Category Archives: History – lessons

Presumption of Innocence vs. Assertion of Ownership

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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

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

#RESIST

(Note: matt in a comment, and in a not so subtle way, reminded me that it’s not just the military #resisters who have accomplished great things in the life of American liberty. I have added some examples below: abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, right to life and the labor movement. Perhaps I’ve left out a few.  Is the  ‘pussy hat’  movement on a par in advancing liberty in America? You decide.)

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Perhaps the oldest and most effective #RESIST movement in world history is the Christian movement. I speak particularly of the Christian Missionary movement.  Dating back to the Apostles like Paul, #RESISTing not with violence, marches and the sort, but with presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a way out of the slavery sin, and ultimately in centuries to come, the abolition of real physical slavery in many parts of the world.

The folks shown below are pushing back and #RESISTing much oppression in the world – the oppression of hunger, disease, slavery and poverty.  And, they are doing this on a long term daily basis.

As Paul said “ There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That is to say all are equal in God’s eyes. Slavery as an accepted cultural and governmental policy has been eliminated throughout much of the world thanks to the efforts of such Christians as William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament in the 18th century,  and the Abolitionist #RESISTers in the United States during the 19th century. However, slavery is still prevalent in much of the world with an estimated 45,000,000 slaves  throughout the world today.

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So I repeat here what I say at the end of this piece – a bit of advice. Aim your protests in words and ways that stand shoulder to shoulder beside our founding fathers who gave us the privilege of being among that 4-5% living in freedom.  

“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

Be among those who keep us from falling into that 95-96% that President Reagan warned about.

Match up what the Apostle Paul said “ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  with what our American founders said “We the People … “

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Now I continue with my original post:

To all you brave ‘pussy hat’ wearing patriots, let me show you a few patriots who joined a resistance movement against real enemy threats when it really counted.

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And there are other n0n-military #resisters from the past addressing  consequential American policies and laws that were contrary to “ … all men are created equal …”  Thanks to these #resisters, those policies and laws have been corrected in law and in the Constitution, although not necessarily in the hearts and minds of everyone.

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civil rights march

 

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And then there is the labor movement.

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A reminder, or maybe a news flash to some, about those #Resisters you see above …

These folks #resisted true tyrants, true fascists, true Communists   during that terrible time we look back on as the 20th century. Those Communists some of you seem to pine and long over … they killed something on the order of 100 million people, most of them their own fellow citizens.

The descendants of those folks you see above,  … our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters … our friends — stepping up in their own #Resist movement represent something on the order of 1 or 2 percent of our population. Their purpose in #Resisting? To protect you and me in todays still dangerous world.

You may not realize or appreciate, but of the 100 to 110 billion people that have ever lived on this earth, anywhere and at any time, only a small sliver of perhaps some 4 to 5% have ever lived in what we today enjoy as a free society.  Further, most of those 4-5%  have lived in this United States of America, or those nations who have modeled their national political life after the American model of “We the People …

I for one am immensely grateful for those in our past and to those now serving in our military … the #Resistance. As a US Navy slogan puts it … “A Global Force For Good”

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Women's_March_on_Washington_(32593123745)10 Actions _ 100 Days - Action 5_ Reflect & Resist

I said it as a young 20 year old sailor in 1964, and I’ll say it again now.

“I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

And I don’t agree with much of what is said in the “resisting” rhetoric on display, and certainly not in the many extra/anti-Constitutional methods employed, but I do support your Constitutional right to say your piece and assemble and petition our government.  

A final bit of advice. Aim your protests in words and ways that stand shoulder to shoulder beside our founding fathers who gave us the privilege of being among that 4-5% living in freedom.  

“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

Be among those who keep us from falling into that 95-96% that President Reagan warned about.

 

Don Johnson  — March 2017

Going Back to First Principles

“A first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. In mathematics, first principles are referred to as axioms or postulates.”

The first principle I am talking about is  what has, over these past 210+ years, demonstrated that the United States of America is “exceptional.” That first principle is the United States Constitution, along with it’s birth certificate the Declaration of Independence.

And what is that “demonstration?”

Of the estimated  100 to 110 billion people who have lived at any time, and anywhere around the globe, an estimate of something less than 5% have ever live in a free society that we in American have come to take much for granted.  And further, of those 5%  (probably even much less), most live or have lived in the United States of America since 1789 and those nations that have come to adopt the American Constitutional Republic for of government.  (ref: 1)

That’s a pretty good track record for the American way. On the other hand, for  the remaining 95%, we have a bleak record of war, slavery, misery and early death. Yea I know, we still have those things in our modern world, but were I a betting man I would choose the American way – the “exceptional” way.

So it’s this —  the 3%, 4% or 5% of those blessed with living in a free society — that make America an exceptional nation. It’s called liberty and opportunity, and it’s the first principal of this nation we call the United States of America. 

I am continually drawn back to this first principle. It is what I more and more look to in judging and selecting our political leaders, and how I will judge them as they lead. On the other side of that same coin, the disregard of this first principle is more and more what I will use to criticize and reject candidates and leaders and their policies.

The alternative is to flirt with a return to that dark word of the 95%.

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In a near future article I will take a look at what a British news service (BBC) has to say about American Exceptionalism. Read it at — Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism?

Ref: 1: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/the-miracle-of-freedom-the-american-baseline/  (With embedded references)

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.

How Do You Judge America

I invite you watch this video by Dennis Prager. 

Have you seen such arguments before? If not, what is your reaction to this analysis by Prager?

Click on the image below to watch.

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Don Johnson – March 2017

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)