Jeff Sessions, The Bible and the Defense of Evil

Jeff Sessions:

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States

I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak; it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.” As quoted by Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States

The Attorney General of the United States this last week used Paul’s Letter to the Romans to defend current Trump Administration policies dealing with the separation of families under arrest/detention and accused of unlawful entry into the United States.


A short pause

To digress a moment, Mr. Trump says the problem is not his Administration but the Democrats. No, Mr. Trump, the Democrats are not the problem. There is nothing in current American laws which mandates the separation of families in these immigration cases. The problem is policy, not laws.

Also, I will take a short moment to remind us all that the Republican Party controls both Houses of Congress and can quickly pass, if it so desired, a single sentence law something like: In no case shall families with children be separated while being held in detention and undergoing legal proceedings regarding illegal immigration into the United States.

This would only require a simple majority vote of both Houses and a speedy signature by the American (Republican) President. In fact, I believe that such a vote would carry 100% “For” votes by both the House and Senate. Things could then proceed without this moral posturing by both sides of the immigration debate.


Paul and Rome

Political conditions in the 1st Century of the Common or Christian Era.

Paul, or Saul, was a child of his times (as are we all of our own). He was a Roman Citizen. The Roman Empire was the largest and strongest of the social/political entities existing in the Western world two millennia ago.

The Empire covered a geographic area comparable to the contiguous forty-eight United States and had a population of somewhere around a hundred million people.

Of these hundred million people somewhere between forty and sixty million of them were slaves — yes, slaves. They had no political rights and could be bought, sold, abandoned or manumitted at any time.

Those who were big and strong worked their lives away in the fields of the latifundia. Comely children, boys and girls, were sold to brothels or to wealthy men and women for their personal use and as house servants.

Empire

I will remind you that the Roman Republic was never in our modern sense a republic. That is, it was not a representative democracy. It was a plutocratic/oligarchic dictatorship — of, by and for the rich. In those instances where the Equestrian or Senatorial classes needed to placate the lower classes, the plebes, they did so through “bread and circuses” and the buying of their votes.

Those of the lower classes who were elevated to protect the “rights” of those lower classes became, for practical purposes, members of the upper order.

The Roman Empire was an Empire. It was built and maintained through the use of military force. Millions of people, soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, were killed in its wars. The defeated were sold into slavery. Many were dispossessed of their lands, according to the political, military or economic needs of their conquerors. Might made right; terror was a weapon.

In defense of order

Paul, a Roman citizen, at one time persecuted/prosecuted those who followed the teachings of the followers of Jesus. He enforced the rule of law as he saw it — the law of the Caesars and Caesar’s appointed governors.

After the “miracle” restoration of his eyesight and “conversion,” Paul also began following the teachings of Jesus’ followers. And, through his writings urged people to follow the “rule of law.”

For practical purposes, at least to my mind, he said that people should obey a corrupt military dictatorship because that was the government given to them by God — WHY?

Why? Because Paul thought that the government of the Caesars was the legitimate government ordained by the gods — or God, depending on your point of view.

Possibly, after all he was a child of his times.

Or, possibly, he was just a realist.

There was no way that a group of poor, unarmed civilians and slaves was going to overthrow the might of the Roman Empire. To attempt to do so would lead to slaughter. While the Roman armies of the times suffered setbacks and defeats, they were sufficient to the policing of the Empire and protecting of its external borders. Augustus/Octavian had reduced the army’s size (and hit on the budget), but during the Pax Romana (Roman Peace — 27 BCE to CE 180) nothing stood against it.

Justification

As I see it, child of the times as I am — “Question authority!” — one can look on Romans 13 in one of two ways:

One: Paul truly believed that the government of the Caesars was instituted by the will of God and that people should obey all of its laws and strictures. This despite, to our modern minds, its corruption, immorality, lack of concern for much (most) of its population and dependence on coercion and slavery.

Two: Paul, knowing full well the power of the Caesars and that those to whom he was preaching were powerless, wanted to protect them and he, therefore, told them to be quiet, keep their heads down and obey the law. This in the same tone where Jesus, according to the Bible, told people to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s and unto God what was God’s.

I wonder — was Jesus a child of His time and truly believe that the military dictatorship of the Caesars was the rightful government decreed by God or was He just being practical?

Jeff Sessions?

Which brings me back to AGOTUS Jeff Sessions. Does he believe that Paul in his letter to the Romans 13 really means that people should obey the laws because the government was put there by God (even being a corrupt military dictatorship). And, that that applies to us? Today?

I believe that any American government official who believes, like Jeff Sessions, that we all must obey the government because God put it there should be fired. He, or she, does not belong.

We created the United States because we believed that the current — of that time — government was destructive of our needs, wants and rights. People, not God, created government(s) and it is their right to change them.

We cannot use a quote from a first century Roman citizen to justify the, in my humble opinion, immoral actions of our twenty-first government.

Whether you consider Mr. Trump to be the Savior, Anti-Christ or just The Mule in regards to American government in the highly toxic political climate of 21st century America, it is immoral, or so I believe in this day and age, to separate children and parents by the hundreds and thousands. And, separating a nursing baby from its mother?

Assuming the actual existence of the God Jeff Sessions says he believes in, I would like to be a fly on the wall when God questions him at his last judgement: “A baby, Jeff, a baby? How can you justify taking a nursing baby away from its mother by saying I OK’d it? I, God, am to blame?”


Romans 13:1-7 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.


Romans 13 has a long history with regard to revolution and oppression.

Both sides, Loyalists and Patriots, used it to defend their positions during the American Revolutionary period.

Martin Luther used it to defend his position in putting down violent peasant uprisings in the 1520s.

Pro-slavery forces used it to defend the fugitive slave acts in 18th and 19th century America.

Adolph Hitler used it to defend his repression of opponents in the 1930s Germany.

Go to your favorite Search Engine and type in: Romans 13 and whoever or whatever you wish to research. Some of the articles and sites are well-researched and written. And others, I have found, are just pure junk. Decide for yourself.


“They came first for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,

and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

– Reverend Martin Niemoller, Lutheran Pastor arrested by the Gestapo in 1937


“They came first for the illegal immigrants,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an illegal immigrant. . . .”


“There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
Ivanka Trump — Out of context but food for thought.

Implant — A Dental Story — Part 2

Bcckground to the Implant

Several years ago I experienced a sharp pain in the upper left portion of my mouth and face. My first thought was a cracked tooth. Went to a dentist recommended by a friend — I had different, less extensive, insurance coverage than my wife had. X-rays were taken and there was no evidence of a cracked tooth or anything else wrong in my mouth.

I saw a neurologist (who also thought it was probably a cracked tooth) and she gave me some medicine for a nerve problem. The meds worked, to a degree, and got me through the summer.

When we got back from vacation, I went back to the dentist (not my current dentist) and this time the X-rays showed a crack in my upper left back molar. We could really see the difference in the pictures. And the tooth was quickly extracted.

Fast forward to about four years ago and another cracked tooth (#19 — lower left) and now there is a problem. There is a gap in my lower teeth; it needs to be filled. Well, for one reason and another it didn’t get done . . . till now.

After all of the necessary preliminaries, last Tuesday was the day.

Implant Day

Before leaving home, an hour prior to the appointment time, I took the four Amoxicillin (which I’ve had before) capsules as directed.

I arrived on time. The receptionist (clerk/office manager/office lady?) asked whether I was being given a local or general anesthetic. I replied, “local” and she said I had just saved myself a lot of money.

Yeah, there was a significant difference between what I was billed that day and the estimate I had been given previously.

The prep work didn’t take long and almost before I knew it my gums were being swabbed and I was then shot full of “local” — with some more a couple of minutes later after the first had taken effect. My mouth was propped open and he went to work.

I felt no pain — literally, no pain. Weird. I know he’s cutting the skin away from the bone in my jaw. He’s using an electric drill to create a hole in the bone. I can feel the vibrations of the drill and the pressure he’s exerting on it. But pain? It does not exist. Well, except for some where his hand is pressing my lower lip into my lower front teeth, but this is of little concern when someone is using drills, torque wrenches and screwdrivers in your mouth.

Twenty minutes later, maybe only fifteen, he’s done. No pain, no bleeding — time for an X-ray. Interesting.

Post-op

We go back to the surgical room, look at the picture and go over my instructions for the next week.

Take one Amoxicillin that evening and the rest of the bottle as directed.
Don’t brush in the area of the implant.
No regular mouthwash for two weeks.
Don’t use your Waterpick around the implant.
Don’t chew over the implant and no “hard” foods.     OK, no problem.

I make my appointment for my follow-up in seven days and I’m gone. Less than one hour from the time I arrived to my departure.

I generally have a rather high pain tolerance and do not bother to fill my narcotic pain med prescription; ibuprofen and acetaminophen will be just fine.

The surgeon calls me a bit before six that evening to see how I’m doing. As far as I’m concerned — everything is hunky-dory.

For dinner I have two burritos — soft and easy to chew on the right side of my mouth. I go to bed later that evening feeling fine.

Implant Day Plus 1 — Wednesday

I feel fine until about 4:00 pm and then all heck breaks out. Massive headache and nausea. What’s wrong? The area around my implant feels normal — no pain, no swelling, nada.

What’s wrong? Food poisoning, bad burritos? Seems that way to me. Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday morning and I am miserable. My guts heave and I can’t even keep saliva down. I can’t sleep; have no energy. I spend time on the bathroom rug because I don’t want to be too far away when the next heave comes.

The cats are worried; they curl up with me on the bathroom floor (at least they can sleep.)

Thursday evening and I can again keep some liquids down. I suck on ice cubes and sip a bit of coke. After all, I haven’t had any caffeine since Wednesday morning.

Friday, saltines. Friday night — sleep, real sleep.

Sunday, except for my energy level and an almost continuous low-grade headache, I’m back to normal; at least as normal as I get.

Implant Day Plus 7

Today’s follow-up appointment went well. No problems surface and in three months I’ll see him again. Soon thereafter, I’ll have my new tooth — yee-hah!


The follow-up exam goes fine — everything looks and sounds, OK.

No Waterpick near the implant as it can force stuph down — which is not something to be desire.

Keep my electric toothbrush away from the implant — the vibrations may loosen the screw.

Three month — another follow-up.


If any of you are interested:

Oral Surgeon
David A. Hochwald, DDS
7677 Center Avenue, Suite 206
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Current Dentist
Kenneth R.Barrett, D.D.S.
7677 Center Avenue, Suite 305
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Implant — A Dental Story — Part 1

Implant. What sorts of images does that word conjure up for you?

Pain?
Money/Expense?
An electric drill in your mouth?
Torque wrenches?
Screwdrivers?
Novocain or other local anesthetic?
General anesthetic/being put to sleep?

Maybe, YES to all of the above?

History

We weren’t poor growing up, but we did without a lot because any extra went to tuition to put my brother and I through Catholic schools (EL-HI). Orthodontia? No way! Regular exams? Of, course.

My left – upper – canine came in behind its predecessor and pushed it out of the way. All we could afford at the time was a quick visit to, I believe it was a “Dr. Beauchamp” dentist-in-the-box. A quick local injection, extraction and out of there. Braces? Not an option. And that tooth is still there and occasionally almost putting a hole in my tongue. Could I have it fixed today? Yes. Will I? No, I’m too thrifty/cheap to spend the money on something I’ve dealt with for fifty-plus years with few problems — other than all of those pictures in which you see me smiling but not showing any teeth.

Oooowww . . .

A year or two after I started teaching in Orange I needed my two lower wisdom teeth removed — the uppers had been removed without incident previously.

I went to my appointment about 4:00 pm. The oral surgeon said the operation — under local anesthetic — would take about twenty minutes total. Twenty minutes later he had the first, left, tooth out in pieces. An hour plus later he had the other out in a dozen or more pieces. Also, several additional shots of local — I can still here his voice through the haze of pain and time saying: “Local.” And the nurse replying: “What? Again?”

As some of my friends might tell you, I do not always do the sensible thing, but what I usually do or just want to do. With dry sockets and pain pills I went directly from the dentist to the YMCA and played in my volleyball league. I went home and slept and got up and went to work the next day.

A day off just because I was in pain? Surely, you jest.

Did this experience affect me?

Well, it was thirty years before I again went to the dentist.

It’s almost time to visit the dentist who did last week’s implant surgery and see how things are actually going on in my mouth. I’ll continue my implant story on the morrow, or perhaps later this week.

Oh, yeah — today’s the primary election here in SoCal and polls are open to 8:00 pm. If you want to have your voice counted, VOTE!

(to be continued — tomorrow: The Implant)

Fairy Tale — A Contemporary Story

Fairy Tale Characters:

John — the Father
Corey — the prospective Son-in-law
Marie — the Daughter
Knavs — the Wife

Marie brings her boyfriend home to meet her parents. After dinner, Knavs tells Marie’s father, a media celebrity, to find out about the young man. He invites the boy to his study for tea.

“So what are your plans?” John asks the Corey.

“I am a religious scholar and want to marry your daughter” he replies.

“A scholar,” the father says. “Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she’s accustomed to?”

“I will study,” the young man replies, “and God will provide for us.”

“And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” asks the father.

“I will concentrate on my studies,” the young man replies, “God will provide for us.”

“And children?” asks the father. “How will you support children?”

“Don’t worry, sir, God will provide,” replies the boy.

The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the boy insists that God will provide.

Later, the mother asks, “How did it go?”

The father answers, “He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I’m God.”

A fairy tale? Hmmmmm . . .


NYT CWP — Today

I’ll apologize for this next section in advance . . .

17 — Underwear for judges? — legalbriefs

24 — Underwear for Frisbee enthusiasts? — discjockeys

34 — Underwear for beginners? — amateurboxers

47 — Underwear for actors? — movieshorts

55 — Underwear for tycoons? — cashdrawers

Arming Teachers With Guns Is NOT the Answer

A notice for those of you who’ve smelled the wood burning around here, I’ve been thinking . . . about teachers and guns . . . and carrying them on school grounds.

I taught at middle school/junior high for some forty (40) years and never felt the need to carry a weapon.

Back in the 70s we had some bomb threats and had to evacuate from the classrooms to our fire drill stations on the fields and school periphery. Some of us volunteered to check rooms and student lockers. The only things we ever found were a few road flares hung up to look like dynamite sticks.

Shot in the butt

I do remember one time when a student fired a gun just off campus, or from the sidewalk in front of the school. He wounded another student (not seriously). One of our teachers (a WWII vet) was on duty in front and went to confront the young man. The student pointed his pistol at the man’s face and told him to go away, in rather strident and impolite language.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened but a police officer was giving a self-defense demonstration with another teacher in our auditorium and the shooter was soon apprehended. No other shots were fired.

I spent a while directing traffic around the scene as the paramedics took the injured student to the hospital. — Other than that, the years have obscured my memories as this all happened thirty plus years ago.

I do, however, wonder what would have happened if our teachers had been armed.

What if . . .

If Bill had confronted the shooter with a drawn weapon, would the student have dropped his weapon or just opened fire and shot him? If he had opened fire immediately, would he have hit my friend and wounded or killed him? Would he have kept firing until he ran out of ammunition? Would he have hit anyone else?

I know my friend would have given the student a chance to put down his gun and surrender; he wouldn’t have just opened fire on the kid.

. . . the rest of us were armed?

You’ve probably seen some of the recent videos of police officers firing multitudes of bullets at suspects, some armed with nothing more than a cellphone. Imagine a firefight in front of a school at dismissal time. Hundreds of kids, armed teachers firing from different directions, possibly armed parents getting out of their cars and adding to the confusion and violence.

The military has a term for what can happen in incidents as confused as this — friendly fire. Even in police shooting incidents, sometimes the police officer who is shot is found to have been shot by a fellow officer — and these are veteran officers with years of training and experience.

Teachers with guns

Tell me truly, do you really want armed teachers on your child’s school grounds?

If volunteer teachers are to be stationed on school grounds, how much training should they undergo? A day? A week? A month? A year? What kind of training? The kind a police officer receives?

What kind of weapon shall a teacher carry? Shall it be a school district issued weapon or the teacher’s personal property? A pistol (automatic or revolver and what caliber)? A rifle? A shotgun? AR-15 semi-automatic type? Rubber bullets or real?

Shall they carry them at all times? Only when they are on duty outside of the classroom? Where do they store their weapons? In a holster with a safety strap on their hips? How about in a desk or filing cabinet, locked or unlocked? In the school safe? In thinking about this when was the last time a school near you was broken in to and robbed or vandalized? Think of these vandals now being armed.

ROE

What shall be the Rules of Engagement (ROE)? Under what circumstances may the teacher draw his or her weapon? Under what circumstances may a teacher actually fire his or her weapon? Or are you going to leave the decision to the teacher’s best judgment? What if the teacher makes the wrong decision, freezes or just plain panics? What if the teacher accidentally wounds, or kills, your child while dealing with an on campus shooter?

Remember, we live in an overly, to my mind, litigious society. Can you imagine the lawsuits coming from any mistake made by a teacher with a gun in these kinds of circumstances? Or do we legislate Good Samaritan type “hold harmless” laws to protect them?

Who

What kind, or kinds, of teachers do you want armed on the school grounds your child attends? How about the grandmotherly type who teaches kindergarten? I still remember Mrs. Lombard from sixty plus years ago and can imagine few people less likely to pack a six-gun.

How about one of the coaches? Maybe, but probably not the one your son tells you swears at them during practice, berates them for mistakes during the game and throws his headset at the referee when he is ejected from the game.

Your choice

Mentally go down the list of teachers at your child’s school. Who would you want to carry a gun on campus and, maybe, in the classroom? Is your list of the teachers you would trust the same as those of the other parents, the administrators, the teachers themselves?

And what of those of you who are, or were, teachers? Do you want to carry a gun in your classroom or the wider campus? Would you have wanted to back when you were teaching, for those of you who are no longer teaching?

I cannot answer any of the above questions, except for myself. And, the answer is NO.

No, teachers should not be armed and expected to deal with armed students, or other intruders, on school grounds.

If armed guards are needed full-time on campus, I believe we should hire retired, long service police officers who do not have records, or complaints, of resorting to violence as a first resort. They will be dealing with children, not hardened criminals; they need to know how to end touchy, potentially dangerous situations through de-escalation not by resorting to threats and violence.

Not the answer

Giving more people guns is not the answer. We need to de-escalate our entire society.

Through our government and other organizations and businesses we spend millions of dollars dealing with alcoholism and its effects. We spend millions of dollars dealing with smoking and its effects. We even put warning labels on packs of cigarettes; how about warning labels on guns?

We license and require practical, as well as written tests for those who drive our cars, trucks, buses and for those who fly airplanes. How about we require the same of those who own and use guns? (Yes, I do know the WHY/WHY NOT of the situation, but we can deal with through the ballot box and appropriate legislation.)

We will not improve the situation by repeating the same answers again and again; we will not improve the situation by yelling and screaming at each other and invoking our “God-given and Constitutional Rights” yet another time.

The answer lies in civil discourse, in wanting for others the best we have to offer of ourselves and in electing to office those best able to speak for us.

Back when

In our youth the world was simpler and better only because we had not the eyes nor experience of the adults around us.

In the 60s we had “duck and cover” drills; our grandchildren have “shelter in place” drills.

Vote

Things will not improve until we become better people.

Start with yourself: be the change you want.

Vote for those who will.


U S Commentary Flag Casualty List/Guns