The reason for the season

I ate a $46.00 New York Strip steak last night, well I ate half of it and brought the other half home. My wife and I were invited to a small company holiday party at a well-known restaurant. The ambiance, as you would expect, is over the top as are the food prices. I mean, $46.00 dollars for a piece of meat, I could have bought eight or ten meals at McDonald’s for that. I would guess I ate and drank $100.00 worth of stuff last night and I got to be honest I don’t feel very good about it.

We are rolling head first into the season of excess. Mom’s and Dad’s across America are trying to create the “perfect” Christmas for little Lucy and Johnny. The perfect tree, the perfect gifts, the perfect moments, moments they hope their kids will treasure for the rest of their lives. Parents will struggle, stress and spend in a desperate attempt to avoid disappointing their children but guess what, in the end it won’t be enough, it never is.

My kids are grown and gone. They will be home for Christmas but they are not coming home for gifts or presents they are coming home to laugh at the stupid shit their Dad will say, cook with their Mom, visit Grandparents and friends, and remember and retell funny stories from the past. Sure we will wrap-up a few things for them to open but the focus of Christmas has moved from individual satisfaction to the mutual love and appreciation we have for each other.

I know all you good and righteous Christians will tell the world that “Jesus is the reason for the season” but explain to me how you honor your Savior by elbowing your neighbor in the ribs at the black Friday sale at Target so that you can get the last Anki Cozmo Robot or Flybrix or LEGO Dimensions Powerpuff Girls Team Pack. What would Jesus think about you spending $180.00 on toy to honor His birth? A toy that will be yesterdays news or broken in a month.

I woke-up this morning feeling very guilty about the opulent meal I had last night. I thought about Troy who sits on the wall of the church I have been attending waiting for the doors to open so he can get a cup of coffee and a muffin, probably the only meal he will have today unless he makes the long walk to the soup kitchen. If Troy was given the choice of eating a New York Strip steak in a fancy restaurant for one night or taking the $48.00 which one do you think he would pick?

As I stood on the roof top terrace last night drinking my $10.00 stout I looked out on the beautiful city that I live in. I could see all the Christmas lights in the trees down Main Street, and the colorful lights on the office buildings and hotels. It was cold but I was warm standing next to fire pit. What I was looking at could have been on the cover of Southern Living. But somewhere down there among all the lights and festivities was Troy trying to stay warm for one more night listening to his stomach growl as I cut my $48.00 steak.

Want to discover the “reason for the season”? Find Troy, feed him, help him stay warm, help him find a home and a job. Don’t preach to him. Don’t tell him that if he turns his life over to Jesus Christ all of his troubles will be solved. If you truly are a disciple of Christ it should be enough for you to help Troy rather than trying to add another name to your spreadsheet of souls saved. What you will discover if your eyes and your heart are open is that his life might be a mess but his soul is fine, though yours could use a little work.

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Trump’s Jesus Whisperers

In 1947 the United Nations created a plan of partition for the region known as Palestine which created separate independent Arab and Jewish states. The following year the Jewish Agency established the State of Israel and they have been on a bloody land grab ever since.

Christians and Jews both consider this region holy and sacred ground and Jerusalem is the ruby in the golden crown. Here is the problem, a problem that has existed since the days of Abraham, the religion of Islam believes this is holy and sacred ground as well and Jerusalem is the home of the third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Yesterday, press outlets across the globe reported that Trump would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that we would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As you would expect the news of this decision wasn’t taken well in the Muslim world. Trump campaigned on taking this action, as did George Bush and Bill Clinton. The difference, both Bush and Clinton figured out very quickly that the political realities of such a transaction could and would be devastating and destructive to peace in the region, not The Donald.

It would be easy to view this from 10,000 feet and assume the Jewish people are driving this decision but you would be wrong. American Evangelical Christians want this to happen, they are the driving force. You see Jerusalem isn’t about the Jews or Islam it is about Jesus.

Jesus was taken to Jerusalem as a child and presented at the Temple. He preached and healed in Jerusalem. He cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem. He rode a donkey into Jerusalem. He held the Last Supper in Jerusalem and he was “crucified dead and buried” in Jerusalem. This is about bus loads of old white Evangelical Christians wearing socks and sandals and Bermuda shorts from Florida coming to walk on the sacred ground of Jesus before they meet the Man himself. These are people whispering in Trumps ear.

To say this is a bad decision would be an understatement and to allow a mental midget like Trump to make a decision like this for the rest of the world, devastating. Trump has no clue what this region means to the three largest religions in the world. This from the man who tweeted; “The Christmas Story begins 2,000 years ago with a mother, a father, their baby son.” which implies that Joseph impregnated the virgin Mary and was the father of Jesus. I missed that narrative in my Bible. Maybe that is the way Trump’s kindergarten picture Bible tells the story.

Make no mistake about it this decision has nothing to do with peace, Jews or Muslims and everything to do with the white Evangelical Christians that got Trump elected. He is not smart enough to understand what the repercussions and consequences of a decision like this are, no clue. But he is about to learn, and we are all about to find out.

The propaganda from the Christian right: We American Christians Welcome Trump’s Obedience to God’s Word on Jerusalem

 

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Angry Old White Men-part 2

“Angry white men are on the losing side of history, which is poised to roll over them like a demographic steamroller. Theirs is a rearguard action, the circling of wagons, Custer’s last stand. In fact, they’ve already lost.” – Michael S. Kimmel, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

On July 18, 2016 I wrote a post called Angry Old White Men where I noted that “Angry old white man is not supporting Trump for his brains, or business acumen, good looks or hair for that matter they are supporting him because of his mouth.” I reread that post last night after I made my monthly visit to the “out-of-the-way hotdog dump” yesterday. I skipped breakfast so I went early, around 11:30 and found the parking lot filled with late-model pick-ups, Fords, Buicks and Oldsmobiles. My Japanese SUV with leftist bumper stickers stuck out like a sore thumb.

I ordered my usual, two hotdogs all the way with fries, and a sweet tea and paid my $5.31 in cash because “They don’t take credit cards or checks just cash provided the change you get back is less than $5.00.” Again, a real sign on their door.   

There were about nine old guys holding court at the center table and I sat behind them so I could eavesdrop on their conversation. I figured listening to them would be more fun than reading USA Today on my phone.

What I heard yesterday was much different from what I heard back in July 2016. Rather than bitching about Obama and the Clinton’s they were talking about taxes, healthcare and the cost of prescriptions and what I gathered, just based on their tone, they weren’t entirely sold on the tax relief plan “their” President was peddling. Apparently, again just being nosey, ObamaCare wasn’t as bad as “their” President likes to make it out to be and “tax relief” is just a one or two-year deal but would eliminate healthcare deductions which, by looking at these guys, is probably their largest single deduction given that their houses are paid for.

None of these old guys seemed particularly fired-up, or excited about what was going on in Washington, honestly they all seemed pretty beat down. Maybe they have realized,  like so many of us, that the mouth that got Trump elected is simply lips that flap in the wind.

There is still an anger and fire simmering among old white guys. They still hate Obama and the Clinton’s. They still watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh but after a year of watching Trump twist in the wind, after a year of the Republicans controlling all the marbles and still not able to get anything done angry old white guy is smart enough to realize that maybe, just maybe, they hitched their wagon to the wrong star. But you will never hear them say that out loud.

At this point I can’t remember what angry old white guy wanted from Trump. Was it lower taxes? Better and cheaper healthcare? More high paying jobs? Keeping “Mexicans and Muslims” out really doesn’t affect the quality of life of angry old white guy at the hotdog dump in our neck of the woods. Maybe it just makes them feel better knowing that Trump is trying to keep the “white” in red, white and blue.

Here is the thing, no matter what Trump does or doesn’t do angry old white guy will never admit that they may have made a mistake in voting for him. They will never admit that they were wrong, they can’t afford to. Look at all the stupid shit Trump has done and said and they have stood by him. Look at the kind of morally bankrupt person he is and they have stood by him. Look at the fact that he hasn’t accomplished ANYTHING of substance and they have stood by him. Why? Because despite all of Trumps faults he hates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as much as they do and for whatever reason, reasons I can’t even begin to understand, that is just enough for them to hang their red baseball caps on.

God bless you angry old white guy and I appreciate all that you did for this country. You say you love America but what you really love is your America, the America of the past. The America of your father and grandfather. The truth is you hate America because America is about today and tomorrow, not yesterday. Donald Trump wrote you a check that you can’t cash, and you will never be able to cash it, certainly not at the hotdog dump because they don’t take checks. You bought his bullshit about the strength of the flag, our greatness and apple pie. That bullshit sells t-shirts and baseball caps but will never make a mortgage payment or pay for a child’s college tuition.

The world changed right before angry old white guys eyes, but he missed it. Our place in the world has changed as well. Despite what angry old white guy thinks of President Obama he was the one person that knew how to leverage that change into a strength for you and I. Trump convinced angry old white guy that he was a force of nature to be reckoned with and that he would MAGA by his power, his superior intellect and because he is a winner. He can’t, he won’t and he never will. Why? Because he is a mental midget and he is your mental midget angry old white guy.

Thankfully angry old white guys are dying, something Trump can’t screw-up and stopped reproducing years ago. How do we get the hate and ignorance out of America? We breed it out. RIP angry old white guy.

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Trump hates this view

view.jpg

Look at this view. I got here by climbing 1,600 feet up a rough and rocky trail. This was the payoff, the gift I collected at the top after hiking 3 miles, sweating like the fat man that I am, and skinning my knee up after I slipped and fell, not once but twice.

You and I own this view. We own this and millions more with 323,000,000 other Americans and “your” President, a man I doubt has ever donned a pair of hiking boots and struggled up the side of a mountain to experience this breathtaking, literally, sight wants to take landscapes like this away from us.

You see Trump doesn’t give a shit about the environment because all of the environments he experiences are artificial. Skyscrapers and golf courses are all man-made. Sure golf courses are outdoors but the land is raped to build them. You may believe a golf course is molded around the land, but in the end there is nothing real or original left. Grass where grass has never grown, bushes and trees that aren’t native simply ornamental, and streams dammed up and re-channeled to make the course more challenging for old fat white guys riding around in golf carts like “our” President.

The Dumb Ass-in-Chief signed a proclamation today reducing in size two national monuments in Utah, the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument to 1,006,341 acres and the Bears Ears, from 1.35 million acres to 228,784 acres. Want to guess which previous President Trumps proclamation overrides? Anyone, Anyone? That’s right, President Obama.

This policy change is likely to provoke several lawsuits from both Native American tribes and environmental groups. Hopefully by the time this gets through the court system the blight of Trump on the environmental landscape and his reign over America will just be a sad footnote in the history books. But with this boneheaded move there is no doubt in my mind that his goal is to wreak havoc on the future of America, from clean air and water to allowing real estate developers to build condominiums and golf courses on public lands, to drilling for oil in our oceans and on the few remaining wild parts of this country. In short, he doesn’t give a shit because he can’t see the beauty in nature. The only wildlife he is accustomed to are pigeons and squirrels.

Everyday this dumb ass does something more stupid than the day before. He continues to set the bar so low that at some point he won’t be able to limbo his big butt under it. In the mean time if you want to enjoy views like this;

Vast area

or this;

IMG_0851

and want to avoid a view like this;

park-oil

write your representatives TODAY and tell them to put on their hiking boots and get their fat asses out of their office and experience the gifts all Americans share together and to not let one crazy old fat white man take them away from us.

 

 

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God’s favors

“God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.” – Penn Jillette 

I ran into a lady Saturday night at a party that I had heard had just changed jobs after working for the same company for almost 20 years. She was basically doing the same thing she had done before with just a different organization. Prying a little bit, I asked her why she decided to make a change this late in the game with retirement just a few years down the road. I expected her to say things like more money, more responsibility, a better working environment, etc. all the reasons you would suspect from someone basically making a lateral move. But she had a different reason, a more divine reason.

Now I have mentioned on more than one occasion that I live in a very conservative area, not Judge Roy Moore, Alabama, Westboro Baptist Church conservative, but for my taste still to far right. I hear on a daily basis about all the wonderful work God is doing in the lives of individuals that surround me. Great jobs, big houses, new cars, exotic vacations, yes God has blessed us. Health, wealth, kids got in to the right school, yes God has blessed us. And why did this lady change jobs after 20 years? She felt, no she believed, it was a change God wanted or maybe commanded her to make. Her logic was this, if God hadn’t wanted her to consider it why would He put the opportunity in front of her? Yes, she really said that.

I have learned over the years that there is no reason to debate with someone who makes a statement like this besides, we were at a party and there was nothing to gain by challenging her view. She, like many in our social circle, already think I am a liberal heathen and I didn’t need to provide her with more ammunition to justify that characterization of me. Also, I wanted to sleep in my own bed that night and if I pissed off “another person” with what I describe as my “good-natured curiosity” my wife would not have been very happy with me.

As I always say if your faith makes you kinder, more caring, less judgmental, and respectful of everything and everyone then go in peace. But in the back of mind I always wonder why God chooses to grace and bless a select few with material riches when so many others, people whose faith in the Almighty is just as strong and steadfast have their needs and wants go unfulfilled? The answer to this question is like the answer to so many answers about the Christian faith, there isn’t one.

At the Mission Church that I attend the pews are filled with the haves and have-nots. The haves have a home, a job, a car, food, clean clothes and health insurance. Most, like me, would believe that they Have not because God waved his magic wand over our heads but because of luck and circumstance, rights rather than some divine choosing. We are the right color, right sex, had the right parents, grew-up in the right neighborhood, went to the right school, married the right person, we were simply in the right place and the right time. These “rights” are what separate us, these “rights” have created the haves and the have-nots since the beginning of time. Our lot in life has nothing to do with our belief in God, or where we stand in God’s pecking order of how She distributes Her gifts and blessings. It’s a roll of the dice.

So why do any of us even need God? Honestly isn’t that the ultimate question? My belief in a “God” isn’t about being showered with gifts and blessings. It isn’t about getting the perfect job, a big house or a shiny new Lexus. It is about helping, loving, sharing and caring for others because that is what He demands of us, that is what He calls us to do. It is about creating the Kingdom here on Earth for those that weren’t or aren’t fortunate enough to have the “rights” that I was lucky enough to come by. “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'”

If you want to attribute your expensive lake house and $30,000 boat to God’s blessing that’s fine, just don’t tell me about it. Go tell the homeless guy sleeping under the bridge with all of his worldly possessions stored in two grocery bags. See if he will buy the fairy tale you are selling. But you won’t, you will write your check to the Salvation Army or the Rescue Mission and pat yourself on the back. Want to see God? Want to see Jesus? Go preach your gospel to the homeless man, tell him how God choose you and He will choose you too if you just believe. Look him in the eye and tell him your story, he will introduce you God if you are truly interested in finding Him.

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Another thing Obama did better than Trump

Christmas Tree Lighting

Empty seats. Trump hates to see empty seats and when he looked out last night at the annual White House Christmas tree lighting that is exactly what he saw, empty seats.

Trump can’t blame it on the weather unless of course he says he wasn’t cold enough to get people into the Christmas spirit. But I am confident he and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will find a way to justify why no one showed up last night. I mean it couldn’t have been because no one likes “our” President, right?

The Washington, DC Fox News affiliate wrote that they “asked the National Park Service about the empty chairs and they explained that no-shows are not uncommon for the National Christmas Tree Lighting. Since tickets are handed out to people around the country, there are many who are selected that do not live in the nation’s capital and in the D.C. region, and this is believed to contribute to people not showing up for the event.” I guess President Obama just got lucky with the no-shows, for eight years. He certainly didn’t get lucky with the weather for all of those eight years and people still showed up.

I realize that Washington and the surrounding area is filled more left leaning people than Trump leaning folks but an event like this would typically be a non-partisan, feel-good-moment. But unlike Obama, Trump has proven time and time again that he sucks the “feel good” out of everything. You see Obama is a human being, and he treated others as human beings. He would have approached an event like this with the tree, the pageantry and the season as the center of attention rather than himself.

Trump, on the other hand is just a being, there is nothing human about him. I can promise you, in his mind, the lighting of the tree was secondary, background noise to his presences over this event. Is it any wonder no one showed? After eleven long months most of us have already had enough of his presences, hence, the empty chairs.

I hope I live long enough to see how history treats the tumultuous and hopefully short reign of this unstable creature. At this point given what is happening in the Russian collusion investigation, and Mike Flynn spilling his guts to special counsel Robert Mueller I would suspect empty chairs are the last thing Trump is worried about. I say that but given this narcissistic, and egotistical mans personality maybe he isn’t worried about it at all. Trump is a vindictive, win at all cost guy, maybe what we should all be worried about is who and what Trump takes down with him, it could be you and I.

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What do you need when you already have everything?

Mnuchin

“Republicans Senators are working hard to pass the biggest Tax Cuts in the history of our Country. The Bill is getting better and better. This is a once in a generation chance. Obstructionist Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!” – Trump tweet 12-1-17

When I was 17 a friend of mine called me about a summer job with a company that builds swimming pools. He told me “the guy” that owned it was paying big money and threw a party with beer, weed and girls by the pool at his house every Saturday after work. Working outside, big money, beer, weed and girls sounded exactly like what the 17-year-old me was looking for. I filled out the application and got the job.

As it turns out “the guy” I’ll call him Rob, was a trust fund baby from a very wealthy local family. He had just spent six years in college but left without one very important item, a degree. He used some of his trust fund to buy an existing pool company, change the name to something cool and hippy dippy, hired a slick salesman, and an older woman we all called Mom to run the office and handle the accounting.

I worked on the crew and reported to a kid not much older than I was that had the title of superintendent. Rob’s responsibility was to make sure the hole was dug and the materials were on the site before we, the crew, arrived. If everything went correctly, weather, materials, etc. we could build a pool in a day and a half.

This would be Rob’s first summer owning the company and he knew, hell we all knew that out of 12 months these four summer months would be the time he made most of his money for the year so it stood to reason he would take it seriously and work as hard as we did. What I learned that summer is this, people who already have everything aren’t motivated by those of us that don’t have anything.

By the end of the summer Rob was basically missing in action (MIA). His slick salesman had quit, vendors were demanding materials be paid for in advance and our paychecks started bouncing. Rob loved the idea of having a business card that said he was President of Hippy Dippy pool company but uninterested in the heavy lifting it took to make it successful. He had never had to work. He had never had to make a customer happy or motivate employees. What he was good at, what he knew how to do and all that he wanted to do was to project the aura of importance and make himself happy.

When I read “our” Presidents tweet this morning I thought about Rob. If any of you are paying attention you will realize that the only part of “our” Presidents body that is actively involved in tax reform are his thumbs. The Bill is getting better and better” because it has no place to go but up. Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, a man who should be the point person for Trump on tax reform is citing reports that simply don’t exist. I mean REALLY don’t exist. He has told anyone that will listen that he and his staff are reviewing all of the different scenarios with a fine tooth comb. They aren’t and they haven’t and now they are in trouble for lying.

You see Mnuchin, like Trump and Rob love the idea of having a business card with their title on it but when it comes to the heavy lifting of Making America Great Again they are all MIA. Mnuchin would rather pose for Instagram photos with his trophy wife than to truly analyze the good and the bad of the proposed tax reform bill. Again, when you already have everything how can you be motivated for those of us that don’t have anything.

The long and short of the proposed tax bill that the Republicans are desperately trying to ram down Americas throat just so they can put six points on the scoreboard before the year ends is that it is BAD for 99% of us but namely those who put Trump in office. The problem, what makes me mad as hell is that Trump and the people within his administration that are supposed to be watching over this are simply detached from what is actually going on. Does it strike any of you as odd that the Senate and Congress are working on competing bills rather than one together? Knowing this little simple factoid certainly shines a light on why the Democrats haven’t been invited to the negotiation table. There are too many tables.

Trump tweets that “Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!” is his attempt to circumvent the ultimate devastation and destruction these efforts will have on working and middle-income families. The only winners here will be the wealthy and corporations and EVERYONE seems to know that except the people with the big red R next to their name. But they know, they just can’t afford to let us know that they know.

The Republican tax bill is a massive gift to corporations and the very wealthy, a gift bought and paid for by the working and middle-income families of America. You can put all the lipstick and mascara you want on this pig and at the end of the day, for Deplorable families, it will still be a pig. But they aren’t going to know that because Sean Hannity is too busy talking about Hillary Clinton, the “Deep State” within the Department of Justice and illegal immigration. And “their” President is telling them that the Republicans Senators are working hard to pass the biggest Tax Cuts in the history of our Country.” They will find out soon enough though when they learn that they can’t deduct Momma’s assisted living expenses, or the care of sick and disabled family members, or student loan interest, or alimony payments, or……………

I guess we should all be thankful for the “Golden Shower” of trickle down economics and that Steven Mnuchin can post cool photographs on his Instagram account. What do you need when you already have everything?

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