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The Guns of Oregon

On October 1st, 2015, Chris Harper-Mercer went onto the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, went into a classroom, and started shooting. As I write this, the death toll sits at 9, with 7 wounded. It shocked the nation, again. As it should. The President of the United States held a press conference to express condolences to the families of the victims, as he should. The problem was, he didn’t stop there. He followed up his comforting words immediately with fightin’ words.

Just 6 hours after the shooting, and when details about it were still very sketchy, President Obama came out with guns blazing, so to speak, pushing for more gun control. We didn’t know the name of the shooter, we didn’t know how he got the guns, and we weren’t even sure of the casualty count. But none of that mattered to him. I understand and share his anger and frustration at the various mass shootings in this country, but even before we knew any relevant details, he was out there calling again for “common-sense gun-safety laws”.

This is a classic mistake that politicians of both parties make; jumping the gun, so to speak, in order to make political points while the emotions are high. They propose new laws in order to be seen as doing something, even if that something would have done nothing to solve the problem at hand. They try to get their agenda passed because something must be done, and this is something, so it must be done.

Those who despise the Patriot Act should realize that part of the reason it passed was because it was “something”. I think the Patriot Act has actually kept us safer, but it did indeed go too far in certain areas and needed to be scaled back. Passing gun control while emotions are high, and before we even know where our current laws failed, would make the same exact mistake. Keep that in mind. The President said that he thought this issue should be politicized. Sorry, but that’s the worst idea ever. Read the rest of this entry

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    Links: 2015-09-03

    Links found around and about these here interwebby things.

    1. Of Mr Obama and Mr Trump.
    2. Social or geographical structures and people living in them.
    3. Cute and effective, which probably means Roger Goddell wasn’t involved, heh.
    4. Not held back by Star Trek (bad) doctrine.
    5. Yah think?
    6. So the clerk arrest is “bad optics” … speaking of which
    7. A drone meets its match.
    8. A subtitle for the “Black Lives Matter” crowd.
    9. Or your dating methodology suffers a systematic error (like you got the age of the parchment not the text).
    10. Ms Clinton’s email problem.
    11. Cruz gets it wrong. Look if you call one side hypocritical, don’t turn around and do the “other sides” version of the same hypocritical nonsense.
    12. On the county clerk … seems to me if she wanted to do what she is doing and avoid the legal problems, she should have read more Kafka. Bureaucratic runarounds have been around a long time. In some place they are probably an art form (see Havel).
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      Kentucky Cloaking, err, Clerking Devices

      So, the lone Kentucky clerk is now in jail. On charges? Of contempt. Well, h*ll, I’ve bushels contempt for a whole lot of jurists, elected officials, and public scalawags pretending to serve the people while most assuredly not doing so. I hadn’t realized holding in contempt those well deserving of same is actionable.

      Her jailing is apparently (“bad optics”) is a meme going around. Ya think?

      But aside from that, this jailing is done by the feds. This is a state (actually county) clerk enforcing state laws. Her failure to do so doesn’t violate federal statutes, but state ones. Apparently the state hasn’t decided to censure her or prosecute. What is odd that … those who think this sort of thing is wrong, fully supported those who decide that the biased non-supporting of federal immigration statutes by just deciding not to is in the purview of the federal law enforcement and prosecutors is just peachy.

      Either supporting the law (all of them) is the job of the President, the Attorney General, and every public official on regards to immigration and every other statute on the books … as well as by county clerks or disobeying such statutes because they are inconvenient or against some personal principles is ok. Both are wrong nor neither. You cannot and maintain any principles declare that these statutes can be disobeyed by those you like and those you don’t like can’t.

      Which reminds us, why exactly is Ms Clinton not being arraigned on security related charges? Hmm. Could it be politics. See above. If the clerk goes to jail, so should Hilary. They could share a cell. Last thing I read about Ms Clinton’s “emails not marked confidential” included an email detailing all the known locations of North Korean nukes. On what planet does anyone pretend that isn’t confidential or higher in security clearance (answer apparently: Democrats with inactive grey cells).

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        Links: 2015-09-01

        Around and about (from North Las Vegas this week)

        1. Trump and verse in the context of the Stasi.
        2. “Science” figures out repentence and forgiveness are useful. How clever.
        3. But, don’t dismiss science, they give you 6 foot scorpions to dream about.
        4. Of word vs deed. Gosh, I hope there is a place to spit when I actually hear someone use a term like “xe” or “zir”.
        5. Sometimes I wonder if it is the error of Star Trek and their “Prime Directive” crap that keeps us from actively opposing ISIS with little more than harsh words.
        6. This post, reminds me of an anecdote set in British colonial India. A Brit military chap is arresting some blokes for burning a woman after the death of her husband. He is informed by the outraged locals that “we have an ancient custom of doing so”. He replies his people too have an ancient custom of arresting people who burn women. Multicultural-ism is all well and good. It’s useful to understand the ways of thinking of the other guy. Doesn’t mean however, that your way of thinking isn’t actually wrong or even not better.
        7. Micro-aggressions noted. Those who promote a “theory” of micro-aggression may want claim that saying “affirmative action is racist” and/or “I believe that the most qualified person should get the job” are racist, wrong and “micro-aggresions”. They’d be 100% completely wrong. If you want to claim something true is false, go right ahead. But you’d still be wrong.
        8. Speaking racism of a more obvious sort, one of the main organs of the left gives a good one example of that.
        9. I remain confused about the Senate vote/non-vote for the Obama/Iran “deal”. If it isn’t ratified by 67 Senators, it’s not a treaty and isn’t binding. It’s not law and it’s not going to survive a President who doesn’t support it.
        10. On the basis of this, I’ve started reading this. Coincidentally I’d also picked up and started reading another book by the same author, Rob Roy.
        11. Your President’s (likely racist) legal eagles in action.
        12. An “ethical” question. My answer is no. And that the only person you can ethically suggest to sacrifice for her sake is your own.
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          Mr Rowe writes:

          Drawn in part from the writings of Christian Reconstructionists, that narrative recasts modern-day Republicans as the racially inclusive party, and modern-day Democrats as the racists supportive of slavery and postemancipation racist policies.

          Here’s the problem with casting Democrat’s as the drivers behind confronting racism in the 50s and 60s in the South. Look at these two lists, here and here. Note the dates and party affiliations of those Governors of those two very very Southern (and presumably at one time, quite racist) Southern states. Recall also Mr George Wallace. Democrat? Yes. Hmm.

          It may very well be that in the north of Mason Dixon line Democrats (union + intellectual elite driven) parties opposed racism and that is what the Democrats perceive as their legacy of opposing racism. But to deny that in the South the dominant party during the racial turmoil in the South was not both opposing racial integration and rights and was in fact part of the Democrat party is revisionist.

          If accurate this wiki article supports the “it’s more complicated” than claiming one party or the other was complicit/non-complicit in enforcing racism and racially unfair policies.

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            Links: 2015-08-04

            My excuse these last weeks is my schedule, work about 11 hours, drive (60 minutes round trip) to swim, swim (about 90 minutes total), eat, sleep and so on leaves, will no time for much. Anyhow, I’ve been reading (audio tapes driving to/from Illinois to Ohio has included a Vaclav Havel biography, a Dan Simmons Sherlock Holmes story, and the Zombie book “Warm Bodies” which made for a fun film and an ok book). As for Mr Havel, I might have to read a play or two, but I thought his observation regarding foreign policy apropos for the recent Iran “treaty” (scare quotes required, oddly enough). Mr Havel pointed out that if a government lies consistently to its own people you can’t trust it not to lie to foreign powers, in fact it is less likely to be honest with foreigners. Oh, and Katie Ledecky is completely amazing.


            1. Some guy killed a lion. I think I overheard that lawmakers were suggesting new laws. Wonder if they realize prize hunting in much (most/all?) of Africa normally goes to supporting their habitats, so making that illegal will be less good, not better for lions and such.
            2. Convenience is not always your friend … as long as you really trust everyone you come in contact with the unimportant things like continued living.
            3. Saving money or not … A question asked and another answered.
            4. And our government remains clueless about so so much.
            5. Why exercise is necessary.
            6. Public schools do indeed waste stupendous amounts of money.
            7. Ok. Fine. He wasn’t a “hero” but he was the most interesting character in the story.
            8. If this statement “Does the fact that every US ally in the Middle East, Arab and Jew, opposes this deal mean anything ?” is true, the deal should die. (more here)
            9. What makes an author great?
            10. Ms Clinton and her bad investment advice.
            11. Displaced humans, not just in abundance in Syria.

            Question? Why do people think this Iran deal is going to be part of Obama’s legacy if, because it is not a treaty, it will only survive on the forbearance of his predecessor (as it is sustained only by Presidential executive order). To be a treaty which would in fact bind future Presidents it would require ratification by two thirds of the Senate.

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              Regarding Inside/Out

              My wife and I had a “date night” cinema viewing Saturday. We saw the Pixar Inside/Out at the dollar theater.

              I thought the notion that the “joy”-self was identified as the primary ego/self driver for the pre-teen child an interesting notion that might be plausible for most healthy happy kids. Also plausible is that emotional maturation consists in part (mostly?) with bringing a more complex emotional group to drive “self” image.

              I’m less certain that emotional selves get lost in the inner mind in times of emotional crises.

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                Charlie Hebdo Follow-up; Surrender

                “Je Suis Charlie!” That was the hashtag activism that came out of the Islamic extremist attack on the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, in response to their cartoons of Mohammed. It was the most French many of us had ever spoken, defending a satire magazine that most of us had never heard of prior to that.

                I don’t like it when cartoonists mock Jesus, but in America the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, and so they are allowed to. In France, this same idea was behind the Je Suis Charlie movement. We will not be intimidated by extremists.

                Right up until we are.

                Recently, the Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief, whose name is in the article in the show notes and which I will not attempt in case I butcher it, waved the white flag of surrender and said that the magazine would no longer draw cartoons of Mohammed. A dozen of his colleagues died for, and the world erupted in support of, their right to mock. All that was for naught. Violence prevailed. The terrorists won.

                To be sure, you can understand their concern. Who wants to poke that particular hornet’s nest again? Why put yourself in that literal line of fire? But his reasoning seemed to be strained. He claimed, “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions.” Perhaps, although the offices were not shot up by enraged Evangelicals, cantankerous Catholics, agitated Jews, or belligerent Buddhists. In fact, the terrorism perpetrated worldwide has predominantly come from one particular religion, but it’s not politically correct to notice that. Oh, and interestingly, no word from Charlie Hebdo about no longer drawing cartoons mocking Jesus. They know perfectly well that the Christian response will most likely be a strongly-worded letter. #ReligionOfPeace

                So just in case you were wondering whatever happened to all that solidarity and righteous indignation spent in the service of free speech, that’s what happened. The French surrendered.

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                  I’ve not lived in a state that has the Whataburger chain, but I know that folks who do love their stuff. The Whataburger chain in Texas decided recently that it would not allow the open carrying of guns in any of its restaurants. Management said that some patrons felt uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm. They will, however, still allow those carrying a legal concealed weapon to enjoy their burgers on the premises.

                  Let me just say that I will defend Whataburger’s right to deny service to open-carry patrons. It’s their right to determine who they will and won’t serve, or who they allow on their premises, even if what those patrons are doing is perfectly lawful. They can conduct their business as they see fit, and potential customers can choose to eat where they want. This is what we call “freedom” and “the free market”.

                  But boy oh boy, if they are ever asked to cater a same-sex wedding, they’d better comply. It’s much less dangerous to the life of your business to exclude lawful gun owners. If you think it’s silly to create a hypothetical situation where someone would ask Whataburger to cater a wedding, just ask Memories Pizza in Indiana how silly it is to ask a hypothetical question about catering a same-sex wedding with pizza. But you may find that difficult to ask; their answer closed their business. #LoveWins?

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                    Lessons From the Greek Tragedy

                    Imagine, if you will, a guy who fills out a loan application, but lies on it about his current financial situation, or he tells the truth about his bad situation but signs a promise to get his financial house in order if he can get this loan. Now let’s say he doesn’t make the changes he promised, but spends the money on the same things that got him into the mess he was in before the loan. When it’s time to make payments on the loan, he complains he doesn’t have the money and wants to renegotiate the terms of the existing loan and get a new one.

                    You’re the loan officer. What do you do? The guy’s telling you he needs the money to eat and to pay his other bills. But he didn’t change his free-spending ways like he promised and now he’s in a bind again. Is it prudent to give more cash to a guy who can’t change his spending habits, and can’t repay what you’ve already given him?

                    No, it’s not. That’s not being heartless; that’s just being a good steward of the bank’s money. And if you keep giving this guy money, and he doesn’t repay it, what about the depositors who’s money it is that you’re handing out? When they need their money, where will it be?

                    The guy I’m talking about is the country of Greece. And just like Margaret Thatcher’s description, their socialism was working great, right up until they ran out of other people’s money. You can only soak the rich for so long, and so they went to the European and international banks for bailouts. And more bailouts. But each time, though they promised to mend their free-spending, socialist ways, they didn’t and wound up in the same situation.

                    There are 2 major problems that this situation has highlighted. First, the European Union has certainly caused state sovereignty to seep out of the individual countries, such that it’s understandable why citizens of Greece would be insisting that the EU be held at least partially responsible. If Greece must bow to the EU on some matters, the EU must be willing to help. With great power-grabs come great responsibility.

                    But the other major problem is one that our own country needs to come to terms with. The Greek government got in over its head with promises it made to various groups. Welfare, pension, and other government payments got to the point where merely servicing those was drowning the country in debt. They made the promises, so they had to keep them. And when the government over-promised, the people voted in politicians who would give them more stuff, until the government had to tax and tax, and borrow and borrow, to keep up. And all that taxing and borrowing reduces economic growth and devalues the currency. So more taxing and more borrowing, and the death spiral continues.

                    So then, who should pay for the bad choices of the Greek people? Should we allow the Greeks to default on their obligations, and then have the German and the French people have to bail out their banks? How in the world is that fair? “But what about the Greek people?”, those on the Left were asking when those Greek people voted to stiff their creditors. “Why should they be punished for the actions of their government?” Well, because they voted for the guy who squandered the money and walked into the bank to ask for more. And if the Greeks are let off the hook, there are other European countries looking to try the same ploy. I’m looking at you, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

                    The problem is that the Greeks poked a big hole in their own boat, and no amount of bailing by themselves will keep them afloat. More bailers, if you will, would help, and the EU is going to continue to help in the bailing, but the Greeks need to agree to quit making the hole bigger, and take steps to plug it. That’s going to take some hard choices on their part, but that’s the problem with socialism. Once you get used to the idea of free money and benefits, you get to thinking that they are your “right”. Going back to fiscal responsibility is a much harder road to travel.

                    The Greeks are learning that lesson. Well, I hope they are. I’m not so sure after they voted to default on their loans. I also hope that we’ll learn it, too. But I begin to wonder about my fellow countrymen when I see how popular presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is, who is an avowed socialist. “Ignore the News, Vote for Sanders!”

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                      Well, Doug just posted some excellent thoughts on marriage and the recent High Court ruling. Here’s my 2 cents (the going rate I might add, a bargain? You decide)

                      Over and over and over from the Christian opposition to SSM we hear that they (we) oppose same sex marriage (and indeed relationships) because homosexual sex is sinful. This is the wrong reason, I think. Yah yah, that’s a sin. But … look at it this way. If you have one individual, in one universe he gets married to another dude. In another he doesn’t. It’s not unlikely that he has a similar quantity of sex in both universes, but in the first … its less random, less disconnected, with fare fewer people, and possibly ultimately less sinful. That homosexual sex is sinful isn’t what is wrong with same sex marriage. It’s not like you and I don’t breed sin in our lives like Fibonacci’s rabbits ourselves (don’t look at me like that). What is wrong with it is that it promotes and continues to solidify a wrong conception of what marriage is about (this post says more about this point better than I could, so go read it, then come back).

                      If you study church history, you will discover that every historical Christological heresy (the nature of Christ, human, divine and such) was and often is still being recapitulated as an ecclesiastical heresy (That is to say, what is the Church?). There is a good reason for this. The reason for that is pretty obvious when it comes down to it. The body of Christ on earth (after Ascension) is in fact, the Church. So there should be no surprise that heresies (wrong notions) of “what is this called Christ” copy over to heresies of what is this same thing (Christ) here still on earth. What does this have to do with marriage? Well, for the current marital discussions we recall Paul teaches us, in marriage after some subtle instructions on how to treat with each other, that the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the Church. Furthermore that this relationship is a mystery. Now, first off, don’t get too worked up about the term “mystery”. Remember the best definition of mystery is a thing that you can’t explain very well, or at all, in words but must experience to understand. But the connection to Christology is the same. We are discovering that these Christological hersesies? Well, they are recapitulating as “What is marriage” heresies for exactly the same reason. Fortunately, as in the prior paragraph, another author at the site linked above explains that point from the Orthodox perspective far better than I can.

                      Ultimately this is the reason Christians, cannot back down on the marriage question (for there is little question about balancing the small good of perhaps less sin, if the consequence and mechanism for that is promulgating heresy). This thing the state and for that matter the left elite and many others calls marriage. How they define it. How they understand it. Well, it’s a is indeed a”thing”. But that “thing” isn’t the same as what we understand the word marriage to mean. It might have been better if the Supreme court had nationalized a legal structure called fleem. In which two persons, the glissord and the fleeger are contractually (until they choose to dissolve the fleem) bound together and enjoy the following state privileges (and it will be up to the legislature now to go to their chambers and define for us what privileges are granted to those joined in fleemhood.) Well, actually they did exactly that. But instead they chose to confuse all of us and not use a new word. They didn’t call it fleem or even iglifu. They used a word that used to and for many still does mean something completely different. Keep that in mind in the discussions that follow.


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                        In June of 2013, the Supreme Court’s liberals declared that the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, was unconstitutional, because, as they said, the power of the individual state in defining marriage is “of central relevance", and the decision to grant same-sex couples the right to marry is "of immense import." Basically, it’s the state, and not the federal government, which should determine what marriage is and license accordingly.

                        Two years to the day later, those same liberals overrode those immensely important marriage laws in 14 states and proclaimed same-sex marriage from the federal bench. And it once again proves something I’ve said on this podcast so many times; for the Left, it is all about politics. Constitutional matters, federalism, and some supposed regard for the rule of law, all of it, take a back seat in order to get their political agenda passed. The individual state’s ability to define what marriage is, is of central relevance, right up until it isn’t.

                        Chief Justice John Roberts, in his dissent, noted this, "This court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us.” Right, that’s what states were allowed to determine on their own, and in fact it was going that way with, as I said, only 14 states left holding on to traditional marriage.

                        I will say, as an aside, that this thought by Roberts – that the court is not a legislature – was rather ironic, given his previous rewriting of ObamaCare. It’s like two, two, two Supreme Court chief justices in one!

                        Let me ask you this; which would have been better? Should the Court have allowed same-sex marriage to work its way through the culture, gaining support as it had been doing, or do what it did and just impose it by judicial fiat? Before you answer, consider how well that worked for abortion. It is still a hard fought battle in the culture, and in the state legislatures as well. Rather than let it organically happen democratically, abortion was imposed, and the backlash has been with us ever since. I oppose abortion, and I also oppose a government that will override me and my state’s rights to govern ourselves. I oppose same-sex marriage, but again, the Court’s liberals (and if I may, it seems that liberals in general) have no problem holding state law immensely important one day, and the next day overruling them, so long as their political agenda is served. As I mentioned in the previous episode, the process is just as important as the outcome, and the process, both here and with the ObamaCare ruling, are deeply flawed and set a bad precedent for future courts to reinterpret words, and override the will of the people.

                        There have been many predictions about what comes next. Some, on the pages of TIME magazine, are already pushing polygamy. That effort has been going on for years, but it got a boost with this ruling. There are those already calling for the abolishing of tax exempt status for religious institutions – churches and religious schools – that won’t teach the liberal orthodoxy about same-sex marriage or won’t perform them. These are likely coming down the road. But, as Erick Erickson noted, the first thing to come will be … silence. The day of the ruling, a newspaper in Pennsylvania said they wouldn’t print letters to the editor on the topic anymore. I have a friend who, when asked what the Bible says about homosexuality, gave a straight answer (so to speak) and was immediately pounced on for being bigoted and hateful. You don’t have to thump anyone with a Bible anymore; it just has to be in the room for someone to claim you’re evil.

                        So silence will fall, but just because you don’t hear a particular opinion anymore doesn’t mean it’s not there. However, if a baker or a photographer can be put out of business for not participating in a same-sex wedding, how much more of a target are those churches that won’t perform them for what 5 justices have now deemed is a “fundamental right”?

                        With the ObamaCare and the same-sex marriage rulings, the court has done two things. It has taken power away from you at both the federal and state level.

                        If you ever complained that Washington, DC was unresponsive to the needs of the people, the ObamaCare ruling should bother you, at the very least. That is, unless you’re celebrating the topic of the ruling, then the process is likely nothing you’re concerned about. I’ve seen it in my Facebook feed. However, from this day forward, federal agencies like the IRS, and all the way up to the President, don’t have to restrain themselves to the actual wording of the laws Congress passes. ObamaCare said you got subsidies through exchanges established by the states, but an unelected federal agency changed that. Your representatives, and by extension you, have lost more influence. The government can do what it wants.

                        And if you ever complained that your state government was unresponsive to the needs of the people, the same-sex marriage ruling should bother you, too. But again, the winners are too busy celebrating to see how this, too, has erased their influence and yours at the state level. It just takes 5 Supreme Court justices to invalidate anything a state does. Vote however you want, call your state representative as much as you want, but in the end, a majority of 9 unelected justices get the final say for over 320 million people. One man, one vote, indeed.

                        If you celebrate these rulings, and if you’ve ever been a proponent of power to the people, or you’ve ever put forth the idea that every vote should count, you either have not been paying attention, or have no idea at all what those phrases even mean. At least, I’d really hope that this can all be explained by ignorance and apathy, because the alternative is worse; willful misuse of the founding principles of this country, and that will bring us down faster than any law you can pass.

                        The Left loves the platitude “Government is just another name for the things we choose to do together.” Of course, by the phrase “choose to do together”, they mean “use a panel of 9 lawyers to force everyone to do what they want”. Platitudes are useful in the meantime, but in the end, for the Left, it’s all about politics.

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                          The Supreme Court case, King v Burwell, was essentially a question of whether the ObamaCare law would be interpreted as written, or as it was meant to be written, as best as the justices could divine the intent of Congress. The particular issue was whether the IRS could provide subsidies to those who needed them in states where they had their own health insurance exchanges, or in all states, even if they didn’t have an exchange.

                          What the law said was that the IRS would administer those subsidies through the exchanges “established by the states”. However, what the IRS did was to funnel them through state and federal exchanges, which is not what the law, y’know, actually said. They essentially reinterpreted the law to mean that exchanges not established by the states qualified as exchanges established by the states.

                          Some states said, no, that’s an unconstitutional reading of the law. There are other places in the law where it specifically refers to the states and the federal government combines, but it does not here. That is true. Here’s something else painfully true; this particular wording was exactly what was meant when the law was written.

                          How do we know this? Jonathan Gruber, the well-paid architect of the law itself, told us so. It was a classic carrot-and-stick approach. The carrot was billions in tax dollars. The stick was that if you didn’t set up a state exchange, you wouldn’t get any of it. There a link in the show notes to a video explaining all this and him saying, “I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges.”

                          This was not a case of trying to read a crystal ball and discover the intent. This was not trying to reach into the minds and writings of the founding fathers and trying to glean what they meant on some obscure constitutional point. You can’t search YouTube to find out what Washington and Jefferson were thinking, But Gruber is all over the Internet, on and off the record.

                          This was a game of chicken. Would the states blink first, and all setup exchanges, or would the feds blink and change the law. As it turned out, the fed’s blinked, but instead of changing the law, they just did what they wanted, and the IRS (which, last I checked, was not part of the legislative branch of the government) ruled that it would provide subsidies through the federal exchange as well.

                          And Chief Justice John Roberts and his cohort said, “Eh, seems legit.” OK, the ruling was a bit longer than that – 21 pages longer – but in the end that’s what they did. They claimed that if the subsidies were stopped it would ruin the implementation of ObamaCare, ignoring completely that that was the point all along.

                          Justice Scalia, writing in his typically entertaining dissent (which is basically the high point of this whole ruling), said that if an exchange not established by a state is actually an exchange established by a state, then words have no meaning. Truer words, that do have meaning, have never been spoken.

                          I don’t think those who are celebrating and praising this ruling have any idea at all what it could mean in the future for the power government has over us. And by “those who are celebrating”, I mean, generally, Democrats. The process, however fatally flawed and upside down it is, doesn’t matter as long as they get what they want. It’s always about politics.

                          From this point on, federal government agencies can now interpret the law any way they please. Really. Restrictions that were in place in the ObamaCare law were cheerfully ignored in furtherance of a political agenda, and the Supreme Court gave them 6 thumbs up. George Will, writing at the Washington Post, put it this way.

                          The most durable damage from Thursday’s decision is not the perpetuation of the ACA, which can be undone by what created it — legislative action. The paramount injury is the court’s embrace of a duty to ratify and even facilitate lawless discretion exercised by administrative agencies and the executive branch generally.

                          Theprocess has been butchered by this ruling. Sure, ObamaCare proponents got what they wanted, but at a price to their own power as a people that I’m sure they are blissfully unaware of. The political process of a government restrained by law, influenced by the people, which has been slowly eroding anyway, just did a nose dive.

                          You say lobbyists have too much power? I’d agree, because they just had to go to one place – Congress – to spend their dollars budgeted for graft. Now, they can bypass the middleman and go straight to the IRS or any other federal agency and bribe an unelected bureaucrat. And that bureaucrat doesn’t have a campaign coffer he or she needs to keep funded, so it’ll be cheaper for the lobbyist. It’s a win-win! But remember, you don’t figure into either of those two wins.

                          Some folks, when I bring this up, claim I’m just mad because my side lost. Well, I don’t deny that I don’t like the outcome of the ruling, but even beyond that, and looming larger, is the power grab I see in DC. Unfortunately, all I get in dissent is, “Blah blah blah. Too bad. You lost. I don’t care.” Yes, literally, those words.

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                            On Wednesday evenings around the country, many churches hold mid-week services or children’s programs, or bible studies. Sometimes, all three. A few weeks ago, a pastor was leading one of those Bible studies when a visitor came into the church and sat in on the group. He was welcomed to join in. He requested to sit next to the pastor, and so he did.

                            An hour passed by with readings from the Bible and discussion, perhaps about what the text meant, perhaps about how to apply it personally. Even, perhaps, asking for the visitor’s thoughts, though I would imagine that the group, not wishing to create an awkward situation, probably didn’t push him to participate in an unfamiliar setting, content to let him listen in, and yet willing to let him speak should he want to.

                            I don’t know what was discussed, or what the passage was that was the topic of the evening, but the visitor later said that the people were very nice to him. So nice, he said, that he almost … almost … didn’t do what he had come there to do. But in the end, he did, and when he was done, the pastor and 8 others had been shot dead.

                            Dylann Roof had come there to start a race war; to start an uprising that would supposedly boil over into a full-blown conflict.

                            At this point, we can only guess what he imagined the sequence of events would be leading to that war. Certainly he had seen the news reports about riots in the streets in other cities when a white man killed a black man, so it’s conceivable that he thought his actions would create the same situation, only more violent, because unlike many of those other instances, these would be killings that were obviously pre-mediated, with no other explanation than hatred. He wouldn’t have any self-defense case. He wouldn’t be a cop who may, or may not, have thought his life was in danger. No, nothing would be murky about this. This would be a clear cut case of racially-motivated murder, possibly causing an even more violent reaction than those previously.

                            But all his plans were taken apart piece by piece, because of who he targeted. He targeted those who believed that you should love your enemies, and pray for those that hurt you. He targeted those who believe that the merciful are blessed. He targeted those who are told to forgive as freely as they themselves have been forgiven.

                            He targeted a Christian Bible study. And while he was committing those acts of hatred, of malice, of evil, he had no idea that he was also opening up the floodgates of the love that those he killed professed. Those that survived, and hundreds of others in Charleston, though undeniably hurting, expressed that love to him. A reporter covering the crowd that stood outside the arraignment had a difficult time keeping his composure in the face of such love.

                            Inside the proceedings, instead of acrimony and hatred, surviving family members expressed the forgiveness that the evil had certainly not expected.

                            I would like to note that the faith community in other cities with unrest – Baltimore, Cleveland, and others – did take a stand and tried to calm and heal the tensions in their area, sometimes meeting with gangs to come to a truce, sometimes with special services for those in need because of the riots. But because there were riots, they got the headlines, and the tweets, and the Facebook posts. But in Charleston, riots didn’t happen, so they didn’t mask what good things were happening.

                            So now it can be seen, and it is surprising, amazing and, dare I say, perplexing many who see the love of God in action. It’s been there, perhaps in the background, not grabbing the front page, but it’s been there nonetheless.

                            There are those that believe that God, or even just religion, isn’t necessary to express this kind of love. We can, so the idea goes, work this up within ourselves without any help, because the capacity is clearly there in people. I would say that, yes, the capacity is there, because we are made in the image of God, and since God is love, we too have that ability. But while we, within ourselves, might be able to approximate the appearance of such a love, it is but a dirty reflection of what is truly possible. If, instead, we let, not our love, but God’s love shine through us, that’s when you’ll see what it really looks like, and it will be surprising, amazing, and perplexing.

                            Some will ask, “Where was God? Why wasn’t He protecting His church?” That question has been asked many times, in many situations, throughout history. Perhaps one of the earliest examples of an answer to this comes from a man who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Through a series of events, over the course of years, he became second in command of the biggest economic power of his time. And in that position, was able to return good for evil, and save his family from a major catastrophe. You may recognize the Biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Or you may recognize the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Either way, when his brothers felt extremely uncomfortable in the presence of the one they hurt, Joseph forgives them, telling them that, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” We don’t always get to see the big picture – we may not live to see the big picture – but for those who trust Him, God uses the evil to work out the good. Dylann Roof intended to start a race war. He failed because God’s people let Him shine through them.

                            If you’re wondering how such forgiveness and love can really happen, I have a suggestion. Somewhere near you, very likely, is a church. Now, you don’t have to jump in completely to their Sunday service. You might just want to test the waters. Try getting your feet wet at, perhaps, a Wednesday night Bible study. One of those almost stopped a gunman filled with hate. Imagine what it could do for you.

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                              Riddle Me This Mr Lynch

                              So, public tar and feathering was proper and righteous when a baker refused to bake a cake for a wedding ….

                              Would a Black owned bakery be similarly treated for refusing a family baking a cake in memory of their ancestors bearing the Battle Flag of the Army of North Virginia? Hmm?

                              Hypocrisy runs rampant in the public square, eh?

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