So What If You’re Wrong?

The title of this post was a question asked by a believer on an atheist’s blog. The full comment was:

The biggest side-step ever was made by Richard Dawkins when he was asked “What if you’re wrong?” by a student in a Q&A session. So, what if you are wrong? Are you frightened of anything? If not, you should be.

Christians love to ask this question. I suppose it’s because they think it’s going to create all sorts of emotional stirrings and fear-related thoughts in the psyche of the individual being asked.

And perhaps to a person who’s never been exposed to Christianity and its myriad end-time threats, such a question could be a bit disconcerting. But to ask this of an atheist who has spent years examining and discrediting and rejecting the many and varied “proofs” of the Christian faith? It seems to me the response would be obvious.

Nonetheless, at some point (generally after all else has failed) the fear factor becomes an important point in many discussions between believer and non-believer. And before long that dreaded where will you spend eternity “threat” comes to the forefront.

I’m pretty sure most of my readers have answered this question more than once … and I’ll bet some of you have come up with some pretty creative answers. Care to share them with the rest of us?

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A View of the U.S. From Across the Pond

One of my blogging friends (Filasofa) recently asked her followers who live outside of the U.S. to offer their insights on the myriad events occurring in our nation today. So far, she’s had three individuals respond to her request. In my opinion, the following one from Gary Metcalfe deserves a wider audience so I’m sharing it here as well.

Many of you may be followers of Jill’s blog and have already read Gary’s submittal. If not, I urge you to spend a few moments and read what he has to say. He shares what his country is dealing with and then goes on to compare it with what America is up against.

IMO, he paints a very accurate picture of our nation and its current “problems.”


IS YORKSHIRE CLOSER TO WASHINGTON OR PARIS

Geography doesn’t really come easily to a simple Yorkshire chap like myself. I’m lucky to find my way round the house never mind circumnavigate the globe.  But distance wise I am pretty sure we are closer to France than America. It has always puzzled me if I should call America – America or is it the USA? Let’s go for America. So, although we are physically closer to France, in terms of relationships are we closer to Washington or Paris?

This is such a difficult question given the fact that my own country has clearly gone barking mad. So badly divided over Brexit. Increasingly violent and seeing the worrying rise of extremism. Less tolerant. Without any effective leadership. Obsessed with the cult of personality over substance. A country with ever widening inequalities. Happy to criticise others yet reluctant to cooperate or make any meaningful international contribution.  Occasionally sending a few war planes into the Middle East does not really count as a constructive policy.

To be fair if Washington and Paris had any sense they would distance themselves from the UK. I suspect the leaders in Europe secretly can’t wait to get rid of us. When I worked for the NHS I went to a conference and the Secretary of State for Health started slagging off our European partners. He held up a European Competition Framework and complained that it was 300 pages long and was a clear sign of European bureaucracy gone mad. Unfortunately, he failed to mention that the vast majority of the bureaucracy in that document had been inserted at the request of the U.K. to protect our own interests. That document will be much slimmer when we have left.

Although we talk as if we are European we have historically seen our closest ally as America. America is often portrayed as vibrant, modern, yes a bit brash but also so very inclusive. Yes, we have seen things which make us shake our heads. The obsession with guns … what is all that about. Wouldn’t an obsession with something like Tea or Old Car Restoration be an awful lot safer for your kids. But still we could trust America. Then Obama came along and suddenly our closest ally became a real beacon of hope.

In 2011 the American President said a few simple words that resonated (he had a brilliant talent for that):

“We should do everything we can to ensure this country lives up to our children’s expectations”

 The words came at such a tragic time for the American People, but Obama was the leader we all wished we had. Intelligent, caring, passionate and someone who understood he had obligations to the upcoming generations. That’s a great look for country and certainly a friend we can work with.  Then the hope appeared to fade, stagnated by a divided country. Principles had to be compromised.  But still America was a trusted partner. Someone we could turn to when we fell out with Europe.

 Then we all got trumped.

 When Trump received his nomination it never really sunk in. We knew of him. A billionaire, a golfer, luxury hotel owner, someone who appeared in Home Alone 2 and the winner of the WWE Battle of the Billionaires with Vince McMahon – didn’t get his head shaved. That was it.

We didn’t focus on him too much as obviously Hillary would win, as obviously the UK would vote to stay in Europe. Then even after he won he wasn’t taken that seriously. He won’t last long, people started placing bets on how long he would be President. Most people seemed to think anywhere between 6 months to 1 week. But he stayed.

For the first period of his presidency it appeared from the U.K. that if you just ignored his frequent twitter rants then things would be ok. He hadn’t blown anything up. Apart from the noise nothing seemed to be happening. Yes, the revolving door approach to presidential appointments seemed vaguely amusing. Moving the White House engine room to a golf course (as clearly a golf course is where a President can do his best work) was not really a surprise. In fact, all we really heard was how much time he spent playing golf.  But slowly the news of the what trumping really meant started to filter across the pond.

  • Apparently dangerous links with Russia and certain Middle East tyrannies existed. But we couldn’t lecture on this as we have equally close links with Saudi Arabia.
  • The Paul Manafort saga (too confusing to really follow as we only heard about snippets of the story) but it clearly implied incompetence or something more sinister. Whatever the underlying cause it’s not a great example to the world of American Ethics.
  • The handling of the Puerto Rico natural disaster was just really insensitive, self-centered and despicable.
  • The apparent haste to fall out with your historic partners like Canada, France and Germany. But you have found a new buddy in North Korea.
  • He bizarrely started to openly condemn his own Intelligence Agencies and the FBI. Yet he didn’t seem as willing to condemn the Extreme Right operating in his own country.
  • The Complete disregard for international climate change commitments. It really felt like he was saying ‘stuff you’ to the world and future generations. Maybe he thinks it’s not my problem as I will be gone by the time the world burns. Contrast that with Obama’s approach. Monumentally stupid or colossally selfish.
  • Favouring the interest of the NRA over child safety. Seriously arming teachers….
  • Attacks on the Free Press and attempts to stifle debate. These are particularly worrying as some of our politicians are clearly starting to copy Trumps strategy. What happened to the Leader of the Free World role.
  • That Wall. That Magic Wall which will solve all of America’s problems. The Wall which is so precious that it’s worth freezing Government for. That must be some Wall. But the sight of a modern Leader seemingly taking personal delight at the shutdown. Probably thinks it makes him look like a big man. We are talking about people’s lives here being sacrificed for a few bricks.  Kids are dying on the border. Oh, I forgot they are just migrants. Are the golf courses still open?

To the vast majority in our country your President appears to be at best a misguided clown at worst a dangerously unbalanced self-obsessed bully. Either are not a good look for a leader and certainly not as a leader who we are trying to forge a partnership with. Many in our country feel that Trump has gone too far. That we should be distancing ourselves from him. But our PM is desperate, she sees an American trade deal (regardless of how bad it is) as a way of saving her job. So, unless we get a new government it’s going to happen.

Where does that leave us across the pond. Rapidly burning our bridges with Europe. Yet looking on at America with increasing consternation and alarm. At a time when we should be embracing closer links with Washington we see a dangerous superpower. Potentially a threat. Yes, a threat. And yet. And yet. As our country careens out of control into a world with few friends, our government views Trump as someone we might be able to quickly do business with. He clearly hates Europe as much as our Brexiteers. But at what cost. Is an unbalanced trade deal really worth further opening up our beloved National Health Service to Trump’s golfing buddies. Are we really that tainted as a country that we are prepared to sacrifice our moral principles for the price of a document which Trump could declare void at any stage.

So back to the big question. Are we closer to Washington or Paris? The answer is sadly neither.


What are your thoughts? Has he presented an accurate portrayal of our nation from “across the pond?”

The Shutdown and the FBI

As there are a couple of bloggers I follow who regularly post some of the BIG news items, I tend to share the more human interest type articles.

Like this one …

FBI Agents Say The Shutdown Is A Threat to National Security

The agents discuss how tRumpsky’s constant barrage against the Agency has been hard on morale, and say the Shutdown is the cherry on top of a galling two years.”

In the two and a half years since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, the president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in dozens of tweets, rallies, and interviews. Last April, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.”

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Morale at the FBI had already been steadily declining for months before the government shut down on December 22, according to current and recently departed agents who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity to discuss their feelings candidly. President Trump’s open warfare on the bureau has made agents’ jobs more difficult, they say, as trust in the FBI wanes among people who identify as Republicans and right-leaning independents. “Part of it is Trump’s constant attacks,” said one agent who left late last year. “Bigger than that, though, is that it seems like a portion of the population believes him. Which makes their jobs harder to do.”

There are nearly 5,000 special agents, intelligence analysts, attorneys, and professional staff currently furloughed.

Time for Some Fun!

As we all know, tRumpsky puts his name on all his edifices. So IF he finally gets “his wall,” there’s little doubt he’ll want a plaque (engraved in gold, no doubt) placed in a highly visible location that will, obviously, be called the:

TRUMP BORDER WALL

Now let’s get crazy and come up with some phrases he could use for a sub-title. For example:

  • A monument to honor a Really Smart Person
  • Honoring a Great Moral Leader
  • Dedicated to a man with Great Instincts

The floor is open. Share your ideas!

Border Security is More Than a Wall

There’s been soooo much “crap” surrounding “tRumpskey’s Wall” that I hesitated writing a post on the subject. However, after reading an article in the local paper, I wanted to bring attention to the REAL needs related to border security. The article lead pretty much says it all:

Border authorities are struggling with outdated facilities ill-equipped to handle the growing increase in family migrants, resulting in immigrants being released onto the streets every day. The immigration court system is so clogged that some wait years for their cases to be resolved, and lacks funding to pay for basic things like in-person translators. An increase in sick children arriving at the border is putting a strain on medical resources.

But the Washington debate has focused almost exclusively on the $5 billion in wall spending that President Donald Trump wants.

The article also points out that … contracting, designing and building new wall systems complete with updated technology could take years (and, I would add, mucho dinero).

Details, schmetails! So long as tRumpsky’s name goes down in the presidential history books that he built a Magnificent Wall on the Mexico border … well, that’s what REALLY matters, right?

Further, the article points out: The debate overlooks major bottlenecks in the immigration system as more families and children traveling alone turn themselves in to authorities to seek asylum, instead of trying to elude capture as almost everyone did just a few years ago.

Read that first part again. “Families and children traveling alone” — not those nasty, dangerous immigrants that tRumpsky claims are bringing in drugs and contraband to corrupt U.S. citizens. Rather, the agency is “overwhelmed” in dealing with all the children and families coming across the border.

Officials say they are stopping about 2,000 people a day and it’s having a tremendous impact on the immigration system.

But a WALL we must have! Because, well, we must keep our promises, right? No matter the cost — financial or humanitarian. (Need I add that intelligent people know a wall is NOT going to stop immigration.)

At this writing, tRumpsky is still yammering about declaring a “National Emergency” to get the funds he wants. It’s amazing what spoiled children will do to get their way.

And I just came across this in another article …

In his battle with Congress over border wall funding, President Trump has leaned heavily on Twitter to rally support among his followers.

So far, the strategy seems to be working. That doesn’t bode well for a quick resolution to the standoff.

(Check out the graph that illustrates reactions to his border tweets.)

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Note: Added emphasis in article excerpts is mine.