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Note the date on this CNN Web news page, back when you-know-who was “a prospective presidential candidate” on the Reform Party ticket.

Sounds like a good plan to me ….

HT: Joel Watts

    By Phil Hirschkorn/CNN
    November 9, 1999

    NEW YORK (CNN) — Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has a plan to pay off the national debt, grant a middle class a tax cut, and keep Social Security afloat: tax rich people like himself.

    Trump, a prospective candidate for the Reform Party presidential nomination, is proposing a one-time “net worth tax” on individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more.

    By Trump’s calculations, his proposed 14.25 percent levy on such net worth would raise $5.7 trillion and wipe out the debt in one full swoop.

    The U.S. national debt decreased by $9.7 billion in September but remains at $5.66 trillion, according to the latest U.S. Treasury figures.

    The net worth tax is the cornerstone of Trump’s economic plan released Tuesday morning.

    “No one has put forward a plan to make this country entirely debt free as we enter the next millenium,” Trump said in a written statement.

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    “The plan I am proposing today does not involve smoke and mirrors, phony numbers, financial gimmicks, or the usual economic chicanery you usually find in Disneyland-on-the-Potomac,” Trump said.

    Trump would exempt the value of an individual’s principal home from the net worth total.

    “By my calculations, 1 percent of Americans, who control 90 percent of the wealth in this country, would be affected by my plan,” Trump said.

    “The other 99 percent of the people would get deep reductions in their federal income taxes,” he said.

    Eliminating the national debt would save the federal government $200 billion a year in interest payments, Trump said. He proposes to earmark half the savings for middle class tax cuts, and the other half for Social Security.

    Trump said depositing $100 billion annually in the Social Security trust fund would generate $3 trillion “over the next 30-years, when the trust fund is scheduled to go broke” and instead keep the fund “solvent through the next century.”

    The tax also would lead to the repeal the current federal inheritance tax “which really hurts farmers and small businessman and women more than anything else,” Trump said.

    Trump, whose own net worth is an estimated $5 billion, says the wealthy would not suffer if his economic plan were enacted.

    “Personally this plan would cost me hundreds of millions of dollars, but in all honesty, it’s worth it,” Trump said.

    Trump predicts his debt elimination combined with his tax cuts would trigger a 35 to 40 percent boost in economic activity, with more business start-ups, more jobs, and more prosperity.

    “It is a win-win for the American people, an idea no conventional politician would have the guts to put forward,” Trump said.

    Last month, Trump formed a committee to explore seeking the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, which will automatically be on the ballot in 21 states next year.

    And then there is this blast from the nineties. They all tend to, uh, "evolve."

    And then there is this blast from the nineties. They all tend to, uh, “evolve.”


For “Mustang” Sally [Robison] James ….

It was the summer of ’59, ’60, ”61, and all those other best years of our lives, and us swingin’ on your mama’s porch, watching the cars go by, singin’ our songs, howlin’ at the moon.

Keep on dancin’, homegirl.

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Here’s some stuff from the meme-ory bank, with music from cool guy Dean Martin and a bonus dance routine from Laurel & Hardy.

Have a Laurel and Hardy Friday, jitterbuggers.

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So it goes this time of year.

So it goes this time of year.

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Speaking of those who “teach peace”: Pray for the simple farmer and most famous Sunday school teacher in the world who has made such an impact in the world on the side of peace and construction over violence and destruction.

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The late Senator and great statesman Barry Goldwater , a principled, tough-minded , libertarian conservative.

And then there was the late, great Senator and great statesman Barry Goldwater, a principled, tough-minded, libertarian conservative.

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And now …..

A break for some finger-snappin’. . .

hand-clappin’, crazy eighties music therapy …

featuring the three Fine Young British Cannibals.

Jesus would love this joke, no doubt about it.

Jesus would love this joke, no doubt about it.

The street names in BZ get a little on the odd side.

The street names in BZ get a little on the odd side.

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Great truck; runs on Mopan Riiver water.

Terrific truck: almost makes it across the Mopan River.

Groaner.

Your “Groaner” of the Day.

Why God laughs at our plans.

Why God laughs at our plans.

The past is past and tomorrow may not even come for you, so it's time to live to the hilt  . . .

The past is past and tomorrow may not even come for you, so it’s time to live to the hilt . . .

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I try not to commit a deliberate sin. I recognize that I’m going to do it anyhow, because I’m human and I’m tempted. And Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. Christ said, ‘I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery.’

“I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I will do — and I have done it — and God forgives me for it.”

— Jimmy Carter, speaking his honest-to-God truth, as usual, in a 1976 interview with “Playboy”

The 32 million married people (let that number sink in) who paid to find adultery online are now in danger of taking some hard falls from grace.

The 39 million married people (let that number sink in) who paid to find adultery online are now in danger of taking some hard falls from grace.

The tens of millions of “cheaters” who were seeking “love” by adultery on the popular Web site Ashley Madison are running for cover–and many folks are running panic-stricken to divorce lawyers — as a result of hackers who have exposed the cheaters to the world.

Safe to say that a lot of scared people and those they have hurt will be running to their pastors and rabbis and other clergy in need of some strictly confidential pastoral care.

Although, some will make their remorse over their “youthful indiscretions” very public and be defended, somehow, by the likes of America’s Pastor-in-Chief candidate Mike Huckabee.

Pastor Huckabee will no doubt find a way to defend the twisted Duggar family’s antics, again.

With the media and political hacks now combing through 39 million national embarrassments waiting to happen, we ain’t seen nothing yet in this most titillating of gotcha stories — a story broken not by the media, but by hackers committing a serious crime.

The “Ick Factor” on this one is just off the charts.

Life is short. Have an affair! And why not? Just be discreet and nobody will know and a discreet Web site can help.

Life is short. Have an affair!

It’s baffling to me that anti-gay extremists — including a presidential candidate or ten — argue to this day that gay marriage will somehow destroy the institutions of marriage and family, as if the institutions were never fragile at best.

I remember reading a religion news story back around the year 2000 — I remember because I was just starting seminary at the time — about a conservative Protestant, evangelical pastor talking about homosexuality and adultery and the rush to judge others for their sins.

This pastor asked hundreds of other conservative evangelical pastors in a meeting — pastors who all were passionately opposed to gay rights and inclusiveness — to raise their hands if they knew, or had ever known, of any gays in their congregations.

I don’t remember the exact percentage, but it was way south of 10 percent.

The pastor then asked how many knew, or had ever known, of any adulterers in their congregations.

Guess what whopping percentage of hands went up?

Because of the sacredness of confidentiality that pastors are bound by in ministry, pastors know better than most how stunningly widespread adultery is, not only in the general population, but also in congregations.

To his credit, the aforementioned pastor — who talked about all the heartbreak and family destruction he had seen as a result of spouses cheating — said he wanted to put the homosexual debate (and harsh judgment of homosexuality, which he believed to be a an obvious sin) into proper perspective.

He was intellectually honest enough to point out the obvious fact that so many conservative pastors will rage from their pulpits about the “sin” of homosexuality while seldom so much as touching on adultery, the most common of sins in the church and the world.

This just in to News Central:

The chemistry that is the stuff of sexual attraction is a powerful force that can lead good, decent people (gosh, even Christians!) as well as the other kind of people, to adultery. Adultery being a clear, unadulterated sin that bothered God so much that — a long, long, long time ago when so many people were prone to it — God felt compelled to command against it (and not homosexuality, by the way).

The surest way to give in to a powerful temptation like lust in your heart is to deny that you are having feelings of lust for someone other than your wife, or to think that you can “will” the attraction away by will power and strive for a purity in your heart that is as pure as the driven snow.

Take note of a fact as natural as the birds and the bees:

As soon as you mentally and spiritually resist a really strong temptation, you endow it with far more power.

Christian rock superstar Bono, still married after a hundred years to the Irish sweetheart he grew up with, Ali Hewson, is often asked if he isn’t tempted to stray.

When Larry King once asked him that question he looked around at the people off-camera in the studio and said, “I’m tempted all of the time, like about half-an-hour ago. Aren’t you, Larry?”

That kind of acknowledgment of temptation, rather than denial of it in the impossible yearning for a heart as pure as the heart of Christ Jesus, is the best antidote to any temptation.

It can’t be emphasized enough that the Christian or any moralist who tries to grit the teeth and will away a strong attraction by denying the attraction would do well to admit to himself or herself, and to trusted confidantes, that he or she is in fact feeling a real attraction.

That kind of honest-to-God acknowledgment diminishes the power of the attraction enormously.

But the Puritans and Pharisees are always with us, telling us that our private praying about a powerful temptation will triumph.

Never mind that where marriage and adultery are concerned, the thing we can’t have can fast become the thing we want the most when the marriage hits inevitable bumps and ruts and communication breakdowns.

Consider that recovering addicts pray the powerful “Serenity Prayer,” a lot. They still have to acknowledge the power of a temptation when it arises and share their feelings with others they can trust to hear their midnight confessions. And yes, give it over to “a higher power” (God), and pray.

Sex is a powerful thing that has to be addressed honestly.

And let’s be mindful, in all honesty on such a touchy topic, that not all marital affairs are sexual, as any pastor and marriage counselor knows. And, really, we all know it. We’ve all seen it and maybe even experienced such an affair that never advanced to sex, so common is it.

“Emotional affairs” are always happening, making damaged and unhealthy marriages none the healthier.

Married people commit emotional adultery every day by, say, hanging too long with the co-worker at the water cooler and lingering way too long with the co-worker in the parking lot long after the 5 o’clock bell rang, and having an innocent drink at happy hour on occasion.

Sex and “Ol’ Dollar”–two powerful attractions that often go together.

For every strong, healthy marriage, plenty of unhealthy, adulterous acts are committed that are not physical. But when is the last time you heard a preacher preach a really passionate, conscience-rattling sermon on any form of adultery and the damage done by it?

Raging in the pulpit against the (alleged) “sin” of homosexuality is all the rage, and easy to preach on, and a sure congregation-pleaser in a lot of American churches.

It’s a sad commentary on the times that tens of millions of (heterosexual) people thought they could “have a little spice on the side” by going to a Web site that shamelessly promotes and exploits one of the world’s most clear-cut and widespread sins (or “immoral acts” if the SIN word scares the bejesus out of you) for shamelessly huge profit.

The power of sex and money is a power to behold and can lead to adultery. It could make a great sermon topic.

I don’t know how to end this reflection except to say that even “cheaters” who are desperate sexual predators of the sort who went online for adultery — the sort who are so easy to judge harshly — can find redemption and transformation in Christ Jesus.

Or better yet I’ll end by falling back on my theology-in-a-nutshell, which I share here on occasion to remind myself that I need to hear it:

    We’re all broken, sin-sick, dis-eased, violent-hearted and messy people living in a broken, sin-sick, dis-eased, violent and messy world, all in need of God’s endless love, extravagant grace and tender mercies, which — thank you God! — are new every day.

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Hospitality is making others feel at home. Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were.”

— Arnold Glasgow

The Kingdom (Community)  of God is, all in all, a most joyous place to live.

The Kingdom (Community) of God is, all in all, a most joyous place to live. A place where jitterbugging for Jesus is not only allowed but encouraged.

If you stop and think about it–and let’s stop and think about it–the “Kingdom of God” is synonymous with “Community of God.”

In the beginning, before there was us and Earth and the moon and the stars and galaxies far, far away, God was a community of three: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Trinitarian God, who as an act of grace created us and everything else, created us to be in loving community (“love your neighbor as yourself”) with one another.

The Son, who ushered in the Kingdom (Community) of God and Heaven on Earth and left us in charge of advancing the, uh, Community, said that “the Kingdom (Community, that is) has come near you.”

And there is this from Matthew 7: 21:

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom (community) of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Think “community” anytime you see any one of those many references to “the kingdom” in your Bible.

Think of how “kingdom” can be translated even in the prayer that the Son taught us to pray:

    “Thy Community come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”

A Christian can live in nothing but community, ideally being fully present with others in love and all that love implies (forgiveness, mercy, justice, peace).

The Community of God comes near whenever and wherever two or more brothers and sisters in Christ, motivated by their faith, are giving witness to the God of extravagant love, endless grace and tender mercies.

Jesus left us to be a Community of God that is a sacramental expression of the covenant of the Kingdom (Community) above.

The Christian Kingdom/Community as I see it begins with a few fundamental elements:

1. Hospitality

Arnold Glasgow quipped:

    “Hospitality is making others feel at home. Some folks make you feel at home. Others make you wish you were.”

Christian hospitality is based on the Greek words: philo (love) + xenon (strangers).

Many scriptures cut right to the hospitality thing:

“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13: 2)

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12: 13)

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”

    2. Sharing

    Sharing is of course about as fundamental to Christian Community life as it can be.

    The first Christians were, to our modern sensibilities, overzealous to the utmost extreme about sharing–especially to those of us who are United Methodist.

    It’s our belief that simply sharing our food at pot-luck dinners is the ultimate in community sharing and the surest route to heaven (he said with his tongue firmly pressed against cheek).

    Still, Acts 4: 32-37 is there, in the Bible, challenging Methodists and all Christians to think about just how stingy we can be in this modern era. That is, an era in which we expect government or some other church or non-profit agency or program or anybody but us to take care of those that we don’t necessarily want to be present with in Community:

      “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

      Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

    We don’t have to sell everything and give it to the church or a ministry to be faithful witnesses, of course.

    But such scriptures challenge us to think hard about what we are willing to give up for the advancement of the Kingdom/Community of God on Earth as if it were Heaven, don’t they?

    3. Impartiality, inclusion

    First of all, see “Hospitality” above–it’s about making all feel at home, including the strangers and aliens who are “not from around here.”

    Consider just one scripture from James 2:

      1 My brothers and sisters [of the Community of God] do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?

      2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in,

      3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

      5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

      8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

      9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

      10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

      12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

      13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

    Advance the Kingdom of God at every opportunity and your witness to the power of it will be enough to make those living outside the Community want to live there with you.

Why do people go to extremes to mythologize historical figures, and especially our Founding Fathers, making them out to be so super-human as to be without anything like a human flaw?

We tend to think of the Washingtons and Jeffersons and Franklins as being so pure and free of sin that we can’t forgive Presidents and wannabe presidents or candidates today for being just as flawed as, say, George Washington.

(And then of course there’s The Shameless Donald, who is such an exhibitionist that he flaunts his god-awful sins and flaws in our face every hour these days. He doesn’t even count)

That greatest of American heroes on today's dollar bill was not without sin: he spent the public dollars indulging his taste for food and drink like there was no tomorrow.

That greatest of American heroes on today’s dollar bill was not without sin: he spent the public dollars indulging his taste for food and drink like there was no tomorrow.

No American historical hero has been more mythologized than George (“I cannot tell a lie”) Washington.

In addition to learning the myths about him and the cherry tree and his throwing a dollar across a river as a child, we learned in elementary school that Washington was so humble a man as to reject a salary in his role as our first and greatest military leader.

And that’s a fact.

What they didn’t tell us is that he took an expense account and spent government money like a drunken sailor who just robbed Fort Knox.

According to the terrific history book George Washington’s Expense Account by Marvin Kitman,* Washington pigged out on mutton and fowl and hired a band to play at his birthday party in spite of his men dying from starvation at Valley Forge.

He really ripped his pants with the Continental Congress when he used the expense account for his starving, freezing soldiers to put on a play, of all things.

In all, his expense tab ran up to almost a half-million dollars, in 1780 dollars.

Talk about a sense of entitlement. The General felt he deserved the best and never mind that his men were starving and dying in the wintry elements with rags on their backs.

When he asked for an expense account in lieu of a salary when he became President, his friends–they who were our other Founding Fathers–balked.

They gave him a salary of $25,000 (not too shabby for a salary in those days, but nothing like the amount Washington would have burned with a blank check).

Of course, Thomas Jefferson was no great shakes of a money manager himself.

The man could never buy enough books for his library, enough seeds, supplies and equipment for his plantation and his endless agricultural experiments and enthusiasms, and his palate for fine food and drink.

Jefferson was famously in debt up to his ears his entire, very long, very public life.

And then there was the gentle and genteel Benjamin Franklin, who had a large time with the young women that his French hosts lavished upon him in the French parlors. (Those guys loved the French; in our time, John Kerry gets rapped just for supposedly looking French, whatever a French looks like!)

He who ever said history is boring is the same guy who never read credible, factual history about historical figures and their fascinating warts and all.
——–
*Overview
“In George Washington’s Expense Account — the best-selling expense account in history — Kitman shows how Washington brilliantly turned his noble gesture of refusing payment for his services as commander in chief of the Continental Army into an opportunity to indulge his insatiable lust for fine food and drink, extravagant clothing, and lavish accommodations. In a close analysis of the document that financed our Revolution, Kitman uncovers more scandals than you can shake a Nixon Cabinet member at — and serves each up with verve and wit.” — From Barnes & Nobles: Click here to order the book.

Both Capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves ….

“This ideological promise has been proved false. The facts have clearly demonstrated it.”

— Pope Benedict XVI

—————

“If some Americans disapprove of Francis because of his positions on the environment and the economy, then logically they should have rejected every pope since at least Leo XIII and his 1891 encyclical letter Rerum Novarum.”

John Allen

Why the outrage over THIS Pope and not his two predecessors, and Popes before them??? A great Catholic journalist explains down below.

Why the outrage over THIS Pope and not his two predecessors, and Popes before them??? A great Catholic journalist explains down below.

Remember how Pope Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, used to spark such bitter blowback from conservative Catholic politicians, Fox News and other conservative media and Americans everywhere when he dared to criticize capitalism with his bold, unflinching, outrageous critiques of it???

I mean, Capitalism has failed in a way that Marxism failed????

And places where Capitalism is dominant are “regimes?”

Remember how American pundits on Fox News trashed him and dissed him every time he ragged on the world’s (greedy) rich people and called attention to the built-in injustices of (unrestrained) free-market economies?

Same with the beloved conservative Pope John Paul II, Benedict’s predecessor.

He made some very un-American assertions about capitalism and the exploitation of the power and the powerless around the world, seemingly unaware that the only business is America is business.

They also stepped on American toes in their homilies, speeches and writings about how greed and runaway capitalism are linked to the trashing of God’s good, green Creation and, as a result, do great harm to “the least” among us.

People, especially capitalists who think capitalism is above criticism from anybody–much less Christians and Christian leaders–really worked themselves into a frenzy over the prior two Pope’s messages about the environment.

Uh.

Oh, wait.

That never happened, you say????

Never mind.

    When Benedict XVI spoke on abortion or homosexuality, his words had an echo because they fit the image of a stern cultural conservative. When he spoke on ecology or poverty, the reaction instead was generally confusion, which in an instantaneous news cycle is often a prescription for moving on to something else.

    — The incisive Catholic journalist John L. Allen

Click here for a word from the greatest of all Catholic journalists ever John L. Allen, now editor at the very interesting Catholic journal “Crux.”

And while you’re at it . . . check out what the radical, political(???) American Catholic Bishops are saying about you-know-who, the political candidate from Hell.

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