Bring Out the Millstones

The bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, were found in the Rio Grande on Monday. (Credit: Julia Le Duc/AP)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling-blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling-block comes!

Matthew 18: 1-7 (NRSV)

102 thoughts on “Bring Out the Millstones

  1. Neither Mule nor john barry understand that we as Christians have no business manning the weapons of the armed lifeboat, or supporting those who do. If push comes to shove, we have no business surviving. This is a hard teaching; whoever has ears, let them hear.


  2. Sadly, the concentra….er, detention centers will not accept donations of soap or toothbrushes and toothpaste for the detained children. Apparently, this is prohibited by law.

    Right now, I’m remembering an old Bruce Cockburn song — God help me.


  3. the ‘militia’ folk are deadly serious . . . . . they have no problem confronting government authorities and they see ‘taking a stand’ for their issues as being ‘patriotic’

    a big part of dT’s schtick has been to undermine law enforcement and investigative authorities (dT has a lot to hide), so that when evidence finally comes out, the oaf will snap his fingers and thousands of ‘militia’ may appear on the horizon to make sure he stays in power

    civil war? it’s beyond that

    like the Russians said ‘Washington DC is ours’


  4. Meanwhile, the real immigration problem are those who stay past their visa end date, not the so-called hoards crossing the boarder.


  5. Clay, Glad I checked in to see if anyone agreed with my folksy down home awe shucky Wll Roger/Hee Haw schtick comments.
    How about this for an folksy down home example , If Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 had the same position on the issues as Bush 1 and Dole and they had his positions on the issues I would have voted for Bill Clinton on the issues. That is knowing that the #1 he committed adultery #2 was a liar #3 was a draft dodger # was unethical
    #was a womanizer who used his position of authority. I would have voted for Bill Clinton on the issues and lived with his terrible personal behavior.
    Was Hillary Clinton acceptable for those who voted for moral and religious reasons.

    Anyway as we say in the sticks, I have beat this horse to death. I do admit that yes I do vote for those who promise they will try to implement policy I agree with. I will in the future consider voting for those I disagree with but then I would be voting a straight Democrat ticket and I do not want to turn blue like Texas is

    Partner, thanks for your comments and sharing your point of view. As we say down in the boondocks it is okay to agreeably disagree sometimes. To use an old down home expression ” John Barry can lead the I Monkers to the Kool Aid, but he cannot make them drink”.

    I tell the little lady of the house often I do the best I can and she being a smarty pants says, “that is so sad”.
    I do not know why. take care


  6. Well, at least he didn’t promise his court fundagelicals a ‘gay marriage amendment’.


  7. Repeating the same reasons for supporting Trump over and over doesn’t magically turn them into acceptable ones or they shouldn’t for professed Christ followers. At least you are honest enough to admit you would vote for anyone who promised you what you wanted, regardless of their character, methods, and track record.


  8. Clay, What you call a schtick is my personality and thoughts that come out in my comments. Your analysis and judgement of the condition of my heart is your personal opinion which you are entitled to but it is yours, my wife thinks I am sweet and a lot of bartenders think I am generous.
    If you go above and see my comments concerning Trump and historically on this site my support for Trump is based on his policies and stated positions on issues not his personal behavior, not his much public past, not is public speaking ability, not his sense of gravitas for the office he holds, not his inability just to keep quiet and not his political and Washington D.C. experience that has really been a problem.

    Trump won on 4 main issues not his personality and behavior, stopping illegal immigration, stopping China and our terrible trade agreements from destroying the American middle class, strong national defense and getting us out of endless Middle East Wars unless American self interest is absolute threatened. Issue.

    The frustrating evangelicals voted for McCain and Romney overwhelming also, Trump got 3 percent more self identified evangelical voters as Romney. It seems the evangelical voters can separate their faith and religion and vote on issues not emotions or for a theocracy . However , no matter how upsetting it is to many, the evangelicals have the right to discern using many factors on who to vote for regardless of religion example Romney who is a devout Mormon.

    So the well timed , heartbreaking, sad , horrible, cannot say or do anything but weep at the tragedy, picture was on the front page and dominated the news cycle as the close vote for the 4 billion dollar aid bill was being voted on by the House. It is packed with unnecessary items and is just a political play by the Democrats. Put up a picture of a dead, mangled body of an American soldier on the front page of the NYT on the day Congress is voting on staying in Iraq, does that add to the validity of arguments. Deaths on the border by those trying to cross illegally is unfortunately not uncommon


  9. John Barry, your folksy, awe shucks schtick belies a hard coldness as evidenced in your continual deflection of an ongoing national tragedy that is Donald Trump. A tragedy distilled into one photograph of a dead father and daughter.

    Trump is who he is. He doesn’t hide it or pretend to be anything else other than an amoral and self-aggrandizing cheat and liar. I think it’s fair for us to expect better discernment and judgment from our evangelical brothers and sisters who voted overwhelmingly for him and probably will again. Their leaders have been telling the rest of us for years that they are the arbiters of Biblical ethics and morals. They continuously cry out, “What would Jesus do?” They proclaim that they and their followers are the authentic Pro-Lifers. Can you blame us for scratching our heads at the mass cognitive dissonance?

    The continued support evangelicals lavish on Trump brings to mind another tragedy. Esau.


  10. CM , Trump in my opinion, is in the mode of G.W. Washington, T.R. and FDR Roosevelt. I know many will snicker at my comparison but Washington had no need to join the Revolution, he was wealthy and in the ruling class, by common sense logic he should have been a Tory. T.R. and FDR were both labeled “class” traitors as they put the national interest above the elites aka the establishment.
    Trump at his core is a populist who operates on intuitive common sense and while inarticulate, boorish, self absorbed, vain and all the rest of the negatives that is used to describe him really believes what he is selling. China and the Trade Agreements are taking the average working class America to the cleansers. our immigration laws and system allowing millions in depresses working class wages at the expense to the taxpayer, our stupid foreign policy endless war driven by Bush tupe neo cons and the abuse by the rich of the system.
    He got ambushed and betrayed by the 2016 Republican Party and the establishment joined forces to top his 3 top agenda, immigration, trade and endless stupid wars.
    The Koch Brothers have had more influence over Congress than Trump. Other than ego, which is true of all Presidents, what personally has ; Trump gained from being President?.
    If the 2016 Congress (Republican) had done immigration reforms, health care, got out of he stupid wars and supported Trump on China/trade he would be unbeatable but they did Tax cuts, not a big Trump theme and prison reform , again not a bit Trump theme. It is establishment politics at its best and most effective.
    thanks for the article and the dialogue.


  11. Ok, John, that’s probably enough. We both agree that the U.S. governmental leaders have completely failed at bringing comprehensive immigration reform.

    I do have one more question, though. Even though he’s not been part of the political system, how is it that anyone can think Donald Trump is not also an elite who puts his own interests and the interests of his benefactors above the public good? That’s the very definition of the man!


  12. CM, this is why we have elections. Most of the Central American refugees are economic refugees and if they are not why are the rest of their fellow countrymen not leaving the violence the refugees see. The President Obama illegal alien numbers that show the high deportation rate counted “turn backs” at the border who got caught before going into the interior as deportations. Living in the shadows is better than living in Central America.
    What about the 1.7 million illegals who have had their day in court and are still in the country. A law not enforced is no law and makes a mockery of our judicial system.
    One of the main strengths of USA historically is the concept of our effective judicial and legal system. We are becoming a nation with no respect for the law even by our elected officials. States such as Calif. and Colorado follow the doctrine of nullification advocated by John C. Calhoun .
    Trump is the a result of the establishment elites ruling class that puts their interest and the interest of their benefactors above the public good. As he is not a part of the system aka the swamp he does not have the support of the bureaucratic state and their media supporters who share a common interest of keeping the establishment in power. Trump does not have enough real supporters that came in and wanted to change the status quo, they could be there for Jeb Bush, Clinton or Biden and be more comfortable.
    Trump good or bad is only fighting a rear guard delaying action. The demographics and lack of involvement by voters insure the demise of the Republican Party nation wide as the same reasons ended the Republican Party in California and New York. Texas will be blue by 2024 and Bernie Sanders will be considered a conservative..
    The 2024 election will be the tipping point election that will change the base on national politics as the older people, the next to last great generation die off. Been a great run .
    A disclaimer I could be wrong .


  13. Never surrender an advantage, especially one your ancestors worked so hard to obtain.

    My father came to the U.S. from Italy on a boat circa 1930. My ancestors did not work hard to obtain the advantage that Whites have here in America, and my father was not “Anglo”, nor am I.


  14. John, agree some, disagree a lot. The refugee problem is most certainly not just another way for immigrants to play the system. Normal immigration levels had been declining for years and were at historic lows at the beginning of the current administration. President Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any president before him and, in my opinion, the focus was correct — he emphasized deporting criminals and those who were otherwise a danger to us. But these current asylum seekers come from countries where their lives and their families’ well being is under constant threat. They are not just seeking a better life to send money home because they see America as the land of opportunity. They are running for their lives, for their children’s futures.

    Donald Trump is doing nothing to help the situation. He actually created much of the current problem in the beginning of his administration by making enforcement rules that we did not have anywhere near the infrastructure to follow. He seems to think that in this or many other areas, all he needs to do is make a decree and the problem will be solved. But then he retracts many of his decrees and no one knows what to think or do. He is the worst example of a leader that I think I have ever seen. His main concern seems to be keeping everyone off balance by creating chaos so that he can eventually do what he wants.

    As Amanda Marcotte wrote in Salon in January:

    “Trump ran for president by promising voters he would run the government like he ran his business. Problem is, the voters who bought that line either didn’t know the truth or didn’t want to believe it: Trump ran his business operations into the ground repeatedly, as evidenced by his at least six bankruptcies. Now he is doing the same thing to the federal government.”

    He has no clue what “public service” or “the common good” means. He is uninformed and incompetent, not understanding how government, diplomacy, or for that matter, even common human decency works. He does not play well with others, which makes getting anything done in Congress even more impossible. This is not all his fault, of course. No one has taken the ball and run on comprehensive immigration reform since Reagan, despite almost constant talk about it for nearly 40 years. But if anyone is going to do anything positive and move things forward, I guarantee you it won’t be this president.


  15. Andy 1 1:

    Amos , you may be the real estate broker
    but as of now I am the brokee

    sayth Andy


  16. Christiane , No it is not happening in the real world. I do base my voting on rumors and internet facts. I will keep you posted on what the base is up to. My MAGA hat is not only red but tin foil, I am ready for anything.

    I think the way Time magazine is going the next issue will be last Time.

    Perhaps Trump will get the FBI to Illegally use a phony document supplied by the Russians ,purchased by the Republican Party to spy on the Democrat candidate and do so after their election. This is a so nutty it cannot happen, that would be deplorable .


  17. CM some good comments about the situation.

    1. The present crisis situation shows the heart of the problem , Congress both sides refuse to address the issue without political considerations. The present 4 billion dollar bill the House just approved is packed with riders that are not necessary. The crisis situation calls for the 4 billion ASAP, same for the Senate version , just allocate the crisis money. In your example allocate money to pay the plumber and stop the leak, do not worry about redoing the basement or painting the ceiling. Congress has/is playing politics , both sides.

    2. Congress since 1986 has refused to truly change and pass effective immigration and border security laws. Congress is the problem on the USA with the establishment keeping the status quo as it benefits them. No one is concerned about what is good vor the American people. Special interest and lobbyist are stopping any meanful immigration reform. The idiot is the White House cannot make laws, only Congress.

    3. America cannot nation build the world. The corruption of South and Central America coupled with their political and social institutions is a preview of what is happening in America when the elected leaders do not represent the voters who elected them.

    4. If we use our military it should be on our borders not in another country. Talk about creating even more anti American sentiment.

    5. In 1986 illegal immigrants were given amnesty with the promise that border security would prevent any great number of illegal immigrants from entering USA, this was a lie and was never the intent of those in power. The refugee problem from Central America is just another method and a good one , for the people to come to the USA by playing the system. Again no one is D.C is concerned about this nation or its citizens. Only the idiot in the White House seems concerned with doing what is needed to correct problem but the establishment Democrats/Republicans/Rich/Companies/Ethnic voting blocs,/Lobbyist and NGO want the status quo or open borders.

    Just hard to sound bite this issue but that is what the press and politicians do. Then the elites get what they want


  18. like something from the Dark Ages has returned to us,
    this makes you wonder how ‘great’ America has become

    “and what rough Beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born. . . ” (WB Yeats)
    (approx. quote, sorry)


  19. Amos 5:18-24

    Woe to you who long
    for the day of the Lord!
    Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
    That day will be darkness, not light.
    19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
    only to meet a bear,
    as though he entered his house
    and rested his hand on the wall
    only to have a snake bite him.
    20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
    pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

    21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.
    22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
    Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
    23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
    24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!


  20. Amen to that. Anyone who isn’t horrified at this, at the needless death of innocents, is coming from place of deep darkness.


  21. I don’t care what side of the political landscape you’re on, if you don’t find that image haunting and gut-wrenching then you might not be human. And if you’re a pro-lifer whose knee-jerk reaction to that image is to spout your side’s typical political rhetoric about the border rather than acknowledge the loss of two lives, then maybe you should gather up your hypocrisy, slap it to a mirror and take a good hard look at yourself.


  22. ““The picture was posted at a very opportune time.””

    That sentence is supposed to be followed by a raised eyebrow and a rhetorical “Hmmmmmmm?”


  23. If those who say “Armageddon is grand and glorious” ever had a vision of “that grand and glorious day”, they’d be curled up in a closet blubbering into a bottle of Jack Daniels. The prophets called it That Great and TERRIBLE Day for a reason. Are they expecting a Heavenly spectator sport, laughing as the world burns from a catered Superbowl suite?

    During my younger days, the equivalent was Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War, i.e. “Only a three point five Gigadeath situation. Insignificant.” And the Rapture Ready types were even more glib than the secular intellectuals.


  24. The world has always been going to hell. For the Native Americans, slaughtered without mercy, for the Africans torn from their cultures and transported to an alien country, it felt like the end of the world. The American Civil War, World War I, World War II — I am certain that for those people caught up in them, it felt like the end of the world. Yet here we are.

    As Christians, I don’t think we are expected to change that fact. We are expected to respond to its results. Jesus spoke of giving a cup of cold water (He too lived in a desert!), and that’s all most of us can do, even on our good days. If we bring that cup of cold water every day that we can, to someone who needs it, we will bring His Kingdom a little closer that day.

    I know that’s corny, but so is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If my own brain is not to be crushed and melted under the weight of The News — war, death, famine pestilence, and the heartbreaking, useless death of innocents — I have to look behind the headlines to the Rescuers, the Samaritans, and try to join my little strength with theirs as far as I can. For example, there are many organizations at the border giving help to the migrants: RAICES, Annunciation House, or the protesters at the Homestead concentra — er, detention camp in Florida. Look them up if you wish, and choose one and support it with money if you have it, with publicity as you can attract it, with your church people sponsoring these families, or with whatever else you’ve got to give.

    Armageddon (or the New World Order) may be grand and glorious, but it’s a ways off, I think, and all we can do here and now is what Christians have always done in the here and now, pray and work for the light.


  25. In this case, the Wait in Mexico policy is directly related to the deaths of this father and daughter. The policy is a slow-motion war of attrition, forcing asylum seekers to stay in horribly inhumane conditions while they await the processing of their claims. Out of sight, out of mind, soon forgotten. It is intentionally designed to make asylum seekers suffer, and in the case of Oscar Alberto Martinez and Angie Valeria, this is what the suffering looks like. This is an intended outcome.


  26. I was watching the happenings in Oregon this last week surrounding a proposed climate bill. It seemed like a shooting war might start between state police and runaway Republican state congresspeople and their supporters. It looks like it still may. The civil war may come before the election.


  27. The “idiot in the White House” has managed to create a situation where asylum seekers have to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. They are isolated from jobs, decent living accommodations, legal help, loved ones, information about the status of their claims. Many have no or little financial resources to depend on, and will have to wait in these horrendous conditions for months before their cases are decided, knowing that they are likely to lose their cases. They are under stress 24/7. It’s a war of attrition, and what is happening now is that some of the asylum seekers have given up and are starting to leave, go back home; the idiot and his people are counting on more and more of them following that example, and sadly they are likely right. In a year or two, the Remain in Mexico policy will create such discouragement among potential asylum seekers that their numbers will reduce dramatically, and the idiot will declare that even without The Wall he has succeeded in stemming the immigrant crisis. The Remain in Mexico policy means that Trump wins.


  28. It’s the same with me. I can’t stop seeing it. How she must’ve loved her father, and he her; I hope, pray, and trust that their love is alive right now in the presence of Jesus.

    I do not understand the world.


  29. OK, maybe it’s time for me to weigh in on what I think needs to be done going forward (not that I’m an expert on this or anything — this will be strictly big picture, and possibly only an idealistic wish-dream).

    First, let’s separate the “immigration” discussion from the “asylum” discussion. The current crisis is about the latter, not the former.

    Second, let’s think about this a little more carefully. If a pipe in my basement bursts and starts shooting water all over the place, filling up my basement, how effective will I be if I just focus my efforts on bailing out water? We are talking about a crisis AT THE BORDER, when in fact that is only the result of crises elsewhere. We’ve got to find a way to turn the water off and fix the pipe if we hope for any lasting solution.

    Third, that means we need big ideas, lots of diplomatic strength, and the willingness to pour money and resources into helping the “broken pipe” countries from which the “water” (the flood of refugees) is flowing. We need something akin to a Marshall Plan for Central America to root out political corruption, enhance economic stability, destroy crime and gang networks, and restore a sense of security and hope to the people and nations in the region.

    Fourth, this will probably involve some military intervention — which I am loathe to mention, given how we created/exacerbated a lot of this mess ourselves by military adventurism in the past — but if this truly is a crisis that threatens our country, then we need to make use of our military just as we did when we rebuilt Europe and Japan after WWII.

    Fifth, as much as possible, we should be building relationships with allies who can help us in this large endeavor to make this hemisphere more prosperous and stable.

    Sixth, we have to deal with the current crisis. Again, I think the best path forward is partnership — not simply pushing the problem southward — but developing real solutions in conjunction with Mexico, other countries, and international aid agencies to help provide adequate resources to take care of the people streaming northward.

    Seventh, we have to get rid of the idiot in the White House who can’t even be bothered to adequately staff agencies like the State Department to take care of normal business, much less crises of this sort.


  30. Good grief, Headless

    are you referring to the rumors that ‘the oaf’ might call for a ‘second-ammendment solution’ if he loses the election? (is he priming the base for ‘revolution’ to make him ‘president for life’?)

    maybe that is what all of the hate-mongering and divisiveness is getting the ‘base’ ready for . . . ..



    Can it?


  31. “Jesus isn’t trying to make it hard for us to get to heaven; he is being honest about how hard it really is to make our world a safer, more just, more compassionate home for everyone. When we tell the truth about this, we don’t make following Jesus hard. We are simply honest about how hard it can be for those at the top of our socio-economic pyramids to follow him. It’s easy to worship Jesus. It’s easy to hold a cosmological notion about Jesus that doesn’t impact the way our societies are structured here and now. It’s much more challenging to distill his ethical teachings from a first century Jewish context and apply them to the challenges we face in our society today. And it’s still more challenging to actually follow through with those actions.

    But I believe the challenge is worth it.”


  32. So, you are trying to say that if we don’t let them in, they will die.

    You know this how? Because they say so? Is this true in every case? If not, how do we determine this? How do we determine this quickly and accurately with an understaffed and overworked agency? How do we know if we let in the victims of persecution we aren’t also admitting the agents of their oppression?

    You never answered John Barry’s question. Ever. Are there limits? Do we let everybody in like we did in 1883? If we parole all of them into the US, who determines where they go? How many will go to Northern Virginia? How will we keep track of them once they’re here? Who will ensure that they show up for their asylum determination hearing?


  33. Your arguments are anything but. We bring up Scripture, and the example of Christ, and appeals to common humanity; you bring up personal and ethnic objections to the implications of those things. That may be “superior” from a purely self-interested perspective, but not from a higher moral one.


  34. At this point, it not even about that anymore. It’s about the world falling apart and people fleeing to any perceived safety and chance to live. Do we sent that to them?


  35. Well, if I have to follow that example, it will be because I am convinced He requires it of me. But never, ever would I suggest that to anyone else.

    What I am afraid of is that my death and the death of those close to me will have been determined to be desirable according to some quantifiable secular calculus such as that you use to determine how much income equality is necessary.


  36. “maybe Saint Maximilian Kolbe could pull it off, but its going to be a hard sell to anyone else.”

    Well, that’s the example Jesus set for us. I don’t have any illusions about how easy it is, and especially not about my own abilities in that regard – but neither will I try to sidestep the fact that that’s *exactly* what He calls for.


  37. I don’t see any ‘mitigation strategy’, just a postponement of the general melee until all are at the same level of wretchedness. Then there will be no more oppressors or victims, merely predators and prey, which after you distill his fine-sounding rhetoric about ‘adaptation’ and ‘participatory democracy’ is what you will be left with.

    When virtue-signalling requires suicide, maybe Saint Maximilian Kolbe could pull it off, but its going to be a hard sell to anyone else.


  38. Eeyore I did not know the Aztecs went as far north as California. The Aztec named a lot of their California Aztec settlements after Aztec saints.


  39. I can’t stop seeing it in my mind . . . . the little child’s arm holding on to her father


  40. Anon, jb is asking real questions, and he engages people honestly. He is not a troll of any kind. Whatever one’s opinions are re the answers, whatever one’s politics – and mine are closer to Christiane’s and Finn’s – we still need to answer those questions.


  41. I guess I’d like more of a free-market die-off, then, rather than one precipitated by a bunch of guys in an air-conditioned room



    The New Colossus (Emma Lazarus)

    “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” “


  43. We’re ALL gonna have to lie down and die – there’s no way out of this storm. And remember, the only reason there are Anglos in Cali because we stole it from Mexico at gunpoint, so no pretending that we’re the victims here.


  44. “Lajos Brons isn’t feet to untie the Archdruid’s shoelace. He’s just another leftist cake left unturned.”

    Having read a lot of both, I’m a bit lost seeing that great of a difference between them, apart from Brons’ more pessimistic views of future climate and his actually offering strategies to mitigate the chaos. Now, if you’re unhappy that those mitigation strategies grate against ethno-centric ideals, fine. But from where I stand, his strategies dovetail much more with Christian mores than the “armed lifeboat” does.


  45. Multi-Culti Kum-Ba-Yah is a luxury only a First World society which has beaten the Survival Game can afford.

    And once (in the words of Eighties Survivalists) “Push Comes to Shove” restarts the Survival Game…


  46. But it is better to go down trying to help than to cling bloodily to our comforts and condemning others to even worse fates thereby.

    Forcing the borders open may not be enough to save civilization (or even humanity) from extinction, but it is a first step, and even if it fails to save us, at least we’ll go without causing unnecessary additional suffering.

    What that means to an Anglo who has a nest egg and kids of his own is “So Me and Mine have got to all lie down and die so you can soothe your First World White Guilt?”

    Something us Anglos in Cali have been experiencing for a long time, thanks to the Left Coast Puritans in power in our state. Trust me, it only fuels backlash and makes the situation worse. Forcing Anglos into Armed Lifeboat mode as a Survival choice between Life and Death for themselves and theirs.


  47. Aren’t we all seeking asylum? Are not we all slashing through the weeds, hungry children in tow, hoping to somehow cross the river into the Promised Land? When we see their dead bodies floating in that river, cold hands reaching, just out of the grasp of the free shore, we all should take Donne’s advice.

    Not long ago I was confronted by another terrifying image: a man struggling to walk up the beach, soaking wet from the harrowing ocean crossing, carrying his three children. On his face was the look of abject desperation and loneliness. His children clung to him, lest they be swept away into the abyssal chaos.

    In these two images I see myself. I see my utter desperation to save my family, and my [feared] eventual end, salvation just out of reach. I see my family suffering my own fate.

    I don’t know what to do with this.

    In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep, but the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

    It’s hard to tell, some days, if we are at the beginning or at the end. I guess I just keep hoping that the Spirit of God is still here, hovering, waiting for the right time to set order to the chaos.

    Now more than ever: Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner.


  48. I read that whole article and shuddered. It’s worse than useless. Basically, I’m already living his solution, and tell my children almost weekly that 1) adaptability is more valuable than strength or fleetness 2) you and your descendants will not make it through the next dozen decades alone and 3) act like the Empire is already gone. It can neither protect nor threaten you. 4) Use your head before you use your mouth-use your mouth before you use your feet-use your feet before you reach for your gun.

    But the teeming millions waiting at the border aren’t going to filter into the participatory democracy Fight The Power brigades. Participatory democracy does not scale to Imperial proportions.

    Lajos Brons isn’t feet to untie the Archdruid’s shoelace. He’s just another leftist cake left unturned.

    Number 2 bedevils me. Social cohesity (what we used to call ‘trust’) is going to be in such short supply. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be replenished by commitment to an ideology or by some airy-fairy one-world-we’re-all-brothers gas. My guess is that DNA is going to make a roaring comeback as things devolve.


  49. What the oaf has done has turned us on each other so that nobody can hear anything that the other side is saying.

    And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    The most recent TIME on the break-room tables at my shop has a cover article about “the oaf”s 2020 campaign strategy, which is completely different from all his predecessors: Whip his Base (including the Christians) into a total frenzy of Fanaticism and don’t bother with anyone else. Let the Enraged Base of True Believers carry it all.

    This sounds very risky, and if it fails “the oaf” is known to be a Sore Loser.


  50. ‘You don’t understand South Americans, Mule, even though you married one. These people will weaponize your own compassion against you until they change places with you. Then, when they are riding in their air-conditioned Mercedes and you’re waiting on the corner for the micro, and their daughters are accepted into the dance schools and yours are working in the garment shops, they’ll look down their noses at you and sneer.”

    What that tells me is that South Americans are as racist as anyone else. Here in Del Norte, Anglos hear stories about that all the time.

    You want to hear some REAL horror stories about racism, ask a Central American about Mexicans or a Korean about Japanese.

    And part of this is backlash about a particular kind of “weaponizing your own compassion against you”: playing the Race Card. The going attitude is Only White Anglos Can Be (and ARE) Racist; everyone else are Angels of Light. Well, any tribe can be Racist. ANY AND EVERY ONE. Just when you’re the tribe on top (or see your tribe getting there), you can be open about it. Zero-Sum Game.

    Life is a struggle. Never surrender an advantage, especially one your ancestors worked so hard to obtain.’

    Which becomes “We have to Stomp on them to keep them from Stomping on us.” Years ago, I coined the term “Self-Defense White Supremacy” for this particular Zero-Sum Game of fear.


  51. There are some of us who believe that the system IS going to be overwhelmed. There is too much coming down the pike to preserve what we have become accustomed to. But it is better to go down trying to help than to cling bloodily to our comforts and condemning others to even worse fates thereby.

    “The armed lifeboat is fascist and totalitarian and will produce nothing but suffering both inside and outside. The armed lifeboat is an attempt to keep refugees outside, while those refugees are fleeing climate disaster and economic disaster both of which are largely the result of actions by occupants of the lifeboat. And if that is not enough reason, even a selfish occupant of the lifeboat should want to sink it. Only by gradually getting used to ever-growing refugee flows and other forms of instability can countries and societies adapt. Building walls is not an adaptation but a refusal to adapt, and that refusal will result in utter chaos when the walls fall.

    The rich countries of the industrial world should welcome refugees – not just for humanitarian reasons, but also for selfish reasons, to allow them to adapt (to ever-growing refugee flows as well as other kinds of instability), to prevent fascism, to change. But they won’t do so willingly. Forcing the borders open may not be enough to save civilization (or even humanity) from extinction, but it is a first step, and even if it fails to save us, at least we’ll go without causing unnecessary additional suffering.”


  52. Yesterday on afternoon drive-time radio, we got a heads-up on the photo. Close as I remember, the talk-show host described a photo of a man and his kid who drowned swimming the Rio Grande whose bodies washed up on the riverbank, followed by “You’re going to see this all over all the media tomorrow morning.”


  53. “the only people I’ve encountered who admit that the problems of the southern border are even a problem are altruistic white people of North Sea procedence.”

    Well, we’re the ones who are in charge of the area that the refugees are trying to come to, and whose policies have caused much of the problems they are fleeing from. Most other people are either not directly involved, or thinking to themselves, “What the hell took you so long to notice”?”


  54. Fr. Jacob is a wise man.

    I don’t believe our choices in caring for our brothers and sisters are as binary as you propose.

    Perhaps America is reaping what she’s sown?


  55. Too busy bending the knee and burning the pinch of incense to Caesar Trumpus, what else?
    (pronounced “Ah-way KAY-sahr Diwinus”)



    Stuart, read the entire NYT article. Like most coming from Central America the family came here for economic reasons. My question to you is how many legal and illegal immigrants should the USA take in every year, what number is too many or do we take in everyone? Is there a limit.
    How many people were prosecuted for putting out water? Why does Congress not pass a clean , no strings attached instead of playing politics to get 4 billion dollars to solve the immediate problem. Is questioning political and individual motives heartless. How does the public dust up with a private evangelical college come into this issue. I am sure most Americans are not aware or care about that issue. If you personally believe that you should help the illegal family that is great that you do, however this is a issue that affects the entire nation. At least you are putting your money where your mouth is, unlike the majority who want the government to follow their compassionate concern .
    The system is overwhelmed, one step at a time.


  57. John let’s not forget to blame the Gays. Or maybe the River. If it had not been quite so wide perhaps they might have made it.

    Of course the child is below the “Age of Accountability” so no worries there!

    At least now we know no one really takes the Bible literally. Cause if we did we would all cringe in utter fear of our immortal souls.


  58. There was, as I got into the car queue for Ruy’s Donuts this morning, an African-American man in a fatigue shirt asking for cash donations. His sign claimed to be a veteran. I know nothing about him or his service record, but it’s a good hook. The $1 bill I exchanged for a $5, ‘give to those who ask of you’ and all that, but I have a soft spot for African-Americans and for veterans. For all I know, he may just prefer spending my money to spending his.

    As I pulled out of the pick up window, I was solicited again by another African American man who got the $1 bill. Father Jacob of blessed memory taught us that, as much as possible, we should attempt to always carry at least one $1 bill and one $5 bill with us ‘for the poor’, so that we wouldn’t have the excuse of not having any money on us, and to depend on God to send our way the people who needed it.

    If the problems of the poor are not my problems, then they aren’t anybody’s problems.

    Now, I will openly admit that the polarizing oaf we have installed in the White House is making the solution of such things as climate change and immigration policy nearly impossible, but not because the oaf is such a fascist that he is sending out his minions with a paper grocery bag, an M42, and orders to shoot on sight anyone darker than the grocery bag. What the oaf has done has turned us on each other so that nobody can hear anything that the other side is saying.

    Now, my first response to the millstone photograph was not ‘OMG we have to get rid of the oaf and put somebody rational in his place’, but ‘what could I have done to avoid this?’ As I said, if the problems of Sr. Martinez and his daughter are not my problems, then they aren’t anybody’s problems. The answer I keep coming up with is very unpalatable; it is either ‘nothing’, or ‘sell all that you have, give to the poor, and come, follow Me’. Well, Jesus, selling all that I have presupposes that someone will buy it. If they have the money to buy my crap, why don’t they follow your advice as well? Anthony Quinn in The Shoes of the Fisherman , who out-Francised Francis by selling all of the Vatican’s art treasures to alleviate global poverty (the movie was made in the 60s) always baffled me. Why didn’t the purchasers of these art treasures just give the money to Pope Zorba in the first place, and put the art treasures in a museum for public enjoyment?

    Hopefully, Eeyore’s, Stephen’s and Ben S’ heads won’t explode at this, but the only people I’ve encountered who admit that the problems of the southern border are even a problem are altruistic white people of North Sea procedence. The alt-right makes a great deal of hay about this altruism and calls it suicidal. They’re brewing the tribalism 140 proof and lots of people are heading for that tavern.

    But dayum, it would make me feel a lot more comfortable if my altruism were matched by the Bollywood-gorgeous wife of one of my co-workers who told me straight out ‘Those people are cockroaches. Their children are larvae. There will always be plenty of them.’ or the Colombian lawyer who told me ‘You don’t understand South Americans, Mule, even though you married one. These people will weaponize your own compassion against you until they change places with you. Then, when they are riding in their air-conditioned Mercedes and you’re waiting on the corner for the micro, and their daughters are accepted into the dance schools and yours are working in the garment shops, they’ll look down their noses at you and sneer. Life is a struggle. Never surrender an advantage, especially one your ancestors worked so hard to obtain.’

    So, even if you think that was the most racist thing you’ve read this decade, tell me I’m wrong. Better yet, prove me wrong. I will be happier for it.


  59. “The picture was posted at a very opportune time.”

    Yes, the day the child and her father died. Nothing more or less.

    Depending upon what sources you read, there have been heart-rending pictures posted every week for years now about migrants.

    However, it is true that this one seemed to strike a nerve, and it is not just because of media timing with a vote. In conjunction with the growing humanitarian crisis and the horrid conditions of the detention centers, this happened at a time when it had maximum impact.


  60. • We see an evangelical Vice President awkwardly laugh when confronted with squalid conditions in the kiddie camps.
    • We see people prosecuted for putting out water in the desert for immigrants.
    • We are forbidden to send soap and toothpaste to interned children who are denied sanitary conditions.
    • We see a heartless attitude toward human life, even among Christians who talk more like Stalin: “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
    • We have a public dust up with an evangelical college president telling another leader that he is nothing but an employee with “no authority to speak on any issue”
    We are helping an “illegal” family that had suffered much and crying out for love and support. Its only a single lifeline, but I would do more if I could. “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?”


  61. “should national policy and serious issues be decided when the nation is in an emotional state”

    It took Uncle Tom’s Cabin to get some folks to look at what slavery did. Emotions are sometimes necessary.



    Here is an article from 1996 about the deaths crossing the Rio Grande. May 2, 2019 1 baby dead, 3 missing over overturned raft run by coyotes. Where were the pictures then, was not the tragedy as real then? According to Border patrol 7216 people died crossing the Mexico , USA border between 1998 and 2017. Number of deaths doubled between 1995 and 2005.
    It is one thing to have our heartstrings pulled and they are in this case but should national policy and serious issues be decided when the nation is in an emotional state. As noted above the House was having a hard time passing the emergency aid package of 4 billion. Now the decision is made more emotional by the posting of the picture. Who can not be moved by the picture ? Who would argue this is not a tragedy but what brought on the tragedy. Someone made the decision to put that child in peril for whatever reason. Congress can change the law and have no laws controlling entry in the USA if they think that best.
    Is the United States a tribe? How where are immigration laws made? Who has the power to change them? Why not pictures posted in the past by the media when similar tragedies occurred ? I am not blaming the media on the picture , I am wondering why the picture was posted at a very opportune time to influence the vote in the House that was very hard for the Democrats to form a majority on. As they say timing is everything.


  63. We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
    We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
    We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
    Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

    —Woody Guthrie, lyrics from “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos” aka “Deportee”


  64. Google the phrase “politics of the armed lifeboat”. It’s what most people are going to default to as things continue to get worse and worse. And those who call for sacrifice and compassion might get labeled as traitors by those who support such a politics.


  65. Please don’t blame that picture on “a media with no journalistic standards of objectivity.” As though “pulling our heart strings” can adequately explain the reality of a man and his little girl swept away in a river. This is real, jb, this is human tragedy. Political ineptitude and incompetence aside, I mourn for any person or any nation that loses its ability to have its heart strings pulled by tragedies like this. We are sacrificing our humanity — all of us — to maintain our tribal positions.


  66. Eeyore, anyone for a sane , effective plan to end the serious problems we have with illegal aliens coming into the country via the open borders and overstaying visas. There is no reason for the establishment , powerful, elites to want to solve this problem, they benefit from it. Operation Wetback was to solve an economic problem which is the heart of the issue always. Mandatory E Verify, heavy penalties for companies that hire illegal aliens, changes in immigration law to fix lower court decisions that go unchallenged for political reasons , stop id theft coupled with IRS enforcement of tax laws, electronic update to 3 month visas to insure departure, end of chain migration and a real effort to address this issue would stop it within a two year period. There is no political will to do so as the average citizen is being played and the establishment rolls on.
    The House of Reps.. barely passed their version of the aid package to provide 4 billion dollars to very address this crisis short term. Either Senate or House will pass a “clean” bill just to address the immediate issue, they have to put in hidden agenda items. This horrible emotional picture is part of the political landscape now and again public will be played by the forces that want cheap labor, votes and have an agenda of free flow of labor and cash between borders, that become meaningless, as finances and power override all other concerns. Check out the Koch Brothers position on immigration/borders and see if you agree with these two compassionate, wonderful people who want as many low paid workers as possible. They are on the side of any political person who is for their agenda.
    Again when many on the national stage quote the Bible , bring out the NGO front people who receive millions helping “administer” the illegal/refugee programs and heart strings are tugged on 24/7 by a media with no journalistic standards of objectivity we can expect what we are going to get, a continuation of the status quo until Texas turns blue , then the problem will be solved.
    Our immigration laws and policy are unworkable and ineffective by design.


  67. Hungry, hot, thirsty, sweating to death in the hundred-plus heat, and getting little-to-no reliable information about the status of your asylum claim. As bad as the detention centers have been reported to be in this country, the ones in Mexico must be far worse, and the new policy that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed forces them to stay in the most horrendous conditions.


  68. My wife’s work involves migrant populations.

    It is a s___ show; amplified by the current PTBs, but it has been a s___ show for decades.

    The “American Spirit” is that of a petulant entitled vindictive little brat.


  69. > they could have just waited the night

    Maybe, that’s easy enough to say when you’re not hungry.


  70. I have little doubt that our current administration’s policy of loud threats, intimidation, and chaos has caused the number of such incidents at our southern border to multiply, by creating an unprecedentedly huge wave of panicked immigrants and asylum seekers rushing to it while they believe they can still get across — the administration has fanned the flames of a pressing problem into a full-crisis conflagration. But I also have little doubt that incidents not unlike this one, perhaps not captured by the lens of a camera, have played out across our southern across many decades and administrations, Democratic and Republican, with the American public for the most part paying no attention, and not wanting to be bothered. There may be millstones aplenty to go around.


  71. There is more than enough blame to go around, bit the parents get the least. Nobody, NOBODY takes those kinds of risks except out of extreme need and desperation.


  72. Hello J.B.

    that picture, yes . . . . . searing . . . . .

    there are no words for the sadness of it
    so, ‘only in silence, the Word’:

    ” 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God, showing no partiality and accepting no bribe. 18He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and He loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. 19So you also must love the foreigner, since you yourselves were foreigners in the land of Egypt.…”
    (from Deuteronomy, chapter 18)


  73. Lord have mercy. I can’t imagine what state of mind the mother must be in.

    If I’m reading that article correctly, they could have just waited the night and walked over the bridge? And they weren’t even trying to ‘illegally immigrate’?


  74. Is Matthew 18 verse 1-7 about entering the Kingdom of Heaven and alluding to new believers. Change and become like little children , does that mean physically? Children in the culture of the time were the least powerful and basically no rights. These verses were to show that the rich, powerful, nobility, religious leaders and worldly powerful did not have a monopoly or even an advantage over a new believer or a child , that accepts Christ.
    The picture is terrible, sad, shocking and heartbreaking. We could put up a picture of young children killed by drunk drivers, murdered by their family members and many other terrible situations to make an emotional impact for whatever position we are trying to assert. When a innocent family with 2 children is killed by a terrible accident is killed by a drunk driver , do we post a picture of the children at the accident site in the media to raise the issue of stopping drunk driving? How about children anywhere that die from lack of medical care, do we post a picture to show the tragic situation?
    I personally do not think this is the right inference of Matthew 1-7. However , it will be the mantra for the news cycle as the immigration debate , a political debate continues in this country. Are we trying to assign blame for this terrible accident. Should the country they come from be blamed? Should Mexico be blamed for allowing illegal passage though their country? Should the parents be blamed for putting their children in this situation? Should the judge who mandated the court order making children a “ticket” to gain entry into the USA be blamed, should the USA be blamed for enforcing its laws, shoiuld USA Congress be blamed, should Trump be blamed (of course, why do I ask?), should Christians be blamed for not going to the poor countries in Central America and giving him financial support, is the USA be blamed for not be a good Christian nation?


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