by baldilocks

Folks keep telling me that Jesus the Christ would never separate family members. Really?

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

— Matthew 10:34-37

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon

 the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left

— Matthew 25:31-33

Then there’s the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares in Matthew 13.

Whenever someone talks about Jesus the Christ allegedly not being in favor of separating family members, regardless of the context, that person unwittingly reveals that she is using a false Jesus to make her point.

And the only point she’s reaching for is this one:

To shame you into changing your opinion or into shutting up. It’s another revelation – no pun intended.

Those of us who have read, reread, studied, meditated on, and applied the Word of God to our lives are mostly immune to these attempts at shame. I, for one, laugh at them.

If we Christians have one criterion to get to God and be with Him forever in the next life – submitting to Jesus the Christ and Lord and Savior – then God is our sole audience and whatever we think and do is for His perusal and judgment and His alone.

Others can guess for themselves whether another person belongs to Christ or not, but there is an objective yardstick with which to measure that ownership. (And, yes, if you are a Christian, then Christ owns your carcass and that which is contained therein.)

Anyway, I cannot find an explicit or implicit indication of this rah-rah Team Jesus, phantom Uniter-not-a-Divider that people keep conjuring. Therefore, when others use this Figment Jesus to point their grubby fingers at you in accusation, their opinions and conclusions about the “quality” of your Christianity are worthless.

But you knew that already.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Example of a five second reckless eyeballing at a workplace.

by baldilocks

This definitely isn’t about camping out in the lane or picking up food off the floor and eating it.

Netflix has reportedly banned workers from looking at each other for more than five seconds as part of its new anti-harassment rules.

The new policy also bans the company’s film crews from asking their colleagues for their phone numbers, according to an article in the Sun.

“Senior staff went to a harassment meeting to learn what is and isn’t appropriate,” an on-set runner told the Sun. “Looking at anyone longer than five seconds is considered creepy.”

“You mustn’t ask for someone’s number unless they have given permission for it to be distributed,” the source continued. “And if you see any unwanted behaviour, report it immediately.”

Other new rules include: “Don’t give lingering hugs or touch anyone for a lengthy period of time,” “Don’t ask out a colleague more than once if they have said no,” “Steer clear of a colleague once they have said they are not interested in you,” and “Don’t flirt.” The rules also encourage employees to “Shout ‘Stop, don’t do that again!’ if a colleague has been inappropriate.” (…)

Netflix hasn’t confirmed or denied the new rules, but did release a statement to the Independent, saying: “We’re proud of the anti-harassment training we offer to our productions. We want every Netflix production to be a safe and respectful working environment. We believe the resources we offer empower people on our sets to speak up, and shouldn’t be trivialized.”

Back in the day, the “five second rule” was called reckless eyeballing.

Honestly, who can blame Netflix for trying to save themselves some potential sexual harassment settlement money?

People have long used the workplace as a playground. I’m not judging this, but if an employer wants its employees to minimize the playing of grab*ss and get those DVDs in the mail, I can’t judge that either.

If you ask me, Netflix sounds like a good candidate for automation.

Now about that Obama contract, Netflix …

Never mind, I don’t have an account.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Your attention span after smoking the Social Media pipe.

by baldilocks

From our beloved Mr. Reynolds:

I think a lot about whether social media are good or bad for society. I’ve written about how they make it easier for people to form mobs, facilitate the weaponization of emotion, and allow bad ideas to spread like disease through early civilizations.

But I also have to wonder: Are social media bad for our brains? (…)

Of course, this isn’t the first time that technology has changed people’s mental processes. Preliterate people had a lot less access to knowledge than people who can read — but preliterate people tended to have amazing memories by today’s standards. (…)

Now, of course, actual bound books are fading, and people read much more on screens. As a result they tend to multitask — read something for a bit, check email, go to see whether you’ve gotten any “likes” on Facebook, go back to reading for a bit, check Twitter. And social media tend to make that worse by subjecting users to a vast stream of bite-size it. (…)

Deep thinking is becoming less common, and worse, this seems to be particularly true among the academic/political/intellectual class that’s most on Twitter.

Glenn says he doesn’t have a solution to this. I do, but it takes personal will.

I, too, found that too much Social Media was harmful to my concentration process. It was taking me much longer to finish reading books than it used to; sometimes I wouldn’t finish them at all since I frequently use e-books and audio-books downloaded from the LA Public Library. Another symptom is pervasive: many open browser tabs. And this is the worst: the degeneration of my ability to concentrate enough on an idea in order to write about it sensibly and to connect one idea with another. (Thank God that I wrote my novel before Social Media’s ascent!)

The solution is very simple: disconnect for a set and regularly scheduled time segment.

Sometimes, I devote the segment to audio-book “reading” coupled with apartment cleaning; other times to something outside of myself.

I do this about twice a week and I can see the change. Additional benefit: the times when the scatter-brained, emotional poo-flinging hits the brim — even when it’s from those with whom I usually agree – and makes me want to shut it down. Call it a sign of detox.

Of course, I’m paranoid enough to believe that the mass splintering of our collective attention spans is intentional.

It doesn’t have to stay that way, though. But recognizing the problem is the first step.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Last week, at the request of one Kim Kardashian West, President Trump commuted the life sentence of a non-violent drug dealer Alice Marie Johnson. Johnson had served 21 years.

Now the president wants to keep the ball rolling, as it were.

I’ve been LMAO ever since I read about this yesterday.

U.S. President Donald Trump held out an olive branch in his feud with National Football League players on Friday, asking them for recommendations as he considers pardoning several thousand people who may have been unfairly treated by the criminal justice system. (…)

On Friday, speaking to reporters before leaving for a Group of Seven summit in Canada, Trump challenged those players, the majority of whom are African-American, to advise him on employing his pardon power. He said his staff was examining some 3,000 cases of people who might deserve clemency.

“I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me, because that’s what they’re protesting – people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that,” Trump said. “They’ve seen a lot of abuse and they’ve seen a lot of unfairness.”

I’m told that this is classic Art of the Deal, which I have downloaded from the LA Public Library. It’s also giving me some Ferengi Rules of Acquisition vibes. (Deep Space Nine fans will understand.)

Whatever way this plays out, this is a win-win situation for the president. And, even if no ballplayers send him a list, other prominent people probably will – a potential win for some deserving prisoners who have behaved well while paying their debt to society or for those who have been unjustly imprisoned.

But some observers are grumbling.

“His suggestion that he might bring NFL players into the pardon process must be viewed as nothing less than a cynical, self-serving ploy to create a photo op with NFL players, many of whom have made it clear that they would not be caught standing downwind from him, much less next to him,” said Harry Edwards, a sociologist and longtime civil rights activist at the University of California at Berkeley. (…)

“This is just another attempt to divert attention and, of course, it places Donald Trump as the master of everything, just appeal to me personally and I’ll let your friends out or maybe I will pardon them,” said Jeffrey Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

One would think that Longtime Civil Rights Activists and Venerable Civil Liberties Organizations would care more about injustice being rectified more than who gets the credit for the rectification.

Unless it was all about the Look At Me moral narcissism and preening for them – and for the pro ballplayers — in the first place.

Nah, couldn’t be that.

Snark aside, I do hope that some ballplayers have enough integrity and perspective to accept the president’s offer.

We need some healing in this country.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

A Feces List, if you will.

While the FBI and the various tentacles of the Intelligence Community fall under hard scrutiny for their actions during the 2016 presidential election, another security agency reaches out to get a piece of that sweet Big Brother action. Again.

Pay attention to the reminder of how the Terror Watch List works.

The Department of Homeland Security intends to list and track hundreds of thousands of news outlets, journalists, bloggers, and “influencers” in traditional and new media alike. Its plan is to analyze targets’ “sentiment,” monitor “any and all” coverage of select news stories, and possibly share data with “federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners.” (…)

DHS is surely aware media services are available, which raises the question of why it did not elect to use one. If the aim here, as Houlton claims, is “nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring” the news, why not use the standard programs to do it?

The distinction seems to be twofold. First, the DHS database is noticeably personal. It is not content with assessing the general mood on a given news story, or even the editorial stance of an entire outlet. No, the database will list individuals — “journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” — including not only their contact information, employment, and beat, but “any other information that could be relevant.” Any other information. Is it so surprising this plan is anxiety-provoking for those of us who could conceivably be listed?

The second distinction is this is a government list — DHS evidently wants a proprietary database, not the rent-a-list services it could obtain more quickly and cheaply — and government lists do not have a stellar reputation. The terrorist watchlist is exemplary on this point, and reviewing its record of abuse and incompetence takes us nowhere tinfoil territory.

Officially known as the Terrorist Screening Database, the watchlist includes the no-fly list and 10 other lists and screening programs in the Departments of Justice, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security. It is a sprawling data monster best known for its failures, and it has exploded from fewer than 50,000 entries at the close of the Bush administration to more than 1.8 million people today. Almost 40 percent of those listed have no demonstrable ties to terrorism, and 99 percent of the names suggested for the list are accepted. Evidence as flimsy as a suspicious social media post is enough for inclusion. The removal process is slow, confusing, and secretive.

The writer of this piece reminds us that the Terrorist Watchlist has been used as a means of gun control.

They never stop trying.

President Trump’s words of contempt for the mainstream media are well documented, as the writer points out, but he/she doesn’t mention that former President Obama did more than talk critically of the press; he actually authorized DOJ surveillance of Fox News reporter James Rosen and 20 Associated Press reporters.

Watching as all our federal intelligence, security, and investigative agencies show us who they really are, it’s tempting to shut down all digital communications and go hermit. I, however, think that this would be an admission of defeat; one which would embolden them. And they’re bold enough already, are they not?

Let them listen, read, make their lists, and check them twice. I’m a retired GI; they already know who I am, and I spent eight years being a little afraid of critiquing President Obama because of my ties to him. I’m done with that.

And, while President Obama is “gone,” those who would surveil innocent Americans for exercising freedom of the press long preceded him and will keep trying to get in our business for whatever reason and no matter who is president. Each of us “influencers” has to decide whether we are up for potential of personal invasion — or worse.

Because lists like this always have an unspoken purpose.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

And how rare is that?

Many people cited a lone reason to vote for the presidential candidate that was Donald Trump: to keep Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office. As it turned out, that was the sole reason that I voted for him. But there were other very good reasons.

Like this one.

Of course, we remember that the president nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme court early last year to take

It’s fun to imagine Scalia giggling after facing a Higher Court.

the place of Antonin Scalia – who died in 2016. Justice Gorsuch was confirmed by the US Senate and took the oath of office last April. Conservatives seem to be pleased with his decisions so far.

But, according to the piece, the Left is afraid that all of its signature issues will be overruled by the high court – especially if President Trump gets to nominate another potential SCJ.

Republicans are working with Trump to make a record-breaking number of appointments to federal courts. These new, mostly young, white men will be in a position to rule on legislation that could change America for years.

But the most contentious appointment would be a second nomination to the highest court in the land. The supreme court has over decades delivered landmark decisions on issues from abortion to affirmative action and same-sex marriage. The potential for Trump to install another justice on the nine-seat bench, some legal experts argue, could have profound consequences on issues ranging from women’s reproductive health to LGBT rights.

With speculation mounting over the possible retirement of supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump could have a lasting impact on reshaping America’s most important court.

Honestly, I think that the worst thing that advocates of LGBT rights (translation: same-sex marriage), abortion, etc. would have to worry about is that most such issues would revert to the state legislatures where they belong. That’s why the tenth amendment exists.

But it’s always good to keep the Left afraid. Just keep your eyes open.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

Almost as if it isn’t an accident

I saw this yesterday. Dean Obeidallah is a radio host and CNN contributor.

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For the record. Captain Presson was the recipient of many decorations, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

I almost feel sorry for Obeidallah. One has to be incredibly stupid to step into that gaping hole.

Obeidallah apologized – with some Trump bashing thrown in for good measure, of course. But we all know that this guy’s ideological forebears would have called the man a NAZI even if they did know that he was wearing the uniform of the US military. That’s what actually happened 48 years ago – and even 13 years ago.

John Kerry’s 1971 testimony before Congress, anyone?

The words of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2005, anyone?

I don’t even like to think about all the foul words and drawings directed toward GIs during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It’s just not good publicity to denigrate the memory of a dead GI on Memorial Day weekend. At least not this year.

But I suspect that the tide will turn again and it won’t be long.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

From Allahpundit at Hot Air:

Matthew Charles was convicted of drug and weapons charges in the mid-90s. He already had a record by the point so the feds argued that he was a “career offender.” He got 35 years — but was set free after 21 thanks to the Obama administration’s new guidelines for offenses involving crack, which were punished

Matthew Charles

at the time with far more draconian sentences than those for cocaine. In those 21 years in prison he found God and, by all accounts, became a new man.

From Nashville Public Radio:

Since his release in 2016, Charles has held a steady job. He volunteers every Saturday, has reconnected with his family, and started a serious relationship. But really, his rehabilitation started years prior.

In prison, he took college classes and correspondence courses, he taught a GED program and got certified as a law clerk. With his training, he helped other incarcerated men understand the judicial system long after their public defenders moved on to the next case.

Charles kept the secrets of those who were illiterate so they wouldn’t face ridicule or harassment — he read them letters from the court and drafted filings for them in the library. He organized bible studies and counseled newcomers. Two decades in federal institutions — from maximum to low security — without a single disciplinary infraction.

AP again:

The federal government appealed his early release, arguing that Charles didn’t get his stiff 35-year sentence because he had sold crack. He got it because he was a career offender. And the new Obama guidelines said nothing about reducing sentences for people like that.

An appellate court, reviewing the record, agreed with the feds. The new sentencing guidelines didn’t apply in his case. (…)

And so Charles, despite having been released by the federal government and lived as a free man for years, will have to go back to prison and serve another decade to atone for their error. “

Justice? I agree with AP; President Trump should commute this man’s sentence and, perhaps, keep him on a list of potential pardons.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

I’m old enough to remember when I was called delusional by an alleged conservative for pointing this out. That happened in 2008.

But I’m certain that Don Surber was pointing it out back then also. Here he is in a well-earned I-told-you-so:

Barack Obama is a communist. Mild compared to Castro or Mao, but nevertheless a believer in state control of everything.

Electing a communist president was easy, although it took more than seven decades. While the steps were many — Stalin’s Soviet Union collapsed before achieving his goal — the major ones are obvious in hindsight.

The quest began after Stalin stole America’s nuclear bomb secrets. Roy Cohn prosecuted Stalin’s spies. We hanged them.

Stalin got revenge. He placed a big fat target on Cohn, who went to Washington to help Senator Joseph McCarthy ferret communists out of the Army and State Department.

Many people confuse this with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, which examined communism in Hollywood. Much ridiculed in the press (even conservatives mocked HUAC) look at Hollywood today and try to deny that communism lives on in America’s entertainment industry.

The elitists ripped McCarthy, called his quest for the truth a witch hunt, and made his name synonymous with the type of investigative fishing expedition Bobby Mueller has engaged in.

The net result was you no longer could call anyone a communist in America. Not even an actual communist. We call them liberal, progressive, socialist, and even Marxist, but never in polite society may we call them communists.

The downfall of McCarthy protected the communists in our federal government. We put one — John Brennan — as head of our CIA.

Indeed we did. I and many of my oldest and closest friends are also old enough to remember when open allegiance to communism was a huge disqualifier for any intelligence service position, much less DCI.

Don features Leftism’s takeover of most American churches and begins with my “favorite” trap: the (Lyndon Baines)

“Yeah, churches, Ah fooled yew, too!”

Johnson Amendment of 1950 – the political and, more importantly, the spiritual lure used to silence churches, at least the ones prone to engaging in wrong-think aka the undiluted Word of God.

What gets me sometimes is the failure of smart, capable and trained people to see the century-long pattern of infiltration, culminating with the election of hardcore Leftist Barack H. Obama. His rise was the result of the Organized Left’s patient effort to turn this country into the crown jewel of communist achievement. The Great Battle Won. But the Organized Left began the celebration too soon and got cocky. And now we are seeing the after-action reports that they couldn’t keep hidden. But they never did try to hide. Not really.

Many of us never did want to see. Still don’t.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

After previously denying it, James Clapper admitted that the FBI “might have been” spying on the Trump campaign.

Real Clear Politics:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night that the president’s claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign is “hyperbole” but if it is true, it is a “good thing.”

“They [the Obama admin’s FBI] may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here… is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said.

But if there was an intelligence agent “observing” the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia, “that’s a good thing because the Russians posed a threat to the very basis of our political system.”

If true? He doesn’t know? Yeah, okay. Clapper was Obama’s DNI.

Yesterday, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out that the corruption in our intelligence agencies long precedes the existence of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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These intelligence shenanigans aren’t new to anyone who has read Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.

It has been a number of years since I read it, and, at 702 pages, the hardback version definitely qualifies as a tome. However, I read it, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library, very rapidly due to great and building amazement. And by amazement, I mean horror.  This entity of the government, allegedly dedicated to our security, is and has always been a failure. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

Now that I have become more cynical and more paranoid, it seems to me that the agency, the OSS(the CIA’s World War II incarnation) and all the other investigative arms of the government — including the longer-standing FBI — have been very successful at doing what they were created to do.

The CIA and all of the other intelligence agencies exist to Keep the Gates. Gathering them all under the DNI banner made that easier, or so it seemed.

But their gates aren’t the same gates as our gates. That is certain.

What a waste.

RELATED: The CIA’s Long List of Failures

UPDATE: Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that [President Obama’s Director of Central Intelligence] John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.(…)

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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