Trump Quietly Promises Billions in New Nuke Contracts

By Scott Ritter

Americans of a certain age remember things about their youth—Bert the Turtle and the ditty “Duck and Cover” (1951), Pat Frank’s apocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon (1959), and Sidney Lumet’s film Fail Safe, from Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler’s novel of the same name (1964 and 1962, respectively). “There was a Turtle by the name of Bert, and Bert the Turtle was very alert”; that song was whistled by kids like myself, ironically often at the same time we whistled the catchy tune from Peter and the Wolf, Sergei Prokofiev’s classic children’s story adapted by Walt Disney and very popular at the time.

My father, a career Air Force officer who spent the first part of his career with the fighter-interceptor squadrons of North American Air Defense Command, had borrowed Frank’s biblical reference in crafting his own nuclear war warning for my mother. It took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about, and when I finally did, it was terrifying. The delta-winged fighters that futilely chase down the errant nuclear-armed bombers in Fail Safe were identical to the F-106 Delta Darts my father’s squadrons flew to shield America from similarly armed Soviet bombers that probed our borders on a daily basis, and I was able to figure this out quickly the first time I saw the movie.

Nuclear Armageddon was a pervasive reality during the Cold War, and America had an arsenal and doctrine to make it a reality. Again, flashbacks from my childhood make it all-too real: F-100 fighter-bombers carried nuclear bombs on air-strip alert at an air base in Turkey. F-106 fighter-interceptors armed with nuclear “Genie” air-to-air missiles were on constant air patrol over the skies of Michigan. My father told my mother how he never wanted to be assigned to Strategic Air Command because the “Chrome Dome” mission was insane—packs of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers constantly in the air, flying towards the Soviet Union only to be called back on a routine basis.

Whether by accident or design—Cold War historians have differing accounts—over those years America perfected its nuclear Triad (the ground based missiles, manned bombers and missile-armed submarines that comprised its strategic nuclear force). Atlas missiles grew into Titans, which became the Minuteman and finally Peacekeeper. The first Atlas missiles carried a single W49 warhead possessing a yield of 1.44 megatons; the Peacekeeper carried ten 300-kiloton W87 warheads. (By way of comparison, the “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had yields of 15 and 21 kilotons, respectively.)

The generals and politicians who controlled this arsenal were schooled in the art of global apocalyptic warfare, having fought and prevailed against fascism in the Second World War. ddNuclear war wasn’t an abstraction to them, but reality—America was prepared to fight and win a nuclear exchange with the Soviet enemy, using doctrines with names such as “counterforce,” “first strike,” and “mutually assured destruction,” better known as MAD. Only when the absurdity of the MAD acronym sunk in did these leaders finally undertake to control the …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Max Lucado: What Harvey teaches us as Christians

By Max Lucado The water keeps rising. The news reports keep coming. And the devastation keeps growing – image after image from Rockport, Corpus Christi, Houston and now Louisiana. …read more

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Why It’s Okay For Christians To Say ‘Gay’

By Rod Dreher

Christopher C. Roberts is an orthodox Roman Catholic theologian and a personal friend of mine. I quote Chris’s book, Creation And Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in the Moral Theology of Marriage in my book The Benedict Option. Chris deeply understands and accepts traditional Christian teaching on marriage, gender, and the rest. My guess is that he would endorse almost all of the Nashville Statement issued this week by conservative Evangelicals.

But he does not agree with the Nashville Statement’s affirmation in Article VII that chaste Christians attracted to their own sex should not identify themselves as gay.

In this e-mail, which I publish with his permission, Roberts, who is also a Roman Catholic deacon, explains why:

If I had a drinking problem, and I were to call myself an alcoholic, nobody would assume that I am making an ontological or anthropological claim, or denying that alcoholism is a problem. Instead, if I were to say that I am an alcoholic, hopefully the people in my life would admire my candor and vulnerability.

Somebody who says “I am an alcoholic” means to say that I am identifying a problem in myself, a problem arising from a complex mixture of nature and nurture, a problem that involves personal accountability and my wayward appetites, but also with a habitual aspect and (probable) genetic/chemical aspects that to a greater or lesser extent undermines my freedom of choice in profound ways.

By saying “I am an alcoholic,” I am also identifying to some extent with a culture and a tribe that includes both alcoholics who are faithfully struggling to stay sober as well as alcoholics who are off the wagon and defiantly clinging to their bottle; simply by saying “I am an alcoholic,” nobody knows which group I’m a part of. All you know is that I have a certain vulnerability or weakness, and that, if I say my prayers and get the right support, this vulnerability/weakness can also be a gateway to deeper service and intimacy with other people.

For example, because I am able to say that I’m an alcoholic, another alcoholic, or somebody struggling with another problem, perhaps a sin that is socially taboo to own as one’s own in church (e.g., pornography or infidelity in marriage), may feel able to approach me honestly. Because I am able to say that I’m an alcoholic, my weakness is also an openness to friendships and ministries that would be closed to me if I stood aloof and pretended not to identify with this tribe of sinners.

Most any result of the fall — having Down’s Syndrome or Aspergers, having a short temper or being greedy — can be like this. Substitute any disability, sin, proclivity or “thorn in the flesh” in the above paragraph, and you can imagine cases where somebody matured, embraced the necessary asceticism, and turned their weakness or woundedness to spiritual profit.

I respect many of the writers who want to use “same sex attraction” instead of “gay” or “lesbian.” Often these are people …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Religious Left’s Nashville Panic

By Rod Dreher

The Nashville Statement by Evangelical Christian leaders, drawing a line in the sand around Biblical orthodoxy on matters of sexuality, really has stirred up the Religious Left. In the Washington Post, Katelyn Beaty writes a genuinely terrible piece claiming that “even conservative Evangelicals” are unhappy with the statement, without offering much evidence. And this:

But behind all the details was one overarching one: Trump.

Of the 187 initial signatories of the Nashville Statement, at least 10 have publicly endorsed Trump. Four — Richard Land, James Robison, Ronnie Floyd and Jack Graham — are members of his unofficial evangelical advisory council. Last fall, Wayne Grudem, CBMW’s co-founder, defended Trump after the candidate was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. To be sure, other signatories have criticized Trump, even drawing threat of censure from their own denominations. But for other signatories to support Trump while issuing a hard stance against same-sex relationships seems to many morally inconsistent.

So, five percent of the signatories publicly endorsed Donald Trump, yet that compromises the entire document — a document also signed by Russell Moore, by far the most anti-Trump Christian leader in public life? That is grasping.

Beaty also quotes a few others — leaders that conservative Evangelical friends of mine say aren’t known as conservative Evangelicals — saying that the Nashville Statement might offend LGBTs, and end the “dialogue” between Evangelicalism and LGBTs. Well, yes, it certainly will offend LGBTs who expect the church to affirm their sexual orientation and chosen gender role, but religions are in the business of proclaiming truth, even if those truths are hard to live by. The idea that churches and pastors should make doctrinal decisions based on what’s likely to be popular with the masses is corrupt. Secondly, always beware of religious liberals who publicly long for “dialogue”. What they usually mean is “we’ll keep talking until you on the orthodox side give up, after which the dialogue will end.”

Actually the Nashville Statement is a boon to dialogue, insofar as it makes clear the terms of Biblically orthodox Evangelicals. It won’t do much good for those in the mushy middle who are trying to do figure out how to embrace the Zeitgeist while muting their consciences, but then again, that’s one of the Nashville Statement’s aims: clarity.

Meanwhile, the Post gathers the anti-Nashville Statement tweets of the coy, pro-LGBT Jesuit Father James Martin:

Re #Nashville Statement: I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them.

I affirm: That all of us are in need of conversion. I deny: That LGBT people should be in any way singled out as the chief or only sinners.

I affirm: That when Jesus encountered people on the margins he led with welcome not condemnation. I deny: That Jesus wants any more judging.

I affirm: That LGBT people are, by virtue of baptism, full members of the church. I deny: That God wants them to feel that they don’t belong

I affirm: That LGBT people have been …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Concussions occur in soccer and other sports, too — but yeah, let’s go after all-American football

By John Lott But the politically correct movement seems much more focused on opposing what is uniquely American than where players actually face the greatest risks of concussion. …read more

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Ex-NFL star Burgess Owens: The flag and why I stand

By Burgess Owens As we enter a second season of protest of our country’s flag by young, wealthy black NFL athletes, millions of fans will continue to turn off America’s favorite past time. …read more

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Message for Houston flood victims: My house was once under 9 feet of water, too. Here’s how you hold on to hope

By Tom Holladay We learned that the recovery from a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey, would not be measured in months, but in years. …read more

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The Cost Of Divorce Culture

By Rod Dreher

zimmytws/Shutterstock

A reader writes:

First, I applaud the Nashville Statement. But, I want to echo what Deep Blue Washington said above – divorce is one of the biggest problems facing America today, and Christians aren’t excluded. I know this from personal experience in my own family.

A few years ago, my son left his wife of 18 years for another woman. He told my daughter-in-law that he was moving over 1000 miles away to be with his girlfriend, but that he was “willing” to help move my daughter-in-law and their kids with him, so the kids can still be near their father. He told us that he did that because he “wanted to handle this the right way.” (Yeah – he actually thought he was being a good guy.) Of course, what he was really doing was giving his wife an ultimatum to move with him or be abandoned with 3 kids. He justified this by saying that he had “a right to be happy.” The woman that he moving in with was, at the same time, leaving her husband and family to be with my son. That’s two families, six children and 2 spouses whose lives were ripped apart because of their “right to be happy.”

My wife and I only found out about it 6 months after it happened. We lived across the country and they kept it hidden from us. We knew that they had moved, but we didn’t know why. So, it was a done deal when we found out. We were livid. But, we were assured by our son and all concerned that they had worked everything out and everybody was happy. We were highly skeptical, but things seemed okay during our visits.

Last December, we retired and moved to be closer to them. That’s when we found out the truth – that it was all a lie. The two oldest grandchildren are emotional wrecks. I’m not exaggerating and it really scares my wife and I. The youngest of the two suffers from depression, sees a therapist, and takes medication. She is a social outcast and suffers thru wild mood swings. The oldest keeps most of her emotions bottled up because she thinks she needs to be strong for her siblings. She worries about them to the point of exhaustion. They have no loving relationship with their father, and the relationship they do have is based on manipulation. Both want nothing to do with him. The oldest will stop seeing him once she turns 18, the other one (who is 16) wants to stop seeing him now, but state law prevents that. When they visit us alone, the conversation always ends up in tears because of how miserable they are. They talk about how their Mom cried for months over my son leaving her, how she struggles to support them on just her income, how she was afraid to tell us because she thought we …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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How Big Was Harvey?

By Rod Dreher

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service created a series of maps to show how enormous Hurricane Harvey’s impact was. Texas is massive. See the other maps here.

…read more

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Should Tillerson Resign?

By Daniel Larison

Dan Drezner calls for Rex Tillerson’s resignation:

In less than seven months in the job, Tillerson has proven to be a feckless manager of his organization and a poor handler of the president of the United States. To be fair, even the savviest secretary of state would have his or her hands full with a president like Trump. The sharp contrast between Tillerson’s fumblings and the more nimble footwork of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis shows that Tillerson is the opposite of a good secretary of state. Most of Trump’s private-sector cabinet officials have been dreadful, but Tillerson is the worst of the lot.

Tillerson has been presiding over the wrecking of the State Department ever since he was confirmed, and he has very little else to show for his tenure. It’s safe to say that the demoralization and hollowing out of the department will just keep getting worse the longer he is in charge. The trouble is that replacing Tillerson probably won’t change any of that, because the gutting of the State Department has been and continues to be an administration priority. The person Trump chooses to replace Tillerson is likely to have the same disdain for diplomacy and diplomats that he has.

So while I am inclined to agree with the call for Tillerson’s resignation, I can’t agree with Drezner when he says “I am no longer worried about who Trump would pick to replace him.” This is exactly what we should be worrying about. Tillerson got the job at State in part because all of the other people Trump was considering were so fanatical, ethically compromised, or otherwise awful that he seemed the best of a bad lot at the time. That may have been true, but that process produced one of the least effective Secretaries of State in modern times. Now imagine Trump going through a similar process a second time. Is he likely to choose someone more capable than Tillerson? Considering the state of Trump’s administration after just seven months, would anyone who fits that description be willing to take the job? If there is someone willing, I am concerned Trump would end up choosing another former general on account of his fascination with military officers, and that would be at least one too many in this Cabinet.

Tillerson reportedly never wanted the job, so it shouldn’t take much to persuade him to leave. That said, the damage already done to the State Department isn’t going to be repaired anytime soon, and as long as Trump is president we should assume it will continue regardless. I have been very critical of how Tillerson has been running his department, but as one his critics I think we should acknowledge that his successor could still be even worse.

…read more

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