Sunday, July 30, 2017

What a maroon

The GOP is a party of conservatives - actually, right wing revolutionaries - some of whose members do not have solid, bright red constituencies.

These latter are the so-called "moderates" who could not vote for the projects of the revolutionaries.
John Daniel Davidson has no patience with and refuses even to see that political reality.

America is not a hard right country.

It is not even center right.

It is center-left, but it's politics are distorted by a rigged system that enhances the power of right wing constituencies.

The Senate in which half a million right wing hayseeds have as much to say as 30 million Democrats, the Electoral College, gerrymandered districts that lead to GOP over representation in the House, the excess of right wing hate over left, and the grim determination of GOP donors, for instance.

And despite all that, the hard right that dominates the GOP cannot always quite have its way.


What would you conclude if you voted for a candidate or a party because of a promise to repeal or change a law that you strongly felt was harmful and unjust, but once in office the party refused to do it?

You might conclude, rightly, that those politicians didn’t really work for you, and the party didn’t care what you thought.

That’s precisely the message Republicans have been sending their constituents throughout the Obamacare repeal fiasco.

The failure of Senate Republicans to pass a so-called “skinny repeal” in the early hours of Friday is merely the latest instance of GOP fecklessness on health care reform.

Or, this piece is just intended as political pressure, smoke to keep the GOP politicians, or the rest of us, seeing and accepting that the real America no more wants abolition of Ocare that it wants any other part of the GOP agenda.

Americans do not want repeal, but enhancement, of our heritage of Progressivism.

The rooster always takes credit for the sunrise

Activists refuse to slow resistance after stymying Republican healthcare plan

And ten years of demonstrations stopped the Vietnam War.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Who's afraid of Donald Trump?

Jeff Sessions, still in office.

Reince Priebus, just fired.

Sean Spicer, fired a short while ago.

Abused and fired staff and allies who, interviewed immediately after a shocking episode, grovel shamelessly, and praise the president effusively.

"I love Big Brother," they say, under the spreading chestnut tree.

Like high officials at a show trial, denouncing their wives and children days before a bullet in the neck.

Mini-Mussolini knows his fan base

Encouraging police brutality at a police venue, pleasing his cop audience, too.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The gay-bashers are really worked up about trannies

'Biology is not bigotry': conservative writers react to ban on trans troops

No, but these guys are into it, just the same.

By the way, my wife has corrected my mistaken belief that Bruce Jenner has still not had the surgery.

Turns out, he has.

You know, the radical surgery.

Which brings him about as close as humanly possible to actually having undergone a sex change, from Bruce to Caitlin.

Personally, I'll think the idea that the surgery is a sex change rather than mostly a mutilation is more convincing when it enables pregnancy.

And probably the surgeons feel the same way, and would really like to be able to do that.

Peggy Noonan, an annoying sociocon sexist mocker

Peggy Noonan: ‘Weak and sniveling’ Trump is not as strong as his wife

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan says President Trump’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is “inexperienced, crude, an outsider” but that he is “weak and sniveling” and “undermines himself almost daily by ignoring” traditional norms of American masculinity.

“He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic,” Noonan wrote in her column Thursday.

“He’s a drama queen. It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband. Trump must remind people of their first wife. Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.”

On the other hand, nobody sees Bozo as the right man for the 3 am call we are right now, today getting about the latest North Korean missile launch, one that may have come down on land in Japan.

Bozo back to attacking the filibuster

Trump tweets about Senate after failure of health care vote

After the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed in the Senate, President Trump began tweeting about changing the rules in the Senate. 

"If Republicans are going to pass great future legislation in the Senate, they must immediately go to a 51 vote majority, not senseless 60...," he tweeted. 

Mr. Trump then tweeted again, adding, "Even though parts of healthcare could pass at 51, some really good things need 60. So many great future bills & budgets need 60 votes." 

Only if someone invokes the filibuster rule against the measure, of course.

As, in fairness, the Dems are apt to do regarding much of the GOP agenda.

Last time he commented on the question, McConnell was adamant he had no plans to do away with the legislative filibuster.

Will they bolt?

MSNBC just now reported the men in the senate GOP are castigating Collins and Murkowski in brutally sexist language.

Nobody seems to be castigating McCain.

Also, the ludicrous coverage giving most or even all the credit for stopping repeal in the senate to McCain has not failed to annoy women.

Still, newsies are right to find it sweet to report that the man who ran against Obama is the man who saved his legacy.

McCain won't do it, he'll just die, but will Collins or Murkowski bolt the GOP to join the Democrats, who are much more hospitable to women in office and in leadership as well as, perhaps, a better ideological fit for them?

That would be interesting.

It wasn't just about Sessions bashing

House approves spending bill with $1.6 billion for the border wall

Yep, The Transgender Thing Is All About Funding The Stupid Wall

Jesus, pure advertising copy for sociolib fiscalcon among Democrats

Generals Love Him. Top Democrats Despise Him. Can He Be President Anyway?

Pure puff for a nobody with a war record.

A young titmouse squeaking at Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the leadership lions to get out of his way.

The Bolivarian Revolution advances, yet again!

Ta-da!

Yet another surenchère.

Venezuela bans protests ahead of vote

The ban, announced Thursday toward the end of an opposition-led general strike that shuttered some businesses nationwide for two days, begins Friday and continues through Tuesday, interior and justice minister Néstor Reverol said.

He prohibited "all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might disturb the electoral process."

Those who run afoul of the ban risk prison sentences of five to 10 years, he said.

The move comes as Venezuela, in the midst of an economic and political crisis that has spurred street protests for months, prepares for Sunday's vote called by President Nicolás Maduro.

Voters will elect representatives for a 545-seat special assembly that would have powers to rewrite the South American country's 1999 constitution and dissolve state institutions.

Maduro's critics say the new body would essentially replace the opposition-led National Assembly, and allow Maduro supporters to give him more sweeping powers. 

Maduro has said that rewriting the constitution is needed to restore order, apply justice and re-establish peace.

Ocare

Skinny repeal coming up for a vote.

This is their last ditch.

MSNBC just said it could come down to McCain.

If it does, I think Ocare is fried.

Headlines,  "All eyes on McCain," and the like.

God, what a cunt.

What monsters of vanity they all are.

What a complete drama queen.

A goddam Diva.

Update.

My mistake.

The Diva voted no, after all, and it failed, 51 to 49.

Had he (or Collins, or Murkowski) voted yes it would have been a tie, Pence would have voted yes, and it would have passed.

McConnell right now is blaming the Democrats, all of whom voted no.

The media are crediting McCain, but not Collins, and not Murkowski.

And that seems to be the end of the GOP's attempt to redeem their 7 years of promising to get rid of Ocare, for this year, anyway.

Not a word, yet, from Bozo.

There are stories out now with McCain explaining his vote, "It was the right thing to do."

What a noble fellow!

What a hero!

Nobody has asked Murkowski or Collins.

Clever Alice

Some of the stories are just bizarre.

Reading Grimm.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Russia supporting North Korea ecomomically

MSNBC today.

Coming right up: GMO people

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.

The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, MIT Technology Review has learned.

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

. . . .

The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, MIT Technology Review has learned.

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

. . . .

A person familiar with the research says “many tens” of human IVF embryos were created for the experiment using the donated sperm of men carrying inherited disease mutations. 

Embryos at this stage are tiny clumps of cells invisible to the naked eye. 

MIT Technology Review could not determine which disease genes had been chosen for editing.

If you think a fertilized ovum is a person with all the moral status had by any human from birth to death this sort of thing is, in your view, as much a moral horror as anything done by the Nazis in their death camps.

But if not . . .

Bozo's new sheriff on the job

Warfare in the West Wing breaks into the open as Scaramucci takes aim at Priebus

A knife fight for control of the West Wing broke into the open Thursday morning as President Trump's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci lashed out at White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a televised interview, accusing Priebus of leaking and standing in the way of Trump's agenda.

"The fish stinks from the head down, I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, OK, and that’s me and the president," Scaramucci said, calling in to CNN's morning show "New Day."

"I don’t like the activity that’s going in the White House," he said.

Scaramucci, who had said the day he was named to the White House job that he and Priebus were like brothers, drastically amended that in the interview, comparing the two of them to the brothers who, in the Bible, were the characters in the first murder.

"Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don’t know if this is reparable or not --  that will be up to the president," he said.

Bozo out of control

Speculation is he did this to please the "God hates fags" sociocon base he may be alienating by attacking Jeff Sessions.

US Joint Chiefs blindsided by Trump's transgender ban

Conservatives lobbied White House on transgender policy but total ban wasn't what they asked for

[C]onservatives who lobbied the White House say they were pushing only to prevent the Pentagon from paying for medical costs associated with gender confirmation -- not an outright ban.

Democrats say they're ready for a culture war as Trump bans transgender people from military service

Meanwhile, the AG Fyodor been crapping all over for days came through for him with a bit of his own gay bashing (broadly speaking) to please the Trump base.

DOJ files amicus brief that says Title VII does not protect sexual orientation

His DOJ has entered the lists in a court case on the side of the gay bashers.

Strictly, the DOJ is right, I think.

But still.

The Justice Department filed an amicus brief Wednesday saying that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover employment "discrimination based on sexual orientation."

The DOJ filed the brief in the case of Donald Zarda, who had filed suit against his former employer Altitude Express in a case that questions whether sexual orientation is included in Title VII's protections.

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Zarda was a skydiving instructor who said he was fired after disclosing his sexual orientation to a customer. 

He died in a skydiving accident before the case went to trial, and executors of his estate have continued the lawsuit on his behalf.

Atomic Blonde

Somebody told the liberals of Hollywood that movies don't have to be entirely historically accurate, which of course is true.

The result has been grotesque falsification.

When someone's values are depicted, falsely, as having been realized in the past, we are looking at propaganda.

Fathers and Mothers

Fathers are weak and cowardly, seems to be the lesson.

Mothers - well, step-mothers, anyway - , though strong, are madly evil.

The Handless Maiden.

Reading Grimm.

Bare Possibility

Elementary Bayesianism holds that for any proposition neither necessarily true nor necessarily false that one has neither evidence to believe nor evidence to disbelieve one ought to believe it as likely true as not.

But bare possibilities are Tommyrot, and the sensible person disbelieves them all.

Except for, well, the world, other minds, and so on.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The attacks on Sessions

They are getting worse, and the current concern is that Trump will fire him during the August recess of Congress and immediately appoint, without the need for senate vetting and confirmation, some cat's paw who will fire Mueller and end the Russia investigations.

Could be.

Expect bellows from the pro-Trump noise machine - including all of Breitbart and most of Fox - of "If the president does it that means it's not obstruction of justice!"

He's competing with himself

Every day, bigger lies and bigger boasts from this roaring looney.

What an unbearable disgrace. 

Trump: I Can Be the ‘Most Presidential’ POTUS Except Lincoln

During a campaign rally Tuesday, President Trump said he can be “with the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln... more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”

The mini-Mussolini breaks another promise and draws the line

Trump announces ban on transgender service members

Remember when Donald Trump was going to be the Republican who didn’t hate LGBT people? 

He even promised to be better than Hillary on LGBT issues! 

About that. 

Under President Obama, transgender people already serving in the military were allowed to come out and the process was started to allow transgender people to enlist. 

Trump postponed that process, and Wednesday morning he took to Twitter to make an announcement: yeah, he’s bringing discrimination back in.

Bozo announced in a series of tweets,

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.

And yet,

Trump’s move also comes days after former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen called on Congress to allow transgender troops and provide them needed medical care.

And by the way.

Gay rights opponent picked as ambassador to Netherlands by Trump

A gay rights opponent who once appeared in a campaign advert that was accused of being racist and who has claimed that refugees pose a threat to Europe has been named as Donald Trump’s choice for US ambassador to the Netherlands.

The nomination of Pete Hoekstra, a former congressman and one of the founders of the conservative Tea Party movement, has raised eyebrows in the Netherlands, a bastion of liberal values and the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Oh, to hell with it!

McConnell’s Emerging O’care Repeal Plan: Pass Anything, Punt To House!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) big plan to keep his Obamacare repeal efforts alive on Tuesday might come down to passing a narrowly tailored bill with provisions that are broadly popular with Republicans, letting them get to a conference committee with House Republicans without having to make any hard decisions.

. . . .

[T]he Senate would vote for a “skinny” plan to effectively repeal the employer and individual health care mandates, as well as the unpopular medical device tax, GOP aides tell TPM.

If the GOP actually passed nothing but that it would fairly rapidly destroy Ocare by removing crucial pieces of support.

Fine with them.

[E]ven some of the fiercest critics of earlier versions of the bill sounded ready to get on board with the more narrowly tailored provisions.

“If we cannot pass full, clean 2015 repeal, I’ve also been told we will vote on whatever version of CLEAN repeal we can pass,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted Tuesday morning. 

“Repealing mandates & taxes, without new spending and bailouts. This is the path I’ve been urging, and what I discussed with @realDonaldTrump. If this is indeed the plan, I will vote to proceed and I will vote for any all measures that are clean repeal.”

Your true Sandersite

Tell us how you really feel.

The Democratic Leadership Has Failed To Give A Good Reason Why Their Party Should Continue To Exist

Who is unhappy with the Democrats' "new look"?

Sandersites and others on the left who have sometimes been honest enough to express their hatred, contempt, and utter disrespect for the party and its central aim of preservation and gradual expansion of progressive reform.

Simply not radical enough for these folks.

Well, I did tell you the Dems are the real conservative party of America, and standard Democrat progressivism is the real American conservatism, in contrast to which the so-called "conservatism" of the American movement and the Republican Party is in truth a revolutionary, or counter-revolutionary, project of the America-hating radical right.

The Great Democratic Reboot: Why I’m Underwhelmed

Double standard

Yesterday, The Guardian praised Republican female senators for stopping the GOP effort, and did not seek to avoid the implication their being women informed their political position on the matter.

Today, a conservative complained of the same alleged fact.

But coming from him, and as a complaint, the allegation itself is viewed as sexist.

The most evil man ever to sit in the White House?

Well, since the 19th Century, anyway.

Trump slams AG Sessions' 'weak' position on Clinton emails

Our mini-Mussolini continues the John McCain line that there is a double standard at work in the differences between the investigation of Hillary's emails (completed by Comey who recommended no charges) and that of Russian meddling on his behalf in the 2016 election (ongoing).

He used to make the same complaint that he and his family and campaign were being investigated for collusion with the Russians while Hillary was not.

Given the Russians were out to sink her, that was too absurd, even for Bozo.

So now he complains there is no investigation of Ukrainian interference in the election, presumably on Hillary's behalf.

And now he is publicly and furiously blaming Jeff Sessions for these disparities.

A president pressuring officials to abandon an investigation of himself, his family, or his friends is guilty of obstruction of justice.

Pressuring them to undertake investigations of his enemies is abuse of power.

By the way, note the famously mavericky Republican moderate who yesterday proposed Sarah Palin, girl Trump, for the vice presidency and today drags himself from his deathbed to help conservatives destroy Ocare.

And isn't this an admission that our mini-Mussolini wants Sessions gone because he didn't attempt obstruction of justice?

Inside the Purge

Scaramucci is also leading the way in the effort to push out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, telling the increasingly servile Trump toady Hugh Hewitt this morning that the President “probably” wants Sessions “gone” because he has failed to protect the President from the Russia probe.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Guardian's pages on the Inheritance Tax

Why not fund the welfare state with a 100% inheritance tax?

Inheritance tax is toxic. We need new ways to tackle inequality

Inequality is absolutely unavoidable in any organized society, and inequality of power over the means of production is just as inevitable whether under capitalism or the most thorough socialism.

But in contrast to socialism and the dreams of some egalitarians, capitalism privatizes and thus very effectively disperses power over the means of production, and that is its virtue.

A virtue the abolition of inheritance would go way too far to undermine.

I don't think The Guardian - or maybe it's just their readers - quite gets that.

Too many people still dream of egalitarianism and Utopia, socialist or anarchist, and a lot of them seem to either work at or read The Guardian.

Et tu, Corbyn?

Corbyn goes anti-immigration in a very openly Brit nationalist way.

Jeremy Corbyn: “wholesale” EU immigration has destroyed conditions for British workers

Mass immigration from the European Union has been used to "destroy" the conditions of British workers, Jeremy Corbyn said today.

. . . .

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him - blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.

The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. 

He added: "What there wouldn't be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry." 

Corbyn said he would prevent agencies from advertising jobs in central Europe - asking them to "advertise in the locality first". 

This idea draws on the "Preston model" adopted by that local authority, of trying to prioritise local suppliers for public sector contracts. 

The rules of the EU prevent this approach, seeing it as discrimination. 

In the future, foreign workers would "come here on the basis of the jobs available and their skill sets to go with it. What we wouldn't allow is this practice by agencies, who are quite disgraceful they way they do it - recruit a workforce, low paid - and bring them here in order to dismiss an existing workforce in the construction industry, then pay them low wages. It's appalling. And the only people who benefit are the companies."

Recall that Bernie Sanders was anti-immigration in much the same way until the New York Times editorial folks had him in for a chat and straightened him out.

It can't be racist and wicked when the right say it (Trump, for example) and OK when the left say it (Bernie, for example).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The most ridiculous thing ever written by a philosophe?

Holbach, Le Christianisme dévoile, 1766.

Lettre de l’auteur à Monsieur.

Les livres ne sont faits que pour la partie d’une nation, que ses circonstances, son éducation, ses sentimens, mettent au-dessus du crime.

More.

Vous n’êtes point, monsieur, du nombre de ces penseurs pusillanimes, qui croyent que la vérité soit capable de nuire : elle ne nuit qu’à ceux qui trompent les hommes, et elle sera toujours utile au reste du genre humain.

Tout a dû vous convaincre depuis long-tems, que tous les maux, dont notre espéce est affligée, ne viennent que de nos erreurs, de nos intérêts mal entendus, de nos préjugés, des idées fausses que nous attachons aux objets.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A developing pattern

A foolish or wicked wife dominates a sensible or good husband, and it doesn't work out well.

So far, three or more tales like that, among them Hansel and Grethel, The Fisherman and His Wife, and Cinderella.

Not one with a foolish or wicked husband dominating a sensible or good wife.

In more than one story a girl finds a prince to marry.

Oddly, it is too blatantly, crudely, even shockingly mercenary to be somehow an offense to feminism.

Reading Grimm.

How far we have come

They were savage in their opposition to the creation of Medicare, back in the day.

Doctors were then among the most hardcore of conservative Republicans.

The AMA tells Senate to fix, not repeal 'Obamacare'

The nation's largest doctors' group urged senators on Friday to stop trying to repeal or replace Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and instead begin a bipartisan effort to stabilize the insurance marketplace.

The American Medical Association said proposed Republican bills — one to repeal and replace the 2010 health law, the other to repeal only — would cause too many people to lose coverage.

"Each bill results in millions more Americans without health insurance coverage, weakened markets, less access to affordable coverage and care, and the undermining of funding for state Medicaid programs," wrote Dr. James L. Madara, the group's CEO, in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

The doctors group called for bipartisan cooperation, starting with action to shore up shaky insurance markets.

KY taxpayers don't like it? Too bad.

Kim Davis

Davis, who is the county clerk for Kentucky’s Rowan County, steadfastly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality, citing her religious beliefs. 

Though Davis was briefly jailed for contempt of court, she went on to become the darling of right-wing conservatives, including former Republican presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee. 

On Friday, a federal judge awarded $222,695 in legal fees to the attorneys of four couples ― two same-sex, two opposite-sex ― who were denied marriage licenses by Davis. 

(The clerk briefly refused to issue licenses to all couples in 2015 as her legal troubles began to mount.) 

However, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered the state, as opposed to Davis herself, to pay the fees. 

His reasoning was simple. 

“Davis represented the Commonwealth of Kentucky when she refused to issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples,” he said, according to The New York Times. 

“The buck stops there.”

Imagine a devout Jew working at Texas Roadhouse refusing to serve ribs.

Or refusing to serve them to Jews.

Or whatever silly thing.

Appalachian evangelical whites of Scotch-Irish extraction are the most bigoted people in America. 

Americans are ignorant boobs

Another poll on Obamacare confirms the lesson.

Poland moves away from liberty

Poland Passes Law That EU Says Threatens Country’s Democracy

Poland’s upper house of Parliament on Saturday passed a sweeping and controversial judicial bill despite massive nationwide protests and the threat of EU sanctions.

The new legislation gives the nationalist ruling party extensive control over the nation’s court system, a move which critics say brings into question the country’s judicial independence. 

. . . .

Once the bill is signed, the ruling Law and Justice Party, or PiS, will have the ability to force the resignation of all of Poland’s top judges and appoint its own members to the Supreme Court.

Opponents of the move argue that it will demolish judicial independence and separation of powers in the country, marking a major shift for a ruling government that has already been accused of pursuing an illiberal agenda.

. . . .

The changes to the judiciary, if approved by the president, are set to consolidate even more power in the hands of PiS, which took office with a slight parliamentary majority in late 2015.

Since then, the party has made changes to the Constitutional Tribunal ― a body that can rule laws unconstitutional ― and curbed the independence of public broadcasters and civil society groups. 

Poland has also clashed with the EU over the country’s refusal to take part in a refugee resettlement plan that would more equitably divide asylum-seekers among member states. 

As a result of Poland’s refusal, the EU is currently seeking legal action against the state.

Der Untergang des Abendlandes

‘Cultural Climate Change’

Blah, blah.

The same kind of Christianist attributed the decline of the Roman Empire to lingering paganism and way too much bad sex.

Of course, pagans attributed it to the growing power of Christianity and neglect of duties to the (true) gods, but who listens to them?

A much better story is massive and colossally destructive barbarian invasions.

But it's tough to spin that.

And today the West is not declining, but lots of other folks are rising as their economic power grows, relative to ours.

Thank decades of free trade and deliberate global leveling.

And maybe most of all thank the conversion of the Chinese Communist Party to the capitalist road.

Why term limits are a good idea

Vladimir Putin: 'I may not leave Russian presidency'

Asked what he plans to do when he leaves the presidency, Vladimir Putin paused and smiled. 

“But I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency,” the Russian leader replied, to laughter and applause from an audience made up almost entirely of Russians who were born after he first became president in 2000.

That could never have been said by a man who valued republicanism and his country.

George Washington, for example.

The bleeding just doesn't stop

Trump attacks Post over report Sessions discussed campaign with ambassador

Donald Trump went on the offensive on Saturday morning, after the Washington Post reported that his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, discussed Trump’s White House bid with the Russian ambassador to Washington in 2016.

The president did not defend Sessions, whom earlier this week he criticised strongly for his recusal from the Russia investigation. 

Instead, Trump complained about “illegal leaks” and demanded: “Why isn’t the AG or Special Council [sic] looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?”

The Post report cited US intelligence intercepts which contradict Sessions’ assurances that the campaign was not discussed. 

Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow he talked about campaign-related matters and significant policy issues during two meetings with Sessions, according to current and former US intelligence officials, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The ambassador’s accounts of the meetings, which US spy agencies intercepted, clash with those of Sessions and pile fresh pressure on the attorney general just days after the president publicly criticised him.

Bad news for the GOP

Senate Parliamentarian Guts Repeal And Replace Effort

In a major, and perhaps fatal, blow to any version of Trumpcare, senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has excluded several key features of the latest bill to repeal-and-replace Obamacare as items that cannot be enacted under the filibuster-immune special budget rules.

In an explanatory document released late Friday by the Senate Budget Committee, a number of provisions have run afoul of the parliamentarian’s so-called “Byrd Bath,” a review (named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd) designed to ensure that budget bills stick to dictates that have an impact on the budget.

The GOP leadership can disregard the ruling, according to the rules.

But that appears unlikely, as it would amount in practise to gutting "the legislative filibuster" that Mitch McConnell has said, contrary to Trump's urging, he wants to preserve.

Out of Order

Here's the high-level overview of some of what they can't pass with 51 votes:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood
  • Remove tax credits for policies that cover abortion care
  • Dropping Essential Health Benefits (EHB) coverage for Medicaid
  • Requiring a "six-month lockout" for anyone whose coverage lapses
  • Allowing states to determine the Medical Loss Ratio (what insurers can spend on overhead and marketing instead of health care)
  • Allowing states to roll over unused Medicaid block grant funds to the following year and spend them on anything, including things which are unrelated to health care.
  • State-specific buyoffs like the House-based "Buffalo buyout"
  • The only provisions which can pass with 51 votes are the Medicaid work requirements, the extra money allocated to non-Medicaid expansion states, repealing cost-sharing subsidies, and some reporting requirements.

The Parliamentarian is still reviewing the state waivers for Essential Health Benefits, Association health plans, the Age Tax allowing insurers to charge older people 5 times what younger people pay, and the Medicaid block grant provisions.

The Cruz amendment allowing states to allow individual private policies that do not cover all essential services in order to keep prices down was added too late to go to the parliamentarian for evaluation, and it's very likely to get shot down, too.

A disgrace

To the police, to the merchants who apparently complained, and to the entire country.

Another reason not to be a cop, by the way, to add to the heap.

UK girl left in tears after she's fined for selling lemonade

A British man and his young daughter have gained international attention for being fined for selling lemonade.

Andre Spicer said his 5-year-old daughter was left in tears after local council officers fined her 150 pounds ($195) for selling lemonade without a license near their home in London.

The girl was selling home-made lemonade to fans attending the Lovebox dance festival when she was fined.

The four officers approached the girl and began speaking in technical legal terms, telling her that her lemonade stand infringed on local business rights.

. . . .

Spicer wrote an article about the incident for the Daily Telegraph that garnered hundreds of comments and shares online.

Local officials said the fine will be cancelled immediately. 

They have apologized to the family.

In a statement Friday, the council said it was "very sorry" about what happened and that its enforcement officers are expected to "show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen."

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Fisherman and his wife

It's the voice of Edward Everett Horton.

All fairy tales are fractured, it seems.

Reading Grimm.

Revelation

If the prodigal son had been warned of such a welcome he would never have gone home.

The Apocalypse according to Supernatural is no crazier than the Apocalypse according to John.

Or whoever.

The story of the fall in Genesis is, for the most part, no worse than mysterious.

This story of the end is frightful and nuts.

These early Christians had a serious problem, inherited from the Jews, with "sexual immorality".

I can't handle the truth!

Why white supremacists love Tucker Carlson

Since taking over Bill O’Reilly’s slot on Fox News, Tucker Carlson has had the most-watched news show on cable. 

Nope, not Rachel.

His populist rhetoric and cutting interview style have earned him millions of nightly viewers, prompting Forbes to ask if Carlson is “the new king of cable news.”

But Carlson’s rise to stardom has also earned him the attention of another group: white supremacists. 

Richard Spencer celebrated O’Reilly’s replacement, arguing Carlson showed an “open-mindedness” to white supremacist ideas that O’Reilly didn’t. 

Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke frequently tweets praise of Tucker’s show. 

And the white supremacist website Daily Stormer has called Carlson “literally our greatest ally.”

Does Ann Coulter own Human Events?

What's next?

The president who was going to "drain the swamp" is the most profoundly corrupt - in not just the money sense but the political sense - in our history.

What's next?

Trump pardons all his cronies, his family, and himself for everything - how would he word it to cover the necessary ground? - everything they have ever done and ever will do.

And he fires not just Mueller but a batch of others in the Justice Department to totally end all investigations of him, his family, and his staff.

And all investigations focused on Russian interference in the election.

The greatest display of contempt for the American republic by an American politician in all of known history, and the GOP would express dismay and concern and then swallow.

Nothing to see here, move along.

His voters, to describe whom as a wretched basket of deplorables is almost to praise them with damns far too faint, will love it.

Functionally fascist to a man, they are.

Speaks for itself

Exxon fined $2m for violating Russia sanctions while Rex Tillerson was CEO

Yet another shuffle

Sean Spicer resigns as Anthony Scaramucci is appointed next White House communications director

And he just shuffled his legal team.

Well, actually, Trump is constantly shuffling his legal team.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday morning after Trump confidant Anthony Scaramucci was named the White House communications director, according to reports.

Spicer told the President he vehemently disagreed with his choice for the top communications post, the New York Times reported.

The hedge fund bigwig’s appointment was announced as soon as Friday, according to reports. 

He’ll fill the position vacated by Mike Dubke, who resigned from his post in late May.

Scaramucci’s hiring surprised Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who wasn’t made aware of the move until it was finalized, according to Axios, which first reported the news.

Reputedly, this is not much different from giving the job to Sean Hannity.

As for Spicer, he was OK with any amount of lies and bullshit, defending and repeating anything at all, so long as he got to run his own shop and be the on-screen communications boss.

As soon as Trump gave that top dog role to somebody else, Sean quit, lying to everybody about why.

What whores they all are

That barrage of crazy, huge hate-bombs thrown by the right wing noise machine, blasting away at the foundation of the Republic, a limited executive power firmly tied down by and to law, is actually terrifying.

Fox and Breitbart are burying Mueller and his team with slander and pouring sewage all over the idea that the investigation should even continue.

(How can Shep Smith stand to go to work in the morning?)

They are working up their base and infuriating them, getting them at least ready to support and defend a presidential move to fire Mueller and kill the investigation.

White House and other surrogates all over the news are vigorously repeating this line.

Worse than the GOP operatives who did this sort of crap for Nixon.

Worse than the Democrat operatives who defended not only frat boy Clinton's grotesque sexual harassment of White House interns but also his out and out perjury about it, for which he was ultimately disbarred but never prosecuted.

"Operatives."

Another word for whores willing to sell out the Republic for their employers, no matter how disgracefully.

That's actually the job description, I think.

Or maybe the comparison is unfair to prostitutes, as comparing tyrants to mob bosses is way, way unfair to the criminals.

Update.

A sample of the shitstorm, cited by John Amato.

National Enquirer: Hillary Framed Trump Family With Russia Dirt Emails

The Enquirer was more fun and less a public enemy when they reported the kind of thing men in black needed to know.

A long overdue reform

Now if they could work on that whole "speedy trial" thing.

New legislation encourages states to end discriminatory 'money bail' practice

Senators Rand Paul and Kamala Harris are cosponsoring legislation released Thursday that would incentivize states to reform their systems of “money bail”, which keeps defendants awaiting trial in jail unless they pay for their release.

“In our country, whether you stay in jail or not is wholly determined by whether you’re wealthy or not – and that’s wrong,” Harris said in a statement. 

“We must come together to reform a bail system that is discriminatory, wasteful and fails to keep our communities safe.”

. . . .

“Americans should be able to expect fair and equal treatment under the law regardless of how much money is in their pockets or how many connections they have,” said Paul.

The bipartisan legislation comes at something of a crossroads for the practice of money bail. 

On the one hand, bail reform is rapidly gaining momentum as a number of states across the nation, including New Mexico, New Jersey and Maryland are taking or have taken steps to end its use, often with bipartisan support. 

On the other, attorney general Jeff Sessions is an outspoken critic of reforming money bail, and has taken steps to walk back the previous administration’s support for reforming the system.

Racist dick.

The Harris-Paul legislation would incentivize states to reform or replace the practice by offering funding for initiatives that would move to a risk-assessment based strategy for determining the likelihood of a defendant returning for court or committing a new crime, rather than a wealth-based one. 

The bill specifies that any conditions placed on a defendant’s release “should be based on the least restrictive, non-financial conditions that a judicial officer determines is necessary”.

More Mussolini Trump

Trump has sought clarification whether he can pardon his family, his staff, and even himself.

And he and his minions in the White House are seeking to inhibit, limit, and control Mueller's investigation.

And probably working up to finding a path to firing him and shutting down the whole thing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Voters are idiots, part 5,678,345

But what should we expect from voters who gave the whole Congress to the GOP in 2016?

As repeal and replace falters, more say GOP should abandon repeal plan

A majority still favor some form of repeal (34% would prefer repeal with replacement at the same time, and 18% favor repeal regardless of whether the law is replaced at the same time). 

. . . .

Overall, almost eight in 10 in the new poll say they'd like Republicans in Congress to try to work with Democrats to pass a health care bill that has bipartisan support (77% say so).

More of that right wing rage we hear so much about all the damned time

Conservatives furious and plotting revenge for health-care fail

Conservatives are furious – furious – that Senate Republicans got close to repealing big parts of Obamacare and are now on the verge of walking away from the effort altogether, possibly leaving President Obama’s health-care law on the books for the foreseeable future.

. . . .

At least four centrist Republicans -- Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio – have said they’ll vote against even starting debate on the measure without a better ACA replacement ready to go. 

That’s got conservatives seething, and plotting their revenge.

. . . .

In the end, it was two conservatives – Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas – who became the third and fourth senators to come out against the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Because it was not conservative enough.

Too much "replace," not enough "repeal".

Yet conservatives are still placing the blame on moderate senators, who were uncomfortable with how the bill would have phased out Medicaid expansion and enacted deeper underlying cuts to the program.

More moderates were unwilling, at the end of the day, to repeal Obamacare’s health-coverage expansions than conservatives had bargained for, Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said.

“There was just no sense in the Senate negotiations that the more moderate or liberal Republicans had a desire to get to yes,” Holler said.

They - and Trump personally - are already talking about primarying people.

Of course, what the conservatives wanted and still want is far tougher than even what the House passed, that Trump, who promised to the end wonderful and cheap coverage for everybody, had labeled "mean".

Screw them and their goddamned rage.

Wasn't Alzheimer's and wasn't just a clot

McCain faces his greatest battle

He has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

The same one that killed Kennedy, if I got that right.

No one here gets out alive.

Bozo, the Mussolini wannabe

Trump shows disdain for rule of law with new attacks on Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller

What a fool.

The same old nonsense and craziness.

He claims the president can order any investigation of anything stopped cold for any reason or none and not be guilty of obstruction of justice.

He blames Sessions' recusal for the appointment of a special counsel, and says had he known Sessions would do that he would not have given him the job.

Trump called it “very unfair to the president” for Sessions to hand off control of the Russia investigation to Rod Rosenstein, who it must be noted the president had appointed to be No. 2 at DOJ. 

But in Trump’s own telling, he had not given any thought to Rosenstein’s selection until after Sessions stepped aside. 

Then he was irritated to learn that he came from Baltimore. 

“There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,” Trump said. 

(Couldn’t the same thing be said of New York City?)

. . . .

Trump’s attacks on Rosenstein are notable because the deputy AG has actually gone out of his way to publicly demonstrate loyalty to the president. 

His legacy will forever be clouded by his assent to Trump’s request that he write up a memo coming up with a pretext to fire Comey. 

Just yesterday, Rosenstein gave an interview to Fox News that seemed almost exclusively intended to ingratiate himself with his boss. 

1 John

5:14-17, mortal and less than mortal sin distinguished.

First sighting, so far, in the whole NT, as I recall.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Russian agent in the White House

Thanks again to Frances Langum



Effectively alone and in secret, though in a room full of others, with only Putin's interpreter for company for a full hour at the G-20.

No American witnesses.

Remind you of the talk of setting up a backchannel in the Russian Embassy for Trump to communicate with Putin while keeping the US government, intelligence agencies, and "deep state" totally in the dark?

A channel for communications to be kept secret from the Americans.

Even people who are alarmed are still trying to paint this stuff as innocently as possible.

It's just Trump trying to avoid Cold War II, a policy of unnecessary and unprovoked hostility toward what is by far not the worst government in the world, and not the most immediate threat to the US (that would be North Korea), without that pesky "deep state" sabotaging his innocent and well-meant efforts to "normalize" relations with a great European power.

Just trying to implement Buchananism, in other words.

And, really, what do we care whether the Baltic States, or even Ukraine, are Russian satellites or not?

Or even whether Putin decides to annex them to the Russian Federation?

No skin off our nose, right?

Ballocks.

It's not innocent.

It's not legitimate.

And Trump is Putin's man.

Reprogrammable Orwellian meat puppets

Sunday Morning Party Line

Feb 13, 2017, Driftglass.

If you go push slightly deeper into the forgotten realm of Not Very Long Ago At All you find that the people who eagerly called us all traitors and lined up behind Bush Administration lies about Iraq, WMD and al Qaeda (and deficits, and activist judges, and unfettered executive authority, and "czars" and on and on and on) were the very same people who very loudly believed the polar opposite of every bit of this when Bill Clinton was president.

See, this is the context in which Liberals are operating today -- a context in which it was perfectly clear to anyone all the way back in 1994 that the GOP had become a mob of reprogrammable Orwellian meat-puppets, being led around by their rage and racism and malignant ignorance by a gang of lying demagogues and grifters. 

Perfect!

Thanks for the tip to Frances Langum.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Can't say it's not the real Islam if it's Saudi Arabia

And it is.

Police in Saudi Arabia detain woman in miniskirt video

Police in Saudi Arabia have detained a woman who featured in a social media video wearing a miniskirt and a crop-top as she strolled through a Saudi city, according to a Saudi police statement.

. . . .

On Sunday, the spokesperson for the Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice -- also known as the religious police -- said the group was monitoring the issue and taking the "necessary steps" to address a viral video depicting a "girl in offensive clothing."

Moderates DON'T cave in

Hey, sometimes the man bites the dog.

Trump suggests Republicans will let ACA market collapse, then rewrite health law

President Trump predicted Tuesday morning that Republicans may wait for the federal insurance market to collapse and then work to broker a deal to rewrite the nation’s landmark health-care law, while Senate leaders pressed ahead with a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no immediate replacement.

Yeah, sure, they want to take the rap for that.

But it became quickly apparent that GOP leaders, who were caught off guard by one of defections of their members Monday night, lacked the votes to abolish parts of the 2010 law outright. 

Three centrist Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — all said they would oppose any vote to proceed with an immediate repeal of the law.

Apparently, we are to take this to mean they would vote against McConnell's plan to right now legislate repeal to be effective in two years' time.

Lemming watch: Disappointment among the billionaire class

The market that was made so enduringly bullish by anticipation of all manner of swell things for the royally rich from Trump and GOP control of both the House and the Senate is now in a bit of a funk.

Down some 88 points right this moment.

Oh, boo hoo.

Notice what everyone seems to be thinking about how McCain would vote

McCain the Maverick, the moderate, the "I'm doing it my way" war hero and straight talker from AZ.

Additionally, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at home recovering from surgery, Republicans are even further short of the votes they need to proceed.

Everybody has been supposing he would have voted for McConnell's plan B and would also vote for repeal without replace.

So how is he not just another loyal right wing nutcase?

The Senate’s Plan C On Obamacare Repeal May Already Be Dead

Hey, it's not our fault

Trump Lays Blame for Health Care Bill Failure on Democrats

So do Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.

Stinking Democrats.

Just like them to refuse to help Republicans tear the best thing they have done in decades to bleeding shreds.

Just hours after two more GOP senators yanked support for their party’s health care bill, effectively killing it, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to blame the failure on “all of the Democrats and a few Republicans,” but added, “We will return!”

They are two conservatives who did not find it radical enough, not two moderates who found it too drastic.

Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah set the chain of events in motion Monday night in a surprise move when they announced on Twitter that they both would oppose the current bill, which was released just last week.

Moran and Lee followed two other Republican senators who had already said they wouldn't back the plan: Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine.

With Senate Democrats united against the bill, the Senate Republicans could afford to lose only two of their own members support for the proposal.

Now back to the president:

“As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!” Trump tweeted.

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” Trump wrote.

"With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!" he added.

So now Mitch, with Bozo's voluble support, says he'll call for a vote in coming days on flat out repeal, with a promise to replace Ocare with something really, really wonderful that all Americans can truly love, within two years.

This is deep strategy.

They are expecting to lose either or both of the senate and the house to the Democrats in 2018, but not by much.

If the GOP pass now a repeal to take effect in 2019, the Dems probably won't be able to stop it or quickly undo it, and will probably bear more of the blame for the ensuing disaster than the GOP.

And the most radical of the right wing loons who control his party, the folks who always wanted repeal and never wanted replace, will be positively thrilled at McConnell's move, both for the great agenda win and for forcing the Dems to take the blame.

Thing is, who that has seen the GOP fail to agree to a replacement now when it's been promising one for seven years and has had all this time to get one together will believe for an instant their promise to pay us Tuesday for a hamburger today?

And will the threat of rage from an incredulous public now prevent GOP officeholders from not very red districts, so-called GOP "moderates" in the senate, from giving McConnell the 51 votes he needs to pull off his naked repeal?

Bear in mind it was not the "moderates," whose position is defined by fear rather than principle, who stopped the GOP plan in the senate but the "conservatives" - that is, the right wing radicals who have all along wanted to repeal and not replace Ocare, and indeed every achievement of progressivism since the McKinley Era.

The "moderates" don't actually want to oppose what the radicals aim at.

They are just afraid to support them, and usually just need enough hand-holding to bring them around.

Rarely, in the end, do they refuse their support.

Monday, July 17, 2017

White trash murders in Pennsylvania Trump country

10 days of horror: The killings that stunned small-town Pennsylvania

What the fuck is wrong with American cops?

It's not even safe to call them to report an issue.

A Minneapolis Cop Shot and Killed a Bride-to-Be

Justine Damond, an Australia native, died late Saturday after an officer opened fire while responding to a 911 call about a possible assault, her family and authorities said.

. . . .

The younger Damond said Justine Damond called 911 after she “heard a sound in the alley” behind her home. 

Two officers arrived at the scene at about 11:30 p.m. 

Both officers had their body cameras turned off, authorities said. 

The incident is under investigation.

Seattle insists it's a model for progressive policing – so why was Charleena Lyles killed?

Police were quick to respond to Charleena Lyles’s call about a burglary in her apartment. 

Less than an hour after she dialed 911 on the morning of 18 June, she opened her door to two Seattle officers and explained that her Xbox went missing after a trip to the store.

Two minutes and 35 seconds later, the pregnant mother of four was lying on the floor, face-down, bleeding from gunshot wounds. 

Her one-year-old son crawled to her and rested his head on her body.

The policemen, who are both white, had fired bullets at Lyles from about 5ft away.

Going to cave in, as expected?

What Will They Do Now? O’care Repeal Bill Gives Moderates Nowhere To Hide

They are in no way moderate, but what they are willing to be seen espousing or doing is moderated by the fact that they need to be re-elected in states that are just not all that red.

They protested they could not go for the earlier version of the bill because of its huge cuts to Medicaid, its abandonment of the requirement that private policies cover all essential services (the ban on "junk policies"), and its abandonment of the requirements that pre-existing conditions be covered and persons with them not be excluded from coverage.

The bill unveiled Friday still had all those features.

The only changes were further concessions to the party's right wing radicalism.

And so?

Worse than Watergate, in so many ways

House Intel Dem warns Trump could issue private “prospective, blanket pardon” on Russia

Is Washington Democratic Rep. Denny Heck right?

Can he pardon future crimes?

Can he pardon crimes committed on his behalf, or even at his behest?

He may already have done it.

And can a president pardon himself?

Yes, he's a foreign agent in the White House. And Americans know it.

Top Intel Dem: Russia meeting is “clear evidence” of collusion, path to “serious crime”

Rep. Adam Schiff told ABC News that the meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives was "about as clear of evidence you could find" of their intention to collude with Russia and potentially manipulate our election.

In a damning assessment, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that the clandestine Trump Tower meeting between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives demonstrates “about as clear of evidence you could find of intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians.”

He added that, if the Trump team offered to trade campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton for Russian sanctions relief, it would be a “serious crime.”

. . . .

In his appearance on ABC’s This Week, Schiff walked host Jonathan Karl through the issue, pointing out that Trump privately and publicly requested “dirt” on Clinton from Russians, and that if they did so to relieve sanctions, the exchange would be evidence of criminal activity.

. . . .

The Trump administration is now actively involved in an effort to weaken the sanctions imposed on Russia for their election interference, echoing the outcome of the scenario discussed by Schiff.

. . . .

Devastating polling shows that 63 percent of Americans believe it was inappropriate for the Trump campaign to meet with the Russians. 

6 in 10 believe Russia was trying to influence the presidential campaign, and 67 percent believe the Trump campaign was in on that effort.

Never say die

Christianism in sheep's clothing in Kentucky, in the Bible Belt, in the heart of Appalachia, home to so many of the Americans who, when asked their ethnicity on the census, answer proudly, "American".

Kentucky’s evangelical Gov. Matt Bevin signs bill allowing public schools to teach from the Bible

Allegedly, a sort of "Bible as Literature" requirement, justified by a positively amazing lie that has gained currency on the American and even European right, especially among the anti-Muslim, anti-EU, nationalist right for whom speak people like Geert Wilders.

An increasingly widely touted lie about the US government in particular, about individual liberty, and about the Enlightenment principles on which the central values of modern Western politics are based.

The bill’s supporters argued that Bible literacy courses as a way to get a better insight on the structure of the country. 

Republican Senator Stephen West said the bill serves a “secular purpose,” claiming it would “help to educate our kids on the background of how they came up with our founding documents.”

“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights,” Republican Rep. D.J. Johnson said, “all of those came from principles from the Bible.”

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Peter

Both James and 1 Peter say Christians ought to live as "slaves of God."

Actual slaves should obey, revere their masters, and endure cruelty with the patience of Jesus enduring suffering and death (2:18-20).

Women are to be subordinate (3:1-6).

In these things, the NT is entirely unanimous and consistent.

Likewise, NT writers, totally Jewish in this regard, with one voice condemn utterly the far less restrained sexuality of the Gentile societies by which Christians and Jews were surrounded.

In 1 Peter see 4:3-5.

Likewise 1 Peter and James share Paul's view that "The end of all things is at hand" (4:7a).

But 2 Peter 3:3-9 opens the prospect of a long delay of Jesus' return and the end of all things, "with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day" (3:8).

2 Peter 2:4-10, presents a rehearsal of various OT events (the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah) that takes them quite literally.

All of the NT writers are everywhere literalists, "fundamentalists", in their handling of Scripture and their express remarks about it.

And yet . . .

The comments in my NAB say modern scholars think James is by a later author attaching the prestige of James, brother of Jesus, to his own work, and that 2 Peter is also pseudonymous.

Likewise, Hebrews was for long falsely attributed to Paul.

On the whole, early Christianity seems to have been boiling with literary fraud and hoax, as well as vast amounts of plagiarism.

Only consider scholarly views about the Gospels.

And attestations of miracles, cures, and resurrections?

Always sincere delusions?

Never hoaxes, well meant or not?

James

Full of sour grapes (1:9-11) and class venom (5:1-6).

More so than Paul.

Oh, and never take an oath (5:12).

NLT.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Timothy

The NRSV introduction to it says first Timothy almost certainly was not written by Paul.

The NAB introduction gives more information about the question of authorship of both letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus - the three Pastoral Epistles - , reporting that most scholars since the 19th Century reject Paul's authorship of any of them.

My editions of the NLT and NIV lack editorial or scholarly commentary.

At 1 Timothy 1 slave traders (v 10) are listed with other wicked folk.

The subordination of women is again commanded at 2:9-15.

Qualifications for the job of bishop include being married only once (3:2) and being a good father (3:4, 5).

Likewise deacons (3:12).

He admonishes Timothy to avoid various bad sorts who will appear in the last days, 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians is an early, short letter in which Paul's first teaching topic is sexual purity (4:3-8) and next is the impending general resurrection that he clearly expects in his lifetime (4:13-5:11).

That by no means all will be saved is clear from 2 Thessalonians, which has more to say about the colorful events of the end times.

Not for the first time in his correspondence, Paul castigates idleness, saying "Anyone unwilling to work should not eat."

Christian communism facing flawed humanity?

A Vatican, Jesuit blast against American conservative Catholics

The original is not terribly long.

Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism

Not surprising, from the Vatican of this pope or from the Jesuits, and very interesting.

This is an attack on, among others, the type of Christian who prioritizes concerns related to traditional sexual morality over concerns related to war, poverty, the crimes and excesses of plutocracies, and the ruin of the environment.

Seems rather Modernisttoo.

A report in CNN.

Catholic journal criticizes Trump 'value voters'

A report in America.

Italian Jesuit journal calls out “ecumenism of hate” between some Evangelicals and Catholics in U.S. politics

It was only to be expected that Rod Dreher of "The Benedict Option" would flip.

He is one of the kinds of Christian the Vatican article attacks.

Top Papal Adviser Denounces ‘Ecumenism Of Hate’

"Left-wing crackpottery on stilts," says Dreher about the whole piece.

No, we didn't

Elections Have Consequences

With today’s mix of incriminating, lurid and fantastical news, it’s worth taking a moment to remember that we as a nation made a collective decision to make Trump’s world of corruption and nonsense into our world.

This falsehood disguises the ugly truth, of which all of us should be daily reminded, that the voters of America do not choose their president and in fact rejected the national disgrace currently in the White House.

The Electors choose the president, and they are not currently chosen by the states in such a way that their choice reflects the choice of the voters.

And this past November the voters chose Hillary by a significant margin that so annoyed Bozo that he named a special commission to prove his lie that three to five million illegal votes by illegal aliens account for all of Hillary's lead over him in the national vote count.

I personally am not taking the blame for this cut-rate Mussolini, and the American voters don't deserve the blame, either.

Blame the US Constitution, if you want to.

Or blame the relevant, recalcitrant states for not having adopted the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Or (perhaps best of all) blame the Congress for not considering this once more and passing it on to the states.

But why 40%?

Just out of fear of too frequent runoffs?

If the French can stand it, so can we.

Make it 50%.

And in any case we need to combine it with another amendment to keep riffraff like Trump out of competition from the git-go, requiring among qualifications for office for the president that he have served a complete term as governor of a state or in the US senate, or two complete terms in the US house.