MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Good morning!
Some of the statues removed following recent protests had time capsules buried beneath them. What does that tell us about the past?
It does tell us a good bit about what the people who were dedicating the monument felt should be remembered…
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Also we’ll talk to WORLD’s Mindy Belz about the current challenges facing Christian refugees fleeing persecution.
Plus a daring mission to rescue sailors stranded on the high-seas in the middle of a hurricane.
It wasn’t lost on me, personally, that why would we send a vessel into a hurricane to help a vessel?… But you’re asking people, professional mariners on the high seas, to go into a hurricane.
BROWN: And Cal Thomas on the federal government’s spending spree.
BASHAM: It’s Thursday, July 23rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
BROWN: And I’m Myrna Brown. Good morning!
BASHAM: Up next, news with Kent Covington.
U.S. orders closure of Chinese consulate in Houston » The U.S. government has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston … as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.
Marco Rubio is acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He told Fox News …
RUBIO: So this consulate is basically a front—It’s kind of the central node of a massive spy operation, commercial espionage, defense espionage, also influence agents to try to influence Congress.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the move was to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”
Beijing on Wednesday called the closure an “unprecedented escalation” of recent tensions and warned of countermeasures. Those could include shutting down a U.S. diplomatic mission in China.
Before the public announcement, local Houston media reported firefighters responded to calls of smoke billowing from the consulate … as staff burned documents in the courtyard.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is sending another message to China.
POMPEO: We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave. And when they don’t, we’re going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs.
Pompeo reportedly says WHO chief “bought” by China » Pompeo also reportedly told British officials this week that the head of the World Health Organization … was effectively “bought by the Chinese government” in a deal to land the top job at the WHO. WORLD’s Leigh Jones reports.
LJ: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the charge during a closed door meeting with British lawmakers this week. That according to several international news outlets.
Pompeo reportedly said “When push came to shove, when it really mattered to us, when there was a pandemic in China, Dr. Tedros” Ghebreyesus was “hook, line and sinker bought by the Chinese government.” And he added … “I can’t say more but I can tell you I’m saying this on informed intelligence.”
He also reportedly said Britons had died because of the deal that was made.
The White House sent a letter to the WHO earlier this month announcing its intent to cut funding and withdraw from the U-N health body next year.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
U.S. government pays nearly $2 billion for COVID-19 vaccine » The U.S. government is paying nearly $2 billion dollars to buy large supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine that could be ready by the end of the year. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday …
AZAR: We just signed a contract with global pharmaceutical leader Pfizer to produce 100 million doses of vaccine starting in December of this year, with an option to buy another half a billion doses.
He added that the vaccine “would, of course, have to be safe and effective.” Azar said the government is speeding up the process by working to secure FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine or one of several other candidates … while the vaccines are being manufactured.
The agreement is part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program. It aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe vaccine by January.
If the Pfizer vaccine is proven safe and effective, the company says Americans will receive it free of charge.
Gottlieb: 300,000 Americans could die if COVID-19 trends continue » But in the meantime, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is warning that as many as 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 by year’s end if current trends continue. He told CNBC that “right now we have close to a thousand casualties a day.” But there is some good news …
GOTTLIEB: Now, we are preserving more life in the hospital. In-hospital mortality has declined and it’s probably declined a lot, and when I talk to physicians who are treating these patients, they say it may have been cut in half.
He added, the problem is that hospitalizations are up in many states.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown is tightening coronavirus restrictions once again. At a news conference Wednesday, she announced several new requirements.
BROWN: All children ages 5 and older must wear face coverings in public indoor spaces and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
She’s also shrinking the cap on indoor gatherings from 250 people to 100. And beginning tomorrow, bars and restaurants will be required to stop serving food and alcohol at 10 p.m. And Brown said she may announce new travel restrictions later this week.
Baseball’s Blue Jays still homeless » Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays are still homeless. With Opening Day just one day away, the Jays still don’t know here they’ll play their home games this season. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.
SS: After Canada denied the team a waiver from coronavirus rules to play at their home park in Toronto … the Jays thought it had a deal to share Pittsburgh’s PNC Park with the Pirates. But hours later, Pennsylvania health officials vetoed the arrangement.
The state’s health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said … “To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams.”
If the Blue Jays aren’t able to find a big league park to call home, they might play at the home field of their triple-A minor league team in Buffalo, New York.
The team opens the shortened season on the road tomorrow in Tampa Bay. Their first home game is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: time capsules buried under Confederate statues.
Plus, Cal Thomas on our national debt.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Thursday the 23rd of July, 2020.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
First up … windows into the past.
BROWN: During the past few months, protesters have targeted statues of Confederate leaders and soldiers. They’ve graffitied some and demolished others. Some state and local officials are stepping in to remove the statues preemptively.
BASHAM: And they’re finding more history buried beneath—time capsules filled and sealed more than a century ago. WORLD’s Anna Johansen visited the site of one dismantled monument to find out what these buried boxes have to tell us about the past.
TRAFFIC AMBI [24:00] (run under pickup and narration)
JOHANSEN Am I allowed to walk up there?
RALEIGH CAPITOL SHOTGUN
JOHANSEN [2:29] Yeah I feel like there’s a fence around all of it for a reason.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: I’m standing just outside the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh. It’s an enormous white-columned building on a square green lawn. There are lots of bronze and concrete statues of presidents and soldiers dotted around. But I’m looking for the remnants of the 1895 Confederate monument that used to be here.
JOHANSEN [3:57] Protesters originally tried to tear it down and then the city took it down after that. [4:17] And the thing was 75 feet tall, so you’d think that there would be some sign of it. But I’m not seeing anything.
On one side of the grounds, a man is filling a narrow dirt patch with fresh sod. A sprinkler showers the new grass with water. And that’s all that’s left of the 75 foot tall monument that was here just a week ago. Well…almost all.
The work crew that dismantled the statue found a copper box buried in the base. And it’s not the first time that’s happened.
In June, Kentucky officials removed a statue of Jefferson Davis from their state capitol. Underneath, they found a time capsule dated 1936. Last October, crews in New York found a copper box full of papers and books under a statue of Frederick Douglass. In 2017, workers found a 100-year-old time capsule under a Confederate monument in Missouri. So the one found in Raleigh didn’t come as a surprise.
CHERRY [1:30] So this that we worked with here, underneath North Carolina’s 1895 Confederate monument, was a cornerstone box.
This is Kevin Cherry. He works for North Carolina’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. He says the people who erected the monument put the box in the base as an act of dedication. They didn’t necessarily expect anyone to find it.
Cherry was on the capitol grounds when the crew unearthed the box. It’s green from oxidation and brown from rust. And after 120 years in the mud, it’s a little squashed. State archaeologists took it back to a lab to open it.
OPENING THE RALEIGH TIME CAPSULE
They used a hammer and chisel to pry the lid open.
CHERRY [10:42] And of course, the first thing we saw was what we expected and that was mud slurry…
But there were a few other things. Workers in white lab coats and rubber gloves gently lifted the objects out one at a time.
OPENING THE RALEIGH TIME CAPSULE
[0:11] “Piece of wood.”
CHERRY [10:57] They found some buttons…we found a bullet. They found a stone from Gettysburg. They found a twig from an apple tree that grew at Appomattox.
Cherry says the people who buried the box didn’t do it to preserve the items. If you want to do that, you give them to a library or an archive; you don’t bury them. No, this box … and others like it … served a different purpose.
CHERRY [13:00] It does tell us a good bit about what the people who were dedicating the monument felt should be remembered at the time of the dedication.
Tracy McKenzie confirms that. He’s a history professor at Wheaton College.
MCKENZIE [0:50] It’s going to tell you something about what the individuals that moment time thought was important for posterity and how we want to be remembered is a really important clue into what we value.
The Raleigh Confederate monument went up in 1895. At that point, the North and South were focused on reconciliation. McKenzie says the country decided the best way to do that was through selective remembrance.
MCKENZIE [7:01] And so a lot of what is happening is the idea that we’re not going to talk a lot about the issues that caused the war. And we’re absolutely not going to talk very much about slavery at all. We’re going to say instead that the soldiers … on both sides, were honorable, they were brave, they were willing to sacrifice for what they believed in, and the particulars of what they believed in is not important. The sort of character of self-sacrifice is what we can all agree to applaud.
So the items in the Raleigh box are things that commemorate that part of the story … not necessarily the whole story. Same with the time capsules found in Kentucky and New York and Missouri.
McKenzie says monuments in general tell you less about the past, and more about the people who put them up.
Mark Noll used to teach history at the University of Notre Dame. He says taking time to understand that context is crucial.
MARK NOLL [10:25] So, I am by no means in favor of mobs tearing down statues, but I think I am in favor of serious understanding of the history that lies behind the construction, the erection of the monument.
So for these dismantled monuments and newly unearthed time capsules…what happens next?
Noll believes they should end up in a museum. Because history has a lot of nuance: There’s both good and bad.
NOLL [14:41] And a museum is is really a good place to begin to spell out things that are positive, things that are negative, questions that arise, unlike a statue set in the middle of a public space, which really is designed more toward evoking … a sense of duty and respect without really a whole lot of information.
Kevin Cherry says he and his team will keep working to clean and preserve the items from the Raleigh monument. For them, it’s just another day on the job.
CHERRY 20:14 We’re always working with historical evidence. It’s sometimes you have to place that historical evidence in a box and hide it away, to get the general public’s attention when you run across it 100 years later.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen in Raleigh, North Carolina.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: resettling refugees.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: An estimated 26 million people around the world now meet the formal definition of refugee. That means they have fled their homes due to a well-founded fear of persecution. Christians make up a disproportionate number of those refugees.
BASHAM: The United States was once a beacon of hope for Christians seeking to escape persecution. In 20-15, more than 18,000 Christians from 50 countries known for persecution made new homes in America. But this year, fewer than a tenth of that number of Christian refugees are expected to get permission to resettle in the United States—that’s a 90 percent decline for people who arguably need safe haven most.
BROWN: Earlier this month, Open Doors USA and World Relief issued a joint report about the challenges facing refugees and the U.S. role in their struggles.
WORLD senior editor and chief international reporter Mindy Belz wrote about the report in her latest column for WORLD Magazine and joins us now to talk about it. Good morning, Mindy!
MINDY BELZ, GUEST: Good morning, Myrna.
BROWN: This new report from Open Doors and World Relief contains some startling numbers. Tell us what the numbers mean.
BELZ: That’s right. The 90 percent decline we see across 50 countries is actually worse when you look at some individual places we’re all familiar with, countries where we most often hear about Christian persecution. The number of Christians from Iran admitted to the United States, for example, has fallen 97 percent over the last five years. That means fewer than 50 Iranian Christians of hundreds who have qualified for asylum in the U.S. will be admitted this year. The number of Christians from Iraq has fallen 95 percent, and for Christians from Burma, we’ve seen a 94 percent drop.
These are groups I think that most Americans would gladly welcome as refugees. And it’s a trend that affects not only persecuted Christians: Jews from Iran, for instance, down by 100 percent. Muslim Rohingyas from Burma, down by 95 percent. So, I just think that looking at these numbers, we can only conclude that the U.S. refugee resettlement program is being—quite literally—zeroed out.
BROWN: You’re right, you’re right. Why did Open Doors and World Relief decide to issue this report now, in the middle of a pandemic with borders closed everywhere?
BELZ: From talking with heads of both organizations, they see a troubling disconnect—both within the government and within the church. And these are groups that have decades of experience in these fields.
Open Doors is a watchdog for global persecution. World Relief as the only evangelical refugee resettlement agency in the country. The Trump administration has repeatedly highlighted the importance of international religious freedom and it’s truly made important advances in raising it as a domestic and global issue. The president only last month issued an executive order on highlighting international religious freedom in U.S. diplomacy.
But yet, when we come to this particular issue and we talk about victims of persecution, we undermine our own policy by not being willing to take in at least some of these people. And it looks to others like we aren’t willing to walk the talk.
BROWN: In your column you mentioned proposals by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to redefine key terms under the 1980 Refugee Act. What are those terms and how will those new definitions change asylum eligibility?
BELZ: They’re really basic terms, such as persecution. … And … the definition of “persecution” becomes this: “an extreme concept involving a severe level of harm that includes actions so severe that they constitute an exigent threat.” That’s a mouthful. And exigent threat is terminology that can be used to shut out almost anyone. One group pointed out that you’d have to have a gun pointing to your head in order to qualify as an exigent threat. So, again, it potentially makes it very difficult for anyone to qualify under this kind of terminology.
BROWN: Christian refugees who once would have come to America, where are they settling now? Are other countries taking them in?
BELZ: Two years ago Canada surpassed the United States as the leader in refugee resettlement. Australia and the United Kingdom are the other leaders in this area. But all these countries have nowhere near the capacity of the United States, and there’s real concern that without robust U.S. leadership in this area, the doors elsewhere may shut. That would leave millions of desperate people forced into crowded camps, taking risky boat rides at sea, adding to instability in the world.
BROWN: Mindy, what can we do as Christians? What should we be doing?
BELZ: First of all we can pray. And we should be praying for our brothers and sisters who face harm and harm to their families all day long. I think we can also, you know, there’s a place when we see this kind of disconnect, … We can petition our elected representatives. And that includes our local ones and the president, the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice.
I think there’s a real concern among people who’ve been working on this issue for a long time that the church just is not engaged, that we pray in our pews on Sunday but don’t actually look at the policy involved. And I think we can close that gap. And I think we can have a robust refugee policy that doesn’t undermine our security. And that actually promotes the role of the United States in the world while protecting our brothers and sisters.
BROWN: Mindy, thank you for this report. Mindy Belz is WORLD’s senior editor and the author of They Say We Are Infidels, a book about Christian survival in Iraq and Syria. Thank you again, Mindy … I enjoyed it.
BELZ: I enjoyed it too, Myrna. Thank you.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: IBM is looking to fill a software developer position in India. But it’s likely to remain vacant for years to come. That’s because currently … literally no one on the planet is qualified to fill the position in question.
The tech giant posted a job seeking a developer with at least 12 “years experience Kubernetes administration and management.”
Kubernetes is a program that helps developers organize, scale and deliver computer applications.
The problem is, Google developed and released Kubernetes in 2014, six years ago.
So … it will take IBM at least six more years to find a candidate with 12 years of experience with the software.
See, even computer geniuses make math mistakes!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, July 23rd.
Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
When hurricanes threaten U-S shores, residents in those regions know when to hunker down or get out of harm’s way. But what do mariners do when those storms brew at sea?
BROWN: Last year, an international search and rescue operation in the middle of the central Atlantic demonstrated to those working on the high seas that they are not alone. Bonnie Pritchett spoke with three men who helped search for the 14 sailors of the ill-fated Bourbon Rhode.
DIDIER: We were hampered by weather conditions…we were in the outer rain bands of Lorenzo so occasionally we would hit a wall of precipitation…
BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: That’s Commander Patrick Didier. He flies P-3 aircraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On Sept. 26, 20-19 his 16–member crew of airmen and researchers prepared to fly into the rapidly strengthening Hurricane Lorenzo in the central Atlantic. The storm posed no threat to shore but its uncharacteristic development offered researchers a unique opportunity. Hours later, instead of monitoring the storm’s power they were searching for its victims.
DIDIER: If we go into those bands we’re not going to be able to see anything anyway because visibility went to zero when we were in it…[20:16 -] It kind of tore me up because, like, God I hope, I hope, hope there’s not someone in a raft in that cell because we would never see them…
About a week earlier the ocean-going tug the Bourbon Rhode left port from Las Palmas, Canary Islands en route to Georgetown, Guyana. The tug’s 14 crewmen came from Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, South Africa, and the Philippines.
And, as if in pursuit, the winds of what would become Hurricane Lorenzo blew off Africa’s northwestern coast and into the Atlantic’s warm, nurturing waters.
Ship and storm crossed paths in the middle of the Atlantic on September 26th. Hurricane Lorenzo was a Category 2 and strengthening. The Bourbon Rhode floundered in 110 mile per hour winds and 40–foot waves as sea water began filling the engine room. The crew issued a distress signal.
That call came into the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center at Fort de France in Martinique where Phillipe Bricquer is director.
BRICQUER: It was very difficult for us to manage…
The tug’s last known location, almost 12–hundred miles east of Martinique, put Fort de France in charge of the search and rescue operation.
EDDY: They just called and asked for our assistance…
That’s Christopher Eddy. He’s the search and rescue program manager for the U-S Coast Guard District 7 in Miami.
EDDY: They were requesting U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue resources, like an airplane or a ship…
But, looking for the quickest response time, Eddy and Bricquer first searched satellite data for ships closest to the Bourbon Rhode.
EDDY: There were no vessels in the area… [17:08 -] We saw the hurricane. We saw where the boat was. We looked for other boats to go assist but there was nothing around. And that would make sense because there’s a hurricane there…
A cargo ship, the S-S-I Excellent, was the closest—about 8 hours away.
EDDY: It wasn’t lost on me, personally, that why would we send a vessel into a hurricane to help the vessel?… [19:08 -] But you’re asking people, professional mariners on the high seas, to go into a hurricane…
The Excellent’s captain willingly steered toward the storm and, hopefully, its survivors.
BRICQUER: We knew this information with the Excellent…
Bricquer said the cargo vessel and the P-3 arrived at the beacon location about the same time only to find debris and a sheen of oil on the water. The Bourbon Rhode had sunk.
They searched for men in rafts or in the water. Didier’s crew stationed themselves at the windows and relayed any signs of hope to the SSI Excellent.
DIDIER: We were looking for anything. I mean, you’re out in the middle of the ocean. So, any kind of debris…
By the time Didier’s crew returned to base, more assets were on their way.
Lorenzo billowed into a category 5 while arching north—away from the search location.
They came from three continents and several nations: From the U-S, two NOAA P-3s and a U-S Coast Guard C-130; from Europe a French Falcon jet; and from South America a French Navy Frigate with its Panther helicopter; and 21 commercial vessels.
BRICQUER: All captains say yes…
Bricquer said that although it cost them time and money, every commercial vessel commander agreed to divert course toward the scene. Some even volunteered.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPEAKER AND SOUNDS ON SHIP DECK
On September 28th, rescuers found three Bourbon Rhode crewmen—alive—in a raft. Days later, they retrieved the bodies of four others from the water. And the search continued.
With each passing day weather conditions improved but the search area expanded—exponentially.
Again, Patrick Didier:
DIDIER: So, within 24 hours, given however fast the currents are going. Which, I guess, in that part of the world is something like four or five knots…. [31:17] In the course of a day its 120 miles…[31:22-] and that 100 square miles can quickly become 1000 square miles.
A computer program called a Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System reveals the once invisible, watery path toward possible survivors.
EDDY: OK, in 14-foot seas, at 40 knots of wind, we’re looking for three people in the water at this particular time when they went into the water. We will be on the scene in three days, we have to drift those search targets for three days…
After searching 103–thousand square miles of ocean for six-weeks, the remaining seven crewmen were never found.
While tragic, the tale of the Bourbon Rhode demonstrates the lengths mariners will go to seek and save those lost at sea. Even Didier, a pilot, finds hope in that.
DIDIER: I like to think, in the back of my mind, if anything happened to us, people will come together to do anything they can to rescue us… [35:31 -] And I’m glad I had the opportunity to participate in that. But, I’m sorry that 11 people lost their lives.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Thursday, July 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Next up, commentator Cal Thomas reflects on our nation’s exploding debt.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: I am not in the habit of quoting leftist Noam Chomsky, but this line seems relevant when one considers our growing national debt—quote—”When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think.” End quote.
Perhaps the middle of a pandemic—with job losses and threats of even higher unemployment—is not the time to mention the national debt. Or, perhaps it is.
Pandemic or not, one of the common characteristics of the fall of past empires and superpowers is massive national debt. Ours is currently at $26.5 trillion and growing by the second. Americans should regularly consult the real-time debt clock and ponder the future.
The interest on the debt grows daily. It is higher than the nation’s gross domestic product for the first time since World War II. The pandemic has exacerbated the trend, and cutting spending is not even a topic of conversation on the virtual campaign trail.
Just one year ago, when the debt was “only” $22 trillion, I wrote a column about what the Founders thought of debt. Their words are worth repeating:
Thomas Jefferson said: “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.” Alexander Hamilton added: “Nothing can more affect national prosperity than a constant and systematic attention to extinguish the present debt and to avoid as much as possibl(e) the incurring of any new debt.”
We have this from George Washington: “Avoid occasions of expense … and avoid likewise the accumulation of debt not only by shunning occasions of expense but by vigorous exertions to discharge the debts, not throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”
Finally, here’s our second president, John Adams: “The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own.”
Our modern leaders are not listening.
Citizens Against Government Waste has just published its annual “Pig Book,” which details some of the government’s wasteful spending—including continued use of earmarks. The booklet notes that in January the Congressional Budget Office said the federal government was on pace to add $12.4 trillion to the national debt—bringing it to $36.2 trillion.
I say “was” because that estimate came before COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown. The Pig Book cites one estimate that the pandemic “will add $8 trillion to CBO’s fiscal year 2030 projection, for a total of $44.2 trillion.”
If Congress continues to spend money as if there is no tomorrow, there may not be a tomorrow. America will drown in debt with no one to rescue us from our folly.
I’m Cal Thomas.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Tomorrow: A podcast episode titled “George Floyd and the Gospel” recently topped iTunes’ religion category, beating out major celebrity pastors.
We’ll talk to the lead host of that podcast for Culture Friday to find out why it resonated with so many people.
And, we’ll tell you about the new TV remake of a book series popular with tween girls.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Myrna Brown.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
First Corinthians encourages us not to lose heart. Though our outer selves may be wasting away, our inner selves are being renewed day by day.
I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. We’ll talk to you tomorrow!