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Mike Pence should distance himself from the President

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Mike Pence should distance himself from the President

There’s an ever-so-small portion in the back of my brain that’s actually pleased to see many of the things I expected actually coming to pass. It’s natural to feel a sense of vindication when the things one predicts come true, even if those things are bad. What’s happening in the White House today was easily predictable based on literally every endeavor Donald Trump has done in his life, so it’s not as if these predictions were astounding.

Nevertheless, so few listened when it was possible to put in a better GOP nominee. I’ve since left the Republican Party and I can’t imagine a situation in which that will change.

I vividly remember the day that Senator Jeff Sessions abandoned his friend and colleague, Ted Cruz, to support candidate Trump. It was more than a betrayal. I was dumbfounded. I remember telling a friend Sessions would regret the decision quickly, especially if he lands in the White House.

He did land in the White House and the President made him regret his support almost immediately. But Sessions is a trooper and carried on for a while despite the attacks. Now, it seems that the President has gone too far:

Jeff Sessions finally punches back at Donald Trump — hard

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/23/politics/donald-trump-jeff-sessions-attorney-general/index.html“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda — one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.

While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action. However, no nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.

I am proud to serve with them and proud of the work we have done in successfully advancing the rule of law.”

Sessions wasn’t the first supporter to feel the President’s sting and he won’t be the last. The list of “allies” being forced to turn on the President are mounting with Sessions and Michael Cohen posing the biggest problems. Omarosa, Paul Manafort, Rex Tillerson… against any other President these people might be problems but they are barely on the radar with Trump.

So, who’s next to abandon ship? Whether it’s my heart or some scheming part of my mind that makes me think this, I imagine the next high profile ally to start distancing himself from the President will be Vice President Mike Pence.

At this point, it makes sense for him to be the good guy in the administration. He’s been relatively unscathed. His support has always focused on the President’s agenda, many parts of which are actually pretty good. He hasn’t made excuses for the President’s poor demeanor or inability to get out of campaign mode. Instead, he’s been a solid proponent of mostly conservative principles.

Now, it’s time for him to start making his break. That doesn’t mean he has to betray the President, but he has to start preparing for two possibilities for Trump: impeachment and not running again in 2020.

It’s going to be hard. He has to be the heir apparent while not being the heir of all the baggage. While Pence isn’t the stout conservative many like to categorize him as, he’s a conservative nonetheless and must start focusing only on the conservative policies the President puts forth. All the rest, he must avoid.

No tariffs. No stifling the free press. Nothing with Ivanka Trump’s name attached to it. Just conservative policies.

Now is the time for Pence to establish himself as a separate entity from the President. It’s okay to support conservative initiatives, but he throw himself into the fray of bickering over Trump’s values or defending the many Democratic principles the President espouses.

If he can be with the President without being attached to him, he has a chance to recover if/when the President falls. Whether by his own incompetence, through his former allies’ revelations, by the hand of their enemies, or a combination of the three, the chances of Trump continuing to lead the Republican party beyond 2020 are being chopped away daily.

Here’s the important thing to understand. Vice President Pence can continue to faithfully do his job while simultaneously distancing himself from the President. His limited powers do not require him to participate in much. If anything, he’s in a perfect position to carry the conservative flag without being cross with the President at all. He simply needs to be selective which what he involves himself with.

As I stated before, I’m no fan of the Republican party as it currently exists. I’m not a huge fan of Mike Pence, but I’m a major opponent to the progressive movement that will continue to rise of Pence or someone doesn’t do something quickly.

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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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