A Follow-Up

Yesterday’s post was about Gavin Newsom’s challenge to Washington, and what it might mean for federalism, and for the divisions–both philosophical and partisan–between the more thinly-populated Red states (most of which are also “taker” states) and more urbanized Blue states (mostly “donors.”)

The Guardian also addressed the federalism issue, albeit from a different angle.The Guardian looked at the effect of Trump’s ego and behavior, focusing especially on Trump’s clear resentment of Puerto Rico after its hurricane, and–in the midst of the pandemic–his unmistakable message that he would be more likely to send needed medical supplies to states whose governors treated him “with appreciation.”

Clashes between presidents and states are nothing new. But according to government theorists, public affairs experts and political analysts, Trump’s rattling of the federalist compact, by which the 50 states are both autonomous and bound in a national union, is unprecedented in modern times.

“You’ve redefined the role of state governors,” said David Super, a professor at Georgetown Law. “Governors must grovel to the president. Governor [Gavin] Newsom [of California], Governor Andrew Cuomo [of New York] have understood that, and they’re doing it. Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer has largely refused, and Michigan is going through hell as a result.

“These governors are more like provincial chiefs under this system, and if we want to restore federalism in this country we will have to make some very dramatic changes after this is over. If we don’t, federalism is dead.”

Super calls the White House approach to the nation’s governors “flippant federalism.” And along with many other observers, he conveyed shock and concern over reports that the federal government is intercepting ventilators and other equipment ordered and paid for by the states, which Trump appears to be handing out on a political patronage basis.

“On the one hand, they’re telling the states they’re on their own,” said Super. “On the other, they’re seizing the supplies that the states get on their own.”

Martin O’Malley, a former governor of Maryland has called the administration’s approach “Darwinian federalism.”

“His [Trump’s] behavior is not in keeping with the office of president,” O’Malley told the Guardian in an email. “The notion that governors have to bow down and praise him in order for their citizens to receive federal disaster assistance is contrary to the very nature of a republic.”

In the wake of this pandemic, what happens to federalism, to democracy, to government legitimacy, to partisan polarization, the social safety net– are all open questions.

Every newscast, every performance, practically every Facebook post ends with “We’ll get through this– together.” I hope that’s true, but  I’m not so sure.

One thing I am sure of, however, and that is the importance of trust in a society’s institutions, based upon a belief that those institutions and structures are fair. Right now, Americans don’t have that belief and that trust.

Much as I detest Donald Trump and the know-nothings and predatory bigots he’s assembled, he’s not the cause of the multiple failures of governance we’re experiencing. He’s the pathetic result of years of civic apathy.

Our national motto was not originally “In God We Trust.” It was e pluribus unum–out of the many, one. The existential question we face is whether we can breathe new life into that motto–if we can use this horrible time to recommit ourselves to the values that once did make this country exceptional (although probably not in the way the nationalists believe).

Federalism isn’t the only institution we have to repair.


  1. To begin returning the nation to a self-view embodied in the slogan “out of many, one” we should start by dumping that divisive projection that some states are givers and some states are takers.

  2. Federalism is nowhere to be found in the Trump administration; he claims total power but puts responsibility on underlings, such as those who come and go in his administration at his whim, and the Governors of states and territories he believes he rules over.

    Call is what it is; we are living in a Dictatorship run by a despot in a government filled with court jesters. Will Trump’s latest unbelievable threat to shut down both houses of Congress to have time to make up his imbalanced mind who to appoint to positions he has ignored for 3 1/2 years become the final straw if he enacts that edict? Those on Twitter will receive his final decision first via Tweets sent out during the night. Not being on Twitter I will have to wait for the film to come out.

  3. failed education from the bottom up. theres little in the way i see,where the newly educated,(in todays public education,) that explains in detail,what democracy is,and why.ive spoken with alot of below 25 of age,and seems its not on the map. many may have just ignored the subject,until ya hit em the face witha few words like,who the F died to keep your ass walking around and enjoying the freedoms others died to defend.seems theres no advanced corriculum in school to hammer out why. from age 6 they shouldnt be stand to pledge allegiance,they should be in discussion on various subjects,daily. teachers who make a dragging foot explaination,should be kept in diapers themselves. explain to the kids,and they will,if engaged ask the questions,hense,we now have the new found voter,asking,questions,asking for information.. i was blesssed with the presense of many WW2 vets in my hood. they were of the depression era,and lived in working class neighborhoods,that comprised of those who escaped,to have a better life,and went back, to defend why they left..immigrants are the lifes blood today of why,you defend your rights. sometimes ya gotta get on a lower level to explain what its like to live under a security risk,and a dictator oppresion.this present admin is capitalism to a extent that it shows it doesnt care squat about anything but its own ass..kids today,at home need a extended lessson on why were here,and how we got here..not excusses or go watch t.v. the scenrio must end now. trumps side show is a perfect reason why,you dont hire greed to run your nation…and you dont allow so called journalists,tell you how to fox,er think…in conversation,yesterday with loacals,they told me,fox and some news rag in england was the number one main stream news networks,a few never heard of murdoc,and few understood,and under what subject,that made them number one. seems they just feel they are number one,because they agree with ignorance, guess my raise isnt coming…

  4. After Indiana first came out with, “In God We Trust” license plates I saw a van with a bumper sticker that read, “In Logic We Trust.” I smiled and thought that he must be the loneliest man in Indiana.

  5. The most salient comment in the blog concerned civic apathy. We the people have allowed these fetid camels into our civic tent. The abjectly corrupt Republican party has taken corruption, self-service, hypocrisy and the ruination of the rule of law to new lows. Sheila is right in saying, either directly or indirectly, that Trump and his gang of idiots and clowns is merely the culmination of decades of that apathy.

    When St. Ronald declared that government was the problem, he announced that he was officially the dupe of the capitalists and extortionists who purchased our national soul. This thread goes back to the spinner of idiocy, Milton Friedman and his “Chicago Boys” perversion of Hayak’s theories of economics.

    Yes, Jack, it is a function of education, but when schools allow coaches to teach civics via the VCR player, this is what you get.

  6. Right on point Sheila!

    Of course Trump throws everything on the states, that he claims he wants to be the backup, or the president of Oz, that way he can hide behind the curtain and spit out edicts. And when those edicts go down the toilet, he can throw the blame on the governors!

    He tells them that the government is going to be open, and then he says all the governors are going to be in charge of their own states when they open, and then he says if they don’t open when he wants them to, he’s going to have to do something drastic! So what could that drastic thing be? The only other thing that he has in his tool chest would be “Martial Law” and you can best believe, that’s in the back of his mind or whatever you call that thing up there.

    The problem is, all of these red states that refused to practice social distancing and have not taken it seriously, are the fly in the ointment so to speak!

    If everything opens back up for the virus has run its course, those individuals who are infected and asymptomatic are going to be spreading the virus back into the highly populated regions, mostly all Democratic strongholds!

    If a human body is suffering from gangrene, and you just put a bandage over the area, and dose the person up with pain medications so they are moving around, is that person healed? The person might feel well enough to leave the hospital and maybe go back to work. But, in short order, that person is going to die of sepsis without a doubt! But if that person had an amputation of the infected area i.e. a leg or arm, and given high doses of antibiotics, recovery would take a while, but the life would be saved.

    Anybody doubt that this is “Pres. Nero” or “Pres. Narcissus” falling in love with the sound of his voice or fiddling while the world burns?

    The death rate in the United States from Covid 19 is much higher than what’s being listed, all of the folks dying in retirement homes and extended-stay facilities, nursing homes and such, is unbelievably high, even around this area. These deaths are not listed as Covid 19 deaths, and I believe they are Culling the heard, ignore what’s going on in these homes, and remove the responsibility of dealing with this older and sickly generation.

    This is nothing short of a page out of Nazi Germany, instead of sticking folks in poison showers, they just let the virus do its work.

    The pictures of the mass graves in New York, burying coffins with bulldozers, should be more of a shock to this country than it is right now. These scenes that are going on around the country, refrigerated Connex boxes loaded with the dead, this needs to be broadcast across the country on a continuous basis! People need to see it and it needs to be pounded into people’s heads constantly.

    The warning signs are there, you don’t even have to read tea leaves or be a Nostradamus, this is not going to turn out well. And if and when this virus gets rolling again, in essence it’s never stopped, there will be no elections, and don’t think Pres. Nero is unaware of that!

    When military trucks start to roll through cities, and they enact their REX, one that they’ve had in place for rounding up and incarcerating millions of African-Americans (1969) or Latin Americans (1984) infected with Covid 19 ( 2020), will everyone think it’s a movie being filmed or will they finally take it seriously!

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any stretch, but I’ve really researched Ronald Reagan’s architect on all of this,
    “Louis Onorato “Jeff” Giuffrida” Who writes a paper while at the US Army War College advocating martial law in the event of a militant uprising by African Americans. The Miami Herald will later report that Giuffrida’s paper calls for the roundup and transfer of at least 21 million “American Negroes” to “assembly centers or relocation camps” in the event of an emergency or uprising by black citizens.

    This opinion was acted upon by the Reagan administration, and was put into standby mode by George W Bush after 9/11. So, it’s something that they don’t talk about, but this program is definitely a tool in the chest, and don’t be surprised if we see it again.




  7. As I understand it, and I am no academic on the subject, there is a wide variation in the power of the governor from state to state. Some have vast power, others have relatively little compared to legislators. Like most things political/governing, it ain’t simple….

  8. Sheila,

    “He’s the pathetic result of years of civic apathy.”

    That’s not the problem. The problem is CIVIC COURAGE. Let’s get real. We’ve given Trump and his cohorts the country’s FUTURE, “hook, line, & sinker,” without “lifting a finger.”

  9. “. . . years of civic apathy” is what happens when we, as a society, fail to teach civics in K – 12 curriculum. For most public school systems, this has been missing for years or was nonexistent. While the We The People organization is doing a great job of trying to get those wheels turning in various schools around the State, this is something we can all do. Recognize the value of civic education, lobby our legislators to make it mandatory in public education and challenge our own knowledge by taking the test all new citizens of America are required to take before being sworn in. There are adult civics classes, book discussions, celebratory civic events (e.g., Civic Saturday) and other opportunities to obtain greater knowledge/understanding as an adult – since most of us missed out on Civics classes in school.
    Really – how can we expect a participatory constituency if we don’t understand the mechanics of this constitutional system – how it operates, why it was constructed the way that it was, and how to go about changing this system that was designed to change with the times?
    Apathy is the inevitable outcome of this vacuum in our public education policy. In that way, we have invited this moment – when a lot of us don’t even know what federalism means.

  10. I believe that the timing of unrelated things will work out to be that blue will replace red in the Federal Government about the time we start flirting with a new normal. We will be in a more or less permanent recession while the economy realigns with that new world. The country will have survived by going into previously unimaginable debt financially and also in terms of confidence.

    President Biden (presumptively) will be overwhelmed by urgent problems that are desperate for government attention but will have, and need, full support of the rest of government (something that Obama and he virtually never enjoyed).

    The rest of the world will be in a similar state except for the unintended benefit of nobody having interest in international war but lots of the civil unrest desperate times require of people on the brink of survival.

    People will also be experiencing the leading edge of the new climate reality that we earned by apathy about it over the last 3 or 4 decades. That, and the migrations it will cause, will be a significant cause of the civil unrest that will have replaced international war.

    There will be good news too. We will by then be so used to being overwhelmed that it will have become part of the new normal.

  11. Terri,

    “…when a lot of us don’t even know what federalism means.”

    We don’t want to know. If we knew, then we would have to act. All of this reminds me of the statements made by the Germans who lived near Auschwitz at the end of W.W. II. Most of them said they didn’t know what was happening. I believe them. It’s the same type of excuse we’re all going to have to use. It’s better than nothing.

  12. “When St. Ronald declared that government was the problem, he announced that he was officially the dupe of the capitalists and extortionists who purchased our national soul.”

    Vernon; being amazed that an old Grade B movie star had been elected president, I sat down to watch his first public speech. He began with, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. As Charles Dickens said in his novel “A Christmas Carol” I knew we were in trouble but had no idea how deep it ran, how far he would go and it wasn’t until much later I began to question when his first symptoms of Alzheimer’s began. I knew when Trump was the Republican presidential nominee that the Republican party was in more trouble than I realized. Those of us who have watched Trump through 3 or 4 decades of financial and sexual foibles had no idea of what was coming; not even those of us who feared he would sit in the White House. The book “The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump” warned us but the “Goldwater Rule” prevented qualified licensed psychiatrists and mental health experts to legally pronounce their diagnoses of “The Man Who Would Be King” of the United States…if only in his own mind. But; it is working out rather well for him, isn’t it? He owns the government now, lock, stock and oil barrels and is now in the position of deciding who will live and who will die. “Off with their heads! Off with their heads!” He has sullied our national soul before the eyes of the world; this country has become his personal asylum run by the head inmate.

  13. Hear Hear Marv!!

    Lacking courage–while I agree that most of Americans and I am including myself in this are pretty civic illiterate. Now, I graduated from High School in 1987 and I recall a semester of gov’t and that is pretty much it. I guess it was somewhat woven into history classes but not really. That being said it is the lack of courage that is unsettling. I do not think our Founding Fathers and Mothers envisioned an entire party relinguishing its principles to this bully in chief.

    Cynicism is also prevalent and maybe that has led to apathy. I think the majority in my age group felt politicians were ‘bought and paid for’ and nobody in leadership or power really care about the little guy–I don’t think ‘we’ realized how truly corrupt things have really become.

  14. Elaine,

    “That being said it is the lack of courage that is unsettling. I do not think our Founding Fathers and Mothers envisioned an entire party relinquishing its principles to this bully in chief.”

    Thanks! No better example. It, at least, goes back to Bill Clinton’s ill-advised meeting with Robert Strauss that brought us that great strategy of TRIANGULATION, otherwise known as SELL-OUT.

  15. I wish I knew how to be diplomatic about this, but I’m more soldier artist than ninny ambassador.

    I don’t like this whining about loss of federalism. It seems to me to be a trap for progressives. Progressives know that federal power over states is often necessary and that federal power over corporations is always necessary, but evidently progressives don’t know how to keep federal supremacy in top condition, a mission in which the finest tool is to be consistent in its advocacy.

    The ultra-federalists’ wet dream is of a weakened national government–to them a state of national fragility that prostrates government before more and more tycoons and corporations. Bubba Rebelflag smiles in his stupor. He sees it coming–a Fed so weakened that national regulations and Constitutional restrictions on big shot abuse of power can be ignored. If Bubba Rebelflag could read this blog, he’d be weeping in ecstasy. Bubba may be dumb but not so dumb that he does not recognize that the weaker central government becomes the more dictatorial wealthy individuals, corporations, and Bully Bubbas will become.

    Instead of falling for the Trump administration’s shot fake, keep your feet on the federal supremacy floor. Try to rid the government of Trumpism instead of ridding Trumpism of government.

    Giving in to federalism is as self-defeating as giving in to trickle-down economics.

  16. From the Common Dreams Web Site:

    President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to adjourn both chambers of Congress so he can unilaterally ram through judges and political appointees amid the coronavirus pandemic, a move Democratic lawmakers and legal experts said would be dictatorial and unconstitutional.

    The Constitution does give the president the authority to unilaterally adjourn both chambers of Congress, but only “in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment.” As Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, pointed out on Twitter, there is no such disagreement at present.

    “Article II of the Constitution gives the president the power to adjourn Congress if—and only if—the House and Senate cannot agree on a date for ending the current session,” wrote Vladeck. “But they have agreed—January 3, 2021. There’s a reason why this power has never been exercised before.”

    Trump’s threat was immediately condemned by Democratic members of Congress.

    The Trumpet tosses out one his verbal hand grenades and the Democrats as is their usual style became reactive and try to smoother the grenade with their bodies. What they should have done is listed all the bills the House has sent over that Mitch McConnell has been sitting on and made a very public announcement on about where the fault lies. Force McConnell to defend himself instead of going on the Defensive.

  17. States rights vs federalism is but one component of a universe of checks and balances that keeps our government functional through any storm of dysfunctional people. Trump has tested that network and revealed several weaknesses that need updating but ultimately knowing that democracy has vulnerabilities allows us to weather this storm and better prepare for the next.

  18. So many of my liberal friends have long been disdainful of federalism. They have long held the view, probably because of the experience over what happened during the fight over civil rights, that states are run by a bunch of hilljacks who have no interest in doing what is best and just get in the way of the wisdom of those who run our national government. Many believe that states are (or should be) merely administrative units carrying out whatever “wise” policies our national leaders come up with.

    Over the years, I’ve told my liberal friends that the day would come when they would discover that our national politicians do not have a monopoly on wisdom. Presidents and those in Congress can be ignorant, incompetent and disdainful of the public’s best interests while state politicians can have wisdom, political courage and be forward-thinking. Well, that day has come.

    During the Covid-19 crisis, we are seeing excellent leadership from many of our state governors ( I know there are some exceptions such as Florida’s Governor ) as they come up with innovative, thoughtful approaches to handling the crisis in their particular states. Imagine if we had to wait for a one-size-fits-all approach to the crisis from our ignorant, incompetent President? It would have been a disaster. There would be a lot more dead Americans.

    Time for my liberal friends to concede that there is a lot of wisdom in the federal approach to decision-making that our Founders came up with.

  19. We could say, trump’s actions are in fact out of step with any sane rational action that needs to be taken at this time – unless put under the lens of criminal scrutiny. Monies and materials are be redirected and going to questionable suppliers. We can only assume as citizens that our governmental heads are actually working against the people they are meant to serve. This is the state of our country. And still I have to stand to ask: IF we all know he has caused mass casualties how can we still allow this to continue – the deaths are piling up. He has to go.

  20. From the Guardian:

    Profit over people, cost over care: America’s broken healthcare exposed by virus. There were 27.9 million people without health insurance in 2018, and record-high unemployment will increase that figure by millions.

    More than 22 million American have lost their jobs in the last four weeks as the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the US, according to government figures.

    The ICU doctor, Gaffney, said he was certain the way healthcare is financed in the US is exacerbating the overall harm of the epidemic.

    “At a time of soaring unemployment and at a time of deepening recession, people are going to be losing coverage and seeing more and more medical bills if they get sick,” Gaffney said. “That doesn’t make any sense.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/16/profit-over-people-cost-over-care-americas-broken-healthcare-exposed-by-virus

    Numbers change by the minute Corona confirmed cases 644,746, recovered 52,663, deaths 28,593.
    All of these numbers are only as good as the input. It seems with a lack of testing and inconsistent reporting, we have what is approaching garbage in, garbage out in terms of reliability of the extent of Corona.

    The “News Networks” CNN, MSDNC and FOX put their own spins on the Corona pandemic. Everyone agrees the health care workers and their supporting infrastructure of people are performing heroic work.

    What we do not hear or read about very much is the total failure of the For Profit Model of Health Care here in the USA.

    Previous to Corona the debate around Medicare 4 All was a political philosophical debate. Medicare 4 All is no longer a philosophical debate, it is now life or death and/or bankruptcy. Will the Democratic Party now take the lead on Medicare 4 All, or just continue to shuffle their feet back and forth???

  21. Paul, you are right!

    But, we are not a Confederation, we are a federation! As it is now, it’s a long laborious secession if a state would like to do that. And of course the last time was the Civil War! And, the federal government controls the states by using its taxation and other methods to keep people in line and to help those states that are less advantaged. A true Confederation would not be advantageous to the poorest states, because the wealthier states would probably leave the union.

    I think the founders decided that a true Confederation would be FUBAR, after all, look at how things are right now! And the president really can run roughshod over the governors, now, will he declare martial law? Will he suspend posse comitatus? Will he federalize the National Guard? Will he suspend habeas corpus and let everything go through his military tribunals? Would the military follow his edicts? Lots of questions!

  22. john,

    “…..will he declare martial law? Will he suspend posse comitatus? Will he federalize the National Guard? Will he suspend habeas corpus and let everything go through his military tribunals? Would the military follow his edicts? Lots of questions!”

    What is going to stop him? Joe Biden? Just look at what happened to the Weimar Republic and they weren’t even a bunch of cowards like we are.

  23. I remember when the Tea Party started the opposition amounted to a group out in California called the Coffee Party. It has never been more than what amounts to a “bad joke.” It wasn’t any more than a discussion group. Where is another Paul Revere when we need one?

  24. Legal status 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization[1]
    Headquarters Washington, D.C.[1]

    Update on our lone defenders:

    The Coffee Party USA is an American political movement that was initially formed in January 2010, as an alternative to the Tea Party movement. Co-founder Annabel Park said that the group initially had significant appeal among those opposed to the Tea Party.

    The Coffee Party USA identifies itself as a 501(c)(4) social benefit organization. The organization’s
    mission states that it is based on the underlying principle that the government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the
    democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.” Its slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up”. Its stated goals include getting cooperation in government and removing corporate influence from politics.

    The organization’s first National Coffee Party Day was held on March 13, 2010.

    From: Wikipedia

  25. Can anyone, under the present circumstances, blame Trump for attempting to take it all. Why not? He’s nothing more than just a second-rate Nazi.

  26. Why is it that we’ve become so completely defenseless? There has to a reason for this shameful conduct. Is it caused by a BLACK SWAN, like the author Nassim Taleb has warned about? I believe it is.

  27. Marv,
    Do you remember when I was saying and some of the earlier threads, ‘there Will be blood?

    how many of the commenters on those particular threads poo poo that idea and actually showed their righteous indignation?

    It really bamboozles my brain because people that I know who despise our current POTUS, is saying that he has it right. They think that he’s the one telling the governor’s they can’t open for business unless he tells them to.

    I just looked at both of them slack-jawed, LOL! Then I asked them if they’ve been watching the news briefs or the coronavirus news conferences or whatever he calls them, they acknowledge that they have, but the comprehension level is really really lacking.

    I think a lack of comprehensive understanding of the situation is more rampant than what I thought. All the while I’m listening to these ? reporters fretting about what their grandchildren are going to say! I don’t think I’d be worried about grandchildren are not born yet, and start worrying about how you are going to conduct any sort of healthy business in this burgeoning theocratic autocracy.

    If it all goes down the toilet this time, it is because it’s time for it to happen. We might have reached the saturation point, the point of no return. So, they’ll be a great upheaval and a die off just like with the Spanish flu. That’s too bad, because those that are supposed to be in the know, are completely clueless, the point of death.

  28. john,

    “That’s too bad, because those that are supposed to be in the know, are completely clueless, the point of death.”

    Without a strong faith, the problem we’re facing can’t be comprehended, as fear will be impossible to overcome.

  29. Marv,
    “Without a strong faith, the problem we’re facing can’t be comprehended, as fear will be impossible to overcome.”

    Faith is the first sign of a strong fear; together they create the greatest hurdles to progress and survival.

    If I am to be given the worst of “tough problems” to overcome, then give me the best of faithless, fearless rationalists to wage the fight.

  30. Let’s cross our fingers and empathize with Donald Trump. Just for a minute.

    Presidents whose win was at the voting booth instead of the electoral college have an enormous natural power because they are the only elected official selected by all the citizens. That is true whether they choose to use it or not.

    But once the electoral college supersedes the popular vote, the President’s natural authority dissolves, and we get what we have now–a leader who, even if he formerly was the most confidant of leaders, now becomes the Ultimate Inferiority Complex determined by hook or crook to acquire the authority that escaped him in the election. That is true, even if the SOB was nuts and ignorant to begin with. At whatever starting condition of a new president, he or she will get immensely worse whenever the electoral college has snatched the election from the popular vote.

    Even the public service individual who does not seek power will be forced to acquire power when faced with the responsibility to discharge his or her oath of office. To feel the force of that oath of office and know that the electoral college fix left you with insufficient power to live up to your oath must feel like the ultimate Catch-22.

    Okay, Trump, you’ve had your moment of sympathy; now resign.

  31. Oh come on Larry!

    If you are going to wage a fight you want to have people of faith, people who have such strong faith that whatever they are contemplating whatever endeavor they take upon their shoulders, they will be successful!

    If you have those that are faithless attempting something that seems tectonically impossible, then whatever they are contemplating or endeavoring will not be accomplished.

    Jesus Christ told his disciples, “truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard grain, you will say to this mountain, transfer from here to there, and it will transfer, and nothing will be impossible for you “(Matthew 17:20.)

    At that time Jesus Christ disciples were looking at something of a magnitude they could not comprehend, andJesus was telling them that they would be defeated in their endeavors before they ever started if they didn’t have faith in their ability to accomplish their mission.

    The last thing you would want are people with no faith, because those people are defeated before their endeavor ever gets underway.

    And please, compare these scriptures with the one quoted above concerning the strength of faith. Matthew 21: 21, Mark 11: 23, Luke 17: 6

    Faith is conjoined with works at the hip, and both of those are conjoined with hope. You are Faith can make your works mountainous, you are works, your mountainous works can give hope to those who have none. ???

  32. Faith is conjoined with works at the hip, and both of those are conjoined with hope. Your Faith can make your works mountainous, your works, your mountainous works can give hope to those who have none. ???

  33. John and Marv:
    The men in my platoon in Vietnam proved my point over and over…and disproved the vulgar saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” One of my squad leaders was a Baptist preacher, and another was a medical doctor and skeptic. To their credit, both refused assignment as officers, preferring to be regular infantrymen. The preacher should have stuck to preaching. The doctor, a black man named White, managed quite well in tough situations.

    Among a 40-man platoon, you get a wide array of characters. And then you get replacements and on some missions you get attached specialty squads, so there is ample opportunity to observe something other than myth and supposition.

    The best I had was a 17-year-old Texan who chose service over jail and skepticism over myth. Others in the platoon who were skeptics migrated to the leadership of baby-faced Tex. The religious in the platoon fell in with the preacher. It wasn’t hard to see who solved problems, who braved the frightening, who just quit and who chose insanity as escape.

    Give me those old fashioned skeptics every time. I think it was their understanding that what they did or didn’t do reflected upon their character instead of on a mythical god.

    I like the study of religion for the purpose of honing wisdom but not to succumb to the myth. With Catechism and Altar Boy duties in the Lutheran church to hone my myth of religion, I went to Vietnam convinced that there could be no atheists willing to go through combat hell without succumbing to the religious crutch. It took six months of seeing just the opposite to change my mind, and I’ve seen nothing in the 55 years since to change it back; although, I have read thousands of pages of theory, myth and speculation that purport–theoretically–that I am wrong. I find that kind of reading quite interesting, even entertaining and instructive but unconvincing in the light of what I have seen in my own experience. I read it, but I am quite careful about quoting it as leverage upon people facing deeply troubling or life-threatening issues. This Trump thing is not a game of theory and myth.

    When things go to the streets, don’t bring any religious dudes into my outfit.

  34. Larry,

    “When things go to the streets, don’t bring any religious dudes into my outfit.”

    Please do not be a part of any company, as opposed to only a platoon, that I might be leading into a domestic battlefield.

  35. Well Larry,

    I agree about the saying that there is no atheists in a foxhole, I think everyone wants to hedge their bets so to speak. When the draft ended, I was 15 years old. So unlike my father and my uncles and such, I never went into the military. As far as the preacher from your military experience, I’ve noticed with all of these evangelicals, whatever they may be, really don’t have any faith. They really don’t believe in a hell, my cousin who is a Catholic priest admitted as much. It was used to keep people in line, and also to extort funds from those individuals. May be to buy a baby out of limbo and into heaven, although now the church says there never was a limbo, LOL! And then, purgatory, where pictures show a person being bought out of purgatory by contributions from their family.

    Each payment to the church would get a specific part of the body out of purgatory, the last one was a picture of I hand holding the hair of a purgatory dweller, and the last payment would allow that hand to let go of the person and there could go to heaven! Now where any of that is in Scripture? I have no idea! I’ve read every concordance imaginable, the apocryphal books, those that are not in Bible Canon, say all sorts of things, and the Catholic Church uses some of these, but scholars basically will tell you, these books are written by folks that had no other agenda than to subvert Scripture! Of course, the Catholics and certain Protestants, use them anyway!

    A true man of faith is really a fearless individual, because he knows if he dies he has the promise of a resurrection, the resurrection proved to be a fact if you believe in Scripture, because Christ resurrected the dead, and some of his apostles did the same. In the Octavius of Minucius Felix of the early third century C.E., there is an interesting defense of the resurrection in chapter 34: “But who is so foolish or so brutish as to dare deny that man, as he could first of all be formed by God, so can again be reformed; that he is nothing after death, and that he was nothing before he began to exist; and as from nothing it was possible for him to be born, so from nothing it may be possible for him to be restored?” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 194.)

    “In faith all these died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land. For those who say such things give evidence that they are earnestly seeking a place of their own. . . . But now they are reaching out for a better place, that is, one belonging to heaven [the kingdom of the heavens with Christ enthroned in it]. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.” (Hebrews. 11:13-16.)

    Those who do not believe their own faith, cannot be faithful or have faith! There’s a huge difference, hypocrites are not very brave or faithful, those who are true to their beliefs or true to their faith, are very staunch and willing allies! There were many in the Holocaust who died rather than renounce their faith or give allegiance to the Nazi party, those individuals were the strong ones, and the reason they were put to death, the Nazis were actually afraid of them.

  36. I’m just testing some thoughts here…

    The Koch family has spent billions to literally buy 23/24 states which also gives them plenty of power at the federally. Who do you think was handing out Ayn Rand books?

    The Koch family also wants to eliminate the size of government across the board and let dollars and the free markets decide.

    And, the states owned by the Koch’s just happen to be “takers” meaning they mooch off the progressive states.

    In fact, thanks to Milton Friedman, Arthur Laffer, and Roger Ailes, Ronnie Reagan, and Maggie Thatcher, we’ve been selling off public assets and services for 40 years to the Oligarchy (Neoliberalism). Capitalism is an extractive economic system creating a few winners but massive losers.

    Nobody can convince me that we are even close to a Republic. As for democracy, we rank 25th in the world mainly behind Scandanavian and Europian countries (socialism).

    It amazes me what we consider reality; Carl Sagan wrote:

    One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

    ~ The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

  37. Larry, this is from Bonnie Kaucnik

    The preacher was a hypocrite who preached the gospel message to ‘love your enemies” while volunteering to slaughter them; the doctor was an egotist who trusted in himself; and Tex’s desperation (translated as bravado) attracted other migrating skeptics. The Vietnam vets I knew either committed suicide; lived with, or died from various cancers, the effects of jungle rot combined with agent orange; or became physical and/or mental basket cases due to the carnage they witnessed, were forced to participate in, and couldn’t forget. Rather than believing that ‘what they did or didn’t do’ reflected ‘upon their character or a mythical god,’ their true motivation was to kill and survive… or they would die. The tens of thousands of Americans who died on those muddy battlefields left their character there in the heat and stench, amongst the bodies of their enemies-later-turned-friends… ALL sacrifices to the mythical god of “war.” These skeptics believe in gods fashioned by ‘the state’ which convince the fittest sons to sacrifice their lives on his alter. The reward? Their name carved on The Wall, and a wreath laid at The Tomb of the Unknown.

    The aphorism ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’ alludes to the truth that, like foxes who seek refuge from predators in their holes/dens, most people under threat of death not only attempt to conceal themselves, but hold out hope for survival. Hope is a natural human instinct, ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain outcome,’ but also a feeling of trust that engenders faith in God: “No king is saved by a large army; A mighty man is not saved by HIS great power. The horse is a false hope for salvation; Its great strength does not ensure escape. Look! The eye of Jehovah watches over those fearing him, Those waiting for his loyal love, To rescue them from death…” Psalm 33:16-19

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