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Messages - James_Gale

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31
Your Turn / Re: Christian response to Rittenhouse trial
« on: November 22, 2021, 06:52:24 PM »
From the weekend's activities in NYC. Council member Bob Holden's alliance with the incoming Mayor on this violence is important.  https://www.qchron.com/editions/central/holden-blames-blaz-for-middle-village-mayhem/article_f0760d92-4bbf-11ec-961c-af5bd9d8cd72.html

That the perpetrators began in East Elmhurst, the most diversely populated square mile in the world, and migrated over to Middle Village, which is mixed but more Anglo, indicates a perception of Queens that doesn't really work, so that these were mostly outsiders makes sense.  Both DiBlasio and Holden had a hand in saving a local bar/restaurant, Nehr's, which is where Mae West (!) got her start. 

Dave Benke
I think that is a big feature of most protests that get any national attention; people who are in the business of protesting went there for that purpose. That's what struck me as one of things that was so hypocritical about criticisms of Rittenhouse. People made a big deal about the fact that he crossed state lines. (Whether he had the gun at the time is moot for the point I'm making, as is the fact that the two houses he lived in happened to have a state line between them. As my wife says, she crosses state lines every time she goes grocery shopping. That's the way things are when you live close to a state line.) But when buildings burn and things get looted, you can bet it isn't the locals burning down their own neighborhood. It is people who get off on protesting going to wherever they sense the action is. So a bunch of self-appointed national spokesmen for this or that cause zoom in and cause all kinds of trouble, then whine that someone at such a scene who was opposed to their trouble crossed state lines to get there.


Some national commentators have made much of the fact that Rittenhouse was from out of state and that he crossed state lines from his home to get to Kenosha.  The goal, it seems, has been to paint Rittenhouse as an interloper who traveled a long way to insert himself into Kenosha's affairs.  Of course, locals--including the jury pool for his Kenosha County trial--would not have bought any of this.  Rittenhouse is from Antioch, Illinois, which borders Kenosha County.  Downtown Kenosha is maybe 20 minutes away.  In other words, Antioch and Kenosha are part of one community that happens to be divided by a state border. 


I wonder whether these national commentators would have made the same argument about residents from the Bronx or Manhattan taking the subway to a protest in Queens or Brooklyn.  Or about those who crossed state lines to get from Weehawken to Washington Heights.  I doubt it, but who knows.

32
Your Turn / Re: Christian response to Rittenhouse trial
« on: November 22, 2021, 02:46:19 AM »
From a purely legal perspective, it doesn't really matter how Rittenhouse came to be in downtown Kenosha.  If he had a reasonable belief that he was at an impending risk of death or serious bodily injury, he was entitled to defend himself with deadly force.  During opening statements, the prosecution said that it would prove that Rittenhouse came to Kenosha as a self-appointed enforcer determined to act against those he viewed as bad guys.  But the evidence didn't support this story.  So in closing argument, the prosecutors completely changed course.  Basically, they argued that Rittenhouse had lost the right to claim self-defense because he had provoked Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreuz.  Provocation is a legal term of art.  Simply being present or being present with a gun (which he had a legal right to do) would not be enough.  Instead, Rittenhouse would have had to do something overt to instigate the conflict with Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreuz.  If the prosecution could prove provocation beyond a reasonable doubt, Rittenhouse almost certainly would have been convicted.  The prosecution's primary (only, really) evidence of provocation was a video that supposedly had appeared at prosecutors' doorstep near the end of trial.  They argued that the video showed Rittenhouse briefly pointing his gun at people near where Rosenbaum was shot.  The judge commented (not in front of the jury) that he couldn't see in the video what Rittenhouse was doing with his gun.  In closing argument, the defense attorney quipped the whole prosecution case rested on "hocus pocus out of focus" video.  The jury agreed.  (If it had not, the jury almost certainly would have convicted.)


Rosenbaum, who had threatened to kill Rittenhouse and had used the n-word in the process, ultimately cornered Rittenhouse who fell to the ground.  He grabbed Rittenhouse's gun and tried to stomp on Rittenhouse's head.  Grosskreuz, who was shot in the arm, testified that when he saw Huber attacking Rittenhouse with a skateboard, he (Huber) was concerned that Huber would seriously hurt Rittenhouse.  After Rittenhouse shot Huber, Grosskreuz approached.  Grosskreuz admitted that Rittenhouse did not shoot until Grosskreuz aimed his loaded gun at Rittenhouse.  This evidence basically was uncontroverted.


If the jury had not acquitted, I don't think that any convictions would have survived post-trial motions.  The judge almost certainly would have declared a mistrial, either with or without prejudice.  Why?  The prosecutors violated Rittenhouse's rights over and over again.  The most egregious examples:

1.  On cross-examination of Rittenhouse, the prosecutor used leading questions to suggest that Rittenhouse had never before told his story to the government and that he had simply conformed his trial testimony that of other witnesses.  This line of questioning constituted a grave violation of Rittenhouse's rights and any second-year law student would know it.  The government may NEVER do anything even to suggest that a jury should hold against a criminal defendant his previous silence or his presence to hear all testimony against him.  The defendant objected to these questions.  The judge rebuked the prosecutor (outside the hearing of the jury).  And then the prosecutor tried again.  The defense moved for a mistrial with prejudice (meaning that retrial would not have been permitted).  This was a very strong motion.  The judge took the motion under consideration and never had to rule on it.


2.  The prosecutors tried to elicit testimony that the judge had ruled in advance was not admissible.  When prosecutors claimed that he had been acting in good faith when violating the judge's rulings, the judge said that he didn't believe the prosecutor.  Every trial lawyer knows that when a judge has ruled certain evidence inadmissible, you don't even begin to try to present it to the jury without first asking the judge to change the prior ruling.  This intentional and repeated action also would support mistrial, perhaps with prejudice.  [/size][size=78%] [/size]
[/size]
[/size][size=78%]3.  The [/size][/size]prosecutors did not give defense lawyers a copy of the "hocus focus" video until the very end of trial.  Even then, they intentionally gave the defendants a copy with less than half the resolution as the original.  This prevented the defense from questioning any witnesses about the video to refute the prosecutor's provocation argument.  Again, this would be a ground for granting a mistrial.  You simply can't withhold key evidence from a defendant.[size=78%]

[/size]The judge seemed to prefer that the jury decide the case.  Therefore, while he repeatedly chastised the prosecutors and warned them that a day of reckoning would come in response to their misdeeds, he let the case go forward.  If the jury acquitted, he'd never have to rule on the motions, which would have put him at the center of a political firestorm.  Acquittal by a jury also would probably be better for Rittenhouse than dismissal of the case on what some would call a technicality.  In the event, the judge lucked out.  He will never have to decide the various motions.  [size=78%]

[/size]Against, this backdrop, we've got a political narrative that is factually inaccurate (as the trial evidence established) and seems intended to delegitimize our government's foundational institutions.  (In that regard, perpetuation of this narrative is of a kind with the Trump assertion that the 2020 election was stolen.  Both are lies that delegitimize our system.)  Ironically, the narrative is founded on the kind of prosecutorial overreach that routinely victimizes poor defendants (including many defendants of color) time and again.  [size=78%]

33
Your Turn / Re: Christian response to Rittenhouse trial
« on: November 22, 2021, 12:41:57 AM »
From what Iím told, Rittenhouse came out in favor of the BLM movement generally, the right to peaceful protest, and the need for criminal justice reform. A very crafty white supremacist indeed.


Rittenhouse voluntarily gave prosecutors his phone and computer passwords. This gave them access to his computer activity that they likely otherwise would not have had. If there had been the slightest evidence of internet searches or message exchanges that even arguably suggested racial prejudice, you can be sure that prosecutors would have used it on cross examination.

34
Your Turn / Re: NALS
« on: September 14, 2021, 03:09:20 PM »
NALS is the seminary system of the North American Lutheran Church.
https://www.thenals.org/

It is a partner in the established seminary in the Anglican tradition, Trinity School for Ministry, in Ambridge PA. It maintains links with several other seminaries which its students can attend. Currently those are Beeson, Sioux Falls, Fuller, and Concordia Lutheran (Edmonton Canada).

Peace,
Michael


The Trinity School of Ministry describes itself this way:


"We welcome students and faculty who long for a church that is evangelical in faith, catholic in order, alive in the Holy Spirit, and committed to mission.  We have a vital commitment to students from ACNA and also to students from the Episcopal Church and from other Anglican jurisdictions both in North America and abroad.  We also welcome students from other Christian traditions."


The ACNA is the Anglican Church in North America.  It and the NALC have walked together over the last decade or so, sharing similar histories and experiences.  The ACNA is not a member of the Anglican Communion but is in full communion with some AC members, particularly in the global south.


The NALS leadership work from the Trinity School of Ministry but are developing a seminary network that is not tied to a particular campus.  Like it or not, geographical flexibility seems to be essential to serving the needs of today's seminarians.




35
Your Turn / Re: John Shelby Spong Died on Sunday
« on: September 13, 2021, 12:32:20 PM »
He had a brother, Will Spong, who was (as I recall) an Episcopal priest and seminary professor in Texas. He did not share his brotherís perspectives, which he often was burdened with having to address. I heard him speak in Dallas. He gave joyful and strong witness to an orthodox form of Anglicanism. He made clear that he loved and liked his brother. But that he feared for the damage that he was doing to the church.


36
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 08:11:11 PM »
The NFL fired Victory Boyd, who had been hired to sing the National
Anthem at last nightís Tampa Bay-Dallas game. She is unvaccinated. Ms. Boyd, a black woman and a Christian, said this.


ďThroughout my life, I have overcome many obstacles, but now I was faced with a new glass ceiling that I couldnít breakthrough. It feels like weíre going backwards to a familiar place that I thought we had overcome as a country,Ē she concluded. ďTo be disqualified because of a discriminatory policy that had nothing to do with my talent made me feel alarmed because of what it implies for not only myself but millions of others.Ē

This is how many will view the mandate. Those supporting it should think not just about what they believe is the mandateís purpose but also about how others will perceive it. Hereís a link to Ms. Boyd singing the National Anthem from her home studio:  Link

37
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 06:44:49 PM »
The protection, as everyone knows, Pastor Butler, is not 100%. Even we who are vaccinated can get sick, although we are less likely to get seriously sick or to die, although that, of course, is not impossible.
And how would we who are vaccinated get infected? From those who are not vaccinated, most likely.
Furthermore, the unvaccinated are a threat to each other.
Someone upstream accused me of the reference to ďGod culling the herd.Ē I donít think I use that here, and I am not the origin of that reference, Iím inclined to think that those who refuse to be vaccinated are ďcullingĒ themselves. They are the ones getting seriously sick. They are the ones more likely to die.
I return to what Iím fairly certain was one of my very early comments. If thereís a chance in the vaccine can help us protect our neighbors, why would we not do it?
What is your specific reason for maintaining your position? Or do you have a position?


Vaccines are extremely effective. They donít provide absolute protection.  But the odds of a vaccinated person getting seriously ill are exceedingly low. If you argue that mandates are needed even to prevent this almost non-existent risk, you put yourself in league with those who overreacted in response to 9/11 by supporting the Patriot Actís excesses.


My hope is that most people get vaccinated, that the government respects our unalienable rights, and that our society and economy remain free to operate openly and fully.  Whatever you might hope for, the policies you seem to favor would detract from all three of these.

38
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 05:20:14 PM »
If I am beginning to understand it correctly, if masks and social distancing are still necessary for the vaccinated, being vaccinated doesn't give you any real protection. At least not any significant protection. You can still get a 'break through infection' or be an 'asymptomatic carrier.'  The idea of the vaccine is so you don't get as sick. So your chances of ending up in the hospital or dying are lessened. Or you have some protection, but not enough. And less as time goes on and the vaccine loses efficacy. 

Is that the message we are hearing from those in positions of authority?


Itís a message that skeptics are inferring from the administrationís posturing. And indeed, if one had no other data, the inference would be reasonable. Of course, we do have other data, which shows that vaccines are very effective. Itís a mystery as to why the president would want to muddle the message.

39
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 10, 2021, 03:39:00 PM »
The legal and moral issues aside, the administration doesnít seem to understand that it is fueling skepticism about the vaccine. The proposed mandate will make the activist portion of the presidentís base happy. It may even have a very modest impact on vaccination rates. But those inclined toward skepticism will find the presidentís argument confusing in its circularity. If the vaccines work, vaccinated employees donít need additional protection from either vaccine or mask mandates. Mandates only make sense if the vaccines donít work very well. And if the vaccines donít work very well, there is no basis for mandating them. 


The actual evidence shows that vaccines work very well. If the administration only acted as if it believed this, more and more people would come to believe it. Hereís a modest proposal. The president should ask Donald Trump to appear with him to encourage people to get vaccinated. No mandates. Just fact-based, non-judgmental coaxing. Sadly, President Biden lacks the political courage and vision for this. And President Trumpís petty narcissism might well lead him to refuse to participate. Sadly, we seem incapable of picking leaders of vision and character.

40
Your Turn / Re: Women and the draft
« on: September 03, 2021, 01:00:35 PM »
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-panel-backs-requiring-women-to-register-for-the-draft/ar-AAO0aq2

This was a hot topic years ago in this forum as a hypothetical but is now getting close to becoming law. I doubt anyone thinks there will be a draft any time soon, so it is not so much a fact as a principle being debated. Even though nobody voting on it thinks it makes a practical difference, some people recoil at the idea of distinguishing the sexes at all or doing anything that could be perceived as codifying traditional gender roles.

If I were in Congress I would vote to abolish the draft entirely. A nation that can't man its military with willing soldiers probably isn't worth defending or isn't engaged in defensive action. Plus, in today's high tech military, the cost of training people who are only in for two years would be prohibitive, and drafting people for 4-6 years would be unjust. 

If the U.S. ever starts drafting 18 year old girls to go into combat involuntarily, I'm pretty sure we'd be better off surrendering, not because our soldiers, male and female, couldn't win the war but because the opposing nation could hardly impose a more perverse, oppressive or dysfunctional culture on us, so why bother? What would we be fighting for, the opportunity to teach Afghan women about urinal art?


As I understand it, most of the military's leadership oppose the draft.  Given technological advancements, there would be little real-world use for conscripted warriors; they instead would be a distraction or even an impediment.

James, that is interesting to read about the leadership in the military.  How widely known is that?  Do you think that the House and Senate Armed Forces committee would listen to that information?  Can their be an anonymous poll of military leadership?

Jeremy


I don't know what might be possible.  And I guess that I should confess that my understanding is based on private conversations with upper-middle level people in the Defense Department.  I believe them.  But I can't prove that what they told me is correct.


41
Your Turn / Re: Women and the draft
« on: September 03, 2021, 12:10:11 PM »
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/house-panel-backs-requiring-women-to-register-for-the-draft/ar-AAO0aq2

This was a hot topic years ago in this forum as a hypothetical but is now getting close to becoming law. I doubt anyone thinks there will be a draft any time soon, so it is not so much a fact as a principle being debated. Even though nobody voting on it thinks it makes a practical difference, some people recoil at the idea of distinguishing the sexes at all or doing anything that could be perceived as codifying traditional gender roles.

If I were in Congress I would vote to abolish the draft entirely. A nation that can't man its military with willing soldiers probably isn't worth defending or isn't engaged in defensive action. Plus, in today's high tech military, the cost of training people who are only in for two years would be prohibitive, and drafting people for 4-6 years would be unjust. 

If the U.S. ever starts drafting 18 year old girls to go into combat involuntarily, I'm pretty sure we'd be better off surrendering, not because our soldiers, male and female, couldn't win the war but because the opposing nation could hardly impose a more perverse, oppressive or dysfunctional culture on us, so why bother? What would we be fighting for, the opportunity to teach Afghan women about urinal art?


As I understand it, most of the military's leadership oppose the draft.  Given technological advancements, there would be little real-world use for conscripted warriors; they instead would be a distraction or even an impediment. 

42
Your Turn / Re: Atheist Chaplains
« on: September 03, 2021, 11:50:54 AM »
Harvard has 40 chaplains? Good gravy, how many students do they have?
The more relevant question might be "how many religious traditions are represented in the Harvard community?" If their churches or faiths want to see to their care, they will have a chaplain for them. They may or may not be full-time, and they will normally be paid out of the budget of their church or fellowship. Some, like the Inter-Varsity Fellowship, may organize active programs; the Zoroastrians, probably less so.

There is a Lutheran chaplaincy, shared with greater Boston: https://www.unilu.org/

Peace,
Michael


Take a look at staff lineup in Georgetown's campus-ministry office.  Link  Although the office's director is a Jesuit, Georgetown's Catholic roots are most certainly downplayed.  Georgetown doesn't seem to have a specifically atheist chaplain.  (It does have chaplains responsible for Catholics, protestants (whatever that means), Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, and Hindus.)  However, it certainly looks as if its campus ministry has programs for atheists and for those who have no religious beliefs. 

43
Your Turn / Re: Afghanistan
« on: August 18, 2021, 05:51:53 PM »

I also bristle at criticism of the Afghani national forces. As I mentioned, they lost over 40,000 Soldiers in the last half-decade while fighting on behalf of their nation. It was not as if they all of a sudden became cowards. One of the great under-reported stories of this debacle is that the US not only pulled out our troops, we pulled out our civilian contractors. The Afghans who had been fighting with us for the last 20 years and leading the fight the last 7 had relied heavily on US superior air support, as they had been trained. With the removal of our contractors, many of whom whose job it was to keep the aircraft flying, we removed both the strategic air advantage the the Afghani's had over the Taliban, and left them to fight in a way that they had not trained. Given those factors the quickness of their collapse is not terribly surprising.

I agree with the assessment that an army trained to operate with air superiority cannot be expected to survive for any length of time without it. But the problem is that what you are saying here in the part I've bolded goes squarely against the word of the generals, state department personnel, and the administration, all of which have expressed being terribly surprised by how quickly the Afghan army collapsed. How do we explain all the confident assurances that this wouldn't happen and all the expressions of shock and dismay that it did?

One possible explanation is that General Officers in todayís military not only need to lead they need to be nimble politicians as well. There were unilateral decisions made at the executive level that went against the advice of our intelligence services and some of our GO. I havenít heard of many who favored pulling out of Afghanistan in the strategic way that it was done. Their reasons for not speaking more clearly or forcefully about their concerns remain their own and charity prevents me (though not a number of my Soldiers) from assigning motive.
Fair enough. But it remains true that most Americans really only have access to information by which to form an opinion based on media accounts. And as recently as few weeks ago experts were saying this wouldnít happen. The expert class might have their reasons for being disingenuous, but the general populace is rational, sane, and responsible to assume theyíre listening to propaganda. Yet many persist in seeing such people as crackpots, loonies, and dangerous extremists.


I can assure you that the true expert class was terrified that precisely this kind of thing would happen.  Even those at the top of the various bureaucracies reportedly were telling the president that his approach was extremely risky.  Their public statements were much more guarded.  That, however, is because these "experts" have graduated to the political class, where a little varnish often goes on top of the truth. 

44
Your Turn / Re: Afghanistan
« on: August 18, 2021, 04:36:40 PM »

I also bristle at criticism of the Afghani national forces. As I mentioned, they lost over 40,000 Soldiers in the last half-decade while fighting on behalf of their nation. It was not as if they all of a sudden became cowards. One of the great under-reported stories of this debacle is that the US not only pulled out our troops, we pulled out our civilian contractors. The Afghans who had been fighting with us for the last 20 years and leading the fight the last 7 had relied heavily on US superior air support, as they had been trained. With the removal of our contractors, many of whom whose job it was to keep the aircraft flying, we removed both the strategic air advantage the the Afghani's had over the Taliban, and left them to fight in a way that they had not trained. Given those factors the quickness of their collapse is not terribly surprising.

I agree with the assessment that an army trained to operate with air superiority cannot be expected to survive for any length of time without it. But the problem is that what you are saying here in the part I've bolded goes squarely against the word of the generals, state department personnel, and the administration, all of which have expressed being terribly surprised by how quickly the Afghan army collapsed. How do we explain all the confident assurances that this wouldn't happen and all the expressions of shock and dismay that it did?


Take a look at the front page of todayís WSJ. Military and intelligence officials reportedly did warn of the possibility of a very swift collapse. They recommended maintaining a small presence to prevent this. The president instead followed his own counsel. Some senior officials for political reasons have been trying to keep their comments consistent with the presidentís. But DOD and State Department officials with responsibility for Afghanistan were anything but surprised.

45
Your Turn / Re: When was the Bible written?
« on: August 06, 2021, 08:56:32 AM »
Pastor Benke, the conservative Anglican group you mentioned is the ACNA- Anglican Communion of North America.  Just to keep you abreast.

Jeremy


Small correction. Itís the Anglican Church in North America.

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