Union of the State

There is a place for debate and even open criticism under the First Amendment. However, unruly crowds that destroy property and create a public menace does more to aide and abet our nation’s enemies than it does to strengthen the power of the republic to represent all the people.

While traveling through the Southern USA, in an area a comedian once dubbed as  (imitating a televangelist voice) The Gold Buckle of the Bible Belt, I stopped for lunch at a small specialty shop. The town was the site of the meeting of the First Provincial Congress  August 25-27, 1774 (1) for discussion of what steps to take next afirst-provincial-congressgainst the oppression by the English. It is also a place that was important to the efforts of George Washington’s Continental Army and vital to General Burnside’s Union advance. Today it is  a unique tourist destination.(1)

The proprietor of this small establishment was, to my pleasant surprise, a Bosnian; a fact which opened the door to continuing our conversation because of this director’s long relationship with many dear young men and some others in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was the day after President Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly when the President affirmed that he would work with Russian President Putin to defeat ISIS. The gentleman asked me if I felt President Trump’s statement was appropriate. When oreilly-trump-interviewconfronted with O’Reilly’s retort that Putin is a killer, the President said “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers … You think our country’s so innocent?”(1)  This business owner, a naturalized citizen, felt it was absolutely inappropriate for the President of the United States to say such a thing.

A short time later, a person with years of counter-terrorism experience asked me the exact same question. The attitude, it seems, on both sides of the aisle, is incredulity at the President’s remarks. Once again, I think that we will find that the President is crazy like a fox.  Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, is often attributed to the following statement which is more accurately  credited to Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo (2) that expresses well what the President’s strategy may entail:  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Make no mistake, he has a strategy. michael-corleoneIf he pushes back against Putin, then the term Cold War will be newly named after the Disney movie featuring Anna, Elsa and Olaf… Frozen.  Information on what Russia is planning would become much more difficult to get than it will be as pseudo-allies. President Trump knows that what information he gets will be filtered and sanitized… even manipulated; but, it won’t be locked down completely. Not so dissimilar to President Roosevelt’s take on Josef Stalin.

It is true that, in many respects, such a strategy carries an ends justifies the means qualifier. It is not unlike the U.S. working closely with Saudi Arabia whose regime is a lessor degree of diabolical than Putin. Is it an issue of ethics versus political reality? When does a national leader have the option to compromise national ethics (if such a thing exists)? If national ethics do exist and if it is possible; then, is the use of that option a matter of presidential authority or is it his right to do so? The difference being that, the first can be reviewed and over-ridden by Congress. The latter is sacrosanct. Of course, then, if such a national code of ethics does exist, the question becomes “Who defines it?”. For now, we’ll leave those questions for another discussion. The question now before us is: “To what degree do we, the people, have a duty to support our president?”

As Director and President of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC,  I am stating unequivocally that, even though we certainly will disagree with our President on tactics for terrorist interdiction and strategies for developing and maintaining necessary intelligence information, SCI will support and defend the Office of the President of the United States of America and we will do everything within our capabilities to support our President. We do believe that any Secret Service agent who openly proclaims that he or she will defy the requirements of their job and refuse to protect the president with their life should be immediately dismissed and lose all opportunities for work within the federal government. Also, any other agency, state, local or private shall have the right to, and be encouraged to, refuse to consider that person for employment for their flagrant disregard of their job responsibilities.

Security Consulting Investigations, LLC is proud to be a private  business registered in Ohio. We are licensed through the Ohio Department of Public Safety/Homeland Security with offices also in Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C. We are thankful for the international work we have had to build security protocols and to learn from others who have survived decades of combating terrorism on their home front. From those diverse sources, Dr. Riggs wrote his most recent work, ‘Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in a Time of Heightened Threat, due out form Motivational Press soon!

We are thankful for being in a country where we can explain to prospective clients that we are a faith-based business and everything we do is bathed in prayer. Our country is an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family. SCI has many international resources but even so, we are Americans and proud of it. Even as Security Consulting Investigations, LLC supports the Office of President of the United States of America and the person who occupies that office, we do not blindly follow; but we do respect and give deference to both the office and the person.  If a change of the person who sits in the Oval Office is necessary, the place to do so is at the ballot box every four years, unless Congress takes action to impeach.  It is true that, as President Thomas Jefferson declared, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”(4)tree-of-liberty Jefferson was correct; but, he was not declaring the right to remove a president by assassination or violent overthrow when there are peaceful and effective means available. There is a place for debate and even open criticism under the First Amendment. However, unruly crowds that destroy property and create a public menace does more to aide and abet our nation’s enemies than it does to strengthen the power of the republic to represent all the people.

Those who want to chant that Mr. Trump is not their president are as free to leave this country as are all the Hollywood loud-mouths that declared that, if he won they would renounce their citizenship and leave the United States. As far as SCI is aware, not one single U-Haul has been backed up to any of the multi-million dollar homes in Beverly Hills and elsewhere to help those fulfill their promise to relocate. We encourage those who have no true plan or methodology to improve the conditions for which they demand a response, other than to scream vile slogans and disrupt the public peace, to grow-up, accept the legal transition of power, and get involved with your congressman to work to improve conditions for which you have a heart. Then, if you remain dissatisfied, help to seek a qualified candidate for the 2020 election. Until then, respect the Office of the President and pray for President Trump. He has one of the most difficult jobs in the world and he needs our prayerful support.

May God bless America and may America bless God.

*********

Endnotes

(1)         http://www.carolana.com/NC/Revolution/nc_revolution_government_1775.html(2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2017/02/07/bill-oreilly-seems-fine-with-trumps-excusing-putin/?utm_term=.1801a0930799                            (3)         Character Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II (1974)                                          (4)          http://tjrs.monticello.org/letter/100

Security Forecasting in Historical Contexts

“America will never be destroyed from the outside… if we falter…because we destroyed ourselves”

 SCI on global view

The following article is produced and presented under the auspices of Security Consulting Investigations, LLC (SCI). Any reprint, reproduction or presentation of this material must provide the name of the author, the title of the article in full and an accurate portrayal of the information presented. Written permission from the author or from SCI is not required. Notification of republication or reprinting of the article would be appreciated by the author and by SCI. Our purpose is to assist the security and intelligence world through dialogue.Sec Forecasting

Dr. Ross L. Riggs

On May 18, 2016, Egypt Air Flight 804 disappears from 37,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea. A blip disappears from an air traffic controller’s radar screen and 66 people vanish. Before noon in Belgium on March 22, 2016 three separate bombs packed with nails explode killing 32 and injuring over 300 in an airport and a metro station. According to one source, in the last 30 days (prior to May 19, 2016), “During this time period, there were 174 Islamic attacks in 23 countries, in which 1491 people were killed and 2103 injured.”[i] (A full list of those attacks are available on the website.) What are we to do? Do we wring our hands and declare All is Lost, like the frantic cartoon character in an animated movie about the ice age? Do we reject all facts that have been uncovered about terrorism in the 21st Century? Perhaps we should simply heed a quote by a 19th century author, “When all is lost, there is always the future.”[ii] (emphasis added)

HISTORY, recent American history that is within the last two centuries, has shown thoughtful leaders to be incredibly astute and foreseeing the very future that the world is living in during this second decade of the 21st century. A review of some of the specific statements is appropriate. A good place to begin is with Theodore Roosevelt. In 1901, Mr. T. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States. He was the youngest man ever elected to this high office; but even still, he had amassed a great deal of experience upon the international scene before becoming president. He had been Secretary of the Navy and during the Spanish American War he organized the first volunteer cavalry unit which became known as the Rough Riders. In 1916 he penned a book titled, “Fear God, Take Your Part.” In it he foretells the tragedies we have brought upon ourselves in America and across the world. Why do I say that we have brought it upon ourselves? Very simply, we did not heed the words of such men as Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Roosevelt wrote, “Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries, and on up to and including the 17th century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.”  He went on to say that, “Wherever the Mohammedans have had complete sway, wherever the Christians have been unable to resist them by the sword, Christianity has ultimately disappeared. From the hammer of Charles Martel to the sword of Jan Sobieski, Christianity owed its safety in Europe to the fact that it was able to show that it could and would fight as well as the Mohammedan aggression.”[iii] A quick statement for clarity may be in order here. For those readers not well-informed regarding the history of al Qaeda or ISIS; who are known today as radical Islamists are followers of Mohammad from the late 6th and early 7th century and in the parlance of the early 20th century, they would be known as Mohammedans.

TR

In 1838, 22 years before the Civil War and 78 years before President Roosevelt’s writing, another American president warned the citizens of the United States about what could eventually destroy America. Then, a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln wrote: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”[iv] Of course, during the dark years of the Civil War and even the rocky re-start in the years following Lincoln’s assassination, America almost did destroy itself from the inside, literally.

Yet, his words were not just foretelling the peril of those Civil War years. ALA much deeper and long-term warning is also captured in his words. By the shear arrogance of the citizens of the U.S. to believe that their shores were inviolate, that no force would ever dare reach out a hand again against the greatest nation in the world that had been born in the conflict and fiery conflagrations that were World War II; we failed to understand what was going on in the rest of the world. Across the seas Islam was continuing to make in-roads across the Middle East and into the Balkans and tearing at the soft-underbelly of Europe, all-the-while, much of Africa was in flames from the radical Wahhabi Muslims.

Of course, in those post-WWII years, Americans did worry that Communists would seek to find some way to destroy their nation. Communism loomed so large in the minds of Americans that the U.S. became myopic and saw no other threat to the American way of life except the Communists. Thousands upon thousands of young men and women would die to repel that threat in far-flung nations across the globe.

Another popular president voiced those concerns of Communism very succinctly and in doing so, he brought that threat to what appeared to be its end. Astutely, he redirected America’s mindset to begin to see a different threat, as yet unperceived in 1980. It was the same Mohammedans that President Roosevelt had forewarned the U.S. about sixty-four years earlier. President Ronald Reagan went before the American people on a weekly radio address May 31st, 1986, almost exactly thirty years ago. He declared the following:

My fellow Americans:

History is likely to record that 1986 was the year when the world, at long last, came to grips with the plague of terrorism. For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people.

In our world there are innumerable groups and organizations with grievances, some justified, some not. Only a tiny fraction has been ruthless enough to try to achieve their ends through vicious and cowardly acts of violence upon unarmed victims. Perversely, it is often the terrorists themselves who prevent peacefully negotiated solutions. So, perhaps the first step in solving some of these fundamental challenges in getting to the root cause of conflict is to declare that terrorism is not an acceptable alternative and will not be tolerated.

Effective antiterrorist action has also been thwarted by the claim that—as the quip goes—”One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That’s a catchy phrase, but also misleading. Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people. Now, this is not to say that those who are fighting for freedom are perfect or that we should ignore problems arising from passion and conflict. Nevertheless, one has to be blind, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth if he or she is unable to distinguish between those I just described and terrorists. Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime. Terrorists are always the enemies of democracy. Luckily, the world is shaking free from its lethargy and moving forward to stop the bloodshed.

Nearly a month ago in Tokyo, the leaders of the major Western democracies hammered out an agreement on tough measures to eradicate this evil. Ironically the progress made in Tokyo is now imperiled by a lack of consistent support at home. For nearly a year now a handful of United States Senators have held up approval of a supplementary extradition treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom. This agreement, when ratified, would prevent terrorists who have kidnaped, killed, or maimed people in Britain from finding refuge in our country. Today these killers are able to do just that by labeling their vile acts as political. Well, in Tokyo the democracies declared there is no political or any other justification for terrorist acts and those who commit them should be brought to justice. The world is watching. If actions by a few Senators allow terrorists to find safe haven in the United States, then there will be irreparable damage. Refusal to approve the supplementary treaty would undermine our ability to pressure other countries to extradite terrorists who have murdered our citizens. And rejection of this treaty would be an affront to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one European leader who, at great political risk, stood shoulder to shoulder with us during our operations against Qadhafi’s terrorism.

Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have gone so far as to prepare a substitute treaty permitting those who have murdered British policemen and soldiers, for so-called political reasons, to avoid extradition. Well, this substitute is not a compromise; it’s retreat. Its passage would be a victory for terrorism and a defeat for all we’ve been trying to do to stop this evil. One concern about the treaty is that it may set a precedent for other treaties, which will then be used against those who simply oppose totalitarian regimes. We can never permit that to happen. Our country will always remain the beacon of hope and freedom to all oppressed peoples.

I therefore urge the Senate to promptly approve the revised treaty and reinforce the momentum building against terrorism. With good sense, courage, and international cooperation, our struggle against terrorism will be won. And the United States will lead the way into a freer and more peaceful tomorrow.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.[v] RR

America has been blessed with some very brilliant leaders. These three presidents stand head and shoulders above many who have sought and won this highest office in the land. Many citizens are discouraged by what they see in the politics of today. The effective leadership that is so critical for this nation and the world in these days seems almost non-existent in the halls of federal government. Those currently holding high office and those aspiring to it are not made of the mettle that is so needed in these days. A recent article that involves Israel’s battle against terrorism may help to provide some encouragement to the many Americans who hear the Dodo birds of that same Ice Age movie, stalking along behind the weaker of their flock, menacingly repeating, ‘Doom On You, Doom On You.’   DD

Professor Boaz Ganor was quoted in an article in the International Jerusalem Post asking the question, “How should we deal with this new wave of terrorism in Israel?” The conclusion to which the professor arrived is applicable across the world stage as well as for Israel. First he makes the point that terrorists must continually be evolving and reassessing the crimes that they commit against humanity. They cannot remain at a singular line of attack or a monochrome plan of terror. In the same way, those who battle terrorism, counter-terrorist officials, must also be continually re-assessing, evolving in their methods. Professor Ganor explains it this way: “Terrorism is a dynamic phenomenon. Both sides – terrorists and security officials – are constantly in a learning competition, processing and internalizing the enemy’s methods of operation. They try to pinpoint the enemy’s ‘underbelly’ and match it with effective methods. Therefore, not every change in terrorism’s modus operandi constitutes an escalation.”[vi] The professor not only hits on the issue of this continuing counter-balancing dance that must be orchestrated among those who kill and maim and those who try to stop them; but, also on the effect that media plays in depicting every new nuance of a terrorist organization’s tactics as an escalation. The heartbeat of the issue resides in asking ourselves, “What is it that we have learned from history that can aid us in preventing terrorist attacks in the future?” Professor Ganor replies, “Doing so requires preventive measures to drain the murky swamp from which extremism, violence and terrorism grow; thwarting measures, which are aimed at foiling terrorist attacks before they are carried out and operative measures designed to bring terrorist attacks to an end quickly and minimize their damage.”[vii]

Return to the observation that the not-yet President Lincoln made regarding the destruction of America. He said that if America is to be destroyed it would be from within. In my most recent book, “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Policing America in Times of Heightened Threat” I conclude that one of the single most critical factors in stopping terrorist acts against our country is strengthening the home and the appropriate male leadership of the fathers in each home. If America is to be destroyed it will be from within. If it is to be saved it will be from within. Americans must return to their faith and to seek the face of their Father and the strength of the home will grow from that relationship. Yes, we need operative measures designed to bring terrorist attacks to an end quickly; but again, as I make the case in my book, we can also have operative plans that will allow us to stop terrorist acts before they begin.

There need not be a cry of ‘All is Lost!’ There need not be the specters of evil swooping down over our society, eerily repeating, ‘Doom On You!’[viii] On the international stage there must be a coordinated, cohesive all-out Allied offensive that strikes at the armament and personnel of the enemies of civilization. There must be the same coordinated, comprehensive fiscal attack to drain these entities of every nickel they have in the financial markets, and even if it seems as if the terrorist organizations are an instantly replicating and reproducing Hydra of Lerna that bursts forth a new head every time one is decapitated; know that the one who perseveres will ultimately be victorious. We must not, as the Bible directs us, lose heart in doing good. America must learn from history. There is nothing new under the sun, as King Solomon long ago surmised. Within such a historical context, leaders can find the fore-knowledge of what is going to be the most effective means for combating the evil that is lurking upon our doorsteps. Professor Ganor used the analogy of draining the murky swamp where the extremism, violence and terrorism grow and that drain plug is in the hand of every father who is raising his family and the ideals to which he ascribes. We will win back our safety and our security when we allow the God of the Bible to do what He said He would do for us in Malachi 4:5-6, “I will send you Elijah… and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”[ix]

[i] http://thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/attacks.aspx?Yr=Last30

[ii] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/christiann122675.html

[iii] http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/even-teddy-roosevelt-warned-of-islamic-danger/#g37K6g21jYst5oYK.99

[iv] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/abrahamlin143183.html

[v] http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=37376

[vi] The International Jerusalem Post, April 8-14, 2016.

[vii] The International Jerusalem Post, April 8-14, 2016.

[viii] IMBd.com/Disney Pixar/ICE AGE

[ix] Malachi 4:5-6

RLRBio

The Presidents’ Day

Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

In 1971 under President Richard Nixon, the federal government established the idea of moving as many federal holidays to a Monday as possible. So, rather than celebrating President Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and  President Washington’s birthday on February 22nd, we celebrate ALL the presidents on one day, the third Monday in February. If you are my age, or a perhaps a older, you will likely remember the construction paper cutouts on the cork boards, the red cutout hearts, the black silhouette cutout of President Lincoln in one corner and one of President Washington in the other. Of course in every classroom, above the large and small letters of the alphabet, was the picture replicated below here by artist Ken Curtis. If you’re like me, you always wondered why it wasn’t finished.

george-washington

Was there a time when those two presidents, or  any of the presidents, held a more esteemed place in the minds and hearts of American citizens? Was there any time when those who held the Office of President carried with them a fuller understanding of the weight of the responsibility and the history that it contains? Is there still a sense of awe by a citizen, or better yet by a long term president,  when they enter the Oval Office? I want there to be.

A very long time ago, I had just finished my Air Force basic training. I was then assigned to the Security Police Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, literally across the street from where I had my basic training. One of my first nights out was to go to the base theater to watch whatever was the newest available movie in 1975. I will never forget what happened next. Just before the movie was to start, the American flag filled the screen and the National Anthem began. Immediately, with a thunderous sound, one hundred plus Airmen stood to the feet, at attention. A wave of goosebumps washed over me and I knew that I had become part of something special.

That feeling returns to me every time the Stars and Stripes fly and in public places, I see Americans with their hands over their hearts or rendering a hand salute. Their is a wave of emotion when I stand as a flag draped coffin moves past me or as uniformed soldiers meticulously fold a flag to present it to a veteran’s survivor.

Whenever I travel across the world and I return to home, as I walk into a U.S. airport customs area and there is a large sign  by the American flag that says, Welcome to the United States of America, I am reminded of that feeling. When a customs officer hands me my passport and says, “Welcome Home” I know I have truly come home.

In the movie, National Treasure Book of Secrets, Ben (Nicholas Cage) is face to face with the President and says, “…And because you’re the President of the United States, sir. Whether by innate character or the oath you took to defend the Constitution or the weight of history that falls upon you, I believe you to be an honorable man, sir.” The President Bruce Greenwood, says, “Gates, people don’t believe that stuff anymore.” And to the President, Gates replies: “They want to believe it.”

Whether you believe in a limited federal government and fiscal conservativeness or you believe in an expanded government with increasing social programs, you want to believe in that of which Gates spoke. If so, you are sick and tired of the fighting, backstabbing, limitless pettiness combined with gargantuan egos that have been the hallmark of the campaigns thus far.

May I suggest that on this President’s Day we continue to avoid what our forefather’s worried about, and that was the elevation of the Office of the President to royal status by remembering they are but humans? At the same time, I urges us to resolve to place on the Office the level of respect and integrity it demands. Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

Deepest Blue

Never before in our history has one group sought to cast aside our Constitution as strongly as those who label themselves ‘Progressives” nor has there ever been, in our history one President so inflated of ego, bewitched by socialism, and so flagrant at dismissing the rule of law by which he is to govern.

 

There is something to be said for bright sunshine across a frozen field covered in snow. The brightness of the white is brighter than ever before and the blue of the sky is the deepest blue, so deep that you feel like it goes on beyond forever. A weather phenomenon, new to me in my nearly sixty years, lies across the frozen field. The weathermen called them snow rollers. They look as though someone started to make a snowman and then after rolling for a little while, gave up and walked away; although there are no footprints near them. The weather folks say that this only occurs when three weather variants come together at the precisely the right moment. The air must be a frosty sub-zero, the snow an exact balance of moisture and snowflakes and just the right cross wind blowing along an open stretch of land. Snow rollers are born! Honestly, they do not do much after they are born, they just sit there in the field, looking like the bottom of a snowman someone gave up on! Some of the larger farm fields around here this week have hundreds of these round wonders and some are quite large! If the gods of Mount Olympus decided to have a snowball fight, this is where they would come.

Beyond that dazzling white snow though and those amazing snow rollers, is that amazingly blue sky. The poets call the color, azure. The uniqueness of the name fits the stunning quality of the color. Color is an incredible connection to the senses. It stirs the soul at times and can open the heart to a bravery it never knew it had. Two pictures come to mind when I consider that color. One is on my office wall and shows an eagle majestically perched on a high mountain precipice with that stirring blue behind him to the horizon. Beneath is an edited quote originally from 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch, Stand, Be Strong” is beneath the eagle. The Young’s Literal Translation quotes the actual passage as:  “Watch ye, stand in the faith; be men, be strong.”The next photo I have is included here, also of an eagle, his talons clutching the rock crag as he scans the horizon for danger or sustenance. Below him is the following poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

The Eagle

He grasps the crag with crooked hands,

Close to the sun in lowly lands.

Ring’d with the azure world he stands.

Eagle on Summit
Eagle on Summit

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls,

He watches from his mountain walls.

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

At one point in our American history, our forefathers considered the turkey as our national bird. Without disparaging the turkey, I’m glad someone suggested the eagle in her place. The majesty of her, whether in flight or at rest; she is a magnificent creature, strong, valiant and with a great deal of character. Everything we want our nation to be. An old bumper sticker piece of wisdom once said, “It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, they had more than their share of trouble. The Christians of the first century were maligned by the religious East; seen as suspicious by the rough people of the northern regions, particularly the mountain ranges that travel up through what is now Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and the Christians were hated by the decadent Romans who controlled the world with their vast armies; corrupt officials and cruel provincial governors. It was wise for Paul to solicit them to be watchful, standing in their faith, and strong of character. Americans as a people and Christians who are also Americans should be able to empathize with the Corinthians and we should heed Paul’s words, perhaps now more than ever in our history.

The shadow of ungodly Communism and Socialism is being cast across this nation from Washington D.C. and westward. Never before in our history has one group sought to cast aside our Constitution as strongly as those who label themselves ‘Progressives” nor has there ever been, in our history one President so inflated of ego, bewitched by socialism, and so flagrant at dismissing the rule of law by which  he is to govern. A popular quote of unknown origin, simply states that “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This, my fellow Christians and my fellow Americans is NOT the time to do nothing. Rather, we must ‘Watch’ – keep aware of what the enemies of freedom and democracy, of our very Republic are doing; stand in Faith – knowing that God is on His throne, He is holy and righteous and will not be mocked, we should bow in repentance before Him; be men – men of character who stand for values, who lead their families, who work hard and pray harder; be strong – strong in the Lord, living in His strength, fighting the good fight with the Gospel armor in place, the Word upon our hearts and a prayer upon our lips.

Barack Hussein Obama will not be the cause of the fall of America, if she falls. Good Americans who did nothing will be to blame. What do you choose your legacy to be?

A phrase first known to be used in 1650 to describe someone as faithful and devoted is – True Blue. When we look upon that amazing sky that God has provided over us, may we recommit ourselves to be true to our faith, our families, and our country.

Ascension to Royalty

“I have a diagnosis: You’ve come down with a case of Ascension to Royalty – osis!”

Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D Min. True North Ministry

From the days of the earliest kingdoms, in lands far across the globe, intrigue, the lust for power, the plotting of unscrupulous persons and often the murder of those who stood in the way of an elevation to the throne were the hallmarks of the ascension to royalty. When Joseph’s brothers, all sons of Jacob, patriarch of Israel, learned of God’s plan to anoint Joseph as ruler, they plotted to kill him; eventually selling him into slavery and telling their aging father that Joseph was dead, mauled by wild animals. Entire families have been decimated to clear the way for a rival to take over the throne.

 

In 2 Chronicles chapter 22 is the story of Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehosheba and Joash. Ahaziah had been an evil king following in the idol worship by his predecessor, King Ahab. Ahaziah’s kingship was jealously guarded by his mother, Athaliah. When she learned that her son had been killed “…she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah… But Jehosheba took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom… He remained hidden with them at the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.”[i]

 

The Roman Empire fared no better. The evil among the ruling class was known across the Roman world. The famous line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when the ego maniacal Caesar looks into Brutus’ eyes, even as his lifeblood flows from the stab wound inflicted by Brutus; he says,
“Et tu Brute?”[ii] 

 

“Good” King Henry IV of France around 1600 survived at least 12 assassination attempts until finally succumbing to a stab wound by a fanatical Catholic who believed that Henry was too much a ‘Calvinist’ to hold the throne of France. Even so, Henry’s son succeeded him.

 

In the early period of the Turkish Ottoman Empire (from the 14th through the late 16th centuries), the Ottomans practiced open succession, or what historian Donald Quataert has described as “survival of the fittest” not eldest, son.”[iii] The Turks, though not the only group to use violence as the path to the throne, were certainly known for their brotherly approach to it. The practice of fratricide, first employed by Mehmed II, soon became widespread. Both Murad III and his son Mehmed III had their half-brothers murdered. The killing of all the new sultan’s brothers and half-brothers (which were usually quite numerous) was traditionally done by manual strangling with a silk cord. As the centuries passed, the ritual killing was gradually replaced by lifetime solitary confinement in the kafes (“Golden Cage”) from which escape was impossible.

 

In November of 2008, modern science unraveled the mystery of the murder of one of the last emperors of China. The murder, over one hundred years old in its setting, was ready for a resolution. Mystery writers have been ahead of the curve for some time realizing that if the method of doing the dastardly deed is that of poison, one might expect that it will been orchestrated by a femme fatale. And that appears to be the case in the murder of Guangxu who ascended to the Chinese throne in 1875, around age 4. Because of his youth he was under the watchful eye of his biological aunt, the Empress Dowager Cixi who arranged to adopt him just before he became emperor. Even when Guangxu was in his twenties he remained, to a degree, under the thumb of his driven aunt. As he sought to modernize China, she found a way to have him placed under house-arrest in 1898 where he remained the rest of his life and she, Empress Cixi maintained the throne. In 1908 Cixi knew she was soon to die. Investigators believe that she feared Guangxu would retake the throne on her death, so, it appears; she poisoned him! Former Emperor Guangxu was dead at the age of 36. Empress Cixi, however, committed the murder for naught for within 22 hours, she died at the age of 74. Upon her death, a new emperor was named, and Puyi ascended the throne at the age of 2. Within a very short time the Peoples’ Revolution took place and Communism fell to be the lot of the Chinese people. “The revolution ended with the abdication of the ‘Last Emperor Puyi (who was only six years old) on February 12, 1912, that marked the end of 2,000 years of imperial rule…”[iv] (Note on Puyi’s age added by author)

 

In the United States of America, shortly after the Revolutionary War, a Constitutional Convention worked diligently to lay the foundation for the new Republic. There was pressure for George Washington to become the first king or some other fashion of ruling monarch, which he thankfully turned away. The Office of President of the United States remains, however as close to royalty as can be held in the U.S. with the amount of prestige, honor and standing that is given the person who holds that office. Whether it is the total access of the motorcade or a right to supersede any event in the country by executive privilege, the perks of the position are many. According to a NY Times article in 2011 “some analysts believe that President Obama, who raised and spent about $750 million in the 2008 campaign, will come close to $1 billion in the 2012 campaign…”[v] A November 2012 article reported that Romney and Obama combined to spend $2 billion on the campaign.[vi]

 

Every position of royalty that has ever been filled by some personality, whether obsessed with themselves or serving gallantly on behalf of the people they represent, has commonalities. Each is temporary, finite and restricted by the ruler’s own mortality. There is but one, and only one, who has ever deserved all of the honor and glory of the highest of all royals, ever in time. And it was that one, the single highest of all royalty, the King of kings and the Lord of lords who loved and cared for his people so much that he was willing to give it all up so that he might save them. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi explaining that of Christ Jesus, “Who being in the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place, and gave him the name that is above every name.”[vii] The Apostle Paul used the example of Christ to encourage his readers that they should consider Christ’s example and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”[viii]

 

Can you imagine, if just for a moment, what our world, our nation, even our cities would be like if those who hold powerful offices took on the humility of Christ? He loves His people so very much that He was willing to turn His back on every great joy of being the exalted God, Creator and Master of the universe and beyond so that He could reach out to the lowliest of the low and give them His righteousness, to impute upon them His holiness. And He did it all so that each person who accepted His gift could live throughout eternity with Him, enjoying all the abundance of every spiritual blessing!

 

As citizens of our country, our local cities or states, we cannot even get an appointment to speak to most of those in public office much less to have them seek us out, in our home, at our employment (unless they are campaigning en masse for our votes) to learn how they can be of service to us. That brings to mind a term that one does not hear much any longer, public service. There are accounts as to how, as recently as President Lincoln in the 1860’s, the Chief Executive of our nation would hold sessions each week, if not sometimes daily, where his office door was open and, though still in an orderly fashion, citizens could come and present their concerns or questions directly to the president. It was expected that this public servant was there to help them and, more often than not, each received a response if not immediately, within an appropriate amount of time.

 

Sadly, some of our mega-churches in the U.S. and abroad have become so large that it is difficult, if not impossible, to gain time to speak to the senior pastor. Mission organizations have become so modeled after the hierarchy of the world business model that you cannot get an audience with the president or CEO without jumping through several hurdles. Even some in the mission who have some responsibility of supervision or administration have elevated themselves in such a way that even getting a reply to a letter or e-mail is difficult. When Christians have done that in such a way within their organizations, how can it ever be expected that those same folks will do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit and focus on reaching out to the most humble of the lost? Hopefully, the percentages of these folks in organizations are smaller than those who are still there with a desire to help.

There is a child’s television program that features a young cartoon girl whose mother is a doctor.  The child imagines herself a doctor to her stuffed animals that seem to come to life and talk to her as she plays make-believe. In the  process, this young ‘Doc’ will usually come up with an interesting diagnosis for whatever is ailing a given stuffed animal or toy. The diagnosis is then recorded, with the help of her stuffed hippopotamus nurse, into the Big Book of Booboos. Well, when it comes to many in the church today and for some mission agencies, as the cartoon ‘Doc’ would say, “I have a diagnosis: 

            You’ve come down with a case of Ascension to Royalty – osis!”

 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

A quick view across history, as we have taken here, has shown that selfishness, ambition, malice, ego and just plain ol’ pride has led to the most horrific of results in the worlds wherein the ‘royals’ reside. How awful to consider that rather than living out the example that Christ gave us, some in Christianity have fallen into the trap of what the world sees as power and authority. It comes to light as avarice and a loss of vision for service above self. We must follow the admonition of the Apostle Peter to “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God so that He may exalt you in due time.”[ix]


[i] II Chronicles 22:10-12 The Life Application Bible (NIV) Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL 1991

[vii] Philippians 2:6-9 The Life Application Bible (NIV) Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL 1991

[viii] Philippians 2:3-5 The Life Application Bible (NIV) Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton IL 1991

[ix] http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+5%3A6-9&version=NASB

 

 

Of Trains, Radios, Fishing Lures and Time…

Dad's pocket watch    As of this moment, my third daughter is in with her OB checking on her health and the health of a granddaughter I have not met yet. Her husband, my son-in-law went to jail today. I’m glad he did. It was his first day in his career as a Deputy Sheriff/Corrections Officer! Earlier today, I had a conversation with a fellow who, following in his grandfathers, fathers and uncle’s footsteps, he collects toy trains. He pays top dollar for toy train sets that used to circle every Christmas tree or glimmer in the hopes of little boys as they decided what Lionel train they wanted for themselves. Yet, he worries because as collectable as the old trains are, there is a growing fear among collectors that if the interest does not re-emerge for the small gauge track with the real looking train cars, they will be stuck with thousands of miles of track that lead nowhere.

Then there was a conversation I had over the weekend with a man who buys up old “Ham” radio equipment, not so much for re-furbishing because with the new digital markets the newer radios are smaller, lighter, cheaper, better sound, overall quality and focus on replacement not repair. So why buy up the old stuff? A sense of nostalgia for when times were, in B.C. terminology (before computers) slower, calmer, and even quieter brings those who remember those times looking for a connection to the past. There were times when people on “Ham” radio would Ragchew – in fact, yours truly has a certificate to show that I am a bona-fide ‘Ragchewer’. To prevent questions of my oral hygiene, I’ll explain that to ragchew means to spend time on the radio talking for fairly lengthy periods to someone they do not know, who they will probably never meet and may never talk to again. So taken were they with their long conversations about practically anything and most often nothing at all, that they would exchange post cards, called QSL cards – QSL being the abbreviated Morse Code for ‘confirm contact.’ They usually include the date and time of the conversation, which is recorded for posterity!    The card to the right is an example, showing the author hard at work. QSL

What has become of those who build a small city with mountains and tunnels, with curves and bends that bring the roaring train across the plywood over top of the billiard table which was used for at least two weeks after the Christmas it was dragged into the house, but now proudly holds the Lionel set including the water tower and depot? Where are the all-night ragchewers that are also running phone-patch traffic for maritime mobiles (ships at sea) or missionaries in the heart of the Amazon, even for scientific expeditions at South America?

The phone patch traffic has gone the way of the local telephone operator with the advent of cellular phones, sat-phones, internet and SKYPE. Most “Hams” these days are techies that work only 2 meters or 440 MHz on repeater systems. Thankfully many are volunteering on Tornado Spotter teams and rescue and emergency communications back-up. Now the all-nighter is spent on FACEBOOK or IM-ing someone with texts about the steak they had for dinner. Sure, I know that ragchewing conversations were never going to be the upcoming agenda for MENSA discussions but, come-on… rather than go to some recent FACEBOOK or texting sites; I can get a more intelligent conversation on a Saturday night at Wal-Mart with the unarmed manikin that doubles as a security camera!

The leisure time activities of old have been replaced by twenty-four hour news, text alerts for whatever style of news you desire, computer games that will allow you to land on Mars in virtual reality or draw down on Zombies that are dragging their way across your 87 inch plasma screen with surround-sound so realistic the neighbors have called the cops twice thinking there was a real gun battle at your house and your closest neighbor is two farms down the road about three-quarters of a mile! This is quite different than the good ol’ days of uncle and nephew leaning into the crackling noise of the speaker to try to make out the call sign of that maritime mobile that was looking for a phone patch into Ohio. Gone are the days when, just before the ‘test pattern’ came on to the black and white TV screen there was the footage of a fluttering American flag and background music playing the Star Spangled Banner as the station signed-off for the night. It was night, time for rest to not be haunted by the cable news network talking heads going over the same discussion they have continued nightly for more than a week!test pattern

Oh, yes; I love to be able to pull out my Droid phone and check email as I wait for the plane to take-off or jump on to FACEBOOK and see my grandchildren’s most recent pictures. And at home… the Night Before Christmas might end up re-written “And mother on FACEBOOK and me with my Kindle, had just checked out a NETFLIX film about reindeer…” As much as the nostalgia side of my brain yearns for the simpler, quieter times; I love the electronic toys, the ease of communicating and the instant everything that the Internet brings. So what is the answer to the conundrum?

It must, and I would underscore must come down to Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” If ever there was a time in our world’s history that people must be admonished to “Be still” it is now. The whirling sounds of computer fans, the clacking of keyboards, the incessant ringing of the cellular phones all bring a cacophony of noise that can drown out the soft sounds of the Holy Spirit directing your heart. So how do we find that delicate balance between the quiet space with the Spirit and thriving in a breakneck paced world that can be exciting and full of great things?

The answer lies in the remainder of verse ten of Psalm forty-six. God states, “I will be exalted above the nations, I will be exalted above the earth.” If we truly allow ourselves to see God as higher than any President or King; if we truly see Him as above anything in nature, we will find a way to give Him the time  due to Him. I dislike using the following example but let us assume for this one analogy that ,whoever is the President of the United States at the time this happens is THE one President in all history, or yet to come, that you would like to talk to… If the President of the United States calls you and says, “It is very important that we meet every morning for the next two weeks for about thirty minutes each morning…” Chances are you or I would move everything else off our schedules to make certain we were free for that time period. Well, the Sovereign God, Creator and Master of the Universe has told you that He desires to have that thirty minutes with you every morning for the next two weeks (as a start). Will you being willing to at least put down your sports section of the newspaper or turn off Fox and Friends for thirty minutes for the Master Ruler of the Universe?

The best part about ‘giving up’ time like that for God is that YOU are the one that will receive the blessing for it. You will come away refreshed, encouraged, and yes, even the rest of your day will change because you took the opportunity to spend quality time with God.

Someone mentioned to me that, they agree with taking the time with God but, they have their devotional material on their computer. Well, if that is where you want to start reading it, Okay; but after you have read it, switch that screen off and let the Holy Spirit talk to your spirit for the rest of the time. You won’t regret it and, believe it or not, the computer switch will allow you to turn it back on again when you need it.

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted above the nations. I will be exalted above earth.” – Not enough ‘time’ to get quiet with God? The One who created Time, will give you all you need. If you cannot find a way to set the time aside yourself, God may do it for you and it may not really be ‘convenient’ if He has to choose what will make you slow down and listen.

 

RESILIENCE – America at Its Core

The news release read: “The Taliban, he says, has been a clever and persistent foe, and has not been defeated. It will re-emerge…” in the statement by former Congressman Peter Hoekstra. The article went on to say that he was “very very pessimistic…” as he assesses NATO and U.S. troop withdraw from Afghanistan.1 If there is any one thing Americans, particularly politically conservative Americans should not be, it is pessimistic.

911remember

As we approach Law Enforcement Memorial Week with a time on the 15th where those who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2012 are honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. and in services across the country, the operative word is Resilience. In the wake of the Boston bombings, in an incredibly short span of time, officers were able to identify the offenders and neutralize the threat. We are at a time when our political processes, though far from perfect, are able to bring to light the inadequacies of the highest levels of government and their lack of response to egregious acts against our embassy in Benghazi and Tripoli. We, as the strongest democratic Republic in the world, are able to call our leaders before us as citizens and say, you were wrong and you deserve to pay for those lapses of judgment. The United States of America still, with ridiculous budget cuts brought on only by political ineptitude, are still able to muster the largest standing all volunteer military on the face of the globe and across all history. America has much for which she may be proud, even more for which to be thankful to God, Almighty, the One True God.
A recent article by William Kristol contained this statement: “The British have known for centuries that it’s not enough to hope for happy and glorious days in the future. It’s also necessary, with God’s help, to act in the present to scatter our enemies and make them fall. It’s necessary to confound their politics and frustrate their knavish tricks.”2 The conservative American, be he a statesman or a day laborer knows one thing within his inner most being. It is a fact that cannot be argued to too fine a point, simply that the facts of a free market, a smaller federal government and citizens who are armed both with the knowledge of history and the armament of the future is the successful way to govern. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated it as such: “There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.”3
Countless men and women have literally given their very lives in pursuit of the freedom that Americans enjoy every day. We, as the current holder of the torch must never allow the ill winds of pessimism, defeatism and cowardice to extinguish that flame. It is that brightly burning flame that has brightened the path for so many to follow. There will always be the ‘nay-sayers’ and the pessimists. There will always be the politicians who are in the halls of legislatures that are there for all the wrong reasons. They are the ones who when questioned about their failure to act in a time of crisis will respond, “What does it matter now?” When that exact same politician declared only months before when seeking even higher office, that they would be the ones we want to answer the phone at 3a.m. when the world was falling apart. Three a.m. came and went on their watch, they did nothing and good people died. What does it matter now? It matters a great deal more today than perhaps it ever did before.

Just a few short hours ago, a call came to the office. It was from a local radio station that had thrown its full support behind helping stem the critical lack of blood supplies for our citizens and our soldiers. That young man needed to know if this small business would stand with them. Word that our troops do not have enough blood supplies to help them while still on the battle fields rang a strong chord in this old veteran’s heart. This veteran has a soldier son, who is hurt, who must face the surgeon’s scalpel in only a few short hours. But, even if that call was not so close to home, this veteran and a hundred thousand others across this great nation would form the longest blood drive line one could ever see – just tell them where duty calls, let them hear the trumpet blast, and they will rise. They have given it all before and they will do it all again.

I am proud that I had the opportunity to serve both in this nation’s armed forces and along the thin blue line. God has been gracious to me and kept me from much of the evil that has surrounded me throughout the years. If I can do nothing more now than to add my name to a list to support such a worthy cause, then allow that to be the case. General Douglas MacArthur, upon his retirement, is quoted as saying: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”4 In many ways, I am sure that is true but in so many more ways, I believe the valor, the pride, the distinction with which they served lives on in the lives, in the faces, and in the resilience of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and their combined families of the United States of America. “ I’m proud to be an American”, the country western song goes, “where at least I know I’m free; and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me…”5 Resilience, it comes not from a text book, a Sunday school lesson, not even a sermon. It comes from the hard, gnarled hands that are no stranger to hard work and it is passed from those hands by the soft caress of a newborn baby’s cheek; a tear in an old man’s eye at the sight of Old Glory passing by. May God bless America and may Americans bless God.

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ENDNOTES
1 http://www.lignet.com/ArticleAnalysis/Hoekstra--Afghanistan-is-fragile-and-likely-to-reg
2 Kristol, William Resistance is Not Futile The Weekly Standard February 25, 2013
3 Ibid.
4http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Douglas_MacArthur
5Lee Greenwood - I'm Proud To Be An American (Lyrics in description)