Mischief Afloat in the Red, White, and Navy

Mischief Afloat in the Red, White, and Navy

Mischief Afloat in the Red, White, and Navy

July 21, 2021

A new Congressional report on the U.S. navy "found that a staggering 94% of sailors interviewed believe that the surface Navy suffers from a crisis of leadership and culture." Increased administrative burdens (750 annual reports per ship, most of them useless) and training not related to combat have eaten into the time American sailors are able to devote to honing mission-critical skills. "The noncombat curricula consume Navy resources, clog inboxes, create administrative quagmires, and monopolize precious training time," the report warns. The report highlights America's glaring unpreparedness at a time when America's primary strategic competitor, China, is beefing up its navy, threatening U.S. allies and interests around the world.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of the legislators who commissioned the report, said the results were "disappointing because it confirmed what I suspected." He moved to commission a report after a string of incidents have destroyed U.S. navy ships even under peacetime conditions. The USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain ran into other ships, the USS Bonhomme Richard caught fire in a U.S. port, and American officers in the Persian Gulf surrendered their patrol crafts to what were little more than Iranian fishing boats. The navy has "lost a capital ship worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars on average every six months over the last several years," said Cotton. "Those are not isolated incidents."

According to the report, many sailors agree. "Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we'll survive a fight with the Chinese navy," said one active-duty lieutenant. "They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we'll all bleed the same color." Cotton said the "failures go back over multiple administrations," but "it's gotten worse with things like critical race theory." Like the report, which was directed by two retired flag officers, the navy's problem transcends partisan politics.

The surface navy -- that is, ships on the water -- is what would fight a major war. "We need a warfighting culture in our surface navy," Cotton said. Due to America's long coastlines and few neighbors, a strong navy has been our most critical security component since the founding era. Cotton said, "a conflict with China would probably start and primarily remain a naval and aerial battle" because they lie across the vast Pacific Ocean. Yet "the surface navy has lost its warfighting edge," he lamented.

The bulk of a sailor's training should be on "basic seafaring skills," said Cotton, which is clearly lacking when our naval vessels are running into other ships. Even human trafficking training, which can be good, said Cotton, can be a distraction if it turns into half a day or more of training. During the 1980s, marines and naval personnel practiced memorizing the Russian navy and army so that they could identify ships and tanks by their silhouette and know exactly what weapons their opponents had and how much time they had to get out of the way. Today, it's safe to say America's sailors spend too much time filling out paperwork and reading Ibram Kendi to do anything of the sort.

Cotton said Congress can take some action to solve the navy's unreadiness. For instance, careful oversight of naval maintenance schedules can help to reduce time spent on repairs, which is time sailors aren't practicing maneuvers. But many of the Navy's problems come down to leadership, said Cotton, especially after the Obama administration pushed out military leaders who refused to participate in social experimentation. American security needs a sane administration who will promote solid officers, leadership sorely lacking now.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

White House Economics: Inflation by Hot Air

July 21, 2021

It's been awhile since Joe Biden took math, and this week he proved he could use a refresher. During what was supposed to be a benchmark speech on the economy, the president left plenty of people scratching their heads with his Bidenomics. To stop inflation, he argued, you have to spend more. A lot more. As in, trillions of dollars more. Propping up his bloated infrastructure and family bills, the president insisted that if we pile on another $4.7 trillion in debt, "it'll take the pressure off of inflation." Nice try, but 71 percent of the country isn't buying it.

Neither is former Treasury Secretary (and Democrat) Larry Summers, who warns that inflation is only getting worse under a party with no restraint. This kind of spending -- the highest level in American history -- creates huge "inflationary pressures," he warns -- the kind "we haven't seen in a generation." Of course, the White House wants everyone to believe the problems are fleeting -- that the pain at the pump, the grocery, and the lumber yard are temporary. But that's tough to swallow for everyday Americans who are dropping 13.7 percent more on home appliances, 8.6 percent more on furniture, and 24.6 percent more on plane tickets.

"We've seen some price increases," Biden admitted, but if you're concerned about those or inflation, he says, "you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan." Most of us aren't economics professors, but fortunately Dr. Dave Brat, Dean of Liberty University School of Business is, and he joined "Washington Watch" Tuesday to sift through the president's spin.

"The economy," he explained, "if it's too hot, you get inflation. If it's too cold, you get a recession. So right now, we're too high -- not because the economy's too hot, but because the federal government has spent about $10 trillion dollars since I was in Congress a few years back." Combine that with another several trillion dollars in printed money, and you've got prices and inflation going through the roof! "This is just standard economics."

Like most Democrats, Biden cares more about his politics than the principles that make America solvent. And his politics -- like most of the Left's -- require the government injecting itself into everything. It's the slow fade to socialism his party is openly lobbying for. "When the government takes over 20 percent health care and then another 20 percent of education, and another 20 percent of this," Brat points out, "that's 60 percent of the population that the government's controlling. And everybody depends on a government check instead of on their own initiative and their own genius and their own intuition -- and all gifts God gives you at birth uniquely to you to achieve your personal best for building the kingdom of God. And so that's what's at stake, right? Your basic freedom to determine your future."

Republicans, sensing exactly where these massive proposals would take us, have been pulling out all the stops to fight any plan that would put America in an economic tailspin. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) gave a speech on the Senate floor last week using game shows to try to get her point across. Propping up a sign that read "The Price Is Up" and then spinning a "Wheel of Inflation," Ernst is hoping to grab people's attention. "It is going to be an issue with the midterms," Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) argued, "because it's not going to end. They are continuing to flood the economy with more cash."

As the Wall Street Journal editors put it: "Someone in the White House must think inflation is a growing political problem because Mr. Biden spent most of his time on the subject explaining why it's no problem at all." But at the end of the day, "Telling people not to believe what they see with their own eyes is rarely a good political strategy."

How "Woke" Culture Is Anti-Biblical

July 21, 2021

In November 1957, towards the beginning of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership of the civil rights movement, he delivered a sermon at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. In describing the biblical importance of loving one's enemies, he said this:

[W]hen you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls "the image of God," you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God's image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never slough off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.

This profound message of reconciliation, rooted in the gospel, was at the heart of King's monumental "I Have a Dream" speech in the summer of 1963 that laid down the foundations of what race relations in America should strive for.

Ever since the end of segregation and Jim Crow laws and the signing of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the road to racial reconciliation and progress for black people in America has steadily improved. In the 50 years since then, black people have seen a 60 percent increase in high school graduation, a 20 percent increase in college graduation, a poverty rate that has been cut in half, a record low unemployment rate, a 1,325 percent increase in members of Congress, a twice elected president and a sitting vice president of the United States, and almost universal agreement among all races on the positive impact of the Civil Rights Act, to name just a few indicators of progress.

To borrow a phrase from an old tag line, "You've come a long way, America."

However, over the last year, views on race in America seem to have gone haywire. The idea of "wokeness" -- believing that America is, as we speak, a "systemically racist" country -- has steadily pervaded almost every corner of American public life, from academia to corporations to the mainstream media. Even professional sports have succumbed, much to the dismay of fans. Perhaps even more concerning are signs that "wokeness" is now hijacking the gospel and is creeping its way into churches across America.

Owen Strachan, Senior Fellow at FRC's Center for Biblical Worldview, joined "Washington Watch" to discuss his latest book Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement is Hijacking the Gospel -- and the Way to Stop It. He related examples of what is happening in our culture.

"When you are told that white people are 'white supremacists,' you are hearing wokeness talking," Strachan said. "When you had, for example, a LinkedIn training session some time ago that asserted that white people should try to be less white, that was woke teaching. When you hear people say that white people have 'white privilege,' that's wokeness. When you hear a critique of 'heteronormative capitalist sexist white oppression' in any form, you are hearing wokeness talking."

As Strachan went on to observe, what has become clear from this movement is the central role that guilt plays in advancing its cause.

"Guilt is absolutely the currency of wokeness," he underscored. "It really is targeting white people. It wants white people to feel tremendous guilt for past evils. And those are real evils, things like slavery and Jim Crow law, things that no person in their sane mind is going to support. But wokeness says the past is not the past. Basically, the crimes of yesterday burn today. You can smell them in the air ... we need to impute guilt to white people today because their whiteness implicates them in this whole systemic order of racism. And if we can successfully make them feel guilty, then we will advance our ideas and we will succeed in flipping the culture, which is really what this movement is about. It's not about promoting true unity in the gospel of Jesus Christ ... it's about making predominantly white people feel guilty for being white and then mobilizing that guilt to leftist social ends."

Strachan made it clear that the leftist tactics being used by the woke movement fly in the face of any semblance of a diverse, civilized society, and that the gospel is the only way out of the mess we're in.

"What I make clear in my new book Christianity and Wokeness is that [rioting] isn't going to work for our culture. Arson is not a strategy for the public square, nor is it going to work in the church. This is not going to produce unity. This is not going to produce peace. This is not going to produce healing. This system produces division, resentment, and alienation; where[as] when you go to Scripture, when you go to truth, when you go to the gospel of grace, that's where you actually can now find forgiveness and oneness and unity."