Intermezzo Guest Blog: Dr. Victor Hanson on Biden’s Amerika

2021-02-15 Bidens AmerikaRazor wire and fences still surround the U.S. Capitol at sunrise. (Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

2021-02-15 Victor Davis HansonThe World Goes On While America Sleeps
Victor Davis Hanson /
/
Dr. Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.  You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@gmail.com
.

The Democrat-controlled Senate spends thousands of collective hours conducting an impeachment trial against a citizen who is no longer president.  The acquittal is predetermined, as in the first impeachment effort a year ago — and known to be so to the Democratic prosecutors.  The constitutionally mandated presiding judge — the chief justice of the Supreme Court — refused to show up.  Chief Justice John Roberts apparently believes an impeachment trial of a private citizen is either a waste of time or unconstitutional — or both.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is busy ferreting out purportedly extremist Republican House members.  For the first time in memory, one party now removes committee members of the other.  Yet for each Republican outlier, there is a corresponding Democratic firebrand member who has either called for violence or voiced anti-Semitic slurs — and yet will not be removed from House committees.  So the asymmetrical tit-for-tat continues.

The subtext to this madness is that the Democratic Congress, the new administration, the administrative state, and the political left are obsessed with dismembering the presidential corpse of now citizen Donald Trump.  Apparently they fear that one day he will rise from the infernal regions to wreak his revenge.  Meanwhile, life in America goes on.

Yet few of our leaders are very worried about the existential crises left unaddressed by their obsessions with the ghost of Trump.  Take the debt.  It is now nearly $28 trillion, and it is growing by almost $2 trillion a year.  No one in Washington talks about reducing the annual budget deficit.  Nor do officials find ways to balance the budget.  The idea of paying off the monstrous debt remains a fantasy.  Instead, our elected representatives argue over whether to borrow another $1 trillion, or more likely $2 trillion, without worry of where it comes from or how it will be repaid.

But money is not completely a construct.  We will eventually pay for our profligacy either with steeper taxes, higher inflation, 1970s-like stagflation, or permanent zero interest.  Or eventually America will renounce its debt and destroy the credibility of the U.S. government.  Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of dollars and countless hours of once-productive labor are diverted to unproductive ideological censorship, career canceling, and indoctrination.

Our allies, such as democratic France, warn America that it is cannibalizing itself — and becoming dangerous to others.  Our enemies, such as the totalitarian Chinese, are delighted with our suicidal wokeness.  The cost is not just the expense of cleaning up the billions of dollars of destruction from the summer riots, the thousands of memorials and statues destroyed and defaced, and the hundreds of schools and buildings to be renamed.

Far more consequential is the suppression of creative thinking — from humanistic study to scientific research.  The Islamic world, as the historian Bernard Lewis once observed, stagnated in the 19th and 20th centuries once radical Islamists began squelching all free inquiry.  Humanities and science were perverted from 1932 to 1945 in Germany by the pollution of Nazi racial censors.  What was written or advanced in communist Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union is largely discredited, given that commissar hacks determined the rules of publication and research.  Something similarly frightening is now occurring in the United States.

Scholars, journalists, artists, and educators feel they must mouth politically correct platitudes.  They constantly hedge their public discourse in fear of career cancellation.  They strain to synchronize their research with some approved woke ideology to save their livelihoods.  When professors must write “diversity statements” and hire, promote, and fire on the basis of race, the model is not the U.S. Constitution, but something out of contemporary China.

No one pays much attention that our capital is now weaponized with soldiers in camouflage and barbed wire.  Not since the Civil War has Washington resembled such a vast police state.  Ex-military officers who once warned Trump not to deploy federal troops to ensure the safety of the White House from Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators now are silent about a veritable army deployed in Washington.

President Joe Biden has signaled that all new pipeline construction is over.  Fracking on public lands is taboo.  The border is to become wide open.  Federal immigration law is now effectively nullified.  Americans may soon have to be tested for COVID-19 before flying into or out of the country.  But illegal immigrants will not be COVID-19-certified when — illegally — they cross the border.  Iran is bankrupt, isolated and roundly despised by most of the countries in the Middle East.  Now America is doing its best to resuscitate the most radical and anti-American regime in the world — at the expense of our allies in the Arab world, Israel, and America’s own interests.  While we are busy devouring each other, China is smiling because once-feared American capitalists have become laughable Keystone Cops.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com.

Intermezzo Guest Blog: Leninism 4.0

The Woke Movement is Leninism 4.0: Political Commentator Dr. James Lindsay
By Gary Du and Jan Jekielek

Dr. James Lindsay, an American-born author and political commentator, called the “woke” movement promoted by Black Lives Matter and other left-wing activists Leninism 4.0. Lindsay, author of six books on subjects ranging from religion, the philosophy of science, and postmodern theory, said he’s not a Trump fan or right-wing, but strives to uphold liberty.

“Now we have the attempt to apply Leninism to the American context, using corporations as part of the toolset, for example. And so we call this movement the ‘woke’ movement. We talked about woke capital with all the corporations … the woke movement is Leninism 4.0,” Lindsay told Jan Jekielek, host of The Epoch Times’ American Thoughts Leaders program on Jan. 13.

Lindsay explained that the first three versions or flavors of Leninism through Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, each tried to fix the problems from the previous version. The “woke” movement that has evolved today focuses on the issues of social and racial justice and has become a catchword used by Black Lives Matter activists on the streets.

Lindsay described the movement as “the idea is that you have some enlightened party of people who are probably part of what Marx would have identified as the bourgeoisie, who understand the problem of the proletariat better than the proletariat does and is going to shepherd them through the revolution that they need to have that’s for the greater good or in their best interest.”

For people on the left, being “woke” means siding with social justice advocates focused on contemporary political concerns, but for people on the right, it is often interpreted as an aspect of “political correctness” or “cancel culture.” Lindsay said he’s been studying “woke” culture and its historical and philosophical antecedents for a number of years.

“At present, what’s happening in the United States [is] we have ‘repressive tolerance’ at the end of a narrative, which is a significant difference [of] 4.0 versus 1.0. So we should point that out, at least for the moment, that the way that they are, you know, Lenin went around and killed dissidents, they are instead canceling dissidents here,” he said.

But he noted that there are some encouraging positive developments. “We’ve had attorneys general already file antitrust suits against these big tech companies. We’ve seen people pushing back in big legal ways that might have a significant impact to scare these big tech companies into rethinking the way that they’re operating,” Lindsay added.

The January 6th Incident
Lindsay said the people who broke into the Capitol building on January 6 might have had the “intention of some kind of insurrection,” but that video footage showed that they were “wandering around being interviewed by journalists” and did not have a plan of action. He doesn’t think President Donald Trump incited violence there and that the narrative that he did does not add up.

He warned against the “consensus view” built up on what happened at the Capitol and a “pseudo-reality” that misleads people. “Why is everything so fractured? Why is everything so polarized? We actually live in a world, at the moment, where we have two consensus views,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay also called out hypocrisy from the left as they try to get “sharp prison sentences threatened on these people [who broke into the Capitol]” and make them unemployable, even calling on Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to be removed from their offices. “You see Cori Bush calling for them to be removed and then we compare that to what we saw with Kamala Harris saying: here’s the link to bail people out of jail for the riots in June. We see Ocasia-Cortez saying repeatedly that the summer riots are necessary,” he said.

Lindsay offered advice to people who may feel confused about the current rapidly-changing narratives surrounding politics: “take a bit of a step back from the news. Try to regain your perspective. Try to regain your calm and then start asking questions. Be more skeptical. Start to perceive that maybe the thing you’re being shown is something that people want you to see rather than something that is actually happening.”

Note from c.a.: the Twitter link to one of the authors was here, but thanx to Twitter’s “cancel culture” attitude, I have left Twitter in the dust, and encourage everyone else to do so, unless there is a significant change of heart on Dorsey’s part. “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”  Benjamin Franklin

Intermezzo: So Sad. Is This What WE Have Become?

So sad. Is this what we have become?

Streets of Washington, D.C. on November 2, 2020

When Isaiah the prophet met The God Who Is Here he moaned in distress, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Notice he did not blame “the sinners” in his society. He did not blame “the protestors,” the idolaters, the child-killers, the ones many perceived as causing problems. He did not blame “the other side.”

He owned his people’s sin. He recognized his complicity and confessed, “I am the man unclean.” It is easiest to see the “others” at fault, and yes, their sin is evident. But Isaiah “saw the LORD” and realized he was as much to blame, because he saw “the other” as someone else. “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” (George W. Bush)

So watch the one minute video read the short article at the link (by the same title as the video), and pray, “Woe is me! For I am lost.” It is not that “they” are destroying “us.” It is what WE have become.

https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/11/02

https://capost2k.wordpress.com/commentary-by-virginia-allen/

Guest Blog: The Greatest American Battle Is Yet To Be Won!

by Dennis Prager, PragerU

2020-10-10 Race and Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity have defined every nation on earth except one: the United States of America.  This nation is defined by VALUES.  So to understand America, you have to understand American values.   They are:
1. E Pluribus Unum
2. Liberty
3. In God We Trust

2020-10-10 Amercian Values

I call this the American Trinity.  I made up the name, but I did not make up the values.  All three are on every American coin.

The first, E Pluribus Unum, is Latin meaning “Out of many, One.”  When first adopted as the American motto, shortly after the American founding in 1776, it referred to the thirteen American colonies becoming one nation.

Over time, however, most Americans understood the motto to mean “One people from many backgrounds.”  To quote the E Pluribus Unum Project funded by The National Endowment for the Humanities, “Over the years, ‘E Pluribus Unum’ has also served as a reminder of America’s bold attempt to make one unified nation of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs.”

In other words, America does not care about your national or ethnic origins.  This explains why people who immigrate to America assimilate faster and more fully than immigrants to any other country.  Most of those who immigrated to Europe from, for example, Turkey, as millions have, are not considered fully German by fellow Germans, or fully Swedish by fellow Swedes, or fully Spanish by fellow Spaniards.

This is even true of the children and grandchildren of those immigrants.  And just as important, few of those immigrants or their children or grandchildren will ever feel fully German or Swedish or Spanish.

However, a Turk who immigrates to the United States will be regarded as fully American as any other American the moment he or she becomes a US Citizen.   And they, and certainly their children, can feel fully American.  Of course, America has not always lived up to this “E Pluribus Unum” ideal, but the ideal was always there and it was applied to virtually every immigrant to the United States.

2020-10-10 LibertyThe second component of “my” American Trinity is Liberty.  Now, one could ask, “Did not the French revolution also enshrine Liberty as a central national value?  Was not its motto: ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’?”
And the answer is, Yes.

America is hardly the only country to enshrine Liberty!  However, it is the ONLY country to enshrine Liberty along with E Pluribus Unum and In God We Trust!   What is the difference?

The difference is this: The moment you affirm Equality the way the French revolution did, you will lose Liberty.  The basic American VALUE is that all human beings are born equal, and all must be treated equal before the Law.  But ending up equal is a French and European value!  If you want people to end up equal, you must deprive them of liberty, which is exactly what happened right after the French revolution!  This is also true in every other society that made Equality its national goal.

America gives people the liberty to end up where ever their abilities, work ethic and fortunate opportunities take them; meaning UNequal outcomes!   Therefore, professional athletes will make more money than teachers or doctors.  That may be unfortunate but that is what Liberty allows! 

A nation that wants equal outcomes will tell people how much they are allowed to earn, and that means the end of Liberty.

Our third VALUE is “In God We Trust.”  Unlike almost every other country, the United States never had a State Religion.  But it was founded on the principle that God, specifically the God of the Jewish and Christian Bible, is the source of moral values.

As our Declaration of Independence phrased it, “All [people] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  In other words, rights come from God, not from humans.  If rights are given by humans, humans can take them away!

This American Trinity, as I have named it, is the reason the United States became the world’s freest and most prosperous country.  Many Americans want to, in the words of former president Barack Obama, “fundamentally transform it.”  They wish to replace American values with European values including equality of outcomes and an ever-expanding State (which will greatly reduce individual freedom), a celebration of ethnic and racial identity (which is the opposite of E Pluribus Unum), and the removal of the Judeo-Christian God as the source of morality and rights.

Which set of values Americans adopt will determine whether America remains free, prosperous, and the force for good in the world that it has been.  With the exception of the Civil War, we are faced with the greatest internal battle in American history.

Dennis Prager, PragerU
https://www.prageru.com/playlist/civics/

Intermezzo: A Life That Is Valued

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”  Ecclesiastes 11:5

A Heart Starts Beating By Five Weeks

Can you imagine the headlines if scientists discovered one single living cell on another planet.  LIFE EXISTS OUT THERE!  So how is a “mass of cells” bearing the DNA of a mother and father not life just because “it” is dependent on the mother to stay alive?

One of the condemnations of Israel was the bloodshed of the innocent.  The result was Father allowed them to be overrun by the Babylonian kingdom.  A quick examination of the Old Testament prophets will reveal that the nation’s arrogance and lust for profit, the immorality that was justified by the leaders and the murder of children and innocent victims that was excused and even condoned as part of their worship brought God’s judgment.

In our generation we (at least some of us) abhor the killing of children (more about this in a minute), but if the child is still in the mother’s womb some do not even consider “it” a human yet.   In January, 2019 the NY State Senate passed a law allowing abortion “up to the moment of birth!”  The cheers are reminiscent of the loud drums that would drown out a dying infant’s cries in the worship of Molech.

In the 1960’s we began “dehumanizing” unborn babies, first by calling them “fetuses.”  Pro-abortionists claim that even at 36 weeks (!!!) the baby is just a mass of cells, part of the woman’s body that she can dispose of like she would a offensive mole.  Compare a real medical picture with a papaya!

When people are presented with the facts, they often change their minds and reject the killing of preborn children.
Live Action has produced tasteful animated videos with two main goals in mind:
1. Expose the brutal reality of what happens during an abortion, and,
2. Show the beautiful humanity of the preborn child.

The videos are compassionate and well done, not graphic or gory, but still represent the terrible things abortion does to a baby.  These Abortion Procedures – medically accurate animations depicting the reality of abortion – have prompted thousands of people to reject abortion, including pregnant women, who then chose life for their preborn son or daughter!

Here is the link to their website dedicated entirely to this video series: https://www.abortionprocedures.com/

And now there is even discussion going on about “post-birth” abortion in The BMJ’s Journal of Medical Ethics!  How can anyone not recognize this as infanticide, the premeditated murder of babies!?  Laws have been attempted in various states to ban the murder of “abortion survivors,” babies who live through an abortion procedure only to be tossed into the garbage.  Most of these have been overturned by judges who will someday give an account to the Life-Giver who loves every one of the children who died.  Dr. Anthony Levatino who narrates the videos has received denunciations of other medical professionals because he has changed from providing abortions to preventing them.

The biggest and most insidious lie the abortion industry, particularly Planned Parenthood, espouses is that abortions are done to save a woman’s life.  Abortion is never medically necessary under any circumstances.  The separation of a baby from his or her mother may be necessary, but that is a far cry from saying that the unborn baby must be killed to save the woman’s life.  Attempts should be made to save both.

Further, the racism and eugenics of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, has finally been acknowledged by the organization, in spite of articles claiming that she championed the health and well being of “undesirables” who would diminish the quality of society.  In a July, 2020 article in that conservative bastion (???), The Washington Post no less (!!), one of Planned Parenthood’s most prominent clinics announced the removal of her name.  “The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color. Margaret Sanger’s concerns and advocacy for reproductive health have been clearly documented, but so too has her racist legacy.”

In spite of its claim to be reforming and fighting racism, Planned Parenthood continues to house its clinics in predominantly minority  communities under the guise of providing “health care” to financially challenged groups.  According to Wellesley economist Phillip Levine, white births dipped only slightly after legalization of abortion while the nonwhite birthrate dropped by 15%.  Fifty years later, the abortion rate is still five times higher for black Americans than for whites.

Pray for our nation that we will turn away from the selfish view that owning a nice car or having a big house or enjoying a pleasant career is worth more than a baby’s life.  Pray that our leaders and representatives will set the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood on a path to elimination, that every life would be valued.

Guest Blog: New York Needs The Police

Well, stupid blocks on WordPress are not its only problem. This blog was scheduled on their calendar to go out on September 5 at 8am. No idea how WordPress screwed this up, but it is getting so frustrating, I may move my blog to another host.
_______________________________________________
I am not getting lazy (although some think I have been that way for a long time! 😉 ).
But I am just finding some folks saying some things better than I can, and some have better grounds for saying it. Such is the case with New York’s need for police. Welcome to a guest blog by BeautyBeyondBones, a courageous young woman who lives in NYC and is a Christ-follower.

Her story can be reiterated in a number of cities that have called for defunding police, maintaining the ignorant BLM line that they are the poor victims, all the while setting fires in their own cities and destroying what they are incapable of making. Such sad schmucks deserve our pity, not hatred. (See 2 Timothy 3:13 and Deuteronomy 11:16)
______________________________________________

New York Needs The Police

by beautybeyondbones, September 3, 2020
NYC is not safe anymore.
And it’s because the city desperately needs police presence.

I don’t have to tell you about society’s current tidal wave of hatred and detest towards our men and women in blue. Battle cries to “defund the police;” publicly canceling anyone who even considers that “blue lives matter.” There is a [sw]elling uprising against law and order, and while – sure, it may seem “woke” and a noble bandwagon to jump on, the fact of the matter is, there are serious consequences to alienating those who are there to protect and defend. And that is being seen in full scale in Manhattan, no matter how much the mainstream media may try to downplay it.

(And Mom and dad, I apologize ahead of time for the worry this post may ignite. Please know that I am being safe, taking precautions, and frankly . . . not doing anything stupid to get into a dangerous situation.)

My friends and I got back from Maine on Monday night at midnight. And the city was lights out. Dead. For a city that used to literally never sleep — where you could go out at any time, on any day, and see swaths of people milling around — it is alarming that Manhattan is so quiet. And why? Because half of New York has left, and those that have stayed behind are scared to go out past 10.

Outdoor restaurants close at 10 pm. Historically 24-hour CVS’s, bodegas, and diners — now all close at 10. Parks – which have never been gated up . . . now, locked with a chain and padlock at 10.

Why? Because it is no longer safe to be out after dark.

Perhaps you may be thinking I’m overreacting. Sure . . . just a typical overdramatic millennial who’s extra skiddish because she’s a young woman who lives alone. Please. I have never once felt scared in NYC. Ever. Until now.

It was such a shock to go from “Mayberry,” Maine back to Gotham. The night my friends and I got home, I got a text from one of my friends — that morning, there was an arrest made in her building. A homeless man had been living in her stairwell for MONTHS, and had been stealing packages. This was in a super nice building on the Upper West Side — arguably one of the nicest, most affluent neighborhoods in Manhattan.

A man. Living in her stairwell.

Which is particularly alarming and crazy, because she had been getting her packages delivered to my doorman building for quite some time now, because all of her packages were going missing.

Crime is up. You may recall the incident I had just a few months ago: where a BLM radical YouTuber accosted me outside my building, and forced me to get on my knees and hail BLM while he livestreamed it. I was one of a string of young women he “vlogged” that day.

Graffiti tags are absolutely everywhere. The population of homeless people has soared, and so has their boldness. My friend was curtly confronted by a homeless man who pressured her into VENMOing HIM money, when she explained she didn’t have any cash.

My “neighborhood watch” Citizen App on my phone pings incessantly throughout the day and night, notifying me of crime in my current vicinity. Unsettling reminders for sure.

These are not just isolated incidents. Homicides. Robberies. Burglaries. All have skyrocketed recently. And why? Because cops are afraid to do their jobs anymore.

Why put your life on the line, when — if you act to defend yourself, it could be filmed and end up on national news where you’ll be labeled a racist, and prosecuted?

They’ve had enough. And so they’re walking off the job. In startlingly large numbers.

The NYPD has recently cited “ongoing challenges,” including an “increase in retirements” and “deep budget cuts.”

That is terrifying information. Terrifying.

In case you missed it, back in June, one billion dollars was cut from the NYC police budget. And the impact of that are now beginning to be felt.

What is going to happen to our country if law and order is not the backbone of society? Truly? What will our world become?

Now here’s the tough part. Because yes – we need to support our men and women of the badge – but it is also true that there are “bad apples” that are drawn to the allure of the police force, and the power and -sadly, weaponry- that goes along with it. But to completely throw the entire baby out with the bathwater, just because of a problematic bunch . . . it is wholeheartedly unwise.

Are the horrific and heartbreaking incidents of unjust police brutality that have happened in recent months absolutely unwarranted, unjust, and deserving prosecution? One hundred percent yes.

But those handful of terrible, terrible incidents do not color the vast majority of blue men and women who truly have dedicated their lives and their livelihoods to protecting and serving the community, and keeping people safe.

It is a job that I cannot imagine waking up and doing every day.

And it is a job that, yes, probably should have more training and vetting, and support, and accountability, than it currently does.

But we need to support law and order in this country. Without it, we are creating a scenario ripe for malice, and foul play, and all sorts of corruption. A scenario that we are beginning to see play out in Manhattan.

Yes – we need to stand up for the innocent lives lost to unjust police force. We need to demand justice for Brionna Taylor, for George Floyd, and for those heartbreaking examples of lives lost at the hands of cops.

But we need the police.

If that means supply more adequate training – so be it. If that means more checks and balances within the system – full steam ahead. If that means a stricter vetting process to become a man or woman in blue – let it be done.

But we need the police. And we need to support the police.

Lord, may the civil unrest that is plaguing this country come to a peaceful end. May our brothers and sisters see one another as just that: one family — one human race, all with dignity and inherent value. May we come to respect one another and earnestly desire to work together to come up with creative and effective solutions to make each and every person in this country feel safe, and supported. And may any tinges of racism be expunged from the hearts of those harboring such darkness, and be replaced with Your love — a love that sees the dignity and value of each and every human life – from conception to natural death. Amen.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

Guest Blog by Star Parker

Star Parker @UrbanCURE
Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal and president of the Urban Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

As so much despair has gripped our nation during this difficult time, I decided to go into our nation’s most distressed communities with a message of hope and truth.  I have been working on policy issues dealing with race and poverty through my organization, UrbanCURE, for 25 years.

We purchased billboard space in hard-hit cities across the nation and posted a short, time-tested message that strikes at the heart of what drives poverty.  The billboards show a picture of a young black man or young black woman and say: “Tired of Poverty? Finish school. Take any job. Get married. Save and invest. Give back to your neighborhood.”  The billboard then refers to Proverbs 10:4, which says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

This is a message delivered with care and love.  It’s a message I know is true. It is so true that it produced an immediate reaction from Black Lives Matter, which contacted the billboard company, Clear Channel Outdoor, demanding that the billboards be taken down.

Claims from Black Lives Matter — laced, of course, with profanity — that our message is racist, inaccurate, and self-hating are a crude distortion of reality.

I know the accuracy of our message from my experience in life. I was once a young woman with disdain for the “establishment,” living off welfare and going nowhere.  Then two Christian businessmen straightened me out. Their message and guidance saved my life.

Aside from my personal experience and my daily learning as a Christian, I also know the truth of this message from years of policy work that has been going on in Washington.  The impact of the “success sequence” on poverty is well documented. Brookings Institution scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill published their findings in their book “Creating an Opportunity Society,” in which they report that those who follow three steps — finish high school, get a full-time job, and get married before having children — face a 2% chance of being poor.

Brad Wilcox and Wendy Wang of the American Enterprise Institute followed on this work, showing that among millennials — ages 28-35 — there was a 53% incidence of poverty among those who did not follow these steps and a 3% incidence among those who did.

But regardless of whether or not you want to believe me or agree with me, what about freedom of expression?  What about the inherent importance of keeping dialogue open and free in our nation, with a goal of reaching truth?  How can shutting down communication serve anyone’s interests?

Shutting down dialogue, shutting down free and open exchange of ideas, is exactly what Black Lives Matter wants.  It said as much in a Facebook post to the billboard vendor that read, “At the end of the day, messaging and narrative control is priceless.”

Unfortunately, Clear Channel Outdoor responded to the intimidation of Black Lives Matter and took down UrbanCURE’s billboards, saying, “We strive to respect a wide variety of viewpoints on diversity and racial sensitivity.”  But can shutting down a powerful and truthful message because Black Lives Matter doesn’t like it reflect respect for “a wide variety of viewpoints”?  The nation’s shock after the terrible murder of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman was justifiable.  But the pushback unfortunately put wind in the sails of Black Lives Matter.

The question is: What does America, and what do black Americans, need? What will fix our problems?  For sure, suppression of free expression will make no one better off.  These are communities that need truth, that need love, that need empowerment.

This is the message we are delivering at UrbanCURE.

I hope Clear Channel Outdoor has a change of heart and is not intimidated by Black Lives Matter to breach contract and not publicize UrbanCURE’s message on its billboards.

It Hurts So Bad! How Do You Respond?

Paul Tripp looks into his own heart and sees how easy it is to respond to the crises we face with anger, disgust or hatred, but there is a better path.   It is the way of grace.  I am looking into my own heart and face the same dilemma: How do I respond?  As C.S.Lewis said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”  The Weight of Glory

What Is Your Response? by Paul David Tripp

If you mourn the fallenness of your world rather than curse its difficulties, you know that grace has visited you.

Life in this terribly broken world is hard.  You are constantly dealing with the frustration of this world not operating the way God intended.  You are always facing the unexpected.  Almost daily you are required to deal with something you wouldn’t have chosen for your life, but it’s there because of the location where we live.

Life right here, right now is like living in a disheveled house that has begun to fall down on its own foundation.  It is still a house, but it doesn’t function as it was meant to.  The doors constantly get stuck shut.  The plumbing only occasionally works properly.  You are never sure what’s going to happen when you plug an appliance in, and it seems that the roof leaks even when it’s not raining.  So it is with the world that you and I live in. It really is a broken-down house.

Now, there are really only two responses we can have to the brokenness that complicates all of our lives: cursing or mourning.  Let’s be honest.  Cursing is the more natural response.  We curse the fact that we have to deal with flawed people.  We curse the fact that we have to deal with things that don’t work right.  We curse the fact that we have to deal with pollution and disease.  We curse the fact that promises get broken, relationships shatter, and dreams die.  We curse the realities of pain and suffering.  We curse the fact that this broken-down world has been assigned to be the address where we live.  It all makes us irritated, impatient, bitter, angry, and discontent.  Yes, it’s right not to like these things.  It’s natural to find them frustrating, because as Paul says in Romans 8, the whole world groans as it waits for redemption.

But cursing is the wrong response.  We curse what we have to deal with because it makes our lives harder than we want them to be.  Cursing is all about our comfort, our pleasure, our ease.  Cursing is fundamentally self-centered.

Mourning is the much better response.  Mourning embraces the tragedy of the fall.  Mourning acknowledges that the world is not the way God meant it to be. Mourning cries out for God’s redeeming, restoring hand.  Mourning acknowledges the suffering of others.  Mourning is about something bigger than the fact that life is hard.  Mourning grieves what sin has done to the cosmos and longs for the Redeemer to come and make his broken world new again.  Mourning, then, is a response that is prompted by grace.

This side of eternity in this broken world, cursing is the default language of the kingdom of self, but mourning is the default language of the kingdom of God.  Which language will you speak today?
_________________________________________________________________
2020-08-15 Paul David TrippPaul David Tripp (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor. He is also the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. He has written a number of books on Christian living, including What Did You Expect?, Dangerous Calling, and New Morning Mercies.  He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Luella. For more information and resources, visit paultrippministries.org.

 

Two Hands: One Black, One White

2020-07-11 Two Hands
On one hand, someone once said, “If everyone woke up at 6:00am and found we were all the same color, the same religion, and the same nationality, by noon we would have found something to incite our prejudices.”  Prejudice, the ignorant, unreasonable, thoughtless and uninformed formation of an unfavorable view of someone before that person has done anything to warrant such a low opinion, is as constant as the sun.

On the other hand, the manipulation of perceived prejudice to gain personal advantage over someone else is just as constant, and often constitutes a “reverse prejudice” against innocents who differ only in that they resemble those who have expressed prejudice.

On these issues I see two conflicting perspectives, both of which hold some truth.  The difficulty will be in balancing these, especially in a public forum where emotions often can run high and thoughtful dialog can become difficult.  Politicians, police officers, city council members, or anyone publicly addressing racial conflicts must be at the top of their game for any such confrontations or presentations.  It is not enough to spout maxims for the media nor to post tweets or clips on social platforms.  We need serious and thoughtful dialog whenever it will be allowed.

On the one side is the obvious injustice too often suffered by people of color, such as Ahmaud Arbery, Travis Miller and George Floyd experienced.

Anecdotally, a strong young black man who often serves as a day-nurse for a handicapped neighbor was sitting in his car in front of my home.  He had arrived 45 minutes early and was dozing in his very nice new Toyota at 8:15am.  Someone in my neighborhood called the police!!  When the officers kindly knocked on his window and woke him up, he was as professional as he always is and explained clearly his reason for being there.  He even showed them his nurse’s id and driver’s license, a courtesy on his part not required by law.  I have to wonder if an unknown white guy had been dozing in the car, would the police have been called, or might the neighbor have knocked on the window to see if he was all right?

speaks of the racism she encountered (and overcame) growing up in the South.  Just Mercy is an excellent movie portrayal of the difficulty in minorities getting justice as recently as the 1990’s.  And of course, the more recent crimes against blacks in Alabama, Kentucky, and Minnesota simply aggravate a perception of white carelessness.

However, on the other side the BLM “movement” lacks validity based on its origins in Marxist philosophy and socialist intentions (https://thefederalist.com/2016/09/28/black-lives-matter-bringing-back-traditional-marxism/).  While it is true that black lives matter, why does the movement not address black-on-black crime that accounts for many more deaths than white-on-black violence?  Why is there no mention of one of the greatest civil rights leaders  in history in any of the speeches by BLM speakers?

“You can’t blame [these crimes] on a police officer, you can’t say this is about criminal justice reform.  This is about people carrying weapons who shot up a car with an eight-year-old baby in the car.  We’ve got to stop this.  We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force.  We’ve had over 75 shootings in the city over the past several weeks.  You can’t blame that on Atlanta’s Police Department.” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms, July 6, 2020.

A Facebook post that I copied for a guest blog (June 16, 2020) details a black police officer’s lament, “I realized that most in the African-American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black-on-black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the nine questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes.”

 

, along with Lexington Kentucky’s Police Chief Weathers, as well as men like Travis Miller, stand as heroes in my book.  We have had a black president and blacks have access to opportunity more than at any point in our history.  Black men and women have ably competed for seats of power in CEO positions, as governors, mayors; in almost every area of authority.  We must not let “white guilt” for crimes committed by ancestors excuse illegal and unjust actions that hurt black and white communities, nor allow “victim mentality” to rule our black communities.  The issue must not be devolved into demanding equal outcomes.

Furthermore what separates us in skin color is so insignificant, one source put it at 0.01 % of our DNA!  It is simply that more or less melanin is most easily identifiable to the ignorant who insist on seeing us as “different races” instead of recognizing we are all the human race with insignificant differences in melanin.  As Vodde Baucham, a black minister at a predominantly white church says, “We are all actually the same color . . . from our melanin; we’re just different shades of the same color.  Just because you don’t have as much melanin as I do, don’t you DARE think God does not love you as much as he loves me, because He gave me more!”

2020-07-11 Mother to Son

In Mother to Son Jasmine Holmes writes poignantly about “the talk” black mothers must have with their sons, not about the birds and bees like white moms, but about how to act when in driving downtown or across country and the additional dangers he will face just for having more melanin in his skin.  She offers us a window to see what black boys face as they grow into men in America. By giving voice to the perspectives of their mothers, Holmes offers Christ-followers a way forward toward racial unity and understanding.

She explains how one of the most difficult challenges faced by black Christian mothers is helping these children strike the right balance between their blackness and their Christianity.  She makes us wonder if white Christians feel this same conflict?  Do white mothers instruct their children to subject their cultural whiteness to Christianity?

She admits that it has been hard to drive this point home with a black son.  She stresses he must reject media that might be culturally affirmed but violates faith values.  Bitterness, resentment, and hostility — though culturally justified — cannot be embraced by young disciples of Christ, and that is true no matter how much or little melanin you have, whether your hand is black or white.

Guest Blog by Jay Stalien, Dallas Police Officer, posted on FB on June 7, 2020

This guest blog, a little longer than the usual, was intended for this Saturday.  However, with the rapidly changing situation in Lexington and other cities, it seemed this would be worth reading ASAP.  And Jay’s post is certainly worth reading!  Also, please, pray for Jay and his wife and child, that he will continue to serve his community with strength, bravery and honor and that he will return safely after each shift to his family.

2020-06-20 Guest BlogI have come to realize something that is still hard for me to understand to this day.  The following may be a shock to some coming from an African-American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up.  Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop.  I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood.  My own black people killing others over nothing.  Crack heads and heroin addicts lined the lobby of my building as I shuffled around them to make my way to our one-bedroom apartment with six of us living inside.  I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was two African-Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me.  I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African-Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man.  I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and I wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something.  I remember the countless times I stood two inches from a young black man, around my age, lying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs.  I remember him bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day.  I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved one taking his last breath.  I never took it personally; I knew they were hurting.  I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on were bloody from the blood of another black victim … of black on black crime.  I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:  Suspect – Black/ Male, Victim – Black /Male.

I remember the countless times I canvassed the area afterwards, and asked everyone “Did you see who did it?”, and the popular response from the very same family members was always, “F*** the Poleec, I ain’t no snitch; I’m gonna take care of this myself.”  This happened every single time, every single homicide, black on black, and then my realization became clearer.

I woke up every morning, put my freshly pressed uniform on, shined my badge, function-checked my weapon, kissed my wife and kid, and waited for my wife to say the same thing she always does before I leave, “Make sure you come back home to us.”  I always replied, “I will,” but the truth was I was never sure if I would.  I almost lost my life on this job, and every call, every stop, every moment that I had this uniform on, was another possibility for me to almost lose my life again.  I was a target in the very community I swore to protect, the very community I wanted to help.  As a matter of fact, they hated my very presence.  They called me “Uncle Tom”, and “wanna-be-white-boy,” and I couldn’t understand why.  My own fellow black men and women attacking me, wishing for my death, wishing for the death of my family.  I was so confused, so torn, I couldn’t understand why my own black people would turn against me, when every time they called … I was there.  Every time someone died … I was there.  Every time they were going through one of the worst moments in their lives … I was there.  So why was I the enemy?  I dove deep into that question … Why was I the enemy?  Then my realization became clearer.

I spoke to members of the community and listened to some of the complaints as to why they hated cops.  I then did research on the facts.  I also presented facts to these members of the community and listened to their complaints in response.

This is what I learned:
Complaint: Police always targeting us; they always messing with the black man.
Fact: A city where the majority of citizens are black (Baltimore, for example) … will ALWAYS have a higher rate of black people getting arrested; it will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting stopped; and will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting killed, and the reason why is because a city with those characteristics will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks committing crime.  The statistics will follow the same trend for Asians if you go to China, for Hispanics if you go to Puerto Rico, for whites if you go to Russia, and the list goes on.  It’s called Demographics.

Complaint: More black people get arrested than white boys.
Fact: Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime.  Data from the FBI shows that nationwide, blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367.  Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.  Chicago’s death toll from 2001 – November 26, 2015 stands at 7,401.  The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 – 2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001 – 2015: 3,506): total 8,321.

Complaint: Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.
Fact: As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US citizens killed by police this year is, 238 white people killed; 123 black people killed; 79 Hispanics; 69 other/or unknown race.

Fact: Black people kill more blacks than police do, but there are only protests and outrage when a cop kills a black man.  University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012.  Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Complaint: Well, we already doing a good job of killing ourselves; we don’t need the police to do it.  Besides they should know better.
The more I listened, the more I realized.  I would ask questions and would only get emotional responses and inferences without any basis in facts at all.  The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of black men at the hands of other black men … the more I realized.

I have not slept well in the past few nights. Heartbreak weighs me down, rage flows through my veins, and tears fills my eyes.  I watched my fellow officers assassinated on live television, and the images of them laying on the ground are seared into my brain forever.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it had been me, a black man, a black cop, on TV, assassinated, laying on the ground dead … would my friends and family still think black lives mattered?  Would my life have mattered?  Would they make t-shirts in remembrance of me?  Would they go on tv and protest the violence?  Would they even make a Facebook post, or share a post in reference to my death?

All of my realizations came to this conclusion.  Black Lives do not matter to most black people.  Only the lives that make the national news matter to them.  Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people matter.  The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter.  Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm,” and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter.”

I realized that this country is full of ignorance, where an educated individual will watch the ratings-driven news media, and watch a couple YouTube video clips, and then come to the conclusion that they have all the knowledge they need to have in order to know what it feels like to have a bullet proof vest as part of your office equipment, “Stay Alive” as part of your daily to do list, and having insurance for your health insurance because of the high rate of death in your profession.  They watch a couple videos and then they magically know in two minutes 35 seconds how you are supposed to handle a violent encounter, which took you six months of Academy training, two to three months of field training, and countless years of blood, sweat, tears and broken bones experiencing violent encounters and fine tuning your execution of the Use of Force Continuum.

I realized that there are even cops, COPS, duly sworn law enforcement officers, who are supposed to be decent investigators, who will publicly go on the media and call other white cops racists and KKK.

I realized that most in the African-American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black-on-black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the nine questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes.  I realized that they value the life of a sex offender and convicted felon, (who was in the act of committing multiple felonies: felon in possession of a firearm – FELONY; brandishing and threatening a homeless man with a gun-Aggravated Assault in Florida – FELONY; who resisted officers who first tried to taze him, and WAS NOT RESTRAINED, who can be clearly seen in one of the videos raising his right shoulder, then shooting it down towards the right side of his body exactly where the firearm was located and recovered) more than the lives of the innocent cops who were assassinated in Dallas protecting the very people that hated them the most.

I realized that they refuse to believe that most cops acknowledge that there are bad cops who should have never been given a badge and gun, who are chicken s*** and will shoot a cockroach if it crawls at them too fast, who never worked in the hood and may be intimidated.  That most cops dread the thought of having to shoot someone, and never see the turmoil and mental anguish that a cop goes through after having to kill someone to save his own life.  Instead they believe that we are all blood thirsty killers, because the media says so, even though the numbers prove otherwise.

I realize that they truly feel as if the death of cops will help people realize the false narrative that Black Lives Matter, when all it will do is take their movement two steps backwards and label them domestic terrorists.  I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism.  Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed.  Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet.

I realized that for some in the African-American community, their idea of “justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances.  I realized the African-American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looking outside for solutions.

I realized that a lot of people in the African-American community lead with hate, instead of love, division instead of unity, turmoil and rioting instead of peace.  I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die … and it is still hard for me to understand … to this day.
_______________________________________________________________________
I wrote the above in 2016 after Dallas police officers were assassinated during a protest.

Do I still feel the same?  Yes.  Even more so now with current affairs.  Officer Chauvin is a piece of s***.  George Floyd did not deserve to die.  However, the media is painting all cops and white people with the same brush.  That is wrong.

The African American community has bigger problems that are ignored and swept under a rug.  It has become taboo to speak about, and my own people lash out at me as if I am against them.  I am not.  I want success and prosperity for the black community. However, no success in any aspect of life, comes without SELF-improvement and ACCOUNTABILITY for our own decisions.  This is fact and cannot be ignored.  We will not move forward as a community and experience the prosperity we deserve, until we improve and LOVE ourselves.

Again, just to be clear … Officer Chauvin is indeed a piece of s*** and is not a reflection of most cops.  Most of us hate what he did and feel torn inside for what happened.  As a cop, I am sorry for what happened.  It never should have.  There is no excuse.  At the same time, I will not do what most are doing, which is painting this as THE issue, and ignore the bigger issues within our community.

2020-06-20 Black Lives Matter
Officers who paid the ultimate price for protecting their community.

2020-06-20 Guest Blog - Black Lives Matter