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Make America (Spiritually) Great Again

americasspiritualcondition

Against all opposition, the Trump administration is generating major headway in making America great again. Even his critics have to admit we are getting stronger economically, militarily, and industrially. Sadly, though, our nation is not strengthening in the most important area–spiritually.

Since the spiritual upheaval of the 1960’s, the divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, violent crime has quadrupled, babies born out of wedlock has risen six-fold, and couples living together out of wedlock has increased seven-fold. America now has the highest percentage of single-parent families in the industrialized world, the highest abortion rate, the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases, the highest rate of teenage births, the highest rate of teenage drug use, and the largest prison population per capita than any country in the world. Gay marriage, unbiblical and unthinkable a few decades ago, is now legal. Even in the American church, the sexual sins and scandals of more and more leaders are being exposed. The percentage of Americans who follow Bible-based values for living has dropped from 65 percent to 4 percent since World War II.

There has never been a society in the history of mankind whose moral values have deteriorated so dramatically in a half-century. And the deterioration is exponential spiraling downward at its highest rate just in the last few years. These statistics should convince Americans that something is terribly wrong with our spiritual health.

Most Americans lament this moral degradation, but blame the liberalism in government, the failure of the churches, the enticement of the entertainment industry, and even the news media. These are all contributors to our depraved spiritual condition, but making America spiritually great again can only be a reality when we all look to ourselves for the answer. Children will only reverse the dive in biblical values and principles if parents are intentional in instilling them. Instead of so much pressure toward sports, school studies, and social acceptance, parents should pray with their children, accompany them to church, and teach them absolute truths of the Bible.

Of course, before parents can have legitimate spiritual impact on their children or anyone, they must be grounded in their own faith. This has to start with absolute assurance of one’s relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe their chances of going to heaven are excellent. Thirty-three percent believe one day everyone will go to heaven. Yet, only 33 to 45 percent claim to be born-again Christians–the ones who will spend eternity with God according to the Bible.

The only way to make America spiritually great again is to draw a circle around one’s self and first make absolutely certain the person in that circle is right with God. Then, extend that circle to the family and ensure everyone in the circle is led to become a follower of Christ. This includes involvement in the local church–God’s only provision of a venue for living out His purpose.

If you are not sure whether you are ready and qualified to fulfill your role in making America spiritually great again for this and the next generation, I invite you to visit https://terrythompson.org/eternity. There you will find the fundamental first steps to a life of purpose according to the One who created you. Please invite others to this website page.

(Note: The statistics in this post are mostly from https://charismamag.com.)

 

Russia Still Our Greatest Threat

Russian Rocket

With so much of our recent attention focused on Iran, North Korea, and China, America has essentially taken its eyes off Russia, the greatest threat to our survival. I pointed this out in my op-ed published in the Washington Times last week. My article follows:

We Americans largely consider our homeland safe from the threat of foreign attack. For the majority of us, this secure feeling is a relatively recent development. Everyone over 30 has lived some or most of his or her life as a victim of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. I grew up with frequent “duck and cover” drills in school where we dived under our desks in practice for a potential atomic bomb attack. Some families built bomb shelters in their back yards. Russia deployed the first intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7, in 1959. The subsequent nuclear arms race inflicted constant stress on the people of the western world and those behind the iron curtain. My 24-year Air Force career focused on deterring the USSR from annihilating my country.

The US and our allies ultimately won that four-decade world war when we outspent and outlasted the Soviets with vast numbers of nuclear warheads and missiles. The hammer and sickle flag over the Soviet Union was retired permanently on Christmas Day, 1991. Since then, Russia has been relegated to nuisance nation status throughout most of the world. The average American today still worries about Iran, North Korea, and China, but doesn’t lose much sleep over Russia. Many believe that our Cold War adversary wouldn’t dare challenge us. And even if they did, we assume our military would be able to protect us. However, a new study from Princeton University revealed just how tragically misguided that assessment is.

Tensions between the two nations are increasing as both are squaring off yet again over nuclear proliferation. According to Princeton, Russia remains a dire threat to America. Over the past two years, the study concludes, a nuclear war between the US and Russia has become “dramatically” more plausible. If escalated to the point of no return, a nuclear conflict would absolutely devastate the United States. Within the first few hours alone, the study estimates 34 million people would perish.

Since Russia has become increasingly volatile as of late, we must rethink our strategy. On September 17, 2019, Russia joined with China to conduct large-scale military exercises. This is a move experts believe is meant to convey the nation’s growing military influence as well as an anti-western, anti-American sentiment.

Additionally, Russia’s increasing aggression and willingness to defend its strategic interests with force certainly make the country America’s foremost national security threat. The question is: what can we do about it?

First, we must not underestimate the threat. Russia maintains the largest nuclear stockpile in the world and is no longer the fragmented entity it was following the collapse of the Soviet Union. General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained that Russia has closely studied American military strategy and is in the process of developing the technology and tactics to counteract our inherent military advantages. According to Dunford, Russia is advancing in the capability to target and destroy our satellites in space—and it’s unlikely they’ll stop there. Russia is seeking every opportunity to capitalize on our military weaknesses. It stands to reason, then, that America should be looking to plug each hole before it can be exploited. One huge strategic deficiency is our reliance on Russia for an essential national security tool: rockets.

Currently, the US is wholly dependent on Russian rocket engines to transport cargo and conduct critical national security-related missions to and from space. Russia’s RD-180 rocket engine remains the US Air Force’s preeminent propulsion system—a reality that leaves our country extremely vulnerable. By continuing to use the RD-180 engine without any viable domestic alternatives, America is essentially acquiescing control of its space program to Vladimir Putin. Furthermore, American astronauts must hitch a ride on Russian space vehicles to go to and from the International Space Station. Given the growing tension between the two nations, this dependency cannot be allowed to continue.

Fortunately, the Trump administration is moving forward with a plan to solve this crisis. The National Security Space Launch program, or NSSL, is an initiative established specifically to eliminate our nation’s dependence on Russia’s rockets. Under the program, the Air Force is scheduled to contract two domestic launch providers to create reliable alternatives to the RD-180. If the program continues on schedule, the US will phase out the RD-180 rocket engine by 2022 and seamlessly integrate our domestic replacement.

That is, however, a big “if.” As is always the case in Washington, partisan politics threatens to take its toll on America’s national security interests. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives has threatened to derail the NSSL program by saddling it with unnecessary modifications and new requirements that will delay the program. the Pentagon has stood fast in opposition to changes to the NSSL, knowing that any delays from Congress could be catastrophic for national security.

The US must end its reliance on RD-180 rockets. Likewise, we must analyze other vulnerabilities within our armed forces and prevent Russia’s exploitation of them. Failure to view Russia as our greatest national security threat risks our preeminence on the world stage and, more critically, our very survival.

Transcript of the President’s Ukrainian Call

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Terry Thompson note: This is the entire transcript of the much-hyped call between President Trump and President Zelensky. Note that it is from staff notes and not precisely verbatim as are transcripts from all White House calls. I encourage you to read every word and decide for yourself whether President Trump said anything inappropriate, let alone worthy of impeachment.

UNCLASSIFIED

Declassified by order of the President
September 24, 2019

MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

SUBJECT: Telephone Conversation with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

PARTICIPANTS: President Zelenskyy of Ukraine

Notetakers: The White House Situation·Room

DATE, TIME July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT
AND PLACE: Residence

The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all watched from the United States and you did a terrific job. The way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’s a fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr. President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections and yes it is true that these were unique elections. We were in a unique situation that we were able to achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following; the first time, you called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can talk over the phone more often.

The President: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your country is very happy about that.

President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to have a new format and a new type of government. You are a great teacher for us and in that.

The President: Well it’s very nice of you to say that. I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy: Yes you are absolutely right. Not only 100%, but actually 100% and I can tell you the following; I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out that even though logically, the European Union should be our biggest partner but technically the United States is a much bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for Ukraine. Much more than the European Union, especially when we are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it, if that’s possible.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything. Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also have quite a few Ukrainian friends that live in the United States. Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower. I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future. I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington, C.C. On the other hand, I also want to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation. As to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that is very important for Ukraine is energy independence. I believe we can be very successful and cooperating on energy independence with United States. We are already working on cooperation. We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting. We will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support.

The President: Good. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be very happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and get to know you better. I am looking forward to our meeting and I would also like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September 1 we will be in Poland and we can meet in Poland hopefully. After that, it might be a very good idea for you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better than mine.

The President: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think we are going to be there at that time.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.

The President: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye.

Republican: Party for Black Voters

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No, the title is not a mistake. With 95 percent of African-American voters aligned with the Democratic Party, Republicans can’t claim to be the party OF that demographic. However, without question, The GOP is the party FOR black voters. Throughout history, and more so today, black voters’ preference for the Democratic Party is difficult to comprehend. Let’s take a hard look at which party is really working for black Americans.

African Americans know the Republican Party was founded in 1854 by Abraham Lincoln and other opponents of the expansion of slavery. The party was birthed by opposition to slavery. It was Lincoln’s Democrat successor, Andrew Johnson, who vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and strongly resisted the 14th Amendment which ensured equal rights and protection of all blacks in America. Subsequently, Republican president Ulysses S. Grant implemented the dismantling of the KKK and protected black voting rights. Conversely, the next Democratic president, Grover Cleveland, won the office in 1892 by campaigning against civil rights of black Americans. Democrat president Woodrow Wilson declared that segregation was a “benefit” to the nation. Although Democrat FDR’s New Deal was a net positive for African Americans, black laborers were explicitly excluded from receiving benefits from Social Security and protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It was Republican President Eisenhower who implemented and enforced the elimination of segregation among federal employees. He also ordered the National Guard to protect black students during the integration of public schools. Democratic president Kennedy publicly advocated civil rights, but his actions were inconsistent in deference to his party’s base. Lyndon Johnson was the first Democratic president to actually make significant strides in African-American civil rights. However, a nation-wide backlash led by Alabama’s Democratic governor George Wallace was unsuccessful only as a result of the coalitions LBJ built with Republican legislators. Even though civil rights support waned somewhat within the Nixon and Reagan administrations due to the unrest of the 60’s, governor Romney and other Republican leaders relentlessly championed affirmative action, fair housing, and civil rights as the Republican tradition. For decades, Democrats have taken the black vote for granted and gerrymandered prolifically in order to create small districts of black majority voters with virtually no black influence in most others.

It would seem that this rich century-and-a-half history of Republican support for African Americans has been largely ignored in favor of the long-standing Democratic assurances of big-government assistance programs and overly protective policies. These programs and policies have created disincentives for career progression of people of color. Such Democratic actions are aimed at those seemingly trapped in the lower socioeconomic levels. Unfortunately, this system is a continuous cycle of generational economic stagnation. While blacks make up 12 percent of Americans, they represent only 5 percent of the nation’s wealth. Most have limited access to credit for starting a business and seldom rise to social networks that enhance mobility. Meanwhile, whites receive 76 percent of all merit-based scholarships and grant funding that provide well-paying careers. Statistically, blacks earn only 60 cents for every dollar that whites earn. Blatant discrimination can only account for a small part of this inequality. The injustice comes primarily from over-dependence on government assistance and under-utilization of economic opportunity.

President Obama made little, if any, advancement in the status of African Americans in the nation’s economic system. Apparently, being the first black president didn’t override the institutionalized Democratic proclivity for government assistance programs taking precedence over economic growth that enhances the lives of all people.

If we are to ever have the opportunity to free minorities from the history of socioeconomic disadvantage, the time is now. And, once again, it can be the Republican party that champions the advancement of African Americans. In just less than three years, President Trump has done more to elevate the status of all minorities than any other president in the last several decades. With unemployment for black Americans at a historic low, many economists believe Trump has been better for blacks than any other president including Obama. However, Democrats in Congress are maintaining a rocky relationship with the president largely because they don’t want the president and Republicans in general to win over the black vote.

The Republican party platform will never abandon free market capitalism for artificial protectionism such as endless affirmative action and forced diversity. But the party will consistently protect opportunity for minorities to compete fairly and equitably. The best employment environment for minorities is one where business is prospering, and all employees are benefiting from it.

Although, there is much improvement yet to be gained for most black Americans, the Republican party is determined to uphold its tradition of support. In 2016, black voters continued their allegiance to the Democratic Party with only 16 percent of them voting for Trump as they discounted Republican promises to raise the quality of life for their race. Now that the president has essentially made good on his promises of bettering their economic opportunities, it would benefit them to support his reelection and continue the advancement of all Americans, but proportionally greater for African Americans. Black America has a critical choice in this next general election–vote Republican and continue the breakout from institutionalized dependency or vote Democratic and return to the status quo.

Choose for Yourselves This Day…

ContemplativeMan

Until recently, I lived in a society, a culture, a nation that thrived on diversity, respect, and appreciation. But I really don’t recognize the current state of the union. America is divided more than we have ever been since the Civil War. We are at a critical juncture where each citizen must decide on where he or she stands. No one can have it both ways. We must choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve.

After the hard-fought acquisition of the promised land of Israel by God’s chosen people, their leader, Joshua, made a profound proclamation. He charged the holy nation to, “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, …but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Now in our day, God has given us Americans the greatest nation in the history of mankind. Its formation and development have been nothing short of miraculous. Its victories, bought by the blood of thousands of brave men and women, were phenomenal and won only with the hand of God.

We are now experiencing a civil-war-like divide as a movement across the nation seeks to aggressively oppose our heritage, our morals, and our freedoms. It is a movement driven by external influences and void of godly perspective. The loudest and most persuasive voices of this movement are those who aspire to the objectives of foreign religions and and governments. They are bent on making America what it has never been and was never meant to be. They want to change almost everything that made us the great nation God intended.

America has persevered through many divisive issues since its founding–the level of independence, geographic expansion, geographic separation, dependence on slavery, financial crisis, social change, and other challenges that could have torn us apart. Instead, we came together to preserve a mutual way of life more important than our individual positions. However, today, we face a different challenge that is arguably the worst yet.

Seemingly, half of our nation is siding with a domestic force that will, if successful, lead us away from almost every influence that has made ours the greatest country on earth. America is being pulled toward socialism, atheism, relativism, and globalism. Who could have imagined that one of our main two political parties would be embracing the government-centric, socialist philosophy. Who would have thought that over half of Americans who no longer consider themselves religious have excluded prayer from public entities, supported abortions, outlawed crosses, and coddled foreign gods. Who ever thought that our law enforcement and courts would be focused more on situational ethics than on biblical principles. Who foresaw the day that much of America would be kowtowing to the United Nations and advocating unlimited immigration.

Unlike other times in our history, I do not believe saner minds will prevail in our present divide. Those who would take us further from our foundational beliefs and principles will not relent. We are in an era when our conversation, our financial support, our prayers, and our votes must reflect the faith and objectives of our nation’s founders. We must not depend on compromise. We must now, “…choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 

The Single Answer to America’s Crisis

America is in crisis. Mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed 32 and injured 50. In the last ten days, 46 have died and 67 have been injured by crazed men with guns. Sixty-two have died similarly so far in 2019. Then there are the riots, the hate speech, the pouring water on policemen, the vulgar rhetoric, and the chaotic politics. Solutions abound with good intention, but are unworkable. But, there is one rather simple solution that is the sole answer to this crisis.

ElPasoshooting

Champions of gun control say it will resolve everything. Others believe more restrictive legislation will save us. Maybe if we could just eliminate poverty. Or, if America would finally do something about mental illness, these killers might not reach their breaking point.

I lowered my backyard flag to half-staff on Monday as ordered by the president in mourning for those who lost their lives to these deranged murderers. Every time I look at it, I consider I am mourning for America as well as for the victims. Too many American lives are being lost in mass shootings, crimes, IMG_1749 drugs, suicides, and abortions. It has become an epidemic. No amount of legislation, gun control, mental health policies, or economic enhancements will resolve this crisis, but one thing will. And, it involves little cost or effort on our part.

The answer is simply for all of America to return to God who made our country the greatest in the history of mankind. Because we were founded on faith in God, guided by His church and the Bible, and strengthened by worship and prayer, God has blessed us and favored us as a nation. This is blatantly obvious from a casual review of our history. However, about a half-century ago, we as a nation began to fall away from the power of God and depend on our own power. That started a decline of civility that has steepened with every passing year. We are now a nation in crisis having moved so far away from God that He has virtually left us to our own evil ways.

The good news is He has shown us in His Bible and through historical observation that He will always accept the repentance of a nation and will again return a nation to His favor and protection. That necessitates a return to a culture of faith. The Bible plainly gives us the answer. If My people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

What does this look like practically and on a national scale? It means moving from dependency on government to dependency on God. It means returning to a lifestyle of praying and meditating on scripture. It means getting back into church and worshiping, studying, ministering, and fellowshiping with others. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:25) It means reinstating prayer and Bible study in our public schools. It means making God part of our conversations, our news reports, our entertainment, our workplace, and our parenting.

Just this morning, I heard a news reporter say that there is not one action we can take to fix the crisis in our nation, but there are several partial solutions that we should pursue. I counter that there is in fact one action that would absolutely fix our crisis: A return to “one nation under God.” The same God who created our nation and nurtured it through two centuries desires to recover it now. It starts with each of us making a personal commitment to …choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. Joshua 24:15

Have Democrats Forgotten About American Workers?

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If you had asked Democrats a decade ago what the soul of their party was, most would have said the working class. They don’t say that anymore.

Liberals for years marketed themselves as advocates for the blue-collar worker with a high school education, a union job, and the American dream. Nowadays, the Left has become obsessed with the socialism movement of cultural Marxists and the destruction of capitalism. In essence, the Democrat Party has lost its soul to the radical fringes of its base. And nowhere else is this trend more clearly illustrated than the Democrats’ most recent attack on President Trump’s increased tariff imposition.

For a half-century, America has ignored a growing trade imbalance with almost every international trading partner. Since the 1970’s the US has seen imports trending higher compared to exports except for small trade surpluses in 1998 to 2001. In 2018, our nation’s exports were valued at $2.5 trillion while our imports were valued at over $3.1 trillion, a deficit of over $600 billion. That equates to 3% of our GDP.

Over $400 billion of that deficit is from our trade with China, up from $34 billion in 1990. The bulk of the rest is from the Canada, Mexico, and the EU. Most of these nations’ businesses enjoy government subsidies and low labor costs. All of them levy substantial tariff taxes on most American goods and services while we levy much less or nothing on theirs. Thus, America’s appetite for cheaper foreign goods and services, although satisfying consumers, is taking jobs and higher wages from our workers. The great economy we are currently enjoying would be even more robust without the imbalance in tariffs.

While the Left has been more than happy to ostracize the American worker by ignoring tariffs, the Trump Administration has taken the opposite approach. The president has embraced workers in domestic commerce, defending our nation’s manufacturing from the corrosive policies of our international trade partners. As a professor of economics, I have long advocated free trade on a global scale. However, when other nations establish barriers to free trade, the US must respond in kind to remain competitive. Temporary declines in exports and imports due to our increased tariffs are a short-term price worth paying for an eventual level playing field that benefits both consumers and employees.

Here is one example. In 2018, the president approved relief for the U.S. appliance industry, specifically washing machines. After an independent investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) found that “US producers had been seriously injured by imports,” the president took action. He announced tariffs on foreign-produced washers to protect domestic manufacturers and, in effect, American workers.

Liberals were quick to try to delegitimize the president’s efforts to buttress America’s labor force. Last April, a trio of academics released a study attempting to demonstrate the economic harm caused by the president’s washer tariffs. Unfortunately for academia, the study was full of holes. The authors overlooked many glaring flaws to arrive at their preferred conclusion that the tariffs were harmful. Not only did the authors fail to consider the thousands of manufacturing jobs saved and created by the tariff, but they also failed to account for the more than 15,000 jobs indirectly supported by the president’s action.

President Trump’s administration is succeeding exactly where liberals have failed: in protecting America’s vulnerable blue-collar sector. While Democrats are increasingly content to advocate for socialist policies designed to attract the dependent segment of society, the president has shown his willingness to fight for the jobs of all Americans. It’s clear that Democrats in their push for social experimentation have forgotten about the American workers. Thankfully, President Trump hasn’t.

Where Were You Then (if over 50)?

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Fifty years ago this week, three brave men aided by the greatest country in the history of mankind were on their way to the greatest human accomplishment in the history of mankind. My question is where were you at that anxious moment when Neil Armstrong proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?” Here is my answer plus more interesting facts about this heroic event.

Coincidentally, on that Wednesday, July 16th, when the Apollo 11 crew of three blasted off, I was flying an Air Force training flight as a student at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. In the program to become an Air Force pilot, I was as excited about flying jets as the two Air Force pilots and one former Navy pilot were about landing on the moon. I actually remember feeling a kindred spirit with mission commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins. All three had once been where I was learning to master the challenge and joy of military flying that words can’t express.

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins lifted off at 9:32 EDT with the understanding that a thousand things could go wrong and with no guarantee of ever returning. Such a complex mission was not without extreme risk. We all learned two moon missions later just how easily things could turn south so unexpectedly when the Apollo 13 crew had to abort their mission due to an on-board explosion and almost didn’t make it back. Two years earlier, there had been the tragedy of the Apollo 1 crew who lost their lives in a prelaunch cabin fire. But this Wednesday, the adrenaline level of the three, knowing over 500 million people were watching, pushed fear aside. At 12:56 pm, in earth orbit, they separated from the Saturn Five booster rocket, rotated their command module (CM) “Columbia”, and docked nose-to-nose with their accompanying lunar excursion module (LEM), dubbed “Eagle” before departing earth’s orbit at 2:13 pm.

For about three days, they watched the moon grow in their windscreen as they sped toward it at speeds up to 25,000 miles per hour. Collins fired the burners to begin circling the moon on Saturday, July 19th at 1:21 pm. On Sunday morning, July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the LEM and tested all systems. At 3:08 pm, Aldrin fired the burners to separate the LEM from the CM and begin the decent. Thus far, this mission had been much like the two practice missions to the moon weeks earlier. But that was all about to change. This wasn’t a practice low approach in the LEM. This was real!

At 4:18 pm, Armstrong, having had to take manual control of the LEM due to unanticipated terrain issues and guidance computer failure, touched down with a cloud of moon dust on the moon plain called Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong generated a huge sigh of relief heard around the world with the words, “The Eagle has landed.” After about 6 1/2 hours of post-flight checks and well-deserved rest, Neil Armstrong donned his space suit and head gear, opened the LEM hatch, climbed down the ladder, and made that famous footprint as he voiced the proclamation almost everyone knows by memory. It was 10:56 pm on the east coast. Nineteen minutes later, Buzz Aldrin joined his history-making partner for a few minutes of exploration and photo ops. What a moment!

On Monday, July 21st, after about 21 hours on the moon’s surface, the two were back in the LEM, and Aldrin fired the launch rockets at 1:54 pm to blast themselves back into moon orbit. The rendezvous with a welcoming Collins was uneventful as he was more than ready to fly them back home. Splashdown was on Thursday, July 24th, at 12:50 pm 900 miles southwest of Hawaii. Mission accomplished! God bless America!

My wife and I drove from Enid to Oklahoma City on that Sunday to watch the incredible event with a couple who were dear college friends and classmates. I will never forget sitting in front of the TV, the four of us mesmerized by the minute-by-minute playing out of history. As I watched, I fantasized about becoming an astronaut. Maybe I would walk on the moon someday. Maybe mars! I must say this dream wouldn’t have been too far-fetched if America had kept up the momentum of space travel. I have been disappointed that our country has languished with the shuttle program.  Nevertheless, I still often relive in my mind that awesome July 20, 1969, when I was blessed to be part of the generation that put the first men on the moon.

Both Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are still alive and in relatively good health at age 89 and 88 respectively. All three crew members were born in 1930. Sadly, Neil Armstrong died in 2012.

Please reply with your whereabouts and any other pertinent information regarding your witness of the first moon landing. To my under-50 friends, sorry you missed it.

 

 

Work, Gift, or Theft?

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God created mankind with only three ways to personal gain: work for it, receive it as a gift, or steal it. The first two are moral; the third is immoral. Yet, American society has evolved over resent years toward sanctioning theft through our government programs. Let’s look from a biblical perspective at how our nation may be disregarding God’s economy.

The Bible has much to say about the virtue of labor and the sin of laziness. It also advocates generosity in giving. But it strongly warns against thievery. No scripture sums up these ideals more than Ephesians 4:28: He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Physical and mental exertion rewarded by money or in-kind return is the foundation of God’s economy. Most of this return is to be used for life’s necessities and reasonable pleasures. Then, part of that return is to be shared willingly with those who need it for living or for the general good of mankind. According to the Bible, at least ten percent of it is to be freely given to the Lord’s work through the church. Any part of personal gain given up forcibly or unwillingly to others is theft. That may be through direct stealing, fraud, or forced giving. Thieves receive their personal gain not by work or gift, but by taking from others against their will. Work, gift, or theft. There are no other categories of personal gain.

In a perfect world, all needs of those who cannot work would be supplied as a gift by those who are able according to biblical teaching. Because of our greed and insufficient love, Americans and other capitalist societies agree to collectively meet those needs through assistance programs funded by taxes. We who work contribute willingly to the needy through government programs for health care (e.g., Medicaid), basic necessities (e.g., welfare), etc. through a portion of our taxes. Our willingness to contribute this way is expressed by our voting for lawmakers who enact such wealth distribution laws and policies. In Socialist societies, the government controls all work and personal wealth and redistributes the wealth as they deem necessary.

For several decades, America’s provision for the needy by the will of the majority through government taxation has worked reasonably well. The problem in recent years is with the majority of our lawmakers who are not following the will of the voters in their distribution of wealth. When those in charge spend our taxes on others against our will as a whole, we are being robbed–plain and simple. Nearly 60% of Americans oppose making government-provided health insurance available to illegal immigrants, according to a CNN poll released last week. Yet, when 10 Democratic presidential candidates in their last debate were asked for a show of hands of those in favor of such government spending, all 10 hands went up. The same betrayal is evident with government funded abortions as Democrats rally to repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Americans are the most benevolent people on earth. They willingly allow their Congressional representative to distribute some of their tax money to those deemed deserving of it. Those representatives would do well to not steal that tax money for those whom the majority of taxpayers deem undeserving. As you observe what politicians are advocating in their campaigns, put them to the test. Are they proposing to gift or steal your tax dollars?

 

 

 

 

Moms for America Rally for Freedom

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If you are a mom or know a mom who is concerned about the rapid deterioration of America’s freedoms and values that must be preserved for our children and grandchildren, become familiar with Moms for America. They will hold a rally with Gold Star Wives and Mothers at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, July 4th. On behalf of the sons and daughters who have died for their country, the cry of these moms is, “We are not willing to sacrifice what they gave their lives for.” Let’s look at much more this organization is doing for the future of our children.

MFA is a national non-profit organization rooted in the principles of liberty and virtue upon which our nation was founded, and focused on promoting these principles in the home and family through the women and mothers of America. They are many faces in many places supporting and encouraging each other in the most important work they do–raising and nurturing the future of America. They are creating a national movement of moms to restore the republic, promote the principles of liberty, and reclaim their culture for truth, family, freedom and the U.S. Constitution.

Their “Declaration of Mothers” is as follows:

  • Our Rights come from God not government and the Constitution of the United States was created under the inspiration of Almighty God to secure our inherent rights and the liberty for all people.
  • We recognize the sacred role of mother as the heart of the home and home as the heart of society.
  • Mothers by their divine nature and intrinsic influence determine the future of a nation, mold its citizens, determine its institutions, and shape its destiny.
  • Parents are, first and foremost, the primary teachers and protectors of their children in a free society.
  • We affirm the self-evident truths that all men and women are created equal; endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights which include life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Freedom is a rare and prized possession which requires constant care and vigilance for its preservation. Each generation has a responsibility to instill a love of liberty and virtue in the hearts of the next generation.

MFA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Gold Star Mom, Karen Vaughn, in a recent national news interview said tKaren Vaughnhat one of her greatest concerns is the determined effort of our nation’s liberal leaders to embrace socialism. Socialism tickles of ears of the young, less mature Americans who don’t understand the consequences of its claims. Karen sees the critical role of moms in nurturing their children in the superiority of democracy and capitalism that made America great.

I believe mothers have been key to the direction of the history of all nations throughout civilization as they have shaped their sons and daughters for the next generation. Mothers of America will, in large measure, determine the principles and values of this nation’s next generation. President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Moms, go to https://momsforamerica.us, now and consider becoming a part of this worthy organization. Also, watch for news coverage of the Rally for Freedom event in Washington, D.C. on the Fourth of July.

 

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