NO, WORLD WAR THREE IS NOT ABOUT TO BEGIN.

CHEYENNE, WY; 5/3/17 – Yesterday or today? North Korea attempted to fire a missile from a small submarine, which was stationary, a few feet below the surface. The sub had been operational since 2005. The missile? New. The test failed. It was supposed to be another of North Korea’s warnings to the United States not to take part in naval war games off the coast with its neighbor to the south. North Korea considers these war games as rehearsals for an invasion of its country.

Last week, the United States fired two nuclear missiles from a silo in Montana. The tests were a success. The missiles had more than enough range to reach all of the North     Korean cities, including its ten most populous; its capital, Pyongyang, Hamhung, Wonsan, Kaesong, Chongjin, and several others.

Meanwhile, one of our nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the USS Carl Vincent, and its strike force of cruisers and destroyers, is participating in the annual tactical games with South Korea’s navy, off the South Korean coast. This annual event is considered as a provocation by North Korea’s government, even though it has been done every year for the past five years or more.

As for the few U.S. citizens  who feel that President Trump’s policies are to blame for this heightened state of anger between the two countries – the snowflakes who worry constantly about everything  the Trump Administration does, both foreign and domestic; the problems between North Korea and the United States go back long before Mr. Trump entered the political scene. They stem from the differences between the North and South on that peninsula over smaller issues; but ultimately to the fact that the North wants to annex the South, just as North Vietnam wanted to annex South Vietnam. What stands in their way? Several divisions of United States troops – some 28,000 soldiers – stationed on the border between the two countries.

My thought? Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean leader should cease his bellicose complaining. He would have to be nuts to continue his strident language. Threatening military action against a nuclear power when armed with a fly swatter is not too bright; and this man is no dummy.

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LEGALIZING MARIJUANA WILL NOT HELP WYOMING [OR ANY OTHER STATE] BLOSSOM!

By:  Carol Jean Sacco. CHEYENNE, WY – 4/17/17:

NOTE: This is a letter written by Carol Jean Sacco, and published (surprise, surprise) in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. It is surprising that they published it since that newspaper is a bastion of liberalism, which generally favors a stoned Wyoming, and the conversion of Wyoming youth to users of any and all kinds of drugs.

NOTE: Full disclosure. Carol Jean is my wife of 24 years, a public school teacher of Art and Photography for 20 years, who will retire at the end of this school year. Many consider her a better  researcher/gatherer of facts than her husband. Her dream is to teach Art and Photography privately, beginning this summer. I’m hoping she will be successful. I don’t know how both of us under the same roof all day – every day – will work out.

“A March letter to the editor by a young writer advocates the reform of marijuana laws in Wyoming as a means of keeping young people from moving out of the Equality State. He believes that an idyllic path of legalizing and marketing pot would be the key to a successful, growing Wyoming.

“I suggest reading information from the National Institute of Health, which contains current studies regarding marijuana use. It’s a fact that the frequent use of marijuana by adolescents into adulthood is associated with a significant declines in IQ. Impaired short term memory, problem-solving abilities and motor coordination are common in short-term use. Frequent or long-term users are more likely to experience addiction, as well as poor educational outcomes, which often result in an increase in school dropout rates.

“Marijuana use also affects mental health adversely. Students aged 14 to 15 who used this drug were followed for seven years in a study by the Australian state of Victoria. That study included data from 44 schools and found that frequent cannabis use by teenage girls predicts later depression and anxiety, with daily users facing the highest risk. Testimony from a young hair-stylist I met a year ago seems to back this up. She was a frequent pot user while a student at a Cheyenne high school, but realized it was time to quit when she found herself on the floor of her bedroom one morning “trying to avoid the space aliens that were flying outside the window.”

“Lastly, to suggest that all is well in the state of Colorado is quite false. Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 154 percent between 2006 and 2014. Hospital emergency room visits that were “likely related” to marijuana increased by 77 percent from 2011 to 2014 as well. In Colorado schools, drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 40 percent for the school years 2008-09 to 2013-14. This information is from the September 2015 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic Area, a collaboration of federal, state and local drug enforcement agencies.”

 

 

 

Saint Valentine: The Real Story

CHEYENNE,WY. 2/26/17 – Flowers, candy, red hearts, and romance. That’s what Valentine’s Day – celebrated this year on Tuesday, February 14th – was all about, right? Well, maybe not. The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all – at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriar’s Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday – Saint Valentine.

“He was a Roman priest at a time when there was an emperor named Claudius who persecuted the church,” Father O’Gara explains. “He had an edict that prohibited marriage of young people. Claudius believed that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives and families if they died. The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became a Christian as a result.”

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution; a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation (did the Islamics get their ideas from the early Romans?), all because of his stand for Christian marriage. Before he died he sent the girl a note and signed it “From Your Valentine.” That’s what inspired today’s romantic missives.

“What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life on the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that – even to the point of death.”

Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In fact, Whitefriar’s Street Church is one of three churches which claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honor the courage and memory of this Christian saint.

“Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. Before you enter into a Christian marriage, you want some sense of God in your life – some great need of God in your life. And we know, particularly in the modern world, many people are meeting God through his son, Jesus Christ.”

 

 

JESUS: THE DIVINE LIGHT OF OUR WORLD!

12/18/16 – CHEYENNE, WY: The contradiction of God’s joy can be sensed when ugliness mocks beauty, deceit twists truth, and evil defies goodness. But I believe God’s Heaven can be intuited through the triad of beauty, truth, and goodness.

As primary colors refract from pure light, so do those three fundamentals emanate from the divine Light of the World, who came into a world darkened by sin and death. Just as Catherine of Siena said that “all the way to Heaven is already Heaven for those who love the Lord,” so is the path to Hell already Hell for those who deliberately reject him.

If boredom is the chief quality of Hell, it is significant that when Jesus walked through this world, some people loved him so much that they were willing to die for him, and others hated him so much that they were willing to and did kill him, but I don’t believe that anyone ever found Him boring.

Our nation has gone through a long moral darkness, dimming awareness of human dignity and the sacredness of life. There is no doubt in my mind that if the recent election had gone the other way, the downward spiral of our culture would have continued.

There may be some glimmer of dawn in recent executive nominations. The next Secretary for Health and Human Services has a one-hundred percent approval rating from the National Pro-Life Committee, the new Attorney General is a protector of religious liberty, and the future Secretary of Defense is a champion of the persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

No mention of those suffering Christians was made in the recent presidential proclamation of Human Rights Day, and the hellish massacre of dozens of Coptic Christians in Cairo last week received scant attention, and less outrage. That will change soon, and there is hope for the Supreme Court.

While I am not naïve about politics, I think the darkness of our times may be a sign that a dawn awaits. Whatever that means for our culture, the dawn has always shone on the Christian Church and “the darkness has never overcome it” (John 1:5).

Merry Christmas!

Liberalism, Sexual Liberation, Communism, And Progressivism

CHEYENNE, WY: 12/5/16 – Liberalism today has become preoccupied with sex. For them, everything is about sex. For them, sexual activity must be freed from all the traditional restraints previously imposed upon it. Rapes? No problem. Sexual assaults? Nothing wrong there. Nudity in public? No problem. Transgender using bathrooms of the opposite sex? Who cares?

For the Founding Fathers, sex was something that had to be somewhat regulated by government because of its tie to the production and raising of children. So, it’s not difficult to see why there’s been such a dramatic increase in child abuse. Practices such as abortion and homosexual/lesbian conduct, choices which the Supreme Court recently equated with the right “to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning , of the universe, and of the mystery of human life,” are now considered fundamental rights – by liberals.

Is there a connection between sexual liberation and Progressivism? Yes, though it is indirect. The disparagement of nature and the celebration of the human will, the idea that everything in life is created by man’s choice, not by God, nature or necessity, is the one idea which has led to the current liberal view about sex. Once sexual conduct is viewed in this way, it is not hard to see that limiting sexual expression to marriage – i.e. between one man and one woman – where it is clearly connected to nature’s concern for reproduction, can easily be proscribed as a kind of limitation of human liberty.

For those who believe that liberty is license, that self-realization is transmuted into self-expression, all barriers to one’s sexual idiosyncrasies, i.e. all restraints on perverted sex practices of any kind (pedophilia, pederasty, etc.) seem arbitrary and even tyrannical.

Don’t believe me? Well, because of the liberal attitude toward sex, most, if not all restraints on aberrational sexual behavior have fallen away. Even our churches and their leaders seem confused as to what to do about it; some have fallen into the acceptance of homosexual /lesbian behavior. Here in Wyoming? This “relaxed” attitude can be seen by the rise in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, as infections have become a major public health concern. The Department of Public Health has, just a month ago, reported that the rate of gonorrhea infection was 1.5 times higher in 2015 than in 2014. The rate of chlamydia infection increased by 3%. This year so far, 1,788 cases of chlamydia, 197 gonorrhea cases, 17 HIV cases, and 12 syphilis cases have been identified and reported to the Wyoming Department of Health. And this in a state with just over half a million people, where the murder total for the entire state in 2015 was a staggering 15. Imagine what the stats must be in a state like California or New York, or even Maryland and Pennsylvania, Oregon or Washington State.

I am convinced Progressivism, which developed from about 1880 and lasted until about 1920, when it began to fade, has had, and continues to have a serious, if misguided effect upon our political system, our political thought, our educational system, and our religious or theological processes. So-called Progressives believe that government at every level must be actively involved in our daily lives. They also believe that our Constitution and our Constitutional system is outdated. Hence the evolution of the huge administrative bureaucracy in the Carter, Clinton and Obama Administrations, and the correct suspicion that so-called Progressives are Communists.

It was THAT belief which caused the Progressives of the past to burrow underground and eventually disappear from the public forum although not from private thought, i.e. the literature of Upton Sinclair, the history of Charles Beard, and the educational system of John Dewey, the latter of which has had a death grip on our high schools and colleges for the past seventy-five years.

Flagburning: Is it “Symbolic speech” Protected Under the 1st Amendment?

CHEYENNE, WY – 12/5/16 – To avoid confusion about this issue, I’m posting the facts and case summary for Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397.(1989), where the Supreme Court ruled that flag burning constitutes symbolic speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

I think, if this case were decided today, it would be a tie vote. But, if it were to be decided AFTER Donald Trump appoints and the Senate confirms one more Justice, it would go the way of the dissent of Justice Stevens, below. So, this post is an example of how we escaped another bullet. If Clinton had won the Presidency and got to appoint judges, to the Supreme Court? This case would have remained as decided in 1989 and libs would be allowed to go on desecrating our flag without punishment. In short, I think there should be an exception, making it a criminal offense for flag burning, punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Facts
Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas. Johnson burned the flag to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan. He was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others. A Texas court tried and convicted Johnson. He appealed, arguing that his actions were “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court agreed to hear his case.
Issue
Whether flag burning constitutes “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment.
Ruling
Yes.
Reasoning
(5-4)
The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of “symbolic speech” that is protected by the First Amendment. The majority noted that freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech.

In particular, the majority noted that the Texas law discriminated upon viewpoint, i.e., although the law punished actions, such as flag burning, that might arouse anger in others, it specifically exempted from prosecution actions that were respectful of venerated objects, e.g., burning and burying a worn-out flag. The majority said that the government could not discriminate in this way based solely upon viewpoint.

Dissent
Justice Stevens
Writing for the dissent, Justice Stevens argued that the flag’s unique status as a symbol of national unity outweighed “symbolic speech” concerns, and thus, the government could lawfully prohibit flag burning.

The Dakota Pipeline Problem

Cheyenne, WY, 12/4/16 – Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s already into the first week of December. Christmas will be here before we know it. But, in Cannonball, North Dakota, on the northern edge of the Indian reservation, the Standing Rock Sioux and a couple of other American Indian tribes are not ‘hanging their stocking by the chimney with care’ or ‘dashing through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh.” They are, after many weeks, still protesting against the 1,200 mile, four-state pipeline designed to carry oil from the Bakkan formation, a drilling area in western North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois, probably at a port along Lake Michigan.

The Indians, members of the Standing Rock nation, the Cheyenne River Lakota, and the Rosebud Sioux, claim it threatens their drinking water supply on a nearby reservation, and certain cultural sites. The Pipeline developer, a company, called Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), claims that no sites have been disturbed and the pipeline will be safe. Both could be true; one could be true and the other not true; or neither could be true.

“The Missouri River is the primary source of our drinking water,” Doug Crow Ghost, a spokesman for the Standing Rock Sioux and the director of the tribe’s water office, said. He also stated that “Tribal members fish in the river.”

The issue has been waiting for a decision from a colonel at the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees such matters, as to whether or not it will grant the company a permit to complete the short stretch of pipeline under the reservoir. This past weekend, the Corps announced that it will not grant said permit. What happens next? Probably an Environmental Impact study, which the Indians say has never been done.

Their protests have been ineffective. The pipeline is largely completed except for a short section that will pass under a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota; hence, the drinking water issue. I’d hoped that the two parties would meet and work out a different solution before winter actually set in, but the weather has now turned frigid and the protestors, taking a page from their ancestors, have erected tepees at the site where they are temporarily living.

The local authorities, having had enough, have asked the Indians to pack up and leave now. Tribal elders have also asked them to disband. Meanwhile, ETP’s Executive Director, Kelcy Warren has stated that after a further study, it will not re-route the pipeline using a route west and south; too costly. But, he is open to meeting with the elders to attempt another solution.

Things turned nasty two weeks ago. Local authorities doused protestors with water as they tried to push past a roadblock at a local bridge, closed as unsafe because it had been partially burned by the protestors a few weeks before. Protestor organizers, according to an AP article, said that “at least 17 protestors were taken to a hospital, including some treated for hypothermia.” This, of course may or may not be true – consider the two sources – but the weather is cold enough to cause some damage to the health of anyone doused with cold water. And, the protestors were attempting to reach a pipeline construction site on the other side of the bridge. What they were going to do if they got there is an open question.

The latest word is that the Governor of North Dakota has said he is willing to meet with company officials and the protest leaders, to see if a different solution could be reached which will satisfy both parties to this dispute.

Stay tuned.