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Showing posts from May, 2018

Is the multiverse theory an explanation for Donald Trump?

One of Stephen King's books features a two-headed parrot who lives in the realm King calls "The Territories" named Sacred and Profane. One head constantly quotes Scripture; the other cusses up a blue streak.

Perhaps he should have called the eclectic Eclectus "Donald Trump." There is, after all, no necessary relationship whatsoever between what Mr. Trump says here, and what he says there, and between anything at all that he says and the real world.

Despite twice asserting that he fired James Comey over the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia, and Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani specifically saying that the issue was Comey's refusal to publicly state that Mr. Trump was not a target of the FBI's investigation into the matter, the president now says that it wasn't the reason for his firing Comey after all.

Giuliani terms the investigation "a witch hunt" which "should never have happened at all."…

I never thought I'd feel sorry for Jeff Sessions

Donald Trump is not a very good manager. Literally, every company he has ever run has gone bankrupt. He made his money investing in real estate, despite his self-promotion as a "deal maker," and a good manager doesn't indulge Mr. Trump's penchant for publicly humiliating and undermining his subordinates.

He did it again today. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had the integrity and the faithfulness to his oath of office to recuse himself from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign and administration. No other remotely ethical choice was open to him.

But today, Mr. Trump issued the following two tweets:

....There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!” And I wish I did! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018

....chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office, I would be frustr…

Never mind. Arkady Babchenko is alive!

Remember that anti-Putin journalist whom  I blogged yesterday had been murdered? Well, he turned up today at a press conference in Kiev.

It seems that Ukranian authorities had gotten wind of a plot to kill Arkady Babchenko, and faked his murder as part of a "sting" operation to draw out Russian agents in their midst. Apparently, it worked; an arrest has been made, and Babchenko has apologized to his "widow," who apparently wasn't in on a plan which had been in preparation for months.

While I regret blogging "fake news," it was in a good cause. Anything that curtails the FSB's global reign of terror on Russian dissidents is finally a good thing, even if it makes me look bad.

I do feel sorry for Mrs. Babchenko, though. For the would-be assassin? Not so much.

Although if he had succeeded, he no doubt would have turned out to have "mental issues."

Another Putin critic is killed by someone with 'mental health issues'

If you're a Russian, opposing Vladimir Putin just isn't healthy.

Another Kremlin critic has found that out the hard way. Journalist Arkady Babchenko moved to Kiev because he was receiving death threats. There, he continued to do stories critical of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. His wife found him bleeding from a gunshot wound in their apartment. He died on the way to the hospital. The local police do not hesitate to ascribe the murder to political motives.

Russian television journalist  Tatiana Felgengauer survived a knife attack a few months ago. The government said that the attacker had mental health issues. Being attacked by people with mental health issues is apparently an occupational hazard for Russian journalists critical of the Putin regime; another anchor at Felgenganer's station quit recently after having it happen several times.

Graphic by DonkeyHotey

(NOTE: See my next post!)

This is the President's Memorial Day tweet. Read it and weep.

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2018

Aside from pointing out that it was his predecessor who is responsible for the condition of the economy, which was growing at a faster rate, and unemployment declining at a faster rate, on the day he left office than it is today, I need only point out that it is unseemly for any president or any politician to use Memorial Day as an excuse to engage in partisan self-congratulation. And it's even more inappropriate for a living man who did not serve in the military to try to make Memorial Day about himself.

Narcissism has no bounds, it seems. Sir, you are a disgrace to your office and your country. Have you no shame at all?

Thoughts about Memorial Day from a sometime preacher

Memorial Day is one of those occasions which make anything one says about them seem trite.

We take our freedom for granted and are sometimes willing to treat the values for which the heroes of our nation died as less than sacrosanct for the sake of winning a political argument. We might not be so eager to shut the other fellow down or limit her freedom to express disagreement with us if we remembered the price that has been paid to obtain and maintain that freedom.

Thomas Jefferson- who was anything but a Christian- nevertheless realized that there are only two alternatives when it comes to human freedom. It's a point which we are in dire jeopardy of forgetting in this increasingly secular age. Yes, those who have died in defense of our nation and of our Constitution died, among other things, for the right of each of us to believe as our consciences dictate regarding God and ultimate things- and that includes the right of outright disbelief. Yet Jefferson understood that either h…

St. Patrick has lost, and the snakes have won

There never were any snakes in Ireland. For whatever reason, the Isle of Saints and Poets was never home to those fascinating and misunderstood creatures of God. The legend of St. Patrick- the missionary who brought Christianity to Ireland- driving the snakes out of Ireland is generally understood to be a metaphor for Christianity banishing the pagan values and mores of its past and their replacement with those of Christ.

Alas, the snakes are back, and their invasion seems to have been successful. 68% of the Irish electorate appears to have voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, paving the way for the legalization of abortion.

The leading snake, of course, is the one that tempted Adam and Eve in the garden.

The wave of neo-paganism and pagan values which has been spreading across the Western world like a tsunami of darkness for decades has long since reached Ireland, too. I doubt that anyone is surprised by this outcome. The neo-pagans themselves like to pret…

This got old back in 2016

At the Naval Academy graduation ceremony, President Trump said, “We have now the lowest number of ships that we’ve had since World War I, and very soon you’re going to get to 355 beautiful ships. 355. That’s almost a couple of hundred more ships.”

In fact, the Navy has 283 ships at the moment, The Navy plans to reach the 355-ship mark in 2030 at the earliest, but probably not before 2050.

POTUS also claimed, " “Going to have new equipment and well-deserved pay raises. We just got you a big pay raise. First time in 10 years. We got you a big pay increase. First time in over 10 years. I fought for you. That was the hardest one to get, but you never had a chance of losing.”

In fact, the members of our military have gotten pay raises each of the past 10 years. This year's increase is 2.6 percent; several in the past 10 years have been more. The ones in 2008, 2009, and 2010 were all 3.4 percent or more.

Mr. Trump's ongoing reign of error has always raised the question of wheth…

President Trump pulls off a slick one

President Trump and his supporters made a great deal of the apparent change (which appears not to have been a change at all) in the attitude of North Korea toward constructive engagement with South Korea and the United States. As I pointed out at the time, North Korea has a history of playing Lucy to America's Charlie Brown when it comes to kicking the football of improved relations, and the time to brag would be when the summit actually took place- and really, only afterward, if and when it actually achieved anything.

Well, Mr.Trump has canceled the Singapore summit due to another North Korean tantrum. 

I do not say that he should not have done so. Not at all. But I do observe that this saves him from the embarrassment of a summit which doesn't accomplish anything, which was the most likely outcome.

I also observe that this outcome nevertheless allows the administration to continue to treat the temporary thaw as a substantive achievement and that based on the history of our …

'This is embarrassing.'

Trump supporters I know pooh-pooh my concerns- and those of many Americans- over the president's mental health. Narcissism and pathological lying are manifest symptoms one does not need a degree in psychology to notice in Mr. Trump's behavior. But that's not the most worrisome issue.

Much of what Mr. Trump says is not only contrary to fact but downright irrational. But that does not stop the most gullible among his supporters from believing every word he says, however crazy.  Some claim that he's simply engaging in over-the-top rhetoric and exaggeration.  I'm not sure his well-established habit of making ludicrous charges, unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, against anyone he finds to be a useful target can be that easily excused or defended But there's a more frightening possibility: what if he actually believes the crazy things he says?

What if he's actively delusional? 

The thought that the President of the United States might be literally paranoid i…

The Senate grants the Internet a reprieve, but it still faces ruin in the House

The Senate has voted 52-47 to overturn the FCC's decision to enable ISP's and search engines to turn the Internet into a mechanism of thought control or an arena for payoffs by giving preferential treatment to some users and websites rather than others.

The House is expected to sustain the FCC's odious decision, however. Both of my senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, have enjoyed my strong support before. Neither has had the courage to stand up to the current occupant of the Oval Office, and both voted against keeping the internet free of such manipulation today.

Neither improved the prospect of my voting for them again by doing so. Given the degree to which they have supported President Trump, my working for their re-election was already off the table.

I had planned not to bother voting in November. I believe that the Republican party needs to be punished for its embrace of Trump, but I am no fan of the left-wing nuttiness of the Democrats, either. However, should my…

If Kasich runs in 2020, it must be as an independent

Ohio Gov. Kasich says that "all his options are on the table" in 2020.  As I noted recently, his statement that "the Republican party has left him" seems to strongly hint that Kasich- who is term-limited, though still very popular in Ohio- would run as an independent, But, he's been sounding out GOP donors about the possibility of challenging President Trump for the Republican nomination instead.

That would be a huge mistake.

Something like 85% of rank-and-file Republicans support Mr. Trump. Yes, the party of Lincoln has become that contaminated by everything Lincoln opposed. Even if the Mueller investigation (which the overwhelming majority of Americans support, despite the scorn of most Republicans) goes bad for the president in a big way, or if the expected Democratic landslide this November is disastrous enough for Republicans to start looking for options to Mr. Trump, the Republican party has changed. Like the Democratic party, its center- Kasich's na…

This is a thing

No matter how it was accomplished, or why it was done, the release of three Americans who have been held captive in North Korea differs from the other "accomplishments" Trump supporters brag about in one significant respect: it took place in the real world rather than in their imaginations.

This is a good thing, and the Trumpers can boast about it legitimately. For a change.

As to what actually will change as a result of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit (assuming that it actually happens, which I don't, necessarily), I remain skeptical. Perhaps the two zanies will actually produce results from their meeting, though the history of peace negotiations with the Hermit Kingdom is not encouraging, and the fact that they are being conducted by the most naive president in recent history promises a great deal more in the area of glitz, publicity, and personal glorification of the two egotistical prima donnas involved than actual consequences.

When the North Korean nuclear program a…

Good call, Governor Kasich

Whether he has a Democrat (or former Democrat) as his running mate or not, it certainly looks like a certain relatively popular outgoing Republican governor of Ohio is seriously considering running for president as an independent national unity candidate in 2020.

John Kasich, who was re-elected four years ago by thirty points, leaves little doubt that he is joining me and many others in the ranks of former Republicans.

Kasich ran for the Republican nomination in 2000 against George W. Bush, John McCain, Steve Forbes, and others. He ran again in 2016 as the nice, reasonable guy in a year in which Republican voters were looking for an unreasonable and preferably irrational jerk. They found him, and Kasich has been one of the relatively few Republicans who has refused to buy into the Trumpist lunacy.

But now it seems that he's leaving the party which can never again claim the heritage of Abraham Lincoln behind him.  Good. The GOP has disgraced itself, and I expect people of principl…

The LGBTQ movement's Humpty Dumpty syndrome

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all." --Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass President Trump has frightened the cultural left by saying that he will "always defend religious freedom." Predictably, it has responded by accusing the cultural right of redefining religious freedom to justify discrimination and impose their beliefs on others. It does this as part of its ongoing effort to redefine discrimination in order to restrict religious freedom and impose their beliefs on others.

It is certainly possible to discriminate against people of a given sexual orientation, just as it is possible to discriminate against people of any other ontological characteri…

The culture war may be lost, but the Resistance continues the fight

It has been common among conservatives for several years now to say that the culture war is over and that we have lost. The "Benedict Option-" the idea of Christians and others who share traditional Judeo-Christian ethical values partially withdrawing from society and creating within it a subculture which keeps the flame burning much as St. Benedict's monastic order did a millennium ago- is gaining favor, especially given the degree to which so many conservative Catholics and Evangelicals have had their moral compasses broken by Donald Trump and ceased thereby to be credible representatives of traditional Christian ethics.

But the battle goes on in some circles. One of those circles is the Iowa Legislature, which has passed and sent to Gov. Kim Reynolds a bill banning most abortions (exceptions would be made in some cases of rape and incest, and when the mother's life is in danger) after a heartbeat is detectable, which is usually at about six weeks. Opponents of th…

Now that I've heard Google's side, I guess this blog WON'T have to move after all

I owe Google an apology. Yes, you can use Google and Gmail and all the other services with a good conscience after all. Google does NOT discriminate against Christianity.

There seems to have been a misunderstanding when it came to its decision to decline certain ads from Concordia Publishing House. I don't know whether CPH administrator Bruce Kintz has revised his initial position, but Google has only refused business from CPH for one particular type of ad- and for a very good reason. Given CPH's publicly expressed attitude toward confidentiality, I suspect that upon reflection it might even agree with Google.

What Google actually refused to do was to accept CPH business for its retargeting ads, which take information from a site you visit and displays ads for those items on subsequent sites you visit. Now, imagine that you are a person in a Muslim country who is considering converting to Christianity and who reads about Luther's Small Catechism on the CPH site. In your co…