Monday, August 28, 2006

82% of American workforce are worse off under Bush: Now we know, Q.V.

Course Correction
by William Greider
From The Nation

The New York Times carried a very important news story today as its front-page lead. It revealed in devastating detail how American workers have lost ground on wage incomes during this so-called economic recovery. Only it's not news really. You might say, it represents an elaborate "correction" on Page One. Long overdue, but welcomed and I think of great significance.

Until now, the Times, like most leading newspapers, has stuck with the orthodox economist's view of what has occurred during the lopsided recovery engineered by George W. Bush and Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve. Profits booming, productivity improving smartly, robust GDP growth. What's not to like?

Times editors did not seem to notice the dark side of this story--the negative impact on the wages of Americans in non-supervisory jobs (that's 82 percent of the workforce). Their wages stagnated and even declined in real terms, discounted for inflation. This helps explain why typical Americans did not join the cheering--they are losing ground and borrowing more to keep afloat. Last year for the first time since 1933, the family balance sheet went negative, that is, negative savings.

I congratulate the two skillful reporters who produced the article-- Steven Greenhouse, who covers labor, and David Leonhardt, who covers economics--and congratulate the Times for giving it the play these facts deserve.

But I am left with this question: Why now? These facts have been visible for at least three or four years. I have written variations on the same theme numerous times in The Nation [see for example "The One-Eyed King," on the actual impact of Greenspan's long reign at the Fed. The Economic Policy Institute, probably the most respected think tank with a liberal-labor perspective, has expertly described what going on again and again. So have other voices.

What changed at the Times? I think we are witnessing an important "course correction" in the approved perspective shared and sanctioned among governing elites. "Correct thinking" is changing among the influentials. Nothing confirms this so much as the New York Times changing its view of things.

The facts have been quite stark for years, but to recognize what was happening to wages would open a taboo subject--globalization's devastating impact on America's broad middle class. If elites acknowledged that connection, not to mention harsh disloyalties to workers practiced by the leading US corporations, the policy thinkers and politicians might have to address the larger political question: What, if anything, does the government intend to do to reverse this long-running trend of deterioration?

The mainstream press, as I have written more than once, mainly takes its cues from the top-approved authorities and orthodox experts. This season, reporters and editors could observe that several heavyweight influentials are beginning to acknowledge the wage reality, albeit in a cautious, euphemistic manner.

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin of Citigroup, leading correct thinker for Democrats, launched the Hamilton Project to examine swelling inequality and related questions. Early this month, Bush's new Treasury secretary Henry Paulsen startled the press by also acknowledging the seriousness of the wage deterioration. Even the new Fed chairman Ben Bernanke took a swing at the problem last week.

In short, it's now okay to for the mainstream to talk about the subject. They won't be called heretics or protectionists or backward-thinking Luddites. This is genuine progress. We are not there yet, but the country is at least creeping slowly toward an honest debate about America's role in the global trading system.

If my analysis is correct, we may soon even see Times columnist Thomas Friedman write about the broad deterioration of US wages. He is the preeminent cheerleader for the global system that exists, but I have never seen him address the wage question frontally beyond telling workers they need to get better educated. I can't wait to hear what he has to say.

For 17 years William Greider was the National Affairs Editor at Rolling Stone magazine. He is a former assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, where he worked for fifteen years as a national correspondent, editor and columnist. He is the author of One World, Ready or Not, Secrets of the Temple and Who Will Tell The People?. Greider has also served as a correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS, including "Return to Beirut," which won an Emmy in 1985. Raised in Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, he graduated from Princeton University in 1958. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Core False Belief of Christians, part 2

The core false belief of Christians and others, continued.
Part 2 in a series of Understanding the Mis-uses of Faith
First Corollary: Other faiths must be condemned.

Those who hold the content of faith, that is the WHAT of belief as the Necessary Door to salvation regard this as the ultimate judgment of whether our faith is true. Then they do something else harmful to the peace and good order of all faith-based community.

When the "true believer" asserts that "Jesus Christ is Lord," then when another does not accept the Lordship with the same words, he is further from the Kingdom. Typically the believer goes this next step. Rather than Jesus being the Lord of his or her own heart, one slips into God's territory to assert that all others must accept the same faith or be condemned by God. The "true believer" is ready to say that Christ must be the Lord for everyone else in the same way or they have failed. Furthermore, since this truth should be as evident to all others as it is to oneself, then all others must be insincere and in conscious "bad faith."

Typical of this elevation of the correct content of right belief is a too easy judgment that all other faiths, and even different followers of Jesus, must be dismissed. We hear preaching of the gospel of Jesus that discounts other faiths as incomplete and wrong. This is not untypical, I propose, but it has the unhappy result of setting us "at war" in mind, heart or behavior against those who believe differently. Such judgments undermine the diverse faith communities in which we live and move.

Whenever we use what we believe to judge others, we are using faith wrongly, not for the conversion of our own hearts, but to judge the sincerity of others' faith. This is the first, unhappy corrollary of making the what-ness or content of our belief, rather than loving behavior or service to be how we assess belief. When we do this, I suggest we have forgotten one single great truth of faith and have made our own faith into an idol. Idols are jealous of other idols. God, this vast mystery we call "God," is not jealous of differences.

The Apostle Paul himself says there is faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these three is love.

Faith is an undeserved gift. We cannot earn it, deserve it, or reason to it. It is a grace given freely. We can only try to deserve it, even to beg for it. It is that which can transform our lives, turn chaos into blessing, make us lovers of the least, lost, last and lame in our village. Faith may be the greatest gift, besides life itself, we can ever receive.

When we use a gift of God, freely received, to judge another's gift, this is not simply a mis-use of God's gift, it is an abomination, a terrible and tragic mis-use of something divine and holy that we could never earn or deserve. But there we go, using it to judge others. We have all done so throughout history.

So Christians and other faiths, have used faith (and their sacred texts) to judge, condemn and murder countless others in God's name for thousands of years. Every sacred book, whether Hebrew, Christian or Muslim contains texts that encourages violence against others. What is crucial for us today, as many believers are warring against one another throughout the world, is to decide whether those words are from the imperfect human writers of those texts, the limited understanding they had at that time of conflict. Scripture can only be understood in the context in which it was written, as well as the intent of the author of that time.

We are challenged today, more than ever before, when our politicians are willing to use beliefs of some against the beliefs of others even in this country, to decide. What is the true nature of this mystery we call God, and what images of God most deeply speak to our heart of hearts? Shall it be that of a Warrior King, a Judge waiting to gather those who believe as we true believers do, and smite the rest? This is the God that belongs to my church and therefore I am entitled to make such judgments. That is, my faith gives me the right and duty to judge others.

Or is the nature of God a Merciful and Compassionate Mother, who would gather as mother hen the chicks under her wings but they would not. (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34) Does God want us to dwell together in peace and harmony now and deal cooperatively with the mess we find ourselves in, or does God belong only to my church?

Will you choose the Warrior King of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelations or the Wisdom of God revealed in Jesus who calls us to an awakening of our full humanity, with the most central commandment one of service to one another?

Is the rightness or goodness of any path a judgment that belongs to God alone? The future of our civilization may now depend upon the choices we make. "Take care lest the light in you become darkness." Luke 11:35.

Are there religious fascists among us? We shall not convert them by force of arms, power, words or even by scripture, but only by love.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


The core false belief of Christians--and others.
(How easily belief lends itself to judgment)

The core false belief of Christians and others is that my faith gives me the right and the duty to judge others as further from God because they do not believe the same as I do. This belief is enormously wide spread and common among all believers of every stripe. It is also the source and the wellspring of much division, self-justification, violence and terror today. When "God" is clearly on my side, and your beliefs are different, you are bound to be further from God than I am, therefore untrustworthy and unworthy for the work of the Kingdom.

From this perspective, my God is Lord of the Universe and a Warrior God ready to judge and smite the enemies of God and may or not need my help to do so now or later. Scripture supporting these views of judgment of others are easily recited. My belief is rightly used to judge others because they do not accept the same right beliefs. This God is always on my side in whatever struggle and my certainty guarantees it. My God must be victorious over all who resist this reign he desires. As a faithful Christian I have a right and duty to judge others.

There is much in every book of Scripture to support and justify this view, whether Hebrew, Christian or Muslim. Believers of every sort have used words of judgment and condemnation of God's enemies in their holy books to justify acts of violence, both in word and deed, for many centuries.

Our world today is seeing vast paroxysm between many types of believers. Elected officials in the U.S.A. are willing to use the beliefs of some voters against others. Religious belief easily justifies war against those who believe differently. For the Christian, some of Paul's writings can be employed for this purpose and the Book of Revelation is a prime source.

There is another competing view of the Ultimate Source of Wisdom proposed by Jesus in the gospels. This is the God of Compassion, of the Beatitudes, who refuses to judge, who considers the splinter in one's own eye before finding the plank out there in another, the one who finds Christ in the least, lost, last and lame, regardless of their belief. This belief summons us to find our salvation not by judgment and certainty, but by loving and accepting that we are together in the mess we find ourselves in. Jesus' parables teach the qualities of this God: The Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son, forgiving Banquet Host, etc.

In this view the first criterion of whether we work with others is not WHAT they believe, but their willingness to share the load, to pick up the cross of our broken humanity and build something of hope, like Habit for Humanity, or working together on some community project.

In other words, the criterion is love of God and neighbor--not looking for differences in faith.

By our love shall we be known and saved. The first and greatest commandment is to love God without reserve and the second, our neighbor as ourselves. Wow! Seems simple, huh? Simple service. Ahh, but the doing . . . . . .(Hymn) Here I am, Lord. . . (use me). . . "If Love is the Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?" (Hymn)

Paschal Baute, August 20, 2006
"Be careful lest the light in you become darkness." Luke 11:35

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The minimum wage scandal, and the GOP hypocrisy

Editorial: Raising the Minimum Wage
America, Jesuit weekly, August 28, 2006

Nowhere in the United States is it possible for a full-time worker earning the minimum wage to rent a one-bedroom apartment at market rates. Despite this shameful reality, Congress has again balked at increasing the minimum wage from its present $5.15 an hour - unchanged since 1997. According to a report by the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it is now at a half-century low, with a purchasing power that has fallen by 20 percent since the last increase. By contrast, the same report notes that the "benefits of our impressive production growth have flowed to those at the top of the income and wealth scale."

A full-time minimum wage worker earns only $10,712 a year. Even two wage earners in the same household would barely bring their combined incomes above the federal poverty level of $19,157 for a family of four—two adults and two children. Women, many of them single mothers, are especially affected when it comes to their struggle to provide the basics of life for themselves and their children. With inflation cutting ever more deeply into their meager incomes, more and more who work at minimum-wage jobs find themselves pushed into poverty and homelessness.

Recognizing the struggle required to survive on the federal minimum wage, over 20 states have taken matters into their own hands by raising their minimum-wage standards to higher levels. Washington State's is the highest, at $7.63 an hour. Some municipalities have taken still greater steps. In Chicago, for example, the city council in late July approved passage of the so-called big-box bill. This ordinance, which applies to huge retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, calls for a minimum wage of $10 an hour, with annual indexing for inflation. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart and similar big-box stores fought passage of the ordinance. But this new minimum approaches what most would view as a living wage—a wage sufficient to meet such basic needs as shelter, food and medical care. It is already in place in cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M., as well as San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, D.C. Helpful as such local moves are, though, what is needed is action on the Congressional level that would benefit workers nationwide.

Business interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and powerful lobbies like the American Hotel and Lodging Association have long opposed any increase in the minimum wage, claiming that it would stunt job growth and harm small businesses. But a report by the nonprofit Fiscal Policy Institute has concluded that states with minimum wages above the federal level have actually experienced faster growth in small businesses and retail jobs than states where the federal level has prevailed.

Over the years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently advocated an increase in the minimum wage. A statement released by the conference in February cites the U.S. Labor Department’s finding that about 40 percent of the workers who would benefit are the sole wage earners for their households. Overall, an increase would have a positive effect on over eight million low-wage workers. Not only would women be particularly helped but so too would members of minority groups and the poor in general. In the same statement, the bishops make reference to a living wage as "integral to our understanding of human work." Raising the minimum wage would at least be a start toward viewing work not as a job only, but, as the bishops also observe, "a reflection of our human dignity." The present minimum wage denies workers that dignity.

Just before its August recess, the House of Representatives passed a measure that would have raised the minimum from $5.15 to $7.25 in three stages over the next three years. The nonprofit Economic Policy Institute has estimated that even this modest increase could have meant a significant annual wage increment of approximately $1,200. But in what advocates for the poor have called a cynical ploy, a provision attached to the House bill called for a reduction in the estate tax that would have primarily benefited heirs to large inheritances. It would have had the adverse effect of lowering government revenues by over $700 billion over the next decade, which could in turn have led to a cutting back on programs that benefit low-income people. For primarily partisan reasons, when the measure went from the House to the Senate in early August, the combination of a wage increase, coupled with the estate tax provision, caused both measures to fail.

Congress has been diligent in regularly raising its own wages. It should now raise the wages of those who are among the nation’s poorest workers.

Copyright, America, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why We Do Not Know Our Enemy, book review by Robert Sheerer\\

Robert Scheer: Why We Don't Know Our Enemy
Posted on Aug 8, 2006

By Robert Scheer

Hysteria over the barbarians at the gate has destroyed republics from Rome to Germany. Will President Bush's post-Sept. 11 America meet a similar fate?

In the name of stopping the new bogeyman of international terrorism, our government has claimed an unfettered right to torture foreigners, eavesdrop on citizens and reorder the world with our military might. It is a policy that depends for its domestic political success on the specter of an enemy whose power and purpose must never be subject to logical and factual inquiry, lest it lose its power to alarm.

Five years ago, a moribund Bush administration seized upon the national fear and revulsion over the Sept. 11 attack to tighten its grip on power. Quickly diverting the nation into a disastrous foreign military adventure in Iraq, which had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, the Republicans happily shed painstakingly established domestic civil liberties and mocked the ideal of representative democracy by lying to the American public. A July 21 Harris Poll revealed that fully half the public still buys the carefully constructed Bush falsehood that Saddam Hussein had usable weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, the president continues to assert constitutionally indefensible powers to the office of the president. As the conservative Salt Lake Tribune editorialized July 29, "Congress and the courts must rein in this presidential power grab. To do otherwise would be to court tyranny." Perhaps most frightening of all, however, is the enraptured talk of a World War III by influential neocon ideologues nurturing a self-fulfilling clash-of-civilizations worldview. These ideologues are oddly aligned in a pincer movement on our president's malleable brain with Christian fundamentalists, who hope violence in the Middle East presages a coming Apocalypse.

The pattern of Bush administration deception that has helped build this bulwark of ignorance is again revealed in a new book by the former co-chairs of the 9/11 commission — one of whom is the former Republican governor of New Jersey. While in their forthcoming book, "Without Precedent," ex-Gov. Tom Kean and ex-Rep. Lee Hamilton apparently remain agnostic as to whether the Bush administration deliberately lied or was merely totally incompetent, they are clear about the obstacles placed in the way of their investigation. How grimly ironic that while Sept. 11 has been the omnipresent baseline of all Bush administration rhetoric for five years, the White House has systematically endeavored to squelch any real examination of an enemy who remains conveniently ill-defined or even actively misrepresented.

Thus, the lie that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, irreconcilable enemies, were in cahoots was shamelessly sold to the American public. Now we are told that Israel’s fight against Hezbollah is simply a battle in the larger war on terrorism, rather than what it is: the playing out of a historically rooted regional drama. All global narratives are subservient to the goal of posturing Bush as a "war president," unaccountable and irreproachable.

Ignorance of the enemy was by design — which is why Bush opposed any serious investigation of Sept. 11. Failing, after a bitter struggle, to prevent even the formation of a bipartisan 9/11 commission, he permitted key members of his administration and the military, of which he is the commander in chief, to undermine the investigation, according to advance reports on the new book by the commission’s co-chairmen.

For example, "We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us," said Kean, referring to the Pentagon’s fraudulent account of its initial response to the attacks. "It was so far from the truth."

None of the stonewalling was more glaring, however, than Bush denying the investigating commission access to captured prisoners whose testimony, elicited after torture, provided the basic narrative as to how Sept. 11, 2001, came to be. That fatal flaw in the investigation was earlier conceded in a disclaimer box on page 146 of the official 9/11 Commission report:

"We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting. We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process."

It is useful that the commission co-chairs are now willing to reveal some of the means by which the Bush administration undermined their investigation. Unfortunately, their account provides further evidence that, by the design of this president, we still know very little that we can trust about this historic attack on American soil.
9/11 report

From The 9/11 Commission report

This little-noticed excerpt from the official 9/11 Commission report throws the entire basis of the report's conclusions into question. It states that the 9/11 commissioners were allowed primary access neither to the alleged Al Qaeda members involved with the attacks, nor to the investigators who interrogated them—so the commissioners had no way to “judge the credibility of the detainees [or] clarify ambiguities in the [investigators’] reporting.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Political Tsunami Coming This Week?

Political Tsunami Coming?
by Paschal Baute

Watch Connecticut Tuesday night and Wednesday morning

This Tuesday in Connecticut, August 8, American voters have a chance to speak their mind in the Iraqi war in a way that can profoundly change our political landscape. Joe Lieberman seems failing in his bid for a fourth term in the Senate, despite heavy support from the Washington establishment, unions, and Democratic heavies such as Bill Clinton. His opponent is an unknown, Ned Lamont in his first political race, a 52 year old multi-millionaire financing his own campaign, running against the war, and he seems to be extending his lead in the polls. New Democrats are registering to vote at a rate over new Republicans of 10-1. It appears the many Independent and unregistered voters are signing up to be able to vote for Lamont.

If Lamont wins, and particularly if he wins decisively, this can be a political tsunami. It will encourage Democrats running for Congress this fall to give up their pussy-footing centrist position and run as Anti-War. It will be a declaration that neither politicians or the media have been listening to the American people, and the beginning of a tidal movement to reject the policies of George Bush, the imperialist ambitions of the neo-conservatives, and a call not only to get our troops out of harms way in a bloody civil war, but serve as a referendum on the current White House failed policies and a call to more bi-lateralism. Lots of people are watching what the Democratic votes of Connecticut will do this week.

In 1968, a relatively unknown Senator from Minnesota decided to run against Lyndon Johnson for his second term. New Hampshire was the first primary of the season. "When McCarthy scored 42% to Johnson's 49% on March 12, it was clear that deep division existed among Democrats on the war issue. By this time, Johnson had become inextricably defined by Vietnam, and this demonstration of divided support within his party meant his reelection (only four years after winning the highest percentage of the popular vote in modern history) was unlikely. On March 31, Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection." (From Wikipedia). That anti-war vote, helped by many anti-war activists that went to the state, changed the political scene that year. I will never forget the shock when LBJ announced 19 days after the primary that he would not seek re-election. That changed everything for politics that year.

Is something like that sea-change about to begin this week?

See Articles
LA Times: Lamont went from Zero to Favorite in Seven Months.
Chicago Sun Times: Pro-War Stance Hurts Lieberman
Guardian Unlimited: Democrats who oppose illegal wars and torture want to reclaim the party
Washington Post: Connecticut Democrats lose faith in Lieberman.
Connecticut Post: The kiss that spread democracy
NY Times: Lieberman Explains Iraq War Stance in Speech

Friday, August 04, 2006

Murtha's Mind: Truth on the Iraqi war. . .

Murtha's Mind: Congress's Defense Expert Tells the Truth on Iraq
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Editorial

Friday 04 August 2006

Rep. John Murtha is a person who knows Washington, the military and America - and who, at 74, after 32 years in Congress, is prepared to speak out on these subjects, no matter what the political cost.

He met with the Post-Gazette Editorial Board Tuesday to discuss a range of issues at comfortable length.

The Democrat from Johnstown recently attracted considerable attention, and the wrath of the Bush administration, by expressing the opinion that it is past time to put forward a plan for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. He bases this assessment on his reading not just of the situation there, but also of the state of the U.S. military nearly 31/2 years after the invasion. Mr. Murtha is in an especially good position to make such a judgment based on his distinguished service as a Marine and on his many years with the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

He is so close to members of the military at different levels that he is considered by some to virtually speak for the U.S. military in the Congress. He considers the services now to have been so run down by the exigencies of the Iraq war that their condition represents a danger for the United States. According to him, the U.S. military in effect has no strategic reserve at this point, in personnel or equipment. He cites also the nearly 2,600 dead, the estimated 20,000 seriously wounded and the some 100,000 returnees suffering from post-traumatic stress.

On the question of U.S. leadership, he declines to speak out personally against President Bush, in spite of the slime being loosed on the congressman - some of it in Johnstown yesterday - by critics reminiscent of the "Swift boat" attacks against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 campaign.

What Rep. Murtha does say is that he can't assess Mr. Bush because he doesn't know him. It is, of course, remarkable that this president never reached out to Mr. Murtha in Washington, given the congressman's rich, relevant experience. Mr. Murtha said Mr. Bush simply does not understand the limits of military power.

Rep. Murtha expressed concern at the budget deficit, at what he estimates to be the $8 billion being spent monthly on the war, and his belief that even if the war were being ended and its cost reduced, the Congress would find other ways to spend the so-called "peace dividend" rather than taking on the vital task of rebuilding the degraded U.S. military.

His prescription for mending America and its military is what he calls "a change of direction," by which he means a change of leaders as well as policy. He believes the route to that change is by making the Bush administration accountable at the ballot box for what it has done.

In June, Rep. Murtha said that he will run for majority leader if the Democrats win control of the chamber in November; then days later he suspended his quest. Whether this is a real ambition on his part or simply a means to focus more public and party leadership attention on his view of Iraq remains to be seen.

In any case, this is a wise man, whose judgments are built on experience and whose opinions are very much to the point and worthy of attention and respect.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What do you believe?

A woman called the other day to ask about my ministry.
Note: I am a minister with a small wedding chapel.
After asking the name of my church, she asked,
“Do you believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, our Lord
and Savior?”
“I am sorry you asked me that,” I said. “You are checking me out.”
“Yes, I am checking you out. Why are you sorry?”
“Because what you just did does not come from Jesus.”
“What do you mean?”
“Jesus nowhere in the gospel says you should judge others by
WHAT they believe.”
“I believe he does. Faith is all important!”
“You will not find that in the gospel. May I ask YOU a question?”
“Okay,: she said, after a pause.
“Where does your faith come from?”
“Whaddya mean, where does it come from?”
“Is it something you deserve or earned?”
“Well, no.”
“Is it something you reasoned to or achieved by yourself?”
“Well, no.”
“Does it come from God?”
“Of course!”
“Is it a gift of God? Something you could not obtain on your own
“Well, yes.”
“Well, are you taking a gift of God and judging me by God’s gift, which
you could not earn or deserve?”
“So? I think I have the right to do that. We Christians have the right
and responsibility to judge others.”
“Really? Where do you find that in the Bible?”
“Lots of places. I will look it up and tell you.”
“Please do. Now if you really wanted to know whether or not I am a follower
of Jesus, there is another question you could ask.”
“What is that?” She replied, now curious.
“What have you done lately out of love of God and love of neighbor?”
(Silence. In the pause I wondered if this was the “teachable moment?” Then I thought “Risk it, only God knows.”)
I continued, “ Did Jesus say we are to be judged by HOW we behaved, how we love?
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Did he say we will be judged by how we treat the least of our brethren.”
“Who are the least of YOUR brethren?” she asked. I thought I detected a note of sarcasm.
“Well, I am sure you know the passage.”
“Well (pause) which passage?”
“Please look up the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 36 and following.”
“What is there?” She asked.
“This is where the Lord of heaven tells us how he will separate the sheep from the goats.”
“Of course I know that passage!” She added quickly. “Thank you for your LESSON!” Now there was a definite note of hostility.
“I said, “You are welcome! God bless you.”
She hung up.