Robert Jeffress is a Dick!

Image result for robert jeffress
Courtesy Politico

So, that didn’t take long.

America’s pastor of the white evangelical branch of Christianity, Robert Jeffress (Q) Dallas, has taken less than a month to shift the focus of his narrative away from the insurrection and back onto the good, old, unforgivable sinners of the political left. You know, those awful liberals and their socialist, communist, wealth-redistribution ideas of taking from the well-off to give to the lesser-thans, to say nothing about killing babies and forcing clean Americans to fellowship with the dirtiest kind of poor beggars and filthy sinners.

“I’m glad I’m not like that Publican over there.”

On the surface, the recent Jeffress essay on Fox Populi is about the dangers of holding on to bitterness, and Jeffress feels his followers are filled with bitterness for having been “offended” by the election results and in need of forgiveness, presumably from God. In essence, he’s saying:

I’ve forgiven myself and so has God. That means you should you, too. I’ve already turned the page on that, and look how happy I am as a result? That’s because I’ve let go of my bitterness over the election. You, too, could be happy, because we’ve got righteous work to do in making God a part of the way we ALL live 24/7. Now, let’s get to work doing the exact same things that we’ve always done.

Folks, this has nothing to do with the church, and it certainly has nothing to do with God. It is a political land grab by dangerous forces that his false witness drags along with it. It would be nice if Jeffress had bothered to mention the word “repentance” as part of the deal, but he sees his followers as having nothing for which they need to repent, except possibly bitterness in their hearts.

…if we feel justice has not been served, we trust God to ultimately right the wrong…While God doesn’t always settle the score immediately, He will settle it ultimately.

Republicans certainly have the right to believe that the election was stolen, but after they have exhausted their appeals it is time to move forward and try to win the next election.

Did you see that? By talking about his followers’ “relationship” with God, he’s able to slide in political views as if they are the same thing. Read on:

It is no secret that I was, and continue to be, an enthusiastic supporter and friend of President Trump.

I believe Donald Trump’s presidency made our nation’s laws more just by protecting unborn life and promoting religious freedom.

I was disappointed by the results of the election. During his first two weeks in office President Biden signed a number of executive orders that I find deeply troubling and wrong.

I have every intention of pushing back against the torrent of ungodly policies that I believe the Biden/ Harris administration will unleash on our country. But I refuse to allow that determination to devolve into an all-consuming anger that poisons my spirit and infects everyone close to me.

I would encourage my fellow Trump supporters to do the same. As the writer of Proverbs warned, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23, The New Living Translation).

My concern about next week’s impeachment trial is that once the expected acquittal comes half of the country will refuse to accept it, giving Democrats the ammunition they need to continue their relentless attacks on the former president. This will be akin to continually picking at a scab, ensuring that it never heals.

Jeffress wants our attention redirected away from January 6th, which is necessary for these Christian Nationalists to be granted a mulligan. No thank you, Dickhead. We know how this ends. Here’s a great response to such from Dan Rather:

“January 6 is not ancient history. And neither are the lies that brought us to the brink. Those who peddled in these lies (or even just excused them) and thus stoked an insurrectionist mob, should not be allowed to slink back into credible discourse without a serious reckoning.”

It’s truly amazing how these people think they did nothing wrong, that God is very happy with them, and that their job is to simply continue the pressure that comes with the arrogance of self-righteousness.

Fox Populi tweeted their own view, hoping perhaps to get back the thousands of followers they’ve lost since the insurrection: “Liberal media, CNN try to paint QAnon loons as new face of Republican Party.” What other options do we have? That’s the facts, ma’am, and I’m sorry that your prodding and promotion of lies has put you on the precipice, but behavior has consequences, so kindly go screw yourself!

I’ve lost all patience for this. It’s a flat-out manipulation by false witness, and Pastor Jeffress can go directly to hell for all I care. (Careful with that bitterness, Terry)

We must be diligent and never allow ourselves to be fooled again that this religious zeal is anything other than the Republican-sanctioned overthrow of the U.S. Government.

NASA and SpaceX: A Conflict of Business Personalities

Image result for nasa spacex
Image by The Infographics Show, Jul 10, 2017

For those who care, here’s another great illustration of the difference between managers and leaders in the business world of the U.S. Those familiar with my writing know of the fascinating theories of former Harvard Business School Professor Abraham Zaleznik that were first published in a 1977 Harvard Business Review article called “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?

To review, in Zaleznik’s view, managers get things done through processes and systems, while leaders accomplish tasks through creativity and exploration. One insists upon order; the other is comfortable with what seems like chaos to some.

I’m a staunch supporter of Elon Musk and his way of doing things. Musk is a leader, one who simply points his company in the direction of his vision in order to see what happens. Risk is a familiar friend to people like Musk, because they know instinctively that answers to complex problems can’t always be determined ahead of time. Instead, they require experimentation. And risk.

Enter NASA into the equation. To be sure, NASA is manager-heavy, as are all government bureaucracies. Read this simple statement in an article by Futurism from new NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk when asked about NASA’s support for Elon Musk’s Starship program. Jurczyk seems to be saying “no thanks,” but it’s his reasoning that reveals the real problem for NASA with SpaceX.

“I know what the timelines are for the [Space Launch System], but it’s hard to determine what the timeline is and capabilities are for the Starship,” Jurczyk said in a new interview with Futurism. He added that it’s “just hard for me to determine how we would leverage capabilities like Starship and the Super Heavy that would launch Starship without understanding their timeline, their capabilities, and a lot more detail.”

As a result, Jurczyk points to NASA’s own system as better prepared for real manned space missions.

“What I can say now is that the Space Launch System is farther along than the Starship or any other commercial [project] with respect to a super heavy-lift capability that’s purpose-built for human spaceflight missions,” he said.

Jurczyk wants to see SpaceX’s plan. Moreover, he wants to govern that plan. However, SpaceX doesn’t really have an elaborate plan until they figure out a few things first. This is an insurmountable conflict between the basic methods of getting things done, because Musk literally cannot provide a true business plan with timelines that Jurczyk and his other managers could and would pick apart based on their understanding of how space exploration must proceed. They want their checklists and their timelines. They’re in no hurry either, and that has to gall Elon Musk.

The chilling thing is that our government has authority over private sector practices in the name of public safety, which they are already using to slow the momentum that Musk has with Starship. Headlines of violations of the FAA rules governing rocket launches cost SpaceX nearly an entire week before resolution. During that time, Musk criticized the FAA for its outdated approach to spaceflight testing. What he was really angry with was being hand strapped by rules that seem unnecessary to SpaceX in the accomplishment of its goals. Musk isn’t being arrogant when he makes such claims, and Jurczyk isn’t being foolish in asking for Musk’s detailed plans. They are simply two different approaches to doing business.

The question is always which one should be in charge?

NASAspaceflight.com: A shining example of new media

Starship SN9 loses a Raptor during flip. RUD comes as future Starships line  up - NASASpaceFlight.com
Remarkable photo of SN9 by Jack Beyer just prior to crashing

I spent much of my day Tuesday with YouTube watching the drama at the SpaceX testing facility in Boca Chica Texas as the company successfully launched its prototype Starship SN9. The drama, of course, was centered around whether SpaceX would stick the landing, which it didn’t. The drama ended quickly, and now it’s on to version SN10, for SpaceX is a company determined to rewrite everything when it comes to rockets and space exploration. For a guy from Huntsville, Alabama — also known as Rocket City — this is great fun.

I watched this with 300 thousand others worldwide via the live stream of one of the most shining examples of everything that’s new in news coverage these days, NASASpaceflight.com. I need to talk about this, because it’s a shining example of how to do live coverage of news events in 2021, and my hat’s off to Chris Bergin and the entire NASASpaceflight.com team.

Back in my early days of writing about how the internet would change media, one of the most obvious trends to people like me was what J.D. Lasica termed “the personal media revolution.” This group of observers included people like Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, David Weinberger, Michael Rosenblum, and a host of others who shared the vision. But, NASASpaceflight.com has laid the foundation for something so completely new that it challenges all forms of existing media for supremacy in covering space and the companies vying for a piece of the revenue pie involving outer space.

Here’s what they do so well.

NASASpaceflight.com is a virtual company, employing several experts from different parts of the world. They are not affiliated with NASA whatsoever. It was founded 15 year ago by Chris Bergin, a British journalist who cut his teeth during the shuttle period of space travel. Others are scattered around the U.S. They have only one reporter on the ground in Boca Chica, but their best source of information at the SpaceX complex comes from a Boca Chica photographer referred to only as Mary (@bocachicagal). To cover the entire area, NASASpaceflight uses robotic cameras controlled by the anchor team themselves from various points around the country.

Without a single direct source from SpaceX, they’ve developed their own launch sequence based solely on observations of the various stages of fueling and launching a Starship. The point is that rocket experts, through direct observation via robotic cameras, are able to build their own loose countdown based purely on observation. They simply don’t need an official countdown to do their job, and that’s part of the charm they bring to television news.

But it is the anchor team itself that brings everything home to viewers, for these people are serious students of science with a touch of nerd humor. It’s their genuine love of rockets that drives their business and their narrative. They are absolutely over-the-top when it comes to science, and it gives the viewers a chance to interact with genuine experts during the long hours of waiting via the chat and super chat functions of YouTube. They lovingly refer to their work as “roadside rocket science.” Their work is expensive but is paid for in a large part by crowd-funding from those viewers they serve so well. The size of the donations — in nearly every currency of the world — is truly staggering, and it’s a model that could be scaled to handle other news niches.

And, there’s no doubting that NASASpaceflight has a very narrow niche, which is another one of the many factors that make hours and hours of live coverage so watchable. They know what they’re talking about.

Another factor is the humor that develops and is continued throughout their coverage. They have an online store of merchandise created from these humorous thoughts, and the biggest problem they have is with their site crashing as so many people rush to buy the shirts, hats, etcetera. There are a great many inside jokes that the newcomer to the coverage are taught through clever mentions of those jokes.

I found myself laughing out loud many times throughout the coverage. It’s fascinating how well humor works in a time of extremely dramatic events. The team has no problem just being themselves, and they often joke about how they could never be stiff-shirted network correspondents. The transparency of this actually adds to the authority of their observations, because it feels exactly like it’s intended to feel — like being invited to watch the launch with a group of extremely intelligent and knowledgable friends.

And, make no mistake, these people know photography, cameras, live-streaming, and video technology better than most so-called professional news people. If you don’t mind the lousy pun, it isn’t rocket science, and smart people can easily outdo the pros who are locked into their systems and deadlines. It’s far more logical to hire scientists and let them practice journalism than to hire journalists and try to make them scientists.

Another thing that’s noteworthy is how well the NASASpaceflight.com team works with YouTube. Google has put in place the tools that the company needs to present their work — at no cost to them — and help them raise money. It’s truly remarkable, but an example of how the personal media revolution has helped itself to the goodies that used to be reserved only for the pros.

So, now it’s on to Starship SN10, but don’t worry. NASASpaceflight.com will put in place a reminder for you when they plan to go live.

I just love it.

How the Trump Revolt Was Funded

EDITORS NOTE: The below is over-simplified, but it helps me make an important point. I simply lack the resources and the energy to dig deeper. I’ll leave that to somebody else. The charts were made from IRS data.

Now that Joe Biden is being sworn in as President, it’s time to turn our attention to preventing another attempted take over of the U.S. Government by an authoritarian ignoramus downstream. That effort needs to begin with the IRS and the tax-exempt organizations who funded the Trump menace from the get-go and even paid travel expenses for the mob that stormed the Capital Building on January 6.

It begins with my old boss Pat Robertson and the mixing of politics with religion in the early 1980s. Pat ran for President in 1988, during an IRS Criminal Investigative Division investigation into criminal activity under our tax exemption. They had us nailed cold, but the investigation was halted when Pat threw his support to then Vice-President George H.W. Bush. I can’t prove it, but it’s my belief that Pat cut a deal with Bush to drop the investigation in trade for Pat’s support of Bush at the Republican Convention.

Years later, after Bill Clinton took office, the investigation was reopened, and CBN lost its tax exemption for the years 1986 and 1987 and paid a significant fine. That was followed by a ruling from the Federal Election Commission that CBN had broken FEC laws regarding campaign contributions. That fine was nearly $400,000.

The IRS allows very little political activity among those benefitting from this particular tax exemption. However, Anne Nelson’s brilliant book Shadow Network reveals the depth of the tax exempt organizations working under the auspices of the Council for National Policy, itself a tax exempt organization. These are almost entirely made up of 501©3 groups.

This graph represents organizations filing IRS form 990 between 1988 and 2017. There is a significant drop-off that occurred during the 2008 banking crisis, when it appears a number of organizations simply quit. The number of returns rebounded, but the interesting revelation here is that the fastest growing group in terms of sheer assets is found with those whose assets are over $50 million, an indication that the wealthiest charitable organizations are the ones growing.

Overall, the number of groups filing returns under the 501©3 designation has exploded over the last 40 years, but what’s really staggering in studying IRS data is the growth in total assets reported by these organizations. Here, the blue line represents the number of tax returns (which has gone from roughly 100,000 in 1985 to 300,000 by 2015), and the orange line represents total assets of those groups.

Clearly, the growth here represents a couple of things. One, the wealthy are increasingly hip to how tax-exempt foundations, for example, can be used to save/hide their otherwise taxable income. Two, those on the political right — the extreme political right — have used their tax-exempt statuses to raise money for their causes. Many of these groups use the “education” exemption to hide their real intent, which was and remains the overthrow of the U.S. Government in favor of some form of Christian Nation.

It’s scary how close they came.

But, now it’s time to pay for their illegal activities, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The White Christian Narrative is the Problem

The MAGA Riot in Washington Was the Culmination of Trump's Influence -  Variety

As the Biden Presidency begins to take over, White Evangelicals who support Trump are slowly returning to their caves to regroup and fight again in four years. You can tell by statements from their leaders, like this tweet from Franklin Graham:

“@JoeBiden has warned of a ‘dark winter’ for our nation. But the dark winter we’re facing is not due just to #COVID19, it’s due to the moral decline & the political corruption we see throughout the US. My prayer is that truth will prevail in the political crisis we’re facing,”

I ask sincerely, what makes anybody think that White Evangelicals with a political mission can rightly judge the culture? They can’t, because they are driven by a false gospel, the idolatrous gospel of self. This renders their religious views of the culture irrelevant, for they have chosen the side of the oppressors. They support the rich and the powerful, and that clearly wasn’t the mission of Jesus Christ.

It’s amazing to me — a former player in evangelical television’s heyday of the 80s — the predictability of Christianity when it’s blended with right-wing politics. They are simply incapable of considering the possibility that God is judging THEM, not the culture. I mean, it’s been on vivid display the past four years, and Christians would be well-advised to look in the mirror, because even your salvation (as proclaimed by you) is in question today.

How could you ever believe that this monster you foisted on all of us was of God. The only way Donald Trump could’ve been “of God” is if God was judging the church, because the ends never justified the means. God’s heart is with the poor and the afflicted, but you cast your lot with the wealthy. And for what? Trust me, this has all been about money, money for these rich preachers who’ve been bilking the church for the last 40 years.

I know they do good. I know their followers certainly demonstrate love and kindness in their dealings with each other. I know that they have deep fears about losing what they have or not getting what they deserve. I know they “feel” oppressed, because the culture rejects them. They get around this by proclaiming that the One they serve suffered even greater rejection and warned that they would, too.

This is not going away with a single election.

Even after the seditious behavior of yesterday, which evangelical leaders are now publicly repudiating, these Christians are clinging to their manufactured narrative of life circa 2021. Through false equivalence, projection, and other logical fallacies, they maintain that they are the ones trying to save America, one assumes, from the devil. My old boss, Pat Robertson, made this remarkable statement yesterday morning:

(Referring to the Democrat Senate victories in Georgia) These are two of the most radical Senators you can imagine. I mean, Warnock was guilty of some really horrible things and Osscoff (sic) was somewhat on the fringe, and yet this is Georgia. And I can’t believe it. I mean, it’s happening, and what we have to ask ourselves is there some kind of a delusion that has come upon the entire electorate in America?

There it is. America is under a delusion. This white horse narrative must be destroyed, for it’s separating these people farther and farther from the truth, and I’m afraid we’re only seeing the very beginnings of the insurrection and cultural upheaval as a result. They. Believe. Their. Narrative. They believe it, that their “truth” is more true than anybody else’s, and religious zealotry — I don’t care what it represents — is the very beginning of evil.

I’ll agree with Pat that’s there’s a mass delusion at play here, but it’s exactly the opposite of what he’s thinking. The delusion is over this sect of Christianity, who’ve been taught for 40 years that God is not only a Republican, but that He favors the likes of a mob boss like Donald Trump.

These folks will now go back to their caves and regroup, but their narrative will remain. We used to arrogantly proclaim at CBN that we were “the sons of Issachar, men with knowledge of the times.” We did this to Biblically validate (at least in our minds) our role in whipping our viewers into a frenzy of giving. We, in fact, created the narrative that Fox News simply followed, and look at what that’s gotten us now!

Whether you have secular or Christian authority, I beg you to understand that this false narrative is the real problem. I helped create it, and I’m so very sorry for that.

Finally, we’ll never be able to count on the press to present this argument, for as far as they are concerned, it’s all deviant and doesn’t matter in the big picture anyway.

How wrong they are. How horribly wrong they are.

Deconstructing Life, A Series Part II, Time

Astronomy Explosion Big Bang - Free photo on Pixabay

“…And there was morning and there was evening, the first day…”

Time is a fixed dimension. It doesn’t move, although we believe that it does.

It’s a created dimension within which the human animal lives. It favors youth and ravages the elderly. We can’t escape it, because it forms one of the two boundaries of life under the sun. We can’t descend into the past, nor can we leap into the future, for time appears to human nature as a moving entity. Science can only go so far in its understanding of time, because human logic and reason function completely and only within the boundaries of time and space. It’s what we know and what we’re left with after science has studied and defined it for centuries. The clock moves, but time doesn’t. Rather, it stands still while Life moves both within it and beyond.

This is an important difference for our understanding, because our options as beings moving through time are different than if time was itself was doing the moving.

The writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes teaches wisdom of life “under the sun.” Time is a created dimension under the sun, as are we as human animals. In this world, each of us moves through time and we age as we count the hours and the years that move us relentlessly forward along with them. In the world beyond the sun, however, we are the ones who are moving through time, and this revelation ought to stop us cold in our thinking about God and our relationship to Him. Actually, this is a misnomer, for time doesn’t actually exist in the spiritual world, at least not any form of time that we can understand under the sun. If time beyond the sun stands still, then we must consider the ramifications for life under the sun, because those sensitive to it are able to experience both history and the future and speak to both. This bears our study under the sun, for history always repeats and the future isn’t yet written in the world of the senses.

Beyond the sun doesn’t mean outer space; it’s a metaphor for the world of the spirit, the spirit of Life.

At younger ages, people actually have more time to think but fewer events to remember. This means major events are out of proportion compared to later years and therefore carry more weight as memories that shape the here and now. At age 70, for example, a major event just doesn’t seem as significant as those from younger days, because the perception of speedy time leaves less to remember or be influenced by.

When I am 18, each year seems like 1/18 of my whole, and that’s a pretty big number. At age 70, however, each year represents 1/70 of the whole, and that is a whole lot smaller than 1/18. This raises a number of interesting questions as we examine spiritual events of the past.

Ever wonder why it’s easier to learn when you’re young? You have more time and better memory storage that those much older, and that more easily affords learning. It’s also true that youthful minds have lots of free storage space, but accessing it requires time, even in the form of overnight study sessions. Youth has the time to study.

In youth, longer moments lead to better memory, but what happens when people cross that imaginary line into old age? Every moment is shorter and requires more attention in order to remember. The upside is an increased ability to stay put in the moment, because drifting outside of the moment is drastic in terms of understanding even that which just happened. It seems only a fleeting moment, and that can produce a near panic as we scramble to get back.

Events within the boundary of time can become fixed, especially if they occurred in one’s youth. This is especially true for trauma.

Methuselah lived to be 972 years old. We are incapable of imagining his perceptions at that age, for fixed time would seem to fly by so quickly that we would be unable to even imagine. To say that Enoch “walked with God” isn’t nearly so hard to imagine, because he was also older than 900 years. It would be hard to separate conversations. It would be extremely hard to pay attention without completely living in the moment.

Aging pushes us closer and closer to life in the moment, for drifting from the moment is no guarantee that we’ll ever get back. There is little time to contemplate thoughts except for in the moment.

This is a good thing, for God lives in the moment, and it’s here that we meet Him.

Everybody seems so busy when you’re older. Everybody. Their pace of life is MUCH faster to me, and I marvel at what they can accomplish in that time. I’m aware that their time seems longer than mine, so the idea that they’re speedy is an illusion and further evidence that I am the one moving, not them (at least to me).

Since time is relative and we are the ones moving, it’s logical to make the leap that life itself consists of the consciousness of every person who ever lived or will live. Life is simply too efficient to reject the collective ebbs and flows of that consciousness, and in this way, we grow as human beings. We’re surrounded — always — by the consciousness of those who came before and those who are yet to come.

You have one week to accomplish task A. To our youth, that can seem like forever, which allows them to procrastinate while seniors know that they’d better get moving, because a week is nothing to us.

Eternity cannot exist within time and space, for it lies beyond. Humankind’s quest for immortality under the sun is impossible.

If we say that time is relative, then it can’t be used as a fixed point of reference, despite the truth of its true nature. It works in the creation and the application of rules to govern behavior, including that of computers, but it doesn’t rationally follow that anything about time is “real”.

As a man in his mid 70s, I’m regularly observing that I can recall events from my childhood much more clearly than I can those of just 5 years ago or even 5 days ago. Medical “experts” will say that this is a loss of short-term memory, but I think it’s much more likely that my sense of time is what’s at play.

The clock stands still as we tic-tock our way through the veil. We vibrate ever so rapidly, so as to be invisible to those who vibrate with us. The seasons are an illusion, and we relive each rather than each being “new.” Each time we do, the season seems shorter, because a lifetime is packed into each. We move along, ever forcing our way through the momentary curtains of time and space.

The internet is also reshaping our views of time today by pushing us towards an inevitable here and now experience. Twitter comes very close to giving us a real-time view of the news as it happens and not prepackaged for some platform.

As people age, those memories from our youth are easier to retrieve than those of recent days that are but fleeting. Thankfully, today we have pictures and video to bolster current happenings and aid in memory. And, again, we cannot imagine how time would appear to us at, say, age 500. Were there a way to measure such, I’m sure science would be on board, even though skepticism would reign, because science views time as moving. Time is actually a very, very efficient prison.

Einstein’s theory of relativity reveals that space travelers would return home younger in terms of earth years than their contemporaries. That’s because science views time as moving on earth, and even outer space experiences are therefore governed from the earth. It is the centerpiece of scientific reasoning, but, as described above, the evidence doesn’t entirely match that view.

As we learn and evolve in our basic understandings of Life, our minds need to be opened to thinking that challenges our sensibilities.

Because, our only real failures are those of imagination.