Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.
The following is a summary of the June/July 2016 issue of The St. Croix Review:
Barry MacDonald, in “Organizing Communities for Republicans,” looks at the strengths and weaknesses of Going Red, a book written by Ed Morrissey about what’s necessary for Republicans to win critical counties within swing states in the coming presidential election.
Ray Sinneck serves as a reincarnation of Jonathan Swift in “Transfiguration,” in which a T.V. personality interviews “Jo,” who is transitioning from being male to becoming female.
Paul Kengor, in “Western Civ in the Crosshairs — and a Glimmer of Hope,” exposed the vast ignorance of college students and their purposeful mis-education perpetrated by progressive professors who want students to remain ignorant; in “The Communist Party Feels the Bern — U.S. Communists Couldn’t Be Happier About the Democratic Party’s Direction,” he shows how the Sanders campaign is the continuation of the leftist revolution that Barack Obama has begun; in “Having a ‘Trump Talk’ with Your Kids,” he proposes a way of handling children and Donald Trump.
Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Identity Politics Is Eroding the Integrity of American Universities,” smashes the silly “reasoning” of the students at Stanford University who demand the school’s next president be “nonwhite and either transgender or female”; in “Another Attack on Free Speech: Should It Be a Crime to Want Open Discussion of Climate Change?” he responses to the attempts by seventeen attorneys general from fifteen states to criminalize disagreement with liberal scientific notions; in “Seeking to Reverse His Corruption Conviction, the Former Virginia Governor’s Strange Defense Is: Everyone Does It,” he takes note that many prominent public officials of both parties are coming to the defense of the convicted former Governor Bob McDonnell, showing that both parties are comfortable trading access for favors.
Mark W. Hendrickson in “Barack Obama’s Bathroom Overreach,” considers President Obama’s recent decree that public schools nationwide must prepare restrooms for transgender people; in “The Democratic (Party’s) March Toward Socialism,” he describes in detail the Democrats’ comprehensive predation on private property rights; in “True Reagan: A Fascinating Up-Close Look at the Fortieth President,” he reviews a new book about Ronald and Nancy Reagan, written by a close aide who served during the White House years; in “A Liberal College Professor Freaks Out That His College Invited a Republican to Be the Commencement Speaker,” he examines a letter from his wife’s alma mater in which a professor laments that House Speaker Paul Ryan has been invited to speak, and he lists the professor’s juvenile comments; in “The Black Hole of Debt,” he writes: “The world is caught in a black hole of debt, and it’s hard to picture any way to get out of it”; in “The Increasingly Incestuous Ties Between Google and the Democratic Party,” he reports an ominous instance of big-government cronyism.
Herbert London, in “Trump’s Foreign Policy,” evaluates Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech and, though he cites flaws, he sees good points too; in “Saudi Arabia: U.S. Foe and Friend,” he takes a hard look at a strained relationship; in “Civilizational Conflict,” he describes the conflict between militant Islam and Western culture as a confrontation that may be impossible to avoid.
Reuben Larson, in “My Name Is Johan Larsson — This Is My Story,” gives an account of his Grandfather’s life as he emigrated from Sweden to America in the nineteenth century to build a family and establish a homestead.
In “Letters From a Conservative Farmer — Photos on My Wall,” Jigs Gardner considers the meaning of photos.
As civilized as a sword can make us —
Hasn’t it a cultural achievement
To fold the steel in layers and forge it
With a hammer and anvil and hone the
Blade to lethality to inscribe it
With vows of victory and to wield it
Requires a warrior’s training to
Surpass the enemy’s might in battle
And all to no benefit without a
Supporting ethos infusing courage
In the warrior? As civilized as
We may be in the midst of savagery
Haunting the human animal forcing
A defense of gentle accomplishments.
And there are methods
for instilling compassion
in the midst violence
in the human dilemma.
Light and leaf — sun and sky — mind and sky — with
My eyes open I see the natural
Cooperation composing this world
And I wonder at the magic of it
That my skin absorbs the light just as a
Leaf absorbs the light just as the sun fills
The space surrounding the earth with light and
Somehow turns it blue — and have you noticed
How we live subject to the natural
Drama of the sky ceaselessly moving
With clouds and rain and wind and light and have
You noticed how the mind ceaselessly moves
From happiness to discouragement to
Confusion and also astonishment?
Too seldom do I see
too infrequently notice
the churning magic
and ceaseless transformation.
It’s a modest dining room a smallish
Round table and in the morning I make
Coffee and have a bowl of cereal.
Maybe a conversation an email
Or an expression on someone’s face from
The day before has left an impression
With me and so I consider what they
Are thinking and how they are coping and
What I should do — I didn’t understand
How to direct my energy when young
How to discover what needs attention —
I come to my breakfast table as to
A reliable sanctuary and
Continuously find intuition.
Solitude is good
for the cultivation of
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of
Playing the sleepless poet rummaging
For significance and sacrificing
While everyone else is sleeping and I’m
Stubborn and I’ll pay the penalty in
Taxes for not having health coverage
I’ll stop taking trazodone my magic
Sleeping pills because I refuse to pay
Hundreds of dollars just to consult the
Doctor once just to update prescriptions
So I went to the pharmacy looking
For non-prescription drugs and I talked to
The pharmacist and he impolitely
Asked me so how much coffee do you drink?
Could it be the pot
of coffee I drink each day
lifting me up in
the morning making me buzz
keeping me awake at night?
There are some people crazy enough to
Put on a wing suit at the top of a
Mountain and jump with the fabric between
Their legs and arms and body so they do
Fly by the precipices inches from
The rock so like a gliding eagle the
Miles of air and the ins and outs of the
Alpine shadows passing far beneath — how
Like a God it would seem to be part of
Living a spectacle of gigantic
Proportions finding within a human
Form a capacity for soaring with
Excitement and with the experience
Discovering perhaps such joy and peace.
Perhaps a crazy
fellow was inspired by
a flying squirrel —
so he made a wing suit and
climbed a precipice and plunged?
I love the morning sunrise transforming
An open sky and casting a shine on
On the snow covered ground with the squirrel
Tracks and the sides and the roofs of the homes
Brilliant because I love to see clearly
Because my thinking is uncluttered and
A natural optimism rises
As if the frictions and complexities
Of yesterday dissolve in the blue sky
And the renewing power of the sun —
But soon my thoughts will assume the burden
Of problems needing solutions and of
Driving emotions and relationships
As I engage with my difficulties.
As if I’m reborn
by the transforming sunrise
as if I’m a child
again liberated from
problems needing solutions.
As a handsome youth with dark hair he’s not
Remarkable but the photo has a
Story — he’s just come to America
From Australia and I wonder what
The photo does to those of us who knew
Him as my father appears very much
Like me or my brother at that age and
He’s full of youthful open confidence
As we know the story of his life of
His family his ministry the journal
He founded — we know the bitterness the
Courage and the triumphs no one else could
Comprehend and each of us remembers
Differently as each knew him separately.
It’s a small circle
of people capable of
depth as only we knew him.
Hazel was his sister’s name and dad said
She had a hard life as her husband was
A brute character and my dad would gaze
At the photo of her youthful smile and
Her profusion of hair and I can see
A touch of family resemblance as
The enthusiastic innocence and
Openness communicates happiness
But you can’t tell by seeing the photo’s
Eight decades old and between them was a
Steamer that traversed the Pacific from
Australia to America when such
A trip seemed irrevocable as dad
Left behind his family and homeland.
In youthful photos
of my vanished family
of a faded world —
I can sense optimism
And eager exploration.
So I was in the square in Paris just
Before Notre-Dame Cathedral after
A year of schooling at Oxford having
Scored well with the teachers and being a
Young man with prospects for success who was
Free of responsibilities and yet
I couldn’t be happy — now here you are
Accomplished graduated prepared to
Be an engineer a young man with no
Obstacles except that you’re unhappy —
Is the world to come so threatening so
Imponderable it’s hard to begin
Or is misery merely a habit
You must overcome? You will find a way.
I’m not able to give you
exact guidance as
in matters of the spirit
we each have our own puzzles.
As if I were trying to sneak a look
At his cards to see what he’s doing he
Holds back and won’t communicate how he’s
Considering his options what he wants
To do what he thinks he’s capable of
Becoming — it’s time that he makes his way
That he determines a direction and
I know he doesn’t have to get it right
There’s wide latitude — it’s not a lifetime
He’s planning just the first few steps and then
He may reconsider readjust and
Change course but how can he know what’s best for
Him without testing his abilities
And discovering how the world responds?
Because he’s done it
because he’s reconnoitered
a father may guide his son —
but the son may be stubborn.
Being in a place where a person was
Makes the separation more poignant and
Who am I to complain as didn’t I
Get on a bus to Galveston Texas
And take a plane to Osaka Japan
And didn’t my parents wave goodbye and
And didn’t they watch me depart to an
Uncertain fate thousands of miles gone
And haven’t I been wondering when you
Would take a worthy direction but now
I realize emotions can become
Mixed as your courage is inspiring
As you’re behaving just as I did but
Part of me I’ve found wants to keep you near.
How can I complain
of my son’s emulation
as Joshua has
decided to go northward
up to Juno Alaska?
You were resisting in Pioneer Park
Pouting and refusing to walk on a
Summer afternoon as resolute as
A toddler with a bulging tummy
Could be bereft of her container of
Water that I forgot so I scooped you
Up and we proceeded home — today you’re in
Graduating robes at Moore College of
Art and Design in Philadelphia
Which is far from home with a degree that’s
A gamble the schooling will be useful
As we have encouraged you to become
As creative as possible because
Your talent deserves opportunity.
The conveyance of
in faces you create so
When the native peoples walked for water
This same valley was here resonating.
They called a section “Stillwater” because
The water spread between limestone bluffs.
Iced-over river and overcast sky
Slopes of bare trees and snow the clean cold air
The quiet settling among the bluffs
Prepare this place for reverberations.
Sioux and Ojibwa fought in a hollow
Lumberjacks floated rafts of logs downsteam
A frontier prison held the Younger Gang
And steamboats plied the townsfolk with supplies.
Pioneer Park has a southward view
For sunrises and sun speckled water.
A name is a gift that accompanies
A life and the christening of a child
Is a bestowal of your parent’s best
Intentions and wishes for the passage
Of a life as if they could be present
To smooth the way so to proclaim “may you
Be Kristine” is to wish in all your days
That you be moved with wisdom and love like
Christ and Kristine is a lovely name you
Should cherish as a gift but a name is
Only a word repeatedly pronounced
And the magic of the naming does wear
Off and the essence of spirit is yours
To express and no one else can do it.
It’s much easier
to say Kris and pronouncing
Kristine instead is
Her parents left her behind at a gas
Station and at a swimming pool and they
Didn’t intend to hurt her but worse they
Forgot she was one of the family —
And though they retrieved her they also gave
Her the impression she’s worthless
And now the grown woman can’t get enough
Attention to lose the expectation
She is forgettable — just as if she
Were given a piece of a puzzle and
And assigned the task of finding where it
Belongs — so it seems she’s been abandoned
She’s lost and upset and struggling to
Compose herself and to find the way home.
To compose herself
to discover the way home
is quite a puzzle —
in a world full of strangers
to find those who are loving.
I remember my first friend beyond my
Family the first intimacy when
We discovered there were secrets to share
And with innocence we gave our trust and
We encountered how much fun it was to
Delve and roam the neighborhood and then my
Family moved to Minnesota and
I lost my friend in Kansas but within
The procession of many new friends there
Were betrayals and disappointments and
I learned and adopted a measuring
Facility for how much trust to give —
I remember innocence and want to
Cultivate a gentle sincerity.
cannot be preserved
but we can be circumspect
and also practice kindness.
A rascal put a
snail shell in a
rumble has rattle
curlicue in curves.
Matt’s a six-foot banana today on
The sidewalk and might have been Gumby a
Coke bottle or Spiderman yesterday
And he’s standing and driving a Segway
A T-shaped vehicle with two wheels and
He was a soldier in Afghanistan
Was shot in the head has memory loss
And headaches and because he can’t work he
Passes the time in a costume looking
Ridiculous to snare the attention
Of passersby attempting to impart
Happiness because he intends to turn
Around a bad day someone is having
Because his humor is the best of him.
It’s too easy
to become isolated
laughter is magic
humor communicates and
people need inspiration.
He was moved with compassion for the slaves
Declared the nation must choose slavery or
Freedom when none wanted to see the truth
He knew the choice could not be evaded —
Thoughtful and grave with a far-away gaze
Burdens settled on him so he became
The master of himself and of many
Hot-tempered men contesting Civil War —
The north fought to preserve union and law —
Not to free slaves — Lincoln understood the
Temper of his people knew not to waste
The slaughter of soldiers so he waited
Until emancipation could succeed —
He was the only one fit for the job.
Sadness troubled him
compassion moved him to lead
strength sustained him through
thousands of battlefield deaths
may he be honored always.
As the years are accumulating the
Seasons are becoming precious to me
And in the transition from winter I
Watched the tips of trees begin to bud
And noticed the vulnerability
And the beseeching posture of the limbs
Rising up to the sun but now in the
Summer their forms are concealed within
Luxuriant foliage and I’m attuned
To the ascending and dissipating
Sound of the wind in the leaves just as if
The trees are sighing and I remember
These voices from childhood — resonating
Communicating succoring soothing.
undulating in the trees
arising within the leaves
Crossing a threshold and absorbing light
There’s a connection to be imagined
In a baby seeing swirls of color
And hearing startling and soothing sounds
Experiencing taste distinguishing
The warming power of a smiling face
A comforting voice with an embrace and
As leaves of the trees emerge and absorb
The light as the roots consume nutrients
From a thawing soil the tree will never
Know it’s a tree but when the gnawing of
Hunger comes the baby discovers how
To manipulate others by crying —
Nurturance arises magically.
Before the things of
the world acquire names there’s
within a baby’s thinking
between inside and outside.
George says hello with a quivering chirp
As I’m entering the room as he’s
Leaning his head on the piano leg
With his back legs sprawling as lazy as
Possible — a portrait of nonchalance —
He’s not a kitten anymore and not
A grown-up either as there’s not a thing
He does but eat and sleep but he knows my
Habits during the night and leads me to
The necessary room but he ambles
More slowly than I want to go so I
Slow down because I can’t get around him
Because George is large and doesn’t hurry
And I’m the one who’s being disciplined.
George hasn’t a mane
isn’t on the savanna
doesn’t have a pride
but he is brown and does have
a complacent majesty.
In a “half-faced camp” a shed with three sides
They lived not much better than bears in a
Cave because that’s the best Thomas could do
Hewing a shelter from the woods with an
Ax and saw — they arrived after fourteen
Days in an oxen caravan to a
Fork on the Sangamon River to a
Place without obligations and to a
Site where Nancy his mother would die of
Milk sickness where Abraham learned to do
Sums of arithmetic by writing on
A wooden shovel and shaving it off —
He had a year’s schooling but he absorbed
The Bible and Robinson Crusoe.
Weighing his words and
would present his arguments
sincerely and precisely.
Is there a triter subject than a rose?
They are mostly just stems and little leaves —
Yes their velvet petals are enchanting
But the contrast with their thorns? Overdone —
As common as the sun or moon in verse
Who hasn’t read poetry belabored
With roses? I’d rather see some other
Flower — peony or chrysanthemum —
Yet I adore the resonance of “rose”
And the certainty that every human
Has beheld the sun and moon and roses
So to become one with humanity —
What everyone has beheld I behold
Too what everyone has loved I love too.
Yellow rose petal
There are raindrops in this piece of paper
And the clouds from which the rain came reside
Now within this white form that was once a
Tree that has become a poem because
Without the drops to nurture the tree the
Expression of the tree the paper and
Poem could not be and the minerals
In the soil also live in the paper
Because without minerals soil has no
Potency and the magic of the sun
Rises off the paper to warm your face
As I communicate to you with words —
The logger the road maker and the mill
Worker have all labored for this poem.
is a fact and the magic
is a mystery
and the mystery is deep
though it happens every day.
Such things too
take part in
the bloom —
and vine roses.
My mind is a bowl pondering why my
Friend would say he has no one he relies
On because he’s never said such hurtful
Words before and my mind is a bowl of
Frustration as I’m plotting to persuade
A woman to submit to my way of
Managing our meager finances as
I consider her quirky reactions
And my mind is a bowl seeing the sun
In a brilliant sky amidst moving clouds
And there suspended is a crescent moon
And for moment I’m just watching as
My mind is a bowl and an opening
Offering good intentions this morning.
Crescent moon in the
blue sky of morning —
a hole in the day
The swallow bursts before me snatching my
Sight swooping rising diving and turning
Turning as if it were a whirling blade
Turning and then vanishing into sky —
But the bumblebee lumbers in the grass
Plodding and bumbling and purposeful
Desirous of nectar to return home
Serving the manufacture of the hive —
I can’t resist the urge to grab the toad
Squeezing and turning it as I wonder
Is it toads or frogs that give out warts and
I suppose it’s either but I don’t care —
I’ve spent an hour playing in summer
And so escaped a dreary winter day.
These blasted winter
days have frozen my toes and
I’ve worried about
my constantly frozen toes
until this morning’s thawing.
tastes like banana
only a tongue
can taste banana —
I have the joy.
Asphalt Driveway Co. (1978-1981)
I was privileged in summers long ago
To work on the crews who put in asphalt
Driveways and we came in our tall trucks with
A tractor a roller and a paver
And also our muscles and the skills we
Honed as young men with gusto learning the
Required tasks — like standing on a load
Of asphalt while the soles of my boots burned
And shoveling from the truck down to a
Wheelbarrow because that’s the only
Way to get the stuff to an odd place — I’m
So grateful to have done that work because
Within my layers of experience
I learned simmering determination.
I am proud of the
exertion I expended
disporting a maul
a shovel and a pickax —
I grew a capacious heart.
Willie might not impress you on the street
As he was just too thin and tanned almost
Black and the sun is not kind to exposed
Skin and his brawling drinking smoking ways
Weren’t upper crust but as the chief on an
Asphalt driveway crew he was a master
Craftsman sizing up the job timing the
Arrivals of the trucks and the movements of
The grunts from the seat of his tractor as
He tore up the old and sculpted the ground
With an eye attuned to the drainage of
Water and he raked the underlying
Stones and then the asphalt spreading so as
To lay a perfect surface — state-of-art.
Willie was wicked
with mercurial rages
stupidity or even
for no discernable cause.
Grunts: prideful foolish given to displays of strength
So Davey folded the plastic rings that
Connected a six-pack of pop into
A single ring and with both hands grasping
Behind his neck he so tore it apart
And Joey spastically shoveled stones
In the correct general direction
And he drove trucks the same way hastily
Weaving in traffic with a hot load of
Asphalt and there came a day I had to
Prove myself so I swung a pickax like
John Henry and the next day they let a
Surplus guy go and kept me and with my
Boot I balanced on an empty pop can
And with my fingers tapping crushed the can.
The chief has mastered
all required skills before
he drives the tractor
and he is the general
A tamper is a steel tool a pole with
A square end that’s used to put a raised edge
Alongside of an asphalt driveway and
I had a good eye for tamping a long
Straight line and the crew chiefs wanted me as
My work was a nice finishing touch — I
Was happy because I kept working and
I’d found a skill setting me apart and
I enjoyed riding from job to job in
The back of those tall dump trucks wearing a
Bandana but not a shirt feeling like
A pirate or gypsy encountering
Curious expressions from passersby
Because I was a member of the crew.
It doesn’t take much
to encourage a young man
to entice him to
work like a raging demon —
just give him some belonging.
A roller uses two cylinder wheels
That we filled with water and it’s about
Twice as big as a golf cart and I went
Forward by pushing a lever forward
And backward the same way and one day I
Was rolling pressing a just laid driveway
Going right to the edge of a ten foot
Drop enjoying an easy interlude
Between hard labor and I pulled back on
The lever but the roller kept on so
I jumped and down it went boom boom and like
A cat I landed with my heart going
Boom boom and I might have been dozing a
Little beforehand but then I woke up.
a mechanical failure
a ten foot drop and
produced a happy ending.
It was a joke we enjoyed — four of the
State government road crew were leaning on
Their shovels as one was shoveling — though
There might have been a little envy too
Because we were like skinny feral cats
From the moment we arrived at the yard
There was ceaseless motion before dawn to
Returning past the evening twilight and
Through the heat of the summer days and the
Only reliable rest I could have
If there was room in the cab was to doze
On the way to the next job otherwise
I’d stand in the dumpster part of the truck
With my arms over the sides holding on.
Such a test of pride —
to lift a wheelbarrow
and hurl it up and
over the side into the
dump truck about ten feet high.
Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .
It is obvious in many who engage in or watch politics and governance: cynicism. My hero/commentator, Charles Krauthammer, is an admittedly proud cynic, expertly honed to see underlying motives. Charles sees motives, goals, and likely results: self-promotion predominates, solutions ignored, Americans without power suffer, and problems accumulate - the veterans who die waiting to receive medical care while VA managers hide waiting lists so that managers win bonuses is a poignant example. The Veterans' Administration is not being run for the benefit of veterans but for the benefit of VA managers, which epitomizes the nature of bureaucracies.