Category Archives: Culture

Presumption of Innocence vs. Assertion of Ownership

slave-auction-virginia-P

wethe people

I find a strong parallel between the issues of past US slavery advocacy and modern day abortion advocacy.

The parallel I see is that slaves were considered to be legal property of the slave owner rather than unique human individuals – the assertion of ownership. The property  –the slave — was treated kindly or viciously at the whim of the owner of that piece of property. 

Likewise, in todays world, we see this assertion of ownership invoked by proponents of abortion, particularly the mothers of those unborn humans. The language is along the lines of “keep your religion off my body” as if the unborn were the mother’s property rather than a developing and unique human child. 

At the same time, the American legal system provides protection of  an accused criminal by the legal principle of “presumption of innocence” whereby the accused must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of peers. 

The accused is treated not as property, but rather as a unique human being with protected Constitutional rights.

Not so the unborn child. The unborn are asserted by law – by a perversion of the Constitution in Row vs. Wade – to be the property of the mother and can be either kept or disposed of solely at the discretion of the owner of the property.

Further, in criminal cases there is a prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment – the Eighth Amendment. The unborn, being property, is denied this protection and we are now in a world where modern science and medicine shows a well developed nervous system in the unborn that can feel pain and suffering in the first three months of development. 

My plea to expectant mothers tempted to avail themselves  of their “Constitutionally protected right of abortion” is to carefully weigh their choice between presumption of innocence vs. the assertion of ownership – only the mother can make such a choice.

My plea here is not to impose my morals or religion onto the woman’s body, but rather to advocate for basic Constitutional rights  for those unique unborn human beings who are considered property and have no voice nor rights.

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The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads (emphasis mine):

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (in part) reads (emphasis mine)::

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

 

Don Johnson – April 2017

What’s Become of the American Dream?

American Dream

Peggy Noonan writes a wonderful piece in the Wall Street Journal. Click  “What’s Become of the American Dream?” to read the article.

Much in Noonan’s piece brought me back to the memoirs of Sam Jankovich which I have just finished editing and publishing.

A couple of excerpts from Noonan …

“ … The American dream is the belief, held by generation after generation since our beginning and reanimated over the decades by waves of immigrants, that here you can start from anywhere and become anything. In America you can rise to the heights no matter where and in what circumstances you began. You can go from the bottom to the top.  … “

The picture at the top is the last page of the memoir, and shows one such person who has gone “from the bottom to the top” in the literal sense of from a mile deep mine shaft to presenting a national championship game ball to the President of the United States.

Noonan further writes:

“ … The American dream was about aspiration and the possibility that, with dedication and focus, it could be fulfilled. But the American dream was not about material things—houses, cars, a guarantee of future increase. That’s the construction we put on it now. It’s wrong. A big house could be the product of the dream, if that’s what you wanted, but the house itself was not the dream. You could, acting on your vision of the dream, read, learn, hold a modest job and rent a home, but at town council meetings you could stand, lead with wisdom and knowledge, and become a figure of local respect. Maybe the respect was your dream.  … “

Click on the book cover below and take a look at Sam’s story.

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          (Click on the cover above)

As Noonan further writes:

“ … You can give a dozen examples, and perhaps you are one, of Americans who turned a brilliant system into a lived-out triumph. … “

And I do know of a number other examples.

 

Don Johnson – April 2017

Make Your Bed!

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(Click above to read the review)

I’ve been making our bed almost daily since somewhere near when Adm. McRaven first gave his speech back in 2014. I like to remember that I started this habit shortly before that now famous speech, but am willing to admit that the Admiral was most likely my motivator. After all, he is the admiral and me a lowly enlisted guy.

In any case, read this review, and better yet read the book. Who knows, perhaps you will start making your bed as well.

_______________

From the Wall Street Journal review of the book … 

Reset Your Life in an Hour

www.wsj.com |

Never give up. Always maintain optimism. We’ve all heard these lessons before—but not from the man who led the bin Laden mission. John Nagl reviews “Make Your Bed” by William H. McRaven.

Navy Seal trainees lock arms in the Pacific during Hell Week. Photo: Getty Images

By

John Nagl

April 3, 2017

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald was completely wrong when he suggested “there are no second acts in American lives.” If America stands for anything, it is reinvention, renewal and second chances. Take the Navy SEAL who oversaw the most important manhunt in history and rose to command all of U.S. Special Operations Forces. What did he do for an encore? Only give the most successful college graduation speech in history—at his alma mater, the University of Texas, wearing Navy dress whites.

In “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the World,” retired Adm. William H. McRaven admits that he was nervous before the address in May 2014. He was afraid that contemporary college students wouldn’t welcome a military man, even one who had once been, just like them, a slightly hung-over Austin senior eager to graduate and get on with life. They loved his speech, and word spread. It has been viewed more than 10 million times online, and Mr. McRaven has expanded the talk into a little book that should be read by every leader in America.

The motto of the University of Texas is “What starts here changes the world.” Mr. McRaven’s book provides instruction on doing 10 little things that aren’t little at all. His first suggestion is to make your bed every morning, because when you accomplish one thing early in the day, you’ll be motivated to achieve more—even if you aren’t having the quality of your work tested by a Navy chief petty officer with a quarter.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle, he goes on, because you can’t accomplish much on your own. And always measure a person by the size of his heart, not by his physical size, skin color, creed or anything else. Tommy Norris, the last SEAL to earn the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, was nearly booted out of SEAL training for being “too small, too thin, and not strong enough.” He proved a giant among men when he infiltrated deep behind enemy lines on successive nights to rescue downed airmen.

Some of the lessons won’t make perfect sense at first. “If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.” A sugar cookie is a wet SEAL trainee who has rolled himself in sand as punishment for some infraction of the rules—or for no reason at all, purely at the whim of the instructor. Life isn’t fair is Mr. McRaven’s point, and that’s no reason to cry. Keep going, even if there’s sand in every crevice of your body.

Embrace your failures, because every life has them, and what you learn will make you stronger. Dare greatly, because life is a struggle, and without challenges you’ll never know the limits of the possible. Stand up to the bullies, whether they are sharks circling you as you swim (sharks literally circle you in SEAL training during the deep-water swims) or Saddam Hussein. The latter was detained under Mr. McRaven’s watch for 30 days after his capture, and the SEAL firmly broke the deposed dictator’s self-confidence. Dig deep and rise to the occasion when all seems lost, whether working underwater in absolute darkness or responding to the deaths of those you lead in combat.

Mr. McRaven believes that good leaders are optimists even in the darkest times and make their teams believe in a brighter day. This is one of the best lessons of the book, illustrated by a story about Marine Gen. John Kelly, the current secretary of Homeland Security. Mr. Kelly’s son Robert was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010, and when a Special Forces helicopter was shot down killing 38 in Afghanistan in 2011, he was the right man to comfort the families. “More than any other visitor that day,” writes Mr. McRaven, “Kelly’s words resonated with every parent, every wife, every brother and sister, and every friend.” He had lived their pain and could give them hope.

Make Your Bed

By William H. McRaven
Grand Central, 130 pages, $18

Finally, never, ever quit. One hundred and fifty SEAL candidates began Basic Underwater Demolition School with Mr. McRaven in 1978; 33 graduated. As tough as these survivors were, even stronger was an Army Ranger named Adam Bates, who lost both of his legs to a land mine in Afghanistan but a year later was standing tall in his dress uniform on prosthetic legs and challenging his Ranger buddies to a pull-up contest. If Ranger Bates wouldn’t quit, which of us has an excuse?

These are not complicated lessons; we’ve all heard them before. But we haven’t heard them from the man who led the bin Laden mission. And we haven’t had them illustrated so memorably with stories from SEAL training, universally regarded as the most difficult course in the U.S. armed forces, or from a 35-year career leading men in combat.

Eight months after giving the talk that spurred this book, Mr. McRaven became the chancellor of the University of Texas System, overseeing 14 institutions with more than 200,000 students. There he has continued to demonstrate the courage, wisdom and spirit of service that he extols in “Make Your Bed.” In January, he released a statement decrying President Trump’s executive order on immigration, stating “that the talent, energy, and ideas flowing into the United States of America . . . from countries around the world are among our greatest strengths. The men and women who show up at our shores and our doors—ready to study, work, and participate—make us stronger, smarter, more competitive.” Reading that statement makes one hope for a third act in Mr. McRaven’s life, one that would affect the largest number of Americans.

“Make Your Bed” is a book you can read in an hour. It is a book to inspire your children and grandchildren to become everything that they can. It is a book to discuss with your executive leadership team as a spur to meeting shared goals. Most of all, it is a book that will leave you with tears in your eyes as you ask yourself: How does this nation find men and women like Tommy Norris and Adam Bates and William McRaven, who willingly risk their lives and their limbs to keep us safe and to protect our way of life?

Follow their example. Dare greatly. Don’t ever give up. And make your bed!

Mr. Nagl is the headmaster of the Haverford School. A retired Army officer, he is the author of “Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War.”

Appeared in the Apr. 04, 2017, print edition as ‘Reset Your Life In an Hour.’

 

Beyond He or She

heandshe

No … a new generation is not redefining the meaning of gender.

This cover and the article would best say “a new generation is fanaticizing on the meaning of gender.”

It is an abomination that a major so-called news magazine would celebrate such a tragic turn of events among young people of this nation, and that’s what they do.

This new generation that has had so little life experience is held up to be redefining; anatomy, biology, culture, religion, history, genetics, sexuality, civility, family, the Bible … God

This new generation – mostly high school age in the article — is held up to having more wisdom than the collective wisdom of the ages

It’s not a new generation, but only a small disturbed part of a younger generation. But … it’s gaining momentum, and these things can quickly poison a culture.   

Do they – does anyone – have any idea what future consequences might be in store? Consequences to personal lives and health, disease, suicide, despair, families, culture, liberty? Probably not.

Will Time and others of like mind be help accountable … or will they be celebrated?

2 Timothy 3:1

 

Don Johnson – April 2017

Is Truth Dead

istruthdead

I would say that truth has been dead for a long, long time!

Truth is Dead to the left.

The picture above is a recent cover of Time magazine, and if you look at the accompanying article you will see a hit piece on President Donald Trump.

I haven’t followed Time magazine for quite some time, so perhaps some of you can point me to the many similar front page hit pieces against President Barack Obama and/or the left. Please send these:

  • Bush lied babies died.
  • “Shovel Ready Jobs.”
  • If you like your doctor – you can keep your doctor.”  Told ~37 times to ~6,000,000 people who had to change doctors.
  • “If you like your plan– you can keep your plan.”  Told ~37 times to ~6,000,000 people who lost or had to change their plans.
  • “Average family health care costs will come down an average $2,500 per year.” Costs actually rose, some dramatically.
  • “Benghazi attack was caused by an anti-Islam American film maker.” 
  •  

And from a previous article I wrote:

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/famous-presidential-lies-contest/

  • I will have the most transparent administration in history.
  • The stimulus will fund shovel-ready jobs.
  • I am focused like a laser on creating jobs.
  • The IRS is not targeting anyone.
  • It was a spontaneous riot about a movie.
  • If I had a son.
  • I will put an end to the type of politics that “breeds division, conflict and cynicism”.
  • You didn’t build that!
  • I will restore trust in Government.
  • The Cambridge cops acted stupidly.
  • The public will have 5 days to look at every bill that lands on my desk
  • It’s not my red line – it is the world’s red line.
  • Whistle blowers will be protected in my administration.
  • We got back every dime we used to rescue the banks and auto companies, with interest.
  • I am not spying on American citizens.
  • Obama Care will be good for America.
  • You can keep your family doctor. [AYFP: this lie was spoken 37 times to the 6+ million people whose insurance plans have been cancelled]
  • Premiums will be lowered by $2500.
  • If you like it, you can keep your current healthcare plan.
    [AYFP: this lie was spoken 37 times to the 6+ million people whose insurance plans have been cancelled]
  • It’s just like shopping at Amazon.
  • I knew nothing about “Fast and Furious” gunrunning to Mexican drug cartels.
  • I knew nothing about IRS targeting conservative groups.
  • I knew nothing about what happened in Benghazi.

And another article on truth and Presidential Trust:

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/presidential-trust/

Perhaps truth is dead at Time magazine.

But I’ll be waiting for those articles.

 

 

Don Johnson – April 2017

The Man In The Box

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I’ve just finished editing and publishing the memoirs of a remarkable man — Sam Jankovich.

Sam told me today that he feels bad because I am spending so much time on this project.  And this is what I told him:

Don’t feel bad Sam. I look at this project as a blessing. There are so many stories out there – we all have them. Many  pass through this world … people close to us …  and all we have of them is a box full of old photos in a closet– if that. I would love to know more of my dad, an immigrant from Norway who came to this country at age 19, along with a younger brother  17,  and friends from the old farm country of Norway.  Most settled in Butte and Spokane, but little is known of their life, either back in the “old country” or here in the US in those days.

What did my dad & mom think of FDR, Hitler, Stalin – the great depression – World War II? How did they learn English, What was it like in the early days in a brand new country?  Was he one of those dreaded “liberals” or “conservatives” Don’t really know.

So when someone like yourself comes into my life like you, with a compelling and interesting life, I’m all ears and eyes. You are of that “greatest generation,” and I want to know more – and I want others to know. You are a man of great character and I’ve learned from your life.

Yea – I’ve missed a few soap operas and movies along the way, perhaps missed a few golf rounds (I don’t golf). But I’ve gained a dear friend in the process.

So thank you for being a blessing to me. Thank you for letting me peer into your life – sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, place to place.

Your Typoist,

Don

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Sam Jankovich
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:05 PM
To:
Don Johnson
Subject:

Thanks for the call I feel so badly you are putting so much time into this project. I will get you names of key people tomorrow then on Monday. Most of the people at WSzU have passed. Thamkd

Just Thinking: thoughts concerning: Atheism, Creation, Evolution, Intelligent Design

http://www.blurb.com/b/7687777-just-thinking
Click on the image below to take a look.

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Excerpt:

“ … I remember those nights as a kid laying out in the backyard on a clear Montana night. Laying out in that mummy bag gazing in wonder at the night sky and … just thinking

How many stars are out there? How big is the universe? Does it have an end? If it has an end … then what’s beyond? How did it get there? How did I get here? How can there be something that has no end? Are there answers?

I think most of us have had such nights, and for many of us such wonder continues …

I’m one of those whose mind seems never to stop with the wondering … I just can’t shut it off — not that I want too.

So this is a collection of thoughts, conversations and writings that I’ve collected over the years. Thoughts and study that go back many, many years. The pages to follow come from my thinking and study on these issues, from my blog and from internet dialogs I’ve had with various people, mainly commenters like myself who seem to be passionate about the same questions and issues. Many have quite the opposite views as me, but that’s OK.

______________

In this short book I hold out the hope of showing that a world view centered around a designed and created universe is not only reasonable, but that such a view is the one that aligns with and makes sense with our everyday encounter with our universe and all that is within it — including you and me. Scientists of today as well as in years and centuries past have assigned the idea of “Rational Intelligibility” as an apt description of this world view.

This view of a designed and created universe is a minority view these days, not held by many who are the shapers of the modern world view of materialism which holds that everything we experience has come about through entirely natural means. In other words, Darwinian Evolution explains it all and we need seek no further for answers to the many mysterious and profound questions of life.

The popular purveyors of evolution such as Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking and others, dismiss our everyday encounters with design as — the “appearance” of design, but not real design, only an “illusion” of design — not the real experience of design experienced when you turn your television to your favorite show, or talk to your friend on your iPhone.

If you are uncertain, or you hold to a world view of materialism and evolution as holding the ultimate answers, I would encourage you to step back for a moment and take a deep breath — step out and take a risk to examine an alternative view. Examine the examples and thinking I give in the following pages, as well as seeking out your own examples. You can and should take this intellectual plunge initially in the privacy of your own mind — take whatever time is appropriate for you to stir those brain cells into a stirring of questioning. You will indeed take a risk in doing this … questioning your perhaps long standing beliefs … risking ridicule and censure, even from those close to you. It won’t be easy. … “

Click on the image below to take a look

http://www.blurb.com/b/7687777-just-thinking

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