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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Blog Break

Please note that the dates from the last posting of this blogpost have changed.

I am taking a long blog break from posting from Friday, October 12 thru Friday, October 19. The next new post will be on Monday, October 22. In the meantime, you can visit some of the other pages on this blog accessed through the tabs shown above or the incomplete list below. 


Other Pages

  1. Audio-Visual Library Page (this is my favorite page on the website)
  2. Activism page
        Contains announcements of some major activist events. If you don't see your event there, email me at curtday111@yahoo.com
  3. Favorite Articles page
        Links to some of my current and all-time favorite articles to read. Includes articles by Chris Hedges, Bill Blum, Noam Chomsky, Robert Jensen, Rachel Corrie, Anna Politkovshaya, Rita Corriel, and the Political Jesus blog (I highly recommend this blog)
  4. Favorite Websites page
        This contains most of the websites that I visit the most.
  5. Past Blog Posts page
        If you want to check the complete list of blog posts on this blog, please click this tab. The posts are divided into regular posts, reviews, and the ONIMs

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For October 10, 2018

Oct 8

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the Columbian Exchange. That exchange includes the benefits enjoyed by Europe and the suffering and loss of life brought to the natives of the New World by Europeans like Columbus. This appeared in the Acton blog.

It's sad that when listing the parts of the Columbian Exchange, the atrocities committed by Columbus and other Europeans are not mentioned. Atrocities such as mass killings, slavery, and exploiting workers were not mentioned alongside the loss of life from European diseases. How could such an omission exist in a Christian blog written by a Christian?


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To Allyson Wieringa and her blogpost questioning the call for the government to put Church charities out os business and to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This appeared in the Acton blog.

What is wrong with the government making Church charities not needed? Whose loss is that anyway? And if the Church no longer needs to worry about providing charity because those in need are receiving help elsewhere, then doesn't that mean that the Church can focus more on preaching the Gospel?

Though I can't speak for England, right now, we are in an Ayn Rand coup of the American government. In that coup, those with the most wealth use their wealth to seize power over the government. Then they use that power to continually reduce  fulfilling their social responsibilities. As a result, tax burdens are shifted more toward those who have less and that results in sharp increase in deficit spending. The Ayn Rand opportunist try to use their arguments and power to reduce or even eliminate social safety nets even if those safety nets are self-funding and thus do not contribute to the deficit.
We should note here the kind of government in which Ayn Rand's family financially succeeded: the government of the Tsars. And the Tsars were dictators who enforced the belief that to oppose the Tsar is to oppose the nation. That is similar to the declarations made by Lenin and the Bolsheviks with respect to the workers.
One other point must be made here. Though raising the minimum wage is good, it leaves a major issue unaddressed. Seeing that socialism, from a Marxist perspective, relies on the dictatorship of a proletariat democracy, letting the gov't alone to set all increased wages does not empower the workers. Rather, it establishes a particular group of people in government as the vanguard for the workers. And like most vanguards such as Lenin's Bolshevik Party right after the Russian Revolution, they will declare that anyone who opposes them opposes the workers whom they say they represent. And then we are right back where we started from with the Tsars and Lenin. Not that we don't need the government to raise the minimum wage. What we do need is a minimum wage that is high enough to help and low enough to require workers and owners to continue to meet together to see what each side needs and then to start making decisions that benefits both sides.


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Oct 9

To Thomas Ascik and his blogpost about some Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage and laws that addressed inheritance. In that blogpost, DOMA, the Defense Of Marriage Act, is referred to. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

I want to comment on one part of the article above: the references to DOMA. DOMA stands for the Defense Of Marriage Act. But the name itself is ambiguous. Which or whose marriage is being defended? The answer is simple: no one's marriage is being defended. Instead the desire of same-sex couples to be legally married is being attacked by those who claim to have a monopoly on the definition of marriage. Thus, perhaps we should call DOMA, OBTMAA-- the Offensive By Traditional Marriage Activists Act.

The legalization of same-sex marriage does not threaten any traditional heterosexual marriage. Claims otherwise are based on fears that those moving in to the marital neighborhood will bring down the property values. On the other hand, despite the results of inhibiting monogamous relationships and thus reducing promiscuity in the LGBT community, those opposed to same-sex marriages by other people are threatening the marital prospects for those in the LGBT community. Why do they do that? It is simply because they want to impose their own religious/cultural beliefs on others. That imposition would appear to violate the 1st Amendment regardless of how democratically the legal definition of marriage was determined. Why the imposition? There are a number of reasons one can find when talking to DOMA apologists.







Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Reflections On The Kavanaugh Appointment

Though many conservatives and followers of Trump are currently rejoicing, this is a very sad time in our nation. For the embattled Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Court not only reflected poorly on our own government, it showed how low many Americans could stoop once tribal loyalties were challenged. The whole event has caused me to enter into an indefinite state of lividity.

The appointment showed that our government is a sham. The Republicans showed no intention of vetting Kavanaugh once he was nominated by Trump. From that point on, the Republicans, especially those in the Senate Judiciary Committee were determined to push Kavanaugh through the process faster than Obama had tried to fast-track the TPP when he was President. The Republican committee members hardly asked Kavanaugh a question despite his non-judicial combative demeanor and attitude shown toward those who did not believe that he was entitled to the position. And it is also despite the apparently credible testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and questions about Kavanaugh's past drinking. I am not sure if his gambling was ever an issue for the committee. Yes, some of those committee members may have shed crocodile tear or two for Ford. But most of their condolences were heaped upon Kavanaugh for having Ford's testimony even be included in the process.

But the committee's failure to properly vet Kavanaugh alone did not make the process a sham. It was the deliberately flawed FBI investigation that was called on to verify the testimonies given in the hearing. According to Keith Koegler, a longtime friend of Ford, 7 people, including himself, who knew about the alleged attack prior to Trump picking Kavanaugh and they were known to the Judiciary Committee and the FBI. And yet they were never contacted about being interviewed (click here for the source). In addition, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were interviewed. Neither were those who knew about Kavanaugh's drinking, which is important because part his sworn testimony was about his drinking habits (click here for the source). Why were so many excluded from FBI questioning? It was because of the restrictions put on the FBI by the Senate Republicans and possibly the White House.

But what tops the totally flawed process is the fact that the follow-up FBI investigation is being kept from the public. Thus the old Republican men from the committee have guaranteed, at least for now, a total lack of accountability and transparency for their decisions. Let them growl and grumble as they will, they have kept the most important part of vetting Kavanaugh a secret.

Of course, we could also include the behavior of Trump who mocked, ridiculed, and misrepresented Ford during a rally in Mississippi (click here for the source). The same Trump who wants libel laws to be changed to possibly intimidate journalists who write stories that challenge his Administration's narrative felt free to mock Ford. And in doing so, he adds a new level of intimidation for those women who would be willing to report how they have been assaulted.

And then there is Trump's statement that today is a wonderful time for women while it is a very threatening time for men. No other statement could so easily show our President's tenuous relationship with reality, it is a relationship that he wants the nation to share.


Now normally, we could respond to such governmental malpractice by pledging to vote these people out. But not so fast my fellow people, the reaction to Ford from rank and file conservatives simply shows that many of them have become soulless while empowering the Republican party and while celebrating Capitalism's maximization of profits. Perhaps that is why so many conservatives were far more upset at the consensual relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky than they were at the possible sexual abuse of Christine Ford. Why the disparity? The answer is tribalism. That is because the perpetrator in the Clinton/Lewinsky case was a member of rival tribe, he was fair game. Kavanaugh was not.

And thus came the barrage of challenges to, or should we say against, Ford, some of which are important to answer but many of which showed no awareness of, let alone sensitivity to, what happens to a girl or woman when she is traumatized by sexual and/or physical assault. Our humanity is not demonstrated by how we treat those who belong to us. Rather our humanity is measured by how we treat those who belong to other, especially rival, groups. That criteria shows how cold and soulless many conservatives have become in their quest to help their Republican Party gain more and more power.

Conservative remarks I ran across criticized Ford for being mousey and liberal and for putting herself in the wrong situation at the wrong time, and for forgetting key details that many of us would easily forget on a good day. Other remarks trivialized what was done to her as being merely insignificant and not worthy of notifying the police. Still other remarks called the assault a stupid act of a young kid.


One more observation should be made here. Some, not all or even most, of the blame for this national tragedy rests with my fellow religiously conservative Christians. Why? It is because our approach to the Christian faith has produced some unforeseen yet toxic consequences not just on themselves, but on much of society. From our promoting of authoritarian personality types to a toxic patriarchy to an insularity and self-imposed isolation from sources of reality that come from nonconservatives, we have influenced many conservatives to follow our lead. Because we have yet to learn how to properly share society with those who do not share our faith, we have pushed the vulnerabilities that come with our approach to the faith onto many outside the faith.

And what is worse than that is that our insularity has led many of us to embrace the self-righteousness embraced by the Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying (click here for the parable). It's not that we have a monopoly on toxic and lethal self-righteousness, it is that because we claim to believe the Scriptures, we should know best not to follow down the chosen by that Pharisee. And yet, because we want to prove how much we deserve to rule over others, we follow a damnable path.

I knew that Kavanaugh was being less than honest when he kept trying to portray himself as an honorable boy scout who liked beer. How can someone honestly claim that he had always shown respect for women when he already admitted to drinking too much at times including those times when he was underage. Because I avoided following my father's struggles with alcoholism, I've always controlled my drinking. And yet, out of immaturity or selfishness or whatever else I have not always shown every woman I've met the respect she deserves. And I live with regret for those times. But here we should remember that most of the ways by which we show disrespect for women involve neither breaking the law nor violence. So how is it that a sometimes drunk Kavanaugh, who was once involved in an altercation in a bar, can say with a straight face that he has always shown respect for women? That makes almost as much sense as saying that being an alumi of a female classmate or playing Devil's Triangle had nothing to do with sex.








Monday, October 8, 2018

ONIM For October 8, 2018

10 Best Fact Checking Sites Found Here.

If you are not sure about the validity of a news story linked to below, you can use  mediabiasfactcheck.com to check out the credibility of the source of most of the stories linked to here. Re

Christian News

World News

Kavanaugh News

Israel-Palestine News

Donald Trump News

Pick(s) Of The Litter

Just For Fun

Friday, October 5, 2018

Change Is The Conservative Church's Kryptonite

Almost a month ago, a statement written by John MacArthur and friends spoke against the Church's involvement in promoting social justice was reviewed in this blog (click here for that blogpost and there for the statement by MacArthur and friends). But others chimed in too. And one of those challenges, a brief one, was written by Jemar Tisby (click here for a bio) from The Witness: A Black Christian Collection (click here for his article).

We should note here that John MacArthur, the theologian who opposes the idea of the Church promoting social justice, is White. Jemar Tisby is Black and is favor of the Church pursuing social justice. And here we should note that race most likely has something to do with the different responses. That's at least partially true because since MacArthur's White, he still enjoys a privileged place in America. On the other hand, Blacks are still struggling to fully escape the marginalization that the Civil Rights Movement tried to eliminate.  It's not that the Civil Rights Movement initiated no significant changes, it did. But there still exists quite a bit of race-based marginalization for Blacks to overcome especially in today's age where both ideological and racial tribalism reign perhaps as strongly as ever.

In other words, race-based marginalization is not a daily reality for White theologians, like John MacArthur, who live a privileged life; it is, however, all too real for Blacks either directly or through incidents that are forced on friends and/or family.

But there is a another factor that is involved here. That factor is that answering the call to work for social justice is not part of the traditions of many a conservative denomination. And just like the saying in Pennsylvania Dutch country that goes, 'If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much,' so for conservatives, especially religiously conservative ones, their sentiment goes along with the following: if it ain't in tradition, it gets no recognition. That is because of the nature of conservatism, many conservatives have almost a phobia to change because they feel that even small changes eventually severs them from the past.


So how does Tisby challenge MacArthur's opposition to Church involvement in social justice. Tisby, like a conservative draws on the past. However, the past that Tisby draws on is much more recent than MacArthur's past and it was never accepted as part of Church tradition. Thus it gets no recognition. Tisby draws on the Chicago Declaration Of Evangelical Social Concern (click here for the declaration). That declaration is more of confession of sin and failure for not having applied the Gospel and the Scriptures to the social and corporate sins of the day.

Tisby divides up the Chicago Declaration into 4 parts with each part represented by no more than 2 sentences. The first part is the confession of the Church's failure to speak out against the injustices of the day despite what God demands of us. The second part speaks against racism. The third part speaks against the suffering caused by an unjust distribution of the world's resources. And the fourth part. The last part speaks against merging Christianity with nationalism and patriotism.

Tisby's purpose is to answer MacArthur's conservative resistance to change by drawing from the past rather than providing his own challenges. And to an extent, two conservative denominations had at least partially pre-emptively acted in support of Tisby's position. Both the PCA and the SBC have in the past couple of years adopted resolutions that publicly denounce both past participation in racism and resistance against the Civil Rights Movement.

On the other hand, Church history points out the horrors and consequences of the Church not speaking out against social injustice. For in the pre-revolutionary times of the French, Russian, and Spanish Revolutions, the most dominant branch of the Church sided with wealth and power. An apparent immediate result for those respective branches was that they were unnecessarily counted with the enemy when the revolutions came. A more invisible result was that the Church missed many opportunities to preach repentance to those who used their positions of privilege to exploit the less fortunate.

Tisby's response to MacArthur is important is an important read as his the reference he cited. For those who either have little time or who are highly distracted, Tisby's article, as well as the declaration he works from, is short and very accessible. And his response is recommended by this blog.





Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Comments Which Conservatives Bllock From Their Blogs For October 3, 2018

Oct 2

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost blaming the problem Millennials have with perfectionism on the influence of social media. This appeared in Heidelblog.

The article is beyond belief. Why? When mentioning a real problem, the problem Millennials have with perfectionism, the parents of Millennials do not even receive honorable mention. How is that possible?
One reason why may be possible it is because it is us baby-boomers who, for the most part, are the parents of Millennials. Parents still have a significant influence on how their children grow up, especially with how a child reacts to changing social and cultural conditions. Plus, has Clark forgotten about 'Helicopter Parents'?  Clark is correct in starting off by saying that he was not critiquing Millennials. But he should have followed that by saying that saying that this was a partial critique of those who raised Millennials.

As for neoliberalism, Scott seems to have a selective memory regarding what fostered neoliberalism and what it produces. Neoliberalism started after America supported a military coup in ChilĂ© in 1973. That coup overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende after Allende, with support of many of his people, had decided to pursue a more leftist agenda. America's government, because of business interests there, wanted a free market. And so a dictator was installed so that a free market could follow. And, btw, that dictator was eventually indicted for committing crimes against humanity which involved crimes against his own people. Since then, free markets have been following the growth of authoritarianism in governments. Some of that growth in authoritarianism has occurred right here in the U.S. (see https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746  ).

Furthermore, neoliberalism's free markets have caused growing wealth disparities throughout the world. Some of those losses have occurred right here in the U.S. (see https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746  ). Of course that doesn't include the fact that workers support their families in a shareholder economic world where these workers are seen as disposable objects for profit. Even if the produce a significant profit for their owners, if a higher profit can possibly be made elsewhere, workers can lose their jobs. So many jobs offer no job security because workers can be easily replaced by having their jobs offshored  or by technology. Do we really believe that the angst caused by such an environment was never passed down to the kids?



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To Paul Krause and his blogpost about how Christianity must significantly change culture for its own good. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative.

I look at articles like the one above as a defense for Church to assume more control over society and culture. The defense for such actions are deductively made, but that defense becomes unraveled when induction, via examining history, is employed. Church history does not tell many positive stories of the West when the Church was dominant. For when Christianity is seen as revolving around a region, it all too soon becomes a vehicle that promotes self-worship instead of the worship of God.

The self-worship seen in Western Civilization when the Church was a dominant force included colonialism and imperialism along with white supremacy. In America, the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans from the land, race-based slavery, and Jim Crow were strongly promoted and then defended with perceived tenets of the Christian faith along with the Scriptures. But America has always been more Protestant than Catholic. But not all parts of Europe were that way. And  what we find in history is the lust for power, the use of violence, the embracing of intolerance, and the hoarding of wealth. These practices were seen as entitlements if not morally obligatory. Thus with the proclamation of the Gospel was the claim that white men must rule over women and people of color.

The problem with articles like the one above is that they either explicitly or implicitly promote Christian supremacy over society. That means instead of Christians sharing society with all others as equals, Christians must seize the day so as to save any pagan society from itself. But who was there to save Christian Europe, and parts of the rest of the World, from the Church? Thus came the problem that civilization changed from being Christian to being more atheistic because of the failures of the Church when it was in charge.

The NT Scriptures command us to preach the Gospel and to promote justice. And they warn us against meddling too much in society in terms of personal matters. Finally, Jesus warns us against  'lording over others.' So we need to be very careful when we Christians attempt to change society and culture lest we imitate our forefathers in how they tried too hard to influence society and culture.

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To Rev. Ben Johnson and his blogpost citing a German Socialist party’s claim that Jesus would be a Socialist had he been on earth today. This was posted in the Acton blog.

It certainly is wrong of the Socialist Party to speak for Jesus on the issue of voting. But regarding the problems brought to us by Capitalism, Marx, not necessarily all of his followers, was on target especially regarding neoliberalism--today's form of Capitalism. We live in a shareholder economy where the traditional definition of stakeholder has been reduced to shareholders and possibly a few key decision makers. The traditional business definition of stakeholder consists of all who are impacted by the business. That includes those who are included in today's definitoin as well as workers, the community in which a business is located, customers, and others. To give an example, a while ago, the then CEO of Exxon was asked if Exxon should be concerned about the effects of their prices on their customers. He clearly stated that the only people Exxon is accountable to are the shareholders.

With today's new definition of stakeholders, all others are considered to be disposable objects whom a business could choose to care about. But when a business follows the maximize profits ethics, which is a popular ethic followed by those who reject the traditional definition of stakeholder, what follows is that not only do we work with the redacted definition of stakeholders, but that that ethic is cannibalizing ethic that devours all other ethical and moral guidelines. Thus obeying the law depends on belief that either the business can get away with it or that being caught will not impact the ROI.

We should note that with neoliberalism, we see an ever growing wealth disparity and that results in an ever growing political power disparity. Growing political power disparities destroy democracies.

Finally, I am not sure why Marx said that religion is the opiate of the people, but do know why Lenin said it. He spoke from observation on how those following the Christian religion enabled the exploitation of workers and others by those with wealth. He wasn't speaking from an ideological point of view as much as observational one. It is one of the few things he got right. 





 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

America's Investigate-Gate.

While the Democratic and the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee play out a Kramer vs. Kramer battle for the title of the King of Morality, and while Trump was working on a new NAFTA agreement, another battle ensued among the American people. Should the FBI investigate the claims made by both Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh?

The side that claims to have a monopoly on morality said 'NO!' Justice Kavanaugh had suffered enough injustices from the "fake" allegations being made according to them. Thus, they saw, and still see, no need for the FBI to look into the matter.

Of course there was another reason why conservatives didn't want the FBI involved. It is because their leader, President Trump, has convinced them that, like the Fake News media, the FBI cannot be trusted in this matter. But then again, outside of Trump and his lackeys, who can be trusted?

Certainly, there were other reasons why conservative supporters of Kavanaugh didn't want the FBI to investigate. The reasons center on Ford's inadequate credentials. She's a liberal, she has a go fund me page, she can't remember everything and she didn't present any corroborating evidence--with the exception of passing a polygraph. But most of their objections have nothing to do with the facts and logic that were in her allegations.

In the reality, Republican opponents of Dr Ford object to any further investigation because for a long time, they have felt besieged and persecuted by their nonconservative counterparts. By blocking Trump's nominee, these Republicans feel like they have become the Rodney Dangerfield of political parties--oh how they so quickly forget how they treated President Obama. 


They hear the persecution in the late night monologues. They hear the persecution in the federal court decisions that strike down Trump's executive orders. And then there is the fake new media whenever they report something negative on their orange knight in tarnished armor.

With all of the bad press, they feel alienated. And yet, they don't recognize that the worst of the treatment they receive now is simply a partial payback for how their media darlings, like Rush, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, have been talking about nonconservatives for decades. 


In other words, before Trump came to power, he had a more than ready audience who would follow him even, according to Trump, if he was to shoot someone on the streets of NYC. Trump bragged about that loyalty and his followers never seemed to have bat an eye. The election of Trump was to be paybacks for all of the infringement that nonconservatives had forced on them while Obama was President.

On the other hand, we have the liberal elite. Their comedians make a living off of the foibles of President Trump and the alienation of conservatives in their audiences. We have other liberals and leftists who can only see the Anti-Christ when they look at conservatives. And we have a Democratic Party that rightly complains about Republican authoritarianism but employs its own authoritarianism in order to keep their own flock in line so that the "right" nominee is coronated the Party's nominee for President. Thus the election came down to the only person Trump could defeat vs the only person Hillary could defeat and it didn't end in a tie.

And the current divide we have in our nation is even more magnified in the blogs. For there are blog participants from all ideologies who want a real discussion vs those from all ideologies who say anything to either persuade people or piss them off. And that just doesn't exist in the debate regarding whether the FBI should investigate Ford and Kavanaugh, it is present in many other discussions.

In the end, why should the nation's parent figures, the elected officials, want to stay together when their kids can't stand each other? And the reason why the kids are so angrily pointing fingers at each other is because they have forgotten what they look like in a non-magic mirror.

In the end, we are hurting, with 'hurting' not being my first choice of words, ourselves by blindly following our two-party system. This political and ideological tribalism is causing us to devour each other and ourselves. And then there is the authoritarianism from all sides. While trying to convince their followers that they, our two major political parties, are vanguards for all that is good and honorable, they are merely acting as proxies for those with wealth and power. And we don't have enough independence of thought to even see what they are doing let alone to leave both political parties. 


Our democratic ship has struck too many icebergs of our own making and is sinking. So it isn't our ship that has failed us, we have failed it; we have failed democracy. But we have always failed it, it is that more of the chickens are coming home to roost. And our past and present treatment of the marginalized, such as people of color, the LGBT community, the poor, and others should have been our first and convincing clue that we are the ones who have failed ourselves. We are sinking and because of our disregard for outsiders, there is no one there to listen to our cries for help.