Who Would Ever Think That Kushner Fellow Who Bought Our Building Would Become the World Center of Attention?

From 'No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash:'

Here are the top news stories of 2016:

1. Trump won.

2. The other side blamed Putin, who

3. Got mad.

4. I worried it was my fault. I was then writing ‘Tom Irregardless and Me,’ my first book, and I licensed out to the media video of my flying fingers for reasons of cash flow. Now - I like a good shot after every meal, and I unfortunately left the bottle of vodka in plain sight by the keyboard. The media jumped to conclusions. Trump himself came closest to the truth. ‘It could be Russia, it could be China, it could be some 400-pound guy in New Jersey.’ Wronnngggg! – I’m in New York, not New Jersey. And I am not 400 pounds (yet). At the next debate, they brought out a 400 pound guy – was he there to rattle Trump? They seated him behind a skinny guy, so that he looked 600 pounds.

5. Jehovah’s Witnesses (my people) moved their headquarters from Brooklyn Heights, where they had been for over 100 years, to way, way out in the sticks.

6. Jerod Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, bought their old building. Video of him saying nice things about Witnesses appeared on jw.org. I had no idea who he was at the time, but when I found out, I worried anew. See - I caught a heavy dose of news each day while I was writing, and it irritated me, but I stuck with it – how else would I learn about the snowfall outside my window? Now, no one is capable of total non-bias, but they are capable of trying. I’m not used to the referee leaning on the scales – it never used to happen. But when I would grouse about the media, which I did a lot, some took it as support for Trump! I could picture the Watchtower sign going down, a Trump sign going up, and fellow Witnesses, who weren’t paying overclose attention saying: ‘how did Tom manage that?’

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)

Evil Losers, Not Cowards, Those of Senseless Violence, or Those Seeking to Change Society

In the aftermath of Manchester, if words can be called refreshing, surely "evil losers" fits the bill. As Trump says, you don't call them monsters; they will like that designation. These are not people who look at themselves in the mirror and gasp: "what have I become?"

Nor do you call them 'cowards.' To give your life in support of a cause, any cause, is the very opposite of cowardly.

Nor do you carry on about ‘senseless violence.’ If your goal is to kill people, it makes perfect sense.

Nor do you carry on ineffectually about how "we will not change our way of life because that is what they terrorists want." I suspect they do not want that at all; what they want is for people to continually prance around openly like bowling pins, easy to knock down. Surely if you say such inane things about not changing your way of life, you should acknowledge that it is at the cost of funding 100 cops in riot gear, whereas one with a baton used to suffice.

In their quest to undermine the President, I half expect journalists to turn critical of his label, describing it as 'judgmental', 'knee-jerk,' or juvenile. There's only so much you can do with rhetoric. But I'll take it over what we've had to hear in the past any day.

I like "evil losers" also because it doesn't pretend to have a handle on the problem, as some other responses have. Banal remarks about not succeeding in the fight to change a way of life implies that terrorists are merely a nuisance, like mosquitoes.

Of course, what can never be addressed is how easy it is today to transform people into evil losers. And how, if you succeed in taking one out, there are ten in the wings waiting to take his place. Or, when mighty nations are bombing the snot out of weaker ones, how easy it is to turn on the citizens of that nation, thinking them not so innocent after all, since they vote into office the ones who order the bombing.

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)

Dissent on the Margins

Since I am retired and do nothing but write, I am putting together a short Ebook (which gets longer all the time) on the Russian ban, the letter-writing campaign, and things leading up to it. This one will be a freebee, unlike the others I have written  – ‘free’ is more in keeping with the spirit of things. They should all be free, but unfortunately, writing is my sole gig. It’s either that or Mickey D. for me.

En route to gathering material, I came across a book entitled Dissent on the Margins, which is about the history of our people in Russia, published in 2014. The author, Emily Baran, is not a Witness, nor a cheerleader for us, but she gets it right with regard to her facts - she relates them accurately and impartially. She has been quoted on jw.org. Her book has given me much context, preventing what might be some clumsy missteps, and I recommend it.

It’s pricey, but less so as an Ebook. And worth it, if you’re into history and non-biased commentary. Whereas my books are largely anecdotes and experiences, my ‘research’ mostly just nailing down the specifics of things or events I already know about, she actually has done the academic kind. Her book is heavily footnoted with materials both from Witnesses here and in Russia, as well as government archives.

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)

Lake Ontario Overflows its Banks. Massive Flooding. Yikes

There must be a scripture somewhere insulting the sea. If there is not, there should be. Rochester, my home town, is not on the sea and has no beef with it, but it sure does with the lake.

Lake Ontario is a mini-sea in its own right. Along with the four other Great Lakes, it constitutes one fifth of the earth’s fresh water supply. People have built homes on the shores of the lake, figuring that where the lake is, the lake is. Why would you not? But this year, the lake level is two feet higher than normal. Imagine! The entire lake! Let some math nerd figure out the volume increase – it shouldn’t be hard. Actually, the idea appeals to me, except I’m lazy. Give it to some kid for homework or let him bring it to class for extra credit.

When a boat sails by, those people on the shore sweat. They do so even more some when a wind kicks up. Even in calm times, the water is lapping up against their foundations. Their beach as disappeared and their decks are submerged. The beach about which I wrote “Horses in Water’ no longer exists.


The government is passing out sandbags and sand to fill them with. Volunteers appear to help the beach dwellers out. My experience is that sandbags are okay for a day or two or modest rise, but not for much else. The lake level is supposed to be high – it is still rising – all season. Image

Why don’t they drain the lake? someone asks. Just open up the St. Lawrence river more and let that stuff drain out to the sea. Unfortunately, people live along the river, too. An entire city is there, Montreal Canada, and they are seriously flooded as it is. To drain 1 inch of water from Lake Ontario will result in a rise of 10 inches for Montreal and other river dwellers. “Go for it, anyway!” say the besieged lakeshore dwellers, but Canada says ‘no.’

They’re funny that way.

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)

"He Was a Good 'ol Boy, that Tom Harley, But He's Deeeaad Now!"

Leroy Whitehouse passed away the other night. I’ll miss that man. A tall, drawling, deep throated, 80-something-year-old black man from the deep south, I used to jest with him how I hoped he would one day give my funeral talk:

“Yeeeaass, he was a good ‘ol boy, that Tom Harley, but he’d deeeaad now! D_E_A_D!”

LeRoy would uninhibitedly offer comments to the 50/50 congregation about his younger days back home “working for the white man.” Or relate how even long term Bethelites are not perfect, illustrating it with a brother who declared “I don’t give a damn!” Taking the nervous titter in the audience for appreciation, he repackaged the line and ran it through two or three more times: “I don’t give a damn!”

I will miss him plenty. He was a friend.

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)

You, Too, You Silly Kid - Double Down on the Cyberbullies

"Are you 14, 15 or 16 years old? Did you do something really humiliating or kinky and has it been photographed, or worse yet, captured on video? Either solo or with someone else? Do vicious people threaten to post it online and launch it viral?...I can’t imagine the pressure a youngster must face thinking humiliating photos may go viral.

"The greatest lesson Trump will teach you has nothing to do with governing. He will teach you about surviving end-of-the-world humiliation.’ The words he never thought would see the light of day became more familiar than the Lord’s Prayer. What would he do? Imagine that family of his – they must all have been humiliated and shocked! What of his own pain? Even the ten-year-old had to have heard it.

"Did he wither away and die? He quickened his pace! He doubled down! Hours before the second debate he called a news conference - reporters never ran so fast. ‘We’ve got him! We’ve got him! He’ll plead - he’ll beg forgiveness - he’ll cry, but it will do him no good! We’ll make him grovel and grovel and grovel some more, then we’ll kick him to the curb broken, like we’ve broken hundreds before him!’ But it was a trap! He’d put together three persons guaranteed to embarrass them! Their jaws hit the floor as they burst into that room, their reactions caught on camera.

"You, too, you silly kid! Double down! We’re all silly at one time or another, and many are silly till the day they die. You’ll never be silly again, and if it actually works that way, this nightmare will not be a bad thing. This is your fifteen minutes of fame, but not the fame you ever imagined. You may get more. It doesn’t matter. Double down! Be like Mona in the ministry when the householder answered the door naked to unnerve her. “I’m a registered nurse,” she told him. “You don’t have anything I haven’t seen before!”

"It’s the same with you. You’ve got nothing that anyone hasn’t seen before. You’ve done nothing that anyone else might not have done but for the grace of God. Beautiful children are committing suicide out of mortification their embarrassing deeds will be posted for the world to see! Tell them: ‘that photo you have of me strutting about naked? Well, there’s an even worse one of me masturbating that you don’t have!’ You’ve got nothing that anyone else doesn’t have. Double down on those bastards – or they will eat you for lunch! They will even kill you if you go suicide.

"You’re in over your head, aren’t you? Seek out someone – a parent, an elder, a friend – and spill. You may be pleasantly surprised. Or you may find you’ve chosen wrong and it blows up in your face. It doesn’t matter. Choose again. One of them may even call a cop and if that happens you are likely to find an arsenal of anti-bully warriors at your side.

"Scared you’ll be humiliated before your friends? Terrified that your parents will be crushed? Worried you may catch heat from the elders? Look, it was a stupid thing you did, but people have been stupid since the beginning of time. Pay no attention to the damned SPCA’s when they tell you things are getting rosier and rosier – they don’t look too rosy at the moment, do they? Drop to your knees and pour your heart out to God – he knows a lot of people – you’ll be okay. It’s a vicious world that lures and breaks children, but don’t let it happen to you. Fess up before whoever you must, for they, too, are human. Take the hit and start afresh. In a few months, it will be someone else’s turn and everyone will forget about you."

From: No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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)