Short Notes

Because we are all a bit too ADD for longer, in-depth articles. From Facebook posts – new ones will be at the top.


The Israel/Palestinian conflict in a nutshell (after doing my due diligence) and why it is still unresolved after 68 years of negotiations: Israel has been unwilling to give up real estate it has taken, and continues to take more – the Palestinians have been unwilling to give up their legitimacy and dignity as a people.

 

“As God lifts his hedge of protection around America, many are joining the ‘Appeal to Heaven’ movement to save America.” – article from Charisma magazine. What they are praying, in reality, is “Lord let us not reap what we have sown.”

 

On the one hand we admit God doesn’t show himself to the world in very obvious ways, and come up with reasons why God might want to keep himself hidden. On the other hand, we say that people must know that God exists in order for them to be saved. We can’t have it both ways.

 

Is Israel the parasite of the Middle East?
1) $3.4 Billion per year in resources plundered from the Palestinians.
2) $1.6 Billion per year in aid to the Palestinians ends up in Israeli coffers – 78% of the total aid given by the international community.
3) $3 Billion per year from the US, supposedly justified by Israel’s refusal to make peace with the Palestinians.
That’s $8 Billion per year, far more than the $2 Billion sent to the Palestinians who are considered the most aid dependent people on the planet.

 

Atheists get a bad rap from religious people.

 

If catholicity (universality) means agreement in doctrine, then the only way the Christian Church has ever approached being a catholic (universal) church is through coercion and violence. She has only approached being catholic because there never has been a consensus of the whole Body of Christ, except for at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15. The so-called 7 Ecumenical Councils (they were far from ecumenical or representative of the whole church) of the 4th through 8th Centuries did not establish the Doctrine of the Trinity. They did not establish orthodoxy in the Church. That was the work of a violent Emperor Constantine who at the threat of exiling bishops who didn’t tow the party line that he approved coerced the results at the 1st Council at Nicaea, and the work of the violent 4th and 5th century churchmen where political maneuvers by a handful of powerful characters shaped Christian doctrine. Were it not for these battles which included civil wars, today’s church could be teaching something very different about the nature of Jesus, such as what the church taught in the first century before it invented this doctrine, and the papacy as we know it, which solidified the Doctrine of the Trinity through coercion, would never have come into existence. Trinitarianism becoming the orthodox doctrine was not the work of God. That is a romantic idea that contradicts history. It was an accident of history: one faction of Roman emperors and militia-wielding bishops violently defeating another. It’s time to admit it.

 

90% of theology is asking the right questions. The right question with the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t “Can we find it in the bible?,” or, “Can we see it in the bible?” EVERYBODY can see their doctrines in the bible. Have you ever talked to a Calvinist or an Adventist? Good grief. The right questions regarding the doctrine of the Trinity are, “Were Jesus and his apostles Trinitarians? Who were the first Trinitarians? If Jesus and his apostles weren’t Trinitarians, then what were they? Wouldn’t adopting their beliefs be at least “safer” than adopting the beliefs of later councils, if not being more authentic to the Christian faith as understood by its founders?”

 

A few Christians will admit the earliest church, including Jesus and the apostles, were not Trinitarians. If they were not Trinitarians, then what were they? Since Jesus and his apostles were Jews, they were Monotheists, and therefor Unitarians. Monotheists are Unitarians, by definition. Most Trinitarians today, however, insist they are also Monotheists, and deny that they are Polytheists. This leads to the question of when in the development of Christian theology it was considered viable to be both Trinitarian and Monotheistic. Hint, the first use of the number 3, or its adjective form tri, to describe the nature of God, was with Tertullian, in 200 AD, long after the apostles died. The apostles, for their part, had all been Jewish Monotheists, and then became Christian Unitarians.

 

Can anyone dispute this?

. . . The modern doctrine of the Trinity is not found in any
document or relic belonging to the Church of the first three
centuries. Letters, art, usage, theology, worship, creed, hymn,
chant, doxology, ascription, commemorative rite, and festive
observance, so far as any remains or any record of them are
preserved, coming down from early times, are, as regards this
doctrine, an absolute blank. They testify, so far as they testify
at all, to the supremacy of the Father, the only true God; and
to the inferior and derived nature of the Son. There is nowhere
among these remains a co-equal Trinity. The cross is there;
Christ is there as the Good Shepherd, the Father’s hand
placing a crown, or victor’s wreath, on his head; but no undivided
Three, — co-equal, infinite, self-existent, and eternal.
This was a conception to which the age had not arrived. It was
of later origin.” – The Church of the First Three Centuries by Alvan Lamson.

 

And yet we still send $3 Billion/year in “aid” to Israel. Does anyone doubt Congress is owned by big spending lobbyists like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)? If it’s unconstitutional for a president to not be a natural born citizen because he might use the military for the benefit of his original country to the detriment of America, shouldn’t it be illegal for foreign countries to lobby Congress? We need a Congressman to run a bill to this effect. Do you know of any? Either that or we need someone to challenge the constitutionality of foreign lobbyists.

 

The Parable of the Ten Minas is not a prophecy about how Jesus is going to slaughter his enemies. The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man teaches nothing about suffering in Hell. It is not a Baedeker’s Guide to the Underworld. It was actually a popular Jewish fable, and understood by Jesus’ audience as such. The Parable of the Ten Virgins is not a prescription for how many bridesmaids you should have at your wedding nor does it say anything about being “Spirit filled.” Just because olive oil symbolizes something in Old Testament prophecy doesn’t mean lamp oil symbolizes anything in a New Testament parable. A parable is a story to answer a question and to make a point. To understand a parable just look at the question being answered and the point being made. Everything else is just details to make a story. Don’t build your theology on it.

 

The Democratic and Republican parties are private parties? Think again. In 2012 TAXPAYERS spent over $400 Million to administer party elections. Want to put a dent in the power of the parties? Pass an initiative that the parties have to pay for their own elections.

 

People blame the rise of ISIS on Obama pulling troops from Iraq. Like the unicorn, that’s a myth. The blame lies squarely on Pres. Bush for toppling Saddam Hussein. Nice to hear this from top military brass.

 

Many Protestants see the historic Christian creeds as what defines orthodoxy (right belief) and give us “good boundaries” for our faith. The only way creeds, such as the Nicene Creed defining the doctrine of the Trinity, can be “good boundaries” is if they are inerrant, putting them at the same level of inerrancy as the scriptures. Once you admit the early church councils were not infallible then you open up the creeds to scrutiny, and possible rejection. Not only do they then fail to be “good boundaries” but they don’t serve as a boundary at all. For proponents of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Only) – a bedrock of Evangelical thinking – use of creeds to define orthodoxy should be rejected. It’s better to think of them as “informative” and “instructive”, but not as a litmus test for what is to be considered the orthodox Christian faith. A few churches, like our local Pasco First Christian Church, get this, and so are non-creedal.

 

You who criticize Replacement Theology for spawning anti-Semitism have your own Replacement Theology: Jews are supposed to replace Palestinians in Palestine. That is anti-Semitism on steroids. FYI, Palestinians are Semites. Please note: I am not a proponent of Replacement Theology which says Christians replace Isrealites in the promises of God in the Old Testament. I believe Gentiles have been added to, but don’t replace Israelites in the New Covenant. Us Gentiles have been grafted into a tree which still stands.

 

You are voting to support this if you are voting for a candidate who wants to maintain the status quo regarding aid to Israel.

 

It’s going to take a lot of courage to stand up to the Israel lobby, and I applaud Bernie because I think he’s got it. If Netanyahu hears this you can bet millions will be heading to Hilary’s campaign. For those who have been keeping up on what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians, can you imagine how their intentions will be stymied if we embark on a rebuilding program? Can you imagine how much more the plight of Palestinians will be in the American press, and given much needed credibility?

 

Did Trump ever recant his plan to kill the wives and children of terrorists or is he still planning on being the Terrorist-in-Chief?

 

“Choosing to spend our tax money on building our nation instead of endless war is not magical thinking. Magical thinking is when you believe bombing strangers makes you safe.” – Bernie Sanders. Bernie gets it.

 

I’ve been to Republican Party caucuses and conventions a few times. Recently I went to our Democrat Party caucus, for the first time in my life. I met some people who were (and looked) Muslim. From a country we destroyed. Nobody there was afraid of them. Everybody was afraid of Trump.

 

It costs us $158 Billion per year to maintain 600 military bases in 80 countries (give or take, depending on what you want to consider a base). That’s more than the federal government spends on education and health care – combined. Meanwhile, everyone’s afraid of China, which has only one overseas base which isn’t even built yet, to combat piracy, and Russia, which has bases in only two countries that are not former Soviet bloc countries. Only one other country spends more on their whole military than we spend just to maintain bases overseas.

 

A 20% reduction in military spending can pay for a 100% increase in health and education spending. We would still lead the world in military spending – spending more than the next 6 nations – combined! (China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, United Kingdom, & Germany). Please don’t tell me we can’t afford free college and a single payer health care system to replace Obamacare.

 

Someone please inform Trump, his supporters, and the labor unions. The US exports more to Canada than any other country. We export less to Mexico even though it has 3.5 times more people than Canada. If Mexico had the same standard of living as Canada, we would export 3.5 times more to Mexico. That would be good for US workers, especially Washington State workers since our state exports more per capita than any other state (Boeing, Microsoft, agriculture, timber, etc.). The US can raise the Mexican standard of living by hiring them to work and by buying their products. Our exports go to developed countries, not impoverished ones. We don’t fly jumbo jet loads of cherries to Somalia, when fly them to Japan. Jobs going to Mexico will come back and bless us.

 

Libertarians inject some sanity into the marriage debate, come up with a win/win solution, and the Southern Baptists run with it, trying to eliminate their need to use the state’s coercive powers. It’s a good day in America.

 

One of the contributing factors to the violence in Brussels is something we do whenever we fill up our gas tanks. Some of that money goes to support the Saudi Royal Family in their efforts to spread their particular brand of Wahabbi Islam around the world. In Brussels’ Molenbeek neighborhood in the 1970s, Saudi Arabia sent funding for rigid religious schools, setting up tension between Wahabbi mosques and the more moderate and largely Moroccan tradition. Today the neighborhood has more than a dozen mosques. In some cases, Saudi influenced hardline Muslims took over the boards of existing mosques allowing for a less tolerant viewpoint to flourish and take root among the youth with high unemployment rates which were ripe for radicalization, something that apparently hasn’t gone unnoticed by ISIS recruiters. Molenbeek “alumni” have been involved in many terrorist attacks over the years. Our nation needs to ween itself off Mid East oil to cut down on this flow of funds but so far none of our candidates have made this a campaign platform. I call this addiction to cheap oil Resource Idolatry.

 

No responsible parent fails to investigate what his kid with the black eye did to incite the violence. Why are Americans so afraid of discovering what our country, or Belgium, has been doing in the Middle East?

 

Cruz just said “ISIS’ stated position is to infiltrate the Syrian refugees to do us harm.” Cruz is playing right into their hands because if they actually said that then in reality their goal is for the US to refuse Muslim refugees in order to have more propaganda for their recruiting efforts. ISIS knows that if they implant a terrorist among Syrian refugees he has less than a 1% chance of being chosen by the UNHCR to go to the US. That ISIS infiltrator has a far better chance of being chosen to go to another Muslim country like Pakistan and Turkey which take in the lion’s share of Muslim refugees. Cruz is dead wrong for his continued attacks on the Syrian refugee program.

 

Germany proves Libertarians, Conservatives, and Liberals are all missing the mark when it comes to energy independence. After reading this article I get the distinct impression the US is a follower, not a leader, when it comes to becoming energy independent, which will lead to being able to say to the Saudi Royal Family, “Thanks for the oil. It was great while we needed it. Sorry we won’t be helping to fund your world-wide expansion of Wahhabi Islam.”

 

Alright, Trump supporters, please answer this question: You believe Trump will be able to “fight the establishment” and the corruption that goes with it, because his campaign isn’t financed by the establishment (unlike Hilary, Cruz, & Kasich), but what makes you think he won’t use the office to make himself more money, like so many politicians have done? See Dick Cheney for a recent example, making a ton off invading Iraq. Why not go with the one who has a proven record of NOT using his office for his own personal gain, such as Bernie Sanders? Wouldn’t Sanders be a better bet for fighting the establishment? Doesn’t Trump have a history of using government for his own personal gain? Has he ever done anything of note to help people in need, other than employ them? Can you think of one time in his career when he used power and money to accomplish goals we see in the Bible he says is his favorite book? I’m talking about godly goals, not getting a city to steal an old lady’s house to make room for limo parking.

 

“Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow.”
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
“Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint, anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law: judgment, mercy, and faith.”
“The truly good are those who…give away some of their wealth, however much they cherish it, to their relatives, to orphans, the needy, travelers and beggars, and to liberate those in bondage.”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

 

“Christians, needless to say, utterly detest one another; they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching. Each sect brands its own, fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense.” – Celsus, 91 AD.

 

Since we can’t get rid of political parties due to our Constitutional rights of association, I prefer to limit the powers of the parties, especially in our state legislatures. Legislators are elected to represent their constituents, not be sent to capitals to be told how to vote by the parties. In Olympia, for example, the party caucuses should not be the ones determining whether a legislator gets to sit on a committee. Threats to pull a legislator off his committees is a tool the parties use to manipulate the votes at the expense of the electorate.

 

To Trump supporters claiming a Christian world view, does “turn the other cheek” enter into your ideology when Trump says to fight back against protesters getting in the way of your 1st Amendment rights of free speech at your rallies? Would you or the local authorities have any reason to shut down your rally if you just ignored the protesters instead of fighting back? What did Jesus do when rabble-rousers got in his way?

 

The Republican Party has lost me. One of our two local Syrian refugees here in the Tri-Cities has lost over 40 relatives in the civil war, including cousins and his grandmother who was shot by a government soldier. Four of his sisters are refugees in Jordan. Two sisters, his brother, and parents are still in Syria. Their house, and the whole street they lived on in Daraa, destroyed. He was far away when the fighting broke out and was unable to return to help. He hopes they can be reunited with him in the safety of the USA. Politicians taking opportunity to score points with constituents, espousing safety concerns from a non-existent threat of infiltration by radical Muslims, have betrayed our Christian values and called for either temporary or permanent moratorium on Syrian refugees, including more than half of our governors, all Republicans except for one Democrat. President Obama has said shutting the door to the refugees would betray the country’s values. Our state’s governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, for his part, wrote in the New York Times “the American character is being tested” He’s always seen the U.S. as a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution and other horrors. This is the message of Christ we don’t hear from Republicans but are hearing from Democrats. This is one reason some of us life-long Republicans will be voting Democrat this time around. The party has cured us of party loyalism. We hope that the movement that is gathering around Trump will sweep the Republicans out of office. A resounding defeat might be the only thing to get them to consider what they have become, though losing the White House to Obama due to losing the Latino vote hasn’t seemed to sunk in yet.

 

Concerning Muslim hatred of the United States, Trump just said we need to figure out why. Here’s why:
TOP 12 REASONS MUSLIMS HATE AMERICA:
1. We ignore basic human rights such as “innocent until proven guilty” and kill non-combatants with our Air Force drone program, quite often more innocent civilians than terrorists, yet we complain about terrorists targeting civilians.
2. We support tyranny in the Muslim world like we have done for the past 50 years of installing despots who don’t care about the people. Saddam Hussein being one of many we have installed.

3. We have a military presence on the Arabian peninsula, especially in Saudi Arabia which hosts two of Islams most holy sites.
4. We support Israel as they continue to treat the Palestinians as animals.
5. We support Israel as they continue to steal land from the Palestinians through illegal settlements.
6. We get oil from the Mid East at prices way below market value instead of paying more which would benefit their people.
7. We choose sides in sectarian civil wars, and have been on a side that’s against just about every Muslim in the Middle East.
8. We ignore international law, making ourselves above the law we hold other countries to.
9. We punish Muslim people through sanctions for what their leaders are doing.
10. We invade Muslim countries.
11. We treat refugees with indifference to their plight.
12. We keep validating the Muslim narrative that the West is out to get Islam.
Stop doing the above and I guarantee a different attitude about America not only from Muslims but pretty much the whole world. If Trump wants to Make America Great Again it won’t happen as long as he supports the above, and at this point he does. We can not be a great nation as long as we continue with the same foreign policy since we invaded Iran in 1953 and deposed one of the few leaders of a Muslim country that actually cared about the people.

 

Our politicians should listen to former radical Muslims instead of just giving people what they want to hear. This former radical says (paraphrasing): 1) For those radicalized it’s too late to do anything about them, 2) Military force is not a deterrent to radicals – they want to die for Allah (this puts to rest the idea that the thing they understand is force), 3) Military force is counterproductive, creating more radicals than we kill, 4) We’ve spent trillions on containing radical Islam with our military and the results have been disastrous, 5) “Reformation and education are vital components for a long term solution of Islamic radicalism.”

 

To Trump supporters worried about jobs going to other countries: have you considered that raising the standard of living in Mexico and China will enable them to replace their cheap stuff with quality products from the US, providing more jobs for Americans? It will all come back to you in an open world market. Have you considered Carrier moving to Mexico will provide a solution to the poverty that causes Mexicans to come north, legally, and overstay their visas (the most common way the 11 million illegals got here)?

 

If Trump gets elected is he going to pick his cabinet on a reality show?

 

54 Lone Wolves doing “mass murders.” 27 times more than Muslim terrorists. All single people should be required to get married before entering the US. Right? Oh wait, 68 domestic disputes. Never mind.

 

Like I’ve said before, I haven’t left the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. “Compassionate Conservatives” are now branded as “weak on immigration” and don’t get better than single digits in the polls.

 

The most pro-Israel thing any of our candidates could do is oppose the Netanyahu regime by pulling foreign aid, supporting the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and keeping Israel out of the Olympics and World Cup. We did similar to S. Africa, and South Africans are better for it.

 

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters: “If you actually had a democracy within the State of Israel – if there was such a thing within the Green Line, within the ’67 borders, within the whatever – if you reinstate all those houses you’ve demolished in East Jerusalem, and let the people who were living there before you threw them out come back; and if it was a democracy, and if you weren’t occupying all this other land, and so on and so forth, and if you weren’t trying to reduce the numbers of the other indigenous people who are not Jewish people in the area – if all those things pertained, well, I would absolutely applaud you and your state.”

 

The survey ‘lays bare an image of Israeli society, and the picture is a very, very sick one’, wrote Gideon Levy in Haaretz in a piece to accompany the poll. ‘Now it is not just critics at home and abroad, but Israelis themselves who are openly, shamelessly, and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists.'”

 

Israel dropped 800 tons of bombs on Gaza and the world didn’t blink an eye. This was in response to about 800 glorified bottle rockets that generally land in empty fields. The UN and International Law consider this to be a “disproportionate response,” which is a War Crime. Year after year the UN by an overwhelming majority of Member Nations has condemned Israel’s response to the Palestinians. Others call it what it is: terrorism. Terrorism funded by US tax dollars.

 

I found this article interesting since my parents were John Birchers in the 70’s and I’m still trying to figure out what they were all about. I also visited Francis Schaeffer’s mission in Switzerland in ’80 hoping to get a job there. As it turned out I dropped out of politics, and much of society, in the 80’s to devote myself to theology studies so missed much of this movement. Frank Schaeffer brings to light where the far right got off track and why Trump is the modern expression of what he saw happening way back then.

 

Trump is right about one thing: Bush’s invasion of Iraq was a complete disaster. I’ll give The Donald points for being brave enough to say it though I wished he’d back it up with facts. Here are the facts: The core al-Qaeda membership in 2002 was 170. In 2006, while we had the most troops in Iraq, al-Qaeda had several thousand commanders embedded in 40 different countries, and Iraq was in complete chaos and anarchy after we toppled Saddam Hussein, creating the conditions for radical terrorism to grow exponentially. Today the number of ISIS fighters (what used to be al-Qaeda in Iraq) roaming the countryside chopping heads off numbers in the tens of thousands. It is complete myth to say George Bush’s actions have made us a safer country. They did exactly the opposite and I’m glad at least one Republican candidate besides Rand Paul is saying it. Kudos to Bernie Sanders for bringing this up as well.

 

“Marco Rubio already has a supporter in billionaire Norman Braman. He is Rubio’s largest campaign donor with an estimated $10-25 million. Braman is staunchly pro-Israel, funding an Israeli settlement in Occupied Palestine. Settlements are illegal under international law and are in contradiction to U.S. foreign policy in the region. If you listen to Rubio’s rhetoric on Israel, he’s religiously on board with Israel’s insanity.” – www.addictinginfo.org

 

Lots of talk tonight about the “immigration problem.” I gotta ask, what’s the problem? Is it that 11 million illegals are illegal? Then make them legal. Problem solved. Is it that 11 million have to work under the table to make ends meet? Make it legal for them to work. Problem solved. Is it that they drain our social services? Let them work legally so they have to pay the taxes that support those social services. Problem solved. Is it that they might take jobs from Americans? Farmers and builders can’t find enough workers. That’s why they hire Mexicans. The building industry has been lobbying for more legal pathways for Mexicans so we can get stuff built. IOW, there in no problem. Is the problem that Mexicans are ruining our society? If you think that, the problem isn’t the Mexicans, but your racism. Stop being racist and problem solved. Does building a better wall solve any problems? No, because over half of undocumented aliens fly here or drive through border stations with tourist, student, or worker visas and then overstay their visas. A totally impervious border will only slow down illegal immigration by less than 50%. No problem solved. C’mon candidates, stop lying to us about a wall.

 

Cruz wants to arm the Kurds to wipe out ISIS and then topple Assad. What an unbelievable disaster and humanitarian crisis that would cause. Talk about unintended consequences. That’s a recipe for total anarchy worse than the one that caused al-Qaeda in Iraq to grow exponentially even while we had 170,000 troops there. Worst possible “solution” I’ve heard from anybody and why he should not be Commander-in-Chief.

 

Was oil the real reason we invaded Iraq, or was it WMD’s, or humanitarian concerns? I was hoping for humanitarian concerns at the time but I was naive. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in 2007:

“People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.”

 

So far the Republicans have proposed only what will make our nation less safe. This bit of wisdom from a counter-extremism think tank in London whose Senior Researcher was a radical Muslim activist: “Senator Cruz argued that ‘to defeat radical Islamic terrorism… [we must] devote the resources from the booming economy to rebuilding our Navy, rebuilding our Air Force, rebuilding our Army.’ Let’s not forget that American military might will not single-handedly defeat an ideology. We also know that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was particularly beneficial for Islamist organisations to garner new recruits, as it feeds into the narrative of a war against Islam.”

 

Cruz said tonight was a victory for the grassroots. I’m sure Sanders’ people appreciated the approval.

 

Rubio’s best line in the last debate was, “Sanders would make a great president – for Sweden. We don’t want to be Sweden, we want to be America.” Well, I don’t know about you, but if people are saying the Swedes, or Norwegians, are doing something better than us maybe we could learn from them. I don’t understand the hubris that says we do everything better than anyone else, and we have nothing to learn from anyone else. Or is that now the new definition of “patriotism”?

 

I think we should split the presidency between a president who deals with domestic issues, and a prime minister who deals with foreign policy. Since we are the only world power and what we do makes a difference in the whole world then the whole world should get to vote on our PM so they get someone who respects their rights as individuals.

 

Reagan used to say, “I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the party left me.” I’m feeling the same way about the Republican party.

 

I got a kick out of Turkey prez. Erdogan saying his country has done more than any others to combat ISIS when his son and son-in-law are making millions transporting ISIS oil through Turkey.

 

Central Oregon “patriots,” and defenders of the Constitution and their supporters like our local Congressional hopeful Clint Didier, sure are selective about which part of the Constitution they want to follow. If they don’t agree that the federal government has the right to establish bird sanctuaries the constitution says how to deal with it – it’s up to the courts to determine what’s constitutional, not a gun toting mob.

 

Good questions from a previous Republican and Libertarian candidate for president, Ron Paul: “The big question is: Is Donald Trump actually anti-establishment or is he MORE LIKELY TO SAVE THE CURRENT SYSTEM than to challenge it? If our current crisis that concerns so many is the consequence of a deeply flawed economic system, manipulated by the Federal Reserve, a foreign policy of occupation and pre-emptive war, and a systematic attack on our civil liberties here at home, how will Trump be helpful in finding a solution? Is Donald Trump arguing for any significant change in policy or is he just advocating a different management style? What policy does he actually propose that the current bi-partisan leadership doesn’t support?

 

Miss Colombia was gracious. A class act. I’m sure all of Colombia is extremely proud of her, and rightly so. Meanwhile, someone takes this opportunity to tell us how great he is. Again.

 

I find all the rhetoric about keeping our nation safe from the practically non-existent terrorist threat from Syrian refugees to be a good example of an ancient saying that Mark Rosen just made up: “Perfect fear casts out all love.” Meanwhile, these awesome Muslim ladies demonstrate what “perfect love casts out all fear” is all about. Even more ironic than that is the Muslim theology that says these Christian ladies receive mercy from Allah on the bus but will suffer in hell forever at the hands of the All Merciful who will be put off by their “rejecting” their prophet, and the Evangelical theology that says these Muslim ladies will suffer in hell forever because they have inaccurate theology regarding Jesus. I’m not buying it. I think Jesus will be more impressed with their love than put off by their theology, and doesn’t give a rat’s behind about his own sacrifice on the cross and someone’s “faith in Christ” if it doesn’t lead to love for neighbors. The “imputation of righteousness” comes with strings attached, IOW.

 

Given that 7% of Christians in Nigeria have a favorable view of ISIS, which is a higher percentage than the Muslims in the Muslim countries of Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and Indonesia, and also given that Christian rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army have been conducting a civil war in the north of Uganda, and their goal is a Christian theocracy whose laws are based on the Ten Commandments, and who have abducted, enslaved and/or raped about 2,000 children a year, and using the logic of the far right, I propose we ban all Christian refugees from Syria. Someone please notify Trump. He will certainly provide much needed leadership on this, while everyone else is “weak on immigration.”

 

“The Muslims are coming to get us. They have been trying to conquer the world for centuries. They’re determined to establish a worldwide caliphate, where everyone will be forced to convert to Islam. They want to replace America’s common-law legal system with Sharia law. The Koran mandates that Muslims kill Christians, Jews, and other infidels and, therefore, we have no choice but to kill them before they kill us.” – What a crock. Funny nobody was worried about this when our government was going about setting up Muslim governments and funding radical Muslims during the 45 years of the Cold War.

 

Top 12 Ways to Guarantee Another Terrorist Attack:

1. Continue killing civilians with our Air Force drone program.
2. Keep supporting tyranny in the Muslim world like we have done for the past 50 years.
3. Continue our military presence on the Arabian peninsula, especially in Saudi Arabia which hosts two of Islams most holy sites.
4. Continue to support Israel as they continue to treat the Palestinians as animals.
5. Continue to support Israel as they continue to steal land from the Palestinians.
6. Continue to get oil from the Mid East at prices way below market value.
7. Continue to choose sides in sectarian civil wars.
8. Keep ignoring international law.
9. Keep punishing Muslim people through sanctions for what their leaders are doing.
10. Keep invading Muslim countries.
11. Keep treating refugees with indifference to their plight.
12. Keep validating the Muslim narrative that the West is out to get Islam.

 

Trump admitted today he has no idea why anyone would fly planes into our skyscrapers. Why not listen to the guy responsible for it – Osama bin-Laden?:

“Free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom. If so, then let him explain to us why we don’t strike Sweden, for example.”

“We reserve the right to retaliate… against all countries that take part in this unjust war, namely Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy.” (parties to the invasion of Iraq)

“Their rejection of Hamas (in the Palestinian Occupied Territories) after it had won the election… confirms that there is a Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims.”

“Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty… If I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty.”

“I present a reconciliation initiative… whose essence is our commitment to stop operations against all (European) countries if they promise not to be aggressive towards Muslims or interfere in their affairs.”

 

Trump on CNN just said he has no idea why anyone would fly an airplane into a skyscraper, and we must figure out why. Mr. Trump, we already know why, but you are an ignorant person with no knowledge of history. You’re still not ready for the prime time Bro.

 

This is a no-brainer. We need to wean ourselves off of Arab oil. We need more electricity. Smaller, factory built nuclear power plants shipped to site are safe and could be more economical. The Navy has been doing it successfully for decades. We need to do this for civilian use.

 

“We have two bases abroad. US bases on the other hand are all over the world, and you are telling me that I am the aggressor? Have you no common sense?” – Vladimir Putin to a BBC journalist.

 

Don’t tell Trump, but Jewish Extremists committed more acts of terrorism than Muslims in the US, and Latinos committed seven times more than Muslims. You’re more likely to die from brain-eating parasites, alcoholism, obesity, medical errors, risky sexual behavior or just about anything other than terrorism. Islamic terrorism doesn’t even count for 1 percent of the 180,000 murders in the US since 9/11.

 

Trump as president – an ISIS recruiter’s dream come true.

 

How about a church in the Tri-Cities for those who are Done With Church? Yes, I’m being serious. Of course it would have to be quite a bit different than what’s out there now, lest we all chase each other out the door.

 

Please tell me the pro-life community is abandoning the Trump who wants to kill the families of ISIS fighters.

 

Those of us who ascribe to a religion prefer to not consider the whackos as being legit members of our faith, so I’m not going to be oxymoronic and call the abortion clinic shooter a “Christian terrorist”. I give the Muslims the same liberty I give myself so don’t call ISIS “Muslim terrorists” or if I do it’s in a conversation where it’s clear I don’t consider them to be legitimately Muslim, according to the standards of the vast majority of Muslims. That’s not political correctness, that’s love your neighbor as yourself.

 

Some of my friends get depressed about radical Islam and say there’s no hope and nothing we can do about it. I think there is: 1) Those of us outside Islam need to stop spreading lies, hatred, fear, false narratives, etc., We need to be people of integrity. We need to shut up if we don’t know what we are talking about. 2) After getting ourselves out of ignorance we need to respond, both individually and nationally, with love, grace, courage, and forgiveness. We need to be honest with ourselves and realize when we lack love and why. 3) We as a nation need to stop doing things to Arabs that make them want to retaliate and kill us. Is that asking for too much? We need to understand what motivates our foreign policy and discover it isn’t about national defense or helping anyone but ourselves. 4) We need to go further than just stopping the evil we do as a nation. We need to take these simple words of Jesus and make them part of our national policy: “Love Your Enemy – Bless Those Who Curse You – Overcome Evil With Good”. That includes our considerable military assets that are being squandered on exporting death and darkness to the Middle East, killing more Arabs than the terrorists are killing, when they could actually be used to help people. 5) We need to learn about efforts by Islam to reform itself and support those who are doing it. – which might be your local Imam. The best hope for Islam is going to come from within, not from what we do. That said, we need to stop supporting the Islamophobe industry, those who find it financially lucrative or politically expedient to spread ignorance, fear, and hatred, like Franklin Graham, Jay Sekulow, Brigitte Gabriel, Robert Spencer, Fox News, Pamela Geller, half of our Republican candidates for pres., etc. Stop being their enablers by buying their stuff and spreading their fear, hatred, and ignorance.

 

If you come on my wall spewing hatred for Muslims I hope at the end of the day you realize there are other reasons for terrorists than a desire for 72 virgins, and you might be a part of the problem.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to read this: “Cruz, who has been gaining some ground in recent polls, also said the United States should not have supported the overthrow of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, or even former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.” Ruthless dictators are the best, most efficient, most cost-effective method to control radical terrorist groups, and they don’t have the side effect of making more people mad at the US and contributing to the radicalization of Arabs against the West.

 

Peaceful American born Muslims don’t get radicalized by having the Quran quoted to them. They get radicalized by learning history. Our history of intervention in the region – French and British colonialism since the mid 1800’s and US meddling and invasions since the 50’s – supports a narrative that says the West is out to subjugate Muslim lands. We need to stop giving credence to that narrative by stopping our subjugation of Muslims lands. Simple enough? We need to change the narrative by changing our approach to the Middle East, starting with our support for Israeli human rights abuses and subjugation of Palestinian lands, and working out from there.

 

This is some sick, twisted thinking when (Michele Bachmann) rejoices at the evil calamity just because you think God would do that with his “strong arm”, then say it’s not God’s choice to do the evil that you are rejoicing over. Apparently she doesn’t believe God has control over his own arms. Aside from such doubletalk, a big problem with her theology is she thinks that when Jesus and his disciples, in order to encourage their followers to godly living, said, “Jesus is coming soon” but they really meant he was coming in 2000 years. Either they were mistaken – blowing holes in the idea of biblical inerrancy – or they were lying. A more sound approach would be to take Jesus and his disciples at their word and figure out HOW he returned in their time. Jesus and his disciples said Jesus would return soon and they meant exactly that, not 2000 years later.

 

I ran across an ancient sage who was a foreign policy genius. He had this program called Bless Those Who Curse You – Overcome Evil With Good. His name was Jesus of Nazareth. I think we should try this. It might work better than bombs.

 

Kudos to Kasich for having the guts to point out how Hitler also used majority white racism to get elected.

 

This will be one of the items on an upcoming blog post titled Top Ten Ways to Guarantee More Terrorist Attacks – one being our US Air Force drone program. From this article: “We kill four and create ten.” “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.” This isn’t rocket science, this is basic human nature we are all aware of. The moral and constitutional issues being raised here are many. A few days ago I posted an article that said our drones were killing more civilians in Yemen than ISIS was killing. If any of this is even remotely true we need to shut down our drone program, not shut down the bank accounts of the men telling us about it.

 

This morning President Obama assured us that we are going after ISIS “wherever they may be hiding.” This is part of the problem and one reason we are no safer today than before 9/11. We heard the same words from President Bush shortly after 9/11, that we would find them wherever they are hiding and destroy them.

Since 9/11, the number of radical Muslim terrorists has increased many-fold.

Documents captured in the raid on the bin Laden compound in 2011 show that the core al-Qaeda membership in 2002 was 170. In 2006, it was estimated that al-Qaeda had several thousand commanders embedded in 40 different countries. Today the number of ISIS fighters (what used to be al-Qaeda in Iraq) roaming the countryside chopping heads off numbers in the tens of thousands.

Do you see a progression here?

The problem is ISIS doesn’t hide in caves. They “hide” in populated cities. To destroy them wherever they hide means dropping bombs in cities and causing death to innocent civilians. Today we are using drones in Yemen to “root out” ISIS but we have killed more innocent civilians in Yemen than ISIS has killed.

Do you think there might be a connection between killing innocent civilians and the INCREASE of the number of terrorists that we have seen since 9/11?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that our reaction to terrorism has been a recruiting boom for the terrorists. We are doing exactly what they want us to do.

President Obama’s speech just assured me we will see more attacks against us, not less.

When will we get a president wise enough to stop the cycle of violence? We certainly won’t if any of the front-runners get elected.

 

“According to the UN, drone strikes in Yemen have killed more civilians than Al-Qaeda, making the U.S. the number 1 threat to the Yemeni population ahead of the terrorist group we’re trying to destroy.” – usuncut.com

 

“I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi. The policy of bringing these individuals into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous.” – Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. The CATO Institute (Conservative think tank in DC), makes a case that it will actually make us safer

 

750,000 refugees from Muslim countries since 9/11. Not one single terrorist attack from any of them. Yet we worry about bringing in another 10,000 from Syria. NOT-ONE-SINGLE-TERRORIST-ATTACK from 750,000 in 14 years.

 

Army top brass admitting the truth that escapes all of the candidates – from both parties (if you know of an exception, please tell me who):

“Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn says the drone war is creating more terrorists than it’s killing (and that the United States invasion of Iraq created ISIS in the first place). Previously, the National Intelligence Estimate confirmed the Iraq War created more terrorists than it killed. Just as we are provoked by their violence, they are provoked by ours…It’s a hard reality to face — the fact that America’s actions and foreign policy help create the anger and devastation that can lead to terrorism. But if we really want to fight terrorism, we must re-examine our own actions.”

 

Any military action in Syria (and Iraq) should have this one goal, and it’s not to “bomb the hell out of them” or otherwise try to kill them all off. It should be to criss-cross the country with “no-walk zones” to keep ISIS from moving men and supplies from city to city. At some point they will crumble under their own weight. This takes the battle out to the desert where we don’t risk collateral damage and alienating the people we are trying to help, the thing that has fueled radical Islam in Iraq and actually made America less safe than before our invasion. This takes boots on the ground, but it doesn’t have to be our boots on the ground. There are plenty of nations with a vested interest in Syria. It doesn’t need to be us, but our political leaders need to be willing to advance a master plan that gets past the fear-mongering and calls for retaliation we see from Trump, Cruz, Hollande, and many others.

 

Not letting Syrians in our country is going to make us safer? Seriously? That would only be true if that were the ONLY way ISIS could infiltrate our ranks. Close the Syrian refugee door and there are still 100 other ways to get in. The 9/11 bombers came here on student visas and learned to fly planes. Are we going to eliminate student visas as well? All of this because one of the Paris terrorists came in as a Syrian refugee? Like ISIS really needed that one dude to pull it all off? We have tens of thousands of Muslim refugees in our country. Only 2 have ever had any connection to radical Islam. Do these governors really think they are making their states safer or are they just tapping into the fear to make themselves look good? Helping people in need has never been without risk. Jesus said following him (i.e. – love your neighbor) means to pick up our cross and die daily. That was a statement looking forward to the persecution they would get for following him. Our nation has become a bunch of wimps. We are so concerned about eliminating any possible risk that we are about as goofy as this OSHA approved cowboy.

 

A pastor friend of mine posted this: “France pulls up their big boy pants and actually takes a stand and gets involved in a major conflict in this generation… The US stays passive as a basset hound on a country porch in the noonday sun… ” This reminds me of shortly after 9/11 when we were boycotting all things French – French wine, French fries, even French kissing – because they didn’t want to get involved in our “war on terrorism”. Back then we didn’t know whether invading Iraq would accomplish anything but it’s now history and we don’t have that excuse.

Documents captured in the raid on the bin Laden compound in 2011 show that the core al-Qaeda membership in 2002 was 170. In 2006, it was estimated that al-Qaeda had several thousand commanders embedded in 40 different countries. Today the number of ISIS fighters (what used to be al-Qaeda in Iraq) roaming the countryside chopping heads off numbers in the tens of thousands.

Do you see a disturbing progression here? Do you see how misguided and counterproductive a “war on terrorism” is? If we are going to pull up our big boy pants we need to take responsibility for our actions in the mid east and not repeat our mistakes.

 

Terrorist attacks aren’t about religion. It’s about politics. It’s about sovereignty and self-determination. For Arabs. It’s about being able to pick one’s own leaders. Control one’s own land and its resources. Having one’s human rights respected by others and not be infringed upon by foreign occupying armies. For Arabs. It’s about what’s best for the people, not what’s best for its leaders who only care about themselves. For Arabs. These are the things that stir the hearts of moderate Muslims, and edge the radicals to retaliate, contrary to their own religion. These are things we as Christians should be supporting but instead we elect leaders like Bush and Obama whose actions in the Middle East are diametrically opposed to what we believe for ourselves: the sanctity of human life and the image of God in all men, and are polar opposite to what is best for your average Joe Muslim on the streets of Baghdad or Tehran. As long as we keep electing war-mongering retaliators like Trump and politicians financed by Boeing and Raytheon, we will continue to destroy the Middle East and suffer the retaliation that comes from it. As long as the Europeans join us in our folly they will suffer as well.

 

We will have terrorist attacks as long as our nation continues to do the following: 1.) Think we can eradicate radical Islam through military means. 2) Overthrow dictators. 3) Take sides with political leaders instead of their people. The people we let into our country are not our problem, our foreign policy is our problem. We are our own worst enemy. Stop treating Middle East countries like client states and start honoring human rights and you will see a different relationship between Islam and the West.

 

Should our Native Americans have to play the religion card to see what’s important to them preserved or can we just love them as we love ourselves and side with them simply because it’s vitally important to them?

 

It was 498 years ago when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the chapel door at Wittenberg, sparking the Protestant Reformation. Now that we are almost 500 years into this, how far have we come? How far do we have to go? Is there still a need for reformation or has the Christian church finally arrived?

 

To repress these very sharp arguments of the laity by force alone,
and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the church
and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to make Christians
unhappy. – Martin Luther, thesis #90 of his 95 Theses.

 

Architecture Nerd: “That’s an interesting building!”
Normal Person: “What’s interesting about a cement building?”
Architecture Nerd: (sigh)

 

Iranian leaders haven’t “promised” a thing regarding Israel. They say things to get votes and get elected, things that appeal to the gut animosity built up in the people, just like our politicians do, just like BB does in his own country when taking a hard line against Palestinians. The UN, experts on the Middle East, and the rest of the world see it for what it is and don’t make it an excuse for the status quo. And what’s the alternative to the deal? Iran continues on with the sanctions they have lived under since Clinton – sanctions which punish the people and do nothing to curtail the government’s nuclear program. They simply continue developing a nuclear bomb without inspections. This is the no-deal alternative that is being promoted by no other country but the US due to our blind loyalty to Netanyahu as somehow being a godly representative of God’s people when in reality he’s anything but. So the no-deal alternative continues to punish the Iranian people while giving Iran a green light for a nuclear warhead while the deal BB and Americans are complaining about at least allows inspections (though surprise inspections should have been included). But why are we so worried about Iran getting a bomb? What are they going to do with it? Destroy Israel which has 200 warheads capable of turning Iran into a pile of ash? This is what we are to be concerned about? These 39 second soundbites don’t tell much of the story. What if the regime running Israel actually addressed the grievances that the Muslim world has with Israel – their treatment of the Palestinians? What if the US on condition of receiving any more aid said they have to make things right with the Arabs and start treating the Palestinians as real people made in the image of God and embark on a program to bless them instead of curse them and either make them citizens of Israel with full rights as would be becoming of a nation that claims to be “the only true democracy in the Middle East” or at least give them the land back that they had before Israel stole it all in 1967? Wouldn’t you be hearing different rhetoric coming out of Tehran? Wouldn’t that be a viable Christian world view alternative to the fear of Iran getting a nuke?

 

Syria presents a conundrum for the US.

 

Can you guess who held these protest signs and where?
“We mourn the 55 year existence of the State of Israel”
“All Palestine under Palestinian Sovereignty”
“State of “Israel” – Heresy, Murder, and Theft”
“Give back to the Palestinians the Entire Land”
“We Condemn the forbidden and inhumane State of Israel”
“STOP the Zionist massacre and persecution of the Palestinians”
“Zionism is State Organized Terror”
These are protesting Muslims in Gaza or the West Bank, right?
Nope, wrong answer.
These are signs held by protesting Orthodox Jews who say that the Torah forbids a Jewish State.
Whaaaaat?
Jews who don’t want a Jewish homeland?
Here’s what else they have to say: “Judaism rejects
Zionism and the State of Israel”
“Judaism demands a Free Jerusalem and all Palestine”
“Authentic Rabbis always opposed Zionism and the State of Israel”
“Judaism dictates Jewish subservience to ALL nations from U.S. to Palestine”
“State of Israel does not represent world Jewry”
“Orthodox Jews will proudly go to jail rather than join the Zionist Army”
“Zionism and Judaism are extreme opposites”
“Judaism condemns Zionist Atrocities in Gaza”
Some of the most outspoken critics of Israel are not “anti-Semites” but Semites themselves.

 

I hear people asking why the Muslim countries aren’t taking in refugees. FYI, Pakistan hosts the most refugees with 1.7 million. The second and third leading countries to host refugees at the end of 2011 were Iran and Syria, both Muslim countries. Eighty percent of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries, which the UNHCR described as a “deep imbalance in international support.” The United States ranked #10 – taking in fewer refugees than either Chad or Ethiopia. Pakistan’s 1.7 million is over 6 times more than the US, with half the population and one twelfth the per capita GDP of the US.

 

9/11 conspiracy theories remove our culpability for our insane foreign policy in the Middle East.

 

What’s the purpose of the slogan “We Will Never Forget”? I think a better one is “Will We Ever Learn?”

 

Calling an undocumented alien an “illegal alien” isn’t just politically incorrect, it’s factually incorrect. Being in our country without documentation is not illegal. There is no law that says you can’t be here without documentation. Crossing the border without permission is illegal, however, though it’s not a felony. It’s a misdemeanor, like getting a speeding ticket. Once they have crossed the border, they are no longer illegal any more than you are illegal once you stop speeding. Keep calling them “illegal aliens” and I’m going to call you “illegal Americans,” unless you have never gone over the speed limit in your whole life.

 

The Quran doesn’t enjoin violence against Christians and Jews for the sake of domination. In fact, it condemns it. What it does do is what most every American Christian believes for himself in a similar situation – it gives permission to defend the Ummah (Muslim Community) against infringement on its right to exist in peace. Our Christian scriptures don’t give this same permission, but most Christians don’t believe they need such permission and support not only self-defense but retaliation and pre-emptive strikes against would-be aggressors without any proof they are under attack. That is not only contrary to Just War Theory and International Law, but against Quranic teaching as well. Most Christians (or at least many) would actually make bad Muslims because they are too war-mongering to qualify as even an average Muslim. Muslims have suffered and endured patiently under abuse from others way more than the vast majority of Americans ever would put up with in the same situations. We would never stand for most of what we have done to their people and would have risen up in retaliation way more often. If we were in their shoes, we would make 9/11 look like child’s play.

 

Wow, this still goes on today? From Paul Herring: “Caught up in person for the first time in a few years, with a good friend and Biblical Unitarian yesterday.
He told me how a retired Minister of Religion at his church overheard him talking about Calvin’s murder of Servetus. The ex-Minister said he had never heard of it – given some info to research the topic, the next week at church this retired ‘Pastoral Leader’, came up to my friend and said, something along the lines of: “Anyone who rejects that Jesus is the ETERNAL SON of God should be burned at the stake! YOU should be burned at the stake!’
Incredible, and this from someone once entrusted with the role of being in Pastoral (meaning ‘caring’) leadership in a church.
No wonder many faithful Jews look at the example set by Christendom and reject the message because of such examples of hatred and the underlying condemning spirit, and lack of good fruit.”

 

Christians who support Israel without question start with a dubious theology, the vast majority not being able to explain that theology, and end condoning human rights abuses on a massive scale regarding the Palestinians. Christians who oppose Israel, Jesus himself and the prophets of old included, start with the human rights abuses and bring into question any dubious theology that allows such injustice. The challenge for Christians today is to determine with honesty which one they are. Or would a better term be “human life abuses.” It’s not about freedom of speech, though the Israelis don’t allow that, it’s about lives that don’t seem to matter.

 

Trump’s reckless foreign policy – just take the oil!
In 2011, as Libya exploded into civil war, Trump said the US should invade to “take the oil.”
In a 2011 TV appearance, concerning Iraq’s oil,
“I very simply said that Iran is going to take over Iraq, and if that’s going to happen, we should just stay there and take the oil.”
“I still can’t believe we left Iraq without the oil.” Tweeted 1/23/13
“I say we should take it [Iraq’s oil] and pay ourselves back.” —2013, to CPAC, arguing the US should re-invade Iraq
“I’ve said it a thousand times … we shouldn’t have been there, but if we’re there, take the oil. Take the oil. At least pay back, at a minimum, pay back — take the oil.” —2013, on Fox News
This is a way of thinking about the world that, as MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin put it, “puts him somewhere to the right of King George.”
To quote Vox: “So, to review, Donald Trump is a Republican and free market conservative businessman who opposes the free market exchange of fossil fuels, who believes the US should become a mercantilist colonial power that steals natural resources from other countries, and who opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion but believes the US should have re-invaded in 2013.
“It turns out that Donald Trump’s central foreign policy plank is the same as his central domestic policy plank: that Donald Trump is very successful, and the rest of the world should be assimilated into his successes.”

 

I watched a little of Trump’s campaign rally in which he made a point to say his favorite book is the bible. During his The Apprentice show I so wanted to see just one of the contestants actually seek to help just one other to succeed, actually come alongside at least one other contestant, and not be so bent on being top dog at the expense of others. Just one. As it was, none of his contestants demonstrated the heart of God, from what I could see. During this campaign I’d sure like to see him have a vision for America being a generous country that would come alongside our orphan neighbor to the south and help her out of her poverty and troubles instead of, as Trump and many others tend to do, decry the fact our manufacturing jobs are heading south and impoverished people fleeing crime, gangs, and corruption are heading north, people who would be considered refugees if they were from any other country. If I heard that from Trump, or any other candidate, that would let me know they actually read and understand the message of the bible.

 

I love a good dose of irony but this is giving me an overdose. First, this is from the man who held slaves, even made additional slaves of his biological children (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t confirmed this) and refused to free any of them during his life or at his death. Second, the man who is held up as the most influential mind behind our constitution, and the least Christian of them all, is actually preaching Jesus Christ. Jesus did something contrary to the law of his people (I’m not talking about the Law of Moses, but the law of the Pharisees) by healing on the Sabbath, precisely because it was in his ability to help people and the unjust law said he couldn’t. Jefferson is preaching Christian principle in this statement, even if he didn’t always live by it. By the way, I think this principle can be applied to our current immigration policy that is hell bent on keeping Mexicans in poverty.

 

Getting back to “original intent” of the bible by understanding original meanings of words. I’ve been thinking a lot about “salvation”. We automatically think of salvation from an eternal state of separation from God, however one conceives that, when in reality it doesn’t mean that. The question posed by people witnessing: “Are you saved?” is a biblical question but said in a way that assumes a non-biblical understanding of the term.

 

Yesterday we opened an embassy in Cuba after 54 years of severed diplomatic relations. Nearly every one of the 11 million people heard John Kerry call for democracy and freedom of the press and religion, topics that were forbidden to be discussed publicly just two days ago. Meanwhile, Cuban-American presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he would on his first day in office reverse any of Obama’s policies, arguing they would give the Castro government more resources to repress the people, as if denying the people access to ways to improve public health isn’t in itself repressing the people and doing nothing to curtail the leaders who are insulated in their grand palaces. Marco Rubio has lost my vote until he can apply the conservative principles of less government control to his foreign policy. According to the CATO Institute, “Economic sanctions rarely work. Trade and investment sanctions against Burma, Iran, and North Korea have failed to change the behavior of any of those oppressive regimes; sanctions have only deepened the deprivation of the very people we are trying to help. As a foreign policy tool, the embargo actually enhances Castro’s standing by giving him a handy excuse for the failures of his homegrown Caribbean socialism. He can rail for hours about the suffering the embargo inflicts on Cubans, even though the damage done by his domestic policies is far worse. If the embargo were lifted, the Cuban people would be a bit less deprived and Castro would have no one else to blame for the shortages and stagnation that will persist without real market reforms.”
http://www.cato.org/…/four-decades-failure-us-embargo-again…

 

When will getting a new car mean just updating the software?

 

5000 military deaths since 1999 – 128,000 veteran suicides since 1999. A lot of focus has been put on the negligence of the VA but very little has been put on why so many commit suicide – like what happens when we send our men and women off and they kill someone, and later come to understand it was an unjust war and they weren’t killing terrorists but rather killing people defending their own homeland from an invading army and innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Who wants to live with that? Wouldn’t an admission of guilt from our political leaders go a long way to lessen the feeling of condemnation?

 

I have yet to understand how Christians can hate ISIS for tormenting and burning people alive yet worship and preach about a god that is even more extreme thanISIS and torments people for all eternity. If it is evil for ISIS to do it, it is also just as evil for God to it. Here is Good News: God is not like ISIS… God is like Jesus! – Josh Felts

 

Why am I going to England? To fellowship with people who have bad teeth.

 

Now I know why people here in Europe still think I live on the east coast after I make a point that I live in Washington State, NOT Washington DC. They think since NYC is in New York State then Washington DC must be in Washington State. Took an Oxford educated elementary teacher to figure that one out.

 

From Mark Rosen: “The prayer of Jesus is “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Then the vision of John , in the end of all things, has heaven descending to earth and they are one. This is not to say there isn’t another dimension after death but rather, at least it seems to me, that the focus of the gospel is for Christians to reveal heaven on earth. Peacemaking instead of warmongering. Acceptance instead of hate. Forgiveness instead of revenge. Non-violent justice instead of violent punishment. Giving instead of hording. Healing instead of hurting. These are the things of heaven that Christians are meant to be ambassadors of. You don’t have to wait to see heaven on earth if you live it now and shine in the midst of ugliness.”

 

This is a quiz. Many say “God gave Israel back to the Jews in 1948.” Who made that decision and by what authority did they make it? Did God give them the authority? Is the UN God’s arbiter on earth and if so did George Bush Jr. rebel against God for invading Iraq without UN permission? How can you demonstrate it was God who gave the UN the authority to take the land from those who had been dwelling there for centuries and give it to someone else? Note: Just quoting an Old Testament prophecy does not qualify as an answer. You must demonstrate that what happened in 1948 was indeed a fulfillment of prophecy and not just man’s denial of self-determination. The same goes for 1967 when Israel took the rest of the Palestinian lands and denied them their human rights. Demonstrate this was God and not Jewish people breaking the Law of God which says to not steal or murder, and to have compassion, love mercy, and do justice. Note: saying we don’t understand the ways of God is a non answer avoidance of the issue and will get you an automatic F. For extra credit provide rationale for God violating his own Law to accomplish something he could easily have done by violating man’s free will, making the whole thing happen without bloodshed by giving the Jews miraculous favor in the eyes of the Palestinians so they would just willingly vacate the land and turn it over to their Jewish guests.

 

“Overcome evil with good” before the evil happens. That’s my kind of “preemptive strike”. This from Mark Rosen: “I am not historian so forgive me if my facts are incorrect. Hopefully the point is good. War may push people into submission and defeat, but only reflection on their actions and beliefs, in defeat, can change their beliefs. But in the case of the Germans and the Japanese the West, helped them regain their honor through industry and investment after their defeat in WW2.
What if rather then bombing Isis and other groups, we preemptive invest in industry and give them hope for their futures rather then showing them we will crush all their dreams, thus creating more enemies? Who wants to be bombed into submission? no one, they will fight. We will kill them. Then if we are smart, as we were after WW2 we invest. What if we could cut out the killing part?” Yeah, why not give it a try? Seems more effective doncha think?

 

Palestinians are just getting what they deserve and Israel is just exercising their right to self defense? The facts say otherwise: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day)” and that “of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

 

I was where many of you are today regarding support for Israel so I understand. It took more than a few words from someone else to help me change my view on Israel so I don’t expect to change your mind in a few blog posts. I do believe being better informed is preferable to not being informed so I do my part to help others gain some historical and theological perspective. I’m always up for discussion and do force the issue at times because it’s a burden God has put on my heart I can’t shake. It’s a life and death issue, and much of the church is working against the ministry of reconciliation we are called to as disciples of Christ. If we really want God to bless Israel (as do I) then we will encourage her to not do what might bring the judgement of God for her inhumane actions but rather do what befits people who consider themselves to be God’s people. How complicated is that? Let’s start with this principle: God will have mercy on those who show mercy. As for the theological underpinnings of a world view that gives Israel a pass on human rights violations, or even worse, supports them as many Christians do, may I suggest this book by a minister I know in Yakima that is helping a lot of people understand the “End Times”:http://www.amazon.com/Victorious…/dp/1882523334 I think my blog post (a quick read) is also helpful: http://kirbyhopper.com/were-jesus-and-apostles-mistaken…/ If you have not read my blog post about supporting the Palestinians and not Israel, or if you have, I would love to get your feedback:http://kirbyhopper.com/why-christians-and-all-americans…/ Please note, I believe in supporting Jewish people, just not their apartheid government that in no way could be a fulfillment of any Old Testament prophecy. BTW, many Jews in Israel and around the world would agree 100% with me and are working to right the wrongs of their majority elected secular government, including the Orthodox Jews who have the most respect for Torah. It’s not hard to see how their secular government violates God’s law in most egregious ways.

 

God’s love: learn it, live it, give it.

 

The #1 myth that westerners have about this conflict is that Arabs and Jews have been fighting for thousands of years and they are going to continue to fight.” – Douglas Dicks, Catholic Relief Services. This comes from a misapplication of scripture – thinking the prophecy about Ishmael, the Father of the Arabs, always has and always will hold true for Arab people throughout history, when in reality the Arabs have welcomed Jews at times when western, Christian nations did not. This prophecy about Ishmael in Genesis 16: “…a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers,” was true for that one man, but there is no reason to think it applies to any of his descendants, or to think we are actually working against the plan of God to facilitate peace between Israel and her Muslim neighbors. To think that just perpetuates a myth and encourages destructive US foreign policy.

 

The US has a long history of taking sides with people who eventually turn out bad, even killing us with the weapons we supplied them. Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, the Shah of Iran, the last president of Iraq, the list goes on. What isn’t surprising is that we trained ISIS, what is surprising is that we continue to take sides in sectarian disputes in the Middle East, oust dictators without knowing who will take their place, and generally think we are doing the Muslim world some good with our bombs, bullets, and our troops.

 

“Presenting God as “Three Persons” runs into the OBVIOUS difficulty that Scripture ALWAYS presents him as a single, Divine Person, the Father.” – Dr. Sir Anthony Buzzard

 

Sat. was World Refugee Day. Did you know 2014 was the worst year in human history for people being displaced? Almost 60 million have been displaced by conflict and persecution. Nearly 20 million of them are refugees, and more than half are children. On average, 42,500 people were displaced every day. 86% of refugees are taken in by the less wealthy nations, at the risk of making them overwhelmed and less stable. People have always recognized a fundamental human obligation to shelter those fleeing from war and persecution. Quoting the UN head for their refugee department, “Yet today, some of the wealthiest among us are challenging this ancient principle, casting refugees as gate crashers, job seekers or terrorists. This is a dangerous course of action, short-sighted, morally wrong.” Should the US step it up or join this trend?

 

Top military brass are beginning to realize force won’t solve political and religious issues. So far they haven’t admitted that killing Iraqis who are defending their country against a foreign invader (that would be us) is counterproductive. Meanwhile, while the military is not pushing for more force against ISIS at least 4 presidential hopefuls want to send more of our troops: former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.). These guys just don’t get it.

 

The Great Commission has nothing to do with water baptism. It is a commission to immerse (baptize) the nations in the name (understanding) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, just as the disciples were accused of immersing (filling up) Jerusalem with their doctrine in Acts 5:28. Teaching, not baptizing in water, is how we obey the Great Commission.

 

If we cut our military spending in half the USA would still spend the most, by a long shot. 600 military bases in 128 countries for “national defense”? Seriously?

 

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” was not an ultimatum, but an invitation.

 

If we are dying by the sword it might be helpful to figure out how we are living by the sword.

 

I used to teach the prevailing narrative that the radicals are the Fundamentalists of their faith. IOW, the ones who “actually follow their own teachings,” while the moderate, peace loving, Muslims were the ones that were like our “Lukewarm Lutherans” who just weren’t serious about what God says in scripture. I now see radical Muslims not as the Evangelicals/Fundamentalists of Islam, but as the rogues with evil hearts finding what they can to justify their evil and motivate others to do likewise. Most of this evil intention is political – it’s control of people and real estate, to the detriment of anything God might actually be telling them. If they are reading their Korans there is plenty in there staring them in the face telling them God will send them to hell for what they are doing. That tells me they really don’t care about what God says in scripture. I think a better corollary to radical Islam would be David Coresh and the Branch Davidians or Jim Jones, both of which had apocalyptic mindsets, if I remember correctly. Sure, a case can be made that some of their leaders have “coherent and even learned interpretation of Islam,” but the average Joe ISIS grunt is illiterate and/or from a ghetto and is attracted by the gang mentality, and we would do well to address the ghetto, and the reasons we give them for being mad at us such as our occupation of their land and the destruction and creation of humanitarian crises that we have done to them. As for the leaders being learned, I think the 129 Muslim scholars that sent an open letter to Bagdadi the head of ISIS refuting his theology point by point would take exception to that idea. They would probably consider him to be at a 12th grade level when it comes to interpretation (no offense to high school seniors but I don’t know of any learned theologians among them).

 

And people wonder why I keep on about this stuff: “Kirby I’m not taking anything out of con text ! I know what Jesus said and I know my rights from God and it has nothing to do with the thrird grade ! Muzlims have declared war and they will have it ! islam will be destroyed ! Christians will stand ! oh Kirby by the way it’s Jesus who will slaughter all his enemies ! Maybe you don’t know as much theology as you pretend !”

 

The Christian church has had to deal with jihadists from the very beginning. They weren’t Muslim jihadists, to be sure, since Islam hadn’t been invented yet, but there were Jewish jihadist who thought they were doing God a favor by killing Christians. One of the more notable Jewish terrorists was Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, who wrote half of our New Testament. How did the early Christians deal with this threat to their existence? Did they take up arms against the synagogues or the Sanhedrin? Something to think about.

 

Many pastors will tell you that their parishioners are fairly dependent on their pastors for their understanding of “true Christianity” and that there are very few independent thinkers among them. Some pastors will make sure there aren’t any independent thinkers among them because they become a threat to their ministry. I would also think that those people who need someone to tell them what to believe gravitate toward those churches that are all too ready to tell them what to believe rather than teach them how to think independently and come to their own conclusions. I would also think it’s safe to say that churches like the Catholic Church that do not condone independent thinking tend to have more people that are dependent on their pastors for their understanding of the Christian faith. I’m guessing it’s the same way with Islam, many Muslims just go by what their Imam teaches and if he teaches peace they practice peace, regardless of how dogmatic another Imam in another part of the world teaches radical jihadism. It seems to me also that to characterize Islam as not a religion of peace not only misses the point but does nothing to engender peace between the two faiths.

 

Would you trust your average Joe Muslim to be able to intelligently teach by quoting scriptures either side of the Protestant vs. Catholic debate on salvation by grace vs. salvation by works? Can you even intelligently teach either position? Why then do you trust yourself to be able to teach by quoting the Koran either side of the Muslim debate about jihad vs. peace? I’m seeing a lot of hubris (excessive pride and self-confidence) from Christians who think they can say, intelligently, that Islam is not a religion of peace, and quote their scriptures to prove their point.

 

Why is it that when so-called Muslims use their religion for personal gain we accuse them of being “Muslim”, but when Catholic popes kill off whole cities of “heretics” like they did to the Albingensis and numerous others during the Inquisition, we don’t “accuse” them of being Christian, but of being an aberration to an otherwise peaceful religion? I’m seeing a bit of duplicity here that misses the point Obama was trying to make.

 

I’ve been reading a book called The Search for Truth About Islam – A Christian Pastor Separates Fact From Fiction. The author has a friend who is an Imam, who is Imam Tahir Anwar, in the Bay Area, who said this to him: “I was trained in a very traditional madrassa (school), and way before 9/11 our teachers would tell us that even in places like Kashmir and Palestine, the struggle is not jihad, because going to war is no joke under Islamic law. There are too many requirements to make it work. Collateral damage, for example, is unavoidable in war, and it is not allowed under Islamic law. The rules, because they are so strict, guide us to make an amicable solution to our problems.” I had mentioned in my blog post detailing my plan to deal with ISIS how I recommended having a no-collateral-damage policy because it wasn’t so important to kill some jihadist that we have to kill innocent bystanders to kill him. There is plenty we can do out in the desert to disrupt ISIS’ ability to move and make war without destroying the towns and people in those towns that are not our enemies, like we did to Fallujah. I considered it to be a humane and moral position to take, though not many have agreed with me, thinking that the loss of innocent life is worth it to kill a jihadist, even though said jihadist poses no threat to the United States. It seems to me the Islamic law everyone is so afraid of is more moral and humane than our own rules of engagement in the Middle East.

 

Yesterday I met with a Muslim Imam for the first time in my life. He is a kind, gentle, and soft-spoken man but at times I could see he had a fire in his soul regarding his jihad. Being from the Middle East he spoke a lot in parables. I felt like this must have been what it was like to listen to Jesus. I heard more teaching packed into a short time about living in peace with people and loving others as ourselves than I have heard in a long time with any pastors.

 

I sure have been hearing a lot of people all worried about Muslims advancing Sharia Law into the rest of the world and how they have created these No Go Zones in France that the police won’t go into and French law is ignored because they follow Sharia Law. This has been used by so many people and even my Christian friends have been saying we just need to kill off all radical Muslims in the Middle East lest we be guilty of appeasement like Chamberlain did with Naziism. People please get a grip on all this fear mongering. This whole thing is a bunch of hooey.

 

We are reaping what we have been sowing, but everyone wants to make Islam the scapegoat so we don’t have to fess up to our sins in the area. We have lived by the sword so die by the sword. Before Bush Jr. illegally invaded Iraq the church was at peace under the secular dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Now Christianity in the area risks extinction and Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ urges more of the same of what got us into this mess and what has destroyed the region and our standing before the rest of the world as a great nation. If Mr. Sekulow really wants to help Christians in Iraq he needs to figure out what caused this problem to begin with.

 

What role does logic play in theology? Apparently it doesn’t, and therein lays the problem.

 

Given the conditions that Mexicans are fleeing, much of it created by the unemployment caused by NAFTA, it seems they should be given refugee status, not considered to be felons. If they were fleeing Burma, Kosovo, Iraq, or Somalia, we would do our part along with other nations in supporting them in refugee camps like we do with refugees in Thailand, Turkey, and many other parts around the world, and welcome some of them into our country. We would give them a hope for a civilized existence, but since it happens to be Arizona they cross into instead we either let them die by the thousands in the desert or send them back to the other side if they survive. We would never do that to the Burmese in Thailand or the Syrians in Turkey. Why do we do it to the Mexicans in our own country? This documentary by Ellin Jimmerson sheds much-needed light on the whole fiasco we call our immigration policy.

 

Why don’t we split the presidential duties between a president and a prime minister, giving one domestic duties and the other foreign policy duties, like many countries in Europe do (or am I even describing that correctly)? It seems our president has too much power and splitting those powers is perfectly in line with our Founding Fathers’ desire for separation of powers (3 branches, for example) per Lord Acton’s maxim: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

As Christians we pride ourselves on defending the defenseless, such as with regard to abortion, but I’ve never really seen us defend the rights of small nations in face of aggression from the big powers (like the US). I’ve never even heard of that until I heard about this Canadian. Is that because we really don’t care about the disadvantaged like Jesus does or because we believe our nation always travels the moral high ground and small nations don’t need anyone to defend them against the US?

 

I’ve heard it said by some they aren’t Calvinists nor are they Arminian, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The way I see it, you either believe God picked out ahead of time who would get saved and made them believe or God didn’t pick out who would be saved and left it up to the individual, with some help from God thrown in at times. Is there a middle ground I’m not seeing?

 

The doctrine of the preexistence of the human soul: originated by Greek Philosophers, taught by Plato, taught in the early church by Origen, taught today by Mormons.

The doctrine of the immortality of the human soul: originated by Greek philosophers, taught by Plato, taught in the early church by Origen, taught today by Evangelicals and Catholics.

The idea that every human’s soul and/or spirit must go somewhere forever after death (because it is immortal), either to heaven or to suffer in hell, is not a biblical teaching. When are Evangelicals going to reject this doctrine?

 

Ron Paul called Muslim retaliation (such as 9/11) “blowback”. Jesus said, “If you live by the sword you shall die by the sword.” I think they were saying the same thing.

 

Literalists take pride in accepting an interpretation of scripture that is hard to swallow. It’s a certain religious pride that is actually unspiritual and shuts down the leading of the Holy Spirit. I’d rather look at a scripture and ask myself, “Is this symbol, allegory, or typology?” Most of us are familiar with those, but here are other non-literalisms, some of which we employ in our own language without even knowing it, and we find them in scripture: apocalyptic literature, parable, fable, metonymy, hyperbole, Hebrew idiom, Greek idiom, metaphor, simile, synecdoche, personification, anthropomorphism, apostrophe, irony, euphemism, litotes, pleonasm, ellipsis, zeugma, aposiopesis, dark saying, and riddles. Recognizing these in English, Greek, or Hebrew might earn me the insult of “intellectual”, but at least I haven’t shut down the leading of the Holy Spirit by insisting on a literal interpretation at all cost. There is nothing unspiritual about trying to understand the words written and determine if something in the bible is or isn’t supposed to be taken literally.

 

The Catholic asks, “If we don’t have a church that is an infallible interpreter of scriptures how will we know for certain if we have the truth?” The Evangelical asks, “If we don’t have an inerrantly defined body of text which is also inerrant how will we know for certain that we are basing our salvation on the right thing?” To both questions Jesus gives the same answer, “You don’t know. Follow me anyhow.”

 

Being “born-again” is usually narrowly defined by both Protestants and Catholics. I think we both lack imagination as to all the ways that can actually happen.

 

An Afghan Muslim chaplain at one of our POW camps in Afghanistan told one of our generals that the best thing we were doing for the captured jihadists that was helping to get them out of radicalized Islamic was to teach them to read. This was because when they learned to read they could read the Koran for themselves and learn that everything that had been taught to them was polar opposite of what the Koran actually taught.

 

There’s been a few lists of verses from the Koran floating around Facebook posted by Christians in an effort to tell us what all Muslims are about. Of course it’s a proven fact that us Christians NEVER take verses in our own bible out of context so why would anyone think we would ever take verses out of context in someone else’s bible?

 

Employing a ‘plain reading of scripture’ will often get you to the same place as many who followed Jesus. Hardly a chapter in John goes by that doesn’t include people taking Jesus literally and getting tripped up for it. The crowd thought he was going to tear down their magnificent temple. Nicodemus thought he needed to crawl back into his mother’s womb to get saved. The woman at the well was looking for the next great thing in bottled water. His followers wondered where he was hiding a food cache. Then to top it all off many people just left him because they thought he was preaching cannibalism when he said they must eat his flesh. Even his disciples thought that’s what he was teaching but stuck with him anyway. This should be a lesson to Fundamentalists and anyone else who insists on the ‘plain reading of scripture,’ but sadly the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything from history.

 

What man is there of you when your son has been rebellious all year you give him nothing for Christmas rather than beat his rear end for as long as you are able?  You then, being evil, know how to deal justly with your disobedient children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven be able to deal justly with those who are disobedient?  Therefore, do not teach that those who disobey God will consciously suffer for all eternity, for you make God to be more evil than yourself.

 

Which of you fathers would think it just for another father to punish his kids for something they have no control over, such as how tall they are. What if I told my kids when they were 5 years old that if they did not reach a height of 6 feet by the time they are 7 then they will be locked up in their rooms until they are 18. You would not only think I was unjust, and rightly so, you would think I was a wicked tyrant. This is exactly how the doctrine of ECT (Eternal Conscious Torment) makes God out to be. It certainly doesn’t make him out to be a God of mercy.

 

Though meant to instill respect, putting Rev. in front of your name tells me nothing about you except that maybe you come with some extra baggage. If you really need respect, why not just earn it? Men of the world find a need to put Dr. or Sen. in front of their names or Ph.D. or Esq. after their names. Men of God just need to let their light shine and we will figure out what you are.

 

 

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