“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Abraham Lincoln
Occasionally, I look back through the Bunker archives to see what I was on my mind back then. The archives are a journal of sorts. Sometimes I’m surprised when something I wrote 15 years ago is as relevant today, or maybe even more so, than it was originally. In 2005, I wrote Internal Rot for JD’s Bunker, the ancestor of American Journal. Relevant today? You decide.
I was passing a semi pulling tandem trailers when I clawed
at the CD button to switch off the screeching talk radio. The cab of my
pick-up truck filled with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Yes
Beethoven! You gotta a problem with that!? In my rearview mirror, I
saw a woman yakking on a cell phone. She was following me so close that I
could not see the headlights on her minivan. After passing the semi, I
flipped on my right turn signal indicator. The semi driver blinked his
headlights at me and I started to drift back into the slow lane. Before I
completed the lane change, Ms. mini-van was half a truck length past me.
She glared, a furrowed brow showing above her designer sunglasses and appeared
to mouth something about my dear departed mother. A Kerry/Edwards
campaign sticker adorned the back window of her van. Tailgating her was a
bright red pick-up truck with a “W-04” sticker in the window. Just
as close behind him was an irritable looking driver, with a 10
O’clock 2 O’clock white knuckled grip on the steering wheel of a
small SUV. The bumper sticker proclaimed, “Jesus is my copilot.”
He’d be safer riding with me I thought. Concluding that 3 of 5 rush hour
drivers belong in an insane asylum, I slouched and focused on the music.
A friend of mine, and my
historical authority of choice sent me an email about one of my recent columns. His lesson for me was that throughout human
history great societies have fallen because they first destroyed themselves
from within. Internal
rot is the descriptive term he used adding that when the failing society is at
its lowest point, outside forces will end it.
My commute and screeching
talk radio illustrate where we are. We’ve lost civility and are so intent on
demonizing one another for our beliefs that we can’t focus on our roots or a common
purpose – freedom and securing our country for example. If you still have a 2004 Presidential campaign
sticker on your car, you are part of the problem. You’re trapping us in time, keeping us hostage to
emotions and diverting us from important issues – sounds like a politician’s
resume doesn’t it. And,
if your copilot is supposed to put you above the fray, your actions should
demonstrate that you are.
The most basic leadership principle is being the example. The led reflect the example of the leaders. My drive home shows Americans following the example of those we elected to Congress to lead us, bolstered by senseless and endless Red State, Blue State political polls and media nonsense – liberal and conservative alike. A look at the 911 hearings, steroid follies and recent cabinet confirmation hearings should be enough to convince anyone that the most destructive combination in America is an egomaniacal politician and a television camera. It’s more obvious each day that you and I – Mr. and Ms. liberal Democrat, conservative Republican and proclaimed Independent – have elected and sent to Washington a collection of people not concerned about the problems facing our country. Their concern instead is power at all costs. When political leaders focus more on obtaining power and destroying political opposition than they do solving problems – which seems to be the focus of our currently non-functioning political system – the result is political rot. We are watching the decay of what is supposed to be the world’s greatest representative republic.
Moral relativism has saturated our society. Many believe there are no absolutes when it comes to right or wrong. They see behavior in shades of gray in conflict with others who view behavioral absolutes of black and white. The chasm between the two grows. Many manmade laws of our country are a product of moral relativism. They contradict the Judeo-Christian values on which our country was founded and often the laws of nature itself.
Moral relativism is why we
are not raising our children properly. Recent examples of out of control children and
adolescents in schools demonstrate that. We pump our kids up with MTV and junk food then
try to calm them with Prozac and Ritalin. We send them to school dressed as thugs and
connect their brain housing groups to MP3 players and cell phones. We baby sit them in Internet chat rooms. They don’t know math, science, history or current
this how we prepare them to confront the most complicated and dangerous world
in human history – and to preserve our country? More likely, we are preparing them to accept what
follows the rot.
We have the power to fix what
is wrong – you and I. We
can lop off rotten limbs and cauterize wounds, but once the roots of our way of
life – our political system, our morality and how we raise our children – begin
to rot, we might consider how soon we’ll need to start learning Chinese.
Do you really think this college admissions scandal is new? A new racket? Just look at some of those we know supposedly educated at highfalutin institutions of higher learning. Our political families? People who would die rather than hob nob with the peasants over at the public school. It’s always been that way. Daddy donates a few million and junior is admitted. Even if junior is dumb as a box of rocks. President’s kid? Pick any school. According to Ben Shapiro, a brilliant young man and Harvard Law graduate, these children of the wealthy are not going to school to learn a skill set. They’re going there for the credential and the lifelong social connections – another participation trophy. Yep, these are the people with their “credential” and “connections” who end up running our country. Certainly, it’s not every wealthy kid just as certain as it is that there are principled and ethical parents who actually worked hard for what they have and believe their children should do the same, but from the evidence it’s easy to surmise it is many.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into our education system as American Journal is privileged to have an expert on our team, who I expect will have plenty to say about that in future posts.
“What are the humanities? The humanities can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience. Since humans have been able, we have used philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that traditionally fall under the humanities umbrella. Knowledge of these records of human experience gives us the opportunity to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to our contemporaries.”Stanford Humanities Center
When we consider these young people who are mostly getting degrees in the humanities, which has expanded to encompass things beyond classic humanities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, what is their likely career path? It’s academia, government, journalism and similar occupations because they have nothing to offer industries that need engineers, mathematicians, scientists or other skills. Don’t misunderstand, I know there are value to the degrees. We must know our history. We must have people who are skilled at running a free and fair press. We must have teachers and as bad as it may be most days, someone to run our government.
Each year our universities, elite and not so elite, turn out into society, legions of young people who know “how process and document the human experience.” They take that education and the “sense of connection” and just want to make our lives better. Humanities subjects themselves are important to any society, but I’m left to ponder what additions to these areas of study do professors offer their students. Do they get history lessons accompanied by a fact less possibly tainted worldview?
I am left to wonder when I see and hear these young people root for Socialism while offering disdain for capitalism. I hear them defending and demanding democracy when we are a representative republic not a pure democracy. I hear them demanding that we abandon the Electoral College and instead rely on a national popular vote to elect a president clearly not understanding that to do so would mean east and west coast population centers turning the rest of the country into voiceless serfdom – and that unfortunately is the stuff civil wars are made of. They oppose voter identification laws while supporting sanctuary cities and in some cases sanctuary states for illegal immigrants. They think 16 year old children should vote, as their matron Nancy Pelosi declared, “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about the government, to be able to vote.” Exactly, Madame Speaker, when they have zero life experience and are easily emotionally manipulated, “Our world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change!” I was 16 once and was never “interested in all this” but I was as gullible as any 16 year old could be. They also believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote, might I add legally. Write it down, it’s the next voting rights move. They listen to Bernie Sanders and cheer for free Medicare for all, discounting the millions upon millions who were forced into the system and now depend on it. A guaranteed living wage that will close the doors on small business quicker than you can say bankruptcy. And it goes on and on and on until we get to free college for all the voting age 18-year olds and maybe 16 as well.
There are millions of Americans like me. We do not have a lot, but we’re okay. We worked decades for what we do have and that makes us appreciate things more, especially our free country. But the system made us dependent. Dependent on a military pension or some other, social security, and our often-piddling retirement accounts. All of which will disappear in a puff of smoke when our children educated in the “human experience” with a healthy dose of 60’s activism votes for utopia. They tell me however, they’re no longer interested in old white men so it’s not likely to be Bernie who does us in. Kamala and Spartacus?
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. – Genesis 5:1-2
Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world Red, brown, yellow Black and white They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children Of the world. Original Lyrics by C. Herbert Woolston
Mankind. Each one of us made in God’s likeness. Each one of us a different shade of pale. People declare that no one knows what God looks like. No one knows if He is white, black, brown, red, yellow. But we do know. He is all of those. “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.” The specifications, as far as I can tell from scripture, did not include colors. Still, as humankind tends to do, we began judging people, among a hundred other things, because of their skin tone. Sometimes we forget. Since none of us have seen God and lived to talk about it, let’s accept that everyone you see is “in the likeness of God.” If you accept that there is a God, doesn’t it follow that you believe He made all of us in His likeness. Then shouldn’t we also love our neighbors as ourselves.
I am neither Preacher nor Biblical scholar, but what I know is from the time Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the mankind God created in His likeness have been turning away from Him. Ever since the serpent convinced them, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Apparently, we are not very good at being like God. He does a much better job separating good from evil.
Take a look around. Everyone seems focused on skin tone or some other identity. We hear about people of color. We are all people of color, different shades of one color. We are one race. The human race. And we are allowing ourselves to be torn apart. Torn apart by people who have no interest in loving their neighbor. They prefer the snake’s approach of separating us from God and then from each other all the while trying to convince us evil is good.
Here in America our national motto is “In God We Trust.” When we return to our founding documents, we find declarations owing to our Creator, appealing to His judgement on the goodness of our intentions, and asking for his protection as we go forth:
“We hold these Truths
to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United
States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the
rectitude of our intentions…”
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Biblically, we have but one identity, “made in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.” Anything beyond that is a worldly invention, not a creation of God. We have given away our one identity and replaced it with skin tones, gender, political ideology, religion, and you name it. It is up to each one of us the choose a path. The serpent’s or God’s.
For us, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. Through many of our man-made laws, we mock God. There are snakes among us constantly spreading hatred and pushing us away from one another rather than bringing us together. We witness that 24 hours a day in our unending news cycles. We have moved a great distance from the nation that believed we were endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for His blessing, and actively sought the protection of divine Providence. In my view of the world, if we continue on our current path God will do what He’s done before.
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I barely need to reiterate what you already know: the close links that exist between our people and the people of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, the promoter of the Bolivarian Revolution and the United Socialist Party he founded. Fidel Castro
When you see people starving in Venezuela and fleeing into neighboring countries and realize that this is a country that once had the world’s largest oil reserves, you realize that they’ve ruined a very good prospect with ideas that sounded good but didn’t turn out well. Thomas Sowell
We’re in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. General Michael T. Flynn
Venezuela sits at the northern tip of South America with Columbia on the west and Guyana on the east. The country is collapsing. The constant blackouts have put hundreds of patients at risk and many have already died, food is rotting, and water is at a shortage. According to media reports, schoolchildren and oil workers have begun passing out from hunger, and sick Venezuelans have scoured veterinary offices for medicine. Link Malaria, measles, and diphtheria have returned with a vengeance. The country’s infrastructure is falling apart along with their decaying power grid, and telecommunication networks have collapsed.
America has offered humanitarian
aid, but Maduro has rejected it. He is
taking his cues from communist Havana.
Unfortunately, Venezuela never diversified; oil dominates their exports
and government revenue and barrel prices of oil are down.
With Venezuela’s collapse, Maduro is begging Beijing; China’s price will be high as Venezuela’s debt to them is already in the billions. Xi Jinping needs a presence of power that encourages foreign governments to believe they should play ball with Beijing, not Washington. And that means China’s increased military presence around the world, and what better place than Venezuela or one of her islands in the southern Caribbean.
Would Maduro risk U.S. ire by allowing Chinese basing rights? I think so. Maduro is already increasing his rhetoric against Washington and has repeatedly threatened Colombia. At the same time, the Venezuelan leader knows the U.S. and its allies believe he is an irredeemable despot: They want no part of a rapprochement with his regime.
Xi Jinping, Putin and Maduro
The Venezuelan and Chinese economies seem like they could hardly have less in common. The government of Nicolas Maduro has looted the state-run oil monopoly company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to pay for the “Bolivarian revolution,” the socialist movement under the late leader Hugo Chavez. Eleven billion has been stolen from PDVSA in a decade.
With oil prices down, the country is unable even to repair rigs or pay workers to generate income, and the government now faces the prospect of a mass uprising. Meanwhile, half a globe away, China’s gleaming malls stand in stark contrast to Venezuela’s empty shelves.
But Venezuela’s ruinous state has more to do with China than one would think, specifically, with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan for expanding China’s global influence through financial diplomacy.
Thanks to a malevolent dictatorship pushing disastrous economic policies aided by another communist benefactor willing to extend near bottomless credit, the country is at collapse. This same toxic mix is present throughout many of the countries receiving large amounts of Chinese lending under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China provides large amounts of ruinous lending that pushes developing countries to financial ruin. The Belt and Road Initiative scheme isn’t offering concessionary lending or international aid but market-based lending rates with high-interest loans. The borrower countries then have to use Chinese firms, inputs, and workers to build out their railways and ports. The Chinese firms are third rate at best.
Since the economic shift in Venezuela, up to 5 million Venezuelans are estimated to have left the country crossing the border mostly to Columbia, while inflation in Venezuela hovers around 1 million percent.
According to a UN report, about 90 percent of the population lives in poverty. The country’s oil revenue is at its lowest in three decades.
America Supports Opposition Leader Juan Guaido
The two communist countries of China and Russia have kept Venezuela afloat by lending billions to the economically crippled petrostate, sometimes with cheap oil thrown in as a sweetener for the two creditors. “Not only are they getting oil, but they’ve also gained access to pretty good acreage in Venezuela,” said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
Those deals were struck with President Maduro, whose leadership is facing a serious challenge from Juan Guaido, and it’s not clear what happens to that debt if Maduro is kicked out of office. America would like to see Guaido take over the country, and apparently so would the Venezuelan people. However, Russia and China are working in and out of the shadows, complicating U.S. efforts to foster change.
Venezuela is indebted to external creditors by a total of something close to $100 billion. Yet, the socialist state is home to the largest oil reserves on the planet, but endemic corruption has devastated its economy. Beijing and Moscow have helped the country stave off collapse by repeatedly extending financial lifelines — to the tune of tens of billions of dollars over the last decade.
Maduro’s re-election last year was marred by charges of widespread vote-rigging, vote-buying, and other irregularities, but more fundamentally it failed to meet constitutional requirements. As such, Guaido, due to his role as head of the National Assembly, appears to be the legitimate president.
There was an important catch to this largesse; to guarantee repayment, Beijing insisted on being repaid in oil, but when oil dropped to $30 a barrel in 2016, this caused Venezuela’s price tag for serving its debt to explode. To repay Beijing, Venezuela must now ship two barrels of oil for every single barrel it originally agreed to. Chavez’ 2002-2003 purge of 25,000 skilled oil workers at PDVSA resulted in massive problems. As well, reinvestment in the fields and help from foreign oil firms was gone. Venezuela struck it poor.
Venezuela’s mother lode, the Orinoco heavy oil belt, holds more than a trillion barrels of tarlike bitumen, which makes it much more difficult to extract because when it comes out of the ground, it’s almost solid and cannot flow through pipelines. It then needs to be upgraded to something resembling liquid oil before sale. Doing all that takes the kind of cash and sophisticated know-how PDVSA lacked at the time.
The heavy oil needs chemicals, diluting agents such as naphtha, to turn into a lighter substance that can eventually be exported. Sanctions include a ban on US firms exporting these agents to Venezuela.
“Russia and China are using Venezuela as a proxy conflict to challenge the U.S. This is more than just economic support. Russia and China are leveraging its economic support to establish a military-industrial presence in Venezuela,” Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, an independent global research group, told Fox News.
China and Russia maintain crucial military facilities in the country, such as China’s satellite-tracking facility inside the Capitan Manuel Rios Air Base in Guarico, while Russia has a cyber presence at the Naval Base Antonio Diaz “Bandi” in La Orchilla, an island north of Caracas. Link
According to one U.S. intelligence and defense official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, the threat of “asymmetric warfare” looms large as the Venezuelan crisis deepens – especially given Russia’s supply of arms and equipment to its Venezuela ally. “Maduro still sits on the largest proven oil reserves in the world. That’s the grand prize. China could say that the more Venezuela becomes a pariah, the cheaper they want it,” noted the intelligence insider. “And the more leverage Russia then has to build a bigger base in the Western Hemisphere, and closer to the United States nonetheless.”
“At a minimum, they could harass the United States, if not cause a lot more trouble. This makes the Cuban Missile Crisis look like child’s play.” Link
Venezuela and Iran
In General Michael T. Flynn’s book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, he states, “The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. We are under attack, not only from nation-states directly, but also from al Qaeda, Hezbollah, ISIS, and countless other terrorist groups. Suffice to say, the same sort of cooperation binds together jihadis, Communists, and garden-variety tyrants.”
“Once we bailed out of Iraq in 2011, the power of the Islamic Republic immediately expanded and rapidly filled the void left by our departure. The mullahs have already established strategic alliances in our own hemisphere with Cuba and Venezuela and are working closely with Russia and China.”
General Michael T. Flynn is absolutely correct.
As Iran and Venezuela become increasingly isolated and sanctioned by the U.S and much of the international community, the two governments are said to be tightening their bond – with the help of Tehran’s proxy group, Hezbollah, in the middle of the action.
“Training between Iran and Venezuela has increased in the past few years as part of a larger plan between the Venezuelan regime, consisting of increasing the number of Hezbollah operatives and their supporters across Latin America,” Johan Obdola, President of the Canada-based Global Organization for Intelligence (IOSI) and former counter-narcotics chief in Venezuela, told Fox News. Hassan Rouhani and Nicolas Maduro have established a very firm and close relationship, which was of course initiated by Chavez.”
Drug trafficking within the Venezuelan regime is called, “The Cartel of the Suns.” Criminal cartels have always run drug trafficking but in Venezuela it is managed from within government. Instead of sidelining those accused of drug trafficking, Maduro has promoted them to the highest offices, perhaps calculating that they have the most to lose if his regime falls and will therefore fight the hardest to preserve it.
In 2005 Venezuela severed ties with the United States Drug Enforcement (DEA), accusing its representatives of spying. Following the departure of the DEA from Venezuela and the expansion of DEA’s partnership with Colombia in 2005, Venezuela became more attractive to drug traffickers. Between 2008 and 2012, Venezuela’s cocaine seizure ranking among other countries declined, going from being ranked fourth in the world for cocaine seizures in 2008 to sixth in the world in 2012.
While Chinese engagement could be seen by other Latin American countries as an attractive path to development, the short-term benefits often lead to long-term dependency. Chinese investments focus on extracting natural resources and trading high value-added manufactures from China for Latin American commodities. China’s appetite for commodities will only increase. Link Their plan is global…in 30 years they expect to be the world’s superpower.
Bernie Sanders has always called himself a political independent. My conjecture is he did so because socialist or communist parties are not acceptable to the majority of the US voting public. At least they weren’t until recent years. But now that’s a question isn’t it. There is information out there advising that Sanders is a no doubt about it communist who even spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Others insist he’s a democratic socialist. That appears his preferred choice. The difference is the communist will just take your stuff, your wealth, and your dignity while the democratic socialist will convince you to vote to give them your stuff. Bernie is quite the salesman.
Sanders is somewhat like Karl Marx. Both were college educated although Marx much more so than Sanders’ Bachelors Degree in Political Science (want fries with that). Both shared their socialist ideologies to whomever would listen. When it came to work, both were bums. Marx mooched from Engels, his communist cohort. Sanders was 40 years old before he ever earned a paycheck. How is that even possible? Sanders has been in Congress as an Independent socialist since 2007. It’s been a lucrative job. Sanders now owns three homes. He’s not a 1 percenter, but he’s far above the typical working class American. Under his own sworn to socialist philosophy, snake oil salesman Bernie Sanders is not about to be an equal member of his socialist utopia. How many houses does a member of the classless society need Bernie? Socialism for thee, but not for me?
Ocasio-Cortez, who will not be recognized here with a monogram, supposedly earned an undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from Boston University. Her bona fides landed her a bartender’s job. It was a profession I aspired to – when I was 16. I’ve tried to figure out how someone quits bartending and is promptly elected to Congress. Then I remembered that old Bernie did much the same thing. Here’s an intriguing video about New York’s bartender Congresswoman, suggesting she and others are merely the face of something more sinister. And it’s easily believable causing me to take a more critical view of young charismatic, coached up snake oil salesmen and women who make meteoric dashes from bartending to media darling Congresswoman. And isn’t it amazing how national media ignores the obvious?
There are others besides Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez who are running hard to the left, but they are old established politicians trying to weather the storm. They’re doomed. This little tsunami of young Democratic Socialists is going to roll right over them. The likes of Schumer and Pelosi do not know how to deal with them. They are treating them as distractions and believing they are not powerful enough to cause harm. Nancy and Chuck are playing the dangerous game of hoping the alligators eat them last.
Others in world history were also not taken seriously. A least not until it was too late.
For you, utopian warriors young and old, who want to call everyone you dislike a NAZI please examine Hitler’s policies and compare them today’s paradise peddlers. Hitler’s policies were welfare state socialism. Hitler’s Nationalism, however, was exclusive to his vision of the superior Aryan race. The same manner in which some are trying to characterize the United States. History shows he declared disliking socialists and communists and killed off the socialists in is party. Hitler’s economy was capitalist. It is not a stretch to say Hitler’s economic approach is much like that of today’s European welfare states along with the lofty tax rates necessary for the government to provide all the free stuff. It’s quite similar to what’s being pitched by America’s snake oil salesmen.
To take hold, every movement needs an enemy. Someone or some group on which to focus their anger. Hitler had the Jews and if you read Steve Briscoe’s account of the Holocaust and the evil behind it you can see how that turns out. This new movement has it enemy. Once you get past the inanimate climate change, it’s President Trump and all of his supporting deplorables wearing MAGA hats. There’s a difference between the Jews and us. We have the 2nd Amendment.