Da Snark MUST Be Shared!

Ever notice how in certain weather, your head and chest just seem to fill with ‘stuff’ and you sneeze, wheeze, gasp and cough until you think surely you’ve coughed up a lung?  Well, in certain political climes, my head just fills to the gills with snark, and there’s only one way to alleviate the symptoms … share it!

You could’a knocked me over with a feather …

Yesterday was a red-letter day in the United States Congress!  Why?  Because the Senate … members on both sides of the aisle … actually agreed on something and voted 95 to 1 to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO!  95-1 … can you believe it???  I think this is the most cohesion we’ve seen in the Senate since … since … maybe 1867 or thereabouts!  Granted, there is little reason to object to allowing these two nations to join NATO … it is a win-win, for it adds strength to NATO and provides protections for Sweden and Finland, but these days, there doesn’t seem to be a need for a reason to split the two sides!

Oh … that single ‘nay’ vote?  That was ol’ Josh Hawley, the brunt of many jokes since the January 6th committee aired video showing Josh of fist-pump fame running desperately from the insurrectionists that day!  His reason for naysaying the treaty expansion was, in his words …

“NATO expansion would almost certainly mean more U.S. forces in Europe for the long haul. In the face of this stark reality, we must choose. We must do less in Europe (and elsewhere) in order to prioritize China and Asia.”

No, it made no sense to me, either, but then … it’s Josh ‘fist-pump’ Hawley, so I don’t expect intellect, but merely nonsense.  Rumour has it that he sees himself as a presidential candidate in 2024 🤣 🤣

Religious freedom?  I think not.

It was on June 27th, just over a month ago, that the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the case of Kennedy v Bremerton School District.  In a nutshell, the case was filed by Joseph Kennedy, a public-school football coach, who had taken the practice of praying at the middle of the field immediately after each game. The school board were concerned the practice would be seen as infringing on the Establishment Clause separating church and state. They attempted to negotiate with Kennedy to pray elsewhere or at a later time, but Kennedy continued the practice. His contract was not renewed, leading Kennedy to sue the board.

The Supreme Court ruled that the school’s actions against Kennedy violated his rights under both the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.  This decision has bothered me for over a month now, and last night I had a thought that I would share with you, my friends.

I don’t deny that Mr. Kennedy or anybody else has the right to pray … here, there, or anywhere.  However, public schools are not the place for public displays of religious acts!  They are institutions of learning … learning math, science, literature, history, and more … not religion.  In case the U.S. Supreme Court has not noticed, this is a secular nation.  We have people of every religion here and many of us are non-religious … that is our right, per the U.S. Constitution!  So, the thought I had was this:  Would the United States Supreme Court justices have been so quick to defend the man’s ‘right to prayer’ if he were a Muslim publicly praying to Allah?  I’m betting not.

Some of the boys on the team Mr. Kennedy coached said they were uncomfortable with his habit … some boys joined in, and those who did not believe or did not wish to join in were made to feel left out, felt that to belong, they had to join in.  THIS IS NOT what public education is about, my friends!  I would take umbrage if my child or grandchild were subjected to a teacher or other school employee praying in public during school hours or activities!  Again … if it had been a Muslim … can you just imagine the furor?

The U.S. is a nation founded in part by religious freedom.  That does NOT mean that one religion, ie Christianity, dominates the spirit of the nation.  It doesn’t.  The Court made a grievous error on June 27th, one that some were just waiting for in order to pounce and turn our schools into religious institutions.  We must not allow that to happen.

Say WHAT???

Ryan Kelley was running in the GOP primaries for governor of Michigan.  He lost.  In fact, he lost by a lot, coming in at fourth place with only 15% of the vote, or 165,016 votes as compared to the leader, Tudor Dixon, who received 434,673 votes, or 40.6%.  (I will have more about Tudor Dixon at a later date)  Now, one would think ol’ Ryan Kelley would tuck his tail betwixt his legs and go home to lick his wounds or cry in his beer, yes?  But nope.  He is planning to contest the election!

Kelly made the announcement early Wednesday morning as primary election results began to roll out that he refuses to concede and is contesting the election results.  Oh … and it may not surprise you to know that Kelley was one of the insurrectionists who was arrested for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election on January 6th by breaking into the Capitol, destroying property, attacking Capitol Police, and calling to hang Mike Pence!  And it surely won’t surprise you that he was endorsed by the former guy who incited the attempted coup.

Methinks he can contest until the cows come home, but he ain’t gonna be the one running against Democrat Gretchen Widmer in November!

64 thoughts on “Da Snark MUST Be Shared!

  1. Stupid people run for office because they know stupid people will vote for them….hence poor education and stuck in a mindset of oh “I’m the victim here”

    Liked by 2 people

    • If it were only stupid people running for office, it would be one thing. The likes of Herschel Walker, Lauren Boebert, and Margie Greene fit into that category. But there are also some smart, devious, dishonest ones like Kevin McCarthy, and THOSE are the ones we most need to worry about.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Considering the vast distances involved it is unlikely any races are receiving signals from Earth as they are broadcast, but there again we never know how advanced their technology is.
    If this were the case, they must be pondering on which are genuine statements from the central area of that large landmass in the northern hemisphere and which are from some performance art.
    And that landing and colonising certain areas would be no big problem as sophisticated thought in those regions seems to be depreciating.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Freakin’ Hawley…he’s another one on my list of political idiots lol. It keeps growing each day…immensely. I should write more about that list 😉😂

    I agree with the concern by others in Orca’s comment also. That made my brain explode almost immediately. NATO is obviously not a terrorizing entity since Ukraine is still being slaughtered without NATO getting involved, and I fear anyone that puts “Russia” and “democracy” in correlation and/or in the same phrase with one another. Crazy…for sure.

    Good collection of snark, Sis. They are all warranted for some snark and sighs…along with some snarky snickers 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • My list is so long I could write a book!

      As re Orca’s comment … sometimes I think she just throws out those comments to rile us, to start a conversation. For one thing, she lives in South Africa, so has no real skin in this game, but she claims to be a Putin-worshipper, thinks he can do no wrong and that all Americans are stupid people with no sense and no conscience. I often don’t publish her comments if they are rude toward anyone, but sometimes I let them go through just to let others have their say. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure her out.

      Glad you enjoyed the snarks! The snark-o-meter is in high gear this month so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The US constitution may grant religious freedom, but America is not a secular nation. Americans are obsessed with religion whether they are religious or not. There are American bloggers I follow here on WordPress who are afraid to come out as atheists for fear of being alienated by friends and family or risking their job security. How is that religious freedom? When was the last time there was an American President that did no claim an affiliation to Christianity. Even Trump, who represents everything alien to Christian principles as I understand them, has claimed he is a Christian.

    And at the same time I see attempts by some non-religious Americans to stifle all expressions of religion in the public domain. I find this just as objectionable. I just can’t imagine the majority of the non-religious (or religious) here objecting to the depiction of a nativity scene in December, a Hindu Festival of lights in October, or Matariki in July. These are forms of pageantry that give voice to the diversity of beliefs and practices of Kiwis. They should be celebrated, not suppressed. What everyone would object to (religious or not), is anything that attempts to persuade or merely implies that the religion depicted is any more “true” than any other, or that one should (or must) give up their current practices and beliefs and follow those depicted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Barry,
      This is not just about America, but includes almost if not every European based country in the world, considering that Catholicism, Anglcanism, Protestantism, or whatever “God-based ism” you want to mention are all variations of anti-Hebrewism. And thanks to colonialism and proselylitization of those religions above, huge parts of this world are dominated by European isms. And the very nature of Europe is that it believes it provides a superior brand of life for all its citizens.
      None of this is true, of course, but you will have a hekkuva time convincing 99.9% of white people (European-based) that they are not the cream of the crop, even the poorest and least educated of them. Their way is the only way to live.
      Yet their way is the worst way when you consider the health of the planet, and the people on it. Not only are we polluting our air and our oceans past the point of no return, but our capitalism and communism, both white-designed, do nothing but cause harm and suffering to the people who live under these political/economic systems.
      Trump will say anything if it gets him one more voter on his side. But his actions speak much louder than his words. He cares only about one person in this world, and you don’t need me to tell you who that person is. He uses everyone equally, but he does it in such a way they have no understanding that they are being used. He is willing to say he will give people anything they want as long as they vote for him, and keep on voting for him. He is not a Christian in any sense of that word. He is a sexual predator, a would-be world dictator, because his ego needs to dominate. He is the sickest human being our race has ever produced, bar none. If we give him any more power than he has had so far, the human race is doomed.
      I’m probably not making much sense tight now, I am running on uncontrolled adrenaline and passion on a scale that might rival Trump’s own, because I can see this world for what it is, a refusal to be part of nature. And while nature may not be a conscious being as we define conscious beings — based on human consciousness! — nature is still the greatest positive force on this planet. And it is rebelling against human domination. And it will win.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree that Trump is not a Christian, but not “in any sense of the word”. My reason is that a great many folk, especially in the US who claim to be Christian hold very similar views and would regard him as being one of their own. It depends on how one defines Christian. In many ways, Trump is a model for the “prosperity gospel” version of “Christianity”.

        I’m not persuaded that “European” culture (and I’m using that term advisedly as it is not uniform by geography nor by history) is any different from any other culture. It seem to be true of any culture when it rises temporarily to the “top” of the technological or power heaps. It just so happens that that the most recent culture to have risen to the top of both heaps simultaneously were the West European nation states. We are already seeing power shifts, and I don’t see them being any more beneficial to the planet than previous ones.

        As for nature having a consciousness, I don’t believe it has, certainly not as humans understand it, but nevertheless I’m persuaded that nature, be it at a micro or macro level is indeed a collection of living entities. In this regards, many indigenous cultures have a better understanding, and while progress is slow, I see how such an understanding is being absorbed onto the world view into some corners of the Western world, and particularly in Aotearoa,

        Might I add that many, perhaps most, indigenous cultures have a better understanding because they, at some time in their own history, have been forced to face up to the damage they have caused to their own environment, and learnt from their mistakes. We need to make use of their hindsight before it becomes necessary to rely on our own.

        Liked by 2 people

        • It is all in the definitions, and also the translations. When in North America Catholic priests persuaded indigenous people Great Spirit = God, when they had very little in common, translation became a problem for my ancestors.
          Mind you, I do not believe in a Great Spirit either, but the indigenous translation of Great Spirit comes a lot closer to my beliefs than any Christian definition ever could.
          I believe in Life. Life for me is the spirit within us that connects all living beings to each other. (Simply speaking.)

          Liked by 2 people

          • Within the indigenous people of Aotearoa, the Māori, there is the concept of a life force, or Mauri, that exists in all entities, including aspects of nature that are not typically considered living from a Western perspective such as entire river basins, forests, rivers, lakes, mountains etc.

            It’s a concept that’s being gradually absorbed by the nation as a whole, to the point where rivers, forests and mountains are being granted “personhood”, having rights of their own.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t go “quite” that far, but water is so filled with life that it can be said to be living. Same with soil and air.
              But these are just words, symbols to allow communication. However, when hardly anyone speaks the same words to mean the same thing, communication stops. Telepathy is the only language I know that all9ws for pure communication, but there are so few telepaths in the world many people dispute the reslity of it.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yes, words are at best just symbols that allow communication, limited though that is. I’m not persuaded that telepathy exists, but on the other hand. I’m persuaded that some people have such high levels of empathy that it does seem like they can read the minds of others. But, hey, what do I know. I’m autistic and according.to current medical prejudice, autistics lack the ability to empathise.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’ll believe you, not medical experts. If you can empathize, all power to you. OR, maybe you aren’t autistic. Maybe they screwed up there too giving you that label.
                  Labels are generic, never specific. Anyone can be anything.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • We’ve drifted well off the topic and I don’t want to outstay Jill’s welcome, but very briefly, I am, most definitely and without doubt autistic. I have a medical diagnosis of “almost certainly autistic, probably Asperger Syndrome”, but I don’t need the medical profession to tell me that. If you feel more at home with a group of autistics than you do with non-autistics, and you can communicate better and be understood better with autistics than with non-autistics, then you are autistic. End of story.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • All I am saying is Autism is just a label, like so many other labels. If it is meaningful to you, embrace it. I embrace being an Atheist, but it’s just a label too. To non-Atheists it separates me from them. But to me, it joins me to everyone, no matter what they believe. I am a living being. That joins me to everything!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • To suggest autism is just a label is to diminish the lived experience of every autistic person on the planet. Our lived experience is different from the non-autistic community, just as I imagine a person belonging to a disadvantaged minority ethnic community is different from those belonging to a privileged ethnic majority community. It’s not just a label but is a lived experience.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That is true, but not how I meant it. I worked with “people with mental and physical disabilities” for over 20 years, as a personal care attendant, and the number of labels that were used to differentiate my clients from “normal” people were legion. What I am saying is people are just people. Some need more help than others to be able to live their lives to their normal, but able-bodied people made up labels to make themselves feel better. Autism was bandied about as just another reason to feel superior to those who were autistic.
                      Autism is a medical designation that can be useful to the person who is autistic and those they live with, but to most of society it is a label to set people into different groups. Even I as a personal care worker was made to feel alienated because I did not have a “normal” job, so you can imagine how my clients were made to feel. This is what I meant by label, and a lot of my clients hated it. It set them outside of “normal.”
                      That you embrace it is like me embracing the fact I have indigenous blood in me, I am proud to be Métis. But there are many Métis who feel like outsiders, and they are not proud of it in mixed company. For them to be called Métis “by others” is an insult.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • Many people in the U.S. are indeed obsessed by religion, it is true, but not all, and frankly there is no majority in any single religion. We have people of all faiths and a growing population of those like myself, of no faith. But when I say it is a secular nation, I refer to the separation of church and state per the U.S. Constitution. Religion cannot be the source of our laws, nor can a religious organization have undue influence on our government, as they are attempting to do now. It is a secular nation because there is no state religion, no religious mandates, and no direct connection between one religion and the government. I am not afraid to say I am an atheist, a non-believer, but I don’t advertise it because most of my readers/friends are religious and I would not offend them. I tread lightly where religion is concerned here on ye olde blog!

      I don’t think it’s necessary to stifle religions or their events, but I don’t think the public square is the right place for it, either. Religion by its very nature is exclusive rather than inclusive … it excludes all who are not members of that one sect, which means the vast majority will always be excluded. Keep the religious dogma in the church, worship freely in church or home, but don’t try to shove it down the throats of others, is all I ask.


      • As 70% of Americans claim a Christian affiliation and almost 80% identify with some form of religion, I feel confident in describing the US as both a religious and a Christian nation irrespective of the wording of the constitution. Additionally, there’s not an insignificant minority that, with the tacit support of one of your only two political parties and the SCOTUS, that would actually support a theocracy. I’m using theocracy as describing a state where a particular form of religious ideology is enforced by law, whether or not there’s an established religion. In this respect I could argue that the restrictions on abortion that are becoming a reality in many US states is but one example.

        And when compared to Aotearoa, where less than half the population claim any religious affiliation and barely a third claim a Christian affiliation, then indeed, America is both religious and Christian.

        Here, there’s a tiny but vocal minority who protest that Animism is the established religion of Aotearoa New Zealand, and would like nothing better than for it being “restored” as Christian, using their own definition of “Christian” of course.

        The reality is that NZ is bi-cultural and secular, and the country does not have and has never had an established religion. On the other hand, I can’t claim that our constitution prohibits the establishment of a religion, as under the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty, which is the cornerstone of our form of democracy, a future legislature could indeed do so.

        I disagree that religion by its very nature is exclusive, but that may very well be due to my experience of religion in the respective home nations of both myself and the wife. YMMV.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The problem with that is that then I and millions of others are excluded, are told we do not belong here if we are not Christian. And that was exactly what Europeans came to this country to get away from … being forced to adhere to one religion or else not belonging. And within Christianity, there are many widely varied sects, so there’s not really any cohesion even within that religion, no single belief set. If it is a Christian nation, then I must leave (as I’m considering doing anyway) for I cannot take seriously such an exclusive cult, a clannish group who exclude LGBTQ people, exclude those who believe women are equal to men, believe that all races and ethnicities are equal. I cannot take seriously a group who claim gun ownership is a ‘god-given’ right, or … well, you get the idea. So, you see, if this is a Christian nation, then by definition it excludes me. And yet, it gladly accepts my tax dollars. How is that fair?


          • If you want to know what feeling excluded is really like, be autistic in a non-autistic world. It’s tough. I’m religious and reside in a society where the religious, and especially those who are openly religious are a minority. I don’t feel excluded because of that.

            I don’t quite follow your logic regarding being excluded. I, and most fellow Kiwis think of the US as being Christian because a significant majority of the nation say they are. The constitution is irrelevant. Consider this: both England and Denmark have an established (state) Christian religion, but I would would not regard either nation as being Christian simply because the majority of the population is not. Don’t let a Kiwi perspective get in the way of your own judgement.

            I don’t know what the ratio of conservative and liberal traditions are in the Christian community in the US, but it seems extremely conservative, even regressive, from what we observe in this part of the world. While we have a tiny Christian minority that holds similar views, the majority of Christians are much more liberal. Sure, back in the 1980s most churches were opposed to homosexual law reform (my own faith tradition was one of the few exceptions), but with more recent changes such as partnership property rights (1985), decriminalisation of prostitution (2003), civil unions (2005), same sex marriages (2013), and gender self identification (2021), submissions by Christian groups to the respective Parliamentary Select Committees were mostly supportive. Interestingly, with the gender self ID bill, most submissions opposing it came from feminist groups, not the churches.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I took a while to reply to you because you gave me much food for thought here, and I didn’t want to just jot off a hasty reply. You are so right that I cannot relate to what you go through being autistic. My youngest son was severely brain damaged from birth … he died three years ago at age of 42, but never learned to speak, walk, dress or feed himself. So, I’ve had a taste of what living with a disability is like, but nothing like what you go through, I’m sure.

              I think the reason I find the thought of identifying the U.S. as a ‘Christian nation’ is repulsive to me because of the type of Christianity we see here, and that I’ve seen since early childhood. A bit of background … my mother was Catholic, my father was Jewish, so I ‘belonged’ nowhere, and was often told so. I was sent to Catholic schools for my first 7 years of education, where I was pointed out as being “that Jew girl”, and then on Saturdays was sent to Hebrew school where I was “that Papist kid”. But by age 5, I had already decided that for me, at least, god didn’t exist and I fought against being either Catholic or Jewish. Fast-forward to 1970, when I married a non-practicing Christian. He didn’t practice his religion when I met him, but his family were devout Baptists and made no secret of the fact that unless I converted to their religion, I would never be considered part of the family. And then, as he got older, the family convinced my husband that he must convert me or be shunned by the family. So, he tried his best, and one of his uncles went so far as to tell me that they could “forgive” me for being a Jew, but that if I didn’t convert, they would have nothing to do with me. This, then, is how I first came to view religion, especially Christianity, as excluding those of us who do not share their beliefs or practices.

              Today, I look around at the arguments of Christians who want and expect the laws to cater to their rites and rituals, who expect all of us to live under their religious rules, even those who are not Christians. That is happening already … look at the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade, stripping women of their right to make decisions about their own bodies. They want to re-introduce prayer in public schools, forcing all children to recite the Christian-approved prayers. How can I not see it as being exclusive?

              I hope this clarifies my view a bit for you. I have nothing against Christians, per se, and some of my best friends are Christians, but they don’t try to force their beliefs on me, and I respect their beliefs, though I don’t share them. It is possible for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists to live together in peace, but that isn’t the goal of the majority of Christians in this country today. For them, it’s “My way or the highway.”

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thank you for sharing your background. Religious intolerance (exclusiveness) seems like it’s almost built into religion in the US. I appreciate that’s an exaggeration, but compared to NZ it certainly seems so.

                My take on why it’s so different is because of the reasons settlers left Europe in the first place. For a great many American settlers, the move was for religious reasons – to be free to practice religion their way, to escape religious persecution. It wasn’t about religious freedom for all – just religious freedom for themselves. The most extreme example of this was the execution of four Quakers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1660. In all honesty I think that way of thinking still underlies religion, and particularly Christianity, in America. I see it coming out of the woodwork in examples such as recent decisions from SCOTUS, and legislation being introduced in numerous states. It also explains why there’s so much intolerance between the religious and non-religious.

                On the other hand, NZ settlers had a very different motive for leaving Europe, especially Britain – oppression caused by the excesses of capitalism during the industrial revolution. They emigrated in the hopes of building a social utopia, not a religious one. The majority were what might be termed “nominal Christians”, which I’m guessing would be similar to the term “non-practising Christian”.

                It explains why this country became a “social laboratory” and became the first or one of the first to introduce social measures such as universal franchise, the 40 hour week, old age pensions, free education, universal health care and other social welfare measures, universal no fault accident compensation and rehabilitation. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

                It may seem contradictory to many Americans, but our emphasis on social and collective responsibility, and equity has resulted in us having greater levels personal freedom than Americans have.


  5. Items 1 and 3 above are not worthy of my time, but item 2 I cannot believe took you this long to respond (or did I miss one?). I seriously hoped the next day Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Devil Worshippers, LGBTQ2S+, and anyone else who wanted to would have prayer sessions, seances, and other kinds of gatherings on that football field. They never happened, of course, but they should. This version of the American Supreme Court needs to be dismantled. It is at best anti-American, and at worst anti-humanity. If they stay in power till they want to retire, America will not be America when they finally retire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I have mentioned the decision a few times in passing, but have not written much about it to date. Responding to this is touchy … and your hope that people of all non-Christian sects would gather on the grounds of a public school to protest would not be helpful, but would only exacerbate the situation. I may write more on it as the thoughts come to me, just as this one did, but I think thoughtful, reasoned reaction in this case will be better than a rant, for this is a very touch subject for many.


      • Exacerbating the stupidity of the situation was my intent, dear girl. If Christians are allowed to pray on a football field, then everyone else should be allowed to so their thing right along side of the Christians..The Supreme Court is trying to raise Christianity above all other religions or belief systems. If they are allowed to get away with that we are setting the world back hundreds or thousands of years to when there were state religions. It beckons back to the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquistion.
        People must be allowed to believe what they want to believe, or not believe, without interference from others. Christians, with their “Our Father is THE BEST GOD in all of creation” belief cannot help but try to force their beliefs on others, even as militant Muslims try to do, or some Hindus in the Indian sub-continent.
        I will go out on a limb here, but we need to suppress the arms of religion that feel they need to spread their religion far and wide. It is nothing but spiritual aggression. A true spirit needs no confirmation by forcing others to believe what they believe. A true spirit believes for itself, and lets every other person choose for themselves. Until that happens religions have to be put in check. By ignoring religions in America is how this present state of affairs in Ametica came to exist.
        Taking away women’s rights, promoting Christianity, we might as well not have lived the last 150 years of European-based history.

        Liked by 1 person

        • A true spirit needs no confirmation by forcing others to believe what they believe. A true spirit believes for itself, and lets every other person choose for themselves.” In this we are in complete agreement. Any religion that proselytises to gain adherents, uses apologetics to “prove” the “truth” of its theology, insists that other faith traditions are false, or uses force or coercion in any form for any reason is an anathema to me. There are many faith traditions within most religions (including Christianity) that are not guilty of such practices.

          Liked by 1 person

          • 8n 72 years of life I have yet to be introduced to a Christian sect that does not try in some way to influence outsiders to join them.
            I’m not saying such a sect does not exist, just that I have not met one. And being an open Atheist, I have met people from many sects. They think I am fair game for them. They have no idea.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I have a year on you 😊

              I don’t know of any group that wouldn’t like to have more like minded people join them. That applies regardless of it being a religious tradition, a sports group, a political party, a dog fanciers’ society, or the local Saturday bridge club.

              I do belong to a faith tradition that others often assume is Christian and for centuries we have made it a practice of never asking anyone to join. It’s up to individuals to seek membership, which may or may not be accepted by the current members. We are opposed to proselytising in any form.

              Might I add that within our religious tradition there are atheists, non-theists (such as myself), agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims, Wicca, humanists to mention but a few. I presume some are also Christian.

              I’ll grant that our religious tradition is at one end of the exclusive/inclusive spectrum and there are others at the opposite end, but from my experience, and here I concede that it is limited primarily to Aotearoa, there are a great many faith traditions not too far from my own when it comes to diversity and inclusiveness. YMMV

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              • In Canada your belief system “might” be called Universal Unitarianism. Everyone is supposed to be welcome. But somehow in every chapter of UU I have ever tried, a number of them across Canada, there is alway a Christian faction who try to control the narrative. It’s okay to be Buddhist, or Muslim, or even atheist, but! Somehow the word God seeps into every conversation, and eventually I get asked to leave because I refuse to use that word under any circumstance.
                But if that’s the wsy they want it, good for them. They just don’t like being shown how hypocritical some of them are. I am not ssying there are not individuals who are open to anything, just wanting camaraderie, I made some friends at times, but overall the “open door” Christians had intetior doors that were closed and locked.

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                • I don’t know what Influence Christians might have within UU in NZ, but I suspect very little as neither the UU nor Christians acknowledge they are part of the Christian fold. Half a century ago I did look very briefly at what they might offer but they had a creed and a statement of belief which although might be considered secular, was a turn off for me. Additionally they had “services” that resembled Church services including sermons and hymns, and that I couldn’t stomach even if direct reference to the supernatural was avoided.

                  Knowing how the concept of religion has evolved in this country, especially since Sir Lloyd Geering came to the attention of Kiwis in the 1960s, I might find UU belief more amenable but I’m afraid I could never be comfortable in any type of religious service that includes sermons, hymns/singing or prayer. The last time I attended that type of service was at a funeral, and if it hadn’t been my mother’s I would have walked out.

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                  • E agree there, decidedly. I neverbhot to go to my mother’s funeral. I was deemed “too young to understand.” But I wasn’t too young to be left home caring for my 5 year younder little brother. I don’t know what trouble we got into, but my reward for being in charge was a good whopping when my sperm donor got home. Great day all around.

                    Liked by 1 person

  6. ““NATO expansion would almost certainly mean more U.S. forces in Europe for the long haul. In the face of this stark reality, we must choose. We must do less in Europe (and elsewhere)”

    Agree 100% so far.

    “in order to prioritize China and Asia.””

    He lost me here. But then … he’s only an American, not able to think about peace and not provoking other nations.

    Let me add on that thought: Not only is NATO far out of its mission range and territory but why does NATO even still exist??? After the wall came down and the USSR ceased to exist, the Russian federation became a modern democracy and capitalist to boot. Of course they dismantled the Warsaw Pact since they thought they had nothing to fear from their new American and European partners. Fukking naiive, right?

    In that moment NATO lost every reason for its own existence and should’ve been dismantled as well. But no, it was decided by the high and mighty to keep NATO alive and just change its goals. From then on NATO was changed from a defense organisation to an offense organisation, to reign terror over the globe like a cancer and widen its influence.

    And, oh, it’s a money printing machine for America’s economy. Pretty much the only one they still have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Russia a modern democracy? Pull the other one. It has bells on.

      Russia is a modern autocracy – something America is drifting towards not withstanding the small step back from the brink under the current presidency.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Agreed! Russia is just about the furthest thing from a democracy. And you’re right … the U.S. has done a U-turn from 50 years ago and is heading toward an autocracy … at a rapid speed, I might add, if the right-wing has its way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Having read a number of your comments, which appear to from the mouth of the Kremlin, I think it would require a personal confession from the man himself that that he runs an autocracy, and even then I suspect you would say that it’s a good thing.

          My sources? Some are now prisoners of conscience in Russia. Others have disappeared – either because they’re in hiding or have become victims of the Russian state. I’m certainly not going to reveal those sources to anyone, and especially not to a Russian stooge.

          But if you want more general sources, here is just a sampling:
          * Stuff
          * BBC News
          * Al Jazeera
          * Pravda
          * RSF.org
          * Democracy Index
          * Freedom Index
          * Economic Freedom of the World Index
          * V-Dem Institute
          * Global Corruption Index
          * Human rights Index
          As you can see, I don’t rely on a single source. Perhaps I’m biased as these sources (apart from Pravda) paint my own nation (along with several Nordic nations) in mostly ideal colours and as a full democracy, while the US and SA are seen as flawed democracies, and becoming more so, and Russia and China as authoritarian.

          I would also paint Putin as an autocrat (hence Russia being autocratic) due to the way he has manipulated his way around the Russian constitution’s limits on executive power and length of term of office, and his suppression of dissent within Russia.

          Liked by 2 people

    • You have said some things I found mighty offensive in the past, but you have the same right as I to express your opinion. But this time I cannot stay silent.
      NATO is not an “offence organization!” Who have they attacked unprovoked? When have they “reigned terror” on the world. Are you implying that Putin is justified in attacking Ukraine?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, rg, for weighing in with facts to counter Orca’s imaginative comment! You’re right … NATO is needed today as much as ever, in large part because of Putin and those like him.


      • “Who have they attacked unprovoked?”
        Um, there’s Serbia for once. Totally against intl, law and not in defense. And all wars in which the US (NATO godfather) is/was involved in the last 70 years.

        “Are you implying that Putin is justified in attacking Ukraine?”
        And you asked a wrong nonsensical question because …
        a) yes, the Russian special military operation was more than justified
        b) Russia didn’t attack the Ukraine. If they did, Ukraine would be a Mad Max wasteland now. They went in in order to … 1) stop the planned and announced offense on Donbass
        2) denazify the Ukraine
        If you or any American would’ve listened to Putin and Lavrov during the last couple years, say from ’09 onwards, you’d know. And you’d seen the line in the sand. 80% of countries/nations on earth are behind Russia and supporting, or at least not sanctioning, them.

        And anyway, why are we discussing NATO in the first place? Why does NATO still exist? NATO is, by now, nothing but a blunt instrument to enforce mafia politics. Our agreed on enemy was the USSR/Warsaw Pact. When USSR/Warsaw Pact dismantled, NATO lost all reason to exist and should’ve been dissolved at the same time. But no, profits first, right?

        And yet you cannot see that the Russians (and I mean the Russians, the lot of ’em, not Putin) are super duper angry at the West? And worse, they are fukn disappointed in us. And even worse for us: They don’t need us anymore! Since we won’t play fair they’ve found a new spiritual/economical home. And that home isn’t in the West but far far in the East.

        Liked by 1 person

          • But I’m not any of those things, just a misfit. Too far right for the socialists, too radical for the social democrats, between all the chairs. And why would,Putin pay me a salary, I observe him with the same mistrust as all the other suitwearers. He’s just more intelligent and has more integrity and really cares about Russia. And every time he tries to negotiate he gets a ‘nobody home, try again next year’ message from the West while NATO urches eastwards.

            And when he draws a line in the sand suddenly the west wakes up and accuses him of whatever negative shit they can think of.

            And anyway, you really believe Putin works in a vacuum? Naaaaw, my friend, he’s really not. I guess he won’t be a candidate for the next election, coz he knows he’s getting old and tired (unlike a certain US prez) and then the west will wake up to a new Russia. An angry Russia, armed to the teeth, out for revenge, independent and not even willing to do any deals with the west. His successor will be far more radical and uncompromising and totally focused on Asian, middle east and African allies.

            And yet, I’m not a Putin girl, just an interested and concerned citizen of the world. And I see the Russians are fighting the good fight in Ukraine. Their intervention saved countless lives and was good for all of humanity.


            • How many Ukrainian lives were brought to a sudden end by Putin “sav[ing] countless lives”? Your arithmetric does not work. Nor does your heart.
              Sorry, but Putin is just another wannabe empire-builder, lying through his teeth about his motivations. No one who threatens to use nuclear weapons to “save the world” is sane.
              I’m not ssying American hawks are any better. They just murdered a man, al-Zawahiri, who was not an immediate threat to anyone as he stood on his balcony. In my mind they too are bloodthirsty criminals and should be accused of murder, but instead their rejoice like a bunch of heartless idiots.
              This does not forgive Putin for what he and his henchmen, not Russians, are doing. Neither side is justified in their actions. I cannot condone either!

              Liked by 1 person

        • Ukraine would be a Mad Max wasteland now” You clearly have not seen the same images I have, as many (former) cities are indeed wastelands now. Perhaps they are merely CGI creations from Weta Workshops?

          Liked by 2 people

    • I have to ask, Orca … do you actually believe that the people in this country are as stupid and evil as you claim, or do you just like to throw a bone out to annoy us every now and again? Americans are not unable to think, on the whole. Like every nation, some here are not well-educated or not highly intelligent, but to generalize as you have done is an insult. I disagree with what you claim here about NATO … I believe that NATO is needed as much today as ever, and I believe that Vladimir Putin would love nothing better than for everyone to turn a blind eye to his plans to re-establish a Soviet-style empire. Enough said, but still I’m curious … do you honestly believe the things you say, or just like to get people riled?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “do you actually believe that the people in this country are as stupid and evil as you claim,”
        No.I didn’t claim anything like that. When I complain about the USA Iof course mean the govt. The population may think whatever they fancy, nobody cares. All that counts is the WH.

        “do you just like to throw a bone out to annoy us every now and again? ”
        No, I would never ever spend so much work and thoughts on the American populace.

        “I believe that NATO is needed as much today as ever”
        Personal believe based on misinformation/lies. And historically absolute nonsense. Warsaw pact dissolved in good faith and the West retaliated with perfidiousness. 😦

        “I believe that Vladimir Putin would love nothing better than for everyone to turn a blind eye to his plans to re-establish a Soviet-style empire. ”
        And again I must ask your sources. Who in the heck comes up with such outlandish trollery? Makes no sense and misses all reason and sense.

        “do you honestly believe the things you say”
        Yes, of course. Else I wouldn’t waste so much time discussing with Americans and writing all that down. In a fukn foreign language! Believe me, I know what I’m talking about, am kinda expert on Eastern European history, I won’t believe in lies and propaganda, wrote my magister exam about it … and I kinda know how the people tick, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Jill, maybe we can put Hawley and Kelly in a room and let them have a party of two. Most states allow contesting if the margin is close, which should make Kelly’s efforts fail from the outset. Hawley just has an agenda that is foreign to many. Being the one vote in 95 to 1 may given him happiness, but he is shouting at the wind. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Works for me … two peas in a pod. Sure, I can understand contesting a close election, but if you’re in 4th place, it’s time to pack up and go home! The man must be short a few brain cells! As for Hawley … I have to wonder how he ever made it into the Senate. ‘Nuff said … I bite my tongue.

      Liked by 2 people

        • That’s for sure, my friend! Seem to be a lot of babies in the GOP today, don’t there? I hear that Kari Lake, who won by a slim margin, is claiming voter fraud, or an unfair election, or some such nonsense, ’cause she thinks she should have won my more!


  8. Yes, Josh Hawley was a holdout on that NATO vote. This did not surprise me.

    There was another holdout that you didn’t mention. That was Rand Paul, who voted “present”. This also did not surprise me. I have zero respect for Rand Paul.

    And yes, I agree with you on Kennedy v. Bremerton. The court made a wrong decision.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ahhhh … I knew there were 4 that didn’t vote, but didn’t know that Rand Paul was one nor that he voted present but blatantly abstained from a vote. I’m with you about him … he lost my respect long ago.

      Liked by 1 person

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