• August 2019 Summary

    August 2019 Summary

    The following is a summary of the August/September issue of The St. Croix Review: Barry Read More
  • Ominous Events Leading to Civil War

    Ominous Events Leading to Civil War

    Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, Read More
  • Ramblings

    Ramblings

    Ramblings Allan C. Brownfeld Allan C. Brownfeld is the author of five books, the latest Read More
  • Kengor Writes . . .

    Kengor Writes . . .

    Kengor Writes . . . Paul Kengor Paul Kengor is a professor of political science and the executive Read More
  • NO BORDERS * NO BOSSES * NO BINARIES

    NO BORDERS * NO BOSSES * NO BINARIES

    NO BORDERS * NO BOSSES * NO BINARIES William Adair Bonner William Adair Bonner, Esquire, practices law Read More
  • Burdensome Regulations Pushing Doctors Out of Medicine

    Burdensome Regulations Pushing Doctors Out of Medicine

    Burdensome Regulations Pushing Doctors Out of Medicine Twila Brase Twila Brase, is president and co-founder Read More
  • Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Negative Elements

    Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Negative Elements

    Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Negative Elements Jigs Gardner Jigs Gardner is an associate editor Read More
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Barry MacDonald

Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 13:45

Ominous Events Leading to Civil War

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free-born individuals.

Our Mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

Ominous Events Leading to Civil War

 

Barry MacDonald

My source for this essay is a biography from the American Statesmen series: American Statesmen: Charles Sumner, by Moorfield Storey. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1900.

In 1853 the political landscape was discouraging for opponents of slavery. Both parties, Democrats and Whigs, decided that slavery could not even be discussed in Congress. The Democrats were pro-slavery, and they controlled both houses of Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary — they were thus able to make, execute, and interpret the law.

In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Bill replaced the Missouri Compromise. For three decades the Missouri Compromise had restricted slavery south and west of 36°30, but no longer. Previously Congress regulated the territories, and Congress prescribed the conditions under which a territory might become a state. But thereafter the settlers themselves were given the power to determine their destiny, including whether to institute slavery in the territory or not.

Under the Missouri Compromise, slavery could not have entered Nebraska or Kansas, but now the settlers of the territories would take matters into their own hands. Under the Kansas-Nebraska bill, slavery could be established anywhere but in the existing free states.

Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, one of the few anti-slavery senators, said in the Senate:

“. . . Slavery, which at the beginning was a sectional institution, with no foothold anywhere on the national territory, is now exalted as national, and all our broad domain is threatened by its blighting shadow. . . .”

After the Kansas-Nebraska bill passed the Senate on the way to becoming law, Sumner said:

“Ah, Sir, senators vainly expect peace. Not in this way can peace come. In passing such a bill as is now threatened, you scatter from this dark midnight hour no seeds of harmony and good will, but broadcast through the land dragon’s teeth, which . . . may not spring up in a direful crop of armed men, yet I am assured, sir, will fructify in civil strife and feud. . . .

“Sir, it is the best bill on which Congress ever acted, for it annuls all past compromises with slavery and makes any future compromises impossible. Thus it puts Freedom and Slavery face to face, and bids them grapple. Who can doubt the result? It opens wide the door of the future, when at last there will really be a North and the slave power will be broken. . . . Everywhere within the sphere of Congress the great Northern Hammer will descend to smite the wrong, and the irresistible cry will break forth, ‘No more Slave States!’”

According to the Indian commissioner in an official report, in November 1853, there were only three white men in the Nebraska territory. According to General Houston, by treaty with the Indians, whites were then excluded from the Kansas territory, and there was not a white person in the territory.

On May 24th, 1854, an event occurred that created new tension. Anthony Burns was seized as a fugitive slave in Boston and taken to the courthouse. Abolitionists gathered and attacked the courthouse, killing a guard but failing to free Burns. It was thought that Charles Sumner’s speech, quoted above, had inspired the abolitionists, and Sumner was warned to be watchful of his safety.

Between files of soldiers and a silent crowd, Anthony Burns was taken through the streets of Boston, and back to slavery. It was believed the spectacle made many new abolitionists.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was much resented in the North because it imposed the responsibility on local law enforcement officers everywhere to assist slave hunters in the task of capturing and returning escaped slaves. People who detested slavery were forced either to defy a federal law or to ignore their conscience.

A petition was introduced in the Senate for the repeal of Fugitive Slave Law in June 1854, and a debate was joined. Charles Sumner was asked by Senator Butler of South Carolina, in light of the law: “Will this honorable senator tell me that he will do it?”

Sumner replied, “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing? . . . The senator asked me if I would help to reduce a fellow man to bondage. I answered him.”

Butler replied:

“Then you would not obey the Constitution. Sir, standing here before this tribunal, where you swore to support it, you rise and tell me that you regard it the office of a dog to enforce it. You stand in my presence as a coequal senator, and tell me that it is a dog’s office to execute the Constitution of the United States.”

Because of his willingness to stand against the slave partisans Senator Sumner was seen as a leader in the anti-slavery movement and he received much abuse. Senator Clay of Alabama had this to say of Sumner:

“. . . a sneaking, sinuous, snake-like poltroon. . . . If we cannot restrain or prevent this eternal warfare upon the feelings and rights of Southern gentlemen, we may rob the serpent of his fangs, we can paralyze his influence, by placing him in that nadir of social degradation which he merits.”

In the North, Senator Sumner was respected as a man “that ain’t a-feared.”

The efforts to repeal the Fugitive Slave Law failed in the Congress, but there were changes in the offing. The Northern states acted. The Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. Vermont and Massachusetts required a writ of habeas corpus, and trial by jury before a slave could be returned. Similar actions undertaken by the Northern states were intended to nullify the Fugitive Slave Law and were called “personal liberty bills.”

In 1854 the Whig party collapsed and was replaced with the Republican Party founded in opposition to slaveholders. The emergence of the Republican Party is a worthy story in itself, but it is enough now to note that from the beginning Republicans valued freedom.

In passing the Kansas-Nebraska bill the pro-slavery party counted on emigration from Missouri to populate the territory with pro-slavery voters, but they had aroused a spirit of resistance. Emigration Aid Societies were begun in Northern states and Northern immigrants came in greater numbers than expected. All the efforts of the slavery interest were put in jeopardy by a legal and energetic movement of settlers into Kansas.

In response, associations were formed in Missouri and other slave states to expel the Northerners. They asserted the right to bring slaves with them into Kansas. They would use force to make Kansas a slave state.

Andrew H. Reeder became the first governor of Kansas in October 1854. He was a pro-slavery Democrat from Pennsylvania. In November a delegate was elected to Congress; in March 1855, a territorial legislature was elected — in both elections — for the governor and legislature — armed residents from Missouri drove Kansas settlers away from the polls, and more than half the votes cast were illegal.

These facts were known and admitted by Governor Reeder himself, but nevertheless he certified the legality of the proceedings. Because Governor Reeder had certified the results, the president of the United States had an excuse for not acting.

The fraudulent legislature met in July 1855, to adopt for Kansas the complete body of laws then existing in Missouri — including the laws favoring slavery.

The “Free-Soilers” of Kansas met at Lawrence and resolved to send delegates to a convention for Kansas. The convention met in October at Topeka, prohibited slavery, and forbade the settlement of free colored people. The “Topeka constitution” was to be ratified by a vote of Kansans in December. A petition was sent to Congress for the admission of Kansas as a state — with the Topeka constitution.

Thus Congress was presented with the choice of accepting a state government for Kansas created either by Missourians or Kansans.

Events intervened before the ratification of the Topeka constitution. The rescue of a prisoner from a pro-slavery sheriff induced Governor Shannon, who had replaced Governor Reeder, to call for troops. A force of Missourians crossed the border and assumed the posture of Kansas militia. They encamped near Lawrence. War was imminent when Governor Shannon backed down, made a treaty with the Kansans, and ordered the Missourians to withdraw.

The Topeka constitution was then ratified, and the pro-slavery men did not vote. On the same day, U.S. Senator Atchison from Missouri, who was a leader of the pro-slavers, appealed to the South to send men and money to Kansas. He said:

“Twelve months will not elapse before war — civil war of the fiercest kind — will be upon us. We are arming and preparing for it.”

State elections were held in January 1856, under the Topeka constitution, and there was strife and bloodshed. Another invasion from Missouri was anticipated and the free state leaders telegraphed President Pierce for protection. The president sent a message to Congress in January, in which he blamed the Northern Emigrant Aid Societies for the struggle. While acknowledging that the behavior of the Missourians was “illegal and reprehensible,” he wrote that Governor Reeder’s certification of the first election (though half the votes were illegal) was binding, and he was therefore left powerless to interfere. He wrote that he would employ all the force at his disposal to put down any resistance to federal or territorial laws, and protect the people of Kansas; but he would do so only if the territorial authorities — those elected by fraud and violence, not those elected under the Topeka constitution — requested such assistance. He would respond to requests only from the slaveholders.

In March 1856, debate began in the U.S. Senate on what to do with Kansas. The majority reported a bill, read by Democrat Stephen A. Douglas that recognized the slave-holding government as legitimate. Senator Douglas followed the president in blaming the Emigrant Aid Societies. Senator Charles Sumner presented a rival bill that admitted Kansas under the Topeka constitution.

Senator Douglas engaged in bitter rhetoric calling Senator Trumbull a “traitor,” and stating that “black Republicans” wanted an amalgamation of the white and colored races.

In Kansas armed incursions from Missouri continued. An officer made a report that:

“There are probably five to seven hundred armed men on the pro-slavery side organized into companies. . . . For the last two or three days these men have been stationed between Lawrence and Lecompton, stopping and disarming all free state men, making some prisoners, and in many cases pressing the horses of free state settlers into service.

“On May 21, Lawrence was attacked, the presses and machinery of two newspapers were destroyed; the Free State Hotel and other dwellings burned; the stores looted.”

On May 19 Senator Sumner made a speech entitled “The Crime Against Kansas” in the Senate. He addressed Senator Butler, comparing him to Don Quixote:

“The senator from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself a chivalrous knight, with sentiments of honor and courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight: I mean the harlot Slavery. . . . The frenzy of Don Quixote in behalf of his wench Dulcinea del Toboso is all surpassed. . . . If the slave states cannot enjoy what, in mockery of the great fathers of the Republic, he misnames Equality under the Constitution — in other words, the full power in the national territories to compel fellow men to unpaid toil, to separate husband and wife, and to sell little children at the auction block — then, sir, the chivalric senator will conduct the State of South Carolina out of the Union! Heroic knight! Exalted senator! A second Moses come for a second exodus! . . .”

Senator Sumner addressed Senator Douglas:

“The senator dreams that he can subdue the North. He disclaims the open threat, but his conduct implies it. How little that senator knows himself of the strength of the cause which he persecutes! He is but mortal man; against him is immortal principle. With finite power he wrestles with the infinite, and he must fall. Against him are stronger battalions than any marshaled by mortal arm — the inborn, ineradicable, invincible sentiments of the human heart; against him is Nature with all her subtle forces; against him is God. Let him try to subdue these. . . .”

He returned to Senator Butler:

“Were the whole history of South Carolina blotted out of existence, from its very beginning down to the day of the last election of the Senator to his present seat on this floor, civilization might lose — I do not say how little, but surely less than it has already gained by the example of Kansas, in that valiant struggle against oppression, and in the development of a new science of emigration. . . . Ah, sir, I tell the senator that Kansas, welcomed as a free State, ‘a ministering angel shall be’ to the Republic when South Carolina, in the cloak of darkness which she hugs, ‘lies howling.’”

Many Senators condemned the Senator’s comments. Mason of Virginia said:

“I am constrained to hear here depravity, vice in its most odious form uncoiled in this presence, exhibiting its loathsome deformities in accusation and vilification against the quarter of the country from which I come; and I must listen to it because it is a necessity of my position, under a common government, to recognize as an equal politically one whom to see elsewhere is to shun and despise.”

To the vituperation of Senator Douglas, Sumner replied:

“. . . no person with the upright form of a man can be allowed, without violation of all decency, to switch out from his tongue the perpetual stench of offensive personality. Sir, that is not a proper weapon of debate, at least on this floor. The noisome, squat, and nameless animal to which I now refer is not the proper model for an American senator. Will the senator from Illinois take notice?”

On May 22 the Senate adjourned early. Sumner remained at his desk writing letters. Preston S. Brooks, a representative of South Carolina and the son of Senator Butler’s cousin approached Sumner and said:

“I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina and on Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine.”

Then he struck Sumner with repeated blows on the head using a heavy gutta-percha cane. Sumner struggled to his feet, wrenching from the floor the desk that was bolted down. He stood briefly but fell unconscious under the continuing strokes until Brooks’ cane broke.

Senator Toombs of Georgia witnessed and approved the assault:

“They were very rapid, and as hard as he could hit. They were hard licks, and very effective.”

Brooks said of his actions in the House of Representatives:

“I went to work very deliberately, as I am charged — and this is admitted — and speculated somewhat as to whether I should employ a horsewhip or a cowhide; but knowing that the senator was my superior in strength, it occurred to me that he might wrest it from my hand, and then — for I never attempt anything I do not perform — I might have been compelled to do that which I would have regretted the balance of my natural life.”

Senator Sumner’s head was bruised and gashed. He lost a lot of blood. His thick hair may have saved his skull from fracturing. He regained consciousness and his head was sewed up. He was taken to his lodgings and expressed a desire to rejoin the debate as soon as he was able. Though the attack did not kill him, it left him debilitated for many years.

A committee was formed in the Senate to decide what to do about the assault. The committee was made up entirely of Sumner’s opponents. The conclusion was that the Senate could not arrest a member of the House, and could not try and punish him — the House would have to deal with the matter.

In the House a committee was appointed, made up of three Northern Republicans and two Southern Democrats. The majority recommended the expulsion of Brooks, and the minority claimed that the House had no jurisdiction over the assault “alleged to have been committed.”

Brooks was tried in the Circuit Court of the District and was fined three hundred dollars.

The resolution to expel Brooks did not gain the two-thirds votes necessary, but a resolution censuring him did pass. Brooks resigned from the House and returned to South Carolina on July 14. A vote was held and he was reelected to the House, receiving all but six votes cast from his fellow South Carolinians. On August 1 he again took the oath to uphold the Constitution as a member of the House.

In October his constituents gave him a public dinner, “in testimony of their complete endorsement of his congressional course.” Jefferson Davis, the secretary of war, wrote of his “high regard and esteem” for Brooks, and of his:

“. . . sympathy with the feeling which prompted the sons of Carolina to welcome the return of a brother who has been the subject of vilification, misrepresentation, and persecution because he resented a libelous assault upon the reputation of their mother.”

Students at the University of Virginia voted to send Brooks a cane with “a heavy gold head, which will be suitably inscribed, and also bear upon it a device of the human head badly cracked and broken.” The Richmond Enquirer wrote:

“In the main, the press of the South applauds the conduct of Mr. Brooks without condition or limitation. Our approbation, at least, is entire and unreserved; we consider the act good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in the consequence. . . . It was a proper act, done at the proper time and in the proper place.”

In the North the resolve to oppose slavery hardened. The brutal nature of the assault brought home the dehumanizing effects of slavery on both master and slave. The essential barbarism of slavery was made clear in an instant, and the nature of “Southern chivalry” exposed.

The retelling of American history is intended to show that partisan divisions have been worse than they are today. The legacy of slavery, including the Jim Crow laws, has been terrible. But the old south is gone, and resolute Americans played their parts in seeing it off.    

“We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity.” — Theodore Roosevelt     *

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 13:44

August 2019 Summary

The following is a summary of the August/September issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “Ominous Events Leading to Civil War,” writes about the events of “bloody Kansas,” and about the beating of Senator Charles Sumner, nearly to death, in the Senate chamber in 1856.

Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Identity Politics vs. the Older Goal of a Color-Blind Society,” reminds Americans that after the Civil War blacks decided to remain in America as Americans, instead of returning to Africa because they believed they were Americans; in “The Continuing Assault Upon American History: A Self-Righteous Display of Narrowness of Vision,” he points out that the American constitution is a marvel of world history; and that many prominent Founders strove to abolish slavery at the Constitutional Convention, while slavery remained a legal institution in all the nations of the world; in “July 4: A Time not Only to Celebrate, but to Reflect on the Fragility of Free Societies,” he presents evidence of the fragility of free government in world history, and writes of the many challenges to preservation of American freedom.

Mark W. Hendrickson, in “The Degrees of Fake News,” cites various types of fake news — the crucial question is whether the inaccuracies are unintentional or are deliberate and malicious; in “Questioning the Morality of Minimum Wage Laws,” he lists seven reasons why minimum wage laws are dubious and destructive; in “The Economics of Pro Athletes’ Mega-salaries,” addresses the stratospheric salaries of profession athletes ethically and objectively; in “Don’t Use Church Closings as an Excuse to Bash Capitalism,” he points out that the freedoms of capitalism allow people to make worthy or unworthy decisions, but also promotes overall prosperity, much more so than socialism; in “The Problem With Experts,” he cites examples from economics and climate science to show that media-empowered “experts” make educated guesses when complexities are unpredictable..

Paul Kengor, in “On Ronald Reagan’s ‘Racism’ — A Single Mistake Does Not a Racist Make,” answers critics who would tar a tremendous president’s reputation over a single remark; in “Review of Mark Levin’s Unfreedom of the Press,” he presents Mark Levin’s scathing examination of the leftist American media; in “Offending Christians: The Bladensburg Cross Case,” he addresses the continuing legal assault by the Left on religious freedom in America.

William Adair Bonner, in “NO BORDERS * NO BOSSES * NO BINARIES” presents an alarming and historical look at socialist activities and agendas in the U.S.

Twila Brase, in “Burdensome Regulations Pushing Doctors Out of Medicine,” writes that doctors are motivated to improve and save patients’ lives, but they are frustrated by Congress, regulators, and payers who force them to prioritize data entry and third-party protocols over patient care.

Timothy Goeglein, in “Restoring a Divided America,” sees that there are presently “two Americas” — as Americans are bitterly divided of between those who cherish America’s Judeo-Christian worldview and founding principles, and those who reject them. Timothy promotes his book, which he wrote with Craig Osten, American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation.

Al Shane, in “Dissent or Something Else,” speaks for many of us as he observes the reckless and rabid actions of the Left, and wonders whether they can any longer be described as “the loyal opposition.”

Alan Duff, in “Challenges,” assesses the encumbrance of growing government in America, and reminds us that we are a great nation.

Judy Appel, in “Flowers,” presents a vivid example of the American dream.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Negative Elements,” relates the experience of encountering supposedly “idealistic” progressives; those whom he meets instead are really condescending leftists.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 78: More News from Nowhere,” reviews The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities, by Peter Brimelow. The book is about the national character of Canada, and Jigs shares his frank opinions.

Friday, 12 July 2019 11:54

June 2019 Poems

1.

While my lilac bushes aren’t very thick

It’s hard to mow the grass underneath them

Or to rake the leaves surrounding them as

Their branches fork at odd angles and each

 

Branch will sprout many shoots — and because the

Bushes aren’t very thick at a glance it

Seems that nothing is in the way — but when

I approach them suddenly I am stopped

 

Tangled and scratched and held at a distance —

And if I can reach the leaves under the

Bushes the rake is caught in a stubborn

And interlocking net of sinewy

 

Defiance as I encounter the wild

And resourceful life of lilac bushes.

 

I imposed order

and symmetry

on the periphery

with a ladder a saw

and a hedge clipper.

 

2.

When I close my eyes when facing the sun

I see a marvelous red light that is

The sunlight filtered by my eyelids — and

My face is bathed in the beating of the

 

Sun and after a few minutes I am

A little dizzy — and the red sunlight

Warming my face helps me to imagine

Myself a tomato under the sky

 

With nothing to do all day but listen

To the drone of cars and machinery

In the distance and absorb the force of

The persisting sunlight enveloping

 

And tranquilizing me in unceasing

Dissolving forgetful meditation.

 

Raindrops

inescapably

pattering

my face

would be

difficult.

 

 3.

A boy on a walk in Iowa was

Curious about an odd looking stone

And the stone fit snuggly in the palm of

His hand and the stone had been chipped and flaked

 

And it was weighty and edged and fashioned

For cutting and scraping and maybe the

Stone had laid on the ground for a thousand

Or ten thousand years — was buried under

 

The dirt and unearthed or was exposed to

Unnumbered starry nights obdurate to

The wind the snow the rain and the glare of

The sun until a boy in Iowa

 

Noticed an odd stone on the ground — and its

Weight and shape within his palm was perfect.

 

Stress

hunger

vigor

purpose

intelligence.

 

4.

The bee hummingbird is an exquisite

Native of Cuba with fluttering wings

Iridescent feathers and a pointy

Little beak and the bird and its nectar

 

Are coincident because one could not

Exist without the other — just as I

Could not exist without the sky the rain

And the earth — this is what the earth has come

 

To with hummingbirds and flowers and rain

And people — as we are emerging out

Of the trillions and trillions of degrees

That was coincident with the little

 

Space that was expanding rapidly that

The scientists are naming the big bang.

 

The bee hummingbird

and me are a

continuation a

permutation of

the big bang.

 

 5.

What does the air do to a butterfly

As it emerges from a Chrysalis

Not having been a butterfly before

And discovering that it has wings — and

 

Does it fall and flutter as it falls or

Does it arouse itself and beat the air

With its wings to rise into the air for

Its initial flight — and is it a strain

 

On a butterfly’s heart to push down on

The air as its beating heart is in sync

With its sashaying manner — and is the

Air the same air the gliding eagle or

 

The acrobatic swallow knows or is

It living in a different cosmos?

 

What does the

butterfly think as

it encounters drops

of rain and a

boisterous wind?

 

Our vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free individuals.

Our Mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.

The Impetus of Accusation and the Rock of America

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

How can we defeat the people who are brazen and destructive enough to turn gender identity into a political weapon?

The Left manipulates the emotionally vulnerable who are confused about their sexuality, and counsels them that though they may have been born a man or a woman, if they really do perceive themselves to be of the opposite gender, then they should identify as the opposite gender — in spite of biological facts.

That the Left would seize upon emotionally vulnerable people to advance a political agenda reveals that the Left is exceedingly cunning and unscrupulous.

And the Left proclaims that anyone who doesn’t fully agree with their upside-down agenda — and more than that — that anyone who isn’t enthusiastically supportive of their agenda, is therefore hateful and oppressive.

The Left is exploiting vulnerable people, using fragile people, as wedge to attack the cohesion of the entire American culture. Leftists pose as sensitive and compassionate, and they portray opponents as indifferent and depraved — and by the way, white, male, and hierarchical.

The Left gains impetus with accusation. Through the brutality of repeated accusation, magnified by media and entertainment, the left barrages their opponents, demonizing and delegitimizing them — their opposition, according to them, is beneath contempt, the threat is existential, and all means are permissible for victory.

The Left relies on the force of accusation, and the accusation is like a magician’s trick: all the attention is focused on the target and away from the accuser. In the media the accused is presumed guilty and the accuser is elevated as a martyr. The motives of the accuser are not questioned.

The Left has been succeeding because it has perfected the art of accusation. American’s news reports and political discourse are saturated with the bitterness of accusation. Accusation is so pervasive in our political discourse it is like the oxygen we breathe — we hardly notice that we are enveloped in it.

It’s the genius of the Left that they are unpredictable. Ten years ago who could have guessed that gender identity would be fashioned into a political weapon? Who knows what institution or tradition will be assaulted next?

But the Left is vulnerable. Because the Left isn’t moored to core principles their fury and energy always propels them further and further to the extremes, and presently, their perversity and fanaticism is becoming obvious. Leftists are becoming more and more transparently nonsensical and poisonous.

Conservatives are defending the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and American liberty. We are promoting the freedom of our economic choices. And we are champions of broad-based economic prosperity. We love our nation and we are defending stalwart institutions — like motherhood and fatherhood and parenting. If we retain our faith in God, and if we continue to defend our constitutional liberties, we will be preserving our strength of character.

As the Left becomes more and more strident and intolerant of opposition they are revealing themselves as the totalitarians that they are. And at the same time we conservatives are gathering the strength and resolve that comes from defending worthy American virtues.     *

Friday, 12 July 2019 10:58

June 2019 Summary

The following is a summary of the June/July issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in “The Impetus of Accusation and the Rock of America,” summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the Left and Right in America.

Allan C. Brownfeld, in “Political Correctness Out of Control: The Strange Assault on Singer Kate Smith Who Introduced “God Bless America,” comments on intolerance dressed up as high-mindedness; in “The Founding Fathers Feared Excessive Executive Power — So Should We,” he reminds Americans that the Framers feared the tyrants, and sought to promote representative democracy; in “Can Congress Reassert Its War-Making Power? Yemen Is Now a Test Case,” he cites the current example of U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen as a usurpation of Congress’ war-making authority by two Presidents; in “Are Conservatives Becoming Comfortable with Growing Executive Power?” he reminds conservatives of the supreme difficulty involved in preserving liberty from the corrupting effects of centralizing power.

Paul Kengor, in “Joe Biden and the Democrats’ Racist Abortion Position — They Couldn’t Be Prouder of Their Genocidal Commitments,” exposes the cruelty and indifference underlying Joe Biden’s flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment; in “The ‘Today Show’ Celebrates Communist Holiday,” he reveals the history of International Women’s Day, and of Clara Zetkin, who as an active comrade of Lenin and Stalin. She was a German socialist-Marxist who is buried in the wall of the Kremlin, near Vladimir Lenin; in “What ‘Deep Christian Convictions’ of ‘Democratic Socialism’”? he applies his expert knowledge of socialism and Communism to refute a professor who attempts to meld Christianity and socialism.

Mark Hendrickson, in “The Evolving Social Context of Parenting,” provides a historical and comprehensive look at the challenges and joys of parenting; in “Educational Malpractice on a Massive Scale: The Exploitation and Indoctrination of Children,” he writes: “Teaching the green agenda of climate alarmism in schools is child abuse. It’s diabolical, wrong, and un-American. It must be stopped.” In “Was Last Weekend a Portent of Things to Come?” he considers a week’s worth of headlines and sees unrestrained Leftism verging on violence.

Rev. Kenneth L. Beale, the Senior Chaplain at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers a “Prayer for President Donald J. Trump.”

Alan Duff, in “One Nation, Under God,” writes that our nation’s religious values are founded on proven principles that liberate the “human spirit,” and they have produced our unprecedented prosperity.

William Adair Bonner, in “What Is American Education Focused On?” reports on the direction academic leaders taking when they gather for conferences.

Thomas Martin, in “What Would People Do, if They Could Get Away with It?” asks his students how would they use a ring — a magic ring.

Robert L. Wichterman, in “A Growing Divide in America,” writes about America’s dangerous cultural and political fractures.

Richard Doyle, in “Civilization — Evolution and Devolution,” writes that civilization is precarious, and depends upon marital fidelity and the stability of the family.

Judy S. Appel, in “Garden Gloves,” writes about gardening and the sharing of duties.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: My Vegetable Gardens,” passes on the lessons of a lifetime of raising gardens.              

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 77: Thomas Sowell,” reviews Black Redneck and White Liberals, by Thomas Sowell.

Ray Sinneck, in “Where Are We Heading?” comments on the introduction of the wealth tax into political contention — he believes we are heading towards “democratic totalitarianism.”

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:44

April 2019 Poems

1.

The apple blossoms were in the puddles

On the pavement after the pelting of

The rain — looking like the confetti on

The street after a parade — but we missed

 

The parade this year as the blooms were just

Starting to appear when an overnight

Downpour broke the connections of petals

With the trees and I feel a little sad

 

That the joyous parade of my driving

By the flowering trees has passed me by

This year because I love seeing the blooms

As a celebration of beauty that

 

Always accompanies the return of

Spring and the resurrection of the trees.

 

But now I see

many of the trees

have yet to reach

their full flowering and

I’m just being gloomy.

 

2.

It is a bubble of a thought that burst

A moment before its proper time or

You could say it’s a hiccup or even

An interruption of a really good

 

Inspiration that led to something quite

A bit better than itself later on

But as it is doesn’t cohere into

A complete package that elicits a

 

Sense of satisfaction — as it looks like

A compendium of nonsensical

Elements that are fine enough if they

Were separate but together they are

 

Ridiculous — so I have to remark

Who could imagine the platypus?

 

And yet it swims

gracefully and waddles

along on land — and lays

its eggs and deploys

venom and growls.

 

3.

It can’t be seen by only looking at

A person but once the conversation

Begins and honest words are exchanged then

I can see the battered appearance and

 

I can sense the depth of sincerity

In the selection of words and the in

Quiet and measured pace of expression

And then I know here is a kind and a

 

Well meaning person who has suffered and

Has determined to use intelligence

And experience and whatever pride

There might have been is washed away and now

 

There is a poise and a readiness to

Respond with a wealth of humility.

 

There is a sweetness

that only arises

from suffering and

a determination

to be helpful.

 

4.

Michelangelo was fired with a

Conception of God surrounded by his

Angels in heaven reaching out with his

Index finger to touch the finger of

 

Adam on Earth and perhaps in the act

God effected a transference of a

Tinge of divinity and a freedom

Of choice allowing for a growth into

 

The humane or for a dissipation

Into evil and by the Renaissance

In Italy evil was already

Old in the world and people needed their

 

Consolations and inspirations and

We really aren’t much different today.

 

Did Adam feel like

I did when opening

a tin of cat food

and slicing the tip of

my index finger?

 

5.

I don’t begrudge the critical voice its

Imposing place within my awareness

Because I need a check on selfishness

And a sense of justice and decency

 

But it’s easy to belittle myself

And to disparage the things I have done

And nothing is more destructive of my

Peace than persistently negative thought

 

And the daily tenor of my thinking

Has the capacity to destroy my

Chances for happiness if I give my

Punishing monologue too much power

 

But I don’t believe I’m alone in thought —

In the quiet the divine emerges.

 

Without

circumspection

gentleness

patience

love I’m

lost.

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:06

America's Challenge

America’s Challenge

Barry MacDonald — Editorial

The following is a brief statement of the editorial vision and principles of the foundation, Religion & Society, and its publication The St. Croix Review.

A political and cultural movement has established itself in the United States that includes politicians, public intellectuals; entertainers; artists; writers; academics; lawyers; news organizations; cartoonists; think tanks; bureaucrats; educators; churches and synagogues; corporations; and the new tech barons consisting of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

This political and cultural movement behaves as an exclusionary ruling class that dominates the United States through the government and bureaucracy centered in Washington, D.C.; the institutions of law; the education of children and adolescents; the selection and matriculation of future leaders through acceptance into the nation’s elite universities; the messages communicated in news and entertainment; the instructions imparted by religious institutions; the presentation of content to be viewed in museums; the enticement, management, and sanctuary given to illegal immigrants.

The presumptuous ruling class has adopted revolutionary means to manipulate mass consciousness; to grasp power for themselves; to maintain a system of domination; and to undermine and overthrow liberty-enhancing traditional American values, using:

  • Unaccountable bureaucracy
  • Cronyism
  • Unsupported accusation
  • Systematic deceit
  • Perverted science
  • Class warfare
  • Gender warfare
  • Identity politics
  • Racial incitement
  • Poisoned news narratives

The ruling class is hostile to:

  • Traditional Christian values
  • The founding principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
  • A disinterested enforcement of the rule of law
  • A due appreciation of rights in private property and the sanctity of contracts
  • The unhindered operation of the free economy
  • A fair-minded presentation of history that upholds achievement, justice, and goodness
  • The self-reliance of the American individual, family, civic institutions, churches and synagogues, immigrants
  • A health care system based on the free exchange of information and service between patient and care provider
  • The management of an immigration system geared towards liberty, prosperity, and the health and welfare of the American citizen, living under the protections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Religion and Society and The St. Croix Review oppose the ruling class by means of:

  • Editorials and essays
  • Reasoned argumentation
  • Fair-minded presentation of facts
  • Historical essays
  • Inspirational essays
  • Christian values
  • Commentary of current events
  • Poetry
  • Satire

Religion and Society and The St. Croix Review upholds:

  • The Christian faith embodied in the founding documents of the United States of America
  • The principles of laws, justice, and governance embodied in our founding documents
  • Ideals of truth, justice, and goodness
  • The emphasis on the free exercise of liberty in the economy, and in civic institutions
  • The promotion of the virtues of self-reliance of individuals, families, and religious faiths
  • The diminution of the overweening influence of the ruling class, the bureaucracy, and the federal government
  • An immigration system designed for the preservation of liberty, the founding principles of American governance, and the prosperity of American citizens

Our Vision is to reawaken the genuine American spirit of living in a good, great, and growing nation of free individuals.

Our Mission is to uphold American liberty, prosperity, constitutional law, and humble government.     *

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:03

April 2019 Summary

The following is a summary of the April/May issue of The St. Croix Review:

Barry MacDonald, in the editorial, “America’s Challenge,” summarizes the editorial and vision and principles of the foundation, Religion & Society, and the publication, The St. Croix Review.

Thomas Martin, in “Who Is an American?” describes the technique he uses in introducing his college students to the Declaration of Independence.

Paul Kengor, in “The New Socialists — The Green Red Deal,” reveals the stark-raving-mad, socialist underpinnings, of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s environmental program; in “Abortion Racism in Pennsylvania — Where Abortion Wears a White Hood,” he exposes the hypocrisy and sheer meanness of Democratic state representative Brian Sims.

Mark W. Hendrickson, in “The Green New Deal: Welcome to a Command Economy,” is grateful that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s presentation of The Green New Deal is exposing the Democrats for who they are: totalitarians. In “Open Letter to a Journalist About His Paper’s Position on Climate Change,” he asks probing and comprehensive questions challenging the consensus of journalists on the science of climate change.

Allan C. Brownfeld, in “The Assault on American History Is Growing and Represents a Rejection of Our Common Past,” questions whether we can preserve self-governance and American liberty while American history is being erased; in “Four Hundred Years Ago America’s First Slaves Arrived — Now a Debate Over Reparations for Their Descendants Is Growing,” he shows how the call for reparations by Democratic presidential candidates would be unjust and divisive; in “The Bladensburg Peace Cross and the Meaning of the First Amendment,” he brings historical context to debate whether the cross memorializing fallen veterans of World War I violates the Constitution.

Philip Vander Elst, in “Evil and God: Reflections of a Former Atheist,” makes a reasoned and passionate case for the existence of God and a moral universe.

Francis P. DeStefano, in “The Spanish Inquisition,” brings the light of knowledge to a much-misunderstood portion of Western history.

Ray Sinneck offers another excerpt of his satirical fiction in “Senatorial Pandemonium.”

Judy S. Appel, in “Accidental Gardeners,” describes her family’s history of gardening.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: Romantic Utopianism,” identifies a literary movement that emerged at the end of the 18th century that continues to afflict modern society.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives, 76: Black Lamb & Gray Falcon,” reviews a novel written by Rebecca West, set in Yugoslavia before World War II. Rebecca West is a skillful and imaginative writer of the Romantic Movement.

The New York State Legislature and Abortion

Barry MacDonald

Barry MacDonald is the Editor of The St. Croix Review and President of Religion & Society.

After watching politics for many years I have adopted of a rule of thumb: However outrageous the forces of the political Left are today, without determined opposition, they will move even further left tomorrow.

In January 2019 we have witnessed the New York state legislature allow the aborting of unborn babies up to moments before a natural birth.

The new law is the Reproductive Health Act (R.H.A.), and it sanctions abortion under three conditions: (1) if it is performed earlier than 24 weeks of pregnancy; (2) in an “absence of fetal viability”; or (3) if necessary to “protect the patient’s life or health.”

The inclusion of the health of the mother, which is not restricted to a physical definition, and includes the mother’s psychological and emotional health, is broad enough to cover any possible late-term abortion.

Also, according to America, The Jesuit Review, the R.H.A. removes protections for infants born alive during abortions. Sam Sawyer, writing for America, writes:

“The R.H.A. repeals section 4164 of New York’s public health law. That section had provided that abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy had to be performed in a hospital, and that for abortions after 20 weeks a separate physician had to be on hand to provide medical care for any infant born alive during the procedure — which is a possibility, even if an unlikely one.”

“The now-repealed section also specified that a child born alive during an abortion procedure immediately enjoyed the protection of New York’s laws, and it required medical records to be kept of the efforts to care for the infant. Without section 4164, the public health law is now silent on the status of an infant born alive during an abortion.”

The new law also stipulates that to perform an abortion a license to practice medicine is no longer required in New York. A “health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under New York’s medical licensing laws can perform abortions. This means that licensed nurse practitioners, or physician assistants, can perform abortions.

The New York State Senate celebrated their progressive advancement with a standing ovation — they honored themselves. The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, authorized the lighting of the Freedom Tower in Manhattan, with a joyous projection of pink light — in celebration of a woman’s right to end the life of her unborn child.

The Freedom Tower is the site of the 9/11 terrorist attack, where thousands of people died. The tower is, presumably, sacred American ground — at least the location and the building have been consecrated and memorialized.

But for progressives, apparently, there is nothing sacred about life and death anymore. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic Party in New York are introducing the undisguised diminishment of human life into American culture.

The New York law would have been unthinkable during the presidency of Democrat Bill Clinton. Almost twenty-five years ago, Bill and Hillary Clinton said that though abortion is a “fundamental constitutional right,” abortion should be rare. In her opposition to a proposed ban on partial-birth abortion in 2008, Hillary clarified her position: She wanted abortion to be “safe, legal and rare, and by rare, I mean rare.”

There is a terrible reality behind the euphemisms that politicians use when talking about abortion. The following paragraphs are from my editorial published in June 2011, titled “What the Case of Kermit Gosnell Says about Us.”

*****

Kermit Gosnell, M.D., spent nearly four decades running his clinic, The Women’s Medical Society, in Philadelphia. The grand jury case against him states:

 

“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it. . . .

“The clinic reeked of animal urine, courtesy of the cats that were allowed to roam (and defecate) freely. Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilized. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again. Medical equipment — such as the defibrillator, the EKG, the pulse oximeter, the blood pressure cuff — was generally broken; even when it worked, it wasn’t used. The emergency exit was padlocked shut. And scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house. [The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the prosecutors cited dozens of jars of severed baby feet.]”

James Johnson is the common-law husband of Gosnell’s wife’s sister. He worked as a janitor, maintenance man, and plumber at the clinic. He testified at trial how he threatened to quit work, because when the staff flushed remains down the toilets (into Philadelphia’s sewage system) the toilets would back up once or twice a week. He would open the outside clean-out pipe to see babies’ arms and other parts come spilling out. With a shovel he scooped up the baby parts, put them in bags, and took them to the basement.

 

“The people who ran this sham medical practice included no doctors other than Gosnell himself, and not even a single nurse. Two of his employees had been to medical school, but neither of them were licensed physicians. They just pretended to be. Everyone called them “doctor,” even though they, and Gosnell, knew they weren’t. Among the rest of the staff, there was no one with any medical licensing or relevant certification at all. But that didn’t stop them from making diagnoses, performing procedures, administering drugs.

 

“. . . the real business of the ‘Women’s Medical Society’ was not health; it was profit. There were two primary parts to the operation. By day it was a prescription mill; by night an abortion mill. A constant stream of ‘patients’ came through during business hours and, for the proper payment, left with scripts. . . . The fake prescriptions brought in hundreds of thousand of dollars a year.

 

“. . . As with abortion, as with prescriptions, Gosnell’s approach was simple: keep volume high, expenses low — and break the law. That was his competitive edge.

 

“. . . Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere — because they were too pregnant. Most doctors won’t perform late second-trimester abortions, from approximately the 20th week of pregnancy, because of the risks involved. And late-term abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are flatly illegal. But for Dr. Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged.

 

“. . . Babies that big are hard to get out. Gosnell’s approach . . . was to force full labor and delivery of premature infants on ill-informed women. The women would check in during the day, make payments, and take labor-inducing drugs. The doctor wouldn’t appear until evening. . . . Many of them gave birth before he even got there. By maximizing the pain and danger for his patients, he minimized the work, and cost, for himself and his staff. The policy, in effect, was labor without labor.

 

“There remained, however, a final difficulty. When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. Most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. . . . Gosnell had a simple solution . . . he killed them. . . . He called it ‘ensuring fetal demise.’ . . . by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that ‘snipping.’”

 

On May 13 Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder of infants born alive, and one count of involuntary manslaughter of a woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who died of an overdose of anesthesia given by an unqualified assistant. He was also found guilty of conspiracy, of performing abortions beyond the legal limit in Pennsylvania, and over two hundred violations of the state’s informed consent law. On May 14 Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison.

 

Also four former clinic employees have pleaded guilty to murder, and four more to other charges. They include Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, who helped perform abortions.

 

As bad as Gosnell’s conduct was, the evil goes beyond him. The grand jury reported several agencies responsible for oversight should have stopped Gosnell years ago. Gosnell was caught when police raided the clinic to stop the selling of illegal prescriptions. Police saw the revolting conditions, dazed patients, and baby parts.

 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) examined the Women’s Medical Society when it opened in 1979. It didn’t conduct a review again until 1989, ten years later. Violations were apparent in 1989 but Gosnell promised to fix them. The PDH did reviews in 1992 and 1993, and again recorded violations, but failed, again, to enforce the law. After 1993 the clinic wasn’t examined for 20 years. The grand jury found that:

 

“. . . the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey [a pro-life Democrat] to Governor Ridge, [a pro-choice Republican], officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”

*****

Kermit Gosnell’s business model was clearly outside of the law in 2011. Governor Cuomo, the New York state legislature, and the Reproductive Health Act have given Kermit Gosnell’s practice a claim of legality.     *

Monday, 18 March 2019 13:17

February 2019 Summary

The following is a summary of the February/March issue of The St. Croix Review:

Robert Russell, in “The Great Freedom Robbery — American Immigration 2019,” exhorts Americans to reevaluate and promote the high value of American citizenship.

Donald Lee, in “Immigration and Self-Governance,” calls on Americans to cherish America’s foundational ideals.

Al Shane, in “Strangers in Our House,” writes that American citizenship should be earned.

Barry MacDonald, in “The New York State Legislature and Abortion,” writes about the denigration of human life that the New York state government his introduced into America.

Allan Brownfeld, in “Promoting Infanticide: An Indication of Indifference to Human Life,” he comments on the passage of a law in New York, and on proposed laws, in Virginia, Rhode Island, and New Mexico, that allow abortion up to the moment of (and even after) the birth of babies; in “Identity Politics: A Threat to the Unity a Diverse Society Requires,” he sounds a warning over the poisonous nature of identity politics, and reminds us of our multi-ethnic and unique American heritage; in “Republicans Used to Oppose Huge Budget Deficits — What Happened?” he laments the Republican Party’s abandonment of central principles.

Paul Kengor, in “Marching for Life: Countering Rove v. Wade’s Escorts,” reveals the daily encounters outside Planned Parenthood clinics — pro-abortion activists “escort” pregnant women past the pro-life activists who attempt to dissuade the women from having the abortions.

Michael S. Swisher, in “Bugaboos of the Chattering Class — Anti-Americanism,” present evidence of virulent animus directed at Middle America by the “soi-disant intelligentsia.”

Gary Welton, in “Eugenics Is Alive and Flourishing in Modern America,” points out the origin of eugenics, it implementation in America, by Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood, and its continuation today — minority fetuses are twice as likely to be aborted than white fetuses.

Mark Hendrickson, in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: A Force to Be Reckoned With,” spots a media-savvy talent for power in her, and he hopes she is naïve and not fanatical; in “‘Justice’ Is the Word of the Year, and ‘Social Justice’ Is Its Orwellian Opposite,” he demonstrates how “social justice” is unjust; in “Understanding ‘Democratic Socialism,’” he reveals how our brazen new crop of American socialists take guidance from Marx and Lenin, seeking expropriation and domination; in “Bill of Rights Day 2018: A Time to Reflect,” he illustrates the Founders’ intention to uphold the primacy of individual rights with the Bill of Rights, and he points out their modern-day erosion.  

Earl Tilford, in “Angela Davis and the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award,” notes that the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has declined to honor Angela Davis — he recounts Angela Davis’ long history of campus radicalism and violent entanglements.

Richard D. Kocur, in “Healthcare Spending and the National Debt,” demonstrates the folly and impossibility of the latest leftist promise: “Medicare for All.”

Thomas Martin, in “Desiring to Know and Choose and Harmonize,” deploys Aristotle to show students how to bring out the best of themselves.

Judy Appel, in “I Love the Person I Became When I Was with Her,” writes about her daughter, and her daughter’s friends, who spent a year living together and working for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Baltimore.

Jigs Gardner, in “Letters from a Conservative Farmer: A Bizarre Episode,” relates his and Jo Ann’s brief stint teaching at a queer and abusive boarding school in the Berkshires.

Jigs Gardner, in “Writers for Conservatives 75: The Riddle of the Sands,” reviews a novel, The Riddle of the Sands, which is a sailing adventure, written by Erskine Childers in 1903.

Page 1 of 7

Calendar of Events

Annual Dinner 2019
Tue Oct 08, 2019 @ 6:00PM - 08:00PM
Annual Dinner 2018
Mon Oct 15, 2018 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
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Thu Oct 19, 2017 @ 6:00PM -
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Words of Wisdom