GOP Undercard Debate Recap

This is a recap of the GOP undercard debate on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The moderators were Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. Debate participants were Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, and George Pataki.

In summary, Carly Fiorina proved herself smart and capable, and was the clear winner of the debate. She did not belong in this debate at all, and should have been invited to the main event. Lindsey Graham came in second in the sense that he gave a very good debate performance which is sure to gain him some support among low-information voters. However, few conservatives will really ever trust the man, given his record as a senator. Perry and Santorum came in the middle of the pack. Perry in particular seemed to disappear in this debate, and was not a factor in the second half. Jindal did not help himself at all, which is a pity, and Pataki and Gilmore would have been better off skipping the debate altogether.

As the debate was not broadcasted online and we do not have access to Fox News, the recap is based upon a transcript of what was said.

Question: Why should someone vote for you?
Perry: My record as governor of Texas, the greatest country state in the world proves I would make a good president, and I have spent the last four years preparing for this moment.
Question: How dare you compare yourself to Margaret Thatcher!
Fiorina: Like Thatcher, I understand how the economy works and I am able to make tough decisions.
Question: You’re a loser, so what makes you think you can win this time?
Santorum: I have a track record of getting things done.
Question: In your home state, your approval ratings are in the toilet. How can you be considered a plausible candidate?
Jindal: I have a great track record as governor, and the Dems and Republicans in Washington are running up a huge debt, and boy does that Iran deal stink!
Question: You are a lib when it comes to climate change, how can conservatives trust you?
Graham: I’m not for cap and trade. We should drill for more oil and find more ways to save energy.
Question: You’re a fossil! Doesn’t the party need new blood?
Pataki: Yes, I’m a fossil, but I can bring us all together.
Question: You’re a loser and a fossil. How can you run for president?
Gilmore: Things have gotten much worse since I began to fossilize, but as governor I had extensive foreign policy experience and I know how to run things.

This line of questioning was about as softball as one could get, and surely all of the candidates should have been prepared for it. At the same time, the biased way some of the questions were pitched shows the genuine weaknesses of some of these candidates. On this basis, Santorum, Jindal, Pataki, and Gilmore really did not help themselves with their answers as they did not address the basic point of their questions, or (in the case of Pataki) they reaffirmed preconceptions that they were not all that conservative.

Question: Is Trump getting the better of you?
Perry: He’s a celebrity, and at some point his poll numbers will fall to earth. He was for nationalized healthcare, and on illegal immigration he is all talk.
Fiorina: The man got a phone call from Bill Clinton urging him to run for president, and he is a Clinton donor. He has successfully tapped into the anger many Americans have, but has flip-flopped on so many issues, how can he possibly be trusted as a principled conservative?

Perry scored some points. One the other hand, Fiorina kicked Trump in the nuts and whacked him on the head. Impressive.

Question: How would your fight against ISIS be any different than Obama’s?
Jindal: Obama can’t even bring himself to identify the enemy for what it is–radical Islam–so no wonder he is failing. I would coordinate with the Pentagon to come up with a game plan to win the war, even if it means sending in ground troops.
Graham: I would do whatever it takes, no matter how long it takes, to defeat them.

Both men were impressive, and surely Jindal scored more points by being willing to talk about Obama’s failed worldview. However, are voters really wanting to get involved in a ground war in the Middle East once again?

Question: What would you do about the threat of Islamic terrorism here at home?
Pataki: The preaching of jihad and radical Islamism is not protected First Amendment speech. We need to shut them down and destroy them.

The above is just a summary–Pataki goes into some detail as to how he would do this, but much of it would involved putting the Bill of Rights into the trash heap and giving the police more power to spy on people and trample on civil liberties. Why not fix the real problem first, which involves a broken immigration system that allows radicals and terrorists into the country legally?

Question: Do cyber walls need to be torn torn so that we can be more secure, or is this a threat to our liberty?
Fiorina: The intelligence agencies need to develop a different mindset so that they can see and connect the dots using the information they already have. We do need to tear down some cyber walls, but only on a targeted basis–like those existing in China and Russia.
Gilmore: I have experience fighting terrorism, and we need to use all our technological advantages to fight this scourge …

Fiorina hit her answer out of the park once again. On the other hand, apart from generalized sentiment, it was hard to see what Gilmore was on about.

Question: How could you be so heartless to tear families apart with your immigration proposal?
Santorum: I come from an immigrant family which played by the rules, and that meant waiting on visas and sometimes being apart. It is hard but it is also a small price to pay. We are a country of laws, and so it is important that everyone live by those laws. My position is anti-illegal immigration and pro-legal immigration.
Perry: Everyone is tired of hearing about this, and no one trusts Washington to do anything. I would secure the border.

Perry’s response will be welcomed by some people, but in truth he did not at all answer the question and did not really help himself with those skeptical of his candidacy. Santorum, on the other hand, excelled.

Question: How do you get Americans who are able to take a job instead of a handout?
Graham: People want to work, but need a chance. Hillary is bad. Obama is bad.
Santorum: We need to create better paying jobs, we need a 20% flat tax, work requirements and time limits for all welfare.

Graham gave no specifics, while Santorum did. At the same time, a 20% flat tax would destroy the livelihoods of everyone except the upper class. When combined with withholding taxes, it would mean that everyone would find their income cut by more than 30%.

Question: Isn’t it heartless to cut entitlements?
Gilmore: But it will grow the economy so people will have jobs. We also need to lower the tax rates, have tax reform, and eliminate regulations. This will help grow the economy.

This was Gilmore’s best answer of the night.

Question: Why is Kasich a bad governor for expanding Medicaid ?
Jindal: Babble, babble, babble.
Question: Jindal didn’t answer the question, can you help us Pataki?
Jindal: Medicaid should not be expanded.
Pataki: I agree with Jindal. Babble, babble, babble.
Question: Would you have expanded Obamacare in New York if you had been governor?
Pataki: Obamacare should be repealed.

This exchange did not help either man in the least.

Question: Which side should we be on, the Iranians who want the bomb, and who support terrorism, or the Saudis who also support terrorism?
Perry: We should be the side of whoever will keep Iran from getting the bomb. The Iran agreement is bad and I’d tear it up.
Fiorina: Well, sometimes things are not so black and white, but I would stand with Israel against Iran. We have to destroy this deal and stop the money flow to Iran.
Question: Would you help Arab countries get nuclear weapons to counteract Iran?
Fiorina: I would provide all the conventional weapons, intelligence support, and coordination required to help Arab countries fight ISIS in the Middle East.

Let’s face it: The question was crap. Both candidates did the best they could under the circumstances, though Fiorina made more of this opportunity.

Question: Is the recent SCOTUS decision on homosexual marriage now settled law in the US?
Santorum: “Not anymore than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln.” The SCOTUS was also wrong on partial-birth abortion, but we were still able to pass laws restricting it.

Yep. Sadly, this question was not asked of the other candidates. Fiorina is on record that it is settled law, for example.

Question: Should abortion be a litmus test for the appointment of SCOTUS judges?
Gilmore: SCOTUS judges should follow the law and not make the law, but no litmus test. Also, we need a Middle East NATO to combat terrorism.

Gilmore not only whiffed the question, but then proceeded to double down on stupidity. He would have been better off to say that he had no opinion on any issues and talk warmly of Ronald Reagan.

Question: You’re pro-choice, but you would defund Planned Parenthood. Have the recent videos changed your mind about infanticide?
Pataki: I am appalled by abortion, but it is settled law and I don’t think we should try to change it. I would pass a law outlawing late-term abortions, however.
Question: Would you be willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, in the same way as Fiorina would?
Jindal: No, I would not shut down the government in order to protect their funding, and I would start criminal investigations of them as well.
Question: Isn’t this talk of defunding a war on women?
Graham: “I don’t think it’s a war on women for all of us as Americans to stand up and stop harvesting organs from little babies.” Let’s use the money for things that really help women’s health. The real war on women is in Iraq and Afghanistan–we need to send more soldiers to protect them.

Pataki is in the wrong party. Fiorina helped herself by just being at the debate–she didn’t even have to answer the question. Jindal’s choice of wording was so poor that he took what should have been a home run and turned it into a suicide bunt. Graham really shined. If you didn’t already know anything about him and his record, you might actually want to support him.

Question: What would be your first executive order as president?
Gilmore: I would void all of Obama’s executive orders that I did not agree with.
Graham: Stop funding abortions overseas. Restore the NSA.
Jindal: Repeal Obama’s executive orders. Go after sanctuary cities. Call the IRS off conservative and Christian groups. Executive order protecting religious liberty.
Perry: Tear up Iran deal, secure the border, void Obama’s executive orders.
Santorum: Ditto. First Amendment Defense Act, protecting religious freedom.
Fiorina: Ditto. Void all of Obama’s executive orders. I am an conservative because …
Pataki: Void all of Obama’s executive orders. Hiring freeze on new federal employees.

If one is against the idea of using executive orders to institute new laws, then some of the candidates seemed a little soft here. For example, on what legal basis could Jindal go after sanctuary cities or create an executive order protecting religious liberty? Isn’t this a matter for Congress to take up?

Question: How would you be able to inspire the nation?
Fiorina: Our rights come from God, and cannot be taken away by the government. People are being crushed by the weight of government, so we need someone who can challenge the status quo. I can do that.
Santorum: My biography shows that I can get things done in Washington.
Graham: I will defend our nation. I will protect Social Security and Medicare. I will make sure that everyone knows I will put my country ahead of my party.

Fiorina comes out strongest once again. Graham sounds good in sound bites, but in action his stance that he should put the country ahead of party means that he is willing to sell out to the Democrats every time. Santorum needs to stop talking about his biography. It isn’t helping him.

Question: How would you describe Obama?
Pataki: “Divisive and with no vision.”
Fiorina: “Not trustworthy. No accomplishment.”
Perry: “Secretive and untrustworthy … Good at email.”
Jindal: “Socialist and government dependent.”
Graham: “Not the change we need at a time we need it.”
Gilmore: “Professional politician that can’t be trusted.”

So they all dislike the man.

After this there were the final statements, which are always just boilerplate, and in this case pretty much just repeat what has already been said.

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Sometimes The Truth Is Not Enough

Many people imagine that if enough information comes out about what Planned Parenthood is doing and if people would only find out what abortion really entails, there would be a groundswell of opposition against abortion, and it would be outlawed.

I am not so sure.

Let me explain why.

I once worked in a church which had a pastor whom I sincerely believe was not a Christian. He has since passed away, and I am fairly certain that he died in his sins. Indeed, I have met others who were not members of his church who apparently agree with this assessment. He was abusive, controlling, conniving, lying, and taught a false gospel that did not rely on grace, but was based on obedience to a set of rules which had utterly no relation to any law or moral imprecation in the Bible. Further, he vigorously persecuted Christians who taught and lived by grace, doing everything he could to drive them out of his church and denomination, and out of the entire fellowship of believers via his link with other churches in other denominations.

Once I saw and understood who he was and what he was about, I was in a quandary. I was not in any kind of position to go to anyone else and explain what I saw, nor was I going to whisper against him or do anything to undercut his ministry. I resolved that the only solution to the problem was to continue to live and walk in grace, speaking the truth while at the same time not attacking him, and pray that the church would see the light. I reasoned that the church elders and deacons were people like myself, but were not fully informed. If they could only see the truth of the situation, I thought, they would deal with this false pastor.

And I was wrong.

In time, they did see the pastor undeniably for who he really was, they did see the truth of the situation visibly before their own eyes, and they did absolutely nothing. He served as pastor of that church until he died.

Why did they refuse to act? I suspect that many people in the church could not be bothered to do anything, because they could not stomach a fight. Others took the path of even less resistance and simply stopped going to church. At the same time, there were others–people with influence and power in the church–who did nothing because they saw nothing wrong with the situation. Like the pastor, the truth was simply not in them.

And if the church members did not care enough to do anything even when the truth was before their eyes, imagine what the neighbors of the church thought. To them, the church was just full of crazies anyway, and so it did not matter if the pastor was crazier than the rest. Indeed, it should be expected.

In my life, I have often prayed that the truth would be revealed, expecting that when it was revealed people would repent. It has seldom if ever worked out that way. Usually, when the truth is revealed, people just shrug their shoulders. If they have any emotion at all, it is to rejoice in the evil they see, because that is what they wanted.

Think about it for a moment: What was the reaction when Christ, the eternal Truth, was revealed in the flesh to mankind? Did people repent? Some did. However, the first reaction for many people, especially those of power and influence, was to want to kill him.

So, to get back to the videos about Planned Parenthood, I am not confident that they will have the immediate result that many people hope. Surely, many people who are already horrified by abortion will become even more horrified and motivated to rid America of this abomination, and some people will be challenged to get off the fence and decide which side they are on. However, most of those who couldn’t be bothered to act before the video will not be bothered to act after the video, and very few people who are in favor of abortion will have their minds changed.

The silver lining is that most people in the US are in fact against abortion, and so it is possible that the videos will provide enough impetus for us to finally rid ourselves of the pro-life pretenders in the GOP and vote in congressmen and senators who are in fact pro-life, in words as well as in deed. And even if this does not occur, at least we might be able to strike some fear into the hearts of these frauds and force them to defund Planned Parenthood, if for no other reason than to preserve their place at the public food troth.

Having said this, I really doubt that many people will have their minds changed by these videos. Heinrich Himmler was noted for his delicate sensibilities and would almost faint at the sight of blood, but this did not keep him from setting up extermination camps to kill the Jews. The people who support Planned Parenthood are all just little Himmlers. Even though their sensibilities may be offended by the videos, they will do everything they can to insist that the extermination camps be kept opened and even expanded. It is simply who they are.

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Are You Failing The Trump Test?

I said this on Twitter, and I’ll repeat it here.

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I sincerely believe God had a question as to whether or not people claiming to be Christians and conservatives were really willing to stand for the truth, or were just so full of anger, hatred, and spite that they would follow anyone who told them what they wanted to hear. So God sent Trump to test them, and many people who should know better are failing that test. And if it means that Trump is elected or Trump’s candidacy allows a Dem to sneak into the White House, then America richly deserves whatever judgement comes its way.

When people who claim to stand for the truth follow after a lie, what hope does a country have? And Trump’s candidacy is nothing but a lie, from one end to the next. He is no better than Hillary.

There are perfectly fine candidates who have toiled in the trenches for years in support of conservative causes, who have never been in favor of abortion, who have never been fans of nationalized healthcare, who have never supported amnesty, who have never been supporters of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, and who have never given Hillary money. However, Donald Trump is not among these candidates. To support him is to support his lies. You cannot say that you are a conservative who stands for the truth if you are willing to stand behind or tolerate this man as a supposed conservative candidate.

You simply can’t.

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The #Cuckservative Con

Recently, we’ve been seeing the #cuckservative hashtag thrown around a lot on Twitter, usually in defense of Donald Trump. Ostensibly, the people using this hashtag are upset conservatives who feel like they have been “cuckolded” by the GOP establishment. However, there is a strong anti-Semitic, racist tinge to many of the Tweets, and terms such as “white power” and “mud people” are thrown around a lot.

Some of the people throwing around the term have actually attacked Ted Cruz, no doubt because he is Hispanic:

The idea that somehow Cruz has cuckolded conservatives should be too much of a stretch for anyone who has had their head out of their butt for more than five minutes in the last year. And, try as I might, I cannot find a more hateful and obnoxious term in the English language than the term “mud people”. Prior to this week, the last time I had ever heard the term used was by a member of the KKK, many, many years ago. It is a term that is not used by civilized people, and it is certainly not a term characteristic of conservatives or Christians.

Ace of Spades ever so gently tried to deal with this issue:

I’m not going to say that everyone using the term “#cuckservative” is a white supremacist. In fact, when I first saw it yesterday, I assumed it was a reference to the McConnell/Boehner wing of corporate cuckolds.

In fact, many people might think it means just that — and for them, it does. If that’s what you think it means, that’s what it means, for you.

However, it’s an objective fact that many using the term, and stinging social media like race-warring hornets, are indeed out and proud white supremacists, or at least the sorts of person who casually uses the word “muds” (as in “I’m not going to stand by and see my country polluted by muds” — that sort of thing) in the belief that this is a socially-acceptable shorthand for “anyone who isn’t a Scots-Irish-or-Germanic white person.”

Ace never really offers a prescription for what should be done about this issue, but he does note that it will be used by liberals to discredit people who are hard-liners on immigration.

The result of his post? Ace of Spades suffered a coordinated Twitter attack.

Erick Erickson has also gotten involved on Twitter, pointing out some of the implications of the #cuckservative hashtag:

As Matt Lewis notes, Erickson does not do the term #cuckservative full justice. Nevertheless, Erickson still sustained a coordinated Twitter attack.

Finally, Robert Stacy McCain got into the act:

So, yeah, I know a lot of radical “New Right” who think the Republican Party is hopeless, and some of them have rather idiosyncratic opinions on certain other issues we need not further belabor here. However, the anti-Jew vibe coming off the #cuckservative hashtag is just a bit too blatant. And the thought crossed my mind: agents provocateurs.

There was an old joke down in Georgia that if five guys show up for a KKK meeting, at least three of them are working for the FBI, and I’ve got a hunch something like that must be behind this #cuckservative thing. My bullshit detector is pretty reliable, and if I had to bet money, I’ve got $20 that says either Justice Department informants or Democrat Party dirty tricksters have infiltrated the “New Right,” because this #cuckservative thing is just way too perfect to be a coincidence …

As James Carville says, if you see a turtle sitting atop a fence post, you know it didn’t crawl up there by itself and — in case nobody told you yet — Team Hillary is playing for keeps. Don’t be a chump. Know who you trust and trust who you know. Beware of dirty tricks.

If we can’t defeat Team Hillary, America is doomed and deservedly so.

The result? He suffered a coordinated Twitter attack. As he pointed out:

Certainly, all the evidence points to this being a false-flag operation mounted by progressives in order to discredit Trump, the push against illegal immigration, and conservatives in general. Yet, some people have claimed that those engaged in the #cuckservative are actually quite sincere, and have been active on Reddit for some time. In response to this, here is a screenshot of the description of what a “cuckservative” really is, from the Cuckservative Clubhouse on Reddit:

cuckservative definition

(H/t Rick Wilson)

In short, the #cuckservative meme is just a con job.

Of course, some people who are apparently sincere have fallen for this con job. Some of these people even follow me on Twitter. If you are in this category, you need to wake up and realize that you are being played for a chump: The only reason the #cuckservative hashtag exists is to discredit and destroy all that you hold dear.

Indeed, The New Republic already has an article out dissecting the #cuckservative phenomenon and essentially calling all Republicans, conservatives, and Trump supporters racists, saying that “Conservatives Are Holding A Conversation About Race.” It may or may not be true that conservatives are holding such a conversation, but as the #cuckservative meme was invented by liberals, it has nothing to do with conservatives and their views on race.

Unless conservatives strike back early and hard, expect the racist-conservative meme to define the 2016 election, and if this happens Hillary may well become the next president.

So, here is the bottom line:

  1. If you are a racist, then you need to get right with God. There is no debating you, and I have nothing more to say to you than you should repent.
  2. If you are confused and angry, and tempted to use the #cuckservative hashtag because somehow it resonates with you, then I implore you to “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5: 21).
  3. If you are a Trump supporter because you somehow think he is a conservative or even believe that he is a strong advocate against illegal immigration, read this.
  4. If you are a liberal troll peddling this racist meme in order to advance your cause, then you need to slink back to the foul depths to where you belong.

At any rate, if I see someone using the #cuckservative hashtag on Twitter in anything but a negative light, exposing those who are pushing it, then I will immediately block the person, even if the person is a sincere conservative.

Our nation is too valuable to lose simply because of a lousy hashtag.

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Telling The “Truth” To Power: Fake Republican Engages In Fraud Debate

When I was young, one of the heroes of the churches I went to was Bob Harrington, the so-called Chaplain of Bourbon Street. Bob had made a big name for himself by ministering in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and was a major celebrity on the evangelical circuit in the 1970s. Of course, there was more hype than substance to this.

When I stayed in the French Quarter to do street evangelism in 1986, some of the people in our group asked our host where Harrington was, and why he wasn’t there ministering.

“When has he ever ministered in the French Quarter?” our host answered. He went on the explain that Harrington’s ministry had always been a charade and that the man had never really done much work in the French Quarter.

During the height of his fame, Harrington “debated” atheism with Madalyn Murray O’Hair, first on Donahue, and then in a touring roadshow. The debates were quite theatrical, with plenty of red meat to please both sides of the issue. However, as William Murray, O’Hair’s son, later recounted in his book My Life Without God, the debates were a complete fraud–after each debate, they would meet and divide up the money over a bottle of whiskey, laughing at the way they had conned everyone.

In short, the debates were nothing more than a money-making venture for both parties. Of course, one rejoinder is that whatever his motives, Bob Harrington was still speaking the truth and some good may have come of it.

This may be an accurate assessment. For example, my father found freedom and deliverance from Mike Warnke’s The Satan Seller, even though that book was later debunked as a complete fraud. Truth is truth, even when spoken by a liar, and truth brings light.

At the same time, do you really want someone who is morally bankrupt to be your pastor or your leader? Merely because someone says something you happen to agree with, are they worthy of your support and praise, and should their errors be glossed over? Arguably, the best thing that ever happened to Harrington and Warnke is that they were exposed for the frauds that they were. At least in Harrington’s case, this has led to a degree of repentance. If one really claims to love such people, then for their own sakes, if for no other reason, they need to be exposed for what they are. It may be their only hope.

Which brings us to Donald Trump.

In 2004, Donald Trump noted that he identified more as a Democrat than as a Republican:

And as late as April 2009, Trump was giving high marks to President Obama. In an interview with Larry King, Trump said,

Well, I think he’s sort of a guy that just has a wonderful personality, a good speaker, somebody that people trust. And I also think that the comparison with his predecessor is so different — it’s so huge that it really has made a great impact on people … I think he’s doing a really good job… He’s totally a champion.

Finally, Trump has been a big financial supporter of the Democrats over the years:

The real estate mogul and “Celebrity Apprentice” host has made more than $1.3 million in donations over the years to candidates nationwide, with 54 percent of the money going to Democrats, according to a Washington Post analysis of state and federal disclosure records.

Recipients include Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), former Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell, and Rahm Emanuel, a former aide to President Obama who received $50,000 from Trump during his recent run to become Chicago’s mayor, records show. Many of the contributions have been concentrated in New York, Florida and other states where Trump has substantial real estate and casino interests.

In this regard, Trump has been especially close to the Clintons:

[Trump] has been especially cozy — financially and personally — with Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and former New York senator who had some say over policy that could have impacted Trump’s vast business dealings, received donations from both him and son Donald Trump Jr. on separate occasions in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to state and federal disclosure records.

Trump has also been generous with the Clinton Foundation, donating at least $100,000, according to the non-profit.

In another sign of their closeness, Clinton attended Trump’s 2005 wedding to current wife Melania Knauss at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, along with the likes of Katie Couric, Billy Joel and then-“American Idol” judge Simon Cowell. (According to People, Clinton had front-pew seating. Though Bill missed the ceremony itself, he did show up to the reception.)

Trump’s retort is that as a businessman he sees fit to curry favor with people on all sides of the political spectrum, but that in his heart he is really a conservative. Let’s skip over the fact that giving money and support to politicians in the hope of receiving quid pro quo is the very essence of corruption and crony capitalism, and ask where, before he sought to curry favor with Republican voters, Trump really stood on the issues.

As Jonah Goldberg points out:

Immigration: You seem to think he’s an immigration hardliner, and he’s certainly pretending to be. But why can’t you see through it? He condemned Mitt Romney as an immigration hardliner in 2012 and favored comprehensive immigration reform. He told Bill O’Reilly he was in favor of a “path to citizenship” for 30 million illegal immigrants:

Trump: You have to give them a path. You have 20 million, 30 million, nobody knows what it is. It used to be 11 million. Now, today I hear it’s 11, but I don’t think it’s 11. I actually heard you probably have 30 million. You have to give them a path, and you have to make it possible for them to succeed. You have to do that.

Question: Just how many rapists and drug dealers did Donald Trump want to give green cards to?

Abortion: In 1999 he said, “I’m totally pro-choice. I hate it and I hate saying it. And I’m almost ashamed to say that I’m pro-choice but I am pro-choice because I think we have no choice.” Man, it’s like he’s channeling Thomas Aquinas there. Now he says he’s pro-life. But I’ll spare the mocking on this because at least he’s flip-flopping in the right direction, and I don’t like to second guess peoples’ professed religious convictions.

Obamacare: The man wrote in his own book and said elsewhere that he was in favor of Canadian-style socialized medicine — which would put him to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and on pretty much the same page as Bernie Sanders.

Hillary: Speaking of her, Trump praised Hillary Clinton and her health-care reform plan — in 2007! She attended his (most recent) wedding. He donated to her campaigns and to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, he couldn’t get his head around the fact that Obama didn’t pick her for VP. “I’m a big fan of Hillary. She’s a terrific woman. She’s a friend of mine.”

Economics: People tout the guy’s business record. But he represents almost exactly what his supporters think he opposes. He’s a crony capitalist par excellence. He gives to whatever politician can grease the skids for his next deal — and he makes no apologies for it. He’s an eminent-domain voluptuary. He abuses bankruptcy laws like a stack of homemade get-out-of-jail-free cards.

So, who–or what–is Trump really?

Trump is first of all a huckster, which is another way of saying that he is a fraud and a con man. He is in it for himself, and will do anything and say anything if he thinks it will bring profit to himself. He is certainly not in it for the American people or because he loves his country.

Yet, behind all of his bluster and bombast, politically Trump is well to the left of every Republican candidates running for president, and the vast majority of Republican voters. Perhaps this is why, instead of debating the issues with other Republicans, he just hurls insults at them.

Finally, no matter what Trump may say right now, it is hard to believe that he would really regret Hillary becoming president. Indeed, a number of people have speculated that Trump is really a stalking horse for Hillary. That is, his purpose is to advance Hillary’s campaign. And Trump’s campaign has already had that effect, by sucking all of the air out of the room for a host of otherwise viable conservative candidates, and by diverting national attention away from Hillary’s many questionable positions and scandals. If Trump were to win the nomination, it would be a win-win for him, as it does not matter to him who is in the White House so long as it is either him or Hillary. And, if Trump does not get the GOP nomination, he can run as an independent, guaranteeing a Hillary win.

So in the end, when all is said and done, no matter who wins the election, Hillary and Donald will go to a back room, and divide the spoils over a bottle of whiskey, laughing at the gullibility of the American voters.

“But Trump is telling the truth to power!”

That’s what hucksters do–they tell you what you want to hear as they pick your pocket.

“But Trump is the only one telling the truth right now!”

That’s not true at all. Cruz, Perry, Fiorina, Rubio, Walker, and a whole host of other candidates have been sounding off loudly on the issues, and have also been attacking Hillary–something by and large Trump refuses to do–but Trump has stolen all of their press.

“But it doesn’t matter what his motives are, he’s telling the truth!”

Whether he tells the truth or not, do you really want a fraud for your president? Or have you been happy with the last eight years with a snake-oil-salesman as commander in chief?

“Telling the truth” is what hucksters do, and many of them are so good at it that they even start to believe the crap they are spewing. However, if America is to be saved, we must stop allowing ourselves to be taken in by con men and rank frauds such as Donald Trump.

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Why The American Church Should Go Off The Grid

Many, many years ago, I was a Boy Scout, back when joining the Boy Scouts was still fashionable. One year, I went to a large, regional Boy Scout Jamboree in a semi-wilderness area. Hundreds of scouts were camped around a low mountain, and at the top of the mountain was, of all things, a small swimming pool.

In order to swim in the pool, we had to “check in”, using our name tag which was affixed to a hook on a bulletin board at the entrance to the pool, which had a sign on it saying “OUT”. We checked in by moving our name tag from the “OUT” bulletin board to another bulletin board nearby, which said “IN”. Then when we left the pool, we were required to “check out” by moving our tag from the “IN” board to the “OUT” board. According to the rules, one could not swim in the pool unless he first checked in, and anyone who forgot to check out of the pool at the end of the day would be banned from swimming in the pool for the duration of the summer.

Now, I can barely remember to tie my own shoes, much less fiddle with a name tag on a board, so it took me exactly one day to get banned from the pool because I forgot to check out when I was finished swimming.

I was devastated, because our whole life at the camp revolved around this pool, but now I was banned from it. As I sadly watched everyone else troop off to the pool in the morning, one of the older scouts came over and told me that I should go swimming anyways. He explained that he had ignored the bulletin board from the beginning, as it was a stupid idea–it was meant for a situation where hundreds of people would be swimming in a large lake with little or no supervision, and not for a small pool with lifeguards. Obviously, the lifeguards needed to qualify for some merit badge, and monitoring the bulletin boards was a requirement. At the same time, there were hundreds of scouts in the camp, so it was highly unlikely that the lifeguards would know who I was and would know that I was banned. To them, I was just a tag on a board and a name on a piece of paper.

So, for the next two weeks, I swam every day without checking in or out, and no one noticed, and no one cared.

For the first time in my life, I was off the grid.

Funny thing about being off the grid: The rules don’t apply to you. I no longer had to check in or out like the other campers, even though I swam in the same pool.

Illegal immigrants in the US are an example of people living off the grid. As is clearly evident, the normal rules of life (indeed, not just rules, but laws) do not apply to them. And, while they undoubtedly suffer some hardship from living off the grid, they also enjoy privileges that other, law-abiding immigrants do not have. One distinct privilege they have is that they do not have to go through the process of spending years gathering and submitting forms so they can jump through the myriad of legal and bureaucratic hoops in order to come to the US and remain in the country, only to have their application denied by some nameless troll working in an office.

When I was younger, I would have never advocated for anyone to live like this, and even today I am hesitant to do so as we should be law-abiding, and we should be striving to live at peace with our government and the people around us.

However, what if the government is by its very nature lawless, or what if it is lawful in many ways, but lawless in the way it seeks to suppress, control, or pervert the Christian message and harm God’s people?

In such a case, while a Christian would be well served to obey the law as much as possible, it would be good to also get off the grid, and go underground, so to speak.

Recall what is written in Revelation 13: 15-18:

The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

The number “666” is–among a great many of things–a symbol of failed humanity and lawlessness. It is also a symbol of demonic control over individuals, wherein they are compelled to commit idolatry by their earthly government.

It was a law that everyone had to have this number, showing that they engaged in the state-sponsored blasphemy. And what was the penalty for the law? “They could not buy or sell unless they had the mark.”

In such a situation, a law-abiding person would not only starve to death, but also condemn his family to death through starvation, and would thus be tempted to get the mark.

But there is another way: To get off the grid. That is, to not receive the mark, to not acknowledge the government’s authority, and to find other ways to live that do not involve buying or selling through official legal channels.

It would be difficult to do so under the circumstances described in Revelation. However, if one reads further in Revelation, one will discover that there were people who did not get the number “666”, yet who were nevertheless able to survive.

The trick in such a situation is to never get enrolled in the government system to begin with–to never get on the government radar. After all, if they don’t know that you are in the pool, they can’t kick you out.

To my knowledge, there is not yet–and never has been–a situation on Earth that exactly corresponds with what is talked about in Revelation. But there have been situations that were somewhat analogous.

For example, we have China, a country that is ruled by a a lawless, gangster government that is completely hostile to Christ and his people.

Here is a short aside to show some of the principles at work in such a country.

In China, everyone buys pirated DVDs of films, as legal DVDs are almost non-existent. By way of explanation, the Chinese government only clears about six western films a year to be shown in China. The vast majority of western films are therefore not legally allowed entry into the country, in any form. However, even the few western films that are cleared by the censors are not officially released in China on DVD by the studios because of fears of pirating. This means that nearly every DVD sold in China is effectively pirated, and therefore illegal according to Chinese law. And, even if you find a DVD that claims to be legal (and which will be sold at ten times the regular price), there is no sure way of knowing whether or not it really is legal–it is likely pirated like all of the rest of them.

One day I was at a DVD stall in north China, but I could not find what I was looking for.

“How about this?” the clerk asked, pulling some “yellow” (porn) DVDs from under the counter.

I frowned and said, “No.”

The clerk looked around to see if anyone was looking, and then pulled yet another DVD from under the counter and quickly showed it to me. “And this one?” she asked.

It was a pirated DVD of Campus Crusade’s Jesus film.

And thus the primary point that I am trying to get at: When the government declares something illegal, it effectively loses the ability to regulate it in any way–all it can do is try to suppress it. All DVDs in China are effectively illegal, which means that when it comes to DVDs, the Chinese government has lost the ability to control what is being sold on DVD. People can sell pirated Hollywood films, porn, or even films about Jesus, without any government control at all, because it is all equally illegal.

By the same token, the Chinese government has no control over the church in China.

Or rather, it tries to control the church, but fails.

The method for its attempt to control the church is the propagation of the Three-Self Church, which is the officially sanctioned, legal church in China. As an organ of the state, the official, explicit goal of the Three-Self Church is to lead people to the “truth” of Marxist atheism. Failing this, the government uses the church in an attempt to keep tabs on and control Christians. As the church is administered by the government, the government calls all the shots, and decides what will and will not be allowed when it comes to teachings and policies.

Yet, there is another church in China, the Home Church. This church is illegal, and because it is illegal, it is under no government control at all. It is off the grid. Unlike the Three-Self Church, the Chinese government has no control over Home Church teachings, personnel, or policy, and cannot regulate this church in any way. All it can do is try to suppress it.

My wife for a long time (even before the election of Barack Obama) has been saying that she felt God was telling her that America was going to become more like China. Certainly, we have been seeing this come true before our eyes.

American Christians wring their hands in worry about what will happen to tax exempt status in the light of the recent rulings on homosexual marriage. My point here is to stop wringing your hands: It is time to get off the grid.

Why does your church want or need tax exempt status to begin with? Why have any government registration at all, or any dealings with the government in an official capacity?

I get that most churches collect offerings, have buildings, and a paid staff, and that all of this would appear to open them up to government oversight. But has anyone been listening to what the Holy Spirit has been trying to tell the American church all these years? How many sermons have we all heard about how the church is not the staff or the building, and that focus needs to stop being on church finances and numbers, but on the people? If you really believe all this, then it should be easy to renounce the idea of church incorporation and any kind of government registration or oversight over your church. After all, you don’t have to collect offerings, have buildings, or have a paid staff in order to have a church. At the moment, it is convenient for you to have these things, but in the end all it does is enable the government to meddle in your church’s affairs.

If you really believe that the American government is becoming increasingly lawless and hostile to Christianity, then you need to get your church off the grid, and the sooner the better. Because, if you are never on the government radar to begin with, it will be a lot harder for them to find you when they want to shut you down.

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Assessing the Democratic Presidential Field

Before getting to the meat of this post, let’s first stipulate that the Democrats have a good chance of winning the 2016 presidential election, no matter whom they nominate. Don’t get me wrong: as far as I know the GOP will not only win the election, but will win in a landslide. However, as we should have learned by now, a sure win should not by any means be taken for granted, no matter how weak and defective the Democratic nominee may appear. [1]

The Democrats have only nominated two presidential candidates since 1980 who were even remotely plausible as presidents: Walter Mondale and Al Gore. [2] However, during that same period two implausible Democratic nominees in fact became president, and the greatest fraud of the lot, John Kerry, actually got 48.3% of the vote in 2004. [3] [4]

So, the Dems could nominate Crusty the Clown as their candidate in 2016, and still win. And anyone who pretends otherwise is living in a fantasy land.

Hillary as GodzillaThis means that Hillary Clinton has a serious chance of becoming POTUS.

But she has to get through the Democratic primaries first, and this is by no means a done deal. Recall that in 2008, everyone thought that she was unassailable in the primaries, but she still lost to Barack Obama due to a combination of being uncharismatic and wooden (i.e., “likeable enough”), having a flawed campaign strategy, carrying a whole lot of baggage, and seeming too much like yesterday’s news.

Thus far, Hillary Clinton has shown little or no improvement on the stump, her baggage has only multiplied, and her topical freshness rating is somewhere behind that of the newspaper that people use to line the insides of a bird cage.

To be sure, she has enlisted some of the same minions that brought us Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and she has Michelle Kwan in her corner, so she should run a much better campaign than she did in 2008. However, her Twitter stream is high on astroturf and low on authentic support, and every Democrat I have heard from stresses the point that in their eyes she is so right-wing that she should run as a Republican. Unless she is able to generate some enthusiasm for her candidacy, she will see some upsets in the early primaries. And if she does, it could well be a repeat of 2008.

But if Hillary does stumble, who will the Democrats turn to?

jim_webb_salutingJim Webb was Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, and worked with some of the editors at the National Review before he ran for the senate. It was logical to think, before his senate run, that he was actually a moderate Republican. And though he went left on many positions when he served in the senate, he is still to the right of some GOP presidential candidates on some issues. Unfortunately for Webb, rank and file Democrats know this, so he does not have any chance at all in the Democratic primaries. Further, Webb has burned too many bridges with the GOP and conservatives to run as a Republican. He should go back to writing novels.

Martin O'MalleyMartin O’Malley is the former governor of Maryland and former mayor of Baltimore. As with Hillary Clinton, no one can remember anything he has ever accomplished. His primary claims to fame as mayor of Baltimore were his policies to reduce crime and to upgrade the Baltimore school system. Both of these policy initiatives were miserable failures. As governor, he raised taxes, installed speed cameras, gave instate tuition to illegal aliens, helped institute same-sex marriage, and got rid of the death penalty, in an unimaginative attempt to check all the boxes to prove that he is a good liberal. O’Malley’s main selling point appears to be that he would serve as a fairly good Chippendale’s dancer. He should seriously consider wearing cuffs and a bow tie.

Bernie-SandersWhich leaves us with Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a self-avowed socialist who has caucused with the Democrats since joining the senate in 2006. Though he is not officially a Democrat, he has received numerous Democratic committee assignments in the senate, along with the support of the Democratic Party in his senate bids. As a socialist, his policy views are easily to the left of the Democrats running for president, and of Obama himself. One would be tempted to count Sanders out as a flake, except for the fact that of all senators, he ranks as the third most popular senator in his own home state; and, his accomplishments in office are quite substantive by any measure. He may be a loon and he would be a disaster as president, but compared to many other candidates (including some in the current GOP crop) he is a serious politician. Further, unlike Clinton, Sanders appears to be receiving genuine grassroots support and enthusiasm.

It may be that Clinton will indeed steamroll the other candidates, and that none of them stand a chance against her. On the other hand, I would not be surprised at all if Sanders were to win or come a close second in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if that happens it is an open race.

Of course, Hillary Clinton has the best negative-campaigner in the business at her beck and call–Bill Clinton. He was neutered (at least as a political force) in 2008 by charges of racism. Fortunately for Hillary, Sanders is not African-American (though he may self-identify at any moment), so the race card is not on the table this time around. If Hillary begins to stumble, things will get quite nasty as Hillary and Bernie start flinging mud in a desperate attempt to see who can go farther to the left.

It will get ugly, and it is anyone’s guess as to who will win.


[1] The fact that Mitt Romney did take victory for granted in 2012 should belie the more recent claims made by his surrogates that somehow he is a genius when compared to Barack Obama. It may indeed be true that Barack Obama is a fool–but he still beat Romney.
[2] By “plausible”, I do not at all mean that they would have been good presidents, only that based upon experience, accomplishments, and integrity they reached the lowest standard of what should ever be considered acceptable in a presidential candidate.
[3] That he is now considered a wizened sage by the Democratic Party, and is in fact the Secretary of State, says a great deal about the people running our country.
[4] Yes, Kerry is objectively a bigger fraud than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama: 1) He claimed three Purple Hearts in Vietnam without showing any discernible injuries; 2) He got a Silver Start for shooting a man in the back; 3) After serving four months in a war zone, he returned home a war hero, and then went on to malign those who had actually served heroically and honorably; 4) He married a ketchup heiress and used her money to finance a senate bid. He has no other achievements to his credit. His resume is thin of honest accomplishments even by Barack Obama’s low standard.

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