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On June 21, the writer E. Jean Carroll came forward with a vivid and disturbing claim that Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.  She is the 22nd woman to allege that Trump committed acts of sexual misconduct.  These claims are more extensive and more corroborated than the accusations against Bill Clinton.
It’s worth contrasting Trump, who denied Carroll’s claim (as well as his other accusers’), with Clinton because his scandals helped spur the Southern Baptist Convention in 1998 to issue its seminal “Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials.”  That document’s key statement was ominous and unequivocal: “Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment.”
The relentless drumbeat of claims against Trump – combined with the clear moral declarations of the past – have caused millions of Americans to look at their evangelical fellow citizens and ask, simply: Why?  Why have you abandoned your previous commitment to political character to embrace Donald Trump?
Part of the explanation is undeniably basic partisanship and ambition.  White evangelicals are largely Republican, and they’re generally going to vote for Republicans.  And proximity to power has always had its attractions for religious charlatans of all stripes.  But I’d suggest the real reason for the breadth and depth of evangelical support is deeper and – perversely – even more destructive to its religious witness.
That reason is fear.
Talk to engaged evangelicals, and fear is all too often a dominant theme of their political life.  The church is under siege from a hostile culture.  Religious institutions are under legal attack from progressives.  The left wants nuns to facilitate access to abortifacients and contraceptives, it wants Christian adoption agencies to compromise their conscience or close, and it even casts into doubt the tax exemptions of religious education institutions if they adhere to traditional Christian sexual ethics.
These issues are legally important, and there are reasons for evangelicals to be concerned.  But there is no reason for evangelicals to abandon long-held principles to behave like any other political-interest group.
Instead, the evangelical church is called to be a source of light in a darkening world.  It is not given the luxury of fear-based decisionmaking.  Indeed, of all the groups in American life who believe they have the least to fear from American politics, Christians should top the list.  The faithful should reject fear.
This is made plain to young Christians from the early days of Sunday school.  There, many millions of young believers are taught the biblical verse: “For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
But in 2016, something snapped.  I saw Christian men and women whom I’ve known and respected for years respond with raw fear at the very idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency.  They believed she was going to place the church in mortal danger.  The Christian writer Eric Metaxas wrote that if Hillary won, America’s chance to have a “Supreme Court that values the Constitution” will be “gone.”  “Not for four years, not for eight,” he said, “but forever.”
That wasn’t faith speaking.  They were the words of fearful men grasping at fading influence by clinging to a man whose daily life mocks the very values that Christians seek to advance.
But why?  The American evangelical church isn’t so weak that it needs Trump’s version of secular salvation.  The early persecuted church would be stunned at the modern American church’s immense political strength.  It has become so strong that it exercises veto power over the political prospects of any Republican nominee.
Yet the church is acting as if it needs Trump to protect it.  That’s not courageous.  It’s repulsive.  And so long as this fear continues, expect the church’s witness to degrade further.  In seeking protection from its perceived enemies, the church has lost its way.
It’s time for evangelicals to exercise their political veto power.  America’s conservative people of faith should seek a primary challenger to Trump and send a message to the GOP that it will not compromise any longer.  And it should do so from a position of confidence – and faith.
  —  David French
From his opinion / editorial: “The Evangelical Republic of Fear
Appearing in Time Magazine, dtd: 8 July 2019
Also, found online at: https://time.com/5615617/why-evangelicals-support-trump/
[I make no claim to ownership of this editorial.  It belongs to either Time or to the author.  I normally only present excerpts from articles / editorials because I am trying to exercise “fair use”  while giving full credit to the owner and / or original source.  In this (rare) case, the editorial is presented in its entirety because the whole is FAR greater than any of its parts.  As always, I encourage readers to visit the original source.  I subscribe to the “hard-copy” version of Time.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Sounds Like Politics, Too
2017 Resist More
Conservatives Are Not The Enemy
2016 Two Weeks To Go…
2015 Remembering
2014 The Creeping Death Of Civilization
Orange October (X) – A Blue Morning Turns Into An Orange Evening
2013 License Problem
2012 Giants Win Game 2 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Adage, n.
Questions Women Should Ask Before Voting…
2011 What Are You Looking At?

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“I think that in this era, where people are really hungry for someone that they can trust and a team they can trust, that it’s just something they sense in their gut,” Muir says.  “And we go out there and try to earn that trust every single night.  And we’re not perfect.  One of the great gifts of this job is that you can go out the next night and give it your best shot again.  But we never forget that we’re reporting to a divided country.”
The challenge, he says, when “half the country is saying give the guy a break and the other half of the country is still saying how on earth could this happen and how much longer will it last,” is to hear both sides without being identified with either.  “We do this balancing act every night of trying to signal to an audience we hear you, we’re asking questions for you.”
  —  Karl Vick  (quoting David Muir)
From his article / interview:  “World News Tonight’s David Muir Wants to Earn Your Trust, One Broadcast at a Time
Time Magazine, dtd: 27 August 2018
Online interview at:  http://time.com/5368871/david-muir-world-news-tonight/
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On This Day In:
2018 Mutual Assistance
2017 The Toughest Job
2016 Congratulations!!
Better Yet, Read!
2015 Even If It Kills Us Slowly
2014 Fun To Play God
Of Anything
2013 Legal (Almost)
2012 Great Scots!
2011 The GI Bill – A Simple History Lesson
Breaking Even

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Hate, among all our base instincts, is the most distinctly human.  In animals, violence and venom are tools of survival; in humans, of supremacy.  Small, scared people hate, self-hating people hate, bullied and betrayed people hate, as though hate will make them large and safe and strong.
  —  Nancy Gibbs
From her article in Time Magazine (dtd: 12 November 2018):  “The Only Way Forward
The online version of this article is titled:  “The Only Way to Fight Hate
The article can be found online at: http://time.com/magazine/us/5441415/november-12th-2018-vol-192-no-20-u-s/
I choose to love people, not to judge them.  I want to experience them as they are, not as I would want them to be.  I want to grow with them, allowing each new moment to tell its own story, rather than perceive it as a product of our past.  I want us to search together for fresh alternatives to our incompleteness, to our negativity, to our deception, to our fear and to our despair.  I don’t want us to spend our lives thinking about life and change and celebration.  Rather, I want us to spend our lives celebrating and living and changing.  And I never want to forget what the wonderful author William Saroyan reminded me of many years ago:  People is all everything is – all it has ever been, and all it can ever be.  People.  You and me.  Together in love.
  —  Leo Buscaglia’s Credo for Relationships
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On This Day In:
2018
2017 Are You A Loser?
2016 Constitution And Conscience
2015 Separate, Fearful And Imprisoned
2014 Something Worth Making
2013 Absolutely
2012 Can Do
2011 Wise Criticism

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Capitalism, however, has been here before.  One of its great historic strengths has been its ability to reform and change shape as social needs and democratic demands shift.  In the late 19th century, parties of the right in Europe brought in a wave of progressive reforms to suit the times, from expanded union rights to the social insurance that began the creation of the modern welfare state.  In these cases, there was a pragmatic and also a moral imperative at work to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
Yet today, politicians and thinkers have largely stopped making the case for capitalism as a moral good.  What we have instead are abstract ideas about the supremacy of markets.  At the same time, the surges in inequality seen in country after country are corroding the moral principles that underpin capitalism.  The ethical basis for capitalism must be that it offers better life chances for a majority of citizens.  If it is failing to do that, what is the justification for its dominance as an economic system?  Little wonder that a Gallup poll found only 45% of U.S. young adults view capitalism positively, a 12-point decline in just two years.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to alter our lives to an even greater extent.  AI is best understood not as an upgrade of our existing structures but as a general-purpose technology (GPT), like electricity or the steam engine.  GPTs are transformative in their social and economic impacts, reaching into every aspect of life.  “Some people believe that it’s going to be on the scale of the Industrial Revolution,” says Demis Hassabis, the AI expert who co-founded the pioneering machine-learning company DeepMind.  “Other people believe it’s going to be the class of its own above that.”
The crucial factor for managing these changes is time.  In 1900, the proportion of the U.S. population who worked in agriculture was 38% and the proportion who worked in factories was 25%.  Today only 1.5% of the population works in agriculture and 7.9% in factories.  So there’s been a catastrophe of unemployment?  Absolutely not: the losses were more than made up for by growth in other sectors of the economy, which went from providing 24 million jobs in 1900 to some 150 million today.  Most of the new varieties of work simply didn’t exist at the dawn of the last century.  Given time, we know from experience that a society can manage this kind of transition.  The question is, do we have that time?
…Think about what the working life will be of a person who can expect to live for a full century.  What can we say about the likely span of her economic and political life?  The only absolute certainty is that it will involve change.  It will not be static.  It will not involve doing the same thing in the same place over and over again.  Unless we are all prepared for change, we are not prepared for the coming world of work.
At the individual level, the prescription for what we should do to prepare for this new landscape is relatively straightforward.  For a life of multiple careers and skills, people need an education that prepares them for a lifelong process of training and retraining.  They will need, more than anything else, to learn how to learn.  Flexibility and resilience will be crucial.  It won’t be easy, but at least we can see it clearly.  At the level of society it is harder.  Let’s be honest: this is a vision of insecurity, projected across a working life.  It is a clear principle of economic and political history—one we’re relearning today — that humans hate insecurity.
What we need is to rethink the relationship between the individual, the corporate sector and the state.  In recent decades, we have seen a “great risk shift” — to borrow the term of the Yale social scientist Jacob Hacker.  Individuals in temporary, insecure, giglike employment are taking on risks that used to belong to the corporate sector.  Not coincidentally, the share of GDP going to the corporate sector as profits has risen and the share accruing to labor as pay has gone down.
That trend, and that risk transfer, are not sustainable over time.  We need a social safety net focused on career support rather than just simple unemployment benefits.  Companies and individuals and the state must work together to build an enhanced and more flexible version of the welfare state that overlaps with lifelong training and education.
The architects of this new industrial revolution, by the way, agree with this proposition.  Yann LeCun, the chief AI scientist at Facebook and one of the pioneers of deep learning, said recently that every economist he has spoken to agrees that governments must take measures to compensate for rising inequality brought about by technology.  “All of them believe this has to do with fiscal policy in the form of taxing, and wealth and income distribution.”
We also need a functioning marketplace.  The collapse of U.S. government action in the area of antitrust and competition law has led to a damaging concentration across most industries — from cable TV to airlines, online advertising and farming.  While a new generation of robber barons controls huge sections of the U.S. economy, corporate profits surge, wages stagnate, and fewer ordinary workers have reason to believe in the capitalist system.
The final component of what we do next concerns not what we do but what they do — “they” meaning the elites who have profited most from the trends of recent decades.  Quite simply, those elites have to pay their taxes.  They have to stop using offshore havens and accounting tricks to hide their wealth from the societies in which they live and from which they make their profits. Instead of founding think tanks and gorging on discussions about improving distant lives, they have to attend to the lives around them in the places they actually live.
A new emphasis on the role of the nation-state; a new partnership between the state and the private sector and the individual; new action on lifelong learning and training; higher and fairer taxes; less security for big corporations: these things shouldn’t be unthinkable.  It is strange and sad that the least likely thing on my wish list is the idea that elites will change their behavior.
But elites may have to change if they don’t want change to be imposed on them.  This coming wave of technological transformation has the potential to be the most serious challenge modern capitalism has faced.  For people who don’t have the chance to change and adapt and reskill, a pitiless world ruled by algorithms and machine learning, in which they have no utility, no relevant skills and no security, could look completely unlivable.  Facing that prospect, the populations of the developed world may do things that make the current populist moment look polite, low-key and lawful.
— John Lanchester
From his article in Time Magazine (dtd: Feb4/11, 2019): “Economy: Leveling The Playing Field
The article also appears online as: “The Next Industrial Revolution Is Coming.  Here’s How We Can Ensure Equality
The link to the entire online version is: http://time.com/collection/davos-2019/5502589/next-industrial-revolution/
[Please note: This article is extensively quoted without permission from the author or from Time Magazine.  I personally subscribe to the physical version of Time Magazine and have done so for almost 50 years now.  I make no claim to ownership of the article or its ideas.  I do NOT normally post so extensively from an article, but this was (to me) a powerful article about the future of civilization, so I have made an exception.  The ellipses indicate where I have edited out portions of the article.  I hope neither the author nor Time Magazine will object to my editing or use of the article.  Obviously, I encourage all of my readers to go to read the original.  —  KMAB]
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2014 A Potential To Be Concerned
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2012 Have You Checked Your Height Lately?
2011 Are You Convinced?

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Mueller acknowledges his impatience.  In his address at William & Mary, he recalled that during his days at Justice he’d often cut off attorneys by saying, “What is the issue?”  One evening, he said, his wife started telling him about a hard day.  He interjected with the same curt question.  She did not appreciate it.  “I am your wife,” he recalled her saying.  “I am not one of your attorneys.  Do not ever ask me, ‘What is the issue?’  You will sit there and you will listen until I am finished.
“That night, I did learn the importance of listening to those around you — truly listening — before making judgment, before taking action,” he continued.  “I also learned to use that question sparingly, and never, ever with my wife.”
  —  Quoted by: Brian Bennett and Tessa Berenson
From their article: “Time: Person of the Year 2018: The Short List #3 Robert Mueller
Time Magazine, dtd: 24 Dec / 31 Dec (Double Issue)
Also online at: http://time.com/person-of-the-year-2018-robert-mueller-runner-up/
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On This Day In:
2018 My Experience As Well
2017 He’s Making A List
2016 Mere Specks
2015 Day To Day Success
2014 We Have Ignition!
2013 The Dreamer
2012 I Err Gladly
2011 Ill Executed
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In the Middle East, and in isolated pockets of Western Europe, we see people, especially young men, who love the idea of an absolute answer to everything.  That cast of mind has not very often acquired political power, but when it does it’s absolutely murderous.
     —  Philip Pullman
From the interview / article: “Philip Pullman isn’t done building new worlds
Written by Dan Stewart
Appearing in Time Magazine, dtd: 30 October 2017
Online at:  http://time.com/4988596/philip-pullman-la-belle-sauvage/
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2015 Seeing Rainbows
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2014 The Law Of The Perversity Of Nature
2013 One Standard Deviation
2012 High Anxiety
2011 And I’m Taking Me There
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You’ve said that maturity is “a matter of progressing ever closer to your ideal self.”  What is your ideal self?
To travel this world without being tied to others.  Not in the sense of crossing the sky like a bird.  My meaning stems from the fact that people constantly compare themselves to others.  They find it difficult to decide the best way to live, I guess, and comparisons help them evaluate their own situation.  A person can attain pure freedom only by being set free from being a person.
What would you tell parents who are sad that their child has been diagnosed with autism?
I don’t think of my autism as a misfortune.  You may be stuck, your suffering may be ongoing, but time flows on.  What your child needs right now is to see your smile.  Create lots of happy memories together.  When we know we are loved, the courage we need to resist depression and sadness wells up from inside us.
     —  Naoki Higashida
From an interview appearing in Time Magazine 7 August 2017
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On This Day In:
2016 Good Acts
2015 Will You Be Leaving Soon?
2014 Just Long Enough
2013 R.I.P. – Tom Laughlin
Seeking Success?
2012 All Aboard
2011 Sail On, Sailor

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