March 21, 2019

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 16, 2019

Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind. Peter Bruegel the Elder

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 16, 2019
Rant and Rave and Vent and Grumble Edition

You may want to avoid this Brunch. I invite you to do so if ranting and raving and venting and grumbling (especially about politics and religion) bothers you. I myself hesitate to participate in this, because I know it is probably only going to add to the noise bombarding our lives in this hysterical culture we have created in the 21st century. Nevertheless, there are times, in my humble opinion, when such grousing is warranted.

Especially when it comes to the abuse of power. My own reading of the Gospels leads me to conclude that this was the thing that most often set Jesus himself off (try on Matthew 23 for size). Oh sure, he got exasperated with how slow and inattentive the disciples were sometimes, but what really ticked him off were people in positions of authority sticking it to the little people, especially when they rationalized their self-righteous cruelty by appealing to religion or the Bible. He didn’t take too kindly to the secular variants of this either, calling Herod a fox and pretty much dismissing Pilate as a clueless dullard.

Well folks, I’ve reached my Matthew 23 moment and I’m going to be blunt and honest in expressing my less than charitable feelings about some of the folks who are running things around this joint.

You have been warned.

Of course, we must start with…

OUR NATIONAL DISASTER — PRESIDENT TRUMP

“I DID NOT HAVE TO DO THIS.”

One thing that is abundantly clear from reading the full text of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border — he’s barely even deigning to explain why there is a particular crisis today, or why that crisis is so grave that it requires the military to combat it. At its heart it’s a contemptuous document. It’s the proclamation of a monarch, not an argument by a president.

• David French, National Review

This is a sign of the end of the American Revolution. We, the people, who declared our independence from the rule of kings, have a president who thinks he is king, that he alone understands the problems of our nation, and that no one else should be able to stop him from doing what he wants. By his own words (“I did not need to do this”) he has contradicted any idea that we are facing a “national emergency.” The only emergency to him is that he might lose face and fail to get what he wants.

And if you think, “Oh Chaplain Mike, you’re just another one of those liberals who doesn’t like President Trump and wants only to see him out of office,” just stop. Stop! The president just trampled upon the most conservative of values in this country — the rule of law, limited government, and the separation of powers to guard against tyranny.

Lest you think I am just picking on the current POTUS, I am not. Recent presidential administrations have been cracking this door open bit by bit, spurred on by the hyper-partisan climate and government gridlock. But Trump has done more than that. He’s blown the door off its hinges. This is the most transparent of power grabs. The president of the U.S. has declared this “emergency” (which he admitted he didn’t really need to do) so he can literally steal taxpayer money that has already been stipulated by Congress for other purposes and use it for his own agenda.

Worst of all, the president’s party, you know, the one that supposedly represents conservative values, is probably going to simply shut up, bow their heads, and get in line. I suggest a new symbol for the GOP — the jellyfish. That’s how much backbone they have, letting this king wannabe completely take over their party.

Two years into his administration, Trump has recognized that the institutional power of the Republican Party has all the effectiveness of the Maginot Line. He can ignore its leaders, scorn them, or just smash through them with no lasting political damage.

Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border is a high point, or low point, of a familiar pattern that is right out of Groundhog Day—or the Netflix series Russian Doll. Again and again, Trump embraces a policy, or reveals a character trait, that hits at the heart of what the Republican Party claims to stands for. In response, there is unhappiness, even anger, but never action. If you think the Republicans in Congress are going to stand up to Trump’s fake national emergency in order to defend the party’s long-held principles, or to assert the constitutional authority of the legislative branch, you haven’t been paying attention for the past three years.

• Jeff Greenfield, Politico

Our national emergency, our national crisis, our national shame is a president who has gone off the rails and a Republican party that’s too intimidated, too lacking in principle and courage to do anything but go along for the ride.

This is a direct assault by this president on the Congress’s Article I powers. Usually, presidents use these powers to do things like levy sanctions on countries that are slaughtering their own people. What this president is trying to do is to redirect money already appropriated for a project that Congress already has declined to fund—the last time only a couple of days ago. That is purely a dictatorial action. It is an abuse of power. It cannot be allowed to stand.

• Charles Pierce, Esquire

• • •

THE BAPTIST APOCALYPSE

And now to the world of religion, to churches that have long boasted in their independence, their preaching of the gospel, their strong insistence upon morality and sexual ethics.

Turns out the foxes have been guarding the hen house.

Doug Myers was suspected of preying on children at a church in Alabama — but he went on to work at Southern Baptist churches in Florida before police arrested him.

Timothy Reddin was convicted of possessing child pornography, yet he was still able to serve as pastor of a Baptist church in Arkansas.

Charles Adcock faced 29 counts of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Alabama. Then he volunteered as a worship pastor at a Baptist church in Texas.

The sordid backgrounds of these Southern Baptist ministers didn’t stop them from finding new jobs at churches and working in positions of trust.

Houston Chronicle

In the past 20 years, a disturbing number of Southern Baptists in church leadership roles have engaged in sexual misconduct, according a recent investigation detailed in the Houston Chronicle. Many of these leaders were able to procure jobs in other churches after their sexual misbehavior in a congregation. Some were even registered sex offenders. Some, in fact, are still working.

This investigation has uncovered, for the first time in SBC history, the scope and depth of the problem of sexual abuse in local SBC congregations.

In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state.

They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.

About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.

Nearly 100 are still held in prisons stretching from Sacramento County, Calif., to Hillsborough County, Fla., state and federal records show. Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.

Journalists in the two newsrooms spent more than six months reviewing thousands of pages of court, prison and police records and conducting hundreds of interviews. They built a database of former leaders in Southern Baptist churches who have been convicted of sex crimes.

The investigation reveals that:

• At least 35 church pastors, employees and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were still able to find jobs at churches during the past two decades. In some cases, church leaders apparently failed to alert law enforcement about complaints or to warn other congregations about allegations of misconduct.

• Several past presidents and prominent leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are among those criticized by victims for concealing or mishandling abuse complaints within their own churches or seminaries.

• Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.

• Many of the victims were adolescents who were molested, sent explicit photos or texts, exposed to pornography, photographed nude, or repeatedly raped by youth pastors. Some victims as young as 3 were molested or raped inside pastors’ studies and Sunday school classrooms. A few were adults — women and men who sought pastoral guidance and instead say they were seduced or sexually assaulted.

Houston Chronicle

I will let Jesus himself do the ranting, raving, venting, and grumbling about this issue.

If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

• Matthew 18:6-7

Comments

  1. Comes a time.

  2. The Southern Baptist Convention problem won’t end from within, not just because of apathy or incompetence in the national leadership, but because there is not enough authority in the national institution to enforce reform at the local congregational level. Heck, the SBC is hardly a denomination at all; like other Protestant congregation-centered “denominations” and independent churches, the real power is in the local leadership, which can ignore the decisions and disciplines of the national leadership with impunity. The SBC has no enforcer. The only way the problem will be seriously and effectively addressed is through exposure by investigative journalists, and prosecution by legal authorities.This is just the tip of the iceberg, not just for the SBC, but for other similarly organized Protestant denoms and independents. Two Texas newspapers investigated the history of criminal prosecutions, and convictions, of SBC clergy and lay leaders in the last twenty year, and naturally most of the cases they reported about took place in TX, but you can be sure that this problem in not limited to that state. The hounds of investigative journalism have been let loose, and they are not about to give up the scent; nor should they.

    • SBC governance isn’t quite that simple. It is congregational and autonomous to a fault, however…

      Most people do not know that the SBC has regional overseers that function, according to one I’ve known, like a bishop without power. They called a “Director of Missions,” and every SBC congregation belongs the the denomination at three levels: The national convention, which is divided up into the state conventions, which are divided up into local associations overseen by these DoM’s.

      The DoM facilitates congregational cooperation for outreach projects and social aid, assists in conflict resolution, and most importantly, with pastoral placement/search processes. (When things went bad in my first congregation, the DoM connected me with an opportunity back in California.)

      The DoM’s could “require” congregations to complete background checks which ensure their candidates under consideration are not registered sex offenders. Of course, the congregation is still free to completely disregard this suggestion, but is not likely to when the DoM is insistent. It’s not like these churches want sex offenders in their pulpit.

      Congregations can also be kicked out of the SBC. Baptizing infants is one way to make that happen pretty fast. The voters assembly in the national convention could, if they wanted to, make it a denominational policy that sex offenders are not allowed in SBC pulpits. A local congregation would still be free to do it anyways, but they would do so at the cost of their denominational membership.

      • A local congregation would still be free to do it anyways, but they would do so at the cost of their denominational membership.

        God knows, there are myriad independent Baptist and non-Baptist churches, completely autonomous and accountable to no earthly institution, for wayward clergy (my deceased father-in-law was one of them) to escape to; some of them are even called megachurches.

        • Yes, but when this happens, the SBC has effectively addressed the issue by removing them from their oversight responsibility. Independent non-denominationalism is what it is – it can’t be helped because it prides itself on answering to nobody.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The Southern Baptist Convention problem won’t end from within, not just because of apathy or incompetence in the national leadership, but because there is not enough authority in the national institution to enforce reform at the local congregational level.

      In the matter of “local autonomy”, SBC is no different from Calvary Chapel. Totally Independent Congregations when that is to their advantage, one Monolith of a Hive Mind when that is to their advantage.

      Disperse for Defense, Concentrate to Attack.

  3. Just wait for the next Democratic president to declare a national environmental emergency, commandeer funds for that purpose, and make a liberal end-run around the Congressional process. Trump has set the precedent, and we’d be crazy to think it won’t be followed by others in the future.

    • Christiane says:

      I don’t know. I think Trump’s little speech about ‘it wasn’t necessary’ wipes out any chance of his ’emergency’ being taken seriously.

      And the minute he goes to lay hands on funds for military families and military hospitals, then watch out because there will be a response from all over this country. The whiney spoiled Trump is sinking in his own crazy, and his latest mouthings tell us he is not even trying to cover up his nonsense. . . . .

      That ‘wall’ garbage will never happen. It’s a vanity project of a spoiled rich boy: the Great Trump Wall . . .

      The whole thing is a Trumpster fire. What a mess.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        And the minute he goes to lay hands on funds for military families and military hospitals, then watch out because there will be a response from all over this country. The whiney spoiled Trump is sinking in his own crazy, and his latest mouthings tell us he is not even trying to cover up his nonsense. . . . .

        Second Amendment Solution.
        All he has to do is get on Twitter, Tweet the right Verse of New SCRIPTURE, and the streets fill with MAGA hats and AR-15s.

        • Christiane says:

          didn’t he once talk about a ‘second Amendment Solution’ if he didn’t win the election?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I think it was more like Against Hillary.

            But you know how Clinton Derangement Syndrome is the conjoined twin of the opposite polarity of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    • Pelosi herself warned him. McConnell warned him. But when you have a man-child who is obsessed with “winning” at all costs…

      • McConnell also declared support for the man-child’s “emergency” action…

        • He couldn’t do anything else, except oppose it and commit political suicide when Trump’s base turned on him. The Republicans are impotent, since not a single Congressperson is as popular as Trump is with the his base, the rightly-placed base he needs for an electoral college win, even though he is wildly unpopular in the rest of the nation.

          • Make that, the Republicans in the Senate are impotent against him, and the Senate represents that part of the nation and our electoral system that Trump has and needs to keep power and be reelected. But to say they are impotent against him is to misrepresent the reality: he is their id, but one that has unmasked their former imposture as ego/superego, revealing that what he wants is really what they wanted all along. It’s like he has woken them up from a deep sleep to see what they really are, and, much as they dislike his tone and manners, they can’t find good reasons to oppose him, because they secretly want the same things.

        • Yeah, *after* the fact, when standing against him meant that he would get “primaried” by Trump’s supporters if he didn’t.

          McConnell is, when the chips are down, NOT an institutionalist. All he cares about, to borrow a phrase from Blazing Saddles, is his phoney-baloney job.

          • thatotherjean says:

            Very much this. Unfortunately, McConnell seems determined to back Trump in whatever follies he dreams up, in order to please his base and keep his job. A lot of his constituents are Trump followers. His oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” doesn’t seem anything like as important to him as keeping his job, and too many Republican Congresspeople (I’m looking at you, Lindsey Graham!) are in line right behind him. This is how dictatorships are born.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              While all the Christians chorus “AAAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNN! WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM””

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Pelosi herself warned him. McConnell warned him. But when you have a man-child who is obsessed with “winning” at all costs…

        And IS the Second Coming of Christ to four out of five Born-Agains…

  4. however often
    under the stars
    always new

  5. I myself hesitate to participate in this, because I know it is probably only going to add to the noise bombarding our lives in this hysterical culture we have created in the 21st century.

    Perhaps we, the American people, need to be bombarded by this noise. What is the good of repeating, “‘Peace, peace’, when there is no peace”?

    • ++1^10

      The US – and the world – is in crisis. The UK is on the verge of tearing itself apart. Our enemies are disrupting our institutions and those of our allies. We’re screwing up the environment in an ever accelerating rate. We’re up to our necks in debt. Most families live paycheck to paycheck. And the Church is AWOL, wracked by scandal, or cheering the disasters on.

      I may no longer be a pre-millenial, but I’m definitely being converted back to apocalypticism.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > And the Church is AWOL

        This. I had grown skeptical before. At this point it is undeniably clear that the American Church is split between being a collection of thugs and a collection of maximally useless hand-wringers who cower in the corner whimpering something about prophetic/apostolic authority.

        • Andrew Zook says:

          What I see in my church is maximum distraction… everybody is looking to charismatic pizazz and focusing hard on their belly-buttons (my personal relationship with Jesus!) to give one fig or thought to doing anything constructive in this society/culture… the whole lot of them are useless and quite a few are blind, gleeful participants/supporters of the undoing and wrecking.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Welcome to the fruits of American Evangelical Christianity.

            everybody is looking to charismatic pizazz…

            Welcome to the fruits of Signs and Wonders as Spiritual One-Upmanshop.

            …and focusing hard on their belly-buttons (my personal relationship with Jesus!)

            Welcome to the fruits of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation.

            …quite a few are blind, gleeful participants/supporters of the undoing and wrecking.

            Welcome to the fruits of Culture War Without End, Amen, plus the delicious smell of Glorious VICTORY.

            Remember the original IMonk’s “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”?
            Well, this is it.
            And those in the middle of the collapse see it as Victory and Vindication.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          At this point it is undeniably clear that the American Church is split between being a collection of thugs and a collection of maximally useless hand-wringers who cower in the corner whimpering something about prophetic/apostolic authority.

          At which point, the best course is to put on the armband, take up the tiki torch, and go with the thugs.
          Because thugs WIN every time over whimpering hand-wringers.

      • Da.

    • Christiane says:

      I was SCREAMING when the babies were put in cages, but I was called down, lectured, and asked to ‘stay on topic’, but the thing was that my screams were primal and from the heart and no ‘common sense’ warnings to me could silence them . . .

      maybe when what is happening hits many of us in the heart, the silence will end . . . . ???

      And it IS happening . . . . the babies in the cages are symptomatic of something more to come
      unless We, the People ‘have hold of the real horror’
      (to paraphrase Flannery O’Connor

  6. Number of times the National Emergency Act of 1975 (passed by a Democrat House and Senate and signed by that notorious right-winger, Gerald Ford) has been used by a President – 58

    Number of National Emergencies STILL IN EFFECT – 31

    Number of emergencies declared by president:
    Jimmy Carter – 2
    Ronald Reagan – 6
    George H.W. Bush – 5
    Bill Clinton – 17
    George W. Bush – 13
    Barack Obama – 12
    Donald Trump – 3

    Number of times the Republic has collapsed since 1975 – ZERO.

    This is political theater, pure and simple. Don’t worry your little liberal heads, though. The courts probably won’t let this last one happen.

    But then again, when Andrew Jackson was removing various Indian tribes off their lands, the Supreme Court struck that down. Jackson replied:

    “The Supreme Court has made its decision, now let them enforce it”.

    Trump does have an small military force at his disposal, the courts, not so much.

    I’m making lots of popcorn for this one.

    • Uh, they were actually national emergencies, not end-runs around the political process to acquire funding.

      Worry your little conservative head, though. The next Democratic president probably will invoke a national healthcare emergency to socialize our medical system.

      Popcorn hulls get stuck in my throat.

      • REALLY!! 58 National Emergencies. Look them up and tell me how every one were emergencies. You have Google.

        I do worry about socialization of healthcare. The courts tend to side with Democrats.

        Oh, I forgot. There is a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. It will be 6-3 when Ginsburg dies. Some have reported she is dead already. They might be right since she wasn’t at the State of the Union Address, but she slept through the previous one anyway.

        Get a grip, people! Let’s see how this plays out.

    • Patriciamc says:

      If it takes so long to declare an emergency, then there is no emergency. Since the majority of illegals are people who have over-stayed their visas, I’d like for Trump to explain how his wall will help to solve that problem.

      I left the Rep. party when the people failed the country and nominated someone who was clearly incompetent and controlled by a foreign power – and it was so obvious. The Dems have a golden opportunity if they nominate a moderate. The current candidates who have declared so far are too left to tempt the independents like me. As I read today, they need to look at the Republican party and see what happens when you nominate an incoherent nincompoop.

      • The Democrats are going to end up cutting their own throats, by ending up with an unelectable nominee; I fully expect Our National Disaster — President Trump — to be reelected, barring impeachment and removal, which ain’t gonna happen because the Grand Old Jellyfish wouldn’t allow it even if there were proof positive of high crimes and misdemeanors. The nincompoop is cagey — he knows he can walk all over Congress by walking all over the GOJ.

        • Christiane says:

          Good Morning Robert,

          I fully expect Joe Biden to be elected President in 2020 by a LANDSLIDE, especially if the Mueller report is
          released prior to the election.

          NO MORE RUSSIANS !
          enough already of this ‘I believe Putin’ mess

          • …Biden? He was running for President when *I* was a kid.

            The Democrats need fresh blood, desperately.

            • Christiane says:

              nope, he wasn’t running last time against the Trump

              Biden’s son, Bo, had just died of a brain tumor, and Biden chose to take care of his family after his son’s death

              I think Biden has the gravitas that the younger crowd may lack, and that is something sorely needed now that our country has lost the respect of the world

              I think he might be able to salvage something of what we were, if he is elected, because he is without doubt a patriotic American

              The younger crowd are brilliant, but he is ‘more than’ given his recognition in the world

              • Biden’s not radical enough for the younger faction in the Democratic Party and the nation; they will splinter off into various third party candidates, or choose to sit the election out as they did the last election, with the same results: Trump wins in the places he needs for an Electoral College victory. And if the Democratic Party goes with a more radical nominee, the splintering off will happen in the opposite direction, again with the same resulting Trump victory.

                • Patriciamc says:

                  Strange world where Biden’s a preferred candidate, but here we are. He could tempt the Reps who dislike Trump, the moderate independents like me, and the majority of the Democratic party. He might just pull it off.

                  • But he has to pull it off in the states that were and went Red last election. He needs those electoral college votes. That’s the trick. I would prefer Biden over the other more radical Democrats, because I think his chances are better. But it’s a crap shoot, and Trump is playing with crooked dice.

                • Christiane says:

                  don’t sell Biden short. . . he’s got Trump’s number and he’s not afraid to call the bully out

                  “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Q6kF6gBaM

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  Biden’s not radical enough for the younger faction in the Democratic Party and the nation; they will splinter off into various third party candidates, or choose to sit the election out as they did the last election

                  Splintering into a hundred One True Ways and going for each others throats for Insufficiently Pure Ideology while their opponent’s machine rolls on.

                  Sitting it out so as not to contaminate their Righteousness with any impurity by association.

                  I saw the White Evangelical vote do the exact same thing in the 2008 primaries.

                • Christiane says:

                  something not much known about Biden is how he cared for his boys after his wife and daughter’s death . . . that faithful man’s journey’s to their sides tells more about his character than all his speeches can reveal

                  https://images.findagrave.com/photos250/photos/2013/28/103395259_135948615898.jpg

                  • Christiane says:

                    “The next November saw Biden’s election to the senate, unseating a Republican incumbent.

                    Life was good for the 29-year-old Biden.

                    But before he could settle in Washington, tragedy struck in Delaware. The horrific car crash before Christmas 1972 nearly killed Biden’s entire family.

                    Biden, suddenly a single parent, devoted himself to the two boys. He took the Senate oath of office at their hospital bedsides in 1973 – at a time when Barack Obama was only a few years older than Biden’s sons. His dead wife’s father held the Bible he was sworn in on.

                    As the two boys grew up, doting dad Biden became known for taking the train home nightly from Washington to Delaware.”

                  • Christiane says:

                    ” To be at home every day for his young sons,[60] Biden began the practice of commuting every day by Amtrak train for 1 and 1 half hours each way from his home in the Wilmington suburbs to Washington, D.C., which he continued to do throughout his Senate career.[19] In the aftermath of the accident, he had trouble focusing on work, and appeared to just go through the motions of being a senator. In his memoirs, Biden notes that staffers were taking bets on how long he would last.[28][61] A single father for five years, he left standing orders that he be interrupted in the Senate at any time if his sons called.”

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          You are correct Robert. Trump’s reelection in 2020 is nearly a sure thing. Eight years of this administration and their won’t be much of a Republic left; perhaps the only consolation is that there has historically been far less Republic in the United States than many believe. 🙁

          • THAT has been the hardest thing to process for me. I was taught in school that America stood for freedom for all, opportunity for all, respect for law, and a government designed to forestall tyranny. Every single one of those things has been revealed to have been an illusion (at least if you’re not a white Male quasi-Christian). America is still my country, but we have forfeited all rights to claim we are better than other countries – LET ALONE the delusion that we are “God’s Country”.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              What, that separation-of-powers checks-n-balanaces narrative? Yeah. Serves effectively to freeze the republic, such as it is, in place; rendering substantive reforms and corrections nearly impossible. Preventing the people from getting out of hand against those who rule them. Just enough democracy to say “look, see; Republic!”.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Why limit it to eight years?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > The Democrats are going to end up cutting their own throats

          Nah, they don’t need to cut anything. It’s pretty simple math. There is not a realistic path to victory.

          • I suppose that’s true. No matter what nominee they choose, they are going to alienate part of the narrow constituency they would need to win against Trump in the right electoral states, who will sit it out or vote for different third parties. Trump, in the meantime, has his one-third base in all the right places to win the electoral college votes he needs. The only wild card is if his base starts to see through him, and let that vision sit in their minds, the way Ann Coulter has; but that’s highly unlikely, since they’ve internalized the narrative he has presented to them so deeply.

            • thatotherjean says:

              Yeah, let’s give up before we try. Democrats have a large number of excellent progressive, intelligent, enthusiastic candidates who are running/ thinking about running. We’re coming off midterm elections in which we did far better than we were expected to do, leaving us in control of the House of Representatives, and in a position to stymie Trump and his Republican boot lickers.

              We need every vote we can get, true enough, to take back the government in 2020; but we’re not going to do it if we don’t offer enthusiastic support to our candidates, work our tails off, and oppose Trump at every turn. Trump has two more years to screw up, which he certainly will. That’s two more years to call him out, oppose him, and make our case clear We may fight and lose, but we will surely lose if we fail to fight.

              • If we end up sounding like fanatics, which we sometimes do, we will also alienate votes. I for one don’t have much faith in the Democratic Party, just a little more than I do in Trump and the Repubs. I’m sorry that I, and many others, can’t share your zeal.

                • thatotherjean says:

                  You’d rather stay where we are? Zeal is nice, but it isn’t necessary. Participation is.

                  • I will do my part. But I have to be able to voice my criticism of “our side”, and I have to be able to express my sense of what we should realistically expect. But I will not oppose Trump at every turn without first considering how truth plays into the opposition stance, even though that means hearing him out. No political automaton here.

                    • thatotherjean says:

                      I have no problem at all with that. Brains were meant to be used. Criticize Democrats when they need it, listen to Trump when he merits it. Consider carefully how you want the country to be. Then go vote in 2020.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      And get swamped by all the One True Way True Believers.

    • “Number of emergencies declared by President: 58

      Number of times the Republic has collapsed since 1975 – ZERO.”

      That line of argument makes about as much sense as…

      Number of times a block has been pulled from the Jenga tower – 58, number of times the tower has fallen, ZERO.

      It only takes one block to cause it to fall. And sooner or later, somebody’s gonna pull it.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Weren’t we discussing the concept of nickpoint just a couple of days ago?

        Setting aside that the qualitative attributes of these States of Emergencies are non-equivalent the notion that doing the same thing will always induce the same results – in this case nearly nothing happening – is a known False. Doing the “same” thing at different times in different contexts can most certainly produce distinct sets of consequences.

        I’d only say that we need to remember that ROME NEVER FELL. It didn’t. The ROME FELL narrative is as non-nonsensical and ahistorical as the General Motors Anti-Streetcar Conspiracy. Neither happened, not even a vague approximation of either happened. But good golly do people, smart educated people, keep going back to these narratives.

        Rome did not fall, it eroded, it splintered, That process was facilitated by the belief among many Romans that the erosion was inevitable. Romans believed that, and spilled much ink about it, while Rome as at the apex of its power and economic capacity; why fight for something when its a lost cause? Oh, well, we’re only the most powerful nation in the hemisphere, clearly there nothing we can do. Shrug. I guess we’ll burn tomorrow, it’s been fun.

        Humans are very strange animals; smart, and kinda really stupid.

        The United States will not Fall. It is deciding to transform itself into a great pile of steaming suckage.

        FYI, Rome is still there. It is a city of 3 MILLION people, and the capital of a nation. A shocking amount of the infrastructure it built ~2,000 YEARS AGO is still in commercial use to this day; and that is not considering the civic and legal concepts it pioneered. I’d call Rome a winner, even in the l-o-n-g game. Those nattering Romans were comically wrong.

        • You’re leaving out the parts where Rome was nearly abandoned after the Western Empire disintegrated. Sometimes the process is slow… sometimes, its quick.

    • Clay Crouch says:

      Ken P, thank you. Your complacent smugness is reassuring.

    • “On the surface, this ‘Oh, other presidents do this, too’ line seems logical,” said Chris Edelson, an American University government professor and author of a 2013 book, “Emergency Presidential Power: From the Drafting of the Constitution to the War on Terror.” “But there is no example where a president asked for funding for something from Congress, Congress said, ‘No,’ and the president said, ‘I’ll use emergency powers to do it anyway…’“There is nothing approaching an ‘emergency’ in this situation, no matter how loose a definition you use,” she (Elizabeth Goiter) said. “And Congress has made it as clear as it can that it does not want the president to use funds for this purpose, so this is the president using emergency powers to thwart the will of Congress. That is very different from how emergency powers have been used in the past.”- Charlie Savage

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/15/us/politics/trump-presidency-national-emergency.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

    • Should have given President the funds to build the wall. After all, they were all for it when Obama was in office. If you don’t think we’re having an emergency at the border, you need to think again. https://www.breitbart.com/immigration/2018/11/13/gallup-five-million-central-americans-want-to-follow-the-caravans-to-us/

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “National Emergency (TM)”

      I grew up at the height of the Cold War.
      You know what “National Emergency” meant then?
      THERMONUCLEAR PEARL HARBOR. 1000+ MISSILES INCOMING — TTI 25 MINUTES, 24, 23, 22, 21…

  7. Pellicano Solitudinis says:

    Power and authority exist for the purpose of protecting those who need it. The Bible has more to say about abusing the powerless than almost any other subject.

    I may be an Australian, but the current developments in US politics frighten me.

    • Trump knows his maneuver will be legally challenged and take a decade to litigate. He doesn’t care if the damned wall is built; he just cares about making gestures to keep his base intact so he can be reelected and continue his national reality show. The odious former Trumpster and faux political pundit Ann Coulter had finally realized this; but most of her former brethren haven’t. Try not to worry too much; it’s “a tale told by an idiot….full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”; except of course, more misery for unfortunate asylum seeking families at the border.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > he just cares about making gestures to keep his base intact

        That is how a Republic works. On that point I do not fault him.

        The root problem is that his base are mean spirited foolish people. And at ~30-35% of America there are enough of them to run the show – as they are in the right place [thinly populated central states, which due to our undemocratic constitution control the nation].

        • Christiane says:

          Adam,
          ‘gerrymandering’ is not the same as the ‘electoral college’, no

          in gerrymandering, the politicians are choosing their voters in a ‘rigged’ system

          the electoral college is meant to maintain some kind of ‘fairness’ geographically, which IS a part of our system,
          but right now, you have a LOT of Trump supporters saying
          ‘we are not a democracy’ . . . . . well, they mean it . . . . . they’ve either supported openly or ‘looked away’ from all the voter intimidation, the voter harassment, the limiting of hours to vote, the placement of voting facilities out of a town with no public transportation to get poor voters out there, and in some cases, the failure to count votes . . . .

          so ‘democracy’ is under attack, and not just from the KGB and Putin-Trump, no . . . . a lot of ‘the base’ are engaged in doing everything possible to keep minorities from voting . . . . so cleaning up the mess will take some time, but it can be done

          2020 is coming, and my money is on Biden and when he speaks, he will call out Trump’s garbage for what it is. . . . I think Biden will be a RECOGNIZABLE voice for decency and for a return to our American democratic values . . . . . it’s been a while since we heard a strong American voice and I think Biden will offer some hope for those who know a patriot when they see him, and there are plenty of us

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > ‘gerrymandering’

            You can eliminate it entirely, whatever that would mean. It will not solve the problem. The problem is in The Constitution, which is a profoundly undemocratic document, written to enshrine the control of the nation in the hands of land barons.

            Ending gerrymandering does not change the math of The Electoral College or The Senate – where low populate economic net-negative states reign. There is one Senator per 250,000 people in the the state of Wyoming, vs. 1 Senator for every 5 MILLION people in the state of Michigan, and 1 Senator for every 20 MILLION people in California.

            Also if the the presidential election comes to a non-majoritarian tie – – – the House determines the next president, not by majority vote, but by ONE VOTE PER DELEGATION (of each state).

            All you need is some hair-brained third party candidate – – – and we will likely always have at least one – – – to shave off a few % out of the MINORITY of people who vote/participate – – – and you put the control of the nation into minority population economically net-negative regions of the country. All the moral and civic arguments won’t change the math.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              You DO know the reason for the Electoral College and its allocation, don’t you?

              1) It acts as a shock absorber. And tiebraker by exaggerating tiny leads into a clear winner (as has been seen since 2000, when all the Voter Base Algorithms got debugged and the popular vote has often been an effective tie). And if there’s some problem (like Florida in 2000), it limits the circus to just that state.
              2) The allocation of Electoral Votes by state is Number of Congressman + 2 (number of Senators). This gives small-population states a bit more clout than “One Man One Vote” by population, lessening the effect of large-population states going Winner Take All and steamrollering the smaller states.

              The state I live in reapportioned EVERYTHING — State Senate as well as Assembly — by population a few decades ago. Ever since, Whatever The Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles (and their Blue State Political Machines) want, The Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles get. At the expense of everyone outside The Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. Majority Rules, just like Bellweather’s takeover goal in “Dark Zootopia” — Majority (herbivore) Rule crushing the Minorities (Carnivores) by Majority Rule.. And why the county-by-county breakdown of 2016 went Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles as Blue islands in an otherwise Red state. Majority Rules, Sucks To Be You.

              And Majority Rules, Sucks To Be You ferments into “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE” which ferments into “STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM! which looks for something to Stick Them With. “HAIL TRUMP!”

        • The perfect descriptor; “…mean spirited foolish people.”

        • Be careful about generalizing, Finn. Surely some of them are “mean-spirited and foolish”. However, a fair number of people who voted for Trump did so not because they liked or identified with him or his ideas, but for other reasons. People are more complicated than generalizations.

          Reminder: I voted for neither major candidate. Trump has always been a boor. I did not vote for Clinton because of her hawkish stance and because she was blatantly in the pocket of Wall Street interests. When she made her “deplorables” remark, that completely finished any remaining interest I may have had in her – just like Romney’s announcement about the percentage of non-taxpaying citizens.

          I think Rod Dreher’s blog is very valuable; one reason I read it is to get some insight into how people with whom I may not identify politically actually think about stuff.

          Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Trump knows his maneuver will be legally challenged and take a decade to litigate.

        I remember something analogous on these threads two years ago:
        It takes less than five minutes with the Nuclear Football for the Commander-in-Chief to arm and launch our nuclear arsenal. How long would Impeachment proceedings take?

  8. Pellicano Solitudinis says:

    Jellyfish have form and texture. I propose an amoeba instead.

  9. SBC = Wild West religion. The new sheriff in town was a bank robber in the last town.

    • Patriciamc says:

      There’s been rot at the core of the SBC for quite a while. Complementarianism is just one symptom.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The first Sheriff of Los Angeles got shot by his deputies in a dispute over division of loot.

  10. Christiane says:

    ” The president just trampled upon the most conservative of values in this country — the rule of law, limited government, and the separation of powers to guard against tyranny”

    THIS

      • I repeat that link for the benefit of some here who apparently missed it above, and think that this is merely a “conservative vs liberal” issue…

        • No, no, no, it’s the Deep State and the RINO’s that oppose him, not the true conservatives — you just don’t get the narrative! Reason has no place here; conspiracy is reality.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Is the American division Conservative vs. Liberal? It has not been during my lifetime. I subscribe to and read these kinds of political journals. Mostly people talking past each other and missing the point.

          The division is Strong-Man-Top-Down vs.Vaguely-Communitarian-Grass-Roots. This has been the configuration of the “Right” and “Left”, GOP and Democrats, since at least Nixon.

          Vaguely-Communitarian-Grass-Roots is not much of a Vision, and that vision, such as it is, naturally makes the most sense to people who live in vital communities [urban places]. Our Constitution, as did our Founders, has a distaste/distrust for the kind of grubby people who live in cities – – – which let’s remember is the majority of Americans.

          Therefore Strong-Man-Top-Down wins.

    • I don’t think “rule of law, limited government, and separation of powers” is an accurate description anymore of what American conservatism stands for. These days it mostly stands for either 1. wanting to reduce taxes (whether or not spending is also reduced), 2. social conservatism (i.e. the “culture war”), 3. second-amendment folks, and 4. Trumpism (white supremacists, misogynists, etc.).

      The people who still represent what conservatism used to stand for are few and far between. (Arguably, the racism and some other aspects of modern conservatism were always there, but they were not often openly paraded around as the main agenda of the movement the way they are now.)

  11. senecagriggs says:

    Not to worry:

    Isaiah 46:8-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
    8 “Remember this and stand firm,
    recall it to mind, you transgressors,
    9 remember the former things of old;
    for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
    10 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
    saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
    11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
    the man of my counsel from a far country.
    I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
    I have purposed, and I will do it.

    “I declare the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”

    If you are committed to following after Jesus Christ in your heart – it’s all good.

    Fear not; Presidents come, presidents go;
    Nations rise, nations fall;
    But God rules and overrules from His throne on high.

    There is great comfort in that for the believers.

    • That does not, however, make the process of disintegration any less painful. See the book of Lamentations as Exhibit A.

      • senecagriggs is above it all, and he thinks we should all be the same. I call that delusional, on both counts.

        • senecagriggs says:

          Robert F, I live in the same world as you do. But I do remind myself when my fears rise; God has not moved, He’s still in control, He will inevitably accomplish his good purposes – though they are often opaque to me.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            I would like to see you repeat that when YOU’re the one behind the 8-ball.
            When you find yourself on the bottom instead of comfortably reciting “I Got Mine”.

            God-talk is cheap — just ask Job about his counselors.

      • senecagriggs says:

        Oh that is so true. God’s perfect will may mean my life becomes more painful.

    • Seneca, this is a good reminder, and I don’t want to downplay the importance and truthfulness of scriptures like this to bring perspective and comfort.

      But I also would remind us all that these kinds of texts stand side by side with angry, bitter laments and words of judgment upon unjust rulers and nations.

      Both are there. Both are appropriate.

      • senecagriggs says:

        CM, I am a thorn in your side – smile

        Don’t forget C.M., good and bad rulers BOTH serve God’s purposes.

        In the short term – a country is certainly better under George W. Bush than Nicolas Mudoro., Barack Obama than Idi Amin, Bill Clinton than Papa Doc Duvalier.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      There is great comfort in that for the believers.

      Same with “It’s All Gonna Burn.”
      Sit with hands folded and wait for The Rapture.

  12. john barry says:

    So many issues here to address on the emergency order issued by the wise President,

    1. To those who are calling Trump’s emergency order a crisis remember Congress can vote on a joint resolution to rescind and if needed can over ride a veto with 2/3 vote. This is in addition to all the court appeals and the final ruling by the Supremes if Diana Ross is back on duty, but you cannot hurry love.

    2. A crisis is when 30 million foreigners have crossed into your country illegally, made their language a part of the social network, changed the voting base of the country, strained the educational, social welfare safety net system and not held accountable, what would constitute a crisis. Oh, I know, Trump trying to do what he was elected to do .
    If all the illegals came at once maybe people would get upset, maybe

    3. There is no, I repeat no, Republican support for Trump on this issue or any other except the Koch Brother blessed tax cuts and the let the guys out of jail act. The establishment in D.C. got together and made this bill that is not in the best interest of the USA citizens but weakens our border security and makes illegal immigration more appealing and weakens law enforcement. This is the “establishment” showing their power and as a bonus can blame Trump.
    The establishment Republicans played Trump and perhaps he has now realized it or if he is just doing politics, his base will soon know.

    I will end here as there is more but I will save it for later in case someone responds. Just know the Democratic Party cares more and votes in the interest of those coming into the country illegally than the rights and preferences of the American citizens and the Republican establishment does the same for a different reason.

    The real Constitutional threat to this nation is the refusal of the Democratic Party to really support the winner of the 2016 election and the actions of the deep state,

    Do not worry the establishment will win, Trump is just a bump in the road. If AOC and Beto are the future of America well then good luck.

    • There is no Deep State, there are only vested interests exercising power on all sides, as has always been the case and as we already knew. Trump is not an exception to that rule.

      2/3 majority! What a joke!

      • Robert F. wrote:

        “There is no Deep State”

        I really don’t like the term “Deep State”. It’s a little too conspiratorial for me. There is certainly what I call “bureaucratic inertia”. These bureaucrats have been doing things their way for a long time and for their own benefit. They are not about to change that without a fight with the election of a new president that they don’t like.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Sixty years ago, “Deep State” would be “THE JEWS!”

          Semantics, My Dear Wormwood.

          • When they say “Deep State”, it includes the “THE JEWS” as the imagined puppet masters of the whole shebang. You know, the litany: the Jewish run liberal media, the Jewish run institutions of higher learning, the Jewish run international/globalist banks, the Jewish run entertainment industry/Hollywood,etc., all the age-old Antisemitic calumnies in new form. Semantics, as Screwtape said.

    • “2. A crisis is when 30 million foreigners have crossed into your country illegally, made their language a part of the social network, changed the voting base of the country, strained the educational, social welfare safety net system”

      Ok, I’ll stick my neck out here…

      So… Bloody… WHAT.

      I mean, where was it promised that white people were the sole rightful inhabitants of this land? Or that we had the right to hoard our prosperity and freedoms for ourselves? The Bible is quite clear that God gives blessings in order that they might be *shared*. And it’s also clear that our first loyalty and duty is to Christ and His Gospel, not our country. If refugees come to us, we welcome them. PERIOD.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        This. And “made their language a part of the social network”… Seriously? What privileges English other than historical happenstance? This is a straight forwardly racist statement.

        • There is nothing racist about privileging English when it is the language of this nation. It is the language of business and law. Wanting immigrants to assimilate and learn the language is not racist. We would have to do the same if we moved to a non-English speaking country.

          • In a country that was originally non-English speaking, & where Spanish & other languages may be closer to what the original inhabitants, & the bordering nations spoke? English, which is my beloved language, is also the language of the conqueror there.

            • This country was never originally non-English speaking. The people here before this country was founded were non-English speaking, but the United States of America has always been English speaking. It’s founders were English speaking, the founding documents are in English. This is an English speaking nation.

              • And so what? Languages change, peoples change. There’s nothing sacred about English – objectively speaking, it’s a real kluge of a language.

              • Klasie Kraalogies says:

                The US has no official language, let this Canadian remind you.

                The demonization of other languages is an inherent racist act. You betray yourself.

                • “English” itself is a polyglot language

                  a mixture of Latin, Greek, Anglo-Saxon, of Norse, of French . . . . all blended over time

                  the Latin, Greek and French shows up in terms used in government,
                  the Anglo-Saxon is well ‘Angle-ish’, after all,
                  the Norse: days of the week:
                  Tiu’s day, Odin’s day, Thor’s day, Freya’s day . . .

                  so much for our ‘pure’ English language and if you want to hear what it sounded like five hundred years ago, go out to a real Shakespeare play;

                  and if you want to hear what it sounded like a thousand years ago, then LISTEN:
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wl-OZ3breE

                  We are a nation of immigrants ourselves and our language will evolve accordingly, as English did througout the invasions of Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Norse, and French from Normandy in 1066 . . . .

                  come now, and welcome to the New World! You cannot hold time back, no.

              • Dutch was spoken as widely as English in NYC and the surrounding environs until the last half of the 19th century. Here in Lancaster County, “Pennsylvania Dutch” was more widely spoken than English. In New Orleans and its parishes, French Creole was widely spoken. In California, Spanish. The U.S. has always been polyglot, except in the imagination of its English speaking population.

        • thatotherjean says:

          Indeed. The US very nearly wound up with German as its common language.

      • Amen!

      • I agree with Eeyore here. We need these 30 million people here to mow our lawns!*

        *sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell.

        • Clay Crouch says:

          Maybe not, but we seem to need them (the are 5% of our workforce) to clean hotel rooms and office buildings, wash dishes and bus tables, pick the food we eat, build our homes, wash our cars, and do a myriad of jobs no other Americans are willing to do, including tending our lawns. Maybe you should consider that before you sarcastically dismiss 30,000,000 human beings trying to better their lives.

          • john barry says:

            Clay Crouch, if you are serious about your 10,03 am comments, then you are certainly correct on why the rich people and business people in this country want poor, uneducated and low skill workers. Of course a business would rather pay an illegal 8 dollars an hour with no benefits , it is a form of slave labor. However that is a corruption of the laws of supply and demand and undermining the laws of this country.

            5 years ago I and a few other members insisted our golf/country club only use businesses that would show though l 9 and employment rolls they only hired legal workers, green card, temp workers or any legal status. This eliminated many a lawn, golf course, cleaning etc . companies and cost our club over 75 thousand dollars more than the previous year. By a narrow majority the club members, not the golf club members voted for legal labor. My point is the members of this club can easily afford to pay what the law calls for employers to pay their workers. However right is right and trying to beat the system is no excuse at any level. Everyone in USA is paying for the cheap , illegal alien labor that mostly benefits business and rich people. That is why the Koch Brothers and big business join with the establishment Democrats and Republicans. They will never come close or live near an illegal alien except their nanny or yard man.

            So our point of view is we should allow illegal aliens into the country to exploit them and have them do the low skill, dirty jobs and not pay them well. Is that it?

            The majority of the golf club that the dues are 20 k a year agree with you and he establishment puppets of the rich. At least the country club members had a slight conscience but it can change anytime.

            How about sending ships to India, people will come over for ten dollars a day and work 12 hours a day forever. That is a good idea and they will be grateful to the rich people who help them. Why not?

            • Clay Crouch says:

              John Barry,

              I’m sure you would agree that there is nothing ignoble about the work or the people who do it. A lot of citizens in this country work for $8/hr with no benefits, and even millions more work for an average rate of $15/hr. So what’s your point? Maybe it is a form of slave labor. So can we count on you to support a national minimum wage law? Could you suggest a minimum hourly rate?

              You and your buddies punished the wrong folks. I’m sure you can stand the bump in dues. Maybe you and the guys can put on your collective thinking cap and come up with a solution for what we are going to do with the millions of illegal immigrants and their families, some of whom have been here for decades, that we are not going to round up a ship back to Central or South America.

              Your third paragraph. Please try again. Of course we need to enforce immigration laws. By the way, those laws also deal with those seeking asylum.

              Sending ships to India? What the hell is that about?

              You shouldn’t be surprised that your response makes it easy for some (not me) to think you just don’t like brown people.

              • John barry says:

                I am beginning to think many here throw the racist tag out so often it has lost its meaning. More talking points and deflection than serious debate. What is the number of illegal aliens should be allowed? Is Japan racist if they expect you to speak Japanese if u live there or Mexico to speak Spanish. Trump will win in 2020 even with the recent betrayal by the Rino s and establishment because of the illegal alien issue. Disagree with me and u must be racist.

                • Clay Crouch says:

                  Talk about deflection. Instead addressing the questions you bring up non sequiturs about Japan and speaking Japanese and Trump winning in 2020. You really are Trumpster!

        • Want to see your grocery bill double? Want to see restaurant service slow to a crawl when there’s no cheap kitchen and dishwasher staff? You benefit from undocumented workers a hell of a lot more than you think.

        • and to mow Trump’s golf courses 🙂

          • reply is to Ken:

            Ken P says:
            February 16, 2019 at 8:57 am
            I agree with Eeyore here. We need these 30 million people here to mow our lawns!*

      • thatotherjean says:

        +100

    • Clay Crouch says:

      john barry, you should get on your knees every single night and thank God for immigrants, even the illegal ones. Without them who would mow your lawn and tend to the greens-keeping at your country club? You can cry all you want, but you are staring down the business end of statistics. What comes around, goes around.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Use proper Christianese Code Words.
      Not “Deep State”, “SECULAR HUMANIST CONSPIRACY”.

    • More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

      http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/

      There is NOT a “crisis” at the border–except the policy crisis which the Tweetster has manufactured. The man-boy has no credibility.

  13. One major problem in Southern Baptist Churches is that often there is very little vetting of a person before hiring them. I don’t know if that contributed to any of the cases mentioned in the Houston article or not, but it certainly could have. Another problem is that even when search committees call references, people are don’t give the truth about the person being asked about. That is why it is possible for a person to be an abuser at one church, move to another town, and get hired at another. Churches need to be diligent about checking people out before hiring them or even letting them volunteer in positions involving children, and people also need to be honest when called for a reference.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      And apparently very little vetting AFTER hiring then.

    • The Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations now do exactly such vetting, and have been for a while. Couple decades, maybe. In addition to training based on state and federal laws, rather than vague in-house hopes and wishes.

    • senecagriggs says:

      Churches need to be diligent about checking people out before hiring them or even letting them volunteer in positions involving children, and people also need to be honest when called for a reference. – jon

      We, wisely, think they should be vigilant but they are autonomous – they do whatever they please.

      • Clay Crouch says:

        So says the fellow whose blog (Wartburg-whiners) is dedicated to dismissing those who are dedicated to calling sexual abusers in the church to account for their atrocities.

        • They don’t want to do anything about it, so this is their out: “they do whatever they please.” And then they criticize and inveigh against the immorality and selfishness of secularism.

    • In my limited experience in a stealth-SBC church…church leadership is autocratic, often nepotistic, and rarely vetted. The majority of SBC churches constitute fiefdoms.

  14. john barry says:

    So Eeyore, you do not believe in the nation state ? That borders that define a legally defined country means nothing? Should Israel be open to unlimited migration of Arabs into the nation state of Israel. Should Brazil citizens be able to migrate en mass to Peru? Should Russians be able to migrate at will into Estonia and all the Baltic States.?

    Why inject race into the discussion? Do you believe we are a theocracy and should govern based on Bible or the Koran or the Word as preached by the humble John Barry. So God does not recognize the nation state of Israel?

    Because this is America still you have the right to disagree with everyone unless you wear a MAGA hat or shirt then you are inciting violence and hate. It is still okay to disagree with infallible John Barry until the coup happens, so far I have few followers but in the meantime there is legally elected President Trump, who is so stupid he thinks it is his job to defend the borders of the country he leads. What an idiot. Thought I would close with something most of you would agree with.

    • I do believe in the nation-state – I happen to be employed by one. But I do not see that legacy as belonging to any one race, or dependent on any one language, and especially not having that legacy used to justify treating refugees like hardened criminals.

      And its “conservatives” who inject race into this. When POTUS said he’d like more immigrants from Scandinavia, I’m sure he wasn’t thinking America needs more pickled shark restaurants…

      Also, you didn’t go near the biblical component of my argument, I couldn’t fail to notice…

    • The greatest problem with the Tweetsters wet-dream of a wall is that it’s a static barrier which makes it the easiest to circumvent. Sections of barriers are most useful at/associated with/in conjunction with dynamic entry inspection points. The US and Mexico do a tremendous amount of trade, most of which passes through inspection points. The idea is to facilitate legitimate people and goods movement while minimizing the illicit–most of which occurs at regulated crossing points and not out in the middle of west Tejas. The dynamics of border security are fluid and require a layered, not static, response.

      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dan-crenshaw-border-wall-security_us_5c59cfcfe4b0871047580656

  15. senecagriggs says:

    Is anybody else following the Jussie Smollett story?

    • John barry says:

      It is just that a story

    • I was suspicious of it on first reading it. Everything was too neatly stereotypical, as if it had been written by a poor dramatist who applied verisimilitude with a heavy, telegraphing hand. I wasn’t surprised to read yesterday that it was indeed a play performed by progressive-minded actors, who are not progressive enough to let reality unfold without scripting.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Reality does not resolve so neatly” plus “Obvious Righteous Agenda shoved down throat”?

        For the past couple years, I’ve been binge-watching the “Weird Stuff” paranormal true story channels on YouTube, and developing discernment as to whether a given story is fact, fiction mistaken for fact, or hoax. One of the main ways is that the fictional or fictionalized ones have “too smooth a narrative”; everything just fits together too well. Reality is messy, with a lot of loose ends.

    • Patriciamc says:

      Apparently it’s unraveling.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      And what does Jussie Smollet (whoever he is) have to do with Donald Trump acting like the Executive Branch is his personal Trump Tower writ large?

      I call “Distraction”.

  16. Andrew Zook says:

    I hear you, but what are we/I to do? I don’t have the time or resources to take to the streets… My vote in my area does nothing and ranting on here, likewise does nothing. Thoughts and prayers? I guess; maybe; but they seem pretty useless too? Revenge on the white “christian” fools who brought this on us? Won’t work either, because that’s exactly what empower’s their vain imaginations of “persecution” and their stupidity already comes from that well…?
    Christ’s love? I’ll try, but it’s the longest, slowest, most painful and oft-without-immediate reward way….

  17. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    Yip. Things are crazy. But to be honest, the craziness in the UK seems to exceed that in the US. The US has a Mueller Inquiry – in the UK, the Met has not investigated election meddling and lots of other issues. Parliamentarians urging restraint are receiving threats on a regular level. Recently a Tory MP has suggested starving Ireland till they fall in the line. Potato Famine anyone?? Yesterday, my own blood boiled when Reese-Mogg, one of the most odious politicians you can imagine, and a fervent no-deal Brexiteer, defended the Concentration camps of the Boer War. Having had ancestors who suffered in those camps made this very personal.

    Of course, the Brexiteers are closely aligned with Trump and his cheerleaders.

    We do live in mad times. But, after all is said and done, it behooves us calm down, and commit to reason. Ranting and raving is a good outlet, but it is reasoned actions that will improve things. It is at times like this when the advice of the Stoics is most pertinent:

    “the best plan is to reject straightway the first incentives to anger, to resist its very beginnings, and to take care not to be betrayed into it: for if once it begins to carry us away, it is hard to get back again into a healthy condition, because reason goes for nothing when once passion has been admitted to the mind, and has by our own free will been given a certain authority, it will for the future do as much as it chooses, not only as much as you will allow it.”
    – Seneca, Essay on Anger

    And

    “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
    ? Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

    This doesn’t mean we look away from these turmoils. But while anger is to be expected, we cannot allow ourselves to remain so. An angry mind is not a source of good decisions. This is by no means easy. But it is the only way.

    • I love the wisdom of the pagans. Thank God for it. It has taken me a long time to learn that I can be truly Christian, and yet honor the wisdom and wise practices I learned when I was among the Zen Buddhists. But I have learned it. It’s a priceless lesson.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Hopefully this pagan counts among the wise 🙂

        • I don’t know if you rise to the level of Marcus Aurelius or Nagarjuna, but you’re way up there for sure! I certainly have to look up to see and understand you, and anybody who can get me looking up instead of down is a true doer of good deeds as well.

        • The ability to look your condition in the face with equanimity, as commended by pagan Stoics and Buddhists alike (the latter atheists), bespeaks an implicit faith that existence is such that equanimity is in accord with it. That is all the religion I need or want my traveling companions to have.

  18. senecagriggs says:

    John Barry, you have disagreed with the progressive narrative here at I-monk. Therefore you are a racist. All people who disagree with the progressive thought in the USA are by definition racists.

    Please stop being a racist. [ sarc ]

    • If the shoe fits, wear it. You don’t like being called racist? Stop defending racist policies. Simple.

      • #EverythingIsRacist #NPC

        • Ask a black person how much racism they see. Ask women how they are treated. Ask immigrants how safe they feel. Ask atheists how people get all in their face when they admit they are atheists.

          IOW, shut the hell up about how “persecuted” you are, and try *listening* to people who ARE prosecuted for a change.

  19. I disagree with those who say the congregationalist nature of SBC makes enforcement impossible. If a local church ordains a female pastor, ordains a same sex attracted pastor, or sanctions a same sex marriage, the SBC quickly finds a way to enforce. They enforce when they wish too. For pedophiles and sexual assaults, they choose not.

    • It’s still protect the institution, not the people. SBC has a corporate culture of falling upwards. They’re not the only ones. But their structure and authoritarian theology does a better job of hiding dirt under the rug. I find it interesting that this only got traction from an expose outside the church. It’s been a cancre for years; an open secret for years, but they must not read WW.

      Besides the victims, there’s always someone else to blame. How about Harvest Church this week? It’s the liberal, apostate Christianity Today that is at fault. So sad.

    • While I agree with you that the SBC should have started kicking out churches who fostered abusers long ago, that is all they can do, disfellowship with a church. It cannot actually remove a pastor or anyone else. That includes churches with female pastors or who bless same sex unions. They can remove them from the convention, but they cannot do anything else about it. The church is free to do as it wants.

      • And then those disfellowshipped churches become even more independent Baptist churches. My father-in-law, who was ordained as a pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, quickly got into trouble for his…..indiscretions. But it was easy for him to move from congregation to congregation in the CMA, until he got a divorce from my mother-in-law — for that they “fired” him from the CMA. But he never had trouble finding pastorates in independent Baptist churches, moving from one to the next as his indiscretions required, until he died.

        • You make a good point, Independent Baptist churches are shocking what they cover and allow.

          • What is a megachurch, but a bigger kind of Independent Baptist church, in terms of its autonomy and lack of accountability?

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Don’t forget a gigachurch — when megachurch is too small for Lead Pastor/Superapostle’s ego.

              • Too much religious autonomy and independence tends toward cultism. Whether we like it or not, we are part of the larger community of human beings; to cut ourselves off from not only that but our coreligionists as well is to set up an environment in which fanaticism, bad religion, and guru-like religious power manipulation grow like poisonous mushrooms.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  And there can be only One on the Iron Throne.

                  How did that one Wack Darwinist in my early gaming days put it?
                  “The More Evolved Species will always cause the Extinction of the Less Evolved Species”?

  20. Cyrus, no. King David, definitely no. Nero, see some common traits. Maybe Herod, too. Throw in some Jeff Davis there too. Hitler, nah, but Machiavelli definitely. At least from what I’ve seen. But for many others, he’s their Cromwell. One hero had Roundheads, this one has the skinheads. Yeah, I’m sticking with the Cromwell and hai iconoclasts analogy here.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Actually, there was an essay some two years ago that made a good case for King Saul.
      “GIVE US A KING!”

      But for many others, he’s their Cromwell.

      And to others, the REAL Second Coming of Christ.

  21. They do try, but they are thwarted by institutionalized corruption, bodily threats from members of drug cartels, and inability to buy land – a change in their constitution took away this right that had been there since the Mex. Revolution. I haven’t looked it up, but I’d bet money that it was not long after that constitutional change that significant numbers began to cross the border, more of them illegally as time went on. There is at least some semblance of political order in Mexico, but not so much in Guatemala and Honduras – the governments there can’t/won’t stop threats carried out against their own citizens.

    Most people don’t leave their homelands unless things are really bad there. They would like to better their lives where they are, but are unable to. If we want to limit immigration from Central America, we need to insist that those governments treat their people better; so far, our policies have not encouraged that.

    Again, it’s complicated. We should have borders and enforce them – and simplistic answers will not fix the problem.

    Dana

    • This was supposed to be in reply to someone upthread who wrote that people coming here from Mexico ought to try to improve their lives in Mexico.

      D.

  22. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    The GOP, from Friday’s morning drive-time radio:
    “WE LOVE TRUMP!
    WE LOVE TRUMP!
    TRUMP CAN DO NO WRONG!”

    And to 80% of Evangelicals:
    “HE IS LOOOOORD,
    HE IS LOOOOORD,
    HE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT AND HE IS LOOOOORD!”

  23. Trump has been running his 2020 campaign for some time now. He will never have another job with this many free servants, planes, helicopters, meals and guards. If he actually had the tens of billions he claims to and he actually cared deeply about our border security he could pony up two or three billion and campaign on his self sacrifice and deep connection to the country and its safety. I know no one spends their own money, just saying. My guess is he tops out at around $950,000,000. Not a billionaire at all. Think about his fifth grade logic, informed by braggadocio. If he had what he says he has and had it legitimately, the first thing he would do is have his tax return framed in gold and published on the front page of every paper, not only in the U.S., but internationally. Having all the freebies makes anyone feel like a billionaire and he’s doing everything he can to keep his gig. We are living in a truly historic period. The air we breathe will be in text books for generations.

    • But he has a genius for deflection on a cosmic scale, he knows how to manipulate the media with his always-go-nuclear overload of their ability to absorb and analyze what he says and does, and he knows how to play to the irrationality, fears and hopes of his base. He is a true idiot savant.

    • He deliberately acts the fool, so that others underestimate his caginess.

      • thatotherjean says:

        What Trump lacks in brains, he (partly) makes up for in cunning. He’s a terrible businessman–he only was made to look like one on “reality” TV–and my guess is that he owes the Russians every dime he has invested, plus a largish number. If he’s not an agent of the Russians, he’s certainly highly motivated to stay on their good side. It will be interesting to see what Robert Mueller has to say when his investigation is over.

        • He doesn’t lack brains. He is coarse, ignorant, arrogant, unread, scornful of intellectual things, vulgar, monomaniacal, undisciplined, crass, bestial, and we could add many more descriptors, but he is not stupid. It’s not just cunning; he improvises his way through one crisis after the next, using animal intelligence in combination with his uncanny ability to rally his base to the lowest common denominator of values, but it takes intelligence to make it work. Mueller will not indict a sitting president, and the Repubs in the Senate will not vote to convict Trump of impeachment charges even if Mueller presents them with solid proof of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

        • Christiane says:

          I agree with you ‘that other jean’ because I think Mueller has a lot more info than we can even imagine and being a prosecutor of great experience, he will ‘connect the dots’ not with conjecture but with concrete proof.

          I do think that Trump is an agent of Russia in that he has been compromised and must now do Putin’s bidding such as disparage NATO alliance and hand Syria over to the Russians so that they will have a geophysical advantage in the region . . . . .

          but what Mueller has will be facts and UNLESS Trump and cronies deep-six Mueller’s report, we will someday know what T has done and why . . . .

          and IF T and cronies try to keep the Mueller Report from the people, well, in my opinion, Mueller may be too great a patriot to allow this to happen IF the report says what I think it may say . . . . we shall see

          I also wish to wait for that report. My conjecture is based on the observance of T’s behaviors and comments and tweets, but Mueller ‘probes’ for the facts and he is extremely competent to do his job.

  24. When Paul wrote to the Romans he encouraged them to be subject to the governing authorities . . . to honor the king . . . to pay taxes. I may say that I want to be in obedience to these directives, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I really need to be. Sometimes Trump, or Nixon, or Clinton behave so badly that I believe that I am justified in not showing them “honor”. Then I am reminded that the apostle wrote to the Romans in the time of the emporers, many believe in the time of Nero, and I have to swallow hard. Words in this passage (chapter 13) like “honor”, ” subjection”, “respect”, and others are not the words that I want to hear in regard to many of the men and women who rule over us.

    I have a political opinion, but it is lacking in so many ways ( I don’t know all the details, I lack the intellect to solve problems of the magnitude we face, I am blinded by my culture and upbringing, I want things to go my way too much, I am arrogant enough to think I’m right in spite of all these handicaps). Not only am I tired of everyone else’s opinion, I am increasingly becoming tired of my own and the constant argument. The passage transitions with the phrase “Owe no one anything except to love each other.”

    I have spent a lifetime arguing politics. With argument comes the desire to dominate and win. With such a mindset, the temptation to be condescending, ridiculing, contemptuous, and disdainful of my opponents becomes to great to overcome. A new mindset is needed. One that owes nothing to a conservative or a liberal except to love them. I am tired of this fight. Americans may have freedom of speech, I’m not so sure that Christians should

    Jesus won his fight against Rome by losing, by being a servant, by suffering death, even death on a cross. He won by losing. I learned that on this blog, and I will be forever grateful. We will not win our fight against a red or blue America any differently. The discussion today has the same tone as any I heard in evangelical circles. Who is willing to love, serve, and suffer for a MAGA hat person, or a tree hugger, or a gay rights acivist, or an NRA member . . . or me . . . . or you? I know of one man, may our lives be shaped by his.

  25. Hi CM and commentariat,
    Since we’re Matthew 23’ing today, I figured I would pitch in my 2 cents also. Unlike most of the IM posts that primarily deal with theology, this one has a subject that I consider myself competent to speak on.

    But before I get banned, I’d like to say that I consider Chaplain Mike to be a worthy successor to Michael Spencer. I try to find time every day to read the IM post. I’ve learned more about what it means to follow Jesus here than in the churches I’ve had the misfortune to attend. Thank you, CM and other posters, for all your wisdom and knowledge.

    On with the show!

    CM, you say that “The president just trampled upon the most conservative of values in this country — the rule of law, limited government, and the separation of powers to guard against tyranny.” Well and good. Where were you and Michael Spencer when The Greatest Compassionate Christian of Western Christendom, George W Bush, declared war on Iraq, in defiance of the Nuremberg Principles of 1946? I’ve done a quick search of the IM archives and there isn’t one post, one word, condemning a blatant war crime, and, as you put it, “The president just trampled upon the most conservative of values in this country — the rule of law, limited government, and the separation of powers to guard against tyranny.?” Where have you been all this time? Where are the condemnations of the millions of lives that have been killed, maimed, wounded; entire cities destroyed; millions of refugees trying to find somewhere out range of US and NATO bombs? I did find one post from Michael Spencer sort of defending Bush, but it’s unclear when it was posted. It appears to have been between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. Otherwise? Not. One. Word. The American military has been unlawfully conducting wars in Iraq and Syria for 17 years. Where’s the condemnation? For that matter, where’s Western Christendom’s condemnations?

    Where was CM and the IM commentariat when Barack Obama drew “the red line” in Syria, said no American boots on the ground, and then promptly put boots on the ground? Where was CM and the IM commentariat when Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama destabilized Libya, resulting in more death, agony, destruction, and a failed state? Where was CM and company when a sitting US senator, John McCain, traveled to Ukraine and Syria, helping to destabilize those countries further, in the apparent hope of starting a was with Russia? Again, a quick search of the IM archives shows nothing. Not. One. Word.

    There seems to be a common theme that the vast majority of western Christians quietly agree with. As long as the Greatest Nation of All Time, The Indispensable Nation, A Beacon of Light for the World to Follow, The Most Christian of Nations, is destroying Muslim countries and killing Muslims, well, “they had it coming, didn’t they?”

    CM, you say that “Our national emergency, our national crisis, our national shame is a president who has gone off the rails and a Republican party that’s too intimidated, too lacking in principle and courage to do anything but go along for the ride.” Very true! Far more true than you appear to notice, or care. Have you read articles in recent days where the previous head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, has publicly stated that he initiated an investigation of Trump solely because he (McCabe) was afraid of being fired? Did you read statements by the same person that there was talk of wiretapping a lawfully elected President, or finding enough cabinet members plus the sitting vice-president to declare Trump’s presidency invalid under the 25th Amendment? Who’s been abusing power here? And again, where’s CM and the IM crew protesting this blatant theft of power that the Congress (never mind those pesky voters) should be exercising? Not. One. Word.

    What does CM post instead? Insipid, vapid whining about… Trump talking out of both sides of his mouth. Brilliant.

    • “The American military has been unlawfully conducting wars in Iraq and Syria for 17 years. Where’s the condemnation? For that matter, where’s Western Christendom’s condemnations?”

      I can’t speak for Western Christendom as a whole, but there are no doubt plenty of folks here who will criticize the wars we’ve fought for the last two decades.

      “Where was CM and the IM commentariat when Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama destabilized Libya, resulting in more death, agony, destruction, and a failed state?”

      The Libyans mostly did that to themselves. As for Clinton’s role in all that, come on. A hostile Republican congress investigated the hell out of that, and found NOTHING.

      “Insipid, vapid whining about… Trump talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

      Must be some strange new sentence construction for “misgivings about unprecedented abuse of executive power” – or did you not read what CM actually said?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Save your bandwith.
        Bird has taken the Mark of the Trump on forehead AND right hand.

        One polarity of Clinton Derangement Syndrome always goes with the opposite polarity of Trump Derangement Syndrome. When someone starts with “WHAT ABOUT THE CLINTONS? THE CLINTONS? THE CLINTONS!” , it always ends with “TRUMP CAN DO NO WRONG! TRUMP CAN DO NO WRONG!!! TRUMP CAN DO NO WRONG!!!!!”

    • Bird, thanks for your rather thorough critique. Here are a few quick responses (it’s nearly midnight and I’ve been working straight since 9 this morning)…

      1. I was absolutely opposed to the war in Iraq. At that time I thought it the most serious U.S. foreign policy mistake since Viet Nam. Bush was in way over his head, and I was appalled at his jingoistic ignorance and inability to stand up against unwise advisors. Add to this that he created the largest govt bureaucracy ever for “homeland security” in the wake of a handful of people with box cutters we couldn’t stop with the screwed up intelligence bureaucracy we already had.

      2. In general, I haven’t written about politics since starting to write here at IM in late 2009, except for some articles and series examining American history and the relationship of Christians and churches to public and civic life. For good or ill, I was preoccupied with my own post-evangelical journey and vocational questions. And it wasn’t until I was on board and looking at some of the early archives of Internet Monk that I realized Michael Spencer ever had written on the subject. It has not generally been the nature of our blog.

      3. The one thing that has gotten my attention and prompted me to write posts like today’s has been the rise of Trumpism. I was so gobsmacked that anyone would even consider as the remotest possibility that a person like Donald Trump (who I have considered a narcissistic clown and celebrity wannabe since the 1970s and 80s) would be a proper candidate for dogcatcher much less POTUS. And then to watch the evangelical constituency and its leaders abandon every public virtue they ever upheld to support this unfit, ill-equipped, incompetent, and corrupt pretender was too much to bear. This is the primary reason I write about politics today, though believe me, I try to keep my mouth shut as much as I can.

      So no, I haven’t said much about many of the things you write about in your comment. And I hope what I do write is more than “insipid, vapid whining.” I joined many others long before the election to say that, should Trump become POTUS, this would usher in chaos and, indeed, an existential threat to our country and its institutions. I believed it then, and every single thing I’ve witnessed since has further confirmed my fears.

  26. Some basic questions that arise from the above comments that I think relevant

    1. How many legal immigrants and illegal aliens should the USA allow into our country, total number? 40 million
    100 million, what is the total number and how will we enforce. The USA now allows one million legal immigrants a year, more than all the other countries combined. Is there any limit on the number amount of legal and illegal aliens that should be admitted into this country.

    2. Why do the Democrats and establishment Republicans both want to protect and increase the number of illegal immigrants when that is against the will of the American voters.

    3. Why is the racist tag applied on this site so often that it has lost its meaning?

    Just some questions that really never get answered, because of course they are racist and written in English , which is of course a racist language .

    Sound bites and one liners are not serious input , just preaching to the choir.

    • Clay Crouch says:

      1. I’m curious where you get your immigration statistics. From FactCheck.org: There were 12 million immigrants living in the country illegally as of January 2015, according to the most recent estimate from the Department of Homeland Security. The estimates from two independent groups are similar: The Pew Research Center estimates the number at 10.7 million in 2016, and the Center for Migration Studies says there were 10.8 million people in 2016 living in the U.S. illegally.

      That would be about 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent of the total U.S. population in 2016 or 2015.

      All three groups use Census Bureau data on the foreign-born or noncitizens and adjust to subtract the legal immigrant population.

      DHS estimated that the growth of the illegal immigrant population had slowed considerably, saying the population increased by 470,000 per year from 2000 to 2007, but only by 70,000 per year from 2010 to 2015.

      CMS found a decline in the undocumented population, and specifically those from Mexico, of about 1 million since 2010. And the Pew Research Center found a peak of 12.2 million in the population in 2007, and a decline since.

      What does John Barry suggest we do with them?

      2. Where do you get the idea that Democrats & Republicans want to increase the number of illegal immigrants? Please cite your sources.

      3. I counted 19 times “racist” was used in this post’s comments. No one was personally called a racist. Some activities were called racist. John, you used the word 6 times. Can you point out one comment today that called you a racist? The lady doth protest to much, me thinks.

      John, how about you giving it a go with answering your own questions. That would get the ball rolling.

    • John Barry,

      I won’t comment of points 2 and 3, but I’ll respond to at least part of part 1.

      How many illegal aliens (or undocumented immigrants to those who have problems with term “illegal alien”) should the country?

      My answer: none

      Anyone desiring to enter the country should do so according to the law. Anyone coming into the USA illegally should be treated according to the law. I’m not against immigration as long as it is done according to the law. If the law needs to be changed that is up to Congress.

  27. And now for a completely off-subject musical interlude, to maybe break some of the tension in the commentary, and because I heard this old song over Valentine’s Day, it’s a favorite of mine that I hadn’t heard in years, and I’d like to share it because I hope that others would enjoy it too — First Glimmer.

  28. Burro (Mule) says:

    Also, yes, RIP Abel Ganz.

    It hurts being human, but you can always love

  29. senecagriggs says:

    Jussie Smullett – turns out there WASN’T two white men wondering around a rich section of Chicago at 2 a.m. during the Polar Vortex carrying bleach in one hand and a noose in another yelling “MAGA” as they beat up this poor, gay black guy.

    Who knew?

    • senecagriggs says:

      “The recent racist and homophobic attack on acclaimed actor and activist Jussie Smollett is troubling. The rise in hate crimes is directly linked to President Donald J. Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric. It is dangerous for any society to allow a tone of divisiveness and hatred to dominate the political discourse. As this rhetoric continues to bleed into our everyday lives, dangerous behavior will continue to place many law-abiding individuals at risk. We pray for a full physical and mental recovery Jussie Smollett and many unnamed victims of this forum of hate based terrorism” Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO

      • Prattle on about something no one on this thread is denying, while your president calls for “retaliation” against Saturday Night Live for parodying him in ways he dislikes. The man is dangerous and evil.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          But he’s One Of Us, One Of US, GOOBLE! GOBBLE! ONE OF US!

          No More Roe v Wade, Prayer back in Schools, Everybody in Church, A CHRISTIAN NATION ONCE MORE!

    • a modern-day Tawana Brawley?

      • thatotherjean says:

        Looks like it. But why? I honestly don’t understand faking an attack on yourself, when there are too many others that are absolutely real. If you want to highlight racial prejudice, talk about them.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I honestly don’t understand faking an attack on yourself, when there are too many others that are absolutely real.

          Because those “absolutely real” attacks weren’t All About MEEEEEEEEEEE!

    • Why are you belaboring this? No one has contested what you’re saying, and several of us have agreed with you. What’s the point? Are we to never believe that hate crimes occur because this one was a hoax? That would a patently absurd conclusion, flying in the face of all plenty of authentic evidence that they do occur.

      • senecagriggs says:

        Why does it bother you Robert F? I’m curious

        • It doesn’t bother me; you do. You are imitating the Distractor-in-chief, and your motives do not appear to be honest anymore than his. Again: why are you belaboring this story?

          • senecagriggs says:

            Truth certainly can distract from the liberal narrative.
            I certainly question the liberal narrative.

  30. I’ve had conversations recently with 2 friends who are supportive, generally, of Trump (though to their credit, neither of them voted for him — they voted 3rd party.

    What’s most interesting is that they’ll acknowledge that they don’t like who Trump is as a person and what he represents…but go on to say that they (still) like a lot of his policies…

    The other thing I noticed is that they both have this inordinate deep disrespect and contempt for anything having to
    do with the Democratic Party. When my dad was growing up during the Depression, one of his brothers, at the dinner table,, would tell another brother that he’d spit on his pie. That brother,wanted nothing to do with said pie. pushed it away from his plate and told my uncle, “You can have it.”

    That’s what my friends remind me of. The Democrats are the pie that’s been spit on, and they want nothing to
    do with it.

  31. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    This YouTube video (a review of the 1990s-vintage animated movie Prince of Egypt) sounds like it might have some bearing on the subject:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7N6_HTR9y0

  32. senecagriggs says:

    Jussie may be the first American to scam Nigerians

    • Nah. Nigerians couldn’t have escaped the long arm of American scammers and swindlers until now.