October 21, 2020

Open Mic Tuesday

I fell behind with a busy family weekend and then getting back into the swing of things at work yesterday, so how about we simply open it up today for open discussion?

It’s a shame when actual life gets in the way of blogging, right?

It’s all yours today…

• Chaplain Mike


  1. Dan from Georgia says

    Grace rules!

    Good morning y’all!

  2. Phil Dickens says

    The photo reminds me of the posts on photography as contemplation.

  3. senecagriggs says

    TODAY Let’s discuss the failure of progressive Christianity. Any takers?

    • Ronald Avra says

      Seneca, the failures of what you perceive to be Christianity is responsible for the existence of “progressive” Christianity. Own your children.

    • Ok, I’m game. Name them.

    • Recommended reading for Seneca and others interested in this question: Christianity for the Rest of Us, by Diana Butler Bass.

      There’s a whole lot more to the story than the simplistic propaganda Seneca has bought into.

      • There is more to the Bass book as this review states . “
        I really liked a few parts of this book, and I wanted to be able to give it a much better review. However, the author’s overall hypocrisy is too obvious to ignore. She claims to espouse unity, tolerance, mutual respect and understanding; however, she insists on drawing a dividing line between “the rest of us” and “them.” She paints Christian evangelical conservatives as hardhearted, uncaring, selfish, and shallow; blind automatons who are satisfied to stay locked in their own unchanging little cocoons of egocentrism and self-righteousness. This stereotyping (and that’s exactly what it is) completely blows her main premise out of the water and makes her seem naive at best and disingenuous at worst. She repeatedly mentions grace but shows none whatsoever toward those of us who are moderates or conservatives. In addition, the liberal “mainline” Protestantism she writes about seems to be nothing more than a hodgepodge of mixed-up, “cafeteria style” beliefs that fall just short of Unitarianism. Of course these churches’ numbers are growing — when you tell people that they can do pretty much anything they want, believe whatever they want, and interpret Christ’s teachings however seems best to them at any given moment, they will naturally respond to that because it requires almost nothing in terms of faith or self-discipline. It’s pretty much anything goes, and you can pick and choose as you go, so why not? That would be fine except that Christ himself did NOT take that view. Ms. Butler Bass might want to go back and reread the Savior’s words about the Christian life (and how hard it will be) and revisit His teaching about “the narrow gate” (which Ms. Butler Bass snidely denounces via one female parishoner’s words). It’s clear that Ms. Bass is very, very angry at the Christian right, and she is using this book to further her own personal vendetta against anyone and anything that falls even slightly to the right of center. She tries to cover up this bitterness with sweet, devotional quotes from Thomas Merton and St. Teresa of Avila, but I just can’t buy it. And by the way, I saw The Passion of the Christ and was truly moved by it; I deeply resent her implication that anyone who viewed this film is anti-Semitic! Compassion, coexistence, and understanding? Not from this lady, unless you believe everything she believes. And therein lies the irony.

        • I think I’m pretty safe in assuming that review was written by a conservative evangelical or a post-evangelical in the neo-calvinist/Puritan community.

          Talk about lacking grace…

        • Jesus Himself was compassionate and understanding… with one notable exception. He was hard as nails on those who denied compassion and understanding to others. If she’s following in His footsteps in that regard… so much the worse for the uncompassionates.

          • Rick Ro. says

            –> “He was hard as nails on those who denied compassion and understanding to others.”

            I’ll go one step further, and more pointedly…

            He was hard as nails on THOSE WHO CLAIM THEY REPRESENT HIM who denied compassion and understanding to others.

            • Christiane says

              “He was hard as nails on THOSE WHO CLAIM THEY REPRESENT HIM who denied compassion and understanding to others.”

              timely comment – currently a man who, instead of offering pastoral support to a beaten wife, told her to return to her abusive husband . . . . yes, she was again beaten

              now, this man is being called to account by many in the public arena and in the Church for his failure to provide real pastoral care for the troubled woman and, worse, for sending her back to more abuse with the excuse that she should ”pray” while she was being beaten in hopes of her suffering being able to ‘save’ her husband

              bad stuff from this phony ‘pastor’ . . . she might have been killed

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Christianity for the Rest of Us, by Diana Butler Bass.

        Reminds me of the link title in the sidebar, “The Bible for Normal People”.

        There’s a whole lot more to the story than the simplistic propaganda Seneca has bought into.

        “Effective propaganda consists of Simplification and Repetition.”
        — Reichsminister Josef Goebbels

    • Dan from Georgia says

      For all the buffoonery and failures of progressive Christianity, conservative/traditional Christianity has an equal. So, if you are tempted to disavow a progressive Christian’s salvation on account of their social justice activism (concern for poor and down-and-out), for example, you might as well disavow a conservative Christian their salvation because of their disregard of the poor and down-and-out.

      In my view, staunch conservatives and staunch progressives are two sides of the same coin…both operate as fundamentalists. Note I said staunch.

      Both sides of the spectrum have their foibles and problems. Be careful in pointing out the problems of the “other guy”…you might see yourself in the mirror.

    • Rick Ro. says

      And let’s take on the failure of traditional and fundamental Christianity while we are at it!

      Where there are people, there will be problems.

    • Well they crucified the movement’s founder.

      • I really hope you got your jollies from posting that comment today. I’m glad we all jumped at it, what fun it must be to see.

    • Patriciamc says

      Why do you all fall for these things Seneca posts? He never responds, just makes a remark designed to show how his view is superior, then he’s off.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        He’s been banned for trolling from a couple of the blogs in the links.

  4. Richard says

    I was just reading an article about a study released by Cigna, a major health insurance company, about loneliness in the US. It claims over half the population, young and old, says they’re often or usually lonely.

    I’m reminded of the common sermon theme of a clergy person I once knew, to the effect that you can’t be a Christian alone. The “Where two or three are gathered” verse has real teeth for people who, like me, spend 90+% of their time alone.

    So how about this for a discussion piece… What does this verse mean for people who are alone? And what should we, the Church, do about it?

    • I hope the answer is not “more programs”. Trust me, you can be very lonely in the midst of a crowd…

    • Rick Ro. says

      What should the church do? Well a part of me, maybe the snarky part, wants to say that a part of that is on them. Are you lonely? Seek the company of others. Pretty sure people know where churches are, so go grace it with your presence, lonely one.

      That said, the church needs to be ready and accepting of those that come in.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > What should the church do?


        This is a real problem.

        It is not a problem for The Church to solve.

      • Richard says

        I ask, in part, coming from a place where a reasonably social lifestyle ended abruptly. My wife moved out because she’s gay. Nobody in the church seemed to be able to sit with my pain, my solitude. But the clergyperson I mentioned was happy to continue haranguing people who are alone, without offering any comfort, even in private.

        I had always thought that if things got bad, the church would be a place I could go for comfort and companionship. I thought wrong, apparently.

        Oh and while I’m making comments, other studies have shown that loneliness shortens life expectancy as much as smoking or poor diet.

        • My condolences. 🙁

          • Rick Ro. says

            +1. My condolences, too. (And I hope my response didn’t hit you too hard. Some people are lonely for horrible reasons, damage caused by others.) This is when the church, or rather people representing the church, fail.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > I had always thought that if things got bad, the church would be a place I could go

          Welcome to Club Disappointed.

        • Richard, my lightning strike wasn’t too unlike yours eight years ago. Who’da thunk? Suddenly, I lost a step and didn’t fit, and it was immediately obvious after weekly Mass. I feel no animosity or grudge, but I’m running on empty, and that’s not good for an old man. So I visit various churches looking for a good sermon, not homily, and maybe a new acquaintance. While fixing lonely not a duty of a church, building a loving congregation is, and who could possibly be better prospects than solo visitors on Sunday, regardless of age?

          • Richard says

            Well, exactly. There’s a quotation in the Maundy Thursday liturgy, while the foot-washing is going on, the choir is chanting “By this all men shall know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.” While sitting in their midst are the unloved, wondering what this “love” thing is and whether there’s any available for me.

            It makes the idea of communion, as a token of community, very hollow indeed.

      • Patriciamc says

        It sounds good, but in many if not most churches, if you don’t have children or are not part of a couple, then there’s no place for you. No, singles groups are not the answer since they just shove the singles aside and isolate them from the rest of the church.

        • Richard says

          Yeah, that. I sometimes wondered what it was I wanted the clergy and the church to do. As Eeyore said, more programs are probably not the answer. Having actual sympathetic folks in the pews might be. Or if the way the organization works is in terms of programs, an adult education program on grief support might be a thing they could try. How to listen without needing to fix things. How to companion pain. How to be with people who are different from you in essential ways. It’s not the kind of thing people pick up by osmosis, especially if the “different” people feel unwelcome and wander away. Then again, being the person they practice on while they’re learning things can be uncomfortable as well.

          I don’t know the answer.

          • Those of us that need and want a little attention, a little greeting, and maybe brief conversation, are probably the last to make it known. Perhaps an opening note by the pastor relating to sharing a thought with others before or after the service? Again a suggestion that the role of the greeters could be extended from the door into the pews both before and after. It need not be intrusive, but convey caring and interest.

            • How about just making an opportunity each week? At the church we used to attend (the ‘good’ church) we had a time after the morning service where people would just hang around for 20 minutes or so and visit. It was in the foyer (well, the large room one entered before the sanctuary). We had coffee, my wife was in charge of snacks – donuts, cakes, cookies, etc. When we first visited we were taken back by it because several people came up to us and asked about US! It probably had as much to do with our joining that church as anything else (though we did find it ‘home’ in many other ways). It was just an opportunity the church provided to interact – and people were encouraged to stay and interact. At most churches we’ve attended, people just leave after the service, sometimes without having said a word to anyone all morning.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      I recommend sites like Meet Up; find people of similar interests, hang out.

  5. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Today being May 1st, the original Worker’s Day, made me think of all the current struggles around fair pay, jobs, economic inequity and the resultant social inequity etc.

    I am currently listening to “Sapiens”, by Yuval Noah Harari (highly recommended by the way). He makes the oft forgotten point that there is a fundamental difference between wealth and capital: The former is accumulated riches, while the latter is “working money”, ie funds being reinvested etc. This brought to mind the observation that one of the reasons we took awhile to overcome recessions is the extraordinary amounts of funds “sitting on the sidelines”. Untold wealth sitting in tax havens. Etc. Of course, investment may not always “spread the wealth”, and taxation doesn’t always so that as intended – but both those are significantly better than hoarding.

    The initial explosion in economic growth, which drew millions, nay billions, out of poverty, is due to capital, not wealth. The worker’s movements was never against capital, but against the misspending and maltreatment of those that the capital was supposed to invest in. Even today, we risk our growth and economies, because of not investing in workers by not paying them fairly, and thus the wealthy are shooting themselves in the foot by not creating new customers who can invest themselves, growing the pool. Economic growth prior to the age of banking was minimal. We risk returning to that because of the pursuit of mindless wealth, wealth that doesn’t do squat. Like the worthless servant in the parable. And yes, sometimes the best (most efficient) investment is collective – ie taxation and educational and health spending etc. But the endless cycle of military spending seems to be the only one growing everywhere – and military spending has shown itself to be a really bad investment, pursued as an end in itself.

    Wealth and arms will make paupers of us all – and with poverty comes a host of other ills.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      It is Chesterton who said that the problem with Capitalism is that there are too few Capitalists!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Indeed. And sadly, for such all the entrepreneurial bravado, we have so very many barriers for people to invest in their own communities.

        Part of the declining Middle Class is the Middle Class’ full throated support of their own destruction. It is both sad and frustrating. All to much fear floating about, searching for something to attach to.

        • The amount of hoops my wife had to jump through for her one-person home-based LLC was mindboggling.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Which is why there’s an Underground Cash Economy/grey market developing in this country.

      • Christiane says

        Klasie . . . .
        I agree with Chesterton’s ‘too few capitalists’ . . . .

        the old family farm . . . gone

        the Polish bakery . . . . gone

        the Amish dairy . . . . . politicians closed it down for not being ‘sanitary’ enough

        the corn-stand out in the country where you could get other produce too . . . . . . . gone

        the family-owned drug store . . . . closed

        what’s NEW in town???? WALMART and SAM’S CLUB

        yeah, mom & pop can no longer cut it these days, so in-comes the cheaply-priced Walmart, scarfs up all the business, drives mom and pop away, and when all else closes down, the prices at Walmart begin to rise, and Rise, and RISE . . . . .

        we could use the old shops on Main Street, sure . . . . . people never seem to learn but from trouble and greed

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Having worked for both small and multinational companies, local and international, as well as run my own, I can definitely say that small and local is not necessarily better, or worse, than large and national/multinational. The worst employee treatment I have ever seen was in a local company with less than 10 employees, for instance.

          But to assess your statement, an interesting counter example is the raise of the microbrewery in the last 25 years. The massive hold the macrobreweries had over beer production has slipped completely. There are lessons in that. Watch the equivalent space in other industries – maybe look at this example: Late last week me daughter got some jewelry she ordered. Through a major company (as shipper and facilitator), but from a small business in Australia. I can also buy coffee from a large brand – but which originated from a small family farm in Central America.

          The pendulum is swinging…

    • Wealth, arms, and rapidly depleting natural resources…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says


    • Burro (Mule) says

      Unfortunately, it appears that the military might of the United States is the only thing keeping the dollar as a reserve currency, thereby protecting me from $11/roll toilet paper and a way of life for which I am physically and psychologically ill-prepared.

      Stealing always returns the best ROI

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        That doesn’t compute? We don’t pay $11 a toilet roll in Canada, neither did I when I lived in SA (and I haven’t seen that in any of the Developing Countries I have visited). As a mater of fact, that only happens in rampant corrupt and ill-managed socialist economies (Venezuela), or during war time.

        Of course, that doesn’t mean the US isn’t a war economy – it has operated as one for a long time, fluctuating in degree.

    • Hariri has a nice formal exchange with the editor of Free Inquiry regarding what he sees as the shortcomings of humanism in the latest issue of the magazine.

  6. Will Geanes says

    Is it okay to be a “cafeteria” Christian? Meaning, pulling the bits and pieces of different traditions as you move forward on your journey with Jesus.

    • There is something to be said for loyalty to a specific tradition, because you have to live somewhere (see the discussion about loneliness above). But no tradition is perfect, and all traditions have things they are good at and worth listening to about.

    • Ronald Avra says

      Sometimes that is necessary; sometimes it is an excuse to avoid self examination. Most likely it will be an ongoing process that you will have to give more attention to than you originally expected.

    • john barry says

      Will Geanes, excellent question that speaks to my heart. In the Book of Judges the last line is something like everyone did what was right in their own eyes, so I am a believer in having certain core beliefs that are the foundation of my faith.

      I am a Protestant as to me, due to my upbringing I am sure, I can go to a church to fellowship, learn about the Bible, read, study and pray to God that I follow as best I can Jesus. My own belief is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died for my sins and is the only true way to salvation for certain to those who have heard the “word”.

      All the rituals, traditions, ceremony, teachings of various denominations do not concern me if the base of their faith is Jesus and that he offers salvation to all who accept him as Savior. If one thinks social works needed, need to wear a hat to church, need to sing praise songs, need to fast, need to walk the aisle, need to go on mission trips and so forth that is fine with me as long as the foundation is Jesus as Savior, no other way.

      So to your question about cafeteria or cherry picking I would say that is what I do and when I in church and know there are people who will honestly and strongly disagree with me on the issue, I remain silent as we are both believers in Jesus as Savior so what would be my point to disagree with what they perceive they need to do to assure their salvation.

      I have muddled up my own thought in explaining this and it is just that, my own personal belief system that works for me.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        In the Book of Judges the last line is something like everyone did what was right in their own eyes, so I am a believer in having certain core beliefs that are the foundation of my faith.

        At the bare minimum, to provide a fixed “Zero-Zero” reference point.

    • Robert F says

      Many people just take what’s dished out, but quietly discard certain things on the plate, maybe feeding some to the dog or the potted plant in the corner.. I prefer the honesty of the cafeteria line choosers.

    • StuartB says

      Name a Christian or denomination that is not “cafeteria style”.

    • Patriciamc says

      Most people do the cafeteria line whether they realize it or not.

  7. senecagriggs says

    Progressive Christianity! I give you today’s Episcopal Church. Neither Episcopal nor a church.

    • So… ignore what everybody had to say in your first overgeneralized comment, and fire back with a second, unconnected, equally generalized comment.

      If you ever wonder why people call you a troll, and treat you like troll… this is why.

    • A discussion that would lead nowhere, convince no-one, and needlessly offend many – that’s ‘real’ Christianity?

      Plenty of ‘failures’ to go around (although it all depends on how one defines ‘failure’ doesn’t it). Some of us see a lot more ‘failure’ in conservative Christianity – toxic church culture, loads of legalism, not-so-subtle racism, unhealthy doses of nationalism, and a lot of theological problems (and biblical ignorance) as well. I think Jesus would be more welcome in progressive churches than in the evangelical churches I’ve been in (mostly SBC).

      ‘Failures’ of conservative Christianity: http://thewartburgwatch.com/

      See, anyone can play that game.

    • Robert F says

      Does it please you to insult actual human beings who belong to the Episcopal Church? It seems like you really enjoy it. How perverse.

      • Clay Crouch says

        I’m an Episcopalian. Why do you paint everyone with a such a broad brush? Have you ever worshiped in an Episcopal church service? You seem to derive pleasure from dropping hand grenades. I wish you would engage in a discussion. No wonder you’ve been banned from The Warburg Watch.

    • Patriciamc says

      Seneca, churches and people who yell the loudest about how holy they are, are always, always the biggest sinners. That most definitely includes the Southern Baptists, the neo-cals, and most other evangelical churches.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        “Throw in a rock. The one who screams loudest is the one who got hit.”

  8. Klasie Kraalogies says

    It seems I have a comment stuck in moderation….

    • Rick Ro. says

      Oooh, oooh…the makings of a chorus in a song!

      “I have something important to say to you,
      But it seems my comment is stuck in moderation.”

  9. Burro (Mule) says

    Oh, its episcopal all right. Just try taking your property with you when, as a traditional Anglican congregation, you leave the ECUSA and go elsewhere.

    • But is it “your” property, or the denomination’s? I’ve seen several such fights up close, and it’s never as simple as the breakaways would have you believe.

    • Clay Crouch says

      It’s not and has never been the individual parishes’ property. But then, you knew that, didn’t you?

  10. Burro (Mule) says

    Could somebody who understands please explain to me what the Russians are supposed to have done in the 2016 election? Is it more than just sh*tposting on 4chan? Did the Russians actually flip any votes inside the voting machines? Did they blackmail Assange into releasing the Clinton emails?

    What illegal activity is Muller looking into? All the static on CNN is so meta I’ve forgotten why the whole thing got started.

    In addition I would have preferred a Trump presidency imposed by force after a military defeat by Putin to a Clinton presidency so I want to hear the other side.

    • Buy ads to stir up dissent and influence rage and public opinion in key targeted demographics in certain swing states to influence less than 10% of the vote which is just enough to win everything without being noticed.

      And it’s not alleged. It’s fact.

      You can flip votes without once touching a voting machine. You can manipulate and influence people in so many ways and still hide behind “personal responsibility”.

      • john barry says

        Hillary Clinton never went to Wisconsin because she thought the election was in the bag, same for Mi and Pa. The story is H. Clinton ran an incompetent campaign losing to D. Trump in spite of having the support of the mainstream media, spending twice the money, the establishment backing, the efforts of the FBI and CIA behind the curtain.

        If H. Clinton had won none of the Russian collusion etc. would even be a blip on the radar . The establishment thought for sure H. Clinton had it won but maybe for the last time the actual voters elected Trump. The FBI investigation of H Clinton was a joke and totally unprofessional perhaps unlawful.

        Burro is correct about the alleged power of the Russian influence, it is sour grapes at least and really to discredit the Trump election. The damage to the USA whatever happens is perhaps fatal to trust in the government.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Hillary Clinton never went to Wisconsin because she thought the election was in the bag, same for Mi and Pa. The story is H. Clinton ran an incompetent campaign…

          I understand Bill kept telling her, but she refused to listen.

          (And I would listen to Bill Clinton on campaign strategy, operations, and tactics. He’s shown himself to be very skilled at it.)

        • Robert F says

          … the efforts of the FBI and CIA behind the curtain.

          I call b.s. That’s pure political paranoia and/or conspiracy-mongering. To Trumpites, any DOJ, CIA, or FBI that isn’t all the way in the president’s pocket is assumed to be corrupt, and is believed to be guilty until proven innocent.

          • john barry says

            Robert F. We will see, former DNI Clapper instructed Comey on Jan 6 to brief Obama and Trump on the unverified, political opposition, Steele Dossier. Then on Jan 10 2016 Clapper leaked the briefing to Jake Tapper of CNN who reported it. Then the entire false dossier was disclosed by Buzzfeed as not even CNN would publish it but once Buzzfeed did than they reported on the contents and that is how it began. Just one example of the politicization of the FBI and our security depts. We will see in the future if this is indeed going to be verified in court or not.

            Former DNI Clapper is now a part of CNN as a commenter, so it could all just be tin foil talk as if it is true it is truly terrible. Just one example of the effort to discredit Trump election.

            • Robert F says

              The Mueller investigation predated and is not dependent on the dossier, even if it is false, which I there are reasons to doubt. Rod Rosenstein said it today: the congressional leaders who are suggesting he be impeached don’t even have the courage to attach their names to the idea.

              • john barry says

                Robert F. Just one example, we could go around forever but time will tell. Mueller appointment did not predate the dossier which was the basis of the investigation and the FISA warrants. It is hard to follow because the media wants it to be hard to follow. McCabe, Comey, Clapper all leakers for sure so in a year maybe we will know.

                • Robert F says

                  You are right, I misspoke: the dossier predated the investigation. But narratives different from yours say that the investigation does not depend on the dossier. As for leaks, the most significant one are coming from the White House itself, as for instance the recent leak about the questions Mueller would ask Trump.

                  As for what we may know in a year: I doubt that I will ever believe investigations supported by the White House. I will be inclined to believe they are political frame-ups, and that Trump and his people, and his lackeys in the investigation agencies, are lying through their teeth, and ruining good men and women to cover their own misdeeds. Why? Because almost every time Trump opens his mouth (or tweets) he tells outrageous lies (he’s been lying for decades, about everything, form his wealth to Birtherism to his health and back again), and his people lie to run interference for him. We, you and I, will not believe the same narratives, not when it comes to politics at this time in this country. You believe there is a deep state now; but I believe that, though there is not one now, Trump would like to create one for himself to use, and, if he succeeds, there will be one later. If McCabe goes to jail, that will because of the Trump deep state; if Comey goes to jail, Trump deep state; if Hillary goes to jail, Trump deep state.

                  • john barry says

                    Robert F. we can only go with facts and how we interpret them. We will have to wait to see how it plays out as the country is purposely divided. As there is now no national source of trusted information dissemination we are in new territory.

                • Robert F says

                  Frankly, I’m beginning to think that CNN has been co-opted by Trumpism. They’ve gotten soft on him. For instance, many of the talking heads at CNN are unironically criticizing the comedienne (whose name I don’t know) who lambasted Trump and his people for having gone over the line, as if they don’t remember that Trump and his people have gone over the line nearly every day for more than a year, and in ways far more viciously destructive than a few mean jokes. They are starting to go soft in the head, which is what I suppose Trump wants.

          • Patriciamc says

            Haven’t you heard, anything that’s anti-Trump is fake news or a conspiracy? Anything pro-Trump is automatically true.

            Oh, did you all see the news tonight that Trump literally dictated the letter that his doctor released during the campaign? The letter stating the Trump is the healthiest candidate ever?

            • Robert F says

              Dictated the letter, and later sent a group (including his thug body-guard, who should’ve had no part in a duly appointed delegation sent to receive copies of the doctor’s Trump files, unless an enforcer was required) to steal the doctor’s medical records, which belong to the Dr. by law. Lawlessness, perpetrated by a POTUS who believes he’s above the love, done in broad daylight.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          …the efforts of the FBI and CIA behind the curtain.

          AKA The Deep State.
          (Shape-shifting cannibal alien lizards or no…)

      • Radagast says

        I really think it came down to Hillary just being an unlikable candidate. Obama blew past her in the 2008 election, and she just did not resonate like her husband did with the voters. Enter Trump stage right.

        Russian meddling? If it was a factor in this election then its been a factor in the last several election cycles. From my perspective the Russians would have backed President Obama and his lead from behind strategy as he gave them the leading role in a few situations, most notably the Syrian red-line incident. I believe the meddling isn’t any more or less than what has happened in the past. And Hillary and the rest should admit bad campaign strategy and move on.

        Here is a question…. if North and South Korea actually declare peace and North Korea goes through with de-nuclearization (word?) does this mean Trump is eligible for the Nobel Peace prize? Has anyone ever been able to point to the reason President Obama received this one month into his presidency? Please note I am not a Trump fan… just curious…

        • Robert F says

          I still have no idea why Obama received the Nobel Peace prize. If peace is established, and denuclearization is verified, it is possible that Trump could be co-winner of the award, along with the pres of South Korea, and possibly even the guy with the weird haircut from the North. I’ve read discussions presenting the idea that he should be nominated, if those things happen. If he does receive it, that will firmly establish once and for all that receiving the Nobel Peace is even more meaningless than being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Yes, he could join other saintly laureates such as Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I still have no idea why Obama received the Nobel Peace prize.

            It was called the “F U Dubya Bush” Peace Prize…

            Which just polarized things further until Payback Time with Trump.

        • Rick Ro. says

          –> “I really think it came down to Hillary just being an unlikable candidate.”

          For her to lose to a candidate like Trump was truly telling of her likeability-factor, Yes.

          • You are painfully correct. For more than a year before the election I had to keep reminding my wife that “a lot of people really don’t like Hillary.” Trump illustrates how much they didn’t like her.

            • Christiane says

              and I thought the reason people disliked and distrusted her was all the ‘conspiracy theories’ where she was the villain. . . . .

        • Patriciamc says

          The Nobel is notoriously political and therefore, in my eyes, worthless. At that point, Obama had done nothing to deserve the prize and should have declined it.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I really think it came down to Hillary just being an unlikable candidate. Obama blew past her in the 2008 election, and she just did not resonate like her husband did with the voters. Enter Trump stage right.
          I keep saying this:

          Any Dem other than Hillary would have beaten Trump by a landslide.
          And Rep other than Trump would have beaten Hillary by a landslide.

          So what did we get?

      • Mule said: “What illegal activity is Muller looking into? All the static on CNN is so meta I’ve forgotten why the whole thing got started.”

        Stuart B said: “Buy ads to stir up dissent and influence rage and public opinion in key targeted demographics”

        —And if a candidate, now president, were involved, there would be concerns that involve words such as conspiracy, obstruction, and treason.

        Unless it’s all fake news.

      • Patriciamc says

        Not to mention posting flat out lies under the disguise of “conservative, patriotic, Bible-believing, gun toting” Facebook groups. We now know many of these groups are guys sitting at desks in Russia or Macedonia making stuff up off the top of their heads. Basically giving the Fox News people (I’m related to many) exactly what they want to see and hear

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Just like self-generating free publicity by putting in something that will set off the Christians:
          WIND ‘EM UP AND LET ‘EM GO.

    • Christiane says

      “What illegal activity is Muller looking into?” Burro, my first thought is ‘gosh, he’s late to the party.

      Mueller isn’t talking.

      It was DT’s lawyer who released 49 questions he made up to the press, not Mueller. Apparently whatever IS or HAS BEEN ‘going on’ in Trumpland to do with the Russians, if any proof exists, you can bet Mueller will track it down like a pro. The man’s a patriot (see his military record) and he’s a Republican, which OUGHT to say something for his integrity in his work. He is widely respected. And I think Mueller can withstand even the heavy targeting from the likes of that crazy Hannity. 🙂

      • Patriciamc says

        The dean of a law school here in Nashville used to work with Mueller, and he said that you don’t want Mueller after you!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          They said the same thing about Vince Bugliosi when he was a prosecutor.

  11. Burro (Mule) says

    Anything illegal, or just superior psychology and market research?

    • If we did it to another country, there would be cries of “interference” and “propaganda” echoing from the firmament. If we can’t do it to others… they can’t do it to us. Plain and simple.

      • StuartB says

        just goes to show how gullible some are

        throw up a picture of jesus and satan fighting, say something evil about hillary, boom, influence achieved

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        I have a hard time believing the USA does not “interfere” with the elections or succession of other nations.

        • Robert F says

          We did it in South and Central America repeatedly in the 80s and 90s. I have to believe we did it elsewhere, as well. We are no doubt doing it now, but in quieter, harder to detect ways. The USA is not innocent of what it accuses others.

      • Burro (Mule) says

        We do it all the time. Ive seen it close up in Mexico and Peru, and I suspect it elsewhere.

        The outcry usually isnt that loud because poor countries in our sphere of influence usually have a regime change, i.e. “colored” revolutions and various “springs”. Sometimes its easier to play along rather than risk getting Pinocheted or Shah’d. Im kinda glad Putin and the Chicoms are learning this game Its a fair wind that blows against the GPR Empire.

        • Not that they are going to be any more accommodating to the little guys…

          • Burro (Mule) says

            That’s part of the job description of being the little guy. But canny little guys do fare better when there are two or three Godfathers in the neighborhood rather than just one.

            I can assure you that the Chinese loathe Africans in a way that would curdle your stomach.

        • Robert F says

          Not that they are going to be averse to continuing their own practice of pushing investigative journalists out windows.

          • Burro (Mule) says

            Supposedly a suicide, like Gary Webb, but I don’t believe it either.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Conveniently Accidental DEFENESTRATION (that’s the actual word for it) goes back to the days when the FSB was called ChEKA. (Don’t know if it goes back to Okhrana days, but it was also a popular Medieval form of vigilante justice.)

  12. Last night I finished Jack Deere’s “Even in Our Darkness: A Story of Beauty in a Broken Life,” and it’s one of the saddest memoirs I’ve ever read. I’m still trying to sort my feelings about it out; Deere’s is a very complicated life, with surprising moments of grace mixed with times of emotional extravagance.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Is this same Jack Deere who wrote the charismatic apologist volumes Surprised By The Power of the Spirit and others in the ’90s? I’m not surprised he had some rough sledding judging by some of the company he kept.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      I finished that last week. Indeed, very sad, in many ways.

  13. seneca griggs says

    Having dealt with the Episcopalian heresy, let’s move on to the next progressive shibboleth – Climate Change

    Perhaps you think that science, of all things, should be above politics. After all, the whole idea of the scientific method is to divorce our efforts to understand the physical world from the misdirecting influences of political power and groupthink. In science, there is only one relevant question: Does the best available evidence support or refute the hypothesis at hand? How could politics possibly get mixed up in that?

    The simple answer is, this is human affairs. And in human affairs, when money and power are at stake (and sometimes, even when they are not), people are going to form themselves into teams and tribes to fight it out. Evidence? What’s that?

    You probably have seen polls showing very large gaps in opinions on the subject of “climate change” between Republicans and Democrats. For example, this Gallup poll from March found that 66% of Democrats “worry a great deal about climate change,” while only 18% of Republicans do so. That’s rather a huge divide, although not quite complete polarization.

    However, as things are now playing out in our Congress and in the courts, the polarization on the issue of climate change is nearing one hundred percent. Democrats are in complete unanimity in declaring climate change to be a crisis and demanding massive government-directed “solutions,” while Republicans have fewer and fewer non-skeptics in their ranks. I’m old enough to remember that the Republican presidential candidates in both 2008 (McCain) and 2012 (Romney) had drunk the climate Kool Aid. (I actually went to a fund-raiser for Romney in 2012, only to hear him deliver a talk that was largely about how he was going to solve the climate crisis by some kind of new coercive regime.) Those days are over. Can anybody name a member of the younger generation of Republicans in Congress who is not a skeptic?

    [ I am a skeptic ]

    • Stephen says

      seneca I don’t know of any skeptics in Congress whatsoever. A skeptic is a person who follows the evidence wherever it leads you and is willing to change their mind in the face of new evidence. I doubt the members of Congress have any opinion other than the one provided to them by their financiers.

      However in this case the evidence for human caused climate change is overwhelming. And the beauty of science is that you won’t have to take anyone’s word for it. There are a few scientists who do deny climate change is caused by humans but they all seem to work for the oil companies. Must be one of those coincidences.

      Look at the evidence. You’re not a skeptic until you look at the evidence. Until then you’re just a denialist.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      Philip K Dick, that caustic genius, said that reality was what didn’t go away when you stop believing in it. I think anthropogenic climate change is real, but it isn’t something we’ve done since we left the “Moral equivalent of war” TRVE PATH to vote for Reagan and the endless White Person Country Club cocktail party. It was inevitable as soon as the internal combustion engine created a market for all the leftover gasoline that resulted from the refinement of paraffin and kerosene from crude oil, and the mass electrification after WWI.

      On top of that, I distrust Climate Change policies as another attempt by the fussy ascetic New England Neo-Puritan Unitarian/Transcendentalist elite to tell the Blodgetts how to live. I hate those bastards. If anybody wields that kind of dictatorial power I’d prefer it to be the Tidewater cavaliers.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Philip K Dick, that caustic genius, said that reality was what didn’t go away when you stop believing in it.

        Great line.

        I’ve also heard the variant “Reality is what’s still there after your broadband crashes.”

      • “It was inevitable as soon as the internal combustion engine created a market for all the leftover gasoline that resulted from the refinement of paraffin and kerosene from crude oil, and the mass electrification after WWI.”

        And once one great power jumped on the fossil fuel bandwagon, everybody else had to just for economic and military survival.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And like Nuclear Winter and Star Wars (Reagan’s, not Lucas’s) in their day, it’s a 100% clean breakdown depending on whether the authority has (D) or (R) behind his name.

        If that doesn’t sound like two One True Ways setting up for Holy War, you tell me what does.
        “DEUS VULT!”

    • Radagast says

      I want to know who is going to address the climate change of the 13th and 14th century that allowed those pesky Germanic fiefdoms to finally have dry enough soil for farming…. and what about the great cooling of Europe in the early 18th century that caused Dickens to write about Tiny Tim, Scrooge and all that troublesome snow?

      If we are to have any effect on climate change then everyone, including China, India and Brazil must be held to the same standard. Otherwise its just another tax with no real effect.

      • senecagriggs says

        Well put Radagast – I still say, “not one thin time.”

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        China is aggressively developing solar power and electric vehicles to cut down on Emissions.

        As to the event surrounding the mini-ice age: What you skeptics refuse to understand is that there is a clear correlation between increased CO2 and methane emissions due to the Industrial Revolution, and ACCELERATED warming trends. We have been in a warming trend for quite a while, but the acceleration introduces instability. Another degree or so and we may release enormous amounts of methane currently being held on the Arctic permafrost, and further accelerate the climate change. The temperature changes seem to be most marked on the high latitudes – meaning sudden melting of ice sheets, changing ocean currents, and thus massive changes in local climates. However, how this will actually go down is not predictable, since weather and climate are Dynamic Processes.

        But the correlation is clear. Anyone denying it has their head in the sand and their arse in the air.

        • Robert F says

          People don’t want to hear, Klasie. They just don’t want to. Cheap energy is an like an opioid.

        • I’m with Klasie. Acceleration, instability and the higher latitudes thawing.

        • Radagast says


          As I respect many on this board, I didn’t say there isn’t climate change. What I am saying is if the solution is not applied equally to all then it just becomes a money game. I will say though that I do not believe in all of the alarmist Al Gore like predictions but other things mentioned on this board are plausible.

          And I understand that China, like the US, is developing green energy, but there are fellow engineers I know sent over to the mainland that have to wear masks because of air quality – so how serious (or maybe behind in their implementation) are they?

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            They are serious precisely because of that pollution. But turning a massive ship around doesn’t happen overnight, you understand?

            Of course some predictions are alarmist – but saying that nuclear war could break out tomorrow doesn’t mean It will or won’t happen. Outlier predictions define what the limits of the possible outcomes are.

            Furthermore, I believe I should pick up my garbage even if it takes time and money, irrespective of whether my neighbour does it. I will encourage him to do it, of course. But I respect the environment and myself too much to say that because others won’t leave the cesspool, I am critical.of those that say I should leave it.

      • The medieval warming period has been and will continue to be studied. Climate scientists have not avoided it If I recall correctly whereas the Northern Hemisphere experienced the warming, data on what happened in the Southern Hemisphere is more sparse. I look forward to learning more about that period and what it may mean for us. Nonetheless, if you look at the graphs, our warming in just the last few decades has exceeded what happened then over a period of several hundred years. It is not only the magnitude of temperature change that is deleterious to us, it is the rate of change. Things are changing so rapidly that plants and animals will not have enough time to adapt.

  14. “Having dealt with the Episcopalian heresy…”

    Full quote – “I give you today’s Episcopal Church. Neither Episcopal nor a church.”

    That’s what you call “dealt with”?

    • Robert F says

      It makes him feel good about himself and his church to attack others he has spent little to no time in, and couldn’t be less interested in except as targets. Leave him alone. Baseless slamming of mainline churches is an existential exigency for him; it constitutes his righteousness, which is established by insisting on the unrighteousness of others.

  15. Rick Ro. says

    Open mic…

    Shameless self-promotion…

    My two-book sci-fi series might have found a publisher! Hoping to have both books published by end of summer!!

    Also, I’ll likely have a story published in an anthology called “UbiquiCity 2”. If interested in a “real” future circa 2100, read “UbiquiCity.” This is the world I’ll be writing my story in.

    (Note: profanity alert, if that kinda stuff bothers ya.)

  16. David H says

    Still in recovery from Avengers: Infinity Wars.

  17. StuartB says

    Love is bigger than anything in it’s way.

  18. Steve Newell says

    Ok, I’ll bit. Why do “evangelicals” continue to support Trump? They are all over Bill Clinton but they give Trump a pass. It’s all about political power? When I hear them comparing Trump to a biblical character, they select either David or Xerxes; I equal Trump with Herod Antipas and many of “evangelicals” as the Pharisees and scribes of the Gospel (political power for the religious leaders).

    I didn’t vote for either Trump or Clinton since I view both a morally bankrupt.

    • Steve Newell says

      Should be “I equate Trump with Herod Antipas”

    • There are several choices – all very unflattering…

      1) they are so afraid of being a “minority” and losing cultural and political power that they will embrace *snyone* who says they will take up their cause

      2) they actually agree with the things Trump says and does – they actually don’t care about immigrants, women’s dignity, controlling corporate greed, ad nauseam.

      Neither speaks well for their overall grasp of the Gospel and it’s implications.

  19. Steve Newell says

    Should be “I equate Trump with Herod Antipas”

  20. Clay Crouch says

    Someone needs to alert Burro (Mule) that a Russian has hacked his Internet Monk account and is posting fake comments.

  21. Christiane says

    Hello out there in Australia . . . . this is a shout-out to SUSAN DUMBRELL

    am worried for you, it’s been a while since you commented . . . . hope all is going as well as can be expected

    Let us hear from you, Susan. You are missed.