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Member since: Mon May 15, 2017, 12:06 AM
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Oddly, most Americans have no idea what's going on.

We had our thirty-something son and his wife and their six kiddos visit for a few days last week. They were on their way back home after being on a vacation. When I brought up the children being separated from their parents at the border, they didn't know about it.

I was reminded of myself at that stage of life, busy with work, kids' activities, and paying scant attention to news sources. I was in my forties before I started focusing again. I say again because I was raised in a politically active family and volunteered for various candidates in high school, college, and beyond.

We have a large number of our compatriots who may have heard very little about Trump, Russia, Mueller, and have a long way to go before they'll understand or believe. It's hard to imagine, the way this has captured our attention, but they're pretty clueless. That is not connected at all to level of intelligence. We've got our work cut out for us between now and Election Day, even more than we may have realized.

I hope to be in an immigration courtroom by the end of next week.

An attorney (S.) who goes to my Methodist church is working to get assigned to assist immigrants with their court cases. My pastor knows the separation of kids and parents has had me in tears and made it hard to concentrate on much else. He suggests I go with S. and another church member who's planning to go.

I'm not an attorney, but he told me they need witnesses to immigration proceedings, taking notes. I told him I'm very slow as a note-taker and have an unreliable memory, but he encouraged me to go anyway. Having civilian witnesses to the proceedings seems to cause the judges to trend to a little more careful and to better outcomes for the immigrants.

I'm waiting to hear if S. has been able to set things up. We'd go for a couple of days. Not much but something. Too bad we don't live close. If we did, it could be an ongoing effort.

Will NATO be the next alliance broken by Trump?

Daniel Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro), former US Ambassador to Israel (2011-2017) and served under Obama on the National Security Council, posted a thread today. Coupled with the news that Trump has tasked a committee to assess the ramifications of pulling our troops out of Germany, this gave me chills! It seems so crazy – and completely likely with tRump.

…I don't think we are fully grappling with the possibility that we could be on the on the cusp of a completely new era, a fundamental reshaping of the international order. And I don't mean over the course of the Trump Administration. I mean by next week.

…Trump clearly wants to pull the US out of NATO. He doesn't believe in the alliance (or any alliances); he thinks our allies take advantage of us; he complains that NATO is worse than NAFTA(whatever that means); he seeks purely transactional relations with our closest partners.

…Our President doesn't know the history or strategy, doesn't listen to experts, personalizes everything & makes it transactional, & loves the drama of the outrageous move that dominates cable TV coverage. For him, pulling out of NATO is all gain, no cost.


Pro-life Democrats at Texas State Convention

My husband heard a news story on NPR this afternoon talking with a group of Texas Democrats at the Texas State Democratic Convention going on now in Ft. Worth who are pro-life. They mourned how militant the pro-choice left had gotten on that issue and how hard it was to find room to stay within the Democratic party.

Abortion has been very much on my mind in the last few weeks, after visiting our son and daughter-in-law and our two grandchildren. The last day of our visit, my husband raised the issue of considering voting for a Democratic candidate we consider a very strong candidate for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Col. Kim Olson, a retired combat pilot who served in Iraq.

“I could NEVER vote for anyone who supports abortion,” our son said. The Democratic party platform itself was enough to make him say that. He knows that any Dem no matter what they personally believe has to run on the party platform, which is correct.

We gently tried to point to other issues, but in our love and desire not to damage our relationship, we were fuzzy in what we said. We were sad and quiet during the entire three hour drive home and the rest of the day.

I’ve read the well-written Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Questions by Randy Alcorn too (in fact, I gave our son one of my two copies). But after much reflection and prayer, I couldn’t escape the understanding that God’s gift of free will was primary. I could not imagine God forcing a woman to carry a baby to term. I was convinced that God’s love was too great to compel someone to do that, no matter how much God loved the life created in her womb. If God wouldn’t, then God’s people shouldn’t either, no matter how much we want to leap to that unborn child’s defense.

There’s a line we should not cross. We can pray, offer support, create safe places where pregnant women could give birth, support economic policies that allow women to prevent unwanted pregnancies more easily, support adoptions, support programs that allow teenage mothers to continue their educations while their children are cared for at school, share our view that life is sacred from creation to death and provide information. However use of guilt would be going too far, and so would using legal or personal coercion. Ultimately I concluded we could not hijack the woman’s body to carry that baby to term because that would violate the free will God gave her - a respect borne of the deep love God has for her, as He does for all of us. He does us the honor of allowing us to make our own decisions, even bad ones, knowing that we will make mistakes but that we will learn and grow.

In wrestling with this issue, I’ve concluded that the God who created the cosmos out of nothing and is omnipotent (while choosing to not use that power to coerce) could be trusted with the immortal souls of those babies whose mothers chose to abort them. Though God had a purpose and plan for that infant’s life, God is able to achieve that purpose even when the original plan was aborted. And I trusted that the Holy Spirit would continue working in the lives of those women who made that choice. In fact, I know at least two women whose journey to God came about because of their abortions.

I asked a dear friend, the person with the most intimate and faithful walk with God I know, a retired nurse who had not been able to conceive and so had adopted a child, what was her belief about abortion. When she was a young nurse, she said, it had upset her when abortions were performed at her hospital, until she talked to a wise mentor. His conversation with her was much like my internal pondering. After that, she too trusted God with the issue.

That’s not to say I think abortions should normally be allowed late in a pregnancy. By the age at which the baby’s movements can be detected, most women will have had time to exercise free will. Even free will has limits. Limitations, however, should have a judicial appeal process that would allow a judge to permit it in rare circumstances such as risk to the life of the mother or to the physical safety of someone whose body isn’t mature enough to safely carry a baby to term, as could be the case of a girl pregnant through incest or molestation.

I honor my son’s desire to protect life. God’s creation is beautiful and praiseworthy, and I understand why he would conclude what he has.

It grieves me that he is appalled that we support a woman’s right to choose. He questioned whether I just had come to a belief that “seemed good to me.” But that sells me short. I genuinely want to want what God wants and to do what God would have me do. He is also mistaken to think that we think abortion is good, or just fine. We don’t. It’s a grievous act, but to disrespect the woman or family’s free will would be worse, in our opinion, because it would not follow God’s way.

That part of the conversation was not the only thing that made us sad, though. In fact, that was a minor thing because as I said we understand and honor his desire to protect life. What we found deeply troubling was realizing that to accomplish that desire, he was willing to completely ignore many moral issues important to us and that we believe scripture indicates are ones that matter to God too.

We assume that he voted for Trump for president from a number of statements he made during the primary season, although we didn’t want to know that he did. His wife couldn’t do it and voted for an independent candidate, and perhaps he did too.

I've read the very fierce remarks some have made here on the absolute necessity of being pro-choice in every aspect of the Democratic party platform, and I'm pro-choice myself obviously. But the tone of the comments doesn't allow for any dialogue or sense of inclusion, and I was saddened by what felt like a very hard rigidity.

My husband's question is how do we include people such as these pro-Life Dems. This election more than any other in our lifetime is about good and evil, and surely the stark immorality of this administration OUGHT to have decent people like our son and his wife voting against every Republican up and down the ticket. It's very hard to bear the thought of our son and his wife not supporting Dems when to me it's such a clear-cut issue of good vs. evil.

Tariffs on Canadian paper pose an existential threat to community newspapers ....

Do you rely on your local newspaper to keep up with how your tax dollars are being spent? If so, tell your congressman you don’t want a new tariff to put the paper out of business.

A new study reveals that communities that lose their newspapers see an alarming increase in the cost of local government because there’s no watchdog reporting on how your hard-earned money is spent.

A new “temporary” tariff on Canadian newsprint — the paper used to print 75 percent of American newspaper pages — poses a dire threat if it becomes permanent. Simply put, your hometown paper can’t exist if it costs more to print than it earns in revenue…

Under the arcane and almost unfathomable rules of U.S. trade policy, the newspaper industry isn’t allowed to formally make its case to the administration, which will decide soon whether to make the tariff permanent. Members of Congress, on the other hand, may submit official comments to be considered. Very few have done that.


Our small-town weekly newspaper had this editorial in this week's newspaper. In searching for more info, turns out a whole lot of Texas newspapers had the same editor. They're urging readers to urge their members of Congress to write the Commerce Department and International Trade Association, since only members of Congress have standing to make the case apparently, and newspapers can't even send representatives to make their case to the administration. Apparently only 4 Texas reps have so far.

I missed a couple of earlier DU posts on this tariff including this one: https://upload.democraticunderground.com/10142081919

How I Spent My MLK Day

Today's observances took an unexpected (but good) turn.

I live in one of those Southern sundown towns. Though no one still stops carloads of blacks and tells them to keep on passing through and make sure they're out of town before sundown, the legacy of a shamefully racist past lingers in the tiny percentage of blacks living here. So there are no observances locally.

I go to the county seat where the demographics are much different and participate in a march with a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial to Dr. King and civil rights erected at the only intersection of streets named after LBJ and Martin Luther King in the United States. That's usually followed by a pie social and auction that's a fundraiser for the historic black community center there.

This year the community center was under repairs and at first they thought they'd better cancel it. But a local black church in the historically black neighborhood opened their doors to a conversation. It was lovely - from the heart, relaxed, accepting of the minority of whites who were present as well as the agnostics and Muslims in their midst. I was a little late and just listened. After it was over the pastor approached me and just asked for my feedback. We had a wonderful conversation for perhaps a half hour after most of the several dozen people who'd come had left.

There was a different feeling this year, looking for ways to make a difference together. Maybe it was being in a place of worship too. I know when we stood and joined hands for the final prayer, there seemed to be an unusual degree of acceptance for everyone. I'm glad I went - and hope that it will be there again next year. In fact, I wish there were other occasions to come together over the course of the time between.

Securities & Exchange Commission investigating Kushner Cos.


The SEC is probing Kushner Companies over its use of the EB-5 program, which provides green cards to immigrants who invest at least $500,000 in certain U.S. businesses.

The commission subpoenaed the business for information about how it used the program in May, according to the [Wall Street]
Journal. The commission is working with a similar probe out of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office, which has been investigating Kushner Companies projects that were partially financed through the visa program.



Jared Kushner's sister was running it then, after he resigned to join the WH staff.
Posted by summer_in_TX | Sat Jan 6, 2018, 06:21 PM (0 replies)
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