Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Everything in the title of this post is false

Donald Trump has been called a populist, a fascist, an egotist, and all sorts of other things. But Victor Davis Hanson thinks he's really a post-modern nihilist.

I like it. Trump's views are all over the place and make absolutely no sense. And it's inexplicable how anyone with a mind could vote for him.

Post-modern nihilist It fits. When Jeb Bush called him a "chaos candidate," he was right on target.

Diversity, leftist-style

The LGBT  movement is all about diversity- as long as you agree with them on absolutely everything, and not a moment longer.

They're "liberals," you see. They believe that only those who agree with them have rights.

Monday, May 2, 2016

And by the way...


A question


Curt Schilling is non-person, comrade. Long live glorious ESPN!

And speaking of fascism, mind control, and all that good stuff, ESPN- which recently fired Curt Schilling as a commentator for observing that there are no urinals in women's restrooms- has edited Schilling out of a "30 for 30" documentary about the 2004 World Champion Red Sox.

This has passed from the realm of heavy-handed, intolerant political correctness into that of the utterly bizarre. Babe Ruth was an alcoholic. Ty Cobb used to go wild with rage, and once leaped into the stands and beat up a wheelchair-bound fan who had been tormenting him. The 1919 White Sox colluded with gamblers and threw the World Series. Pete Rose bet on baseball games in which his own team was participating. The list of reckless, irresponsible, immoral, and downright reprehensible things major league baseball players have done without being made into nonpersons by ESPN is longer than a 40-inning ballgame. And Schilling is edited out of a documentary about an event in which he played a key role because he thinks that men shouldn't be allowed to do their business in the ladies' room?

Tellingly, the Washington Post doesn't think ESPN's reprehensible behavior is the story. It thinks that Schilling's reaction to it is!

What is happening to this country, anyway? I think it's time ESPN was added to Target and Mozilla in the conservative "do not go" zone.

The politicization of baseball history is beyond inexcusable. It is beyond reprehensible.

Ir is absolutely un-American.

A timely, cautionary tale

Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, here presents us with a review of Volker Ullrich's book Hitler: The Ascent. It examines the qualities of Hitler's personality and the condition of the German soul which facilitated the rise of the Third Reich and made its horrors possible.

Populism and xenophobic paranoia make a powerful and volatile  combination. While again, I do not foresee Donald Trump sending illegal aliens or Muslims to death camps, the parallels with the rise of Donald Trump do not escape Williams.

Nor, of course, is America the only place where demagogic figures have arisen to exploit the resentment and fears of the citizens of a Western democracy. France has been plagued by the Le Pens for decades. While the trauma of having lived the nightmare serves to insulate Germany somewhat, every so often we read once again of a revival of the same toxic mentality, especially in view of the Merkel government's inability to deal with the refugee crisis in a way which ensures the safety of everyday German citizens. In fact, the resentment against immigrants- legal or not- is a largely universal phenomenon in Western societies these days, and to various degrees, most of the Western democracies have been affected by the same forces which gave rise to Hitler in the '30's and Trump in contemporary America.

The story of Hitler's rise is a salutary warning, and it comes at an opportune time. Now America is experiencing the rise of a movement of angry people fearful of outsiders and interested less in ideas, finally, than action. Now it is we who seem ripe for a demagogic leader to exploit those impulses for his own dubious ends.

When I was in seminary one of my professors, Durwood "Bud" Buchheim- the man, in fact, who ordained me- had us read a book by William Sheridan Allen called The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1922-1945. It took a single North German town, called by the pseudonym "Nordheim," and examined how a village of decent Lutheran townsfolk was seduced by the appeal of the very forces Ullrich describes. It was chilling not mainly because of the evil of the Nazis recounted in the story, but rather because of the susceptibility of the normal people very much like you and me to seduction by a monster.

Both Ullrich's book and Allen's warn us that yes, it can happen here. A hopefully less virulent strain of that same virus has infected the entire Western world, and most recently the United States itself. I am confident that Donald Trump's rise to power in a Republican party willing to sell out its most sacred principles for the sake of an opportunity to vent the fear and rage of its rank and file will be stopped cold by a broader electorate which, even when presented with an extremely unattractive alternative, will recognize the danger in time. But somehow, I can't help but think of the pungent but haunting final words of Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, a satirical allegory retelling the story of Hitler's rise to power as that of a Chicago mobster of the same era:

If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We'd see the horror in the heart of farce.
If we could only act instead of talking,
We wouldn't always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered.
Don't rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world rose up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

HT: Real Clear World

Sunday, May 1, 2016

By his fruits shall you know Donald Trump

I'm not going to get sanctimonious about the professing Christians (or even professing atheists) quoted in this article. For one thing, I'm a good enough exegete not to commit the common blunder of extracting Matthew 7:16 from its context, Matthew 7:15-20. When Jesus says, "You shall know them by their fruits," He is not talking about believers, but false prophets.

Besides, I'm a doctrinally sound enough Lutheran to know that even believers are simul justus et peccator- at the same time saints and sinners. The war between the Old Self and the New is what the baptismal lifestyle is all about. Sometimes the Old Self gets the upper hand. I myself in this blog am sometimes...shall we say.... more emphatic in my criticisms of others than I should be, and I've been known to transgress the boundary between good and bad taste. So I'm not in a position to judge. I'm just a forgiven sinner, living by grace, struggling day by day to thrust the Old Self beneath the waters of my baptism and drown him so that the New Self can daily rise again.

No, I'm not going to judge the liberals and Trumpista Christians quoted therein. The bad language I do not condone, but am not in a position to criticize too loudly. Nor am I exactly in the best position to sit in judgment on their failures of charity.

But consider this remarkable quotation from a YouTube comment on a video critical of Trump:

You are a f---ing idiot!!!!! Trump will win POTUS and when he DOES and he makes this country great again by getting back ALL THAT WAS STOLEN FROM HER, I am going to laugh in your face, and say, 'YOU WERE WRONG AND NEED TO SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE MOUTH!' You are a deceiver and you are leading Christians down a road of utter SUFFERING for speaking against God's ANNOINTED (sic) ONE WHOM HE HAS CHOSEN AND THAT IS TRUMP! You should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF. Funny how you could not back one thing that came out of your lying mouth with scripture! READ YOUR BIBLE YOU WICKED PLOTTING POS! And I don't care that I cuss at you because I was made this way, and I KNOW who I AM in The Lord Jesus Christ!!!! You will be held accountable on the day of the great white throne judgment and you will have God asking you, 'Why have you led my sheep astray!?' Good luck on THAT DAY, because YOU are going to NEED IT, May God have mercy on you!! Bring on the backlash for my comment. Anyone that gives me crap for this comment, your part of this world's PROBLEM and know NOTHING! I am confident in what I say here and I will risk it for the sake of the Saints who are true Saints and are WAKING UP!! Like I said before, may the Lord have mercy on you. You deserve what's coming to you for spreading lies about God's ANNOINTED (sic) one Donald J. Trump

Wow. Just... wow. This goes beyond bad language. This goes beyond intemperate rhetoric. This goes beyond a mere failure in charity. This goes beyond bearing false witness. In the first place, on what possible basis can a man who by his own admission doesn't ask God for forgiveness, who is so unfamiliar with the Bible that he speaks of "Two Corinthians," who says that his favorite Bible passage is "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," and who is a habitual slanderer and liar as well as an unrepentant serial adulterer qualify as "God's anointed?" Yes, I know. The Bible uses that word to describe King Cyrus, who, while not an Israelite, did fulfill a specific prophecy (it even called him by name) and ordered an end to the exile. But where is the Scripture predicting a wall on the border with Mexico, a reckless and inept foreign policy, religious discrimination against Muslims, and an outright attack on the Bill of Rights? And what divinely-stated purpose would all of this bring about?

But even the bizarre casting of The Donald in the role of a messiah (literally, "anointed one") on the basis of absolutely nothing in scripture or logic whatsoever doesn't begin to touch my concern about the person who wrote this post. Not even my puzzlement as to what, in al that Donald Trump is or has said and done she thinks on any sound biblical basis is remotely pleasing to God plumbs the depths of my concern, though I continue to be bewildered as to how anyone claiming to be a Christian even can support a candidate so lacking in anything that might recommend him to a believer in a righteous God.

No, what really concerns me is a pattern I see in the rhetoric of Trump himself, but even more in that of his followers- including those who claim to be Christians. They seem to have a remarkable fondness not for loving their enemies (or even mere opponents), but for threatening them.

It's obvious in The Donald's endless proclamation that those who disagree with him or oppose him had "better watch out." But it's remarkably consistent in the threats his supporters so habitually make a part of posts online supporting him that once Trump is elected (which, thank God, he never will be) those who oppose him are going to be sorry. I am disturbed when the political rhetoric of even a rank secularist evokes the midnight knock on the door by the secret police, or even the abuse of power to punish and discriminate against people on the basis of their honest beliefs. But when Voltaire's famous statement that "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it-" a fairly good motto for anyone supporting the values of the First Amendment- is turned on its head and becomes a predilection for threatening those who disagree with one with dire consequences once one's own side and comes to power, the result is something so un-American that it's hard to see how anybody with any commitment at all to the values of Jefferson and Madison and the other Founders could embrace it. But beyond that, it's difficult to see how anyone who claims to be a disciple of the One Who commands them to love their enemies and do good to those who persecute (as opposed to merely disagreeing with) them could either say such things or approve of those who do.

Yes, it's hard to understand why any professing Christian would support an apostle of hatred and fear and ignorance like Donald Trump. He is, in fact, the very kind of person Matthew 7:16 refers to. He is a false prophet.

But it's hard to see how anybody who follows Jesus could mistake the thorns he bears for fruit.

George Will is right: it's the duty of all good Republicans- and Americans- to stop Donald Trump

I never thought George Will would ever say this,  and I'm nearly as surprised to agree. But if Donald Trump is nominated at Cleveland, not only the good of the nation but the well-being and even the existence of the Republican party absolutely demand that the Republican nominee loses even to Hillary Clinton.

I could not bring myself to vote for abortion-supporting, gender-bending Hillary. But I- who according to the polls am among a larger percentage of Republicans who would refuse to vote for Trump in November than actually did vote for him in the primaries- certainly could not in conscience vote for a proto-fascist, globally incompetent, emotionally infantile con man like Donald Trump. If the GOP disgraces itself by nominating him, I don't see how I could ever again call myself a Republican.

The party needs to face this: 18% of Republicans actually say that they would vote or Hillary, and despite a the hand-wringing about what Trump's supporters would or would not do if somebody else is nominated, a greater percentage of the party would break off from it if he was. Besides everything else, a great many of us are not particularly appreciative of being actually threatened by Trump's supporters if we don't toe the line. And it's happening constantly. Social media are alive with threats by Trump supporters that if we oppose Trump once he's nominated we'd "better watch out" after he's elected.

There is no way this would be good for American even if Trump were remotely worthy to be president, and he's not.

The nomination of Donald Trump would be a betrayal of the Republican party's heritage on a scale that could probably never be and probably never should be forgiven. If Trump is the nominee, each of us will obviously have to follow our consciences as to what to do in November and in the interim. But I for one will consider it my patriotic duty to do everything short of voting for Hillary to keep him out of the White House. The damage his election would do to the country is even more worrying than the damage he would do to the party.

Fortunately, there's not a snowball's chance in the Democratic party of that happening. But I refuse to be an accomplice in even a failed attempt to elect America's first proto-fascist president.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan endorses Trump

Although some are quibbling about whether saying that he would do the best job as president is an endorsement (of course it is), the other shoe has finally dropped.

Despite demurring at the word "endorsement," the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan has given his blessing- if that term is appropriate for the demonic- to Donald Trump.

Now, I know that Trump can't help who his admirers are. But when a single candidate attracts the support of so many of these unsavory racist types, there's a reason.

The Wizard gives it: "A lot of what he believes, we believe."

Guys, this is getting awfully hard to rationalize. The Republican party- the party of Lincoln and Harriet Tubman- cannot nominate this turkey!

Hubris...

thy name is Trump.

Il Duce
thinks he can win without the party unity he has probably shattered forever.

He's wrong.

The Screwtape Letters: The Play

C.S. Lewis's masterpiece adapted for the stage!

The audio isn't great at the beginning (though it quickly improves) and the English accents don't help.

You know, after having to use "inclusive language" for God in seminary, I always wondered why Old Scratch was still male. Though the thought probably comes from Screwtape, I have to chuckle a bit at the fact that he's played in this production by a woman!

Enjoy.



Or, if you prefer to listen to John Cleese read the book, you can do so here.

Trumpbots' likely response to Trump's obliteration in November: blame those who tried to stop it!

Somewhere in their heart of hearts, even the Trumpbots know that The Donald is headed for electoral disaster in the Fall.

I asked a while back how they would react when, inevitably, it happens.The likely answer is becoming clearer: by blaming us Never Trumpers for not supporting a candidate we despise, who stands for everything we hate, and whom our consciences simply will not let us support.

That this makes absolutely no sense doesn't matter. But supporting Trump in the first place makes absolutely no sense. Irrational people tend to be irrational, after all.

And of course, none of the blame attaches to those to caused the nomination of an unqualified, mentally unstable and unelectable clown a large part of whose party could not in goog conscience vote for him.

Jonah Goldberg's gloss on all this is, of course, right on target. And so is this article by Ian Tuttle to which he links. In fact, I think it's the most lucid and logical explanation of the inherently irrational phenomenon of Donald Trump I've ever seen. Actually, it's the ONLY such explanation I've ever seen, other than the ugly possibility that I've been looking for an excuse to resist that a plurality of Republican voters consists either blithering idiots or fascist scum, or both.

This isn't about winning. Trumpbots,for the most part, are perfectly willing that the Supreme Court and the Constitution go to hell. They're perfectly willing that Hillary should win, with all that would imply. Or at least those things don't get in the way of their real agenda.

It's all about revenge. It's all about "making heads roll." It's all about "getting even." It's a motif so prominent in the Trump campaign that it's hard to miss. It explains the intolerance of dissent. It explains the assaults on protesters and others. It explains the authoritarian if not totalitarian flavor the whole campaign has.

And when, because of their own blunder, Trump goes down to defeat, they will not blame themselves for acting stupidly in supporting them.

They will blame the same people whom they beat up. They will blame the same people they seem to be filled with such a thirst for vengeance against, They will blame those with whom they are angry. It's what they do. It's what defines them. It's' what both Trump's campaign and its ugly appeal are finally all about.

This is the Kingdom of the Left Hand, so I will respond in Law rather than Gospel terms: they are right about one thing: the guillotine does need to come out after the election. But the guest of honor needs to be those who supported Trump and are unwilling to recognize their mistake. It's the only decent people will ever be able to call themselves Republicans again without feeling like they should take a shower.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

What Trump did right and Cruz did wrong

interesting article by William Kristol on why Il Duce succeeded in harvesting all that anger among the rank-and-file while Ted Cruz did not.

I think he left out one thing: Cruz is deeply disliked by his colleagues in the Senate and an awful lot of other Republicans. Not that Trump is liked. Rather my point is that Cruz's traditional, by-the-numbers campaign had an additional disadvantage Kristol doesn't mention: the candidate.

Graphic by DonkeyHotey

Ok. This isn't hard, people

No, Donald Trump is not entitled to receive the Republican presidential nomination- until and unless he receives the votes of 1,237 delegates. Those are the rules.

Ben Shapiro herein simply, carefully, and patiently explains why no, just because Donald Trump has gotten more primary votes than anyone else, that doesn't make his nomination "the will of the people," why democracy does not demand that the convention in Cleveland nominate him, and while if he doesn't have the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination in Cleveland the convention should feel perfectly free to nominate somebody else.



There is nothing less fair than to change the rules in the middle of the game so that you win.

Any questions?

Boycotting Target is complicated

I am one of those who doesn't intend to shop at Target again until the store provides restroom access for people uncomfortable with sharing such facilities with folks of the opposite biological gender. Notice that I did not say that I am opposed to bathrooms which may be used by people of either gender, whatever label they choose to wear. But those who are understandably uncomfortable with such an arrangement should have an option.

But while many people are unaware of it, there's another boycott of Target going on. It seems that Target has contributed to candidates who support traditional marriage. Horrors! So the bigots on the other side of the gender-bending divide are already boycotting the store social conservatives are now boycotting.

This is getting confusing. If it produces a certain amount of ambivalence where Target is concerned among those of us who oppose marriage re-definition on one hand but also think that women who are not comfortable with sharing a toilet facilities with biological males on the other, I guess it shouldn't be surprising. I certainly feel conflicted.

I guess all we can do is fight one battle at a time. If Target will reconsider its crazy new mandatory unisex bathroom policy- which now becomes a bit more understandable as a means by which to appease the social left- perhaps we ought to go out of the way to shop there, at Best Buy, and at other stores which have hitherto done nothing more heinous than support the most basic institution of human society from politically correct mutilation.

But first, Target, let your female customers take care of their bodily functions in peace. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Donald's Trump's Greatest Hits


I simply don't understand people who vote for this guy. Surely anybody who has even paid attention knows that he's totally ignorant about stuff high school kids need to know in order to pass civics class and couldn't even pass the test to become a U.S. citizen. He has no idea what judges do, or what the Bill of Rights is all about. He's probably the biggest hypocrite to run for president in my lifetime, an emotional infant, a pathological liar, a narcissist, and in general the northernmost end of a southbound horse.

This is the second time today I've ha to apologize for the language in a video, and this time, I can't blame the liberals. But this stuff needs to be out there. Nobody should be able to plead ignorance. I mean, guys, ...  see the picture above. Putting this guy's finger on the button is a hell of a way to vent your anger.

 People need to have their faces rubbed in the truth about this jerk before it's too late. The stakes are....dare I say it? Yuuuuuge.

The Great Divider

The damage Donald Trump has done to the Republican party, to the electoral process, and potentially to the nation is incalculable.

At a time when we desperately lead a uniter to lead a nation already at war with itself, Trump himself has become the source of a new division so deep that it may never be bridged.

Fredrick Buechner once defined lust as "the craving of a man dying of thirst in the desert for salt." There's a deep perversity in human nature, a brokenness the Faith calls "original sin."  Anybody who doubts it needs only to look at the condition of or society and our culture and reflect that at this moment in history the front-runner of our of our great political parties is Donald Trump, and the other is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

We really like our salt, it seems

Odd.

I just got an email from Ted Cruz announcing that if he's nominated Carly Fiorina will be his running mate. Interesting choice, and I approve.

On the other hand, he explained that he was letting me know before the official announcement because I was "one of his earliest and most important supporters." Odd, since although I would vote for him over Hillary and have made no secret of the fact that I prefer him to Trump, I have never supported Cruz and in fact don't like him very much. Further, I think he has only a marginally better chance of beating Hillary than Trump has, and Trump has none at all.

Oh, well. It's nice to have my lukewarm and unwilling potential support appreciated. I guess.

Graphic by DonkeyHotey

A study in "progressive" tolerance

Please excuse the potty-mouthed progressives.

Laughing at liberals: usually the appropriate response

Please excuse the crudity of the last joke. But this video is too good not to share- and after all, despite the provocation, the guy behaved himself the rest of the time.