Nel's New Day

February 17, 2020

Washington’s Birthday 2020

Until Richard Nixon was elected president, people celebrated two holidays in February—Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th and George Washington’s birthday on the 22nd. Although Washington’s birthday was designated a federal holiday in 1855, it subsumed Lincoln’s birthday when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday of February in 1971. For the past few decades, many people have nicknamed this date “Presidents Day,” sometimes putting the apostrophe before or after the last “s.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) puts it before the “s,” perhaps because he wants President’s Day to refer only to himself.  Thirteen states don’t celebrate either Washington’s Birthday or Presidents Day as a state holiday, and some Southern states refuse to celebrate any part of Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington, in his 1796 farewell address after two terms in office, was most concerned for the safety of the U.S. Constitution and the unity of government after the rise of factions from political parties. He wrote:

“The Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government. All obstructions to the execution of the laws …. are destructive of this fundamental principle.”

In contrast to Washington’s noble image of a new country is DDT’s impression as described by history, documentarian, and filmmaker Ken Burns whose 30+ productions covered two centuries of U.S. achievements. In a 2016 interview, Burns’ prescience came from a discussion of his then new project Defying the Nazis as he explained his reason for public opposition to DDT:  

“I have never in my professional life ever spoken out in this way. I certainly have my own opinions and have a yard sign at elections and make sure I vote. But I spoke out because he represents the greatest threat to American democracy since the Second World War. He is so fundamentally un-American, and not only because he is unqualified, but because he is mentally unsuited. He represents a kind of strong man, narcissistic thing that represents the potential death of the Republic. All of my films are about the United States and all of them are about trying to understand how it works and how it doesn’t work, and I just felt compelled to speak out.”

About DDT’s appeal to his base, Burns said:

“He has tapped a dark unconscious, in which it is easier to vilify the other than to see what you share in common. It’s easier to be afraid than to welcome change. It’s always been there. We had a civil war, you know. We killed 750,000 of ourselves over this issue. He’s appealing to that in the most venal and vulgar ways.”

In his interview, Burns talked about DDT’s full-page ads demanding the death penalty to five young people, the “Central Park Five,” later exonerated for a horrible crime. DDT never backed down on his calls for the death penalty even after the guilty person was found. Asked if DDT is a fascist, Burns said:

“Absolutely. When you talk about having extra-judicial, threatening rivals with jail. You can call it fascistic or you can call it dictatorial. You can call it monomaniacal or imperial. Whatever you want to say, this is not the way that our country works.”

These comments were made over three years ago before DDT was elected as U.S. president.

Three years later, writer for the National Catholic Reporter Michael Sean Winters wrote about DDT’s “seven deadly sins”—greed, lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, wrath, and pride:

“What we see with President Donald Trump and his cast of sycophants and co-conspirators . . . is a rare thing: All seven deadly sins on display at once.”

Winters wrote about how the “deadly sins” spur DDT’s actions:

His unsatiated greed for money and fame during most of his life extends to greed for power.

His lust for women came out before the election in the tape about how he could grab women “by the pussy,” a tape that 63 million voters ignored and enjoyed. By now, his lust for 23 women has been widely politicized, but his base ignores or rejects the possibility that he committed these actions.

Gluttony, obvious that he can never get enough money or power or women, reveals his drive for satisfying only his own needs with no concern for the country that he was elected to lead.  

Sloth is evident in his refusal to read briefing papers and his constant golfing, even during disasters affected the United States. He has no knowledge of history or the ramifications of his actions.

Envy, largely directed at his predecessor, is he cause behind almost every decision DDT makes—eliminating items for budgets, dropping out of treaties, destroying the environment, taking health care from people—anything to erase President Obama’s legacy no matter how much damage it does to the country.

Fury pours out at all his campaign rallies and throughout his tweets; inside sources report his wrath within the White House. Recently, he used the National Prayer Breakfast to rail at people who didn’t show him absolute loyalty. His anger at former opponent Hillary Clinton is still on full display at the rallies, and he always calls for chants of “lock her up.”

Pride for DDT “is the pride of the con man,” according to Winters. “He is proud of his ability to make people think he is a man of abilities when he really is a man of few gifts beyond those we associate with showmanship.” In 2016, David Brooks wrote about DDT:

“[His] vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.”

DDT has managed to consistently break all the Ten Commandments:

  1. “I am the Lord thy God who has brought you out of the land of Egypt.” DDT has said that only he can save the people of the U.S.
  2.  “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Evangelical Christians, who have been able to swallow everything else that DDT throws at them, have complained about his taking God’s name in vain.
  3. “Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image.” DDT has declared himself the “lord” and puts his name on everything possible.
  4.  “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” DDT uses his Sabbath for election campaigning.
  5.  “Honor thy father and mother.” Even at his father’s funeral, DDT could not resist making the event all about himself.
  6.  “Thou shalt not kill.” DDT has vastly increased the “collateral damage” from bombings in the Middle East and is indifferent to murdered civilians. He refuses to take any action in mass shootings, and his unadulterated support for Israel is killing thousands of Palestinians.
  7.  “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Breaking this commandment has been one of DDT’s favorite activities. A prime example is that he pled the Fifth for 97 times during his divorce from Ivana Trump to avoid incriminating himself about his public extramarital affair with Marla Maples who he then married before divorcing. 
  8. “Thou shalt not steal.” DDT has stiffed workers by not paying their wages, taken others’ pensions by declaring bankruptcies, and generally cheated everyone possible. He also stole from his own charitable foundation.
  9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” DDT fits the old joke: How can we tell that he is lying? He opens his mouth. A few months ago, he was past 16,000 lies since his inauguration.
  10. “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” In addition to the neighbors’ possessions, DDT covets attention, love, glory, power and victory. 

More examples here

DDT fits the description of the conservative Christian anti-Christ, the one who opposes Christ while substituting himself in Christ’s place. Pure evil, DDT is a polarizer, hatemonger, and fearmonger with no understanding of or respect for the nation’s political values and traditions. The one value he seeks in those around him, loyalty, means that he wants only their agreement, not advice.

This Vanity Fair piece by Marie Brenner from 1990 shows that DDT hasn’t changed in 30 years.

After DDT’s weekend vacation at Mar-a-Lago, President Obama managed to drive him into another rage with this tweet on Washington’s Birthday:

“Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

Unfortunately for DDT, his bragging falls short—again. His “greatest economy ever” is only sixth out of the last ten presidential terms—and it’s headed downhill.

Happy “President’s Day!”

July 13, 2014

Christians Ignorant of Ten Commandments, More

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 7:20 PM
Tags: , ,

Do you have a bible in your house? If the answer is yes, you live in one of the 88 percent of U.S. households with at least one bible, according to the American Bible Society’s annual “State of the Bible” survey. The average number of bibles in homes is 4.7. The poll found that 56 percent of respondents think that the bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors, and over half think that the bible contains everything a person needs to know in order to lead a meaningful life. Over one-fourth said that they read the book daily or at least several times a week.

Surveys about religion are not necessarily trustworthy because people tend to tell researchers what they think the surveyors want to hear. Respondents want to look good. One question to these respondents is to cite the Ten Commandments. A few years ago, Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland couldn’t do this on the Stephen Colbert show although the legislator wanted a law to mandate the commandments be displayed in the House and Senate chambers. The good politician could remember only three.

Biblical scholars know that the Good Book lists two different—and non-matching—sets of these commandments. Moses comes down from Mount Sinai with stone tablets in Exodus 20 but breaks them out of anger and has to get another set (Exodus 34:1). For those of you who have forgotten, these are the first ones:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

And the replacements:

  1. Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
  2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
  3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
  4. All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
  5. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
  6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
  7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
  8. Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
  9. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
  10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

God’s rewrite allows coveting, killing, adultery, swearing, and bearing false witness. He also didn’t direct people to honor their parents. God’s reconsideration merely ordered people to give Him lots of stuff, take off the Sabbath, and worship only Him with a little dietary advice such as skipping all that leaven and not seething a kid in his mother’s milk.

As long as the Ten Commandments are so ambiguous, Valerie Tarico suggests some different ones:

  1. This above all shall ye take as my first command: Thou shalt treat living beings as they want to be treated. And the second commandment is like unto it:
  2. In as much as be possible, thou shalt avoid afflicting pain or sorrow, which shall be unto thee my signs of ill and evil.
  3. Thou shalt honor and protect all of creation, for I the LORD have created it that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  4. Thou shalt have sexual relations with neither human nor beast who chooseth not freely what pleasures thou mayest offer.
  5. Thou shalt not beat the child, but by admonition and instruction with kindness shall teach both wisdom and skill.
  6. Thou shalt do unto members of other religions and tribes as thou dost unto thine own.
  7. I, the LORD your God, forbid thee to own other persons be they woman, man or child; neither shall ye subject any gender nor race one to another, but shall honor my image in all.
  8. Thou shalt not destroy the lands of thine enemies, nor poison their well, nor salt their earth, neither shalt thou cut their shade tree nor burn their vineyard, nor wantonly slaughter the beast of their field.
  9. Thou shalt wash thy hands before eating and shalt boil the drinking water that has been defiled by man or beast.
  10. Thou shalt ask the questions that can show thee wrong, so that through the toil of many, from generation unto generation, ye may come to discover the great I AM.

A little flowery, but these would have stopped the Inquisition, burning witches, Holocaust, slave trade, and the Iraq War.

Although 60 percent of those responding to the survey can’t name more than five of the commandments, they are also ignorant of much more of biblical instruction. Twelve percent think that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, and almost 50 percent of high school seniors believe that Sodom and Gomorrah are a married couple. Only half know that John the Baptist was not one of the 12 apostles, and 82 percent think that “God helps those who help themselves” is a biblical verse. (This expression, however, can be found in the Quran.) Yet 81 percent of U.S. adults think they are highly, moderately or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible.

One so-called expert on the bible, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, is convinced that God determined all the U.S. borders. According to Fischer, anyone to crosses in the United States without permission is directly offending the Creator.

Not to be outdone, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins accused President Obama of imposing Sharia law on the U.S. military stationed in Bahrain during Ramadan. He cites a Stars and Stripes story that tells military members how to comply with the area’s local laws: “While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours.” The Navy is also requiring long-sleeved shirts and blouses with long pants or skirts to be in keeping with local customs.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), still a wannabe presidential candidate, claimed during a radio interview this that anti-gay marriage business owners are being sent to “re-education camps” for refusing to serve gay customers. He even cited a specific Colorado baker who was required to submit a report on how he would prevent future discrimination after he refused to sell a same-sex couple a cake for their wedding reception. No barbed wire, no torture—just a report.

Taxpayers in the United States now support teaching creationism in schools. As this interactive map shows, lax regulations in many states allow taxpayer-funded schools to teach “alternatives” to evolution.  Some of these schools are regular public schools, and others are private schools that receive state tuition voucher or scholarship programs.

One piece of hope from the survey: Between 2011 and 2013, the percent of American adults who believe the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice” has almost doubled, from 10 to 19 percent.

Schools in the U.K. that receive government funding cannot teach creationism as scientific fact. Some of the newly-formed academies and free schools had been teaching “alternatives” to evolution and the Big Bang theory. Some of these schools use the U.S.-based Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) model and textbooks teaching evolution as a lie. (ACE, a popular curriculum in U.S. tax-funded Christian schools) also teaches that homosexuality is a “learned behavior” comparable to the sins of murder and stealing, and that people can avoid AIDS by following the Bible.)

Even more hope comes from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The anti-science fervor in the United States comes almost entirely from fundamentalist Christians who cannot reconcile reality with their bible. In this country, we may have to put up with their stupidity in the media, but the BBC Trust, which broadcasts news around the globe, has issued a statement that it will give more weight to scientific fact that unsupported opinions:

“The Trust wishes to emphasise the importance of attempting to establish where the weight of scientific agreement may be found and make that clear to audiences. Science coverage does not simply lie in reflecting a wide range of views but depends on the varying degree of prominence such views should be given.”

Fox network will never stop spreading misrepresentations (aka lies), but perhaps more ethical U.S. media networks may decide to follow suit.

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