As I write this, we are on the other side of the House’s impeachment vote, though some legal analysis says that it’s not official until those articles are sent to the Senate. Our hot take culture is filled with people sharing their view of what’s happened. That’s not really my thing, though; the early take is often completely wrong. (Exhibit A for this was the circle game non-troversy at the Army/Navy game; so glad the wokescolds wasted our military’s time investigating that.) Another of our culture’s pasttimes is giving the worst possible reading to anything that happens, and assuming the worst possible motivation behind it. (See “Exhibit A” again…) Again - not my style and not my speed, because doing that rarely leads one to the truth. So, I’ve been following the reporting, transcripts, defenses, analyses, and prosecutions from an information gathering viewpoint, trying to cut through the partisan bovine excrement and resistance-disguised-as-objective reporting to determine what happened, how severe it was, and what should be done about it.
“These are the established facts” rarely is followed by established facts as I’ve found them, using primarily the transcript of the alleged dastardly call and the testimony of the Ukrainians involved. The Congressionally-approved aid was not discussed as much as Ukraine’s desire to buy more missiles. Then, in the most quid pro quo part of the call, a White House visit was offered in exchange for Ukraine announcing an investigation. Note what this wasn’t - it wasn’t a request to do an investigation, it was a request to announce an investigation. It also wasn’t part of the previously-approved military aid or the future missile sales. The announcement would have been embarrassing to Joe Biden, whose son Hunter would be implicated; interstingly, Biden’s lowest polling to date occurred when this was the main story occupying the news. Ukrainian leaders have also said that they did not feel like they were being extorted.
The above are the facts, as the dictionary defines facts; other characterizations are something other than facts. It was neither a perfect call nor a gross abuse of Presidential power.
That being said, what President Trump did with Ukraine was not good. If there is an investigation needed, then encourage them to do it. Unless there are allegations that Joe knew that his son was trading on a connection to the US government, though (which I’ve rarely seen alleged), doing a “guilt by association” attack on Joe through his kids is way more objectionable than someone making a pun with one of his children’s names. And, connecting requests like this with a call that had discussed foreign aid is worthy of official censure…
…which brings us to his detractors. The House of Representatives, and the Democrats within it, have behaved even worse. From Adam Schiff’s creative interpretation of the transcript to open the hearings, to their misrepresentation of the facts (holding up Congressionally-approved aid for personal political reasons), to their lack of objectivity and transparency - they seem to be hanging on to a thread of legitimacy. They focus-grouped their prosecution, settling on the term “bribery,” which they repeated ad nauseum until it was time for official articles to be drafted. Then, we get a charge called “obstruction of Congress,” which isn’t even a thing, especially as applied to the executive or judicial branches. My more cynical nature thinks that they were hoping that reporters would say “obstruction of justice” (because that’s a thing, and a thing to which most people are opposed), or that people would at least think it. Given the misconduct, a motion to censure would have been much more appropriate; interestingly, until they forward the articles to the Senate, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Those defending the President are just as bad. The call was far from perfect and the aid did not flow when it was expected to flow. Republicans have (rightly) long complained about how Presidents Clinton and Obama (especially Clinton) traded access and overnights at the White House for political gain or favors; how is this now just the way it is when it’s someone in the same party? You don’t get to claim to be the party of principle if you abandon those principles to keep or maintain power or influence. And, while Trump’s impeachment was conceived 60 days before he took office, and has been executed in a purely partisan way, Senators McConnell and Graham deciding to double down on the lack of objectivity bewilders me. In an impeachment trial, the Senate is the jury; juries aren’t supposed to pre-judge the case to which they are assigned.
One of the strangest aspects of this administration is how evangelical Christians (among whose number I count myself) wholeheartedly defend Trump not just as a politician, but as a person. This is the crux of an editorial posted at Christianity Today entitled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.” In the editorial, the author says that this removal can come from either the Senate or the next election, but it’s hard not to view the headline as intentionally incindiary, particularly given the current context. And, true to form, I’ve seen liberals and athiests sharing it far and wide saying, “See? Even Christianity Today thinks he should be thrown out!” (It doesn’t.) It’s also prompted responses from prominent evangelicals, including Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son), whose defenses fall into the category of the paragraph above. Christians should be better than this; Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth, and of being quick to hear yet slow to speak.
I continue to be an evangelical Christian, believing that our problems will not be ultimately solved by government, but through the transforming work of Christ in each of our lives. This is a key point missed by those who paint Billy Graham’s silence on civil rights during his early years as racism. God working in human hearts can eliminate racism, but people in racist cultures (both oppressed and oppressor) need eternal salvation far more than earthly salvation; he was focused on the former. When government follows biblical principles, government flourishes; however, our government cannot follow biblical principles simply because they’re biblical. Our government operates “by the consent of the goverened,” and forcing behavior does nothing to change the ultimate state of a soul. To be sure, the current administration has appointed many people who protect life and religious liberty; that should not cause us to sweep bad behavior under the rug.
While my Christianity has not changed, the Republican party to which I belonged through 2016 has changed immensely. The GOP has been known, at different times in history, as the “party of Lincoln” and the “party of Reagan.” Both these men were inspirational leaders who presided over difficult times in our nation’s history, and the legacy of both only increased once they left office (with reconstruction and the end of the Cold War). The GOP is now the “party of Trump,” demanding sycophantic loyalty to a leader, and looking to use the same heavy-handed government intervention on social issues that the liberals do - just to different ends. This does not align with my conservative principles at all. No leader is perfect, and our presidents put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. And, while the life issue is very, very important, a host of other issues need less government, not more.
Hello, Libertarian Party. You have a new member whose sole dissent with your platform is preborn life, but I know I’m not alone in that. I look forward to working with you to advance the cause of freedom and conservative less-government principles, and I encourage my Christian friends to consider the same things I have. I will write more about how I’ve aligned my faith and the LP platform in the months to come.
Congress, addressing the Pentagon’s request to increase TRICare fees. I don’t know think that I can improve on this, so it’s presented without further comment.
…career members of the uniformed services and their families endure unique and extraordinary demands and make extraordinary sacrifices over the course of a 20- to 30-year career in protecting freedom for all Americans. … Those decades of sacrifice constitute a significant pre-paid premium for health care during a career member’s retirement that is over and above what the member pays with money.
Yesterday was a great day for the United States of America. In case you (like this guy used to do) have been living in a cave the past few days, the al-Qaeda leader behind the 9/11 terror attacks, Osama bin Laden, has been killed. After a nearly 10-year manhunt, most Americans are joyful today. While his death will not bring about the end of terrorism, it is an important symbolic victory in the continuing (if not in name) War on Terror. From the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to the 2000 USS Cole bombing, Osama bin Laden had hit at American interests several times. 9/11 was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and we began trying to get him in earnest. I have great hopes that the intel that was gathered during the mission will enable us to complete the work of dismantling the terror network for good.
Pakistan, you’ve got some questions to answer as well. Why did it take us not telling you about an operation for it to finally work?
And, a note to my Christian friends quoting Proverbs 24:17-18…
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
and turn away His anger from him.
- Proverbs 24:17-18(ESV)
Is the Lord going to bring Osama bin Laden back to life? I think not. This act was an act of vengeance, I’ll not argue that point; however, it was also an act of defense. I will sleep better knowing that this person has begun meeting justice, and will be meeting it for eternity. As a Christian, I am sad that another soul has died with Christ; however, nothing I read in Scripture indicates that evil has unlimited chances to repent. In fact, the Bible says that all men are without excuse. His death will save lives long-term.
I leave you with the scene unfolding as David and the Israelite army return from battle, David having just slain Goliath.
6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated…
- 1 Samuel 18:6-7a (ESV)
There is absolutely no reason that we cannot rejoice in this military victory for our nation. As a nation, we haven’t had a lot of bright spots lately, so this one is probably amplified because of that. God has delivered him into our hands - why should we not rejoice?
(Disclaimer: The President, as Commander in Chief, can set whatever policies he desires. Congress, as the body that creates law, can create whatever laws its members want. Nothing you may read below is targeted at any particular officeholder; it is my analysis of this policy. Furthermore, this analysis represents my personal analysis, and should not be construed to be official policy of any governmental entity. Feel free to comment; however, any comments that are derogatory to me personally or groups in general, either here or on Facebook, will be deleted without comment - stick with the issues or stay silent.)
Well, it looks like Wednesday is the day. What has passed Congress, and will be signed by the President, repeals the 1993 law mandating that homosexuals could serve in the military, provided they did not reveal their sexual orientation. This doesn’t mean that tomorrow is the military’s “coming out” day or anything; it simply means that the 1993 law is gone. It appears, though, that there is significant political pressure from the top down to somehow integrate a path to allow openly gay servicemembers in the United States military. I have a problem with this. Well, I actually have several problems with this.
1. Open shower bays must be replaced.
The reason male and female military members do not shower together is self-evident. While there are many things military members are asked to sacrifice, the indignity of showering with someone who considers you a potential sexual partner has not been one of those sacrifices. If this goes through, that changes. I would think that military spouses would be all over this for that very reason. Maybe they are, but nobody has asked them. I don’t know if female members feel this way, but I know that this male does. The way the male mind thinks about sex cannot be discounted; as one of the three major drives of humans, it cannot be ignored. Men are more forward, and are more apt to make passes at the object of their desire. Putting heterosexuals in this position is something the military should not do. It happens - I can attest from personal experience. However, I have yet to have that experience as a military member.
Open dorm bays present similar problems, but not nearly the magnitude of the showers. The entire living condition thing should be addressed, but IMO, the showers are the biggest deal.
2. Homosexuality, like it or not, is a security risk.
Part of being in the military requires a security clearance. The existence of anything over which one could be blackmailed (excessive debt, arrests, etc.) is a huge red flag. Even gays who are “out” may not be completely out - there may be people that they have refrained from telling (for whatever reason - doesn’t really matter). Even with openly homosexual military members allowed, there may be closeted gays, due to the social stigma. This is something over which they can be blackmailed. Allowing known security risks to appease a social agenda is not a choice that a nation that’s serious about it’s survival makes. (Of course, this is the same government that’s staged the largest “security theater” in history - but I digress.)
3. Homosexuals have a higher incidence of HIV than heterosexuals.
A politically-incorrect truth, but truth nonetheless. The military teaches first aid as a part of normal pre-deployment training, and it’s quite useful. In addition to all the other battlefield risks, now we would be exposing servicemembers to the potential of acquiring HIV in the course of saving their buddy’s life. Either that, or HIV becomes a non-deployable condition - and, if you’re not deployable, today’s military doesn’t want you. However, there are rules in place preventing dismissal due to medical conditions - how’s that lawsuit going to go, the first time a gay military member is discharged for contracting HIV?
4. The military is not a place for social experimentation.
Using the military for social experiments is certainly popular. To what other group of people can you give moderately-nonsensical orders, and have them do their best to carry them out? However, this argument remains, in spite of how many are tried before. It doesn’t matter to me how many other nations allow openly gay members - isn’t the United States military supposed to be better than all the other militaries in the world? Doing something just because some other military does it is ridiculous; when it doesn’t pertain to something that will actually help us win wars, it’s doubly so. I do not, for the life of me, understand the left’s fascination with Europe. We’ve kicked the butt of every European country we’ve fought! Why are we trying to emulate them?
But back to the social experiment. I am absolutely convinced that this is a back door (pardon the pun) for gay marriage. Why? Because it’s a slippery slope (and, despite those who scoff at slippery slopes, they do exist, and this is a big one). Gay servicemembers will want dependent privileges for their significant others. They can do this either by recognizing a same-sex “spouse”, or by allowing servicemembers to designate a person to receive benefits in lieu of a spouse (let’s call them ILOS). If it’s the former, there’s a whole “The military does it!” chorus; if it’s the latter, that will lead to even more expense, with uncertainty for the ILOS. Either way, it’s a losing proposition.
5. Military service is a privilege, not a right.
There are many reasons someone may be disqualified from military service - why is homosexuality different? Over 10 times the number who have been discharged for homosexuality, on average, are discharged due to weight. For non-combat positions, who cares? Obviously, the military does - you can be the best at your job, but if you can’t meet this standard, they’ll be happy to have you as a contractor. Military standards have been developed over centuries, and represent what is necessary to defend our nation. I have yet to see the warfighting case for allowing openly gay servicemembers. The military isn’t fair; fair doesn’t win wars.
6. Many people find homosexuality morally abhorrent.
I guess I’m just all kinds of politically incorrect on this one. However, I know I speak for myself and lots of other people when I say that I do not want my children around homosexual couples. Am I going to have to keep them from the bowling alley, the commissary, the exchange? Where does a military member’s right to free exercise of religion end and another’s right to free expression begin? Furthermore, I can tell you that just like I can’t make somebody a Christian by taking them to church, you will not change my mind on this, even if I’m assigned to an otherwise-gay organization. I have this quaint belief that words mean things, and when my God calls it an abomination, I’m pretty clear about what He means.
Going into this without addressing these (and other) concerns would be foolhardy at best. Even with these concerns addressed, this is simply not a priority, not important, and will not help us defend this nation. The lawsuits alone will wreak havoc on the military. The military knows what sort of people it needs to accomplish its mission, and it should be free to define those parameters without regard to whose feelings get hurt. Since when is the military supposed to care about feelings, anyway?
So where does this leave us? Remember, as I said above under #4, the military will do their best to carry out the orders and still do their job. That’s how we roll. I hope these speed bumps don’t slow our rolling too much.
Today is 9 years removed from September 11th, 2001. There is a lot going on today - fall Saturdays are typically sports days, and today is no different. There are lots of big match-ups in college football, and NASCAR wraps up its regular season tonight, locking in the drivers that will be competing for the championship over the following 10 races. There was a lot going on 9 years ago as well, although as a Tuesday, that day’s scheduled entertainment was in music, not sports; Michael W. Smith’s Worship and Enya’s A Day Without Rain were both released on that date. (It’s almost as if God knew that we were going to need them in the weeks to come.)
Of course, I’m not writing today to celebrate the 9th anniversary of Worship, though that album did revolutionize Christian music (not the first time Michael W. Smith had done that). It is remembered for the actions of a rogue band of terrorists, who turned that day into a day of great loss for our nation. It is remembered for the collapses in security that led to what is still both the worst terrorist attack on America, and the worst airline disaster in our history.
There are lots of directions that this post could go. I could talk about the absolutely horrendous idea of building a worship center for the religion under whose auspices the attacks were carried out mere blocks from the site of the attack; but, from my description, you probably can tell how I feel about that. I could also talk about the idiot in Florida who wanted to have the “Bonfire of the Qur’ans” today; but, again, I’ve probably communicated how I feel just now. I am thankful to God that he has decided against this.
But, today, in between games, cookouts, and races, all I’d like for us all to do is remember. Remember the lives of those who were simply doing their job that sunny September morning. Remember the lives of the police and fire personnel who ran into the building when others were running out. Remember those who were left with the choice of staying where they are and being burned to death, or jumping 100 stories to their death. Remember how the only thing you wanted to do was hold your family tight. Remember the over 3,000 military personnel who have lost their lives in the aftermath of this attack, in counter offenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember the pain. That pain reminded people just how good we have it here, and for a time, united nearly all of us around the defense of our country.
When you’re through remembering, turn to praise. Praise God that we have to go back 9 years to remember a successful large-scale terrorist attack on our soil. Praise God for leaders who made some tough decisions that have resulted in our protection. Praise God for the freedom we still have in this country. And finally, praise God that you were not among those who perished on that day, and resolve to accomplish what He left you here to do.
I know, I still owe you folks the 2008 YIR “The Good”, the MLK/Sanctity of Life column, and Bush Administration epitaph posts. All in good time - this is Pinewood Derby week in our Cub Scout pack!
But, to tide you over, here’s a teaser of the latest Ann Coulter column…
It will not be easy for President B. Hussein Obama. More than half the country voted for him, and yet our newspapers are brimming with snippy remarks at every little aspect of his inauguration.
Here’s a small sampling of the churlishness in just The New York Times:
- The American public is bemused by the tasteless show-biz extravaganza surrounding Barack Obama’s inauguration today.
- There is something to be said for some showiness in an inauguration. But one felt discomfited all the same.
- This is an inauguration, not a coronation.
- Is there a parallel between Mrs. Obama’s jewel-toned outfit and somebody else’s glass slippers? Why limousines and not shank’s mare?
- It is still unclear whether we are supposed to shout “Whoopee!” or “Shame!” about the new elegance the Obamas are bringing to Washington.
Boy, talk about raining on somebody’s parade! These were not, of course, comments about the inauguration of the angel Obama; they are (slightly edited) comments about the inauguration of another historic president, Ronald Reagan, in January 1981.
President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.
That’s just wrong. First off, I and probably over half this nation don’t think any promises were broken in the first place. But, even if they feel this way, they could phrase it in a more neutral way. “President Obama will make good on the promise America made to rebuild New Orleans…” is the way an administrative agenda should read. This looks like campaign retreads.