U.S. Attorney General Pete Sessions, a long-time opponent of pot legalization, says it’s “fake news” that he secretly cheers on the wildfires in California that are quickly obliterating the country’s most fertile area for growing marijuana. “I can tell you that such an accusation is not only false but unconscionable if someone has actually made that accusation,” he said in a closed-door hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although the meeting was private, the conversation was later recounted to reporters by people who were there.
Sessions said he doesn’t know the cause of the fires but it shouldn’t be ruled out that God caused them. “Were they acts of God?” he reportedly said in his testimony. “Most fires are.”
Although he didn’t make this connection at the hearing, he has said on occasion that God acts in mysterious ways.
Some lawmakers during the hearing wondered if God had started the fires to destroy the nation’s most productive marijuana-growing region and punish California for its liberal stance on marijuana use. “Does God hate pot?” one lawmaker asked. “Does God hate California? I’m not saying He does, but look at the fires of Hell California is going through right now. Isn’t full pot legalization on the state legislature’s agenda? I’m just saying’.”
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, says he doesn’t encourage the state to fully legalize marijuana because if it does, people will opt to get stoned rather than go to work. “Who will be coming into the office every day?” he has reportedly said.
The fire zone is also the country’s most prominent region for cultivating another drug: wine, sessions pointed out. “I have nothing against wine but it does ruin people’s lives,” he said. “I think God is trying to tell us something.”
Sessions also pointed out that the state is by far the strongest magnet for illegal immigrants, and they tend to come to the state to work in its agriculture industry, which includes both marijuana fields and fields for producing wine grapes. “Illegal immigrants and California go together like hand and glove,” he said, noting that the state just made itself a so-called sanctuary state, which means it does not report illegal immigrants to the federal government. Sessions is the Trump administration’s most outspoken critic of illegal immigration.
Other topics lawmakers discussed at the hearing include God’s attitude toward Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, which are still recovering from their own natural disasters, the record-sized hurricanes that swept through the Caribbean in August and September. “I think God has nothing against that part of America,” Sessions reportedly said. “I think they were just natural disasters.”
He also said tornadoes, which mostly appear in the Midwest and can be highly destructive, are also probably just natural disasters.
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd, and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a desperate plea to Prsident Donald Trump to recognize the scale of emergency the state is facing from devastating fires that are destroying thousands of homes and leaving large swaths of land burnt to a crisp. “Our brave fire fighters and first responders are doing heroic work but they’re struggling to get these fires contained,” Brown said at a hastily called news conference outside of Mendocino. Although federal assistance is flowing in, the pace isn’t what’s needed given the scale of emergency the state faces. “Californians are expecting to see their president here,” Brown said. “They want to see their president here.” Brown said he’d like to see President Trump stand before people in the state who’ve lost everything and throw something at them, whether it’s rolls of paper towels or something else. “All Americans are important, whether they’re Americans in Texas or Florida or in Puerto Rico or California,” Brown said. More.
The images of fake destruction wrought by Hurricane Irma throughout the Caribbean are impresssive for their detailed made-upness and carefully crafted untruthfulness, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh said today. He added that the misleadingness that the fake news media has employed to further their agenda of duping the public ought to win them a medal for best fabrications of reality. “Someone went the extra mile to pretend Barbudos no longer exists as a functioning island of 1,600 people,” Limbaugh said on his show, which attracts millions of listeners each week. “How much did leftists propagandists spend to make us believe St. Martins was crushed under hurricane winds of 185 miles per hour? And they get the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to pretend to stay in a stairwell with 500 other people to escape the storm. That was a brilliant act of fiction. I wonder how many Hollywood special effects artists were able to buy a new BMW for their work making us believe Miami is going to be the next target of this exaggerated storm. More.
Vice President Mike Pence blames “fake news” on the rumor circulating in the media that he suggested to President Donald Trump that his TV ratings would go up if he rode out Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm with 185 miles-per-hour winds, at Trump’s estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago. “I never recommended Mar-A-Lago to the President nor did I suggest or even hint at Mar-a-Lago as a safe and appropriate place from which to monitor and provide leadership during the storm known as Hurricane Irma,” Pence said in a statement released this morning. Good vantage point[/caption]The Pence statement went on to accuse news organizations with “shoddy fact-checking” and “outright lies” in attributing the Mar-a-Lago suggestion to him. “If the news media wants to be a source of information worthy of the American people’s trust, it should improve its news gathering and fact checking operations so that the information it provides to the citizens of this country is factual and accurate.” More.
Retailers across the United States and even in Europe and Asia say they can’t keep their new line of Melania “First Responder” Stiletto Boots in stock as women strive to be the first among their friends and coworkers to sport the rugged-yet-sexy boots from hot designer Peter Cremlin. “Right now we’re just trying to fill orders on an emergency basis as fast as we can and we just ask our customers to be patient as we ride out this storm of demand,” says Stephen Caine, Saks Fifth Avenue’s general manager for merchandise. “We are in contact with our suppliers around the world to get these orders filled as quickly and as efficiently as possible.” The boots, which retail for between $999 and $1,499 in stores throughout the United States, have generated some controversy as critics say they exploit the devastation in the Texas Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey, which left dozens of people dead and thousands homeless. Critics also complain that the boots, which combine the rugged military style of Army combat boots with sexy Italian stiletto heels, are manufactured in factories in Asia, where worker standards and wages are low. More.
Don’t expect quick processing of your Social Security check today. Agencies throughout the federal government have closed in response to heavy cloud cover over the city, preventing the sun from shining and threatening rain. “All federal empoyees, with the exception of essential employees and national security personnel, are instructed to stay home during today’s extreme weather event.” Kevin Longley, director of personnel management for the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement today. “We expect federal agencies to resume normal operations tomorrow, although if current conditions persist, we expect to issue a revised update calling for a second day of closure.” More.
Special to The Guardian. In a find that stunned the world of religion, archaeologists digging in a remote region of the Sinai desert discovered what is believed to be the original Holy Bible from more than 2,000 years ago with its International Standard Book Publishing (ISBN) code still intact. “This is an almost unbelievable discovery,” says Alfred Pottersmith, lead curator of Middle East artifacts at the British Museum in London. “To think we could be holding in our hands the original bible from God’s disciples is humbling beyond words.” What gives archaeologists confidence the bible is the original Word of God, first edition, is the presence of the internationally recognized 9-digit numeric commercial book identifier code known as the ISBN code. More.
Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen says he would have been happy to open his 18,000-seat church to victims of Hurricane Harvey but city officials never said they needed his space and God didn’t speak to him about it. “When God told me to pray for the souls of people who seed my church with money, of course I obeyed His Word and did so,” says Osteen, who has been criticized for not inviting flood-stranded people into his arena-sized church. “So I was expecting God to share His Word about providing comfort to the people of Houston, many of whom have been living in wet clothes for three days.” Osteen says he “thought regularly” about the human tragedy he saw unfolding around him as flood waters reached five feet in some areas and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. “Their plight touched my heart,” he said. “It didn’t matter what I was doing— putting gel in my hair or deep-cleaning my face. I hurt for the people of this city. I knew there was despair in our midst.” More.
Houston mega church pastor Joel Osteen, after taking criticism for his slow response to displaced Hurricane Harvey victims, announced he’s opening up his 18,000-seat church to all who need it if they leave their wet boots outside and try to find something dry to wear. “God asked us to put more than $20 million in TV broadcasting equipment in His church and we really can’t get that wet,” said Osteen, who has made millions proselytizing what’s known as the prosperity gospel—the belief that God will reward you with monetary success if you seed His churches with donations. The more you seed the church, the richer you stand to become. Osteen said that criticism leveled at him for not opening the doors of his church right away are unfair because he needed the extra time to put mats down to protect the floor, which cost $3 million. More.
Franklin Graham III, son of the late televangelist Billy Graham, says he’s concerned for the country’s moral well-being because today almost a quarter of Americans identify as atheists or otherwise claim no religious affiliation, a sharp increase from a generation ago, when few people claimed no religious affiliation. “The United States is a country founded by Christians on the basis of Christian values, so it is very disturbing from a moral and spiritual standpoint that one out of every four Americans is not going to get into heaven,” said Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham was speaking at a rally in Charleston, S.C., for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Other religious leaders, including Jerry Falwell, Jr., and James Robison, were at the event. More.
Religious people the world over are sick and tired of people who don’t believe in God picking on the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the Universe. “What did He ever do to you?” says Sandra Borden, 54, an administrative assistant at Safe-T One Auto Insurance in Lexington, Ky. “Can’t you pick on someone else? Leave God alone!” Like many other religious people, Borden says that God, as the Creator of the World, can smite anyone He wants to and cause all kinds of duress for people, like he did to Job in the Bible. For that reason, atheists and other non-believers should just watch it. “He can rain down on you all the pestilence He wants,” she says. More.
If all the resources that go into supporting religion in the United States were channeled into productive enterprises, the domestic economy would expand by an estimated $465 billion a year, a study by the Federal Reserve finds. “Religion is a big part of the identity of many Americans, and certainly is embedded in our heritage as a country, but from a purely economic standpoint, it’s a disaster,” says Alfred Smith, a senior Fed economist. The study by Smith and a team of researchers is the most detailed yet of the economic toll religion takes on the U.S economy. It has sought to factor in virtually every way religion intersects with the economy, from lost tax revenue to states and localities, lost investment into goods and services that grow the economy, lost productivity by having people employed in religious institutions instead of companies and organizations that produce goods and services, and the cost of violence perpetrated in the name of religious belief. More.
The Republican party has set up a clash of biblical proportions by nominating God to be its presidential candidate in the 2016 U.S. elections. The nomination, which comes unusually early in the election cycle, puts religion at the front of debate by opening up a host of Constitutional questions should God become president. “Does God’s law supersede Constitutional law? Does His commandments automatically trump Supreme Court rulings? Would the bible replace the Constitution? There are just a lot of unanswered questions this unprecedented moves raises, so we’re really going into unchartered territory,” says Gary Turner, a Constitutional scholar at the University of Chicago. More.
After seven years of investigation, a United Nations team of researchers has concluded that Iran does not have homosexuals, as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted at Columbia University in 2007. In his statement seven years ago, while he was speaking in New York City, Ahmadinejad told his audience of mostly students and faculty that “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.” At the time, the comment elicited laughter and some boos among the 700 people in the audience. But according to the U.N. team that has just delivered its comprehensive report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran in fact has no homosexuals. More.
A tribe of nomadic goat herders from a remote desert region say their jealous, spiteful, and misogynist God is the one true God for all the universe and for all time even though He might seem an odd fit for today’s world. “I know it is hard for you in the technologically advanced West to believe that you should be ruled by our God, who had nothing to say to anyone in the world until He chose to speak to our ancestors 2,000 years ago. But that is the fact of the matter,” says Lazarus Ben-ammi, leader of a tribe of desert goat herders who claim a direct line with God. The tribe is in New York City on the first stop of a world tour in which they explain why theirs is the one true God of all the universe. More.
A man preaching God’s Word last night on a street corner in Los Angeles isn’t a true preacher, a group of religious leaders has charged, because the preacher has not been certified. “Only preachers who’ve been certified, for obvious reasons, have the right to preach God’s Word,” says a statement by the International Association of Religious Preachers, based in Houston. “Absent certification, anyone can pose as a preacher and claim to represent the Word of God. For that reason, it’s important that persons impersonating professional, certified preachers be enjoined from engaging in acts of uncertified religious preaching.” The accused preacher, Lemont Davis, was apprehended by Los Angeles police at 5:30 p.m. on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Beverly Blvd. According to the charge filed with the Los Angeles Municipal Court, Davis was claiming to “spread God’s Mercy,” with the aim of spurring a miracle on behalf of a homeless woman, Roberta Jackson, whose health is in decline. More.
Jews, Muslims, and peoples of other faiths in the United States will have to scramble to find ways to talk about the omnipotent, omnipresent deity referred to as God®, because American Christians have successfully trademarked the term “God®” along with “Savior®” and “Holy Father®.” “It’s a great day for American Christians of all types,” says Edward Reynolds, head pastor of the Ecumenical Christian Church, U.S.A., based in Foxborough, Mass. “For more than 200 years, peoples of Abrahamic faiths in the United States have peacefully shared among themselves the use of the term “God®” and other important religious words, but today the terms have been provided a permanent home with American Christians, which, as we’ve been arguing for years, is the rightful place for them.” More.
Among the earth-shattering revelations coming out of the recently discovered “Addendum of the Pentateuch,” also known as the “Moses Addendum” or “New Book of Moses,” is the discovery of rocky relations between Adam and Eve. Eve, the mysterious book makes clear, “had it up to here” with Adam’s constant whining about sex and his insistence on being “experimental” rather than just plain-vanilla when it comes to their connubial relations. “You are worse than the serpent who had me, by false testimony, eat of the tree to the anger of the Lord,” Eve is quoted as saying in the book. “The Lord has given me the headache, but you are giving me the pain.” “We’re all familiar with this story, eh?” said Boris Neuberger, a theologian with the Oxford Seminary in London, where the book, discovered buried in an ancient ravine on Mount Sinai in Egypt, is being analyzed. More.