1/31/17

Trump's Terrorists


As we all know, Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis for having the effrontery to not put up with their shit. I guess you could say he was 'fired.'




This Syrian terrorist is clearly focused on destroying America.




That's a hard look. I'll wager she is totally committed to the destruction of the Christian church.











Clearly a 'fake news' photo from CNN.




That blood doesn't look real. Another CNN photo?




Another little moocher looking for a handout. Let the Saudis and the Arab Emirates take care of her.




Probably a staged shot, by one of the leftie libtard fake news sites.




We're safe from this one.




Syrian terrorist cell posing for pre-mission photo.




Syrian terrorists cross a stream, on their way to wreak havoc with Good Christians Everywhere.




1/30/17

"We have to buy more ammo ..."

And what the hell ... while we are on 'conspiracy theories,' why not take a read of this one.

Trial balloon for a coup?

We have to buy more ammo.

At least it has nothing to do with birth certificates. And no chimp memes, I promise you.

And in any case ... all the Trumpkins are wetting themselves because ... the 2nd Amendment is now 'protected.'

But remember ... "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

You have your guns only so long as Our Donnie doesn't feel they are a threat to him and his henchmen. So we all better start kissing his ass.

Rampant and widespread election fraud!

State rep Christina Ayala arrested on 19 voting fraud charges


This one is being held up as an example of the widespread and flagrant voter fraud that cost Our Donnie the popular vote.

The logic behind that is faulty; it has enough holes in it through which to drive the proverbial Mack truck.

First ... no reputable source has claimed there is no voter fraud. However, 'voter fraud' as it now stands is statistically insignificant. There really is no Grand Conspiracy involving thousands of county clerks, election marshals, bi-partisan/non-partisan election observers, and those who investigate allegations of voter fraud.

Second ... there has been no reputable source that confirms 'widespread voter fraud.' I'm sorry to have to break it to the Trumpkins, but Our Donnie is not a reputable source.

To repeat: ... 'voter fraud' as it now stands is statistically negligible. There really is no Grand Conspiracy involving thousands of county clerks, election marshals, bi-partisan/non-partisan election observers, and those who investigate allegations of voter fraud. That's what it would take to make Our Donnie's fantasy come true.

Third ... this Ayala person clearly committed voter fraud. But ... she got caught. Isn't that what is supposed to happen, when criminals commit crimes?

Substitute 'voter fraud' for any other crime -

Joe Dirtbag got caught breaking into Babs Whitemeat's house and stealing her plastic Obama statue. Therefore, burglaries in general, and specifically burglaries involving the theft of plastic Obama statues, are widespread.

That's the Trumpkin logic.

Never mind both criminals getting caught. That distracts from the hysteria.

Trumpkin logic

Oh, here's another one!

Heroin ringleader arrested in Florida is an illegal immigrant on food stamps

What conclusion are we to draw from this? Oh! All illegal immigrants are committing welfare fraud and dealing heroin! Of course!

Never mind that this criminal got caught. Isn't that what is supposed to happen, when criminals commit crimes?

Meanwhile ...

Immigration myths

You don't have to believe CNN, which is, as we all know, a 'fake news' site. Do your own research. Try to avoid the more rabid rightwing sites, however. They tend to be even more divorced from reality than the more rabid leftwing sites

"Know-Nothing" politics


I've referenced the 'Know-Nothing Party' before.

I've referenced it because there is little difference in mindset and goals between the old Know-Nothings and today's Republican Party generally, and the Trumpkins specifically.

And now, The Guardian brings it up in connection with the beheading of the State Department:

Trump's state department purge sparks worries of 'know-nothing approach' to foreign policy

When Daniel Baer, the former US ambassador to the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, was preparing to leave this month, he offered to visit Washington to brief the transition team. Such briefings are part of an outgoing ambassador’s duties – they are laid out in the state department’s foreign affairs manual – and there were sensitive issues to discuss, including the upcoming renewal of the team monitoring the Ukraine conflict. Baer was told his parting advice would not be required.

“I worry about a know-nothing approach to foreign policy,” he said. “The whole thing can’t be done by shooting from the hip. There is a responsibility you have to the citizens you are governing to make an effort to have the information on which decisions are made.

“If I were in the transition, I would not want to scatter 60 ambassadors to the winds. I would want to hear what is going on in their regions, I would want to know where the bodies are buried.”

Know-Nothing politics. The hallmark of the Trump administration.


1/29/17

Coming to America ...


Trumpkins and religious 'discrimination'

Christian Leaders Denounce Trump’s Plan to Favor Christian Immigrants

The contention was consistent with the conspiracy theories held by some conservative Christians that Mr. Obama was secretly a Muslim, and that he was turning a blind eye to the suffering of Christians while using the reins of government to increase the Muslim population of the United States.

But the claim is simply untrue. In 2016, the United States admitted almost as many Christian refugees (37,521) as Muslim refugees (38,901), according to the Pew Research Center.

and

“We have no evidence that would support a belief that the Obama administration was discriminating against Christian populations, said the Rev. Scott Arbeiter, the president of World Relief, the humanitarian arm of National Association of Evangelicals.

Of course, some of the 'Christian' Right are supporting the Trumpian position. Not surprisingly, one of these is Franklin Graham.

Graham does not see the refugee 'issue' as a 'biblical' issue. Mark Wingham, writing in Baptist News Global, rather strongly disagrees.

On immigration, Franklin Graham is dead wrong

Well, we all - most of us, some of us - knew that the 'Christian' Right is about as 'Christian' as the Roman soldier who stabbed Jesus with his spear. But Our Leader is really starting to wake up the more sincere practitioners of the Christian faith.

"On top of previous outlandish comments about Muslims, the son of America’s most famous evangelist last week rushed to the defense of Donald Trump, saying the president’s hardline ban on immigration was just fine because it is “not a biblical issue.”

File this under the category of “alternative facts.

As Wingfield notes in his article, Graham is correct on one point. "The Bible does not discuss American immigration policy.

Then Wingfield quotes Deuteronomy:

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

While my personal fave is the Scriptural basis for Chapter 53 in The Rule of Benedict, the foundation for the Order of Saint Bendedict's priests and nuns.

Franklin Graham actually said that the immigration and refugee 'issue' is not a biblical matter. He did.
I've never had much use for Graham. He is a political hack, driven by a quest for political power, and he milks the faith of millions to acquire that power. And money, too. Ol' Franklin ain't hurtin' for the geld.

He needs to worry less about rendering unto Trump, and more about rendering unto Jesus.

1/27/17

Donna Hylton

Donna Hylton is a convicted murderer. In 1985, Hylton, along with several others, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered Thomas Vigliarolo. Hylton was 20 years old at the time.

It was a heinous crime.

Hylton was sentenced to 25 years to life, and ended up doing a 27 year jolt in the New York State DOC. She was released in 2012.

Since then, she has become a prison reform 'activist.

The so-called 'conservatives', and especially the 'Christian' Right, have been in a state of high moral Outrage!™ since they discovered that Hylton was a speaker at the Womens' March. They have been cherry-picking out of this article to demonstrate what a depraved creature we have in Hylton. They use the cherry-pickings to make it sound like Hylton was the mastermind of the entire scheme. She was not. They missed this tidbit:

"What would I have done if a man said, 'Do this or I'll kill your daughter'?"

The entire article deserves a good read. It's a matter of perspective.

Hylton does not hide her sordid past. From her website:

My name is Donna Hylton but for twenty-seven years I was known as Inmate #86G0206.

In 1986 I was sentenced to 25 years-to-life for kidnapping and second-degree murder. I served the time at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum-security prison for women in New York State, and was released in 2012.

My lifelong journey is one of many emotional and physical prisons; I went from abused child to repeated rape victim to desperate teen mother to solitary confinement where the boundary of my world was a 6’x10” cinder block room. It’s a story of tremendous pain and suffering, but it’s also a love story about freedom, hope, survival, sisterhood, redemption, and forgiveness. It’s about learning to love myself and fight for myself and for others.

Hylton doesn't say anything about 'finding Jesus' while in prison. She does, however, talk about 'hope,' 'redemption,' and 'forgiveness,' and 'suffering.'

I'm not sure why Hylton doesn't mention 'finding Jesus' while in prison. Perhaps she didn't. Or perhaps she understands that most of us find inmate claims of 'finding Jesus' to be mostly, well, bullshit. It's a nice one to tell the parole board, especially if some tears accompany.

Hylton does speak about prison reform. Why? Does she feel put out that she didn't get a color TV and an X-box? Well ... no.

Men who kill their partners serve less than one-third the prison time of women who kill their partners: two to six years, compared with an average of 15 years for women. Eighty percent of women convicted for murdering a man state that they have been physically and/or sexually abused by that man.

Here is another article about this.

And she does speak about 'redemption,' and 'forgiveness,' which are two buzzwords that attach to the concept of Christian life.

Yet the 'Christian' Right is hardly in a forgiving frame of mind. Most of the comments on articles about Hylton go on about how she deserved the death penalty and should have gotten it, oblivious to a) New York State didn't have the death penalty at that time and b) Hylton was a secondary character in the scheme.

It's a good thing for Christianity that that the early Christians did not possess today's sense of 'Christian' moral outrage, and apply it to Saul of Tarsus.




1/26/17

Detached

Huh. Totally detached from reality. There's a name for that. You can read all about it in the DSM-V.


WASHINGTON – The way President Donald Trump tells it, the meandering, falsehood-filled, self-involved speech that he gave at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters last weekend was one of the greatest addresses ever given.
“That speech was a home run,” Trump told ABC News just a few minutes into his first major television interview since moving into the White House. “See what Fox said. They said it was one of the great speeches. They showed the people applauding and screaming. . . . I got a standing ovation. In fact, they said it was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl, and they said it was equal. I got a standing ovation. It lasted for a long period of time.”

It gets more surreal further along in the article.

I can be the most presidential person ever ... it's true ... many people... many ... millions ... many millions ... billions, even ... would agree ... 

How about we start seeing some of that 'presidential' stuff.

You have to be able to pass a psych eval in order to be a cop in Colorado, and like, you know ... arrest people ... but clearly, no such requirement exists to be the President of the United States, with the power to incinerate billions of people. There's something not quite right, there.

Nonetheless, Leece and I have not laughed so hard in weeks, as we have in the past few days. Thanks, Donnie!

Not to worry, dude ...






1/25/17

Voter Fraud!!!!! It's ... REAL!!!!!


Well ... no.

Trump cabinet nominee Steven Mnuchin is also registered to vote in two states

While it is illegal to cast ballots in multiple states, it is not illegal to be registered in two states at the same time. In a tweet Wednesday, the president called for an investigation into voter fraud, including whether citizens are registered to vote in two states.

"I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedure," the president wrote in a pair of consecutive tweets.

Our Donald isn't fazed in the least by the fact that being registered in two or more states is not illegal. He wants an investigation.

Dead people don't vote, not even once. Why are they on the rolls, then? What do the Trumpkins expect? "Hey, I'm dead now, take me off the rolls!"

But wait! There's more!

 "... Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor, was registered to vote in both New York City as well as in Sarasota County, Florida."

But wait! There's even more!

The [Washington] Post's Matea Gold has now confirmed that Trump's daughter, Tiffany Trump, is also registered to vote in two states -- New York and Pennsylvania.

The lack of evidence that dead people vote, and the lack of evidence that people who are registered in more than one state actually vote more than once, does not deter Our Donald. He has decreed, by Trumpian fiat, that Voter Fraud Is Rampant and it cost him the Popular Vote and we can't have that.

It could not possibly be that the majority of Americans just thought he sucks, and didn't vote for him.

Clean up your own house first, Donnie boy.

"The Feds"


Trump threatens to ‘send in the feds’ to address Chicago ‘carnage’

A new height ... or depth ... of executive stupidity.

Who is he going to 'send in?'

The US Marshals? The 82nd Airborne? The FBI? And won't the FBI be a hoot, policing the mean streets of The Second City, in their 5.11 tactical trousers, polo shirts, really kewl sunglasses, and those snappy windbreakers.

So Trump's Army meets with resistance. Then what? Someone tells him about Lincoln suspending habeas corpus? They'd have to tell him; the only thing he's read since brushing up on heel spurs is the menu in some posh restaurant.

So he declares a 'national emergency' and suspends habeas corpus.

And then what happens.

Far-fetched?

You read it here first.

BTW ... the Guard ain't the Feds, unless Our Leader does a Title 10 or Title 32 activation. Use for civil law enforcement is limited by Posse Comitatus under Title 10; it is not so limited under Title 32 . However, the governor and state adjutant general retain command under Title 32, not Generalissimo Trump.

An 'Alternate Glock?'




That must be one of those "Alternate Glock" thingies. Perhaps it's a New Secret Service Glock?

Or ...perhaps the author of this poster missed a political point entirely? I understand there is an entire subclass of 'conservative' who finds the Golden Shower rather exciting ...

A win for China ...

A win for China, but Beijing isn't celebrating


45% tariff on Chinese goods?
Well. I wonder how that's going to sit with all the Trumpkins who have been Happy Walmart Shoppers.
Or how Hobby Lobby, a good 'Christian' business, will deal with it. Hobby Lobby is arguably one of China's greatest US sales outlets. So is Walmart, for that matter.

1/24/17

Speaking of Biblical Men ...


I'm thinking Ol' Franklin might want to take a read of Matthew 5:45. But what do I know ...
Meanwhile, Our Donald was gushing over the fact that God *stopped' the rain, as a sign of His Divine Approval.
Make up yer minds, boys ... or better yet, considering the anointed condition of both Ol' Franklin and Our Donald ... why don't you tell God how to play it.
Trump TPP move seen as win for China, but Beijing isn’t celebrating

As a candidate, Trump made China and trade regular talking points. He vowed, among other things, to scrap the TPP, list China as a currency manipulator and slap an eye-popping 45 percent tariff on imported Chinese goods. 

45% tariff on Chinese goods?

Well. I wonder how that's going to sit with all the Trumpkins who have been Happy Walmart Shoppers.

Or how Hobby Lobby, a good 'Christian' business, will deal with it. Hobby Lobby is arguably one of China's greatest US sales outlets. So is Walmart, for that matter.

The concern for Japan, and for others in the region, is that an “America first” foreign policy will mean poorer economic prospects and a broader role for Beijing. Scrapping the TPP will likely bolster support for Chinese regional trade regimes. The Philippines and Singapore are already shifting toward the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, for instance. 

Doggone if that doesn't sound like that old 'Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere' thingie.

How well did that work out.

"The sorest winner of all time cannot stop whining"

The sorest winner of all time cannot stop whining

Just like his campaign, the first days of his presidency have been animated and defined by grievance.

At a White House reception last night to discuss his 2017 agenda, Trump devoted the first 10 minutes to rehashing the 2016 campaign. The commander-in-chief told a bipartisan group of congressional leaders that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.

That is a ludicrously false claim, and this is not hyperbole: Trump is the sorest winner in American history.


That's not the only thing ludicrous about Trump. Every time the man opens his mouth, something ludicrous comes out. The guy's deranged.

Donnie. Yo. Dude. Give it a rest. You won, dude. Really.

The Church Un-prophetic


"If Jesus is the answer ... why did he have so many questions?"


The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words




A Biblical Man and a Godly Woman

Father and son accused of rape want ‘only law book that truly matters’ at their trial: The Bible

“There’s a great deal of strategy in Scripture and I use those strategies in everything I do,” Esten Ciboro told the judge, according to the Toledo Blade’s coverage of the hearing. “It’s a vital part of everything I do.”

Particularly raping a teenage girl. Truly, I say unto you, this is a Biblical Man.

“It’s the court’s opinion that while the Bible is very important, it is not a law book in a court of law,” Jennings said, according to the Toledo Blade.

Truly, I say unto you, Jennings must be a Godless libtard. She probably voted for Hillary. A Godly woman would have voted for Trump. Actually, a Godly woman would have recognized that she has no place voting, much less serving as a judge. Debbie notwithstanding. Get thee to the kitchen, Jennings, and get dinner going.

Barron Trump

SNL Writer Who Called Barron Trump a 'Homeschool Shooter' Has Been Suspended... 'Indefinitely'

This one is making the rounds on the various 'conservative' forums, as an example of the egregiously bad behavior of the Godless 'libtard' left.

Well ... we are in agreeance that it is egregiously bad behavior.

But that's not the end of it.

The 'conservatives' are bursting with pride that they do not stoop to such levels. Presumably because they are such good, outstanding examples of 'Christian' behavior, but the vote's still out on that one.

Because, you see, they do indeed stoop to such levels, and have, frequently. Here's just a few examples.

GOP aide's sneak attack on Obama daughters

Republicans Go Full Racist, Attack Obama’s Daughters For Attending Wedding

GOP Staffer Apologizes For Lecturing Obama Daughters To ‘Show A Little Class’

There's quite a bit more.

Or perhaps we're dealing with 'alternate facts' when it comes to the self-perceived 'clean living' of the 'Christian' Right.


1/22/17

"Alternative facts"

This one is a serious hoot.


What 'alternative universe' are these people in?

"You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts," she said.

Todd responded: "Alternative facts aren't facts, they are falsehoods."

Conway then tried to pivot to policy points. But later in the interview, Todd pressed Conway again on why the White House sent Spicer out to make false claims about crowd size, asking: "What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?"

"Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That's not your job," Conway said.

Trump and his henchmen don't 'lie.' They present 'alternative facts.'

Is that like an 'alternate universe?'

And just what is the job of the press? To serve as Trump's Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda?

"Just step right into the showers, nothing to worry about here ...".

Well ... wait. Let's play it according to Trump's Bestest Friend Forever ... "Just hop right onto the train, tovarisch, next stop will be a fine little dacha in the gulag!"

How's that 'alternative facts' thing going to work in the criminal justice system? "Well, you see, your Honor, my testimony just followed the 'alternative fact pattern. I'm sure that when the plungers ram home the lethal solution the defendant will understand ... it really helps with clearing cases."

"Alternative facts." Sounds like the Clinton Crime syndicate explaining away the mail server and Benghazi and all the rest.

It's called 'dezinformatsiya' in the real world. Putin is a master at it. Clearly, Trump and his merry band of liars are amateurs. Not to worry, however. I am sure Bad Vlad will tutor Our Donald in the finer points.

If these people will go to these lengths to justify their delusions over an inconsequential thing like this ... what's going to happen when the stakes are serious?

1/20/17

"Namby-pamby, pantywaisted, weak-kneed Christians"

That's from the fellow who seems to be serving in the role of Our Donald's personal pastor these days.

Inflammatory pastor to speak before Trump's inauguration

Jeffress has endorsed Trump, going so far as to introduce the ball-cap merchant at several rallies, including one in Dallas, and lay hands on the man during a fringe-group love-in at Trump Tower. And now he sounds like Trump, slinging slurs on national television in defense of a biblical illiterate casino-runner whom Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, once dismissed as just another "angry politician" who "incites division with slurs against Hispanic immigrants and with protectionist jargon that preys on turning economic insecurity into ugly 'us vs. them' identity politics."

Jeffress is a Southern Baptist preacher. He is quite comfortable slinging insults and disparagement regarding Catholics, Jews, Mormons ... and a host of others as well.

This is OK, however, for it seems to represent the views of The Eighty Percent.

"I believe any conservative Christian who refuses to vote or throws away his vote in November is nothing but a hypocrite and a fool," said Jeffress, his ears growing redder with each spat-out consonant. 

Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and Gays are going to hell

He gave Catholics a bye on that one.

Hypocrite. Well. I guess I missed how it's perfectly OK to spew vitriol and hateful invective. Perhaps Jeffress or some RealChristians™ can help me out. Is it in the Sermon on the Mount? Gospel of John? Perhaps somewhere in Paul's scribblings?

But here's the thing.

Ivanka is Jewish. So is her husband, Jared Kushner. Ivanka converted from Presbyterianism to Judaism, and they were married in an Orthodox ceremony.

So ... Ivanka and her husband and kids are going to hell? One wonders ... will that be in a handbasket, or simply in the usual course of things.

The Greatest Show on Earth

Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey has reached the end of its run. They are closing down. Their last shows will be in May of this year.

Not to worry, however.

The Greatest Show on Earth is about to begin.

Keep your eye on the center ring. That's where the clowns are. The clown in the orange hair is for the moment the main star, but keep your eye on the ringmaster. That's the fellow running around with no shirt. A lot of spectators think he's the Strong Man, and in one sense he is, but he is really the ringmaster. He goes by 'Bad Vlad,' and he's a downhome hoot.

He is an accomplished puppet master, too.

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing is a sort of heroic figure in the DC Comics world. He '... fights to protect his swamp home, the environment in general, and humanity from various supernatural or terrorist threats.'

He's a good guy, in other words.

Our Donald has made 'draining the swamp' synonymous with cleaning out the cronyism, corruption, fossilization, of Washington. The Congress. The gummint in general.

So when we use the term 'Swamp Thing' in reference to one of Our Donald's political and financial cronies, we are not referring to a heroic figure. Quite the opposite.

Our latest 'Swamp Thing' is Steven Mnuchin, Our Donald's nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

It seems that Mnuchin has acquired huge piles of personal wealth. Much more so than anyone really understood. This has come out in the recent confirmation hearings.

Mnuchin's initial disclosures showed that he had a net worth of as much as $400 million, but just before his confirmation hearing Jan. 19, he subsequently disclosed additional real estate holdings valued at nearly $100 million, which he said his lawyer had mistakenly omitted from the first document.

So much so, that Mnuchin doesn't even miss a hundred million or so bucks. It slipped by his lawyers, and it slipped by him. Or so he says.

In his revised questionnaire, Mr. Mnuchin disclosed several additional financial assets, including $95 million worth of real estate — a co-op in New York City, a residence in Southampton, New York, a residence in Los Angeles, California, and $15 million in real estate holdings in Mexico,” Democratic staff members of the Senate Finance Committee wrote in a memo on Thursday. “Mr. Mnuchin has claimed these omissions were due to a misunderstanding of the questionnaire.

and

Asked about the omissions at the hearing, Mr. Mnuchin described them as a simple mistake made amid a mountain of bureaucracy.

A hunnert million bux.

We do not live in the same universe, you and me, and this character. Who can not notice a hundred million dollars?

A Goldman-Sachs robber baron, as Secretary of the Treasury. Talk about a fox in the henhouse. Or Swamp Thing, wallowing in the decaying sewage of the national cesspool of politics and greed.

1/16/17

"Do you smell what I smell?"

No, not a new Christmas carol.

First on CNN: Trump's Cabinet pick invested in company, then introduced a bill to help it

Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.

and

Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented.

Swamp gas. That's what you smell. Oozing out of Trump's cabinet.

Smokin' some Hopium

Tumult surrounds Trump days ahead of his presidency

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, however, said Trump has a mandate even as Democrats point out he lost the popular vote and question the legitimacy of his victory.

"Donald Trump won a landslide election," Pence said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "The American people spoke decisively, they wanted change and I promise ... come noon this coming Friday, change really begins and we are going to make America great again."

"Mandate?" "Landslide?" I'd like some of the Hopium that Pence is smoking.

The Democrats are wrong about Trump not being 'legitimate.' Sadly, he is. But he lost the popular vote by a good measure, and his electoral college win was 46th out of 58 elections. That's hardly a 'mandate', or a 'landslide.'

"His approval rating stood at 44% a week before the inauguration, according to Gallup. President Barack Obama was at 83% at the equivalent moment, George W. Bush was at 61% and Bill Clinton at 68%.

A Pew Research poll found that 39% of Americans approve of the way Trump has outlined his policies while a Quinnipiac poll put his approval rating at 37% last week."

Repeating ... that's hardly a 'mandate', or a 'landslide.'


"Either/Or?"

How MLK can get you out of your 'Trump Slump'

"For them, Donald Trump is a champion, a truth-teller who takes on the elites and will restore America's greatness. But there are other Americans who have been mired in a stupor since election night. If President Barack Obama seemed to them like the fulfillment of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, then Trump represents their nightmare."

Really? It's 'either/or?' Obama never seemed to us like the fulfillment of much of anything. Neither does Trump, and neither would have Hillary, but especially Trump. All either of them would have done, have done, is embarrass the nation and play the political scoundrel/horse's ass.

How about those of us who voted, then went outside and vomited, literally or figuratively?

The Liberation Tradition

Fr. Richard goes on about liberation theology this morning.

"I would like to assert that the theme of liberation is the largest frame in which to understand spirituality. The term liberation theology has a negative connotation for some people. It sounds like something heretical, leftist, or Marxist, and certainly not biblical. In real fact, it is at the heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition and marks the tradition’s very beginning. It is amazing that much of Christianity has been able to avoid the obvious for so long, probably because many of us read history from the top down and seldom from the bottom up, which is the recurring perspective of both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures."

He is correct about the 'negative connotation' for some people. No less a personage that Pope Emeritus Benedict had strong negative feelings about it.The murderous right-wing fascist regimes supported by the United States in Central and South America didn't like it, either.

Martin Luther King, Jr, however, understood the concept and its biblical foundation quite well.

If our president-elect can take a break from beating up John Lewis on Twitter, and do a bit of thinking for a change, he might understand it as well.

1/14/17

The 'Christian' Way

Oh hoo hoo hoo ... this is a good one. Linda Bean claims to be a 'Christian,' yet when it comes to being boycotted, she has a hissy fit. 'Christians' are the masters of the boycott threat. Happy holidays? Boycott 'em! Crush 'em! Drive 'em into bankruptcy! Kill all the jobs of those stockers and cashiers and floor moppers! It's the 'Christian' Way!

Linda Bean Calls Boycott ‘Un-American,’ Trump Says Thank You in Tweet

Speaking of Un-American ...



Fairly typical, from L.L. Bean.

AFA, that paragon of 'Christian' values and behaviors, even publishes a list, so RealChristians™ know which businesses to try to drive into righteous bankruptcy.


But fortunately, not everyone agrees, though of course we all know that Relevant is a hangout for all those Emerging Churchers/New Agers/Millennials/SJW types and so on. 


and ... trouble in Paradise? This is from the Lewiston, ME L.L. Bean plant:

Photo from the New York Times

1/13/17

"Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out!"

Many of us have probably seen that t-shirt. If not, here it is.


The statement is based on an instruction given by Arnaud Almaric back in 1209.

Drawing upon a Wiki article ...

Arnaud Amalric to one of his minions, at the sack of Beziers in 1209. Amalric was a papal legate sent by Pope Innocent III to try to convert the heretic Albigensians. He failed, and then slaughtered them. At Beziers, one of his men asked him, "How do we distinguish the heretics from the true Catholics?" Amalric said, "Kill them all. For the Lord knoweth them that are his."

That's where we get the "Kill 'em all" comment.

Our Donald is fond of going on about killing the families of terrorists. His followers, especially  the Eighty Percent, sucked that down like Obama's minions slurped the purple SEIU Kool-Aid.


It isn't a particularly 'Christian' view, but that doesn't bother the Eighty Percent.

The Trumpkins really like this Internet meme; they seem to think that Mattis would be the kind of SecDef that would do this kind of thing 'because he's tough.'








The Trumpkins seem to think that James Mattis is modern day incarnation of Arnaud Almaric. He is not. He has this to say about killing non-combatants, including families of terrorists:

"While Trump has espoused killing the families of terrorists, if necessary, Mattis wrote in a 56-page questionnaire: “The killing of non-combatants  in a war against a non-state enemy violates Common Article 3 the Geneva Conventions. Legal questions aside, it is my view that such actions would be self-defeating and a betrayal of our ideals.”

If the Trumpkins are expecting a SecDef who will advocate for the slaughter of Muslims around the world, they are going to be disappointed.


We are not going to get moral leadership from Trump and his circle of sycophants. We stand to get that from James Mattis. Mattis, for all the hubris surrounding him - most of it generated by an ignorant press and an even more ignorant public - is well-read, thoughtful, and fully aware of the cost of prosecuting a war. Trump - Ol' Heel Spurs - thinks it's kind of like banging your way through college and not catching any nasty social diseases.

All that aside, slicing off that fellow's testicles - if it's even true -  has not in the least dissuaded radical Islamists from attacking Russia or Russians:

Radical Islamists from Chechnya and other North Caucasian republics have been held responsible for a number of terrorist attacks throughout Russia, most notably the Russian apartment bombings in 1999, the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002, the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings and the Domodedovo International Airport bombing in 2011.

And how well did that Afghanistan experience work out for the Soviets and the Russians?







1/12/17

George Bailey, Clarence, and Martin Luther

So we are watching the outstanding lecture series on Martin Luther, by R.C. Sproul. It's on Amazon Prime. A 10 part series, 24 minutes each.

Along about part 6, Ol' R.C is on a roll about how Luther's knickers are in a twist over indulgences. R.C. cites Tetzel's famous jingle, "As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs," which apparently drove Luther right up the wall.

This recently being the Christmas season, we re-watched that old fave, "It's a Wonderful Life!" I had never made the connection between Tetzel and the twist on his jingle - "Every time a bell rings, it's an angel getting his wings!" until R.C. brought up the jingle in his lecture. The recent watching of the flick banged right in with the jingle and made it click.

It dawned on me at that moment that the flick is a fine piece of Roman propaganda; the real star of the flick is not George Bailey, but Clarence, the poor soul in Purgatory struggling to get out. Though he has faith, he needs the works. George becomes his project. The whole flick is a understated theological statement in support of the Roman church's position on faith, works, justification and sanctification, and the natural order of those things.

It never dawned on me, because I'm a recovering Catlick and the whole storyline makes perfect sense in the context of the One True Church's teachings.

What surprises me, however, is the number of Protestants who miss it completely. It's a Catholic flick, through and through, though not one priest or preacher do you see, and IIRC, George, in his desperation, makes but one reference to God. Apparently Protestants do not make the connection between Clarence (played by Henry Travers) being in a sort of limbo, not yet having his wings, and the entire concept of Purgatory, a concept which usually drives them up the Lutherian wall.

R.C. does a fine job of explaining the real focus of the Reformation in Parts 8 and 9. Though ol' R.C is a staunch Reformed theologian (read that 'hard core Calvinist) he is a great speaker, and despite the obvious Calvinist errors-of-theory is otherwise right on the money, this series is really a 'must watch.'

The Fifth Domain

Traditionally, warfare comprised two 'domains,' land and sea.

When aircraft entered the warfighting scenario, air was added as The Third Domain of Warfare, though 'Up, Up, and Away' did not enter into it.

Then, space became the fourth domain.

Back in June, NATO officially declared cyberspace to be The Fifth Domain. This is significant because now a major cyber attack on an alliance member can trigger Article 5 of the treaty:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security. 

The thinking:

The concept was exposed by the NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to the media.

“A severe cyber-attack may be classified as a case for the alliance. Then NATO can and must react,” Stoltenberg said in an interview to the Bild newspaper. “How, that will depend on the severity of the attack,” 

Stoltenberg explained that the NATO intends to respond to any assault against its members, including a cyber attack that could be considered as an act of war.

That opens the door to armed response, with conventional weapons, to cyber attacks. The idea of shoving a cruise missile up the bungholes of Bad Vlad's boys and girls as they sit in the basement of Lubyanka Square, videotaping Trump's bedroom antics, just moved up a few rungs in the options ladder.

Meanwhile,  Raytheon is sponsoring a new hub for cybersecurity:

The Fifth Domain

That is to launch next week. That will be an interesting site to follow.

1/11/17

Hoist by his own petard

Here's a pretty good editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of CNN as purveyors of 'fake news.' Presumably, because they were not. In fact, it's a stretch to accuse BuzzFeed of publishing fake news; BF never claimed it was true. All they did was publish the documents, with this caveat: "The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors."

Editorial - With Trump 'bombshell,' fake news gains new life

The last paragraph is the best:

Turnabout is not necessarily fair play, but it bears noting that Trump spent years casting doubt on Barack Obama's citizenship. He has tweeted patently false statistics about black-on-white crime, asserted that global warming is a Chinese plot and claimed he watched "thousands" of people in Jersey City cheer when the Twin Towers fell, among an endless train of blatant lies. If America has grown overly tolerant of political lies, perhaps nobody bears more blame for that than the subject of what may be the latest one.

Meanwhile ... The thing about Ol' Gaslight paying hookers to urinate on the same bed in which the Obamas slept ... I dunno if it's true, but having watched the totally irrational ravings of the far right for the last eight years, over birth certificates and closet Muslimness and a somewhat swishy penchant for arugula, based on nothing but colonic vapors and a venal maliciousness that defies all sense of propriety, making a mockery of Christ's New Commandment ... it fits with Ol' Gaslight's mindset. That last is important because of The Eighty Percent, the four out of five white evangelical 'Christians' who voted for Trump. Tell me again how that John 13:34 thing works? I dunno if the golden shower thing is true but I certainly would not be surprised if it were. But at this point, what difference does it make. It's just 'locker room' stuff.  Like going on about grabbing wimmin by (insert descriptive term of choice). Apparently everyone does it; so ... doesn't everyone pay hookers to pee on them?

None of Ol' Gaslight's 'locker room' talk bothered in the least The Eighty Percent. I guess the Moral Majority is not quite so moral these days ... as if they ever were.

I'm thinking Daniel Craig should play the MI6 agent, Michael Kitchen (or perhaps Kenneth Branagh) can play the British ambassador, Dustin Hoffman can play Comey, Denzel can play The Big O, Adam Sandler can play McCain, they can hire some skinny hooker to play Melania and another to play Ivanka, Charley Sheen can play Jared Kustner ... and Ol' Gaslighter can be played by ... drrrrrrrrrummmmmmmroolllllllllll ... Alec Baldwin.

Puerile Petulance



Ol' Gaslight is having hissy fits over CNN publishing the thing about The Not-So-Secret Memos.

He claims it's 'false news.'

Well ... CNN never said the memos were true.

In fact, CNN didn't publish the memos at all.

The intel chiefs gave the memo to Ol' Gaslight when they briefed him. That is fact.

CNN reported that the intel chiefs gave the memo to Ol' Gaslight. They did. That is fact.

How is that 'false news?'

Here is a good article on this from The Atlantic:

What CNN's report on Russia and Trump says and doesn't say

But wait! There's more!

Fifteen lies from Trump's press conference

Grow up, Donald. Your tantrums are beyond tiresome.

Honeymoons

The honeymoon is over, Donald

and it wasn't much of one.

A couple of excerpts:

...the Quinnipiac poll shows a drop in confidence in Trump across the board. Although 59 percent were optimistic about the next four years under Trump in November, today that number is 52 percent. While 41 percent thought he would be a better leader than President Obama, it’s now 34 percent. While 52 percent thought he would help the nation's economy, it’s now 47 percent. While 40 percent thought his policies would help their personal financial situation, it’s now 27 percent. While 53 percent thought he’d take the country in the right direction, it’s now 45 percent.

and

Trump won the election, which in his mind — and in the minds of many analysts — would seem to have vindicated his brand of politics and many of the decisions he made on the campaign trail. He got elected, so it all must have been secret political genius!

That’s not really how things work, though. Trump squeaked his way into the White House with a very narrow win in which he got 46 percent of the vote, won the states he needed to by less than a point, and lost the national popular vote, as voters told pollsters said they had huge reservations about him.

That's the interesting thing. The ones who are swooning over Our Donald's every word, copy/pasting all the whacko Internet memes and blatantly fake stories from the fringe right 'news' sites seem to be mostly The Eighty Percent.  The four out of five white evangelical 'Christians' who voted for Trump. They were and are the most heavily addicted Kool-Aid drinkers. The rest of the people who voted for Trump are the ones who voted, then went outside and puked, either literally or figuratively.

Gaslighting

Frida Ghitis has written a pretty good opinion piece illustrating how Our Donald is using the Gaslight Gambit to screw with the collective American mind.

Donald Trump is 'gaslighting' all of us

Here is a good, non-technical explanation of the term, from Wiki:

Gaslighting

It's a technique that is far more widespread than most people realize. Here is an excerpt from the Wiki article:

Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically are also convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent. Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both, lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions.

Gaslighting also occurs in examples of school bullying – when combined with other psychological and physical methods, the result can lead to long-lasting psychological disorders and even progress into illnesses such as depression or avoidant personality disorder. Gaslighting describes a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity: "Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the woman's reactions. […] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations."

That's Trump to a 'T.'

As Ghitis points out in her opinion piece, Trump is an accomplished Gaslighter; he pulled it off continually throughout the campaign, and is still doing it today. Her article is well worth a read.


1/10/17

Monica Crowley and HarperCollins

The nonsense about the Starbucks CEO is yet another shameless lie being circulated by TrueAmericans™ (basically Trump supporters, since everyone else is a collection of hopelessly stupid Godless libtards). It doesn't take much effort to refute this kind of garbage, as we see in this article from Christian Post.
I always thought gossip-mongering was one of the great sins (though you would never know it from most churches); apparently if you are a Trumpkin, gossiping, spreading lies, and other forms of character assassination are just fine. Perhaps God makes an exception for Trumpkins?
He must. Look at the Monica Crowley scandal.
The evidence that Trump's pick for his 'national security team' is a lying fake is clear and overwhelming. Yet Team Trump takes this position:
"Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country," the spokesperson said."
Apparently HarperCollins doesn't share that view; the publisher is pulling her book. Much in the same way that Thomas Nelson pulled the book of that other charlatan, David Barton.
Monica joins the ranks of literary thieves. It's not the first time she has done it, which one would think would have given HarperCollins pause before accepting Crowley's 'conservative' nonsense for publication in the first place.
Crowley plagiarized part of a Wall Street Journal article back in 1999.
The scandal widens, however. In addition to stealing content for her book, she is now accused of plagiarizing for her PhD dissertation.
Crowley brings new meaning to the term, "Piled Higher and Deeper."
Doesn't faze the Trumpkins, though. It's all very interesting, considering that one of the main objections to Clinton, by the Trumpkins, is her incessant lying. An immoral man cannot provide moral leadership, and a constituency that will accept that immorality, is by extension, just as immoral.
I think what this all means is this: If a Trump supporter tells you something, you can assume he/she/it is lying. Truth, despite all their Outrage!™ matters not to them. This is particularly interesting, given that so many of the Trumpkins claim to be "Christians."
The excuse most frequently offered by the Trumpkins is ...'well, the libtards do it!'
Based on that incredibly ignorant logic, Jesus should have taken the hook during the Temptations by Satan. Jesus' logic? "What the hell, Satan does it ...". It fits the logic of the 'Christian' Right perfectly.

1/9/17

Fr. Richard Rohr's theme for the year

Fr. Richard Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, down in Albuquerque. He is one of our favorite writers and thinkers.

Fr. Richard sets the stage for the year's meditational theme, with today's blog posting.

You can find it here, along with the means to sign up for his daily mediations and other thinkings, here.

This meditation is longer than usual, but I think it will give us a solid foundation to build on in the year ahead. I want to state at the beginning the way I have formed my own pattern of interpreting Scripture. Then we can build “from the bottom up” (which is our theme for the year).

Hermeneutics is the technical word for a method of interpreting sacred texts. If someone does not have a consistent and declared hermeneutic, their understanding of Scripture is whimsical and subjective. A good and solid biblical teacher must come clean about their manner of interpretation early on, or you have no foundation for trusting what they say. Just saying, “It is in Scripture,” as most do, is largely meaningless, because anyone can find a workable “proof text” for whatever they want to believe somewhere in the Bible. This is why many have so little trust in Christians today.

We will move forward on our “tricycle” of faith only with three good wheels:  Tradition, Scripture, and Experience. (This week we will discuss Scripture; the following two weeks we will explore Tradition and Experience.) If we leave off any of these three wheels, our interpretations of Scripture and reality will be unstable and biased according to our egoic need of the moment.

Christians who say “only Scripture” end up being unconsciously dishonest and inconsistent, because they are relying on their own “tradition” of interpreting those Scriptures (without acknowledging it). Even more importantly, we must recognize that we cannot not rely upon our own experience. There is no such thing as a completely unbiased opinion! Since we all use tradition and experience anyway, why not admit it and thereby hold ourselves accountable?

Let’s all start being honest, or we end up saying, in effect: “We have a tradition of not believing in tradition!” Catholics loved to say we relied upon the Great Tradition, but this usually meant “the way we have done it the last hundred years here in Italy (or England or Germany, etc.).” What we consider “sin” changes every century or so. Most of our operative images of God come primarily from our early experiences of authority in family and culture. Then we find the Scriptures to validate them!

If we try to use “only Scripture” as our methodology, we will get stuck early on, because many passages give very conflicting and even opposite images of God. I believe that Jesus only quoted those Scriptures that he could validate by his own experience. At the same time, if we humans trust only our own experiences, we will be trapped in subjective moods and personal preferences. But if we can verify that at least some holy people and orthodox teachers (Tradition), and some solid Scripture also validates our own experiences, we can be more confident that we are in the force field of the Holy Spirit and participating in God’s sacred work in this world. This is how we know inside “the communion of saints,” as the Apostles’ Creed calls it.

Jesus and Paul clearly use and build on their own Jewish Scriptures and Tradition, yet they both courageously interpret them through the lens of their own unique personal experience of God. This is undeniable! We would do well to follow their examples.

I’ve often said the Bible is the best book in the world and the worst book in the world. It is the worst when it is used for bullying and self-justification; it is the best when it is used for the healing of the world and for transformation of the self. Obviously, God intended the latter.

My methodology and hermeneutic is almost too simple: I will try to read Scripture and Tradition the way that Jesus did. This is precisely what Christians should mean when we speak of understanding the Hebrew Scriptures “in the light of Christ.” This is not “supersessionism” (the belief that Christianity supersedes Judaism); it is just healthy developmental thinking. In this way, there is no such thing as an “Old Testament” because now it can always be fresh and timely! If Jesus (who of course was Jewish) is our interpretive key, it demands that we take Jewish texts and history more seriously than ever before, which will allow us to appreciate the actual context and culture inside of which Jesus taught, but to also recognize the trajectory that they—and the Christian Scriptures—create forward!

To take the Scriptures seriously is not to take them literally. Literalism is invariably the lowest and least level of meaning. Most biblical authors understood this, which is why they were free to take so many liberties with what Westerners would call “facts.” In many ways, we have moved backward in our ability to read spiritual and transformative texts. I am afraid we have for too long used the Bible merely to prove various church positions, which narrows its range and depth. Instead of transforming people, the Bible has become merely utilitarian and handy ammunition against others.

Serious reading of Scripture will allow you to find an ever-new spiritual meaning for the liberation of history and your own soul. You discover that the text holds truth on many levels, instead of trying to prove it is true on mere factual or historical levels. Sacred texts will always maximize your possibilities for life, love, and inclusion, which is precisely why we call them sacred.

Gateway to Silence:

Your word is a light for my path. —Psalms 119:105

References:

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Yes, And . . . : Daily Meditations (Franciscan Media: 2013), ix-x; and

Scripture as Liberation, disc 1 (CAC: 2002), MP3 download.