The Government You Paid For

Number 25 in a Series

People have been complaining for decades. We heard them. They elect politicians. They pay taxes. They obey the law. And for what. We hear people complain they are  not getting the government they paid for.

Good news, boys and girls. Those days are over. We are now getting the government we paid for.

Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

“The third Trump associate” to plead guilty? Only the third? Where is the government I paid for?

I mean, I paid good money for indictments. Where are the other plea deals—I want to see the perp walks.

Where is my money going?

Not that money. Where is my tax money going for convictions and hard time? I guess I will have to wait.

Meanwhile, at the CPAC:

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This is your President speaking.

Number 60 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear.”

This is your President speaking.

Number 59 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Thank you to for the great timeline on all of the failures the Obama Administration had against Russia, including Crimea, Syria and so much more. We are now starting to win again!

Are we starting to think maybe we should increase his salary?

The Apple and the Tree

The distance is measured in inches.

 

 

There’s lots of stuff I like to cover. Some it is strenuous, requiring a few hours or research and confirmation of facts. Other stories get handed to me, some from highly-paid people working for the United States Government. Or their close relatives.

Donald Trump Jr. ‘Likes’ Conspiracy Theory About Florida Shooting Survivor’s Ex-FBI Dad

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday morning apparently clicked the “Like” button on not one, but two tweets promoting a conspiracy theory about a Florida school-shooting survivor’s ex-FBI agent father. “Could it be that this student is running cover for his dad who Works as an FBI agent at the Miami field office Which botched tracking down the Man behind the Valentine day massacre? Just wondering. Just connecting some dots,”

The item posted to the Daily Beast today linked to one of the items in question, which in turn linked to a tweet no-longer available. See this:

A screen shot may be all the more you’re going to get. Bryson followed up by posting a screen shot of the remarkable tweet, currently nowhere to be found:

Some others enjoyed a nice belly laugh over that one.

Donald Trump Jr. Liked Tweets Promoting A Conspiracy Theory About A Florida Shooting Survivor

The tweets attacked a 17-year-old Parkland school shooting survivor by alleging that he was coached in an anti-Trump narrative by his father who is a former FBI agent.

Additionally:

Hogg told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that Trump Jr.’s peddling of conspiracy theories was “immature, rude, and inhuman.”

“I just think it’s a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to pedal conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died and it just makes me sick,” Hogg said. “It’s immature, rude, and inhuman for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won’t,” he said.

One of his classmates also pointed out on Twitter that the idea of Hogg being a professional actor was, well, laughable.

The sources that so enthralled Trump Jr., according to BuzzFeedNews, are OneAmericaNews and True Pundit. From True Pundit::

 

Details are available. One America News Network:

One America News Network (abbreviated as OANN), also referred to as One America News (abbreviated as OAN), is an American cable news television channel launched on July 4, 2013 that is owned by Herring Networks, Inc. The network is headquartered in San Diego, California, and operates a news bureau in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Originally launched with the intention of targeting a conservative and center-right audience, OAN states a goal of delivering credible national and international news coverage throughout the day while its prime time political talk shows illustrate a conservative perspective. According to the Washington Post, the channel has risen to greater prominence due to its pro-Trump coverage.

Some True Pundit coverage (images not included):

BUSTED: Trump-Hating School Shooting Survivor Visited CNN HQ Before the Shooting; Ranted Live on CNN After

Things keep getting stranger with young David Hogg.

First, we learn the mainstream media’s school shooting darling is the son of an FBI agent (retired). Then he goes on television ranting against President Trump when the deadly Florida school shooting last week — it turns out — was more the fault of the FBI than anyone even close to the White House.

Hogg ranted live on CNN and CBS and all other networks as his anti-Trump and anti-GOP gun control comments went viral in the mainstream media vacuum.

Liberal Nation applauded.

But now we learn Hogg was hanging out at CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA sometime Before the school shooting. Before the shooting. Posing behind an news anchor desk? Perhaps Hogg’s career dream is to sign on with the network — a young Jake Tapper — as he has portrayed himself since the deadly shooting that claimed 17 students as a “student journalist and entrepreneur.”

Welcome to the Big Leagues.

Then after, Hogg goes on CNN live to rant about Trump and the conservatives.

Beyond coincidence.

Hogg also likes to sport his CNN T-shirt to school and beyond.

You can cut the irony with a chainsaw it is so thick here.

The Deep State media strikes again.

The kid who has been running his mouth about how Donald Trump and the GOP are teaming to help murder high school kids by upholding the Second Amendment is the son of an FBI agent.

David Hogg is a school shooting survivor in Florida. At least that is what the mainstream media has told us. We wouldn’t be surprised by anything involving the FBI at this point.

From Deep State CBS News:

“David Hogg was in school when the Parkland, Florida, shooting started. His father is a retired FBI agent, so he recognized immediately that this was a gun. Here’s what he did:”

And while the media allowed Hogg to adorn us with his worldly teen views on the Constitution, they conveniently left out the part where the FBI was warned that the Florida school shooter had promised to shoot up a school — at least twice — long before the massacre that killed 17 students last week.

If Hogg knew the shooter would snap — as he and other students have professed — perhaps he could have told his father about it.

Oh but wait, his father was in the FBI.

It would not have mattered anyway.

That’s the funny thing about the limelight, kid.

Often the lights can come crashing down on your head.

Well played, Don Jr. Well played. You have had a master teacher.

This is your President speaking.

Number 58 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Bad ratings & got scammed when they covered the anti-Trump Russia rally wall-to-wall. They probably knew it was Fake News but, because it was a rally against me, they pushed it hard anyway. Two really dishonest newscasters, but the public is wise!

Quit sniggering.

This is your President speaking.

Number 57 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes. The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!

The man’s grasp of the vital is a wonder to behold.

People Unclear

This is number 38 of a long series

What is it with people. Is nobody paying attention. The memo has been out there long enough for everybody to pick it up, but there are more still unclear than there are presidential  mistrisses. If this report is to be believed, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich seems to have missed mail call entirely:

Newt Gingrich: “Atheist Philosophy” More Dangerous to Christianity Than Terrorists

Well… yes. Newt, you did you not get the memo. If you had been paying attention, then you would know that correct information of all kinds is anathema to Christianity. I venture to  say that even correct spelling is a threat. I mean, if Christians like Speaker Gingrich were to start waking up in the morning and saying to themselves, “What an idiot I am. All these years I’ve been believing a magical person in the sky created us and watches over everybody, making sure the innocent as well as the guilty get around to  be being burnt in pits of fire for all eternity. Jesus Christ! What have I been thinking?” Well then, Christianity as we know it, will deflate like a punctured condom. Newt, how long did it take you to figure this out?

I could quit right here and head to the kitchen to  mix up another cup of hot chocolate, but to my delight there is more gold to be mined from this sage of divorce courts past. Here’s some more from the same source:

“Either the radical secularists will succeed in controlling the government and driving religion out of American life or the people who believe in faith will succeed in controlling government and insist that you cannot impose radical values on American people.”

Oh, my God! If sane people take control of the government they are going to run rampant over people’s rights. Really! They are going to enact legislation that can be reconciled with the Earth being  round, forget about being 4.5 billion years old. The suffering will be incalculable. The Inquisition will be as a game of canasta. Future history books will call it The Dark Ages—would call it that, except the name has already been taken.

Whatever atheists and other thinking people are doing to destroy this country, they had better knock it off right now. We already have a person employed in Washington, D.C. to do that job.

People Unclear

This is number 36

Wait. Wait! This is just plain crazy:

‘Game Changer’: Florida Sheriff Working With Schools To Train And Arm Teachers

The world truly has gone crazy when the solution to protecting high school students from random people with firearms is to arm up the schools. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to stop whacked out shooters before they get their hands on a gun? Else, if you just protect the schools, then shooters (they aren’t going anywhere) are going to take on other soft targets. I don’t want to give those NRA fans any ideas, but there are lots of other places besides high schools overflowing with easy targets.

Or, we could keep people who have no legitimate reason for having a gun from getting one in the first place. Nah. That would never work. Kevlar vests, anyone?

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 30 in a series

“The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest lost in the history of American politics.”

August 3, 2017

Are you suffering a twinge of buyer’s remorse, having voted for Donald Trump and now experiencing the consequences spilling out on the floor from your morning news? I regret I missed that part, but I do not regret the aftermath. Fact is, devious that I am, I’m enjoying the show, even though I voted for Clinton and not Trump. And my joy grows by the day. Here’s how

Week after week, month after month, I watched the newly-minted President Trump preside over my TV screen, denouncing the “Russia hoax thing.” And I smiled. And I waited. The wait is being rewarded. Now I laugh, because it hurts too much to cry.

“How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse.”

February 16, 2017

“This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”

May 11, 2017

“This entire thing has been a witch hunt.”

May 18, 2017

“I’ve been in office now for eleven months. For eleven months they’ve had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government… It’s a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election that, frankly, the Democrats should have won, because they have such a tremendous advantage in the electoral college. So it was brought up for that reason.”

January 10, 2018

My regret is that now many of my Facebook friends are experiencing a tremendous bout of buyer’s remorse.

Actually, I have no regrets, because I am sure no such remorse is manifest. These are people I have known for decades, and they will never give up on Trump. It’s possible that some have so much invested in this political carcass they now find themselves unable to get out of the game. Those would be few. The rest have already drunk the Kool Aid and will never desert. Here are a few of the comments from years past:

Donald Trump brought food and supplies to Lumberton, NC and to 3 other towns ravaged by Hurricane Matthew..you won’t see this one in the news, they are too busy making up trash on him..thank you Donald, this is what a real leader looks like people! Feel free to share this great story!

And it really does warm the heart to see a real leader in action.

From a person I previously met only twice years ago:

DEM IT staffer for Debbie Wasserman-Shitz arrested at airport today trying to flee the country, arrested for destroying DMC hard drives and bank fraud. Ha ha. Hillary, Bill, Barack you’re next. Here’s hoping. Cancer needs to be removed. Yes!!!!

Maxine Waters exposed…what a POS…just another disgusting, completely worthless, corrupt face of the DEM party…losers….

So Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama orchestrated the sale of US uranium to Russia. But the left liberal media and DEM party is saying Russia is our sworn enemy. I’m confused. Oh, but wait, it gets better. Russians involved in the uranium deal pumped $145 million into the Clinton Foundation. There’s your collusion assholes. The Clinton’s are completely and totally corrupt and yet the liberal media, liberals, and DEM party are ok with that. Really??!!?? Disgusting! Flush!

Well, well, well…stick this up your chute liberal media and DEM party…

FLASHBACK: Hillary Allies Coordinated With Ukrainian Government During The Election

Amid the firestorm over the new revelations about Donald Trump Jr’s contact with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, it’s worth noting that another candidate’s…

Yep, just another “nothing burger” brought to you by the deceitful, corrupt liberal media and DEM party…

The Left has predictably gone apoplectic over the email thread showing Donald Trump Jr. knowingly accepted a meeting with a Russian government attorney for dirt on…

Yes!!!! Nailed CNN. Ha ha.

Sebastian Gorka To CNN: ‘We’d Like You To Actually Do Your Job’ [VIDEO]

The deputy assistant to President Donald Trump told CNN “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota “we’d like you to actually do your job,” while discussing coverage of…

[Note on Sabastian Gorka from Wikipedia: “On August 25, 2017, Gorka’s White House tenure ended, one week after Bannon’s departure.[41][42] Gorka stated that he had resigned because White House officials were “undermining” the Make America Great Again (MAGA) Platform.[43] The White House disputed his claim that he resigned and confirmed he was no longer employed there and did not have further access to the White House grounds.”]

Yes!!!!! ACLU, you are disgusting. Flush!!!!

So Chuck Schumer today demanded that Donald Trump Jr turn over all documents related to his meeting with a Russian attorney and that he be required to testify under oath. Really Chucky? You piece of shit. You are fine with Hillary Clinton destroying technology equipment, deleting emails, and her not being required to testify under oath. Oh, but wait….Donald Trump Jr released the full email string today. Hillary deleted emails. Yep, Chucky you are a hypocrite and you are shit. Flush!!!!!

President Trump has exposed how corrupt our government is, both parties. Rock on President Trump! You are doing exactly what we want you to!!

And that is about all the space I have for this person named David. His level of discourse is typical.

Trump supporters, never give up. A grateful nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Hey, hey, hey!

This is your President speaking.

Number 56 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!

How many different ways are there to say Manchurian Candidate?

People Unclear

This is number 35

Time for true confessions. I subscribe to Dr. Robert Jeffress’ newsletter. For those who don’t know:

Robert James Jeffress, Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is an American Southern Baptist (Evangelical) pastor, best-selling author, and radio and television host. Jeffress hosts the program, Pathway to Victory, which is broadcast on more than 1,200 television stations in the United States and 28 other countries. He also has a daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, which is heard on 900 stations and broadcast live in 195 countries.[2][3] He is the pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

I know that in the afterlife I will be called to atone for my transgressions, but I do this for my readers so they don’t have to. But I need to get to the story, and it starts a few reels of tape back. To begin:

Omarosa Dishes On Mike Pence: ‘He Thinks Jesus Tells Him To Say Things’

“We would be begging for the days of Trump back if Pence became president.”

Omarosa Manigault-Newman issued a dire warning about Vice President Mike Pence.

On Monday’s episode of “Celebrity Big Brother,” the former White House Office of Public Liaison communications director warned her housemates that “as bad as y’all think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence.”

Newman said people wishing for Trump’s impeachment “may want to reconsider” their life.

“We would be begging for the days of Trump back if Pence became president,” she added. “(Pence is) extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus. But he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus isn’t saying that.’”

Omarosa extended her thoughts, as reported in a post on the Independent:

Vice president Mike Pence is “scary” and “thinks Jesus tells him to say things”, according to a former Trump administration official.

Of course, the matter didn’t die then and there. On the ABC television network The View has been running since August 1997, and some interesting pronouncements have been dropped over that span. On a recent episode panelist Joy Behar put some analysis to the Vice President’s behavior, as reported by Fox News.

‘The View’ star Joy Behar mocks Mike Pence’s Christian faith: ‘That’s called mental illness’

By Brian Flood | Fox News

The women of ABC News’ “The View” took a shot a Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith on Tuesday, mocking the former governor of Indiana for talking to Jesus and even calling it a “mental illness.”

It all started when they played a clip from “Celebrity Big Brother,” in which former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman discussed the vice president.

Getting to the heart of the matter:

Joy Behar then said: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.”

Behar said hearing voices is a “mental illness” before Sherri Shepard offered a limited defense of Pence.

Getting past the fact that having conversations with dead people is one of the known signs of a mental lapse, it would have been  wise for the panelists to cut the Vice President some slack. It is for sure they did not offer up alternative explanations, some of which I list here:

  • He was being poetic. Apostrophe is a literary device that has a character speaking to an inanimate object or to a dead person.
  • He could have been  rehearsing for a part in a dramatic performance. “Jesus: Can you tell me which way to the temple? Roman soldier: Jesus Christ, if you can’t find your own way, then Heaven help you.”
  • He could have  been mocking somebody’s religious pretensions: “You think you are holier than thou? Shit, man, Jesus talks to me. And you know what? I talk back.”

But they didn’t, and now they have incurred the wrath of holier than thou Dr. Robert Jeffress of the larger than God, downtown Dallas mega church. May Jesus have mercy on their souls. Here is a partial transcript provided by Dr. Jeffress from his interview on Fox News:

Dr. Robert Jeffress went off on the co-hosts of “The View” for mocking Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith on Tuesday.

It all started when “The View” played a clip from “Celebrity Big Brother,” in which former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman said the Vice President “thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

Sunny Hostin expressed concern about Pence’s religious fervor and said she doesn’t want her Vice President “speaking in tongues.”

“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” Joy Behar said, adding that hearing voices is a “mental illness.”

Jeffress wondered on “America’s Newsroom” what would have happened to Behar if she had mocked a devout Muslim.

“ABC would have fired her in a nanosecond. To the left, when it comes to attacking conservative Christians, it is always open season.”

He pointed out that many liberals preach the importance of tolerance, but when it comes to beliefs with which they disagree, they can often be the least tolerant.

He said Christians are tired of being bullied in the public square for their faith, and the 2016 election was in some ways a reaction to these types of “despicable attacks.”

I need to expand on that in parts. First there is the implication (outright declaration?) that “the left” (that would include me) is partial to Muslims. Let me put that to rest right now. Those Muslims are absolutely wacky. Here’s the kind of stuff they (not all) believe:

  • The earth and everything else was created by a mythical being.
  • Abraham, the character in the Bible, was a real person.
  • Mohamed had conversations with God, the previously-mentioned mythical being.
  • Mohamed traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem and back within the span of a few hours.
  • Mohamed ascended into  Heaven, a mythical place.

There, I’ve given Muslims their due. They are little better than Vice President Mike Pence when it comes to being unclear. And, yes, those on the left side of the aisle (some) tend to mock this kind of nonsense, as do some on the right. The question should be “Why doesn’t everybody, left and right, give this tripe the belly laugh it deserves?”

Dr. Jeffress complains that liberals preach tolerance, yet they are intolerant of beliefs that are not their own. Dude, what is your concept of tolerance? We tolerate. We condemn, yet we tolerate. Being tolerant of a bad movie does not mean we purchase tickets. Being tolerant of a braying jackass does not mean we welcome him into our living rooms.

Christians are being bullied. Really? If somebody farts in an elevator, you do not compliment him on his good manners? Dr. Jeffress, get real.

And by the way, keep those emails coming. I open them daily with great joy. That’s tolerance.

The Government You Paid For

Number 24

Don’t you just hate it when you fire your guns prematurely and don’t have time to reload when a much larger target pops up? Today I know the feeling. Yesterday I made fun of administration officials bouncing about the airways in grand style on the taxpayers’ nickel. One of the recipients was Veteran’s Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. I should have waited:

Washington (CNN) — The chief of staff for Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin altered an email and made false statements to a department ethics official that led to taxpayers covering expenses for Shulkin’s wife on an official trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general found.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, Shulkin’s chief of staff, altered language in an email regarding the logistics of the trip that made it seem as though Shulkin and his wife had been invited to a “special recognition dinner” held by the Danish government. That led to the department paying for Shulkin’s wife’s more than $4,000 in airfare, according to the report which was released Wednesday.

Shulkin, who was previously the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health under the Obama administration, was nominated for the top post by President Trump. This apparently was not Shulkin’s first trip to the public trough. Apparently Shulkin used his government-paid aid, James Gough, to perform work he should have handled for himself. Gough was asked to and did perform tasks related to setting up side trip arrangements for the Secretary and his wife during the Denmark trip. CNN reports an email to Gough asking, “Is there earlier flight from Copenhagen? Wimbledon tickets? High tea?” And more.

The Wimbledon tickets may have been a bit more. Gough received free tickets to the Wimbledon tennis matches. Victoria Gosling provided the tickets because she is a friend of Merle Bari, Shulkin’s wife. Actually not. When interviewed, Gosling could not recall Bari’s name. The implication is Shulkin and spouse received the tickets because of Mr. Shulkin’s high position, something of a violation of federal law. Lying about the matter is additionally problematic.

If you ever worried about it, then you can put your mind at ease and relax. You are now getting the government you paid for.

The Government You Paid For

Number 23

I know I have asked, and I am sure others have. I pay all these taxes to support the government, so how come I’m not getting a good return? Where is the government I paid for? Worry no longer. At last we are getting the government we paid for. And paid for. And paid for. Did I mention we are paying for it?

Rather than do all the research on my own, I have pulled from Hulu streaming video, in this case from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir to get the high-level view and also these screen shots. And the story is one to warm my heart. Here is the gist.

Candidate Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to voters that once in office he would “drain the swamp.” He would kick out the long-time hangers on, career government workers who have sucked at the government tit for decades and have become entrenched. He would bring in a fresh crew, people accustomed to turning a profit. And he has. From all appearances President Trump has recruited a cadre from big business accustomed to doing big things. Apparently also accustomed to living big. As the story running on ABC yesterday tells it, these high fliers from business are now flying high on the government payroll. To illustrate:

Scott Pruitt, now heading up the Environmental Protection Agency, celebrates the exuberance of government employment by accumulating a history of lavish travel. Last June travel expenses for him and his entourage recorded $90,000 in expenses, and that included first class travel from Washington to New York. Yesterday he was observed flying first class from Washington to Boston, apparently on the government nickel.

Who would have thought it? Prior to entering politics in Oklahoma, Pruitt was in private law practice, where he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from gas companies, still leaving him with a worth estimated at no more than $3 million, which sets him apart from some of the billionaires in the Trump administration. Where he acquired his taste for high living is anybody’s guess. Apparently free money can be enticing, as evidenced by more.

Needing to get to Rome (the EPA needs to check out the horrible air pollution in that burg), he reportedly commandeered a military aircraft to get to New York to catch his overseas flight.

New York to Rome, where he dropped in to see the Pope, was a boon to taxpayers, as he spent only $7000 to fly, albeit considerably more than I am accustomed to pay.

Mr. Pruitt is also recorded as flying first class to Morocco, hopefully on EPA business.

At first sight this may give the appearance that Director Pruitt, having entering the sacred halls of government, has run amok, making a spectacle of his lavish travel style. Prepare to be disabused, because Pruitt is in good company. ABC News lists a number of top government staffers vying for spending champion of the year. Those would also include:

Putting those others aside, it is interesting to wonder at Mr. Pruitt’s trajectory as the new EPA chief. His history is one of opposition to the purpose and goals of the EPA, and his term as head of the organization leaves little indication that the environment holds his highest esteem. We can wonder whether his bold plan includes spending the agency’s budget dry to ensure it’s not wasted on water quality and all that other stuff. I’m feeling my pocket getting lighter already.

Darwin Day

The following appeared in essential the same form in Sunday’s edition of the San Antonio Express-News opinion section.

Monday is the birthday of British scientist Charles Darwin. He was born on this day in 1809, the same day as Abraham Lincoln. Science fans now celebrate it as “Darwin Day,” and for a reason.

Charles Darwin is recognized as one of the pre-eminent scientists of the 19th century, and his remains rest in Westminster Abbey, near those of Isaac Newton. The thing that earned Darwin this distinction was his work earlier in the century—establishment of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Biological evolution was not a novel concept at the time. Anaximander of Miletus (610-546 B.C.) was an early thinker who proposed that one species could descend from another. Medieval Islamic science also included the concept. But by the early 19th century scientists still had no mechanism to drive the process.  Darwin’s contribution was the idea that random variation, coupled with natural selection, provides this capability. Destined as a young man for the clergy, his life was changed by a voyage around the world, a scientific expedition underwritten by his government. His observations on the trip started him to thinking about what could drive evolution, but he did not publish until 1858, when Alfred Russel Wallace hit upon the same idea. The two published concurrently, and the following year Darwin’s seminal book, “The Origin of Species,” set the world on fire.

What Darwin had done was to demolish the remaining link between religion and the natural world. Previous scientists had demonstrated our planet is not the center of the universe, and the earth is millions (later billions) of years old—in direct contradiction to the Genesis story that was the foundation for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Darwin removed any need for supernatural processes, especially anything resembling the God of Abraham, to explain human existence. To many people this undercut the very basis for human morality, and it cast their lives adrift in a purposeless world. The tension extends to this day.

Well into the 21st century rational-thinking people continue to find it necessary to defend truth and reason against attack. It is now barely seven years prior to the Scopes Trial centennial, and scientists and scholars daily endure challenges by creationists of a wide spectrum, all pushing some challenge to established science. The governor of Texas appoints a known creationist to head the State Board of Education, and three prominent creationists are observed reviewing biology text books for the Texas Education Agency. A known fan of Intelligent Design is appointed Secretary of Education. And biology is not the only science under attack.

An Oklahoma senator displays a snowball as evidence against human-caused global warming. Worse, applause comes from a like-minded base of American voters. A disgraced physician publishes a fraudulent paper linking vaccines to autism. Millions of parents withhold vaccines from their children, with tragic results.

Disregard for verifiable fact now permeates the American political landscape. An outlandish rumor takes life about the time of the presidential election and quickly engulfs a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor. Accurate reporting puts the lie to the story, but, against all reason, a person caught up in the frenzy goes so far as to barge into the restaurant, brandishing a firearm and discharging it. The story retains life to this day, due to people’s willingness to believe in the face of contrary evidence. A participant in an Arizona rally in January is heard saying this story requires further investigation.

An American presidential candidate lays a carpet of false statements, continuing into his tenure as the country’s leader. News outlets print the truth, which is then proclaimed to be fake news. Millions of voters pick up the chant.

This lack of respect for the verifiable fact is a malaise that threatens the health of a great industrial nation. The solution will not come from the top. A well-informed citizenry needs to push back against attacks on logic and reason. Clear-thinking people need to come forward when they see or hear something that is obviously not right. A lone voice of resistance should become a million. And the voice should be loud, clear, and firm. There must be no backing down in defense of what is demonstrably true.

The freethinker movement has a history in Central Texas. Immigrants from Germany settled here in the mid 19th century, and their legacy of resistance to absolutism in religion and government has seeped into our society. The Freethinkers Association of Central Texas (FACT) continues this tradition, championing open discussion and insisting on respect for rational thinking. More than an anti-religious gathering, it serves as a channel for many who hold compassion and respect for human dignity above the exigencies of political power. On Darwin Day we resolve to continue Darwin’s legacy of championing fact before fable.

The Freethinkers Association of Central Texas meets informally for lunch the first and second Tuesday each month, and for breakfast at Denny’s on Fredericksburg Road the last Saturday each month. The next meeting is Tuesday, 13 February, at Hacienda Vallarta on Bandera Road at 1:00 p.m. Public welcome.

This is your President speaking.

Number 55 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

So many positive things going on for the U.S.A. and the Fake News Media just doesn’t want to go there. Same negative stories over and over again! No wonder the People no longer trust the media, whose approval ratings are correctly at their lowest levels in history!

Speaking of approval ratings.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks (number 97).

 

Don’t let liberal politicians fool you. They aren’t concerned with your right to defend yourself. They only want to take your guns. Take your guns. Take your guns.

(CNN) — Another high school has turned into a scene of carnage, this time in western Kentucky.

Fourteen people were wounded, two of them fatally, after a shooter opened fire Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School, Gov. Matt Bevin said at a news conference. Another five people sustained other injuries.
A 15-year-old male student was arrested at the scene and will be charged with murder and attempted murder, Bevin said.
Stay alert, and keep your powder dry.

When We March

Have we arrived at that day?

The President wants a parade:

Washington (CNN) — President Donald Trump has asked for a military parade and the Pentagon is reviewing potential dates, Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said Tuesday.

The spokesman described the planning process as being in its “infancy.”
In response to the news, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had asked the Defense Department to “explore” the idea.
“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great servicemembers who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation,” Sanders said.
The Washington Post first reported Trump told top Pentagon brass last month he wants a military parade.

Hey! He’s the President. He shall have one.

 

This is your President speaking.

Number 52 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!

And if you don’t stop he’s going to tell the teacher.