Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Star Spangled Banner

YouTube - The Star Spangled Banner - Long Version

This song was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 during the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem on March 3, 1931 by a resolution of Congress and was signed by President Herbert Hoover. This song is traditionally played prior to the commencement of public sporting events and orchestral concerts.

O Say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land and of the free and the home of the brave

O thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land and of the free and the home of the brave!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd dies at 92

(USA Today) Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), who rose from West Virginia's impoverished hollows to aid, counsel, and sometimes chastise presidents from the Senate Seat he's occupied since 1959, died early Monday morning. He was 92 years old and served in Congress longer than anyone in the nation's history. He surpassed even Strom Thurmond's tenure in the U.S. Senate which was 46 years. He died at 3:00 a.m. at a suburban Washington hospital, according to Byrd's office. He had been in failing health recently but in May appeared at a hearing on mine safety. Though he was a partisan stalwart, the Democrat's courtly manners and "devotion" to the U.S. Senate won him the bipartisan affection of his colleagues. President Obama issued a statement saying he was "saddened to hear this morning that the people of West Virginia have lost a true champion, the United States Senate has lost a venerable institution, and America has lost a voice of principle and reason." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed that tribute. "We will remember him for his fighter's spirit, his abiding faith and for the many times he recalled the Senate to its purposes," according to McConnell.

A master of the Senate's arcane rules and a prolific chronicler of its history, Byrd fiercely defended Congress' prerogatives against those of the executive branch. "I have served with 11 presidents, I serve under no president," Byrd would say. Robert Byrd was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952, the same year Dwight D. Eisenhower won his first term as president. In 1958 Byrd won his first term in the U.S. Senate and was re-elected to an unprecedented ninth term in 2006. Over the years, Byrd has changed his philosophy in regards to Civil Rights. Back in the 1940's he was a member of the KKK or Ku Klux Klan. He even led an unsuccessful filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. By 2008 during the West Virginia primary, he endorsed Barack Obama in his bid to become the nation's first black president. Byrd later came to regret his views on civil rights and was glad to say that there were growing numbers of both minorities and women in Congress. Radio talk show host Sean Hannity always referred to Byrd as Robert "KKK" Byrd in lamenting the mainstream media's hypocrisy in criticizing Republicans if their was any hint of anything that could be viewed as racist while ignoring Senator Robert Byrd's past association with the KKK.

As part of the Senate Democratic leadership, Byrd was a staunch defender of Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam War policies. Toward the end of his career, Byrd was a darling of the Left because of his opposition to the Iraq War. He believed the Senate was to be a check on the power of the executive branch. He was a defender of the Senate's role and never relinquished his fight to keep the executive branch in check. Byrd held a special friendship with former Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. During Kennedy's 75th birthday in February 2007, Byrd acknowledged when he first met Kennedy in 1962 that they particularly didn't like each other. They two became such good friends to the point that Byrd sobbed on the Senate floor when he learned that Kennedy had terminal brain cancer. After Kennedy's death in August, a frail Byrd appeared on the Senate floor to pay tribute to "my ebullient, Irish-to-the-core friend." When the Senate held a crucial vote on the healthcare bill on Christmas Eve 2009, Byrd was wheeled to the Senate to vote and stated he was doing this for his friend, Ted Kennedy.

Byrd was also known as "king of pork barrel." As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he steered billions of dollars to West Virginia. There is a watchdog group called Citizens Against Government Waste which called him "King of Pork." At a campaign stop in Hinton during his last run for re-election in 2006, he boasted about how he "persuaded" defense contractors to locate a high-tech center there. "Don't you doubt it," Byrd said. "Man, I've brought billions to West Virginia."

Byrd grew up in a humble upbringing in West Virginia's coal-mining camps, where he learned to play the fiddle and attended a one-room schoolhouse. On the wall of his Senate office, he kept framed copies of his earliest pay stubs--which showed that he made $28.66 for two weeks as a meat cutter in 1937. Early poverty kept Byrd from finishing law school. But he eventually obtained a law degree by attending night school for 10 years at American University while he was in the Senate. He was a voracious reader and was self-educated. He devoured Latin and Greek histories and memorized long passages of poetry, many of which made their way into his Senate speeches. The funeral will probably be sometime at the end of this week.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We Get the Government We Deserve

One of the statements that I hear uttered quite frequently from talk show hosts such as Bill Cunningham, for example, some preachers, and other people is the statement "You get the government you deserve." I've also heard the statement made that the government officials we elect are a reflection of the people at large in the country. I've struggled with the former statement for no other reason because of my paying attention to politics extensively the last several years. I've paid attention to government when the Republican Party had control of all three branches of government as well as to government now with all three branches of government under the control of the Democrats. I will say even though the national Democratic Party is socialistic to the core, there's not really any substantive difference between the two parties. I know radio talk show host Mark Levin would dispute my claim but I say that based on the fact that the Republican Party is a party that stands for nothing. They don't champion conservative values. They give lip service to that, but in reality when it comes to politics, they are part of the crowd. I've heard talk show host Jim Sumpter make the claim that the Republicans are co-conspirators along with the Democrats because the Republicans are witnesses to the destruction of our country but aren't making much noise. I do agree that if the Republican Party was in power they wouldn't pass the behemoth healthcare bill that this Congress and President Obama passed. However, the Republicans will hurt you in other ways. The Republican Party would definitely pass an amnesty bill for illegal aliens if they were in power because huge corporations desire illegals for cheap labor, for example. Both parties are taking this country down the same path. The only difference is the Democrats are taking us to the new world order on steroids. President Obama is quickening the pace in bringing us to a place where we'll forced to accept global governance or the new world order.

Yesterday I had written a post entitled, "Liberty Must be Accompanied by Responsibility." When I was writing that post, some things began to make sense to me. First of all, I do recognize that when it comes to the election process, we don't have much of a choice on who to vote for, especially in the general election. Most of the time when it comes to presidential elections it's Democrat vs. Democrat-lite (Republican). It's the lesser of two evils we're forced to choose. However, when it comes to voting, it's imperative that Americans vote in the primary and not wait until the general election to vote. It's too late to wait until the general election to vote. We have better choices when we are choosing a nominee for the respective parties during the primary than during the general election. During the general election, the only choices we have are the nominees of both the Democrat and Republican parties and both candidates are the run-of-the mill, establishment candidates. There's not much choice there.

I recognize there are many things that transpire in Congress the average American doesn't approve of. I will admit that much of the legislation that Congress passes many Americans don't favor such as the latest healthcare bill passed in March. Many Americans also don't accept open borders and granting amnesty to illegal aliens. Most Americans believe our borders should be secured to protect the safety of America's citizens. I'm sure most Americans wouldn't agree with the massive spending taking place in Congress. Most Americans also don't believe in staying in two protracted wars if there's no agenda to win the war as quickly as possible. There are many things that the average American wouldn't approve of when it comes to Congress and President Obama. In the midst of everything I just mentioned, I'm afraid I will have to admit we "get the government we deserve." Why?

There are a number of reasons why we as Americans get the type of government we deserve. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." The foundation of America was built on Judeo Christian principles. Our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers came to this land to settle in Massachusetts to dedicate this country to the Lord. They came for the express purpose of the freedom to worship as they saw fit. They came and built churches and honored God. That by no means suggest they were perfect nor were all their actions proper or Biblical. They made their share of mistakes like any other religious group. However, they had a fear of God and they believed people should honor God. They believed the laws of government should reflect the laws of God. They believed government was to execute justice and punish the wrongdoers; a far cry from today's modern government. Even years after the Puritans had passed off the scene, we've had generations of Americans that honored God. They would be faithful to honor the Lord's day which is Sunday and attend church. How do many Americans treat Sunday in this hour? Sunday in this hour is just another normal day of the week. Take a look at what the average American or professing Christian is doing on Sunday morning when it's time to attend the House of God. Some of them will go to the lake or the beaches to spend the day. Some will take their boats with them to go boating. Others will go to some theme park. Instead of attending the House of God, many people will be participating in pleasurable activities. God doesn't come into the thought life of the average individual unless trouble comes their way.

Take a look at the spiritual condition of many churches in America today. How many churches can you find in your local community which will preach the unadulterated Word of God without compromise? How many of those same churches experience the realness of the presence of God? Not many. Most places that call themselves the House of God have become nothing but a clown show or a theater. That's one of the reasons why there's so much Biblical illiteracy. People don't hear much preaching of the Bible. The church has become worldly. It doesn't stand for Biblical holiness. And we wonder why America is in the shape she's in. People aren't going to live above the preaching they're presented with in their local congregation. If the church is supposed to be the standard and the standards that are already present in the churches are very worldly to begin with, why should we be surprised that the average American thinks the way they do? When people head to the voting booth, they don't think about voting for an elected official that will stand for Christian principles that built this nation over two centuries ago. They think about what government programs they'll receive if they vote for a particular candidate. They never view the whole picture and vote for the candidate that's most likely to uphold God, country, and the Constitution. This is the theme I feel is important when it comes to voting for an elected official. Today when we vote for a politician we think, "What will they do to improve my economic condition?" The truth of the matter is there's not much they can do to improve our economic condition other than to create an atmosphere which will be conducive to creating a competitive free market environment. The answer to creating jobs is the private sector. The best thing government can do is to stop hindering the private sector with its burdensome tax policies and foolish regulations that would inhibit job creation.

Yesterday I brought up the point that in today's America we desire liberty divorced from responsibility. We've been producing that type of thinking in America ever since the hippie generation in the 1960's. Every generation seems to progressively become worse when it comes to the area of responsibility. The last few generations have thought of nothing but living a life that's full of pleausure. There's nothing wrong with pleasure to a point. However, you can't spend your entire life traveling to Holiday World Theme Park everyday. There are people that have that type of mentality. They want to have "fun" everyday. However, there are responsibilities that must be fulfilled on a daily basis. There's work that must be accomplished. We have our daily responsibilities to head to work to provide a living. There are chores that have to be completed at home. We have to pay our bills on a timely basis and there's periodic maintenance that must be done both at home and anything that we own. That's just a part of life. Today's generation thinks about going out and having a party on the weekends. Everything's about "me." Back in the 70's there was a group of people in America called the "Me Generation" because life revolved around "me" to some people. You can see that when it comes to loyalty whether around the job or in church for example. Over the years I've worked I've known a number of people that would call in work for no apparent reason. They just didn't want to come to work. That's the same with church. Whenever church services are taking place, there are people that aren't faithful in attendance. There's a great lack of loyalty today in this country. We're so wrapped up in ourselves that our God-given responsibilities are thrown out the back window.

The tragedy of this lack of responsibility on the part of many Americans today is that it will result in the further loss of freedom. Freedom demands responsbility. A person's not free if he's not temperate in all things. Whenever crises happen due to a lack of responsibility on somebody's part, the government will use that as an excuse to pass legislation to further clamp down on our freedoms. It appears that may happen in the case with BP and the Gulf oil spill. From what I've heard on the news, BP was careless and made ridiculous shortcuts when drilling for the Deepwater Horizon oil well. As a result of the explosion and BP's failed attempt to cap all the well, the government will probably use this as an excuse to nationalize the oil companies as well as to pass a cap and trade bill. A lack of responsibility on the part of the citizens will result in the government removing our freedoms. That happens all the time. We must exercise responsibility with the liberties we possess. Liberty demands vigilance.

Another reason why we get the government we deserve is the result of the apathy among many voters today. There are many voters that don't voter regularly. Some of them that do vote wait until the general election to vote. That's too late. The election in which you have the choice of candidates to vote for is the primary election. Both political parties will run candidates vying for the nomination of each party. By the time the general election rolls around, the only choices you have are the Democratic candidate and the Democrat-lite (Republican) candidate who are establishment candidates. You hardly don't have a choice when you wait until the general election to vote. If voters would vote in droves during the primary season, then the choices we would have in the general election would be much greater. However, a lack of apathy among voters is why we don't have much in the way of choices to vote for in the general election. In many elections voter turnout is less than half the registered voters. That's appalling. Outside of the 2008 election, the highest participatory election was the 1960 presidential election in which John F. Kennedy was elected president. When voters are apathetic and won't vote, then we're going to have the type of candidates we presently have that are in office today. We as voters need to become more involved in the political process by voting and even writing to our Senators and Congressmen. Writing to my Senators and Congressman is something that I fail to do. I'm faithful about voting, but I fail to write to my Senators and Congressmen. However, that's something everyone (including myself) need to do. Thankfully, there has been a group of Americans since last year joining up with the Tea Party movement standing for constitutional principles. However, if the Tea Party is going to thrive, it needs a leader to head the movement as well as the Tea Party needs to define itself and the principles it embraces. We need groups such as the Tea Party taking a stand if our country is going to have a chance to turn around.

The reason why America has enjoyed the liberty it has enjoyed for over two centuries is due to a group of Americans throughout time that has understood what liberty meant. They never interpreted liberty as a license to live in sin or to live irresponsibly. We've had Americans that loved God and were faithful to the House of God. They were very diligent in their labors. They would help their neighbors if they had a need. They looked out for each other. These people knew that they had to guard their freedoms. Liberty was life to them. They used it to serve God and their country. They recognized there were duties that came as a result of liberty. They were vigilant people. We as Americans need to understand that the liberty we enjoyed was bought with a price. We're losing our freedoms today as a result of forgetting God and divorcing responsibility from liberty. We have people that want to live autonomously without any type of principles guiding their life. That won't work. As a result of forgetting God, loose living, apathy among voters, and divorcing responsibility from liberty, that's why we get the government we deserve.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Liberty Must be Accompanied With Responsibility

One of the great blessings we have in America is liberty. Liberty is one of the hallmarks of living in this great country. We are endowed with certain inalienable rights as the Declaration of Independence so boldly declares. We have the freedom to attend the House of God on Sundays without having to go underground for worship. As of yet, we're privileged as Americans to attend church and worship as we choose. We have the freedom of speech in America to speak our minds, to protest, petition, to assemble, and the list continues. I will admit there have been many abuses concerning freedom of speech, but at least we're blessed to channel our thoughts into speech and we can say what we feel out in the public arena. How long that will endure I don't know because there are forces within our government that our doing everything within their power to clamp down on our right to free speech. Liberty is a precious commodity that we shouldn't take for granted. What does liberty mean. Liberty means not being held in chains of slavery or living in captivity. Liberty means we aren't confined. We aren't robots. We are human beings capable of expressing ourselves and living a life of freedom without an authoritarian elite trying to clamp down on every move we make.

Galatians 5:13 says, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Whenever young people grow into adulthood many of them decide to leave home and find an apartment where they can live as they please. They want the freedom to not have to be under the rules and regulations of mother and father. One of the major problems with that is many of them don't have an understanding of what freedom means and what it is to live on your own. Many young people think it's great to be able to live on your own once you're out of high school. But many fail to understand what living on your own entails. Along with the liberty to live life as you desire, there is responsibility that must accompany that freedom. That's the thought that I desire to discuss. Many people don't know how to think out of the box. They think in the box and think of what they see and what's pleasurable to them. However, they don't think of the responsibilities involved with making a living and living by yourself. When you live on your own, you must be responsible for things you previously didn't have to be as responsible for while living at home. You must be able to wake up on time to head to work, you must be responsible for managing your own money, you must be responsible for paying all your bills on a timely fashion, and you must also be responsible for periodic maintenance concerning the place in which you live as well as the vehicle you drive. That's part of what it means to be an adult and to "live in freedom." The problem with many people today whether it be young or older is they desire the liberty to live as they please but they don't desire the responsibilities that come along with it. That's why many people's lives are out of balance. They try to divorce responsibility from freedom. That's not possible. For you see without responsibility, there'll be no true freedom. A man isn't truly free when there's a lack of temperance or self-control in his life.

Take a look at the drunkard. A drunk man thinks he has the freedom to drink until he can't stand no more. Truthfully, he's in bondage to liquor. A man that's intoxicated is impaired in his senses, his judgment, and even in his coordination. What's free about partaking of an intoxicating substance that will impair you? What's free about being hooked on something that will literally destroy your life? There's nothing free about it. In today's society, many people associate freedom with license. However, that's not true freedom. Paul even instructs the church at Galatia to not use their liberty for an occasion to the flesh. We live in a very self-centered world. We think about ourselves and the freedom that's been given to us to serve ourselves. However, that kind of thinking will be destructive if we don't use it to serve and be a blessing to other people. The reason why the United States has enjoyed unparalleled freedom for over two centuries is because there has been groups of people from generations past that understood the truths of scripture and recognized life isn't about self. It's about serving the Lord. They recognized that there are responsibilities one must fulfill in this life. To them, responsibility was much more important than liberty being used as a license. That's the problem in today's society. We use liberty as a license to cheat, get drunk, to whore, to steal, to live ungodly and wicked lives. We also use liberty to be lazy as well. However, that kind of mindset will destroy you and eventually your country. One of the major reasons why modern day America has been in the shape it has for the last few decades is because we've allowed the mentality to creep in that liberty should be used as a license to sin. We bought into the notion that liberty is about serving ourselves and feeding our flesh. As a result, we're becoming a self-destructive nation. A nation that's truly free is a nation that thinks about the well-being of others. It's a nation that's responsible for its own actions. It's a nation that knows the concept of temperance and isn't wasteful and knows how to save money for a rainy day. It's a nation that understands the concept of self-responsibility. We've lost that in America today.

Show me a man that knows what the concept of liberty means. A man that knows the true concept of liberty is a man that's first of all saved by the grace of God. He knows God and the Holy Spirit resides within him. Secondly, this free man walks in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16) He doesn't fulfill the lust of the flesh. He follows God's commandments. Thirdly, he's a man where the fruit of the Spirit prevails in his life. He has control of his members and his spirit. When a man is Spirit-filled and he has the fruit of the Spirit within him, he enjoys liberty. He can live a life that's pleasing to God. He can live a life that's productive. He can achieve great things. Why? Because he doesn't use his liberty as an excuse to fulfill his fleshly desires. He recognizes life is about responsibility. He recognizes that without responsibility, he'll live in bondange and misery. There's no way a man can enjoy liberty when he's enslaved to his passions. He's a man that's responsible when it comes to being faithful on the job, faithful in paying his bills in a timely manner, he's faithful in serving his country, and he's faithful in fulfilling his responsibilities as a husband and father. A person that's not temperate will have all sorts of problems. We are in a mess as a country economically, politically, socially, and the list continues because of the lack of responsibility in properly handling every aspect of our lives. A nation that continues in using their liberty as a license to live to the flesh will eventually self-destruct. The freedoms they once had will be gone. Freedom can only endure for generations on end whenever a group of people balance liberty with responsibility.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is the Constant Criticism of President Obama Healthy for America?

One of the adages I hear quite often is "The price of leadership is criticism." That statement is very true. Anytime someone occupies a leadership position they are subject to criticism and they will experience criticism. Anyone that occupies a position of leadership knows you won't be in that post for very long without experiencing criticism. That's part of the job. Everybody is different and no leader in any position will please everyone. That's also the case of the presidency of the United States. Every president that's occupied the Oval Office has received criticism. Some of our highest rated presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln experienced criticism when they occupied the Oval Office. Former president Ronald Reagan, whom many conservatives believe was the greatest president in the last century, experienced harsh criticism. I remember when Reagan was president. He was vociferously criticized by the Left. He was criticized for some of the cutbacks that were made in social programs and he was criticized for the buildup in nuclear weapons during his tenure. There was some criticism of Reagan during his term in office that was legitimate as well. When Reagan left office many historians stated that he would go down as the one of the worst presidents of the United States. That was said due to the Iran Contra Scandal that took place during his administration and the spiraling national debt. Criticism will take place regardless who's president.

I've listened to many on the Left criticize right-wingers for always being critical of Barack Obama. If you listen to many conservative radio talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, they constantly and rightly criticize President Obama's policies and the direction he's leading the nation. I've heard liberal Democrat strategist Bob Beckel say on "Hannity" on Fox News that conservatives always have something derogatory to say about Barack Obama. This poses a great question. Is constant criticism of the president healthy for Americans to listen to? Some of the latest news polls have Barack Obama's approval rating hovering around 45%, which is a low rating at this point in the presidency. It's really intriguing because some of those that chastise conservatives and Republicans didn't have any problem with their vehement attacks upon the former administration. I will say publicly I'm no fan of George W. Bush. I felt many of his policies led us to the Democratic domination of Congress and the presidency of Barack Obama. However, I can remember the Left's vociferous attacks on Bush when our troops were in Iraq. As of present, our troops are still in both Afghanistan and Iraq but I don't hear the left aiming attacks at Obama like they did when Bush was president. However, the issue I want to address is constant criticism of a president healthy for this country?

It will depend upon what the attacks are aimed at. When criticizing a president, we should direct our criticism towards wrong judgment in policies and the direction the country is headed. Is constant criticism of a president unhealthy? If a president is wrong in his policies and if those policies are going to take this country down a path to ruin, then the media must shout to the housetops his fallacies regardless whether it's popular or not. The problem is a lack of objectivity when it comes to criticism of the president. Much of the criticism of the president is for partisan reasons. It's natural that Republicans will criticize him. The same with the Left. I can recall how the left vociferously attacked Bush when our troops went to Iraq. Since President Obama assumed the presidency, he's still continued the same policies of the previous administration in both Iraq and Afghanistan. However, you don't hear the attacks on the Left towards Obama for still continuing the Middle East wars like you heard them criticizing Bush. Is it because the occupier of the White House has the same ideology as Bush's detractors did? It appears that way. If Bush's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan were wrong, then President Obama is just as equally wrong with continuing both the wars in the Middle East. Right is right and wrong is wrong. However, it depends upon association when it comes to criticism. If you're president and you possess the same ideology or are of the same political party as certain members of the news media or major think tanks, then you'll receive a pass and won't be criticized as heavily.

The same thing's true when it comes to conservatives criticizing liberals. A case in point is Rush Limbaugh. Rush is a self-proclaimed conservative radio talk show host. He is a Republican. He's a strong opponent of the Obama administration. He's opposed to the policies of the Democratic Party. He's outspoken in his views toward President Obama. When Bush was in office, Limbaugh was a strong defender of the Bush administration. Bush didn't espouse conservative principles but since he's a Republican, Rush defended him because Rush is a supporter of the elite wing of the Republican Party. If President Clinton had been in office and some of the things that took place during his administration was the same as during the Bush administration, Limbaugh would've vociferously attacked Clinton for it. If Clinton had sent troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan like Bush did and if the same violence took place in Iraq under Clinton like it did under Bush, Limbaugh would've criticized Clinton for it. He would've wondered why are the wars in the Middle East still continuing and aren't won. I guarantee it. Limbaugh was a mouthpiece for the Bush administration. It was terrible. Limbaugh never brought Bush, Cheney, nor the Republicans into accountability when they had control of the White House or Congress. If Limbaugh had asked them the questions he should've asked them when they were in power, the Republicans wouldn't come on his radio program anymore. That's the truth.

Criticism of President Obama is desperately needed because his policies are changing the landscape of America. America's becoming a socialist nation. They are seizing control of the banking industry, the automobile industry, the insurance industry, and they're even trying to pass a new financial regulatory bill. Government wants to nationalize our major institutions in America. President Obama and the Democratic Congress must be stopped. When we criticize the president or Congress, it should directly be aimed at the President or those involved only. Their families shouldn't be a target. Their families shouldn't be scrutinized for the decisions the president and Congress makes. The only way any members of President Obama's family should be mentioned is if they're directly involved in any policy making decision. Otherwise, leave the president's family alone. I don't personally enjoy criticizing the president nor Congress, but we must when the future of the nation is on the line. It must be for the good of the country. The intent of our criticism musn't be for partisan or personal reasons. It's because the future of our children and grandchildren are at stake in America. It's about patriotism. We shouldn't go along with any agenda that would destroy the sovereignty of our country or make our country less secure. It's about America first. I don't like it when there are critics that will criticize but aren't evenhanded in their criticism. Criticism must be right and it must be consistent. If Bush is wrong for a certain policy, then President Obama is just as equally wrong when he espouses the same policies as Bush does. The same goes with George W. Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton. If Clinton was wrong, then Bush was just as equally wrong if he promoted policies that were similar to Clinton's. Criticism must be just, must be able to be proven, and it must be applied consistently. Party labels mean nothing. The problem with political parties is people will hide behind a political party and think because someone in their party does it, it means it's okay. That's not true. President Bush was very wrong when he started the bailout program. That was wrong and unconstitutional. The federal government isn't supposed to bailout private enterprise. President Obama was equally as wrong in continuing the bailouts with AIG, General Motors, and Chrysler.

When a president or any other elected official promotes policies that are destructive to America, they must be criticized when they're wrong, whether they are Democrat or Republican or claim to be a liberal or conservative. Truth is truth. We need objectivity when it comes to criticism of an elected official.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Founders' Friday: African American Founders Part 2

Today on the Glenn Beck Program on Fox News, Glenn Beck hosted part 2 of the African American Founders on Founders' Friday.  The guest on his program was David Barton, president of Wallbuilders.  Beck and Barton were discussing some of the blacks who served during the American Revolutionary War such as Caesar Glover, Richard Allen, and Absalom Jones, to name a few.  Barton was showing some obituaries of black soldiers who died.  Some black veteran soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War received a pension while alive and a full military funeral when they died.  On this post, I'm going to feature six other African Americans who fought in the American War for Independence.
 
1.  Lemuel Haynes - Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) was an influential African American religious leader who argued against slavery.  He was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, to a reportedly Caucasain mother of some status and a man named Haynes, who was said to be "of some form of African extraction."  At the age of five months, he was given over to indentured servitude in Granville, Massachusetts.  Although serving as an agricultural worker, part of the agreement required educating him.  Through accompanying his masters to church, he became exposed to Calvinistic thought and religiosity.  At about 20 years of age, he saw the Aurora Borealis and fearing he was approaching of the Day of Judgment, as a result, he soon accepted Christianity.  He was freed in 1774 when his indentured servitude expired.  He joined the minutemen of Granville.  In 1775 he marched with his militia company to Roxbury, Massachusetts, following the news of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  In 1776, he accompanied them in the garrisoning of the recently captured Fort Ticonderoga.  He returned to his previous labors in Granville after the northern campaign of the American War for Independence.  After the American Revolution, he began to write extensively, criticizing the slave trade and slavery.  He also began to prepare sermons for family prayer and write theologically about life.  The Scripture, abolitionism, and republicanism impacted his published writings.  In 1780, he became a Calvinist minister in Vermont.  He was the first black in America to serve as pastor of a White Congregation, Rutland's West Parish for 30 years starting in 1783.
 
2.  Cato Mead - The only known Black Revolutionary War veteran buried west of the Mississippi River, Cato Mead (1761-1846) is buried in or near Montrose, Iowa.  According to histornain Barbara MacLeish, who is researching a book on Mead, says he joined the 4th Connecticut Regiment commanded by Colonel John Durkee of Norwich, Connecticut in 1776 or 1777.  It wasn't entirely clear if Mead was a former slave.  He served at Valley Forge from December 1777 to June 1778, where he contracted smallpox, spending two months in a Pennsylvania hospital.
 
3.  Jehu Grant - He was born as a slave in Rhode Island.  He lived in Narrangansett in 1777, when he ran away from his master and served in various capacities in the Continental Army for eight months during the Revolutionary War.  His situation was discovered and he was turned to his master, who later sold him to a man named Grant.  In 1832, the U.S. Congress enacted the first Comprehensive Pension Act, which granted an annual stipend to any veteran of the Revolutionary War who could prove his service.  At the time of his pension application, he was 80 years old and blind.  He made an appeal with the assistance of his neighbor.  He was denied because he was technically a slave during the time of the war.
 
4.  James Forten - (1766-1842) Forten was an African American abolitionist and wealthy businessman.  He worked at many jobs including dentistry, carpentry, pastor, and minutemen.  At the age of 15, during the Revolutionary War, Forten served on the privateer Royal Louis, where he invented a device to handle ship sails.  Upon the ship's capture by British forces, Forten's friendship with the son of the ship's captain Beasley enabled him to be treated as a regular prisoner of war rather than being forced into slavery.  He was sent to the English Rison ship Jersey.  After the War, Forten was apprenticed as a sailmaker.  In 1786 he became a shop foreman.  In 2002, Molefi Kete Asante listed James Forten on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
 
5.  Absalom Jones - (1746-1818)  He was an African American abolitionist and clergyman.  After founding a black congregation in 1794, in 1804 he was the first African American ordained as a priest in the Epispocal Church of the U.S.  He is listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints and blessed under the date of his decease February 13, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  He was born into slavery in Delaware in 1746.  He became a lay minister for black members in the interracial congregation of St. George's Methodist Church.  Together, with Richard Allen, he was one of the first African Americans licensed to preach by the Methodist Church. 
 
6.  Seymour Burr - (1754/1762-1837) Burr was an African American slave in the Connecticut colony in the North American British colonies and the U.S.  He was owned by the brother of Colonel Aaron Burr, who was also named Seymour.  He enlisted in the Massachusetts Seventh Regiment, led by Colonel John Brooks.  He fought at Bunker Hill and at Fort Catskill, and suffered through a long winter at Valley Forge.

The 60th Anniversary of the Korean War

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War conflict. It wasn't a true war in the sense of what we classify as wars. It was a police action that ended in an armistice in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called a cease-fire to end the war. Sixty years ago North Korean troops stormed across the 38th parallel into South Korea, launching a three-year conflict that culminated in an armistice in 1953, but never officially ended. The North Koreans launched a massive, coordinated air-land invasion in the early morning hours of June 25, 1950 with more than 230,000 troops, fighter jets, attack bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, tanks and artillery. The ferocity of the offensive caught the South Koreans by surprise. With fewer than 100,000 troops, no tanks and limited aircraft, the South Koreans were caught by surprise.

Seoul, which was the South Korean capital, fell on June 28. Then President Harry S. Truman, very concerned about the spread of communism around the world following World War II, decided to halt the invasion force. "I felt certain that if South Korea was allow to fall, Communist leaders would be emboldened to override nations closer to our own shores," Truman wrote in his autobiography. He felt if the communists were allowed to force their way into South Korea without any type of opposition from the free world, no small nation would be able to stand against aggression by stronger communist neighbors. Truman ordered U.S. air and naval forces to defend South Korea, and committed ground troops as part of a combined U.N. effort. The sixteen member coalition formed under the U.S. led United Nations Command, with Truman naming Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur as its commander.

The 2th infantry Division, part of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan under MacArthur's command following World War II, deployed the first U.S. troops to Korea. Advanced elements of the 24th infantry Division rushed to Korea on transport planes to block the enemy advance. As they awaited follow-up deployments, the 24th infantry Division troops, known as the Task Force Smith, suffered heavy losses and ultimately defeated during their first significant engagement of the war, the Battle of Osan. Outgunned and overpowered, the division ultimately lost more than 3600 dead and wounded and almost 3000 captured as the North Korean progressed south. By September the U.N. Command controlled only about 10 percent of Korea in a small southeastern corner of the country around Pusan. The Battle of Pusan Perimeter raged from August to September 1950, with the U.S. Air Force and Navy air forces attacking North Korean logistics operations and transportation hubs. Meanwhile, there were troops from the 7th Infantry Division, 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Cavalry Division and other 8th Army supporting units poured into South Korea.

The Inchon Landing, a massive amphibious landing in September 1950, ultimately turned the tide in the fighting by breaking the North Korean army's supply lines. This prompted China to enter the war on North Korea's behalf, ending hope, as MacArthur had predicted, that the war would end soon and the troops would be home for Christmas. The conflict raged for three more Christmases, with neither side achieving any sort of decisive military victory. Two years of negotiations led to an armistice agreement signed July 27, 1953. Representatives of the North Korean army, the Chinese volunteers and the U.N. Command signed the agreement, but South Korea refused to participate. The United States lost more than 36,000 servicemembers during the Korean War, with more than 92,000 wounded, more than 8,000 missing in action and more than 7000 taken prisoner of war.

This was the first war the U.S. ever entered into without a decisive military victory. That would eventually follow into one of America's most protracted and controversial wars in U.S. history, which was the Vietnam War. We can learn lessons from the Korean, Vietnam, and the two wars presently in the Middle East that it's foolish to send troops to battle unless there's a goal for victory. Anything short of that is unacceptable. These no-win wars have stained the U.S.'s reputation around the world. The world knows they can bully the U.S. around because we aren't serious about winning wars.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

President Obama Dismisses Stanley McChrystal as Top Commander in Afghanistan

(The Washington Post) President Obama yesterday dismissed General Stanley McChrystal after concluding that his military chief in Afghanistan had badly damaged the chain of command and could no longer work effectively with the civilian leadership at a crucial moment of the war. White House officials said Obama's decision, made over a tense 40 hours, pitted his desire to retain a talented general who designed the Afghan strategy against the importance of preserving the authority of the commander-in-chief. The President will turn over the Afghan command to General David Petraeus, keeping his war strategy intact. The announcement ended McChrystal's 34-year Army career less than two days after the publication of a Rolling Stone article featuring disparaging remarks by the general and his fiercely loyal staff about some of Obama's senior civilian advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden, who argued against McChrystal's strategy last year. Petraeus will take over control of the International Security Assistance forces in Afghanistan, which comprises nearly 100,000 U.S. troops and 40,000 forces from other countries. Petraeus presently heads Central Command, which oversees wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

There have been some radio talk show hosts, including Michael Savage, that have criticized President Obama firing McChrystal. Obama has that right to fire McChrystal. Could Obama have reprimanded McChrystal and still kept him on? He could, but that's Obama's choice. Obama wanted to use this as an opportunity to appear that he's strong and not weak. He's proved his point, I guess. Gen. McChrystal was completely wrong in his willingness to grant an interview with Michael Hastings, who conducted the story for the Rolling Stone. Michael Hastings is a left-winger. Why would McChrystal or his staff consent to granting an interview and dispersing the kind of information he did to someone like Hastings? It's foolish. A general that's under the command of the President isn't supposed to share what he thinks about the President nor his staff while serving as general in a war. If he wanted to reveal to the public what he thinks about some of the President's staff, he should've resigned then he could speak his mind. You can't trust someone like Hastings.

Some Republicans believe that David Petraeus will be a great replacement for General Stanley McChrystal. General Petraeus was the General who wrote the manual on counter-insurgency. The changing of the guard isn't what's going to solve the problem. The problem is in the strategy and the rules of engagement. This month has been a high casualty month for U.S. troops. There needs to be an overhaul in strategy. The present strategy that McChrystal has adopted hasn't worked. If the U.S. is going to continue fighting in Afghanistan, then they need to unleash air power and bomb Afghanistan into an oblivion. That's my opinion. If the military brass doesn't have the will to utilize overwhelming force, then our troops need to exit Afghanistan. Placing a new general in power isn't going to solve anything if our war strategy in Afghanistan isn't changed. We've been in Afghanistan for almost nine years. It's either time we change strategy to win or we exit. We can't prop up Afghanistan forever. If they don't have the will to fight for their country, then we're wasting our time keeping our troops in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kate Smith

YouTube - Ballad of the Green Beret - Kate Smith

Whenever I think of Independence Day, I think of Kate Smith who famously sang the rendition of the song that Irv Berlin wrote around 1919 entitled, "God Bless America." She sang that song for the first time around 1938 and that song has been a popular past time in America since. Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to introduce her as "This is Kate Smith. This is America." "God Bless America" is the song she is most famous for. Edith Bennett, who hosts two Sunday morning programs on WOMI 1490 in Owensboro, plays some of her music periodically. She plays some of Kate Smith's songs during the July 4th holidays or on other special occasions revolving around Veteran's Day or Memorial Day. A couple of other songs I've heard Smith sing were "Almighty God of our Fathers" and "To Dream the Impossible Dream."

Kathryn Elizabeth "Kate" Smith (May 1, 1907-June 17, 1986) was an American singer best known for her rendition of Irv Berlin's "God Bless America". Smith had a radio, television, and a recording career spanning five decades reaching its pinnacle in the 1940's. She was born in Greenville, Virginia. Her professional music career began in 1930, when she was discovered by Columbia Records vice-president Ted Collins, who became her longtime partner and manager. Collins place her on radio in 1931. She sang the controversial top twenty song of 1931 entitled, "That's Why Darkies Were Born." If she sang that song in this hour, she would be heavily lambasted by civil rights activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. She appeared in 1933 in "Hello Everybody" with co-stars Randolph Scott and Sally Blane. She also appeared in the 1943 movie, "This is the Army" co-starring with then actor Ronald Reagan. She sang "God Bless America" in that movie.

She began her recording career in 1926. Her biggest hits were "River, Stay 'Way from My Door" (1931), "The Woodpecker Song" (1940), "The White Cliffs of Dover" (1941), "I don't Want to Walk Without You" (1942), "Seems Like Old times" (1946), and "Now is the Hour" (1947). Her theme song was "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain." She helped write some of the lyrics to that song. She was known for her introduction as "Hello, Everybody", and signed off as "Thanks for Listenin".

There were times her weight was an object of derision given the fact that at age 30 she was 5'10 and weighed 230 lbs. Some of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey fans, who loved her, would utter the statement, "It ain't BEGUN 'til the fat lady sings." She also had some radio programs on NBC and CBS. She was a major star of radio backed by Jack Miller's orchestra. A couple of radio programs that she hosted were "Kate Smith Sings" and "Kate Smith and Her Swanee Music" (1931-32).

Over the years it would be a custom for the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey team to sing her rendition of "God Bless America." They started doing so on December 11, 1969 at the home opener against the Toronto Maple Leaf. They beat Toronto 2-0. On October 11, 1973 she made a surprise visit to the Spectrum and performed the song before the crowd. She again performed at the Spectrum before a capacity crowd of 17,007 before game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals on May 19, 1974. Philadelphia clinched it's first two back-to-back Stanley Cups 4-2 beating the Boston Bruins. In 1987 over a year after Kate Smith died, there was a statute of Smith hung at the Spectrum where she had sang for them at the games. The song "God Bless America" is sung during the 7th inning stretch at the New York Yankees home baseball games.

Smith died in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 17, 1986. On October 26, 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a high honor for a civilian. She was inducted posthumously into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1999. Smith was never married. She was an overweight diabetic woman who was crippled during the latter years of her life. She had went into a diabetic coma and her health deteriorated from then onward for the last several years of her life. In 2010, there was a commemorative stamp in her honor which shows the cover of a CD titled, "Kate Smith: The Songbird of the South."

The first time I recall hearing of Kate Smith for the first time was when I heard on ABC news that she had just passed away. Some of my family members had heard her sing in years past. I'm planning on linking up possibly a couple of YouTube clips of Kate Smith's songs. I will also be featuring some other YouTube patriotic songs as July 4th nears. I have a YouTube clip of one of Kate Smith's songs entitled, "The Ballad of the Green Beret" which will give you bloggers a taste of some of the music of Kate Smith. I enjoy this song and I hope you do as well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. Let's take time to remember our earthly fathers today. You can't overestimate the importance of a Father. I thank God for mine. I never had a day throughout my years that I lived at home that I wondered where my next meal was coming from. He always worked diligently and made sure the bills were paid. He was always faithful to work. It was very rare for him to ever call into work. The only times that I remember him calling into work was for a funeral service or something of that nature. He never abused the system, unlike many people that work a public job today. It was a serious thing to be prompt at work and to make sure all the household needs were taken care of. You don't find that quality in many fathers today. We live in a society where many fathers don't take their God-given duties responsibly. I do recognize there are fathers that don't know Jesus and as a result can't exercise their responsibilities as the spiritual leader in that home. A dad has to experience the new birth in order to fulfill his spiritual responsibilities towards his family. However, I've known of many a father who were faithful in their responsibilities as a father from a human standpoint. They worked diligently on the job to provide for all their immediate family's need. They spent quality time with their children playing with them and involving themselves with the activities of their children. They instructed them in the best way they knew how from a human standpoint. They at least taught their children values so as to be a moral and upright citizen in this country.

America is greatly lacking strong fathers in many of our homes today. There are numerous homes being headed by a single parent today; many times the mother. There are also some situations where there are deadbeat fathers. They don't involve themselves in any way, shape, or form in their children's lives. They don't even pay child support. Then there are homes where the father does reside in that household but his presence is irrelevant to his family. In other words, he's not a leader in his home. He doesn't involve himself in his family in the way he should. No home can function properly without the strong presence and leadership role of the father. The Bible says that parents are to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Proverbs 1:8 says, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forskake not the law of thy mother." The father is to teach his children in the ways of God. He should teach them the righteousness of the Lord and to live for God. The father is to set the example in the household before his family. He should lead in family devotions. We're greatly missing that in today's society. He's to be diligent in his labors, faithful in taking his family to the House of God when services are being held, faithful in the discipline and correction of his children, faithful in paying the bills, and a counselor to his children, to name a few.

Today's homes are missing the presence of strong fatherlike figures. There's more to being a father than just bringing home a paycheck. He's to lead his family in the ways of righteousness. He's to warn his children when there's danger ahead. He's to advise his children on their future. He's somebody that his children and wife should be able to look up to. He should have a good testimony and good report before his family and his community. He can't live a life of hypocrisy and expect his children to follow him. Many children in today's society are lacking direction in their lives due to the lack of a fatherly influence. A father is to guide their children. Dad, your children are watching you and watching every move you make. What kind of example do you set before them? Are you diligent in instructing them? Do you take your family to church whenever services are being held? I do recognize there are situations where fathers can't be in church at times because their schedules require them to work during the time church is in service. That's understandable. I'm making reference when they're not working and are able to take their family to the House of God. It's a serious responsibility. I just barely scratched the surface today. There's much more I can say. I want to wish all you fathers today a Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward Grilled By Congress

(The Huffington Post) Channeling the nation's anger, our nation's lawmakers grilled BP's CEO in a withering day of judgment Thursday for the oil company at the center of the Gulf calamity. On Wednesday BP's Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg testified before Congress. On Thursday BP CEO Tony Hayward said he was "out of the loop" on decisions at the well and cooly asserted, "I'm not stonewalling." That infuriated members of Congress even more, Democrats and Republicans alike. Testifying as oil's still surging into the Gulf of Mexico and as it's continually coating more coastal lands and marshes, Hayward declared, "I am so devastated with this accident," "deeply sorry" and "so distraught." He stated that sarcastically as far as I'm concerned. He disclaimed knowledge of any of the myriad problems on and under the Deepwater Horizon rig before the deadly explosion, saying at a Congressional hearing he had only heard about the well earlier in April, the month of the explosion, when the BP drilling team told him it had found oil.

Hayward told Henry Waxman (D-Calif), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations, "I'm not stonewalling. "I simply was not involved in the decision-making process." Hayward told Rep. Michal Burgess of Texas, "With respect sir, we drill hundreds of wells a year around the world." Burgess shot back, "Yes I know. That's what scaring me right now." Tony Hayward needs to be terminated from his position as CEO of BP. He doesn't seem too concerned about the fact that the well hasn't been capped yet and millions of gallons of oil are spilling into the Gulf. It doesn't appear there's any sense of urgency among Hayward or BP's management to stop this leak quickly. This hearing was nothing but a dog-and-pony show, as far as I'm concerned. The government has a cozy relationship with the oil industry, which includes the Obama administration as well. BP even helped craft legislation for the cap and trade bill that Congress wants to push.

According to the statement that BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, they seem to possess the attitude that they (the executives at BP) are "big" people and the people along the Gulf Coast are "small people." He made reference to those along the Coast as "little people." It's easy when you're an executive of a huge corporation to view yourself in a highly exalted position and those below as small people or peasants. The livelihood of millions of Gulf Coast are being wiped out with the oil contaminating the coastlands and marshes. A large percentage of the U.S.'s shrimp is imported along the Gulf Coast. Wildlife, marine life, and the economy are being destroyed due to the out-of-control oil spill. Tony Hayward and the BP chairman seem unconcerned. Hayward even stated he "wanted his life back." What life has he lost? He's sitting on top of the world. He's not one of the residents along the Gulf Coast that has to wonder what kind of job he's going to have to locate to make a living. The fishing business is being wiped out with the massive oil spill. Hayward and the other BP executives aren't having to suffer through this.

It's true that BP and many other oil companies drill numerous wells on a yearly basis. It's true that the Deepwater Horizon Rig isn't the only rig they were responsible for. However, whenever a catastrophic oil spill occurs due to an explosion, there needs to be a focus on a quick method to shut off the spewing oil as well as they need to assume responsibility for the costs of the damage done to Gulf Coast residents and the cleanup effort. There needs to be people delegated specifically to handle that emergency. Also, the CEO needs to be briefed daily on that incident. As Harry Truman used to say, "The buck stops here." That should be priority number one. The oil that's spewing from the damaged wellhead is a waste of money. He should focus on putting together a team to cap off the well. They also need to change strategy when it comes to drilling for oil in the long term. They need to look into the cause of the explosion so as to not repeat the same mistake again. Shortcuts can be very deadly when it compromises safety. Eleven rig members are deceased. They've lost more money than saved by using shortcuts that resulted in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Some shortcuts are dangerous. If they used heavy drilling mud for the well instead of sea water, then possibly methane gas wouldn't have escaped which supposedly caused the explosion. It's time for a change of guard at BP. BP needs a new CEO, chairman, and possible a new executive team. BP needs leadership that will take responsibility for their mistakes. They need leadership that will be proactive in stopping this oil leak. They need leaders that won't compromise when it comes to proper procedures in drilling for oil. This oil spill is the worst oil spill ever in U.S. history. It's going to be an ecological nightmare. The ramifications of this incident is yet to be seen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Aren't There Other Methods Being Used to Help Contain the Massive Oil Spill?

Saturday evening I watched Mike Huckabee on Fox News. I'm not a very big fan of Huckabee, but he had a very interesting show Saturday. It was different from some of his normal Saturday evening shows. It was a special show where he had a panel of experts who were demonstrating methods of oil clean-up. There were different experts using various methods to clean the oil that was floating on top of water in an aquarium. One guest used a chemical compound which was white and he spread it on top of the oil. It turned the oil into a clay like substance. He scooped it out with his hands then he took some of that water to pour it through a coffee filter. Huckabee was drinking it to demonstrate that it was safe to drink after the oil was removed and the water was placed through a filter. Another guest was using hay as a demonstration to remove the oil from the water in the tank. It was successful. There was also another expert that used hair as a means to soak up the oil. Then toward the end of the program, they showed a machine which could be used to siphon the oil from the water. It would also soak up the water along with the oil, but at least, it would siphon that oil from the ocean. The question I have is why aren't some of these methods being used to help contain the oil spill? Why does there appear to be a lack of urgency from both BP and the federal government to help clean up this mess?

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stated last year that they don't want to see a crisis go to waste. In other words, they want to take the opportunity to exploit the crisis. I made the statement on an April 30th post about the oil spill that the White House and Congress will try to use this oil spill as an opportunity to pass cap and trade legislation, which is something they've been trying to do since last year. The government will thrive on a crisis as an excuse to pass legislation to further restrict the freedoms of the American people. There is plenty of blame to spread around. BP's at fault for violating safety standards when drilling this deep oil well. They took short cuts which proved to be lethal, and now many fishermen's livelihood off the Gulf Coast has been wiped out due to this catastrophic oil spill. There have been estimate adjustments on how much oil has been spewing into the Gulf. It's foolish that BP didn't have some type of plan in case this rig was to malfunction. Drilling for oil is risky business and there must be a plan B to fall back on in case a rig malfunctions. This oil disaster is going to be an ecological nightmare. This will affect the fishing industry, the ecosystem, wildlife, and possibly tourism on the beaches in the Gulf Coast for many years to come. It's disgraceful. Another terrible thing about this incident is hurricane season is now in full sway. If we have some terrible hurricanes this year, just imagine the environmental damage that will be wreaked upon the cities along the Gulf Coast. Oil will spread everywhere with that hurricane. The oil could go up into the atmosphere in the midst of any major hurricane this year. It could affect weather patterns possibly. I can't say with certainty, but I'm certain if oil heads up into the air in the midst of a hurricane, it's going to disturb weather patterns. This is a disaster in the making.

If there aren't some major efforts utilized to stop the further spread of this oil leak, then the oil could reach into the Eastern seaboard. Oil already has been spotted close to the beaches in Pensacola, Florida. The oil has already reached Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida along the Gulf Coast. The problem we have is that the government and the oil industry have a cozy relationship with one another regardless of political party affiliation. Any time you have government and major corporations aligned with one another, there's always corruption involved. The federal government may not be able to stop the leak, but they should have navy vessels and the Coast Guard dispatched to help further stop the spreading of oil. The Department of Homeland Security should be involved as well. That should be common sense. We don't want to see this oil spread along the Eastern Seaboard. The spill is almost out of control as it is if not already.

I want to acknowledge there have been groups that have been working tirelessly to help contain this oil spill. We need all the cooperation we can to stop the further spread of this leak. The government needs to step in because this is a national emergency on the Gulf Coast. It could take years to restore the wildlife and marine life along the Gulf Coast. Many fishermen will be out of a job due to the procrastination of the federal government and BP to prevent the oil from spreading. In any manufacturing center in America that has machines that use hydraulic oil, they have a containment policy where if there's an oil leak, that leak must be contained immediately, not two weeks later. When the rig exploded and the oil started gushing out, there should've been Coast Guard and navy vessels at the spot where Deepwater Horizon exploded using whatever method was possible to prevent the oil spill from spreading. That was pure negligence as far as I'm concerned. This whole incident stinks to high Heavens. The federal government delayed the response effort a little too long.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day

Today is Flag Day. Flag Day is celebrated each year on June 14. Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. In 1916 President woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established Flag Day on June 14. In 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. The President of the United States is the one that officiates the celebration. Flag Day is a state holiday only in Pennsylvania. It began in the town of Rennerdale. Title 36 of the U.S. Code Subtitle I Part A Chapter 1 is the official statute on Flag Day. Flag Day has long been celebrated in some U.S. towns. Quincy, Massachusetts held its first Flag Day celebration in 1952. Appleton, Wisconsin has held Flag Day parades for years. The Largest Flag Day parade is in Troy, New York. It has 50,000 spectators. The oldest Flag Day celebration began in Fairfield, Wisconsin in 1909 or 1910.

There have been various individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in establishing a National Flag Day celebration over the years. The names of the different individuals and organizations involved in celebrating Flag Day in their communities are George Morris in Hartford, Connecticut in 1861, George Bolch in 1889, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie in 1893, etc. Thanks to all the contributions from these individuals in promoting Flag Day.

There's been a historical misconception that Betsy Ross was the one responsible for sewing the first American Flag. However, it's been stated by historians she didn't play a part in designing the first American flag. She was a seamstress and did sew flags, but she supposedly didn't sew the first American flag. History states that Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, played a role in helping to design the first American flag. He wasn't the only figure responsible for the design of the American flag, either.

What does the American flag represent? It contains 50 white stars, which represent 50 states, 13 white stripes, which represent the 13 colonies that rebelled against Great Britain. The 13 red stripes supposedly represent the color of the British because that's one of Great Britain's colors. What do the colors represent? The color white represents purity. Red represents blood, war, and courage. Blue represents justice and freedom. Whenever I see the color red I think of all the soldiers throughout the history of time that have shed their blood on the battlefield that we as Americans may enjoy the freedom we enjoy today. My mind also goes further back than that. I think of the Lord Jesus Christ that went to Calvary to die on an old rugged cross for the sins of mankind. He shed his blood that we may be pardoned from sin. Our freedom from sin was bought by Jesus on Calvary. As a result of the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary, we as Americans have the privilege to enjoy the freedoms we do today in America. It's really amazing because it takes the shedding of blood to purchase freedom--not only spiritually but also politically as well. We as Americans (including myself) enjoy the right to free speech, protest, assembly, and the list continues because of the sacrifices of our soldiers in foreign lands to ensure and protect the freedoms that America enjoys today. Thank God for America and for the price that was paid not only on the battlefield but on Calvary's cross. Without the shedding of blood on Calvary's cross, we wouldn't enjoy the freedom as Americans like we do today. Most importantly, we wouldn't have the opportunity to experience the free pardon of sin. Let's remember the price that was paid by our soldiers when we see the flag of the United States. May it wave high!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit

On Friday's post I was dealing with the characteristics of the unregenerate man. I was mentioning some of the works of the flesh which is in Galatians 5:19-21 such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and the list continues. The post began with the statement that there are attributes that identify certain groups of people such as police officers and firefighters. Both police officers and fire fighter wear uniforms and drive vehicles which identify them with their occupation. In the spiritual realm there are certain characteristics that identify both those that are saved and those that are lost. Friday's post dealt with the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are characteristic of the unregenerate man. Those that live to the flesh and aren't restrained by the Holy Spirit will live to the flesh. Those that are saved have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. They have become a new creatures as II Corinthians 5:17 indicates. However, even as a saved person, they must make a choice whether they're going to walk in the Spirit or to allow the old man to have his way. They can choose to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, or they can allow themselves to drift away from God and allow themselves to let the flesh dominate to a point. However, Hebrews 12 says that a child of God will receive chastening from the Lord. If a Christian allows his flesh to rule, God will chasten him so he won't be identified with the world as well as to bring him into a right relationship with Christ. Whereas those outside of grace don't have the Holy Spirit to chasten them when they live in sin.

(Galatians 5:16-25) "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murderers, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." In order for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in our life, we must walk in the Spirit. We must allow God to crucify our flesh and bring our mind captive. A Christian who possesses the fruit of the Spirit is a Christian that's walking in the Spirit. Notice it's not "fruits" of the Spirit but "fruit", which isn't plural. All the attributes of the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, and the list continues. They are all part of the same fruit. If you possess the "fruit" of the Spirit, all those attributes of that fruit will be manifested in your life. They come in a package deal.

A person who manifests the fruit of the Spirit in his/her life is a person that will live victorious. It's a sign that a person's been born again that manifests the fruit of the Spirit. That's something that comes from God above. It's a work of God that's manifested in the heart of man. It's crucially important that a saved person has the fruit of the Spirit manifested in his/her life. God's purpose for a saved person is to be conformed to the image of Christ. A Christian who's conformed to the image of Christ will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

What is the purpose of the fruit of the Spirit? First of all, a person that has the fruit of the Spirit manifested in his/her life is a sign that person has been saved. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested in a Christian's life as a result of trials and tribulations. One time I heard a message preached years ago entitled, "A Shaken Vessel." The crux of the message is that a Christian will encounter trials and tribulations in their life. You'll undergo pressures in your life. You'll undergo a process where you'll be tried. You'll be shaken. Whatever's inside you will come out. Two things trials will prove when placed to the test: It will prove to the saved man what he's made out of. Trials also will prove to the world what the save man's made out of. In order to know what's inside a person or to know what kind of material he/she's made of, they have to undergo trials to be tested. On a similar note in a school setting, students will be tested periodically on the subject material to show the instructor and to the student how well they've mastered their material. Without a test, there's no way for the instructor to gauge the knowledge of the student. That's the same with a Christian. In order for the world to know how real a Christian is, they must be put to the test. When a Christian faces trials and tribulations, whatever's inside their heart will be manifested. It will reveal to the Christian where they stand with God and the areas they fall short. It also reveals to the world how real we are. Trials will prove to the world whether we believe what we preach or it's just mere words. That's why it's so important for the fruit of the Spirit to be manifest in us.

Galatians 5:23 says, "Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. A Christian must walk in the Spirit so the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in their life. I've said in the last few posts that those that have been redeemed aren't under law but are under grace. Any Christian which has the fruit of the Spirit flowing in their life doesn't need the law. A Christian will live a life that's pleasing to God who has the fruit of the Spirit within them. Saved people will live a balanced life when love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, and temperance are abounding in their life. Those type of the people don't need the law because they're walking in the Spirit. The Spirit guides them in their daily lives. Those that are walking in the Spirit have crucified the lusts and the affections thereof. Those that walk in the Spirit and don't allow the flesh to dominate their lives won't be lacking. They'll live victorious lives that are yielded to God. A Christian can't be an effective witness without the fruit of the Spirit manifest in their lives. Love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, etc. are some of the characteristics that Christians are known for. The world needs to see the fruit manifested in our lives. The reason why the world doesn't have much regard for many "Christians" is because we don't walk in the Spirit and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives. You can't be uniquely and distinctly different from the world if you're lacking these fruits. The world isn't going to be interested in our God if we're drinking dill pickle juice. I'm using a figurative term. They must see our lives filled with joy and peace. Those attributes distinguish us from the unregenerate.

Can saved people fall into the cateogry where they can committ some of the works of the flesh as described in vss. 19-21. If a Christian doesn't walk in the Spirit, they are capable of committing sin. As mentioned Friday, saved people have a dual nature in which they must contend with their new nature when they become saved vs. the old, Adamic, fleshly nature. The new nature doesn't take place until the new birth. However, the new birth doesn't eradicate the old nature. God saves our souls but our bodies are still corruptible. We'll live in these old corruptible bodies until we die or until the rapture takes place. That's why Galatians says we must walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We'll have to contend with the old Adam until we die or the rapture takes place. We have a responsbility to crucify the flesh. If our flesh isn't crucified, our walk with God will be hindered. Our flesh isn't pleasing to God. If we feed our flesh with the things of the world, then we can't walk in the Spirit nor will we have the fruit manifest in us. Even though we have the capacity to sin, we also have the capacity to deny ourselves and follow God. The Holy Spirit dwells within us. If we will yield ourselves to the Spirit of God and follow him, we won't fulfill the desires of the flesh. If we sin with our flesh, the Holy Spirit will deal with our hearts through chastisement. That is something the unregenerate man doesn't experience. Saved people have the capacity to sin because of their sinful flesh, but they also can have their flesh crucified. They can also live yielded, victorious lives. They have the Spirit within them so they can live and walk in the Spirit.

The works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit are the characteristics of two different sets of people. The unregenerate will live to the flesh because they are dead in sins and trespasses. They don't have the capacity to live for God in their sinful state. They are doing what's natural to them. Those that have been redeemed have the ability to walk in the Spirit because the Spirit of God dwells within them. Those that walk in the Spirit will possess the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the attributes of those Christians that have crucified the flesh and the lust and affections thereof. The fruit of the Spirit will reveal to the world that we are a Christian when we are tested through trials and tribulations. Which sets of traits best identifies you? Is it the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Iran Dismisses UN Sanctions

(USA Today) The U.S. and it's allies on Wednesday pushed through new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, punishments Tehran dismissed as "annoying flies, like a used tissue." The sanctions target Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments. Oil exports, which are the lifeblood of Iran's economy, are not affected because targeting their oil exports would supposedly cost the U.S. support from Russia and China. President Obama stated that the sanctions placed upon Iran are the toughest they have ever faced. They require several months of difficult negotiations by the five veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council members which are the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France. Even non-member Germany is part of the process.

This is the fourth round of sanctions aimed at pushing Iran towards serious discussions on its nuclear ambitions. The United States says much of Iran's program is suitable only for building a bomb and not for energy, as Iran claims. "Actions do have consequences, and today the Iranian government will face some of those consequences," Obama said. Obama claims the door is open to diplomacy but said Iran "will find itself more isolated, less prosperous, and less secure" unless it meets its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the sanctions as annoying flies, like a piece of used tissue. Tehran claims its program is peaceful and aimed at producing nuclear energy. The U.S. and its allies claim Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. They desire for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program and start negotiations aimed at ensuring that it uses nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes. How can we expect Iran to use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes when Ahmadinejad claims he desires for Israel to be wiped off the face of the map, for example?

The new resolution bans Iran from pursuing "any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons," bars Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining and prohibits Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons including attack helicopters and missiles. Iran already has most of what it needs to make a weapon. "I don't think anybody thinks these particular sanctions are going to trigger Iran to give up its nuclear program," said Sharon Squassoni, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Iran insisted the sanctions would do nothing.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has no reason to fear that the U.S. or its allies are going to stop Iran from using its nuclear weapons on Israel or any country it wishes to obliterate. Ever since Ahmadinejad has been at the helm of Iran since 2005, the U.S. under both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations haven't done anything to stop Ahmadinejad from trying to develop nuclear weapons. On top of that, President Obama is a sympathizer of the Muslim nations. Obama hasn't been very supportive of Israel, either. Iran and the Arab world sees that. They're not going to fear the Obama administration. It's all a dog-and-pony show. The U.N. nor the U.S. is going to make it difficult for Iran. If Iran struck Israel today, I can't say for certainty that the Obama administration would side with Israel. The U.S. has become a laughingstock to the world. We're still mired in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should Iran fear us? If the United States seemingly can't destroy the insurgency in Afghanistan, then why would Ahmadinejad fear the U.S. is going to stop Iran from launching a nuclear missile at Israel or another one of our allies? The very fact that Iran dismisses the U.N. sanctions as "annoying flies" says that the United States nor its allies don't have the will to wipe out Iran's nuclear capabilities. We're no longer a threat to terrorist regimes across the world. The United States is losing it's status as a superpower. I'm afraid we're in for some dark days ahead.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Works of the Flesh

There are certain attributes in which we identify certain groups of people. A firefighter will wear a uniform that verifies he's a firefighter and he will drive a fire truck. A police officer will wear a uniform, a cap, and a badge verifying he's a police officer. He'll also drive a special vehicle identifying who he is. That's the same way with a Christian. A person who's been born again has certain attributes about him because he's been redeemed. The problem we have with this generation of Christianity is we have saved people sometimes acting like those that belong to the world. That's unnatural. That's abnormal Christianity. I know of a preacher who lives in Auburn, Kentucky years ago who was saying much of what is labeled "Christianity" today is abnormal. He's right. What are supposed to be some of the attributes of a born again Christian? First of all he's a new creature in Christ as II Corinthians 5:17 bears out. A christian has a desire for prayer and Bible reading. A newborn babe is hungry for the sincere milk of the Word. You don't have to teach a Christian how to be hungry. Also, a Christian has the desire to attend the House of God and fellowship with the saints there. A Christian hates sin and has a desire to please God. He wants to follow God and fulfill God's will for his life. Christians are to be kind, compassionate, sincere, honest, diligent in their labors, and the list continues. These are just a few of the attributes of a Christian.

I will mention about the fruits of the Spirit in tomorrow's post which is in Galatians 5:22, 23. Today I'm going to be expounding upon the works of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-21 says, "This I say then, Walk in the the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. but if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Just as there are attributes of a child of God, there's also attributes of the worldly crowd. Who are the wordly crowd? The worldy crowd are those that are outside the grace of God. They are unreedemed, unregenerate, they belong to their father the Devil. They are a creation of God, but they aren't the children of God. You can only be a child of God when you born as a result of the new birth. Those that are outside the grace of God live according to the dictates of their flesh. They do those things that are natural and comely to them.

The worldy crowd loves pleasure. They rather go out on Sunday when church is in session fishing, playing golf, boating, and the list continues. They will devote the Lord's day going out to the lake instead of being faithful to the House of God. Their whole life revolves around themselves. They don't have an appetite for spiritual things. The characteristics of the worldly crowd are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, emulations, strife, lying, wrath, the lust for power, and the list continues. Many times Christians wonder why the world acts and exhibits the characteristics they do. It's simply because that's the nature of the world. We tend to forget that. The world is doing what's natural to them. We tend to be very critical of the world at the fact they use profanity, wear tattooes, wear immodest apparel, and the list continues. However, that's the only kind of life they know. They feed their flesh with a diet of sin and destruction. They're doing what's comely to them. It's tragic but somebody that doesn't know God you can expect to live a worldly lifestyle. What's trouble is when professing Christians live like that. I'll save that thought for tomorrow.

I want to focus on the last phrase of verse 21 that says that those which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. There's a difference between the concepts, "kingdom of God", and "kingdom of Heaven,". The kingdom of God is universal. It's eternal. A person enters the kingdom of God by the new birth. The Kingdom of Heaven is about a literal kingdom which Jesus will set here on earth during the Millennial Reign. It's a physical kingdom in which there will be a thousand years of peace during which the Son of God will rule. I wanted to distinguish between the "kingdom of God" and the "kingdom of Heaven" because they both aren't the same. What verse 21 is saying is that those that live a lifestyle practicing the works of the flesh won't inherit the kingdom of God. When a person continually lives a lifestyle unto the flesh and there's no evidence that Christ has made a change in their life, it's a great indication that they're of the world and outside the grace of God. Can saved people be guilty of some of these sins just mentioned in Galatians? Yes. Saved people have two natures within them. They have the old Adamic fleshly nature and they have a new nature as a result of the new birth. There's a difference between a saved person living to the flesh and a lost person living to the flesh. Hebrews 12:5-8 mentions that those that are saved will receive chastisement of the Lord. When a saved person strays from God, the Lord will rebuke and chasten him to bring him back to the fold. A person that's unregenerate will not experience chastisement from God because he's none of His. God chastises saved people so that saved people won't be identified with the world. If a child of God continues living in sin and doesn't repent, then God will use whatever he needs to get the attention of the wayward saint. There can come a point that if a saved person continually keeps on sinning God will eventually bring them on home which is considered a sin unto death.(I John 5:16) What point does a Christian have to keep sinning before God calls them home? I don't know. I can't draw that line. I do know God's longsuffering and he does give His children opportunities to repent. I'm thankful for the longsuffering of God. I am not going to place a limit on it. That's God's business. However, I John 3:8 says that he that committeth sin is of the Devil. That's referring to those that are outside the grace of God.

It's true that Christians do sin because of the fleshly nature we have to contend with. Galatians 5:17 mentions of the conflict Christians have between the Spirit and the flesh. Our new nature inside of us desires to please God and live holy. However, we have a fleshly side that desires to sin. That's why God says in verse 16 to walk in the Spirit so we won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. A saved person will have a desire to live for God. When a saved person sins, the Holy Spirit will deal with him about his sin. A saved person also has a conflict between his flesh wanting to sin and his new nature which desires to please God. There's a duality for the Christian. A lost person doesn't have that problem. A lost person desires to live to his flesh and he doesn't have to wrestle with a dual nature because a lost person only has one nature. He has his flesh. Practicing the works of the flesh is a way of life for the unregenerate because it's part of their sinful nature. Galatians gives us a sample of the works of the flesh that's committed by a lost person.

In closing, there are attributes that will identify both the regenerate and unregenerate man. The unregenerate man only has one nature. He doesn't have the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside. He will live according to what's comely to him. The works of the flesh identify those that are outside the grace of God. Those that are saved have a dual nature. They have the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside of them as well as their old Adamic nature within them. There's a warfare between both the Spirit and the flesh in a child of God. That's why Christians sin at times. They cave into their flesh. A lost person doesn't have it within him to live for God because they don't have the Spirit of God leading them and guiding them into all truth. In this portion of scripture, Galatians describes the characteristics between those that live to the flesh and those that are led by the Spirit. Which one of these two sets of characteristics best identifies you?

Founder's Friday: James Madison

On today's Founder's Friday on the Glenn Beck Fox News program, Beck spoke at length about founder James Madison. Madison was the 4th president of the United Sates. He was born on March 16, 1751, the eldest son of the wealthiest landholder in Orange County, Virginia. James Madison was destined for a life of privilege and responsibility. The triad of land, slaves, and tobacco supported him financially throughout his life. That helped him to pursue politics and other intellectual pursuits. He was very well educated. He had several years of local schooling and private tutoring. In 1769, he entered the College of New Jersey at Princeton, where he was introduced to the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Frances Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith, to name a few. He was a voracious student who consumed four years of course work in two years and graduated in 1771.

In 1774 he visited Philadelphia, which coincided with news of the passage by Parliament of the Coercive Acts. His contributions to the independence movement was restricted to Orange County, Virgina until his election to the Virginia Convention in 1776. It was in Virginia that he made his first contribution to American constitutional law by his defense of the free exercise of religion as a right and not a privilege. In October, Madison participated in the newly created Virginia House of Delegates, making the acquaintance of his lifelong friend and colleague, Thomas Jefferson. Madison supposedly lost the election for the 1777 session of the House of Delegates for refusing to provide liquor for the voters. His good offices in the legislature was not forgotten. He was elected to a seat on the eight-member Council of State that same year and in 1779 was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress sitting in Philadelphia. Madison served in Congress from March 1780, when the Revolutionary War was nearing its end, to 1783, soon after its conclusion. He was known as a conscientious legislator and admired for his committee work. Madison was among those who thought that the Confederation government needed to be invested with more power at the expense of the states. He had engineered compromises in the spring of 1783 on taxation, import duties, and the 3/5th's ration, in which for the purposes of representation, five slaves would be equivalent to three free persons. However, the Articles of Confederation continued to lose power in the wake of the war's end.

Before Madison went to Philadelphia to help draft a new constitution, he left national office to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1784 and for the two subsequent years. He was successful in blocking the establishment of state support for churches. He didn't believe in the state funding of churches. In 1785, Madison was appointed a delegate to a convention on interstate trade to be held in Annapolis in September 1786. The result of this meeting called for the general convention to meet the following summer in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation in such a way to make "the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union." He was again elected as a Virginia delegate to Congress, arriving in New York in February 1787. That spring, Madison drafted a comprehensive plan for a more powerful national government. Madison then devoted himself to the task of ratifying the new Constitution. He, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote a series of essays exploring the benefits of the new Constitution and defending some of its more controversial provisions. These essays were collected and published in 1788 as "The Federalist." In March 1788, Madison came home to Virginia to persuade the state legislature to ratify the Constitution. He earned the name "The Father of the Constitution" because of his input in constructing and ratifying the Constitution.

Shortly thereafter, Madison defeated James Monroe for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as a guiding light to his fellows. George Washington relied on Madison for advice on how to conduct a Republican presidency. In addition, Madison had promised his Virginia constituency that in spite of his own reservations, he would pursue a series of amendments to safeguard individual rights. He reduced a multitude of suggested amendments to nineteen. Congress chose twelve to send to the states for consideration, and the states ratified ten of those amendments. They are today known as the Bill of Rights. Madison's time in Congress was shaped by developing discord with America's new treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, over their views concerning the financing of the new Republic. The rift between the two widened to the point that it led to the formation of political parties which were known as the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. The Federalist party favored a strong central government in governing the nation's affairs, and the Democratic-Republicans favored a more limited role of government. At the time, Madison was also opposed to the national bank of the United States.

In 1974, three years before his term ended in Congress, he married a young Philadelphia widow named Dolley Payne Madison. He had hoped to enjoy the private life but couldn't becuase of America's hostility to France under John Adams. Therefore, Madison drafted the Virginia Resolutions, which called on the states to repeal the Alien and Sedition Acts passed in Congress. He was opposed to it because he was opposed to the enlargement of federal power over the last few years in the Adams administration. He felt the Alien and Sedition Acts were an infringement on the rights and liberties of the nation's citizens. He produced the Report of 1800 which was a comprehensive attack on the unconstitutionality of the two acts as well as a ringing statement of the inviolability of the right of free speech.

When Thomas Jefferson was elected president, he appointed James Madison as Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, Madison was charged with a host of duties besides the conduct of American foreign policy, ranging from publishing and distributing the public laws to serving as a liason between the federal government and the governors of the states and territories. In the realm of foreign policy, he handled correspondence from five ministers and over fifty consuls. The greatest achievement of the Jefferson administration was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France. In 1808, Madison won the presidential election handily and succeeded Thomas Jefferson. Throughout his first term Madison was preoccupied by disputes with France, Great Britain, and Spain. By 1810 France had repealed its commercial restrictions, at least nominally, and in the same year Madison seized the province of West Florida from Spain, thereby consolidating American control of the Gulf Coast. But with respect to Great Britain, his efforts were unavailing, and beginning in November 1811, he urged Congress to mobilize the country's defenses. In 1812, he had asked for and received a declaration of war against Great Britain. Elected president for a second time in 1812, Madison launched a series of invasions at Canada as the most vulnerable British target. The war effort was hampered, however, by poor generalship, by untrained and ill-equipped troops, by quarrels with the state governments, and by logistical difficulties.

With the strategic failure of the Canadian campaigns of 1812 to 1814 and with his own capital burned by British invaders in 1814, Madison was happy to accept a peace on the basis of the prewar relationship with Great Britain. The Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, was negotiated in December 1814, but the news didn't reach Washington until February 1815. In the interim, the nearly miraculous victory at New Orleans on January 1815 put a happy ending on what was for the most part a disastrous experience. Also, the immediate causes of the war--commercial restrictions and impressment--had vanished with the defeat of Napoleon and the end of the European conflict. Madison's final years in office allowed him, for the first time in fifteen years, to focus on domestic affairs. He had proposed several measures that he had ironically earlier opposed such as the recharter of a national bank, a limited protective tariff, and a constitutional amendment to allow the federal government to undertake internal improvements. The Second Bank of the United States was established by Madison's signature in 1816. He was opposed to the national bank during Washington's administration. In one of his last official acts he vetoed as unconstitutional a Bonus Bill that provided for federal support of roads and canals. He retired to Montepelier, his family's plantation, for the second and last time in March 1817.

After Madison retired from serving in government, Madison involved himself in the management of his large plantation, interesting himself in scientific farming as a means to counter the increasing unprofitability of Virginia agriculture. Beginning in 1816, he sat on the Board of Visitors planning the creation of the University of Virginia, and when Jefferson died in 1826, he became the university's second rector. His last public political appearance was in 1829 at the Virginia convention to draw up a new state constitution, where he spoke against the overrepresentation of the Tidewater region in the House of Delegates. He died at his home on June 28, 1836.