Category Archives: Culture

Presidential Trust–Trump’s Turn

Almost two years ago I wrote a piece on Presidential trust. You can read it at the following link.

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

And now a disturbing commentary shows up in todays Wall Street Journal –

A President’s Credibility

Trump’s falsehoods are eroding public trust, at home and abroad.

If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.

That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

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I close with an excerpt from my article of two years ago:

“ … Why does the air pressure in a football cause us to question the honesty of a football team? … why is the honesty of an NBC news anchor all of a sudden a big issue? …  but the moral vacuum of a president earns just a yawn as we reach for that next beer and handful of chips?

Rush Limbaugh frames it well when he asks – Why Do We Demand More Integrity from the News Anchor Than the People He Reports On? (Search for this in http://www.Rushlimbaugh.com archives of Feb 11,2015)

Is there a George Washington or Abraham Lincoln on the American leadership horizon? … “

Don Johnson – March 2017

Middlebury’s Statement of Principle

Middlebury College students protest Charles Murray, March 2. Photo: Associated Press

Middlebury College students protest Charles Murray, March 2. Photo: Associated Press

Middlebury’s Statement of Principle

[Note from Don Johnson – author of this blog Read what many of my generation thought about such actions by clicking the link below – AYFP]

https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/i-may-not-agree-with-what-you-are-saying-but-i-will-defend-to-the-death-your-right-to-say-it/

Learning is possible only where free, reasoned and civil speech is respected.

By Jay Parini  and  Keegan Callanan  March 6, 2017 7:36 p.m. ET   615  COMMENTS

WSJ | 2017-03-07T00:36:00.000Z

Middlebury, Vt.

On Thursday roughly 100 of our 2,500 students prevented a controversial visiting speaker, Charles Murray, from communicating with his audience on the campus of Middlebury College. Mr. Murray was silenced by loud chants and foot-stomping; the commotion lasted nearly half an hour before college officials moved him to a private room to deliver his address into a camera. But even the simulcast to the auditorium was silenced by more protests and multiple fire alarms.

As Mr. Murray was leaving, a group of as-yet-unidentified assailants mobbed him and seriously injured one of our faculty colleagues. In view of these unacceptable acts, we have produced a document stating core principles that seem to us unassailable in the context of higher education within a free society. Many colleagues have joined us by signing their names to this document; the full list of signatories is available online. [Emphasis – AYFP]

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The principles are as follows:

Genuine higher learning is possible only where free, reasoned, and civil speech and discussion are respected.

Only through the contest of clashing viewpoints do we have any hope of replacing mere opinion with knowledge.

The incivility and coarseness that characterize so much of American politics and culture cannot justify a response of incivility and coarseness on the college campus.

The impossibility of attaining a perfectly egalitarian sphere of free discourse can never justify efforts to silence speech and debate.

Exposure to controversial points of view does not constitute violence.

Students have the right to challenge and even to protest non-disruptively the views of their professors and guest speakers.

A protest that prevents campus speakers from communicating with their audience is a coercive act.

No group of professors or students has the right to act as final arbiter of the opinions that students may entertain.

No group of professors or students has the right to determine for the entire community that a question is closed for discussion.

The purpose of college is not to make faculty or students comfortable in their opinions and prejudices.

The purpose of education is not the promotion of any particular political or social agenda.

The primary purpose of higher education is the cultivation of the mind, thus allowing for intelligence to do the hard work of assimilating and sorting information and drawing rational conclusions.

A good education produces modesty with respect to our own intellectual powers and opinions as well as openness to considering contrary views.

All our students possess the strength, in head and in heart, to consider and evaluate challenging opinions from every quarter.

We are steadfast in our purpose to provide all current and future students an education on this model, and we encourage our colleagues at colleges across the country to do the same.

***

The list of signatories is available at FreeInquiryBlog.wordpress.com.

Mr. Parini is a professor of English and Mr. Callanan a professor of political science at Middlebury College.

Copyright ©2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Miracle of Freedom– The American Baseline

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(Click on the image above to see the book)

An excerpt:
“ … A deeper look at the human record reveals a series of critical events, obvious forks in the road leading to very different outcomes, that resulted in this extraordinary period in which we live. These tipping points-foundational events that allowed for the marriage of Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christian theology-laid the bedrock for democracy and freedom in our modern age.

Seven of the most important of these historical tipping points would be:

1. The defeat of the Assyrians in their quest to destroy the kingdom of Judah
2. The victory of the Greeks over the Persians at Thermopylae and Salamis
3. Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity
4. The defeat of the armies of Islam at Poitiers
5. The failure of the Mongols in their effort to conquer Europe in AD 1241
6. The discovery of the New World
7. The Battle of Britain in World War II

It is important to understand that, in and of themselves, none of these events created the gift of freedom that we enjoy today. However, each of them proved to be a critical tipping point in which the future of the world was altered, creating the cradle in which the gift of democracy could be born and flourish in our day. (And yes, there are many other events that would make this story more complete, but time and space must limit our effort to just these seven.) … “

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I’ve just finished my second reading of this book (above) and have started a third reading  — it’s that important.

The authors highlight the astonishing fact that freedom as we know it here in America and much of the West, has been virtually non-existent for the 100 to 110 billion people who have lived anywhere and at any time on this earth – probably something less than 4%. And of those 4%, most have lived in the United States and those nations influenced by our free society in the very short 200+ lifespan of this nation — since the ratification of our constitution.  A Constitution and nation of “We the People …”    This Constitution, along with a Free Market Capitalist economic system has brought more liberty, opportunity and prosperity for more people than any other system ever tried in the history of the world and among those 110 billion people – an Exceptional Nation. 

Sorry Bernie Sanders, but many others have added adjective phrases in front of the word Socialism, and now you with Democratic Socialism. All those preceding your new brand of socialism have failed – often catastrophically.  Try looking at modern day Venezuela.

In January 2017, 2017 we witnessed the 56th consecutive peaceful transition of power in the United States from one political party to another. No revolution, no coup d’état, no violent take over by assassination. Contentious yes, but ultimately peaceful with the incoming and outgoing Presidents standing together during the transition.

The George W. Bush Al Gore election was very close, and was hotly contested by the Gore camp, including a significant delay of the Gore concession which greatly reduced the time available to Bush to assemble his incoming team. Ultimately the Supreme Court pronounced for Bush and the Gore camp backed off  and a peaceful transition once more took place.

The John F. Kennedy – Richard Nixon election of 1960 likewise was extremely close.  Richard Nixon, citing “for the good of the nation” did the honorable thing and conceded the election to Kennedy rather than pushing for a recount or court action. 

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But this election cycle feels very different to me. Different and sinister.

Since the election of November 2017 we have seen an extraordinary number of tactics aimed at undermining the Presidency of Donald Trump.  I’ve written about this recently at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/is-what-were-witnessing-in-the-us-a-slow-motion-downhill-slide-into-a-coup/ 
Is what we’re witnessing in the US a slow-motion downhill slide into a coup?

Here is an excerpt from that article:

“This question posed at the link above (from Australia) is aimed at President Donald Trump. But from what I’ve seen since the election, and especially noticeable since the inauguration, if anything, would point that question directly back to the progressive left.

The failed electoral recount effort – the denouncement of the Constitutional Electoral College voting method – riots in the streets of Washington on inauguration day – demonstrations around the country – Congressional (Democrat) boycott of the inauguration – immediate congressional (Democrat) announcement of total resistance to Trump in the Congress – Soros funded(?) spontaneous demonstrations at airports –Soros manipulation(?) of some 56 abortion advocacy groups promoting the Women’s March – riots and shutdown of free speech at UC Berkley – the immediate calls for impeachment – assertions that the new President is mentally ill – accusations and insinuations that Trump is planning a coup – visual insinuation of assassination as on the cover of a recent Irish magazine … and more it seems daily.  .. “

What I see in all this is a Saul Alinsky style of demonization of the President of the United States. This demonization is all the more potent with the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and the very blog I am writing on now.

A recent example of this social media demonization is the exploitation of an incident reported by an Australian author — 
Australian children’s author Mem Fox detained by US border control: ‘I sobbed like a baby’ . Did this happen as she reported it? Probably, and if so it is indeed deplorable on the part of those responsible. It seems to me more of an example of a bad incident being promoted with the agenda of demonization. She herself cites this incident in contrast with 116 previous visits to the US without incident.

I’ve lived through the 60s and remember the chaos then. I remember the hatred hurled against Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon (especially) and then Ronald Reagan. I remember the hatred hurled against George W. Bush. Today’s chaos has the feeling of being much more sinister, filled and fueled with much hatred, and potentially more dangerous than those in the past, and gets me to the quote from John Adams, our second president.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other … “ John Adams.

What we have now, in addition to political chaos, is a frightening moral decline which I have witnessed over my lifetime. Prior to the 2016 election, and with both candidates, I felt we had indeed arrived at that time of which Adams (and others of his contemporaries) wrote – a time of an immoral and irreligious people. Are we as a people at such a place? I recently wrote of scraping the bottom of the barrel with both candidates and lamented the prospect of, for the first time in my electoral life, truly having to vote for the lesser of two evils.  I’m convinced had Hillary Clinton been elected, we would indeed have accelerated further down that path and the nation would suffer from her deep corruption. But Donald Trump is now President. Have we received a reprieve and course correction with his election? I hope so, and judging from the people he has surrounded himself with I have hope. But that hope is tempered, not only by the flaws of this man now our President, but perhaps more so by a nation and its people who, for example, have allowed our federal government to dictate and enforce a so called “gender fluidity” which obliterates known and obvious genetic, anatomical, biological, historical and cultural differences between boys and girls – men and women. This cannot end well with this and future generations. It is this sort of law making and regulation dictates that renders our Constitution “wholly inadequate.”

What I see in all this, is an attempted coup d’état from the left – an attempt to end the streak of peaceful transitions at 56.

And that gets me back to the book and it’s premise of American Exceptionalism.

If we see the toppling of the US government by these extra-constitutional means, what will we get in its place? Will it be a Barack Obama waiting and organizing in the wings ready to reclaim power? Will it be a Bernie Sanders wannabe introducing a real no-kidding socialistic state? Will it be a Donald Trump indeed claiming dictatorship over this nation as Caesar did  with Rome in crossing the Rubicon, as Trumps many enemies fear? Who is to say, but I for one am willing to let the Constitutional process play out and work for change through the Constitution and the electoral process (remember – it’s the Electoral College that counts.)

The stakes are extremely high, and have been so since the late 1700s. As Ronal Reagan has said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

The results of a failure of our Constitutional Republic most likely would be a return to those very dark ages the authors talk about in their book. There are those waiting in the wings for a collapse of the American/Western civilization. They are not good people. They live in places like Tehran, Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, and even within the borders of the United States of America.

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As a final note. In reading the account of the Mongol Horde of Genghis Khan I am reminded of former Secretary of State John Kerry’s characterization of the American military  in Vietnam:

“ … They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. … “

And a few excerpts from the book regarding Genghis Kahn:

“ … Some of the refugees from previous engagements had made their way to the capital, telling of entire cities razed, thousands of beheaded bodies stacked outside the city walls, everything of value taken, including a frightening number of slaves. … “

“ … They were using children – Khwarizmi children taken from the outer province – herding them before their army to protect them from the arrow that would soon come raining down. … “ 

And yet John Kerry reached a level of power whereby he was able to engineer an “agreement”  with Islam which most likely will result in nuclear tipped missiles in flight to Israeli cities in yet another attempt to complete Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

Watch this video to see a more truthful telling of the US Military in Vietnam —
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+lucky+few&view=detail&mid=35ECE68C0B870759E33735ECE68C0B870759E337&FORM=VIRE

 

Don Johnson – February 2017 

About the authors of the book:
Chris Stewart is a bestselling author who has published more than a dozen books. He is a world-record-setting Air Force pilot and president and CEO of The Shipley Group, a nationally recognized consulting and training company.

Ted Stewart was appointed as a United States District Court Judge in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to Governor Michael O. Leavitt and in various executive positions in government.

__________________

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A few further references …

Seven Days in February – by Victor Davis Hansen

Trumps’ critics, left and right, aim to bring about the cataclysm they predicted.
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(Click on the image above to read the article)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald: What The ‘Deep State’ Is Doing To Trump Is ‘A Prescription For Destroying Democracy’

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(Click above for the article)

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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. “

Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 – 2004)

Relax, Trump is stone cold sane

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(Click above to watch)

So many have been questioning the mental health of President Trump, and

some are trying to remove him from office based on their reading of his mental condition. I don’t find these accusations credible, and the analysis below seems quite accurate.  Don Johnson

By Dr. Keith Ablow, Psychiatrist

http://nation.foxnews.com/2017/02/15/dr-keith-ablow-relax-trump-stone-cold-sane

Let me issue the standard disclaimer of psychiatrists who discuss the mental health of public figures: I have not personally examined President Trump.

Now, let me put to rest the concerns of Sen. Al Franken and political commentators John Oliver and Andrew Sullivan and anyone else who publicly or privately has questioned the president’s sanity:

Donald Trump is stone cold sane.

When a man acquires billions of dollars through complex real estate transactions, invests in many countries, goes on to phenomenal success in television and turns his name into a worldwide brand, it is very unlikely that he is mentally unstable.

When the same man obviously enjoys the love and respect of his children and his wife, who seem to rely on him for support and guidance, it is extraordinarilyunlikely that he is mentally unstable.

When the same man walks into the political arena and deftly defeats 16 Republican opponents and then the Democratic heir-apparent to a two-term president’s administration, the odds of that man being mentally unstable become vanishingly thin.

And when that very same man attracts to his team the kind of intellect and gravitas represented (to name just a few) by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and commander of the U.S. Central Command, he cannot be mentally deranged. Period. It is a statistical impossibility.

Those who assert otherwise are political opportunists, or fools, or both (and I am thinking here, in particular, of Sen. Franken).

President Trump is the first human being to win this nation’s highest office without having held any other political office or serving as a general. Most political pundits thought his quest was pure folly. Most journalists assessed his chances as zero. So who was laboring under quasi-delusional thinking? Answer: Not Donald J. Trump.

Anecdotally, by the way, I have never had one bad Trump experience. Not one. I own several of his ties — all of them of the highest quality. I have stayed in his hotels and never had a single complaint (and I am a born complainer). I have eaten in his New York restaurant — flawless service, excellent food. I own an apartment at Trump Place in Manhattan. Impeccable design, sturdy construction, fabulous amenities. A mentally unstable man would be unlikely to deliver superior products across multiple industries, don’t you think?

If you’re still worried about the mental stability of the president, note this: The stock market doesn’t like instability. Investors, en masse, can take the measure of a man pretty darn well. The stock market has hit record high after record high since Trump’s election, and if you think that’s an accident, or that investors have all been fooled, it’s time to start wondering about your own capacity for rational thought.

I should note that nothing I am saying should besmirch the reputations of men like President Abraham Lincoln or Sir Winston Churchill, both of whom are said to have fought the ravages of major depression or bipolar disorder. One was instrumental in ridding America of slavery. The other was instrumental in saving the world from tyranny. Mahatma Gandhi, by the way, also reportedly suffered from depression. Psychiatric illness does not, a priori, disqualify a person from rendering extraordinary service to mankind.

Mind you, neither Lincoln nor Churchill nor Gandhi led a nation after becoming a business sensation and television star. That trifecta defines one man: President Donald J. Trump.

Now, think about those who are rabble-rousing about the president’s mental status. Take Sen. Al Franken. He’s all worried about the president allegedly overestimating the crowd size at his inauguration. But Franken is allied with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who asserted she is Native American, when there is no evidence of that whatsoever.

And they’re calling Trump’s sanity into question? Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Dr. Keith Ablow, Psychiatrist

"I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

image(Click above to read the article)

Riots like this take me back to my younger days. It was 1964 and I was a young 20 yr. old sailor attending a Navy school at Mare Island CA (not far from Berkley). A group of us young sailors were talking in the barracks one night. I don’t recall the topic, but I do remember saying “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” As I recall, there was general agreement among us about that statement.

I don’t recall knowing of a far distant country named Vietnam, nor do I recall a war going on over there — I don’t think any of us did. But soon enough, most of us were assigned to destroyers and found our way over to that war where we were faced with possibly having to make good on that cocky statement made in the barracks that night. And 1964 was a scant few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, so our youthful boasting was not done in a safe and protected vacuum like that campus just down the road.

But you know what? I ‘m sure most us believed it then and believe it now and would do the same now if able.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/justinholcomb/2017/02/01/dems-gone-wild-violent-protests-burn-down-parts-of-uc-berkley-n2280111

Don Johnson – February 2017

Sam Jankovich–A Butte Kid Does Well

C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_5838746a23c8d_imageSam's life 007

“ … I worked in the Leonard mine which was the turning point of my life. I was put in a tunnel and was scared to death. I thought for certain I would not get out alive. I came home and told Patty that if I had to work in the mine we were going to starve. … “

How did this young man, a hard rock miner from Butte Montana, rise from the depths of a mine tunnel to one day stand beside two Presidents and among two National Championship college football teams? From a dirty and dangerous mine to stand beside Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde and coaches of the caliber of Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson? How did this young man rise from that dark, cold mine shaft to become Chief executive Officer of the New England patriots? How did this man expand a football stadium in Pullman Washington from 24,000 to 39,000 seats – with no cost to the tax payer?

Sam Jankovich came to the surface of the Leonard mine and rose to the top of his chosen profession of athletics. From state championship teams in Butte — to assistant coaching at universities in Montana and Washington — to Athletic Director at Washington State and the University of Miami – to CEO of the Patriots. All along the way earning induction into the Halls of Fame of these institutions.

As the editor of Sam’s memoirs I learned the answers to these questions. Sentence by sentence – paragraph by paragraph – page by page – place to place. I found the answers in words like ‘character’, ‘loyalty’, ‘quality’ and ‘consistency’ bubbling up from the pages. I began to see the character of the man as golden threads woven through the fabric of his life and career. Part of the fabric and yet distinctly visible.

The story of Sam Jankovich is in these pages, but it is not a story of “I”. Rather, it seems subsumed and surrounded by the many stories of the “others” of Sam’s life. You will run across constantly recurring phrases as “… a wonderful man” “ … a wonderful person” “… a dear friend”, “a wonderful woman”

Sam Jankovich is one of the “old timers” I’ve become acquainted or reacquainted with in recent years. Others, along with their stories, have come to me from my US Navy past — some from that “Greatest Generation” of World War II, Korea, the Cold War and Vietnam. One of my Navy shipmates, and a friend, is a refugee from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and a three tour Vietnam veteran. Another is a Navy veteran of those many World War II sea-battles in the South Pacific — followed by infantry combat in that very brutal Korean War.

These folks who have lived such consequential lives, and have left behind recollections of their lives, deserve to be remembered. That is why I have become passionate in doing what I can to further those remembrances.

I hope you enjoy the story of one such consequential life – the life of Sam Jankovich.

 

(Click on the book cover below to find Sam)

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Don Johnson – typoist and editor of Sam Jankovich

How can taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?

For years I have asked the question “How can taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

Consider:
— the target of the abortion is alive, as a distinct entity, from conception and has never been anything but alive.

— the target of the abortion is a human being and has never been anything else. He or she has never been a worm, a bird, a cabbage, a monkey, a fish or any other life form other than a human being.

— the target of the abortion, never having entered into the human society, is as innocent as can be imagined.

— the abortion does indeed take this life.

Constitutionally:

— this life has been taken without “due process of law” as required by the US Constitution.

— the presumption of innocence, Constitutionally granted in criminal cases, is denied to the object of abortion.

— legal representation is denied to the object of abortion as is the right to confront the accuser.

— presentation of legal charges and a jury trial of peers is denied to the object of abortion.

Again I ask “How can the taking the life of an innocent human being be Constitutional?”

 

Don Johnson – January 2017

Books Every ‘Seeker’ Should Read

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(Click above to read the article)

A friend posted this article originally titled “26 Books Every ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Seeker Should Read.” I didn’t catch why she excluded “religious” seekers from her list. Nevertheless, a worthy topic, and one I would like to expand on to include this “seeker” – me – and a list of my own that have influenced me in my 73 years of life.

I will begin in my late teens when I was dating my wife of now 53 years. She was a Roman Catholic, and I thought if this young romance is to go anywhere, perhaps I should learn a little of her religion. I had little or no religious beliefs, let alone knowledge, but I did understand that Catholicism was the oldest religion, and therefore if there was a “true” religion, this was most likely it. I don’t recall thinking of the many other religions – Islam, Buddhism, Judaism … I wanted to know about the “real” one — I was a “seeker.”

So at the age of about 18 I frequented the local library and started to read about Catholicism. I have no recollection of the books I looked into, but suffice it to say that this brief experience began my life as a “seeker.”

A few years later I would fall under the influence of my girlfriend’s older brother – an Atheist. Gordon had a persuasive gift of gab, and me being a “seeker” he had a ready student and introduced me to Atheism and Existentialism, hence the first books on my list.

    • Why I Am Not A Christian  — Bertrand Russell.
    • No Exit  — Jean Paul Sartre
    • Being and Nothingness – Jean Paul Sartre
    • The Playboy Philosophy – Hugh Hefner

Skipping ahead a few years, married and back in college after a time working and a Navy tour, I read books like this one:

    • The Passover Plot  — Hugh J. Schonfield
      A book “debunking” the Jesus myth.

So during those years I guess I considered my “seeking” finished and I settled into a world view of evangelical Atheism – yes I was outspoken and mocking of all things religious.  I’m sure there were other books from that era, but I don’t recall. The ones listed above were certainly the most influential in my life.

So at a ripe old age of early twenties, I settled into my “know it all” world view of Atheism.  This lasted to age 36.

I’ll list the books that transformed my life (and that of my family as well) from that point on, beginning with the earliest:

    • The Late Great Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey.
    • There’s A New World Coming – Hal Lindsey
    • The Rapture  — Hal Lindsey
    • Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey
    • Others by Hal Lindsey

Lindsey’s books unexpectedly caught my attention when I innocently picked up his Late Great Planet Earth  book back in 1980. I thought I was going to read a fanciful yarn akin to Erich von Däniken‘s “Chariots of the Gods.” What I got instead was Lindsey laying out a case claiming that today’s current events line up with the prophetic Biblical writings of thousands of years ago describing the “last days” of planet earth. This was like getting hit upside the head with a 2×4 and got my attention and interest. 

Lindsey wrote his book in the 1970s in the midst of the Cold War  when the Soviet Union was a strong and prominent player on the world stage and Communism was on the march in many parts of the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it appeared that Lindsey might be off the mark in highlighting Russia as one of the key players in the “end times” scenario. However, Russia is once more prominent as a world power, and in fact is now positioned in the Middle east (Syria) whereas it was not in the 1970s – something to pay attention too.   

There are many other thinkers and writers on Biblical Prophesy and I have read a number of them  — some good and others not so good (an exercise for the student?). But let me move on …

Lindsey’s books, along with my study of the actual Biblical passages he highlighted, launched me out of atheism and into Christianity. But I was a total rookie and had many questions and internal conflicts. The following are some of the books and ministries that helped this “seeker” through those oft-times confusing times.  

I could go on and on, but let me conclude …

During this period of seeking and growth back in the early 1980s, I actually did read the Bible through from cover to cover.  One of the surprises I found, as one of the worlds foremost experts in that book that I had not previously opened,  were the many  practical lessons useful for living a full life … how to be a better husband, father, friend, employee, boss, brother, son, citizen …

So I would encourage you as a fellow “seeker”, don’t stop at being just a “spiritual seeker”, but press on to seek the whole banquet that will fill that hunger within you.

 

Don Johnson – January 2017

 

 

 

 

A Tale Of Two Veterans Days

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Veterans Day at Sea — 2016

We were on a trans-Atlantic cruise somewhere off the coast of Portugal on the Royal Caribbean ship “Jewel Of The Seas”.
At 11:00 AM, the cruise director assembled the ships officers in the Centrum and they conducted an amazing and wonderful Veterans Day celebration for all veterans present on the ship — truly a moving and emotional event for all.

The celebration included veterans from all countries represented — I met a Norwegian soldier who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Most of us appeared to be US veterans of Vietnam, but I did meet a few Korean War veterans.

In talking with some of these guys in the following days, we were all greatly blessed by the celebration put on by the ship. We were called to stand in front of the senior officers and were presented by these officers a medal, which was prominent around many necks for the remainder of the day.

A common comment from the Vietnam vets was along the lines of “this was sure a lot different than what I got when I came home!”
You may not know this, but the “Thank you for your service” which is common place today, was unheard of when these guys returned home from Vietnam. They were vilified — called baby killers and other vile names — and spit upon on many occasions. I didn’t receive such treatment, probably because I came home in 1966, early in the war. So this celebration, I believe, was greatly welcomed by most, if not all, present out there in the mid-Atlantic.
And the wives also appreciated it vey much.

Click on the images below to see the video of this celebration.

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Now to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. for a different kind of Veterans Day. (click on the image below)

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When I was about the same age as these Hampshire college snowflakes, attending a Navy school, I distinctly remember commenting to my buddies “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!” — and there was general agreement with what I said.
These Hampshire students – useful idiots as Stalin would call them – are indeed manipulated idiots, but we sailors meant what we said that night in 1965, and shortly thereafter we all were deployed to a war zone and were faced with living up to those words.

 

Don Johnson – November 2016 

How High Is Your Moral Bar?

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http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/10/12/have_you_seen_this_obama_video

For the die hard liberal/progressive Democrat left there are two moral bars at play – two bars that define what is morally acceptable in the culture and in political candidates.

The first bar is that which is acceptable behavior to the political Democrat left and to much of the American media.

That bar is very low and rapidly approaching ground level. Currently that bar is so low as to require – by government decree – that boys be allowed to use the girls rest rooms and locker rooms. President Barack Obama through his Department of Justice is in the process of redefining what people have known and accepted for millennia – that boys are different than girls and appropriate accommodations to these differences are made in the form, for example, of separate locker rooms, showers and restrooms.

That the state of North Carolina felt it necessary to codify into state law the distinction between the genders has caused a firestorm of reaction from many quarters; PayPal, Dow Chemical, the NBA, the NCAA, Google and other businesses oppose North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law. And of course the Obama Justice Department has filed a law suite against the North Carolina law.

This pushback against millennial long gender differentiation is couched in terms of LGBTQ equity and equal protection. But one of its most destructive effects is the unnecessary and unjustified recruitment of many teens, our children, into the LGBTQ life style. This recruitment is based on nothing more than the legal and scientific torturing of very radical agents such as Obama who truly mean to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” – politically as well as culturally and spiritually.

The next and very predictable lowering of this leftist bar is to legitimize and legalize pedophilia, and demonize those that would oppose – dumping them into Hillary Clintons “basket of deplorables.” .

Will we be hearing a righteous outcry in the main stream media about the truly shameful behavior of President Barack Obama as shown in the video above? No – for that behavior rises above the ground level moral bar of the truly radical left.

Will we be hearing and seeing a very public apology from the President of the United States? No – his rock star popularity assures his rise above the left’s deplorable moral bar.

Will we be hearing and seeing a public and sincere apology from former president Bill Clinton and his enabling wife Hillary to those four women present at the recent debate as well as to Monica Lewinsky who’s seaman stained blue dress stands as clear evidence of the depravity of the Clintons. No – They also rise above the moral bar steadily lowered over decades by the leftist elite of this nation.

The second bar is that which is unacceptable behavior to the political Democrat left by those opposing the agenda of the left.

This second moral  bar of the left is wholly imaginary. The left sees a true moral bar such as in the Ten Commandments, and seeks to usurp it and use it as a bludgeon against its enemies.  They see the package and its beautiful wrappings and try to pull it down to the depraved level  of their first bar. But they only see the pretty wrapping and refuse to unwrap the package to see its true content.

The purpose of a moral bar – a thought and behavioral standard if you will — is to be a positive, protective and constructive force. It protects and builds up. It protects a family against a husband and father bent on satisfying only selfish needs at the expense of a wife and children. These selfish needs often include the acquisition and discarding of Playmates in the Hugh Heffner tradition, with the first discard being wife and mother. A true moral bar is also a positive and constructive force contributing to the strengthening and continuance of a moral community, culture and nation.

When the liberal/progressive left takes on the veneer of moral outrage at the transgressions of an enemy it is used to destroy that enemy. Destroy but not admonish and correct one who fails the moral standard. This is in stark contrast to reasons for having a moral standard at all – to prevent bad behavior, to correct bad behavior and hopefully to return a transgressor of the code to a semblance of good societal standing. A good example of the positive working of a true moral standard would be the life of  Chuck Coulson I encourage you to investigate the life of this man who was redeemed through the positive workings of a true moral standard rather than him being destroyed by the false moral standard of the left.

The picture I see that perhaps best contrasts  a true moral standard with a false standard is

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the two thieves hanging on crosses along with Jesus.

Both began their time on the cross by mocking and blaspheming Him, as did many of the spectators. One of the thieves responded in faith to the message of salvation and was taken to paradise that very day. He is the one usually referred to as the thief on the cross, while the other man did not respond in faith and is now suffering from a deadly and eternal mistake.

In the context of the transgressions of Donald Trump in this 2016 presidential election, and the continual bombardment of those transgressions, I am reminded that Donald Trump is the one on his cross who has acknowledged his transgressions and has apologized for them.  His enemies on their crosses continue with no repentance of their transgressions, and hypocritical mocking of the one on the other cross.

How high is your moral bar?

A good place to learn and reflect is at the Ten Commandments.

 

Don Johnson – October 2016

 

 

https://youtu.be/dGJIB5cO0cQ