The Candidate From Oz


In a discussion group this morning the above dialogue came up. I made note that any high school graduate knows, humans did not evolve from monkeys. One respondent, likely smarter than I am, disputed that point. The most recent common ancestor of humans and monkeys was a monkey, he affirmed. To me it seemed a play on words only. Here’s the primate cladogram:



All that aside, my observation is we have a current candidate for President of the United States missing some basic knowledge. The morning’s discussion devolved into an extended discussion of people who should be smart but are not.

This post about The Candidate from Oz, my prior characterization as the Candidate from Mars notwithstanding. I’m giving Dr. Ben Carson a promotion.

What to make of candidate Ben Carson? Surely nothing were he not this day the leading Republican candidate. This human oddity needs deeper exploration.

Ben Carson and the Holocaust

That’s been covered.

Hypocrisy regarding human fetal tissue

Yes, did that already.

Fiscal ineptitude

We find this:

As Tim Worstall of the conservative Adam Smith Institute wrote in Forbes, Carson’s plan flies in the face of “the simplest of logic and mental arithmetic.”

The watchdog group Citizens for Tax Justice ran the numbers on Carson’s Bible-based 10 percent flat tax, and the results were striking. The group found that his proposal “would yield tax revenues of only $1.1 trillion.” Compare that to the country’s current budget outlook, where the government expects to take in approximately $3.5 trillion in tax revenue and spend around $4 trillion. Carson’s proposal would cover just over a quarter of current spending levels.

However, Carson has not revealed where he would find trillions of dollars in cuts to balance the budget, which he would require himself to do through the Balanced Budget Amendment. Instead, Carson would balloon the deficit, which this year sunk to $435 billion, by $3 trillion.

An item posted on CNN Money 10 September provided another observation:

“If you tried to pay that [debt] back at a rate of $10 million a day, it would take you over 5,000 years,” Carson said in his campaign announcement.

His math is basically correct, according to Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

There’s just one problem: Carson doesn’t really address how he’ll get the debt under control.

Carson wants to change the Constitution with an amendment requiring a balanced budget every year, but he provides little detail on how he’ll cut costs or raise more revenue to reach that goal.

“I’m thrilled that any candidate is concerned about the debt load,” says Holtz-Eakin, now president of the right-leaning American Action Forum. “But you can’t address it unless you talk about what you’re going to do with entitlement programs.”

Ed Brayton writing for Patheos, definitely no friend of Carson’s grandstanding religiosity, has this to say:

And so what would it do to federal revenue if we actually did a 10% flat tax? Again, this math is not hard to do. And it isn’t just that it would drop in half, it would actually drop considerably further than that because the flat tax would not be on every part of the GDP but only on the various forms of personal income that are currently taxed. Citizens for Tax Justice does the math:

Without specific details, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) Director Bob McIntyre made a generous estimate of how much Carson’s 10 percent flat tax could reasonably raise by simply multiplying total federal adjusted gross income estimated for 2016 ($11.25 trillion) by 0.10. This would yield tax revenues of only $1.1 trillion. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimates that the federal government will raise an estimated $3.5 trillion and spend $4 trillion in 2016. In other words, Carson’s plan likely would raise only 32 percent of the revenue of the current tax system and pay for only 28 percent of estimated government spending.

And the result would be a huge shift in tax burden away from the wealthy:

Even if Carson increased the rate of his flat tax, it would still be bad policy for the nation. Flat taxes plans are generally regressive. A CTJ analysis of one revenue-neutral flat tax plan found that it would raise taxes on the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers by an average of $2,887, while cutting them by an average of $209,562 for the richest one percent of taxpayers each year.

Granted that being on the forefront of neurosurgery does not require training as a CPA, the job of President should require some basic knowledge regarding how the economy works. The job also requires a degree of moral integrity.

Loose morals

Yes, that’s a bad one. It was not sufficient that Dr. Ben Carson once shilled for a notorious medical quack:

(CNN)—In Wednesday’s CNBC Republican presidential debate, Ben Carson was asked about his involvement with Mannatech, a dietary supplement maker.

In 2009, Mannatech settled for $7 million following a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general over the company’s claims that its products could cure cancer and autism. CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla claimed Carson had a 10-year-long connection with the company and that it continued even after the settlement.

A bit more about Mannatech:

Mannatech came under investigation by the Texas Attorney General on October 27, 2006 for alleged violations of that state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Samuel L. Caster, Mannatech’s founder and chief executive officer at the time, stated: “We walk the fine line of always stating our case appropriately and always training our people: We’re not into the treatment, cure or mitigation of disease. We’re into the improvement of quality of life. Now, who can benefit from good nutrition? Sick people, well people, everybody. Everybody benefits from good nutrition.”

On July 5, 2007, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott formally charged Mannatech, MannaRelief, Sam Caster, and Reginald McDaniel, the company’s medical director, with operating an illegal marketing scheme in violation of state law. A press release stated, “Today’s enforcement action stems from a large-scale investigation by state authorities, who examined Mannatech’s dubious claims about the health benefits of its products.” In response to the civil complaint, Mannatech expanded its compliance department and began to provide periodic reports to the Attorney General’s office to ensure that the marketing efforts of its affiliate network adhere to appropriate guidelines.

Mannatech settled the civil complaint on February 26, 2009 by agreeing to pay $4 million in restitution to clients who purchased products and $2 million to the state to cover its costs in the case. In addition, Sam Caster agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty and steer clear of any type of leadership position or employment relationship with Mannatech for five years. When discussing the settlement at a news conference, Abbot stated, “Bottom line, this is a warning to the general public: Be wary of phony claims of magic cure-all pills or false hope in a bottle. You could be duped into purchasing something that has no real effect and no real value.” Mannatech did not admit wrongdoing; settling was easier than debating Abbott, according to then-CEO Wayne Badovinus. “If they do it again, we will ensure they get put out of business,” Abbott said.

The item from Wikipedia contains links to sources cited. But Dr. Carson’s culpability does not end with his involvement in the fraud. He compounds the sin by way of Commandment number nine, the one regarding false witness:

In 2009, Mannatech settled for $7 million following a lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general over the company’s claims that its products could cure cancer and autism. CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla claimed Carson had a 10-year-long connection with the company and that it continued even after the settlement.

Carson denied the accusation, saying, “That is total propaganda … I did a couple speeches for them, I do speeches for other people, they were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them.”

Carson’s statement directly contradicts promotional material that came from Mannatech, as well as his own business manager Armstrong Williams, who described Carson’s relationship to the company in an interview Thursday on “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

Williams defended his boss, suggesting that while Carson did have a relationship to the company, the retired neurosurgeon didn’t realize all of the details of his endorsement up front and wanted out of the deal.

“He said ‘I don’t believe in this. I’m not going to do it,'” Williams said, recalling negotiations with the company over the endorsement. “When that was over, he made it clear to me, ‘You need to get me out of this, I’m not going to do this again,’ and it was over.'”

The Wall Street Journal this month reported on Carson’s connection with Mannatech, saying Carson has said he has taken the company’s supplements for more than a decade.

The WSJ also cited a 2004 video of Carson speaking at a Mannatech event. In the video, he credited the company’s products for his prostate cancer diagnosis symptoms disappearing. The paper points out that Carson is now “cancer-free after surgery.”

The WSJ reports Carson has appeared in videos that were on Mannatech’s website until earlier this month. The videos were removed soon after the Journal’s reporting. The paper also reported that Carson gave four paid speeches at company events; the most recent was in 2013 for which Carson was paid $42,000.

Denying the obvious is not new to politician Carson. Those previously on the public payroll have been comparably disingenuous. A former President:

I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

A former governor:

“I was banned from talking about Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s friend, Bill Ayers, the character that he befriended and kicked off his political campaign in the guy’s living room,” Palin said. “Couldn’t talk about that.”

Palin pointed a finger at who she thought was to blame.

“I was not allowed to talk about things like that because those elitists, those who are the brainiacs in the GOP machine running John McCain’s campaign at the time, said that the media would eat us alive if we brought up these things.”

For those who might not remember, Bill Ayers lived in Barack Obama’s Chicago neighborhood and was an early supporter when Obama first ran for the Illinois state Senate. What made Ayers interesting in 2008 was that in the 1960s, he was one of the founders of the Weather Underground, a group that was responsible for bombings at a New York City police station, the Capitol, and the Pentagon. There were no injuries.

Obama’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, brought up Ayers during the primary, but the issue failed to gain much traction.

When Palin said she was banned from mentioning Ayers, we at PolitiFact were a bit surprised. That’s because we fact-checked her claim about Ayers in early October 2008. We had video of Palin talking about him at a rally in Clearwater, Fla. Three days before, the New York Times had carried a front-page story about Obama and Ayers; Palin mentioned the story.

Some politicians have trouble keeping their facts straight. Some just step forward and speak what they know is not true. It could be Dr. Carson qualifies for political office after all.

Dr. Carson is the gift that keeps on giving. He’s in front now, and we can expect to see more. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.


Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

A little old lady was walking down the street dragging two large plastic garbage bags behind her. One of the bags was ripped and every once in a while a $20 fell out onto the sidewalk.

Noticing this, a policeman stopped her, and said, “Ma’am, there are $20 bills falling out of that bag.”

“Oh, really? Darn it!” said the little old lady. “I’d better go back and see if I can find them. Thanks for telling me officer.”

“Well, now, not so fast,” said the cop. “Where did you get all that money? You didn’t’ steal it, did you?”

“Oh, no, no,” said the old lady. “You see, my back yard is right next to a golf course. A lot of golfers come and pee through a knot hole in my fence, right into my flower garden. It used to really tick me off. Kills the flowers, you know. Then I thought, ‘why not make the best of it?’

“So, now, I stand behind the fence by the knot hole, real quiet, with my hedge clippers. Every time some guy sticks his thing through my fence, I surprise him, grab hold of it and say, ‘O.K., buddy! Give me $20, or off it comes.’”

“Well, that seems only fair,” said the cop, laughing. “O.K. Good luck! Oh, by the way, what’s in the other bag?”

“Not everybody pays,” smiles the old lady.

World War Two – A Summary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of hostilities. The final two principal adversaries capitulated 70 years ago. Nazi Germany threw in the towel (they had any choice?) in May, and the Japanese Empire, facing total annihilation, signed terms of capitulation in September. For history buffs and the history-deprived alike, here is what went on.

From Wikipedia: After the Warsaw Uprising, 85% of the city was deliberately destroyed by the German forces.

From Wikipedia: After the Warsaw Uprising, 85% of the city was deliberately destroyed by the German forces.


Germany, as a consequence of its role in initiating and prolonging what is now called World War One, was awarded massive blame and retribution. As a partial consequence of this, there arose between 1918 and 1933 a ground swell of resentment and nationalistic fervor. A result was the coming to power in 1933 of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler at the head of the Nazi party. Little was concealed of his desire for a belligerent Germany renewed and a desire for conquest.

Hitler, Göring und v. Schirach auf Obersalzberg

The Nazi movement took inspiration from the Fascist movement in Italy, inspired and driven by Benito Mussolini, a former journalist and a fiery speaker. In the mean time, a militant faction in the Japanese Empire grew in strength and exerted Japan’s expansionist urgings by way of an invasion of Manchuria and then military attacks on China. Casting an envious eye on the colonial holdings of England, France and the Netherlands in Southeast Asia, the Japanese militarist saw the day they would displace these powers and assert their own authority. Tensions built all around.

Western powers worked to curb Japan’s aggression by initiating an embargo of materials essential to war. An island nation with few natural resources, Japan faced strangulation. Adolf Hitler abrogated the terms of the Versailles Treaty, by which Germany had surrendered so much autonomy. This aroused Germany’s former adversaries, but not so much that they took action. The German-speaking state of Austria was annexed by Germany in a move backed by threats of force. Germany’s naked invasion of the new state of Czechoslovakia drew alarm, but no response.

Opening Moves

England and France drew a line in the sand. They would respond if Poland were attacked. In August 1939 the Nazi government concluded a secret pact with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. The two agreed to become partners in aggression. Germany would attack Poland from the west and occupy large parts of the country. The Soviet Union would not interfere and would, in its turn, attack from the east and occupy the remainder.

Seeking to show just cause for war, Nazi agents dressed prisoners in Polish uniforms, and murdered them, placing their bodies at the scene of a supposed cross-border attack. The next morning, on 1 September 1939 German tanks rolled across the border into Poland, and German dive bombers began to pound Polish military forces and also civilian targets. Three days later England and France made good on their threats and declared war on Germany.

In the mean time, dictator Benito Mussolini acted out his fantasy of becoming the 20th century Julius Caesar and invaded Ethiopia. Having inspired Nazism, he now sought to copy its aggression and become a party to the spoils.

In the European war nothing much happened for seven months. England sent a large force across the Channel to reinforce France. Hardly a shot was fired across the German border. Germany’s lightning war was labeled the blitzkrieg. In parallel, this part of the war was given the name “sitzkreig.”

The remainder of European nations declined to participate. The Netherlands and Belgium, sharing borders with Germany, feared getting involved. Likewise Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Diminutive Luxembourg, barely a leaf in the wind, had no voice. Switzerland, considering its mountain defensive position, its holdings in German treasure, and its near lack of consequence in the matter, simply closed its borders and watched from the sidelines. The newly-formed Irish Republic, no friend of England, saw no need to help the Brits in this row and, in fact, showed an undue sympathy toward the Nazi cause. Spain, fresh off a devastating civil war, which war was aided by Nazi Germany, declined to get involved. Portugal, another nation of little consequence, also remained neutral. Finland had no choice. The soviets took the opportunity and attempted to annex Finland, which ultimately sided with the Germans in response. The Baltic states had no choice in the matter, and the Balkan states awaited events that were about to descend on them.

War waged elsewhere, especially at sea. German U-boats struck first, sinking a British merchant vessel within hours of the start of hostilities. In a surprise attack a German U-boat penetrated harbor defenses at Scapa Flow, destroyed the British carrier Oak Royal and escaped unharmed. Prior to hostilities Germany had sent major surface ships out of port. Look at a map. Germany has no path to open water that does not pass under British control. The German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee sailed into the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean and initiated a short career of sinking commercial vessels and taking their crews and cargo. The British Admiralty initiated a full-court press to take the Graf Spee out of action. In December of 1939 three British cruisers encountered the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic and engaged it in a brutal gun duel. German captain Langsdorff, his ship badly damaged in the exchange and deceived into thinking he faced a much larger force, scuttled his ship in the River Platte harbor and later shot himself.

The sitzkrieg ended abruptly with Germany’s simultaneous invasions of Norway and Denmark. The taking down of Denmark consisted of sailing an innocent-looking ship into the harbor in Copenhagen and, at the right moment, disgorging troops into the city. Norway was a tougher nut, with Germany losing a number of ships in the fjords to Norwegian counter punches. Germany was assisted in its conquest by disloyal Norwegian elements, headed by Vidkun Quisling, who at the time had a scant five years to live, but whose name has become a synonym for “traitor.”

England and France braced for the next attack, but their preparations were in vain. In May 1940 German forces struck into Belgium and the Netherlands, quickly overrunning those countries and pushing British and French forces back into France. So great was German success that France was forced to capitulate in June, following a harrowing withdrawal of French and British forces back across the English Channel at Dunkirk.

A zone of German military occupation was established in northern France, and the remainder of France, headquartered at Vichy, was ruled by a government that made peace and showed inordinate loyalty to its new masters. That left England alone against Nazi Germany and now Italy, which threw its lot in with the Germans and attempted an eastern invasion across the common border. The new Prime Minister of England was Winston Churchill, and a more deadly foe Adolf Hitler could hardly imagine.

High Tide

In the summer of 1940, facing England directly across the Channel from its new conquests, Germany offered peace. Churchill was having none of it. Besides the matter of principle, Churchill knew what a German offer of peace was worth. He essentially told Hitler where he could stick his offer of peace. The war was seriously on, but there was little Churchill could do. An attack across the Channel was an absurdity. The German navy was ramping up a program to strangle the British Isles with a campaign of unrestricted U-boat warfare in the North Atlantic.

Few suspected it at the time, but Hitler was all the while plotting an assault on his partner in aggression, the Soviet Union. Before he could face to the east, he needed to deal with the threat from the west. England needed to be knocked out of the war. In this adventure Hitler’s forces faced their first serious setback.

An invasion of England across the Channel would cripple the western threat. The operation was named Sealion. Sealion’s major threat was the Royal Air Force. No invasion across this body of water would have a chance as long as British aircraft were able to harass the invading fleet. British air power had to be neutralized. Thus began the Battle of Britain.

Here, over a few weeks in the summer of 1940, British fighter planes defended their air space and humiliated the German bombers and fighters that came across the Channel to destroy them. By September it was apparent even to Reich Marshal Herman Goering that his Luftwaffe was not up to the job. Sealion was scrapped, and Hitler turned to face the east, leaving Churchill breathing space and an opening to cause additional grief.

There was one place where Churchill could make trouble, and that was North Africa. This was still in the era of British colonialism, and the Brits controlled the Suez Canal and exerted dominion over Egypt. Churchill’s idea was the need to keep Axis forces (Germany and Italy) occupied—to continue to sap their strength at all opportunities.

A succession of military operations accomplished Churchill’s goals nicely. British forces quickly humiliated the Italians in Ethiopia, forcing Hitler to send German troops into North Africa. For the Brits, North Africa was an opportunity that came with thorns. Look at a map. To supply and reinforce its operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, ships had to sail through the narrow Gibraltar Strait (owned by Great Britain) and then through the gauntlet separating Sicily and North Africa. Else the ships would have to sail south around the southern tip of Africa and up through the Suez Canal. British shipping suffered grievously along this Mediterranean corridor but managed to stymie German adventures in the region for a crucial two years.

The initial thinking is that Hitler sent Erwin Rommel’s forces into North Africa to keep his friend Mussolini from being humiliated (much too late for that). In fact, the German defense of North Africa was essential to the Germans. England in command of the southern Mediterranean coast would be an open wound to German operations in Europe. England’s only operations against Germany during this crucial period consisted of night bombing raids and probing attacks on the Channel coast. The British success in North Africa was to prove fatal to Axis ambitions in Europe.

From Wikipedia: German General Erwin Rommel meeting with Italian governor of Libya, General Italo Gariboldi (behind Rommel and to his right side) and other Italian officers in Tripoli, during joint German-Italian military operations against the Allies in North Africa

From Wikipedia: German General Erwin Rommel meeting with Italian governor of Libya, General Italo Gariboldi (behind Rommel and to his right side) and other Italian officers in Tripoli, during joint German-Italian military operations against the Allies in North Africa

In the mean time the other major military power in the world, the United States, sat on the sidelines, recalling their losses during the previous World War and the lack of any long-range benefit. Churchill had a friend in President Franklin Roosevelt, who sought all means, some bordering on the illegal, to assist. However, the American Congress was adamant. Nothing would get American into another European war.

The European war was decided by Hitler’s ultimate folly in June 1941. Catching master schemer Joseph Stalin completely by surprise, Hitler’s forces struck eastward across the frontier on an extended front. Soviet forces reeled, died, and surrendered massively. The Wehrmact gained ground at a breathtaking clip and by November approached the outskirts of Moscow.

But Hitler struck too late. Preparations for his eastward stroke required neutralization of Soviet influence in the Balkan states. He had either to get Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria on his side or else subdue them. In this the problem was a defiant Serbia. Hitler’s response to this defiance was a vicious attack on Serbia, more laced with vengeance than reasonable consideration. The start of Operation Barbarossa, the attack on the Soviet Union, was delayed critical weeks. As a result, the crushing Russian winter overtook German forces before they could achieve their first-year objectives. This was the death blow to the Nazi regime.

When, in the summer of 1940, Hitler’s war planes came back from England shot up and with dead and wounded crew, or often not at all, Hitler may have felt the first cold fingers of doubt. When his armies were defeated at the gates of Moscow at the end of 1941 it would have been more like an icy dagger thrust toward his heart. None of these compared to the crack in his world that broke that fateful December.

By 1941 the Japanese Empire was feeling the full brunt of the Embargo. The Japanese military was beginning to starve of the goods for war. Stocks of vital petroleum were weeks from depletion. Japan needed to act or die. They acted dramatically and fatally.

America At War

In a supremely-coordinated attack, Japanese carrier planes demolished the United States Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The result was devastating to American sea power in the Pacific, but it was to prove more so for the Axis powers, now including Japan.

Winston Churchill heard the news of the attack while having dinner with American Ambassador Averell Harriman. Despite the tragic nature of the event, it brought no end of joy to the British Prime Minister. England and its dominions were no longer alone in the war against the Axis.

Despite the proclamation of war between Japan and the United States, Germany was under no obligation to engage America. The United States, in fact, did not declare war with Germany until three days later, after Hitler, acknowledging reality perhaps, declared war on the United States. Crippled in the Pacific, America threw its industrial might into the war. American men swarmed recruiting offices to sign up. Some deemed unfit to serve committed suicide.

Into 1942 the Hitler’s deadly embrace with the Soviet Union became a meat grinder, chewing up German lives and resources. In the western Pacific the British, Dutch and United States suffered defeat following defeat as the Japanese Empire set about scooping the region into its domain. With the defeat of American forces in the Philippines the United States suffered its worst ever defeat of arms.

Then, dramatically, the United States struck back in April 1942 with an air attack on the Japanese home islands. Little damage resulted from General James Doolittle’s planes, all of which were lost. But the Japanese reaction was absent the calculation of a winning strategy. Attempting to widen its eastern borders, the Japanese Navy sought to seize Midway Island in June and lost all four aircraft carriers involved. Next the Americans invaded Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands and pushed Japanese forces off the island as the beginning of a long advance that was ultimately to crush the Empire.

Crushing The Dictators

Churchill could see it, American commanders could see it, surely Wehrmact commanders could see it. North Africa was for the taking by Allied forces. Only the Nazi puppet Vichy forces protected Northwest Africa, and in November of 1942 an American force sailed undetected from the East Coast, across the Atlantic, and landed on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. British forces threaded the Gibraltar Strait and landed in two locations on the south shore of the Mediterranean. Initial Vichy resistance was quickly swept aside. The French had not the military wherewithal nor the stomach to stand up for their German masters. Disastrous for German forces, about the same time British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery defeated Erwin Rommel at El Alamein in Egypt and began to push the Germans westward, toward Allied positions in the west. Rommel was doomed. Of all, only Hitler refused to acknowledge the fact.

Further events at the close of 1942 finally thrust the icy dagger into Hitler’s heart. At Stalingrad an entire army under General (later Field Marshal) Friedrich Paulus was cut off by surrounding Soviet troops and completely annihilated. The relentless retreat witnessed by the Japanese Empire was replicated on Germany’s eastern front. Only the exact date of extinction remained in doubt.

By spring of 1943 American and British naval forces accomplished victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. German U-boats, which had grindingly sent millions of tons of Allied shipping to the bottom began to be systematically hunted down and destroyed. By the end of the war the U-boat crew loss was 90% of all involved in the war. Americans began to ship troops and materials of war across the Atlantic to England with impunity, and they built an unmatched invasion force on the island. An invasion of northern Europe was only a matter of time.

The allies first opened up the game by using their occupation of North Africa as a base to strike from the south. The taking of Sicily for the first time pitted American forces in strength against German crack units, and American units proved their worth. With the fall of Sicily the end of the Mussolini regime came on the mainland, and new Italian government made peace with the Allies. Then began a nearly two-years slug fest as American and British forces worked their way up the peninsula.

The Roll Up

Came spring of 1944, and Allied forces in England were ready for the cross-Channel invasion. Operation Overlord was the largest ever such military action, and after weeks of bloody exchanges the Allied forces broke out of the beachhead and quickly pushed to the German border. A German counter attack late in the year stalled the Allied advance until the following year, but when the Allied advance resumed it resumed as a non-stop drive into the German heartland.


Meanwhile, Soviet forces were pushing into Germany from the east, eventually taking Berlin. By the first week in May it was all over. Mussolini had been captured and killed by partisan forces in northern Italy, and Hitler had committed suicide. Field Marshal Rommel had already killed himself the previous year, his penalty for guilty knowledge of an attempt to kill Hitler.

German commanders handed over their side arms and took their troops into surrender. The round up of German war criminals began, and American General Dwight Eisenhower reminded the German people they had started this whole mess, and they would receive no assistance cleaning it up. Possibly millions of Germans died post-war.

American and British forces waged war on the Asian continent from the beginning of hostilities, but the observable progress was in the Pacific island campaign. The retaking of the Philippine Islands at the end of 1944 and early 1945 placed an implacable strangle hold on the Japanese Empire. The main islands were effectively blockaded with no war materials going in. Also no food stocks.

Militants in the Japanese government were intransigent until the final days, some proposing to fight an invasion to the last civilian. Despite coming into the possession of a weapon that would enable them to conclude the war in a fortnight, the United States government continued with its war of conquest, the last major battle of the war being the conquest of the Japanese island of Okinawa. It was also the bloodiest single battle for American forces, perhaps matched only by the Battle of the Bulge.

As preparations for a November 1945 invasion were in preparation, a secret Army Air Corps unit made plans to end the war precipitously. Flying out of the captured Japanese island of Tinian, a lone B-29 bomber carried a single atomic bomb, which exploded over Hiroshima, Japan early in the morning of 6 August. The city was mostly destroyed by the explosion and subsequent fires. A second bomb was exploded over Nagasaki three days later, and even the Japanese hardliners saw the futility of continuing. The Japanese Empire sued for peace. American forces of occupation moved into the Japanese mainland in September.

Injured civilian casualties in Hiroshima

Injured civilian casualties in Hiroshima


That was 70 years ago. Few who participated in this deadly conflict remain alive today, and their numbers are rapidly dwindling. There were villains, and there were heroes almost without number. For itself, World War Two left a legacy that endures to this day. New adversaries sprang from the ashes even as former enemies became staunch allies. The Korean War of 1950 to 1953 was an tragic stepchild of the post-war settlement, pitting former ally China against the United States and others who fought against China’s client, North Korea.

The United Nations was born out of World War Two alliances and has endured as an agency of mediation since. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed to counter the continued threat of Soviet aggression following the envelopment of Eastern Europe into the Soviet Empire.

A significant video documentary about the war and its consequences is The World at War, commissioned by Thames Television. It is from this 26-episode series that much of the background for this post was derived.

Bad Movie Wednesday

Another one not available on Turner Classic Movies—I obtained a DVD from Amazon. Images are from screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia. Out of Miramax Films in 1992, it’s Reservoir Dogs. Here’s the cast from Wikipedia:

My guess was the title was representative of the principals involved. They were like reservoir dogs, feral dogs. Not so, apparently. Writer and director Quentin Tarantino had recommended the movie Au revoir les enfants to a customer of the Video Archives store, where he was working at the time. The customer misunderstood it as “reservoir dogs,” and Tarantino took that in.

The plot involves a collection of flash backs by members of a robbery gang, and I’m not going to outline it. The story starts with the gang having lunch at a diner. They really are tough guys—reservoir dogs.


The robbers are dressed alike in suits. We can surmise this is a ploy at concealment, making it more difficult to identify the perpetrators following the crime. Two present at the lunch are not in suits. They are ring leaders and don’t participate in the heist. We see everybody leave together. Then the action cuts to after the failed jewel store robbery.

Mr. Orange has been badly wounded, and Mr. White is driving. Apparently Mr. Brown, who fled with them, is already dead, killed by the police. Mr. White takes Mr. Orange to a warehouse, apparently a prearranged meeting place. Mr. Pink arrives. He has the loot from the robbery.


Mr. Blonde arrives. He has taken a uniformed police officer hostage while escaping the robbery. The three ambulatory crooks now at the warehouse haul the cop from out of the trunk of Mr. Blonde’s car, and they tie him up and brutalize him in an attempt to learn whether a police informant tipped off the police.

When Pink and White leave Mr. Blonde begins in earnest to torture the cop, first cutting off one ear with a straight razor. He next pours gasoline on the cop and prepares to light it.


Gunfire from the bleeding Mr. Orange puts a halt to the attempt and kills Mr. Blonde. Mr. Orange reveals to the cop that he is an undercover cop. A flashback shows the scene where Mr. White, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Brown, fleeing in a car, run into trouble. Mr. White kills two cops in a gun battle. Mr. Brown is killed, and Mr. White and Mr. Orange hijack a civilian’s car.

The driver resists, pulling a pistol from the glove compartment and shooting Mr. Orange, who then shoots the driver. Mr. Orange has slipped completely into his gangster role.


Back at the warehouse the father and son ring leaders confront Mr. White. They want to kill Mr. Orange regarding the killing of Mr. Blonde. They have already killed the cop, shooting him out of hand after finding Mr. Blonde dead on the floor.

A three-way Mexican standoff ensues. Mr. White defends Mr. Orange against the two ring leaders. Shots ring out. All three fall to the floor. The two ring leaders are dead. Mr. Pink, who has been hiding in the garage has apparently taken out the ringleader son while Mr. White has done for the father. Mr. Pink skedaddles with the bag of stolen diamonds, but is apparently arrested by police. Cops come in, and the remaining gang members are killed. The end.


Main problems with the plot involve certain improbabilities. Mr. Orange is an undercover cop. A flashback from before the robbery shows all the gang, including Mr. Orange, sitting around in the warehouse planning the robbery. Mr. Orange has known the location of the hideout all this time, and the cops are not waiting to pounce when gang members meet following the robbery? Complete absurdity flows from there.

Tarantino originally planned this for a low-budget production in 16 mm black and white for $30,000. Acquisition of a $1.5 million investment enabled a full-blown production. Tarantino went on to similar works, including, notably, Pulp Fiction. I have the disk and will do a review.

Flak Jacket Mentality


Last week Tom Boggioni posted an item on Raw Story that mentioned, in part:

So when the owner of a popular Delaware haunted house was quite adamant that nobody — including off-duty cops — pack heat while visiting his attraction, gun nuts reacted as if the amusement park operator dug up Zombie Reagan and dressed him up in a Mao jacket and let people throw poop at him as part of the Halloween hi-jinks.

The story is not so much about the man in Delaware operating a Halloween haunted house, which donated money to leukemia research. It’s also not so much about the operator not allowing people to bring their lawfully-owned and lawfully-carried firearms into the establishment. It’s is neither those nor a host of other possibilities. For me the story turned into one about the comments received from responsible gun owners. Here’s for example:

Aaron Christolph: “@Frightland, I personally find this as a slap in the face to all those who serve. And can say with 100% certainty that you have just lost the business of several hundred families (police, military, and civilian), just here in DE. You can make what ever excuse, that make you feel comfortable, and it is 100% your right to make this as your policy. Just as it is ours to voice our disgust, with it and choose to refrain business with you.”

Here’s another:

John Walczak: “If your not 2A friendly then you will never see a dime from me . Gun free zones are the last place I wanna be and the first place criminals seek.”

And some more:

Jeremiah Miller:  “FZs are not safe zones at all…look how wonderfully they don’t work in schools (family friendly, right?) and private establishments where shootings have occurred. All they do is disarm the law-abiding citizens, not the criminals who’re intent on doing harm to others. I will absolutely speak out against ALL establishments that revoke anyone’s right to be able to defend themselves and their families. Make absolutely no mistake about it, those rules are not in place to ensure the safety of their patrons at all.. they are there to limit any liability and due to insurance reasons for their business. Yeah they may have an inkling of a human concern for the general well-being of their patrons but it is not the driving factor for the rules they put in place.”

Herbert Krebs: “Just don’t bring your constitutional firearm with you or they will hate you and ban you for it. So all law enforcement stay away from this place. Even in an emergency let them fend for themselves. They seem to have it,under control.”

James Chubb: “Was going to visit this year. Your gun free policy has made me change my mind. Thanks for saving me the expense.”

Mike Richardson:  “Another ‘gun free zone’ what could possibly happen there?!? No thanks I’ll spend my money elsewhere where I can protect my family.”

Karen Wood: “Might add, you can get in there many ways, without going through that gate if you know the area and are determined. A nut who wants to create a name for himself, will be thrilled to read this. Hope your perimeter security is armed.”

Rick Williamson: “Yeah, didn’t expect damage control from your B.S anti Second Amendment rules! If you deny us our rights, then you don’t need our money.”

John Craig: “Correct me if Im wrong but arent these shooters targeting ‘Family Establishments’??? Wake TFU!!!!”

By now you have gotten the message. Blogger Boggioni unkindly posted the comments of responsible gun owners for the world’s enjoyment. And the message is…

The message seems to comprise several parts:

  • The presence of guns makes an area safer.
  • A person needs to keep his gun handy at all times to protect his family.
  • Criminals target areas where guns are known to be absent.
  • Anybody who requires visitors leave their guns at home is against the Second Amendment.

There could be more, but these are sufficient. I will review the points. This is Skeptical Analysis, after all. Start with the first—guns make safe.

Who has ever been in the military? Who has ever been in a combat unit? Who has ever been in combat? When you were pulled back from the FLD, besides taking a shower, what was the first thing you did? You turned in your weapon. Military commanders are not stupid. They know that when there is no combat imminent, a gun in the hand represents more of a danger than enemy attack. Examples abound. My own military experience involved being told by drill instructors of deaths by loose firearms. Stephen Ambrose, in his book Band of Brothers, recounts the case of Corporal Hoobler during the siege of Bastogne. Hoobler took a Luger pistol off a dead German officer and killed himself with it before the day was out. This was a combat-hardened soldier in a combat zone, and he shot himself in the leg.

Second item—a person needs a gun to protect his family. A person needs a gun to protect his family, if his family is being attacked by a hoard of Taliban fighters. Otherwise, the gun in the home is more of a danger than outside forces. I tend to side with the conclusions of this observer:

Unfortunately, guns can’t discriminate between criminals and innocent bystanders. Studies have shown that unintentional shootings are four times as common as occurrences of gun use in legitimate home defense situations. 5 You’d actually be more likely, statistically speaking, to shoot someone by accident than you are to shoot a home invader.

My personal experience reinforces this belief. I often cite the example of Dickie Martinettes. I last saw him alive on a Friday evening in 1967. He and his date were headed out for the night. They wound up at his cousin’s house, where the cousin shot him in the forehead when he knocked on the door. The pistol was supposedly not loaded.

Then there is the case of the person I was named after, my father’s father. He was also shot by a cousin, but he lived. Which is why you are reading this post. Besides these, a high school classmate was killed in a shooting accident during a celebration on the town square. I know of two other people who killed themselves with guns—suicides.

The article cited above does not depict scientific research. Here is a link to a more serious discussion:

Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

So much for “Your Friend, the Gun.”

Do criminals target areas where guns are present? Not necessarily, of course, unless their object is to steal guns. But do criminals avoid places where people have guns? A quick search seems to confirm criminals avoid gun shows and gun shops. Criminals do not purchase guns legally. Do criminals avoid homes where there are guns? If Fox News is correct they do:

Reformed crooks say the New York newspaper that published a map of names and addresses of gun owners did a great service – to their old cronies in the burglary trade.

The information published online by the Journal-News, a daily paper serving the New York suburbs of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, could be highly useful to thieves in two ways, former burglars told Crooks looking to avoid getting shot now know which targets are soft and those who need weapons know where they can steal them.

This good news seems to be double-edged. Gun advocates object to having gun ownership publicized. But if you have a gun in your home, how is the criminal going to know not to come in if he doesn’t know you have a gun? Being facetious, I suggest if you have a gun, then you should post a sign on your door announcing the situation. That way criminals will avoid your house and go to your neighbor next door. Your neighbor will appreciate it. Or you could just get rid of the guns and get yourself the sign.

On a serious side, I have known of houses with guns, and the crooks broke in and stole the guns. That’s where criminals get guns.

Requiring people to leave their guns at home is a violation of the Second Amendment? Does somebody want to read the Second Amendment for me?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I can’t be sure, but I think that wording is directed toward the government. People in a free society can do pretty much what they want. The operator of the haunted house has other matters of concern that are ignored by the responsible gun owners who commented on the blog post. He has responsibility for the safety of the people who patronize his operation. Were he to allow guns on the property, and were somebody be killed or injured by an accident or deliberate act involving a gun, then he could face some serious civil action. Absent such precautions, serious consequences have been inflicted:

Parrish was off-duty, but wearing his gun. While Miller was dancing with him that night, the weapon accidentally discharged, puncturing her lung and striking her in the heart. She died after she was taken to a hospital.

Going to a movie? Want to take your gun for self protection? Don’t forget the popcorn:

DADE CITY — In the dark of the theater, Alan Hamilton saw the kernels fly. Then, the muzzle flash and a loud bang.

“I’ll teach you to throw popcorn at me,” an eyewitness recalled the shooter, retired Tampa police Capt. Curtis Reeves, saying.

Yes, there are many sides to this matter. One theme, however, runs throughout. It’s a theme of misplaced paranoia. Disregarding the nuts who think they should be allowed to dress for armed conflict wherever they go, there are serious people who are concerned more with the threat they can see than with the threat they cannot. Vis a conversation I once had:

“You’re going to patrol your neighborhood?”


“You’re going to take a gun, right?”

“Absolutely not.”

“What if you’re attacked?”

Who remembers George Zimmerman and the kid who would otherwise be alive today? In jail, maybe, but alive.

I hear another theme. That theme is having a gun on your person for protection in public places. Really? Somebody informed me that nobody could get the drop on him while he was carrying his gun. Somebody has not been reading the news. President Reagan was surrounded by a number of highly-trained bodyguards, all armed to the teeth. John Hinkley got off six rounds from a cheap revolver, wounding the President and two others. The Secret Service operatives subdued Hinkley and took away his gun. They never fired a shot.

Do you feel safer now?

Keep reading.


Steve didn’t comment on this post, but he did comment on Facebook when I linked there to this item. Here is the exchange:

Steve: Think of it like this. Suppose the proprietor of the hh had insisted that everyone entering remove their shoes and socks. If you ask him why, he says it’s for everyone’s safety. You say, well okay, it sounds silly, though. Then you ask where can I put my shoes and socks while I’m inside? He doesn’t have a place for them and doesn’t seem to think he should supply one. So you go back to your car and put your shoes and socks there, then walk back barefoot to the hh. You ask him if he keeps the floor inside really clean because you’ve already stepped on some grit in the parking lot and you even saw some broken glass there. He says yes, it’s clean and hurries you along because others are waiting.

John Blanton: Steve, thanks for reading.

Also, thanks for the likening of shoes and socks to deadly weapons. It makes for good reading. I should have thought of that.

Notice, as well, the post was about selective paranoia. Can I now expect a hoard of responders flooding my comment box, accusing me of endangering lives and violating the Constitution. I can only hope. At an average 150 hits per day, I can use the extra traffic.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Steve: The comparison is more apt than you may realize. CCL holders carry for the same reason they wear shoes — to protect themselves. Firearms are an active defense while shoes are passive, but the principle is the same. The hh owner is probably acting out of a counterfactual belief that the likelihood of a firearms mishap (either an accidental discharge or an illegal shooting) is higher than it really is. There is probably some selective paranoia in that belief.

No additional comment is required.

Quiz Question

I once made a set of dice similar to the ones pictured below. I didn’t make the real dice. I made virtual ones. I did a computer simulation of a set much like these. These dice, there are three of them, have a certain property. It’s a counter intuitive property, but if you investigate them, as I did, you will agree its a real property. And that’s the Quiz Question for this week. What is the property of these dice that is so unexpected.

Die 1 - front and back view

Die 1 – front and back view

Die 2 - front and back view

Die 2 – front and back view

Die 3 - front and back view

Die 3 – front and back view

Post your answer as a comment in the section below. If I receive no correct answers I will post the answer on Friday, along with some explanation.

Update and a hint

Since activity seems to have dried up for this Quiz Question, I have decided to restore interest by providing a hint. Do this:

Take the dice in pairs. Roll one against the other. For example, roll Die 1 against Die 2. Which wins on average. Do this with each of the three pairs. What do you notice? Note that you don’t have to actually make sets of the dice. Just compute the average score when one die is rolled against another. Amazing, isn’t it.

Update: Solution

Apparently the hint was a give-away. John Brandt saw the answer immediately, although there is no indication he actually went through the analysis to verify the answer. Here’s some explanation.

In mathematics a relation ρ defines how two entities relate. For example equal (=) is a relation that shows how two entities relate. Trivially, if two entities A and B are related by =, then there is some sameness that exists between the two. Other familiar relations in mathematics are greater than (>), less than (<), and subset of (⊆). For example A < B means A is less than B.

A relation ρ is said to be transitive if A ρ B and B ρ C implies A ρ C. Else the relation ρ is said to be intransitive.

Dominance can be defined as a relation. Define the relation ρ as “dominance,” then we can say Cowboys ρ Redskins if the Cowboys dominate the Redskins (usually win against the Redskins). Then the relation ρ is transitive if Cowboys ρ Redskins, and Redskins ρ Patriots implies Cowboys ρ Patriots. It’s intuitive to think that football team dominance will always be a transitive relation, but researchers have demonstrated this is not the case.

And that’s the issue with these dice, and a slick operator can make a lot of money off of these, that is until somebody breaks his fingers. Allow the sucker to pick one of the three dice. If the chump picks 1, then pick 3 and roll against him. And so on. An examination of the dice 1, 2 and 3 shows they exhibit the following relation ρ, where ρ is dominance. Then:

1 ρ 2

2 ρ 3

3 ρ 1

John Brandt stated it succinctly. It’s rock, scissors, paper all over again. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to verify this relation holds and that it is intransitive.

Bad Movie of the Week

What the producers have done is to take a fairly simple Robert Louis Stevenson short story of horror and depredation and turn it into a full-blown feature movie. To do so they had to add some characters and a vast body of plot. They retained the name. It’s The Body Snatcher from 1945 out of RKO and featuring Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi. It’s the last film the two ever made together, and neither survives to the end. Direction is by Robert Wise. But let me get to the story.

Donald Fettes (Russell Wade) is a young medical student of weak finances, unable to continue his studies under Dr. Wolfe MacFarlane. Dr. MacFarlane offers him a job, and with that support young Fettes is back on board. A crisis emerges when Mrs. Marsh (Rita Corday) brings her daughter (Sharyn Moffett) to see the doctor. The daughter has had surgery for a spinal injury but still cannot walk. Dr. MacFarlane has zero bedside manner and sends the woman away. He only teaches and has no time for actual medical practice.


As a side issue, we learn that Dr. MacFarlane is secretly married to his housekeeper, Meg Camden (Edith Atwater). Interesting, but nothing at all to do with the plot.



Fettes pursues the sad case of Mrs. Marsh and her daughter. Additional surgery may be needed, but more study is needed. Dissection of a cadaver will provide the necessary experience, so a cadaver is required. Fettes learns his new job is to take delivery of cadavers brought in by shady cab driver John Gray (Karloff). Fettes is aghast to discover the first delivery is a person he knows to have been just interred. Where is Gray getting these bodies?


Gray has some strange hold on Dr. MacFarlane. Gray calls him “Toddy” for reasons not explained. It’s apparent relations between the two are going south fast.


We see Gray up to his grisly task. Out of dead bodies, he recruits from the living. There is a blind girl (Donna Lee) who sings in the streets. No more. Gray’s carriage follows her down a darkened street, and the singing stops in mid-chord. Fettes recognizes her corpse next on the dissecting table.


Joseph (Lugosi) is Dr. MacFarlane’s man servant. He winkles out the facts about Gray’s grisly business and pays him a visit. Blackmail is on his mind, but not for long. Gray makes his move, and Joseph becomes the next cadaver. It’s the last scene Karloff and Lugosi ever played together.


Next MacFarlane pays Gray a visit. He comes off better than Joseph did. It’s Gray’s turn to grace the dissection table. Off to rob a fresh grave, MacFarlane and Fettes take the late Mr. Gray’s carriage. Driving back down a treacherous country road they believe they hear the voice of Gray coming from the sack with the corpse. They see Gray’s corpse where they thought they had the body of a dead woman.


The horse bolts, and the carriage, with MacFarlane and the body, plunges off the road. MacFarlane is killed, and a look at the body reveals only the dead woman. It’s the end of the story.

Stephen’s short story is worlds simpler. It starts with men gathered for their nightly round in a pub.

EVERY night in the year, four of us sat in the small parlour of the George at Debenham – the undertaker, and the landlord, and Fettes, and myself. Sometimes there would be more; but blow high, blow low, come rain or snow or frost, we four would be each planted in his own particular arm-chair. Fettes was an old drunken Scotchman, a man of education obviously, and a man of some property, since he lived in idleness. He had come to Debenham years ago, while still young, and by a mere continuance of living had grown to be an adopted townsman. His blue camlet cloak was a local antiquity, like the church-spire. His place in the parlour at the George, his absence from church, his old, crapulous, disreputable vices, were all things of course in Debenham. He had some vague Radical opinions and some fleeting infidelities, which he would now and again set forth and emphasise with tottering slaps upon the table. He drank rum – five glasses regularly every evening; and for the greater portion of his nightly visit to the George sat, with his glass in his right hand, in a state of melancholy alcoholic saturation. We called him the Doctor, for he was supposed to have some special knowledge of medicine, and had been known, upon a pinch, to set a fracture or reduce a dislocation; but beyond these slight particulars, we had no knowledge of his character and antecedents.

Stevenson, Robert Louis (2013-11-07). Robert Louis Stevenson: Complete Collection of 266 Works with analysis and historical background. Including Novels, Stories, Non-Fiction works, Poetry … and Illustrated) (Annotated Classics) (Kindle Locations 70682-70691). Annotated Classics. Kindle Edition.

This little soirée is interrupted by the announcement that a Dr. MacFarlane has come to treat a guest at the inn. Fettes confronts MacFarlane on his leaving, and the narrator later relates the story behind the confrontation.

There is no Mrs. Marsh and her daughter, who play a significant if uncritical role in the movie. There is no marriage to the housekeeper, and there is no Joseph the man servant. We learn that MacFarlane has murdered Gray when he delivers Gray’s body to Fettes in the dissecting room.

Together Fettes and MacFarlane set off on a grim night to rob another grave. An accident disposes of their lantern, and they complete the digging in the dark. They start back to town with the body in a bag between them. The body seems to be more than just the woman they dug up in the pitch black.  The story ends when the two discovered Gray’s body in the bag that was supposed to contain the deceased woman.

It’s all very simple and might be worth as much as an episode of The Twilight Zone. A lot of what writers Philip MacDonald and Val Lewton added is just fluff to make a full length (77 minutes) film.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

A woman awakes in the middle of the night to find her husband not in bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him.

She finds him sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of hot cocoa in front of him. He appears to be deep in thought, just staring at the wall. She watches as he wipes away a tear from his eye.

“What’s the matter dear?” she whispers as she steps into the room. “Why are you down here at this time of night?”

The husband looks up from his drink, “It’s the 20th anniversary of the day we met.”

She can’t believe he has remembered. She starts to tear up.

The husband continues solemnly, “Do you remember 20 years ago when we started dating? I was 18 and you were only 15.”

Once again, the wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and sensitive.

“Yes, I do,” she replies.

The husband pauses… the words were not coming easily.

“Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car?”

“Yes, I remember,” said the wife, lowering herself into a chair beside him.

The husband continued.

“Do you remember when he shoved the shotgun in my face and said, ‘Either you marry my daughter or I will make sure you spend the next 20 years in prison?'”

“I remember that too,” she replied softly…

He sighed as he wiped another tear away from his cheek and said, “I would have gotten out today.”

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series


Chapter Fourteen

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and the lowdown on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews involve taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comment. This is Chapter Foourteen, titled “Combating a Secular Worldview.” Here’s how it starts:

America is standing at a cultural crossroad and the path she chooses will impact millions of people for generations to come. In fact, the entire world will be unavoidably altered by the choice America makes. Her decision will be finalized in the very near future. This is no small matter; the greatness of our heritage is literally hanging by a thread. At the heart of the decision is a determination of “who are we?” and “where are we going?”

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 213). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

What, then, is the chapter going to be about? It’s going to be about an assault on American values, supposedly by the secular left. Congressman Hice gives the example of Senator Lautenberg:

Senator Lautenberg, a strong supporter of the abortion industry proclaimed, “Planned Parenthood is under attack by Tea Party Republicans who have put their extremist ideology above women’s health.” He continued by saying, “These people [referring to the pro-life supporters] don’t deserve the freedoms in the Constitution.”

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 214). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This would have been a great opportunity for the congressman to pounce and score big. He whiffed it.

His words are far beyond being ‘inappropriate.’ Such comments are anti-American and outright, treasonous.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 214). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Calling the senator’s talk treasonous speaks to a deep misunderstanding of American law. Hopefully the congressman was only being his hyperbolic self.

He asks “Is secularism neutral?” Hopefully he will answer the question:

Why have there been so many court decisions kicking God out of the public square in recent decades? Prayer is no longer permitted in schools, football games or City Council meetings, especially if the name ‘Jesus’ is invoked. Pastors are not allowed to engage in political issues from the pulpit without fear of losing the church’s tax-exempt status. Moral issues are equated as being ‘religious’ and therefore virtually banned from public discussions. Christian businesses are often sued for operating in accordance with their convictions. The legal attitude has shifted from benevolent neutrality to aggressive ‘cleansing’ and protecting the public from religion. Why? The simple answer is because we have been brainwashed into thinking that only secularism is culturally neutral and therefore, it is safe for everyone.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 215). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

A lot of what the congressman is laying on secularism (prohibition of prayer in schools) is better known as civil order. People are now obeying the law. Also, business can’t operate in accordance with religious convictions? Translation: “People can’t use religious conviction to excuse operating their businesses in violation of the law.”

Since this does not involve secularism, we still need to answer whether secularism is culturally neutral. The answer is secularism is not culturally neutral. Secularism is inherently pragmatic. In a truly secular society decisions will be based on fact rather on the current color of angels. Is further explanation needed?

Congressman Hice continues to hammer the matter of secular neutrality, and since I have already surrendered that point I’m not going to recap a load of it here. Three of his points are worth noting:

We have gone from being strongly Christian to heavily leaning upon secular ideology, which eventually leads to socialism or worse.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 217). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

When people stop believing in God they will begin believing in most anything.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 217). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This is why secularism cannot be neutral; it is a system that replaces God with man.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 217). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

These three expose serious issues with Congressman Hice’s mental process:

  • A secular ideology leads to socialism? It’s a point the congressman will need to labor at to make.
  • If people quit believing in God they will believe almost anything? This is one of those Really moments. Not believing in God will translate into believing odd things, for example a teapot orbiting the planet Xerxes. Again the congressman is going to need to explain this.
  • Secularism replaces God with man. The congressman doesn’t notice this is a big plus for secularism.

Many choice statements by Congressman Hice enlighten the remainder of this chapter, but I’m going to shut it down with a remarkable quote:

“Liberty” as used in the Constitution, must be defined from the perspective of God’s law, from the perspective of a biblical worldview. That is precisely what the Founders did. They never foresaw the Constitution granting people the right to do what God forbade.[266]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 220). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

He’s quoting activist Ken Fletcher discussing“Libertarianism and Christianity” on the Jody Hice Radio Show. These words originally belonged to Ken Fletcher, but the congressman has quoted them, and now he owns them. To thinking people the idea that the Constitution should conform to the thoughts of an imaginary person is repulsive. It should be for all Americans.

Coming up next is Jody Hice’s remarkably short Chapter Fifteen. I have already printed the entire chapter in the first of this series. I will use Chapter Fifteen to recap the book.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bye, bye Bachmann

One of an on-going series


We thought the joy had gone out of our lives. Never despair. Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will continue to delight well unto the second coming. The second coming of Jesus, not the second coming of Bachmann. She’s already on her 17th coming. Here’s an echo of joys past:

Well, we need to grow the middle class and what the middle class needs are jobs. That’s really the problem that the president has to explain. It’s tough to blame President Bush for the current economic woes. We have five years of Obama policies and what do we have? We have people who are really suffering because people made more money. If you look at the median income level, people actually made more money seven years ago than they’re making now.

What’s new, then? Interestingly enough Bachmann has gone full scientific. Who would have thought? It’s The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Here’s the latest:

US turns its back on Israel, disasters following

Jesus Christ! What have we done now? Turn our backs on Israel, and the shit hits the fan. Serves us right. Thanks a lot, Bachmann. Wish we had known sooner. We could have saved some lives and a few billion in destruction. Let us know in advance next time. Unlike before:

Here’s the quote: “Washington, D.C.—you’d think by now they’d get the message. An earthquake. A hurricane. Are you listening? The American people have done everything they possibly can. Now it’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it.”

Bachmann, we got it now. It’s too bad you’re the only one advising us on the dangers of getting cross with the Big JC. Wrong, again. I was forgetting my second favorite presidential candidate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

The AFA implied — in a prayer guide originally distributed in connection with Jindal’s January rally — that there is a direct link between the rising approval of same-sex marriage and abortion in the United States and events like Hurricane Katrina.

The prayer guide — which appeared to be a few years old and outdated — was pulled from The Response’s website Friday (Dec. 12). Before it was taken down, it contained the following language:

“We have watched sin escalate to a proportion the nation has never seen before. We live in the first generation in which the wholesale murder of infants through abortion is not only accepted but protected by law. Homosexuality has been embraced as an alternative lifestyle. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C. Pornography is available on-demand through the internet. Biblical signs of apostasy are before our very eyes. While the United States still claims to be a nation ‘under God’ it is obvious that we have greatly strayed from our foundations in Christianity.

“This year we have seen a dramatic increase in tornadoes that have taken the lives of many and crippled entire cities, such as Tuscaloosa, AL & Joplin, MO. And let us not forget that we are only six years from the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, which rendered the entire Gulf Coast powerless.”

I’m sure you’re asking the same question I am: “Did the Governor consult with Bachmann before signing off on this?” It would not do for two upstanding politicians to cross-pontificate on the nature of nature.

Of course, those were not Governor Jindal’s own words shared on the Prayer Guide. Governor Jindal was only a politically influential backer of this wondrous testament to the human intellect. Can we guess Congresswoman Bachmann would have approved, given the opportunity? We can only hope.

God will not disappoint us. There will be more from this fountain of wiseness. Keep reading. And May Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Candidate From Mars

In case nobody has noticed, the current presidential season is rife with wacko. Let me not understate the matter. What do we have? Set aside for a moment Real-estate Guy, Clueless from Wisconsin, and Florida Fact-Deprived. We have this season what may actually be our first presidential candidate from Mars.


If it weren’t for retired Doctor Ben Carson, I would have to invent him. How many ways are there to spell gift horse? I will not bore you. I will not revisit humor twice turned:

This is so interesting. Candidate Carson thinks if the people (the Jews?) would have had guns (rifles, pistols, even machine guns) the Gestapo would not have been able to herd them into slave labor camps equipped with exits by way of the shower. The Jewish Anti-Definition League begs to disagree:

There is fresh meat. A recent item in Esquire by Charles Pierce had me running to the nearest wastebasket. To wit:

Moving along, there’s only one choice for this week’s House Cup and that’s ABC, where Ben Carson visited This Week With The Clinton Guy Shocked By Blowjobs, and where the good doctor demonstrated that not only is he not qualified to be president, he is not qualified to pass a 10th grade contemporary world history final. This was utterly amazing.

This is presumably an interview with Ben Carson by former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos. I’m guessing this was on ABC’s Good Morning, America, but I’ve been wrong before. It’s apparent from the Pierce review that Stephanopoulos was having difficulty getting answers from Dr. Carson. Keeping a straight face, as well, but getting straight answers for sure. I will just post tidbits from the conversation. Start with what may be a video clip of Carson telling us what President George W. Bush should have done to dispose of yesterday’s meanie Osama bin Laden:

CARSON: Declare that within five to 10 years, we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.(END VIDEO CLIP)

Yes, you read this the same way I do. If President Bush had phoned up the dictators-for-life of the moderate Arab states and leaked the information that we are not going to need them anymore after about ten years, then things would have broken loose. Osama in Gitmo within two weeks, flat. Ten days with good weather (my interpretation).

Even after serving President Clinton for five years, there are things that Stephanopoulos still chokes on. This was one of them:

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s what you said he should have done. But how would that have worked? How would you have gotten the moderate Arab governments to turn over Osama bin Laden in two weeks? He’d already been expelled by Saudi Arabia. He was already an enemy of those moderate governments.

But we already knew that. I mean, we, with the possible exception of Dr. Carson, already knew that.

CARSON: Well, I think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared — and we were serious about it — that we were going to become petroleum independent, because it would have had a major impact on their finances. And I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to — to people like Osama bin Laden.

This is why I love this candidate ever so much. Facts do not faze the man. We need somebody like Ben Carson up front of our 21st century armed forces. Imagine where General George Custer would be today if only he had had Dr. Ben Carson to advise him at Little Bighorn. “General, there are only 5,000 Sioux warriors waiting for us down there. Let’s finish them off before breakfast.” Possibly General Custer would be right where is now, dead, but he would have enjoyed the confidence of the President from Mars in his last moments.

There’s more, and you need to read it. There’s going to be even more, and you are going to read it right here. Click the link and keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bad Movie Wednesday

This is another one of those Hollywood productions designed to burn off a lot of surplus ammunition. It’s my second favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger film, the first being Kindergarten Cop. It’s Commando from 20th Century Fox in 1985.

It opens with a garbage truck, rumbling along a residential street on a quiet morning. The hulk of the garbage truck slowly rises into view, like a monster from out of the deep. It’s death coming to pay a call.

Death comes to “Lawson” (Drew Snyder), who is roused from his sleep by the approaching truck. He runs outside with his garbage bags, only to be machine gunned by the two loaders. We later find that Lawson was a retired Delta Force operative. Two more from the same Delta Force team are murdered in subsequent scenes.


The story shifts to the mountain retreat of retired Delta Force Colonel John Matrix (Schwarzenegger). He lives there with his young daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano). They live an idyllic existence, fishing in the streams, enjoying healthy lunches of sandwiches. The trouble comes in the form of a Kiowa helicopter without markings. It’s Major General Franklyn Kirby (James Olson), active duty Delta Force. He tells Colonel Matrix of the three murders. He brings along two Delta Force troops and leaves them as security.

That turns out to be not help much. The first thing after General Kirby leaves, subversives ambush them, eventually killing both of the troops. The bad guys scoop up sweet Jenny and also Colonel Matrix.


The bad guys want to make a deal. Matrix will journey to the South American republic of Val Verde and kill the current president there. That done, Jenny will be released unharmed. Else, rogue Delta Force team member Bennett (Vernon Wells) will cut her throat.

Mobsters Sully (David Patrick Kelly) and Henriques (Charles Meshack) escort Matrix to a south-bound flight. Henriques boards with Matrix. Sully stays behind. As the plane prepares to depart Matrix kills Henriques and tells the stewardess he is sleeping and to not disturb him. Then he escapes from the plane as it lifts off and lands in a marsh. Hot stuff!


Back at the airport terminal Matrix commandeers flight attendant Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) and her car, after first ripping out the passenger side seat to make room for his enormous bulk. They tail Sully to a shopping mall.


We are treated to another blazing gun battle, as Sully and another conspirator shoot it out with the mall cops. More people die, including this gun slinger, who takes a hit and plunges over that railing to the right. It’s very dramatic.


Cindy and Matrix catch up with Sully on a mountain road. Now comes the iconic scene of the whole movie. Body builder Schwarzenegger holds Sully over the precipice by one foot and questions him. He reminds Sully that he likes him and has promised to kill him last. Then he tells Sully he has changed his mind, and he drops him to his death. Back at the car, Cindy asks what happened to Sully. Are you ready for it? Here is comes. Matrix tells her, “I let him go.” The movie is worth seeing for that line alone.


Comes next more drama than I will describe. Matrix and Cindy raid a war surplus story for weaponry. Busted by the police, Matrix is rescued by Cindy, who fires a rocket into the police van. The pair next raid the dockside operation of the conspirators, and Matrix kills more people. They commandeer a sea plane, and Cindy pilots it out to one of California’s Channel Islands, where the conspirators have a base. Matrix paddles ashore in a rubber boat. Once on the beach he unloads the boat and then suits up. It’s Colonel John Matrix, Commando! The action is about to begin.


Summarizing, Matrix faces off the militia troops based on the island and kills everybody on the island, including the ring leader, leaving only Jenny and the evil Bennett.


Matrix and Bennett mutually agree, the final combat will be mano a mano. Only knives and blunt objects. Suffice it to say Bennett suffers a gory death.


Cindy has radioed to General Kirby once the fighting got started, and helicopters and a sea plane arrive. It’s all over by the time reinforcements get there. More famous lines—General Kirby: “Leave anything for us?” Matrix: “Just bodies.” My God, this is drama!


Matrix and daughter Jenny walk down to the beach where Cindy waits beside the plane. Maybe there is romance in the future.

This may be the only other movie I have seen with Rae Dawn Chong, daughter of Tommy Chong. I saw a lot more of her in her first film, Quest for Fire.

Direction was entirely decent. Claude Agostini handled the cinematography with excellence. Acting was sub-par, as expected. The best performance was put up by Vernon Wells as the rogue commando Bennett. Bill Paxton is present as an intercept officer. We saw him contributing a bang up job in Weird Science. A review of that is scheduled in the next few days. Paxton was Astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13.

The plot plays the laws of physics with free abandon. Matrix exits an L-1011 while it is lifting off. And he lands in a marsh with a splash. The last time I took off in a jet liner we were 500 feet up by the time there was anything besides concrete below. The speed would have been in excess of 200 knots. And Colonel Matrix hits the water with hardly a bounce. If you watch this at home I advise you go for a sandwich during this part. You will enjoy the movie a lot more.

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series

States Rights in Action

States Rights in Action

Chapter Thirteen

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and comments on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews involve taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comments. This is Chapter Thirteen, titled “State Sovereignty: The Fed’s Greatest Fear.” Let’s get started:

How can the federal government be kept under control? It has grown into a political monster with the diplomacy and concern of a tornado. Where once America planted a refreshing breeze of liberty; now robbers of liberty have created a vicious storm! With reckless abandonment the government continues growing, spending, taxing and taking more control of every facet of our lives. Can it be subdued? Many think not.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 202). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The congressman quotes Steve Palmer:

The Ninth Amendment proclaims, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” (Emphasis added). As we have already seen, a similar expression is used in the Tenth Amendment declaring that powers not granted to the federal government and not resting with the states, are “retained by the people.” (Emphasis added). Palmer provides clear explanation regarding “the people” in these Amendments. The term actually imparts upon America citizens, the constitutional right of civil disobedience if laws or government, either state or federal, becomes too intrusive or unjust.[250]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 204). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The congressman relates how tension between the northern and southern states drew out the issue of states rights:

Unfortunately, the Civil War drastically altered the constitutional view of state rights. Although the technical reasons for the War are still being debated, there is no doubt that tensions between the North and South started shortly after the Revolution. Among other issues, there were disputes regarding unfair taxes the South was forced to pay for goods that were being brought from foreign countries. And of course, there was the horrendous debate over slavery, which was considered the nucleus of Southern economy. If slavery were abolished, the entire financial system of the South would potentially collapse. As problems and ideologies continued to surface, it soon became evident that a shift was occurring between federal and state powers. The South finally decided that they must resist centralized federal authority and fight on behalf of state rights.[253]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (pp. 204-205). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Yes, the North threatened the abolition of slavery, obviously a violation of states rights.

Congressman Hice illustrates with the case involving Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack and the newly-enacted Brady Bill:

Out of approximately 3,100 sheriffs in American, only seven had the nerve to take a stand, and Sheriff Mack was leading the pack.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 206). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Ironically the congressman brings up a point that was the focus of states rights 50 years ago:

Corruption abounds within every department, injustice is common in courtrooms, and morality and ethics are a bygone memory.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 209). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

In some states black people were being denied the right to vote. These rights were being denied by the state governments. My take at the time, and a view I still hold, is some states made themselves into extended fiefdoms and ran amuck with people’s civil liberties. When citizens protested the government responded with dogs and fire hoses. When black children attempted to attend a public school intended for whites only, the governor of the state blocked the door. When civil rights activists worked to register black voters they were murdered. The local constabulary was involved in the murders. If there has been a problem with states losing authority within their boundaries, they have themselves to blame.

Jody Hice wants people to get involved in politics at the local level. It’s important they do this to ensure protection of states rights. He provides a chilling example, which will conclude my discussion of this chapter:

Take New York for example. With just a little more effort, four representatives likely would not have voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Because they did, the entire nation now will suffer the consequences.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 212). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Imagine that. The entire nation is going to suffer the consequences of same-sex marriage because four representatives voted the wrong way. Same-sex marriage has had legal approval for several months, and I thinking I’m beginning to notice the effects. God is sending us a message. Or maybe it’s just the noise of a truck going by on the highway a few feet from where I’m writing this.

Coming up next: Chapter Fourteen, “Combating a Secular Worldview.” It’s going to be interesting.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Candidates Acting Stupidly

One of a continuing series


So, who is it campaigning for office, all the while keeping a lid on their intellect. Why, it’s Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Who would have thought?

And what has the Texas wing nut blessed us with most recently? I’m glad you asked:

Cruz then said Obama often seeks to divide people by race and other issues.

“The American people are looking for a president that seeks to bring us together rather than constantly pitting us against each other,” he said. “We should come together as one people with shared values.”

Yes, that is what Senator Ted Cruz said last Sunday. So what, you ask. Here’s more background from The Trailblazer’s Blog, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News.

Ted Cruz on Sunday said that Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High School freshman arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to school, was being used as a tool by President Barack Obama to “divide” the country.

“President Obama, at every stage, tries to politicize what happens, whether it is this teenager here in Texas, whether it is the shootings we saw in the Pacific Northwest,” Cruz said before participating in a presidential forum in Plano. “Over and over again, sadly, he seeks to try to divide us, to try to tear us apart. The president really ought to be looking for ways to bring us together, to unify us.”

So says one of the most divisive politicians to come this way in many moons. Senator Cruz laments the President did not lend as much sentiment to Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren H. Goforth, who was murdered in an off-duty ambush. Goforth was one of many law enforcement officers killed so far this year, either in the line of duty or else due to their being police officers. President Obama did not attend Deputy Sheriff Goforth’s funeral, which apparently Senator Cruz did. It remains to be seen which government official was playing politics. Senator Cruz is vying for the office of President. Barack Obama is President of the United States and is not running for any political office.

Speaking of “divisive,” Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for doing something that would likely have gained a light-skinned, non-Muslim high schooler a pat on the head. It apparently took two days for Irving, Texas, officials to determine that the electronic clock project Ahmed took to school was, in fact, not a bomb (and possibly that Ahmed was not a terrorist). I think I commented on this before. It was another of those cases of breathtaking inanity:

Now look at the bottom photograph. This is what had an Irving, Texas, school administration so alarmed. This is what got young Ahmed arrested. Now take a closer look. Look very closely. What is it that you see. Actually, what is it that you don’t see. That’s right. You do (not) see it. It’s the principal ingredient of any bomb. It’s the explosive. Where’s the Torpex? Where is the PETN? Where’s the TNT? Where’s the black powder I and my buddies made back in Granbury sixty years ago? Where is the bomb? Where is the right thinking that is expected of 21st century adults? Gone to jake leg apparently.

What was divisive here was the mind set of officialdom of the city of Irving, Texas, and, flowing down from there, the mentality of the MacArthur High School administration. One divisive element of note in this instance is Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne:

Van Duyne’s fans and foes dispute the results of her decade in power in Irving, but few question that her own star is on the rise.

Four months after that speech, Van Duyne won a second term in a 40-point landslide. By this month, Fox News sought her for an interview after her attacks on a Muslim religious panel made her a hero to those who fear the religion.

But as the 44-year-old mayor leaps from a fractious city council into the national spotlight, a trail of colleagues remember her, alternately, as an eloquent speaker who rescued the city from bad projects, or as a ruthless backroom fighter who has accomplished little for the city.

President Obama divisive? It would appear he’s working to divide the mentally adequate from the clueless. On which side of the divide is Senator Cruz?

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series


Chapter Twelve

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and the lowdown on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews involve taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comment. This is Chapter Twelve, titled “Getting Pastors And Church Leaders Involved. ” Here’s how it starts:

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive when speaking at an event is, “What is it going to take for pastors to get involved in reclaiming our country?”

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 189). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This is good. Getting a bunch of people involved in politics who make it their life’s work to spout superstitious nonsense. Wait! That describes politicians. Never mind.

Congressman Hice leans on world-renowned scholar of American history David Barton:

Probably no one has brought to life the importance that these Christian leaders had in our nation’s founding like historian David Barton and his organization, Wall Builders.[230]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 190). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

When he goes to the well, Jody Hice goes to the deepest. With respect to fact-averse polemic, there is none deeper than Texas’ own David Barton:

Classical (some would say too classical to be taken seriously) is our own David Barton:

Sad to say, there are consequences to poor scholarship. Barton’s publisher has withdrawn  his book The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson from the market. And that’s too bad, because I was planning on picking up a copy for myself. Donations accepted. It’s not that sales of the book were weak, it was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. The publisher decided it was just too wrong.

Am I allowed to quit reviewing this chapter now?

Unfortunately I can’t quit. I have to give you more. Congressman Hice recounts how American clergymen were in the forefront of agitation for the American Revolution. He also mentions American clergy on the leading edge of the civil rights movement of the 20th century. They are to be praised. Congressman Hice thinks there should be more of that. Today’s clergy need to get more involved. He neglects some aspects of this involvement:

  • Defense of Jim Crow laws in the South
  • Promotion of this century’s movement toward marriage equality

I’m thinking Congressman Hice would like clergy involved, but mainly clergy in the manner of David Barton. And himself.

If today’s clergy are to weigh in on the modern conflict, then who is the enemy?

These days, another Revolution is being fought in America. The British are not the adversaries this time. The ‘Red Coats’ of the existing battle are comprised of an enemy from within. Today, the opponent is attempting to eradicate the liberties that were gained in the first American Revolution and replace them with secularism and civil bondage.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 192). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

“Secularism and civil bondage?” What a combination! I think I know what secularism is—I’m not too sure about civil bondage. I am going to assume civil bondage involves denial of basic rights. Secularism is, of course, the absence of religion. Not the absence of God, but the absence of any religious affiliation, God or no God. And that’s the enemy of the people? Would that the people slept so well in their beds.

Congressman Hice makes a number of interesting comments:

Freedom of religious expression is essential to all other national freedoms, and certainly at the ‘core’ of religious expression are the pulpits of America.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 193). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

If the congressman will allow me to translate that, “Freedom to act like a fool in public is essential to all other national freedoms.” In this matter Congressman Hice and I are in complete agreement. If you are not allowed to act the fool, the remainder of your rights stand in peril.

Today it seems like the ACLU and their allies have successfully twisted our understanding of the First Amendment and unfortunately many pastors and Christians have believed the lies, sitting silently on the sidelines while enormous harm has been inflicted to our society. In 1962 prayer was outlawed in U.S. schools; in 1963 the Bible was outlawed; in 1987 the ‘Creator’ was outlawed in science classes; in 1991 the name of God was outlawed from graduation ceremonies; and in 2002 the phrase “under God” was outlawed from the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.[237]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 193). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

This needs some clarification:

  • It’s not the ACLU and their allies. It’s the people objecting to misuse of public funds and misuse of the power of the law. Judges are interpreting existing law in a manner that protects individuals, much as Congressman Hice so often praised.
  • Prayer was not outlawed in schools. Prayer has always remained legal. Using public funds and government authority to coerce prayer has been outlawed. Again a triumph for protection of the individual, which the congressman so much celebrates.
  • The Bible has been removed to the extent it was previously employed in the actions mentioned above. Whenever the Bible is used in public schools the setting needs to be religion-neutral. Pastor Hice’s personal religion is not to be given favor over all others.
  • The “Creator,” a mythical figure in the first place, never did have a place in the study of nature. Including a creator had the sole purpose of proselytizing for religion. It was a clear violation of existing law.
  • Regarding graduation speeches, schools are no longer allowed to use public funds and public facilities to proselytize to a captive audience.
  • “Under God” was added to the pledge in 1954 for purely political reasons. It has since taken on the odor of using a public institution to proselytize. Subsequent court decisions have allowed this section of text to remain. Nobody is required by law to recite it, even when expressing their allegiance to our flag and to our country. Something to remember is that excess of 400,000 American troops gave their lives in the struggle to eradicate military oppression during World War Two. All of them pledged allegiance without the offending passage.

I will conclude this chapter with a curious quote from the book:

Although the First Amendment applies to all citizens, it very directly affects ‘religious’ people, and everyone recognizes that the core of religious expression takes place within a church building. Taking it even further, the ‘heart’ of the ‘core’ is the pulpit! A pastor has the moral obligation to speak biblical truths from the pulpit and make current application of those truths without fear of being punished.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 199). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Particularly note the “obligation to speak biblical truths.” With 40,000 different Christian denominations in the world, a good many of those being in the United States, there is bound to be a boat load of contradicting “biblical truth.” How are we to know when a pastor is speaking the biblical truth and when not?


I obtained the number 40,000 from a blog by Eric Hatfield. He has posted a comment (see below) correcting my statement that there are 40,000 denominations. There are, according to him, 40,000 church organizations. How many different interpretations congregations receive from the pulpit remains unknown to me.

Coming up next: Chapter Thirteen, “State Sovereignty :  The Fed’s Greatest Fear.” Don’t miss it.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Quiz Question

Forty-five years ago I worked for an engineering consulting company. We did design and development for companies that did not have their own engineers.

This was at the dawn of self-service gas stations, and new companies were getting into the business. One had a chain of stations called Fill-Em-Fast. It was Autotronics out of Houston. What they wanted was to get sales information on a daily basis. This was before the days of the Internet and instant sales reports. What they wanted us to do was to electronically record sales information, gallons and dollars, from each pump. At night, when phone rates were low, the home office would phone each station in turn and retrieve the sales information from the station’s box. We designed that.

This Quiz Question regards a problem involving the retrieval of sales information from pumps. These were the mechanical pumps of your grandfather’s day. There was a mechanical display operated by gears as the fuel was dispensed. We figured all we needed to do was to hook into the rotation of the gear shafts and read the revolutions, or increments of same. That’s where the following image comes in.


We would fit an extra spur gear on the shaft we wanted to read off and just count the gear teeth as they went by. Don Ninke was the EE in charge of this, and he came up with a design that counted teeth with an optical interrupter. An LED would send out light, and a photo-diode would receive it. Gear teeth would interrupt the beam, and we would count the pulses.

It didn’t work. It counted too many teeth. And that’s the Quiz Question. Why didn’t this work? Why was this design counting too many teeth?

Part two of the Quiz Question: How did Don fix the problem and count the correct number of teeth?

As always, post your answers in the comment box below. I will provide the answer Saturday, or before.


Mike has provided the answer:

Backlash. If you have two sensors, you can tell the direction of motion.
Used this technique on the automobile odometer cable for a time-speed-distance car rally computer.

Mike obviously has had some engineering experience. This is the solution Don Ninke came up with. The applicable term is “quadrature.” Set the two sensors out of phase by 90°. If the gear backs up a tooth, one is subtracted from the count. See the diagram.




Counter rotation of the gear shaft typically occurs when the mechanism stops. There’s not much problem when the pump is running, and the shaft is turning continuously. Discounting spurious pulses has two benefits:

  • You don’t over charge the customer for an extra tooth’s worth of gas.
  • At the end of the day you don’t have have the accumulated error of these extra counts, which would screw up the accounting. There were separate shafts for the dispensed gas and dollars charged. They really need to match at the end of the day.

Interesting thing to note: The only computer used in the system was a Data General Nova 1200 mini-computer. That was installed in the home office in Houston, and Wayne van Citters and I did the software for the Nova.

The electronic box that Don Ninke designed employed no processors. It was all series 7400 logic chips from Texas Instruments. It counted pulses and recorded sales from the pumps, accepted calls over a phone line, and spewed out the sales data for the day over an RS-232 link.

About this time (early 1972) we learned there was a company developing a computer on a chip. We requested and obtained a spec sheet dated late 1971 from Intel. I still have it—two Xeroxed sheets on the 8008 microprocessor. It was an amazing time.

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series


Chapter Eleven

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and also the lowdown on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews involve taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comment. This is Chapter Eleven, titled “Essential deterrents To Socialism.” Here’s how it starts:

The system of government within the United States is technically known as a ‘representative republic,’ not a ‘democracy.’ The difference between these two concepts is enormous. In a pure democracy, the ‘majority rules’ and people within the minority class, concerning whatever issue is at hand, have no protection against the majority. A democracy can be threatening and dangerous because it is simply based upon ‘mob rule.’ On the other hand, a republic respects all people whether they are part of the majority class or not. Perhaps the most important role of a republic is to control the majority (and government as a whole) in the sense of respecting and defending the God-given, inalienable rights of everyone. By so doing, a republic creates an environment of mutual respect among those with differing viewpoints, be it cultural, religious or political. In this way debate, dialogue and disagreement is possible, without fear of punishment. Within a republic, even the rights of the minority are respected and defended.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 170). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

“Even the rights of the minority are respected and defended.” The congressman may come to regret those words. He moves forward, reminding us of the dangers of socialism:

As many citizens are aware, the last several decades have witnessed a powerful political undercurrent that has pulled numerous governmental representatives away from the American Constitution and into the direction of socialistic control. Unfortunately, history has shown that tyranny is never far behind socialism. These facts bring into focus the chilling words of President Calvin Coolidge, “Unless the people, through unified action, arise and take charge of their government, they will find that their government has taken charge of them. Independence and liberty will be gone, and the general public will find itself in a condition of servitude to an aggregation of organized and selfish interest.”[205]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 171). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Regarding “Unfortunately, history has shown that tyranny is never far behind socialism,” the congressman is seriously overreaching. A casual glance will reveal a number of socialistic societies that have missed out on the tyranny part.

Creeping socialism is laid at the feet of constitutional revisionism. The congressman mentions this at least twice:

With this in view, it becomes a huge responsibility for American citizens and representatives to beware of those who claim that the Constitution is a ‘living document.’ By making that claim, they are actually seeking justification for its violation and alteration.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 172). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

To treat the U.S. Constitution as a ‘living document’ will spell the end of America.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 173). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Truth is, the Constitution has been a living document for some time. Legal scholar Michael Waldman has written on the history of the Second Amendment. It’s a story of the over-two-hundred-year evolution of its interpretation. For example:

It was an odd opinion; McReynolds wrote poorly. Still, in broad outline, the Miller decision encompassed the history of the amendment: it traced the history of the militia, and the centrality of the debate over the perils of a standing army to the purpose of the Second Amendment. Its analysis of what kind of weapon could not banned did not, notably, say that the weapon needed to be useful to a militia in 1789— rather, the test was in 1939. The Court left little doubt where it stood on the purpose and scope of the Amendment, despite later revisionist claims to the contrary.

Waldman, Michael (2014-05-20). The Second Amendment: A Biography (Kindle Locations 1325-1329). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

I would guess that from Congressman Hice’s view, reinterpretation has value when the shift is in his direction, otherwise maybe not.

Absence of legal scholarship is no deterrent to Congressman Hice. He prepares to lecture us on matters constitutional:

By the way, the Fourteenth Amendment has also been used to ‘federalize’ the Bill of Rights to the extent that those Amendments do not apply to states until after authorization by the feds has been granted. Again, this is wrong! The Bill of Rights is an expression of many ‘unalienable’ rights that belong to all the citizens of America, and the federal government has no permission to make those rights non-applicable until they say otherwise. Those liberties are already ours; they are unalienable! In order to lessen federal power, either a repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment or a significant modification of it, is necessary.

Secondly, the Seventeenth Amendment should also be repealed.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 175). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Ironically, Michael Waldman discussed “incorporation” of the Bill of Rights. This is the application of the individual amendments to the states:

Cruikshank stands as an ugly episode in a morally debased time. Just a few years after it was enacted, the Fourteenth Amendment had been paralyzed. The ruling hindered federal enforcement of civil rights law until the 1960s. It would not be another fifty years before the Supreme Court started to “incorporate” the Bill of Rights, applying its provisions to states. (Most of the provisions were not “incorporated” until the 1960s.) As a constitutional matter, the ruling had an unambiguous impact on the jurisprudence of guns: the Second Amendment did not apply to the states. And it was the states, not the federal government, that made criminal justice policy. The Court did not opine on whether it conferred a personal or a collective or a civic right. It didn’t matter: it only bound Congress. States were free to do as they wished.

Waldman, Michael (2014-05-20). The Second Amendment: A Biography (Kindle Locations 1224-1230). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

By these means the components of the Bill of Rights came to be “federalized.” For those not familiar with the Seventeenth Amendment:

The Seventeenth Amendment (Amendment XVII) to the United States Constitution established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures. It also alters the procedure for filling vacancies in the Senate, allowing for state legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held.

Somehow, eliminating the Seventeenth Amendment will stave off socialism? I did not track this reasoning to its source.

However, the congressman does provide clues to the evil forces threatening our country. You would not believe what they are:

Finally, in order to shrink the size and control of the federal government we must fight secularism and humanism with vigor, because America is literally at war with these destructive ideologies, whether we realize it or not. Secularism, humanism and socialism are feverishly contrasting philosophies to America’s system of liberty. They are sister-evils, and together comprise the fuel and fire of big government. They are direct enemies of freedom. One major reason why our government has been growing so rapidly in recent decades is because of the gradual acceptance of these

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 176). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

In a chapter on socialism is a good place to get in some licks on secularism and humanism, another way of saying the rational human thought process. The congressman drills down:

The bottom line is this; effectual self-government is the only antidote to big government, and self-government is only possible through personal moral restraint and a Christian worldview.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 176). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

I am tempted to back up a few paragraphs and restate from the congressman:

Within a republic, even the rights of the minority are respected and defended.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 170). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Well, all right!

The manner by which the restraint of a Christian world view is going to manage government growth, has not been made clear. The congressman’s skinny justification is a quote by John Adams:

That is why John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[212]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 176). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Congressman Hice devotes 229 pages to his appeal, “It’s Now Or Never.” Very little original thought is put into these 229. Quotes from distant authority abound. Relevance is seldom justified. Validity almost never. We are at Chapter Eleven, and this is taking on the appearance of a fact-free exercise in polemic. He winds down the chapter with another dose of fact-free:

We must forsake the current path of destruction. Never in the history of the world has socialism ever worked. Never! America’s free market system not only works, it flourishes when allowed to really operate as it is designed. We must get government off the backs of American businesses and individuals. Unconstitutional taxation and impossible-to-follow regulations are killing the economy and the American dream.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 181). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Never has worked? Unconstitutional taxation? Impossible-to-follow regulations? Killing the economy? Passing over the rest and bearing down on “killing the economy,” I offer a note. The posted (Dow-Jones) value of American stocks stands shoulder-high above any level obtained under previous administrations. After weathering this battered economy I am a retired engineer and posting this while on vacation, staying at a nice resort in the American West. How much worse does it have to get before Americans take action?

Coming up next: Chapter Twelve, “Getting Pastors And Church Leaders Involved .” We are going to be instructed.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Thin Air

Before I get started I need to make clear that former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee is my favorite Republican candidate for President. Ben Carson could be a close second, but it’s hard to beat out Huckabee when the cow chips are down. That’s why I latched onto a news item about his book.


Here’s what caught my attention:

Mike Huckabee’s 1998 Book Is Full Of Fake Quotes From America’s Founders

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to make sure the sources in your book are not an Internet quotations page.

What’s that? Is this possible? Author or co-author 14 books, former governor of Arkansas, former Baptist pastor, political commentator—and he can’t keep his quotes straight? There has to be some explanation. Unfortunately the explanation is from BuzzFeed reporters  and . Here is some of the bad news:

A number of the quotations, such as those from Washington and Jefferson, have been routinely debunked by libraries of the past presidents but still regularly find their way into books from conservative figures. Other quotes, debunked by prominent historians, seem to be used for the first time in the book.

Call me a wienie if you want, but I had to see for myself. This kind of thing is beyond the pale. Maybe not for a politician, but for somebody who touts great respect for the Ten Commandments, especially the one concerning false witness. I bought the book, and read it. Ouch! This is not looking good:

Thomas Jefferson asserted that the “chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that and you have abandoned all.”17

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 730-733). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is the kind of sterling comment we would expect from founding father and hero of the American Revolution Thomas Jefferson. The reference [17] is to “Harold Kane, Liberty! Cry Liberty! (Boston: Lamb and Lamb, 1939), 31.” Unfortunately, there seems to be no basis for claiming this as a Jefferson quote:

Quotation: “The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction.  Abandon that, and you have abandoned all.”


  1. “The chief purpose of government is to protect life.  Abandon that, and you have abandoned all.”

Sources consulted:

  1. Papers of Thomas Jefferson
  2. Thomas Jefferson retirement papers
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Papers and Biographies collections in Hathi Trust Digital Library

Earliest appearance in print found: 19891

Comments: This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

– Anna Berkes, December 29, 2011

Is that about it? No. According to Kaczynski and Arce there are more:

Any woodsman can tell you that in a broken and sundered nest, one can hardly expect to find more than a precious few whole eggs. So it is with the family.1

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1326-1328). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is also attributed to Jefferson. A note on the Patheos site disputes this:

Neither the Thomas Jefferson Foundation nor The Papers of Thomas Jefferson at Princeton University could verify the quote.

“I have searched our presidential files using woodsman, nest, and family as keywords and have not found this quote,” The Papers of Thomas Jefferson wrote to BuzzFeed News in a statement.

Huckabee’s cites “King’s Signet Book’s” in his book as the source for the quote, but a search for the source only turns up links to Huckabee’s book and another book, Revolution: Jesus’ Call to Change the World.

George Washington does not escape Huckabee’s imagination:

It is impossible to rightly govern without God and the Bible.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 400-401). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Huckabee and Grant don’t cite a reference for this quote. Turning to the George Washington’s Mount Vernon site brings up this:

The quote is frequently misattributed to Washington, particularly in regards to his farewell address of 1796. The origin of the misquote is, perhaps, a mention of a similar statement in a biography of Washington first published in 1835. However, the quote that appeared in the biography has never been proven to have come from Washington. For this reference, see:

One writer commenting on the matter notes Jefferson did write with language similar to the first Jefferson quote. However, Huckabee’s and Grant’s attribution remains vacuous.

I read the book with knowledge of these problems, and was obliged to observe that quotes from many sources make up a sizable portion of the book. Full disclosure: I incorporate a wad of quotes when posting to this blog. Allow me to point out a difference.

I quote other writers, because I want to tell my readers this is what they said. My intent is not to say “I think this, and so does this famous person.” A lot of time I disagree with the quoted matter. Putting co-author Grant aside for a moment, what Huckabee does throughout the book is to validate a point he wants to make by saying these other people agree. As a result I came away with the impression Huckabee’s book is mainly fact-free. That is, a lot of what makes up the book is not solid fact but only the opinion of Huckabee and others he quotes. I spent $9.99 (plus tax) for the book, and I was hoping to get something more besides a couple hundred pages of Huckabee’ musings. I have been wrong before.

The book is about Kids Who Kill. That’s the title. That’s the first chapter. The rest is a commentary and opinion by Huckabee and Grant. Let’s assume Huckabee. How does the book start? The part about kids who kill. Part 1 has the title “A Dark Cloud Descends.”

Nothing is more common than for men to make partial and absurd distinctions between vices of equal enormity, and to observe some of the divine commands with great scrupulousness, while they violate others, equally important, without any concern, or the least apparent consciousness of guilt.1 —Samuel Johnson

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 146-149). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Quoting Samuel Johnson (Samuel Johnson, Omnibus (London: MacDonald and Stott, 1926), 1: 88) is a good place to start when discussing kids who kill. The first chapter gets to the gritty. The title is “Armed and Dangerous.” The quote is:

Thin lips can make a music; hateful eyes can see; crooked limbs go dancing to a strange melody; the surly heart of clowns can crack with ecstasy; rootbound oaks toss limbs if winds come fervently.1 —Donald Davidson

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 155-157). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The citation is:

William Pratt, ed., The Fugitive Poets: Modern Southern Poetry in Perspective (Nashville: J. S. Sanders, 1991), 33.

For those not familiar with Donald Davidson:

Donald Grady Davidson (August 8, 1893 – April 25, 1968) was a U.S. poet, essayist, social and literary critic, and author. He is best known as a founding member of the Nashville, Tennessee circle of poets known as the Fugitives and of an overlapping group, the Southern Agrarians.

This book is nothing if not well-researched.

On October 2, 1997, a teenager stabbed his mother to death with a kitchen knife and then went to school with a rifle under his trench coat, intent on wreaking havoc. The high school sophomore entered the large student commons area of his school near Jackson, Mississippi. The school buses had just arrived, and classes were about to begin for the day. He espied his former girlfriend in the crowded hallway and walked straight toward her. The two had only recently broken up and the ex-boyfriend was still distraught. Suddenly, the teen leveled his rifle at her and opened fire. The girl collapsed at his feet, killed almost instantly. He then began firing randomly up and down the hallway. Students ran screaming into classrooms and dove for cover. In just moments, the boy had killed another student and wounded six others.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 161-167). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It’s a story that has become much too familiar. My own introduction was nearly 50 years ago when I witnessed the shooting that was to become iconic. Governor Huckabee recounts additional mass shootings, leading up to the one that triggered him to write the book.

Mitchell Scott Johnson (born August 11, 1984) and Andrew Douglas Golden (born May 25, 1986) were middle school students on March 24, 1998, when they committed a massacre at Westside Middle School in unincorporated Craighead County, Arkansas, United States, near Jonesboro. The two boys shot and killed a total of five people: four students and a teacher. Ten other people, nine students and one teacher, were injured.

It’s all distressingly bad, but it turns out this is not what the book is about. Huckabee spends the rest of the book mainly explaining what is wrong with modern society and offering a host of quotes, many unrelated, to juice up his case. It will be interesting to exhibit Huckabee’s thoughts of interest and also the unrelated musings of others. I will go through from front to back, picking what catches my fancy. Here’s for starters:

Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power. —James Madison

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 198-199). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

No reference is provided.

In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their Christian duties, is a community on the rapid down-grade. —Theodore Roosevelt

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 488-491). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

No reference is given, but here is one. This next one is banefully insignificant, but I have to bring it up, because it’s from the (late) biggest hard blow ever to bring joy to my Sunday morning television. It’s from the (unfortunately) late D. James Kennedy:

On the contrary, as D. James Kennedy has so often asserted, “Morality is the only thing you can legislate.”

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 502-503). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Enough of that.  Here is another:

Robert Goguet, in his authoritative history of the development of American judicial philosophy, argued that the founding fathers of our country recognized the importance of choosing some identifiable, objective standard upon which to build cultural consensus. The precedence they gave to Judeo-Christian morality was a matter of clearheaded practicality: “The more [the founding fathers] meditated on the biblical standards for civil morality, the more they perceived their wisdom and inspiration. Those standards alone have the inestimable advantage never to have undergone any of the revolutions common to all human laws, which have always demanded frequent amendments; sometimes changes; sometimes additions; sometimes the retrenching of superfluities. There has been nothing changed, nothing added, nothing retrenched from biblical morality for above three thousand years.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 513-518). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

If you don’t know who Robert Goguet is, here is some help. From the end notes: “Robert Goguet, The Origin of Laws (New York: John Taylor, 1821), 302.” Regarding Robert Gouget’s The Origin of Laws, this one was hard to find. Search Google if you want. All I could find were references to the book, not the quote.

Huckabee is going to argue the origin of our present legal system (what people are not allowed to do) is seated in Judeo-Christian teachings. We will see more of that.

The founding fathers were heavily influenced by the writings of Thomas Hooker, founder of Hartford, Connecticut, and learned Puritan theologian, who relied on more than popular opinion for the source of law and order in society: “Of law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is in the bosom of God, her voice in the harmony of the world.”

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 520-522). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, similarly affirmed the necessity of a standard of virtue for the maintenance of civil stability and order: “No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian religion applied and accepted by all the classes. Should our Republic ere forget this fundamental precept of governance, men are certain to shed their responsibilities for licentiousness and this great experiment will then surely be doomed.”

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 523-527). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

And he gets down to his point:

Thus, a cavalier attitude toward or denial of any exclusive standard of goodness and morality is perhaps the most distressing trait of modern American culture. In the name of civil liberties, cultural diversity, and political correctness, a radical agenda of willy-nilly moral corruption and ethical degeneration has pressed forward.

Ironically, the brazen disregard for any objective standard of decency and a coinciding defense of perversity have actually threatened our liberties and diversity because they have threatened the foundations that made those things possible in the first place. Radical ideological secularism wants the privileges of America bestowed upon the citizenry as unearned, undeserved, and unwarranted entitlements. The catch is, apart from the grace of God, there simply cannot be any such entitlements in human societies. Great privileges bring with them great responsibilities. Our remarkable freedom was bought with a price—and that price was moral diligence, virtuous sacrifice, and ethical uprightness. The legal commitment of ideological secularism to any and all of the fanatically twisted fringes of American culture—pornographers, gay activists, abortionists, and other professional liberationists—is a pathetically self-defeating crusade that has confused liberty with license.

Gardiner Spring, the eloquent pastor-patriot of the early nineteenth century in New York, persuasively argued that the kind of free society America aspired to be was utterly and completely impossible apart from moral integrity: “Every considerate friend of civil liberty, in order to be consistent with himself, must be the friend of the Bible. No tyrant has ever effectually conquered and subjugated a people whose liberties and public virtue were founded upon the Word of God. After all, civil liberty is not freedom from restraint. Men may be wisely and benevolently checked, and yet be free. No man has a right to act as he thinks fit, irrespective of the wishes and interests of others. This would be exemption from all law, and from the wholesome influence of social institutions. Heaven itself would not be free, if this were freedom. No created being holds any such liberty as this, by a divine warrant. The spirit of subordination, so far from being inconsistent with liberty, is inseparable from it.”36

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 528-546). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Yes, Governor Huckabee is getting ready to tell us—if he has not already done so—that morality and finally our legal system came from the God of Abraham. Rather than just let this slide for later elaboration, I’m going to condense it here. The God of Abraham is a human invention. Yes, we do derive much of our so-called Western moral code (and our system of laws) from this heritage. To conclude that we cannot govern ourselves—we cannot invent our own moral standards—ignores the obvious fact that we already have done this. I may repeat this point a few more times before I am finished.

Before getting away from this section, please notice the grouping together of “pornographers, gay activists, abortionists, and other professional liberationists.” This gives some insight into Governor Huckabee’s mindset.

Another useful quote:

Without civility, there can be no society. —Samuel Adams

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 783-784). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In laying out the decay of civility in modern time, Huckabee provides examples by the handful. One that caught my attention was “Road Rage.” Thats the heading of a chapter section. I’m thinking road rage is new. I’m thinking Huckabee thinks road rage is new. I’m thinking of some distant history:


This is from a Disney cartoon from 1950 featuring the character Goofey. The title is Motor Mania, and it indicates road rage predates even Mike Huckabee. Could it be that the former Governor of Arkansas, like so many other doom-speakers, has limited hind sight?

Political discourse has gone into the toilet. That is, if you think as Mike Huckabee does.

Who among us has not wondered at the “absurdly detrimental indications” in political and cultural discourse in America? It seems that we can’t really discuss issues anymore. Instead, we argue, insult, and incriminate. Politics is marred by mudslinging. Social commentary is sullied by scandalous gossip, tabloid sensationalism, and squalid controversy.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Location 887). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Yes, that’s something new to politics.

Where's my pa?

Where’s my pa?

That’s presidential candidate Grover Cleveland featured prominently. The slogan that generally went with this is “Ma, ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.” We certainly have come a long way. Actually civil discourse died well before. Though I am not able to cite the source, my recollection from taking American History is a slogan from the campaign of William Henry Harrison: “Rumpse-dumpse, rumpse dumpse, General Harrison killed Tecumseh.” Class. Does anybody want me to dig deeper into the history of civility in American politics?

Huckabee demonstrates he lives in a different world from me. He decries that honor and sacrifice are moribund. Speaking of the liner Titanic disaster of 103 years ago:

If that “unsinkable” liner were to go down in the North Atlantic today, we could hardly expect the standard of “women and children first” to bring order to the crisis. The great sea disaster would undoubtedly cost even more lives were it to occur in our time—when notions of sacrifice, duty, and chivalry no longer dominate our cultural landscape.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 956-959). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It’s hard to miss that Huckabee tears down today’s society—glossing over the rough edges of yesteryear—because he wants to tell us how to regain our lost glory. It’s a plan the governor has been peddling since about the time this book came out. There is ample evidence of Huckabee’s intent throughout the book.

According to a recent nationwide poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that there is too much profanity in Hollywood productions. More than 60 percent believe there is too much gratuitous violence. About 55 percent believe that graphic sexuality and scatological subjects detract from the value of a film. And 40 percent believe that they have been “desensitized” to issues of moral concern by their viewing habits.20 Nevertheless, we continue

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1208-1212). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

All right, that is significant. A poll shows 80 percent believe there is too much profanity in Hollywood movies. Passing over that I think there is too much, what does is matter what 80% think. Either there is too much or there is not enough. Or the amount is just right. Apparently there is about the right amount, because LaLa Land keeps pumping out this stuff, and people keep buying it. Next, I am sure, Governor Huckabee is going to launch into a discussion of free-market forces.

Maybe not.

Once upon a time, Hollywood regulated itself according to a self-imposed standard of moral restraint designed to uphold social virtue and cultural cohesion. An industry committee, the Hays Association, checked every film for content expressing “blasphemy, filthy language, explicit eroticism or perversion, superfluous violence or brutality, ethnic slurs, or anti-American sentiment.”23 It made certain that any offensive material was edited out—otherwise, the film was unable to achieve general release to the public.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1226-1229). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You can see where this is going. At one time the industry regulated itself. Really? The industry was willing to regulate itself, absent any government involvement? A review of the history will be helpful:

New York became the first state to take advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision by instituting a censorship board in 1921. Virginia followed suit the following year, with eight individual states having a board by the advent of sound film, But many of these were ineffectual. By the 1920s, the New York stage — a frequent source of subsequent screen material—had toplessshows, performances filled with curse words, mature subject matters, and sexually suggestive dialogue. Early in the sound system conversion process, it became apparent that what might be acceptable in New York would not be so in Kansas.

In 1927, Hays suggested to studio executives that they form a committee to discuss film censorship. Irving G. Thalberg of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Sol Wurtzel of Fox, and E. H. Allen of Paramountresponded by collaborating on a list they called the “Don’ts and Be Carefuls”, which was based on items that were challenged by local censor boards. This list consisted of eleven subjects best avoided and twenty-six to be handled very carefully. The list was approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Hays created the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) to oversee its implementation. However, there was still no way to enforce tenets. The controversy surrounding film standards came to a head in 1929.

We hope Governor Huckabee did not mean to leave us thinking the Motion Picture Production Code lurched itself into existence bereft of any governmental involvement. We also hope the governor performed his historical research and learned there never was a thing known as the Hays Association.

Huckabee wanders through the sad state of modern music and into “The Family Revolution.” He remarks on something that is most likely true, without providing any evidence to back it up. Look at it:

No matter how benevolent, no matter how philanthropic, and no matter how altruistic a government social service agency may be, it can never hope to match the personal intimacy of a family. There is no replacement for the close ties between family members.

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1394-1396). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Governor Huckabee thinks he has scored big with “traditional family values,” but he fails to notice that any healthy family, including families involving same-sex couples will provide comparable personal intimacy, family ties and an environment for development.

He says:

The legions of well-intentioned but smug, educated elites have agreed in advance to reject thousands of years of inherited wisdom, values, habit, custom, and insight and replace this heritage with their official utopian vision of the perfect society. They are the progressives, and they can be found in every political party. Trained as scientific, or logical rationalists, these social utopians haughtily treat all social or moral traditions and conventions as arbitrary, rather than as venerable repositories of indispensable social, family, and religious values. They despise natural authority, especially of a local or family variety, and they want to replace it with a sufficiently homogenous state power to bring about their coercive social dreamland. So with a government wage or grant in one hand and a policy whip in the other, they set about forcibly aligning individuals and customs with their dangerously narrow vision, then clamor after ever greater funding and ever more progressive legislation for the education or socialization of the people.7

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1455-1463). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He says it as though “smug, educated elites” are a real threat to healthy families. He says it without mentioning a large portion of unhealthy families born of themselves without any help from the government. He cites “William Gairdner, The War Against the Family (Toronto: Stoddart, 1992), 6.”

Following his hurdling career, he applied himself to the field of academia. He gained his first M.A. in 1967 (studying Structural Linguistics at Stanford University) and then earned a second one at the institution in 1969 in English Literature and Creative Writing. A year later he graduated with a Ph.D. in English Literature from Stanford. He is a published author and, among his works, BPS Books have published The Trouble with Canada, The Trouble with Democracy and Oh, Oh, Canada!.

Others besides myself have noticed that William Gairdner, astute and linguistically well-equipped as he is, does not seem to have anything in his background that would give his voice weight on the matter of  smug elites and healthy families. And that’s the gist of this section and much of the book. Smug elites, people who have made it their life’s work to study social issues, are displacing pastors and former governors in the roll of telling people how to run their lives.

Huckabee decries workplace equality. I think he’s telling is it hasn’t happened and is not likely to happen, all for perfectly natural reasons. There’s a nice discourse on “The Feminization of Poverty,” which he lays at the feet of attempts to put women on an equal footing with men in the economy. In a section titled, for no apparent readon, “The Ills of Health Reform,” he seems to notice the emergence of unwed mothers:

The experts were instrumental in ushering in a sexual revolution in our time. Sloganeering for “free love,” “sex without commitment,” “recreational sex,” “alternative lifestyle sex,” and “casual sex,” the utopian social engineers helped create a new sexual ecology that has fundamentally altered American society. As a result, sex outside of the sacred confines of marriage is now considered “normal.”29

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1558-1561). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I hope he does not think this is an invention of a modern, secular, America. A short history lesson would be helpful, were the governor ever to study the subject:

The many formerly independent kingdoms, duchies, and other small and large entities that made up the German Empire, led to variations and customs relating to marriage. In addition, in the 18th and 19th centuries marriage laws were passed to limit population growth in the lower classes. This led to more out-of-wedlock births and an increase in emigration. The prospective couple had to submit proof of property and employment income sufficient to guarantee that they would not need public assistance in the future. Hessen-Nassau and Bavaria had the most restrictive laws. A 1722 law in Wuerttemberg specified the minimum age for marriage as 25 years for men and 22 years of women. A 1822 Ducal decree in Hessen-Nassau had the minimum ages as 22 and 18 years.

My recollection, no references cited, is during the late 19th century in predominately Catholic Germany on the order of 50% of all children were born without the benefit of marriage. One such birth was notable:

In 1837, when she was 42 years old, and still single, her first and only child was born. She named the boy Alois. Maser notes that she refused to reveal who the child’s father was, so the priest baptized him Alois Schicklgruber and entered “illegitimate” in place of the father’s name on the baptismal register. Historians have discussed three candidates for the father of Alois:

  1. Johann Georg Hiedler, whose name was added to Alois’s birth certificate later in his life and who was officially accepted as the father of Alois (i.e. as the paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler) by the Third Reich.
  2. Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, Georg’s brother and Alois’s step-uncle, who raised Alois through adolescence and later willed him a considerable portion of his life savings but who, if he was the real father of Alois, never found it expedient to admit it publicly.
  3. And a Jew named Leopold Frankenberger, as reported by ex-Nazi Hans Frank during the Nuremberg Trials. Historians dismiss the Frankenberger hypothesis (which had only Frank’s speculation to support it) as baseless.

Let us hope that unwed pregnancies do not run rampant in American society. There is no telling what will befall.

Politicization of public education comes up. This is particularly noted:

Outcome-Based Education is often an overt assault on Christian family values. For example, one teacher’s guidebook for New York’s controversial Outcome-Based Education restructuring plan states: “Teachers of first-graders have an opportunity to give children a healthy sense of identity at an early age. Classes should include references to lesbians and gays in all curricular areas and should avoid exclusionary practices by presuming a person’s sexual orientation, reinforcing stereotypes, or speaking of lesbians and gays as ‘they’ or ‘other.’ If teachers do not discuss lesbian and gay issues, they are not likely to come up. Children need actual experiences via creative play, books, visitors, etc. in order for them to view lesbians and gays as real people to be respected and appreciated. Educators have the potential to help increase the tolerance and acceptance of the lesbian and gay community.”55

Huckabee, Mike; Grant, George (1998-06-01). Kids Who Kill (Kindle Locations 1902-1908). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Did you get that. “… view lesbians and gays as real people to be respected and appreciated.” What is the world coming to? And what is the world that Governor Huckabee came from? He cites Empowerment, March 1993. See the following:

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities and Youth : Psychological Perspectives …

 [E]dited by Anthony R. D’Augelli Professor of Human Development Pennsylvania State University, Charlottesville Charlotte J. Patterson Professor of Psychology University of Virginia

page 254

And all of this relates to kids who kill. Who would have thought?

Would I expect a reasoned and grounded discussion on the matter of kids who kill, coming from former Governor Mike Huckabee? Should I expect a reasoned and grounded discussion on the matter of kids who kill, coming from former Governor Mike Huckabee? It may be a worthy question. Let’s investigate.

Huckabee believes a magical person created the Earth and everything else. []. He makes thinks the Christian religion is about to be criminalized. He believes a lot of the stuff in the Bible is true. No, we should not expect much from that Mike Huckabee when it comes to the matter of kids who kill. And we are not disappointed.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Not Now, Jody

One of a continuing series


Chapter Ten

As mentioned, I’m spending some time reviewing  It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America by Georgia Congressman Jody Hice. Go back to the initial post to get my overview of the book and the lowdown on the front matter. I’m reviewing the book a chapter at a time. These reviews involve taking quotations from the book and providing appropriate comment. This is Chapter Ten, titled “The Religious Left” Here’s how it starts:

Why are so many Christians departing from what has been historically ‘Christian’ values?

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 158). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Here is a matter on which Pastor Hice is tremendously more qualified to speak than am I. Somewhere along life’s path I lost any great affection for all things woo. I am no longer interested in how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. The exact color of a teapot orbiting the planet Xerxes no longer summons my interest. Take the floor, Congressman Hice:

In 2009 President Obama named religious left activist Jim Wallis his ‘spiritual advisor.’

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 159). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Spiritual advisor? I was always sure there was something I did not like about this president. You take what you can get.

By his own admission and being consistent with his conduct, Wallis and his organization are deeply rooted in Communism, Marxism and extreme anti-American propaganda. He founded a magazine opposing capitalism, called the Post-American. The publication “identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as the keys to achieving ‘social justice.’”[187]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 160). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The citation is to:

 Jason Lee, “Barak Obama, George Soros and the Religious Left,” American Thinker, Juner 12, 2011, george_soros_and_the_religious_left.html.

Here’s a link that works:

Jim Wallis, one of the aforementioned religious leaders denouncing the GOP’s modest efforts to save future generations from crushing debt, has deep roots in Marxism, Communism, and radical anti-Americanism:

Wallis founded an anti-capitalist magazine called the Post-American which identified wealth redistribution and government-managed economies as the keys to achieving “social justice.” He also railed against American foreign policy and joined the Students for a Democratic Society.

That links to another reference:

Giving voice to Sojourners’ intense anti-Americanism, Jim Wallis called the U.S. “… the great power, the great seducer, the great captor and destroyer of human life, the great master of humanity and history in its totalitarian claims and designs.”

Following the 1979 refugee crisis in Vietnam, Wallis lashed out at the desperate masses fleeing North Vietnam’s communist forces by boat. These refugees, as Wallis saw it, had been “inoculated” by capitalist influences during the war and were absconding “to support their consumer habit in other lands.” Wallis then admonished critics against pointing to the boat people to “discredit” the righteousness of Vietnam’s newly victorious Communist regime.

In 1979, Time magazine hailed Wallis as one of the “50 Faces for America’s Future.” That same year, the journal Mission Tracks published an interview with Wallis, in which the activist evangelical expressed his hope that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes.”

Wallis blamed America entirely for the political tensions of the Cold War era. “At each step in the Cold War,” he wrote in November 1982, “the U.S. was presented with a choice between very different but equally plausible interpretations of Soviet intentions, each of which would have led to very different responses. At every turn, U.S. policy-makers have chosen to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts.”

In the 1980s Wallis embarked on an editorial crusade in Sojourners to undercut public support for a confrontational U.S. foreign policy toward the spread of Communism in Central America. He published bitter denunciations of the American government’s sponsorship of anti-Communist Contra rebels against Nicaragua’s Sandinista dictatorship. After visiting Nicaragua in 1983, in the company of the pro-Sandinista group Witness for Peace, Wallis and then-Sojourners associate editor Joyce Hollyday co-authored several articles in which they whitewashed the brutality of the Sandinista government while condemning the United States for waging an “undeclared war” against “the people of Nicaragua.”

So, there really is a religious left. The power of Jesus unleashed is a wonder to behold. What now?

Congressman Hice speaks of the part the religious left had in promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare:”

Their effort alleged that lies and fear tactics were being used by the ‘right,’ like a mob trying to force capitulation through threats. Assertions that abortions or euthanasia would be funded through the socialized medical plan were sharply ridiculed and presented as evidence of unjust ‘smear’ from the religious right.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 163). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it appears Congressman Hice believes the AFA is a socialized medical plan, whether or not public funds would be used for abortions and euthanasia. Anyhow, the religious left was neck deep. For the record, others besides the religious left ridicule Congressman Hice’s thoughts on the ACA.

The congressman paints a grim picture:

Allen D. Hertzke is a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, who follows religious movements. He says, “My gut tells me that all this foment [on the religious left] is bound to create more involvement in politics. I don’t know whether there’s going to be more of them numerically, but you don’t need greater numbers to have a political impact; all you need is to be more active. You already see that in Ohio and some other states, where Christian conservatives no longer have a monopoly on faith in politics.”[194]

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (pp. 163-164). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

His perspective on what is worrisome is worth noting:

In June of 2011, leaders of the Emergent Church Movement fulfilled a dream by providing a four-day ‘revival camp’ called the Wild Goose Festival. After nearly ten years of planning, it took place on about 72 acres of forest and meadows on Shakori Hills in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and thousands attended. According to the organization’s web site, a similar festival in the UK, called Greenbelt, conceived the idea. To the Wild Goose planners, Greenbelt represents a beacon of hope for people who feel ‘left behind’ by conventional religion, and their mission was to accomplish the same in the United States.[195] It featured various genres of music, yoga, liberal speakers and an open attempt to embrace gays and lesbians into the ‘Christian’ community. The purpose was to open wide the doors of ‘Christianity’ to be more inclusive of all people and all beliefs. The name of the event, ‘Wild Goose,’ was taken from a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit.[196] Understandably, many evangelicals were offended at the name, upset that reference to the Holy Spirit had been reduced to a ‘goose.’ Further, much offense resulted from the unconditional tolerance and acceptance of virtually all lifestyles and beliefs as ‘Christian.’

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 164). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

Here we go: These are Christians, and the are accepting of homosexuals and maybe environmentalism. What next in the name of Jesus? Abolition of slavery?

In their thinking, what the true Church believes and the theology it embraces, has been revealed through open critique and the varied perspectives of others. Nothing could be further from the truth! In 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). And again, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV). Scripture and Christian doctrine are not the results of countless opinions of ‘seekers,’ it is a direct revelation of God Himself.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 166). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

I quoted the entire paragraph, but the critical sentences are the last two:

And again, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV). Scripture and Christian doctrine are not the results of countless opinions of ‘seekers,’ it is a direct revelation of God Himself.

We are not to parse the words of God, but to take them literally? That sounds reasonable enough. Reasonable enough until you start to notice two things:

1. The word of God is not taken literally in any Christian congregation. There is always somebody standing at a podium (sometimes “podium” is figurative), interpreting the word of God for the congregation. That’s the way churches work. There may be as many as 40,000 Christian denominations world wide, presumably each with its own interpretation of God’s word.

2. We may not want, in this modern world, to take God at his word, literally. These quotes are from the Bible Gateway site:

Judges 11:29-40 King James Version (KJV)

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord‘s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto theLord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,

40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

Exodus 21:7-11 King James Version (KJV)

And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 King James Version (KJV)

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Deuteronomy 22:11 King James Version (KJV)

11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

Yes, God’s literal word is a bunch of silliness and does require some interpreting. Congressman Hice is up to the task. Hear him out. He summarizes the chapter, possibly making sense:

It should be clearly stated that I am not implying that Christians should run from or avoid topics like AIDS, poverty, global warming, environmental concerns, and a host of others. On the contrary, we should be in the forefront of these debates, providing genuine answers for undeniable problems. Instead of engaging these topics, the Christian community has been too silent for too long on most of these social ills and now, those whose worldview is directly opposite to a true Christian worldview, ‘own’ these topics and our voices are but a noise on the horizon. There is no doubt that Christian leadership is needed to address these issues.

The fear is that these concerns are now being addressed by one of two perspectives: liberals, who use them for political power and social engineering; or a false ‘Christian’ view that is unbiblical. For these matters to be used as nothing other than a political ploy under the guise of ‘religious’ convictions is nothing other than outright deception. Twisting biblical truth for the purpose of deceiving or shaming Christians into liberal policies is unconscionable, un-American and extremely dangerous.

Dr. Jody Hice (2012-01-13). It’s Now Or Never: A Call to Reclaim America (p. 169). WestBowPress. Kindle Edition.

The congressman does make sense, provided sense can ever be made out of a magical person in the sky. Or a cobalt blue teapot orbiting the planet Xerxes.

Coming up next: Chapter Eleven, “Essential Deterrents To Socialism .”

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.