Monthly archives "December 2015"

The Word and the World

There is generally a sense of anticipation as we enter a New Year.   As a football fan we have opportunity to see the finest the college game has to offer with the Final Four playing this afternoon and evening.  This has taken some of the luster off the New Year’s Day games but those contests also show promise.  But even when we get to the Final Two and one champion these games are not the ultimate as they will be played again next year.

This was brought home to a guard for the Dallas Cowboys named John Wilbur who played for their Super Bowl Champion teams in the early 1970’s.  Finding himself still feeling empty as a world champion, he went to a psychiatrist who told him his problem was spiritual.  There in the doctor’s office John Wilbur knelt for prayer and became a follower of Jesus Christ.  He found his fulfillment, not in the world, even the world of a Super Bowl Champion and part of America’s Team, but in the Word of God and His Team.

The Year of our Lord 2016 is an important one as we elect a President.  I believe God raised us up as a Second Chosen People who have been going the way of the First Chosen–away from the Word and to the World.   This has been especially true since January 20, 2009.  But God is still in charge–not political leaders who come and go.  At the same time, when Judah had a Godly King to work with the true Prophets, there was more harmony and protection in the land.  That is true of our nation as well.  A believer in the White House helps set a tone for spiritual renewal.  A worldly leader destroys.

I would suggest two verses to take with us in the year ahead.   They both come from II Chronicles.  The first is familiar to many of us–II Chronicles 7:14:  “If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray. . .I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  This is a call to believers (God’s People)–to you and me.  The world is not going to turn to God but we who are in His Word need to do so–possibly like never before.

The second verse is found in II Chronicles 16:9:  “The eyes of the Lord range to and fro over the entire horizon to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”  I want to be fully committed to God and have Him strong for me and for our nation.  Don’t you?  Like Judah needed a Godly King 3000 years ago we need a Godly President elected in 2016–a leader in whom God shows Himself strong and whose heart is fully committed to Him.

Two such people come to mind.  One is Ted Cruz and the other is Carly Fiorina.   Both have been bold in their witness for Jesus Christ.   This does not mean they do not make errors and fall short.  Of course they do as do all of us.  But they do know where to go for a fresh cleansing and for renewal as we do.  There are other such leaders as well.  But they are all on the Republican side which is a Party that has sought to maintain some form of basic morality.

Let us go into the Year of our Lord 2016 mindful that “God has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in the robes of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10)  And let us put on the whole armor of God as recorded in Ephesians 6:10-18 to “fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.”

Let us make II Chronicles 7:14 and 16:9 some of our theme versus for the important year ahead.  May we be in the Word.  “Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may return;  renew our days as of old.”  (Lamentations 5:21)   Dear Lord, may it be so–even beginning this very day!!!

Eutychus

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama, Tortured Genius

Leif Bobkin and Jocko Willnik are former Navy SEAL officers and co-authors of Extreme Ownership:  How Navy SEALS Lead and Win.  They write in The Washington Times that the “tortured genius” is the worst type of leader.  They do not mean an artist like Van Gogh who suffered from inspired hysteria.   Rather they are describing someone who, no matter how obvious the failing or how fair and valid the criticism, accepts no blame and denies all responsibility.  In the mind of such a leader mere mortals simply cannot appreciate the “genius” in what they do.

In reality this type of leader lives in denial, rationalizes actions and refuses to alter a failed strategy for a winning one.  The real danger of such a person is that maintaining the illusion that they are right is more important than success.  Most of us have known a tortured genius and realize they are a detriment to the performance of any team and chief obstacle to victory.  Sometimes such a leader is helped along by a Chris Matthews who feels a “thrill up his leg” anytime the candidate speaks or a Margaret Carlson who says we just cannot keep up with the “genius” (she does not add tortured) of the man.

Over the past few weeks the entire world has witnessed President Obama’s rationalizing his failure to lead the fight against the Islamic State known as ISIS.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, Obama insists his strategy to defeat ISIS is working.  Thus, the terrorist attacks in Paris where 130 civilians were murdered was merely a “setback.”  Normally a staunch ally of the President, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, declared him wrong:  ISIS is “not contained.”  Never has “tortured genius” Barack Obama admitted that he underestimated the terrorist organization by calling them the “J.V. Team.”

In the California murders of 14 by a radical Islamic couple, even Obama had to reluctantly admit this was terrorism.  But from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii he still plans to bring in Syrian refugees that cannot be vetted and who may well include terrorists.   And he is not adjusting his plans for ISIS in terms of a limited air campaign for containment.  When he was asked how he could claim ISIS to be contained when they are clearly expanding, Obama was annoyed that anyone would question the genius of his plan or its effectiveness.

He maintains this has “always been a multi-year project”–not a war or even a conflict, a project.  But ISIS has made it clear they are at war with us, with all Western Civilization, and anyone in the Islamic world who opposes them.  Even one time supporters in his own Party know what is lost on the President:  We are at war and containment will not defeat ISIS nor will airpower alone.  The horrific terrorist attacks in Paris testify to this as does the carnage in CA as will importing potential terrorists from Syria under the guise of refugees.  Even Democrat governors are standing against this for the sake of their own citizens.  What is “tortured genius” Obama’s answer to San Bernardino?  Why, more gun control, of course.

At the end of the day, the only meaningful measure of a leader is whether his strategy succeeds or fails.  Obama is failing the nation and the world with a strategy that will not defeat or even contain ISIS.  United States military personnel in Iraq are working tirelessly to hammer ISIS within the constraints placed upon them.  Former SEALS Babin and Willink make clear those restraints include the impossible goal of zero civilian casualties.  They emphasize that we do not need to re-invade Iraq as Obama wrongly insists is the only alternative to his failed strategy.  Rather we must admit what we are doing is not working and give the military the resources and support and the authority to execute a winning strategy.  Under bold leadership with determination to accomplish the mission, we can and will win.

When the Nazis conquered France and with the rest of Europe in their hands, they turned to bombing England who stood alone.  By then the British had turned to a true genius, Winston Churchill, to lead them.  We were not yet in the war in Europe but Churchill came to Washington to speak with FDR.  He asked him for aid including ships and other resources that became part of Lend-Lease.   Churchill said to Roosevelt, “Give us the resources and we will stand against the Nazis.”  We gave them the resources and Hitler’s loss of planes became horrific.  Prime Minister Churchill with his gift for words said of the Royal Air Force, “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”  When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and we declared war on Japan, Germany declared war on us.   And Churchill said, “We just won the war.”   Exactly right but neither Britain nor the United States were led by tortured genius.

Unfortunately for the current generation living in the United States, France, Western Europe and for millions of people suffering in the Middle East under ISIS murderers, America has a “tortured genius” in the White House.   His term cannot end soon enough.  And for the sake of the freedom loving everywhere, let us make sure we do not elect his like again.  The world cannot afford it and neither can we.

Eutychus

An American Hero

George T. (Joe) Sakato, 94, died on December 2, 2015, almost 74 years to the day after Pearl Harbor.  A Japanese-American he enlisted on Pearl Harbor at age 20 to fight for his nation.  He won the Medal of Honor for charging up a mountain deep in the Vosges Mountains of France after the Germans killed a friend in his unit.  In the process of “trying to kill the S.O.B. who took the life of my friend,” he took out 12 Germans Rambo style and his unit took the hill.  His Medal of Honor was too long delayed as Sakato did not receive it until 2000.  Typical of the modesty of the man, he said, “I wear this not for myself but for the real heroes who did not come home.”

The Japanese-American units who fought in Europe are the most decorated forces of WWII.  In my home town in CO, Willy Kiyota won enough medals to fill his chest.  And Japanese-Americans remain hard working, industrious citizens to this day.

What was Democrat darling Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s response to these Americans if they lived along the Pacific Coast after Pearl Harbor?   He imprisoned them, took their land and denied them basic Constitutional rights.  Can you imagine what would be said of him still today if FDR had been a Republican?   Congress and the Press would not have stopped hounding and condemning him and hanging this injustice around the necks of the GOP.  But FDR was a Democrat.

To walk lightly, Donald Trump is not an elegant speaker.  He says things that get the attention and condemnation of the Press.  But in light of FDR’s actions against Japanese-Americans, was Donald Trump’s proposal of banning Muslim immigration for now really so far out?  These Muslims are not Americans so they have no real rights here.  In light of an incompetent President whose team cannot even look at Social Media to discover that a woman coming into the country plans to kill Americans in San Bernadino, is Trump’s proposal to be rejected out of hand?

One morning the young new president of a bank made an appointment with his predecessor to seek some advice.  He began, “As you well know, sir, I lack the qualifications that you already have for this job.  You have been very successful as president of this bank.  Would you be kind enough to tell me some of the insights you have gained from your years here that have been keys to your success?”

The older man looked at him and replied:  “Two words, young man:  Good decisions.”

The young man responded, “Thank you very much, but how does one come to know which is the good decision?”

“One word, young man: “Experience.”

“But how does one get experience?”

“Two words, young man:  Bad decisions.”

We Americans made a bad decision in electing Jimmy Carter as President in 1976 and turning Gerald Ford out of Office.  But we learned from that experience and elected Ronald Reagan to two very successful terms beginning in 1980.

We Americans made a bad decision in electing Barack Obama in 2008 and a worse one in re-electing him in 2012.  He is a weak and very dangerous President.  Indeed his weakness and incompetence puts us in danger in these trying days that cry out for leadership.   Obama’s Press Conference on Friday as he flew out of town for Christmas in Hawaii demonstrates his sorry nature.  He actually took a victory lap celebrating his being a successful President.   Let us add delusional to our description of Obama as weak.

Let us make a good decision in 2016 by electing a conservative leader like Ted Cruz or Carly Fiorina or the more Establishment Marco Rubio or the very tough Chris Christie.  Let us not repeat bad decisions by electing Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama’s third term.  We cannot afford such a mistake again.   The very survival of our nation depends on the 2016 Election.

One Party hides their few debates on a Saturday night during the heart of the Christmas and College Football Bowl season so that few will watch.   The Donkeys know that Hillary Clinton is a sorry candidate but she is all they have.  And Hillary herself hides from the public and appears only in controlled environments.  She is a poor candidate with a scandal ridden past and most likely the same kind of future.  The other Party has many debates in prime time allowing the public to see their talent, their differences, and their vision for our future.

How do we gain success?  Good decisions.  How do we make good decisions?   Experience.  How do we gain experience?   Bad decisions.  Having made many bad decisions in recent years, let us learn from that and make a good decision in 2016.  Like Joe Sakato and Willy Kiyota let us charge up the hill for freedom and for our children. Restore us to thyself, O Lord, that we may be renewed.  Amen!

Eutychus

A New World War

The European States fought very long wars in the Middle Ages.  The Hundred Years War saw the most powerful nations in Europe–England and France–square off from 1337-1453.  Like the Korean War there was not a formal treaty but rather an uneasy truce between exhausted foes.

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was between Catholic and Protestant States throughout Europe.  It ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 with diplomatic solutions and rules of engagement which have been followed to one degree or another between nations through WWII and The Cold War.

We are now in a world evolving rapidly away from the nearly 375 years of a system of International Law ushered in by the Treaty of Westphalia.  Radical Islam has done that and we are crippled in response by an Administration that refuses to face reality (our last post dealt with a President who lives in Fantasy Land) or even call the enemy by its real name–Islamic Terrorists.  Even an attack on the home land in San Bernadino, CA does not shake Barack Obama’s stubbornness on this point.

I appeal again as I did in my last post to Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and a man with a first rate intellect and wisdom that goes far beyond that of Washington, D.C. elites.  He asks us to consider the challenges to the old intellectual order going back to The Treaty of Westphalia.  I sprinkle thoughts of my own through these 14 but the outline and main thrust comes from Mr. Newt.

  1.  We are in a long war which could be another 100 Year War if not more–as was the first 100 Year War.
  2.  We must not hide from uncomfortable facts that cripple our ability to develop an effective national security and foreign policy.
  3.  There are technological attacks on the horizon which could take out our electrical grids, cyber war and other insidious plans by the enemy beyond our current thinking.
  4. The Chinese are on the march, even as we weaken our military, with plans to control the South China Sea.  They recognize the weakness of our current Administration and are taking full advantage as evil always does.
  5. Russia is re-emerging as a predatory state even as Mitt Romney predicted in the 2012 campaign.  Obama scoffed at this and Hillary pushed the re-set button with Russia.  She did not know that re-set to Putin meant seeking to re-set the old Soviet Union.  Heaven spare us another Clinton Administration.
  6. At he end of the Cold War and a 70 year effort to contain the spread of nuclear weapons North Korea and Iran are preparing or have such weapons they are almost certain to use in the future.  There needs be serious talk about nuclear arming Japan in the face of North Korea and China.  It will not happen under Obama who seems hell-bent to allow Iran this capacity.
  7. We cannot let military responses be governed by lawyers and the efforts of the Left to turn war into criminal justice.  And we must cease treating ISIS with disdain that calls them the J.V. team which allows Obama to demand little of himself and nothing of us.
  8. Elites in Europe and America refuse to recognize that we are in a Long War or to deal honestly and effectively with the Islamic Supremacists who seek to destroy our civilization.  The Paris attack last month may have awakened France and Britain.  They seem to have had little effect on our stubborn President who responded with a Climate Summit in France.  Even the attack in CA led only to a call for more gun control.  Even Hillary Clinton has had to adjust her campaign to this new reality and to begin to distance herself from Obama’s failed policies.  She is running for President.  He is not.  This will be interesting to watch.
  9. The Long War will last a hundred years or more unless we shake ourselves out of our lethargy and recognize that we face Islamists as well as Chinese and Russian threats.  What do hear from Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry:  “This will not stand.”  Oh yes it will unless we act and communicate the dangers to the American people many of whom are already aware of it.
  10. Islamic Supremacism is a virus that will spread until our political elites understand how badly we are losing and how much we must rethink our current strategies and activities.  In reality these elites need be pushed aside to make room for a Ted or a Marco or a Carly or a combination thereof.  Hopefully one of them will make former U.N. Ambassador, John Bolton, their Secretary of Defense, State or number one adviser on foreign policy out of the White House.  He understands and is clear in word and thought.
  11. Because the Islamic terrorists are a virus that is spread through the internet and social media, a response requires international relationships with domestic and foreign capabilities.  We can learn from our response to the Nazis and their 5th columns in the United States and the Soviets as they penetrated our government after WWII.  While the threat is different in the age of the internet some of the principles of striking back remain the same.
  12. This conflict is unavoidable if we are to survive as a free nation.  They are at war with us whether we wish to be at war or not.  Paris proved once again that ignoring our enemies does not mean they will ignore us.  In fact, it tends to create space for them to become more lethal.
  13. The sheer complexity of the threats and the speed with which any problem can erupt requires a new approach to monitoring the enemy.  The Army has a new doctrinal manual “Win in a Complex World” is an important step in the right direction.
  14. Rethinking national strategy on this scale will require serious people (such as we now lack in the White House) to engage in serious argument about the best responses.  This is a good thing as out of such argument has emerged how to fight WWI, WWII and the Cold War–all of which we won.  We need such argument and fine tuning as we seek a grand strategy for the 21st century.  We will not get such argument in a White House that calls ISIS the J.V. Team or who says ISIS is contained just before the Paris attacks.

Begin talking about these things with friends.  Our people are smart but poorly led right now as we were before the Civil War under men like James Buchanan who did nothing in the face of a national threat.  Thank God he was followed by Abraham Lincoln.   We were poorly led by Jimmy Carter as we entered the 1980’s but then, again thank God, there was Ronald Reagan.   We are as poorly led now as we have ever been.  But we are a nation founded on God’s Word and I do not believe He has given up on us.  We have a way of coming through at the 11th hour.  Dear God, may we do so again with a leader such as those above for the 21st century.  We trust and believe such a leader is on the horizon.  Give us wisdom to recognize your leader for this time.

Read, study and pray in these days.  You might wish to sign up for gingrichproductions.com for the finest in cutting edge thinking from a very prophetic mind.  Newt Gingrich, after some rough years that challenged his moral compass, appears to have returned to faith and family.   Our daughter ushered the night he came to her Ave Maria Law School in Naples, FL to address the community and the school.  She was able to meet him.

I also recommend the book Exceptional, Why The World Needs A Powerful America by Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney.  It inspires us as we look at how our land has led the world in the past, a realistic view of where we are (not unlike Newt Gingrich’s views above) and the hope of where we can be again under the right leadership that we pray for above.  It would make a good Christmas gift for a family member or friend.  There may still be signed copies available for a donation to the Republican National Committee.

It helps to ever know that evil will not prevail as it has already been defeated at the Cross.  But it has not given up and will be with us until the Lord returns and puts evil under His feet.  Until then let us watch and pray and act for good under His Banner.

Eutychus

A President in Fantasy Land

A President in Fantasy Land was former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich’s, description of Barack Obama this week.  He also authored a column for The Washington Times:  “The Paris Delusion.”

Newt Gingrich is a brilliant man who led The Contract With America in 1994 as the GOP took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.  It was called a “Sweep The House Strategy.”  Mr. Newt holds a PhD in history from Tulane University and is a most insightful leader whose thinking is far ahead of most.

In “The Paris Delusion” he writes that just days after 130 people were killed in Paris and hundreds more wounded, world leaders converged on Paris to hear Barack Obama say, “The most urgent challenge facing our planet is Climate Change.”  Gingrich goes on to say that there is something obscene about a President painting an apocalyptic vision of villages under water, abandoned cities and fields that no longer grow, just miles from where real carnage occurred.

Further, the President will not even employ the words Islamic Terrorists and says the Climate Change Summit is a rebuke to the violence ISIS perpetrated.  Hard to think that the radicals are cowering in fear over that summit as they would if we had a strong President who would hit back with arms and a real bombing campaign.

Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry seem to believe that a computer model that guesses global temperatures 100 years from now is more important than the images of real people suffering real wounds and death at the hands of a worldwide threat that is growing in strength and numbers.  Newt Gingrich, Steve Hayes, Charles Krauthammer and others say this is Fantasyland and where Obama lives rather than in reality.

It does not seem to matter to Obama, Kerry and the rest of the Global Warming crowd that the climate threat has not materialized.  It is certainly true that we want to protect the environment but to make policy on computer models when the real threat is ISIS and other radical Moslem groups is absurd and dangerous.  A sanctimonious summit  does not address the global threat we face from violent extremists.  Indeed, we saw them strike us in CA last week.

This is how Mr. Newt closes his piece on The Paris Delusion:  “One thing is certain about the Paris climate summit. . . . . . .nothing that happens there will effect the climate.  Wishes don’t power the global economy;  fossil fuels do.  All of which makes President Obama’s trip there, a city struck by terrorists, a profane distraction from the threats we face, by a President trying harder and harder to hide from reality.”

Four years ago this month my wife and I took a Caribbean Cruise for political conservatives and had occasion to visit with a gifted young writer for Commentary Magazine and formerly for The Weekly Standard.  He is stationed in Washington, D.C.  I asked him if Barack Obama is as smart as the mainstream (or lame stream if one prefers) Press claims him to be.  I have not forgotten his answer:  “In my view Barack Obama is more stubborn than smart.”

This is the danger of a stubborn leader living in a world he has created rather than in reality.  And that reality is that there are dangers all about us and Climate Change is not one of those.  Join me in praying daily for strong and smart leadership at every level in 2016 and a President who can begin to lead us back to reality.  A great nation and freedom loving people world-wide depend upon it.

Eutychus