31 thoughts on “News/Politics 8-31-17

  1. Democrats keep looking for crimes and scandals in the wrong place. They should try looking in the mirror.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/30/robert-menendez-bribery-trial-prosecution-case-242178

    “Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez allegedly starting taking bribes from a wealthy donor shortly after he entered the Senate in 2006, federal prosecutors assert in a new document.

    Menendez’s bribery and corruption trial is set to begin next week. In preparation for that, Justice Department prosecutors filed a new document Wednesday laying out their case against the New Jersey senator, as well as Dr. Salomon Melgen, his alleged co-conspirator. Melgen has already been convicted in a separate case of bilking Medicare but has not been sentenced yet.

    Menendez’s fate — and the what happens to his Senate seat if convicted — is part of the drama surrounding the high-profile case. Menendez has denied all allegation of wrongdoing, and he has denied any talk of a plea deal with the Justice Department.

    The new documents lay out the roadmap for the government’s case against Menendez.

    “The defendants’ bribery scheme began shortly after Menendez’s elevation to the Senate in 2006, when Melgen began a pattern of treating Menendez to weekend and weeklong getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years,” prosecutors said in their new filing. “For the first four years of the corruption scheme, the all-expense paid trips Melgen provided often included free roundtrip flights on Melgen’s private jet for Menendez and his various guests. When the doctor’s private jet was unavailable, Melgen supplied equally luxurious travel for the Senator.”
    —————————-

    “In return for Melgen’s gifts and campaign , Menendez reportedly used his office to help the Florida doctor.

    “Although Menendez did not pay Melgen back for the lavish gifts in money, he did pay him back using the currency of his Senate office to take official action to benefit the South Florida doctor,” prosecutors wrote. Email exchanges between the defendants, their agents, and officials from Executive Branch agencies will show Menendez’s considerable efforts to pressure the Executive Branch on Melgen’s behalf. And testimony from the agency officials over whom he exerted that pressure will illuminate the relentlessness of those efforts.””

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  2. That’s not all the Senator was up to. Politico left out much of the details, and the fact that his dirty money was given to other Democrats and their causes.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/five-things-to-know-about-the-robert-menendez-scandal

    “2) Did he have something to do with an intern?

    Yes, scandal No. 1 involves 18-year-old Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta—an illegal Peruvian immigrant, registered sex offender, and former unpaid intern for Menendez’s 2012 Senate reelection campaign. Sanchez was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on December 6, 2012, but the Associated Press reported that ICE had planned to arrest him back on October 25 but was asked by the Department of Homeland Security to hold off till after the election. A DHS spokesman dismissed the report as “categorically false,” and Menendez’s office denied knowing anything about DHS’s alleged interference or the intern’s legal status.

    3) What went down in the Dominican Republic?

    That’s scandal No. 2. Back in early November—before the Sanchez case was reported but, more important, just days before the election—the Daily Caller, a conservative blog, reported that the divorced father of two had made several trips via private plane to the Dominican Republic for rendezvous with underage prostitutes, citing interviews with an anonymous Dominican Republic official and local women—also unidentified. Menendez’s office promptly denied the allegations and his reelection was unhampered.

    The rumor resurfaced on January 24, when an anonymous blogger posted emails between the FBI and a tipster going by the name of Peter Williams. The emails referenced conversations Williams said he had with women in the Dominican Republic who said they attended sex parties with Menendez at a house and on a yacht both owned by Florida opthalmologist Salomon Melgen. Williams had initially emailed the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, which forwarded the emails to the FBI and to ABC News. On January 25, the Daily Caller ran a story on the leaked emails, prompting CREW to publish its correspondence with the tipster on its own website.”
    ———————-

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/politics/menendez-indictment-takeaways/index.html

    “The 68-page indictment outlines in colorful detail those duties as a senator — which include allegedly intervening on behalf of Melgen’s three girlfriends’ visa applications, among other things — and his friendship — which includes nearly $1 million in trips, political contributions and other perks.”
    ——————-

    “More than $750,000

    That’s the amount, according to the indictment, that Melgen gave — through his family and business — to entities supporting Menendez’s re-election effort in 2012.
    Of that, $143,500 went to New Jersey State and County Democratic Party entities. Melgen also contributed approximately $600,000 to Majority PAC, a super PAC backing Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents, in two contributions of $300,000. Both of which were earmarked for the New Jersey Senate race — in which Menendez was the only Democratic contender.
    And Melgen also contributed $8,000 to an unnamed female senator — who turned out to be Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar — after Menendez and his staff asked the doctor directly to help return the fundraising favor to the senator, who had raised money for Menendez’s reelection fight and was facing a primary challenge. Klobuchar announced she was returning the funds following the indictment.”

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  3. QoD
    We have heard much about men becoming women.
    Does anyone know of a situation in which a woman becomes a man?

    This is such an important issue. It may get 57 responses.
    At least a dozen.
    Does anyone know one?

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  4. Apparently it’s never too early to start shutting up debate and conversation when it comes to political correctness. Elementary school children in public schools are on the front lines now. :–(

    “McCordsville, Ind. — A letter sent home with a class of first graders in McCordsville asked parents to tell their kids they can’t use the words “God, Jesus and Devil” in school.

    In the letter, sent home with students Wednesday, the teacher said a group of “about 5 students” had been using the words in class even after she had spoken to them about it. The teacher is now requesting parents to talk to their kids about why it is not appropriate to use those words in school.

    “With McCordsville Elementary being a public school, we have many different religions and beliefs, and I do not want to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” the letter said. “If you got to church or discuss these things at home, please have a talk with your child about there being an appropriate time and place of talking about it.”

    http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/morgan-county/letter-from-mccordsville-1st-grade-teacher-keep-god-jesus-and-devil-out-of-class-conversation

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  5. Chas, I don’t know, but nothing much surprises me anymore—except, well I guess it is surprising that so many people are eager or passive enough to accept widespread perversion and mental illness as normal or even desirable. Common sense used to be more common.

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  6. It isn’t just that Debra.
    I hear that parents are giving their children hormones.
    That’s going to mess up their lives forever.
    Gender is more than hormones.. So, also, is sex.
    With regards to that. I’m not surprised that a school resents having God, Jesus and Devil mentioned in school..
    But I’m surprised that it’s in Indiana. When I was at Purdue, Indiana was a conservative state.

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  7. Thanks for that link, Linda. I had not heard of the North American Lutheran Church. But then it’s been many years since I’ve read about the various denominations identified as Lutheran, and this one only came into being in 2010. Fascinating. It sounds from reading the Wikipedia article that my friends’ church would fit well into the NALC, and I googled the mission district that I thought they would be in, but they were not on the list of churches in that or nearby districts. Interestingly, a church from my community is on there.

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  8. I never heard of that synod either. We attend a Free Lutheran Church. It is an association with the local church making its own decisions. We went through a lot of stress and pain leaving the ELCA years ago.

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  9. Many people are simply not outspoken about this travesty to children, Chas. Their jobs are on the line and it is a difficult position to be in. We need to pray for God’s people to have the wisdom to know when and how to speak up. Being light and salt is not easy. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…”

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  10. Debra, You just thought I lived in a bubble. Last night I discovered the real bubble. We waited until 7:30 (9:30 our time) to eat so that we could have seafood in San Diego rather than airport food in Dallas. Chris found a place called Ironside in the Little Italy area just north of downtown San Diego. It was pretty much everything I imaged. Half of the women looked like Hollywood starlets and half of the men looked like their agents. Most of the others were drunk. There were as many Teslas as we have crew cab trucks in Fort Worth.

    Everyone was nice (we got lots of unsolicited advice from the drunks) and expressed concern about Houston. Instead of large restrooms they had several little individual restrooms, but they were still labeled “Men” and “Women”.

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  11. This is what I feared was going to happen after keeping in touch with the 20 and 30 somethings I have taught in Sunday School. Most intelligent young Christians are appalled by Trump. They don’t blame their parents or grandparents for voting for Trump. Many of the young people themselves grudgingly voted for Trump. However, they cannot understand how most of the older Christians they know (including many pastors) give knee-jerk defenses for virtually anything Trump says or does.

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  12. This is the problem I have with the Babylon Bee. Funny, yes, and I laugh, but Jesus cautions us to “let your yes be yes and your no, no.”

    I got called on this type of verbal slipperiness by the pastor a couple months after we joined a new church. I told him a story that I thought was pretty obviously ridiculous. He smiled politely and said, “I don’t know you well enough to know if you are joking or not.”

    I was mortified and now am careful in public settings and on line. If I’m sarcastic, I note it at the time [sarcasm on] or [sarcasm off]. As a Christian, I cannot be a stumbling block for someone who might not “get it,” particularly in the writing world where there are no obvious winks or tones of voice.

    So, I steer clear of the Babylon Bee.

    I listened to Chonda Pierce on Eric Metaxas’ show the other day and I winced when she said, “sarcasm is my love language.” I get it, but I don’t get it. There’s too much room for misinterpretation.

    I think children in our society get confused when what the adults in their lives say is not what they actually mean. What context does a child have to know when I say “laundry is my hobby,” that I’m only joking?

    (In my personal life, the kids saw the eyeroll and laughed. MY HUSBAND, however, assumed for years I loved to do laundry? I ask you . . . . at home, I apparently have to keep the sarcasm OFF.)

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  13. Note to the Weavers: I’ve never seen a man in a woman’s restroom, though perhaps I encountered a transgendered person in a restroom in the Honolulu airport. I chose not to stare and cipher it out.

    I think you’re safe in San Diego.It’s got a lot of sailors.

    (Hey, Coronado is gorgeous!)

    As to the urinals–when I accidentally walked into a men’s restroom at a rest area, the urinals were the key I was in the wrong place. So I turned around and found a different door.

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  14. Our Pastor knows the ins-and-outs, gory details, and history of all of the Lutheran synods and it comes up in our Adult Bible Class from time to time. It’s quite interesting (we are LCMS, in case anyone missed that).

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  15. Be sure to wear socks if you go to the Coronado for brunch.

    What’s happened (happening) to the Lutheran denominations is quite similar to the Presbyterian churches. There are still some of the faithful within the mainline branch (which is shrinking fast), but it becomes hard for them and they eventually leave for a more conservative Presbyterian denomination (of which there are several).

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  16. Sooo. I think I can hit 3 birds with one post if I aim right: 1)politics 2)satire 3)the Lutheran church. I’m not sure if this is put out by the LCMS or another branch of the church, but it’s a great idea. Some of the skits are better than others, but the ones I’ve seen so far have been very good. Roscuro linked the site a couple of days ago, which is how I found it. :–)

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  17. All that being said, humor requires that the audience have some substantial agreements surrounding a topic and the language used to discuss it. And sarcasm and satire require a bit more sophistication than ordinary humor. I think that may be another reason why it can be dicey, and all the more so when it’s online and can be taken out of context so easily.

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  18. There’s a book in our church library that I read a long time ago about the various Lutheran denominations and what they believe, but I’ve forgotten a lot of the differences between them. I think the Wisconsin and Missouri Synods were together for a while, and then one left (the LCMS?) the other and formed their own synod. It sounds like both are on the conservative end of Lutheranism, though, but what distinguishes LCMS from WELS, I don’t recall.

    Linda, didn’t you post a link on the daily thread earlier this month about what the LCMS believes? I didn’t have time to read it the day I saw it, but would be interested to look at it sometime, if you wouldn’t mind reposting the link.

    But reading that book from our library . . . there were a staggering number of Lutheran denominations listed, many of which I hadn’t heard of. I’m guessing there are probably more now, as the NALC has been formed since I read the book.

    Kathaleena, I don’t recall hearing of the Free Lutheran Church. How long has that been around?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Haven’t caught up with all the comments, but want to reply to Chas’ question.

    Yes, I personally know a woman who transitioned to be a “man”. “He” is married to my niece. If you didn’t know that “John” had once been “Jane”, you would not guess it.

    Hearing about “John” having breasts removed, along with surgery to make pretend “pecs”, & later having a hysterectomy, saddened me greatly. “He” may see it as surgery to change genders, but I couldn’t help but think of it as horrible mutilation of the female body.

    I also know of a couple other young women who have transitioned, or are in the process of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I just read an interesting concept.
    I haven’t thought it through yet, so I don’t have an opinion.
    I’m just saying that it’s a new and interesting thought.

    I”slam was created years ago in order to create an enemy”

    Interesting. It iw well known that an identifiable enemy unifies a people.

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  21. I have one daughter and family in the LCMS and one in WELS. I have one in a more non-denominational type of church. The FLCA formed when the ELCA decided the bible was not THE word of God, but merely contained it. (We have to decide whether certain words are actually the word of God.) I am not sure exactly when. We were not in this church when it switched to FLCA. Since, we have not joined I do not know every specific thing they hold dear. I was surprised to find that they do not want their churches to have a liturgy every Sunday, for example. I know they uphold the basic tenants of the faith. That is enough right now.

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  22. Since we’ve been discussing theology, guess I’ll put this on the political thread:

    https://cccdiscover.com/creeds-and-confessions-qa-with-justin-holcomb/

    Creeds and Confessions: Q&A with

    Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal minister (serving as the Canon for Vocations in the Diocese of Central Florida) and teaches theology at Gordon-Cowell-Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. You can find Justin on Facebook, Twitter, and at justinholcomb.com.
    Adapted from Justin Holcomb, “Creeds and Confessions: Q&A with Justin Holcomb,” Modern Reformation
    ________________________________________

    As I was writing my book, I began really delving into the creeds, councils, catechisms, and confessions. In them, I found a wealth of ways to explain the Christian faith. If you don’t read Scripture and think about Scripture or the creeds in your prayers, you are reduced to talking to God merely about your current whims or whatever’s on the front burner. For example, if you look at the names of God in Scripture, you have a list of hundreds of ways you can approach him, with phrases such as “the fount of all wisdom” and “the powerful right hand.” There are these brilliant pictures of Almighty God. Then the creeds give us powerful, pastoral pictures that are far from distant, cold, or boring. They’re passionate and articulated well. They are beautiful.
    __________________________________________

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