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Congress is broken. It needs to adopt the Docket System

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Congress to stop paying sexual harassment claims with taxpayer dollars

The Omibus bill-now-law is a small cherry on top of the mounting evidence that our Congressional legislature is broken. The system is designed to empower those in charge that hold no Constitutional authority. A Senate Majority leader has no derivative in the Constitution, yet this title has such an influence on the legislative process. Consider this:

Have not such bills been floating around in Congress for years. Let’s see back in 2015, a Congressmen introduced H.R.1013 – Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. It was last sent to the subcommittee on trade and the bill has never been seen again. The current Congress has a dozen or so marijuana related bills all sitting in committee, but legalizing Hemp may see the light of day because McConnell wants to appease a group of people, while similar bills are missing in committee. Most people favor Congressional term limits. Many run on them. Yet during the 1990s, many bills/ Constitutional Amendments were proposed. All of them never saw the light of day once going being sent to a committee. Senators Perdue (R-GA) and Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Balanced Budget Accountability Act on January 11th, 2017. Nothing has become of it in over a year. Both Senators opposed the Omnibus spending bill, in case you were curious.

See my point? Instead of simple to understand legislation having its honest day on the floor, we the people instead get ramrodded with behemoth bills none of theses legislatures read. This monstrosity gets forced on the Senate and is instantly, because of the likes of McConnell and Schumer, at the tippy top of the priority list. In a matter of days, this bill passed the Senate while principled solutions from the left or right never see the light of day for they were not written by lobbyist who own the committees and majority leaders. Voting out the McConnells isn’t enough. We need to fundamentally change the legislative process.

Congress is the most important branch of government. For this reason, the legislative branch is Article 1 in the constitution. In Article 1 Section 7 we find the legislative process. Section 7 deals with the veto process rather than getting nitty-gritty about committees and subcommittees. Looking at the current situation, it’s clear Congress is too big to be effective for the people. The legislative process empowers committees who host members whom are no more qualified to legislate on matters than nonmembers. It bogs down legislatures who come up with solutions outside of their groups.

Docket System

I purpose we systematically rewrite the song “I’m just a Bill.” We need to get rid of committees and instead move towards a docket system. Under the Docket System, every bill will be voted on it its respective chamber. This is beneficial because we will see just where our elected officials truly stand on a matter of issues. A bill will be introduced and from there receive it’s day to be voted on, a very well off date, and schedule hearings if necessary, also in the distant future. If a bill has one sponsor, it will not be prioritized. In order to move higher on the docket, the bill needs to gain more sponsors. If a bill reaches a threshold of sponsors, say 35 in the Senate, it can get prioritized within and be voted on within a week. Bills that advance through one chamber will get prioritized in the next. The system is designed to get backlogged, but if matters are significant, legislators will sponsor legislature on them. Our criminal justice system has a process for seeing every case according to the 6th Amendment. I believe it possible for Congress to enable a system that is attentive to every bill, needing only be a fraction as fast as the trial process.

The purpose of this would be to first strip Congress of extra-constitutional titles, and second to ensure that bills are simple, heard, and voted on. Otherwise, we are stuck hearing things about Kate’s Law, the REINS Act, Concealed Carry Reciprocity, term limits, balanced budget amendments, and all these nice things campaign conservatives support.  Truthfully, the issues in Congress are more numerous in the Senate than the House of Representatives. Kate’s Law passed the House and was received in the Senate on July 10, 2017. No action has taken place since in a Republican held Senate. Yet the Omnibus got the ultimate fast pass. We need real change. As Congress buries itself in arcane rules and procedures designed to preserve a political class, so the legislative process is slowed for legislators who genuinely want to drain the swamp. The Senate Majority Leader need not exist in official title or duties. Only the titles and processes laid in Article 1 are the framework for our legislative process. The rest is entirely optional.

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Culture and Religion

Does Matthew 22:29-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch?

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Does Matthew 2229-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch

Extra-Biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch are often frowned upon by churches. Some see 1 Enoch as fake. Others say it’s a good historical reference but not inspired. The Ethiopian Bible includes it as scripture. Should we read it?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to consider three things. First, it was referenced as holy by many of the early church fathers, but was excluded from official canon. Second, Enoch is referenced multiple times in the Bible: Genesis 4 and 5, Luke 3:37, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 1:14. Third, Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 22:29-30 that references “scripture” but what he is saying is only found in 1 Enoch.

Many who oppose the validity of Enoch say that it was written after the Book of Jude because the it includes the quote that Jude references, but fragments of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which most scholars date to before Jude was born.

The scripture in question is Matthew 22:29-30:

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Nowhere in the 66 Books of the Bible does it say angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. What did Jesus mean when he said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” in reference to the angels not marrying?

Here is 1 Enoch 15:5-7:

5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ⌈formerly⌉ spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.

Hmm.

As with anything regarding extra-Biblical texts, I must urge caution. Many who believe 1 Enoch is authentic refute the authenticity of 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. Then, there’s the question of inspiration and protection of the text. Many Christians believe the Bible has been able to survive and flourish despite so many attempts to disrupt it is because it has been protected over the millennia. If that’s the case, why was Enoch not included the whole time?

The answer to this question, to those who believe in its authenticity, may be found in the first two verses of the manuscript.

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

If Enoch is real, it’s meant for a later generation living in the day of tribulation. If it’s a fake, then it’s intended to deceive those in the end times. Either way, it’s understandable that it would not be included in most Bibles.

I tend to believe 1 Enoch is legitimate, but not to the point that I would teach on it. Not yet. Much more prayer and study is required before I would ever risk misleading anyone.

Nevertheless, the reference in Matthew 22 is compelling.

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Democrats

Cartoon: Is that another huge immigration caravan?

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Cartoon Is that another huge immigration caravan

The 2016 GOP field seemed like a clown car routine compared to what was essentially five legitimate Democratic candidates. Whether they simply feared Hillary Clinton or didn’t want to take their shot following President Obama, many Democrats who were considered potentially serious candidates didn’t run.

That’s not the case for 2020. We may end up with more Democrats in the running than we had Republicans in 2016.

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez captured the growing group perfectly:

It’s certainly starting to look like a migrant caravan forming. Oh, wait. Those are actually American citizens.


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Immigration

No national emergency declaration: Trump’s “major announcement” will be an offer Democrats can’t refuse

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No national emergency declaration Trumps major announcement will be an offer Democrats cant refuse

This may be the best news I’ve heard all day (yes, even better than learning the Buzzfeed story was debunked, though that was pretty awesome as well). According to multiple outlets, the President will NOT be declaring a national emergency to fund the border wall and end the government shutdown. Instead he will be making Democrats an offer on live television to get the wall funded while dangling an incentive that he hopes will push Democrats to the negotiating table.

I’ll admit up front that I didn’t see this coming. I even went so far as to scold the President prematurely for declaring a national emergency, which apparently he is not. As I’ve always said, I will praise him when he does well and criticize him when he does poorly. Unless this report is wrong, I’ll happily praise him… unless his offer is too much.

What might be offered? Perhaps the DACA fix he didn’t want to do when Senator Chuck Schumer shut down the government last year. Maybe he’ll throw them a curve ball and offer some sort of boost to environmental efforts. Perhaps it’ll be adding more humanitarian aid to his border security package, greatly increasing the size and manpower of facilities that hold and process illegal immigrants and migrant seekers.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on a DACA fix. Then again, I would have also put my money on him declaring a national emergency, and it seems I would have lost that bet.

Whatever the offer is, it’ll need to be something that will make the Democrats look poorly to Independents and moderate Democrats if they don’t take it while not being so much that his base will feel betrayed by the offer.

Assuming this pans out as expected, I owe the President an apology for assuming the worst. Instead of the worst, this may be the best case scenario and as long as he’s not giving up too much, may also be the best move of his presidency.


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