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The checks & balances of Federalism

scale-307346_640Obama’s executive orders and side-stepping of Congress provoked opposition from the states, whose attorney generals filed lawsuits against his administration.  Now, under President Trump, states with Democratic attorney generals are doing the same thing.

Those attorney generals went to the courts to stop President Trump’s first executive order on immigration, and now a group of states is trying to do the same to his revised order.

That may be annoying to Republicans, who did the same against Obamas’ executive orders, but it is an example of federalism reasserting itself against the dictates of the central government.

Charles Krauthammer says that whatever you think of the outcomes, this is a remarkable “organic” development of our constitutional system.  When Congress is not fulfilling its role to check and balance the Executive branch, the states are moving into that role. [Read more…]

An online, social media Lenten observance

Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, a time for reflection and devotion. Christ Lutheran Church (LCMS) of Topeka, KS, has devised an ingenious online, social media observance, built around specific words for each day of Lent. The idea is to post a picture that captures each word, posting it on FaceBook, tagged with @christlcms, or Instagram, tagged with @christ_lutheran_topeka, and the hashtag #hearingthegospel.  Then people can contemplate all of the pictures that have contributed.

There was a story about this on Religious News Service.  I contacted the pastor, asking if this is just a congregational activity or if I could put it out there on the Cranach blog.  He gave me permission to do so, so spread the word.  More details after the jump.

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A catalog of fake news stories about Trump

2567469865_df9540bb12_zTrump’s opponents seem to have coined the term “fake news” to describe hearsay and rumors that circulated on the internet in support of his campaign.

But now the anti-Trump hysteria has reached such a fever pitch that the mainstream media is churning out fake news about the president and his administration.  Never mind professional standards of objectivity and fact-checking.  Journalists are publishing and broadcasting stories apparently devised solely to fire up “the resistance.”

Daniel Payne at The Federalist has compiled a list of 16 fake news stories about our new president.  As he shows in his discussion, these are not stories whose facts are in dispute.  Each of these has been found false by the newspapers or broadcasters that published them.  They put up corrections, which, of course, receive little attention as the false reports continue to spread on Twitter and FaceBook.

This is not a comprehensive list.  What other fake news stories are not included here? [Read more…]

Who is funding the U.S. secessionist movements

9348031848_222ae13657_zCalifornia and Texas both have secessionist movements with the goal of breaking away from the United States and setting up independent nations.  California’s rebels would seem to be from the left.  The Texans would seem to be from the right.  But the unlikely breakaways of these formerly independent republics have a common funder:  RUSSIA.

The leader of “Calexit” and its organization Yes California even lives in Russia!

So says the article excerpted and linked after the break. [Read more…]

From Russia with Love

6341892558_531c1e9e93_zDonald Trump and his supporters have been dismissive of U. S. Intelligence claims that the Russians were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee e-mails.  These made Hillary Clinton look bad and were then given to Wikileaks, which made them public.  Those intelligence agencies have released a report giving the basis for blaming Russia and Vladimir Putin’s intelligence operations.

The unclassified version of the report leaves out the details but gives the nature of their evidence.  (Read the report for yourself here.)  It says that Putin despised Clinton and wanted Trump to win.  The actions, which also included the use of paid “trolls,” were intended to discredit Clinton–though the Russians expected her to win–and to boost Trump’s chances.

Defenders of Trump have said that some other group could have done the hacking, that the CIA has often been wrong (including finding evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq), that the intelligence agencies are part of the establishment, that they are part of the Democratic administration (despite their non-politicized organization and their history of conflict with liberals), etc., etc.   Yes, lots of things “could have” happened.  But I am not aware of any evidence connecting the hacks to anyone else other than the Russians.  (Do you know of any?  If so, please let us know in the comments.  I’ll continue my thoughts after the jump.) [Read more…]

The Eighth Day

All_Saints_fontThe Gospel reading for yesterday, commemorating the Circumcision and Name of Jesus, was Luke 2:21, the shortest text in the Lectionary.  (See our recent post on the subject.)  In the course of an excellent sermon that explored the depths of this one verse of the Bible, our pastor cited the significance of “the eighth day.”

God created the universe in six days and on the seventh, He rested.  Then on the eighth day, the creation began to unfold.  Jesus rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath; that is, the eighth day.  Christians worship on Sunday, the eighth day, which is also the first day of a new week.  With Christ’s resurrection on the eighth day, God has initiated a new creation.  Those with faith in Christ are part of this new creation.  Thus, very early, Baptismal fonts were made in the shape of an octagon, the eight sides symbolizing the eight days.   [Read more…]