September 14, 2011, of our 9th year of publication!
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A thought for today, and for this week:
"This generation will nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth ...
The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just -- a way which, if followed,
the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939
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NOT TO BE OVERLY REPETITIVE, BUT SEVERAL ISSUES AGO
WE USED THE LATIN PHRASE: "QUO VADIS?" (WHERE ARE
YOU GOING?) ONCE AGAIN IT SEEMS TO BE APPLICABLE:
"WHERE ARE YOU GOING NOW, AMERICA?"
Two national disasters, Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, and "9/11," Sept. 11, 2001
-- with 60 years and perhaps 3 generations between -- have reshaped America's
destiny, and each has asked the same question: "Where are you going now,
America?" In 1941 we prepared for war, went to war , and won the war, World
War II. But today, 10 years after 9/11, the answer to that same question is not as
clear and definite as we could wish it would be. We are a different nation today --
in 1941 we were a united nation with strong leaders; today we are a divided
nation, virtually leaderless.
Sunday's observance, even though the "official" view obscures the fact that this
was an Islamist terrorist attack, was as appropriate as any memory of an attack
on our nation could be, and we should be proud that 10 years later, we still honor
those thousands who lost their lives that day, and are still joining to rebuild our
nation's economy which suffered such a disastrous blow.
It is to be regretted that the division between Conservative and Liberal, between
pro and anti-Americans, has been so widened. Liberal columnist, Paul Krugman,
a prominent voice of the Liberal propaganda sheet, The New York Times,
expressed the Liberal view of 9/11 (which may also be the Obama administration's
view), in these words: "What happened after 9/11 -- and I think even people on
the right know this, whether they admit it or not -- was deeply shameful. The
atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge
issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W.
Bush raced to cash in on the horror." Calls for the Times to fire Krugman were
already being voiced on Sunday shortly after his opinion appeared.
The threat of a possible retaliation for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden
did not materialize (one almost feels the regret of the media), and we have now
completed one full decade without further Islamic organized attacks. (The murders
at Fort Hood by a Muslim U.S. Army major who shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he
shot his fellow soldiers, is considered an individual attack, and not one organized
by Al Qaeda.)
Mr. Krugman and the Liberal view to the contrary, there is much to be learned
from 9/11. The Heritage Foundation expressed it these words: "In the days
after 9/11, Americans stood together as one, setting aside partisan fervor
and recognized a common enemy in Islamist terrorist groups...National
security was rightfully restored as our nation's highest priority. Ten years
later, Osama bin Laden is dead...But one terrorist's death does not justify
returning to the national security mindset that existed prior to that day. As
Thomas Paine said, 'Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom
must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.'"
As a person gets older (at 92, your editor can legitimately claim that distinction),
he tends to equate current events with the past. Shortly after WW II, in 1949, in
Orson Welles' The Third Man, the principal character, Harry Lime, spoke
concerning Switzerland: "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had
warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly
love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The
That is such a realistic comparison with the much touted "Jobs Plan" speech for
which Mr. Obama demanded (via his "bully pulpit") a joint session of Congress,
even attempting to schedule it so as to over-ride a Republican debate among
presidential candidates. And with all the "Hail to the Chief" acclaim, and the
usurpation of America's prime TV time -- what the president produced was, in
Harry Lime's terminology, something akin to a cuckoo clock.
Some 6 million people here in Southern California missed the speech due to a
massive power blackout which began 20 minutes before the start, and continued
for at least 8 hours. So we have had to evaluate it through re-runs, and occasional
editorials and opinion pieces. It failed to create the intense national reaction the
Obama administration had hoped for, and probably expected. In essence there
were 6 major elements: two of them were repeats; three were partially new; and
there was one new element, $50 billion to prevent layoffs of teachers, and $5
billion to keep emergency personnel on the job.
Certainly not the sensational plan we had been told to expect, and certainly not the
solution to the growing unemployment problem which is strangling our economy.
One notable response was the stock market's 300+ point decline in the Dow index
the next morning. And another reaction appeared on the Internet two days after the
speech, headlined: "More Obama Lies From Fact Checked Speech." Or, as
Howard Kurtz described it: "Obama's bid to save his job."
A few small touches of humor emerged: At one point in the speech the president
spoke of Americans driving foreign made automobiles, and he strongly asserted: "I
want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud
words: 'Made in America.'” Yet his administration's latest major purchase of his
two new re-election campaign busses at more than $1 million each were stamped:
"Made in Canada." That has to produce a smile on the face of even the most dour.
And in spite of his insistence for Congress to "end the political circus" and to
"put partisan rancor aside," his official spokesperson, Jay Carney, said in a TV
interview right after the speech: "The president said tonight that we need to put
party ahead of country ... we need to listen to the American people." There is
something strangely contradictory -- and almost laughable --in the viewpoints
of the Obama administration.
Fellow Believers in Muslim lands need the prayers of American Christians.
Each morning, as we open our many news sources from all over the world, we
read opening lines like these: "Christians live in a cloud of fear in Zanzibar,
Tanzania," or "The death toll in Jos, Nigeria is rising as violence continues,"
and "Nigeria is a tragedy unfolding before our eyes." And these words open
a new concern for Christians everywhere: "In the daily drumbeat of Mideast
news, there is one story of historic proportion that is nearly unreported: the
growing persecution and systematic destruction in the Islamic world of some
of the world’s oldest Christian communities."
Even in lands that are not under orthodox Sharia law, Christian communities feel the
pressure of persecution. Many Christians in Islamic lands have become subject to
such terror that they are fleeing the homelands their ancestors have known almost
since the time of Jesus. Iraq’s Christian sects now feel forced to pray in secret.
Others simply leave. Although they comprise less than four percent of Iraq’s
population, Iraqi Christians now account for 40 per cent of its refugees. Lebanon’s
once politically powerful Christian community has already shrunken almost beyond
recognition. Thirty years ago, Lebanon was 60% Christian; today it is barely 25%.
A tiny minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, shunned and carefully watched,
unable to become citizens or to worship God in public – this is the grim reality of life
for Christians in the Maldives. This popular holiday resort, widely regarded as an
island paradise, is one of the most repressively anti-Christian societies in the world.
Islam is the only recognized religion, and the country adheres strictly to Sharia law.
Many verses of Scripture come to mind; "Ye shall be hated of all nations for my
name's sake." (Matt. 24:9), and "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution." (II Tim. 3:12). All are part of the prediction that "in the last
days perilous times shall come."
The observance of 9/11 should refresh in our minds the effects of Islamic terrorism.
And do not ignore this fact that Jihadists are at work in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iran,
Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, across Europe, and here in
America. Their numbers and influence grow daily. Our primary responsibility in
this worldwide danger is prayer -- prayer for the Christian church in America, and
for Christian believers all over the world.
And don't forget our ongoing "Prayer Countdown." As of this date there are
419 days before Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012 -- 419 days to pray for our nation,
and for God's direction as we vote to restore America to what it used to be.
There is always much to be learned from "What Others Are Saying"
Bill Muhlenberg (in Zionica): "In June 2009 President Obama gave a speech
in Cairo. In it he said, 'I consider it part of my responsibility as President of
the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam whenever
they appear.' Sorry, Barack Hussein Obama, but the only real duty of the
President of the United States is to uphold the Constitution and defend that
nation against any threats ... And it certainly is not the duty of the US
President to become an apologist for Islam."
Lt. Col. James Zumwalt (USMC, Ret): "Islamic traditions of 'honor' are
cruel, oppressive and barbaric. Moderate and influential Muslims must
stand up and denounce such practices. While a majority of Islam’s followers
may be peace-loving, they will choose silence—intimidated by the violent
extremist minority. As such, it should be understood by the West that
Muslims who do not act to deter extremism, support it."
Vaclav Klaus (Pres. Czech Republic): "Europeans today prefer leisure to
performance, security to risk-taking, paternalism to free markets,
collectivism and group entitlements to individualism... The critical situation
in Europe today is visible to everybody... Of course, with the way your
American government has been going, you might be able to catch up with
us -- in terms of our problems -- very soon."
Carl Leubsdorf (Dallas Morning News): "A decade after Pearl Harbor,
the United States stood supreme, despite the tensions of the Cold War with
the Soviet Union and a shooting conflict in Korea. The country was stronger
militarily, economically and strategically than before. That is not true today.
While experts generally believe the United States is less vulnerable to
terrorism, the nation's global position as a whole has weakened in the decade
fonder of quoting what he calls the “holy Qur’an” than the Bible. He is a
man who forgets the Easter proclamation, but never forgets a national
proclamation of the month of Ramadan. He is not about to offend his own
universalist, syncretistic crowd. May God have mercy on America."
In recent days, all "One Liners" sound pretty much the same . . .
Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. (speaking of the Tea Party): "Let’s take these sons of
bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.” (Joins
Maxine Water (D, CA) as a master of civility in Democrat political rhetoric.)
And Mr. Obama's evaluation was: “We are proud of . . . Teamster President
Jimmy Hoffa.” He's probably also proud of V.P Biden who referred to the
Republicans as "barbarians at the gates."
Even our Founding Fathers foresaw the possibility of lack of civility and corrupt
manners: "Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the
liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."
-- Samuel Adams, 1749
And there are always a few, at random, "Afterthoughts" . . .
Like Franklin's "death and taxes," Obama vacations are always with us.
Now with the announcement that the Obama family (and probably friends) are
planning to tour Bali in November, Columnist Suzy Rice asks these questions:
"Do they have a golf course? Will Michelle and entourage fly there earlier
or later by a few hours either way [increasing the transportation costs], and,
will she wear conflicting batik prints with or without her bomber belt? And
not to be overlooked is the safari from Bali into Australia and, uhh, perhaps
also to Thailand." [Our advice: get all those globe circling vacation trips planned
before Election Day, 2012!] In looking at the need to get away from Washington,
Ms. Rice points out: "Relative to the U.S. Presidency is the round-the-clock
luxury residency in a greater-than-five-star-hotel, the White House, complete
with abundant servants, entertainment, adulation, personal physicians at the
wait-and-ready, private chefs galore, butlers, cosmeticians, florists, maids,
drivers, cooks, chefs, servers, all level and types of minders and keepers and
assistance imaginable." It's easy to understand wanting to get away from all that.
A new "Politically Correct" term: Amid the plethora of new terminology put
in use during the Obama administration is this one: "political optic." It is
defined as "the superficial appearance of an event or person as formed
through coverage and opinion in the print and broadcast media and the
blogosphere." It appears to be a natural development of the widely utilized
"photo-op" by the American president.
In re Obama's "non-war" in Libya, who can you believe? (From a news
report): "Libyan fighters have surrounded ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi,
and it is only a matter of time until he is captured or killed, a spokesman for
Tripoli's new military council said Wednesday. The council's deputy defense
minister said, however, that Libya's former rebels had no idea where Gadhafi
was, and they were focusing on taking control of territory instead of tracking
down the former leader."
Our Founding Fathers offered wisdom on so many subjects . . .
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought
to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."
-- John Adams, 1772
"A universal peace ... is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist
but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of
benevolent enthusiasts." -- James Madison, 1792
"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore,
be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not
to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean
everything or nothing at pleasure." --Thomas Jefferson, 1823