Monthly archives "August 2016"

Seventy-one Years Ago

On August 6, 1945 the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  The blast killed 80,000 people and reduced the city to rubble.  Tokyo remained silent about surrender so President Harry Truman ordered a second A-Bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki three days later with results almost as devastating.  The Japanese act of surrender occurred on September 2, 1945.

There is an untold story about the development of the atomic bomb which is shared in a book by Richard Cook, a Tennessean, and relayed by Wesley Pruden, editor emeritus of The Washington Times.  One morning in the winter of 1942 (with the war not going well for the U.S.) President Roosevelt summoned Sen. Kenneth McKellar to the White House.

The President explained that he had to hide a billion dollars in the budget for a super-secret defense plant.  “Kenneth, as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, can you do that?”  The old Senator  said,  “Of course, I can.  And where in Tennessee are we going locate this facility?”  It was placed in a remote valley of the Clinch River 25 miles west of Knoxville.

A town was built there deep in Appalachia which was named Oak Ridge as it had a bucolic sound with the hope that few would notice.  But the community grew to 75,000 as women from crossroad villages were sought to move there from Tennessee and Kentucky and Alabama and Georgia and the Carolinas.  Most of them were barely out of high school but the men were gone to war by then.

This was a region without many jobs and suddenly there was work to be done but war work in top secret.  With the Depression wolf still at the door, the young women lit out for the Volunteer State.  The women could not keep notes nor have cameras.   In the hills and valleys of the Tennessee mountains these ladies were pioneers in working with uranium.

It has not been an easy story to tell for two reasons.  The Manhattan Project was top secret and some of it is still classified.  Many of the original sources are now gone and, as noted, they could keep no notes.  Second, in our politically correct ad nauseum age, the Left finds Atomic Weapons to be appalling.

But because of these women of Appalachia, sisters  of Rosie the Riveter and Wendy the Welder,  millions of Japanese and American lives were saved.  One of those may have been my father, a World War II marine.  And we still speak English.

This is an important story that needs to be told.  Especially in this day of political deceit and the laughing at American ideals.  Thank you, ladies!


God’s Book of Experiential Faith

My wife and I have been reading the Bible through this year as the books appear in Scripture.  Sometimes we read it through according to chronology.  Right now we are in the Psalms.

The name Psalms if from a Greek term denoting “music on a stringed instrument.”  This is Israel’s collection of hymns of praise and worship and is for Christians as well.  Indeed, only the book of Isaiah is quoted more often in the New Testament than are the Psalms.  The Psalms reflect the whole range of human emotions from deepest despair to the highest expressions of praise and worship.   Thus, the Book of Psalms has been called the inspired record of experiential religion.  This Old Testament book has inspired more hymns and spiritual songs than any other book of the Bible.

The evidence indicates that the Book of Psalms was composed by a number of writers over a long period of time.  In this sense, the book is like a modern hymnal by many authors, written at different times.  Since David had such a genuine interest in establishing worship and began the liturgical use of some of the Psalms, it is reasonable to associate the early collections with him as King of Israel.  (I Chron. 15-16)  Singing of songs in the House of the Lord also was introduced by David.  (I Chron. 6:31)  And reference was already being made to “the prayers of David.”

Ezra may have been the final editor of the book in approximately 440 B.C.  This means the Psalms were collected across 550 years from around 1000 B.C. (the time of David) to the time of Ezra.  One Psalm assigns Moses as author which means the first composition may have been around 1400 B.C. as internal evidence suggests the Old Testament was written over a thousand year period between 1400 and 400 B.C.

There are 73 Psalms ascribed to David, Israel’s great warrior King who was also a poet and musician, 12 to Asaph, 10 to the sons of Korah (these two names probably refer to guilds or choirs of temple singers), two to Solomon, and Psalm 90 to Moses with 49 being anonymous.   David is called “Israel’s singer of songs” in 2 Samuel 23:1, and described as skilled on the harp in I Samuel 16:16-18. He is referred to as the model poet-musician in Amos 6:5.

Ten of the Psalms (2,18,20,21,45,72,101, 110,132, and 144) are called Royal Psalms as they deal with the spiritual role of kings in the worship of God.  Dr. Samuel Schultz, Old Testament professor at Wheaton College, believed it likely that Kings Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah and others contributed toward the arrangement and extended use of the Psalms in subsequent centuries.

Psalm 144 is sometimes called the War Psalm as it deals with preparing for battle against treacherous enemies with a prayer for victory.  The Psalmist hails the Lord as his strength, his goodness, his fortress, his high tower, his deliverer, his shield, the object of his trust and the One who gives him the loyalty of the people.  These are the natural expressions of one accustomed to warfare in a rocky and mountainous land.  He attributes his military skills to the instruction of the Lord.  Although intended quite literally, these ideas have applications to the Christian’s warfare.  (II Cor. 10:3-5; Ephes. 6:10-17)

What might this mean to us today?  We have had godly leaders like these kings in the Psalms who set the right spiritual tone for our nation.   George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan come to mind.  Right now we do not have that and we are faltering as a nation because of it.  This can lead to fear.  One of my favorite verses in the Psalms is 34:4:  “I sought the Lord and He heard me;  He delivered me from all my fears.”   God remains the same and is our Source of strength, our fortress and our high tower come what may.

Feeling down and discouraged and that we are all facing danger?   That is common right now.  Turn to Psalms such as 34:19, 55:22, 91 and 121.  In the Psalms we find joy for life and inspiration for the worship of God.  He is still in charge and in God we have hope for these days and always.  Evil will not ultimately prevail.  This too will pass.  The last verse of the last Psalm is a good place to conclude:  “Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)




An Addendum

Sixteen hours ago I posted on the betrayal of the Left of the inner-cities.  As part of that I noted Satan as the father of lies.  Later on August 18 the State Department admitted that we paid ransom to Iran for American hostages.

Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky.  Barack Obama lied about the ransom.  Hillary Clinton lied about her private e-mail server.

Have we not had enough Democrat liars in the White House?  VOTE TRUMP!


The Left’s Betrayal of Our Inner Cities.

C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963, the same day of the JFK assassination.  Thus, his death was not noted as it otherwise would have been.  I have at times wondered about the scene when the leader of the Free World and the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th century stood before God on the same date.

I long for a sensible Democrat leader like John Kennedy again.  He was really quite conservative by the standards of the Far Left Democrat Party of today.  Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar as William Safire noted in 1993.  So is her husband, Bill, but he at least brings a charm to his stories.  His wife looks mean even when she smiles as her eyes blaze.

I would share a few quotes from C.S. Lewis as a way of illuminating our day.  In Is Theology Poetry? Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun rises;  not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

In The Joyful Christian he wrote:  “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in;  aim at earth and you gain neither.”  Commenting on Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, Lewis said, “He (Satan) has become more a Lie than a Liar, a personified self-contradiction.”

Why does our nation find itself in such a state today?  I would suggest that too many of us, including our leaders, are aiming at earth with no thought of heaven and the long view and so we are gaining neither.  And Hillary Clinton and her Party are living a lie and seeking to perpetrate that on the nation.  They are Milton’s personified self-contradiction.  People sense this is not right whether they can identify the problem or not.  This is one of the reasons such an overwhelming number of Americans say the nation is on the wrong track.

What is that lie?  Principally it is the lie that government knows best and we should accept that even at the loss of our freedom.  Communism imposed this and millions lived in tyranny until a real leader, Ronald Reagan, who lived by light and broke the spirit and power of the Evil Empire.   He did not do this alone as his predecessors Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy also stood up to the Communist lies.   And Reagan’s contemporaries, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II (who had grown up under Communism) stood tall with a great American President.

One of the places we see the failure of the Left most markedly is in our inner-cities.  In The Speech for Barry Goldwater that Ronald Reagan delivered in October 1964 he asked if at some point we should not see positive results of the programs of the Left which were costing us billions (now trillions).  Instead we saw then and see now The Left leading to a “thousand years of darkness.”

Donald Trump did something similar in Milwaukee on Tuesday when he outlined the failure of Democrats in our cities.  He noted that Democrats have led most of our cities for 50 years and then asked Reagan’s question about results–have things improved for blacks and other people of color in the cities.  They are, in fact, worse as Democrats take the black vote for granted and then give them only misery in return.

Trump could have given this speech in Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, or most any other city where the Left has been in charge.  As the violence continues the anger grows.  The solutions one hears from the elites is gun control, body cameras, disarming the police and decriminalizing drugs.  These are inadequate and superficial.

Thankfully Donald Trump, like Ronald Reagan, has the help of another voice–Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. Sheriff Clark is a man of faith who offered a thoughtful analysis of what has led to frustration, anger and resentments that Americans in many poor communities feel.  Here is what he says causes riots:

“We have inescapable poverty in the city of Milwaukee. . .the sixth poorest city in America.  You have seen massive black unemployment.  I think it’s at 32%.  You have a failing K-12 public education system.  It’s one of the worst in the nation.  You have questionable lifestyle choices. . .All of these kids with no fathers around, father-absent homes. When fathers aren’t around to shape the behavior of young men, they oftentimes grow up to be unmanageable misfits.  Those are the ingredients.  Milwaukee has all of them.”  He added, “Stop trying to fix the police.  Fix the ghetto.”

Trump and Clarke both pointed to the fact that the government is doing all it can to weaken the Middle Class rather than strengthening it through training in skills that lead to a good job.  Part of the solution is good schools which can be found through vouchers and school choice, both of which are bitterly opposed by teachers’ unions.  And Washington bureaucrats are trying to kill successful job training and career education programs that help people learn these skills.

Is there a success story where a city turned to a Republican leader to solve these problems of crime and poverty and lack of opportunity in the inner-city?  Indeed there is!  Rudy Giuliani is often called “America’s mayor” and he cut the murder rate in New York City by 83%, improved the schools through a voucher and scholarship program (which the current, Far Left Mayor De Blasio is seeking to kill).  As the New York city under Giuliani became safer and education improved, new businesses and established chains moved into Harlem.

Rudy is backing Donald Trump as is Newt Gingrich.  The Republican nominee is better staying on message now and his poll numbers are improving.  Hillary is nowhere to be seen other than her negative ads.  It has been 3/4 of a year since she has held a Press Conference.  Her campaign is a bit like that of Thomas Dewey in 1948 who thought he would win by not appearing.  Meanwhile, his opponent, President Harry Truman, went on a Whistle Stop cross country campaign and won going away.  Dewey’s numbers were so good and Truman’s so bad that pollsters stopped checking the pulse of the country.  The Chicago Tribune famously published the very premature headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Which do you want in this campaign?   More darkness and lies and failure?  Do you want to aim for earth and gain nothing or do you want to take the longer view and gain a real future for our children and grandchildren?   Do you want light and truth or darkness and lies?  Do you want Milton’s Satan of personified self-contradiction? I hope not.

I appeal to C.S. Lewis once again in closing.  In Christian Reflections he wrote, “Where, except in the present, can the eternal be met.”  Now is the moment to decide.  I plan to follow Light as best I can.  Please join me in that.


The Condition of America

There are several men I admire who represent solid thinking both as Democrats and Republicans.  We met Matthew Continetti on a Weekly Standard cruise in 2011.  He wrote the book The Persecution of Sarah Palin in 2009 and signed it for us on board on December 4, 2011.  Our daughter met Newt Gingrich on the campus of her law school, Ave Maria, in Naples, FL in March 2010.  My wife and I heard George Will speak at the University of IL, Champaign (where George Will was born in May 1941) in March of 1995.  George Will had great respect for Daniel Patrick Moynihan who died in 2003.  Moynihan served with four Presidents:  Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Continetti has an article in the August 15 edition of The Weekly Standard titled “The ‘Condition of America’ Question.”  It deals with our lack of economic production which has disrupted so many middle class lives through the loss of jobs under Barack Obama and the lack of advancement in the middle class before that. He notes Daniel Patrick Moynihan in this piece who called for “Burkean liberalism” that embraced parts of The New Deal while rejecting the overreach of The Great Society.

In fact, Moynihan left the Administration of Lyndon Johnson as he told the President that his Great Society was going to ruin the black family just beginning to make strides with the Civil Rights legislation.  Why?  Because Johnson’s policies would replace the father with government subsidies.  Today 74% of children in the black community are born to single mothers.  Daniel Patrick Moynihan is part of a dying breed–a sensible Democrat who served the nation in WWII, was a strong anti-Communist in the John Kennedy mold and who opposed the radical social policies of LBJ and who would be aghast at Barack Obama.  He was human in that he backed Hillary Clinton for his Senate seat from New York when he retired in 2000 proving that a smart man can be unwise.

Today those liberal policies are hollowing out the middle class and college graduates finish with a mountain of debt and cannot find meaningful work to pay off their loans.  Newt Gingrich addresses this in his weekly on-line piece of August 4, “Rebuilding the Middle Class One Family at a Time.”  He notes that there are 6 million jobs in this country going unfilled as businesses cannot find workers with the skills to fill them.  Gingrich lauds the Republican platform for calling for education on-line and on the job to educate people to fill these jobs.  The GOP program does not require a brick and mortar university for training which leads only to more student debt.

On the other hand, the Democrats call for more taxes on businesses and corporations which cripples their efforts to grow and offer employment for the middle class and students who hope to enter that class.  This is why so many college graduates are living at their parents’ home without work or hope.  Newt goes on to call for the election of Donald Trump as a man who knows how to create jobs with a Republican platform to back those efforts.

Yuval Levin, a brilliant young conservative journalist, has a book titled The Fractured Republic.  He fears that America is coming apart.  This harkens back to Thomas Carlyle who wrote in 1839 about the distinction between the “standard of living question,” and the “standard of England question.”  The first is answered by economic data;  the second is more elusive for it deals with social mores and culture and is always a bit more amorphous.

Unfortunately our country is now suffering both economically and culturally.  Things may not be as hellish as Donald Trump painted at the GOP convention but neither are they as tranquil as that portrayed by Barack Obama at the Democrat convention.  The social bonds are thin at present and people trust neither one another nor their government institutions in a corroded culture.

What to do?  First, let us not elect a leader who promises more of the acid of the Obama Administration.  I do not have total confidence in Donald Trump, but as Rudy Giuliani says, “We know Hillary is a failure.  Let us try someone different.”  Not exactly a ringing endorsement but Rudy has also been high in his praise of Trump.  Second, let us try the training of which Newt Gingrich is speaking and for which the GOP platform calls–practical education in the trades and skills that are more than academic.

Third, and most basic, let us return to faith in God and the values upon which we were founded, namely that we are “endowed by our Creator” with unique gifts for service.  Let us look again at II Chronicles 7:14 :  “If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves before Me. . .I. . .will heal their land.”  I have quoted some very smart men here but their wisdom pales before that of God Almighty.  He never fails and never lets us down.  Can you think of another that meets that description?  Neither can I.


Donald Trump’s Path to Victory

James Madison wrote in Federalist #10:  “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”  Such has been the case with the Obama Presidency and the Hillary Clinton State Department.  Dr. Thomas Sowell, brilliant economist and black conservative writer said in a recent piece that he cannot make a positive case for Donald Trump but neither can he vote for Hillary Clinton.  But he does not want to stay home on election day either.  He closes his essay with, “No one said being a citizen is easy.”

Dr. Stephen Hayward (a man my wife and I met three winters ago on the University of CO campus when he was conservative in residence in Boulder) suggests this may be a year to vote down ballot in Congressional elections but to leave the Presidential box unchecked.  He takes off on Betroit Brecht lines from the Viet Nam War, “What if they gave a war and no one came.  Then war will come to you.”  Hayward suggests, “What if they held an election and no one voted.”

Hayward wrote the excellent 2 volume set, The Age of Reagan, and is the author of the conservative blog, Powerline.  Gifted as he is, I think this option is untenable.  I suspect he thinks so also.

I prefer the approach of conservative icon and former Presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan of improving Donald Trump as a candidate.  In Trump, P.J.B. has the candidate he tried to be–a conservative tied to populism.

Pat says that Donald should learn from Martin Luther King who said,”Keep your eye on the prize,” and remember that Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate in history.

In her first act as Secretary of State she decided to have a private server in her home.  Because she broke the rules and compromised American security, 56% of Americans think she should have been indicted.  Make her the issue, not yourself by needlessly focusing on Khizer Khan who lost his son in war.

Hillary is a compulsive liar who claimed that as First Lady she and Chelsea landed under fire at an airfield in the Balkans.   In fact, there are photos of a little girl handing her flowers as she stepped off the plane.  No First Family is going to land under sniper fire and have to dodge and run to safety.  Ms. Clinton did not either.

She was a cheer leader for the  liberation of Libya which led to Benghazi and a lawless country and the death of four American heroes.  President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton lied to the grieving families to cover their own errors and lack of action.  This was a squalid effort by leaders without honor and brought shame to their offices.

Twenty years ago New York Times columnist, William Safire, called the then First Lady a “compulsive liar.”  Donald Trump should ask the country for a judgement as to whether her subsequent career has disproven or validated Safire’s claims.

The GOP nominee needs make the case against Hillary but also for himself.  P.J.B. then moves to the case Trump needs make for himself.  Stay with securing the Southern Border with a wall that illegal immigrants cannot simply pour in and take American jobs.

Then promise to scrap the Obama/Clinton Tax and Trade policies that bleed us of our manufacturing power.  If you are old enough to remember the 60’s you know it as a time when there were jobs for most anyone who wanted one.  I have worked in two different factories–one in CO and the other in IL.  The Sugar Factory in CO is now closed and Gates Rubber is reduced to a shell with few workers in the massive, modern plant in Galesburg, IL.  Let Americanism replace globalism as the philosophy which under girds our economy.

Ask voters if they want Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court or another Anton Scalia.

Let “America First” guide our foreign policy as well.  Tell allies (as other American leaders have with no teeth in the words) that they must contribute to their security rather than relying on our troops.  This time mean it whatever your critics say about NATO.

Adopt the peace through strength of Ronald Reagan who said, “I negotiate with our enemies but I negotiate from a position of strength.”  Let voters know that America’s era of endless wars is concluding.

Hillary will continue policies that led to our present unacceptable position.  I will make changes unseen since Ronald Reagan rode in from the West.   And mean it.