North Korea – The Problem That Won’t Go Away.

North Korea – Is There A Solution?

The Unites States Government continues to deal with North Korea from a Western Paradigm  based on the Post World War II model.  It’s time to stop.

North Korea Missile Test |

Coming to a city near you.

From The Washington Post 9/14/17.

SEOUL — North Korea fired another missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido on Friday morning, just a day after Pyongyang threatened that the four main Japanese islands “should be sunken into the sea” by its nuclear bomb.

This was the second time in less than three weeks that North Korea sent a projectile over Japan, and the missile firing immediately sparked angry reactions in Tokyo and Seoul.

The missile launched from the Sunan airfield just north of Pyongyang about 6:30 a.m. local time, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It flew for 17 minutes, passing over Hokkaido and landing some 1,200 miles to the east in the Pacific Ocean.

The launch immediately triggered emergency alerts in Japan, with text messages and loud speakers telling residents along the missile’s potential flight path to seek shelter.

The Post-war method of dealing with nations suffers from several presumptions that simply do not apply.

Presumption 1: Everyone Is A Rational Actor.

The Post-WWII Marshall Plan method of doing business does not work with nations and militant groups that have options. This should be apparent after 70 years of futility. Industrialized Warfare – brought forth by the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century – formed the framework of how the United States did business on the world state.

Marshaling our industrialized might against the adversary.  Obtaining an unconditional surrender from a skeleton government.   Set about rebuilding the defeated nation’s infrastructure.   The United States, benevolent and magnanimous.  Fulfilling expectations.

Defeated Germany and defeated Japan – nations made up of rational people, and rational people made for rational governments. Enemies can become friends, because it is in the mutual best interest to do so. This logical course when all the actors are rational and everyone is reading out of the same rulebook.

Presumption 2: Everyone Shares The Same Moral Perspective.

What does Islam and The Unification Church have in common? They both teach that it’s OK to lie to outsiders. In Islam, breaking contracts with non-Muslims bears no moral consequences.

When faced with famine on an apocalyptic scale in 1945, Japan chose to surrender. The Government of North Korea on the other hand sees no moral conflict between thousands of its citizen perishing for want of a full belly and staying in power.

Granted, we see a lot of this in our own Country. Congressmen and senators, caught dead-to-rights in corruption and perversion will use every ounce of power lent to their office and every legal maneuver to remain in their position.

Presumption 3: Deep Down, Everyone Wants To Co-Exist.

No, they don’t. This is a silly notion.  Time to be done with it once and for all.  Some people just like to watch the world burn.  Palestinians obsess over the existence of Jews.  Liberals shriek at the happiness and fulfillment of others.  The there’s Anti-Fa Panty-Fa.  People who will literally try to kick you to death for holding a different opinion.

So how do we deal with North Korea? First we accept and internalize that the course we’ve been following since the Eisenhower Administration has failed and doing more of the same will lead to more failure.

Next, accept that North Korea 1. Decidedly is not a rational actor, 2. Definitely does not share our moral perspective, and 3. Co-existence with the West isn’t even on their RADAR, much less a priority with them.

Finally, we pick from a list of truly horrific options. The solutions for North Korea are a menu filled with poison.  The one upside? The inevitable is no longer postponed.

1. The Ripley Option.

No, and the only reason I’m even mentioning it is because you’re thinking it. Unleashing a nuclear bombardment on Pyongyang and North Korea’s other Urban Centers is monstrous.

2. The LeMay Option.

Air Force General Curtis LeMay did not come up with the phrase, “bomb them back to the Stone-age,” but he made it famous. Yes, it’s horrific, but the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have had ample time – over 60 years – to come up with a government that does not seek to suicide bomb the rest of the world. As I firmly believe that people get the kind of government they deserve, I find myself unsympathetic to North Korea’s population. But this is still less than optimal. Reducing their cities to rubble through conventional means holds very little appeal for me, but I won’t be tempted to burn my old uniforms over it. There is also significant precedence: Chongqing, Tokyo, Coventry, Hamburg, and Dresden for example.

3. The Flavius Option

Seige Warfare.  If done right, the victors merely have to wait. The objectives are simple in concept, complicated in the execution: eliminate every crossing across the Yalu and Tumen Rivers. Place a carrier group in the Yellow Sea and a carrier group in the Sea of Japan-East. Turn North Korea’s borders with China and Russia into no-fly zones. Will China and Russia have something to say about it? Probably.

Siege of Carthage |

Artist’s dedication of the Siege of Carthage. In reality Sieges are extremely boring affairs where the primary weapon employed was starvation.

I estimate that this will require stationing division level ground troops along both rivers.  This is a high-risk high-reward gamble and counts on both the Chinese and Russian doing nothing.

Will doing nothing and merely hoping the problem goes away work?  It hasn’t so far.  Real solutions are hard to come by.  The problem only increases when one doesn’t understand it.  Many claim to understand North Korea.  I’m not sure I do.

The Reality.

The discussion of how to solve the North Korea problem continues.  The people of the United States are tired.  Toxic wars abroad and toxic politicians at home actively working for the defeat of their own nation will do that.  Can we open up another front?  Even with the survival of our nation at stake?  My preferred yet horrible option, that of laying siege to North Korea means yet another protracted conflict. One for which the American people likely don’t have the stomach.


Posted in Current Events and Politics, History | 1 Comment

Fall Foliage and A Pleasant Ride Home

Fall Foliage – It’s Coming.

The best time to see the fall foliage in Pennsylvania will in 2 -3 weeks.  But it’s starting.  The colors of Summer are still with us, but you can see a hint.

Then this came on the radio:

Giuseppe Torelli – Concerto in A Major for Guitar & Violin.

Western Civilization: There Is No Substitute.

It has given the world Calculus, Relativity, Thermo Dynamics, Radio Astronomy, Indoor Plumbing, The Combustion Engine, Air Travel, that ridiculously useful Smart Phone, and oh, Giuseppe Torelli.  I know nothing of Torelli other than he composed some magnificent works and that you can find him on Youtube.  That, and centuries after his death, he gave me a pleasant ride home this afternoon.

The crisp snap of Autumn isn’t here yet.  But I’ve learned to enjoy the season I’m in.  The garden continues to produce and will probably do so for another two weeks.

Meanwhile, a glimpse of things to come.

Leaf Mid-September Pennsylvania |

Maple Leaf, Mid-September Pennsylvania

Fall in the Lehigh Valley is something everyone should experience.  If you can’t get out here this year, put it on your bucket list.



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My View On Today’s Worship Music

Worship Leading – good?  Not so good?  Do we want to go back to something else, and if so, how far back?

This week my wife tagged me on what has to be one of the most awkward worship videos ever. My response? This has to be the best argument in favor of putting every worship team in gray cowl robes and having them chant in Latin.


Seriously, would that be so awful?  Yeah, I know. This is the 21st century, and Latin is a dead language.

But when things are taken to the extreme, when things get really, really lame, one can be excused for being a bit reactionary.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I think this is about 7 years old, and may have been part of a talent contest and not necessarily from a Church service.  If you want to see the guy moon-walk, go to Youtube.)

A Little History…

I came up in the Assemblies of God (originally baptized a Roman Catholic, but that’s another story) in the days where we still had hymnals in the pews (remember “pews?”).

Allow me to insert here that I appreciate our worship team at Pleasant Valley Assembly (Brodheadsville, PA). Nadine and her husband Derek are amazing. And I don’t mean that in the usual way. I know, the girls you met in your freshman year in college were “amazing” and were going to “change the world.” (They weren’t and they didn’t). Nadine and Derek however, are amazing in the real sense of the word and I speak from years of experience as a manager, leader, and consultant.

Nadine has the voice of an angel, and possesses an organizational acumen that comes from years managing and teaching school orchestras and ensembles.

And Derek… what can I say about Derek? Musician, composer, arranger, and sound engineer, Derek brings it every Sunday for the Glory of God. The metric I use for Derek is Lois’ opinion. She has played the piano in church since she was a teenager, and I tend to defer to her subject matter expertise.

Derek is one those enormously talented prodigies that hears and plays. On of these days I’m going to pay a visit to his music studio where the creativity happens.

Clearly Late To The Party… And A Little More History…

Lois and I were attending Church in Columbus, Georgia in 1988. We were married for a year and I was attending the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning. I do not remember the subject of the sermon nor the scripture text.  What I do recall is seeing – for the first time – a bunch of people with microphones up on the platform apparently singing along with rest of the congregation during the “song service.” Yes, that’s what we called it back then.

It was common then, as it is now, for the more talented members of the congregation to present a song – in the form of a solo, duet, or even an ensemble often between the offering and the sermon.

But this was different, and I was a bit perplexed. You only needed one person up there to direct the congregation, and these other folks seemed superfluous to say the least

Later that day, Lois spoke to her Mom and got the answer. This was a new thing called ‘Worship Leaders.’ OK. Things change. I get it.

Change – The Universal Constant…

The transition was inevitable, like dominoes falling.  One church after another got rid of their “Song Service” and transitioned into “Worship.” And here I am thinking I was already “worshiping.” This was not a bad change necessarily. But good intentions are often taken too far. I’m not a big fan of Sunday Morning Nightclub.

I’m going back aways, but I can still remember Mike Rodolicco waving his handkerchief and leading the congregation in “I’ll Fly Away” like it was yesterday. Bethlehem Assembly in Richmond Hill, Queens where Lois’ dad pastored for decades held out until he retired. Hey, the Reverend William J. Behr started with 50 attendees on a Sunday Morning and closed with over 500. I think the man knew what he was doing.

So Now, What?

So nearly 30 years later, where does this leave us, in this new Church of congregational staring? Where does it leave us in Churches filled with supremely talented people who want nothing more than to minister to the rest of us?

I honestly don’t know. The answer is certainly not gray cowls and Latin. Do we go back to the hymnal? Maybe. Once in a while wouldn’t hurt, especially for old man like me.

That being said, there is a rich texture to the old ways and revisiting them may also be in order.

Sancti Dei (Holy God) is a product of the eleventh century A.D. A time when Western Civilization was on the ropes and my own Viking ancestors were ravaging Europe and the Islamic armies were making their presence felt.

Tell me that wasn’t serene.

Here is a sampling of the lyrics in Latin and translated into English.

Gloria et honor Deo
Glory and honor to God

Qui te flore roseo
Who with flowers of rosy dye

Coronavit et locavit
Crowned thy forehead, and hath placed thee

In throno sidereo:
In the starry throne on high

Salvet reos, solvens eos
He directs us, He protects us,

A mortis aculeo. Amen.
From death’s sting eternally.

Note the calm rendering and cadence, the peaceful contemplation. The reverence. Note the worship.  You are in the Sanctuary of God.

Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10.


Posted in Hearth and Altar, Music, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Kitchen Garden Journal 9/2/17

Late Summer Kitchen Garden

It’s September.  This morning there was a coolness in the air presaging a pleasant Fall.    I can wait for the crisp snap of the Autumn morning.  I’ve come to learn the importance of enjoying the season I’m in.  The green remains, though one or two trees are shedding the occasional leaf.  Then there’s the kitchen garden.

Pickled Cucumbers From The Kitchen Garden |

The garden remains productive.  The zucchini has been a pleasant surprise and the tomatoes have ripened on the vine.  The marinara sauce should last into Thanksgiving.

This weekend’s project? Pickling the cucumbers.  It’s an experiment.  We only planted one vine, so we’ll see.

Vinegar, some pepper corns, salt, sugar, garlic and a little dill weed.  Check back next week and I’ll let you know.  How it turns out.

In the meantime, here is today’s harvest.

Morning Harvest From The Kitchen Garden 9-2-17 |




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Here’s My Take On The Confederate Monument Controversy

Monuments And Those Who Are Triggered

This may surprise some of the people who know me. With respect to monuments, I don’t have a dog in the fight.

So here is my take on the confederate monument controversy.  The existence and maintenance of monuments requires that enough people are willing to devote adequate resources. Those resources are, as they have always been, Time, and Labor. Those familiar with economics Continue reading

Posted in Current Events and Politics, Defining Western Civilization, Taxes | 9 Comments

The Colonel In His Garden

I venture out into the early morning stillness.  The fog lifts with the rising sun.  I pick my way carefully over the lawn, it’s blades still wet.    I am here to prune, to pick, to breathe. The Victorians called it “taking the air,” I think.  It’s August, and the kitchen garden has changed over from Spring to late Summer.Kitchen Garden Gate |

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Posted in Hearth and Altar | 3 Comments

Immigration – Is There A Sane Solution?

Immigration is a hot button issue to be sure.

Some believe, (myself among them) that perhaps it’s time to align our immigration policy closer to that which other nations employ.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Flipping Off Western Civilization

Flipping The Bird To Western Civilization

Flipping The Bird To Western Civilization

Not Cool.

This picture raises more questions than it answers.  Are these immigrants or native born Americans?  Tourists?  Members of the same family?

Without further information, all we are left with are presumptions.  But presumptions informed by experience.  This appears to be a family – a father and two daughters.  I feel sorry for the young lady in the middle.  She is clearly going along to get along and she’s too young to appreciate the ramifications.

The young lady in the blue shirt wears a face dipped in bitterness – reasons for which we can only guess.

What saddens me most – even more than the overt racism on display – is the obtuse position taken by all of them, particularly the man in the red hat.  A beneficiary of Western Civilization, he has taken it upon himself to curse the very culture which provides the protection he enjoys.

What is his next move when he finds himself surrounded by a majority population who hates Western Civilization as much at he does?

Posted in Current Events and Politics, Defining Western Civilization, Hearth and Altar | 3 Comments

The Solution To Healthcare.


Healthcare: Time to get serious.

The Commissars of the Federal Government are not serious about providing healthcare. They are on the other hand, serious about controlling the health insurance industry. The difference is important and should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention.

Government is about control. Healthcare, accounting for 1/7th of the United State’s economy represents a lot of control. If anyone is helped along the way, it’s usually an accident.

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Posted in Current Events and Politics, Hearth and Altar, Liberty, National Debt, Taxes | 1 Comment

Voluntarily Giving Up Power – America’s Second Declaration of Independence

Voluntarily giving up power is such a rarity, we name cities after those who do.  Such men make independence and liberty possible.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (519 – 43o BC) was a Roman Senator who wanted to retire from public life.  But the Roman people wouldn’t let him.  So he came up with a plan.  He ran for Consul, the highest office in the Roman Republic.  This was a one-year, term-limited position.  Cincinnatus was elected easily, and served out his year.  At the end of his term, he retires to his estate, and manages his farm in the Patrician tradition.

Cincinnatus would have otherwise been a mere footnote in history.  However, the Aequians, a tribe to the northwest of Rome, declared war on the Republic in 457 BC.


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Posted in History, Liberty | 11 Comments