Thursday, December 31, 2015

Spherical Model Review

As the final post of the year, I thought I’d review what in the world is The Spherical Model. Plus a few of this year’s posts that give a good sample of the model.
The Political Sphere
of The Spherical Model

The website,, is always a good place to learn what the Spherical Model is. It’s about 50 pages worth of reading—a short book. There’s an into page, and then a section for each of the three spheres: Political, Economic, and Social. The social sphere is divided into two, because strong families are such a necessity for civilization that it required a full article of its own.
If you want a shorter introduction, there are a couple of posts to start with.

·         The Political Sphere Is Round: December 29, 2014—if you want the basic explanation in just a few pages, with diagrams.
·         Spherical Model Video: August 17, 2015—if you want it explained visually in under ten minutes.

I try to make every post pertinent and helpful in understanding the interrelationships of the political, economic, and social spheres, and how to get to consistent freedom, prosperity, and civilization.  But there are upwards of 650 posts. And sometimes they are responses to specific news of the day. So if you want just an understanding of the Spherical Model and how to apply it, there were several this year you could sample:

·         Economic Glossary: April 13, 2015
·         Enlightenment: June 16, 2015
·         Ultimate vs. Relative Good: July 2, 2015
·         What We Conserve: October 1, 2015
·         Source of Morality: October 19, 2015
·         Wealth, Poverty and Politics: December 10, 2015—a reference to Thomas Sowell’s book by that name

And if you’re interested in the blog, but find it daunting to start in March 2011 and read them all, you might try the Best Of collections. 

In celebration of the fourth anniversary of the start of the Spherical Model blog, I did a new Best Of collection, in four parts. The original Best Of collection is linked in Part I (and is also linked in The Political Sphere Is Round, above.)

·         More of the Best, Part I: March 2, 2015
·         More of the Best, Part II: March 3, 2015
·         More of the Best, Part III: March 4, 2015
·         More of the Best, Part IV: March 5, 2015

Our freedom, prosperity, and civilization took some hits this year, 2015. But 2016 could be a year of change—let’s hope it’s for the better. In Spherical Model terms, let’s follow the principles that lead northward.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Real Christmas

I love the Christmas season. I love the reason for it. I love the music. I love the anticipation, and the getting together, and the special food, and the decorations, and the lights.

We’re having a good time here at the Spherical Model household with everyone home at the same time for a few days. It’s hard to beat that—especially when grandchildren are involved.

I’ve noticed that one of the things I enjoy is music that brings to life what the first Christmas must have been like. So here are a few musical glimpses of the long ago night.

Mary Did You Know?

This has been a favorite song for more than a decade. I sing it a lot at home, and performed it once. I love the verse that says, “Mary, did you know… when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God?” And I used another line to describe this year’s Christmas card photo: “Mary, did you know…that the sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am?” We used daughter Social Sphere and her baby, when he was a week old, to illustrate.

“Mary, Did You Know?” is on my favorite Kathleen Battle (soprano)/Christopher Parkening (guitar) CD, Angels’ Glory.  This CD from 1996 has been playing in my car for several months a year for a decade so far. “Mary, Did You Know?” is the first piece on it. For me this may be the quintessential version.

But this year there were several new versions worth hearing.

I’m not a regular viewer of American Idol guy, but someone linked this on Facebook, and it really was worth hearing Jordan Smith perform “Mary, Did You Know?” earlier this month.

I like any Christmas song done by a capella quintet Pentatonix, and almost anything else they do. (They’re one of my favorite Pandora stations for Christmas.) Their “Mary, Did You Know?” is a great addition to my collection. 

There was a great list of video music—one a day for 12 days—in which YouTube stars introduced the video “A Savior Is Born”. Two of these were renditions of “Mary, Did You Know?,” and I loved them both. One was a capella solo phenomenon Peter Hollens

The other was Evie Clair, whom I hadn’t heard before. She’s very young, even younger than the real Mary. But her performance was touching, and I’m hoping to see more of her in the future. 

Breath of Heaven

Another song that takes us back to that nativity with real feelings is “Breath of Heaven.” I sang this in church one year. But Amy Grant’s version is probably the definitive one. I especially like the verse that says,

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong
This video uses images from the movie The Nativity. It’s quite beautiful.

Little Drummer Boy

This song doesn’t exactly fit into the “what was it really like to be there” category. And it hasn’t always been a favorite. But a couple of years ago, when I heard Pentatonix do "The Little Drummer Boy," it became new and brilliant. 

This year, as part of those 12 days, Alex Boyé did an Africanized, very upbeat version that she makes me happy.

It was the most momentous beginning in the history of the world; so we celebrate. Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Siege of 1979

When we’re in times like these—when killers appear on our streets and in schools and public places, and mow people down in the name of their god—it seems a matter of self-defense to understand them. I’m not talking about the sympathetic kind of understanding, the assumption that they must have had a good reason. There is no good reason for mass murdering innocent people. Least of all simply because they adhere to a different (or no) religion.

But there are enough of these radical Islamists in the world—including in our own country—that it can’t be a matter of mental illness, at least in the traditional meaning of that. It is a world view, including motivations and logic structure that leads to where they think this is a good, even moral, act, and if they die in the process all the better.

So, if we can understand what it is they’re thinking, we might be better able to thwart. And ultimately to stamp out.

In my effort to understand, one of the books I’ve started with is The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright[i]. Eventually (after the holidays) I’m hoping to finish typing up my notes, and then maybe do a series of posts about what I’ve learned.
The Grand Mosque in Mecca during Hajj
page 4 of photos in The Looming Tower

But following the recent Paris and San Bernardino attacks, I thought I would go ahead and retell an event from 1979.

The siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca began November 20, 1979. It was the final day of hajj, the annual gathering in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. Wright tells us this:

That morning at dawn, the aged imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, Sheikh Mohammed al-Subayil, had been preparing to lead the prayers of fifty thousand Muslims gathered for the final day of hajj. As he approached the microphone, he was shoved aside, and a burst of gunfire echoed in the hold sanctuary. A ragged band of insurgents standing among the worshippers suddenly pulled rifles from under their robes. They chained the gates closed, trapping the pilgrims inside, and killed several policemen. “Your attention, O Muslims!” a rough-looking man with an untrimmed beard cried. “Allahu akhbar!”—God is great—“The Mahdi has appeared!”
“The Mahdi! The Mahdi!” the armed men cried.
It was New Year’s Day of the Islam year 1400—the bloody inauguration of a turbulent new century. In some of the disputed oral traditions of Islam, the Mahdi (“the one who guides”) will appear shortly before the end of time. The concept of the Mahdi is a controversial one, especially in Wahhabi Islam, since this messiah is not mentioned in the Quran. Tradition says that the Mahdi will be a descendant of the Prophet and will carry his name (Mohammed bin Abdullah), and that he will appear during the hajj. Eventually, Jesus will return and ask his people to adhere to Islam. Together, Jesus and the Mahdi will fight the Antichrist and restore justice and peace to the earth.
The man claiming to be the Mahdi was Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, but the real leader of the revolt was Juhayman al-Oteibi, a fundamentalist preacher and former corporal in the National Guard. The two men had been imprisoned together for sedition, and it was during that time, Oteibi claimed, that God had revealed to him in a dream that Qahtani was the Mahdi (p.88).
Saudi Arabia was not an old country. Tribes had been united under a king for only a few decades. The ruling family was, in some ways, all powerful. But they had a tenuous relationship with the clergy, which also wielded great power.

The insurgents’ goal was purportedly to overthrow the kingdom—to institute a theocracy in anticipation of the imminent apocalypse. The insurgents were known; they preached in mosques. Osama bin Laden would have heard them. While they were speaking openly against the government, in a country that was strictly controlled, “there was an ingrained reluctance on the part of the government to confront religious extremists” (p. 89).

So here was the Saudi government, along with the ulema (the clergy), faced with extremists in the Grand Mosque, where violence in any form is forbidden. Innocent people were being held hostage. Wright continues:

The king would face revolt from his own men if he ordered them to open fire within the sanctuary. On the other hand, if the ulema refused to issue a fatwa endorsing the government’s right to reclaim the mosque, they could be seen as siding with the rebels….
The leader of the ulema [the clergy] was Abdul Aziz bin Baz, blind, seventy years old, an eminent religious scholar but a man who was suspicious of science and hostile to modernity. He claimed that the sun rotated around the earth and that the manned landing on the moon had never occurred. Now bin Baz found himself in an awkward and compromised position: Oteibi had been his student in Medina. Whatever bargain was struck during the meeting between the ulema and King Khaled, the government emerged with a fatwa authorizing the use of lethal force. With this decree, Prince Sultan ordered an artillery barrage followed by frontal assaults on three of the main gates. They never got close to breaching the rebel defenses (p.90)

There were as many as five hundred insurgents inside the mosque. These included Saudis, Yemenis, Kuwaitis, Egyptians, and even some American Black Muslims. They had smuggled in stolen automatic weapons. Then they made use of the mosque’s hundreds of underground tunnels and chambers. They had snipers pick off any Saudi forces that came within view.

Turki, a member of the royal family whose government job was over intelligence, found himself put in charge of solving the threat. Among those he turned to was the Bin Laden family, whose construction company was working on the 20-year mosque renovation project. They had maps, utility layouts, and technical information.

Juhayman al-Oteibi, siege instigator
photo page 4 in The Looming Tower
Turki wanted to minimize casualties and damage to the Grand Mosque. While he puzzled that, Oteibi and minions controlled the public address system, and piped their message throughout the city. Among Oteibi’s demands were “adoption of Islamic, non-Western values and the rupture of diplomatic relations with Western countries, thus rolling back the changes that had opened the society to modernity.” They wanted the royal family thrown out of power, and royal money returned to the people. They also denounced the ulema, which had approved of the king’s rule. (pp. 91-92).

Turki’s grand plan turned out to be flooding the underground chambers, then using high-voltage lines to electrocute everyone inside. The problem was, there was no way to separate the perpetrators from the hostages. Plus, as Turki figured out, “You would need the entire Red Sea to fill it.” So that plan went nowhere.

The CIA was in Saudi Arabia, training Saudi Army Special Forces, not far away. But he didn’t turn to them. Instead Turki enlisted help from the French secret service. Count Claude Alexandre de Marenches came up with a plan to use gas. Turki insisted it be nonlethal.

But, Mecca is a holy city; non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. So that was a problem. They solved it by holding a brief ceremony “converting” the French forces to Islam. Then they went ahead with the gas plan. But it failed, probably because of the vastness of the caverns and too many directions gas could leak. Finally, full violence had to be used.

With casualties climbing, Saudi forces drilled holes into the courtyard and dropped grenades into the rooms below, indiscriminately killing many hostages but driving the remaining rebels into more open areas where they could be picked off by sharpshooters. More than two weeks after the assault began, the surviving rebels finally surrendered (p. 93).

The numbers were significant for a conflict within the “religion of peace”: 127 Saudi government forces killed, 461 injured. About 12 hostages were killed, and 117 rebels. “Unofficial accounts, however, put the number of dead at more than 4,000” (p. 94).

So, was there a Mahdi? Not as advertised.

[Oteibi’s] defiance had faded once the tragedy concluded. Turki went to see him in the hospital, where his wounds were being attended. Oteibi jumped off the bed, grabbed the prince’s hand, and kissed it. “Please ask King Khaled to forgive me!” he cried. “I promised not to do it again!” (pp. 93-94).

Right. The Saudi government executed him and 62 other insurgents by beheading on January 9, 1980, just a month after the siege ended.

What can we learn from this?

The civilized Muslim communities of the world are as plagued by radical Islam as the rest of us are. There is something truly evil about a group of fanatics who feel authorized to declare anyone who disagrees with them to be infidels subject to capital punishment, including those with more moderate views within their same religion. This plague may be cloaked in robes of piety, but it is not religious in the moral sense; it is power-seeking. It is tyrannical. It attempts to rule by force—just like any other political tyranny. And it submits in cowardice to superior force from those who refuse to tolerate it or surrender to it.

There are some incidental details that might be worth adding. During the first few days of the siege, Osama bin Laden and his brother Mahrous were arrested and investigated.

They were driving home from Al-Barood, the family farm off the road from Jeddah to Mecca. Authorities spotted the dust trail of their car coming out of the desert and thought they were fleeing rebels. At the time of their arrest, the brothers professed to be unaware that the siege had taken place. They stayed in custody for a day or two, but their social prominence protected them. Osama remained secluded in his house for a week. He had been opposed to Oteibi and the extreme Salafists who surrounded him. Five years later, however, he would tell a fellow mujahideen in Peshawar that Oteibi and his followers were true Muslims who were innocent of any crime.

Osama may have always been beyond the mainstream, reaching toward radical Islam. But he didn’t start out violent. From early on he was angry at the existence of Israel and decried injustice toward the Palestinians. And he decried having American military accepted on Saudi soil. But he was content to simply speak his dissatisfaction—until the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, a country his friend Jamal Khalifa claimed bin Laden had never heard of up until that point. The invasion happened during the month between the siege and the execution.

Another day we can discuss the influences that led him to turn violent, since that might help us predict that turn in others. We need to be able to accurately identify them, because violent radical Islam anywhere in the world is a savage plague against all civilization.

[i] I wrote briefly about this book, about a man named Qutb, an early influence in radical Islam, in my response to the Paris attack, November 16, 2015.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wealth, Poverty, and Politics

Economist Thomas Sowell has yet another book out: Wealth, Poverty, and Politics. He did an interview on Uncommon Knowledge, which came out this week. I’ve only just become aware of the book, so I haven’t read it yet, but the interview had some themes worth mentioning.

Here at the Spherical Model, we notice the interrelationships of things political, economic, and social. Thomas Sowell does that as well. Then entire interview (and so I’m assuming the entire book) covers a great deal more than what I’ll look at today. But a middle segment of the discussion takes on a couple of issues we can just lift out and benefit from.

First is his assertion about diversity—that it does no inherent good. I’ve long believed that. I remember the first time Mr. Spherical Model came home and discussed diversity training at work. They had been taught that they benefited from diversity. And I said, “You mean you learn how to get along despite diversity?” No, they were supposed to see that they got additional viewpoints from ethnic diversity.

That struck me as pointless. There are types of diversity that can help benefit the whole: variations in thinking style, attention to detail, energy for leadership, different talents. You get a diverse team, and you all benefit from each other. But skin color and ethnic background don’t provide you with that addition. In international business you do benefit from someone on your team familiar with the culture you’re doing business with. But a basic classroom in America doesn’t benefit educationally from having students with different amounts of melanin in their skin. It's not relevant to learning.

Thomas Sowell grew up poor and Black in Harlem, New York. So he can safely say things others may not be able to without backlash. Or he’s immune to the backlash.

This starts at about fifteen minutes into the conversation. The interviewer is Peter Robinson:

PR: In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics you describe three very selective—they’re public high schools in New York, but they’re very selective. You have to test to get into them. They’re Stuyvesant High—your Stuyvesant High—Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. Quote:
“The triumph of egalitarian principle and demographic ‘diversity’ in the rest of New York’s education system has not resulted in an increase in the number or proportion of Black or Hispanic students passing the admissions tests to get into Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech. On the contrary, the numbers and proportions of Black and Hispanic students have declined substantially over the years at all three institutions.”
So, telegram to Mayor DeBlasio: As diversity becomes championed in the city of New York over the last forty years, fifty years, diversity actually diminishes at these very selective high schools. Why?
TS: Well, diversity really doesn’t do anything for you. There are many cultural…
PR: Doesn’t do anything for you as a society?
TS: As a society, or the people in whose interest you’re promoting diversity. In other words, when Black and Hispanic kids go to schools other than those three, they get a load of diversity. It doesn’t do them any good. For example, as of about 2012 or 2014—I forget the exact one—the percentage of Blacks at Stuyvesant High School was one tenth of what it was 33 years earlier. There’d been a major retrogression. So while they’re being taught, filling their heads full of diversity, the Asian students are learning math and science. Plus, the schools are also…  Another point against diversity is that in years past, those schools were so heavily Jewish that Stuyvesant was referred to once as a free prep school for Jews. Well, they weren’t diverse, but it was very successful.
And now, Asian Americans outnumber whites by more than two-to-one in all three of those schools. It’s still not diverse. But they’re turning out people who do marvelous things. And that’s what they’re there for—to benefit society, not to present this tableau that will please a handful of people.
If only we would deal with the content of character, rather than color of skin. I think someone said that once.

The next portion of the conversation looked further into that word retrogression. Things haven’t progressed under progressives; they have gone backward. Why?

PR: Political factors—this is the last of the large factors you discuss in Wealth, Poverty, and Politics. Quote: “Black Americans, a group often identified as beneficiaries of the welfare state in America, made considerable economic progress in the twentieth century.”
Thomas Sowell: screen shot from
Uncommon Knowledge interview
Fine. Of course. “But much, if not most…”  This is the thing with you: the dependent clause is where the sting is. “But much if not most of it was prior to the massive expansion of the American welfare state.”
That is so counter—I want to say counter-intuitive, because we hear so much about African-American progress and civil rights and the establishment of the welfare state, that it really has become kind of an American intuition. Explain yourself, Dr. Sowell.
TS: Well, as of 1940 87% of Black households were in poverty. Over the next 20 years that declined to 47%. This is all prior to the civil rights laws, prior to the social welfare policies of the Johnson administration. Over the next 20 years it fell an additional 18 points. But that was just the same trend continuing—at a reduced rate.
Affirmative action is even worse, because, as I remember—I’m trying to think now, the numbers—I think it was something like, the poverty rate was something like 30% among Black households before affirmative action. And a decade after affirmative action it was 29%. This is not the same as the 40% decline that occurred before there were any civil rights laws and before there was any social welfare state.
PR: So, what happened between 1940 and 1960 was the post-world war economic boom.
TS: It was that, but it was also the massive migration of Blacks out of the South.
PR: So they’re getting better education and jobs?
TS: That’s right.
PR: OK. Now, you mention cultural and social retrogressions. Again I’m quoting you: “Arguably the most consequential of these was the decline in two-parent families.”
Explain that one—among African-Americans, we’re still talking about.
TS: Yes. You know, when they talk about things like this, they talk about the legacy of slavery.
PR: Right.
 TS: And I argue, empirically it’s not that; it’s the legacy of the welfare state. Because, as of 1960, which is almost a hundred years after slavery ended, the majority of Black kids were being raised in two-parent households. But within one generation after the welfare state, that had dropped down to a minority. So the majority of Black kids today are raised in one-parent households. When you think about it, I mean, centuries of slavery, generations of Jim Crow did not destroy the Black family. But one generation of the welfare state did.
PR: The Moynihan report, what was it, a call for national action—“The Negro Family: A Call for National Action,” was 1965—fifty years ago. And his principle point of alarm—and again, now I’m trying to recall the statistics—but I believe the out-of-wedlock birthrate among African-Americans in 1965 was 25%.
TS: Something like that, yes.
PR: And he was so alarmed that he wrote this report. And today it’s over 70%. And, by the way, the rate among whites is one third at this stage.
TS: Yes.
PR: So, how does the family breakdown fit into an economic understanding? Is the social breakdown of the American family something that we have to understand aside from the tools of economics? It just doesn’t fit into the supply and demand curve?
TS: This occurred at a time when the black income was rising. And so, we’re saying that previous generations of Blacks with lower incomes and more racial barriers—the family stuck together under those conditions. And under the new conditioned, which were advertised to make for great progress, in fact created great retrogressions. And I think many people who were gung ho for the idea that this was going to be progress simply cannot bring themselves to look at the evidence and say, “My God! We made things worse.” (ending 22:39 or 43:06 minutes)
There are two Spherical Model principles illustrated here:

·         Whenever government attempts something beyond the proper role of government (protection of life, liberty, and property), it causes unintended consequences—usually exactly opposite to the stated goals of the interference.

·         Civilization requires strong families. Anything that decays the strong family—in which married mothers and fathers together raise their children in love and security—leads to increased less civilization, prosperity, and freedom.

Freedom, prosperity, and civilization are closely interrelated. The way to get the positives we want require living the principles in all three spheres at the same time. But the starting place is the social sphere. Family is the basic unit of civilization. One strong family is its own civilization. Yet another strong family, and another, builds to thriving communities.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Still Infamous Day

Today marks 74 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a war crime against a country with no declaration of war. The purpose of the bombing was to take out enough of the US Naval forces to prevent the US from entering WWII and hindering the Japanese plans for immediate conquest.
Pearl Harbor--image from here

I wrote about Pearl Harbor in 2011, on the 70th anniversary. But there are some other details I’d like to share today.

Back when we were homeschooling, we had a history text that included a section called “The Planned Invasion of the Americas,” taken from True Stories from the Files of the FBI, by W. Cleon Skousen[i]  This section align with information in Wikipedia, so it’s probably known, but it is more obscure than some other big stories of the war.

You may recognize the name W. Cleon Skousen from his book The 5000-Year Leap, or possibly The Naked Communist, Fantastic Victory, or The Real Benjamin Franklin. I may have mentioned that he was a friend of my dad. The families grew up together around San Bernardino, California, so I’ve been familiar with his works all my life. I’m going to quote a couple of pages from this piece by Skousen:

The Nazi-Fascist teaching of “Divide and Conquer” followed the same pattern in every territory marked for conquest. While Quislings tore down Norway’s defenses and the Lavals were hard at work undermining France, the same “softening-up” process was underway in America. The Americas, however, awoke in time, and they were the only continents of the world where Axis bombs did not fall or Axis boots did not tread. But the enemy planned it otherwise.
There was never a time in modern history when the entire Western Hemisphere stood in greater danger form foreign invasion than during the critical period of 1941 and 1942. It is only 1,685 miles from Natal, Brazil, to Dakar, North Africa—no further than a railroad trip from Boston, Massachusetts, to Omaha, Nebraska. At one time in those long anxious months when America was unprepared, German troops were ready at Dakar, waiting the right moment to drive the Nazi knife into Brazil.
The Reich considered a direct attack on American defenses in the Caribbean. German and Japanese planes were to attack the Panama Canal, Colombian seaports and exposed overland pipelines. A fleet of 1,000 huge submarines was to carry Nazi troops into Colombia and Venezuela. A boat was to be sunk in a narrow channel in Dutch Guiana—thereby cutting off 60 percent of a mineral necessary to United States industries. Brazil had over 200,000 Japanese. They were reported to be arming. Germans laid plans to smash transportation if Chile broke with the Axis.
The strike in the Bolivian tin mines was traced to a German consul. Slowdowns, fires, and destructive devices slowed the workers on United States bases in Brazil.
The situation had all the elements known in the Axis code of warfare as the preparation for a surprise attack.
“Pearl Harbor!”
book cover from
At 1:25 PM, Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Honolulu Office of the FBI called headquarters at Washington, DC. It was 7:55 AM in Hawaii. Japanese bombers were blasting Pearl Harbor!
Their first call sparked into action the nation-wise war plans of the FBI. While bombs were still falling on the main United Sates Pacific fleet, every FBI office from Juneau, Alaska, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, was alerted. Within one hour every FBI employee in each of the field offices was stationed at his post of duty and knew his job. FBI manpower combined with more than 150,000 law enforcement officers to crack down at the slightest sabotage gesture or attempted uprisings of enemy fifth columns.
In the communications center of the FBI, two officials, following FBI war plans worked out in advance, dictated directly to operators the vital messages going out at the same time to all continental field offices over the Bureau’s teletype network. Nineteen different messages flashed out in rapid succession and each Special Agent in Charge passed on to cooperating police the latest security orders.
All Japanese known to be dangerous were immediately apprehended. Japanese known to be dangerous were immediately apprehended Japanese were taken off planes. Communications in and out of the United States were stopped. Press services to occupied China and Japan were cut off. Protective guards were established at the Japanese, German and Italian Embassies in Washington at their consulates throughout the country. Their mail and telephone services were discontinued, their funds were frozen.
On the day following Pearl Harbor 1,771 dangerous enemy aliens had been arrested and delivered to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service for detention. As formal declarations of war were announced, large-scale arrests of German and Italian aliens—all known or suspected to be dangerous—were made. The whole operation moved along according to plan. In all, over 16,000 arrests were made by the FBI.
Since the aliens considered “dangerous” were apprehended in a calm and orderly manner, the fears of honest, patriotic aliens were quieted. They saw that there would be none of the so-called “witch hunting” remembered from the last war.[ii]
Vicious rumors which flew thick and fast over Hawaii and later spread to the mainland were also quashed by prompt investigations. Official FBI announcements that the “latest stories” were “pure rumor and not real” did much to calm jittery nerves. Public fear was further prevented by a vigorous “Tell it to the FBI” campaign.
Thus, the Axis fifth column was smashed before it could go into action. The panicky fear of it that gripped many Americans in the black days following Pearl Harbor soon disappeared.
Effect of “Pearl Harbor” in South America
The shock of the Japanese sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor was registered immediately in South American countries. It made them suddenly alert to the prospects of similar attacks.
For more than two years the FBI had found that enemy spying in the United States tied in closely with Axis activities among sister republics to the south. When advised of the information revealed by FBI investigations in the United States, South American countries enthusiastically agreed to cooperate. Many republics asked for FBI liaison agents to work with their own police and intelligence forces. Others sent intelligence officers to train at FBI schools.
The FBI and the law enforcement agencies of the South American countries exchanged information on all matters of mutual interest. In this way an effective Pan-American intelligence force was successfully raised up against the destructive fifth column activities of the Axis spy and sabotage rings in South America.
Altogether, more than 7,000 Axis operators and sympathizers in South America have been expelled, interned or removed far inland where they are harmless. More than 250 spies and saboteurs have been exposed and neutralized. Twenty-nine secret short-wave radio stations used principally to transmit information about the United States to Germany have been eliminated. Potentially dangerous Axis nationals have been brought under observation.
Such victories have played a major role in the defense of the Western Hemisphere. The massing of German troops at Dakar, the Japanese plans to attack Alaska, to smash through to the West Coast, to bomb the Panama Canal and spread destruction in American war plants—all these were dreams of the enemy. But they failed because the enemies’ spy network in the Americas was smashed.
On a day like this, in times like this, we should consider what the world would look like if America had been a “paper tiger” as WWII enemies had believed. What is the US had thrown up its hands after that tragic attack and said, “We surrender”? What if plans to occupy South and then Central America, and move into mainland America had been successful? 

It's hard to imagine the negative effects on the world if Americans had not awoken to the peril to civilization and fought to preserve our precious freedom.

[i] I believe the book is a compilation of stories, printed in book form after the author’s death; his wife is listed as author, and his son as editor, who also wrote the forward. The information about the book on says it was written under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover and was used for some time in FBI training. The history text I used was compiled by Skousen’s daughter and her husband, and frequently quotes from Skousen’s writings.
[ii] This was written contemporaneously, so it predates the time of the Japanese internment camps, which were an unfortunate response to fear during the war.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Usual Suspects

Tragedy struck again yesterday. It happened at a Christmas party at Inland Regional Center, a social services center for the developmentally disabled, in San Bernardino, California. Fourteen were killed, and an additional seventeen were injured, including a police officer (numbers may change as further reports come out).
Inland Regional Center, site of the tragedy
photo credit KTTV via AP

The details are available in multiple news reports, and more information will continue to come out. But when something like this happens, logic and experience tell us it is likely one of two things: an insane individual (usually male, loner, and known—or should have been known—to be insane and possibly dangerous), or Islamist terrorists.

A couple of other possibilities also come to mind: drug cartel violence or gang violence. In fact, inner city black-on-black gang violence is so common (more killed and injured in Chicago inner city over the weekend than in yesterday's slaughter) that it ceases to be news. There was also a shooting spree in New Orleans on November 22; 17 were injured (no deaths, at least by the time of the story I read). Almost no news about it.

This one was radical Islamist terrorism. In this case, the suspects, who were killed in a shootout with police later in the day, were not as easily identifiable as some. The male, Syed Rizwan Farook, age 28, was a US citizen, a graduate of a local high school. He attended local mosques, was known as mild mannered, and fellow Muslims were unaware of his Islamist radicalism. He worked as a food inspector.

The other perpetrator was female—his wife, Tashfeen Malik, age 27. He went to Saudi Arabia a year or more ago (reports vary—maybe just last spring), during Hajj, and had plans to marry her there. Some reports say they had a baby. I have not seen reports of where the baby was during their attack, and where the child is after the death of its parents. For the child’s sake, it may be better that we don’t learn that from media. But curiosity leads to some questions: was someone else notified of the parents’ plans? Did a childcare provider have anything to do with the planning?

Explosives, AK-47s, pipe bombs, as well as other weapons are reportedly part of the incident, including the makings of maybe a dozen pipe bombs and/or IEDs in the couple’s garage. Neighbors of Farook report seeing Middle Eastern men delivering large boxes to the garage, where police found the explosive materials. Neighbors hadn’t reported suspicious activity, however, for fear of appearing racist. When the perpetrators were apprehended in the vehicle, police were cautious about possible explosives being rigged in their SUV.

The couple wore assault-style clothing and gear (may have included body armor). It should go without saying, but one doesn’t accumulate assault gear and explosives on the odd chance that an argument might come up at a workplace. Clearly it was a planned event. The particular target may have been a spontaneous decision, but they appear to have been preparing for such an attack for some time.

The news reports, and details coming from police and FBI officials throughout the afternoon and early evening, refused to say what they knew about the perpetrators—that they were Islamist terrorists. There may have been some tactical reason for keeping that information from the public. But it makes us in the public wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to be honest with us, so we can keep a lookout for additional danger.

San Bernardino Chief of Police Jarrod Berguan
at a news conference following the attack
photo credit KTTV via AP

A couple of essential questions come up. Why would anyone do such a thing? And how do we identify people who would do such a thing?

I can’t say why someone would become a radicalized Islamist. I am guessing it has something to do with wanting meaning in life while also wanting control over anyone who isn’t part of the meaning-granting ideology.

The question of how we identify people who would do an Islamist terrorist attack grows increasingly challenging, especially if we don’t want the dragnet to sweep up many innocents. But we can start with the stereotypes:

Muslim. That should go without saying, because no Islamist terrorist isn’t Islamist, which is an ideology within or attached to Islam. The questions should, therefore, include belief. But if the people who attend at the same mosques can’t identify the radicals, that is definitely problematic.

Middle Eastern heritage, or possibly Pakistani (Farook was from a Pakistani family). Although black American Muslims (a good number of whom are converted/recruited in prison) and black African Muslims might also be among the suspicious. And occasionally even white Americans have been recruited and radicalized. Still, Middle Eastern Muslim is the most likely radical Islamist.

Male. Probably between age 16-45. But because that is the stereotype, radicals are learning to push the envelope, including women, children, and older men. The second perpetrator in this attack was a woman, with a child. Which adds to the difficulty of identifying the radicals. Still, those radicals beyond the stereotype are probably attached to someone within the stereotype.

We also don’t know what changes a regular Muslim into a radicalized Islamist (defined as enforcing Islam as the only power in the world, subjugating or killing all others, including moderate Muslims). Farook was born and raised in America. He had all the benefits of other citizens. The mosques where he worshipped, at least according to what we know so far, are made up of people who are horrified by his terrorist attack.

What we need is an omniscient way of reading minds, to clear the innocent and watch those who are wavering or turning bad. That is a power God has, but that I do not trust government officials to do. So, we need government, which we have tasked with the responsibility of our protection, to be diligent in noticing patterns, listening to sources, and following those with suspicious connections and suspicious behaviors.

What we do not need is a government that fails to admit that radical Islamist terrorism exists—anywhere in the world, but especially not on our shores. We do not need a government that uses the tragedy to assert power over innocent American citizens, claiming that we just need stricter gun laws.
Does it even need to be pointed out that AK-47s and pipe bombs are already against the law in California, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. Because reports are still sketchy, maybe we can’t be certain AK-47s were involved, but any fully automatic rifle (machine gun) and most semi-automatic weapons are illegal in California.

Here is what the president said in his response to the attack: "We're going to have to, I think, search ourselves as a society to make sure that we can take basic steps that would make it harder—not impossible, but harder--for individuals to get access to weapons.”

So let me rephrase what our president is saying: Even though the right to bear arms has been greatly infringed already, especially where this attack just happened, we are sure that further infringing on those rights for law-abiding citizens will make people safer from the lawless killers who use already outlawed weapons to kill innocent people.

In looking at things through the Spherical Model lens, we can see that radical Islamist terrorism is savage. It is deep down in the southern hemisphere where you find tyranny and savagery, and in the southwest quadrant of chaos. Tyranny intended to control politically, as Islamists intend, is in the southeast quadrant of statist oppression, so they are offering up a choice: continued terrorist attacks until you submit to tyrannical rule.

There may be, at least for now, a difference of depth, but tyranny that infringes on innocent citizens’ right to protect themselves is also southeastern statist tyranny. For those who only see the southern hemisphere, offering relief from the chaos is a common response of those vying for power.

But the better way to get away from both chaotic and statist tyrannies is to move north to the freedom that guarantees God-given rights of life, liberty and property. It takes a civilized, self-governing people—religious people with strong families—to get there and stay there. The northern hemisphere ideas beat every flavor of tyranny every time.

Monday, November 30, 2015

About the Children

Section seven of Ryan T. Anderson’s book Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom discusses families. In particular, the outcome for children raised by two parents of the same sex, which was imposed on the American people in June, on the whim of a wavering Justice Kennedy.

The book lays out research on children of gays (COGs), reports from children so raised, and various other opinions—which Justice Kennedy had in hand and dismissed as unimportant. Anderson’s presentation is always logical. I’ll leave it to you to read his version. But for today I’d like to offer a few passages I took note of.

One story comes from an essay by Robert Oscar Lopez, “a bisexual Latino intellectual,” who was raised by his mother and her female partner. His essay, first published in the online journal Public Discourse, is titled “Growing Up with Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View.” Lopez recounts the hole in his young life because of the absence of a father. His friends, he said, learned how to approach life from a man and a woman.

They learned, typically, how to be bold and unflinching from male figures and how to write thank-you cards and be sensitive form female figures. These are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes come in handy when you inevitably leave the safety of your lesbian mom’s trailer and have to work and survive in a world where everybody thinks in stereotypical terms, even gays.
Not only did he lack a male role model, his mother and her partner were not traditional mothers either. He makes the valid point that, while gays and lesbians have been pushing for so-called “marriage equality,” they have cavalierly favored depriving children of either a mother or a father, even though, he says, “Many gays don’t realize what a blessing it was to be reared in a traditional home.”

Lopez has been silenced and maligned for expressing his experience and opinions, which do not align with the movement’s agenda.

As Anderson comments, “Gay activists use intimidation to shut down debate about their agenda, and no one has faced more attacks on their characters than the children of gays and lesbians who oppose gay marriage.”

Katy Faust is another such voice, a grown woman who was raised by two women. She wrote, in an amicus brief in the Obergefell case,

There is no difference between the value and worth of heterosexual and homosexual persons…because we are all humans created in the image of God….[But] when it comes to procreation and child-rearing, same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are wholly unequal and should be treated differently for the sake of the children.
She reminds us, “Each child is conceived by a mother and a father to whom that child has a natural right.”

I noticed this line, because it aligns with a sentence from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”: “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
Faust goes on:

When a child is placed in a same-sex-headed household, she will miss out on at least one critical parental relationship and a vital dual-gender influence. The nature of the adults’ union guarantees this. Whether by adoption, divorce, or third-party reproduction, the adults in this scenario satisfy their heart’s desires, while the child bears the most significant cost: missing out on one or more of her biological parents.
When she became a mother, she came to realize this fact: “Kids want their mother and father to love them and to love each other.” And she adds,

Now that I am a parent, I see clearly the beautiful differences my husband and I bring to our family. I see the wholeness and health that my children receive because they have both of their parents living with and loving them. I see how important the role of their father is and how irreplaceable I am as their mother. We play complementary roles in their lives, and neither of us is disposable. In fact, we are both critical. It’s almost as if Mother Nature got this whole reproduction thing exactly right.

It isn’t that same-sex parents are bad at parenting. Both may be good and devoted parents. But there is still something missing. As the research shows, children raised by divorced parents, or single parents (never married, the father not in the picture), or by in vitro reproduction through a donor, or are abandoned by parents—these children all ache for the missing parent. Their lives are not whole. So, if that is true, Faust asks, “How can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out ‘even better!’ when raised in same-sex headed households?” In reality they aren’t.

She concludes, “The onus must be on adults to conform to the needs of children, not the other way around.”

Heather Barwick, another child of two moms, adds her story. “I’m writing to you [the gay community] because I’m letting myself out of the closet: I don’t support gay marriage….It’s not because you’re gay…..It’s because of the nature of the same-sex relationship itself,” which always deprives a child of either a mom or a dad."

There’s something wrong with adults who think it’s all right to reorder society to meet their desires when those desires necessarily deprive a child of what the child is entitled to, and will feel the absence of. Barwick said,

A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I love my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost…. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary….
[A legal system that redefines marriage] promotes and normalizes a family structure that necessarily denies us something precious and foundational. It denies us something we need and long for, while at the same time tells us that we don’t need what we naturally crave. That we will be okay. But we’re not. We’re hurting.
Children of divorce are free to say that they miss having their parents together, or they miss the parent they don’t get to live with. That makes sense to us. But these children, purposely raised without a father, or without a mother, don’t even get to voice their pain; it’s not politically correct to bring that up. Barwick says, “If we say we are hurting because we were raised by same-sex parents, we are either ignored or labeled a hater.” Children who love their gay parents are labeled homophobic for missing something children are naturally made to expect—both of their biological parents.

Another story comes from Doug Mainwaring, a homosexual male who married a woman, left the marriage to pursue a homosexual lifestyle, and then came back for the sake of the children. He says, “(1) Creating a family with another man is not completely equal to creating a family with a woman, and (2) denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil. Kids need and yearn for both.”  He said, “I do not get to throw away the mother of my child as if she is a used incubator.”

And Mainwaring added, “When you are a parent, ethical questions revolve around your children and you put away your self-interest…forever.”

Anderson concludes, “For all of Justice Kennedy’s concern about conferring the ‘dignity’ of marriage on same-sex couples, there’s little concern about conferring suffering on the children raised in such relationships. A relentless focus on adult desire has left us astonishingly calloused.”

That callousness—which fits into what we refer to here at The Spherical Model as southern hemisphere savagery—is the legacy of this redefinition of marriage.

Those of us who know what real marriage is have an obligation to remember, to speak up regardless of negative backlash, and to find ways to express the truth and keep it from being buried. The next section of the book talks about how to build a movement of marriage, to help our society recover.

The downward movement started decades earlier, with “the sexual ideology that undermined the rational foundations for the marital norms of permanence, exclusivity, and monogamy.” What took decades to deconstruct will take decades to rebuild.  Anderson paraphrases Pope Benedict XVI, who “reminds us that while intellectual arguments are important, people are moved more by beauty and holiness….So the first thing we need to do is live the truth about marriage ourselves.”

That’s a starting place. We’ll leave it at that for today, and talk about organization and activism another time.