David and Goliath

April 23, 2015

I first gave this speech in 1968.  Only I called it David and the Princess because that is it’s more appropriate title.  In 1975 I delivered it to 10,000 people at Dexter Yager’s great Free Enterprise Day in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Almost five million copies of that cassette tape or CD sold around the world in 30 language or more.  I was invited to share it to Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, 15,000 Muslims in Jakarta, an open air event of 40,000 – mostly Hindus – in Bombay, 50,000 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow and more than 300 other cities in stadiums and coliseums on six continents.

Now, with the release of Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller on David and Goliath I thought it appropriate to bring it out of moth balls.  The truths are eternal.  And my take is still unique and unassailable.  Not a day goes by that someone in the world doesn’t email me about it.  I have been urged to monetize it but would rather make it easily available to a new generation of young dreamers.  Here you go.

 


Looking for Randy Smith

March 16, 2015

I have watched with envy over the last decade as friends and family find each other on the internet.  Sometimes the odds are long and the distances in time and geography are daunting but the stories keep coming and they are heartwarming and compelling.  But what can you do when your boyhood friend is named Randy Smith?  Can you find him?  Fat chance.

His name, to be exact is Randall David Smith and we went to Fall Creek Grade School, Indianapolis, Indiana together.  In fact, we first teamed up on the playground at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where classes were conducted as they built our new, state of the art, grade school at Fall Creek.  (Since torn down.)  Smith and I discovered that together we could neutralize the class bully, but it took us both, coordinated, and it took near perfect timing.

Smith liked the New York Yankees, and particularly, Mickey Mantle.  I liked the Brooklyn Dodgers and particularly, Roy Campanella.  The Dodgers and the Yankees battled it out in those days.  It’s a wonder our friendship survived.  Come to think of it, that may be why I can’t find him.

For a time we had common teachers.  Mrs. Whitmire. (Bad.)  Mrs. Bowman. (Very Good.)  And I think we may have shared Ms. Georgia McGuffey too. (Good.)  Delver Cardner was the somber principal but the assistant principal, Mr. Stoner, was a bundle of ideas and clearly stole the show.

Randy had a sister named Judy.  I had three brothers, Jim, Bill and Tim.  Mrs. Smith was the splitting image of Harriet, as in “Ozzie and Harriet.”  In this case, Ozzie, or Mr. Harry Smith, worked as the manager of the shoe department at the L.S. Ayers department store in downtown Indianapolis.  He wore a suit and tie to work every day.  They lived on Emerson Street and attended the Presbyterian Church just down the road.

I began my lifelong fascination with the Civil War at Randy’s house, where I would study the big picture books his father had collected.  And we laid on the carpet in front of the TV set, with our heads propped up by our elbows, as the GOP had their annual convention in 1956, renominating Dwight David Eisenhower and Richard Milhous Nixon.  Randy and I had lots of “I Like Ike” buttons which we could pin to our shoes and click like tap dancers in the marble halls of Fall Creek Grade School.

Randy played the trumpet much better than I played the clarinet.  And as we grew older he picked up golf.  The last time I saw him was in Indianapolis, where he had graduated from North Central High School.  I had moved onto South Bend.  Later, I was told that he had graduated from college, passed the LSAT, the Indiana State Bar and had become a lawyer in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

My own son, now a partner at the Foulston and Siefkin law firm in Wichita, once tried to find Randall David Smith for me but that brings up the big stumbling block.  Smith.  Finding a Smith, whose surnames are Randall David and who is, or was, a lawyer, who plays the trumpet and golf and likes Mickey Mantle is not so easy.  The Internet is great if you are trying to find  Janice Worsler or Cameron Modair.  But Randy Smith?  That awaits another technology.

I have passed the hours closely studying images on Facebook and facial expressions or voices on Youtube, imagining how he must look now that he is old like me.  Gray? Bald? In an age of such tasty food he must definitely be heavy.  And, of course, the thought has crossed my mind that he may not be here at all.  That would explain my fruitless search.  If so, just for the record, let me say, there was once a Randy Smith, who lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.  And we were best friends, at least for a time.  He was a gentleman, an excellent student and the best friend a guy could have.  He became a lawyer and there the trail grows cold.  But if his youth was any indication, he saved a lot of people a lot of heartache and he had a grateful clientele to show for it.


Benjamin Netanyahu’s Dark Prophesy

March 3, 2015

There have been more than 100 speeches by heads of state before joint sessions of congress.  But none like the one today by Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu.  Doug Wead talks about the speech and compares it to other moments in history.  Wead says Netanyahu’s  warnings about “an Iran with all the nuclear weapons it want in ten years” is a sobering prophesy that deserves discussion.


What’s with Rand Paul’s blue jeans?

February 2, 2015

Doug Wead on Neil Cavuto, February 2, 2015.


Roy H. Wead and the history of the Assemblies of God

June 16, 2013

Roy H. Wead, former executive presbyter, Assemblies of God

It’s Fathers’ Day and I remember an extraordinary man, Roy H. Wead, my father.  He was the first District Superintendent for the fledgling Assemblies of God in Indiana.  It was May,1946, the month I was born, and the old Central District was split into two separate organizations, one for Ohio and one for Indiana.  Dad was the youth director and then missions director for the old district so most of the pastors in the state knew him.  He was elected Superintendent on the first ballot at the District Council in Bloomington, Indiana.  He had just turned thirty years old the day before.

Roy Wead served as District Superintendent for 13 years and saw the Indiana District grow to prominence.  According to a story in the Pentecostal Evangel, the District became the fastest growing in the nation, opening a new church, every month, for 13 straight years. (March 15, 1959, Pentecostal Evangel, Triple in Twelve Years, p. 14.)

Throughout the 1950’s three of the top ten A/G churches in the country were from Indiana, South Bend Calvary Temple, Evansville Calvary Tabernacle and Fort Wayne Assembly.  When Pastor Ted Vibbert sparked growth for Abundant Life Tabernacle in Indianapolis there was one astonishing two year period when four of the top ten A/G churches in the nation were in Indiana. (Counselor.)

Dad had to find a campgrounds, which they did on Lake Placid, near Hartford City, Indiana.  And he had to raise the money to buy it and build a dining hall, dorms, cabins, a tabernacle and a baseball diamond.  Paul Davidson, a retired missionary from the Philippines took on the task of maintaining the place and every summer the Wead kids and the Davidson kids would roam the campgrounds.

The first headquarters for the Indiana District was an office in Terre Haute.  In 1952, dad moved the headquarters to the more centrally located Indianapolis.  Out in the suburbs, on 56th street, across from a cornfield, he built the first two parsonages for the Superintendent and the Secretary Treasure.  We moved into one of the limestone houses, Rev. Dale Zink and his family moved into the other. The son, Paul Zink, is now pastor of New Life Church in Jacksonville, Fl. He was my childhood playmate.

Today, although arguably in decline, the Assemblies of God, is one of the nation’s larger Protestant denominations but it was a different animal in those days, more of a dynamic fellowship and less an official organization.  Almost all of the pastors had come out of mainstream denominations, many were Methodist.  They had been persecuted for their Pentecostal beliefs and practices.  Some had been pastors who found their churches padlocked by superiors while they were thrown out on the street without salary or housing.  A “fellowship” was about all they could take.  There was a clear anti-denominational streak and anti-education streak as well.  The universities were the fountainhead of all of the new “modernist” doctrines that were undermining the faith.

Somehow, Roy Wead, had to organize a District out of chaos.  There were hundreds of independent Pentecostal churches with pastors twice his age.  Dad took his cue from them.  Thomas “Pop” Paino, Glenn Horst, William “Fletcher” Duncan, Roscoe Russell and young men like Gordon Matheny, William Van Winkle, Cecil Enochs, Vern Stoops, Bill Thornton, Wilson Shabaz and Lester Sumrall.  For years, Leroy Sanders was the Assistant Superintendent, followed by Paul Paino and then Paul Evans.  All of them would have distinguished careers as pastors and leaders in the greater evangelical world.

There were reasons for unity.  Without an official denomination their numbers would not be recognized by the federal government and there would be no army chaplains to help their young men in arms.  They experienced power when they were together and inspiration from their exchange of ideas.  So dad tread very carefully and respectfully and eventually succeeded because he genuinely agreed with the idea that decentralized power would bring more success and growth.  He was an anti-denominationalist, building a denomination.   Participating Churches could be official members or just “in fellowship” with the right to withdraw.  It worked and Indiana became a mecca for young A/G graduates.  It was growing and it was open to new ideas.

There were sometimes conflicts.  Some national denominational leaders saw Indiana as a rogue district that was too tolerant.  Healing evangelists that were banned elsewhere were welcome in Indiana.  But so too were neo-Pentecostal intellectuals.  Ward Williams, who married my aunt, became the first A/G ordained minister to earn a doctorate, as well as her first military chaplain.  He was a favorite camp teacher.  J. Robert Ashcroft, president of Evangel College and father of Attorney General John Ashcroft, was invited almost every year.

This “openness” characterized the spirit of the A/G at that time, at least in Indiana.  Dad didn’t like the idea of kicking someone out of the “fellowship” over a doctrinal or policy dispute.  He said, “If you keep kicking everybody out, you will eventually be kicking them in and YOU will be out.”  When the A/G, threatened by the new Oral Roberts University, decided to pull the papers from any minister or teacher involved, dad defended them.  He hosted Oral Roberts events in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and South Bend.

In 1959 he resigned and became pastor of South Bend, Calvary Temple.  For many years it was the largest church in the A/G and the first to have its own daily television program. All of the Christian musicians and evangelists came through, anxious to get some television experience and videotapes of themselves.

The great Catholic Pentecostal movement saw some of its beginnings in our church when a layman, Ray Bullard, hosted a prayer meeting for Kevin Ranaghan and others from Notre Dame.  When a group of the Catholic students wanted to take the movement to Ann Arbor and Michigan University, our church provided the start up money to make it happen.  Dad was called a traitor.  When Ranaghan journeyed to Springfield, Missouri to meet with the General Superintendent of the A/G he was turned away.

Roy Wead, suffering from heart disease, and in retirement, returned to his roots in North Dakota, planning to finish out his days as president of a small college.  But when the the North Dakota State University closed its campus in Ellendale and offered the multimillion facility to the organization who could come up with the best plan, dad awakened.  His plan won the day and Trinity was awarded the Ellendale University campus for a dollar bill.

The denomination must have had a love-hate relationship with my dad.  In spite of his independence and resistance to centralization and a domineering, controlling leadership, or maybe because of it, they voted him in bi-annually as an Executive Presbyter were he served for a generation on their governing board.  So I was a bit surprised when I attended the A/G General Council in Indianapolis in 2007 and the program featured a “history of the Indiana District of the Assemblies of God.”  My dad was not mentioned.

“If you do good things,” he often said, “people will challenge your motives.  If you do great things, they will challenge your methods.  But don’t let that stop you from doing good things or great things.”


The Legacy of George W. Bush

April 25, 2013

Today, the George W. Bush library will be dedicated and a long list of luminaries will laud the life and legacy of our 43rd president.  I first met the future president in 1986, in Corpus Christi, Texas.  I was an independent businessman at the time, and simultaneously, working for his father as an adviser.  As the host of a business event held at the Corpus Christi Convention Center, I invited in George W. Bush to speak to the group.  He did a great job.  And afterward I took he and Laura and the twins to a Mexican restaurant where we talked politics.

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Doug Wead, Mike Smith and George W. Bush in Corpus Christi, 1986.

In March, 19987, he joined his father’s campaign and co-opted my work with coalitions so I reported directly to him.  It was then that he learned the power of the evangelical vote and how to tap into it.

I may be the first person, outside of his own random fantasies, who actually thought of him as a future president.  Shortly after his father was elected I wrote a 44 page memo on presidential children.  In the study I learned how many sons pursued the presidency themselves.  Not just the first son born to a president, which was John Quincy Adams, but nine others.  A few of them came close, including John Van Buren and Robert Taft.  So I wrote about that possibility for the young Mr. Bush and talked about him to journalists, including a description in an article dated 1991.  (George Jr. exhibits clout in Bush White House. Denver Post. December 15,1991, p6a.)

George W. Bush has a dynamic personality, a cunning sense of humor and was the most decisive person I had ever met in my life.  While I never stopped praying or rooting for him, personally, I publicly parted ways with him over the war in Iraq.   It was a decision that would cost me dearly in my career.  Even before, when a 1998 CNN/Gallup poll showed George W. Bush as the leading presidential contender, I warned my wife.  “If he wins the presidency we will go to war with Iraq and we will kill Saddam Hussein and we will kill his sons.”  After 9-11, I watched helplessly as our war against Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda shifted to a war against Saddam Hussein, the man who had tried to kill  Bush’s father.

There were many unintended consequences to the war in Iraq and to the subsequent upheaval across the Middle East.   It was called “the Arab Spring” as dictatorships toppled.  But Democracy, offered to voters in the region is routinely voted down as soon as it is won.  The people want theocratic dictatorships.  And they choose them at the ballot box.

Christianity, which existed in Iraq for 2,000 years and traced its lineage to the apostles ,  numbered one million believers before the Iraq war.  It has been cut in half, with churches destroyed and members killed or fleeing to Jordan.   Now the Coptic Christians of Egypt, one of the oldest Christian communities in history faces possible annihilation.

In 2011, when the whole West, including President Obama, were celebrating the change of governments in the Middle East, I was hotly criticized for throwing cold water on the celebration.  It was not out of any loyalty to the dictatorships they replaced.  But rather to the naive confidence with which we so easily brushed aside the tenuous house of cards that were in place.  We did so by what we said and did and what we did not say and did not do.  And we accomplished this without debate or adequate consideration, acting on instinct rather than logic.  The consequences have meant death to many and the blood bath may have only begun.

Today, supporters of President George W. Bush say that he kept America safe and never raised taxes.  Opponents say his war in Iraq had unintended consequences that are unhinging the whole Middle East and his spike in spending wrecked the economy.

Presidents spend their time in office trying to shape what happens and when its over they spend their time trying to shape what we think happened.  Both with limited success.  Today, President George W. Bush  has begun his campaign for his legacy.  What do you think?  How would you rank the president’s time in office?  Today the former president has a a 47% approval rating which is exactly the same as President Obama.

Participate in this poll and learn the results.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DVKPDR6


Rand Paul Now Leads Liberty Movement

April 9, 2013

It has only been a little more than a month since Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  But it is looking more and more like a defining moment in American politics.  It may be a defining moment in American history.

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The dramatic sight of Rand Paul standing all alone, in the well of the Senate on March 6, 2013, speaking up for the U.S. Constitution, asking the questions that the media and the power establishment was too busy or too indifferent to ask, is a picture that will be forever burned into the psyche of many Americans.  And the key point here was that he was alone.  The rest of Washington, D.C., the politicians, the television producers, the White House staff, had scattered across town to posh restaurants enjoying their cocktails, regaling each other with tales of the day’s successes and making their deals for tomorrow, smugly content that they had put another day of work behind them.
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That afternoon, Senator Rand Paul had begun what would be a 13 hour filibuster, promising to hold up confirmation of the new Director of the CIA until the president answered this simple question. “Does the president’s newly assumed power to kill a U.S. citizen, without arrest or trial, apply to non combatants here in the United States?”
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It was a reasonable question.  Under president Barack Obama, the U.S. government had begun an unprecedented policy of killing U.S. citizens if they were deemed as terrorists.  Forget Miranda rights, they couldn’t even have a trial.  And this could happen anywhere in the world. The United States did not have to be at war with a country.  They could violate the air space and commit these killings in the Middle East, Asia, even Europe. In 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was killed in a drone missile strike on a desert road in Yemen.  Two weeks later, his son, born in Denver, Colorado, with no ties to terrorism, searching for his father’s body in Yemen, was likewise killed by an American drone strike.  The killing of al-Awlaki was justified because of his rabble rousing sermons which had inspired terrorists.  The son’s killing, was oops, sorry, a mistake.  
The media has been remarkably silent.
In February, when asked about drone missiles now circling key locations here in the United States, the White House was asked if the president had the power to kill U.S. citizens  without trial, on American soil, or was this just something he could do overseas?  The White House assured the amazingly docile American media that the Justice Department had agreed that the president had this power.
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President Barack Obama can be thankful that his predecessor, George W. Bush, did not or Obama, himself, might not be around.  By such reckoning, Barack Obama’s own pastor could have been “droned out” for his tirade, when he famously chanted, “God damn America,” from his pulpit.   And Obama, had he been in the audience for those sermons might have been collateral damage, much like al-Awlaki’s son.
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The country seemed to be lulled into a trance.  This included its once fierce and uncompromising, professional, watchdog media, now held tightly by its corporate leashes, reduced to reading press releases and providing entertainment.  The trance included its corrupt politicians, too busy making money off of insider trading to take time to defend something so esoteric as a Constitutional right.  It included its courts, now as malleable to public opinion and as intimidated by American culture as the politicians.   Even the public was silent, too intellectually lazy to care.  No one could move lest they be stamped racist, liberal, conservative, unpatriotic or some other unpopular sticker.
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So Rand Paul, like the sassy kid in the proverbial story, The Emperor Has No Clothes, asked aloud the question that no one else dared ask.
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The White House sniggered.  The media ignored it. President Barack Obama would not answer.  Nor would anyone else.  Former president George W. Bush was silent on the subject, as was former president Clinton and Democrat Party leader, Al Gore.  Republican leaders, John McCain and House Speaker, John Boehner didn’t peep.  This was apparently a tough question.
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And so, as it appeared to the nation, Rand Paul, all alone, without a single ally to hold his water, took to the Senate Floor in a filibuster, demanding that this simple question be answered.  If he was out of line and the rest of the country knew what they were doing, so be it.
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At first there was not much of a reaction.  In the afternoon, when a member of the White House press corps asked about it, the president’s spokesman openly laughed. While Fox News Channel and MSNBC mentioned the event, mostly the national media ignored it, much as they had Rand Paul’s father, when he raised issues of civil liberties. After three hours, fellow Senator, and Liberty ally, Mike Lee finally made an appearance.  Everybody else, including the president, went out to dinner that night and then home for the evening.  The vast Liberty online community was remarkably calm.
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But as the night wore on and Americans finished their meals and sat at their monitors or picked up their I-Phones to answer some mail, word of the drama unfolding on the floor of the U.S. Senate began to spread.  Some called it a Twitter Blizzard, a mocking reference to the snow storm that was not happening as predicted. First it resonated among the Liberty Movement base.  Rand Paul had launched a filibuster.  He wouldn’t stop talking until the President answered his question.  And then it began to spread across political and partisan lines.  What’s a filibuster?  Why won’t the president answer such a simple question?  What happened to the watchdog media?  How could they let such a question go unanswered?  By 9 pm,normal television viewing was skewed. NBC’s popular Law and Order was losing its audience as people rushed to online streaming or YouTube captured videos of the drama.  C-SPAN viewers spiked.  Cable television began to be dominated by the spectacle.
With the public aroused, the politicians reacted.  A parade of Senators, Republican and Democrat, rushed back to help Rand Paul.  Mike Lee made another appearance, this time with Ted Cruz and likely presidential contender, Marco Rubio.  Mitch McConnell and the GOP leadership fell into line.
They were all a minute too late and a dollar too short.  Senator Rand Paul, all by himself, without any help, had electrified the nation.
The next day, the politically savvy and thorough White House hauled out a canned moment that had been carefully preserved in case the filibuster went wrong.  Attorney General Holder had already answered the question to a Senator before the filibuster began, they now insisted.  But one wonders what they would have done with that canned moment if the public had not reacted.  Thursday morning, as Rand Paul began recovering from his 13 hour filibuster, the president finally answered the question.  And his CIA director was promptly confirmed.
A lot of other things were confirmed as well.
1.) Rand Paul is an unquestioned leader of the Liberty Movement and can inspire it whenever he chooses. Others will have to wait their turn.
2.) He is no political slouch, he is gutsy.
3.) Rand Paul is the first candidate since Ronald Reagan to actually lead a movement.
4.) The old left-right, Cold War paradigm is dead.  Rand Paul represents a new philosophy back to the constitution and it attracts support across the political spectrum from left to right.
5.) The fact that the country is moving in his direction and the packaging of his message is more palatable than that of his father’s, Rand Paul can win the presidency.
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From a purely historical perspective, one wonders how much further we will go in gutting our Constitution and sacrificing our rights to keep us “safe.”  How much bigger will government get?  How many more powers will be seized by the executive branch and how much future legislation will be accomplished by executive fiat?  At what point will it go so far down this road that we cannot find our way back?  And we learn that our form of government has changed before our eyes, without a discussion?
Will Rand Paul’s filibuster be nothing more than an empty moment of theater on our way to a future government run by a single chief executive, serving at the pleasure of fifty television moguls?  Or will it mark the hi water mark of the new, post 9-11, tyranny and the beginning of a self examination that will take us back to a renewal of our hard won Constitutional Republic?  We can only hope and pray for the latter.
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