Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Reminder

Predictable as sunrise. It’s not too much to say Trump’s only signal successes were his TV show and winning the Presidential election. One event all but led to the other, and that says something about electoral politics that is still trying to come into focus (we haven’t yet construed the scaffolding for the building of the narrative we are going to use to understand to fit that one into our quasi-Christian secular civil religion of what the holy “Founding Fathers” left us before they were taken up into heaven).

Trump didn’t even succeed at being President. “Every little boy can be President” ran the lyrics we learned in elementary school (nor did it occur to any of us how exclusionary that song was). We never stopped to consider that, while that could be true, should it be? Now that we’ve faced that issue, we’re very disturbed to find we don’t have a good Constitutional answer. We aren’t even sure how to frame the issue. Is the Constitution supposed to serve power, or the people? We think we know the answer, but we’re wrong. And we don’t know how to establish a system, or even a valid  story (v. the story we tell ourselves; well, that white people tell themselves), of how to achieve a government that serves us.

We never have; but here we are. Perplexed at the case of a man who could win the presidency, but still remain what he always was: a loser born on third base who thinks he hit a triple. Too many of us think he must have, too, else who are we, to have accepted such a man as our leader?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Life Lessons

Most of us follow “laws” because we aren’t sociopathic assholes. But there are do many criminal laws most of us violate several of them on a fairly regular basis. Nobody cares because, by and large, our acts aren’t violent crimes. Well, and when I say “most of us,” I implicitly mean white people. Not being white is pretty much a crime in itself in America.

But most “white collar crime” is either not prosecuted or is in court against insufficiently famous people. OJ was acquitted partly because he was black (not a judgment on that factor) and partly because his celebrity protected him. Martha Stewart’s celebrity didn’t protect her, but she wasn’t facing a murder charge, either.

Change the facts, change the outcome.

Recent white collar convictions were won against people famous for getting rich (and famous) quick. Insufficient celebrity to protect them. 

So most rich, famous people never face criminal charges because odds of conviction are too low. You want to blame somebody, blame juries; although judges can (and often do) share the same prejudices for the rich and against the poor. Steal a loaf of bread, you’re a thief. Steal a million dollars and do it right, you’re a clever businessman.  Same as it ever was.

There are a lot of rich people who have gotten away with more than Trump has. He’s obnoxious but he’s not that clever. He’s certainly more the rule than the exception. And accountability, frankly, is overrated as a social control. Consider the example of Iago. His most serious offense against society is how well he undermines trust. If you can’t trust other people, society literally cannot function. Iago is absolutely untrustworthy. The only person who knows that is his wife. But being untrustworthy, even a liar, is not a crime. Iago’s crimes are his plots against ever other character in the play. But by the time he’s held accountable, the damage is done. Iago knows what he’s doing; and he knows how to get away with it. He is the most evil character in Shakespeare. “I am not what I am,” he says of himself. He doesn’t “get away with it,” but there’s no one left for him to destroy at play’s end.

Imagining the world would be just and fair if only bad people like Trump were held accountable is, frankly, naïve. Unless you were to lock him up for life and lock him away in solitary confinement, he’d always insist he’d been wronged, and somebody would always believe him. Accountability would never make Trump change or never try again to ignore the law. Dese are de conditions dat prevail, and they are not curable.

The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nothing… the truth. Because if Putin doesn’t have anything, he’ll make it up. See, e.g., “laptop.” (Putin has said he doesn’t have anything. That would not prevent him from making something up. But his troll farms seem to be off-line at the moment.)And since Putin isn’t “a fan of our country,” maybe he will help a brother out (i.e., fuck America, this is about me!)  The morality of a toad 🐸.  Here, let’s underline what Trump did: Or let Charlie Sykes emphasize it:
Trump explicitly frames his request to Putin as an act of retaliation not just against Biden, but against the United States itself.
Trump’s loyalty is to Trump.

And why now? Again? And he made sure word went out: He’s gonna need all the help he can get. Prosecutors call that “consciousness of guilt.” Trump has only consciousness of Trump.

💩 All The Way Down

I really don't care about Trump's claims of crowd size. It doesn't mean anything except Trump is an empty soul hungry for approval and affirmation at all times. The visual, however, is useful, especially since we all have a hard time imagining how big a crowd really is. Makes me realize I've never seen crowds at any Trump rally which would fill even a smaller football stadium.

And according to reports from Georgia the people that did come were uninspired, bored, and finally started leaving early to avoid the rush.  I knew Trump would stop being entertaining eventually; it seems about time for that to happen.  And I'm just gonna couple this, with this:
Altogether now, kiddies: how do we know Trump is lying? HIS LIPS ARE MOVING! And since that distraction isn't working: Trump couldn't rely on Tucker to carry his water for him: So Matt Gaetz did: I really had to refresh my memory on this stupid story, so now you can, too:

In April 2019, someone dropped off three water-damaged laptops with him for repair, Mac Isaac claimed. He couldn’t say for sure who dropped them off, because he is legally blind, but he said the person identified himself as Hunter Biden and signed a receipt with what appears to be Hunter’s name.

One of the laptops had a Beau Biden Foundation sticker. No one ever returned to pick up the laptops, so Mac Isaac (an enthusiastic Trump supporter) started looking at what’s on one of them. He saw what he thought was lots of scandalous material, so he called authorities and handed it over — but also kept a copy of its material on a hard drive. At some point, he gave that hard drive to Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, and they gave it to the New York Post (and circulated it among other Trump supporters like Steve Bannon).

The Post and other conservative media outlets’ coverage of Hunter’s files partly involved lurid material about Hunter’s personal life. Hunter’s struggles with drug addiction were already a matter of public record, but the files contained further embarrassing details, as well as sexual material. The other focus of coverage was Hunter’s lucrative foreign work, most notably with a Ukrainian gas company and Chinese business interests. Trump allies had long claimed this work proved not just Hunter’s but Joe Biden’s corruption, and they combed through Hunter’s emails to try to make that case.

The Post’s coverage was controversial, including inside the paper — per the New York Times, one reporter refused to put his name on the story due to credibility concerns, and other Post staff “questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents.” But Trump cited what he dubbed “the laptop from hell” constantly. And conservatives began to argue that the mainstream media and social media companies were suppressing the story to help Biden win.

Three years later, and it's still a thing.  Although whether or not it's even Hunter Biden's laptop has not yet been determined.  Vox assumes the e-mails are "authentic," but says they have no real news value for Biden pere.  Given the story that goes with the laptop, and the chain of custody that story tells, I'm inclined to think it's all bullshit.  Mostly because this:

Gaetz concluded his questioning [to which all answers were "I don't know because that's not my job!"] by presenting a hard drive that he claimed contained the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop. He asked that the contents of the hard drive be entered into the congressional record.

Which allowed the New York Post (!) to claim:

Hunter Biden laptop material entered into Congressional Record

Which is true because the NYPost says so, and no further.  Gaetz produced that hard drive after never getting Vorndran to say where the "real" laptop is (somewhere in the custody of the FBI, but apparently Gaetz wants the GPS coordinates for it.).  Mighty convenient, eh?

Sorta like Trump's crowd claims, or that he's never heard of a "burner phone."  It's all bullshit.

“Democracy” Is Not The Answer To Every Question

Yes, Mick Mulvaney should have failed downward, not upward. But this brouhaha (which won’t last until the end of the week) says more about CBS than it does about democracy in America. Or D.C. Yeah, it does say a lot about D.C. But killing democracy? That only happens when we all agree to let it go. Idiot pundits can’t kill it.

Which Is Why…

...Russia spent a month trying to conquer Kyiv; razed Mariupol and several smaller cities; bombed humanitarian corridors, theaters, schools, and hospitals, and shelters labeled "CHILDREN" in Russian you could read from space; tried to close the Polish border; put their nuclear weapons on high alert; and finally withdrew from besieging Kyiv only a day ago.

This tweet (the original, I mean) doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Or The Court Thinks It Is First Among Equals

Which is worse.

I don’t think the Court is overly concerned with its legitimacy at the moment. It needs to be reminded it is not large and in charge.

I seem to remember Scalia faced charges if conflicts of interest, and demands he recuse himself from some cases. Funny how the acolytes of Scalia are shaping the Court now.

Funny; except no one’s laughing.

“Innocent Until Proven Guilty “

The DOJ does not comment on investigations, and they shouldn’t. Is the lesson of Comey’s letter to Congress do soon forgotten?

Even announcing an investigation is as good as a guilty verdict to some people. The recent comments by a judge prove a criminal case can be made; but not that it has been. Some people would take any report on an investigation as equivalent to a conviction. No matter the defendant, that’s an abuse of the system.

Justice is not about locking up your political enemies. I’d have thought we’d learned that lesson, too.

"I Don't Even Know What A Burner Phone Is!"

Send in the clowns. There ought to be clowns.

No True Scotsman

"Adjacent" is opening a very strange door there. Almost an escape hatch.  This is why:
To be fair, many people seem to find it hard to realize those who rise to prominence are not always corrupted by being there, but weren't really moral avatars when they started:
Ted Cruz started his political career advancing “Agenda 21,” the pre-Q-Anon conspiracy theory that Obama and the UN 🇺🇳 wanted to take all our golfs. He may have thought that was insane-but-what-the-hell, but you can’t keep doing that stuff without people deciding you mean it, and actions do speak louder than words.  Well, that and: live by the lie, die by the lie. I’ve no reason to doubt Rick Wilson was there. That pudgy orange Palpatine didn’t have to whisper very long; or be very persuasive. Ted Cruz sold his soul for a mess of pottage a long, long time ago.  Then again, so did the entire GOP (Cruz was first elected to the Senate in 2012, only 10 years ago.  Where does the time go?).  People like Nunziata still can't accept that, though they were quite willing to accept AOC and Bernie as the only people who were the "true" Democratic party.

So it goes.

Losing It

Monday, March 28, 2022

Incident At A Small School Board

Same energy:

"This resolution affirms that educators, not politicians, should make decisions about teaching and learning, and supports the rights and academic freedom of faculty to design courses, curriculum, and pedagogy, and to conduct related scholarly research," reads part of the resolution, which is nonbinding. "This resolution affirms the fundamental rights of faculty to academic freedom in its broadest sense, inclusive of research and teaching of race and gender theory."

The document also states UT faculty "resolutely rejects" attempts by outside groups, including lawmakers and the system's board of regents, to dictate content.
Patrick said during a news conference at the Capitol Friday that the resolution is another signal the "woke left ... has gone too far."

"We are the ones who pay their salaries," he said, referring to members of the Texas Legislature. "The parents are the ones who pay tuition. And of course, we're going to have a say in what the curriculum is. Of course, we're going to have a say on behalf of the parents. If there are issues that the parents are unhappy with, that the taxpayer are unhappy with, or the Legislature is unhappy with or the Board of Regents."

So it was a contentious school board meeting. Lots of people showed up to scream and yell about masks and CRT and pornography in the libraries (boy did I go to school at the wrong time!), and generally get worked up and shout at people who are volunteers (board members) who do a helluva lotta work and now are treated like shit for not doing what they can’t do (by law) and for not listening to the people who don’t have kids in school but do have opinions.  Stupid, ignorant, baseless opinions, like the Texas Lt. Gov., who thinks his ignorance is a better basis for "proper" education.

You get the idea. Comes a break in the meeting and one of these upstanding citizens walks to the dias where the board secretary (a district employee) has a dish of candy for the board members on the table in front of her. He helps himself to a handful and declares “I paid for that” as justification for his rudeness.

He didn’t pay for it, though. She buys it herself, to bring to the meetings. For the board members, who, as I said, don’t get paid to be board members.

Some people are just proud to be ignorant assholes.

The Argument For Treating Twitter As An Insane Asylum

Rather than as some kind of vox mundi. Despite the glimmers of rationality.

Still Looking For A Lenten Meditation

Then he said, "A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.' So the father divided the property between them.

After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need.

So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, 'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger.

I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers."'

So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.

His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.'

But his father ordered his servants, 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.' Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing.

He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.

The servant said to him, 'Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.

He said to his father in reply, 'Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.

But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.'

He said to him, 'My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.

But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to
life again; he was lost and has been found.'"

The parable of the prodigal pops up again, and I want to add my two cents.  I've written most of this before, nothing new to see here. Old wine, old wine skins, all that.  This is one of my favorite parables because I preached from it in one of my first sermons, as a student in a "foreign" church who needed somebody that morning.  I linked it to the song "500 Miles," which is actually a musical version of this parable.  So I like it for nostalgic reasons, and because it so perfectly fits the question Dom Crossan taught me to ask of the parables:  "How is the kingdom of heaven like that?"

The parable speaks in no uncertain terms: the younger son tells the father, "Give me what is coming to me." He means his share of the estate, the property he will inherit upon his father's death. I have to emphasize this point so we're very clear on it. You don't have to be a scholar of ancient Roman law to understand the basics of probate and inheritance.  In any society, property law abhors a vacuum.  When an individual dies in possession of property, whatever the legal system, that property must go to someone.  It's obvious under the Roman law Jesus and his audience knew that such property went from parents to children.  But, of course, it only passes on death.  My father's property was his until he died.  Then it want to my mother.  When she died, it finally came to me, and my brother. I took care of my mother's affairs (such as they were) after my father died, as he wished me to do. I treated the property (assets, mostly) as hers, not mine, until she died.  We all do that, if we're "good people."  The younger son is not "good people." He is saying to his father, in absolutely no uncertain terms: "Drop dead." The father means nothing to the son; his continued life only an obstacle to the son's financial freedom. Then, as now, it was money that mattered, money that would set him free. And the father? Certainly a reasonable father would at least say: "Oh?" He might go so far as to say:  "Begone, miscreant!  I'm calling my solicitor this intstant!  You'll not get a farthing!  Now be off, before I set the dogs on you! Never darken my door again!" This father, however, says: "All right." I wonder how the New York Times would write up that story.

Now realize, from this point on, the father owns nothing. You can't give one son his inheritance and not give the other son his inheritance, too.  Effectively the father has complied with his son's wishes.  He is dead.  He has to rely on the kindness of his elder son, or at least his sense of obligation. Because Dad is living on the land the older son owns, living off the property owned by his son. Dad has given the young brother his portion of all the father owned, in cash.  In essence, he's sold the other half to his elder son.  This helps put the attitude of the older son in the proper light.  If Dad doesn't have the good sense to live by reasonable rules, the son will; and that is Dad's salvation.

You have to understand this, or this story is just a nice story about forgiveness.  It's actually about what Graham Greene called "the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God."  You really need to see that, or there's no reason rehearsing this familiar story again.  We read/hear this story through millenia of layers of interpretation.  I want you to try to hear it as the first audience did.

Back to the younger son, who is as unreasonable as the father; but at least his unreason fits the expectations of the world. Living prodigally (hence the usual title of this parable), he is soon broke, soon reduced to feeding unclean animals (he is the servant to the pigs; how much worse can things get for him?). And so, his pride broken, he decides he will go home and beg from his father.

But he never gets the chance to beg. This is the part we all love, because we all identify with the wastrel son, we all carry some guilt about what we have done, could have done, should have done, wish we could do over. And we all want to enjoy unconditional forgiveness, to not even have to say "I'm sorry" to be accepted. Home, wrote Robert Frost, is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to let you in. We all want that much, at least, to be true for us, if we ever need it.

The son is coming down the road, rehearsing his speech, his plea for mercy.  He never (as TC notes) gets to.  The father sees him coming, and runs out to him.  He embraces his son, puts the family ring on his finger (Daddy was rich!), puts the best robe on his back, and tells the servant to slay the calf and start the feast! (Daddy can throw money around, too!  This is more like it!)  I'm a father.  I like to think I'd do the same thing, that nothing my child could do would ever but her beyond my love and compassion.  I know parents whose children have strained their affections to the utmost, to the point they began to believe compassion was the problem, not the solution.  Compassion won out, and their children became family again.  It's nice when it happens that way. But the audience for this parable has not forgotten what the father and prodigal clearly have; the father is not the owner of anything anymore.

Stop there, again.  The father owns nothing.  He is a tenant of his elder son, who is doing what is right, what is expected, what should be done under the law or Moses ("Honor thy father and thy mother") or any decent, civilized society.  But he's already done too much for the younger son, who ignored that "commandment" like it never existed, and he's ignored it himself by not insisting his son, for whose moral behavior he is responsible (as a parent!), behave accordingly or face the consequences.  In modern parlance, the father has been a doormat.  It's his fault this situation exists.  He was weak!  He gave the younger son too much!  We want to get caught up in the rush of emotion conveyed in that picture above.  We want the happy ending!  We even make one, where this parable doesn't provide it.

It is a pointedly ironic statement that we usually gloss over in our rush to identify with the prodigal, but when the father tells his older son, "My son who was dead is alive!," it's a reversal not of what has happened to the younger son, but of what the younger son wished for his father, for the wish of the younger son was granted. Maybe we should look at this as a "be careful what you wish for" story. But that still doesn't let the father off the hook for being completely insane. It is property we value, although when the prodigal puts property above paternal fealty, we all condemn the prodigal. When the father refuses to put property above paternal love, we all stand perplexed. It is right to love your child, but surely there should be boundaries to such love. Surely the prodigal should be taught a lesson by the father, not just by circumstances; a lesson about morality, and not just property and people. Surely absolute forgiveness should not just be offered to the prodigal without some act of contrition, some offering, some exchange. Without that, the forgiveness given her by the father is simply a gift! Shouldn't this forgiveness be part of some economy, some cycle of exchange?

But would it then be forgiveness at all? Or simply compensation for a loss suffered, for property taken, squandered, not valued, treated...prodigally? Who is the prodigal here? The younger son? Or the father?

So the older son, the dutiful one, the one who honored his father even after his father dishonored the entire system of property and exchange and ownership and familial structure and even morality/law, even after the father willingly and knowingly accepted the complete rejection of that system for the selfishness of the younger son (a selfishness even keener when we realize the concept of the "individual" we have today stems, not from the 1st century, but from 19th century England, from post-Enlightenment Europe, from the reaction to the dehumanizing machine world ushered in by the Industrial Revolution,  This father is acting on behalf of all fathers.  Every member of the original audience of this parable is having a VERY hard time accepting this story as it goes on.). The older son still honors the social system and the fifth commandment ("Honor thy father and thy mother").  The younger son tore that one up first thing in the story.. And for the pains and forbearance and loyalty to property and society of the older son, what reward? To see the prodigal feted, and his property (!) given to the son who placed property above propriety, who understood the lesson all too well, who took literally the message the it's property and money that matters? And it still does, because without it, what feast of welcome would there be? But the feast is with the elder son's fatted calf, the elder son's robe, in the elder son's house! The father has declared himself dead and divided the property.  It is no longer his property to give away. What is this father doing? Why does he continue to place love and forgiveness above property rights and ownership and even punishment for such violations as the younger son has committed?  The younger son has brought shame on the family a hundred times over; the older son has been the model of propriety.  And yet who is being celebrated here?

The story ends with the older son standing outside the party (that he's paying for!  That's his robe!  That's his fatted calf!  That's his money paying for the beer!), unable to go in, unable to go away.  If he walks away, he's churlish (though who could blame him, later?  When the emotions have calmed and the situation is reviewed calmly).  If he goes in, he condones his father's actions (but his brother is back!  Alive!  Safe!  Home again!).  Who is it, again, we identify with in this story?  Where is our place at this party?

No wonder we allegorize this story. No wonder we say the father=God, and prodigal=Sinner, the elder son=...? Well, who? Us? But aren't we sinners? Those who don't accept God's love and forgiveness? Yet the father tells him (and it is literally true; deeper and deeper the irony cuts!) that "Everything I have is yours!" (Kierkegaard notes that the "concept of irony" is that it undermines everything reliable, every truth, every piece of solid ground, until there remains nothing left to stand on, until irony destroys even itself. He was speaking of Socrates; but in the parables of Jesus we get the same feeling: that the ground is being cut out from under us, that we are left hanging, like a cartoon character who has run off the cliff, hanging over the abyss just before we start to fall.) Yes, everything the father has belongs to the elder son, because the prodigal liquidated his part and spent it on wine and women and who knows what all.  Everything the elder son, the symbol of society, has lived by, is called into question by the father's actions.

So what does this story tell us about God?   If father=God, what is the nature of God?  Well, maybe, just maybe, this story isn't theological at all. Maybe this isn't a revelation into the substance or essence or "mind" of God by God, at all. Maybe it is a lesson about living, about true life which is the basileia tou theou. Maybe it is a lesson about what is really important versus what we think is important. Maybe it is of a piece with the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, which neither sow nor reap, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as they; even Pharoah with all his grain stored in bins was not better fed than the birds. Maybe it's a lesson about the economy of scarcity versus the economy of community. Maybe it isn't about property at all, except that property is our treasure, and where our treasure is, is where our heart is. And so to get at our heart, God has to go through our property. And the idea of property, of ownership, of possession, of having and holding and controlling, is the idea that needs to be attacked, confronted, contradicted, over and over and over again, until we finally begin to let go, until we finally begin to hear, until we finally begin to think that maybe, just maybe, we don't need to be afraid.

Maybe it's not an allegory at all; or theology; maybe it's just a simple lesson: that everything we know is wrong. That love is the most important part of living, and that we all have to follow the most insane and self-destructive paths to learn this, and that if love isn't still offered when those paths come to an end, then it truly is a bleak and hopeless universe after all.

But it needn't be. Thanks be to God.

So This Is Still A Thing?

I went to bed almost unaware the Academy Awards were on last night. But I heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. This was pretty much my reaction: Yeah, nothing suspicious about it here: But, of course, Twitter: Which just had to get stupid: Still haven't found any "LOCK HIM UP!" tweets. But I'm sure they're out there. In the meantime, I refer you back to NOHat's tweet that nobody is going to jail for this slap. Especially Will Smith. "Legal" twitter is the absolute worst! Seriously. Way to bring the room down, dude.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

“A Crowd This Big In This Big Area Of Big Crowds” 🤣🤣🤣🫠

This stuff is just too damned funny. From the “Me Or Your Lyin’ 👀 Dept.” Just wait; you know it will get bigger. Meanwhile: Told ya it was coming:
Ahead of his Georgia rally, Trump spoke to Newsmax, explaining about his rally crowd: “They’ve never had a crowd this big in this big area of big crowds." 
He explained it was "record-breaking."
He’s become absolutely incoherent. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what he said about Putin is what really matters! Even Chuck Todd this morning admitted we were all thinking it. I mean, come on! Chuck Todd!!

Peace In Our Time?

This is not going to help Ukraine negotiate with Putin. 

  Right, Richard Haass?...
Richard Haass, a veteran diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Post that Biden's remarks don't achieve the priorities of "ending the war on terms Ukraine can accept, and discouraging any escalation by Putin." "It discourages Putin from any compromise essentially — if you've got everything to lose, it frees him up. Why should he show any restraint?" Haass added. "And it confirms his worst fears, which is that this is what the United States seeks his ouster and systemic change."
Um... Are we really going to say it’s Biden’s fault if Putin steps up to battlefield nukes? Because that’s about the only “restraint” he’s shown so far. Other than the restraint of a collapsing invasion force.

Not The Distinction You Are Looking For

I mean, sure, if you ignore her reply:
Thomas: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!”
Not exactly a rejection of Meadows’ “religious zeal.” One might even think Meadows knew how to pitch his argument to her. And it seems to have worked.

You know, you can’t slice the baloney so thin it only has one side.
Mighty white of 'em. Good thing they met after ‘67, too. "And certainly pray about this…”

Meadows was preaching to the choir, and he knew it.

Sunday Morning Going Down

Which tells you the value of church attendance in assessing religious convictions. And where the phrase “baptized heathens” comes from.

Some may think this is some kind of apocalypse. I would agree. An apocalypse in the sense we use in English when we translate the title of the last book of the New Testament into “Revelation.” John of Patmos used the Greek word we still use now: apocalypse. He meant a revealing of the truth. God inconveniently does that all the time. Inconveniently for us, I mean.

The Hamster Stepped Out Of The Wheel

The Ukrainians just think they’re suffering. They don’t know suffering, buddy! See? There’s no end to it!

At least he didn’t say Putin should be removed from office, because that would literally be bad. Because it’s terribly indecent to speak of removing from power a head of government whom you’ve already called a war criminal. Someone fetch David French a fainting couch. Maybe it would have been better if Biden had praised Putin and called the invasion of Ukraine a great negotiation that didn’t work out.
Meanwhile, back in Ukraine: I blame Biden. He started it.


This Is Your Brain On Crazy 🧠

Watched some of the play about Ann Richards Thursday night (PBS). (Meh; too much caricature. I knew Ann Richards; actually met her once. She was much funnier and more human than that.) She spoke of the need to be compassionate in governance (which did sound like Ann Richards). We are losing that fight every day. I’m sure Elon Musk can fix that, too. Do that. Tell all your friends. I’m sure they’ll make it successful. Especially if YOU set the rules. Bezos will be so jealous he’ll start one; but it won’t be as commercially successful as yours. Just make sure the “Babylon Bee” can stay on (unless you don’t like the “Babylon Bee.” It’ll be your platform, you can do what you want.) You and your friends; the ones who are interested. And their friends; who are interested. You can even call it “The Boring Website.” Or maybe “The Empty Website.” And instead of tweets people can post “empties.”

Well, get your marketing people to work on it.
Yeah, get your people to work on that, too. The “town square” is/was public property (find one still functioning as the metaphor imagines. Go ahead. I’ll wait.) accessible to all. Twitter is a private company accessible to anyone with a computer and internet access. And you can only post on it by agreeing to their rules. Even the town square is governed by laws regarding its use.

Try again.
Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear. Looking forward to another post.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

In Which We Learn The POTUS Is A Human Being

Why would Joe say that? Joe is not wrong. And to put it in pictures: Some of us think he was quite articulate. Both sides matter, I suppose.


The One About Ginni Thomas

I’m sure she was joking, right? Or drunk tweeting? "Probably" is looking very lost and confused in that sentence. Probably didn’t mean a literal army, right? I wanna see the fight over that subpoena! It’s pretty much the only fight we’re gonna get. I don’t know. Your wife is a crazy seditionist conspiracy nut who thinks an entire political party is evil and should be treated en masse like terrorists, and absolutely anything done to stop them from gaining the White House is justifiable, including ignoring all the laws of the country and raising an army of opponents to that person (remind me again what armies do. Vote? Deliberate? Forcibly establish a debate society?) and your escape hatch as a Supreme Court Justice is: “She has her hobbies”? (And the gap between her crazy and his isn’t that wide, anyway. This isn’t Mary Matalin and James Carville we’re talking about.) Isn’t that like saying my wife is a Satanist but it doesn’t affect my role as a pastor? I’m sure I could convince a congregation of the validity of that argument.