The holiday weekend has begun with beautiful weather. On days like this I am grateful to live in Michigan.

YouTube advertising is becoming more obnoxious by the minute. Starting to wonder about whether there are better alternatives. Google is close to jumping the shark.

I believe this will be a growing sentiment about Christianity, and it will be deserved. We are doing things very wrong. Jesus never imposed his teaching on anyone, and he taught his followers to not be like those of the world who lord over others. Words and laws do not transform anything, only a better alternative way is truly transformative, and that is what the kin-dom of God is all about! Anything else is not truly good news.

Did you use a Pocket PC back in the day? If so, do you remember a media player called ActiveSky? Click here to see a review I wrote, if for nothing more than to see an animated Steve Ballmer holding a Pocket PC.

Do you remember Frontpage? Here is a site I built and maintained in the late 90s using it. Before that I created web pages writing HTML in an editor, such as with my very first home page, complete with an animated GIF. Thanks to the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine for the walk back in time this morning.

If Republicans were rational, smart, and intune with the majority of the nation that includes the minorities they court, they would reach out to Democrats to craft a bi-partisan bill that wrote the right for all Amercians to chose what happens to and within their bodies, including women’s right th chose an abortion up to X number of weeks, in to law. It would undercut a building backlash, make them look like doing something Democrats cannot do, and and showing they can govern.

Of course, this won’t happen because Republicans are not rational amd not intune with the nation.

What should concern every citizen of the United States is not just that SCOTUS overturned Roe, it is how it was overturned. To quote David Frum:

Likewise, many of the men and women poised to cast Republican ballots in 2022 and 2024 to protest inflation and COVID-19 school closures may be surprised to discover that anti-abortion laws they had assumed were intended only to prohibit others also apply to them.

I think that the Democratic Party devolved into being ndearly identical to Repubicans when it ended it’s relationship with unions in the 90s. We are feeling the consequences of the Bill Clinton years during which Clinton assimilated Republican ideas like NAFTA and welfare reform for the sake of staying in office and thus retaining power. Clinton’s argument to Democrats is you have to be in power to affect change, but the consequence was a near equivalency to Republicans. Now Democrats are unable to fight for anything because their real constituency is the same capitalists as the Republicans.

In the past, replacement parties would evolve as a fix to when a party goes off the rails, but with the current election laws and the amount of money they involve, the power class has a strangelhold on the United States. The Supreme Court, particularly as it is constructed, is all about returning the country to when capitalists had no restrictions.

What do you do with a Supreme Court that makes decisions based on lies? What I learned in high school civics is that the United States Constitution established checks and balances against the three branches of government, but what is the real check against the Supreme Court? Lifetime appointments with no qualification requirements and no term limits enables tyranny when five members always make the same decisions. Citizens have no recourse but absorb the brunt of the decisions. Only Congress can impeach or add justices. By definition, that makes SCOTUS the most problematic of the branches of government and why it became the prize of the right.

Irony: “The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly give the American judiciary the power of judicial review.” Or said differently, the Constitution does not enumerate the judiciary the power of judicial review. wikipedia Thus Marbury v. Madison was a court decision that gave purpose to the Supreme Court.

Two years ago the Supreme Court said federal courts can’t do anything about partisan gerrymandering, the consequence is insuring that ruling parties can stay in power even if they don’t represent the majority of citizens in a state.

It seems incredible that the court then says the remedy to overturning Roe is legislation when they do nothing to make sure the voting and thus legislative process is truly representative of the people.

How Evil Persists

The way of Jesus is not a direct confrontation with evil. Why? It is because when you directly confront evil one becomes evil. We have seen this in modern times with the bombing of abortion clinics, and we will likely see it now in attacks on churches and other “pro-life” institutions. Instead, the way of Jesus, which he called the kingdom of God, is an alternative to evil. In reaction to the bad, it is a practice of the better. One resists evil by loving everyone and seeing them as a part of themselves they do not yet know.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortion. Why? Because laws are reactive. Laws are not an alternative path rather they are a way for society to hold one accountable. Laws do not stop evil. Nearly all of Paul’s teaching is about this shortcoming of laws. Christianity would know this best if it truly had the mind of Christ and followed Jesus as a movement rather than be a reflection of the human empire that assimilated it into an institution.

Jesus would not be impressed by the overturning of Roe for he would recognize it for what it is, putting new wine in to old wine skins. Jesus would have the church focus on the kingdom, the alternative to evil, a reality on earth as it is in heaven. Today Christian churches may feel victorious, not realizing that while they may have won the battle, they are losing the war as more and more people see it for what is, no different than all the other institutions of man.

What is liberty?

What is liberty? It seems to me that at this time the fundamental ideas that birthed the United States is not known or being outright ignored. For me, at it’s core liberty is the right to control what happens to me. The Bill of Rights enumerates certain rights that allow me to speak and practice religion without personal consequences like being put in jail.

The Bill of Rights protects me from the government, but it does not give me the right to harm others or take away the rights of others because I disagree, even if the practice of those rights conflicts with my beliefs. The first amendment does NOT give a Christian the right to enforce their beliefs on a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist. (I do not see how one can make the argument of life beginning at conception without using religious belief.)

The ninth amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that it is not the intent of the Constitution to enumerate all rights of citizens, in fact it says if the right is not enumerated it is retained by the citizens.

I thought that the ninth amendment and the inalienable, natural, rights declared in the Declaration of Independence were core beliefs of conservatives, but I guess that is not true for that which they do not like.

The Dobbs decision puts men and women at risk. Not only by what Clarence Thomas wrote but also because of the fact that it seems to go out of its way to say there is no right to control what happens to your body. Don’t like vaccines? To bad, that don’t matter that vaccine is for the greater good. Yes you have to wear that mask. Need welfare? Not going to give it to you until you get that vasectomy because we can’t afford paying for more kids.

If we truly held to what liberty means and fully agreed to equal protection under the law, we shouldn’t need to have an amendment that gives all citizens the right to choose what happens to and inside their body. It is the amendment we now need it seems and something that everyone should be able to support.

Does liberty truly exist in the United States? Is it really the land of the free? Unfortunately it appears that until this is enumerated in the Constitution certain Supreme Court justices and politicians will not abide nor defend that for which we stand.

Question. If U.S. citizens don’t have the right to choose what happens to their body, couldn’t the government then mandate abortions? Given how everything in the U.S. is based on monetary value, I think it likely that someone will realize forced abortions is cheaper than paying for unwanted children. Taking away protections from government has far greater risk to liberty than acknowledging rights, which I think is fundamental to the ninth amendment.

Read the Ninth amendment to the United States Constitution

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

I am wondering, given the state of the Republican Party whether there should be a serious, alternate third party by now. We know that past parties gave way to new ones and right now there appears to be some serious differences. Or is it that now with so much money in elections that there will never be a new party to replace either of the current two?

Finished reading: Reviving Old Scratch by Richard Beck 📚 Another book that opens my eyes.

I recall that Bill Gates described this replacement of the wallet with a phone, or smart device, many years ago. I do wonder though whether digital identification is really better for us than paper? As voting equipment shows, some “old school” tech is better. Because we can do something doesn’t mean that we should.

If Cubs fans are truly apathetic as described here, I have to wonder whether they are really fans or people who just came on board when the team was winning. I am a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and the World Series did not change my loyalty nor expectations. I am grateful for 2016 but don’t expect them to win every year and not surprised they aren’t competitive this year. Last year they subtracted much more than they added, and the one big add is really an unknown.

While I like micro.blog’s bookshelf that produces the Reading section of this site, one thing I don’t like is that I don’t have control over the order of the list of books in the Finished Reading page. What I want is a chronological list, but what is produced appears to be random.

I also track my reading in outline (OPML) files using Little Outliner. While I have indivudual pages for 2020 and 2021 today it occurred to me that I might be able to produce a master index using an OPML file with parent nodes that include the other files, which I have done and is now accessibe via http://books.frankm.info.

Here are some notes about how I did the above.

Finished reading: After Jesus Before Christianity: A Historical Exploration of the First Two Centuries of Jesus Movements by Erin Vearncombe 📚

David Brooks:

I’m trying to understand why committee members are not gripped by these realities. After more than a century of relative democratic stability maybe it’s hard for some people to imagine precisely how the fits of political violence that bedevil other nations could hit our shores. Maybe the committee members are imprisoned in the categories set by past investigation committees — Watergate and 9/11.

I think the answer is the same as to the question of why the Attorney General has not already filed charges against Trump. Fear of retaliation. Fear that doing so will be what pushes us over the cliff towards that civil war.

The United States is like the frog in warm water with the temperature increasing.

Last week I wrote about how the problem with gun violence in the U.S. is not so much with those in political office as much as it is with those who keep electing those people in to office. I should have noted then about how gerrymandering, which is being completely ignored by the Supreme Court, is contributing to the battle between the states that frankly is destroying democracy. The Guardian addresses this topic in terms of abortion, but the same applies to guns.. It points to the hypocrisy of a Supreme Court that says such decisions should be made by legislatures but does nothing to maintain fairness of representation that is necessary for a functioning democracy.

The real question is not why is there evil, it is, why is there good?