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Showing posts from September, 2017

The flag is more than a piece of cloth, and the anthem is more than a song

Trump supporters like to wear their patriotism on their sleeves. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that their patriotism, like President Trump's own, is often a hollow thing. It's what Samuel Johnson was talking about when, in the midst of an essay in praise of patriotism, he wrote that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

I heard a great deal about how much Mr. Trump loves his country during the last campaign. My response was always to point out that whether he loves it or not, he's the enemy of everything it stands for.  He goes on and on about how he'd like to restrict freedom of the press. He acts as if nobody has the right to disagree with or criticize him. His attitude toward minorities is appalling, and his commitment to equality before the law is at least suspect. He is a bully at the head of a nation founded on justice for the underdog. He has no concept whatsoever of what the Bill of Rights is about, and seems not to care.


A new symbol for Trump's Republicans?

The outrage of Trumpistas at Hillary Clinton's jaw-dropping negligence in using a hackable private email server for official business as Secretary of State knows no bounds. And that outrage is appropriate, as far as it goes-- though I have to shake my head over their lack of equal outrage over Mr. Trump's impulsive blurting of classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, compromising an Israeli intelligence asset in the process just so he could brag about how knowledgeable he is. Evidentally it doesn't matter to them that now our enemies and Israel's are knowledgeable about something both countries would have been better of if they didn't know.

Trumpistas are not big on irony, of course. And chances are they will find reasons why we shouldn't be concerned that no fewer than six of Trump's White House aides-  White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn, Advisor I…

A generation of fascists?

Liberals sure have changed.

Back in the '70's, Wright Junior College in Chicago sponsored a lecture by a well-known scientist who had said something controversial about race and intelligence. As I recall, it was essentially that while both whites and African-Americans could be seen at all locations on the bell curve of IQ, there was a higher proportion of whites at the high end and a higher proportion of African-Americans at the low end. It should be noted that he did not claim that therefore blacks were less intelligent than whites. In fact, those who argued that IQ tests were culturally biased in such a way that white students would do better on them than black students who were just as smart cited precisely the same data. My memory is that the lecturer took no position on the reason for the disparity. He seemed to me to be an incredibly naive academic who failed to foresee how volatile the data he had simply described would inevitably be. He just thought  that it was inter…

"The Handmaid's Tale" is stupid

No, Elizabeth Moss. Restricting the ability of American women to sentence their unborn children to death on a whim would not transform the United States into the misogynistic nightmare The Handmaid's Tale calls "the Republic of Gilead."

Neither Margaret Atwood's silly, paranoid tale about the Christians who are coming to get you or Hulu's adaptation of it is "timely" (Washington Post), "chillingly real" (San Francisco Chronicle), or  has any special "relevance to Trump's America" except insofar as through it the disconnect between reality and the lurid imaginations of the cultural left have demonstrated yet again that our delusional president isn't the only one who is bonkers.

No. The Christians are not out to get you. Not even the Fundamentalists. You could make a pretty good case that the "progressives" are, though.

If you go to a public university, you had better agree with the left or you will be in danger of n…

Worth a thousand words

The video below sums up the 45th President of the United States brilliantly.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey

'Frank, we're not having a very good day on Earth.'

Astronaut Frank Culbertson got that message when he contacted Houston with some data on the morning of September 11, 2001. The man on the ground explained what had happened. The International Space Station was over southern Canada at the time, so Culbertson went to a window in the Russian section of the station to take a look.

This is what he saw.

Along with President Kennedy's assassination and the Challenger tragedy, this is one of the events I will always remember the way my parents remembered Pearl Harbor. The moment I heard the news is indelibly etched on my mind. I was sleeping in that morning. I got a phone call from my wife. She simply said, "Turn the television on."

Years later, while living in the Washington, D.C. area, a heard the story of a co-worker of a college friend who lived not far from the Pentagon. When the first plane hit, he was getting ready for work. He realized that he was watching history, and decided to go in late that day.

He watched the seco…

Romney has a duty to run as an independent in 2020

There's talk of John Kasich challenging President Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. That may or may not happen, but the Republican rank-and-file right now is too crazy to turn their backs on Trump, and I don't see that changing. Their success in ignoring the evidence of his incompetence and emotional and intellectual unfitness for the White House convinces me beyond any doubt that the Republican party is done as a venue for the politics of sanity.

The Democratic party is just as bad. When Joe Biden is the most rational guy in the crowd- when a joke like Al Franken can even be seriously discussed- that pretty much tells you all you need to know. Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? More extremist nonsense. Same with less overtly reality-adverse residents of the Twilight Zone like Tim Kaine and Andrew Cuomo. We're not going to get common sense or sanity from the Democrats, either. From all appearances, 2020 will once again present voters with a choice between ratify…


I've just blocked a Facebook friend.

I didn't want to. But he gave me no choice.

Politics and Facebook is a volatile combination. But it's often possible to have a stimulating political discussion with somebody with whom you have nothing in common politically. I have friends on Facebook who are all over the political spectrum and with whom I disagree on just about every conceivable subject. In fact, I have founded a Facebook group dedicated to gathering such people together in one place where we can disagree, learn, enlighten one another, and remain friends despite our disagreements.

But that's hard to do these days. Mitt Romney said this to President Obama during the 2012 debates; I have no idea who said it originally. But no truer words were ever spoken: "You're entitled to your own opinion. But you're not entitled to your own facts."

Is it post-modernism, and its conviction that absolute truth is unknowable? Or is it simply the ongoing ghettoizatio…

This is just not the time

A rogue state headed by a nut case has successfully tested what is likely a thermonuclear device and is bragging that it is small enough to fit into the warhead of an existing ICBM, directly threatening the territory of both the United States and Australia, to say nothing of Japan.

Worse, it's the other country, besides the United States, with an infant as its head of state, and this infant has pretty much no checks on him. He has an entire country as his personal toy. A thermonuclear temper tantrum by Kim Sung Un is not a possibility we can permit.

But the problem doesn't stop there. If North Korea accumulates a sufficient arsenal of nuclear-tipped ICBMs- and given a relatively short length of time, it will- it becomes pretty much immune to even military countermeasures by the United States or anyone else no matter what crazy, aggressive thing Kim decides to do. It has a free hand not only with regard to South Korea but in all of Southeast Asia.

That leaves the President of t…

A third party President in 2020?

I had the pleasure of meeting Joel Searsby, the campaign manager for Evan McMullin last year, at an event for Evan here in Des Moines during the campaign. Here's an interview with Joel by Jon Ward of Yahoo News on the ways in which centrist French President Emmanuel Marcon's out-of-nowhere landslide election last year may serve as an example for the inevitable bid to elect a rational, moderate third party candidate in 2020.

I have a feeling that it will be Evan McMullin again. But names like John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham also keep popping up. Word is that Kasich may challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, an endeavor in which I'd wish him well but hold out very, very little hope for his success. I sadly expect that my conviction that the Republicans are dead as a vehicle for rationality and the reuniting of our fractured and divided country to be confirmed by the easy renomination of the most unfit and unqualified preside…

Donald Trump's rocky relationship with his baby sitter

Narcissistic bullies are not pleasant people. Having one as President of the United States is not an especially good idea, not only because of the way it's apt to warp policy in sadistic directions but because it makes it almost impossible to attract and keep top-notch people in the White House.

Not that Mr. Trump has hired that many of them. More alt-right goofs than top-notch people, it seems.

When POTUS fired Reince Priebus as chief of staff, though, he seems to have replaced him with one. On one hand, for the country's sake, it may be one of his best appointments. On the other hand, I don't think it's going to last.

Former Marine sergeants are not apt to take much guff from people who have as little business being their superiors as Donald Trump has being John Kelly's. When Mr. Trump went off on Gen. Kelly, the response of the latter seems to indicate that he may be one of the few people in the Administration with the gonads to stand up to the Bully-In-Chief.