of the British Empire under their leadership, but as a world power, a nation of proud and independent identity.  For the first time we raised our own banner and strode into history by breaking a German defence that cast down the mightiest militaries of its day.  Our newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood at Vimy and spoke thus.

Nithling

“Consider:

The price they paid.

The burden they bore.

The country they made.

Seven thousand and four Canadians were wounded in the battle that began here, 100 years ago today. Three thousand, five hundred and ninety-eight Canadians died.

 

This, from a population, in 1917, of just eight million.

Think of it, for a moment. The enormity of the price they paid.

These were, for the most part, young men in their late teens and early twenties. Not professional soldiers. But they were superbly trained. And supported by months of painstaking preparation.

Yet for all that, they still required courage – to a degree that is hard to fathom.

They weren’t impervious to fear, these men. They were human. Homesick, tired, footsore and cold.

Yet still, they advanced. Uphill, through mud. Under fire. They advanced, fighting like lions, moving just behind a devastating allied artillery barrage.

And they did not stop. They did not stop, until they had victory.”[2]

 

This is the military tradition of my nation, the system that trained my Grandfather in WWII, my father who deployed with the UN to such far flung and unheralded conflicts as the Belgian Congo, and in turn myself.  There was a big difference between the welcome we returned to.  Seven of my family went to the First World war, two returned, and vowed the names of the five who did not live to have sons would be the names of each of their sons in memory. I bear two of those names, as does my father, grandfather, and uncles.  We remember, we keep the covenant.  The two who returned after WWI received parades, as did the three sons and one daughter who returned from WWII, although Great Uncle Ran received instead a name graven on a memorial, and burial in foreign soil.

My father and Uncle Jack who fought in the Congo, like those who fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Bosnia, Somalia, or deployed to any of the thousand war zones our sons and daughters have served our nations in the past generations did not receive such parades; received often open disdain instead.  A military disdained by the Canadian people was told every year since the 1960’s to do more with less.  Our NATO obligation is to spend 2% per year on our military and we have never done so.  We cycle too few people in tired, mostly breaking down equipment into war zones again and again, pretending with a staff of senior officers and banners that we actually have the forces that these regimental banners imply.  We deploy the same bodies again and again, as we don’t’ actually have three battalions of troops per regiment, so we are not rotating actual troops so much as conducting a shell game with banners while much of the gear and senior non-commissioned troops cycle again and again through the fire until they are broken.  This is what “doing more with less” translates into.
We sacrifice our sons and daughters.  We use them up, we expend them.  We don’t have the bodies to meet our commitments in a sustainable fashion, so we are forced to do so in an unsustainable fashion.  Our sons and daughters step into the fire again and again, because that is the greatness that built this nation.  That excellence burns in the hearts of our best and brightest, and these are what we are breaking through our careless belief that these political games that allow politicians to make great promises without actually spending any money on increasing the ability of a force that has not been supported properly since the 1950’s.  The politicians spend the blood of our children, because its cheaper than tax dollars in the budget.

Now they want the blood for free.

Afghanistan saw a return to the Canadian people being proud of their soldiers, but the Government that sent them there, Steven Harper’s Conservatives argued that Sir Robert Borden promising to care for Canadian war veterans for life was just a politicians promise, only an election lie, and not something the Government of Canada was actually bound by.

Highway of Heroes

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party platform in his election platform stated:

 

“Our servicemen and women, who have put their lives on the line for their country, stand for the very best of what it means to be Canadian. For many, their commitment has come at a high cost. During our mission in Afghanistan, for example, 158 members of the Canadian Armed Forces lost their lives, with thousands more wounded or left suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Today, our brave women and men are stationed in conflict zones, including Ukraine, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, contributing their expertise as trainers, peacekeepers, in combat and in disaster relief, among other areas. We have a social covenant with all veterans and their families that we must meet with both respect and gratitude.

 

For a decade, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have dishonoured us all by failing to uphold this sacred obligation. They have not been truthful to, or respectful of, our veterans. They have laid off hundreds of frontline support staff and closed nine local service offices – making it even harder for veterans to access a vital support system that the Auditor General already criticized as “complex and time-consuming.” Veterans who need crucial mental health services are waiting months, even years, to get help. Harper even left over $1 billion budgeted for veterans’ services unspent.

 

A Liberal government will live up to our obligation to Canada’s veterans and their families. We will demonstrate the respect and appreciation for our veterans that Canadians rightly expect, and ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.”[3]

 

Talk is cheap.  So are the promises of the Canadian Government.

 

Once in power, the “Right Honourable” Justin Trudeau reinstated the Harper governments stance.  Justice Department lawyers arguing for the government stating in court “the government is required to give disabled former soldiers only as much as Parliament chooses. It also says the principle of the “honour of the Crown,” which requires the government to act honourably during negotiations and upon which the veterans relied in making their case, applies only to agreements with aboriginal people.”[4]

 

The lawsuit in question is not actually asking for veterans to be looked after in any special fashion.  The lawsuit in question is raised by Veterans who are asking for their permanent disabling injuries to be treated the exact same as any other workplace injury, through the same formula the Workers Compensation Board would set for any workplace accident.
Understand this: the position of the Canadian government is that the bodies of our soldiers are the only worthless ones in this nation.  Any civilian who is permanently injured through work will be covered for life, only those who undertook the defense of their nation can be screwed over with a one time payment far below what you would get if you got the same injuries on a construction site, in an accident as a bike courier, or burned at Starbucks.

Those young men and women who “Stood on guard for thee”  as it says in our anthem, who stands on guard for them?

 

Justin Trudeau, I name thee nithling, honourless oathbreaker.  You have broken faith with those whose service has defended the country and the citizens you lead.  Under your orders they stand into danger, under your orders they bleed, they are crippled and they die, and under your aegis this sacrifice is nothing but an opportunity for a sound byte, an uplifting speech given to your adoring press corps, and certainly not worth the attention of a leader to those who have fallen or been injured in his service.

Service folk are bound by their oaths.  They swear an oath of service, and it binds them even unto death.  We are are oath, and our service.  We oath to the Crown and not the Prime Minister for a reason.  The Crown has kept faith with us, it is our elected officials who care only for the dollars they want to spend on politically attractive programs and not on paying the cost of what they do with our military that have failed us.  When a soldier swears his loyalty to the Crown, and to the people of Canada is it an obligation backed by blood and steel.  When a politician promises to care for the soldiers injured or killed in service to that same government, you should understand, it is just a speech, they don’t actually ever intend on honouring it.

Mcpl Paul Franklin

[1]http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Pete+McMartin+Disabled+veterans+rights+matter+justice/10451650/story.html

[2]http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/prime-ministers-statement-at-the-vimy-full-text/

[3] https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/real-change-the-future-we-owe-our-veterans/

[4]https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-owes-veterans-no-duty-of-care-federal-lawyers-argue-in-case/article30465871/?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.com&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=Referrer%3A+Social+Network+%2F+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links&service=mobile

 

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Asatru, Heathen, Uncategorized

Staring Into the Abyss

abyss

 

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you” Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil Aphorism 146.

 

I will give credit where it is due to a fellow Heathen service man, Luke Burroughs for clarifying something I had been struggling to wrap my brain around.  A feeling that grows as distance from the bad times extends, and one over which no amount of logic listing all the ways those bad times were indeed actually worse than you prefer to remember them at casual recollection.  Still, there is a pull, a draw, a power to those times that calls us, a need they fulfilled that I had trouble putting into words, until Luke identified it. The eight characteristics of optimum human experience.

 

  1. The task is challenging and requires skill.
  2. All ones focus is required by the task.
  3. Concentration is possible because the task has clear goals.
  4. Task provides immediate feedback.
  5. Total focus removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life.
  6. You experience the feeling of complete and effortless control of self.
  7. Total focus on goals allows you to lose your sense of self, a lack of self consciousness which frees you to express your skills and will.
  8. Sense of time is altered – hours pass by in minutes, or seconds can seem like eternity.

 

Here is the scary part, a lot of the worst bits fall into this category.  The battle for immediate survival focuses the human consciousness like nothing else, not even lovemaking.  When you have the training and skills to actually respond to the challenge of a life or death situation with the application of an extremely well developed skill set layered onto a character that not only thrives in, but demands challenge, you enter a state of heightened operation that is like nothing else in existence.  You are not superhuman, you are human expressed in its penultimate form.  Perfectly expressed potential; strained to the utmost by a challenge that demands, and will accept nothing less than one hundred percent of your will, skill, and native ability.

 

I drifted into Industrial First Aid after getting out of the service, and I am really good at it.  I don’t suffer critical incident stress like most people, but I do suffer from a bit of depression when it is done.  It is like I was half alive, half awake, just drifting through life until life or death was on the line and I came alive again.  When it is done, and my skills are no longer required, I set aside that state of being again, and THAT is when the depression calls.

 

We who fought with monsters did not become monsters.  We who stared into the abyss learned we are really good at dancing at its edge.  We are really good at facing challenges that demand everything we possess, in which the stakes are human lives, and in many ways, the future of our people.  What we did required everything we have, justified every sacrifice, and even if it cost our lives, it was worth it.

Now, we draw a paycheque, facing challenges that are more like wading through a swamp of more or less shitty ideas with a range of outcomes ranging from slightly better, to slightly worse as the corporate tortoise shambles forward in its ponderous, nearly sightless, largely unresponsive plod towards the next quarter report.  Our responsibility is to stay safe, our tasks require us to bring our skills to the table, but work inside an environment in which results or goal oriented thinking is often less useful than consensus building and adherence to process.

 

Nothing we do matters enough to be worth risking your safety for.  Our primary goal is to return home safe at the end of the day.  Very little we do will have results that provide any sort of realistic feedback, often praise is drawn for utterly irrelevant actions while truly important accomplishments are ignored or rebuked.

 

The bad times were bad.  Don’t glorify them, they sucked, they cost too damned much, and they left scars that won’t ever be fixed.  That being said, they mattered.  We mattered.  We were fully alive, fully focused, and what we did fulfilled us in ways that the mediocrity of the day will never do for us.
When the apocalypse comes, the bulk of humanity will be unprepared.  Good, while they are panicking, they won’t notice too damned many of us, young and freshly out, mature and supposedly knowing better, or old tired grey beards who look up with shining eyes and wolf grins because by the gods, we can live again.  There is a tendency for those who get out to focus on things that others never think about.  Its unhealthy on both sides, civilians need to pull their head out of their backsides and pay attention to the world, and prepare for when things go wrong, so they can deal with them, and not be simply statistics and burdens when things inevitably do go wrong.  Veterans need to let go.

 

Let go the need to matter.  The bulk of humanity really exist quite happily without a higher purpose, without a goal worth dedicating their lives to, without anything worth sacrificing themselves for beyond their family. Mostly your family’s needs are best met by NOT sacrificing yourself, but proper self care.

 

When you have stared into the Abyss, and found inside yourself the power to stand on the precipice between life and death, to play your skill, your strength and your willpower against death itself, it is really hard to take seriously someone telling you that you needed to fill out a report that you would not be able to meet your deadline, rather than actually meeting the deadline.

 

What we learned to be, what we learned to do, is the problem now.  The rest of the world actually likes this swamp of unfocused existence.  Likes to simply be, rather than existing to achieve goals at any cost.  The really scary part is that they suck at survival, for which they need us, but they are actually better at living that we have become, as we let a lot of things go as unessential that turn out to be important to being whole and healthy in the long term.

 

We have stared into the Abyss, we do not fear it, and it has learned to fear us.  Now we look at the great milling herd in the office and look not to cut through them in the most efficient manner possible, but to mingle with them, sharing your thoughts and theirs, laughing with them, bitching with them, allowing yourself to look for how to use your skills and ability to help them better make actual progress, while keeping inside the structure they have built for group effort. When you are used to running with wolves, understanding you are now part of a team of plow ox is really important if you want to get that field plowed, the seed sown, and your family fed.  Slow, steady, plodding progress gets the field plowed, the team safely and sustainably through the day.  It is not that demanding, and you can literally do it forever.

wolf-and-ox

 

It is hard when you have burned so very bright, to bank your fires to candle light, but that bright blaze burns out and falls to darkness in minutes, and your family needs your light through the long night ahead.

 

 

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Current events, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Courage and Honour

Once again there have been shootings in the United States that threaten to set the nation on fire.

Black-Lives-Matter-button We have black legal gun owners shot down by police in what is utterly indefensible circumstances.  Clearly there is a problem that exists beyond a single or a few isolated individuals, but one that requires a real good internal cultural change in many police departments.  This is a real problem, and requires real world, not politician sound byte, level solutions, and long term leadership on the police professional level to see through.

Blue Lives Matter  We have good and worthy officers gunned down at their post for the crime of being white officers doing their job.  This is the way to begin a war, not the way to get social change.  This is murder, this is not even revenge because these particular officers are good and worthy servants of the public, attacked simply for their uniform and race.  It is not revenge, it is not justice, it is a deliberate attempt to provoke further shedding of black blood by police.  This action is not just a single murder spree it is an attempt to make every cop more likely to react to armed blacks as a real and credible threat to life, to actually create more shootings.  This is Black Lives Matters ultimate goal?  To increase the number of people shot by police by teaching the police they are absolutely right to treat any armed black person as a real and imminent threat?  Wilful promotion of hatred, its a crime up here, but I guess its OK when BLM does it.

Courage and Honour

 

I am a white Canadian veteran, looking at the insanity that is gripping the nation that is the closest to my own both geographically, and in our hearts.  I have seen two shootings of black legal gun owners, apparently shot for being armed and black.  I have seen five police officers gunned down while doing their duty to protect protesters and the public by doing riot duty, which I have done, and I really can’t say I met anyone who enjoyed.

 

I say this to you now.   Courage and Honour.

 

I say this first as a blessing to those who put on the uniform every goddamned day, and go out and do a job that largely consists of seeing people on the single worst day of their lives, but this is every hour of your day, every day.  I salute your courage, and acknowledge that you have acted, and will continue to act with honour although few will bother acknowledging this.

 

I say this to those who see a systematic abuse of their people by those who are charged with their defense.  Yes, I say to those who are holding the police responsible where they are not following their own training or use of force procedures when dealing with the black community.  You are acting with honour to demand the rights of all citizens be observed, have the courage to do what is right, not what is easiest.

 

Now the gloves come off, and I will tell you what no one has apparently wanted to hear for quite some time.  USA is pretty close to not meaning United States of America, it is pretty close to meaning Unbelievably Syria Again.

That is right.  You are working on turning your nation into a third world bombed out shithole like Syria, and you are doing it because as a nation you are systematically choosing to embrace your guns rather than growing the fuck up and dealing with each other.

To the police, I know some fine men and women in uniform, serving with honour all the citizens of their land.  You know me, and I know you.  Now let us speak the truth here.  I served in uniform and well do I love my service, but I know my brothers and sisters, warts and all.  Let us speak the truth here, not every person wearing the badge and uniform you do is brave enough to deserve it.

 

To walk as a keeper of the peace is to walk a line.  You carry the tools and training of a killer, for you wield the power to take life in the name of the state. Your symbol is not the sword though, it is the shield.  You are the shield of the state, the defender of the folk.  You walk bearing armour and arms for a reason.  The shield of the state is expected and required to be brave, and sometimes to risk the blows of others rather than use deadly force where it might not be justified.

 

I have read our own troops being criticized for taking fire in the streets as we rolled through in convoy and not responding.  Choosing to continue through and dismount, working our way back through town seeking the shooters, unwilling to exchange fire without a clear target and viable sightline.  Sometimes you take fire without returning it because your job is not to shoot up the cities but to engage hostiles and eliminate them as threats.  It requires more courage to hold your fire until you have a clear understanding of the situation, and a confirmed target, than it does to simply pump rounds downrange and let the gods sort out the breakage.

 

To the police I charge you  twice.  First have courage, courage to be sure that you are under attack before you reach for force, as once violence is chosen by one side, all other options are gone from both.  Secondly, remember your honour.  The honour of your badge and your uniform, of your service and your state is not just in your hands but those of your brothers and sisters.  If they are not living up to those standards it is you, and not the media, you and not the legal system, who I expect to defend the honour of your service by CLEANING YOUR OWN DAMNED HOUSE.  You know there are those treating their badge like a hunting license, using their position to harass those they look down on, and who look at every single citizen who is not wearing the same uniform as enemy.

That is not good enough.  If that is the way you look at those you are sworn to protect, take off the badge before you foul it further.  You got lost somewhere, and until you remember why you took up service, you serve best by walking away.

 

To the “Black Lives Matter” protesters.  You are responsible for so much violence, so much hatred, you are not part of the problem, oh no you are a brand new problem all together.  You want to see what a civil war looks like?  Go enlist and serve in one.  Go see what third world shitholes look like when people who couldn’t decide their issues with words turned to guns and shattered the lives of millions of normal people just trying to get by.

 

Have the courage to own your own shit.  You are angry?  Suck it up buttercup.  That is not a license for violence.  You are determined to start a war.  You don’t have a clue what the high cost of your rhetoric is, but I do.  Soldiers clean up the messes of speech makers, protesters, slogan chanting morons whose feelings are more important than the consequences of their actions.   Have the courage to look in the mirror and own what you see, understand that when you provoke a confrontation, all the blood that follows is on your hands.

 

Honour: Remember yours.  To those who cry out for justice, have the honour to stick to that demand and I will join your call.  Choose instead to seek vengeance, and you have become a threat,  a danger whose true cost will be far higher than you can guess, and far more terrible than you will ever bother to accept.

 

The United States used to have a motto, E  Pluribus Unum.  From many come one.  In the 1950’s, you decided to change the words on your bills to “In God We Trust”.  Well the god that your founding fathers fought so hard to keep out of the government of the Union they forged is not about tolerance, accommodation, or reason.  It is no coincidence that since that time the “us/them” thinking has been the constant of the United States.

 

Canada is racially and culturally diverse, we frequently don’t get along.  Our police are not shining examples of virtue all the time either, but we are not one match away from civil war.  You people are.

 

Black lives matter, but the movement is a mad dog running in the street biting everyone it sees.  I see Black Lives Matters protesters blocking the Gay Pride Parade demanding the police be barred from having floats.  Wow, such an amazing grasp of intolerance, you really have identified the best way to make it clear that what you mean is “ONLY BLACK LIVES MATTER”.

 

Blue lives mater.  The police have a job I do not envy, as do Fire and EMT who likewise are doing their best to serve and protect all communities, but with a growing awareness that some calls may not be people in distress, but invitations to ambush.    Blue lives matter, they really do, but part of why they matter is that good cops work damned hard to make sure that their brothers and sisters in uniform do the job for which they took the oath, serving and protecting the public, not preying on it.

 

I look to the south, to my friends and neighbors.  I say to you; courage and honour.  You were once a great people, a land made great by the sons and daughters of every corner of the world united in a vision of freedom and opportunity.  You are still that people, though you know it not.  E pluribus unum.  From many peoples come one.  Or follow the Syrian path, the Yugoslav path, the Lebanese path, and turn your nation into a warzone, where the hand of every man is raised against the other, and children fear to walk the streets without armed escort.
Choose wisely, but understand, it takes two sides to make a compromise, and only one to wage a war.

US_and_Canadian_flag

 

 

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Asatru, Heathen, Heathentry, Uncategorized

Pills, crutches, and bullshit

Stigma

I am a judgemental bastard. I don’t judge you by race, by religion, sexual orientation or gender, but I do judge each and every one of you, and have never pretended otherwise.

 

I judge you by your deeds, and how they match what I see as your duty. Lots of you do really poorly by this standard. Some of you do really well. What makes me laugh long, hard and long, is the number of surprises on both lists.

 

Success is the measure by which a shallow society judges. Our society is deeply flawed, and many of its attributes are counter to its survival requirements. I am not a society, and reserve the right to judge otherwise.

 

Those who think yourselves success because you have won, or have achieved what you want. Some of you I will hail, and some of you I wouldn’t waste good quality spit upon. Sadly, too few will recognize which side of that line they fall on.

 
Those of you who think yourselves failures because of what you have lost are not looking into any eyes but the haunted ones staring back at you from the mirror, look at me if you dare.  Some of you are failures because you have turned your back upon what is important.  If you dare to recognize this you are not yet lost.  Some of you think are failures because you gave your all where you duty was owed and it was not enough.

 
Look at me.  Look me right in the eyes and here this.  That is loss, not failure.  You stood where your duty was, held true to those who were owed your loyalty and gave all the strength that you had.  Wyrd weaves as it will, and it is yours only to determine if and how you will fight, not if you will win.  The gods themselves march towards their doom out of duty and loyalty.  If they cannot command victory, why should we, their bannermen and women, be expected to do better.

 

I have seen the shaming that comes from those coping.  I have seen people mocked for using medication to allow them to function.  Those who battle with mental illness or chronic medical conditions are often faced with a choice; to take up the tools and weapons that they have access to and perhaps succeed, or to stay “pure” and fail.  Those who depend on you, your spouses, your children, they are owed your every effort, not your every “pure” effort, not your every wholesome and all natural effort, they are owed your best.

I do not take drugs for my chronic pain.  This is made necessary by the fact that those drugs given to a nearly three hundred pounds of veteran and former competitive marital artist with a whole lot of really, really ugly memories and triggers kept under rigid controls, make me a real and imminent threat to all of those under my protection, should I take those medications.  I do not stay off the drugs because I am better than other people, I stay off the drugs because I can’t afford to take them.  DO NOT READ THIS AS A STATEMENT OF POSITION ON THE USE OF MEDICATION.  To say I can’t take pain or spasm medication without serious risk is a description of one of my physical limitations, like the fact that I must kneel while others would squat, if I wish to bear weight or exert force.  It is just a limitation I must work around, and not a policy statement.

 

Men and women come into this world innocent.  That is not a moral position, that is moral ignorance.  It is cute in babies, and unforgivable in adults.  There are a whole lot of people out there doing battle every single day just to get up, deal with the physical and mental problems that life has burdened them with.  When you pass each other on the stairs, and you smile at each other, do you see their burdens?  I do.  I can’t stop seeing them.  A true picture of that person you are mocking for taking drugs to keep their condition to a point where they can control it and function at a high enough level to know both economic and relationship success would have the two of you together running on the track, you in running gear, them with a full infantry pack upon their back.  Yes, you run the same track, but no, you cannot possibly compare your journey around that track as being the same, or mock them if they need heavy boots to support their ankles, where you do not.  You have no idea the cost the burden brings with it, and no idea what is required to make it possible to get up under that load and dare to achieve.

 

  1. The lame rides a horse, | the handless is herdsman,

The deaf in battle is bold;

The blind man is better | than one that is burned,

No good can come of a corpse.

 

The Havamal recognizes this truth, as our ancestors recognized this truth.  Life isn’t fair, and it isn’t over if you still live.  I will not say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, because it is sophistry.  Scars do not make us strong, but to bear a scar, you must have survived.  Those who bear many scars have survived much, and that took strength.  It didn’t actually provide you any strength, it cost much, and may have taught you how much you have to give, but understand each and every scar, the visible and the invisible cost.
We look at PTSD and our veterans and we want to make either saints or demons out of them.  They bear a huge weight in scars, have survived much that you either couldn’t’ understand, or bear similar scars enough not to have to ask, because you already know.  Each of those scars had a cost, some were less than the power gained from the lessons recovery taught them, some were more.  None were free.  Few indeed are visible, but all are there.  The fact is the bulk of the veterans are passing you on the stairs with a smile, because they are used to marching with the rucksack on their back, and simply accept its weight as normal.  On days when their strength is lower, they may not be able to rise with it either, but the odds are they will never let you see that in their face.

 

We reward the lucky people, and shame the ones whose burden was more than they can bear.  As a society, we do lots of stupid shit.  I try to do better than that.  Sometimes I even succeed.

 

All of you who struggle every day to get out of bed and face the day, and your demons, because you have things to do, and people depending on you, that is the definition of winner, the process by which worth is build in your community, and found within yourself.  You are worthy, and I see it.

People speak of medication, or therapy, or faith as crutches.  I hate to tell you this, I can’t count the number of times I needed crutches because my legs were unable to support me, and it was use a crutch or don’t walk.  If you are walking with a crutch when you don’t need it, then you are being less than you could be.  If you are walking with a crutch, because you need it, then all praise to you for bearing the burden and choosing to get up and walk anyway.

Crutch

I don’t care what colour you are, what religion if any that you practice.  I don’t care whether you love boys or girls, or both together.  I can and will judge you on how you bear your burdens, on how you honour your obligations.  I may not even like you personally, but if I see you bearing your burdens, whether you bitch about it or not, and meeting your obligations with honour, I will respect you for it.

I will be a judgmental bastard until they burn my corpse, and possibly after.  I judge you by what I see from you, and so many of you who judge yourselves have no idea how much you shine in my eyes, and how the things that you think make you ugly are instead to me beacons of your courage and your worth.

Odin Picture

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