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Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades -- many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.

This is the latest move in the president's long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that's sure to raise eyebrows -- the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course.


The Senate passed legislation Wednesday to reverse a Trump administration policy limiting donor disclosure requirements for political nonprofits in a rare rebuke to the White House.

In a 50-49 vote, the Senate approved a resolution from Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would block the recent Treasury Department change to IRS forms allowing political nonprofits to avoid listing some donors.


The annual Arctic Report Card from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is out, but it appears that humanity is flunking science badly.

As NOAA reports, "Arctic air temperatures for the past five years (2014-18) have exceeded all previous records since 1900."

And one stunning result of this is that 95 percent of the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice has disintegrated in just three decades.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

In his highly entertaining book, The Seven Types of Atheism, released in October in the U.S., philosopher John Gray puts it this way: "Religion is an attempt to find meaning in events, not a theory that tries to explain the universe." It exists because we humans are the only species, so far as we can know, who have evolved to know explicitly that, one day in the future, we will die. And this existential fact requires some way of reconciling us to it while we are alive.


"It's hard to impeach somebody who hasn't done anything wrong and who's created the greatest economy in the history of our country," said Trump in an interview with Reuters."I'm not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened."


Comments

#3

Sullivan addresses the rwing version of Christianity and government.

He said that "Christianity is the only monotheism that seeks no sway over Caesar..." and then went on to say that rwing political cults in place of Christianity is not Christianity.

"So what happens when this religious rampart of the entire system is removed? I think what happens is illiberal politics. The need for meaning hasn't gone away, but without Christianity, this yearning looks to politics for satisfaction. And religious impulses, once anchored in and tamed by Christianity, find expression in various political cults.

These political manifestations of religion are new and crude, as all new cults have to be. They haven't been experienced and refined and modeled by millennia of practice and thought. They are evolving in real time. And like almost all new cultish impulses, they demand a total and immediate commitment to save the world.

Now look at our politics. We have the cult of Trump on the right, a demigod who, among his worshippers, can do no wrong. And we have the cult of social justice on the left, a religion whose followers show the same zeal as any born-again Evangelical. They are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided."

"The same cultish dynamic can be seen on the right. There, many profess nominal Christianity and yet demonstrate every day that they have left it far behind. "

"Yes, many Evangelicals are among the holiest and most quietly devoted people out there. Some have bravely resisted the cult. But their leaders have turned Christianity into a political and social identity, not a lived faith, and much of their flock -- a staggering 81 percent voted for Trump -- has signed on. They have tribalized a religion explicitly built by Jesus as anti-tribal. They have turned to idols -- including their blasphemous belief in America as God's chosen country. They have embraced wealth and nationalism as core goods, two ideas utterly anathema to Christ. They are indifferent to the destruction of the creation they say they believe God made.

And because their faith is unmoored but their religious impulse is strong, they seek a replacement for religion. This is why they could suddenly rally to a cult called Trump. He may be the least Christian person in America, but his persona met the religious need their own faiths had ceased to provide. The terrible truth of the last three years is that the fresh appeal of a leader-cult has overwhelmed the fading truths of Christianity."

"And so we're mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults. Like almost all new cultish impulses, they see no boundary between politics and their religion. And both cults really do minimize the importance of the individual in favor of either the oppressed group or the leader."

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