Town and Country

Though born in a sizable city, Portland, Oregon, I am grateful to have been raised in the country. Even when we moved back to Portland while I was in Junior High School, it was not Portland per se, but a rural suburb. The sense of connection to the land and love for it that I grew up with have only been reinforced by the intervening years and travels. It is at least partly a sense of reverence and appreciation for God’s creations, but it is also an appreciation for the character that country life fosters. Like most things, this turns out to have political implications as well.

Victor Davis Hanson explored this concept in an essay linked below. It is well worth reading, not just for the political explanation, but also for the historical references:

http://www.city-journal.org:8080/html/trump-and-american-divide-14944.html

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Almost Election Eve

This election has become a bitter and desperate battle for survival of the most utterly corrupt figure ever to occupy the national stage and the so-called “elite” politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, media, and academics who support her. That includes a sizeable number of Republicans who care more about their perks and privileges than their duty and honor. You may not have wanted Trump as the leader of the charge against this cabal, but there he is, doing well and speaking right. We will hope for the best. Following is a quote from my book, The Federalist, Excerpts With Commentary, 2nd edition, first Madison, then my commentary:

 

LXXI. THE DURATION IN OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE

The tendency of the legislative authority to absorb every other, has been fully displayed and illustrated . . . The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter; as if the exercise of its rights, by either the executive or judiciary, were a breach of their privilege and an outrage to their dignity. They often appear disposed to exert an imperious control over the other departments . . .

(T)he best security for the fidelity of mankind is to make their interest coincide with their duty.

 

  1. Arrogance, the Imperial Congress, and the Imperial President

Congress has been particularly aggressive in expanding its power relative to the presidency following periods of presidential embarrassment such as after Watergate, during much of the Carter administration, and during the latter portions of the Reagan and first Bush administrations. This took on a partisan character because of long-lasting, one-party rule in the legislature. How then to explain the lack of congressional assertion of power during the remarkably expansive and repeatedly illegal actions of the Obama years? When controlled by the same party, they presumably agreed with him, but when controlled by the opposing party, why are there no concrete actions, special prosecutors, indictments, etc.? Does an unprecedentedly arrogant, Imperial President intimidate them? Or has Congress become so corrupt they simply want to stay at the trough and not “rock the boat”? Do their personal interests coincide with their duty?

 

Reasons For Trump

I grew up on stories of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, Sir Walter Raleigh and Columbus, King Arthur and Sir Galahad. The highest ideal in life for a man is to be a Christian Gentleman, to emulate in our small lives the lives of great ones who have gone before us, most especially the greatest of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when one of my grown daughters asked me after the recent release of that embarrassing 11 year old videotape of Donald Trump whether I still supported him for president, she might have been surprised when I answered, “yes”.

That was not to condone whatever was said on the tape–I have not and will not watch it, but the reports are enough. The fact is that though it has been many years since I was in a locker room, I remember how vulgar and uncouth some of the speech was. I was the quiet, nerdy guy, not one of the jocks who later became businessmen, lawyers, and politicians.

Through the years we have heard many stories and reports of similar embarrassing recordings of vulgar and uncouth language of leaders from FDR to Kennedy to Johnson to Nixon. Usually they are hidden by their friends in the media, unless their carefully timed release can sway an election toward the Democrat. And then, of course, they are all shocked, shocked at such language. Fact is, we are electing a president, not a Pope, and a vulgar and uncouth president may be all that a vulgar and uncouth people can handle.

There are four excellent reasons for voting for Trump:

First, we apply the Bill Buckley principle, “You should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.” Trump is not a conservative, but he is infinitely better than Clinton, the most corrupt, vile, anti-Constitutional candidate in American political history. No third-party candidate can win.

Next, he has a remarkable talent for hiring good people such as Steven Moore as economic advisor. His lists of Supreme Court candidates, consultants, and supportive admirals and generals is a Whose Who of sensible, experienced, and constitutional thinkers and doers. He hires to his weakness, and is not reluctant to fire when necessary. (Incidentally, any previous Secretary of State would have resigned after the debacle in Libya; any previous President would have demanded it.)

Third, he is a disrupter. Not part of the political establishment and not beholden to the Establishment and their power brokers, he is committed to shaking up what has become an  utterly corrupt federal government which has usurped the powers and rights of the people and the states. His commitment to be the “law and order” candidate is refreshing, especially his most recent vow in last night’s debate to direct his Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to take action against Clinton for her many crimes. The fear you saw in her and her husband’s eyes when he spoke about it was real.

Finally, he has all the right enemies. Like a majority of my fellow Americans, I have grown to hate the fawning leftist media, the arrogant leftist academics, the violent leftist agitators, the complacent leftist bureaucrats, the rich leftist bankrollers, and the corrupt and haughty politicians of both parties they foist upon us. They call themselves “the Elite.” If they hate him, he has my vote.

 

Best Wishes.

Art Garfunkel, Bridging the Waters

Some very dear friends kindly took us to Art Garfunkel’s recent concert at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma, WA. It was a delightful, very rewarding evening. His was the clear tenor voice that made possible the wonderful Simon and Garfunkel music that those of us of a certain age associate with our high school and college years. But this was not simply a series of old songs re-sung; this performance included newer songs with old favorites, interwoven with the artist’s delightful commentary on life, often in poetic form. (He protested applying that high-sounding term, poetry, to his writings, but since the English Department includes free verse under its definition of poetry, we will too.)

There is a spirit of mature melancholy in Garfunkel’s music and musings. Not the adolescent angst we knew so long ago, but the reflective thoughts and feelings of one who has experienced life, known great success and great loss and success returned again. “Artie” lost his voice in 2009 and labored diligently to regain it. He succeeded well. The result is not only a beautiful voice, but the sense of a great artist who is also humble, a rare and wonderful thing in our age of self-promoting demagoguery.

The greater losses, though, were of loved ones lost in death’s dateless night. Here Garfunkel revealed his love of family and friends: his beloved wife and children, also his intermittent relationship with childhood friend and youthful collaborator, Paul Simon. He also revealed his faith in God and devotion to the more important things of life. As a boy he served as a cantor, and included in the concert a too-brief excerpt of Hebrew a cappella. Even without the touch of echo added by the sound engineer, it was heavenly, an angel’s song.

Garfunkel’s concluding number was a rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Waters which he characterized as a “rehearsal” of a work-in-progress. There was no piano; all his accompaniment was by a very fine guitarist. Nevertheless, this adaptation of an old favorite was simply outstanding, very fine. Standing ovations generally are over-done, but in this case, I was happy to join the crowd in standing for a great artist in the humane tradition. Long may he perform.

Here is a link to his website where you may be able to find a performance near you:

http://www.artgarfunkel.com/

 

Best Wishes.

Organized . . .

Will Rogers, the witty comedian and social commentator of the early 20th century, once remarked, “I do not belong to an organized political party. I am a Democrat.” What was funny then becomes less funny now as the nature of the modern Democrat Party’s organization becomes clearer. The party of kooks, crooks, commies, and cronies has become even more sinister.

Although Snopes discounts the lengthy lists of mysterious deaths of people associated with the Clinton’s, the most recent murders of five political operatives, some of whom, like Seth Rich, were about to testify in the Hillary email and other scandals, must raise eyebrows. One might be a coincidence, maybe two, but five? What is clear to anyone following national news is that the party of slavery, segregation, and socialism is now behaving like a large family, not in a good sense.

An ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon saw similar events in his day, in his historical record, and prophetically among us. He wrote:

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

Elsewhere he admonished us to be more wise than his people had been. We can only hope. And pray.

Best Wishes.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Federalist-Excerpts-Commentary-Roderick-Saxey/dp/0997018100/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471227694&sr=1-3

 

 

Keep Calm

Keep Calm

The British government during World War II popularized the slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” plastered on billboards and posters throughout the country. It is a slogan suitable for our time and place as well. The world is in chaos and the self-proclaimed ruling “elites”, the political, media, and educational classes, seem helpless to improve it. Indeed, their antics and shenanigans  and false ideologies make things worse. So let us ordinary folk look to a more sensible guideline: Keep Calm and Carry On.

The thing we are carrying on with is leading peaceful, productive, law-abiding lives, individually and in our families and communities. It is striving day by day to do our best to live up to the commandments of God–let’s call them instructions for happiness in this life and in the next. It is building the Kingdom of God on earth, the creation of a Zion society. Zion is “the pure in heart.” It is proceeding with confidence that all things are in the hands of a loving God and that right will prevail in the end. It is exercising faith.

Best Wishes.

The Parties

President Washington warned the nation of the dangers of political parties and their potential for disrupting the system the Founders had created. Nevertheless, it was built into the structure of the Constitution (not to mention the human psyche) that parties would exist: there is naturally a Federalist and an Anti-Federalist party, one in favor of a stronger and the other in favor of a weaker central government. These have had various names through the centuries, and our two current parties of reversed roles from time to time.

Years ago I wrote with sorrow of the degeneration of the Democrat party under the corrupting influence of the so-called progressives. It has become the party of “kooks, crooks, commies, and cronies.” Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book and movie, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, demonstrates that most of that description goes back to the beginning of the party (not Jefferson as the Democrats claim, but Andrew Jackson). Following is an excerpt from the first chapter, courtesy WND:

 

In this book I expose this progressive narrative as a lie. In reality the Democratic Party is now what it has been from the beginning – the party of subjugation, oppression, exploitation, and theft. The Democrats are not the party of justice or equality, but rather, of systematic injustice and inequality. Far from championing the cause of women, blacks and other minorities, Democrats have historically brutalized, segregated, exploited and murdered the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Democrats are the party of slavery, and the inventors of the “positive good” school that held slavery is not merely good for the master but also for the slave. After slavery, the Democrats attempted to block the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment granting equality of rights under the law, and the Fifteenth Amendment securing for blacks the right to vote.

Democrats also invented and enforced segregation laws. A former delegate to the Democratic National Convention founded the Ku Klux Klan, which for decades served as the domestic terrorist wing of the Democratic Party, not just in the South but also in the Midwest and West. The Democrats also promoted forced sterilization and race-based exclusion of immigrants from this country.

During the 1930s, a young JFK went to Germany and praised the accomplishments of Adolf Hitler, noting that opposition to Hitler mainly came from jealousy. As president, FDR admired Mussolini and sent members of his brain trust to Italy to study fascist programs and import them to America. Mussolini for his part reviewed FDR’s book for an Italian publication. He loved it. FDR, he concluded, was a fascist, just like Il Duce himself.

All of this has been buried by progressive scholars and pundits. Also concealed is that fact that during all this time, the main opposition to the horrors on the part of the Democratic Party came from Republicans. This book makes an astonishing claim: of all Americans, Republicans are the ones who have the least reason to feel guilt about slavery or racism.

From the beginning, Republicans have been the good guys, fighting to stop Democratic schemes of exploitation, murder and plunder. Republicans fought a great war, and hundreds of thousands of them died, to thwart the nefarious practices of the Democrats. Even after slavery, Republicans fought vigorously though not always successfully to defeat Democratic schemes of segregation and racial terrorism.

Democrats are the ones who bitterly resisted the civil rights movement’

The bad guys – the Democrats – put up a great fight but the Republicans won in the end. It was Republicans who made possible the Civil Rights Laws that finally and belatedly secured equal rights for blacks and other minorities. Democrats are the ones who bitterly resisted the civil rights movement, and had the Democrats been the only party in America at the time, none of these laws, from the Civil Rights Act to the Voting Rights Act to the Fair Housing Bill, would have passed.

.  .  .

Of course it’s not just about the power; it is also about the money. Here Hillary has already shown her talents. Her achievement as secretary of state has been to carry the corrupt operations of the Democratic Party to a new level. Hillary herself described what she did as “commercial diplomacy.”

It certainly has worked out commercially for her and Bill. In the words of Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, “No one has even come close in recent years to enriching themselves on the scale of the Clintons while they or a spouse continued to serve in public office.”

By contrast with the Clintons, earlier Democratic scam operations seem like petty thievery. Previously Democrats specialized in big city machines a la Tammany Hall in New York and the Daley machine in Chicago. These were local rackets that looted the city treasury. The looters – such figures as William “Boss” Tweed – made off with a few hundred thousand, perhaps as much as a million. Hillary, however, figured out how to take her racket national, indeed global.

Never before has anyone figured out how to rent out American foreign policy, how to convert the position of secretary of state into a personal money machine. Hillary, with Bill’s help, figured out not only how to shake down Russian oligarchs and Canadian billionaires by offering them control of America’s uranium assets; she also figured out how to rob the island nation of Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. It’s one thing to rip off the world’s rich; it takes a special kind of chutzpah to steal from the poorest of the poor.

‘Imagine what Hillary would do with her power if she went … to president’

Imagine what Hillary would do with her power if she went from secretary of state to president of the United States! Previously she at least had to answer to Obama; now she would be a power unto herself. Hillary has already shown how indifferent she is to the interests of the United States, selling American influence to the highest bidder. I dread to think how much havoc – how many Benghazis – are in store if we elect this woman in November.

Who is going to stop Hillary, and how? Who will block the enslavement of the American people that is the political program of the Democratic Party? The situation, at first glance, seems desperate. The Republican Party seems confused, bitterly divided, unable to contest the Democratic social justice pitch and articulate a rival vision. Can we really count on the bewildered elephant to chase down and trample the Democratic donkey?

There is no one else. The GOP has, from the beginning, been the team – and the only team – that can stop and did stop the marauding Democrats. The Republicans have done it for 150 years, from slavery through the Ku Klux Klan through eugenics and forced sterilization through the civil rights movement. Why don’t we have slavery today? How has the Klan gone from a massive organization to a joke? Why do blacks and other minorities today have equality of rights under the law? The answer in every case is: The Republican Party.

Republicans can come together and do it again. While the threat is real and this will be a tough election, there is no cause for dispiritedness. With clear thinking, political creativity, and simple hard work, we can meet the challenges that are before us, working together, as we must, because our nation’s very future seems to be at stake.

The GOP nominee, Donald Trump, is both colorful and controversial, but this is not an election about Trump; it is an election about Hillary. She is the one who embodies the debased soul of the Democratic Party. And she is the corrupt, exasperating, tenacious, malign spirit looming over the United States in the fateful year of 2016. It’s time – actually it’s past time, but better late than never – for all good Americans to come together and perform an exorcism.

America once again is at a crossroads.

Best Wishes.