A Christian Border Patrol Agent’s Reflection on The Border Wall

Now that Donald Trump has been elected president, immigration as a topic of Christian concern has re-surfaced—or, in some cases, simply surfaced.

My mind often wanders to this encounter I had with a deeply reflective Border Patrol agent on an airplane between Tucson, Arizona and Guanajuato, Mexico in 2011. I had gone to the area on the US/Mexico border to shoot footage for my migrant justice documentary, The Second Cooler, narrated by Martin Sheen.

My cinematographer, Adam Valencia, and I had been in the Sonoran Desert with Mike Wilson, a tribal member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Mike, a former Special Operations military officer in El Salvador and Presbyterian lay minister in Sells, Arizona, had long defied tribal elders’ prohibition on putting water in the desert for migrants attempting to cross through it into the United States. This despite the fact that the brutal desert had already taken the lives of at least 5,000 migrants.

Photo by Alejandra Platt. Used by permission.

Photo by Alejandra Platt. Used by permission.

Mike has four stations among the rattlesnakes and cacti where he sets out water: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. He arranges them in the shape of a cross so any passing migrant will feel confident the water has not been poisoned.

As we were heading back to Tucson after shooting, while still on the reservation, we encountered a young, indigenous migrant from Oaxaca in southern Mexico. He name, oddly enough in this deathtrap, was Eulogio—eulogy. He was eighteen years old and had been wandering with his party in the desert for ten days. The previous three days he had neither food nor water. He was weak and asked us to call Border Patrol so he could turn himself in. Eulogio did not want to die in a foreign desert. He wanted to return home to his wife and seven month old son.

After Adam and I boarded the plane to journey on to Guanajuato, I called my husband to tell him about our encounter with Eulogio. When the call was finished, the young man sitting next to me on the plane asked me, “What kind of work do you do?” “I’m a filmmaker,” I said. “What kind of film?” “Immigration.” “What kind of work do you do?” “Border Patrol.”  We were delighted at the coincidence and laughed.

The agent told me his name was Steve. We chatted a long time.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Steve and his three brothers had been abandoned as young children by their parents in an orphanage where they languished for years. They had become so mentally disturbed that they used to urinate and defecate on one another. Eventually they were rescued by an American Mennonite couple. Over time, all recovered from the traumas of abandonment and abuse.

The brothers grew up on the principles of peace and non-involvement with the military. When Steve told his mother he was going to join the Border Patrol, holding to her faith principles, she objected to his decision.

Adam Valencia and Eulogio

Adam Valencia and Eulogio

When we met on the plane, Steve had been with Border Patrol for only about a year, but had turned in his resignation. He said he had decided to become a BP agent because he wanted to work outdoors and because he wanted to help stop drug trafficking. Steve learned, though, as he said, that being a Border Patrol agent really was about destroying people’s dreams. The dreams of people who were just like he had been earlier in his life. When he would find migrants wandering in the desert, they would beg him for their lives. He said they were as dependent on his mercy as he and his brothers had been on the mercy of strangers in that miserable orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

I asked Steve, “What is the youngest migrant you have ever captured in the desert?” He pointed to the baby daughter in his lap, dressed in pink frills and just beginning to stand. “About her age,” he said.

Painting by Guadalupe Serrano, used by permission.

Painting by Guadalupe Serrano, used by permission.

“I can’t do this any more”, Steve said. He reflected on the long, heavily militarized border wall called El Muro by many Latinos. “When we build border walls,” he said, “we act like we don’t believe in God at all. Our security is not in walls and Border Patrol agents. Our security is in God. We say we believe in God, but we act like we don’t believe in Him at all.”

Steve would not let me interview him on camera, although I asked him several times. I have no idea where he is now or what he is doing. His reflection on what it means to believe in God, however, will remain with me forever.

Taco Trucks on Every Corner

Jesus TacoTruck for Fig Revolution

This morning Marco Gutierrez, the founder of Latinos for Trump, issued a solemn promise to all Americans. If Hillary Clinton is elected president, he warned, there will be “taco trucks on every corner”.

Gutierrez went on to add, in a conversation he recorded while driving to an interview with MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid, “If you don’t do something about it, us as Hispanics, we’re going to have the White House full of taco trucks and we are going to be selling paletas on every corner around the White House. And, we are going to have piñatas and atole … I know my people guys … You need to defend your country, our country.”

Latinos for Trump has declared September, in which Hispanic Heritage Month falls, Taco Bowl Awareness Month.

You can’t make this stuff up.

In response, I created this meme: “Jesus wants to eat street tacos with us on the corner. And talk about stuff.” As we know, Jesus showed up at banquets and weddings and enjoyed eating with all sorts of people.

My guess is that if he were to return tomorrow, and landed in America, he would make a beeline for a taco truck and want to chew the fat about what the Sam Hill is going on?

The Emperor Has No Balls: Are the Trump Statues Body Shaming or Legitimate Political Commentary?

Last Thursday, something unusual happened in America. In a country uncomfortable with both political discussions and art which is not decorative, we heatedly discussed a statue. You know the one I’m referencing – the nude statue of presidential hopeful Donald Trump – depicting him as a pompous dictator with no clothes and no testicles and a very, very small penis.

CqJsQHhXEAEHKJq

Photo by James Michael Nichols via Twitter

Commissioned by the anarchist art collective, INDECLINE, statues of a salmon pink Trump simultaneously were erected (its hard to find another word) in public spaces in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Seattle. Named “The Emperor Has No Balls”, New York City’s Parks Department removed the statue. A spokesman said they removed it because the statue was unaccompanied and had been installed without a permit. A Parks employee quipped, “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small,” to the delight of many. I have to admit I thought the quip was pretty funny.

Others, however, were not laughing. They said the statue was an example of body shaming.

Mark Sandlin, a Presbyterian minister and highly regarded progressive Christian blogger, acknowledges the important role that art plays in society. He believes we need to be careful about “limiting and controlling the artist’s expression”. Yet, he feels INDECLINE crossed the line into body shaming for its own sake. He told me,

We also need to guard against people who want to hide behind the claim of “art” when all they are really doing is belittling, bullying, or embarrassing someone. While I appreciate the “emperor’s new clothes” angle of the Trump statues, I’m finding it very difficult to see them as much more than a case of body shaming, and that’s never OK with me. If they had been statues of a naked Hillary [Clinton], I feel certain we would have been incensed by them.

Similarly, Meghna Sridhar writing for Feministing, raised a fair point about the “smug liberalism” of American leftist culture in PSA: Your Transphobia and Body Shaming Isn’t Radical.

Nothing is being said by the piece that is difficult for one in the current political climate to say – that Trump is a joke, or that fat people must be shamed, or that male bodies that don’t conform to masculine notions of genitalia deserve scorn. Indeed, the real naked emperors seem to be the installation’s smug audience instead, parading around in seeming robes of progressive politics, which actually, upon closer inspection, are their own naked delusions of open minded, non-oppressive grandeur.

I, too, can see how the statues may reinforce Americans’ regrettable habits of body shaming and transphobia or anxieties around anyone who is not cisgendered or any man who does not have testicles or or who does have a very small penis. These are problems in American culture and work to harm more people than many of us realize. It is a problem when we associate genitalia with maturity or bravery or intelligence. I agree with Sandlin and Sridhar as far as that goes. 

In fact, INDECLINE says that is what they were doing — appropriating the association of testicles with being a man in American culture and using that against Trump. But they were doing something more. “We decided to depict Trump without his balls because we refuse to acknowledge that he is a man,” they said. “He is a small arrogant child and thus, has nothing in the way of testicles.” 

Trump

Painting by Illma Gore

By the same token, in a painting called “Make America Great Again”, genderfluid feminist artist, Illma Gore, painted a nude portrait of Trump which also featured a small penis. Gore readily admits her intention was to shame Trump and his politics by invoking American men’s anxiety over small penises. “if anyone is going to be threatened by a small penis, it’s Trump.”

Her painting was modeled after a real life, middle aged friend. As far as I can tell, no one seemed to take exception to the slight pot belly and sagging skin of her painting. Other than commentary of the small penis, the painting is a fairly straightforward depiction of a naked man.

Yet, “Make America Great Again” has provoked hysterical responses. Gore has been anonymously threatened with lawsuits if she sells the painting, has been punched in the face by a Trump supporter in her own Los Angeles neighborhood, and has received thousands of death threats.

She notes that her painting has been understood and well received “everywhere apart from America”. This has to raise the question, “What about this painting has triggered the anxieties of Americans in particular?”

The brouhaha over the INDECLINE statues is reminiscent of the controversy over Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, In The Night Kitchen, published in 1970.

7093296881_29003e966b_o-1The “before” picture here was how Sendak originally drew a 3 year old little boy who dreams, falls out of his pajamas and into the Night Kitchen where he bakes cakes. The “after” pictures show the diaper which was painted on him by librarians who fancied themselves the custodians of American morality and felt independently authorized to censor Sendak. The book remains on any list of the most analyzed, controversial, and banned books in America.

Americans have legitimate concerns about body shaming and transphobia. But Americans also are anxious about seeing penises in library books, on paintings, and on statues.

This aspect of body exaggeration is what other commentators about the INDECLINE statues were interested in. They were not worried about body shaming or transphobia. They saw the exaggeratedly small penises as essential to legitimate commentary about this particular politician. 

Journalist David Person is on the board of contributors for USA Today. INDECLINE is suggesting, he says, “that despite Trump’s bravado and bluster, he essentially is the emperor who has no clothes. Worse, he lacks the strength to provide true leadership. That is what the emasculated statue is about. They also seem to be suggesting that Trump’s allegiance is not to this nation but that he has a secret agenda — hence the Masonic ring on his finger.”

Los Angeles area filmmaker and artist Robin Rosenthal places the statue “in a long tradition among artists, notably Spain’s Francisco de Goya, of political cartoons.” INDECLINE’s statue is “pure political commentary”, insists Rosenthal. “It’s a political cartoon in the form of a sculpture. If it is body shaming, artists and cartoonists have license to body shame.”

Goya’s cartoons were hard hitting political commentaries. His Los Caprichos [Whims] published in 1799 and his Los desastres de la guerra [The Disasters of War] produced in the 1810s are sharp observations of his era. Goya skewered groups of people, such as the Catholic clergy, he believed to be largely responsible for many of the ills of Spanish society. A precursor to today’s political cartoonists, Goya excelled in an informal style, exaggerations, and pointed attacks on contemporary prejudices and superstitions. It also is worth noting that he withdrew his Caprichos in 1803, after having sold only 27 copies of the set. His reason: concerns about the repressions of the Spanish Inquisition

Museo_del_Prado_-_Goya_-_Caprichos_-_No._43_-_El_sueño_de_la_razon_produce_monstruos

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, from Caprichos, Francisco de Goya, 1799

Prado_-_Los_Desastres_de_la_Guerra_-_No._03_-_Lo_mismo

The Same, from The Disasters of War, Goya, ca. 1810

If I were Trump and someone painted me with an exaggeratedly small penis for political reasons, I’d be offended. No doubt about that.

Yet, as Rosenthal suggests, there is a long history of exaggerating human bodies in order to make a political point. In fact, the exaggeration of political figures’ bodies is essential to American political commentary. If you google “political cartoon + Abraham Lincoln” or the name of any American politician, you will find exaggerations of their bodies.

lincoln11d

Political Cartoon by Thomas Nast

061308m

Threat

Lincoln as long and thin as a string bean. William Howard Taft, said to have weighed in at 300 pounds, busting out of his impossibly ill-fitting clothes. Barack Obama with his inevitable big ears and, in this cartoon by Michael Ramirez, exposed bottom.

Body shaming? Sure it is. Is it intentional? Without doubt.

I’m under no illusion, however, that with these political cartoons of American presidents, I am looking at anywhere near accurate representations of their bodies. Obama is an extraordinarily good looking man whose ears do not proceed from his shoulders. Of that I am certain.

And with INDECLINE’s Trump statue, it does not occur to me that I am looking at an actual representation of Trump’s body. He is not, after all, salmon pink, nor is he fat. I assume he is not old enough to have the varicose veins given to him (although I could be wrong). I assume he has testicles. I have no way of knowing the size of his penis. Nor do I care to. 

What I do care about is Trump’s relationship to every petty demagogue who ever lived with their swagger and self importance and their erecting of expensive, grotesque statues of themselves in public squares. I care about Trump’s misogyny. I care about how he reflects and has tapped into a disturbing aspect of American culture — that horrid delight in making fun of anybody who is vulnerable, different from us, or presents any sort of real or imagined existential threat. And, yes, I get that is what the INDECLINE artists were doing — delighting in giving Trump a taste of  his own medicine. That, too, disturbs me. But only a little bit.

Mostly, I think, “Well done, INDECLINE!” With your guerrilla tactics and guerrilla art, you provoked a conversation among us about politics, art, and about our own culture. And for that, I thank you.

 

Why I Do Not Call Out Trump

imgres

In case it matters, several people have asked me why I do not publicly call out Trump for his language about Mexicans and deportation. The reason is simple: it seems self evident that Trump is an obnoxious, foul-mouthed, racist, sexist, homophobic, crude, ignorant, dishonest, narcissistic, dangerous creep.

In addition, it has never been my habit or my interest to call out people with whom I have little or no association. By that I mean that I am a Democrat so I tend to be critical of other Democrats — especially those in power.

 

So, yes, I call out Obama rather than Trump at this moment in time. Obama has deported 2.8 million people. Few Democrats (those I hear from) seem to care. Trump has deported none. One has a record on deportation; the other does not. Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans is over the top crude. Yet, Obama has had his abusive rhetoric, too — “they don’t play by the rules” — when he knows full well there are no rules to play by.

Whether this is right or wrong on my part, I am not in a position to say.

To draw a parallel, I was never the parent who continually pointed out or obsessed over the wrong-doings of other people’s kids. I was always more interested in whether my own kids were doing right. I felt that was my duty and where I could have the most impact. It was also out of love for them. I wanted the best for them.

However, if anyone needs me to say it (and I’m always surprised anybody really cares what I think or say): I dislike Trump and his rhetoric immensely. And I am distressed that America produced him and has allowed him to get this close to the Presidency.

Dear Mr. Trump: You Do Not Represent Me

IMG_0293Dear Mr. Trump,

At the Republican National Convention last week, you invoked the names of parents whose children had been killed by undocumented immigrants. You indicated your impression that you represent them and their interests.

I want to let you know that my child, too, was killed by an undocumented immigrant. But you do not in any way represent me or my interests.

The picture here was taken of Leigh Anna Jimmerson, my 16 year old daughter, and her 19 year old boyfriend, Tad Joseph Mattle, on the night they died. You may be able to tell from the expressions on their faces that they were happy, beautiful people. I can tell you that to her family, Leigh Anna was Christmas, as they say. She was the Dancing Queen. Mardi Gras all year long.

On the night of April 17, 2009, an undocumented drunk driver slammed into them as they were stopped at a red light at a busy intersection in Huntsville, Alabama. The driver was being pursued, at a high speed, by a police officer. They died immediately. Tad’s car exploded on impact and Leigh Anna’s body burned up.

I am fortunate in that I was able to forgive the undocumented drunk driver. I never felt any anger toward him. I felt no hatred toward him. It just seemed to me that it had been a terribly bad night for everyone involved. I have often been grateful that in addition to the sadness that I carry with me every day of my life, I am not also burdened with bitterness.

imagesFor what it might be worth to you, this picture is one of my favorites of Leigh Anna. It was taken two years before she died. She had elected to go with me to a rally the Ku Klux Klan was having in Athens, Alabama. They were protesting illegal immigrants. We went to a counter protest. She was a little nervous, as you can imagine, but she wanted to go anyway. Once there, she held this sign which, as you can see, was as big as she.

As we were leaving the rally, a Klansman or Klan supporter said something rude to her (she never would tell me what he had said). I heard her say to him, laughing: “Love you back!”

At the trial the driver was convicted on two counts of murder. After the sentencing, he asked to speak to the families. He acknowledged what he had done. He asked for our forgiveness. Later, in a private conversation with him when he was on his way to prison, he told my husband and me that, if he could, he would change places with Tad and Leigh Anna.

The morning after the crash, the police officer who chased him said that he was perplexed that the faster he drove pursuing the driver, the faster the driver went.

The police never came to our house that evening. They never acknowledged their role in the death of my child. In the death of my dreams. The police officer who pursued the undocumented man never asked for my forgiveness. To my knowledge, he never faced any official consequences.

My heart goes out to the other families who have lost their children under similar circumstances. I do not ask them to forgive the one who took their child and their dreams. I understand not being able to forgive. There are those in my family who have not been able to forgive either. There is no shame in not being able to forgive someone who has caused you such grief.

You, however, are neither in a position to forgive or not to forgive. Instead, what you are doing, in my opinion, is encouraging people like you, people who neither are in a position to forgive or not to forgive, to get some sort of mean-spirited pleasure out of condemning people they have never met and who have never harmed them.

10208382_BG4I have a favor to ask of you, Mr. Trump. I want to ask you not to encourage mean-spiritedness towards undocumented immigrants. I want to ask you to speak about them in ways that would honor Leigh Anna and her gentleness of spirit. I would ask you to speak about them in ways that reflect the love she exhibited every day of her life. I would ask you to show the kind of courage she showed in attending a protest of the Ku Klux Klan when she was scared and when they, too, were acting out of mean-spiritedness.

Until you do, Mr. Trump, please know that you do not represent me or my interests.

Comparing Politicians to Christ: Facts, Please

 

250px-Russell_D._Moore_Preaching

Dr. Russell Moore

It is not often that Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC], and I agree. He opposes same sex marriage and abortion, for example. I support same sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose. When I officiated at Madison County, Alabama’s first same sex wedding, that started a chain of events that led to the church with which I am associated to be “disfellowshipped” by the SBC. Typically, Moore and I do not agree on much.

However, prominent Christian pastors on both the left and right have publicly supported their favorite politicians – comparing them to Christ. Here is where Moore and I agree – if you are going to compare a politician to Christ, you need to back up your comparison with facts.

th-2

Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Several days ago, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University endorsed Donald Trump. He gushed, “In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment”.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Moore demonstrated that Falwell’s praise is at odds with the facts of Trump’s life. He wrote,

[Trump] revels in the fact that he gets to sleep with some of the ‘top women in the world’ [and that Trump] is a casino and real estate mogul who has built his careers off gambling, a moral vice and an economic swindle that oppresses the poorest and most desperate. When Mr. Trump’s casinos fail, he can simply file bankruptcy and move on. The lives and families destroyed by the casino industry cannot move on so easily.

Similarly, Michael Brown, a Messianic Jew and conservative host of the popular radio show, The Line Of Fire, wrote this op-ed for the Christian Post. In it he quoted a colleague:

I just don’t understand how a true Christian can so easily dismiss all this … wife posed nude, married three times, nasty, crude, cruel, proud, dishonest, manipulative, casino owner and promoter, bankrupted several companies, ‘hates’ abortion but agrees to make it legal, gutter mouth … and on and on and on.

9k=

Donald Trump

Citing Trump’s attacks on those he happens to dislike at the moment, Brown asks,

be it Megyn Kelly or Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush or Rosie O’Donnell – attacks in which he behaves more like a spoiled, petulant child than a presidential candidate, how [can Falwell] point to his Christ-like character?

In other words, Moore and Brown are addressing the facts of Trump’s life and career. These facts fly in the face of claims that Trump is the embodiment of Christ from a conservative Christian, personal morality point of view.

There are equally extravagant claims being made by progressive Christians. John Pavlovitz, a pastor and blogger with millions of followers, recently said in the Huffington Post that President Obama has “in effect out-Jesused many of his Conservative Christian critics”. Obama, he wrote, has “championed justice, equality, and the inherent dignity of all people in a way that closely resembles the stated mission of Christ”.

th-4

Rev. John Pavlovitz

Among other claims, Pavlovitz said that Obama

has vigorously defended the civil rights of all human beings, has challenged us to be hospitable to refugees and immigrants, and has called out corporate lobbyists and big business special interests that have crippled the middle class and widened the income gap between the richest and poorest.

These claims are factually inaccurate if not downright preposterous. The most cursory glance at his policies should make that clear.

Despite his campaign promise, for example, Obama did not close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base where some prisoners have been held for decades without being charged. Among the detainees’ basic rights, which Obama has failed to champion in any meaningful way, are the rights of habeus corpus, a US and international principle providing the right to challenge the legality of one’s arrest, and the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution which provides the right to a “speedy and public trial”.

Then there is the matter of Obama’s foreign policy. Jeremy Scahill, a national security correspondent for The Nation and for Democracy Now!, traces the expansion of covert wars in countries ranging from Somalia to Pakistan. He says that

particularly in the Obama administration . . . . we’ve returned to the kind of 1980s way of waging war, where the US was involved in all these dirty wars in Central and Latin America, in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and beyond.

For example, he says, the US and Obama are “using proxies, that effectively are death squads, in Somalia to hunt down people the US has determined are enemies . . . . [and] mercenary forces in various wars, declared and undeclared, around the world.”

120px-Hamad-Bin-Isa-Al-Khalifa

King Hamad bin Isa Al Kahlifa

Similarly, Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, wrote “Obama’s Troubling Counterterrorism Allies: Dictators”. Hiatt detailed Obama’s alarming embrace of Syria’s Bashar-Al-Assad, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Kahlifa, and Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov. Hiatt calls Al-Assad the “bloodiest butcher of this young century”.

He goes on to say that Al-Sisi has “killed and imprisoned opponents with a brazenness Hosni Mubarak never dreamed of,” that when Al Kahlifa “cracks down on peaceful dissidents, the United States barely notices”, and that Karimov “presides over a closed society of prison camps and forced labor.”

As for being “hospitable to refugees and immigrants”, as Pavlovitz asserts, that has been anything but true of Obama with the exception of his recent welcome of Syrian refugees. Obama supports further militarizing the United States / Mexico border which was militarized to prohibit Mexicans and others displaced by the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] from coming to the US. Militarization has taken a minimum of 6,000 migrants’ lives.

th-5

President Barack Obama

Obama has earned the derogatory nickname “Deporter in Chief” among Latinos because under him deportations sky-rocketed, ripping some 2.5 million people from their families. Deportations have left over 5,000 children stranded in foster care and forced other US citizens into exile to be with their deported husband or father. He has deported asylum-seeking Central Americans which has cost 83 their lives, according to London’s newspaper, The Guardian. And, according to the Washington Post, his administration failed to protect thousands of other Central American children, placing them in the hands of human traffickers or abusive caretakers in the U. S.

As for Pavlovitz’s claim that Obama has “called out corporate lobbyists and big business special interests” one needs only to look at his support for free trade agreements [FTAs] to know that is inaccurate. He signed FTAs with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea and has been negotiating vigorously for the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP]. As I demonstrated in my film, The Second Cooler, NAFTA not only pushed some 2 million Mexican peasants off their lands and into migration, it allowed good-paying jobs in the United States to be sent overseas. Displacement of peoples is inherent to FTAs which push people off their lands and out of their jobs in order to fulfill the goal of “opening up markets.”

Economic researchers with Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute have projected that the TPP would likely lead to the loss of 448,000 US jobs and cause labor’s share of income to decline by 1.3%. This necessarily would increase the gap between rich and poor and widen inequality. The researchers found that while the US job market will suffer the most, the TPP would lead to 771,000 job losses over the next 10 years in the member nations.

FTAs, however, are about more than opening up markets, displacement of peoples, and the offshoring of good paying jobs. Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, has called trade deals “backdoor financial deregulation,” a “power tool to demolish financial stability policies,” and part of the establishment of an “investor-state” system. She concludes that the TPP and other FTAs are mainly about “new rights for corporations and new constraints on governments’ non-trade regulatory policy space”.

Gretchen Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who writes about markets for the New York Times, voiced similar concerns. She wrote that “trade agreements might well be read as an invitation to fight financial regulation”. She points out that Ecuador in 2011 asked that World Trade Organization to allow it to preserve its ability to create regulations to ensure “the integrity and stability of the financial system”. But the proposal was rejected by trade representatives in the U. S., the European Union, and Canada.

You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in economics to surmise that it is the middle class that suffers the most from these deals.

Christian pastors and bloggers have the right to endorse or support any candidate and any president they wish, but Russell Moore and I agree on this: when Christian leaders compare the president or a presidential hopeful to Christ, they must backup their claims with facts. We may disagree on which facts are or are not critical, but they must be backed up. Other people’s lives are hanging in the balance.