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Showing posts from April, 2019

"Never Trumpers," don't make donkeys of yourselves

I don't visit Twitter very often. When I post something to this blog, I also post it to Twitter via Symphony. But my actual visits to the site are rare.

Yesterday I made an exception. I decided that I needed a new photo and header, and while I was there I spent considerable time in a conversation with my fellow "Never Trumpers," as well as your odd Democrat and Trump loyalist. And while I was there, I discovered something that startled me and which I find a bit concerning.

I have been operating on the assumption that opposition to the disastrous presidency of Donald Trump from conservatives and erstwhile Republicans in 2020 would take the form of a third-party candidacy, as it did in 2016. If you recall, Bill Kristol spent considerable time trying to find a traditional, decent conservative to run as a third-party candidate last time out when the erratic, authoritarian, extreme, self-obsessed, and wholly unacceptable Donald Trump unexpectedly became the Republican nomine…

The lion that mews

Donald Trump's supporters see him as a strong, bold, courageous leader who is sure of himself, a fearless leader blazing the way by strength of will and character toward the goal of Making America Great Again.

One of the more laughable images of the 2016 campaign (especially in the early stages, when it wasn't clear that he wouldn't be running as an independent in November rather than as the Republican nominee) was the symbol of the man as a red, white and blue stylized lion, drawn in the familiar style of the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.

But Donald Trump is no lion. Strong, secure men don't go out of their way to kick puppies. They don't bully the weak or feel compelled to lash out at the slightest criticism or disagreement. They have nothing to prove. But narcissists are not strong, secure men (or women). That's why they're narcissists. They are driven by the need to prove to everyone- but most of all, to themselves- what they so deeply…

These seem to me to be fair questions

President Trump has vowed to fight any attempt to impeach him by taking his case to the Supreme Court.

This is what Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution says about impeachment and the House of Representatives:

The House of Representatives shall (choose) their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

This is what Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution says about impeachment and the Senate:

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless …

Joe Biden would be Trump's worst nightmare

Our less-than-self-aware president claims not to be worried about Joe Biden as a potential opponent because he's a "low-IQ individual." What he really thinks is hard to say, but his aides encourage him to think that Biden would be an easy opponent.

What Republicans who remain in at least minimal contact with reality think seems to be another matter, though. They fear Biden- and are counting on him losing the nomination because he's not extreme enough.

Yes, Biden is gaffe-prone. And yes, he's facing a sort of scandal over his hugginess, which a handful of women have interpreted as sexual harassment. The trouble is that he's huggy and touchy with everybody, regardless of gender. It's his style and the way politicians of his generation often acted, and everybody knows it. Even the left seems, for the most part, to recognize that there's no sexual content here; that it's just Joe being Joe. As a result, the accusations are unlikely to have much of an…

The Mueller Report and the old razzle-dazzle

Donald Trump is a master of the razzle-dazzle. If enough misinformation is out there (eagerly believed, of course, by his base), the general public may become confused about the facts of a matter. It's a tried-and-true tactic and one which Mr. Trump employs like a master.

And that means that the rest of us are under an obligation to try to keep the facts straight. Chaos and confusion generally aid the guy Jeb Bush once called "the chaos candidate," and Mr. Trump's supporters are almost invariably folks who didn't pay much attention to his behavior before becoming a candidate or his antics since, and who are a bit fuzzy on the facts and choose to believe what conforms to their own prejudices.

That's a very human reaction which, at least to some extent, we all tend to share. But even so, Mr. Trump and Atty. Gen. Barr have spewed so much nonsense concerning the Mueller Report and what it does and doesn't say that it becomes hard to keep track. Fortunately, …

Is more than collusion, tovarich

As I've said before, even though I believe President Trump to be erratic, emotionally immature, and of worrisome psychological health (to say nothing of pathologically dishonest), and to enable and even symbolize the ugliest and most dangerous elements of the American body politic, I oppose his impeachment.

I understand that the Democrats are having that debate at this very moment. They're divided between the rabid partisans who simply want to "get" Donald Trump at almost any cost and the more thoughtful ones who realize that precisely because the president's base is so completely divorced from reality it would not accept any case made for the president's removal from office, however compelling. They would regard it as some sort of political conspiracy or as a rationale for a constitutionally-engineered coup.

Ours has been a deeply divided and polarized nation for quite a while now. Even though our political leaders and even the media are isolated at the ext…

Χριστός Ανέστη

Christ is risen!

Like all of Paul Gerhardt's hymns, this is sort of an "anti-praise song." It's steak and veggies, as opposed to the cotton candy that's so popular with many American Christians.

Substance is good. So is spiritual nutrition, as opposed to spiritual diabetes.

Portrait of a loose cannon

Yesterday I discussed the Mueller Report, and how even in the redacted version approved by Atty. Gen. Barr it is anything but an exoneration of President Trump. But there's another significant side to the report: the image it portrays of just how the country is being run these days.

"Sickening," is the way Mitt Romney describes it. The word I'd pick would be "predictable." Everything we've known about Donald Trump for decades has pointed to the kind of administration he's running, and anybody who bothered to do his or her homework knew exactly what to expect in what such people understandably thought to be the unlikely event of his election.

As Nial Stanage puts it in The Hill, 

The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay.

The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hypersensitive about an…

Islam, inclusiveness, and the Missouri Synod

Members of the denomination to which I belong, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, have a tendency to be politically and socially conservative. I have no problem with that; I tend to be socially conservative myself. I am also conservative on many political issues, as readers of this blog are well aware. And the conservatism of the LCMS in theological matters is one of the reasons why I belong to it.

I do not go to church in order to associate with people who resemble me in all respects; in fact, one of my fondest memories of confirmation class was our extremely conservative pastor (politically as well as theologically) telling us that the proper  state of affairs in a congregation was one in which Republicans and Democrats worshipped together, united by their religious convictions and clearly understanding them to transcend their political differences.

But while that may be the ideal, it's a hard one to maintain. Our politics tend to reflect our backgrounds and values. Diversity …

The Mueller Report is ANYTHING but an exoneration of Donald Fredovich

On one hand, the redacted Mueller Report doesn't tell us anything we don't know.

On the other hand, it documents some pretty disturbing stuff we already did know.

The president's supporters try to ignore this fact, trapped as they are in the Matrix of the artificial reality in which they live, but the Mueller probe didn't exactly come up empty. Not only did his investigation nab 12 Russian spies involved in the cyberattacks on the DNC and Clinton campaign (incredibly, the president and his supporters continued to insist that it "could have been anyone" long after the American intelligence community concluded that it was the Russians, even siding with Putin and the FSB over the FBI and CIA), but Paul Manafort, the president's campaign chairman was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for violating fiance laws. Among other things he lied to banks in order to get money to finance pro-Russian political activity in Ukraine.

A Manafort aide, Konstanti…