Sky Links 9-28-18

The hearing
"It’s always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth. I don’t really know what the truth is. I don’t suppose anybody will ever really know. Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we’re just gambling on probabilities — we may be wrong. We may be trying to let a guilty man go free, I don’t know. Nobody really can. But we have a reasonable doubt, and that’s something that’s very valuable in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s sure." -Juror #8, "Twelve Angry Men"
Ben Stein:
We have entered a genuinely Stalinist world in which all it takes is an accusation from the favored clique, in this case, “progressive” women, to wreck an honest man’s career. There is no trial on facts or law any longer. As others have pointed out, we now have “guilt by accusation.” If you are a member of the elite class and simply make the accusation against a member of the disfavored class, his life is over. He’s ruined. He’s through. There’s no defense because the accusation itself is its own proof...
...To stop Donald Trump, the Democrats have tossed out the whole basis of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence — innocent until proven guilty. They’ve taken the greatest deliberative body in the world, the Senate —and made it the chapter room of a sorority at a tenth rate college. Is there no end to it? Stalin would approve. So would Goebbels. If this Democrat trick works, there simply is no meaningful legal protection in this country any longer.
This is a defining moment for the Constitution. Republicans. Democrats who still love America. All hands on deck. This is about protecting the whole country and our future. If the gossip of the beautiful people overrule the Constitution, it’s a catastrophe.
Stalin Would Approve -Ben Stein

John Zmirak:
Again and again, the Democrats bayed for Mark Judge to testify, though he’d already said clearly and under penalty of perjury all he has to say: He didn’t see or take part in any such events....
... No wonder the Democrats (who know exactly how the story was concocted, and how it was meant to unfold, destroying Kavanaugh) fumed and sputtered at Judge’s wise decision to avoid testifying. They did everything but stamp their feet like Rumpelstiltskin. The Republicans wisely denied them the use of their secret weapon: a vicious attack on a penitent, recovering alcoholic for the gaps in his memory. Into those blank spaces they wished to shove Brett Kavanaugh’s good name (and Judge’s). All in a grab for power over our nation’s highest court.
Kavanaugh’s testimony was clear and confident, impassioned and persuasive. There is no good reason to believe Ford’s account over his. In fact, since the witnesses she herself named all contradict her, and there is not one scintilla of evidence to support her charges, it would be a travesty to believe them. And a deadly, chilling precedent.
Make no mistake, this hearing didn’t mimic a real court of law. What it seemed more like was a show trial, of the kind that leftists run on campuses all across America, railroading falsely accused students on flimsy evidence. Or the back room decisions of a social media monopoly, deciding whom to silence. Or the proceedings of some “human rights” commission deciding which Christian business to bankrupt. If we let this show trial end in a politicized conviction, let them toss Brett Kavanaugh onto the ash heap of history, our country faces a bleak and dangerous future.
The Farce of The Kavanaugh Hearings 

Perfidy; deceitfulness; untrustworthiness.
Synonyms: treachery, duplicity, deceit, deceitfulness, disloyalty, infidelity, faithlessness, unfaithfulness, betrayal, treason, double-dealing, untrustworthiness, breach of trust.
Latin: 'per' (to ill effect) + 'fides' (faith) = treachery

The perfidy of Dianne Feinstein
Senator Feinstein. She dropped this bomb upending the process and dealing contemptuously with her own witness, Judge Kavanaugh, her Republican colleagues, and her fellow Americans. When the original hearing didn’t go as planned, when the only dirt was baseball tickets and beer, something drastic had to be done.
This last-hour desperation meant expending a cartel-load of political capital but things like Senator Feinstein’s future was at stake — never mind the Senate control and the Supreme Court balance and most of all, the cultural control that leftists hold so dear. So Senator Feinstein lit everything on fire and burned it all.
This ugly sham will be the Senator’s legacy and her shame. At the end of her career (because win or lose, her career as Senator is over), Dianne Feinstein upended the rule of law and laws of common decency. She abused a fragile woman and attempted to destroy a decent man and his family for one reason: power. Her power.

Hope the spectacle was worth it. It won’t be videos of the male Republicans that will be the legacy of this farce, it will be Senator Feinstein: fumbling, shocked, caught in a trap of her own making. She should pay for her malice dearly, she’s caused incalculable damage to many innocent people — not least of all the American citizens she claims to represent.

Dianne Feinstein's Mess -Melissa Mackenzie

False memories
"Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics -- and raises some important ethical questions."

The elephants outfox the donkeys
Although few things may seem more frustrating to Judge Kavanaugh’s supporters than to wait yet another week for an anti-climactic seventh FBI investigation into his background, the extension of time does offer several potential benefits for both the judge as he prepares to ascend the nation’s highest bench and for the Republicans as they go into the November elections.
First, hidden behind the Democrats’ cynical charade of seeking “only the truth” is a huge tug of war between the parties over the suburban white female voter. The brilliance of having Rachel Mitchell, an experienced sex-crimes prosecutor, conduct the questioning of Christine Blasey Ford becomes more apparent in that light. The Democrats wanted the nation’s women to emerge appalled by the harsh mistreatment they hoped would unfold brutally as Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee presumably would tear into her story’s inconsistencies and uncertainties. Yes, the Charles Grassleys and Orrin Hatches would win litigation points, but they would lose undecided voters, particularly reasonable open-minded women. The GOP masterfully avoided that trap as Ms. Mitchell uncovered enough inconsistencies, curiosities, and uncertainties in Dr. Ford’s testimony to justify non-Resisters moving ahead with the Kavanaugh selection and voting Republican in November.
As Democrats on the committee saw their early morning gains dissipate after Judge Kavanaugh powerfully and persuasively defended himself, his name, and his family, they gathered around one last tactic: the demand for an FBI investigation to “clear Kavanaugh’s name.” Oh, how they joined in concern to defend the good name of the man whom they had besmirched for months! “Wouldn’t you want that?” they asked Judge Kavanaugh over and over again. “Why would you not want your name cleared by a non-partisan FBI investigation?” Among the five nominees for best actor in the coveted “Don’t You Want Your Name to Be Cleared by the FBI for a Seventh Time? Category,” Dick Durbin was most compelling, a wonderfully acted performance.

Certainly, half the country sees through the charade, the nonsense — the outright mendacity.
Why One More Frustrating Week Helps Kavanaugh and the GOP -Dov Fischer

A story of forgiveness in the face of tragedy

Patricia Hall's son Mike was killed on his bicycle, by an errant driver:
“I came half way across the world for my boy. I attended the Inquest and sat for three days listening to the evidence. I knew whatever the findings will be that I have to live with it. There is no blame no anger and no recriminations. I went for my son who always asked people to be kind to each other and have empathy. I saw a young lad with fear in his eyes with sorrow in his heart and I took him in my arms and held him tight as he sobbed that he was sorry for what he had done. I hugged him and his girlfriend, told him I forgave him and asked him to try to move on and find a way forward to look after his young family and to have a good life . I came to Australia to find answers and I did. I found the answer all around in the courtroom I saw destructive anger that is negative. I saw people so wrapped up in their own need that it destroyed what my son stood for. But I also saw incredible steadfastness and the ability to reach out and have compassion. I came away with clarity. I had done want Mike would have done. I forgave. Be kind to us.”
The Power of Forgiveness -Eric Hatfield

Ambition in the church
But is ambition a virtue? Should it be viewed as a virtue from a Christian perspective?
What role does ambition play in our church? What role should it play?
I’m skeptical. It seems to me that ambition is playing with fire. It is not inherently negative, in fact it is good to have goals and to work for those goals with perseverance. But ambition uses people, destroys relationships, and destroys community. Ambition is intimately coupled with envy, pride, and perhaps greed. We are fully embodied creatures and ambition feeds on our chemistry and biology and it shapes our natural responses, it is addictive.
I’ll go one step further. Ambition, although not always clearly recognized and acknowledged as such, wreaks havoc in the church. Sexual sin, despite the attention payed to it, is of less significance if we consider impact on community and pain caused. The difference in impact is primarily because we recognize sexual sin as sin – there are consequences. In contrast we often value and reward the result of ambition. We brush under the rug or rationalize away its impetus in envy and pride. This is a spiritual problem and a physical problem.
Ambition ... Virtue or Vice? -RJS

Why your preaching is ineffective

Joshua Reich:
-You are a boring speaker with bad stage presence, a monotone voice and you don’t have an interesting delivery or content.
-How did the passage you are preaching on make an impact in your life? How were you convicted this week as you worked on your sermon? Tell us. What changes are you making in your life because of this passage? Tell us.
-Many pastors and church planters preach to the podcasts they listen to or the blogs they read instead of the people filling the seats.
-You need to take breaks from preaching so that you can recharge and stay fresh. I’ve learned that 10 weeks in a row is the maximum I want to preach, and then I need a week off from preaching. This is good for my church, too, because they get to hear other communicators.
-You didn’t have a clear next step for your sermon. Your sermon prep is not done until you can unpack how we should live in light of the passage.
Why Your Sermon Gets Ignored