Observations from the debate spectacle

debateFor as long as there have been televised debates, I’ve watched them. I’ve seen all the great moments, from Nixon’s sweating face to “I won’t use this debate to exploit my opponent’s youth and inexperience” and to “I knew Jack Kennedy; you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Last night’s was clearly the most intriguing and entertaining of them all, and I have a few observations.

One, Mr. Trump’s sniffing was REALLY annoying and was remarkably inappropriate considering the guy’s experience with television. I’d rate it on a scale with Nixon’s sweat in terms of making the guy seem, well, offensive and disgusting. There are now accusations of cocaine use, and I don’t expect that will go away. Aesthetics are the penultimate point of putting candidates side-by-side on television, and here Mrs. Clinton was the clear winner. This is especially important given the mileage the Trump campaign has gotten with portraying Mrs. Clinton as not having either the look or the stamina to be president. Towards the end of the debate, Mr. Trump looked awful. The skin around his eyes was red, and he presented a gaunt persona, and it was so obvious that it turned the accusations of Mrs. Clinton’s lack of stamina completely upside down.

Two, any time a person uses the phrase “there’s no question about it” as evidence to win an argument, the listener can rest assured that there is most certainly a question about what’s just been said. Mr. Trump was the only one to use that line.

Three, many years ago, I helped organize a blogger meet-up for a client in San Francisco. The general manager ordered commemorative t-shirts, and loaded the order with 2X and 3X sizes (and very few smalls) in the stereotypical assumption that all geeks are overweight basement dwellers with empty bags of Cheetos on the floor. The opposite is true, and the manager was rounded criticized by the bloggers for such thinking. Donald Trump’s pronouncement that the DNC hacker could have been a 400-pound guy in his basement is solid evidence of ignorance and a willingness to act on stereotype.

Four, I think the debate was clearly and unequivocally won by Mrs. Clinton on both levels of content and presentation. That she was prepared was obvious, and has been noted elsewhere this morning, she clearly got under the skin of Mr. Trump.

However, there are two observations I wish to make about Mr. Trump’s performance and, especially, how well he played to his supporters.

One, he said that the “mainstream media” was a part of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign team. This is a claim that rests entirely on the fallacious assumption that “the press” is biased in favor of progressive thinking at the expense of tradition. As I’ve written in my new book, The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP, this is an artificial claim that we used at The 700 Club in the early 80s to justify placing our right wing “news” on the same level of credibility as everybody else doing news. Prior to the debate, Mr. Trump actually identified moderator Lester Holt of NBC News as “a Democrat,” when in fact, he is a Republican. This is further evidence of Mr. Trump’s own bias, ignorance, bad instincts, and willingness to apply fallacious assumptions in public speaking.

Two, one of the real treasures of living in red state Alabama is homegrown SEC sports talk show host Paul Finebaum. And one of the keys to his program – like many sports radio shows – is the regular callers who play certain redneck roles that Mr. Finebaum exploits to have fun while passing along his commentary. I don’t question his love for these people, but in terms of language, intelligence, and unbridled passion for their football teams especially, they do stand out as a contrast to Finebaum’s wit, sarcasm, and brilliant mind. It makes for good conflict, which makes for good talk radio.

In the early summer of 2015, I was in my car and listening, when one of these callers switched subjects in order to pass along to Paul his “discovery.” He was really excited and through his thick southern accent said, “Have you seen this new guy who’s running for president, Paul? You need to look into him, onaconacuz (Alabamaspeak for “on account of/because”) he’s the smartest guy I ever done heard!” Finebaum probed for more, and the caller kept referring to Donald Trump as smart, while offering his wealth as proof. It would have been hilarious had the guy not been so serious, and it was then that I knew that Mr. Trump had already breached the wall of the rural southern mind. I also knew it meant trouble for other Republican candidates who were counting on normal red state support and behavior.

Today, I’m seeing that same attitude being played out among Facebook supporters who fit the mold of southern Republicans and are granting Mr. Trump victory in the debate. It’s enough to make me believe they watched a different program, until I realize that, of course they would think he won, because, after all, Mr. Trump is so incredibly smart.

The logical fallacies of Benjamin Netanyahu

netanyahu-ethnic-cleansing-palestine-mondoweissAs Donald Trump continues to campaign using logical fallacies as his daily weapons (e.g. To deflect attention away from his admission that President Obama is a U.S. Citizen, he told followers that the whole idea was Hillary’s in the first place – classic), there is a more ruthless practitioner of fallacious reasoning across the sea. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu, and his latest got virtually zero coverage by media in the U.S.

An important part of Israeli hasbara (official propaganda) is a relentless dissemination of misinformation to American supporters. After all, the United States provides $10 million a day in military aid to Israel, so it’s understandable that the Israeli government would feel obligated to provide “evidence” that the money is being well-spent. The problem is that the money can’t be morally justified, and so the Prime Minister must twist the facts to fit a tired, old narrative.

Netanyahu regularly produces English language videos for consumption here in the U.S. These videos bend current events to shape the narrative that poor, defenseless Israel will ALWAYS need the support of friends to prevent another holocaust. Meanwhile, the IDF continues to perpetrate genocidal crimes against Palestinian neighbors in an illegal land grab in the West Bank. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Those crimes involve “extrajudicial executions” (what we call murder) of Palestinians, the terrorizing of legal residents, and the continued bulldozing of Palestinian homes in order to build Israeli settlements and expand the territory it polices. It is the systematic destruction of a people and their culture in order to remove them entirely from the land. There’s a word for this, and it’s called “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing.”

And yet, in this latest video to Americans, Netanyahu uses the same term in describing the Palestinian wishes to remove the illegal settlements. The Palestinians, he says, want to cleanse the land of Jews! This is a logical fallacy. It’s very clever, and we buy it almost completely.

Netanyahu was roundly criticized for this video – even in his own country – for it’s an obviously outrageous claim, especially in light of the evidence to the contrary. The State Department responded immediately, but again, this was not covered in the U.S.

So we have seen the Israeli prime minister’s video. We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful. Settlements are a final status issue that must be resolved in negotiations between the parties. We share the view of every past U.S. administration and the strong consensus of the international community that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace. We continue to call on both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution.

Look, let’s be real. There will be no two-state solution in the Holy Land. The best we can hope for – perhaps generations from now – is a peaceful solution that includes both Israelis and Palestinians under a single government that doesn’t discriminate against either. South Africa is the model, but that country was able to get past logical fallacies in facing the reality of its situation.

Israel’s current government is simply incapable of such.

The logical fallacies of Donald Trump

campaignJust when you think this year’s presidential campaign can’t get any more insane, along comes Hillary Clinton’s claim that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.” Mistake or otherwise, it’s hard to argue that she isn’t totally frustrated by campaigning against Mr. Trump’s dirty tricks. She’s been playing defense against the guy from the beginning, and it reveals the difficulty of arguing with a really good salesman, something I don’t believe we’ve ever experienced in American history.

Mr. Trump employs tactics in his rhetoric known as “logical fallacies” in order to manipulate the debate. These are not new, but most people aren’t aware they’re being manipulated in the process, and that’s what makes them dirty tricks. There’s a wonderful book published in 2006 that ought to be in everybody’s library. It’s called “The Thinker’s Guide to Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation” by Richard Paul and Linda Elder. It is, in fact, a guide to the strategies and tactics of Donald Trump in a section labeled “44 Foul Ways to Win an Argument:

First remember that those who strive to manipulate you always want something from you: your money, your vote, your support, your time, your soul – something! But they also need you to be unaware of what they are about. They always have something (often a lot) to hide. In any case, their goal is not the use of sound evidence and valid reasoning. In every case, they insult our intelligence by assuming that a manipulative trick will work on us, that we are not insightful enough to see what they are doing.

The 44 foul ways to win an argument are defined as “dirty tricks of those who want to gain an advantage,” and dirty trick number one is straight out of Mr. Trump’s playbook:

Dirty Trick #1: Accuse Your Opponent of Doing What He is Accusing You of (or worse)
This is sometimes called, “Pointing to another wrong.” When under attack and having trouble defending themselves, manipulators turn the tables. They accuse their opponent of doing what they are being accused of. “You say that I don’t love you! I think it is you who does not love me!” Manipulators know this is a good way to put their opponents on the defensive. You may want to up the ante by accusing your opponent of doing something worse that what he is accusing you of. “How dare you accuse me of being messy? When was the last time you even took a shower?”

The beauty (?) of this dirty trick is that it allows the accuser to escape criticism for the same thing in the debate, which Mr. Trump badly needs. Here are just a few examples of Dirty Trick #1 from press coverage over the course of the campaign. Mr. Trump has:

  • …accused the Clinton Foundation of granting favors when Mrs. Clinton served as Secretary of State when his own foundation was fined by the IRS for making an illegal campaign contribution to the Florida attorney general who was considering a fraud case against Trump University. The case was dropped after the $25,000 contribution.
  • …accused Mrs. Clinton of being “trigger-happy” and “an unstable person” in the same speech during which he threatens that Iranian boats that “make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make” would be shot out of the water.
  • …accused Hillary Clinton of making “one of the most brazen attempt at distraction in the history of politics” and attempting to “intimidate” and “bully” voters with her charges that he is fomenting racism with his campaign. Mr. Trump’s own life is one filled with intimidation, bullying, and racism.
  • …accused Hillary of poor health while dictating his own unconventional note from his doctor claiming that Trump would be “unequivocally” the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
  • …accused Mrs. Clinton of being a bigot, when he had displayed his own racist views of Mexicans and others. At the time, CNN’s Cody Cain called him on it:

    Trump is employing the technique of the reverse attack. When he is faced with a legitimate criticism of himself, he attempts to deflect away the criticism by attacking Clinton for the exact same shortcoming that plagues Trump, regardless of whether it actually applies to Clinton.

  • …accused Hillary of not being qualified to be president when he has no experience whatsoever in government or politics.
  • …accused Mrs. Clinton of being mentally unfit to be president, while questions about his own temperament abound over his outrageous behavior and statements.

I won’t be voting for Mr. Trump, but I have no problem if this is your choice. All I ask is that you realize you are being manipulated by a master of the dirty trick, the logical fallacies of argument. If you’re okay with that, then who am I to object?

 

When right wing media isn’t

Let’s begin with this, one of those “People Also Shared” sections from Facebook. These things will point to just about anything and anywhere with the common denominator being the references have been shared on Facebook. Here’s one from my browsing today:

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Notice the first one. It is completely unbelievable and leads to a story on the website Every News Here (ENH). Note that the story begins “News outlets around the world are reporting…”

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This website feels it’s necessary to promote a disclaimer in its top line navigation, which is as follows:

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The story posted here is a summary of a story from the website WTOE 5 NEWS, a link to which is provided by ENH. The main thing lifted from the WTOE site is the quote from the Vatican, which most people would see right through. The Pope would simply never refer to himself as the “Holy See” or the “Holy Father.” The WTOE website’s “About Us” tells the story. It’s a fake news website! “WTOE 5 News is a fantasy news website. Most articles on wtoe5news.com are satire or pure fantasy.”

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The point of this is that fictionalized stories are regularly provided to impeach Mrs. Clinton, largely through headlines, by people paid to do just that. It’s effective, because everyday people rarely fact-check these items for themselves and dutifully pass them along, but not without first feeling comforted and affirmed that Hillary is the devil in disguise. Despite this, I have faith for the future, because the actions of the followers here is based in ignorance, not stupidity, and that can be fixed.

Meanwhile, we get closer to electing a shallow, slick-talking salesman to administer our federal government. Oy.

It’s all in the party platforms

campaignFrom time-to-time it becomes necessary to engage friends and colleagues on Facebook regarding the current Presidential election. This can be an exasperating experience, especially when dealing with the very Christians I’ve written about in my new book, The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP. I can handle most debates, but recently a woman forced me to silence with the question: “Have you actually read the Democratic Party Platform? Has anybody actually read it?” She went on to note that if we had “actually read it,” we wouldn’t say some of things we were saying. In this woman’s mind, the document is so disgustingly anti-Christian that nobody would ever vote for Hillary, no matter what.

This bothered me, because I consider myself relatively well informed, so this past weekend, I took the time to read both party platforms that came out of the conventions, and I’m prepared to state my case as such.

The Democratic Party platform is an easy read. The GOP’s is not at all. The Democrats seem to easily and directly state their positions, while Republicans find it necessary to embellish and qualify every position with the use of hyperbole and grand narratives, such as constitutional originalism – a product of the 1980s – claims of being the law and order party and the party of religious liberty, and through other embellishments and narratives, especially regarding the military. Among these are mixed certain telltale issues that speak to the foundational GOP, which is the party of unbridled capitalism and concern for corporate profits. Why else sandwich repeal of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – enacted so the IRS could find and tax offshore accounts – between keeping and bearing arms and abortion? Clever, huh?

I’m not a constitutional or legal expert, but I am a marketer, and I recognize marketing tricks and techniques that may be hidden from others. I can also fact check items in either document when I suspect hyperbole is used as a substitute for facts. Take a look, for example, at this attempt in the Republican document to seize a position of being pro-women while against a woman’s right to choose an abortion:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and wellbeing of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Then there’s the matter of the military and the military budget. Many pages are dedicated to what its writers believe is a Reagan legacy that they wish to enjoin. Here’s just one important (and often quoted) paragraph:

In all of our country’s history, there is no parallel to what President Obama and his former Secretary of State have done to weaken our nation. Our aging naval capabilities are inadequate for their job. The Air Force fields the smallest and oldest force of combat aircraft in its history. The Marines have only two-thirds the number of battalions they have historically needed to meet day to day operational demands. The Army is at its lowest troop levels since before World War II. Our U.S. Ambassador and American personnel were left without adequate security or backup halfway across the world in Benghazi. In summary, we have returned to the hollow force days of Jimmy Carter.

This paragraph is not only a staggering degree of hyperbole, but it also is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, which are available to anyone who feels it important to spend the time looking. The two biggest reasons, for example, for a drop in military spending are the removal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and across-the-board cuts that went into place in 2011, when congress and the President deadlocked on the budget (sequestration). Both parties, as a result, must share the blame. Moreover, the President has proposed a 7.8% spending increase for the Defense Department between 2015 and 2016. Nevertheless, the specific claims regarding individual branches of the military conveniently lack context, and that’s why they must be rejected. The aging naval capabilities claim is laughable for two reasons. One, each ship today can do so much more than even those of World War II that any comparison cannot be made with a straight face. Two, the Navy is increasing its fleet size, including twelve ballistic missile submarines, from a formal process completed in 2014. The Air Force claim, too, is absurd. We’re in the largest aircraft procurement in history for the F-35, over 100 new jets per year over the next 20 years. The new long-range bomber project is on hold due to a protest by Boeing, but that’s hardly the administration’s fault. And let’s not even get started on Benghazi, for it was cuts by a Republican-led congress that put all embassies in harm’s way.

The Democratic Party platform presents a hyperbole-less prose for supporting the troops and the military:

We must prioritize military readiness by making sure our Active, Reserve, and National Guard components remain the best trained and equipped in the world. We will seek a more agile and flexible force and rid the military of outdated Cold War-era systems.

We must end waste in the defense budget. We will audit the Pentagon, launch a high-level commission to review the role of defense contractors, and take greater action against those who have been involved in fraud. And we will ensure that the Department of Defense invests its budget wisely.

That last paragraph takes a shot at defense contractors who had their heyday during the Republican administration of George Bush, whose Vice President was a major player in the entire defense industry. Democrats also seek the flexibility to act in our best interests at a moment’s notice, something the GOP doesn’t like under Democratic party leadership at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here’s the quote:

Democrats will seek an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that is more precise about our efforts to defeat ISIS and that does not involve large-scale combat deployment of American troops.

There are three political issues that are of extreme importance to me personally:

    • Net Neutrality is the single most important issue for those who care about the short and long term future of horizontal connectivity. This is vastly more important that most people realize, for it involves the nature of the ability that everyday people have to participate in managing their own lives and not be at the mercy of the hierarchical self-interests of others. This is what’s disrupting everything today, and only through net neutrality will it continue without interruption. Here, I support the Democrats’ position:

      Democrats support a free and open internet at home and abroad, and will oppose any effort by Republicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission enacted last year.

      The FCC got it right, but the interests of big money cable and telecoms will continue to fight it. What they want is to turn the network into a series of dumb pipes over which they will dictate complete control. Corporate profit is what drives this, and it’s why I’ve used my own money to support opposition groups. I want my children and grand children to grow up with a free Internet, and this is a key area where political parties – and especially their representatives in Congress – need to have their power checked. Hell, the GOP is so controlled by corporate profiteers and their lobbyists that they will never vote against their interests. That alone scares the heck out of me.

      Here’s a portion of the Republican Party Platform regarding this issue. Notice its broad use of fear and hyperbole to sell its message of private sector control of the web. As you’re doing that, also know without a doubt that the U.S. doesn’t own the WORLD Wide Web.

      The survival of the internet as we know it is at risk. Its gravest peril originates in the White House, the current occupant of which has launched a campaign, both at home and internationally, to subjugate it to agents of government. The President ordered the chair of the supposedly independent Federal Communications Commission to impose upon the internet rules devised in the 1930s for the telephone monopoly. He has unilaterally announced America’s abandonment of the international internet by surrendering U.S. control of the root zone of web names and addresses. He threw the internet to the wolves, and they — Russia, China, Iran, and others — are ready to devour it.

      We salute the Congressional Republicans who have legislatively impeded his plans to turn over the Information Freedom Highway to regulators and tyrants. That fight must continue, for its outcome is in doubt. We will consistently support internet policies that allow people and private enterprise to thrive, without providing new and expanded government powers to tax and regulate so that the internet does not become the vehicle for a dramatic expansion of government power. The internet’s independence is its power. It has unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. We will therefore resist any effort to shift control toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations.

    • The second issue that concerns me greatly is the conflict between Israel and its neighbors, the Palestinians. Those who are regular readers will know that I have Palestinian family living in Amman, Jordan, so this issue is quite personal, and my window on the Middle East is wider than those (American) who cover events entirely through the Israeli narrative. In this particular issue, I find fault with both parties, for neither party platform expresses support for Palestinians, especially when it comes to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). There are other reasons I can’t support either position. The Democrats will “continue to work toward as two-state solution.” This is fantasy, for Israel will never agree to it. Therefore, the only solution can be one-state, but that will require a completely different mindset, especially among the Jews who make up the vast majority population in the current state of Israel.As a taxpayer, I am offended that we should send $4.5 billion in annual aid to Israel without oversight or stipulation as to how it is used. We give Israel a free pass to behave in any manner they choose with regards to “protecting its borders.” I have many Christian friends who passionately love Israel, and their love is genuine. It is truly a remarkable place in all the earth. But you know what? My family used to love living there, too, because its name isn’t what makes it remarkable, and for us to look the other way while right wing expansionists engage in genocide against the Arabs who used to live there is unacceptable to me. While I’m not happy with either party on this, it is the Republican Party platform that “condemns” BDS as anti-Semitic and should be denounced by those who favor academic freedom. The GOP document suggests that you cannot be against ISIS and not “for” Israel and calls Israel “an expression of Americanism, and it is the responsibility of our government to advance policies that reflect Americans’ strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel.” It also calls for moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, a very dangerous proposition. “Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.”
    • My final important personal issue has to do with drugs and drug enforcement, especially the changes in the last year from the DEA regarding opiates and prescription pain medications. Just last month, I was denied insurance coverage for cough medicine containing codeine, even though I was bordering on pneumonia. I could not afford to pay for it absent insurance, but both Medicare and my insurance company refused. I used to be a chronic pain patient, and I wrote two years ago about the senseless restrictions being placed on pharmacies and patients in the DEA’s reclassifying hydrocodone as a schedule three narcotic. I’ve argued that the people making these rules have never been inside a pain clinic and that the move was entirely politically based on fear and hyperbole about opiate misuse impacting, what else, our children. This move criminalized even legal use of the drug, so that drug enforcement – and especially out-of-control federal prosecutors – could swing their dicks.And wouldn’t you know, this issue is written into the Republican Party platform.

      Heroin and opioid abuse touches our communities, our homes, and our families in ways that have grave effects on Americans in every community. With a quadrupling of both their sales and their overdose deaths, the opioid crisis is ravaging communities all over the country, often hitting rural areas harder than urban. Because over-prescription of drugs is such a large part of the problem, Republican legislation now allows Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans to limit patients to a single pharmacy. Congressional Republicans have also called upon the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that no physician will be penalized for limiting opioid prescriptions. We look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.

      This paragraph alone makes me question the intelligence of the entire document. It is fear-mongering, and it handcuffs the entire medical profession in ways that are draconian and autocratic, all to make a few more law enforcement bureaucrats feel more secure in their positions. Honestly, folks, what have we come to? Now that marijuana laws are being viewed in a different light, the DEA has to have something equally antagonistic in order to justify its budget. Besides, the core of this entire issue is poverty. The drugs are just a symptom, and “cracking down” only hurts people with legitimate needs for the medications.

The Republican Party Platform mentions Hillary Clinton only twice, once about human rights and the other about abortion. However, it refers to President Obama twenty times, while the Democratic Party Platform mentions Donald Trump by name thirty-two times. While Mr. Trump is running against Mrs. Clinton, his party is positioning itself as running against the outgoing administration. I find this fascinating, for as I read the platform of the GOP, I kept thinking, this platform in the hands of anybody other than Donald Trump might actually work to manipulate voters to a Republican administration for the next four years. This is further evidenced by how the Democratic Party platform pounds away at the Trump candidacy by going after the man’s ignorant rants and by exploiting outrageous statements and beliefs that are no where to be found in his own party’s platform. This is likely why so many republicans even have trouble with Mr. Trump.

But don’t just listen to me. Go read these documents for yourself. And FACT CHECK. Don’t take either side’s statements as fact, just because they sound like what you’re used to hearing.

Democratic Party Platform
Republican Party Platform

Announcing my new book

contractI’m very happy to announce that OR Books in New York will be publishing my new book about my days as Pat Robertson’s producer with The 700 Club. We’re going to call it “The Gospel of Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP,” and it should be available by December, which is a pretty quick turnaround for a publisher. You will be able to pre-order via the web in a few weeks, and I’ll keep you posted about that.

This has been quite an adventure, and I’m very proud to be associated with OR Books. They are a unique independent publishing company embracing “progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business.” Believe me when I say we are a perfect fit, and I am so, so excited.

As you likely already know, I’ve been working on this book for 18 months and thinking about it since I left CBN in the wake of Pat Robertson’s run for President in 1988. It’s a book for Christians – especially Evangelicals – although its message will be a very hard sell to this group. It will do well with Christians on the left, but it’s really for everyone who was ever influenced by the hard wind that blew in the era of the televangelists in the 1980s. “The Gospel of Self” is my term for the broad use of the Bible as a self-help manual, a handbook for personal salvation, as opposed to the bigger issue of pleading the cause of the poor and the afflicted. I will get a ton of criticism for my views, but the facts are always what really matters in the telling of history. I provide documentation, including portions of my sworn testimony with the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS. It’s a compelling story and includes my postmodern predictions for the future of the church.

I’ve been writing about online marketing for over 15 years, and this will give me a chance to try some things that haven’t been done as well as doing things the mass marketing way. Can you tell I’m pretty pumped?

A great big thanks here to Jeff Jarvis, my old friend and colleague from the trailblazing days of early blogging. Jeff is the one who opened this door for me, and I will forever be in his debt.

Another big thanks to my newer friend, Brian McLaren, who has been a strong supporter of this effort. McLaren is a prolific author and the key founder of the Emerging Church movement. His work dovetails nicely with mine over the last 20 years, and I’m proud to call him a friend. He has a new book coming out next month that I’m looking forward to reading. I could not have stayed the course of my vision without Brian’s encouragement.