False narratives damage the tellers most.

We humans are storytelling creatures. Facts simply don’t have the power of stories, which is why narratives are so effective and popular. If a narrative, a story told over and over purporting to explain, is false, but is repeated often enough, it becomes like revealed truth. If the narrative is false, it may fool some people hearing or reading it, but repeating it damages the credibility and self respect of the teller even more; Especially if they know it’s false.

This morning I was at the V.A. Hospital for some tests. The government mandates that they always start with some basic questions, to confirm that they have the right person in front of them: Full name, social security number, date of birth, and a brand new one, “what gender do you identify with?” Yes, exactly. As he (clearly male, with the beard and hulking muscles…at least I hope he was) immediately apologized for asking (“we are required to ask “), then looked at me expectantly, I said, in my most baritone voice, “I don’t identify as anything, I am male.” He later related a story about how he and his brother, also a veteran, hugged when his brother got back from Iraq, and someone who saw them asked him, “which one of you is the husband?”

Let’s start with a false narrative which is a the foundation of all false narratives: There is no sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth and all that is within them. By extension, let’s call it a sub-narrative, there is no absolute authority who/which determines what is true and what is false. The corollary is, everyone is free to determine their own truth, to be their own authority. Put in theological terms, because what we worship sets the rules for our behavior and opinions, we are each the god of our world. Under that principle, no narrative is false, because all narratives are just a different person’s version of truth. Now here’s the big paradox in that viewpoint: If you believe the previous sentence, as most liars do, then nobody lies! What an appropriate paradox, that those who are usually quickest to accuse someone else of lying don’t believe in absolute truth, which eliminates the possibility of lying.

A lie, by definition, is telling something you know to be false (commission) or leaving out something relevant you know to be true (omission). But if you believe it, it isn’t a lie, right? I read a response to a blog from “citizen Tom” by someone with the handle “Tsalmon” who excoriated both Donald Trump and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), as liars and self-promoters, but who opined, Trump was worse because he knows he’s lying and she believes her lies. She’s a more sincere liar? If it were possible to read minds or hear someone’s internal dialogue, then we could perhaps determine who believes what they are saying and who doesn’t, yet does that matter? If someone believes there’s no objective truth, which is to say “my opinions are the truth or are as valid as any truth”, that has no effect on whether something is actually true or false. If you believe something or promote something–whether you believe it or not–that’s false, you will be more damaged in the long run than those who hear it or read it and don’t believe it. The person who is damaged the most, however, is the person promoting what they know is a lie. They are damaging their very souls, whether or not they are directly affected by the lies, and ultimately are excising their ability to recognize when they are lying. Let’s expand this.

Perhaps the best, or at least the most accessible, way of determining whether someone is spreading a lie, is charges. Racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, misogynistic are all charges, slogans that accuse someone of harboring hatred, contempt, or some other negative attitudes and beliefs about a certain group of people. These charges have in common: 1. the claim to be able to read human minds, 2. conflating statements with feelings, 3. invalidating even the most objective criticism of actions, 4. expanding any statement about an individual or a behavior to the entire group having a similar characteristic. “But what if that teller of tales, that spreader of the narrative, believes what they are saying?” Read this very carefully: The person who uses charges is telling lies, regardless of whether they believe what they are saying, because the very charges themselves have four requirements that are untrue!

1. Can anyone read minds? No, but if you insist you can, do I have a straightjacket for you. 2. If you make statement about behavior or suggest an action, does that reveal what you truly feel about a group of people? No, that’s the same thing as mind reading. 3. If you criticize an action or make a statement based on evidence, can it be invalidated by a charge? No, our legal system is based on standards of evidence, either beyond a reasonable doubt (in criminal courts) or preponderance of evidence (civil court). 4. Is a statement about an individual necessarily a judgment on a whole group? No, it’s a judgment about that individual.

Let’s get specific about charges. By now, virtually everyone who has a smartphone or watches tv or the Internet knows that President Trump has issued statements or tweets that have been called racist, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic and islamophobic, right? I analyzed his latest “racist” tweets in a previous blog and didn’t find them racist nor, because he was referring to women, did I find them misogynistic. I won’t go over my arguments again, you can read them. I agree with the principles he tweeted. If you can possibly pretend that you saw those 3 tweets and didn’t know who sent them, and simply read the words, what principles did he espouse? Basically, before you criticize our country unjustly, show me your ideas of how a country should be governed, and let’s start with the ones you identify with. Oh, and by the way, rather than just theorizing, go and show us how to fix a broken system, thus helping the people in those countries as well. How is that racist? If Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib actually took sabbaticals to Somalia and Gaza respectively, while applying our constitutional principles or anything else they learned here in those places, who would be enriched? They, the people they are helping and even our people would benefit assuming they were in a position to effectively implement improvements.

More precisely, since I have already invalidated the word “racist” itself as a charge based on four invalid ideas, how is his tweet expressing animosity towards the races of these progressives? What if he had named them, and they were all female and POCs, would his exact words have indicated hostility towards darker skinned people (racist charge) and women (misogynistic charge)? Not without you making a lot of inferences (it’s Trump, everyone knows he’s racist, sexist, etc). What do the words actually say? Can you even separate the principles and words from what you think of the person writing them? Not if you’ve bought the narrative.

At this point, it will be easy to separate those who have bought into an inferential narrative so strong they can’t objectively evaluate the words written, and those who still have the ability to read and understand the English language without thinking they can read minds. The former group would respond to my blog with some variation of: 1. You’re racist; or 2. You’re just pro Trump; or 3. You hate Democrats/women of color/etc. Okay then, let’s get even more specific. I will save the racist charges for the next post, which will attempt to completely unpack what racism is and is not, including being specific about what I believe about race. I agree that many of President Trump’s tweets and attributed statements can be interpreted as demeaning to specified individuals and countries, and I don’t like the language of most of those, nor do I agree with many of them and I wish he would stop. For example, when he referred to certain “shithole countries”, which were probably Yemen, Somalia, Honduras and Venezuela, I would have used different words, liked “failed states” or “dumpster fires”, and I don’t think our country’s president should refer to any other countries that way, even though most of us, in private, equity think of a lot of places that way. Not having been privy to private conversations of our other presidents, I’m only guessing that they all (even the sainted Obama) referred to many countries that way. Perhaps their emigrants agree?

If I get the option to vote for Ted Cruz or Mike Pence or Dan Crenshaw for president, I would prefer their style over that of Trump, though I am not sure how effectively they could bait the Democrats or the dominant media into revealing their agenda. Because politicians and bureaucrats can do and have done far more to damage our country than to benefit it, I would vote for whomever can most effectively provoke them to reveal their agenda and stymie their efforts, and right now that is Trump. Because anyone who dares question the false narratives of our time is fodder for charges, and I declare (in case any reader might still wonder) almost every narrative purveyed by the Democrats, the Mediated Reality establishment, leftists, Antifa and fellow travelers is false, and for those among them who believe their bullshit, their ability to separate truth from lies is probably irreparably gone.

If you read this post as a defense of Trump, you have missed the entire point, and provided the evidence for my main point: Those who keep repeating a narrative, someone else’s charges about a person, instead of evaluating their words at face value, risks losing their ability to discern facts from fictions. There is no better example than the reality of the immigrant detention procedures and facilities, versus the media and Democrats’ narratives. AOC, for example, never even entered the facility she claimed was so inhumane. Protecting the narrative was more important than reality.

Those rockets really contain care packages.

Remember when you were away from home for the first time, like summer camp or college, and homesick? You really looked forward to mom sending you “care” packages with cookies and other treats? Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) says that the Palestinian movement against Israel is non-violent: “In the situation of Palestine, what we are doing right now is having hypocrisy in not celebrating non-violent movements there and condemning it.” So I suppose those rockets that Hamas frequently sends over from Gaza contain treats for Israeli schoolchildren?

Israeli Ofir Gendelman posted a YouTube video of Senior Hamas leader Fathi Hammad saying, “Hamas has built a new factory for making suicide vests that will be given to Palestinian girls (and boys) in order to storm the Israeli border and blow up Israeli families.” Now you know why Israel protects the border with Gaza from Hamas. Omar, who according to herself, “loves America more than any native born American”, takes lies and hypocrisy to greater apogees than those Hamas rockets. There is a sense in which she is right, though not in the way she intended.

There is a story in the NY Times by Isabel Kershner:

BILIN, West Bank — On a recent weekday, Muhammad Abu Rahma returned to the place where Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers used to clash in weekly confrontations that made the West Bank village of Bilin a symbol of resistance against the Israeli occupation. But this time, he came not to protest but to picnic with his wife and three children. He had served three terms in prison for his activities at the height of the protests. But now, at 33, he had a family and a job as a garbage collector. “People want money to live, and permits,” he said, referring to the Israeli permits allowing laborers to work in Israel, where they can earn twice as much as they do in the Palestinian territories.

In a 2011 analysis for Asia Times, David Goldman counseled Israel not to attempt to make peace with a Palestinian population heavily tilted towards hot-headed youngsters, and to wait until the declining Palestinian fertility rate had raised the average age of the West Bank population. Like Northern Ireland, the militants would find themselves married with mortgages (at least those who survived). He further writes about the situation, below.

Non violent? “Around 80,000 Palestinian men are employed by one or another of the “security forces” in Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestine Authority’s grossly inflated numbers claim that there were 587,000 men aged 20 to 40 in the territories; the actual number is probably around 400,000, which means that one in five has a job carrying a gun. Taking unemployment into account, that implies that one in three Palestinian men with a full-time job is a gunman.

Hopeful? “That may change over time. 5,800 Palestinians are working at technology companies on the West Bank, and the booming Israeli software sector is outsourcing to the West Bank, with a third of Palestinian software companies filling orders for Israeli firms, Bloomberg News reported March 15. 

“And the top school for Palestinian computer science students is Ariel University in Samaria, in the midst of a settlement near Nablus. ‘Administrators at the Ariel University Center are proud to have the Arab students, saying their enrollment is an example of loyalty and equality among Israeli citizens. For their part, the Arab students seem not to feel uncomfortable attending the college despite its reputation and location,‘ wrote the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘On campus the fact that we are in occupied territory is irrelevant—it doesn’t affect us at all. We leave all the politics outside,’ the Chronicle quoted Manar Dewany, a 20-year-old student in math and computer science who commutes each day from the Israeli Arab town of Taybeh. ‘I never even considered it a reason for not coming here,’ Ms. Dewany added. ‘I have no problem with it. Why not come here? This place is full of Arabs‘.” What? This is in Israel, don’t you want to strap on a vest? What about all the suicide vests that will go to waste in Hamas warehouses?

“No one outsources computer technology to Egypt, where very few of each year’s crop of 700,000 college graduates meets world standards. The education that young Arabs receive at the settlers’ university on the West Bank is better than anything available among Israel’s Arab neighbors. In a quiet way, the settlers of Samaria may do more for peace than the diplomats.

“By 2040, the stone-throwing kids of the First Intifada will be close to retirement age, and the gun-toting young men who dominate today’s Palestinian employment picture (or those who still are alive) will have families. If they missed out on high-tech jobs, the spillover from the West Bank’s economic growth—driven in turn by Israel’s economic miracle—will keep them employed in service industries. Absent additional violence, the West Bank will flourish while Egypt and Syria descend into penury and chaos.

“There is no urgency to make peace, except in the minds of the Palestinians’ present leaders. The world has allowed them to rule a little fiefdom as warlords of private armies, with little accounting for billions in foreign aid, and the opportunity to indulge in a grand ideological tantrum on the tab of Western donors. The window is closing for radical Islam. That makes the present an exceptionally dangerous period, because the radicals know that it is closing. The Palestinians of the West Bank are better off than any other Arabs in the region by any tangible measure—health, literacy, higher education, per capital income.”

This hopeful picture can also be applied to our country. The young firebrands of Antifa and the Democrats will eventually move out of mom’s basement, get a real job, grow up and look around the world, finally appreciating the words of Proverbs 20:29. “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.” (gray hair bringing wisdom folks!).

Trump tweets, enemies freak!

Honestly, if the media and the Democrats hadn’t made such a big deal of his “racist” tweet, I wouldn’t have even been aware of it. Since I am now, I thought it might be advisable to actually read what he sent rather than accepting the mass narrative about it. It was actually three parts: (Tweet 1) So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly..….(tweet 2) and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how.….(tweet 3) it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

My analysis: Part one is true about the governing of the countries to the “left of the hyphen”. What I mean by that phrase is that Rashida Tlaib designates herself as “Palestinian-American” and Ilan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, designates herself as “Somali-American”. The “left of hyphen” governments are totally dysfunctional, though these Congresswomen are American citizens so the phrase “originally came from” lacks precision. AOC was born in the Bronx to parents of Puerto Rican ancestry, but the government of P.R. is very dysfunctional too. Still, the idea itself is basically “physician heal thyself.”

Part two is more inflammatory and inaccurate, though the principle, which is “show us how it’s done” is not. Tlaib and AOC aren’t from anywhere but here, so they can’t “go back”, nor does anyone in Congress control how people vote, but they do constantly and negatively dispense unwelcome and inaccurate criticism of our system. Part three is the one that Trump’s enemies have yelled loudest at, describing it as telling unnamed “progressive” Democrats to get out of the country. He’s actually making a joke about the relationship between Pelosi and the “squad” of three, while obliquely saying that Nancy Pelosi would love to get rid of them, which is patently true.

In sum, then, the total tweet was inflammatory and imprecise, but the principles espoused are true. If you insist on advertising your ancestry and hyphenating your citizenship, and encouraging others to do the same, while endlessly criticizing everything about the country you are elected to represent, and expressing contempt rather than gratitude (that might make a great tweet) for both your privilege (yes, privilege) and people who don’t agree with you—which is most of the country—don’t be surprised at President “Id” (Freudian) saying what’s on the mind of most Americans! The only non-US born rep, Omar, also has the nerve to say, “I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born and because I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy…” She further added that the question, “why can’t you be more like an American? used to be a very positive thing.” Hey lady, it still is. Omar also said that she thinks “dogs are being treated better than undocumented immigrants in the U.S.” The narrative about deliberate mistreatment of immigrants is false and undermining. And Dogs? Don’t they eat them where you come from?

The whole brouhaha about the tweet plays into Trump’s hands. For one thing, he didn’t name anyone in the tweet, so predictably the Democrats leaped to the defense of the squad of three, thus admitting they know who the charge “ingrate” will stick to. Trump knows the press has a strong instinct to repeat his most outrageous claims, and this allows him put the press to work as a marketing agency for his ideas. He reaches millions of people through constant repetition in the press and social media. Language works by activating brain structures called “frame-circuits” used to understand experience. They get stronger when we hear the activating language. Enough repetition can make them permanent, changing how we view the world. Even negating a frame-circuit activates and strengthens it, as when Nixon said “I am not a crook” and people thought of him as a crook.

Then there are what cognitive scientists call “salient exemplars”–well-publicized individual cases, where wide publicity leads the public to take them as having a high probability and typifying a whole class. Trump turns them into buffoon stereotypes. The dominant media is actually subservient to Trump for gathering eyeballs, but they inadvertently allow him to control the news cycle. News gathering used to be a serious affair controlled by editors whose power rivals any politician’s. By chasing his tweets and elevating every sideshow, they further promote the polarization that he benefits from. They can’t win this fight. Trump’s views are shared by far more voters than either the media’s or the Democrats’, even if advanced polemically and abrasively. He is saying what most of the country is thinking, though it comes off inelegantly.

When he lies or exaggerates, his enemies jump right in by spreading his lies and offering even more and bigger lies (looking at you, AOC). In their ceaseless efforts to discredit him, they exaggerate what he says, constantly putting his name in their headlines, leads or hashtags. Hitler lied so often and used a cowed and co-opted press to repeat his lies because “a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”. Trump isn’t Hitler but he understands the principle, and the media become his agents by keeping him in the news. I use Flipboard to get my ideas of what to blog about, because I can flip through hundreds of headlines rapidly. By now, I can tell you which media outlet is writing the headline without even looking. If Trump tweets something, I can tell by the distortion which outlet is writing about it.

AfroFuture Fest

Detroit got itself on the map, all right. AfroFuture Fest is going to happen in Detroit, and has garnered reviews of it’s ticket policy in newspapers, even in Britain. The Detroit Free Press had the most thorough exposition: “A Detroit music festival is changing its ticket pricing system after organizers say they were harassed by white supremacists and racist comments. When AfroFuture Fest, an August Afrocentric music and art festival, opened ticket sales, organizers were charging ‘early bird’ people of color $10 and ‘non-POC’ $20, with other tickets as high as $40 on Eventbrite.

“Last weekend, after the event was widely publicized and debated across social media, the national attention prompted organizers to change the pricing to $20 for all attendees. Organizers originally posted the event with an explanation: ‘The prices were based on the idea of equitable access to festivals, which are often cost-prohibitive and do not benefit the black communities that host them. Events often designed for marginalized Black and Brown communities can be easily co-opted by those with cultural, monetary, and class privileges,’ organizer Numi Ori wrote on Facebook. ‘Our goal is to ensure that the youth of our communities can participate in the building of a just society; one that promotes EQUITY over EQUALITY.[sic]’

“While organizers said they intended to make the festival more accessible, the doubled price for white festival goers sparked pushback from performers as well. Tiny Jag, a Detroit-based rapper who is biracial, was slated to perform at the festival, but pulled out of the lineup in a Twitter announcement, writing the pricing system ‘does not reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team’.”

Elsewhere she wrote, “I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial. I have family members that would have, under those circumstances, been subjected to something that I would not ever want them to be in … especially not because of anything that I have going on….It’s non-progressive and it’s not solution-focused in my eyes….It seems almost like it has spite, and unfortunately with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change.” I heartily applaud her, and her family members should be charged only $15, the “half and half” rate.

The truth about updated ticket prices: The event’s hosting site, Eventbrite, threatened to take the festival’s page down if organizers did not change the pricing, which an Eventbrite spokesperson said violated company terms. “We also let them know that if they did not comply, we would remove the event completely from our site,” the spokesperson said in a statement. In a Monday post, which smacks of Jussie Smollettism, Ori wrote that she and fellow organizer Franchesca Lamarre were changing the pricing system because of racist harassment. “There is no other reason why. This was for the sake of safety,” she wrote.  “For the safety of our community, family, elders who received threats from white supremacists,& youth who were subjected to seeing racist comments on our IG pg, Afrofuture Fest has changed our ticketing model to $20 General Admission & suggested donation for nonPOC on @eventbrite.”

Once again EventBrite fired back with the truth: “While the creator removed the discriminatory pricing for admission, we were made aware they added an optional donation ticket type that was still based on a protected characteristic,” Eventbrite’s statement reads. “Given this also violated our Terms, we removed that specific ticket type and communicated to the creator that they can include a donation option so long as it’s inclusive of all attendees.”

Not one to fail to get the last word in, Ori wrote in a July 5 Facebook post: “I don’t feel not one ounce of sadness or regret about Franchesca Lamarre and I’s choice for creating this ticket structure,….. Don’t comment on here about what we could have done differently with the structure. We did what we did and equity matters.” Their Twitter page got no visible threats but hundreds of tweets decrying their racist ticket policy.

On their website, the organizers of this music festival explained why they were charging white people twice as much: “Why do we have POC (people of color) and Non-POC (white people) tickets? I’m glad you asked! Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity is insuring (sic) everyone has what they need to be successful. Our ticket structure was built to insure [sic] that the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit). If they were truly concerned with the Detroit black community being successful, the festival would have featured speakers like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, Candace Owens and Condolezza Rice, instead of rappers.

Their definition of equity is hypocritical also. If equity is “insuring” (it should read ensuring, but that’s just me) that “everyone has what they need to be successful”, but “are provided with” what they need-passive wording-rather than actively earning what they need, who “insures”, who “provides”? That definition is really implying that the recipients are unable to find success via their own efforts. I call that a residual slave mentality.

Okay, there’s multiculturalism, but I say a white person desiring to go to AfroFuture Fest is white virtue signaling. Any white people should be charged $1,000 minimum if they are really serious about their virtue.

The secret Starbucks woke drink menu, code-named “Berkeley.”

I found out about it when I mistakenly grabbed someone else’s mobile order, thinking it was my regular Americano, and discovered the White-Privilege latte: blond roast coffee beans, foamed white macadamia milk with a hint of white sugar, in an all-white cup with the Starbucks logo in blond rather than green. Ugh, I like stuff that is robust. When I complained to the barista that I needed something really strong to counteract the cloying taste in my mouth, she leaned really close and asked, “how strong do you like it?” Hoping that her question was sexual innuendo rather than customer service, I shot back, “how strong can you make it?” while trying to roll my eyes, but I also lost my balance and reached out to grab her hand, as she pulled me close and whispered throatily, “have you heard of our secret drink menu? You have to say the magic word, Berkeley, and that gives me access to a secret room where we make the woke drinks.”

Recovering my balance, if not my composure and dignity, I asked in my most assertive voice, “what do you recommend?” She said, “if you can really handle super dark, I recommend the Black-Lives-Matter mocha. It’s 85% cacao dark syrup, in a cup of Ethiopia Sidamo French Roast, with foamed chocolate milk, in a brown cup with the Starbucks logo in black. Very classy.” As she led me through the secret portal, I was tempted to say, “you’re not so bad yourself” but just then another customer who was already in the secret menu room ordered a #MeTo-Mocha Frappuccino, while eyeing me suspiciously, and that put an end to my fantasy. All around the room were posters of the woke menu drinks: Get-The-Blue-Out-of-Here blueberry lemonade, made with albino “blueberries” and off limits to police, Transgender Chai-Creme Frappuccino, Pinkberri-Soccer-Matcha tea latte, intended to honor Megan Rapinoe (free to anyone who can produce LGBTQ credentials and pink-purple hair), and the actual drink that inspired the whole menu, the Tie-Dye Holdover-Hippie Frappuccino, in both adult and child strengths.

I went with the Black-Lives-Matter mocha. Just as I was about to raise my cup, a mob of 40+ teenagers–that’s in number, not age nor maturity–rampage into the store, having just looted and vandalized the Walgreens across the street, with an Antifa vanguard shoving the Starbucks customers out of the way. I spilled my boiling hot mocha all over the woman with the #MeTo-Mocha-Frappuccino, prompting a roundhouse slap to my right eye, knocking my glasses off, into a vat of Frappuccino syrup. The store manager rushed over, asking the Antifa leader if he needed a witness, in case he wanted to sue me for being in the way (but he moaned that he was late for dinner at mommy’s house). She also offered me a coupon for a free Starbucks training called How to Tell the Disabled From the Merely Clumsy.

Having lost both my glasses and my cane in the melee, I was in no mood. Fortunately, before I made a nasty remark, I woke up. Remind me not to drink a tie-dye Frap before bed again.

“If you disagree with me, you are not only wrong, but evil.”

Democrats under the covers…

Maureen Dowd is a prototypical super-liberal columnist. In a recent Op-Ed in the NY Times, she said that a certain group “acts as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom.” Now we honest conservatives–and anyone with ears to hear, eyes to see, at least minimal brain power–know that is how the Perfectionist Progressives treat us. Who was the group saying what Dowd was referring to? It was the Progressives in the Democrats’ shiny, new electees! No surprise there. The surprise was the group that is the object of their wrath was–the Democrat leadership! Stop the presses, the young Perfectionist Progressives are turning the fire hoses of their wrath on their own leaders! Because they know best.

The A.O.C. crew threw down the gauntlet in a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by The Intercept’s Ryan Grim. He wrote that when Pelosi and other Democratic mandarins try to keep the image of the party centrist, they are crouching in “the defensive posture” they’ve been in since the Reagan revolution. Corbin Trent, a spokesman for A.O.C. and co-founder of Justice Democrats, the progressive group that helped propel her, told Grim: “The greatest threat to mankind is the cowardice of the Democratic Party,” with the older generation “driven by fear” and “unable to lead.”

“Unable to lead?” Lead where, off the cliff, as in almost ALL the Perfectionist Progressive new ideas and unworkable policies? “Driven by fear?” Of what, of whom? Establishment Republicans? Puleese! No, fear of The Donald, who inconveniently happens to be President, mean tweets and all. Too bad, M.A.G.A. baby.

If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

God’s altar vs. man’s altar

The title is from Exodus 20:25, inspiring this meditation of Charles Spurgeon:

“God’s altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrines of the cross into a system more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments of the Lord’s own Word are defilements and pollutions.

“The proud heart of man is very anxious to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God; preparations for Christ are dreamed of, humblings and repentings are trusted in, good works are cried up, natural ability is much vaunted, and by all means the attempt is made to lift up human tools upon the divine altar. It were well if sinners would remember that so far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their carnal confidences only pollute and dishonour it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement, and not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured. There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in him alone.

“There is among Christians far too much inclination to square and reconcile the truths of revelation; this is a form of irreverence and unbelief, let us strive against it, and receive truth as we find it; rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.”

The human desire for popularity and the fear of confrontation, confrontaphobia, are the most visible manifestations of “the proud heart of man”, which drives the never ending molding of scripture to fit the culture–the accumulation of the “depraved tastes of the fallen nature.” Even my commentary on Spurgeon is a manifestation of my depraved heart and desire to be respected. Therefore, I shut my mouth. I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:6.