Faith-Based Part II: Obama’s Expansion of the Bush’s Faith-Based Programs

sisteen chapel ceilingAs we approach the one-week anniversary of the Obama administration, it is a bit early to judge the level of true change brought by the 44th president. However, it is becoming increasingly clear what is not going to change (at least for the better) in the Obama administration. With all of the euphoria of the inauguration, many supporters fought back a strange and long-lingering sensation: doubt. There was little room for doubt in the collective celebration of our first African-American president and a new course after a ruinous eight years under George W. Bush.

Yet, given his tendency to avoid fights on issues like war crimes and unlawful surveillance, Obama seems to view “change” in terms of social programs rather than legal principles. On the principle of the separation of church and state, these doubts are particularly pronounced and personified by the man who delivered the invocation at Obama’s inauguration: evangelical preacher Rick Warren.

Warren is viewed by many as an anti-gay and intolerant voice of the religious right. Obama has insisted that Warren’s much-discussed role simply reflects his desire to be inclusive and show that all views are welcomed in his administration. However, Warren represents more than a preacher with controversial religious views, but one who actively seeks to shape society along those same biblical lines.

From the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the Rev. Warren, Obama’s choices raise a concern that he (like his predecessor) seems to gravitate toward ministers who see little dividing the pulpit from politics.

The fact is that Obama has never hidden his agreement with President Bush on the role of religion in American politics. During the primaries, he proclaimed his intention to be “an instrument of God” and to create “a kingdom right here on Earth.” To be sure, past Democratic presidents also have sought religious advisers and incorporated religious organizations into federal programs as a political necessity in a largely Christian nation.

Expanding the Bush program

Yet, the intermingling of faith and politics was one of the more controversial aspects of Bush’s tenure. The centerpiece of that effort was the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives through which Bush gave billions of dollars to religious organizations to carry out a variety of public projects.

Despite the good work done in areas ranging from drug rehabilitation to disaster relief, it came at the cost of the government’s direct subsidization of religious groups. The faith-based office has been denounced by critics as an attack on the doctrine of the separation of church and state and a reward to the administration’s base of religious activists.

Many people assumed that any Democrat would restore the secular work of government and strive to remove religion from politics. But Obama has indicated that he intends to expand, not eliminate, the faith-based programs. Indeed, he has stated that Bush’s faith-based office “never fulfilled its promise” due to a lack of funding. This “lack of funding” cost this country $2.2 billion in 2007 alone.

Obama reportedly plans to change the name from the “Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives” into his own “White House Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.” The old office would become 12 offices to carry out the expanded program. Not exactly the change that many secularists and liberals were hoping for.

Obama has assembled an informal faith-based advisory group to assist him in plans to expand the incorporation of religious organizations into government at the cost of billions of dollars each year. Warren will likely be one of those advisers.

Warren leads a fundamentalist congregation of 20,000 in Orange Country, Calif. He was a central supporter of Proposition 8, which stripped gay couples in California of the right to marry, calling such unions an affront to “every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.” He was criticized for a statement that many viewed as equating the legalization of same-sex marriage to the legalization of incest, child abuse and polygamy. In the ensuing firestorm, he seemed to backtrack a bit and has even indicated that he’d be willing to consider civil unions instead of same-sex marriages, but the sentiment was already out there. He also has insisted that religious people must vote against anyone who opposes abortion, calling politicians who do so, such as the new president, “Holocaust denier[s].”

This brand of activist evangelism seems to appeal to Obama the Community Activist. Despite Warren’s rigid religiosity, Obama reportedly likes him because, among other reasons, he supports anti-poverty programs. Obama’s aides have dismissed same-sex marriage as a “single issue,” and Obama has said the choice shows that he is incorporating all viewpoints into his administration. Yet, this treats all viewpoints as inherently equal and worthy of incorporation. Warren’s narrow definition of marriage echoes the objections made by ministers a few decades ago to the marriage of mixed-race couples like Obama’s parents. Would those ministers be worthy of incorporation in the administration? In the name of inclusion, Obama added a voice of exclusion.

It is a simple matter of priorities: Obama just seems to be more interested in programs than principles. He views change in more concrete terms: helping families, creating jobs and expanding the social safety net. Worthy objectives to be sure, but what about restoring the core principles that define our government?

Program-centric governing

In a program-centric rather than a principle-centric administration, Warren is a perfect fit. While infuriating for liberals, the picture with Warren — as well as the reverend’s lengthy opening prayer — played well with religious conservatives and may lay a foundation for a mutually beneficial alliance with Obama. Religious organizations can help politically and practically with the New Deal-type programs that Obama wants to implement. The entanglement of church and state is dismissed as an abstraction and distraction.

Obama’s preference for practicalities over principles is reflected in some of the people he picked for his Cabinet (Hillary Clinton at State, for one), as well as by his voting record. Obama voted to grant immunity to the telecommunication companies and extinguished dozens of lawsuits aimed at the warrantless surveillance program. Obama previously indicated that he would vote against such legislation, but again the practicalities appeared to triumph over principle. It was treated as little more than a fight over abstract privacy.

When civil libertarians denounced Obama’s vote, he simply encouraged them not to get hung up on one issue. That issue, however, was constitutionally protected privacy. The concern is that if Obama does not fight for the separation of church and state, equal protection (his most recent “one issue” flare-up) and privacy, his administration would seem strikingly like the last one, in which principles were dismissed as nave abstractions.

Obama’s approach to religion differs from Bush in one respect. The latter appeared intent on lowering the wall of separation between church and state. For Obama, this is not about principle; it’s business. Warren is a good choice because he supports these programs, and churches like his can deliver needed political and practical support for their implementation. The end, not the means, drives the policy.

Obviously, important things are to be done in a host of other areas by Obama, but it is a dangerous precedent to have another president who treats constitutional principles as something of a distraction. Just as Bush dismissed abstract principles in his war on terror, Obama seems poised to do the same in his economic war. Again, it will simply be an inconvenient time for principle.

I joined millions around the world relishing the moment Obama took the oath and gave such eloquence and hope to a besieged nation. But there is a danger of a cult of personality developing around Obama, that supporters could, in all this adoration, confuse the man with his mandate. So, when Obama put his hand on the Lincoln Inaugural Bible, I silently prayed not for a president but for principle, and that Obama will be able to tell the difference.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors.

For the USA Today opinion page, click here.

USA Today — January 26, 2009

91 thoughts on “Faith-Based Part II: Obama’s Expansion of the Bush’s Faith-Based Programs

  1. “I joined millions around the world relishing the moment Obama took the oath and gave such eloquence and hope to a besieged nation. But there is a danger of a cult of personality developing around Obama, that supporters could, in all this adoration, confuse the man with his mandate.”

    **********

    Salient words. I hope they are not prescient.

  2. An alliance between Obama and the evangleicals is actually philosophically sound.

    Both the left and the right are theocrats with the distinction that one aligns with the state the other with heaven and both are inimical to human rights.

  3. Bron98:

    I thought aligning with the State is what every government does– or at least all of them that hope to do anything positive. The “State” to my knowledge is not a deity so I do not see how, even metaphorically, those who align with the State can be properly called theocrats.

    Profound statements have more impact when they are internally consistent. You have one thing right– most threats to human rights always come from those claiming some measure omniscience.

  4. mespo:

    I merely suggest that the left while secular has as its god the state. Both the left and the right want humans to sacrifice, one for the state one for heaven.

    I see no inconsistency in my statement. A diety does not have to be supernatural to worship.

  5. First, I’m glad you wrote this. I know it’s not popular to question Obama, but I feel it’s dangerous not to. Faith based initiatives do have an effect on economics. It allows religious groups, under the power of the govt., to force social behavior in their image in exchange for access to jobs and services. This should not be an approved goal of any person who takes the Constitution and the rule of law as the foundation of our society.

  6. Buddha:

    what part of what I wrote implies theocrat?
    I think it is pretty clear to any thinking person that I am not a theocrat, I may be many things but a theocrat – no, so please if you must insult me at least do it with some urbanity.

  7. The part where you imply that God needs to be considered at all when discussing proper governance. And fuck your sense of urbanity. I’ll not be lectured by your type.

  8. Start operating on fact over belief if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise, you’re just another delusional twit who thinks God the Invisible Sky Father is a sensible way to run things despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary.

  9. Buddha:

    if you think I considered God in my statement, I feel sorry for you. Please reread and then we can discuss with out the f… you and the haughtiness.

    I am not lecturing, it is mearly a suggestion for you to engage in better insulting methodolgy. F…. you is very simplistic, I know it feels good to say it but come on an intellectual giant like you can come up with more to say than that.

  10. How about this, we, the collective here, have proven on multiple threads you don’t know anything about law, religion, ethics or science. Keep coming back if you just want to get humiliated. Personally, I think you and your small minded Neocon pseudo intellectual bullshit is a waste of time. And getting you angry enough to show your true colors was my intent all along, oh trollish one. Thanks for dancing like a trained monkey when I pushed your buttons.

  11. Mespo,

    What people like Bron mean when they say state is actually something akin to an anthropomorphic deity, one that’s the nemeses of Freedom. Any action that the State performs is automatically (to borrow one of my favorite legal turns of phrase) fruit from a poison tree, corrupted by the very nature of the institution. I’m sure there somewhere out there is the mythical “State worshiping leftist” that Bron assumes we all are.

    I would wager that Bron almost always thinks\talks\and acts in extremes, for him there is never any middle ground. You either distrust everything the government does or you’re a mindless liberal. You’re either completely free and live in a social anarchy or you’re a slave to the state. He’s calling someone ignorant and close-minded, or he’s belittling someone for daring to suggest a contrary opinion, one which he refuses to answer or even consider.

    All and all he’s probably someone that Buddha might have some fun with. For those of us prefer conversation to what he thinks is debate, he’s just a nuisance.

  12. Obama presidency is not a revolution but is a restoration. It came at the right time when the economy is on the slippery ground. The economic policies announced by him look good but it on long term. Know more effective economic policies in David kortens new book.

  13. “Mike:

    thank you for the analysis. I am not against stem cell research or abortion (if it is for a good reason). Your comments on my being a Rush Limbaugh ditto head, etc are very tiring. I could say the same about you, i.e. that you get your opinions from JT or Randi Rhodes or Alan (?) Ginsburg or Trotsky or Lennin, or Marx or Timothy Leary or any number of liberal pundits.

    I actually did get on here to have a little fun and I did I got you and Buddha all fired up and Gyges wasnt far behind, dosent it feel good, gets the juices flowing. You probably had more fun taking it to me than you have had in a long time on this one sided blog. I do apologize however for using liberal as a dirty word, that was not right.” (Taken from Bron’s reply to me on another thread)

    Bron,
    Here’s what you don’t get. You don’t get our collective juices flowing because you are unable to erect decent arguments to make your points. You are like a “dittohead” because they enjoy trying to bait others using invective and insult rather than logic. You are not “fun,” you are funny in your ineptness, but ultimately boring because you lack content in your arguments. What makes this site so interesting is that most people who comment here are original thinkers, who while well read, have developed their own original points of view. I don’t know the extent of your erudition, but whatever it is you have made poor use of it, at least by your comments here.

    I quoted you extensively above because I think the comment reveals where you are coming from. You think it is “fun” and “play” to write here making unsupported assertions, nasty characterizations and then to have us respond in kind. If that is your kind of “fun” please understand it’s our kind of boring.
    I follow this site daily because I have little patience with the MSM and its’ “Crossfire” or “O’Reilly” political discussions that consist mainly of differing sides trying to yell “sound bytes” over each other. It’s not my place to tell you to get lost, but perhaps you can take this hint. Please clean up your act by representing your point of view with some logic, wit and clarity behind it. Otherwise we’ll just ignore you, taking you for the clown you’re currently presenting yourself as.

  14. I dont believe in social anarchy, the state has a couple of valid functions like defense and as a referee as in the legal system. beyond that I dont think the founders intended handouts and giveaways. Go read J. Madison on handouts.

    you all cant rap your minds around it, Gyges thinks I am an anarchist and Buddha thinks I am a theocrat seems like a dichotomy to me. I guess Mike thinks I am asshole.

    Regads,

    Theocratanarchistasshole.

  15. Hey, at least you got the name right this time. Go ahead and cry that you’re misunderstood. It seems like everyone here understands you just fine. Because you’re misunderstood just about like Blagojevich is being persecuted like Gandhi. You’re not that complicated and certainly NOT a martyr. Except in your own mind.

  16. Gyges:

    “What people like Bron mean when they say state is actually something akin to an anthropomorphic deity, one that’s the nemeses of Freedom.”
    **********************

    You have one on me, since I don’t know what he means. I am aware of no person who “worships” the State. The State is a human invention used to organized similarly interested individuals and entities into a society. Our common interest in this “State” is, inter alia, freedom to live and function as we choose within the bounds of our responsibilities to each other. I find nothing divine or worthy of worship about that, and I dare say few people would so find. Bron seems to me the kind of person who likes to repeat profound concepts simply for the sake of saying them. I agree with Mike that Bron lacks a certain substance to his remarks. That’s not bad, but if he’s here to participate, he might follow the rule I used when I first landed on this site. I took a look around before unleashing my vitriol to see if my abilities matched the level of discourse. Now some, perhaps many, would say it still doesn’t match it, but I do enjoy the back and forth and if I can contribute so much the better. It’s like joining any group, you strive for some minimum level of acceptance first before launching a jihad against the group’s policies you find erroneous. Otherwise you risk de facto ostracism as one who complains first without any feel for the group or its goals.

  17. Merely socially maladaptive with poor target discrimination? I’ll concede the possibility. I’ve seen worse attempts at joining a group in my day. Bron may have finished troll while in the oven, but will say he didn’t strike me as troll dough while in the bread pan. Pardon the metaphor but the house smells like baking bread. It’s quite distracting. Back to mespo’s point. I’ll cut him the slack due for his reach exceeding his grasp. Perhaps he is young. Some of his multiple errors could based in lack of experience. He may just have latent kool-aid poisoning. Eight years is a lot of propaganda to absorb, especially for the susceptible. It could be a little of both. Either way, this is a dangerous room. Most of us, even Mike S – one of the nicest guys on the internet, have iron fists in our velvet gloves. And I’m pretty sure Patty has lead saps sewn into her gloves. I would submit that the corollary in nature that while larger groups tend to act like herds, in smaller groups, humans are pack animals. Less sheep, more wolf. If so, then enough of the alphas have barked and snarled at the beta to illustrate the rules of the pack. I’m pretty sure all of us irregular regulars tried, some of you more than once, to help him if integration was his objective. The results were plain to see. I say the next move is his. New pack members are good, but I have also been known to like to play with my food before I eat it.

    Speaking of which, I cannot stay out of the kitchen any longer.

  18. ‘… He also has insisted that religious people must vote against anyone who ‘opposes’ abortion, calling politicians who do so,
    such as the new president, “Holocaust denier[s].”…’
    ———
    Undoubtedly, most people know what you meant, JT. They don’t have proofreaders at USA Yesterday?

    One again, fellow turlees, I sense that menace buzzing about is none other than WB/CCM/BB or perhaps his CLONE, GF – remember him?
    How long’s it been? A month?

    Unlike Michael S., regarding our posts on the NEJM thread and mine on the upcoming embryonic stem cell trial, I refuse to engage in a discussion with someone whose least interest is a learning exchange, but rather having ‘fun’ by ‘getting the juices flowing’. No thanks!

    Go start your big deal debate site, already!

    p.s. lead saps? really? :P

  19. Mespo and Buddha:

    I agree with both of you, I should have used the Jane Goodall approach when she was trying to insinuate herself into a tribe of chimpanzees. As hominids it would have been the best route to take.

    Your observations are keen, and as a conservative I have enjoyed studying your banter and interactions. I had to act derisively to elicit the “id” response. Which I have received in copious amounts, but I have actually learned quite a good deal in the past few days and I thank you for your insights and analysis on issues that I look at from pretty much one angle/prism.

    I have a different perspective about how to achieve it, but I think we want peace and prosperity for all.

  20. Buddha:

    Just like a fucking liberal and that is why republicans in congress should obstruct every thing Obama tries to do, as conservatives we extend the olive branch and you take the hand. I hope your bread flour had wevils in it.

  21. Bron98,

    I find it impossible to read what you’re writing as it’s full of so much stuff that doesn’t belong in an argument.

  22. And while I’m here . . . come on and dance, monkey, dance! Wooo Hoooo! (insert Walter Huston Crazy Old Prospector Dance here)

    You are a beautiful case study in self-destruction, Bron.

  23. Let’s be clear too. The only thing you extended was your middle finger, sport. The lesson? You reap what you sew.

  24. Jill:

    there are no arguments on this blog just self congratulatory pats on the back. anyone with a differing view is shut down with such pithy comments as troll, and douche bag.

    and anyway Buddha was baking bread so I disparged his flour.

  25. If you had a view you could back up, you’d get taken seriously. There are disagreements here all the time. You are just incapable of keeping up with the crowd. Evidence? Causality, you are the one who came in here instigating, troll boy. You are by your own admission just here to “get the juices flowing”. Initial civil responses were returned with what we have now come to know is your usual passive/aggressive non-debate snark and often juvenile lack of sensibilities. Your logic is facile when not outright faulty, the best you can muster is an appeal to authority or resorting to “true opinion” by block quoting secondary resources (at best secondary). Your analysis and understanding of the fields we discuss is also inadequate. It’s like you’re using a crib sheet, or you’ve read all the books without understanding the words. You also argue like an amateur. You fall for some of the easiest tricks in the Buddha’s Big Book of Logic Argument. If you think I could have pissed off raff, mespo, Patty or any of the others as easily as I did you, you’d be wrong. Because they know better than to take the bait. You’re not here as an “ambassador” or “bearing an olive branch” by your actions. You’re a simple agent provocateur. A shit disturber. The political equivalent of a soccer hooligan.

    Apparently you forgot that part when considering why you just don’t get no respect, Rodney.

  26. Bron,

    If you think there are no disagreements on this blog then you aren’t reading the posts. Make a strong argument about one of the topics. If you do, I’ll hear it out. If you don’t I will just scroll through your posts from now on.

  27. Buddha:

    what shall we debate? Please pick the topic and limit it to 400 words or less I will engage in thougtful debate. I posted the capitalist pig missive as a differing point of view to the one you are used too.

  28. If religious organizations want to do good works, why don’t they use their own money instead of getting handouts from the government? Where are the preachers who eschew federal money to avoid entanglements with the state?

    Surely Warren’s 20,000+ megachurch, the Catholic church, the Salvation Army, et al, can raise the money to fund their own programs without using my tax money. Is this a way for Obama to direct the spending of the church’s own money, by promising matching funds? What kinds of strings are to be attached to this giveaway? Or is this just a sop to religion?

  29. Queen,

    In my opinion it is a way of keeping/gaining voters, nothing more. The money given to faith based charities would be better spent on hiring decently paid govt. workers who must follow the law both in hiring practices and in distribution of benefits.

    Many of these churches are quite wealthy and most certainly could afford their own programs. They should get cracking. Sure the spiritual leader might have to give up a house or two, but what the hell!

  30. It may be that we need to turn to Congress to rein in our President on this particular front. With the gains by the Democrats in the last election cycle, perhaps the budget of this office can be “zeroed out.”

  31. I don’t get off the porch to play with children. Get some higher level of skill than you are currently assessed at and then I’ll be glad to savage you on ANY topic. But not until you’ve proven you can act like an adult . . . a feat which I’ll stipulate I don’t think you are capable of. I’ll give you a chance if you prove yourself worthy.

    So let’s be clear about this.

    Your arguments need to become 1) cogent and on topic, 2) no more “who’s your daddy” juvenile bullshit when you can’t counter a logic or a fact, 3) arguments should show creative thought in both analysis and application – no lazy arguments – any monkey can copy and paste, related to this you need to learn the difference between citing and plagiarizing – show your reasoning, the basis for it and defend it factually and logically when attacked – if your premises are faulty that’s just your bad luck, 4) no more appeals to the divine – that’s amateur night – stay grounded in fact, not belief – if you are compelled to talk good vs. evil use an ethical framework, 5) you must best any other two regulars within the given parameters above in arguments of any length but the argument must be completed in a single thread – off topic and otherwise non-conforming arguments will not count – Neocon talking points are right out (no propaganda, so for your sake avoid political arguments), 6) there will be no deviation from the rules – zero tolerance – act like a troll once TO ANYONE and it’s off, 8) you must complete your task by midnight, Friday, January 30, 2009, 9) I am the final arbiter of what constitutes a win subject to appeals from regulars in good standing (you know who you are). Then you’ll have the MINIMUM skill required. Otherwise it would be like a gorilla beating on a child. Should by some crazy chance you prevail, mespo can assign a topic and sides.

    This is JT’s playground, but you want to play on my jungle gym, you play by my rules – you don’t like it? Tough. If you think you get to start shit AND dictate the rules you should lay off the crack pipe.

    Those are the terms.
    This is not a negotiation.
    You wanted in the deep end, sport.
    Sink or swim, but sharks patrol these waters. Good luck. You’re going to need it. But I predict I am done with you, chum. You lack both the willpower and the skill. Your very nature will be your undoing. My evidence? Every post you’ve made to this point.

  32. There is little room in Heaven for a President who doesn’t protect the unborn.

    Obama knows that but also knows he needs the pro-abortion vote so he is trying to negotiate his way into Heaven.

  33. Dennis,

    This is a legal blog. Unless the topic is separation of church and state, the use of God or Heaven as a basis for argument is not only inappropriate but counterproductive. Jesus didn’t write the Constitution. God isn’t American. Those aren’t Saints in the Supreme Court. There is nothing holy about Congress. No one is special or is favorite in His eyes. Believe what you like, but you should learn better when to express it. Why? Belief is not fact and ruling is a job that requires reliance on fact . . . unless you just want to die. You may believe mercury is good for you. The fact is if you eat enough of it you’ll be mad as a hatter. Time and again theocratic reasoning has been soundly trounced in this forum. Why? Because history shows theocracy ends in disaster – there is no RATIONAL defense for it. We have facts and history on the side of reason. Empirical proof. You have that “you believe” in one flavor over the other. That’s a recipe to lose, Dennis. Keep banging your head against the wall if you like – you illustrate perfectly what happens when Christians get it wrong. You don’t believe in abortion? Fine. Don’t have one. But keep your God and your belief off other people’s bodies and lives. Unless you want to feed, clothe and care for all the unwanted/accidental/rape induced/abandoned children of the world. No? Didn’t think so. That Christian charity only goes so far, doesn’t it? Bottom line is it’s not any of your damn business what someone chooses to do with their body and it’s not a human until it can survive UNASSISTED outside the womb – it’s been that way much longer than humans had the science to identify the mechanisms of pregnancy and, duh, it’s still that way today. Why do you think we developed words like “miscarriage” or “stillborn”? Sorry if you don’t like it. Facts don’t provide the warm fuzzy that belief does. But belief does provide nice a fuzzy blanket to hide under.

  34. Bronnie,
    You think that you “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” but only Ali could do that and he was the most intelligent fighter ever. Attack/withdraw/counter punch/humility/attack etc.
    this is the pattern in your comments. Buddha and I have sliced and diced you from different angles and you somehow still don’t get what’s going on. Yes this is a community, the qualifications though aren’t to be like minded, but to present information clothed
    in an interesting fashion. If you notice, even in disagreement we don’t take each other “to school,” but try to present cogent points that rebut what we disagree with in a civil fashion. That IS fun and does get juices flowing because it forces us to use our brains, re-examine our own premises and even at times change our points of view. With you it’s all about strategy and I think with us it is all about content, with a lot of good humor thrown in to boot. This is like a Law School class, with JT as our professor. You can disagree as much as you like as long as the disagreement argument is made logically, cogently and hopefully humorously.

    Dennis,
    You anti-abortion guys are such hypocrites. You pretend to be pro-life but in all respects other than abortion you are pro killing, pro death and anti-sex. If you are a Christian go back to your bible and you might learn that the most heinous sins are not sex and abortion, but the violation of “The Golden Rule” and the “Ten Commandments.” Neither mentions abortions. However, not taking my name in vain does strongly imply that your phony preachers, pretending to know the Creator’s thoughts on secular matters, are committing blasphemy by imagining that they can understand God’s thinking. If you follow these phonies then you too are a blasphemer and would be by your own beliefs condemned to Hell for eternity.

    To Buddha, et. al. You really think I’m one of the “nicest guys on the Internet?” You all love me…you really love me. Sorry, but I’ve always wanted to find a situation where I could use Sally Field’s Oscar line. I’ll accept the comment as my own personal Academy Award.

  35. Mike,

    I do really love you (that was hilarioius)! Because of that I’d like to ask you a question. How do you feel about Obama at this time, on the above issue, and on other things that he is doing? I know you are a strong supporter of him and I know you are a thoughtfull person. Do you feel any doubt such as JT mentioned? Are you uneasy about the faith based initatives and waffling on war crimes prosecution, for example?

  36. Jill,
    You need to understand that I’m always of two minds when it comes to politics and when it comes to history. One part of me is an iconoclastic cynic, with strong humanist tendencies, who sees all politics and history as the haves screwing the have nots. I always am on the side of the underdog and so I don’t fully trust anyone who is seen as gaining power and suspect that there is a cabal in back of her/him.

    The other side is that is as someone who spent years in therapy and years as a trained psychotherapist, I realize that the cynical part of me eventually would leave me in existential despair as to the state of humanity. That despair does neither myself, my family, my friends, nor the world any good. So I repress my cynicism and choose to believe that humanity is on the right path towards a humane world and that my small part of the fight has some meaning beyond my life. What goes along with that is to try to believe in and support our political system. In that respect I have found Obama’s intellect and strategy to be breathtaking. I believe he is a good man who cognizant of the long odds he faces to remake the US into a land of its’ purported ideals, is walking a tightrope. In this respect he truly is like Muhammad Ali, who I referenced in a previous post,
    feinting in, out and around his enemies, sowing their confusion and impotence. He seems a true disciple of Saul Alinsky and that I respect.

    As to issues like faith-based programs receiving aid I am against it. As a former worker and manager in the social welfare field, both public and non-profit, I truly believe that civil servants out perform all others in delivering meaningful services and at a much cheaper cost. See Social Security and Medicaid for instance. So I disagree with Obama’s stand on this and have already begun sending E mails out.

    The problem with politics in general is that people develop conceptions of issues based on their political bent. To my mind to succeed politically one must be a pragmatist, guided by a set of ideals, who is willing to negotiate all but the most basic issues. Those basic issues to me are human rights, dignity and fairness to all. The rest is just policy issues whose validity is really determined via trial and error. I was thinking last night about the Law of Unintended Consequences. not every position we might support will turn out as we expect. That’s why the effective political leader must separate principle from policy.

    I apologize for the length of this but when I’m in my idealistic frame of mind I sometimes get carried away. That’s why dyed in the wool Liberals talk so much. In my cynical mind I would just say: All of these politicians are crap and leave it at that.

  37. At the risk of redirecting attention to the subject of this post, I have some observations I’d like to offer.

    I attended grades 4 through 6 in a tiny school in an equally tiny village called La Luz, New Mexico. We actually lived about 10 miles outside of town and I rode a school bus each day. After dropping off students at my school, the bus continued into Alamogordo, New Mexico, a few miles further down the road, to drop off students at Alamogordo High School. My sisters at the time attended a Catholic parochial school quite close to the high school in Alamogordo. My mother’s request to permit my sisters to ride the school bus to their parochial school was rejected by the Otero County School Board, a decision which she blamed on latent anti-Catholicism. My father, who had been born and raised in New York, was less upset than my mother. I remember him joking that had Cardinal Spellman, long a proponent of federal funds for parochial schools, simply shut down the parochial school system in the archdiocese, the New York public school system would have collapsed.

    At the time I felt that Otero County was being somehow unfair, but at the age of 10 I couldn’t articulate any particularly good reasons for my feelings. It is now fifty years later, and I believe that the Otero County School Board made the right decision.

    The theory behind the faith-based initiatives movement is that providing financial assistance to religious groups engaged in valuable social programs provides benefits to the community at large and reduces the financial burden on the government. That is the oft-stated justification, of course. I remain convinced that the idea was originally conceived for the purely cynical purpose of purchasing evangelical votes. But if the idea otherwise makes sense, so what? The problem is that the idea is fraught with constitutional peril.

    First, on a practical level, Iraq has taught us (among other things) that the outsourcing of governmental functions to private groups makes it nearly impossible to properly monitor the expenditure of taxpayer monies. Second, we have already had numerous instances of conflicts between government and faith-based organizations over issues relating to such things as religious tests for employees. Indeed, Prof. Turley has had a number of posts on the subject. Third, federal financial assistance to religious groups permits such groups to redirect their own funds to proselytizing and other purely religious functions. Most importantly, however, our common understanding of human nature tells us that taxpayer funds to religious organizations assist those organizations in advocating particular religious viewpoints through the promotion of the programs receiving the funding. I suggest that this is inevitable and that the end result is the use of tax dollars to subsidize religious indoctrination.

    I strongly disagree with Pres. Obama’s position on this issue, but I believe that the voices of dissent have been drowned out amidst charges that opponents are simply narrow-minded and harbor unspoken antagonism toward religion in general. Thus I believe it is important that the expression of our objections to faith-based initiatives be properly focused and non-judgmental. If anyone knows how to do that effectively, I could use some lessons.

  38. Thus I believe it is important that the expression of our objections to faith-based initiatives be properly focused and non-judgmental.”

    Mike A.,
    Couldn’t agree with you more. One need not denigrate religion to argue against government funding. The simple argument to me is that strict separation of church and state is necessary, in a multi-cultural/multi-religious society because its alternative would of necessity threaten the foundations of both. The second part of this argument is that throughout history, wherever this stricture hasn’t been followed war, chaos and genocide have come to pass.

  39. Mike’s A & S.,

    S’s summation, is the most basic framework and wholly correct. The question then becomes the best method to combat active intrusion/entanglement/endorsement. If your opponent’s argument is belief based but those very teachings the beliefs are based upon are contrary to their stance, is exploiting that weakness considered denigration? Or is it considered logic? If the line between the two is personal offense, that’s subjective. Personally, I think that the simplicity of Mike S’s “simple argument to [him] is that strict separation of church and state is necessary, in a multi-cultural/multi-religious society because its alternative would of necessity threaten the foundations of both. The second part of this argument is that throughout history, wherever this stricture hasn’t been followed war, chaos and genocide have come to pass” stands on it’s own and needs no defense as the logic and evidence for the statement is both sound and irrefutable. But the argument based in belief has no use for verification nor external logics. This is proven by the twisted forms and content often resorted to. Everyone knows someone who is “logic proof”. So again, the best adversarial tactic is to attack internal inconsistency, because even if you cannot prevail you can create doubt and question, a potential future weakness that could be used to bring them around. But then again one is subject to the whim of subjective personal offense. And no matter how cordially, how carefully, how artfully written or spoken, you WILL offend someone. The question then becomes which is more important? Systemic integrity or feelings about belief? Defending the Separation of Church is far more important than hurt feelings. So where do you suggest the line is drawn? Insulting Islam? Christianity? Buddhism? Sikhism? Jainist? Or do you say that the pragmatic approach is not to discuss religion and politics, especially in combination, if you have no sense of humor or proportion about your own beliefs? It’s the difference between a Mike S., one who has a distinct religious tradition that informs his analysis yet does not bind it – his logic flows freely and he reconciles his beliefs with his reasoning quite well, and a troll locked in a “because it says so in my Book” loop.

  40. But none of that applies to Wiccans. Everyone knows the only good witch is one you build a bridge out of. This is the age of scientific reason after all.

    I kid, I kid! So no curses, eh?

  41. “As to issues like faith-based programs receiving aid I am against it. As a former worker and manager in the social welfare field, both public and non-profit, I truly believe that civil servants out perform all others in delivering meaningful services and at a much cheaper cost. See Social Security and Medicaid for instance.”
    Mike Spindel

    Mike:

    where are your facts to support this? That is a pretty bold statement. My mother inlaw used to work for Mantech at the Department of Energy and the stories she used to tell were counter to your proposition. I came to the conclusion that Mantech personnel were needed not to supplement government workers but to do the jobs for them. Granted this is an extremely limited observation. But why does the private sector deliver more efficiently in just about every instance you can name except defense? the myth of the over worked and underpaid government worker struggling against gteat odds for the common good is just that a myth.

    I am willing to wager that a private sector worker is more productive not because they are better but because the system in which the operate is more efficient and has to be because of competition.

  42. Buddha,
    Some of my best friend are Wiccans, but although I wouldn’t want one to marry my daughter, watch it.

    You’ve got my points right and as usual I have no argument with your furthering of the discussion. I am not above attacking someone’s religious pomposity in the name of the greater good. I personally prefer though to try to take them on, on their own turf.
    To many fundamentalists of all religious stripes have no real understanding of the basic tenets of their own beliefs. They substitute ritual and form, from substance and philosophy. This is of course akin to your “internal inconsistency” formulation. Then to, as you might implicitly imply, there are some whose religious beliefs are flat out evil and inconsistent with the workings of society. In our history we could look at the racist beliefs of the southern Baptists and the racist beliefs (now conveniently denied through prophesy)of the LDS. Stuff like that has to be directly confronted and one cannot tiptoe around it.

    As a Deist Jew I don’t disrespect those who believe in a creator/God, or those who don’t believe at all. That is why I am at times loath to attack either position by trying to demolish the foundation of belief, or non-belief. However, if I correctly understand your point there are times where I acknowledge when it has to be done.

  43. Any body want to send me a grammar primer after my errors in the last post? I’m already starting to rewrite it by hand a hundred times as punishment for my mistakes.

  44. Mike A.

    “Thus I believe it is important that the expression of our objections to faith-based initiatives be properly focused and non-judgmental.” What do you mean by non-judgmental in this context?

    Mike S.

    Thank you for the thoughtfull reply I expected you’d write. Obama will not, nor can he “remake the US into a land of its’ purported ideals,…”. That job is ours as a society. Obama has real flaws. They are showing up in his appointments and policies. On the other hand, I’m not giving up. He’s vunerable to pressure and I have faith that people will put pressure on him to act well. I don’t have faith in him, but I do have faith in the people of this nation. (I’m writing this too fast, it’s not very clear, sorry.) I do appreciate the time you took to write and I’ll try to write better when I have more time to think!

    Best,

    Jill

  45. Buddha and Mike,

    I never argue theology to try and persuade someone politically. I used to have a room-mate that played D&D type games, and I was struck by the similarity between their arguments about the rules, and theological\political debates I had witnessed.

  46. Jill, what I mean is that arguments against faith-based initiatives must be framed in a manner precluding their characterization as attacks upon religion in general, or upon particular denominations. Of course, people who reject the notion of church-state separation will not recognize the difference, but no arguments will be persuasive to that segment of society in any event. The people who need to be convinced of the dangers are those who have either a neutral or positive attitude toward religion, but who also understand that strict lines have to be drawn in a pluralistic society. Of course, despite having offered this high-minded explanation, I will confess that I have my own theory as to how faith-based initiatives fit into the history of this country over the past fifty years. But that’s for another post.

  47. “My mother inlaw used to work for Mantech at the Department of Energy and the stories she used to tell were counter to your proposition.”

    Bron,
    Your Mother-In-Law working for a private firm, hired by the government, is your proof to counter my points? Bron I worked for the Government for 32 years, 20 at a high level and then 6 years at non-profits also fairly high level. Civil servants on the whole worked harder and more effectively than non-profit workers. Part of the reason was the non-profit structure paid great salaries to its’ top people and crap to everyone else. They didn’t get workers who were as qualified and they didn’t care about turnover.

    For 3 of those 32 years I was a Director of Contracts, I was also a Budget Director for 4 years and had Contracts and Budget Reporting to me for another 3 years. In my last 3 years with my agency I was the guy called in to repair broken sub-agen cies and make them efficient again. In ALL instances whenever we’d hire an outside entity, like Mantech it was the result of a political payoff and the company performed worse than the workers they replaced. I could cite chapter and verse ad infinitum, but it would take a long book to do it.

    Let me then give you a briefer explanation. The head commissioner of my City Agency made $142,000 yearly. This was to run an agency of 18,000 employees, with a budget of many billion$. Higher level people, such as myself worked long hours, with no paid overtime since we were managers. If the big guy made $142,000 consider then what the underlings made. Also people were at their offices, or in meetings, not on the golf course or long lunches/dinners.

    In private industry the CEO’s, COO’s CFO’s etc. of large firms earn in the multi-million$. As you go down the hierarchy the pay is in proportion. Therefore private industry has an extremely high cost of doing business, or overhead. Since Reagan and the dismantling of the Union Movement regular worker’s salary’s have fallen, the better workers laid off in favor of the cheaper less experienced workers (see the collapse of Circuit City). Turnover was high and commitment to company was lost in light of the company’s lack of commitment to its workers. Despite this the average worker works hard at their jobs and productivity has increased. Unfortunately, this does not make up for the enormous overhead created by the greed and desire for luxury of most big company’s management. The average HMO (google this) has an overhead of about 20%. Medicaid’s overhead is 2%. Social Security’s overhead is much, much lower than your average insurance company.

    Despite right wing propaganda to the contrary, much private industry is extremely inefficient due to the above named factors, whereas civil service works fairly well. Where problems existed it was usually because of Red Tape generated by right wing politicians who didn’t care for, or trust the workers, or the clients.

  48. Mike:

    that may all be well and good but bottom line is the government produces nothing, it is all overhead. no matter how you slice it government is a drain on the economy and taking resources that would be used more efficiently in the private sector.

    An HMO has to actually employ doctors and social security is in the hole for hundreds of billions of dollars, a private insurance company would be out of business.

    A freemarket sets the salary of any industry, why single out CEO’s if you were so competent you could have gone to work in the private sector and made millions.

    Personally I would dismantle all government agencies such as HUD, HEW, AG, etc and farmout necessary services such as police and fire to the private sector. It would be better service and cheaper. Then we would not need social security or medicare.

  49. Mike A.,

    Thanks for the clarification. I think you propose a sound stategy both ethically and practically! I’d like to hear your “origin theory” as well if you want to lay it out another time.

  50. Gyges,

    I agree. I’ve seen that argument as well. It can be gruesome. I submit the discussion of PC vs. Mac vs. Linux – a contender in the ugly conversation category. Some topics lend themselves to compartmentalization. I’d prefer to keep religion and law discrete areas for debate. Honestly, the two don’t mix well. However, how do you have a choice when your opponents have created entire private education systems that geared to subverting Separation of Church and State? Private grade schools all the way to private law schools like Regents. Schools some of which are not ashamed that their mission is to put their version of Christ in government? Where do you think so much troll programing gets into the system? Not all of it is talk radio and FOX News. Some of it is nothing less that indoctrination. Ask Mike S., from earlier posts I am sure he’s probably seen some of these joints web sites. There are some truly bent zealots out there. Not all of them have our common good at heart.

    In a perfect world, the logic of Separation would stand on it’s own, self-evident for all.

    I prefer water and dirt but sometimes battle takes place in the mud. I don’t see a way to fight the creep of theocracy without getting dirty either. You cannot fight what you cannot name. If that means picking out a specific group’s beliefs, so be it. Which leads me to

    Mike A.,

    I’m sorry Mike, while I agree with much of what you said (especially re: optimal message target selection), I cannot agree with “arguments against faith-based initiatives must be framed in a manner precluding their characterization as attacks upon religion in general, or upon particular denominations.” Your solution smells a little PC. I admire it’s high mindedness and think your intention is pure, but it’s flawed. It values the feelings of one group or individual over the common good of preventing theocracy. When the conversation is pressed and your opponent is resting on theological reasoning or appeal, is there a way to undermine their flawed premises and not bring the underpinnings of those premises into question? Rarely if ever has been my experience. And it’s not always the hardcore logic proof cases that will rest on divine reasoning. Sometimes the only way to get someone to logic is to challenge their preconception and presumptions – if those are rooted in belief over reason and empirical fact, so be it. If you cannot label a subset as counter to Separation and subject why they are counter to scrutiny, you are avoiding the threat and potential problems. It’s like fighting lung cancer without talking about lungs or cancer. The same goes for eliminating discussion of the sets themselves. Your solution is equivalent of not talking about it – intrusive religion and the effects on Separation cannot be discussed without discussing the root cause(s): religions as a social phenomena, structures and various subsets – in specific for each has different characteristics, some adverse to this or other liberties and some not. It’s not Zoroastrians threatening the doctrine. The same can’t be said of Fundamentalist Christians or Fundamentalist Muslims. That’s not a statement on their values either, but a statement on actions of group members. If their values drive their actions, then are their values not valid targets? They have causal connection. Like I said, I respect where you are coming from with this. The intention of protection is almost always noble and just, even if it’s just protection from slight. I just don’t think it’s practical.

  51. Buddha,

    Sorry, I forgot to include the punchline of my comparison: The debates only makes sense if you all use the same rule book, and nobody ever does. When it comes to the Separation of C&S, we have a universal rule book. So why bother trying to figure out which edition of Christianity they believe in and then arguing on that turf? You can just point to the Constitution, various court rulings, etc. and say “you might not agree with this, but it’s the law of the land.”

    The other reason I tend not to point out theological inconsistencies is that I’ve seen a lot of people “witnessed to,” on topics from religion to politics to choice in fast food restaurants. I’ve yet to see anyone converted because their view was criticized, but I’ve seen several people that were brought around by stating “this is what I believe…” I have no problem pointing out factual errors, but very little about religion is based on fact, and quite a bit is based on interpretation.

  52. “Mike:
    that may all be well and good but bottom line is the government produces nothing, it is all overhead. no matter how you slice it government is a drain on the economy and taking resources that would be used more efficiently in the private sector.”

    Your understanding of government and economics is nil. Tell me what a Hedge Fund Produces? You want to talk about free market than read Adam Smith, who created the term and also believed that a market should be controlled by government. You’re just a sill Objectivist, who’ll be shocked out of his mind if the situation you fervently desire would come about. Your “Free Market” is a tool of enslavement for most and Democracy for none. Your understanding of these issues though is too limited to even try to clear up your misinformed minds.

  53. Gyges,

    I’ll concede that approach is a valid and sometimes even often effective tool. I’m not saying your observation is invalid. I’m not saying that’s not a preferable tool. I’m saying not all tools are right for all jobs. Sometimes the goal isn’t victory. Sometimes the goal is preparation. Sometimes the goal is to create doubt, especially about the opponents foundations. Sometimes you use their language and precepts against them, sometimes you attack them on ethical frameworks, sometimes a combination of tactics – it kind of depends on the bent of the individual theocrat. Against the entrenched, the battle is rarely won in one fell blow. This is one of the reasons the face of victory is ever changing. It is a war of attrition and nerves with hardcore theocrats. Create vulnerabilities until the weather changes and an ideal tactical opening appears. By ideal, I mean one that you can present an opportunity that leads to them coming to a conclusion themselves. As you’ve noted, real change is an internal process. It’s the Jedi Mindtrick. Sometimes, however, this is impossible. Sometimes you are left with only nuclear options or induced self-destruction. You’ve just ran into the logic-proof. True, the stick you just saw me wielding was one of the nastier variety. Fairly pointed toward religion at first I’ll confess, but that’s what I thought I was dealing with – a zealot. I think review of past posts will show that’s not the only tool in the box. Once I knew I was dealing with the futility of the brainwashed I adjusted the tactic. In reality, I’d have been better served with an different initial tactic, but hey, life isn’t perfect. His passive-aggressive style sometimes made it hard to read if he was genuine troll or just misguided about religion and it’s relation to the State. He liked to escalate troll-style but his contrition sometimes sounded plausible. Upon seeing his escalation was never ending (Debate? I don’t think it’s arrogance to say that’s an obvious mismatch but I could be wrong, next he’d have wanted to fight like that twit a couple of weeks ago), I gave him a rope and sent him on his way. I gave him what he wanted. The chance to earn respect. And I must say he’s done a spectacular job of tying that noose. He could have tied a lasso. His choice. Instead, he showed he’s not a theocrat, but a simple Neocon zombie. Not even rising to soccer hooligan but a mere parrot. I do appreciate the point you are making, Gyges, but I hope this puts what you just saw into perspective vis a vis tactics. I brought siege ammo when I could have used troll repellent. An actual faux pas. Such is life. Either way, his game is up now – his true self revealed by his own hand.

  54. Buddha and Mike S.,

    I agree that Bron failed to engage in actual argument. He absolutely revealed his true self with the, “you’re not a patriot etc.”

  55. Buddha,

    I think we’re talking across each other. I’m talking about a very specific instance: using theology to argue politics. Like I said, for the theology aspect to make sense both parties have to agree completely about their religion. I’ve never seen that happen.

    If someone is so far gone that they’re using their private beliefs on God to try and justify their politics, attacking their cherished tenants will just bring up an automatic reflex defense. Making them find fault in my argument is marginally more likely to get them actively thinking.

    I have no problem saying “here’s where your argument is flawed,” or pointing to factual errors, it’s just that Religion isn’t based on logic or facts. So rather than try a tactic that I haven’t seen work, I try one that I’ve seen work every now and then.

    I also don’t like to say “Religion has no place in politics,” and then use religion to prove what is at least partially a political point.

  56. Mike S:

    Please I am all ears/eyes. I would love to understand.

    I am quite willing to read what you have to say. This is actually a pretty interesting site. And I enjoy reading the posts so all bullshit aside please give me the overview. I probably wont agree and I know none of you agree with me. But if you are willing to write I am willing to read and ask questions where I dont understand.

    Regards,

    the theocraticanarchist troll

  57. “Mike S:
    Please I am all ears/eyes. I would love to understand.”

    You are quite literally just another phony troll out for what you think is “some fun with the liberals.” Your understanding is so limited that you don’t even get that this is not a liberal site. I have no idea what JT’s politics are on the political spectrum, nor do I care. I admire the fact that he is a staunch defender of civil liberties and constitutional government. What you don’t get is that real conservatives, liberals, moderates, progressives, libertarians and radicals are able to discuss these issues in a constructive manner and that often consensus is achieved. You quite stupidly questioned my patriotism, among a litany of other insults, because you don’t understand that a commitment to civil liberty and constitutional government represents the highest patriotic ideals.

    In this instance you parrot the term “free market” without even the simplest understanding of how its’ creator meant it. You want to understand then do some research, rather than having propaganda spoon fed to you by propaganda outlets like Fox News and the three major TV networks. When you do put in the personal effort needed to learn and grow than perhaps you’d be interesting to interact with. Right now all you do is play out weak arguments, use specious sources (your mother-In-Law and a military friend….really!)and refuse to respond to the points people make when your propaganda conditioning fails you.

    You really want to learn? Then why didn’t you google PNAC when I
    admonished you on those who want an American Empire. It’s easily found and its’ signatories such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are right there. Plus it came out more than 3 years before 9/11, when Bush wasn’t even President. However, with you it’s the lazy way. Just make a broad statement, learned from your propaganda puppet masters and leave it at that. After all that’s the way Rush, Sean, Bill and Carl argue and they seem to get away with it. If you wanted so much to understand I think you would get the point I’m making here, but sadly for you it goes right over your head. By the way I’m not talking about your education, status or social class here. This is about someone, you, who chooses not to think for himself, despite whatever innate intelligence he might have. What a pity and what a waste, but I don’t choose to play in your playpen anymore.

  58. Mike:

    You are about a stupid person. I agree with the PNAC web site. America is a moral country and should defend its values around the world. Most of the rest of the world is run by statists.

    And foreign policy in this country is run by liberal apologists at the state department. America bad everyone else good. Talk about monkey see monkey do.

    And if you dont think Turley is a card carrying liberal democrat you are a real moron.

    I wouldnt engage in any type of intellectual exchange with anyone on this web site I come from the America good and moral side of the spectrum most people on this site come from America force for all evil in the world side. You call me closed minded you all are much more closed minded.

    Bronnie Boy

  59. Then simply you have identified yourself as the enemy. Congratulations for coming out in the open, you little American Imperialist Nazi. roflmao My but you are a piece of work. Not just stupid, but evil too. Excellent.

  60. Herr Brownshirt,

    Come on out and defend PNAC, in detail, such as you are capable of. This ought to be HUGELY entertaining.

  61. Give it some recruiting flare! Come on. We’re all anxious to join a new group. Tell us why we should join yours?

  62. Mike S. and Mike A.,

    You are both very cynical. He said: “I wouldnt engage in any type of intellectual exchange with anyone on this web site…” and he’s kept his word. You should both be ashamed.

  63. seems like PNAC has a pretty good idea. I especially like the Pax Americana and the spread of democracy and capitalism. Little shakey on the constabulatory duties though.

    Bronnie

  64. You’ll have to do better than that. Tell us, why should we join an aggressive imperialist group that wants to destroy the Constitution and the ideals of the Founding Fathers in the name of their personal profit margins?

    In

    Detail

    What about their plans works to preserve freedom and liberty? How do they make the world a safer place? How will they make anyone’s lives better other than themselves?

    In

    Detail

    Right now, that’s not an argument. That’s just your moron opinion, fascist.

    Give us some FACTS. And some PERSUASIVE REASONING.

    Otherwise you’re just saying, “Look at me. I’m one of them and I can’t explain why.”

    So give us the sales pitch. Not that you “think it’s a pretty good idea” because for your OPINION to matter, you have to have demonstrated you can think. So far you haven’t.

    Try.

    Again.

    In.

    Detail.

  65. Come on. Here’s your platform. Take your shot.

    What’s that smell? Is that fear?

    Come on, Jackboot. If you’re going to be a Nazi, go full bore on. Couldn’t be you know deep inside you’ve chosen evil, could it? That your position has no defense?

    Sell us your poison.
    Sell it like your life depended on it.
    Because some day, some day soon, it might.

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