De-nuclearization now (2018) and then (1960)

‘De-nuclearization,’ as this term has been coined by politicians and pundits, of North Korea, and the Korean Peninsula in general, has been in the news regularly of late.  What hasn’t been in the news, and what was classified as “top secret” for many years, was a series of letters between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev back in the early 1960’s.  They were discussing, of all things, ‘de-nuclearization’ of the U.S. and Soviet Union.  Total de-neclearization.  In the book The Kennedy-Khrushchev Letters, Khrusshchev, in one of his correspondences wrote that he wanted a treaty on general, and complete, nuclear disarmament “…under the strictest international control.”  Note: People say that neither country is using their nuclear weapons now.  But they are.  Both countries are using them to, not only protect themselves, but to wield “big sticks” in getting other countries to do their bidding.  What’s more, in using them (it costs $50 billion a year to maintain the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal), America, for instance, is taking food, clothing, shelter, medicine… out of the hands of, say, the Third World poor.  You have to wonder how God looks at that, don’t you.  Our military and foreign policies look squarely through this lens.

National Day of Prayer; BU graduation event; Farmers Market

Catching up yet more on the last couple months…  I covered a National Day of Prayer event at Bluffton’s Town Hall for the local newspaper.  Christians from all over the town, and nearby towns, converged on the building’s third floor.  People prayed about safety in our schools, safety for police and firefighters, for intact nuclear families, for today’s youth “as drugs, sex and suicide” swirl all around them…  Local Christian New Vision FM radio station’s Ken Kayser implored the Lord for a balanced media that doesn’t “…slant the news to the left or to the right — but rather to the truth.” The room was packed…  I also attended a graduation weekend event at Bluffton University. Senior Andrew Hunter, who was picked as one of the keynote speakers, pointed to perhaps the best literary tome to inspire his fellow classmates as they were about to head out into the world:  Dr. Seus’s Oh The Places You’ll Go…  And I also did a newspaper piece on the Bluffton Farmer’s Market featuring “all things organic,” with music from the local band The Old Folkies.  “It was either that name, or The Geriatric Troubadours,” the lead guitarist smiled.

drug addiction epidemic…

Continuing to catch up on last couple months…  I interviewed some pharmacy students from nearby Ohio Northern University.  They are going about the county trying to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic currently sweeping the country.  [They are calling their initiative NADA, Northern Against Drug Addiction.] One of the students said some 160 Americans die of opioid overdoses every day now.  He said that would be like a full airliner going down in America every day.  [See two entries back for a similar analogy to another societal problem.]   Our administration would take drug addiction, across the board, very seriously.  And we would come at it from a very comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach.  Alcoholism/drug addiction is at the root of a majority of crime in America, a lot of the domestic violence and broken homes, a good deal of drunk and drug affected driving accidents, overdose deaths…  I was an addictions counselor for a number of years, and I believe I have a good take on the root causes and treatment modalities, etc., needed to reverse a lot of this.  For more on our approach, listen to…

Farming “God’s way.”

Continuing to catch up on last couple months…  I recently interviewed Bluffton farmer Greg Probst at his “Century Farm” for a local newspaper article.   He grows everything organically, has free-range chickens (no antibiotics), etc., etc., etc…  He said he believes he is farming “God’s way.”  I do too.  As we have traveled, we have regularly stopped, and sometimes worked at, various organic farms.  On a stop in Oberlin, Ohio, I met with author David Orr, who is also the head of Oberlin College’s Environmental Science Department.  In his book Earth in Balance, he writes that artificial toxic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are creating “chemical cocktails” that are exploding into all sorts of disease in our bodies, including cancer.  One in three Americans now get cancer in a lifetime.  That’s not happening in a vacuum.  Common sense says we should stop using these toxic chemicals, and our  agriculture platform goes into this in depth.

The Amish on driving

Continuing to catch up on the last couple months…  My son and I recently traveled south an hour to Mt. Victory, Ohio, where we did a series of short videos around Amish beliefs (Mt. Victory is replete with Amish people.)  I noted, among other things, that the Amish buggy or bicycle to, for one, be good environmental stewards.  (Think: global warming.)  What’s more, they believe getting in, say, a 2,000 pound vehicle increases, exponentially, your chances of killing someone.  And they take the 5th Commandment seriously.  I noted in the video that some 33,000 people were killed on America’s roads last year.  That would be the equivalent of, say, a 747 airliner going down in America — every day!  Think about that.  And if you want to think more about our rather unique position paper on transportation, see…

Awakening Minds Art; “Mathew 25 moment” in Columbia

Catching up on the last couple months…  I did a newspaper interview with the director of the local Awakening Minds Art Program.  It is in some 19 counties of Northwest Ohio and is, primarily, designed to use art as a medium to help special needs youth and adults.  The director, Sarah Crisp, pointed to, for instance, Jared Willis, 16, who, physically, has a degree of “dwarfism,” and is a bit mentally delayed as well.  (He had just won the program’s “Your Colors Change the World” award for some of his art.  He has, in time, become quite an artist, and by extension, a much more confident and optimistic youth these days.  Rosalyn Carter was a big proponent of getting much more funding, and help in general, for mental health issues.  Our administration would pick up that torch in a major way — looking at mental health issues on a par with physical health issues…  Our foreign policy would focus much more — than the U.S.’s current paradigm — on worldwide poverty.  (Some half the world populace lives on $2 a day, or less.)  During this time, I also interviewed Bluffton University’s Professor Paul Neufeld Weaver.  He is the director of the university’s Cross Cultural Program.  He, for instance, takes students to a tough metro-neighborhood in the country of Columbia.  They distribute food to the homeless, to drug addicts, to gang members, to prostitutes…  The professor refers to it as a “Mathew 25 moment” for many of the students.  What’s more, hopefully, just as many of the students come back with a much clearer understanding of the face of abject poverty, and such, in some of these countries.  And by extension with this one, they then also get behind more non-profit and governmental initiatives to help in these poorer countries.

Eisenhower to Korea; Trump to Latin America?

Was just reading part of the book: Eisenhower In War And Peace.  It explained when Eisenhower was running for president, the Korean War had entered its third year — and “it loomed large in voters’ minds.”  During a campaign speech, he promised a “personal trip to Korea.”  He believed to better assess the situation, he had to be on the ground there.  Conversely, I couldn’t help but think if, say, Trump traveled to Latin America to see, first hand, the cartel violence on the streets there, the abject poverty on the streets there…  he wouldn’t be so apt to be adamantly turning away people desperately trying to flee all that.  I’ve been to Juarez, Mexico, and have seen all that.  We can’t turn our backs on these people.  We just can’t.

Deep Water Horizon; oil addiction

Today is the eighth anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is believed to be, by far, the largest marine oil spill in history.  The total discharge was 4.9 million barrels.  And they were finding oil plumes the size of Manhattan in the water.  It wasn’t long after this that the Obama administration sanctioned more off shore oil drilling.  And the Trump administration is ramping this up even more.  Uh…  As a nation we’re addicted to oil.  Period.  And burning oil, among a number of detrimental things, is causing rapidly increasing, and also quite catastrophic, global warming.  This kind of increased off shore drilling only “enables” our addiction more.  What we should be doing is weaning ourselves off of oil, if not just going: “cold turkey.” Our kids are counting on us to do the right thing.  For more on our position on energy across the board, see…

Picking a Cabinet

I was reading some of The Available Man (Warren Harding) today.  The book noted that in choosing his Cabinet, Harding wanted to “…have a popular group of the best minds around him.” With my Cabinet, I don’t know so much about “popular,” but I would want the “best minds” around me — if those minds were linked to solid spirituality.  What’s more, they would need to be “minds” in step, not necessarily with the mainstream, but rather in step with doing the right things, period. For instance, “traditional farmers” these days are lacing their fields with toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer.  By extension, we’re ingesting food with this stuff in it.  And by further extension, cancer rates are spiking.  So…  My Secretary of Agriculture may well be an obscure, but agriculturally right on track: small organic farmer.  In fact, see our position paper on agriculture to see this flushed out more.

urban youth; Guatemalan boxer; finding God

My son Jonathan and I volunteered at Rally Point, a ” Youth for Christ Outreach” in Lima Wednesday evening.  After the meal, we listened to a man from Guatemala give his “testimony.” He was on a trajectory to be a boxer on the Olympic Team there — when he was shot in the head. Although quite an athlete, he was also caught up with some gang members.  And he got caught in the cross-fire in a gang-related shooting.  He lost his right eye.  He said while lying in the hospital bed, he gave his life to Christ.  That started him on a trajectory where he was all in for God, the same way he’d been all in for boxing. He subsequently did a series of “Youth With A Mission” trips, met his wife in America…  And now he has five children (including an adopted child from Ethiopia); is involved with an outreach ministry into hardscrabble areas of Lima, Ohio; is the manager of a local Walmart; and he and the family  live in the small town of Ottawa.  There were some 50 kids in Rally Point this night.  This man (Josua Gomez) was so dynamic, you could have heard a pin drop in the place the entire time he was talking.  For more on our take on urban youth, and such, see…