SO DONALD TRUMP WON. NOW WHAT?

These paintings by Gerard David (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523) depict the arrest and flaying by a corrupt judge. Cambyses, a Persian King sentence this judge, Sisamnes, for accepting a bribe.  Then he used the skin to cover the seat Sisamnes' son used when he sat as a judge. (from here)
These paintings by Gerard David (c. 1460 – 13 August 1523) depict the arrest and flaying by a corrupt judge. Cambyses, a Persian King sentenced this judge, Sisamnes, for accepting a bribe. Then he used the skin to cover the seat Sisamnes’ son used when he sat as a judge. (from here)

Donald Trump’s election victory has almost everyone amazed.  When I look over the situation, however, I am relieved, but not sanguine.  Republicans don’t do either victory or defeat well, but that’s why WE THE PEOPLE chose Trump. We want a leader with some fight in him, someone on our side.

So what’s the problem? As WE THE PEOPLE, we must remember the objective, a government that protects everyone’s God-given rights. Revenge of the Deplorables, for example, is all true except for one thing. Vengeance belongs to God. Therefore, writing this paragraph was a bad idea.

What comes around, goes around; the revenge of the pissed off deplorable has come to fruition. Life as a liberal in the USA is about to get very unpleasant, and I’m gleefully looking forward to being one of the reasons why. Last Tuesday’s election was only the beginning; we are going to screw them over every chance we get. Can you hear me now? (from here)

Believe me. I think the author of Revenge of the Deplorables writes thoughtful posts. Believe me. I too have an itch to screw the Democrats over. Using “good intentions” as their excuse, Democrats have dreadfully abused the power of government, and their leaders have deliberately sown dissension and division. Nevertheless, I have plenty of brothers and sisters who voted for H. Clinton. So I know from personal experience that Democrat voters are not devils. So I don’t want revenge. I just want them figure out big government creates many more problems than it ever fixes.

When we use government to make our neighbors do things our way or to just make them miserable, we have just created a monster that makes everyone endlessly angry. Civil war is the worst kind of war. Hence, we must look for Biblical guidance. Consider this timely verse posted at Settled In Heaven on the day after the election.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (from here)

As Christians, we are not supposed to let the world trouble us or make us afraid. We must strive for peace by following Jesus Christ.

Jesus told us and demonstrated for us just how dishonest and conniving the world can be. The Bible shows us just how dishonest and conniving we can be. Nonetheless, the Bible predates American politics. So something more specific to our situation might be helpful. Here in Common Sense Rules for Following Elections the author provides a more rational perspective than what most in the news media want us to have.

I know that’s hard to believe sometimes, but the other candidate and the other party aren’t evil because they see things differently than you do. It sounds silly to even say that, doesn’t it? Yet in the heat of a tough campaign, all of us need to remind ourselves of this obvious fact. When the other side wins, it seems like life is about to end, but it isn’t. Those checks and balances that you might like to do away with at the moment, will keep any president from going too far; even Mr. Obama found that out. Remember four years ago when he went around the country telling us he wouldn’t wait for Congress to legislate and promised a slew of Executive Orders instead… until Courts started throwing them out? Well, maybe you’ve forgotten that, but I haven’t; those checks and balances are pretty awesome. (continued here)

Whether we voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, we did not vote for a saint or against the devil. We just voted for another human being like ourselves, someone who needs the saving grace of Jesus Christ, particularly if that candidate won.

So what should we hope for? America Trumped–what comes next? reviews the limited powers of our president. Since the national news media and most of the members of Congress — including Republicans — regard Trump as an outsider, they will be looking for opportunities to take him down. Hence, we must not forget we too have a role.

Donald Trump has a mandate from the voters to try to fix what is wrong with the American government, but not many solutions can come out of the White House. The obligation returns to the voters to send honorable men and women into the government, to advise those elected or appointed to government positions, and to honor and respect the government we have created for ourselves. When we are better citizens, then we can produce a better government. Until then, we can only pray for the government that we have made. (from here)

Never stop praying, not even when you “think” we have the government “we” should want.

WHY DOES CONGRESS HAVE TO PASS A LAW TO PROTECT OUR EMAIL?

On Friday I got this email from my congressman, Rob Wittman. It left me a bit confused. Wittman is not a bad congressman, and I suppose he should have voted for the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699). I just wonder why it was necessary.

Rob_WittmanYou know that email you’ve been saving? The one from your dad … or co-worker … or best friend … or daughter? The one they thought only you would see? The one YOU thought only you would see? Well, as the law stands now, law enforcement officials could have legal access to that email without so much as a warrant.

Maybe that surprises you, or maybe it doesn’t. But the fact is that as technology has expanded, the law hasn’t. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the primary law governing email privacy, was passed in 1986—before most of us even knew that email existed. Since then, only minimal reforms have been made to the ECPA, and vulnerabilities in the law have raised significant digital privacy concerns for the public.

It’s not hard to see that the world is evolving around us. We have access to technology that didn’t exist 10 or 5 or even 2 years ago, and that’s a great thing. Technology gives us the opportunity to better ourselves and the world around us. It helps us to connect with people all around the globe in ways we never could have imagined were possible. But tech developments shouldn’t come at the cost of individual privacy and security. The way we protect information should be reflective of the way that we store and share information.

Last week, the House voted 419 to 0, with my support, in favor of the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699), a bill that would revise the ECPA to require law enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants before gaining access to personal messages and files stored by companies like Google, Yahoo, and Dropbox. Right now, agencies can gain access to emails and other digital files more than 90 days old by issuing subpoenas to technology companies—a very low standard for gaining access to information. This legislation would require law enforcement officers to secure a judge-issued warrant before gaining access to digital information stored in the cloud.

The Email Privacy Act represents the first major update to our digital privacy laws in three decades, and it’s past time for us to make a change. The choice between privacy and technology is a false one. The Fourth Amendment, the Constitutional provision that guarantees privacy and designates it as a fundamental liberty, is strong enough to safeguard our rights in every situation. We have to make sure that our laws conform to that standard, and I believe that the Email Privacy Act takes positive steps in that direction.

Here is the  Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I am no legal scholar, but is there such a big a difference between snail mail and email that judges think snooping into our snail mail requires a warrant, but an email doesn’t? Don’t our presidents nominate these judges? Doesn’t our Senate consent to their appointment? Then why do we need this law?

Technology should free us to do things our ancestors never even imagined.  Today we can fly. We have visited the moon. Perhaps our grandchildren will settle other planets in our solar system. Who knows? Is it possible that some day Americans will journey to distant stars? Maybe not. Some of those who rule us care about us, but we also have many perverse leaders, and we have the people who vote for them. Instead of protecting our rights and furthering our dreams, too many of those who rule us seek to spend every cent we have, and then they spy on us. They have to make certain they have us under control. How can we dream of reaching the stars when our own rulers seek to bind and enslave us?

You have a congressmen or a senator who is more interested in spending your money than he is in protecting your rights? Have you considered voting for someone else?

OF TWISTED WORDS => SOCIAL CONTRACT

preamble to the constitutionWhen I visited Wikipedia to see what they had to say about the expression “Social contract,” I discovered that the denizens there don’t seem too happy with their own article. Perhaps that is because the article makes it clear that the expression has an interesting history. As the article explains, the expression first became prominent in the 17th century.

Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), andImmanuel Kant (1797) are among the most prominent of 17th- and 18th-century theorists of social contract and natural rights. Each solved the problem of political authority in a different way. Grotius posited that individual human beings had natural rights; Hobbes asserted that humans consent to abdicate their rights in favor of the absolute authority of government (whether monarchial or parliamentary); Pufendorf disputed Hobbes’s equation of a state of nature with war. (from here)

Thus, the meaning of the expression, “social contract,” is ambiguous, at best.  Consider the definition.

social contract
noun

  1. the voluntary agreement among individuals by which, according to any of various theories, as of Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau, organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members.
  2. an agreement for mutual benefit between an individual or group and the government or community as a whole.

So what is the problem with a “social contract?” Until we define the contract, we have no idea what is in that contract. That is, we don’t know the contract’s terms and conditions. Yet if we google the news with the expression , “social contract,” we will get almost 18,000 hits. Here, for example, we have the expression used in a news report that followed the legalization of same sex “marriage” by the Supreme Court.

James Parrish, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Virginia, said his organization will continue to work toward protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination by business owners who deny them service for religious reasons.

“We truly believe when you open your doors to the business to the public, you are serving the entire public,” Parrish said. “We believe there is a social contract out there: When you open a public business, you are opening your business to the public.”

But efforts to push anti-discrimination legislation ends at the church door, Parrish said. “Any faith leader can refuse to marry anyone for any reason. That is all protected,” he said.  (from here)

What is this social contract? When do business owners sign up to provide services for activities they consider immoral?  Apparently, signing up is not necessary. Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. Here Marriage is a Social Contract, Not a Sacred Covenant (www.dailykos.com) defines marriage as a social contract.

Marriage is social contract, plain and simple. Getting married to have kids doesn’t mean that God is going to part the clouds and give you two thumbs up for doing it how the Republicans tell you to do it. Getting married means that you have decided to pool your resources and bind yourself to one another legally. (from here)

We still cannot be forced into marriages, but some have no issues twisting the arms of business owners. Why? That’s a good question. The answer just might explain why the expression “social contract” means whatever we want it to mean.

So do we all have a social contract with each other? Perhaps.  There is a moral law in each man and woman’s heart. We know when we wrong another. That’s apparent when we consider America’s greatest threat by Victor Davis Hanson. What Hanson implies throughout his article is that we must want to obey the law, and we must actively insist others obey the law. Consider how his article begins.

Barbarians at the gate usually don’t bring down once-successful civilizations. Nor does climate change. Even mass epidemics do not necessarily destroy a culture.

Far more dangerous are institutionalized corruption, a lack of transparency and creeping neglect of existing laws. All the German euros in the world will not save Greece if Greeks continue to dodge taxes, featherbed government and see corruption as a business model.

Even obeying so-called minor laws counts. It is no coincidence that a country where drivers routinely flout traffic laws and throw trash out the window is also a country that cooks its books and lies to its creditors. Everything from littering to speeding seems negotiable in Athens. (continued here)

When we create our laws, we have a choice. We can make laws to protect each other from the abuse of scoundrels, or we can make laws just to compel others to give us what we want. If our laws are about protecting each other, then our consciences will compel us to obey. Because the terms and conditions of such laws exist within each of our hearts, we will understand such laws as an obligation to (or social contract with) our fellow citizens. On the other hand, if we make laws mainly to exploit each other — get our own way — then our legal code may look like reams of paper, but we will be able to summarize in just five words.

Look out for Number One!

There is a complete list “Of Twisted Words” posts at the first post in this series, OF TWISTED WORDS => FEMINISM.

A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE

illustration for John Milton's Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).
illustration for John Milton’s Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).

Luke 10:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Believe it or not, there are Bible scholars who tell us that Jesus never claimed to be God. If Jesus did not come from heaven, how did he see Satan’s fall?