The Palestinian Response to Threats from the Trump Administration Do Not Bode Well for Peace Talks

Every president we’ve had since 1948 has believed that peace in the Middle East, specifically, the conflict over the small strip of land that is Israel, could be achieved by diplomatic means.

At least, they’ve publicly spoke of peace deals and diplomacy. Unless they’re totally off their nut, I don’t see how they could actually believe that, no matter how much desire is there.

You’re not going to bring these two sides together when one side has a long-held belief that the other side not only shouldn’t be there, but should not exist, at all.

It’s not even a conflict that started in 1948, to be clear. This is a family feud that started long before.

People really need to get in those Bibles.

Genesis 16:12 (NIV), as the angel of the Lord is prophesying over the illegitimate son of Abraham and the handmaiden, Hagar: “This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”

And the sons of Ishmael have been cutting up, ever since.

They’re not planning on being peaceful, now, just because the U.S. has a new president.

Case in point would be the Palestinian response to reports that the Trump administration has threatened to shutter the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, unless the Palestinians agree to come to the table for this season’s version of “peace talks.”

Their answer came in the form of a posted video from the senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who called the administration’s threats, “unacceptable,” and said that, in fact, they’d stop any communication with the Trump administration, if those offices were closed.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had determined a Palestinian call for the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis violates U.S. law, requiring the organization to close its Washington offices. The Trump administration has 90 days to determine whether the PLO’s Washington office will be allowed to remain open.

That’s 90 days to try and get these people to change their minds about decades of hate.

In the video, Erekat suggested that the current position of the U.S. is due to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

There should be nothing there that gives the illusion that if they were given everything they wanted, that they would ever agree to peace.

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Begun The Troll Wars Have: Donald Trump Responds to LaVar Ball

As I mentioned early this morning, Twitter provocateur and United State President Donald Trump has gotten himself into a trolling war that he may not be able to win: He is up against LaVar Ball.

Well, with Ball’s comments downplaying Trump’s hand in getting his son out of China (as you may recall, LiAngelo Ball and two of his teammates apparently stole sunglasses from a Louis Vitton while UCLA’s basketball team was in the country), Trump was bound to respond. And boy did he.

Donald Trump should know better, because what Ball did is exactly what Trump does on a daily basis.

  1. Make controversial statement about someone.
  2. Elicit response from said person.
  3. Come get yourself media attention for the response that person gave.

Ball is a brand-builder. As is Trump. Trump is no more successful in real estate and your local agent. He just happens to have started out with some money and the ability to garner media attention for himself.

At the same time, Ball is no sports genius. He isn’t some great athlete builder. He’s a dude with a loud mouth, decent athletes for sons, and the ability to garner media attention for himself.

So, Trump should know better, because all he is doing is giving Ball a bigger platform to launch his sons from. It’s all a game of headlines and we as America lose when they play it.

God, I hate everything.

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RedState’s Water Cooler – November 19, 2017 – Open Thread – “Glory, Glory”

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This week, the RedState Department of History delves into music — more specifically, of the patriotic kind, and the anniversary of one of our most popular national hymns.

On this date in 1861, the writer Julia Ward Howe awoke in the early morning with words to a song burning their way through her head. In the darkness, she fumbled for a pencil stub she had remembered using the night before and wrote out the words she was thinking almost without looking at the paper.

The words she wrote, of course, became “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” That said, Ward’s words were set to a tune which had been used familiarly in the United States for nearly sixty years.

The first known words to the tune were called “Canaan’s Happy Shore“, sung in the early 1800s in the American South:

“Oh! Brothers will you meet me/On Canaan’s happy shore?
There we’ll shout and give him glory/For glory is his own!”

By the start of the American Civil War, though, the tune had been co-opted. Reportedly, the Second Infantry Battalion of the Massachusetts Militia came up with new words to pay tribute to John Brown, the abolitionist who incited a revolt at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in 1859 and was eventually hung for treason against the State of Virginia. Aside from the classic “John Brown’s body lies a’moulderin’ in the grave” line, the six-stanza composition offered these verses as well:

He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,
And frightened “Old Virginny” till she trembled thru and thru;
They hung him for a traitor, themselves the traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,
Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,
And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,
For his soul is marching on.

While watching a public review of troops with Howe in Washington, The Reverend James Freeman Clarke suggested she write new words to the song which was sung by the troops in their march-past. The next morning, Howe, whose husband Samuel was a member of the “Secret Six” group that funded Brown’s raid, was only too happy to comply.

In addition to the words that most Americans know so well, Howe also penned a final verse, which was left out of publication and thus never sung:

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.

In very short order, Howe’s composition became the anthem of the Union and one of the greatest national songs ever written.

In popular usage, the song has both been performed beautifully and parodied in almost equal measure.

At Ronald Reagan’s funeral, National Cathedral 2004

Sung by the Soviet Red Army Choir

And in parody:

Blood Upon The Risers, U.S. Army Airborne marching cadence and gallows humor concerning a paratrooper’s chute failure:

“Gory, gory what a hell of a way to die!
Gory, gory what a hell of a way to die!
Gory, gory what a hell of a way to die!
And he ain’t gonna jump no more!”

Glory, Glory Man United – as a sports theme. Many English teams and some national soccer teams have adopted the tune with their own words.

Timeless, in its way. Happy Sunday and enjoy today’s open thread!

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USAF General Says He Will Obey Trump’s Order to Launch Nukes and the Internet Goes Wild

Little more than a week ago I posted on the effort by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker to troll Donald Trump by holding a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s authority to order a nuclear strike. Never mind that there is no nuclear war looming. Never mind that any changes to how US nuclear weapons are controlled would have to come from the Senate Armed Services Committee. Indeed, in anti-Trump circles it has become something of a sport to question Trump’s mental fitness and root for a military coup d’état that will take the republic out of the hand of its Constitutional leaders and put it in the hands of the military.

During that hearing the subject, naturally came up of how a commander would react to an order to use nuclear weapons that he regarded to be illegal:

Procedures are in place for ensuring U.S. nuclear weapons are ready for a presidential launch order in response to — or in anticipation of — a nuclear attack by North Korea or anyone else. There are backup procedures and backups for the backups.

And yet fundamental aspects of this nightmare sequence remain a mystery.

For example, what would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal?

Robert Kehler, a retired general who once led that command, was asked this at a congressional hearing last week. His response: “You’d be in a very interesting constitutional situation.”

Yesterday, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Air Force General John Hyten was at something called the “Halifax International Security Forum.” As CBS reports the same question was posed to Hyten.

Hyten was responding to a question about testimony by former STRATCOM commander retired Gen. Robert Kehler before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week. Kehler said that nuclear operators would refuse to implement an unlawful order. Hyten agreed, and argued that the process in place to launch a nuclear strike would prevent such a situation from arising in the first place. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

 

Before dealing with the question and Hyten’s answer, let’s clear away some underbrush. The president is the commander-in-chief. Period. If he gives an order, and is determined to carry it out, no number of generals can stop him. A general officer holds a commission signed by the president. If he voices his objections and is still told to do it he has two options. Resign or do it. If he resigns, the president has the ability appoint another officer in his place and he can do that until he gets tired or until he finds someone who will carry out the order. The whole legal/illegal order, in my view, is bullsh** when it comes to the president ordering a nuclear strike. The only way the order is illegal is if we lose the war and he ends up on trial someplace. The fire-bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, and any number of other cities would have been considered war crimes if we had lost the war. We didn’t, so they aren’t.

So the question has nothing to do with Trump–in fact Hyten doesn’t even mention Trump–and everything to do with the process for using nukes.

Hyten, who is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, explained the process that would follow such a command.

As head of STRATCOM “I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” he said in his remarks, retransmitted in a video posted on the forum’s Facebook page.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I‘m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

Hyten said running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order was standard practice, and added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

Hyten is correct. An unlawful order isn’t one that you don’t like, it is one that violates the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict. If you watch the video clip. Hyten does a great jog of laying out those principles. (Ironically, the Trump administration took a lot of grief over a convoy of ISIS fighters being allowed to escape. The convoy was know to contain the families of the fighters and striking it would have been a classic violation of the law of land warfare, but that unlawful order was considered fine by a lot of the same people having multiple orgasms over Hyten’s answer.) The underlying premise is every order you receive is presumed to be legal. Your boss never has to prove to you the order is legal, you have to show it why it is illegal. Not that the order is unwise or even stupid, you have to show that it violates US law or US treaty obligations. And you have to do this to your boss, his boss…and maybe to a court-martial panel.

If you receive what you think is an illegal order, first you ask for clarification to make sure you understand what you are being told to do. Maybe “take care of the prisoners” doesn’t mean to line them up and machinegun them. If the clarification doesn’t change your perception, then you kick it up to your boss’s boss. If you are still told to do it, you have two choices. You can entertain the possibility they might know what they are doing and you don’t and go ahead and carry out the order…or you can martyr yourself. As Hyten says, “it’s not that complicated.”

Let’s look at Hyten’s example

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I‘m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

See the process? It doesn’t involve saying “no,” it is a process of carrying out the president’s intent within the context of law. In fact, beginning at 1:07, Hyten is given the opportunity to say that he’d say “no,” and he refuses to do so.

Noonan, by the way, is a former staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, he now works for Tom Cotton, and he’s a former USAF Minuteman missile launch officer.

And, for the record, a nuclear strike against North Korea’s nuclear arsenal would be a clearly and unambiguously legal act if a very messy one. Even so, there is a bit of shorthand at work in Hyten’s example. An order to launch nukes, in other than a retaliatory strike after we’d been hit by a nuclear weapon, would come via the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That order would be issued in response to orders received from the Secretary of Defense.

In Hyten’s scenario, if the president disagrees, Hyten’s objection may or may not be meaningful. Let’s go back to Corker’s hearing:

Brian McKeon, a senior policy adviser in the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said a president’s first recourse would be to tell the defense secretary to order the reluctant commander to execute the launch order.

“And then, if the commander still resisted,” McKeon said as rubbed his chin, “you either get a new secretary of defense or get a new commander.” The implication is that one way or another, the commander in chief would not be thwarted.

Bingo. Because the president is the commander in chief, he gets the last vote.

Take this discussion from some arms control guys:

The only headline here was that Hyten said that he’d follow established procedure. Sad that that rated a headline.

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In Lashing Out at Trump, Hillary Clinton Makes a Really Dumb Claim

Oh, bless her heart. I’m sure she really had a point to make, here.

At least, she gave it a shot.

Hillary Clinton, still reliving the campaign and desperately clinging to her talking points, stumbled her way through some twisted defenses.

The clock ain’t turning back, Lady. Just move on. Get a hobby – something that will make you happy, but this isn’t it.

Speaking of turning back the clock, the former Secretary of State, while speaking at the Clinton Presidential Center (Why is there even such a thing?) on Saturday couldn’t resist taking a jab at President Trump’s obnoxious Twitter habit.  Speaking of her husband, Clinton said:

“He didn’t tweet about it, he went to work about it, and he actually got things done.”

And the crowd goes wild.

Oh. Hun.

I doubt former President Clinton would want the world knowing everything he was doing back then. That being said, there was no Twitter to tweet from in the 90s. Twitter wasn’t a thing until 2006, long after Clinton was gone.

She added, “Between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done? I don’t understand it. Maybe that’s the whole point.”

Yeah, neither do I, but why are you still talking about it?

The purpose of the event, supposedly, was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first election win of the only Clinton who will ever be president. Continuously drawing attention to the fact that riding her husband’s coattails couldn’t get her over the finish line is not a healthy way for Hillary to spend her days.

Granted, both of the oldsters who ran in 2016 have the election stuck on loop in their aged brains.

Trump isn’t really letting it go, either. He tweeted out on Saturday:

“Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!”

At their ages, there’s no guarantee either one of them will be around in three years. For the sake of themselves, their families, and pretty much the entire nation, they both need to find more constructive ways to spend their time.

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Justice Gorsuch Reassures That “Textualism and Originalism” Aren’t Going Anywhere

It is well known that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was friends with the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. Professionally, Gorsuch follows in Scalia’s footsteps as the latest justice to be confirmed, and thus occupying the seat left vacant, and as a textualist and originalist like Scalia was during his tenure.

At the Federalist Society dinner held in D.C. this week, Gorsuch confirmed that his own strict adherence to these interpretations will remain alive and well while he is on the high court.

The Washington Examiner reports, emphasis mine:

“Tonight I can report that a person can be both a publicly committed originalist and textualist and be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Gorsuch said. “Originalism has regained its place at the table … textualism has triumphed … and neither one is going anywhere on my watch.”

The newest justice also addressed criticism that he is too vocal during oral arguments at the Supreme Court by taking a poll of the audience’s view of his performance. After receiving applause in response to whether the crowd thought he should keep asking questions, Gorsuch said, “Maybe these questions are pretty popular after all.”

Of course, liberal court-watchers and organizations have many problems with Justice Gorsuch, one of which is his supposed “stealing” of the SCOTUS seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s. As if these seats belong to anyone in the first place.

The liberal Alliance for Justice, which opposed Gorsuch’s nomination to the high court, criticized the newest justice’s decision to speak to the Federalist Society.

“Tonight’s speech is just the latest stop on Neil Gorsuch’s thank-you tour to honor the people who got him what should have been Merrick Garland’s job,” said Nan Aron, Alliance for Justice president.

…this behavior is unbecoming for a Supreme Court justice, cheapens the court, and undermines the trust of the American people in the court’s fairness and impartiality.”

Let me know how your call for impartiality squares with your claim that poor Garland had the SCOTUS seat stolen right out from under him, Ms. Aron.

To be sure, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court has been a highlight of Donald Trump’s presidency. However, one could argue that claiming “but Gorsuch!” as a reason for defending Trump’s words, actions, and thin list of accomplishments won’t be enough. Gorsuch occupies the seat that Scalia once did, so essentially, the “balance of power” (for lack of a better term for an impartial body) remains the same as before.

This appointment was important. The next appointment will be even more crucial.

While I and many others have been critical of those who seemingly hang their hat on the Gorsuch confirmation and placement, we also must give credit where it is due. President Trump made the correct choice.

Justice Gorsuch’s statements in his speech this week confirm just that.

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International Men’s Day Spotlight on Male Suicides

International Men’s Day is meant to be a spotlight on the high rate of suicides among men ranging in age from 18-45 or thereabouts. We are losing good men just when our country needs them the most. Unsurprisingly, third wave feminists aren’t having it.

In an article published two days ago in Allure magazine, feminists are decrying the idea of “International Men’s Day”.

Arguably, every day is International Men’s Day, as men are most often those in positions of power — positions that are all too often abused.

And

and as Twitter user @MorrisseyMeg put it so eloquently, “I’m not dismissing the experience of men. I’m simply pointing out that there is already a tilt toward considering the experience of men, esp white men. It feels like a slap in the face that a day is needed on top of everything else.”

Yes, because, you see, acknowledging men, their experiences, their needs and their higher rate of suicide is actually all about oppressing females.

So let’s just skip it….

Some pointed out that this is certainly not the time to celebrate men as a whole, given the climate. Others said we should use the opportunity to support and boost the voices of men who are marginalized, which is actually always a good idea. Others simply said that Sunday would be cancelled, and TBH, I’m all for that. Maybe we’ll just have Saturday Part II, and we can skip November 19 altogether (sorry not sorry if Sunday is your birthday!). See y’all Monday!

Do these women not understand that the reason there aren’t more Frankens & Weinsteins is because the vast majority of men desire to be everything they were created to be: protector, provider and partner?

Honoring good men is never wrong. Putting the spotlight on the tragic high rate of suicide among men might help us keep these men where they belong, with us on this side of life.

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Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 45

The title of the cantata is “Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist” (It has been told to you, man, what is good).

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the bags of gold:

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

It sounds pretty harsh at first blush. But the message, I think, is that God has entrusted you with certain wealth — talents, skills, and resources — and you should use them fruitfully, rather than be resentful of the one who entrusted you with these gifts, and do nothing with them. While Bach did not write a cantata that relates directly to this Gospel passage, the text of today’s cantata (available here) has passages that sound the same theme, such as this, the text that accompanies the final chorale melody:

Grant that I do diligently
what you have set for me to do,

which Your command directs
for me in my condition!
Grant that I do it quickly,
at the time that I should;
and when I do it, then grant
that it succeed!

The chorale used in the cantata is based on a melody by Ahasverus Fritsch: O Gott, du Frommer Gott, played on the piano here:

Happy listening!

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Has Donald Trump Been Out-Trolled?

Donald Trump is America’s first true Troll President. He is the kind of guy who goes out of his way to provoke, attack, and belittle his adversaries in whatever way possible. He is without a doubt one of the best out there, whether you agree with his politics or not.

There have been many challengers to Trump’s trolling attempts. The infamous North Korean propaganda was a thing of beauty, but it did not seem to have an effect. Other political opponents of the President, both foreign and domestic, have tried, but all have failed.

However, he got trolled by the greatest troll in the sports world yesterday, and no one really paid attention. But they should have. Trump may very well be up against the greatest troll walking the earth today.

If you haven’t been following, three UCLA players were arrested for shoplifting from a Louis Vitton store in China. They were eventually released, but forced to remain in their hotel by Chinese authorities.

Apparently, Donald Trump personally intervened on their behalf during his Asia tour, talking with Chinese President Xi Jinping and getting the young men released and sent back to the states.

LaVar Ball, whose son, LiAngelo, was one of those three UCLA players, was apparently asked about Trump’s intervention on behalf of his son and his son’s teammates. His response was classic LaVar Ball.

“Who?” LaVar Ball told ESPN on Friday, when asked about Trump’s involvement in the matter. “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

As we have seen time and again, belittling Trump uses forces a response. While Trump himself hasn’t said anything, Dan Scavino did offer this gem on Twitter.

The troll got someone to engage, which is the troll’s only purpose.

You have to hand it to Ball. He has managed to take his entirely mediocre son and land him an NBA role almost exclusively because of his own outlandish personality and self-branding. As a marketing guy, he has been a complete and total success. But his son, Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, hasn’t lived up to the hype. He is mediocre at best, and the Lakers are in the bottom five of their division.

Not to mention the shots taken at Lonzo (no pun intended) by other players in the league.

Plus, his second son has been indefinitely suspended for stealing and getting arrested in China. LaVar’s response? “I’ve seen kids do worse.” That was it. What the hell kind of parenting is that?

In a sense, LaVar and Trump are incredibly similar. Both are completely incapable of backing up the biggest promises they make, they are full of bluster, and they are somehow still considered successful despite this.

Plus, they both play the same troll game. Someone publicly dislikes or disrespects them, and they post something provocative that encourages the “hater” to say something back. For these two men, it is all about two things: Themselves and their media appearances, and their constant need to find someone to blame for their own failures.

If Donald Trump happens to get into a war of words with LaVar Ball, then America will likely suffer for it. Mentally, anyway.

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This Just In: Mike Pence’s Rule Against Having Private Dinners With Random Women Is Not Christian

Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Not long after Mike Pence was sworn in the Washington Post did a profile of him and included this factoid:

“In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

I’m in complete agreement. I follow the same rule. I think any man, particularly any married man, who doesn’t follow that rule is an idiot that deserves whatever that comes their way. At the time there was an outcry about how this penalized women (not entirely unfair) and a lot of laughing at Pence. Today, not so much laughing but the outcry is still there. In fact, the New York Times claims Pence’s rule is un-Christian: A Christian Case Against the Pence Rule. I’ll give you the high points and then look at it critically.

In light of Mr. Weinstein and other members of the Hollywood elite now being exposed for sexual assault, some Christian leaders have advocated that we recover the Pence rule: Vice President Pence has said he doesn’t meet alone with a woman who isn’t his wife. People may accuse him of being prudish and misogynist, but at least he will never be accused of Mr. Weinstein’s sins.

Today, many ministry leaders follow Mr. Graham’s example to avoid “the appearance of evil,” as the New Testament puts it. Indeed, the Bible says a lot about humans’ proclivity to sin. Many Christian men believe it’s better to limit interacting with women altogether than open the door to temptation. As Mr. Graham’s own grandson and other pastors prey on women in Christian circles, there’s a comforting clarity about the rule.

I know many Christians who keep some version of the rule. These men have good motives. Their stated intent — marital fidelity — is noble, and one that I respect. But the Pence rule is inadequate to stop Weinstein-ian behavior. In fact, it might be its sanctified cousin. It’s time for men in power to believe their female peers when they say that the rule hurts more than helps.

The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, “I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.” If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.

Most female Christian leaders I know find the Pence rule frustrating. (All the people I know who keep the rule are men.) Imagine a male boss keeps some variation of the rule but is happy to meet with a male peer over lunch or travel with him for business. The informal and strategic conversations they can have is the stuff of workplace advancement. Unless there are women in senior leadership positions — and in many Christian organizations, there are not — women will never benefit from the kind of advancement available to men.

The answer is not to ask women to leave the room. It’s to hold all men in the room accountable, and kick out those who long ago lost their right to be there.

Up front, I’d like to get an agreement that women are people much like men. I’ve been in women-run organizations for several years and I’ve found women just as capable of lying, cheating, stealing, and backstabbing as any man. Maybe more so because while boys in elementary and middle school are settling their grievances with fists, girls learn to use rumors about other girls. If you think women, as a rule, are ignorant about sexual harassment rules or will hesitate for a nano-second to use the “that makes me feel uncomfortable” statement as a brush-back pitch, I think you need to get out more. The only point here is that if you say “believe women” you are an idiot because women are no more truthful than men.

I was an executive officer of a basic training company the very first year that the Army went to co-ed basic training. The rule we established for drill sergeants was that at no time was a male drill allowed to be in a closed room alone with a female trainee. We also required that all performance counseling of female trainees was required to have one of the female drill sergeants as a witness. The reason here was to protect vulnerable trainees from predators and to protect cadre from baseless allegations that could end a career. There is no doubt this destroyed the dynamic of basic training, where the drill is often father confessor to troubled trainees, and it probably increased the attrition rate among female trainees as they might tell a personal problem to one person but they were not going to tell it to two.

So I agree with the argument that if you, as a supervisor, have lunches, alone, with male subordinates then your female subordinates are at a disadvantage. I don’t think palling around with subordinates is ever a great strategy, but YMMV.

But the idea that this is built on the idea that males are rapists is ridiculous. The moron who wrote the NYT op-ed says that and you don’t have to look all that far to see that it is a common critique by progressives of common sense.

The policy is based upon respect for yourself and respect for your spouse. Your reputation is your most valuable possession

Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

In public relations you learn, very early, that P = R, that is, Perception = Reality. What you actually do is less important that what you are perceived to be doing.

In this point, both Catholic theology and Federal ethics regulations come into sync. Catholics are told it isn’t sufficient to avoid sin, you must avoid the occasion, i.e. exposure to the possibility, of sin. So if you are an alcoholic it is not sufficient to avoid drink, you need to avoid places where alcohol is served. As “scandal,” that is behavior that could cause other to do evil, a person in a leadership position has the obligation to avoid situations that could lead to rumors being spread. Federal ethics regs say it isn’t enough to avoid impropriety, you must avoid the appearance of impropriety. Let me give you an example. I was leading a four-man IG investigation team. We arrive at our destination airport with a reservation for a mid-size car. All the mid-size cars are gone but Mister Nice-Clerk says we can get a free upgrade to a Lincoln Town Car. I am not making this story up. Nothing legally wrong with that. We had an approved car reservation and we were offered an upgrade at no cost to Uncle Sugar. But… What do you think would happen the moment we pulled up in front of the target of our investigation and piled out of a Town Car? Appearance of impropriety out the wazoo I’d spend more time defending my car choice than I would on the investigation–and get a letter of reprimand in the process. So we got a compact car.

By having dinner, alone, with a female, not your wife, who is also a subordinate–assuming arguendo that you are not a predator or inclined to an extra marital affair–you create a decision tree with a lot of poisonous branches:
–A jealous or spiteful person starts a rumor you are boffing your dinner partner and this damages your reputation and hers and creates the illusion that the woman is where she is based on merit in places other than the office and neither of you have a way to defend yourself.
–The woman is an amoral climber-over-dead-bodies (yes, they exist in surprising numbers) and says you are sleeping together for perceived advantage.
–The woman has romantic designs, is rebuffed, and complains of being the subject of sexual harassment and you have no way to defend yourself.
–The professional relationship sours and at some point the male is accused of having made sexual advances and you have no way of defending yourself.
–In all of these scenarios your marriage is jeopardized and could become collateral damage or roadkill.

The only benign branch–that is, “nothing bad happens”–is actually the least likely outcome.

Mike Pence’s decision is not un-Christian. It is a wise decision. It is a decision that he will never have reason to regret. His obligation to someone else’s career does not extend to potentially bring disrepute to himself and grief to his wife. To the women who feel their career depends upon one-on-one alone time with a male boss (think about that for second you SJW feminists), pick another strategy. Everyone will be better off in the long run.

The post This Just In: Mike Pence’s Rule Against Having Private Dinners With Random Women Is Not Christian appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State