Trump, Fake Intel and the Real Hacks

It is hard to believe that big news can be manufactured news. Hard to think that huge, powerful, and influential organizations would do things based upon small mindedness.  It really is a shame how ignorant of history most people are and how arrogantly we dismiss the lessons of the past.  If I could get any book into the curriculum of every school in America it would be The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer.  If you have difficulty believing that small mindedness can reign among reasonable people, and if you cannot fathom how huge organizations can become weapons of the state against its people, you only need to read about a third of the book to get illuminated.  And we need illumination.

The damage done to our country during the last election is serious, but we aren’t bleeding from the wound the Educated Establishment Elites are trying to tourniquet.  We aren’t bleeding from racism, bigotry, or exclusion, and the wound is not Trump shaped.  No, the serious gushing wound is a free and independent press.  After 8 years of fawning over thehack1 first African American president, and actually demeaning both him and the office he held by failing to hold him to the standards of any previous president, the country has lost confidence in the press.  When journalism begins to be less popular than congress you can be sure there is a major problem.  The campaign only exposed and connected the dots for all the smaller gunshot wounds legacy media delivered to its own feet.  Some examples of the loss of independence of our free press:

–  letting the Obama administration get away with selling guns to drug lords in Mexico without holding them to account even when it led to the deaths of American law enforcement agents.

– letting Obama get away with the outrageous lies he told about Obamacare (ie like your doctor keep your doctor, and deductibles will all go down for everyone) even when the architect of Obamacare openly admitted this was never the plan and called American voters stupid

– letting the Obama administration get away with weaponizing the IRS and using it to demoralize and intimidate its political opponents in the Tea Party even after the IRS admitted it had done this.

These are just a few of the wounds the press inflicted upon itself in the last 8 years.  Americans instinctively know when someone is blowing smoke and we also know when we are being given the “don’t look at that man behind the curtain” Wizard of Oz treatment.  Any of these scandals were enough to end the careers of previous politicians.  Richard Nixon only dreamed of getting away with stuff like this and got impeached and run out of office by the free and independent press for much less.

There was one other story among the multitude of scandal-less scandals of the past 8 years that the press gave a press pass.  It was the politicization of CENTCOM Intel.  The gist of this story is that Intelligence analysts at the US Central Command (CENTCOM) were intimidated and forced out of their jobs for creating intelligence reports that did not line up with administration goals and views of how to handle ISIS in Syria.  Another part of this press passed story is that CENTCOM was creating fabricated intelligence reports in order to make it appear as if the administration’s goals were being met.  I’ve personally worked in the US intelligence community and I’ve had people ask me to adjust my analysis of raw intelligence data to suit a narrative they wanted to pursue.  People with power over your next promotion can be very persuasive.  Why did they do this?  Was it because their bosses in D.C. were pressuring them to do it?  Was it because the leaders of CENTCOM wanted to look good?  We don’t know.  The free and independent press failed to Watergate this story.  They weren’t interested enough to aggressively run it to ground.

So Monday morning we wake up to a story about intelligence reports and Russians hacking and Donald Trump scoffing and the election results questioned.  Would big time media be small minded enough to make up a story to try to delegitimize Trump before he even gets to the Oval Office?? Well we know they gave up on objectivity for 8 years because we watched it happen.  And we know they gave up on objectivity for the campaign because they flat out wrote about it on the front page of the New York Times. What are we supposed to believe?   I believe we the people are going to need to be our own reporters and editors.  We are going to need objectivity and we aren’t going to be able to depend upon a slavish and dependent press to do our thinking for us. We must be vigilant and we must ask the hard questions because the press is either not willing to ask them or too incompetent or blind to see which questions need asking and which answers, as unpalatable to them as they may be are correct.  Trump did not win an election because of Russian hacking, but he made a lot of hay out of the true and small minded hacks in our seriously compromised press.  And the fact that he is the next president is evidence enough to show how truly out of touch and in need of emergency surgery they are.  They are the real hackers and they’ve hacked off their own feet and we are all going to suffer for it.  A free and independent press is essential to our democracy.  A hacking press carrying water for one ideology is essential for fascism.  It has happened before…

What is Your Rank and Title?

“He was doubly honored above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them.”  (1 Chronicles 11:21)

How many of us are waiting for the title before we feel we can do anything effectively?  One day several years ago I went home from work in my navy officer’s uniform and the next day I put on a suit and went to work in a church (yeah I used to wear suits every day back then – now it’s only if I’m marrying or burying someone). After about a week I realized I didn’t know what to call myself.  Was I a pastor?  A staff member?  In the navy it was naval_rank_insignia_and_uniforms_by_regicollis-d658diapretty easy to describe myself; I had a rank and a position and they both had names.  I don’t remember how it got resolved but about a year later I decided I must be a pastor because I was doing what a pastor did.

People who find and follow Jesus will always be working in areas without well defined ranks and titles and will usually only discover what they are by reflecting back rather than projecting forward.  This makes perfect sense when you consider Jesus holds the only position and the only rank that matters.  If we wait to be included in anything or wait upon someone to bestow a title upon us in order to serve Christ we will never serve Him.  Honor, inclusion and titles are things which come to people who serve Christ with nothing but a recognition of who He is and what He has done – and they mean very little compared to knowing Him.

Do We Have Room for Enemies to Become Allies?

“The mighty men were…”  1 Chronicles 11:26

Trying to read the list of David’s elite fighting men is not easy.  The names of the men and the names of their tribes run together.  There are so many different histories here; names that will become famous in the modern world like Bethlehem.  Names that will live in infamy like Uriah.  And names no one can pronounce like Eliahba the Shaalbonite (and that’s an easy one).  I’m no expert on the history of the tribes living in the ancient lands recorded in the Bible, frankly the ‘ites’ give me a headache when they start popping up in scripture. download (1)But I do sense something unusual about this list.  Some people in the list are recorded as parts of well known tribes of Israel, but most of them aren’t.  In fact at least two of the men are definitely not of Israel; Zelek the Ammonite and Uriah the Hittite.  Both the Ammonites and the Hittites are enemies of Israel, yet here are two mighty men from those tribes.  Evidently God’s purposes can trump bloodlines and make a cohesive group capable of accomplishing His goals.  If our God following doesn’t leave room for enemies to become not just friends, but also allies integral to accomplishing our mission, we are not seeing the full scope of God possibilities or plans.

Risk and Leadership

“Caligula or Nero, those treasure-seekers, those desirers of the impossible, would have accorded to the poor wretch, in exchange for his wealth, the liberty he so earnestly prayed for. But the kings of modern times, restrained by the limits of mere probability, have neither courage nor desire. They fear the ear that hears their orders, and the eye that scrutinizes their actions.”  (from The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas – on the Abbe Faria’s offer of his treasure for his freedom)

The is no leadership without risk.  Sad to say it is often the evil men; the Caligula’s and the Nero’s who are worse men and better leaders than “good” men because their lust for wealth or power drives them to attempt the impossible.  They do not fear the eyes that scrutinize or the ears that hear their plans.  They risk all.  It takes more than good character and good intentions and even good beliefs to be a good leader.  It takes faith.  It takes 225px-Louis_Français-Dantès_sur_son_rocherwillingness to risk all in pursuit of those good things, and to take whatever may come.  It would be insanity to risk our reputation on the crazy old Abbe Faria’s treasure.  Much safer to keep him and our reputation locked up safe and sound in the Château d’If.  But leaders don’t lead by protecting themselves or their reputations; leaders always lead at the risk of their reputations.  This is why the greatest leader ever took the greatest risk when he gave up his good name to rescue us from our prison, and in the process gained the Name that is above all names.

What the Standard Mean Means

Wherever standardization is the goal, mediocrity eventually rules.  The gospel is not an invitation to fall in line with God’s standards, it is the proposition of growing up into a fullness unhindered by the need to stay in line.  God didn’t create an average universe.  Everything he made is excellent and has in it the potential of greatness.  Redemption is not graded on a curve.standard_mean_t_shirts-r8bf5171641d44b94b0aa068fd50aecfc_804gs_512