Trump, Covid, JW HQ, and ‘Rex’s Gas n Go’

In any crisis situation it is tremendously socially destructive to continually take shots at whoever is taking the lead. Regardless of who is is, where he came from, or how he came to be—there he is and you’re stuck with him. You cannot make things better but you sure can make them worse. Anyone socially responsible will point to the reassuring fact that the Pres generally allows his advisors to talk him out of rash statements. Though, sometimes he fires them. Just ask Rex Tillerson, once CEO of Exxon, now proprietor of ’Rex’s Gas n Go,’ unable to reclaim his top spot since board members were unfavorably influenced by the President‘s tweet that he was ‘dumb as a rock’ and ‘lazy.’
 
Without a fuss, simply in order to keep things moving, The POTUS signed off on legislation that would ensure that the family business doesn’t get a dime. Since the hospitality industry in general IS eligible for help, it seems to me no more than a matter of spite, but he yielded to it on account of the emergency.
 
Trying to shift blame, the mayor of New Orleans say she would have shut down festivities had only Trump warned her. I’m not so sure. Isn’t she one of those who, when he says anything else, claims he is full of you-know-what? Probably she’s just  trying to cover her own rear end—the oldest trick in the book. No, really—the oldest—since Adam’s response to being called for eating from the tree was “the woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit and I ate.” With the only other two living beings against him—three if you count the devil—what chance had a good ol’ boy like he?
 
Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses just play along. It makes things so much easier. Direction from HQ (in the United States) is that there be no meetings of more than ten persons, less if local officials decree it, but not more if they do not. Additionally, a letter a read, leaving matters to family heads since every circumstance is different, urged members to take most seriously all government suggestions on social distancing—and if one is in a high-risk group, seriously consider the recommendation to stay in place, not venturing outside at all till this blows over. The two Bible verses to serve as theme texts were ‘love you neighbor as yourself’ and ‘show obedience to the superior authorities.’
 
Will it? Probably. At the liquor store—no, not for my daily run, but looking for Memorial wine—I observed of ‘crazy times that no one saw coming’ that it is ‘almost biblical.’ But the young clerk allowed that to be probably an overstatement and I didn’t press he point—he may be right. But it also is not exactly ‘one of those things,’ since no one in 100 years has seen anything like it.
 
Outside among those who you think you be the most responsible, bickering is the order of the day. Look, it is one thing not to board the lifeboat because you think the ship is not going down. It is another to think that it possibly is, but it is STILL more important to apportion blame first.
 
Now that I think of it, it is also very strange, and no, I am not coming out as a true prophet over it, that 100 years exactly separate the capsizing of the two oceanliners so symbolic of their respective ages, AND almost 100 years exactly separate the two latest significant plagues in modern times: the Spanish flu in 1918, and the ‘Chinese’ virus in 2020.
 
JWs have a mindset that enables them to adjust and cope. If the Covid is the Spanish flu updated, well—then an easy explanation present itself. But if it is not—if it is triggering a huge overreaction as some maintain, and the edifice of human financial world should crash—well, how telling that something seemingly so mighty should prove so fragile. Everybody throws in their two cents and you have to ignore the meddlers because there is never an end to them. Otherwise, shelter in place to the degree possible, which is almost 100% for me. An overreaction? Maybe, but if so it is just one more nail in the coffin of those who think human governments have the wisdom to rule
 
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Ecclesiastes 10:20 - ‘Do Not Speak Ill of the King’ JWs and Politics in the Age of Trump

I pay attention to politics and most Jehovah’s Witnesses do not. Witnesses are politically neutral. They don’t do politics. Most of them feel it is best to go light on the topic for fear of being drawn in, taking sides in a dispute not really theirs—we should be ‘preaching the kingdom.’ The apostle Paul even calls Christians ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and by extension for God’s Kingdom that he heads. Everyone knows that ambassadors for one kingdom do not show up at voting booth of another kingdom. A fair number of our people even think it downright wrong to take an interest in politics for this reason. “Jehovah’s Witnesses ARE NOT interested in politics!” one firebrand brother tweeted. “Actually, sometimes they are,” I pointed out. “I think what you mean is that they do not PARTICIPATE in politics.” (2nd caps mine, but first his). But he repeated his tweet and blocked me!

Got it. We’re neutral. So when I post something that shows some knowledge of politics, I get slammed by some of my own people. Yes, I can explain how it is possible to follow something merely as an example of human interaction without choosing this side or that, and it sort of registers, but with some, the aversion to the political schemings of man is just too strong and I cannot break through. Nor do I particularly care to—they criticize me, not me them. It surely is irrelevant to the Kingdom, slated for eventual replacement by God (not us), and it is light years from having “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) Got it. Not a problem.

And yet—and yet—these same brothers upbraiding me will post (or more typically retweet) content that presents the President as a doofus, spotlighting rash, crass, or insensitive things, with an air of: “Get a load of this idiot.” This is a far worse indiscretion, it seems to me. “Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,” my wife quotes the verse (Ecclesiastes 10:20)—my wife who has almost no interest in politics—she is a quite typical JW in that regard, and what she does know is mainly due to me. Whereas there is NO Bible injunction of speaking favorably of him—at worst it is ‘getting into politics,’ a red flag for a people who strive to be ‘no part of the world,’ but otherwise the idea of praising someone, king or otherwise, plays far better with the scriptures than does putting one down. In my more surly moments, I get fed up with this ‘hypocrisy.’

It is not hypocrisy. It plays that way, but it is not. It is simply brothers who do not think a thing through, and they do not do it because the thing to be thought of is that of ‘human rule’—slated for the wrecking ball. The upshot is simply that, if you avoid praising the king, you certainly have to avoid ridiculing him, for there IS a direct scriptural condemnation of THAT, whereas there is not about speaking well of someone.

The foible is facilitated by a disinterest of the topic, because it means our people plug into the news very little—maybe just the network evening news where reporters almost universally hate the current President. 90-95% of news media personnel vote Democrat, so how likely is it that they will be non-biased toward the side they don’t like? But our people don’t see that—they’re not following closely enough, there being no cause to—and when the networks label him a powermad nutcase they assume that it must be so. This accounts for why one brother—a circuit overseer! advised the pioneers on how they must stay neutral and how hard that was, because “we all know that Trump is crazy, but...” One sister looked at another and said: “I know that my Dad is a good man, and he voted for Trump.”

I understand the temptation to take a shot or two, because he has to be one of the most ineloquent men in all history. I’ve had a field day skewering both him and those who oppose him. I’ve done past presidents, too. I have said that I wish Dwight D Eisenhower had not hidden his JW upbringing because I would love to have portrayed he and his wife standing in front of the White House holding up the Watchtower and Awake magazines featuring the article: ‘Can Presidents Bring Peace?’ Oh, yeah! Trust me, I would know what to do with that one.

It is tremendously destructive in any crisis to take shots—whether warranted or not—at whoever is running the show. Whatever you have, you’re stuck with it, and you’d better learn to work with it. Being like Absalom is no good:

Absalom would say to him: “See, your claims are right and proper, but there is no one from the king to hear your case.” [He] would say: “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then every man who has a legal case or judgment could come to me, and I would see that he receives justice.”.... so Absalom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.”

It doesn’t work when you are supposed to be pulling together in crisis. In principle, it is not all that different from why the Governing Body is so relentless in their counsel to avoid ‘apostasy’—there are people who just live to undercut their authority, and to yield to them damages not so much them, but the program they represent—which is usually the overall goal in the first place.

Trump is not eloquent, but eloquence is over-rated—its correlation with effectiveness is slight. It may even be inverse. He should have someone more eloquent as a spokesperson, but the media would never allow that. Now, eloquence is great stuff—pour me a double shot of it. But it can have a downside of making people think they are far more insightful than they really are.

’Classism’ is at work. Reporters value eloquence highly, and dismiss those without it. Is it that they wrote good term papers in college and and tend to look at life itself as a term paper? Political malice is only a part of why they misportray him. Social malice also plays a part. They are eloquent (whether full of poppycock or not is irrelevant) & he is not. That triggers very displeasing displays of ‘superiority.’ I don’t care about politics as for getting partisan over it. But social divisions and put-downs on that account always get my interest, and Trump is put down a lot by a class that thinks itself better educated and thereby smarter. Maybe it is because Jehovah’s Witnesses are also put down by a class that thinks itself better educated and thereby smarter that I spot not just that but many parallels. I mean, there certainly is an ‘everyman’ quality to him, selling himself as one who stands up for ones typically ignored.

He is no more dangerous than any political leader. That is not to say that things might not blow up in his face, but probably no more so than with anyone. It may be that ‘He is the one!’ but Oscar Oxgoad’s ancient Dad has said that about every president since Truman. Humans don’t have the answers, but it is very hard identifying individual villains. Trump is skewered by pundits who highlight his more outrageous statements, usually taking care to divorce them from elucidating context, and some of our indiscreet brothers retweet those ill reports. The only consolation to those who are alarmed is that most of his ‘lies’ are actually overly-vague statements, wishful thinking, hyperbole, even taunts to his many enemies—techniques that Witnesses forsake (though me...sigh....not always). He usually is persuaded by his advisors, like Dr. Fauci, before he actually follows through on what might be rash. Though, on occasion, he fires them. Just ask Rex Tillerson, once chairman of Exxon, now probably the proprietor of a small gas station somewhere out in the boonies—‘Rex’s Gas n Go.’

I have said it way too many times, but to me Trump’s election is a godsend, and it has nothing to do with politics. It used to be that if you read that long list of derogatory traits said to characterize people of the last days and your householder did not agree that they apply, there wasn’t much you could do about it. Plainly, the verses are subjective. But in the aftermath of Trump’s election, people are screaming at each other day and night, and it is very hard to ask: “What was Paul smoking when he wrote THAT?”

It can’t that bad to stay abreast of politics. If we are said to keep aware of world affairs with an eye on ‘keeping on the watch,’ which we are—well, it is the interaction of politics that drives those world events. Examines for that reason, they can aid one in being discerning. I mean, there is hardly any shame in being clueless on these things, but neither is it any great virtue. It enables you to speak in what to many people is their ‘language of the heart.’ Draw a parallel to cars. You don’t have to know anything about what’s under the hood in order to drive. But there are always a few that must know the workings and interplay of each component therein and they are never criticized for it. Sometimes we just get incurious and then pass it off as ‘holiness.’ 

It’s so hard to stay neutral. I recall one woman in our congregation explaining how people just assume what her politics must be as a member of a socially conservative religion, forcing her to continually explain that it is not so. No wonder Brother Jackson cautions to keep the stuff at a distance. He points out how it is especially hard when one side or the other favors something that will personally benefit you. He speaks of resisting the inner voice that says: “I hope that idiot doesn’t get into power!” Is it only me who says: “I wonder what idiot he has in mind?”

Okay. That’s it. No more politics! (I wish)

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Moses Addressing the Israelites - Trump-Style

And the sons of Israel proceeded to come out of the Red Sea. They congregated and Moses addressed them:

“We came out of the Red Sea. It was very red and very wet. Nobody else could have done what we did. Egypt tried and they got wet, very wet, wet like no one ever saw. But we did not get wet because we are great, very very great, the greatest country that the world has ever seen. And I am the leader. You are not. Nobody else could have done what I did. Everybody on my team is doing a great job. Others are doing great jobs, too, very many others, but we are doing a great great job.

“It is hot in the desert where we are walking. Very hot. Incredibly hot, hot like no one ever saw, but it is not too hot for us, even though it is very very hot. And later we will cross the Jordan River and it will be better, better like no one ever saw. Very, very much better, and everyone is doing a great job and they will do a great job later, too. Now I’ll take some questions:

“Okay, Abiram—you first. Yes, yes, okay, yes. No, no, not at all. What is the place called where we are? Yes. Sinai. So we are crossing the Sinai Desert. It is not racist at all.

“Okay, Dathan?

“Yes, yes—‘What would I tell the Israelite people?’ What do you think I have called this conference for? You are a very bad reporter, a very bad one. Bad. You write bad things about me and I want you to tell the truth, but you write bad things, very bad. And it is not good that you do this.

“You, Korah?

“Yes, yes. Yes, we are prepared. Very very prepared and we are getting more prepared all the time. It’s incredible. And medical supplies—yes they are pouring in, just pouring, like nobody ever saw. And we have Dr. Luke—very very great doctor. He is almost here and just checked in at the Four Gospel hotel. When will he be here? Very soon. Very very soon. And then it will all be great. Then it will.....”

And the clouds parted and a voice was heard: “Oh, for crying out loud! I thought I appointed Aaron as a spokesman for this fellow. Will somebody PLEASE unmute his mike?”

 

.... “Then Jehovah’s anger blazed against Moses, and he said: “What about your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak....So you must speak to him and put the words in his mouth...and he will be your spokesman” (Exodus 4:14-16)

You never know where some themes may crop up, nor how accurately they may fit.

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An Entirely Unexpected Gift of Politics—Revelation of the BITE Man

Steven Hassan is the David Splane of anti-cultists. He is the Great Explainer who works tirelessly in their behalf. He is the originator of the BITE model of “mind control”—Behavioral, Informational, Thought, and Emotional Control! He is the man who, as a youth, was naive enough to join the Moonies—the robe-dressing, flower-hawking Moonies! and now, having quit them, he insists that even the most intelligent people [such as himself] can be misled into a cult. 

Of course, there are only so many Moonies in the world. Mr Hassan expands the C-word into ever more frontiers, and one of them is Jehovah’s Witnesses. You would think that it is the only one, to hear JW detractors carry on, but it is but one of an ever-growing stable. I have witnessed JW opponents on social media counseling each other as to the most effective way to conduct themselves, referring back to the BITE model of Hassan as a guide, as though he was a cult leader of himself.

His horizon’s continue to expand. His current book is: “The Cult of Trump—A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind-Control.” A review of it begins with: “Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.” Of course! A vote for Trump is completely inexplicable otherwise! Only cult delusion can account for it. When you think that half the country has fallen victim to cult influence and mind-control, it is strong evidence that you have drunk too much of the Kool-Aid yourself.

So he comes out of the closet. He reveals himself. He is a leftist—nothing more. He is of the victimization society. I’m glad to see it, for it undermines his alleged expertise elsewhere—like with JWs, for example. Up to the point of his new book on Trump, one can begin to suspect that maybe, just maybe, Jehovah’s Witnesses are like a cult. They pay far more attention to their Governing Body than other groups do to their leaders. They certainly take their faith much more seriously than do others, and they deviate from the accepted goals of society in fundamental ways. 

Yes, you can just begin to envision it—and then Hassan, who got the ball rolling in the first place, comes along and says half the country is under the spell of a cult leader! Okay. That it says it all. He is just “out there” himself, just upset that his candidate did not win, and that recognition qualifies whatever he has said about Jehovah’s Witnesses or anyone else.

It’s not that the idea of influencing people is ridiculous. It is the over-application of the idea that is. No meaningful outfit does not incorporate some application of “behavioral, informational, thought, and emotional control”—the most striking example is that of the family. Is it really brainwashing that he objects to—or is it just brainwashing that is not his? Read him as he carries on about Trump and realize that the spillover will taint his mission with regard to anything else.

Leaving the sects that were his bread and butter far behind, he tweets: 

We need to have a fundamentally NEW conversation about how we interact with Trump supporters.  Online arguing doesn’t work. When we label Trump supporters as “dumb” or “evil”, it only reinforces their own image that they are persecuted and cuts off any chance of them changing.”

“Though I know it’s hard to do when they say such vitriolic things, we need to imagine they are stuck inside a religious cult. How would we try to get them out?  At first, we would make sure to avoid argument and really try to CONNECT. This may take a while but is vital.”

“After we’ve established some trust and rapport, we need to be delicate. We don’t rush to talk about Trump (they will still be defensive and unmovable).  We need to find a subject that has parallels to their situation but doesn’t feel personal (i.e. Chinese Communist Brainwashing)”

“Using that example, we can highlight examples of behavior control, information control, thought control, and emotional control.  Very delicately, we can ask them questions about their beliefs and reflexively listen to the answers without ANY judgment.”

What if they bring up the economy?” I interjected. It worked for Bill Clinton—“It’s the economy, stupid” instantly trounced all other considerations and won him the election. I follow Mr. Hassan on Twitter. When he returned the follow, I promised that I would take no cheap shots. I find this promise hard to keep these days, since his new horizons strikes me as no less absurd than his old. But I have, more or less, kept it.

Incredibly, he answered me privately, though DM. He recommended that I read his book! Nobody answers privately on Twitter, yet that’s what he did. My only explanation is that he saw my Twitter banner, which suggests that I am a Witness—it’s an advertisement of Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia—and he simply assumed that if he gently gave me opportunity, not publicly where I would not dare respond lest my OVERSEERS take note, but in private, like Jesus pulled aside the deaf man so as not to put him on the spot, that I would gratefully let him take me by the hand so as to escape from the JW cult!

I don’t troll the guy. Everyone has a right to prevail on their own feed. I am not disrespectful when I reply and I don’t do it often. The next time he advised me, this time publicly, to read his book, I responded that I had a book, too. A third party to the thread tweeted that he had no book. “Get off your duff and write one!” I replied with a smiley emoji. “It is apparently the price of admission.”

Hassan stays at it—keeping on the watch:

Has everyone seen this video of Donald Trump?  Senior cabinet members grovel in the exact same way Scientologists do with Miscavage.  Does this LOOK like a healthy organization to you? This is not normal.  This is cult behavior.”

“He has actually said just the opposite,” I replied, “that his advisors do not have to agree with him and he likes the mix they bring to the table. To be sure, not many of them last too long.”

He says often what he thinks people want him to say or what he is told to say, but actions are what count!”

“I don’t see it, Steve,” I wrote. “To get a job, you must convey that you are a “team player” Try putting on your resume that your talent lies in challenging or broadening out the boss. Most bosses want a cohesive team that will recognize who leads. Have other presidents not done this also?”

Of course! Trump does bully on his feed, but the Presidency has been called the “bully pulpit,” after all. It is just that he is better at it than others that gets into Steve’s craw. If he bullied on Steve’s side, I can’t imagine him having any problem with it. It’s not mind-control that bothers him. It is the mind-control that is not that from his side. I barely restrain myself from playing devil’s advocate far more than the little bit that I do. There are genuine reasons to dislike Trump, and plenty of people take up those reasons.  You cannot really call him a bull in a china shop, because to do so you must accept the premise that government as usual is a china shop. Junkyard dog in a junkyard may work, though. But this additional “mind control” charge strikes me as pure looniness. It’s not my cause anyway, being a Witness, but I do appreciate how the Trump presidency has served to flush out the BITE-man.

How is it that SO MANY people in this country are STILL under the spell of Donald Trump?” he tweets.

“Though most of us throw our arms up in disgust or confusion, the answer to this question is actually quite simple:”

“Trump, the Republican Party and the right-wing media industrial complex are manipulating the public. They are employing the same techniques advertisers and public relations professionals use but have done so in an even more potent way.”

“They harness fear.  They repeat messages over and over again.  They disorient with conflicting messages.  They wage war on detractors.”

It is not that they don’t do it. It is that everyone else doesn’t do it as well.

We somehow think that “mind control” and “brainwashing” only exist in Hollywood movies but they are very REAL phenomena and through the relatively new medium of the internet, we are seeing mind control like we’ve never seen in human history.”

“The only remedy is knowledge. We need to educate ourselves so we can educate others.  If you want to understand more, let me know,” thus taking for granted his role in disseminating true knowledge. 

Still, I want to take his message to heart. There is on the big bad forum where I sometimes hang out an unabashed Trump advocate. Can I help him break free from his cult? Mr. Hassan sets the goal:

At EVERY point in this process (and I’ve been doing this for 40+ years for people lost in cults) we want to be gentle and caring. Arguing or TELLING them they are wrong will accomplish nothing.  We want them to have their OWN “Aha!” moment.  We never force it.”

Okay. I will try with this fellow James. Let’s see if I can help him to have his own “AHA!” moment. It won’t be easy because he is a blockhead. But I owe it to him to try.

Hello James. Have I told you lately that I feel love for you, just like Jesus felt love for the rich young ruler? I only want to help you—you must believe me. I do not want to take your trump-trump away. No.

But I have noticed—I say this only because I love and respect you—that whereas you used to be the most fun and pleasant person to be around, lately you have turned into a mean-spirited so-and-so. Do you even realize that the “Arab” you just spit at was actually a Jew?

Have you noted that the President does name calling? Do you think this is very nice? How do you expect other countries to respect this country if it’s leader is not nice? [Have your “Aha!” moment yet? No? Well, let’s continue] 

Hitler was not nice, was he? I know that we will agree on that. See, I am trying to build a bridge to you. I am establishing trust and support, and I will be delicate. Stalin was not nice either. And Pol Pot—what a meanie he was! These are facts I am telling you, James. I know that you will recognize that, for you are very smart. Trump is just like them. See? I am attempting a fundamentally new conversation with you, James. Thank you for allowing me to prove my point.

Alright, that’s enough! Am I my brother’s keeper? If he comes around, so be it. I hope he does, but there is only so much one person can do.

If Trump hadn’t been elected President, I would not have had the gift—an entirely unanticipated one—of Steve Hassan the anti-cultist revealing to all that he is just another political leftist.

 
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Trump, the Dark Lord, and the Brawling Web Site—Define ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’

The Dark Lord has made his appearance at the bad & brawling website and people who agree with him in many particulars are keeping an unusually low profile. It is probably because they do not want to inadvertently say something wrong and have him find their lack of faith disturbing.

Case in point is JimmyT. Normally, a mention of climate change will trigger a tirade from him as to how it is a masterful left wing hoax. Normally a negative mention of Trump will unleash torrents of praise for him from his corner. This time, however, not a peep. Well...there is a bit of cheerleading for Trump—you cannot completely erase the spots of a leopard—but he does not pursue it. He and another participant have happily squabbled at great length over both these topics. But he does not do it here with Darth Alan.

Do I blame him for this bit of cowardice? Not at all. He is in his senior years and he wants to live them out. He does not want to be accosted with endless taunts about how stupid he is. He does not want every syllable he utters to be corrected. He does not want to have to open dozens of dialogue boxes to recall just what it was that he said to earn the verdict that he is a moron. He does not want to shake his head in disgust that every other forum participant has learned to use those boxes properly, and only the Dark Lord is too enraptured with his own arguing to constrain himself to quoting just three lines of text that will faithfully reproduce without opening boxes. He looks at another challenger, who has had to triple her blood pressure medication, and decides that he wants no part of it. Who can blame him?

So I will carry his Trump ball for him—not as aptly as he would do it himself, for I am not so vested in it as he—but I will carry it.

In the midst of discussion, the Dark Lord reaches back into his quiver for taunts, chooses a old favorite, and hurls back at me: “Apparently you just make up "news" out of thin air -- just like your idol Trump.”

This is the fifth completely irrelevant reference to Trump since he began participation here, just two or three weeks ago. A moment later, he launches the sixth: “You're doing what ever-Trumpers do very well -- project their own faults onto their opponents.”

Six times he brings Trump into a discussion that has nothing to do with him. Each time it is like ripping a loud one in the concert hall. His audience surely must be among the most apolitical people on earth. Some of them, JW and non-JW alike, think it downright wrong to bring politics into a discussion of spiritual things. The DL knows this. He knows everything. So why can he not restrain himself from continually inserting that which he knows will fall flat with almost everyone and be positively off-putting to some?

It is because he suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome. I had thought that JimmyT made up the term because he is the only one who has ever used it on the website—another testimony to the apolitical nature of both JWs and many who oppose them—but I see now via internet search that it is not so. DL has that ailment full-blown. He froths over Trump. He obsesses over Trump. He embraces those who every day since before his election experiences orgasm at some new bullet that will supposedly take him out. He inserts references to Trump everywhere, the same way that normal people insert “word whiskers” like “um.”

So what of this taunt that he hurls at me—ME, TrueTomHarley! 

Apparently you just make up "news" out of thin air -- just like your idol Trump.” 

Is he my idol? That depends. Politically, it is not likely to be so. Trump does the Make America Great routine. He pushes for his country, assumes that other national leaders will push for theirs, and if they don’t, it is all the better for him. On the other hand, as a JW, I look forward to “the kingdom”—a government from God that will eliminate national borders. Even now, visit Bethel, observe the huge globe, and take note that there are no national borders to sully it.

So no, politically he is hardly an “idol.” But that does not mean that as a man I cannot learn from him. I try to learn from anyone that comes to my attention—either through personal interaction or by their being in the news a lot. I even strive to learn from the Dark Lord. Nobody can be said to be worthless, for you can always be used as a bad example.

Politics aside, it turns out that I am very grateful for Trump. His election has vaulted 2 Timothy 3:1-5 to the position of the world’s year text—this year and every year. It used to be that if you read how people would be fierce, unreasonable, not open to agreement, backbiting, and so forth, and your householder did not agree that such was the case today more so than in prior times, there wasn’t much you could do about it. Plainly the verse is subjective. It always will be, of course—I expect that should DL ever have the misfortune to be executed by guillotine, he will ignore that unpleasant fact and his head will continue to insult onlookers as it is being carted away in the wheelbarrow—but with ever-Trumpers and never-Trumpers screaming at each other day and night, it becomes a much more difficult verse to deny.

I also take a page from Trump with regard to his communication skills. At first glance, he hasn’t any. Surely he is one of the most ineloquent public figures in history. And don’t come to him for spelling lessons. But at second glance, one comes to see that he is a master at pushing back at his barrage of opponents. After a brief period of supposing opponents would adjust to his presence, he decided that there was no way on earth that they could be placated, and so he redirects his efforts to defeating them. He does it in the most innovative of ways, taking full advantage of their weaknesses. Time and again, he draws them in as with hooks in their jaws, and just as they are ready to pounce, tasting certain victory, he pulls the rug out from under them.

Case in point is the brouhaha over his inauguration. ‘It was the most well-attended inauguration in history!’ he boasts. ‘It wasn’t!’ counter his enemies. He reasserts that it was. They dive into the archives to find photos of other inaugurations. Obama filled the quadrangle. Trump’s crowd is visibly far less. HA!, they shout in victory—surely now that they have caught him in a lie, he will fess up to it. He doesn’t! 

Night after night they run the two photos side by side on national news broadcasts, ignoring everything else. They point to the gaping holes in Trump’s photos that are not there with Obama’s photos. “These are FACTS!” they are close to screaming. “You cannot dispute FACTS!” He does. He doubles down, nearly to the point of saying: “No event in human history has drawn the attendance of my inauguration!”

Tearing their hair out, they invite his advisor on TV—Kellyanne. They rub her nose, and the noses of their viewers, into their two photos. ‘The FACTS show that Obama drew way more than Trump! Right here—look at just this spot! There is just bare ground with Trump and there is shoulder-to-shoulder people with Obama! FACTS are FACTS!

But Kellyanne says that the President is trying to draw attention to alternative facts. He is trying to draw attention to.........’ALTERNATIVE FACTS!! they are apoplectic. ‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN “ALTERNATIVE” FACT!!! A FACT IS A FACT IS A FACT IS A FACT!! THERE ARE NO “ALTERNATIVE FACTS!!” 

But the Advisor to the President insists that they are, and that the media ignores them. They consist of the fact of popular discontent with the “swamp” that propelled him to victory in the first place. Whatever Trump said to the ignored half of America clearly resonated with them, and it is being ignored by the mainstream media. Today he crows about the economy. Bill Clinton garnered adoration from pundits with his, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Today these same pundits will portray the economy as though an insignificant point.

As for me, I enjoy the spectacle, without taking any position as to whether he makes a good president or not. He may be a terrible one, but I like the way he turns the tables on those seeking to destroy him. I am not even sure that his numerous spelling errors are not deliberate. When he tweets that North Korea has launched its nuclear missels, people of common sense will run to take cover. People of the media will run to their keyboards to point out that the idiot can’t even spell the word right. 

Life is a continued term paper to many of these characters. They did well on term papers in college. They have grades from their professors to prove it. So they launch into the media that only attracts a certain type of people—those who imagine that ‘exposing’ problems is enough to fix them—and assume that life, too, will respect their term paper skills as highly as their professors did. They have little experience in actually doing anything. They are mostly wonks when it comes to government—and the fixes that their type of government can bring is their obsession.

As for me, I take note that if there is any new meme guaranteed to undermine traditional family life, these characters are all over it. If there is any new meme that will bend gender distinctions, for example, these characters are all over it. Gayle King dutifully appended the Q on LGBTQ before she even knew what it meant—I heard her say it. Did it mean ‘queer?’ Did it mean ‘questioning?’ She didn’t know. But she didn’t dare leave it out once the gods of media popularity told her to insert it. With this track record, anyone who can get these characters incensed cannot be all bad.

 

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Did He Call the President a Moron? - Why You Can't Watch News Anymore

The reason I cannot watch network news anymore is that they are obsessed over whether Secretary of State Tillerson called Trump a moron or not. It is a huge story.

Yesterday, Tillerson called a news conference. They carried on and on about how unusual it was for a Secretary of State to do such a thing. He called it mostly to scold them, yet they were too stupid to realize it. Despite media reports that the two do nothing but squabble and that he has had it up to here with the President's dumb ways, Tillerson said he has never even once thought about quitting, that he and the President get along just fine, that he regards him as smart and demanding of results, that he envisions foreign policy possibilities that no one else does.

(yeah but, yeah but...did you call him a moron or not?)   'Look, I don't come from this town [Washington], but where I come from we don't have time for such petty nonsense,' he answered. YEAH!

Incredibly, they are not chastened by this rebuke. ...'well...he didn't actually say that he didn't call him a moron, did he?'

He probably did, is my best guess. It is the realization that they think this is meaningful that takes your breath away. I cannot watch anymore, my viewing has steadily decreased over the past few months. When you work closely with someone, he will do or say things that will nettle you sometimes, and you say in passing 'what did that moron do now?' for Trump does speak impulsively at times - sometimes I think it is by design, to see these characters fall all over themselves 'fact-checking' things that everyone else realizes doesn't amount to a hill of beans. They truly think such things are significant in news-land?  I have to go someplace where there are grown-ups.

For crying out loud, he used to run Exxon! He put that aside for what is the role of a lifetime for him, an area in which he thinks he can best bring his talents to bear - and he probably never imagined there would be such a role other than Exxon. How could anyone possibly be so juvenile as to imagine that he spends his days in cat-fights with the President? I've never seen anyone with less political ambition in my life.

You can't even watch the networks for disaster coverage anymore, something at which they were arguably good. All they can talk about is who did comforting and relief better: this President or the one before.

This piece is more political than I like to get, but it is not really political at all. It is a commentary on the media. What a bunch of children they have become.

U.S._Secretary_of_State_Rex_Tillerson_Delivers_Statement_to_the_Press_(34146711015)

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)