Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alternative Realities and Conspiracy Theories!

Many folks on the Left bemoan the fact that some folks on the Right automatically dislike government programs, reject the findings of scientists, dismiss the reporting of the mainstream media and support the imposition of their moral values on society as a whole. "They just won't listen to reason," seems to be a common refrain on the Left. These attitudes have also manifested themselves in seemingly intractable positions on a host of issues:  Obamacare, welfare programs, climate change, environmental regulations, the teaching of evolution, the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing, who/what was really responsible for 9/11, stories about Russian interference in the last election, gay rights, same sex marriage and abortion (and you could probably think of a few more).

However, if we are truly desirous of understanding why some of the Right's attitudes on these issues seem so impermeable to facts, it is crucial to understand what underpins them. Let's consider each of the above named attitudes separately:

Automatic dislike of government programs...
This is easy to understand if you comprehend that many folks on the Right believe:
1. That the primary purpose of government is to defend the country.
2. That government tends to expand its scope at the expense of the public.
3. That government tends to be corrupt and incompetent.
4. That, because of the first three, the best government is the least government possible.

Reject the findings of scientists...
This is also easy to understand if you comprehend that many folks on the Right believe:
1. That many/most scientists are arrogant and devoid of common sense.
2. That many/most scientists have a Left-leaning intellectual bias.
3. That there are usually valid alternative explanations for some/many of the conclusions that scientists reach.
4. That, because of the first three, the findings of scientists should be regarded with extreme suspicion.

Dismiss the reporting of the mainstream media...
This too is easy to understand if you comprehend that many folks on the Right believe:
1. That many/most reporters are disrespectful of the people who are the focus of their reporting.
2. That many/most reporters are motivated to get the "scoop" at any cost.
3. That many/most reporters have a Left-leaning intellectual bias.
4. That, because of the first three, most of the reporting of these individuals should be dismissed or taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

Support the imposition of their moral values on society as a whole...
As before, this is easy to understand if you comprehend that many folks on the Right believe:
1. That this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values.
2. That God is the source of their moral values.
3. That the rejection of their moral values is evil and leads to societal decline or disintegration.
4. That, because of the first three, everyone should adhere to their standards.

Psychologists have also pointed out that the folks who tend to be more susceptible to the acceptance of conspiracy theories are most often the ones who tend to feel powerless. (see Here's Why People Believe In Conspiracy Theories at http://time.com/3997033/conspiracy-theories/)

Can we begin to see that this is NOT a lack of information problem? Instead of throwing more facts and information at folks, you may want to try appealing to their emotional self. After all, any information/facts that you present to them are going to be viewed with suspicion/skepticism from the get go! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's official: Trump is GUILTY!

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"
--Donald Trump Tweet at 5:35 AM - 4 Mar 2017

"Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!"
--Donald Trump Tweet at 5:49 AM - 4 Mar 2017

"I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!"
--Donald Trump Tweet at 5:52 AM - 4 Mar 2017

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"
--Donald Trump Tweet at 6:02 AM - 4 Mar 2017

"For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign."
--Former Director of National Intelligence on Meet the Press, 5 Mar 2017

"Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct 'wire tapping' against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."
--Statement by Britain's GCHQ on 17 Mar 2017

"The FBI and the Department of Justice have no information to support those tweets."
--FBI Director Comey in testimony before Congress on 20 Mar 2017

"No sir, and again, my view is the same as Director Comey, I've seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity, nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity."
--NSA Director Mike Rogers in testimony before Congress on 20 Mar 2017

You can read the entire transcript of Comey's and Rogers' testimony at this address:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/20/full-transcript-fbi-director-james-comey-testifies-on-russian-interference-in-2016-election/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.5e48aa13f219

In light of the fact that we read the following in the pages of the Bible:
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." --Exodus 20:16,
I think we are safe to conclude that Trump is guilty of breaking one of the Big Ten!

But don't hold your breath, I will be shocked if God or Obama ever hears an apology from this guy!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How quickly they forget!

In light of the fact that many Southern Baptists made a significant contribution to the election of Donald Trump, the following 1998 statement from that denomination seems a bit ironic:

"WHEREAS, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NAS); and

WHEREAS, Serious allegations continue to be made about moral and legal misconduct by certain public officials; and

WHEREAS, The Bible calls upon all citizens to submit themselves to their governing authorities as ministers of the Lord (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13); and

WHEREAS, Scripture further teaches, “Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:2); and

WHEREAS, Governing authorities are not themselves exempt from the rule of law and must submit to the nation’s statutes, rather than mocking them (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 19:28-29; 2 Samuel 12:7; Mark 6:17-18); and

WHEREAS, Some journalists report that many Americans are willing to excuse or overlook immoral or illegal conduct by unrepentant public officials so long as economic prosperity prevails; and

WHEREAS, Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30; Isaiah 5:18-25); and

WHEREAS, Many public officials and candidates deserve our gratitude and support for their consistent moral character and their uncompromising commitment to biblical principles of right and wrong, resulting in blessing upon their people.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 9-11, 1998, in Salt Lake City, Utah, affirm that moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God’s people, when choosing public leaders; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we implore our government leaders to live by the highest standards of morality both in their private actions and in their public duties, and thereby serve as models of moral excellence and character; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge all citizens, including those who serve in public office, to submit themselves respectfully to governing authorities and to the rule of law; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and other Christians to fulfill their spiritual duty to pray regularly for the leaders of our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-4); and

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character."

--Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials (Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998)
http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/773/resolution-on-moral-character-of-public-officials

**My thanks to the friend who brought this to my attention.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Run Over Those Damn Protesters!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the new laws being considered in Tennessee and North Dakota. The bills would protect folks who "accidentally" run over protesters who are blocking traffic.

According to reporting by Steven Nelson at www.usnews.com, "The bill offered by a pair of Republicans would apply only to instances in which drivers are 'exercising due care' when they strike someone 'participating in a protest or demonstration' that is 'blocking traffic in a public right-of-way.” A similar bill has been offered in North Dakota to address the oil pipeline protesters in that state. Nelson (same source) reported that the sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Keith Kempenich, explained:  "There’s a line between protesting and terrorism, and what we’re dealing with was terrorism out there,"

The thinking among supporters of this legislation seems to go something like this:  "In our country, protesters have been running all over wanting to denounce President Trump’s executive orders. In doing so they’re disrupting the flow of everyday life and blocking traffic..." -- http://www.usanewsflash.com/protester-run-bill-now-spreading-multiple-states-legal-ram-libs/ The same source goes on to say:  "Too many people are scared to get in their car and drive in a protester-filled area in order to get to their job place or get somewhere in time without being caught up in the chaos. It is only right that if someone wants to hurt them, that they should at least have a fair choice to return the favor in some manner." And concludes with:  "Share this article to spread the word that more and more states are getting tired of the protesters and want to do something about it. This bill is most likely to be accepted and turned into a law. Protesters will learn to control themselves, whether it is the easy or the hard way."

I hope that my Republican friends will explain to me how someone's right to unfettered access to the roadways trumps someone else's right to life? Doesn't our Declaration of Independence underscore "life" as one of our fundamental rights - one that we derive from Almighty God? What about free speech and the right to peaceably assemble (U.S. Constitution)? Don't those guarantees cover protesting?

I agree with the premise that we are forced to draw lines when the exercise of my rights start interfering with you exercising yours. But haven't we traditionally handled that through laws and courts? It is illegal to block roads and damage cars. What's wrong with arresting protesters who violate those laws? Haven't those who have participated in the tradition of civil disobedience always realized that arrest and imprisonment was part of the risk involved in engaging in that behavior? Didn't many of the Civil Rights protesters of the 60's spend time in jails? And, now, we're going to run over people because we don't want to hear what they have to say or allow them to inconvenience us in any way?

I don't know about you, but that sounds downright un-American to me! Before we go down this road (violence), perhaps Republicans and conservatives should remember that a good many Democrats and liberals own cars and have the ability to step on the gas pedal. Before we talk about another civil war, maybe conservatives should remember that there are a good many liberals who own guns and know how to use them! Do we really want to go there? And, just for the record, the last time we had a Civil War in this country - the liberals won!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What just happened?

The Logan Act:
"Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." (U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 45 › § 953 - https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/953)

Will Flynn be prosecuted?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Executive Orders Are OK Now!

Remember all of the Republican criticism of President Obama's executive orders? Apparently, the concerns about Executive Branch overreach have disappeared with the ascension of Donald Trump to the Oval Office. Trump just set a record for the number of executive orders issued by a president during his first week in office (see https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/01/28/president-trump-breaks-obamas-record-of-most-executive-actions/21701658/).

Republicans say that The Donald is merely undoing the damage which President Obama did by issuing his executive orders (see https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/republicans-trump-executive-orders/514547/). But isn't their acceptance of Trump's actions a tacit acceptance of the presidential prerogative to take such actions? And what about the fact that many of Trump's actions have gone beyond the ones issued by his predecessor? Isn't Trump doing the same thing that Obama did? Isn't he expressing his unwillingness to wait on congressional action on these matters? After all, isn't it reasonable to assume that a Republican controlled Congress is just as interested as their leader in rolling back the agenda of the previous Administration? Why not wait on them to take action?

Hmmmm, that sure does look like hypocrisy in action from the vantage point of the Teacher's Roost! It is an imperative to oppose the executive actions of a liberal Democrat, but it is OK for a "conservative" Republican to issue as many as he likes? What do you think?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Payback is hell!

In a recent interview with Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet The Press, Representative John Lewis of Georgia stirred up a big controversy when he said, "I don't see the President-elect as a legitimate president." -- http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-01-15-17-n707086 This drew a sharp rebuke from The Donald on Twitter. As with most bullies, it appears that Mr. Trump and some of his fellow Republicans (it should be pointed out that a good many Republicans rallied to defend Lewis) can dish it out, but they can't take it.

How quickly some of us forget! Mr. Trump was an active proponent of the birther nonsense throughout much of Obama's presidency. -- http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/09/politics/donald-trump-birther/ Even after the President produced his birth certificate (a birth announcement in a Honolulu paper from the period was already part of the public record) and conclusively demonstrated that he had been born in Hawaii (NOT Kenya), Mr. Trump claimed that it wasn't authentic - that it was a fraud. Indeed, Trump only finally acknowledged that the President had been born in this country shortly before his own election to the office!

Mr. Trump, however, was not alone it his attempts to delegitimize President Obama. Throughout his tenure in the White House other Republicans attempted to portray him as not being one of us. The narrative was that he didn't believe in American exceptionalism, and that he was himself a Muslim. Dick Cheney said, "Barack Obama doesn't believe in an exceptional America." -- http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/252551-cheney-obama-rejects-american-exceptionalism Former GOP Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois said, "I think Obama is Muslim." -- http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/312173-former-gop-rep-i-think-obama-is-muslim Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell famously made the decision early in Obama's presidency to oppose everything that he attempted to do, and just last year made the decision to completely ignore his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Scalia.

Now it appears that the chickens have come home to roost. As a consequence of Civil Rights icon John Lewis' statement about Trump's legitimacy, a growing number of Democrats and others have elected to boycott Trump's inauguration this week. I wonder if a few folks are beginning to regret their behavior over the past eight years - probably not! I'm sure that most of them think that we should all just settle down and do our "patriotic duty" to support this man as president. A message to my friends who support Mr. Trump is in order:  I wouldn't count on that happening!