Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Catching A Flight Early Thursday, Not Taking My Computer...

TAKING AN EARLY MORNING FLIGHT THURSDAY.  I WILL HAVE  LITTLE CONNECTIVITY FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. Decided to go on a news fast without my computer so I can better focus on family and friends for a few days and attempt to leave as much of the news behind, if that's possible.  I do have my phone.

Next week,  I'll be back to Wyoming for two more weeks before fleeing the mayhem and major traffic gridlock expected here for the total solar eclipse going through the Tetons.  Instead,  I'll go back to Middle  Tennessee---where I belong--- and see that same eclipse from some of the remote hills and hollows there, God willing.

Thanks for coming by.  God bless.

God bless America.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

IBD Editorial: Mueller's Russia Probe Is Morphing Into A Political Hit Job/Witch Hunt; Either Rein Him In Or Fire Him


I AGREE WITH THE IBD EDITORIAL BELOW. It appears that Mueller's investigation---which is a boon doggle to begin with---has exploded far outside its mandated bounds into a far-reaching witch hunt to destroy President Donald Trump's presidency and overturn the 2016 election results.

This investigation is judicial  unprofessionalism and desperation at its worst and needs to be halted at all costs, even in spite of  Democrats' threats of a coup. We're already experiencing a coup attempt.

 Mueller needs to be reined in or fired soon. Here is a piece from today's Investor's Business Daily:
Firing Mueller: If recent reports are true, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has veered sharply off course to investigate matters that have nothing to do with Russia's tampering with our 2016 election.

He either has to be reeled in to do the job he was hired to do, or fired.

This isn't supposed to happen under American law, where a person can be given the task of an open investigation on someone with the end-goal of finding something, anything, that he or she has ever done that is illegal. That's the kind of thing that was routinely done in places like the Soviet Union, in which laws meant nothing and ideology and politics everything.

America has always been different. We have defined our nation as a nation guided by the rule of law — "a nation of laws and not men," as our Founders liked to say.

When Mueller was first named to look into allegations that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian officials to tilt the election, we thought it was a bad idea driven by the Democrats' rage, not by any real concerns about Russian collusion. After all, when the book on U.S.-Russian/Soviet diplomacy is finally written, it will show collusion was basically a pillar of Democratic foreign policy from the 1970s on — from Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Now, with his investigation linking the Trump campaign to any kind of actual collusion with the Russian government apparently going nowhere, Mueller has decided to broaden the investigation, according to news reports. If so, it's beyond his brief as a Special Counsel and he should be told to stick to what he's supposed to do.

This isn't a political talking point; it's a legal necessity.

As Bloomberg reports, "The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year's election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump's businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe."

If this is true, it marks a significant departure from the agreed-upon limits of the original investigation.

One of the things Mueller's apparently looking at is Russian purchases of Trump apartments, Trump's involvement in a New York development with Russian partners, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and the sale of Trump's Florida mansion to a Russian billionaire all the way back in 2008.
Again, Bloomberg: "Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary. In addition, they are examining the efforts of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior aide, to secure financing for some of his family's real-estate properties."

Bloomberg notes that "The roots of Mueller's follow-the-money investigation lie partly in a wide-ranging money laundering probe launched by then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara last year," according to a source. (Note: Trump fired Bharara this year after he refused the Justice Department's entirely legal, and politically routine, order to request resignations from 46 Obama-era lawyers in Bharara's office.)

Mueller's limited investigation has now turned into a free-for-all investigation in which he is looking to find a crime, any crime, that he can even remotely attach to Donald Trump's past activities — whether related to the Russia-collusion scandal or not. That will give the Democrats what they wanted all along: An all-purpose reason to pursue impeachment charges against Trump.
We see it as little more than an attempt at a legal coup, an attempt to overturn the results of a lawful election.

Let us remind you what Mueller's job was defined as being at the start of all this, courtesy of the Legal Insurrection blog (emphasis theirs): "The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including: (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)."

In short, Mueller isn't empowered to do this extraordinarily wide-ranging investigation into all things Trump.

Predictably, Democrats are in a feeding frenzy over this, with Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut warning on "Morning Joe" that if Trump fires Mueller, it will set off an "absolute firestorm."

That may be true. But the firestorm could burn both ways, especially after people discover that at least seven of Mueller's hires for his investigative team have contributed a total of $60,787.77 to Democratic candidates for office, including Hillary Clinton.

What started out as a limited investigation into fairly restricted set of allegations has now morphed into a wide-ranging inquisition, with the president as its ultimate target — and both justice and the sanctity of our electoral system the victims.

There are remedies for Mueller's overreach.

"The special counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the attorney general," according to the Code of Federal Regulation. "The attorney general may remove a special counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of departmental policies. The attorney general shall inform the special counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal."

Since Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the case, the job falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to officially admonish Mueller that he is now operating out of bounds.

If Mueller doesn't contain his investigation to its legally defined bounds, Rosenstein has not only the clear authority to fire him, he has the duty to do so.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump To Replace Jeff Sessions With Rudy Giuliani At Justice?

UPDATE:  GIULIANI DENIES
TAMNY: WHY GARY COHN IS THE WRONG CHOICE FOR FED CHAIRMAN

I AM A GREAT FAN OF JEFF SESSIONS and think he's a man of strength and integrity. 

That said,  Session's recusal from all things Russia investigation---whether it was wise or not---has certainly strained his relationship with President Trump. Now we see Trump is thinking of firing Sessions and hiring his old friend, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani to replace Sessions.

Whether this is fake news remains to be seen.  I must say I like Giuliani also and think he projects a  tough guy, no nonsense leadership persona that gets things done.  If it happens,  it would probably be established from the start that Giuliani would NOT recuse himself and the slate would be wiped clean at Justice.  We can only wait and see, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday---Romans 8:9-25, Waiting With Patience

DEFFINBAUGH COMMENTARY: SUFFERING AND SONSHIP---FROM GROANING TO GLORY

ROMANS 8: 9-25 (ESV)

YOU, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Heirs with Christ

12 So then, brothers,[b] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[c] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Mighty Snake Still Running High, Fast and Cloudy For Late July

WE HAD A GREAT TIME FISHING THE SALT RIVER THURSDAY in between wind, rain and high, off-color, fast water.  No matter, we caught some small fish, had lots of laughs and thanked God that we could be outside and on that beautiful river, come rain or shine.  Today,  I was scouting the Snake back in Jackson Hole.

I am a dry fly fisherwoman.  And it's not yet great dry fly fishing in these parts.  So we put a nymph dropper on the dry fly to increase our chances of getting a strike.  I am not crazy about this technique, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shall We Go Fishing Today?

WILL TRY TO POST SOME PICS FROM MY PHONE....if there's anything worthwhile.

Then, a dark storm and wind approaches.

Roger Simon Offers Donald Trump Some Advice He Ought To Take: Act Bored (AKA Chill, Employ Benign Neglect Etc)

GREAT ADVICE AND WISDOM FROM ROGER SIMON TODAY.  Undoubtedly not the first time (nor the last) he's heard it, but Trump should listen to those people who want his presidency to succeed.  A little well placed boredom goes a long way in Washington, even boredom with healthcare legislation (See John Tamny's piece below.)

 Roger writes:
Donald Trump is not the laid-back type.  He never seems to be bored.  Indeed, he never seems to sleep or let the slightest thing go, tweeting away about almost anything at an hour most of us are trying to get a little precious shut-eye. Nothing goes by without a comment from Donald.
Over a year ago,  I said he had  a signal-to-noise problem. Although that wasn't a particularly original observation, it was certainly true.

I have some advice for Donald on how to solve this. For the good of your presidency, for the good of all of us, cultivate the fine art of boredom.
That doesn't mean you have to stay in bed all day like Oblomov in the brilliant Russian novel of the same name.  Just yawn a bit and look the other way.

And speaking of Russians, the boredom can start right there, with this whole asinine Russia kerfuffle. Be bored with it.  Trust me, everyone is already seriously bored with it themselves, with the exception of some dimwits at CNN who insist on stupefying their own already diminished and stupefied audience until there is no one left.  Leave this one to the lawyers. They're used to belaboring the trivial to death.  That's what we pay them for.

And while you're at it, be bored with mid-level celebrities. Hell, make that all celebrities. Trust me again: there's no one more boring than that crew -- A list, B list or C list. Who cares what Joe Scarborough or Rosie O'Donnell thinks?  Ask your "deplorables."  I can assure you that they don't. Ignore those celebs and they'll vanish into thin air.
Object lesson: Megyn Kelly. She was once your nemesis but she's so boring she's going away all by herself without your saying a word. See what silence (and a little boredom) can do.
And finally -- and I know others will think I'm crazy for saying so -- be bored with healthcare... but don't tell anybody or they'll hate you for it. You were right in the first place.  It's too complicated. And not just for you -- for everybody.  Nobody understands it, not even that genius Dr. Charles Krauthammer.  He admitted as much on Tucker Carlson's show, which, as a constant viewer, no doubt you saw yourself.  No one is ever going to figure out healthcare because there is no satisfactory answer. In other words, much as I regret to say it, be bored with it.  Move on.  Trust me a third time -- people will still go to the doctor when they're sick.

First of all, there's taxes. Unlike healthcare, everyone understands that. And as it happens, the Wall Street Journal just reported another record in the mountain of cash U.S. tech companies are keeping abroad to avoid the ridiculously high U.S. corporate tax rate.
A pretty penny, all waiting for someone to lower that rate and bring the booty back home.  And think what could be done with it.  Here's a suggestion -- make a deal with Apple, Microsoft, et al. If they invest some of their multiple foreign billions in our inner cities, they'll get an even bigger tax break.
Speaking of breaks, that could break the back of the hideous Democratic Party identity politics our black populations have been living under for so many years. Do it. Now. Don't look back.
But that's only one place to go, if you're looking forward and not backwards at all the envious swamp critters  nipping at your heels. By paying attention to them, you only give them impetus to nip more, take bigger bites until....
As I said, be bored instead.  And if you're still angry and can't really be bored, do the next best thing -- act bored!

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.

A Brush With Reality: John Tamny's Wisdom On Healthcare the Success of the Healthcare Non-Repeal

TAMNY SAYS IT BETTER AND WISER THAN I EVER COULD.  I AGREE:

WITHOUT DEFENDING the misnamed Affordable Care Act for even a second, implicit in the clamor to repeal it is that healthcare abundance existed right up until 2010.  Let's be serious.  Never acknowledged by either Party is that the fastest way to create scarcity and deformation of goods and services is to legislate access to it.  If the same had been done with cars, computers and smartphones in 1900, 1950, and 2000, all three would be a fraction of their amazing selves today.  The answer to the ACA isn't repeal of one bad central planning idea in return for another as much as it's doing nothing.  The ACA will die on its own, after which politicians should do nothing.  Markets will soon form if they sit on their hands.  RealClearMarkets. 
 
Why Would Republicans Repeal What Is Already Dying?

The alleged failure of Republicans to repeal the mis-named Affordable Care Act (ACA) predictably has the conservative punditry up in arms.  "Why Can't Republicans Get Anything Done?" was one of many frustrated headlines lamenting the GOP's lack of legislative success.  One editorial asserted that Republican failure to 'do something' about the ACA "is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years." Really?

Implicit in all the conservative ranting about the need to repeal, or worse, fix the ACA, is that healthcare was a consumers' paradise before President Obama was elected.  Let's try to be serious for a moment.  Repeal of the ACA would have been an impressive headline, but the short and long-term politics of repeal for Republicans would have been worse than doing nothing.  That is so because expectations about a looming nirvana would have been created, only for healthcare to at best return to its less-than-stellar-self that existed before passage of the ACA in 2010. Importantly, none of what's been written so far should be construed as support of the ACA.  It was foolish legislation, and evidence supporting the previous contention is that the ACA was already dying before our eyes.  No surprise there.

 Legislation meant to give some Americans a lot for a little with a lot taken from others in return for very little was bound to fail.  The ACA was plainly imploding as the constant rush of insurance companies out of ACA exchanges revealed in bright colors.  Why abolish what the laws of economics were already abolishing? And that's why the half-measures offered by Republican compromisers were plainly worse than simply doing nothing.  Why legislate away one central plan in return for an allegedly improved central plan; essentially exchanging bad legislation for bad legislation on top of what already wasn't working before 2010? The politics of repeal or partial repeal spoke to the horror of Washington doing anything to legislate a right to what was and is a market good like any other.

Not discussed enough by either side is that it's impossible to invent a right to a good or service of any kind to begin with.  This is certainly true with regard to healthcare when we remember that it didn't realistically exist until the 20th century.  Lest we forget, in the 19th it was a death sentence if you were shot in the abdomen.  If you broke your femur, you had 1 in 3 odds of dying.  Broken hip? Dead.  Cancer? Forget about it.  You were going to die.  Legislation didn't reverse the previously mentioned odds as much as trial and error in the area of healing led to healing advances such that a market eventually formed.  The shame here is that politicians discovered healthcare in the first place.  Imagine how much more advanced we'd be had they left what was advancing alone All of the above has seemingly been ignored by Republicans ever eager to prove they're as compassionate as their reliably hysterical opponents on the other side of the aisle. 

And there lies the problem.  Much as healthcare didn't broadly exist when the 20th century dawned, so were automobiles the microscopic exception to the horse rule.  Imagine if politicians, sensing what few did about the car's potential, had legislated broad access to what very few owned.  If so, it's safe to say that the American automobile industry would never have taken shape mainly because politicians can't possibly divine what we want, let alone need. 

The car evolved into a common good thanks to relentless experimentation that occurred alongside a 99% percent failure rate for American car companies. Thinking about the computer, while few could get by without one today, as late as 1943 IBM Chairman Tom Watson confidently asserted that the market for computers wouldn't expand beyond five.  Decades later, and billions worth of failed companies later, the computer is the can't-live-without rule, including the supercomputers that increasingly line the pockets of rich and poor alike. 

At present, politicians in both major political parties are thinking about ways to spend trillions in tax dollars on enhanced roads just as entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos are aggressively thinking of ways to deliver us goods and services by air, in the form of drones.  Yet conservatives are comfortable allowing Republicans to add more laws onto an already over-controlled healthcare market? Despite the historical truth that the present rarely predicts the future of goods and services, politicians in both parties pretend that they know what the market for healthcare should look like.  But how could they? For Republicans and Democrats to legislate a right to medical services in the present is every bit as lame-brained as it would have been had they legislated access to specific kinds of cars, computers and smartphones in 1900, 1950 and 2000.  Whatever they would have dreamed up for all three would have been a fraction of what intrepid entrepreneurs divined through feverish trial and error. 

Seemingly forgotten by Republicans is that legislation is the absolute worst way to solve any problem, real or imagined.  Particularly one involving goods and services created in the marketplace.  Lawmaking by definition deals with what is, while thriving markets are all about sleuthing what will be. We'll only arrive at what will be in the healthcare space insofar as individuals and businesses are free to experiment without limits, yet Republicans and Democrats in their infinite confusion are trying to create rights for people with what already is. Ok, but that's cruel.  It's the equivalent of politicians legislating access to the cars, computers and smartphones of today at a time when all three are likely on the verge of rapid evolution.  Healthcare is no different.  If the goal is that everyone should have access to it, the only response from Congress should be that it will cease legislating access to what it can't give, and more important, what it doesn't understand.  If so, watch healthcare markets evolve in an amazing ways that redound to us all.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Disgraceful: Congress MUST Go Back and Repeal Obamacare, Then Replace It Piecemeal Later As Needed

SIMON UPDATE:  O'CARE SURVIVES BECAUSE OF REPUBLICAN MORAL NARCISSISM 
TRUMP:  LET OBAMACARE FAIL, KEEP FALLING APART

LOOK HERE. WHAT'S LEFT OF FREE MARKETS IN OUR COUNTRY IS ALREADY REPEALING THE ATROCITY CALLED OBAMACARE. Obamacare is going down one bankruptcy, one rural county at a time. Insurance companies are losing billions  in many parts of the country and pulling out of markets leaving thousands without coverage.

So Congress needs to get its incredibly pathetic, over-perfectionist act together and repeal the bill.  Repeal it.   Let people who are left bereft without coverage be provided for with subsidies,  medicaid and state-run medi-stamps/vouchers which can be used in myriad ways. There will never be a time or a bill that can and will be all things to all people.  Just ask the wise guys who invented the now bankrupt TN-CARE.

Congress must not walk away until it repeals Obamacare, which is bankrupt and now on life-support.  Congress must actively repeal.  No other alternative is acceptable to a vast majority of the American people.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sunday Sermon---Pastor Mike Atkins @ River Crossing

THE GREAT BATTLE WITH THE ENEMY ALL BELIEVERS FIGHT DAILY.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Duchess Kate and Queen Letiza of Spain Raise the Bar High For Beautiful Evening Wear In Exquisite Good Taste

UPDATE: WHY MIDDLE AMERICAN DOESN'T CARE ABOUT---IS BORED WITH---THE LATEST TRUMP JR FLAP
CLEARLY BARE SHOULDERS ARE IN FOR WOMEN AND ROYALTY. But it's a beautiful style that endures for the long haul. I've always thought it's the most attractive and beguilingly feminine look of any evening wear. It dazzles and delights by showing skin in the right places, even as the crude Kardashians bore us with yet another tacky, pumped up, shameless porn show.

I like everything about Kate's look---the black print gown, the earrings with no other jewelry and the dashing, happy prince at her side. Queen Letiza is flawless in every way also, without being overdone or over-decorated.

Please note, I am NOT featuring Kate's blush pink ball gown with crown and necklace she wore to the banquet below because I really don't think it's her color, her cut or her best look by a long shot.

 Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth sticks to a gown, fit for a royal matriarch at the top of the matron game of thrones. Her dripping in crown jewels keeps us focused on who's really in charge here though all those diamonds and emeralds do seem to weigh Her Highness down a bit.   I like her little red bow, undoubtedly some sort of show of solidarity with Spain.
.
 SOURCE: The Telegraph

My idea of an atrocious edgy look at another venue far, far away....ugh.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Evening In the Shadows of the Tetons



SURE HOPE WE'RE HAVING  GRASS-FED BEEF FOR DINNER.... Above, very lively community minded after-dinner discussion about the exponential growth of Jackson, Wyoming and how it is impacting affordable housing for workers, traffic, wildlife and the peace and tranquility that was once more available in the far-flung, gateway town to The Tetons and Yellowstone.

Trump-Russia Fantasy By NYT And WaPo Once Again Conjure Nothing But Embarrassment To Themselves

TRUMP JR WAS THRILLED OVER THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING DIRT ON HILLARY---AS IF WE NEEDED MORE.  SO WHAT?

THIS LATEST ROUND OF THE VAPORIOUS TRUMP-RUSSIA COLLUSION 'STORY' INVOLVING TRUMP'S SON IS TURNING OUT TO BE THE MOST EMBARRASSING YET FOR THE MSM specifically for the New York Times and Washington Post

Neither news outlet seems coherent anymore. Donald Trump Jr.'s brief meeting last summer with some Russian woman/lawyer seeking an audience under false pretenses has again come to nought. But, these news outlets are so desperate to make something out of absolutely nothing that they increasingly come across as insane, deranged, and totally out of touch with reality.  How out of touch?  Sore Loser Tim Kaine is talking treason by the Trump people.  Good Lord.

John Hinderaker at Poweline has the latest on our exhausting national make-believe.  It's well worth a read.

******

Meanwhile,  good for GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell  for delaying the Senate's summer recess by two weeks.  It's a good move that will surely have benefits for the American people.  The Senate desperately needs to stay at work and do whatever it takes to get its agenda and job done right now. It's called keeping your nose to the grindstone. 

The Senate's Priority @ NY Sun

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chief Justice John Robert's Dynamite Commencement Address At Son Jack's Ninth Grade Graduation

THIS FROM CNBC: 

Commencement speakers are expected to give graduates useful advice and motivation, and ultimately, extend them good wishes for the rest of their journeys. But at a recent ceremony, America's top-ranking judge refused to wish students good luck and instead said he hoped they failed — because ultimately that will help them succeed — and to do so with grace. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' unconventional commencement speech at Cardigan Mountain School, where his son graduated from ninth grade in June, went viral on Twitter.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday--Beecher 'Bibles' in Kansas and the Underground Railroad

PASTOR JOHN PIPER: AMBUSH SATAN WITH SONG
THE ANSWER IS GOD.  RICHARD FERNANDEZ HAS THE CORRECT QUESTION
 
HERE'S A TEXTBOOK CASE OF THE COMPATIBILITY OF BIBLES AND GUNS IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

Friday, July 7, 2017

I Am Dazzled

STUART UPDATE:  WHEN DONALD MET VLAD


IT'S NOT OFTEN I'M DAZZLED IN THIS WORLD OF MEAN SPIRITED POLITICS.  But after getting up yesterday at the crack of dawn, Rocky Mountain time, to turn on the live broadcast from  Warsaw, Poland,  I began to be swept away and inspired as I listened to President Trump's speech to the Poles, and to us Americans as well. My amazement has only increased since then.

I am thrilled, but not all that surprised.

One business site predicted beforehand that Putin would eat Trump's lunch in a one-on-one meeting today.  Far, far from those headlines lies another seeming reality:  Trump and Putin actually respect each other in spite of  their faults and bad-guy reputations. With this reality in place,  all kinds of possibilities---good and bad---open up on the international stage. I do not think the meeting today between Trump and Putin is a panacea by any means. However, a fresh start may have been made based on mutual respect A respect that was never there between Obama and Putin.

I give thanks that new possibilities are surfacing in the Middle East, as two tough guys who respect and have a healthy fear of each other try to find solutions to some of the world's increasingly complex problems. Both men have huge---YUGE--egos.  Both of them could possibly try to outdo the other in being the good guys in this new world order. That's what I hope for. And I know I could certainly be wrong.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, God bless America.  God bless and inspire our country's leaders, including President Trump.  I hope he stands his ground in the days and months ahead.  Of course I know the MSM and the Deep State resistance will try to tear all this news to shreds.  It won't be successful.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Fascinating Look At 'Trump Law' and All the President's Lawyers and Legal Battles Over the Years

THIS PIECE BY JONATHAN MAHLER FOR NYTMAG IS WELL-WORTH A READ.

Will be back later to write more, but for now, I found this article linked at Powerline blog fascinating, fascinating. Last night at a lovely Fourth cookout and dinner al fresco with good friends we talked and talked about Trump's lawyering up and various related legal subjects.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Seen In Smith's Parking Lot: Deplorable Truck of American Worker/Patriot Who Elected President Trump




HEY, BUDDY, CAN I TREAT YOU TO A CAR WASH UP AT MAVERICK? Oh yeah. Let's hear for getting down, muddy and dusty in this great and vast country of ours.

Have a safe 4th and remember the government works for us, not the other way around.

O Say Does That Star Spangled Banner Yet Wave, Ore the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

 MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS AMERICA MIGHTILY. May this be a day of thanksgiving and praise for this amazing country. Please pray and keep praying with me for our country, our president and leaders. We need prayer as never before.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday

 

Psalm 121

121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

King James Version (KJV)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Great Day On the Water!

BEEN VERY BUSY WITH FAMILY AND GETTING READY TO GO TO WYOMING SOON.

After months of commuting back and forth to Paris every month, my son left today to begin working full-time in France. His family will remain here to visit Long Island and Jackson Hole. Then they move to Paris before the school year begins later this summer. We all had such fun on the water yesterday, kayaking, swimming and just hanging out with each other and HG. My daughter joined us for dinner and good conversation. The weather and water temp were about as good as it gets for this time of year. I got these little sit-on-top kayaks for the kids at Dick's, along with paddles and life jackets. To say these little kayaks were a hit would be a gross understatement! It was mahor fun for all. My fleet of kayaks with a SUP now numbers 5. But with these new little kayaks---light and small enough to throw in the back of my Honda Pilot---I can now run over to the park, hike, then make a quick tour around the lake all in one trip. The ordeal is over!

May God be with them during this time of great change and keep them safe in the shadow of His wings.

Posting will be off and on as I can from now through the summer. Thank you so much for stopping by.

A Most Favorite Song of Jesus---Psalm 144

MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS 

 Of David.
 
144 Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples[a] under me.
O Lord, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.
Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down!
    Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
    send out your arrows and rout them!
Stretch out your hand from on high;
    rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
    from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
I will sing a new song to you, O God;
    upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10 who gives victory to kings,
    who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me
    from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
12 May our sons in their youth
    be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
    cut for the structure of a palace;
13 may our granaries be full,
    providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
    and ten thousands in our fields;
14 may our cattle be heavy with young,
    suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;[b]
may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
    Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

PRAYER FOR PSALM 144 ( from Tim Keller's book, The Songs of Jesus)

Lord, I praise you that someone of your immeasurable greatness would not just set his love on me but would also shrink down infinitely to enter the universe he had made in order to be crushed (and killed) like an insect---and all for me (and us).  'Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me.'  Amen 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Patagonia's Foolhardy Fleece de Resistance de Trump

TRUMP FRACAS (NONSENSE) RESOLVED IN JACKSON HOLE

YVON CHOUINARD STARTED PATAGONIA DECADES AGO IN SO CAL OUT OF HIS VOLKSWAGEN BUS TO HELP SUPPORT AND EQUIP HIS ROCK CLIMBING MANIA.

Since then, he's become fabulously successful and wealthy beyond his wildest dreams peddling climbing and outdoor clothing and equipment for the extreme and elite outdoorsmen. Yvon has always been a radical  environmentalist in both his personal and professional lives. So it's not surprising now that he's no longer CEO of the company---he lives part-time in Jackson, Wyoming-- he would ensconce a radical feminist environmentalist to carry his torch forward. (I make a strong distinction between militant environmentalists and more multiple-use conservationists)  President Trump is now Patagonia's (and his) worst nightmare when it comes to climate change and public lands issues.

VIA GATEWAY PUNDIT AND MAGGIE'S FARM

Anyway,  it now comes to my attention that Patagonia is making a public spectacle of itself by announcing it will lead the resistance and environmental charge against the Trump White House's environmental policies. It's certainly its choice as a company,  but as a business decision, it  seems like major folly.  Many, if not most of  Patagonia's clients are upscale, conservative consumers, rather than granola heads, who can afford to outfit themselves with expensive equipment for exotic trips to the far corners of the earth. Many of them are Republicans.  It will not sit well with them, as it doesn't with me.

Actually,  I buy very few Patagonia products anymore because  there are so many other good, less expensive outfitting companies and outdoor/fly fishing products today.  However, now that I know of the company's latest politicizing its products and mission,  I will stay completely away and opt for companies that want my business and have the good sense to keep their political powder dry.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Each of Our Ultimate Father Is In Heaven----Prayer to the Father As Taught By His Son

OUR FATHER, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

(Taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, 1662).
From Matthew 6:9-13
 (context Matthew 6)

 
A short line-by-line analysis. Click on the title links for more in-depth commentary.
Our Father which art in Heaven
Jesus teaches His disciples that God is our parent in Heaven. The Apostle Paul restates this by exhorting the believer to address God as "Abba" (Aramaic for "Daddy"- the kind of intimate word that a child would use to his or her father) " And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."" (Rom 8:15, NIV)

Hallowed be thy name
The first of seven requests in this prayer. "Hallowed" means holy. As we pray this line we are reminding ourselves that God is separate from us, completely pure and faultless. Here we become aware of our own frailty as we adore and worship the living God.

Thy kingdom come
God's kingdom is to do with His ways and order. So here we are asking that God's ways happen here, as they are fully obeyed in Heaven.

Thy will be done
The third request in this prayer is that God's will occurs. Here we are aligning our will with God's will, we are submitting ourselves to Him, and asking that His way triumphs.

Give us this day our daily bread
We need God in all areas of our life (physical, spiritual and mental), and this is a daily need. We need to come back to God regularly, each day- indeed, many times each day and many ways, for we can quickly become independent and self-seeking. Jesus reiterates this daily dependency when he exhorts us to not "worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself" (Math 6:34, NIV)

And forgive us our trespasses
Different versions of this prayer use different words here - sometimes "trespasses", "debts" or "sins" (click here for a explanation of this). Here we bring to mind the ways in which we have failed God and others, and ask the Lord for His forgiveness.

As we forgive them that trespass against us
As we receive God's forgiveness, we bring to mind anyone who we feel may have wronged us, and pardon them.

And lead us not into temptation
The sixth request in the Lord's prayer is not to be in a place where temptation might overwhelm us. It is not wrong to be tempted or tested (Jesus was!). It is wrong to give in to this temptation
.
But deliver us from evil
The final request is for protection by our Father in heaven. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he declared 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'(Math 4:4 NIV). In times of trial, Jesus recognises the Lord as His source of deliverance. Likewise we are to depend on God when evil is at our door.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. Forever and ever. Amen.
The prayer finishes with a closing doxology, that is, a hymn of praise to God. Not all versions of the Lord's prayer include this ending.




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Brilliance of Ramirez On Never Ending, Desperate and Absurd Russia Investigation Costing Taxpayers Millions

IT'S CALLED BEATING A VERY DEAD---DEADER THAN DEAD--- HORSE AT TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE.

VIA Powerline

Friday, June 16, 2017

Rod Rosentein Delivers Sanity to A Country Spinning Out-of-Control

SS: THE PARTY OF LOVE LEARNS HOW TO HATE

WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE FROM RON ROSENSTEIN'S MESSAGE LAST NIGHT?
US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued a statement Thursday night that appeared to reference leaks and urged Americans to be skeptical of "stories attributed to anonymous 'officials.'" The statement caused alarm for its tone, amid a Trump-Russia investigation that has increasingly riled up President Donald Trump and called into question whether he has attempted to obstruct justice in the matter. Trump allies are reportedly worried they are unable to calm the president's anguish. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued a stunning statement Thursday night that appeared to be a rebuke of intelligence leaks roundly criticized by President Donald Trump and Republicans at large. The statement said Americans should think twice "before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials.'" "Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations," Rosenstein said. Trump, conservative lawmakers, and his surrogates have made the subject of intelligence leaks their prime focus amid a broad FBI investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The investigation, headed by special counsel Robert Mueller, is examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin to help get Trump elected. In the latest instance of damaging leaks for the Trump White House, on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Mueller's investigation was examining whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired former FBI Director James Comey.
To me, the hysteria created by these anonymous intelligence leakers and leakees who indiscriminately pick them up run with them with impunity to the nearest dirtbag media outlet is criminal. The liberal outlets then amp them up---and dress them up with alarming headlines--- then go off half-cocked with unnamed sources and unsubstantiated (what pass as) facts but aren't, and dissimenate them to an ignorant, gullible public.  Case in point--- the young, immature Trump hater leaker now behind bars in Georgia. They should all be prosecuted.

We as taxpaying citizens should remove ourselves from the fray and stop believing everything---or almost anything--- we read or hear. Never has our citizenry needed the power of discernment and critical thinking more. We do NOT have to participate in the hysteria from any side and we must not anymore. Ask questions and expect factual answers instead of  flimsy gossip, wishful thinking, or hateful opinions based on nothing.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Should Members of Congress Be Packing Heat After Alexandria?

THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT SECURITY FOR CONGRESSMEN AND  PEOPLE IN TRUMP'S ADMINISTRATION NEEDS to be beefed up big time.  Everything and everywhere is a potential mass shooting event now.  Security needs increasing in churches too---or at least the conservative ones I go to. There's also no doubt that increased protection will cost taxpayers billions, if not trillions, going forward.

Here's a piece I found via HotAir that's well worth a read.  Should members of Congress increase security or pack more heat in and around D.C., in their homes both in the District and home districts?  It's a staggering question with no easy answers as unbalanced and extreme individuals become more and more unhinged.

Wish I were more optimistic, but unfortunately I see more civil violence and murders in cold blood in the days and years to come, rather than less.  Glad I have a carry permit and now need to re- decide when and how to exercise it more effectively.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The First Amendment Says Let the Assassination Play In the Park Go On

HAD ENOUGH THERAPY SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT:  ALL HAIL CAESAR

THE FRIGHTENING, MINDLESS ROMAN MOBS

ABSOLUTELY.

Those of us who find it a ridiculous, attention-seeking bore should walk away, not write about it---Hear That Drudge!---and not support any of its sponsors---FedEx (!), CNN, to name a few.  That simple.  We only get more of what we protest and give attention to, and less and less of what we ignore. That goes for  desperate-for-attention wannabe suicide bombers and leakers.

As for me,  it's a humongous, smelly and sweaty bore in Central Park.... kinda like Bonneroo with drugs and tattooed, unkept hairy men in sleeveless, sweaty t-shirts----ugh.  No thanks.

Still, the First Amendment says, let the sweaty 'masterpiece' go on with or without me and those of us who find it less than appealing and attractive.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Wedding Feast: What Did Jesus Mean---'Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen'

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

MATTHEW 22:1-14

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

This has always been a difficult passage of Scripture for me.  So when I saw this piece by Guy Waters on The Gospel Coalition site this week,  my eyes and ears perked up. After reading and thinking about it,  I think it's the best brief commentary on this parable I've seen.  Take a look and see what you think:

The Feast  

This parable is, like the others, about the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 22:2). It tells the story of a king who gave a wedding feast for his son (Matt. 22:2). The wedding feast has widespread significance in the Bible. Ultimately, it is the day when God will gather all his redeemed and they will enjoy his presence in complete holiness and joy.

By the king’s order, banquet invitations go out. The king’s servants are “sent . . . to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come” (Matt. 22:3). They offer a host of excuses and mistreat the servants, so the king punishes them (Matt. 22:5–7). The king then dispatches his servants: “Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find” (Matt. 22:9).

Jesus is describing here the offer of the gospel, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. The Jewish nation had decisively rejected the offer God made to them through his prophets. For that rejection, Jesus announces the judgment God will bring—the Roman armies’ destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. But in God’s providence, that rejection is the occasion of the gopsel being extended to Gentiles. The result is that “the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Matt. 22:10).
But then something unexpected happens.

The king joins his guests and discovers “a man who had no wedding garment” (Matt. 22:12). The man can give no reason why he has no garment. In an act of eschatological judgment, the king orders his attendants to “bind [the man] hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:13). Jesus ends his story by pronouncing the aphorism that summarizes the parable’s meaning: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).

The Called

To understand this pithy closing statement is to understand the parable as a whole. What does Jesus mean by “For many are called, but few are chosen”? To answer, we must understand what Jesus means here by “call” and “choose.” The word “call” runs through the parable. In the Greek text, the servants are said to “call those who had been called to the feast” (Matt. 22:3). The Jewish invitees are the “called ones” (cf. Matt. 22:4, 8). The servants are then commanded to “call” the Gentiles (22:9). The word translated “called” in verse 14 belongs to the same word family as that translated “called” in verses 3, 4, 8, and 9.

This pattern helps us understand the nature of the call in this parable. It is the summons or invitation of God through his servants—prophets in the Old Testament, ministers in the New. This call bids hearers to repent and believe the good news the servants proclaim. It is possible to refuse, as many Jews did. Jesus teaches that those who refuse the call are culpable for refusing it.

But it is also possible to respond to this call in a non-saving way. The man without the wedding garment in 22:12 presumably responded to the invitation. But his lack of the garment proves he doesn’t belong at the feast, and he is justly banished. What is the “wedding garment”? It likely pictures the gift of salvation freely offered in the gospel. Only those who receive this gift will be seated at the wedding banquet of the Lamb at the consummation of all things.

The Chosen

Who are they who sincerely respond to the call and receive Christ in faith? Jesus calls them the “chosen” or, as the Greek word may be translated, the elect. These are all whom the Father has chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph. 1:4). Only these chosen ones will constitute the company of the redeemed when Christ returns in glory. God’s eternal choice ensures they will respond sincerely to the call.

Since the New Testament elsewhere joins calling with election (see 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 8:30), what does Jesus mean when he says there are some who are called but not chosen?

The external call goes to all people. But only the elect experience the internal call.
The answer lies in a distinction necessary to understand the way the biblical writers speak of “call.” In this parable, Jesus speaks of “call” in an external sense. It is the summons of God through the gospel message. This call bids men and women to come to Christ by way of repentance and faith.
In other places the biblical writers speak of “call” in an internal sense. For instance, Paul speaks of this internal call in 1 Corinthians 1:24—this is the effective, saving work of the Spirit of Christ in conjunction with the gospel’s outward call. This internal call powerfully and effectively turns the sinner from his sin to Jesus Christ. The external call goes to all people. But only the elect will, in God’s time, experience the internal call. For them, the gospel is indeed “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).

What It Teaches Us

What are the main lessons Jesus has for us in this surprising, unsettling parable?

First, it is not a slight thing to refuse the summons of God through his messengers. God will hold those who refuse that summons responsible on Judgment Day. Second, Jesus wants us to realize there is a more subtle way to refuse the summons. One may pay lip service to the external call but never truly embrace Jesus as offered in that call. Even this refusal subjects us to God’s just judgment.
The bad news is we have no power in ourselves to change our rebellious hearts. The good news is God is pleased to change rebellious hearts by the invincible power of his Spirit.

If we have responded to the external call in repentance and faith, it is only because God has first been at work in us to turn us to himself in Christ. Salvation is truly by grace alone. This truth is unsettling, but Jesus unsettles us for a reason. He wants us to find salvation and life in him alone, by grace alone. And only in Christ may we find an everlasting, unshakeable foundation.
Guy Waters (PhD, Duke University) is the James M. Baird Jr. Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of numerous books, including What Is the Bible? (P&R, 2013), A Christian's Pocket Guide to Justification: Being Made Right with God? (Christian Focus, 2010), and How Jesus Runs the Church (P&R, 2011).