Something Worth Writing About

Meade and Prettyman Courthouse home of US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

An Excellent Spirit has been on extended hiatus. Between several critical health issues and the fact that we did not read or see anything worth writing about, we have kept our vigilance at a high level and our rhetoric at a low ebb. Until today. There is finally something to write about. This Washington Post bulletin just came through:  “President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority when he named three members of the National Labor Relations Board while the Senate was on a break last year, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that allowing the president to make such appointments as a way around Senate opposition “would wholly defeat the purpose of the Framers in the careful separation of powers structure” they created.”

As Hillary Clinton recently and famously asked, “What difference” does this make? First, it must be cautioned that the United States Supreme Court will in all likelihood review this decision as there are some conflicts with cases already decided in the opposite direction in the past. “The ruling acknowledged that it conflicts in parts with what other federal appeals courts have held about recess appointments. The issue is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.” That said, the action of one of the most liberal Circuit Courts of Appeal is noteworthy and, if affirmed, far reaching in its affect.

First, all of President Obama’s recess appointments that were designed to thwart the US Senate’s refusal to confirm his ultra leftist nominees will be invalidated. Second and even more far reaching is the consequence that all actions of the National Relations Labor Board (NLRB) taken with those recess appointments in place will be invalidated, sine die (immediately!). The Court knew this and said so in its decision. “The decision flatly rejected the administration’s rationale for appointing the board members, and jeopardizes the separate recess appointment of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray is the subject of a different lawsuit.”

National Relations Labor Board Meeting

For readers who desire more specific information while we wait for the published decision, we always recommend The Volkoh Conspiracy. Here is its first impression post on the case today. We also read avidly, Legal Insurrection. Here is Cornell Law School Professor William A. Jacobson’s initial reaction. He also links to a PDF version of the full decision for your information.

So, what is all the fuss about? First, a sitting President has just been rebuked, publically, by a liberal Circuit Court of Appeals 3 Judge Panel, unanimously, we note, on an issue that reverses and leaves in limbo numerous decisions of a Federal Agency (NLRB). That is rare. Second, the President, just re-elected and re-inaugurated, was believed to have clear sailing on almost any issue he championed, no matter what the opposition. That is all on hold now. When a Court of Appeal says the Emperor has no clothes, it is at least worth a closer look at his raiment. At the very least his momentum has been slowed from an entirely unforeseen direction. Let’s all take a deep breath!

President Obama after getting the news of the D.C. Circuit’s vacating of his NLRB recess appointments.

Andrew McCarthy, our source on Jihad and the Blind Sheik, penned this on the decision.  We have written about McCarthy in our pieces on the Blind Sheik and others. Here and here.  McCarthy addressed some of the technical issues to be decided on appeal to the Supreme Court. “Expect lots of people harmed by NLRB and CFPB determinations and pronouncements to head to court. Also expect the administration to appeal to the Supreme Court. While the D.C. Circuit’s constitutional analysis is compelling, there is an interesting question as to whether it had jurisdiction to reach the constitutional issues given that the petitioner failed to raise them before the NLRB. The panel found that it did, and its reasoning is persuasive, but the judges concede that there is no precedent directly on point. I’d bet on the Supreme Court affirming today’s ruling, but I think we’ll also be hearing a lot of banter from the administration spin machine about judicial overreach — the spin machine doubling as a chutzpah machine.”

Andrew C. McCarthy of Ordered Liberty

Finally, An Excellent Spirit has seen little to write about these past weeks, as the opposition has devolved into a mass of ineffectiveness and appeasement. The Congress has bowed its head and meekly done whatever it could to appear to be led to the gallows by a triumphant White House. As Hillary said, “What difference does it make?” Well, folks, the unlikely District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, Three Judge Panel, ruling for the entire court, has at least brought that question back on the front burner and we may just find out that President Obama’s barely concealed contempt for the Constitution, Congress, the Courts and the American People who are not to the left of Saul Alinsky might just make some difference. Stay tuned. If it grows, this could be something to write about. God bless America.

The Change We Wanted? The Change We Have!

An Excellent Spirit has taken much time to reflect on what is happening in and to America in the wake of the 2012 Election and the many problems we face and the many issues and hurdles we must overcome or succumb to as we go forward. We find especially helpful and pertinent Roger Simon’s recent column on his PJ Media entitled “Political Change – Revisited” Here Mr. Simon, as usual, deals with the realities of change in America based on his personal journey from a Hollywood liberal transformed forever by September 11, 2001 to a conservative on everything but social values. (Simon unabashedly remains a liberal on social values, he says.) His growing Internet empire, PJ Media includes Instapundit, PJ Media, PJTV, Vodkapundit and other outlets, are all on the conservative side, including some social conservatives on the issues of abortion, selective abortion and marriage.

This brings us and Simon to the question: what will it take for Americans to decide for conservatism and against liberalism and to actually vote that way despite the fear and habits of 50-75 years?  While this is a good question, no one seems to have any better answer than Obama. What a shame. Read the whole thing.

Roger L. Simon, author, playwright, founder and CEO of PJ Media

Victor Davis Hanson, one of the two towering twins of Stanford University (Thomas Sowell is the other) recently wrote about the importance of being “hip” in our cultural wasteland. Here  Hanson really hit it on all cylinders. “The nexus of big government, big money, and globalization has created a new creed of squaring the circle of being both liberal and yet elitist, egalitarian-talking but rich-acting, talking like a 99 percenter and living like a 1 percenter. And the rub is not that the two poles are contradictory, but that they are, in fact, necessary for each other: talking about the people means it is OK to live unlike the people. In short, we can all be just what we profess to be. The key in our world of blue-jeaned billionaires is being hip — or rather at least professing to be hip.”

Victor Davis Hanson at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute

Then Hanson got down to cases. “But what is hip? Mostly it is a state of mind, a religion, a talk, a look, an outward persona that is the key that unlocks you from the ramifications of your ideology. Hip is like “cool”, whose power I wrote about not long ago: a general sense of tapping into the popular youth culture of music, fashion, food, electronics, easy left-wing politics, and adolescent habit. Hipness is a tool designed to justify enjoying the riches and leisure produced by the American brand of Western market capitalism by poking fun at it, teasing it some, dressing it up a bit to suggest ambivalence over its benefits without ever seriously either understanding their source or, much less, losing them. We feel hip at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but not so much in the organic section of Safeway.”

“Hip” according to Hanson means never having to say you are sorry for anything or anybody. “Hip also plays out as professed caring — worrying in the abstract about all sorts of endangered species, starving peoples, or degraded environments. It is being loudly angry at retrograde forces — white males, the rich, gun owners, Christians, family types, and suburbanites, the sorts who ostensibly crafted the toxicity of Western civilization that you are forced to use and enjoy. Yet embrace hip, and all things become possible. A Martian would see the modern university as an elitist enclave, where life-long tenured professors make lots of money overseen by hordes of even better-paid administrators, that together cause tuition for cash-strapped and indebted students to rise faster than the rate of inflation without any promises that their eventual certifications will result in commensurate good jobs. A non-Martian would instead appreciate the hip nexus of diversity, eco-caring, and gender-neutral inclusivity. Hip is a sort of Neanderthal mentality that is terrified of serious thinking, and thus substitutes the superfluous for the profound.”

This is what America has become about in 2013. The Fiscal Cliff is not real; it is “hip” to be unafraid and unaware of the consequences of doing the same thing over and over again, even if it does not work. (Insanity in the real, un-hip world). We now inhabit a world that is completely dominated by the hip and the evidence is everywhere. Hanson, again, nails it. “Tell an uninformed hipster that Obama wants to outlaw abortion, and abortion can suddenly become very unhip.”

“Hip is furor over Cheneyite Scooter Libby — tried for an Orwellian crime that didn’t exist, and if it did exist, it was committed by someone else — while snoozing through Fast and Furious and Benghazi. Hip is certainly not Halliburton, but most certainly is Solyndra. The unhip Patriot Act, renditions, and Guantanamo are suddenly now kind of hip; so are drone targeted-assassinations — a sort of “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Predator.” If we bomb Iran, we will be OK — if only Snoop Dogg high-fives the mission, the pilots are gay, the bombers run on biofuels, and the shrapnel is recyclable. Let us hope that the outgoing F-22s have a Che logo painted on the side as they blow stuff up.” Better still, let’s blow it all up using WMD’s we liberated from Libya by giving them to Egypt’s hip Muslim Brotherhood to use on the grossly unhip Israel. 65 years is enough. Already!” Read the whole thing for more examples of the foibles of being “hip” and the danger to America.

It definitely is “hip” to re-cycle the indefensible and make it mainstream. Ergo John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, super locks for the worst Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense tandem in recorded history. Warren Buffet is the hippest of the hip billionaires. Donald Trump is crass, misogynistic and a birther. Then there is our President. Hanson says “Barack Obama baffles his detractors. How can one who golfs so frequently, or who vacations in only the most tony resorts, keep haranguing the nation about the transgressions of the one percent? When he sees them stroll by on Martha’s Vineyard, does he jump up and shout out at their mansions: “You didn’t build that!”? How did corpse-man not win the NPR vitriol that nu-cu-lar had in the past? How could Obama in 2006 vote against raising the debt ceiling, in 2008 call Bush unpatriotic for deficit spending, upon entering office promise to halve the deficit by the end of his first term, and then oversee some $5 trillion in new borrowing? Hip: borrowing became “stimulus”; entitlements, “investments”; and paying it all back became “paying your fair share.” In Obama’s case, he is not just black, but black with an exotic name and a liberal ideology, unlike a Clarence Thomas, who is most unhip — being right-wing, not of mixed race, with an ordinary American name (Clarence?), veteran of the prejudices of the pre-Civil Rights south. Could not Thomas shorten his name to just the single Tomré? Or perhaps go the Van Jones made-up route — Van Thomas? In a shallow and superficial America you can make all the money you like without being dubbed selfish or greedy, frequent all the most exclusive resorts without being a one-percenter, and commit all the politically incorrect sins you wish without being tagged a reactionary — but you better try to be hip first.”

An Excellent Spirit is, like Roger Simon and Victor Davis Hanson troubled by what we see coming down the road at America. We are more troubled, however, that America seems unlikely to have any hope of meeting the challenges. After all, we are the Hippest of the Hip. As long as the world has no clue as to what works and what does not, America will probably get away with being the hippest. What happens when truth meets reality and media and reality become ineffective to pass off “hip” as competent, effective and true?

Stay tuned, An Excellent Spirit has more in days to come. After all, it is not “hip” to shoot from the lip. Get it? We’ve got it.

More on Benghazi Gate

Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate’s burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate, September 11, in Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The Arabic on the building reads, “God is Great, and there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger.” (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

An Excellent Spirit has followed the terrible events of September 11th 2012, the scandal and cover up of the actions (and inactions) of our President and his White House advisors), the promises of investigations by Congress and the sometimes wild and crazy theories about what happened in Benghazi. Here The only thing we can be sure of is that we do not know what happened and it is beginning to look like we may never find out. Recall the Warren Commission? It was supposed to be the most authoritative, complete investigating body ever assembled. It’s assignment was to investigate and report to the American people what actually took place in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22nd 1963. It is now almost 50 years later and no one in his or her right mind can say we know what happened. After several dozen Congressional Committees and investigations, hundreds of books and more have brought one theory, fact and speculation after another before the American people, all the intervening 50 years have produced is greater confusion and a growing certainty that we were never supposed to know in the first place.

Benghazi has almost 50 years to go before it catches up to JFK’s assassination, but it has made a good start. This Washington Examiner story is an example. A retired Four Star US Navy Admiral, James Lyons is suggesting that Benghazi was a bungled abduction by Islamic forces in connection with a plan to barter for the release of the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdul Rahman, the convicted leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that left six dead and more that a thousand injured. Admiral Lyons is no mere right wing conspiratorist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Lyons_(admiral) His 36 year career in the Navy was capped with command of the US Pacific Fleet and he is a well-regarded expert on military and security affairs. According to Lyons, the bungled kidnapping of Ambassador Stevens was only the first act of a macabre drama that would have led to the release of the Blind Sheik in a trade.  “(T)his kidnapping was planned to be the first stage of an international prisoner exchange. This transfer of prisoners would have ensured the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the “Blind Sheik” convicted of orchestrating the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993.”

Admiral James A. Lyons, US Navy, Ret.

An Excellent Spirit has reported on the Blind Sheik. Here. We have also had much to say about Benghazi and what really happened that resulted in four American deaths, the almost complete inaction by the President of the United States, the US Secretary of State and the President’s national security staff at the White House. Here Whether a Congressional Investigation is ever begun; whether anyone is ever made to account for their actions or inactions as United States officials of whatever rank, Benghazi stinks. There is an old Italian proverb that, like many Italian proverbs, deals with the stench of evil: “Il pesce puzza dalla testa” – “the fish stinks from the head down”. It should be noted that the origin was probably Turkish, Arabic or perhaps Jewish. Nevertheless, Benghazi stinketh and only the Truth can make the stench go away. Lyons suggested that “the Obama administration intentionally lessened the levels of security at the consulate compound in Benghazi in the weeks leading up to the attack. This plan should have worked to reduce the possibility of resistance as the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist organization captured Chris Stevens, the American Ambassador to Libya.” This would account for the silence of Secretary of State Clinton, even in the wake of the report that her State Department bungled the security leading to the massacre. Lyon’s theory is that the attack was encouraged by the White House as part of a convoluted plan to set up the ultimate release of the Blind Sheik. The lessened security encouraged the attack; the attack would not be defensible and the Ambassador taken hostage. The rest would be history.

Omar Abdul Rahman – The Blind Sheik

The 7-8 hour battle over the consulate (or whatever it truly was in Benghazi) threw all that into a tizzy. Despite being told by their “superiors” to stand down and let events take their course, “Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both former U.S. Navy Seals, ignored orders to “stand down” and fought vigorously for hours in their attempt to defend the compound from the impending attack. Ultimately, these armed assaults on the U.S. Consulate and CIA annex claimed the life of four Americans–Ambassador Chris Stevens, former U.S. Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, and State Department information manager Sean Smith.”

The Cloud over the White House. Four Dead in Benghazi: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods (USN Seal Ret.), Glen Doherty (USN Seal Ret.) and Sean Smith US State Department (USAF Ret.)

That is starting to sound a little more like what really happened. Two heroic Americans who just happened to be US Navy Seals with a code that cannot be broken by duplicity and cowardice, gummed up the works and paid for it with their lives and the lives of Ambassador Stevens and his former USAF State Department “manager”. That is what happened. Everything else is later, part of the largest cover up and obfuscation exercise since 1963. Resignations of US Secretary of State Clinton, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, relief of two four star flag commanders in the field (Gen. Carter Ham and Adm. Gaouette as we reported here and here), lost drone tapes and much more are all the result of a mad, “wag the dog” operation gone sour.

The reactions of the two Seals led to the attacking mob being augmented and going out of control. This led to their deaths, the capture and killing of Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith and the loss of untold numbers of weapons being stored at the “consulate” for distribution to those chosen by the Administration for this largesse. It also led to the utter failure of the Obama/Morsi attempt to set up the release of Rahman and that is where we are now. In the midst of the biggest damage control exercise in American History.

The American people have almost no information. First, CIA Director, retired General David Patreaus resigned in the midst of a scandal involving his conduct with a woman while he was director. His testimony before a closed Congressional Committee was delayed, but it is just about the only testimony we have of the major players. Hillary Clinton has never testified. Neither have General Ham or Admiral Gaouette. Leon Panetta has resigned after making all sorts of conflicting statements. No member of the President’s National Security team has come forward with information. The President, himself, has made several comments that do not inspire confidence, and perhaps indicate he should be asked questions under oath.

An Excellent Spirit has watched and read Michelle Malkin. She is a right wing commentator who at times fails to inspire confidence in her viewpoints. Malkin’s recent Townhall column on the Blind Sheik gives us more information about Omar Abdul Rahman. “Lest you need reminding, the wily blind sheik has used his visitation privileges to wreak more terror from behind bars. His radical left-wing lawyer Lynne Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping her client smuggle coded messages of Islamic violence from the imprisoned sheik to outside followers in violation of an explicit pledge to abide by her client’s court-ordered isolation. This “old man” is a virulent anti-American propagandist who condemned Americans as “descendants of apes and pigs who have been feeding from the dining tables of the Zionists, Communists and colonialists,” called on Muslims to “destroy” the West, “burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air or land,” and issued bloody fatwas against U.S. “infidels” that inspired the 1993 WTC bombing, the 1997 massacre of Western tourists in Luxor, Egypt, and the 9/11 attacks.” Clearly the kindly, sickly old man that we should release for “humanitarian” reasons. Malkin’s column is hereTownhall’s Bob Beauprez weighs in with yet more information. Here  “The Associated Press is reporting that Ali Harzi, a 26 year old Tunisian linked to the assassination attack in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, has been released “due to lack of evidence.”   After the attacks Obama said, “My biggest priority is bringing those folks (the terrorists) to justice and I think the American people have seen that’s a commitment I’ll always keep.” In 2005, Ali Harzi and a brother were sentenced to 30 months in prison.  Another brother fought against U.S. led coalition forces in Iraq.  Their father acknowledged in an interview that he had encouraged his sons to take up “jihad in the cause of God.” Despite video showing faces of the attackers, “most suspects remained free” and witnesses have yet to be questioned, according to the AP. In a separate report, Reuters noted the same lack of progress in the investigation, citing “no real desire to dig too deep (by Libyan officials) for fear of setting off reprisals” from the Islamic militias.  Even the commander overseeing the security reaction on the night of the attacks had yet to even be questioned as of late last month.   FBI agents sent to Benghazi in October to investigate retreated to Tripoli “because of security concerns” according to Reuters, and simply “put out a poster asking for information.” Ahmed Abu Khattala, about whom “witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters” during the Benghazi attack reportedly is walking the streets with impunity.  Abu Khattala is said to be the leader of a wing of Ansar al-Sharia, the al-Qaeda linked group said to be responsible for the 9/11/2012 assault. But, if he’s one of the most wanted men in the world right now, Abu Khattala doesn’t seem all that concerned. He sat down with the New York Times and “spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.” Abu Khattala told the NYT that, “no authority has even questioned him about the attack…and he has no plans to go into hiding.”

Back to The Washington Examiner. They reported on the US State Department’s recent Accountability Review Board Report. That internal State Department review has been hardly and haphazardly covered by the lamestream media. The Examiner said, in part “the Accountability Review Board convened by Clinton has issued a report. And this is what it found. “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place … “Board members found a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing … “The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection. However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.” No specific “senior” officials were named by the Accountability Review Board, but the same day its report was issued, three State Department employees, including two who oversaw security decisions at the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, resigned. Finally, it seemed as though somebody was going to be held accountable for the security failures in Benghazi. Except no one was. It turns out that none of the State Department officials who supposedly resigned after the Accountability Review Board report has actually left the agency. All of them are either still working for the State Department today, or are on administrative leave and expected back soon. So much for accountability.” You can read the whole thing here.

It is looking more and more like a cover up. There is one more fact to report at this time. Back in September 2012, less than two weeks after the Benghazi attack, Michael Mukasey, former United States Attorney General (under George W. Bush) and former U.S. District Court Judge penned an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.

Judge Mukasey was the U.S, Federal Court trial judge at Omar Abdul Rahman’s trial upon the charges of which he is convicted and incarcerated. As such, Mukasey probably has more information on Rahman, what he did and what he thinks and would do if released than anyone but the Blind Sheik himself. Most interesting in the article is this tidbit of information. “(I)n June, when Hani Nour Eldin, a member of the terrorist group that carried out the Luxor slaughter and who had himself spent 11 years in Egyptian jail on terrorism charges, was granted a visa to come to the United States, where he visited the White House and urged that Abdel Rahman be transferred to Egypt. Members of Congress immediately raised questions about how such allowances were made for a member of a designated terrorist organization. The assistant secretary of homeland security for legislative affairs, Nelson Peacock, responded in a July letter. It suggested that no warning flags had been raised during the processing of the Eldin visa, but the letter acknowledged that, as a member of a designated terrorist organization, Hani Nour Eldin would have needed a waiver from someone in authority to get a visa.” An Excellent Spirit has reported on the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in the US State Department. Here  With Huma Abedin in the inside of every issue at State, it is no wonder that a terrorist with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood got a visa to enter the US and meet to negotiate the release of the Blind Sheik. It is easier yet to understand how the Benghazi consulate attack fit right in with the preposterous scenario that resulted in four deaths on September 11th of last year. Still no one investigates.

There are so many questions that cry out for answers. Answers under oath. Answers that are subject to the penalties of perjury. Why were General Ham and Admiral Gaouette relieved of their commands summarily in the hours after Benghazi? What was the United States really doing in Benghazi? Were we engaged in some kind of gunrunning of Ghadafi’s weapons? Why were Woods and Doherty told to “stand down” in the face of rioters with weapons attacking them? How did Hani Nour Eldin get a visa to enter the United States and who arranged it and signed off on it? Why did General Patreaus resign and delay his testimony? Was there any connection to Benghazi? What was the President and his National Security team doing during the 7-8 hours that led to the death of the four Americans in Benghazi? As Matt Bracken reported, was Cross Border Authority ever given by the President? If not, why not? What did the President know and when did he know it? Where is the tickler of the President’s time that night and the next day? Did the President ever order that those under fire in Benghazi on September 11th 2012 be rescued or assisted in any specific way?

Let all Americans pray that we get answers to these and many other questions about Benghazi. John F. Kennedy was killed almost 50 years ago and we do not know who did it or why it was done. Four Americans died in Benghazi five months ago and we can get little or no information in this age of information. It is time that we stopped sticking our collective heads in the sand and stood up and demand answers. If we do not, no one will. If we do not, we will not remain free for much longer. Stay tuned. We will be back when we have more. God bless America.

Thomas Sowell – An Educator Speaks About Education

An Excellent Spirit reads what Thomas Sowell writes. In his latest Townhall column,  Professor Sowell takes a look at teachers and what they are teaching our children. “Many years ago, as a young man, I read a very interesting book about the rise of the Communists to power in China. In the last chapter, the author tried to explain why and how this had happened. Among the factors he cited were the country’s educators. That struck me as odd, and not very plausible, at the time. But the passing years have made that seem less and less odd, and more and more plausible. Today, I see our own educators playing a similar role in creating a mindset that undermines American society.”

An Excellent Spirit has written about the sad state of American education and what can be done about it. Here and here. For a complete list of our articles on education, go here.

Sowell, one of the most sought after professors at Stanford, knows whereof he speaks. He has been in academia most of his celebrated life. He points out that schools, from the founding of the Republic, were considered our most important institution to teach our children our history and the knowledge they would need to understand and perpetuate the Republic. “Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas. Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System that allows school libraries to function could have stopped with that most helpful contribution, but he was interested in something more sinister. “John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.”

Dewey knew that teachers were by and large disaffected liberal ideologues. He was one and Columbia University was a hotbed of radicalism and anti-American fervor. Dewey and his ilk, by then strongly ingrained in the educational academia took advantage of the coming power of teacher’s unions to seal the deal and totally dominate and pervert the American Educational System, from top to bottom. The results have been catastrophic. An Excellent Spirit has written on the sad state of our children’s and grandchildren’s education. Here. We have reported on the awful fall in the ranking of our children’s quality of education and the concomitant fall in their ability to compete in the job market with now better educated foreign students. The actual ratings are appalling. Geographic.org publishes its rankings shown here. There are many other rankings from many other sites. One thing they all agree on it that The United States of America no longer leads the world in educating our children. In fact as the Geographic.org report shows, we rank far down the list in all three disciplines. Our “three R’s” have become three X’s.

There are many Internet sites available for our readers to make sure their children learn about our heritage and the values that made America strong and a leader in the world these last 225 years. One such site is WallBuilders, David Barton’s anointed, fearless Christian organization that does yeoman work in standing for education and educational curriculae across America. David has written several books An Excellent Spirit highly recommends: The Jefferson Lies and America’s Godly Heritage are two essentials. Go there and purchase books, videos and David’s writings. Every child should read The Light and The Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. This book was published in 1980 and has been a beacon of truth and facts about the founding of the United States and what our Founding Fathers intended.

WallBuilders Founder and CEO David Barton

Back to Thomas Sowell. “A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country. If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book. That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.”  As assigned reading, as part of the academic curriculae in America, any book can become a best seller. When students must read and are tested on the content, it sticks in their minds. When their professors, teachers and aides recommend and laud these books, a climate is created. When that climate is repeated year after year. You get the results that American education is getting.

Sowell himself is the author of over 30 books, innumerable articles and papers. He was educated at Harvard, Columbia and University of Chicago. He is one of our foremost authors, economists, philosophers and social theorists. Here

Thomas Sowell concludes his article, “This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years. Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?” Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.” Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. In France between the two World Wars, the teachers’ union decided that schools should replace patriotism with internationalism and pacifism. Books that told the story of the heroic defense of French soldiers against the German invaders at Verdun in 1916, despite suffering massive casualties, were replaced by books that spoke impartially about the suffering of all soldiers — both French and German — at Verdun. Germany invaded France again in 1940, and this time the world was shocked when the French surrendered after just 6 weeks of fighting — especially since military experts expected France to win. But two decades of undermining French patriotism and morale had done their work.

American schools today are similarly undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally. If there were nuclear attacks on American cities, how long would it take for us to surrender, even if we had nuclear superiority — but were not as willing to die as our enemies were?” Emphasis ours.

Thank you, Thomas Sowell for saying what needed to be said. In this desperate time of Fiscal Cliff’s and Taxmageddons. With the threat of war, nuclear war and cyberspace abyss staring all of us in the face, there are voices that the American people can trust, thinkers and truth tellers. In order to know what America should do, its citizens must first understand the times in which we live, the threats to our liberties and safety and those who would harm our families. Thomas Sowell is an “Essential”. Stay tuned.

2013 – The Year Of America’s Second Civil War?

An Excellent Spirit has read about the civil disturbances in Argentina after the elevation of leftist, wealth redistributionist Christina Kirchner Fernandez to the Presidency. Here and here.  We have seen the new President in Havana with Hugo Chavez and in the embrace of President Obama. We have read the stories of her demand that Great Britain return the Falkland Islands to Argentina and the British response of another war before that happens. What next?

President Obama and Presidente Fernandez of Argentina

An Excellent Spirit has also read an article by Arthur Herman that discusses the chances of civil war in the United States in 2013. Here  “The New Year has started with a monstrosity of a budget deal, one that proves that neither political party, Democrats or Republicans, is really serious about controlling the growth of big government. But soap opera dramatics about fiscal “cliffs” and sequestration shouldn’t deflect from where President Obama is really taking this country. Consider this story from the Wall Street Journal a few days before Christmas: “Thousands of people in several Argentine cities ransacked supermarkets for a second day in the latest challenge to President Christina Kirchner, who is struggling to revive a weak economy…In the central city Rosario, two people were killed during the incidents and 137 people arrested. Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom”

Venezuelan Dictator Chavez with Argentina’s President Christina Fernandez

Herman goes on to point to Argentina’s wealth redistributionist policies and the toll they have taken on the Argentine economy and the proud people. “The violence puts Mrs. Kirchner in a difficult position as the poor are [her] core constituents…Her government spends billions of dollars a year to help low income families, including free health care…[Yet] Argentine activists who claim to represent the poor traditionally block access to supermarkets in the month of December to demand free food and other items…The latest events were some of the worst acts of looting and vandalism in years…. Local media showed dozens of men, women, and children hauling away televisions, refrigerators, and food.”

Widespread rioting and looting in Argentina in December 2012 and January 2013

Herman then returns to his theme of “takers and makers” in the United States: “Some have said my warnings about a coming civil war between makers and takers are exaggerated. It’s true that Argentina’s politicians have been waging class warfare since Juan and Eva Peron–and they aren’t fazed when it turns bloody. Obama and the Democrats are relative newcomers to the game. But Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it–as just happened this week in Washington. It’s the poor and the middle class, the very ones big government says it’s trying to protect.”

An Excellent Spirit has been all over this story for months. Here  and here. We have even discussed what the “entitlement culture” will do to a nation spiritually. Here and here. The tragedy is now upon America and the outlook is not good. If Argentina is any indication of what will happen, we must, according to Herman, begin to consider civil war in America in 2013 and beyond. He correctly identifies the problem. It is not, as Mitt Romney foolishly suggested “the 47%”. Herman lays the blame where it should go: on all of us who voted for bigger government. “Since 1970, America’s public sector has exploded as a percentage of GDP, rising to almost 25% last year. While the national unemployment rate hovers at the 8% mark, government worker unemployment rate is a cozy 3.8%. Sixteen percent of America’s workforce now work for government. By the time the Obama administration ends, we won’t be that far away from Argentina’s 21 percent. Yet as an economic and social enterprise, government creates nothing. Far from adding to people’s standard of living, government is the number one cause of poverty in this country. It forces those who depend on its largesse to live hand to mouth, with no time or money to plan for the future. They become unable to fend for themselves—and increasingly resentful of those who can.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Obamacare tax graph for 2013

Who cares, you might ask. America is bigger than Argentina and vastly more wealthy and with trillions in resources. Herman exposes that myth. “When the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink, their only alternative is to take to the streets. That’s what happening in Argentina, and in Greece; and that’s where the growth of government is taking us here, as this current budget deal increases handouts–and more and more Americans are finding that an unemployment or Social Security disability check is their only life line.” With Obamacare about to kick in and destroy the best health care system in the world and trillions of dollars in new taxes to pay for hundreds of thousands of new government workers who do not know anything about health care, America has embarked on a journey to the kind of hell that Argentina, Greece, France and Spain (to name just a few nations staggering under debt and spending problems) have blazed a path for us to follow. “Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom–and the road to Rosario.”

Americans would do well to think, pray and seek God for His Word about what we should do. As we have pointed out before, understanding is not necessarily knowledge, but a knowing of what God says we should know and basing what we do upon that understanding. We have already seen how little those in Congress and the White House understand. The first two actions in 2013 have not set a good trajectory. As Professor Herman says “How far down that road depends on how our private sector rallies in 2013 after two numbing defeats, first on November 7 and then on Capitol Hill this week.”  Herman is right when he says we need “to explain to that 47 percent that when big government wins, we all lose–and that this nation won’t survive if it does.”

Charles Durning – Hero, Actor Dies on Christmas Eve.

An Excellent Spirit is indebted to our dear friend, Michael Patrick for his Facebook post on the death of little known actor Charles Durning in New York on Christmas Eve. We have watched Charles Durning as a supporting and character actor in movies, TV shows and features for years. It is not so much that we liked or lionized the man in life. He was a good actor and entertained his audiences well. His role as the corrupt, evil Lt. William Snyder in The Sting (1973) was memorable.

Charles Durning as Lt. Snyder in The Sting

He was twice nominated for Academy Awards (Oscars) for Best Supporting actor. His Filmography is here. It is the part of his life that Durning hardly ever talked about that drew our attention and prayers. It is what we learned after his death that is worthy of mention here. Charles Durning was an American hero long before he was an actor. He was a survivor of places most of us do not even know. Omaha Beach on D-Day. The Battle of the Bulge. Malmedy. Most Americans do not know or remember such places. Heroes do. We are also indebted to Conservative Patriots of America, https://www.facebook.com/ConservativePatriotsofAmerica who commemorated his death:

“America & History loses another Hero — A true American Hero, actor Charles Durning, died this Christmas Eve, Dec 24, at the age of 89. Durning, who became one of Hollywood’s top character actors in films like “The Sting, Tootsie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Dog Day Afternoon, and O Brother Where Art Thou?,” enlisted in the US Army during WWII and served with the 398th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Army Support Troops and 386th Anti-aircraft Artillery. He was in the first wave of troops to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day and his unit’s lone survivor of a machine-gun ambush, was shot in the hip a few days later and was wounded by a German landmine on June 15. After a brief recovery he was at the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded again by a bayonet and was the only member of his patrol who survived the Battle. Durning was also one of he few to survive the Dec 16 Malmedy Massacre. During his time in service, he was awarded a Silver Star for valor and three Purple Hearts and spent months in hospitals being treated for physical and psychological trauma. Durning’s father was a wounded veteran who died when Charles was 12 due to the effects of mustard gas exposure in WWI. His mother, Louise, worked as a laundress at the United States Military Academy at West Point. We thank and honor Durning and his family for his service and thank him for the entertainment he has provided to us through the years, may he rest in peace.”

Durning was raised Roman Catholic in upstate New York, one of ten children. At 21, in 1944, he was drafted into the Army. He was in the “first wave” of US soldiers to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6th, 1944 as a 21 year old. It is hard to imagine what he felt from our perspective. Durning was a 21 year old from upstate NY on a beach in Normandy France in perhaps the fiercest battle in history all around him, men and boys dying everywhere he looked and a cliff to climb at the top of which were German batteries reigning death down upon them. Yet Charles Durning survived and went on to be wounded three times for which he received three Purple Heart medals and was the recipient of both the Bronze Star for bravery and the Silver Star for valor during his service. Durning was the most decorated veteran of World War II still alive until his death on December 24, 2012.

Omaha Beach, Normandy on D-Day

God’s Word has little to say about heroes. God, the Father, our Creator, was so much more than a hero. His Son, Jesus, the Christ, our Savior, certainly displayed all of the characteristics of a hero and much more, living a sinless life as a man and dying on a Cross to save us from death. The patriarchs, the kings, the prophets and others likewise displayed courageous traits and character. They are Biblical examples to us of heroism. Today’s real heroes are the men and women who live their lives for God, who seek God’s Word and understanding of the Word and who knows, thereby, what he or she should do to glorify God and do his or her part to build God’s Kingdom from within the self outward to a sin sick, dying world.

Charles Durning was such a man and hero. An Excellent Spirit strongly recommends that our readers seek to understand from God how such a man could live his 89 years and accomplish quietly, without fanfare or excessive notoriety, all that Charles Durning did. We thank God for him and for millions of men and women like him. Let us know what you think. We pray that God bless America with more Charles Durnings. Men and women like Sean Smith (ASAF), Glen Doherty (US Navy SEAL), Tyrone Woods (US Navy SEAL) and Ambassador Chris Stevens.

George Santayana – Spanish Philosopher, Poet, Essay and Novelist

George Santayana, the Spanish and American philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist made famous the quote of Edmund Burke “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” When we remember Charles Durning, we also remember Smith, Doherty, Woods and Stevens and perhaps we remember enough not to repeat the tragedies of Benghazi, D-Day and many more. We shall certainly see, America. God bless America and the families of Charles Durning and the Benghazi Martyrs.

 

The American Church – What Is Wrong? What Is Right?

An Excellent Spirit has been writing on the state of our nation the last few weeks. So have some of our favorite writers. Two such favorites, Mike Adams and Dr. Mike Brown, both writing in Townhall, recently penned interesting columns that impacted our thoughts on America as we enter the New Year.

First, Mike Adams, the sometimes hilarious criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand, due out in April 2013. Adams writes of his experience at a mega-church over the Christmas season when he went home to Houston, Texas.  It is not so much what he said in his article, nor the fact that most Christians will find it offensive that Adams found any fault with a ministry, pastor or church. Read the whole article for yourself and decide for yourself. Here  What is important to An Excellent Spirit is what Adams said at several points of the piece. “That is symptomatic of what ails the church in 21st Century America. Production and marketing take center stage. Core beliefs are lost somewhere in the process.” An Excellent Spirit has fellowshipped at tiny churches that met in homes with 10 people including the pastor and his wife and two children. We have attended several of the most famous mega churches in America and we are members of a mega church today. We have seen what Adams said in both the large and small churches, so it is not the mega church that is the culprit. Rather it is the human beings that make up the church, large or small.

Adams, commenting on the production showing a video that took the Lord’s Name in vain three times before the entire congregation, “The service wasn’t meant to honor God. It was meant to entertain.” The pastors of the Houston mega-church are even named by Adams and come in for his criticism. “Kerry and Chris delivered a joint sermon, which had a broad general theme connected to the giant locomotive that stood behind them. The thesis was that we need to relinquish our need to control people and circumstances and instead let God direct our lives. But during the short sermon, Kerry’s wife said something rather unusual. It had to do with holy moments in our lives. It was as morally confused a statement as I have ever heard inside a place calling itself a church. Without batting an eye, Chris Shook stated that all of the moments in our lives are equally holy no matter what we are doing because they were all created by God. So she insisted that we must learn to live in the moment, rather than seek a holy moment – because, once again, all moments are holy, and equally so.” Sadly, Mike Adams is much better when he writes about the behaviors on campus and the mentality that grips academia.

Mike Adams

Adams then gives his readers a short exegesis on what he thinks is or is not “a holy moment”. Adams then goes on to his point, “Obviously, not every moment in our lives is equally holy or God honoring “no matter what we are doing.” It matters very much what we are doing. Everyone knows that, including Chris’ husband Kerry who contradicted his wife about five minutes later. Near the end of their joint sermon, Kerry thanked people for coming to The Woodlands Church on “Christmas Eve, one of the holiest nights of the year.” Put simply, there can be no holier or holiest night if every moment in our lives is equally holy. Either Kerry was right or his wife Chris was right. A cannot be not-A. The law of non-contradiction matters. Every right thinking person knows that Kerry was right. His wife needed to sit down and let her husband the senior pastor deliver the correct message unencumbered by contradictions steeped in moral relativism. The culture teaches moral relativism. The church needs to correct it. Of course, having Chris up there was the most important thing because it shows that The Woodlands Church really isn’t a Baptist Church after all. They let women preach and that shows they are culturally relevant. A little bad theology never hurt anyone. In our holiest moments, we recognize that sound theology must defer to the secular doctrine of feminism. Some doctrines are holier than others. And relativism is culturally relevant even when it isn’t logically consistent.” It is not that An Excellent Spirit agrees or disagrees with Mike Adams. He has his “right” to his opinion, as do the Shooks and those at Woodlands Church. We do however recall something about God saying “touch not My anointed ones, do My prophets no harm.” (1 Chronicles 16:22). Psalm 105 sets forth this Word in detail. (Pslam 105:15) Read the whole thing.

But, what of God? God is quite particular about His Name and His Word. God says that He has concern for His Great Name which has been profaned by those in the nations to which they have gone. Then, in Ezekiel 36:22-23, God declares, “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My Holy Name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of My Great Name, which has been profaned among the nations, the Name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show Myself holy through you before their eyes.” Read the whole column and decide, not whether you agree or disagree with what Adams said about what occurred at Woodlands Church at a service. We can all be sure that God will do that for Himself. There can be no argument that Adams has a point today in urging the Body of Christ to stand for something more in America than multi-cultural good feeling stage productions. God’s Church must begin to live what God’s Word tells us to do each day, especially those days when we are not in a celebratory environment and vulnerable to feeling the “season to be jolly”!

Next we turn to our friend, Dr. Mike Brown. Dr. Brown is a seasoned observer of the Church the world over. He is currently in Hong Kong and recently returned from India. His latest Townhall column is on a similar theme as that of Mike Adams. Dr. Brown gives us a list of what he says is wrong with the Church in America and what is right. Ever the optimist, Dr. Brown starts with what is right. “To be clear, though, I’m speaking of the circles in which I travel, meaning evangelical Christian circles, so my observations might not apply to other Christian groups in America. What are some of the strengths of the American Evangelical Church?

We are at the forefront of feeding the poor and providing disaster relief worldwide.

We are a generous people when it comes to funding gospel work in America and abroad.

We have produced an abundance of Christian resources.

We have a positive, can-do mentality.

Our churches offer many practical programs to help everyone from recovering drug addicts to couples needing marital counseling.

We are strongly pro-life and pro-morality.

We are strongly pro-Israel.

We have sent many missionaries to the nations, also providing them with financial support.

To be sure, Dr. Brown is right about the things he names that our churches, large and small do well and stand for today. An Excellent Spirit would not have to labor to come up with a few more, but lets look at Dr. Brown’s list of faults.

Our Christian expression is often shallow and superficial.

We have been plagued with scandals among our leaders.

We preach a carnal prosperity message.

We export our false teaching around the world.

We have created a worldly, cultural Christianity.

We have perfected the gospel enterprise.

We run our churches like businesses.

We are self-dependent.

We are heavily politicized.

We have produced super-star preachers.

We are exceptionally gullible.

Our “pep talk gospel” is hardly the gospel at all.

Dr. Mike Brown

The two “Mike’s” have had their say. An Excellent Spirit does not publish either man to affirm all that he says; rather we pray that our readers will react to each column by responding, praying and asking God what He wants for His Church. Criticism is not bad, in and of itself. It is only bad when it violates the Word of God and His Holy Spirit will convict of that violation. An Excellent Spirit trusts both men as Christian observers, cultural resources and academicians that America needs more of. What do you say?

In the weeks ahead, we will be saying more about what these two good men wrote about. We will also publish what our readers send us as that is what is most important to God.

 

Welcome To Hard Times

An Excellent Spirit takes no joy in reporting the so-called resolution to the Fiscal Cliff by Congress and the President. There are no lack of columns and opinions that purport to explain to an exhausted American people the meaning of avoiding what they have never been told about said Fiscal Cliff. In the short term, most Americans have no doubt that, despite President Obama’s claim that the middle class will not pay more; they will pay more and more and more. Here one of our favorite financial columnists, Charles Payne of Townhall Finance put it this way, “Throughout history there have been sharp shifts in small powers and great powers ……….. There will be similar shifts in America as well and it could be predicated not on initial reactions to all of these deals but their ultimate outcomes. The nation needs pro-growth policies not massive spending hidden behind the facade of fairness and false redistribution. 

The poor stay poor although more comfortably so, the middle class watches as its earnings diminish in real life and adjusted for inflation, upper middle class gets hammered cobbled in with Warren Buffett which means fewer jobs, less investing and shattered dreams as rungs from the ladder of success are removed. The loyal opposition owes it to those folks that voted them into office to stand on principle while also making sure the nation doesn’t sink in a cauldron of angst, hate and frustration.” Read Payne’s column here. Thus, despite being told we are saved from the Fiscal Cliff by those we pay to do so, we Americans know that the next crises is on the way and we are it’s target. Can anyone say Spending Limit?

Townhall Finance’s Charles Payne

An Excellent Spirit has written many times of  Victor Davis Hanson Hanson takes a longer perspective than that of the immediate crises in his recent PJ Media piece, 2013: Welcome To Very, Very Scary Times. It is one of his best and we recommend that our readers copy and keep it handy as the days unfold. Hanson notes that while America should be entering a time of robust growth and unchallenged primacy, our own leaders seem to be taking us down another draconian, dreadful path to an uncertain future. Hanson writes, “These should not be foreboding years. The U.S. is in the midst of a veritable energy revolution. There is a godsend of new gas and oil discoveries that will help to curtail our fiscal and foreign policy vulnerabilities — an energy bonanza despite, not because of, the present administration. Demographically, our rivals — the EU, China, Russia, and Japan — are both shrinking and aging at rates far in excess of our own. In terms of farming, the United States is exporting more produce than ever before at record prices. Americans eat the safest and cheapest food on the planet. As far as high-tech gadgetry, the global companies that have most changed the world in recent years — Amazon’s online buying, Google search engines, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops — are mostly American. There is a reason why Mexican nationals are not crossing their border into Guatemala — and it is not because they prefer English speakers to Spanish speakers. Militarily, the United States is light years ahead of its rivals. And so on…”

Hanson goes on to chronicle how America stands at the top of the list, seemingly untouchable. “We have redefined poverty itself through government entitlements, modes of mass production and consumerism, and technological breakthroughs. The poor man is not hungry; more likely he suffers from obesity, now endemic among the less affluent. He is not deprived of a big-screen TV, a Kia, warm water, or an air conditioner. (My dad got our first color television during my first year in college in 1972, a small 19 inch portable; I bought my first new car at 39, and quit changing my own oil at 44.) In classical terms, today’s poor man is poor not in relative global terms (e.g. compared to a Russian, Bolivian, or Yemeni), but in the sense that there are those in America who have more things and choices than does he: a BMW instead of a Hyundai, ribeye instead of ground beef, Pellegrino rather than regular Coke, Tuscany in the summer rather than Anaheim at Disneyland, and L.L. Bean tasteful footwear rather than Payless shoes. I was in Manhattan not long ago, and noticed that my cheap, discount-store sportcoat and Target tie did not raise eyebrows among the wealthy people I spoke to, suggesting that the veneer of aristocracy is now within all our reach. When I returned to Selma, I noted that those ahead of me at Super Wal-Mart were clothed no differently than was I. Their EBD cards bought about the same foods. Put all the above developments together, and an alignment of the planets is favoring America as never before — as long as we do not do something stupid to nullify what fate, our ancestors, and our own ingenuity have given us. But unfortunately that is precisely what is now happening.”

Why then are we entering the “worst of times”? Part of the explanation is found in the historic and never-ending battle of ideologies between “the left” and “the right”. In America, “we” are the battleground upon which the ideologies fight and we are, at the same time, the body, the carcass they fight to tear apart for their ends. Hanson sees it well. “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change. There is no historical appreciation among the new progressive technocracy that central state planning, whether the toxic communist brand or supposedly benevolent socialism, has only left millions of corpses in its wake, or abject poverty and misery. Add up the Soviet Union and Mao’s China and the sum is 80 million murdered or starved to death. Add up North Korea, Cuba, and the former Eastern Europe, and the tally is egalitarian poverty and hopelessness. The EU sacrificed democratic institutions for coerced utopianism and still failed, leaving its Mediterranean shore bankrupt and despondent. Nor is there much philosophical worry that giving people massive subsidies destroys individualism, the work ethic, and the personal sense of accomplishment. There is rarely worry expressed that a profligate nation that borrows from others abroad and those not born has no moral compass. There is scant political appreciation that the materialist Marxist argument — that justice is found only through making sure that everyone has the same slice of stuff from the zero-sum pie — was supposed to end up on the ash heap of history.”

Nor is it simply the re-election of the most Un American President in our history. Barack Obama can only do what we, the people permit him and his Administration and the Congress just elected to do. It is up to us, and we simply do not want to shoulder the load and do anything more. We feel that we did our part. We endured over 10 billion dollars of campaign negativity in our households nightly for over a year. We, especially those poor souls in the so-called “swing states”, made our choice and now we get to live our lives again. Or do we? Unfortunately “elections have consequences” and now come the consequences. Victor Davis Hanson is a thinker and observer of no mean skills. He goes on, “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change. There is no historical appreciation among the new progressive technocracy that central state planning, whether the toxic communist brand or supposedly benevolent socialism, has only left millions of corpses in its wake, or abject poverty and misery. Add up the Soviet Union and Mao’s China and the sum is 80 million murdered or starved to death. Add up North Korea, Cuba, and the former Eastern Europe, and the tally is egalitarian poverty and hopelessness. The EU sacrificed democratic institutions for coerced utopianism and still failed, leaving its Mediterranean shore bankrupt and despondent. Nor is there much philosophical worry that giving people massive subsidies destroys individualism, the work ethic, and the personal sense of accomplishment. There is rarely worry expressed that a profligate nation that borrows from others abroad and those not born has no moral compass. There is scant political appreciation that the materialist Marxist argument — that justice is found only through making sure that everyone has the same slice of stuff from the zero-sum pie — was supposed to end up on the ash heap of history. That is not conspiracy talk, but simply a distillation of what I read today.”

Then Professor Hanson quotes at length authorities of the Left from across the nation. First from the Des Moines Register. “A journalist, Donald Kaul, in the Des Moines Register offers us a three-step, presto! plan to stop school shootings: Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. … Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. …Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control. Note the new ease with which the liberal mind calls for trashing the Constitution, outlawing those whom they don’t like (reminiscent of “punish our enemies”?), and killing those politicians with whom they don’t agree (we are back to Bush Derangement Syndrome, when novels, movies, and op-eds dreamed of the president’s assassination.) What would be the Register’s reaction should a conservative opponent of abortion dare write, “Repeal the First Amendment; ban Planned Parenthood as a terrorist organization; and drag Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a truck”? If an idiot were to write that trash, I doubt the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal would print such sick calls for overturning the Constitution and committing violence against public officials.” Ah, consequences!

Stanford’s Victor Davis Hanson

The next target of the left is identified and locked on by The New Republic’s John Judis. Hanson tells us, “John Judis, in honest fashion, more or less puts all the progressive cards on the table in a column titled “Obama’s Tax Hikes Won’t Be Nearly Big Enough” — a candor about what the vast $5 trillion deficits of Obama’s first term were all about in the first place. Here is the summation quote: “But to fund these programs, governments will have to extract a share of income from those who are able to afford them and use the revenues to make the services available for everyone.” Note that Judas was not talking about the projected new taxes in the fiscal cliff talks, but something far greater to come. He understands well that the “gorge the beast” philosophy that resulted in these astronomical debts will require enormous new sources of revenue, funds “to extract” from “those who are able to afford them” in order to “make services available for everyone.” That is about as neat a definition of coerced socialism as one can find. Implicit in Judas’s formulation is that only a very well-educated (and well-compensated) technocratic class will possess the wisdom, the proper schooling, and the morality to adjudicate who are to be the extracted ones and who the new “everyone.” That says it all, except to know whether Hanson’s reference to Judis as “Judas” was intentional. The betting here says it was. Tired of those consequences? Hanson has one more and it is a doozy!

Target Zero is the Constitution of the United States of America, that document, over 225 years old that has been the protector of the freedoms of every American and every immigrant who has come to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The problem seems to be, as Hanson says, that “we” are no longer sure what all that means, except to say, “we voted! Now leave us alone!” Hanson continues, “The third item in my year-end reading was the most disturbing. A law professor (could it be otherwise?) named Louis Michael Seidman enlightens us with “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” — yet another vision of what the now triumphant liberal mind envisions for us all: As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions. Did Madison force Obama to borrow a half-billion dollars to fund Solyndra and its multimillionaire con artists? Note Seidman’s use of “evil,” which tips his hand that our great moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.” The non-archaic, un-idiosyncratic, and anti-downright evil Professor Seidman presses his argument against his inferiors who wrote the “evil” document: “Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.” Ah yes, old white male Madison, who lacked the insight, character, and morality of our new liberal technocrats in our successful law schools, such as, well, Mr. Seidman himself: As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official —  say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress  –  reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination? I suppose human nature changes every decade or so, so why shouldn’t constitutions as well? I can see Seidman’s vision now: Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi decides that semi-automatic handguns, not cheap Hollywood violence or sick video games, empower the insane to kill, and, presto, their “considered judgment” and favored “particular course of action” trump the archaic and evil wisdom of “white propertied men.”  But if we wish to avoid the baleful influence of white guys, can Seidman point to indigenous Aztec texts for liberal guidance, or perhaps the contemporary constitution of liberated Zimbabwe, or the sagacity of the Chinese court system? Note the fox-in-the-henhouse notion that a constitutional law professor essentially hates the Constitution he is supposed to teach, sort of like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warning the Egyptians not to follow our own constitutional example, when South Africa has offered so much more to humanity than did Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and others: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa.”  Ginsburg obviously vacations in Johannesburg, goes to Cape Town for her medical treatment, and has a vacation home and bank account in the scenic South African countryside. Seidman looks fondly on Roosevelt’s war against the Constitution (especially the notion that law is essentially what an elected president who has proper “aspirations” says it is): In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation. No doubt.”

There it is: The Trifecta of the Left. Get rid of the guns so that only we say who can have them. Tax everyone into submission to the Government and get them to like it by giving them “stuff”(There are no jobs, anyway). Finally, since we do not tolerate any more interference from anyone, get rid of the Constitution. Without that document, in a very short time, Americans will be like everyone else: beholden to the powerful for their lives, having no rights guaranteed to them by an antiquated document and living in fear of those who have the guns that we allowed them to take away.

That is what Hanson dreads most. Reading his fellow academician, Seidman, he goes on, “In the age of Obama, the constitutional law lecturer who once lamented that the Supreme Court had not gone far enough by failing to take up questions of forced redistribution, Seidman writes: In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper. But I thought it was the Constitution, not the anti-Constitution or egalitarian good will, that separated us from Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Tojo’s Japan, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and most of the miserable places that one sees abroad today, from Cuba to North Korea, which all had and have one thing in common — the embrace of some sort of national, republican, or democratic “socialism” guiding their efforts and plastered about in their sick mottoes. The progressive mind, given that it is more enlightened and moral, alone can determine which parts of the “evil” Constitution should be summarily ignored (e.g., the Second Amendment) and which should not be: “This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.” Emphasis ours.

Careful, America! As Victor Davis Hanson notes, we are entering the worst times of the Republic, to date. “I am sure that history offers all sorts of examples where people without evil documents like our Constitution protected free speech and religious worship — out of “respect.”  Ask Socrates, Jesus, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, or those with eyeglasses during the days of the Khmer Rouge. Apparently, what stops such carnage is not the rule of constitutional law, but good progressive minds who care for others and show respect. I’ll try that rhetoric on the next thief who for the fourth time will steal the copper wire conduit from my pump. So just dream with Professor Seidman: ”The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity…What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit… before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”

Game, set, match! End of Republic. End of Constitution. End of nation of laws. Beginning of despair, pandemic poverty for those with no voice and the rule of the gun for everyone who does not have one. As Victor Davis Hanson writes, “I have seen their future and it is almost here right now. Scary times, indeed.”

It is a lot to digest, America, but either digest it and pray about it and ask God what to do or be consumed by the works that those who do not know or love God will most certainly perpetrate upon everyone that is under their guns. God bless America!

Benghazi – Did It Ever Happen?

U. S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya under attack on September 11, 2012

An Excellent Spirit has followed the events that took place in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012 when a United States “Consulate” was bombed, fired upon and set ablaze and the U. S. Ambassador to Libya and three American soldiers assigned as security to the Ambassador were murdered. Go here and here for a complete round up of the stories that An Excellent Spirit has carried to date.

Now that the Election is over and the New Year has begun, Americans still do not know what happened in Libya on September 11th. The families of those murdered still have no explanation of why their loved ones died in the service of the United States of America. The President has promised to bring those who perpetrated the murders to justice and Congress has promised a full investigation to inform the American people. Little or nothing has been done to date.

General David Patraeus, CIA Director, resigned on November 9th 2012 after a scandal about his personal life was made public. He met with US Senators thereafter. Here  He testified before Congress on November 16th about Benghazi and his opinion that it was the result of terrorism, but the testimony was behind closed doors and sealed to keep secret the facts from our enemies and the American people from knowing what happened. That all was by Thanksgiving, last year.

4 Star General David Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

The Holidays are over and the New Year begun and still little has been revealed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suffered a concussion and other injuries that prevent her, all these months later, from giving testimony. Republicans in the US Senate quite correctly have signaled that they will not vote to confirm her successor, US Senator John Kerry, unless and until Clinton gives that testimony. Brietbart has this story that a report lays the blame squarely at the feet of the State Department Clinton heads. “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The State Department made a “grievous mistake” in keeping the U.S. mission in Benghazi open despite inadequate security and increasingly alarming threat assessments in the weeks before a deadly attack by militants, a Senate committee said on Monday. A report from the Senate Homeland Security Committee on the September 11 attacks on the U.S. mission and a nearby CIA annex, in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans died, faulted intelligence agencies for not focusing tightly enough on Libyan extremists. It also faulted the State Department for waiting for specific warnings instead of improving security. The committee’s assessment, “Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi,” follows a scathing report by an independent State Department accountability review board that resulted in a top security official resigning and three others at the department being relieved of their duties.” Read the whole Brietbart story and learn how little we know and how much the President and Congress are doing to assure that we never learn the truth. Oh. yes. Hillary Clinton has been released from the hospital in New York, but with a new Congress about to be sworn in, a re-elected President who cared little for reveling his part in the Benghazi attack and aftermath and the families of the dead 2 Americans that much further from their grief and agony, what do you think the chances are that the promised investigation will ever take place?

The facts remain. Four US State Department officials died. A US Consular compound in Libya was over run by Al Qaeda terrorists and weapons stolen from that compound. The President and his advisors were provided with “real time” video of the attack that lasted over 7 hours and watched in the White House and State Department and at the CIA and other locations while our people were murdered.

The President of the United States, running for re-election, told the media that he gave orders that everything be done to secure our people within minutes of finding out of the attack. This October 26, 2012 story, by White House correspondent Jake Tapper details the President’s “orders”. “President Obama Begs Off Answering Whether Americans in Benghazi Were Denied Requests for Help”  In an interview with a Denver TV reporter Friday, President Obama twice refused to answer questions as to whether the Americans under siege in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, were denied requests for help, saying he’s waiting for the results of investigations before making any conclusions about what went wrong. After being asked about possible denials of requests for aid, and whether it’s fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and won’t be released until after the election, the president said, “the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.” President Obama told KUSA-TV’s Kyle Clarke large that “we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.” Clark pressed again. “Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked.

“Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” the president again said. “I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.” Here is one of but a few videos of President Obama responding to questions about what he did following the Benghazi attack. These videos of the President clearly saying that he gave instructions (orders?) about the Benghazi attack upon learning of it are irrefutable evidence that President Obama’s as President and Commander in Chief of US military forces, gave “very clear directives” to secure our people.

There is also much that calls those statements into question. An Excellent Spirit wrote about this story by Matt Bracken, a retired SEAL that appeared in PJ Media. In our story, we referenced Bracken’s authoritative piece and the stunning information it contained. It seems to contradict the President’s words about “orders”. “The Benghazi debacle boils down to a single key factor — the granting or withholding of “cross-border authority.” This opinion is informed by my experience as a Navy SEAL officer who took a NavSpecWar Detachment to Beirut. Once the alarm is sent  – in this case, from the consulate in Benghazi — dozens of HQs are notified and are in the planning loop in real time, including AFRICOM and EURCOM, both located in Germany. Without waiting for specific orders from Washington, they begin planning and executing rescue operations, including moving personnel, ships, and aircraft forward toward the location of the crisis. However, there is one thing they can’t do without explicit orders from the president: cross an international border on a hostile mission.”

Former SEAL and author Matthew J. Bracken

An Excellent Spirit has had some contact with the author, Matt Bracken, and believes this hero has it right. All the way. But there is more. Once the attack was known by the President and his team on the night of September 11th, a few even more curious events took place that have never been explained or investigated, to our knowledge. We refer to the relieving of commands of two senior U. S. flag rank commanders who were on active duty and were in the process of coming to the aid of our Libyan people early in the 7 hour massacre.  The Washington Times reported that General Jack Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, the US military command for the Libyan region, was summarily relieved of his command because he was in the process of going to the aid of those in Libya in time to do them some good. Here The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready. 

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command. 

The story continues that now General Rodiguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.  This version of events contradicts Mr. Panetta’s October 25 statement that General Ham advised against intervention. But so far there is nothing solid to back it up. Maybe Ham attempted to send a reaction force against orders, or maybe he simply said the wrong thing to the wrong people. Perhaps he gave whomever he was talking to up the chain a piece of his mind about leaving Americans to die when there was a chance of saving them. At the very least U.S. forces might have made those who killed our people pay while they were still on the scene. The Obama White House is famously vindictive against perceived disloyalty – the administration would not let Ham get away with scolding them for failing to show the leadership necessary to save American lives. The Army’s ethos is to leave no man behind, but that is not shared by a president accustomed to leading from that location. The question remains why the repeated requests – which is to say desperate pleas – to send a relief force were refused. Perhaps Mr. Obama and his national security brain trust thought the terrorist assault would be a minor skirmish and quickly blow over. When it became clear that the attack was something more serious, they may have had visions of the rescue team getting involved in a Mogadishu-like firefight, a “Blackhawk Down 2.” This would have been too much for the risk-averse Mr. Obama, particularly in a Muslim country, and less than two months before the election. Instead they simply watched the live video hoped for the best. If there were American fatalities, they felt they could shift blame for the circumstance to the supposed Youtube video which they had already blamed for the riot at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo hours earlier. In fact the Embassy had sent out its “apology” tweets even before the Cairo riot commenced.”

Four Star U.S. General Carter Ham, Ret. Deposed AFRICOM commander over Benghazi Murders Response

It gets even “curiouser”.  An Excellent Spirit covered this story of the relief of Admiral Gaouette of his command. This strange incident even had some vague hints suggesting this naval hero had been mutinous against the President. Here There have been few follow up articles on either of these two commanders being replaced, so we do not know what actually happened. It is just part of the intentional confusion and obfuscation being systematically conducted by our government and the lamestream media. Still the American people have no facts or information being provided. How are we to understand what happened if no one testifies, no one follows stories up and no one gives answers to the questions that already linger?

America is in trouble. Things are going boom in the night and no one is doing anything about it. Worse, what is being done is to sweep everything under the rug as quickly as possible. The two main actors are our own government (the “most transparent” in our history) and the lamestream media, the see nothing, print nothing, know nothing media that is losing readers and watchers by the millions as “we” get what news we can from the Internet. Stay tuned. Maybe someday Hillary Clinton will recover and testify. Maybe someone will explain how two flag commanders were relieved and why. Maybe someone will get a copy of President Obama’s order to secure our folks. Maybe. But maybe not. My Grandmother used to say, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

America is beginning to look like a beggar nation. God forbid!

A people who are in the dark as “we” are cannot expect to know the truth, get understanding or operate as those who understand the times and know what to do. It is up to the Body of Christ in America to lead the way back from darkness and ignorance by praying and by doing what God intended for each of us to do. That certainly must include becoming informed, involved and speaking up and speaking out. Think about it, America. Think about it. Christian. Then do something! Before it is too late. Benghazi is a tragedy that explains more than we think. It shows how deceived we are, not knowing what our government is doing. How helpless we are, not deserving of the truth or anything approaching the truth, such as a few facts here and there about our concerns. It shows how corrupt we have become when senior flag commanders are relieved on duty and seemingly disappear from our radar, never to be heard from or about again. It shows how useless Congress is, demanding facts, threatening investigations, receiving who know what behind closed doors and telling the American people that there will be more, only to fall silent and clueless upon the New Year.

It is time for Americans who know God and are disciples of Jesus Christ to act like it. We must pray about all this. We must hear from God what He wants each of us individually and all of us collectively, filled as we are with His Spirit of Truth, to do. We must pray with one another and plan to take action right where we are, in our neighborhoods, cities, counties and states. Begin with small actions. God’s Word tells us we are not to despise the day of small beginnings because “it is not by might, nor power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6, NKJV) The Word of God is awesome and it is completely and utterly able to accomplish what God intends for it and for us, when we act upon His Word, to accomplish. God is telling all of us that what is ahead may be daunting and the forces behind evil may be strong, but are not to oppose them by “might” (our own strength, guile and knowledge), nor power (guns, weapons of war and armies of men) but by God’s Spirit (The Holy Spirit, our comforter, guide, revelator of God’s truth to His people). Zechariah 4:6-b says, “the Lord of Hosts”. This designation is throughout the Bible. It means God, the Lord of Armies and Battles vastly greater than anything man has ever created. God’s “army” is “us”! We are those upon whom the God of Hosts, Armies and Battles will confer His Great Strength, but only if we enlist in His Army by showing up, ready for war and prayed up and pressed in for the battle that God will win for us. God told Zerubbabel that the “great mountain” would become a plain and that the hands of men and women of God (you and me) had laid the foundation of God’s Temple on Earth and would finish that Temple of God’s Habitation on the Earth!

2013. The “day of small beginnings”. Benghazi and the scandal that is yet uncovered may offer one of the “small beginnings”, but only to those who know that the battle is the Lord’s. Stay tuned. Stay alert and stay connected to God and one another. God bless America.

2013 – A Look Ahead

An Excellent Spirit looks at the year ahead on this first day of 2013 by doing one of our favorite, most informative things: reading Thomas Sowell. In this Townhall column (it is also posted in Jewish World Review and on other sites), Sowell looks at what is ahead for America. He begins by looking back at the recent Election. Here “The beginning of a new year is often a time to look forward and look back. The way the future looks, I prefer to look back — and depend on my advanced age to spare me from having to deal with too much of the future. If there are any awards to be given to anyone for what they did in 2012, one of those rewards should be for prophecy, if only because prophecies that turn out to be right are so rare. With that in mind, my choice for the prediction of the year award goes to Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal for his column of January 24, 2012 titled: “The GOP Deserves to Lose.” Despite reciting a litany of reasons why President Obama deserved to be booted out of the White House, Stephens said, “Let’s just say right now what voters will be saying in November, once Barack Obama has been re-elected: Republicans deserve to lose.” To me, the Republican establishment is the 8th wonder of the world. How they can keep repeating the same mistakes for decades on end is beyond my ability to explain.”

An Excellent Spirit has written much about this modern day phenomena. HereHere, Here  and Here  Please re-read these at your convenience.  Professor Sowell brings another, historical perspective to all this speculation about what is to come. “Bret Stephens said, back at the beginning of 2012, that Mitt Romney was one of the ‘hollow men,’ and that voters ‘usually prefer the man who stands for something.’ Yet this is not just about Mitt Romney. He is only the latest in a long series of presidential candidates backed by a Republican establishment that seems convinced that ad hoc ‘moderation’ is where it’s at — no matter how many of their ad hoc moderates get beaten by even vulnerable, unknown or discredited Democrats. Back in 1948, when the Democratic Party splintered into three parties, each one with its own competing presidential candidate, Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey was considered a shoo-in. Best-selling author David Halberstam described what happened: ‘Dewey’s chief campaign tactic was to make no mistakes, to offend no one. His major speeches, wrote the Louisville Courier Journal, could be boiled down ‘to these historic four sentences: Agriculture is important. Our rivers are full of fish. You cannot have freedom without liberty. The future lies ahead…’ Does this sound like a more recent Republican presidential candidate? Meanwhile, President Harry Truman was on the attack in 1948, with speeches that had many people saying, ‘Give ’em hell, Harry.’ He won, even with the Democrats’ vote split three ways. But, to this day, the Republican establishment still goes for pragmatic moderates who feed pablum to the public, instead of treating them like adults. It is not just Republican presidential candidates who cannot be bothered to articulate a coherent argument, instead of ad hoc talking points. Have you yet heard House Speaker John Boehner take the time to spell out why Barack Obama’s argument for taxing ‘millionaires and billionaires’ is wrong? It is not a complicated argument. Moreover, it is an argument that has been articulated many times in plain English by conservative talk show hosts and by others in print. It has nothing to do with being worried about the fate of millionaires or billionaires, who can undoubtedly take care of themselves.”

The fact that Thomas Sowell is one of the pre-eminent economists in America should cause a shiver or two to go down our collective spines, especially as Professor Sowell continues, “ What we all should be worried about are high tax rates driving American investments overseas, when there are millions of Americans who could use the jobs that those investments would create at home. Yet Obama has been allowed to get away with the emotional argument that the rich can easily afford to pay more, as if that is the issue.” Indeed Sowell is correct. It will be the issue because most Americans either do not know about it. Our lamestream media only reports issues and events that they deem “us” competent to understand.

Then, each American must realize that “we” are surrounded by “them”. What is “them”? A better question is “who are “they”? “They” are the large poly-political, academia, media and intelligentsia cabal. “They” simply do not want “us” to know, think about or understand what “they” are up to. Therefore, Professor Sowell is one hundred per cent right to conclude: “But it will be the issue if no one says otherwise. One of the recent sad reminders of the Republicans’ tendency to leave even lies and smears unanswered was a television replay of an old interview with the late Judge Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was destroyed by character assassination. Judge Bork said that he was advised not to answer Ted Kennedy’s wild accusations because those false accusations would discredit themselves. That supposedly sophisticated advice cost the country one of the great legal minds of our time — and left us with a wavering Anthony Kennedy in his place on the Supreme Court. Some people may take solace from the fact that there are some articulate Republicans like Marco Rubio who may come forward in 2016. But with Iran going nuclear and North Korea developing missiles that can hit California, it may be too late by then.”

It is really sad to read that a brilliant mind like Thomas Sowell has concluded that it may be too late for Americans to do anything about what is about to happen to us, our children, our grandchildren, and if we survive all that, whatever comes next. An Excellent Spirit was dedicated to informing the Body of Christ and all Americans of just these dangers. Sadly, to date, our efforts have had little success. We will keep at it. If America is brought down, it is hard to understand what possibly will follow. With the terror, Islamofacist’s nuclear intentions, economic winter for all but a few of the cronies of those in power and unthinkable cyber warfare and electro magnetic pulse technology loosed upon the innocent and weak, a reality of the near future, what the world faces is worst than all the past horrors combined.

An Excellent Spirit knows that men are incredibly wicked in their intentions and actions. In the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord sent Jeremiah to Israel and Judah to make one last attempt to turn them from their wickedness and the coming calamities. He told Jeremiah that men were inherently evil without a secure connection to the God who had created them: “The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked;
who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
even to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his doings.” America must pray! America must repent! America must worship a good, merciful, loving God! That is our alternative. It is our only hope. An Excellent Spirit joins Thomas Sowell in looking ahead to a future that is in our hands if we do what God wants us to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 The King James version says that God “before ordained” good works for each person to do before He created us!

It is helpful to read the old King James version as it enables a visceral understanding of God’s Word. Ephesians 2 begins by Paul addressing the Ephesians about their origins. He tells them that they, prior to knowing God and accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior,  And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” These Ephesians, were dead in their sins; having no knowledge of the God who created them. They were dead because of the works, the deeds they did as disobedient children.

Then Paul tells them (and us) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Each of us is, therefore a child whom God has redeemed from the death of our sins, and raised each one of us up and seated each one of us in heavenly places together with Christ Jesus who sits at God’s Right Hand so God can reveal to each of us throughout the ages to come His exceeding rich grace and kindnesses. Wow! That is a wonderful promise to all of us!

But God is not through with the good promises to us. Our Father goes on to tell each one of us: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This is the key scripture. You and I, everyone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ; everyone who acknowledges God, the Father as Creator, God and Father; we are, in this new, improved state, His workmanship. We are “created” (spiritually re-created) in Christ Jesus unto good works which God, before we were created, born or “re-created”, ordained for each one of us to do and walk in.

This is where is gets tough. If Americans have only a passing acquaintance with God or His Son, Jesus, how are “we” to know what we are supposed to do? We Christians are the worst offenders, supposedly knowing God, yet clearly not knowing the good works that God, before He created us, “before ordained” for us to do and walk in them.  How can we say that? Ask Thomas Sowell. Ask yourself. What am I supposed to do so that America will be a righteous nation and exalted by God?

An Excellent Spirit begins 2013 by asking ourselves and our readers, what are you and we created in Christ to do? We know that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26) so we understand that there is some doing involved here. Doing means understanding what we are to do. Understanding means asking God, seeking His Word and hearing from Him what acts and actions we were created to do. It would help to read the entire passage of James about this critical subject as we begin 2013 and ask God, what is it that You want me to do in 2013?

Stay tuned. We will be back with more tomorrow. God bless America. God bless us, everyone.

 

 

Happy New Year – 2013!

An Excellent Spirit returns after a two-week hiatus to wish our readers a Happy, Blessed, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year. We do so sadly, knowing as we do that 2013 promises to bring America and the world few of the desirable qualities of peace, prosperity and life, given how 2012 is ending. The recent Election has done tragically little to resolve the polarization and the class warfare we experience daily. The so called Fiscal Cliff has produced yet another deal that kicks America’s can farther down the road into our grandchildren’s future. Here Those in Congress and our re-elected President have shown the world that they are interested only in their prosperity and not ours. The post Election climate has given almost no hope that issues like Benghazi, Iran’s march to acquire a nuclear weapon, the threat of cyber warfare or an Electro Magnetic Pulse induced nuclear winter can be met by America, much less the confused world we live in. America cannot even solve our debt and spending problems.

That is why we often turn to humor. God’s Word tells us that “A merry heart maketh like a medicine”. Proverbs 17:22 continues, “but a crushed spirit dries the bones”. We Americans have yet to realize that the Washington tango will do little more than dry America’s financial bones, so humor is all we have left to pass the time we have left before the bill comes due. This Jewish World Review piece by Deborah J. Saunders paraphrasing our beloved “national pastime” gives a hint of what we mean. It deals with the Romney campaign’s dashed hopes for a better future.

After reviewing the political year in a parody of “Casey At The Bat” Saunders concludes,

“Oh, somewhere in this welfare state, large crowds are having fun.

John Boehner isn’t crying as Obama crows, “I won.”

He’s racing toward the fiscal cliff — while voters scream and shout.

What D.C. pol can break the fall? Mitt Romney has struck out.”

At best, Ms. Saunders’ parody is an indication of the troubles America faces in 2013 and beyond. At worst, it is a chilling prophesy that our real problem is that few Americans really know what we face and still fewer Americans show signs of caring as we begin 2013.

An Excellent Spirit has taken the time to seek the Lord for His wisdom and His will for us in 2013. It gives us no joy whatsoever to report the ominous news that is everywhere we look as 2012 ends. We would prefer parody, but we lack the talent of Ms, Saunders, so we begin our tour of American prospects entering 2013 with the Fiscal Cliff. The deal that was struck hours ago proves that no one in our government has a shred of intention of taking any of the many necessary steps our government must take to prevent America from becoming a debtor nation, vulnerable to the predatory vultures to which all debtors are prey. We go from there to the Middle East where Israel, increasingly isolated by American foreign policies, could trigger Armageddon, as the only option it may have to being “wiped off the map”. From there try to get your head around the increasing violence in America as hundreds of children are killed, maimed and forever traumatized in Connecticut, even as our “just and humane” society prepares to kill another million or so children in the womb in 2013.

Fortunately, An Excellent Spirit has access to observers and sources much wiser than we. Thomas Sowell. has this latest Random Thoughts in Jewish World Review. Professor Sowell covers a few more items that do not bode well for America’s future. “The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good. Some people are wondering what takes so long for the negotiations about the “fiscal cliff.” Maybe both sides are waiting for supplies. Democrats may be waiting for more cans to kick down the road. Republicans may be waiting for more white flags to hold up in surrender.”

Professor Sowell a brilliant economist makes a point that no one else seems to be making: “Everybody is talking about how we are going to pay for the huge national debt, but nobody seems to be talking about the runaway spending which created that record-breaking debt. In other words, the big spenders get political benefits from handing out goodies, while those who resist giving them more money to spend will be blamed for sending the country off the “fiscal cliff.”

Finally, Sowell who is a great thinker and writer, takes on foreign policy and Israel, as an Angel going where fools tread with impunity, “When Barack Obama refused to agree to a requested meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the leader of a country publicly and repeatedly threatened with annihilation by Iran’s leaders, as the Iranians move toward creating nuclear bombs — I thought of a line from the old movie classic “Citizen Kane”: “Charlie wasn’t cruel. He just did cruel things.” Read the whole thing. Here

Maybe it is because Americans no longer are paying attention. Perhaps analogies like Sowell’s to “Citizen Kane” and Saunders’ to “Casey at the Bat” are no longer relevant in a culture that has gone from being the world leader in educating our children to 18th or 20th. Maybe we, the People, have become so complacent and “entitled” that we no longer value liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We clearly do not value life, unless it is our own and no one else’s.

In the hiatus we have had since mid December, An Excellent Spirit has searched our hearts, minds and spirits for a positive sign that America would prosper and it’s people could rejoice in a nation that God Almighty exalts because of our righteousness. We have found little upon which to hang our hats in the news, the goings on in our nation’s capitol or the condition of the world. The only thing we can point to is But God!

Psalm 2 asks a question that men have asked for ages. Why do the nations rage,
and the people plot a vain thing? (Psalm 2:1) The Psalm continues, The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
 and cast away Their cords from us.” Reading Thomas Sowell is a lot like reading this Psalm. Professor Sowell knows that there is wisdom against which no prevarication nor denial will prevail. It is God’s wisdom in His Word. Psalm 2 continues:

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King
on My holy hill of Zion.”

 “I will declare the decree:
the Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You
 the nations for Your inheritance,
and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron;
 You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

An Excellent Spirit has diligently looked and we have not liked what we have seen. It is as if the whole earth, even those in our churches, temples and mosques deny the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His Son Jesus, and fail to heed His instruction to all of us:

Now therefore, be wise, O kings; 
be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear,
 and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
 and you perish in the way,
 when His wrath is kindled but a little. 
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Emphasis ours.

We, at An Excellent Spirit pray for, wish and hope for a Happy 2013, a year that is blessed by the Most High God. We have faith in our God, in His Son our Savior, in His Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Guide and in His people who seek His Peace on Earth as it is in Heaven. Our families and our children and grandchildren can only be blessed by Our God Who blesses not by man nor government nor institution, but by His Grace, Mercy and Love!

As Aaron prayed for Israel, we pray for God’s people in America and in the world over:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you His Peace”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Shalom, brothers and sisters and let us all Bless the God who blesses America! Happy 2013!