The Real Fear….

There is much to fear from a Trump White House but the most gruesome fear is someone pushing the nuclear button due to be dissed or having a strained bravado. David Brooks sums that up for me in his recent oped piece in the New York Times. Here is a portion of that:

2017-01-04_09-01-30.pngI’ll be curious to see if Trump’s public rhetoric becomes operationalized in any way. For example, I bet his bromance with Putin will end badly. The two men are both such blustery, insecure, aggressive public posturers, sooner or later they will get in a schoolyard fight.

It will be interesting to see if that brawl is just an escalating but ultimately harmless volley of verbiage, or whether it affects the substance of government policy and leads to nuclear war.

I was not a witness to very many schoolyard brawls as I was growing up but the ones I did see didn’t end very well. Given the makeup of these two guys who have their fingers on the nuclear buttons it seems very possible that a schoolyard fight between extreme  insecure egotists could result in some very irrational consequences. I can only pray that someone somewhere down the line has the courage to simply say no to turning the launch keys.

Mr. Trump is famous for attacking ANYONE who he sees as dissing him or questioning his perfection. A situation with Putin is certainly inevitable. If he goes off in a tirade because a local union rep said he was wrong with the numbers what will happen when he is really dissed by a world power? Will he be able to handle humiliation with just some early morning tweets? I kind of doubt it

I love David Brook’s description of these to guys as “blustery, insecure, aggressive public posturers”. I don’t think I could find a better description except to maybe add “narcissists” to the list.

 

Why Unconditional Support??

Something that has always been unfathomable to me is the U.S. unconditional support of the state of Israel. Why do we continue to throw billions of dollars of our borrowed resources into that country year after year when in reality they almost never heed any of our advice. A two  State solution with the Palestinians is the most obvious workable solution to this decades going Middle East stuff and that seems to be something that Israel, or at least their current leader is adamantly against.  Here are some words about that from my friends at the New York Times:

2017-01-07_18-20-19.pngSecretary of State John Kerry’s rebuke of the Israeli government on Wednesday set off a wave of criticism from lawmakers in both parties. Republicans denounced what they said was the Obama administration’s harsh treatment of a steadfast ally and Democrats signaled that they were uneasy with Mr. Kerry’s pressure on Israel, even as they praised the effort to promote Middle East peace.

In Europe, however, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted warmly, with officials calling it a courageous and thoughtful effort to salvage the idea of a two-state solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. Still, across the Arab world, his harsh words for Israel were met with a collective shrug, coming at the end of eight years of Obama administration policies that left many in the Middle East frustrated….

In France, Britain and Germany, Mr. Kerry’s speech was greeted with more full-throated support. Senator Nathalie Goulet, vice president of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the French Senate, said Mr. Kerry “is right, he is absolutely right.”

“The more there are settlements,” she said, “the less it is likely there will be a two-state solution. But nobody ever dares condemn Israel. There is a double standard that nourishes the propaganda of the terrorists.”

Source: New York Times

Because of our billions of dollars of annual support Israel is by far the superpower in the Middle East so I guess they think they can bully their way into whatever they want.  I know there is a strong biblical connection between Israel and Christians; is that the primary reason we don’t chastise them for anything they do and we will not allow others in the U.N. to do it either?  I also know that the Jewish lobby in this country is much more powerful than the 1% of the population they represent; is that why we give them unconditional support?

I also know Jerusalem is at the center for all three major religions in this present world  and wars have been started throughout history for control of it.  Maybe it is time to make it an international city open to all. If only the United Nations were able to accomplish that.  Another much more radical solution is to just let Israel and Iran go at it!  If they use nuclear weapons that would make that entire portion of the world uninhabitable for the next 100 years.  That is kind of the King Solomon solution isn’t it.

I just don’t know why we don’t tell them that our support has conditions. It makes no sense to me. They are not our children, they don’t need or deserve our unconditional support…

The Con Artist…

2016-08-10_08-12-37.pngThis post is not so much about Donald Trump as it is about  naiveté.  Con artists have been around since there was money to be taken from naive people. What David Johnston says in the source article is that Donald Trump is among the top tier of con artists.

I deliberately said something that was false. Donald, like a television psychic, immediately incorporated my false statement into his answer and that told me this guy is essentially at heart a con artist who tells you what you want to hear….

Q: What is it you want Christians to read in your book before they vote for Trump?

A: My concern is that ministers who say Donald is a good Christian and those drawn to him because he says (he’s a Christian) don’t know what he’s said in books or profanity-laced speeches. He has beguiled them… So my concern is that some of these pastors have an agenda that is more political than religious and that may have interfered with their good judgment here.

I have also had people express the view that even if Donald is aggressively antithetical to the most basic teachings of Jesus then his stance on abortion (he now says he opposes it) outweighs everything else….

Q: Why do many conservative Christians support him? What do they see in him?

A: Donald Trump has tapped into the economic terror — and I do mean terror —  that the bottom half of all Americans are living in and the fear the bottom 90 percent are living in. These people are looking for an explanation: Why am I working harder and making less?

Donald Trump, like all demagogues, provides an easy-to-understand rationale — it’s the Muslims, it’s “the other.” His answer is also more tax cuts for the rich — many of his proposals are heavily oriented to the rich. Our television media has created a culture in which we judge people on the presumed content of their wallets. But having money does not make us a better person. But we worship wealth. It is antithetical to Christianity, but it is becoming part of the dominant culture.

Source: Trump is conning believers about his faith, author says | Religion News Service

The quote above is from a religious news organization’s interview with a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter who has studied extensively and written a book about Mr. Trump. I continue to be amazed by the religious, and particularly Evangelical community, who seem to give up 90% of their fundamental beliefs in order to back someone who says that he is anti-Abortion even when his past actions don’t show that.  I can’t understand how naive they are?  Like most issues Mr. Trump has been all over the map on this topic, he tells you what you want to hear. Do they really think that abortion will be on his top 10 list of things to achieve if he were to sit in the Oval Office, or even the top 1000 for that matter.

If pro-life is so important to these religious groups how can they then be war hawks and for capital punishment?   Maybe they are just pro-“pre-life”? To them maybe it is “once you are out of the womb you are on your own”?  I don’t know, this dichotomy simply amazes me.  I as a follower of Jesus’ teaching am not willing to give up the 95% in order to naively believe that I will gain the 5%.  The numbers simply don’t add up for me.

How To Exclude…

I guess Mr. Gingrich is still trying to be the VP choice for the egomaniac  candidate. His words below are a total affront to the basic meaning of America.  It is equivalent to the witch hunts or at least the McCarthy years and taunts me as the primary dark side of politics and religion.  But before I get to that lets look at Gingrich’s statement:

2016-07-15_08-01-35“Every person here who is of a Muslim background” should be tested to determine whether he or she believes in Shariah, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scriptures.Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich introduces Donald Trump during a rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 6. Getty Images

If they do, he said, they should be deported — even if they’re U.S. citizens. Gingrich added that anyone who simply visits any website “favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups” should be guilty of a felony, “and they should go to jail.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Gingrich’s call to “test” Muslims in the U.S. as well as the truck attack.

“When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggests that American Muslims be subjected to an Inquisition-style religious test and then expelled from their homes and nation, he plays into the hands of terror recruiters and betrays the American values he purports to uphold,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.

Source: Newt Gingrich Wants Tests for All U.S. Muslims After Nice Attack – NBC News

There are just too many politicians going as deep into the gutter of politics as possible today!  I wonder if Mr Gingrich would settle for making Muslims wear large cloth patches on their clothing so that everyone would know they are Muslims.  Maybe that is good enough for the “cafeteria Muslims”? What upsets me even more than his words is the lack of words against his thoughts by the rest of us.  This guy has gone completely off the rails so to speak!

Looking at this from a higher level brings out my disgust for the very concept of exclusion. It is happening far too often now in both politics and religion. America is the land of immigrants and Christianity is about inclusion. To turn both on their heads is shameful to say the least.

I know fear is a powerful emotion but it is just grabbing far to many of us in both realms. The current thoughts that drive exclusion are:

  • We need to only allow those who think, look, and behave like us in our midst….
  • Anyone who questions any of our personal principles must be avoided at all costs….
  • Our safety is much more important than our principles…

Too many in our religious circles have tunnel vision when it comes to what they they allow to challenge their fixed beliefs.  They want to exclude anyone who doesn’t tow the line.  They fear that if they allow differences of opinion that they will fall down a slippery slope into oblivian. Take out the word “religious” above and put in the the “political” and the same thing applies.

Jesus, if he was about nothing else, was about inclusion. The founding fathers of our nation were also about inclusion. To twist their words for a personal agenda is both dangerous to us as a society and deadly to our basic principles.

Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change

I like the words below from Bill Gates but I especially like his optimism about being able to solve this huge problem.  The evidence of climate change continues to stack up in huge piles. The first step in solving this problem is to admit that we have a problem and that will take an about-face from one side of our political system. The GOP has been stuck in the adversarial mode here for as long as I can remember. Eventually they will have to  say “I was wrong” and that is an extremely difficult thing for any politician to admit. They see admitting to error as a weakness whereas I, and hopefully many others, see it as a strength.  It means that you listen to the facts and adjust your beliefs based on them.

2016-03-24_12-13-23.pngIn short, we need an energy miracle.

When I say ‘miracle,’ I don’t mean something that’s impossible. I’ve seen miracles happen before. The personal computer. The Internet. The polio vaccine. None of them happened by chance. They are the result of research and development and the human capacity to innovate.

In this case, however, time is not on our side. Every day we are releasing more and more CO2 into our atmosphere and making our climate change problem even worse. We need a massive amount of research into thousands of new ideas—even ones that might sound a little crazy—if we want to get to zero emissions by the end of this century.

SOURCE:  Bill Gates: ‘we need an energy miracle’ to tackle climate change | The Verge.

I can’t think of anything in this world that has been stuck in the same mode as our energy use has. We have been dependent on fossil fuels for well over a century now and with our ever increasing demand for more energy we are in big trouble if we don’t have a paradigm shift in this area.  We need to quickly adapt a better energy source before it is too late.

Solar.jpgIt is encouraging to see that solar and wind power have been increasing so much in the recent years. During our annual treks across this great country I see more and more wind turbines on the landscape. But even till now they only meeting a small percentage of our needs. We need a paradigm shift to make that happen. One way to do that is to make fossil fuels pay for the costs it is doing to our world. Let’s put a $3 tax on every gallon of gas and use the money gained for more alternative energy research.

I was happy to see that President Obama recently announced a ten year challenge to beat cancer. I just hope that some future president will do the same for alternative energy but do it sooner in his/her administration.