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January 30, 2017


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"I suspect they dig it, to use 1968 slang"! Go ho-daddy! (or was that 1964?). Let me weigh in for a moment: my wife and I are Canadian citizens who for the last 7 years have wintered in southern Arizona, 40 miles from the dreaded border. The vast majority of my American friends here (Native-, Mexican-, & Anglo-Americans) seem to be small-L liberals who are dismayed by the actions of the current US administration. Many of the folks around here who look and sometimes act like "rednecks" feel the same way! At the same time, there are "compassionate conservatives" who deplore the unpresidential conduct of the current figurehead, but have the nerve to qualify that statement by saying "he's almost as bad as Obama"!! Sheesh...
BTW, our little town of about 3000 residents managed to provide 250 folks to the local protest march a week or so ago. Beat that, small-town America!!

I think this piece is spot-on. Especially regarding the "blue downtowns" holding their protests. Simply perusing social media this weekend, I noticed many people equating (or claiming to equate) protests and the stay on the #muslimban. As Rogue nailed in this piece, many Trump supporters do not have buyer's remorse and, watching Priebus on Sunday Morning, he's reminding everyone that Trump is delivering on his promises. Trump voters want to stick it to DC -- they also want to stick it to "Libs".

Progressives see a mobilization. Trump voters see "whiny children" upset about a Trump victory and they love it. LOVE IT.

So the mistake, in my opinion, of equating the airport protests and the stay on the #muslimban is that it reinforces the narrative that protests exact legislative change. Protests are simply a tool that may or may not work but, in the case of the #muslimban, only a court order changed anything. And the parts of the executive order that were not limited are still in full effect. I'm sorry, well-meaning protesters, but casting a vote "is what democracy looks like." The silent majority* who turns out to vote red every cycle is what democracy looks like. Rallies are what rallies look like. Protests are what protests look like. Showing up for midterms is what democracy looks like.

A big shot in the arm for progressives/protesters is that they are seeing immediate feedback when Trump signs such a poorly constructed order as the #muslimban. But weekend protests isn't the way to defeat Trump -- only bullets and the courts can stop his agenda.

Now, to bring this all full circle, once Trump and Congress begin signing unpopular but Constitutional legislation and the protests yield no immediate tangible results, the big question continue to be: "Yeah, but will they turn out and vote?" To this, I'd say yes IF the election were held tomorrow. But two years of constant protests and fighting while the establishment democrats hang out and wait for their turn? I'm honestly not sure.

Trump is a magician. Magicians are able to pull off their "tricks" by misdirection. They divert our attention from what they want to do by focusing our eyes and brains on something else.
What is trying to accomplish with thus technique?
Frankly, it scares the shit out of me to think.

The short answer to your question about whether the POTUS can unilaterally order a nuclear strike without the check of a second, high-ranking government or military official is YES. Politico reporter Michael Crowley did a very nice job explaining how the system works in an article that ran Jan. 19, 2017. I have pasted an excerpt below, along with the link to the article.

"Trump critics note with alarm that an American president does not need the approval of Congress, his Cabinet or any other entity to order the use of nuclear weapons. Experts say the secretary of defense could pre-emptively instruct the Pentagon battle staff officers responsible for transmitting such an order to disregard it, but whether they would is unknowable.
"A president’s largely unchecked power to order a nuclear attack was the subject of campaign ads in support of Hillary Clinton last fall. In one, Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer turned disarmament advocate, declared: 'The thought of Donald Trump with nuclear weapons scares me to death. It should scare everyone.'
"Since the end of the Cold War, the prospect of a president being forced to respond within minutes to a massive Russian attack — the main reason for a system that allows a president to order an attack quickly and unilaterally — has been greatly reduced."

As I have been saying .
See Test Balloon For A Coup

Jon wrote:
"They ask, who will keep this a white, native-born majority country? Trump claims he will. For his voters, the 81 million immigrants and their American-born children in the 2014 Census American Community Survey — 26 percent of the overall population, a record high — is an existential threat."

Yes, and there is a solution.
Anchor babies born to foreign nationals can have their citizenship stripped, and they could be assigned the nationality of their illegal parents. Deporting them and all illegal aliens, unsupported aliens, and revoking green cards given under questionable circumstances would affect tens of millions.

And given the pathway that this administration is taking, not beyond possibility, and indeed may be inevitable. While I don't advocate this solution, I do point out it will be legal, and constitutional after Trump appoints a new Supreme Court Justice.

As for protests, meh. As Jon pointed out, you on the left lost. Like the Dems sitting in the Arizona legislature, you are now spectators to the first administration with a unified and nationalistic agenda. Riots, ranting, marches, meh. The Communists tried that in 1929-33 in Germany, and were introduced to mass incarceration.

No internationalism, no post 1945 leader of the free world, carry all the free riders rebuilding from the rubble, etc. The post 1945 peace we have all enjoyed has just collapsed with the rejection of the current system by the Trump voters. The international trade system is crumbling, and the European Union will now fail. The chaos coming to the entire system will allow changes beyond people think is possible, because the people now running the system have no stake in the past political system.

The shock to the status quo is just beginning, and nothing will return to normal from here.

As I mentioned before, Pence kissed the ring, representing the heartland, and they will give Trump all the power he needs- and this country, for good or ill will permanently change.

There will be no coup- this country had 100k people march in Phoenix against SB1070- and yet it was narrowly defeated in the Federal Courts. That backstop is now gone. The Senate will run on 51 votes, and the House will run on 218 votes, and whatever Trump wants that will appease the angry base, he will get.

It will be a legal version of fascism.

And the pendulum will swing back towards liberalism and internationalism, but it may take more than 25 years.

Meanwhile, the smart folks are those who may be kicked out, leaving while the getting is good.

You've been the first to say it. They've got the guns.

I have said (posted) for many months "they" have the guns and the crazies to use them. Now they have the Nazi leader to give the go ahead. Finger on the button also. (BANNON is in charge of the puppet. Will be interesting to see how long Steve can stand being behind the scenes pulling the strings). Will the Son In Law become Brutus?
I posted back weeks ago the bloodletting would begin on 012117. I have, said for years The Hunger Games would soon begin and that you should get your passport up to date. URUGAY and New Zealand look good.
Since the late fifties I have predicted a world breakup into Baron run City States. CHINA is the Wildcard in Today's chaos. (Nixon knew such ).
If you are under 50 with a marketable skill I recommend you become an expatriate. Particularly if you are not white or a "Liberal "!!
Buenas Suerte, Amigos y Amigas.

Thanks, Chris, on the nuke issue.

And thanks Concern Troll. CT offers a master class in commenting.

Back when George Bush came into office, Republicans had total control of the executive and Congress. But that lasted only from Jan. 20 to June 5, 2001. On June 6, in the Senate where Republican control depended on the vice-president's tie breaker vote, Sen. Jim Jeffords, a Republican, declared himself an independent who would caucus with the Democrats. Control of the Senate passed to the Democrats under Tom Daschle.

In the present case, a small but principled number of Republicans opposed to Trump's policies could thwart him legislatively, even without renouncing their party membership and with the Senate remaining in Republican hands.

I think it's a very large assumption to conclude that he can count on support from all Republicans (especially in the Senate, where a number, including John McCain, remain vocal in their criticisms).

Incidentally, on June 7, 2001, the Bush tax cuts were passed despite Democratic control of the Senate, thanks to eight Democrats who voted for it (two Republicans voted against it, including McCain).

Here's a list of 16 Republicans (as of yesterday) who explicitly oppose Trump's immigration policy vis a vis Muslims. Note how many are in the Senate.


Really, in order to pass his agenda, Republicans need eight more Senate seats to be able to overcome the Democratic filibuster, even though parts of his agenda can be passed with a simple majority using the reconciliation bill procedure.

As for the "nuclear option" (in the Senate) there is no indication from Senate leader Mitch McConnell that he plans to invoke it with respect to legislation. So (reconciliation notwithstanding) Republicans will still need 60 (not 52) seats to end debate on a bill and bring it to the floor for a vote.

Note that Republicans tried a lot of this stuff already, and failed. For example, last summer a Rebublican senator named Pat Toomey introduced a bill to strip sanctuary cities of their federal funding. It was approved by a simple majority 53-44 (Republicans lost two Senate seats in November), but the bill never made it to the floor for a vote because it was filibustered.

Is Trump's executive power enough this time? Maybe, maybe not as regards that particular issue. But there will be a lot of legislation that never makes it to Trump's Oval Office desk, despite full Republican support.

Ken your a bundle if optomism. Hope Your fantasies play out. Congress is no match for Bannon and Trump. Best shot is Mad Dog Mattis. Meanwhile is your passport up to date?

Ken, you underestimate how Trump will bully the Congress into getting what he wants.

Just like the lady that took a misguided ethical stand at DOJ.


No remorse, in spite of comparisons to the infamous Saturday Night Massacre. Away she goes, and the point is quickly made moot.

The legislature will deliver what Trump wants, because that is what will satisfy the base.

Red meat. Period.

The institutions are being bent to the task, and they will comply.

Resistance is magical thinking at this point.

We have found our Huey Long, and may we all manage to survive this change.

Making matters worse is the tendency to underestimate how a unified government can make changes stick.

Tomorrow the Supreme Court appointment that should have been Obama's will be made by Trump, and that appointment is the beginning of the end of institutional resistance.

Arizona's soft fascist state is going to be a very nice version of the national government we are about to experience.

I take the under, this will be bad, and everyone will end up disappointed at the course to some extent, but enough of the base will end up saying "Well, at least he did blah, which he promised, and that was great."

I would note Arizona did not drive Jon out by overt break the windows hostility, but by the simple expedient of denying him employment and pressuring his employer.

Right now they are breaking windows of the previous administration. Wait until they really grasp the power available to them to push their agenda with all three branches under their control.

The biggest irony is that Wall Street may end up under the bus with the rest of us.

That to me will be quite instructive as the goals of this administration are economically at odds with the last 70 years of internationalism.

Too much change, and people are just too slow to change their mindset into what will be necessary to survive this mess.


I would argue that the President alone cannot order a nuclear launch.

"The chain of command requires that the president order the secretary of defense to carry out a launch; the secretary serves as the conduit for implementation by the military."


Apparently this chain of command was established in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.

So, the Secretary of Defense could resign rather than carry out the order.

The Republican base isn't monolithicly anti-establishment. If it were, "RINOs" like John McCain would never have survived primary challenges. (Actually, the issue is more technical, since control of the primary process at the level of precinct committeemen and chairs can allow them to thwart that faction of the base. McCain spent a bundle having his men replace the Tea Party types.)

Also, if a Republican's constituency opposed Trump, then what the broader base or other factions want is less important. The first duty of a politician is to be reelected. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine (where Hillary won three of four electoral votes) is one example.

If Trump's poll numbers continue to tank, I expect Republican opposition to become more active.

Don't forget that what really gave the Nazis power were two things:

An obscure section (Article 48) of the Weimar constitution which gave the president the power to suspend civil liberties in the event of a national emergency as well as take over control of the federal states. This allowed Hitler to arbitrarily put his opponents into "protective custody" (in concentration camps).

(2) The Enabling Act, which amended the Weimar constitution to give Hitler's cabinet exclusive legislative powers for four years. This had to be passed by a two-thirds majority of the Reichstag.

There is at present nothing like the threat of communist takeover or economic collapse, to induce Congress to sign over such broad powers. And there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution giving the president unilateral power to suspend the Bill of Rights indefinitely and nationally.

I can't allow the assertion that John McCain is a RINO to stand. McCain has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 81.67. That means he has voted with the most right-wing elements more than 80 percent of the time he's been in Congress.

Most of McCain's independence is a media myth. He changed positions easily out of opportunism. He was in lockstep with the Republican scorched-earth opposition to President Obama. He even got squishy on his opposition to torture in 2007.

The RINOs have been run out of the party, certainly elective office. That's one of the reasons the GOP has gone insane.

Yes, they've got the guns And, as a corrollary to that, the recent words of Harry Belaphonte: We must be prepared to die.

Having spoken by telephone with thousands of Republicans and conservative independents, I can assure you that McCain is regarded as a RINO by the right wing of the party and its fellow travelers. Many Trump supporters were adamant that no portion of their monetary gift should go to the RNC. McCain was called a RINO more often than anyone except Senate leader Mitch McConnell.Perhaps the American Conservative Union is not an organ they consult.

You need only to Google "McCain RINO" to see his reputation. Here is one return link to Conservapedia:

"A majority of conservatives distrust RINO John McCain even though many of his policies are that of a true conservative. Key RINO principles rejected by McCain include support for gay rights, support for abortion, and support for earmarks. He has positioned his career as a bipartisan moderate, reaching across the aisle whenever possible. This is also his downfall. The era of reaching across the aisle passed—when statist, socialist Democrats became Senators. His major political blunders mostly came during the 21st century political period. He was against both the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, and employed class warfare rhetoric in trying to stop the tax cuts from taking effect. His support for amnesty was the complete opposite of what conservatives wanted..."


Conservative Review gives McCain a score of just 32 out of 100:


Here's one more from American Conservative Online:

"For the past 15 years, McCain has notably moved away from the Republican Party platform and seems to take pride in the nickname of “maverick.” As a member of the far-left Republican Main Street Partnership, he embodies the group’s unstated mission statement of destroying conservatives within the Republican Party..."


Another term worth Googling is "conservative establishment". This is a term of approbation used by the right wing of the Republican party and many conservative independents.

As absurd as it might sound, a large number of self-described conservatives excoriate the Republican leadership for "giving Obama everything he wanted".

Here, McCain, McConnell, and sixteen others are described as traitors and RINOs for having voted against shutting down the government in the showdown last year:


Sorry...The showdown in 2015.

And that should be "Republican establishment" not conservative establishment.

Bannon is now running America
and of interest, the first ten days.

I did not "vote for Trump by proxy." You know how the electoral college works, and so do I. Get over it, she lost because the DNC blew it and she blew it. Stop pointing the finger, especially at Washington State voters who supported Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly in the caucuses. Hillary was an establishment Democrat, and a flawed one, in a time of enormous income and wealth disparity - and anger at the status quo. This finger pointing isn't helping your case or our cause.

If you vote for someone who you know cannot win, just to make a point, what is your "cause", exactly?

The "flaws" of Mrs. Clinton pale in comparison to the flaws of people who think like that, at a time like this.

Mr. Atherton-R.C. is right-McCain is a conservative and his voting record shows that.The right wing of the Republican party is now controlled by the people we used to call Birchers and it seems they now control Az. and many other states party apparatus.McCain is only interested in retaining control of his election,which is why he moved here 40 years ago.He knew that Az. was ready for his brand of militarism and party politics regardless of where he came from.

The press,out of desperation, has made him out to be the
"Maverick" but he will always do what's best for himself first and the party second,and the nation third.

"But Cromwell was later executed, after Henry VIII turned against him. For a man like that, MacCulloch said, power is always tenuous: "“It’s very much dependent on the favor of the king.”

Mike Doughty, the question is not whether McCain is conservative by your, my, or RC's standards, but whether he is considered a RINO among the right wing of the Republican base. He indubitably is, as demonstrated by links to their websites above.

You can't understand "the Republican base" without understanding groups like Club For Growth, Freedom Caucus, Tea Party, and other groups among the most active base members, all of which consider McCain to be a RINO, and several of which have orchestrated primary challenges to him and other RINOs.

John McCain: "I promise you that we will be united against any SCOTUS nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up"

The same John McCain from this 'Complete the danged fence' ad?


John McCain is a politician. Period. There's no point in debating if he's right or left because he's neither -- he's spineless. He's as bad a legislator as he was a pilot and we'll all be better off when he's out of office.

Most Progressives, of which I count myself, don't subscribe to identity politics and regard Democrats all-inclusive policies as a lifeline that helped drag the id out of the murky depths of our political subconscious and elect Trump.

Ed Dravo, are you saying that "Progressives" aren't all-inclusive? That seems odd to me.

Your use of "identity politics" in such a way doesn't really sound progressive. It sounds much more like a reactionary and regressive stance.

Anyway, you won't have to worry about those pesky "Democratic all-inclusive policies" anymore.

We've entered the "every man for himself" stage of our decline.

A real maverick:


Ken, I believe the Senate will shortly "go nuclear", and cease with any real opposition to Trump.


So, given that it was your great hope, I think it is time you realize how much the world will change without any real institutional resistance.

As I stated, this was a an election of total game change, and the really funny part is Trump will give the conventional right some of what they want, and all of what he wants, lol.


Ask Krupp how the deal turned out. The Koch fools are in the same position. Their bought and paid for politicians will turn to the new power on offer and drink deep right next to Pence.

And so it goes.

Now back to the peanut gallery below the event horizon. I have no desire to be on special lists.


The rest of the world's reaction to trump's immigration policies may be painful indeed for America. It seems that these policies are being seen around the world as biased, racist, and against Islam. This is fast becoming the new definition of America across the globe.

The potential is that a huge chunk of the world will turn away from America as a place to visit, invest in, and do business with. This may likely include keeping their best and brightest from coming to America.

Obviously, this will be a gradual process, but once the momentum begins, it will be difficult to reverse--and we know that trump's ego will keep these travel restrictions in place, if not expand them. trump is not one for introspection or admitting mistakes. If anything, he's more likely to double or triple-down in his arrogant certainty that he knows everything. But trump, in his willful ignorance, only mirrors many of his supporters in their American "superiority" delusion.

This will isolate America, and, if these arbitrary and pejorative actions continue, America will be seen as increasingly hostile and intolerant to anything cosmopolitan, inclusionary, or just. The rest of the world may likely come to see America as a self-centered, greedy, unwelcoming, petulant bully.

America lets its base desires control it at its own peril.

Remember, all you supposedly "superior by our exceptionalism" Americans, you are only 1/23 of the world's population.

The rest of the world may seek to increasingly do without America if the ignorant arrogance and disrespect of other nations, cultures and religions continues.

Bradley's proverb: Those who can't shoot straight often shoot themselves in the foot.

With regard to the supposedly Christian evangelicals, I am convinced many of them want a confrontation with Islam because they feel they can and will win--because they believe God is on THEIR side. In this way, they are as radical as Al Qaeda or ISIS. And probably more dangerous, especially with trump as "der fewer (votes)."

This feeling that God is on their side allows them to rationalize and be "righteous" in their hatred for all they don't care to understand, don't approve of, or simply fear.

They want the final conflict (Armageddon) to come as soon as possible. What they don't understand is that wanting such a war is NOT righteous, but completely EVIL.

Identity politics, multicultural inclusion, whatever the name, obviates any kind of social norm a society is expected to live by and judge others by. It’s nice in theory but civil societies don’t operate that way. It balkanizes policy making and maintains separateness instead of bringing us all together. Every issue becomes a wedge issue and that’s what crazy Dems were using to ‘triangulate’ the vote, becoming the party with many tongues and no voice or common sense. Feathered headdresses in mosques, you bet; Niqabs in banks and on parade routes, you bet; left holding the bag on Election Day, a certainty. That would make me a big ‘C’ Conservative, yes.

Not sure what you're saying e dravo but it doesn't sound like you've travelled in the Islamic world or have been in a mosque. Maybe you're one of the many self-proclaimed Arizona progressives who actually holds right wing beliefs but doesn't know any better because you're point of reference is kookland Arizona.

e dravo, You are the perfect example of submitting to your base desires for separateness, intolerance, and not wanting to deal with anything they don't care to understand, don't approve of, or simply fear.

You have a lot of "confederates" in Arizona, that's for sure, so, if you live there, you fit right in.

But, then, Arizona is quite isolated geographically and culturally from the rest of the world, so it stands to reason.

LGBTQ according to Trump: Loud, Greedy, Bullying, Trampling, Quisling.

Ken Atherton said, "As absurd as it might sound, a large number of self-described conservatives excoriate the Republican leadership for "giving Obama everything he wanted".
Here, McCain, McConnell, and sixteen others are described as traitors and RINOs for having voted against shutting down the government in the showdown last year:"

Just another version of the conservatives "I want my cake and eat it, too" narrative.

I am posting this because I think everyone here, including rogue columnist, has underreported on the effect the blasphemous religious right has contributed to our national arrogance, intolerance and offensive conduct in matters of inclusion, acceptance, and love for one another. But I want to shift this to how the above is playing out on the world stage...

Just consider this...because it very much alarms me...

There is a move afoot in the Trump camp to define Islam as a "political movement," as opposed to it being a religion. If Trump can get enough of the public to agree with him, he can go to war against Islam. The Trumpaholics, products of wishful "American superiority" delusions, will be easily led like sheep to the Armageddon. They believe God to be on "their" side, heretically and blasphemously believing God takes sides--when, in reality, God demands we show that WE are on GOD'S side. They falsely believe that if they make the Armageddon happen sooner, they'll ascend into Heaven--when, in reality, they are doing Satan's work by working to commit worldwide "suicide." They are just lambs being led to the slaughter of eternal damnation.

I'm an evangelical and I don't know anybody who's hoping for war of any kind. I'm sure someone out there is, but it is not a common opinion. I consume a lot of Christian media -- news articles, op-eds, sermons, etc. -- and I have never heard this opinion voiced. If it's being voiced, it's on the extreme fringes.

Regardless, I certainly do agree that God's will shall be done on His timing, not man's.

I hope that the truth of the matter, but I think there's enough of a chance of this zeal morphing into a desire for "the end" that we need to be vigilant about it rearing its ugly head.

Whose God's will? Yours or theirs?

Countries blunder and bungle into wars all of the time.

WWI was a series of miscalculations, missteps, missed opportunities, all piled on top of one another.

And if anyone is eminently qualified to blunder and bungle us into a war, it's Der Trump and his "brain" trust.

I'm wondering whether this all encompassing Holy War with Islam will include our "friends" in Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Indonesia? Egypt? There's almost two billion Muslims--might as well fight 'em all!

Maybe just Iran? In that case, we may find out that Iran is a much tougher nut to crack than Iraq. First of all, Trump would have to ask for Putin's permission. Second, we'd have to be prepared for heavy casualties. And finally, even though we've spent trillions on our military, when was the last time we won a war? Does Granada count?

Agreed B Franklin, his lack of understanding of the price of bad diplomacy is pretty scary. It's like he thinks we can all of a sudden decades-long problems in the Middle East and elsewhere if he just saber-rattles loud enough. It's like he can't consider the possibility that he might make anything worse, not better, by yelling at everyone involved.

Concern Troll, that article merely gives Trump's exhortation to the Senate to exercise the nuclear option in the matter of Supreme Court nominees. It wouldn't surprise me if Mitch McConnell gives in on this point, though to date he has refused to commit one way or another.

The broader nuclear option, allowing legislation to be passed by a simple majority, is probably off the table.

The experienced Senate leadership (referred to as RINO fossils by the right wing of the Republican base) knows just how few years since the end of WW II the Republican party has had control of the Senate. Republicans lost two seats in the Senate in November, and might (though I very much doubt it) lose Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions's seat in a special election this year (Sessions is Trump's nominee for U.S. Attorney General, and though the Alabama governor has the power to appoint a temporary replacement, Alabama state law requires him to call a special election "forthwith" for the regular replacement.)

My reading of the Senate leadership is that it is cautious and conservative (in the sense of being reluctant to change long-time existing norms). This is, indeed, the complaint of many in the Republican base, who regard the Republican establishment as feckless wimps. (I hear these complaints every day while fundraising on behalf of the RNC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.)

So, no, I don't at present view a nuclear option on legislation as probable. On the other hand, Trump's election was itself improbable on its face. On the day that the Senate leadership invokes the nuclear option allowing legislation to be passed by a simple majority, I'll revise my opinion. Not until.

I wonder if RC would consider a blog item examining the Trump/Breitbart/Alt-Right nexus?


Another reason why I don't believe that the nuclear option will be used with respect to the general passage of legislation, is that doing so would require Republicans to "own" the failure to pass many items on Trump's populist agenda, which are not exactly popular with the Republican establishment.

For example, I don't think there is a thirst among the Republican leadership for trade protectionism, which is opposed by the corporate establishment which politically and financially backs the Republican (and Democratic) establishment.

If the nuclear option for legislation is invoked, then Republicans (who have a simple majority in the Senate) would have to own any failure to pass trade and infrastructure building components of Trump's agenda; and that would seriously widen the already existing fracture in the Republican base. On the other hand, if the Democrats can block by filibuster while the Republicans approve by a unanimous simple majority, the Republican establishment gets the best of both worlds: they look like they are backing Trump, but Trump's odious (to them) legislation gets blocked by the Democrats, who (naturally) take the blame. That also provides a stepping stone to Republican fundraising efforts in pursuit of the chimera of a filibuster proof Republican Senate supermajority.

Bradley Dranka, Islam is not a political movement, but radical Islam certainly is.

Beyond this, however, as observed by Thomas Lippmann in the (pre-9/11 and generally Islam-friendly second edition of Understanding Islam):

"...There is no distinction in Islam between doctrine and law or between church and state. At least in theory, Islam is all-encompassing. No thought, act, or relationship is beyond its scope. Christ's injunction to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" is alien to Islam -- in fact its opposite. In the words of Bernard Lewis, "Such pairs of words as Church and State, spiritual and temporal, ecclesiastical and lay, had no real equivalents in Arabic until modern times, when they were created to translate modern ideas; for the dichotomy which they express was unknown in medieval Muslim society and unarticulated in the medieval Muslim mind"."

Now, one could cogently argue, from historical evidence, that medieval Christianity was no less politically and socially encompassing. One can also point to elements of the modern Christian fundamentalist movement which harken back to a blurred (if not overlapping) view of church and state.

The difference is perhaps nothing more than the 20th century trend among European and North American countries of a secularism, in practice, in education and government, together with universal education of an increasingly secular variety.

Whereas in many majority Muslim nations, the question is not whether Sharia law should government society from the top down, but simply which version of Sharia is correct (modern or fundamentalist). Education and literacy are more likely to be cursory, and even when systematic the legal separation of church and education is unpopular and uncommon.

In practice, religions are defined by the behavior of a majority of their practitioners, and sometimes by a minority of their most active practitioners. In many third-world countries (where the majority of Islamic practitioners reside), progress beyond the medieval is due largely to the influence of authoritarian leaders whose houses were put into or kept in power by Western governments following World War I; leaders who, for that very reason, are unpopular on the streets, though not in the government dominated mass media.

Sorry, govern society, not "government society".

Ken, great point about why the Senate Republicans won't do away with the 60-vote requirement...you're absolutely right that they want NO part of having to deal with Trump forehead to forehead. It's much easier from a party unity standpoint to have the Democrats there conveniently blocking a lot of what the GOP establishment doesn't want to enact, anyway.

I'd like to think that they also realize that what goes around comes around and doing away with filibusters will harm the GOP in future decades when they might not be the party in power anymore.

IMHO all organized religions are political movements. And Trump is making statements about giving them more political power.

I shouldn't get into this, but what the hell.

I'm a United Methodist, a member of an evangelical church but not a fundamentalist one, not a megachurch. Big difference. The Methodists are liberal and welcoming (and have the best old hymns). I try to live by Christ's teachings and fall short every day. Much evil has been done in the name of religion, but also much good.

I can understand the anti-abortion position. But I can't countenance the "after you're born, you're on your own" position of many in the "Pro Life" movement. And many of them would like to outlaw birth control, too.

Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, as Bill Clinton said. Indeed, abortions are at their lowest level since Roe was decided.

I've always been mystified by the fact that pro-lifers are generally pro-gun and pro war. Makes you kind of go - Huh?

Trump goes for religion in politics, big time $$$$$$$$.


Will the Methodists give more than the Baptists or will the Billy Graham folks pick your politicians. Tithe up folks to the yellow haired mobster.

Pro gun people carry guns in the name of Jesus. Never know when a Mohammed might jump out of the bushes.

Why don't Republicans demand that the KKK be referred to as radical Protestant terrorism?

Thanks for sharing Jon, I appreciate it.

I read some fascinating articles last year in The Christian Post covering the 2016 United Methodist General Conference and some of the rousing discussion between various delegations from America, Africa, and elsewhere on issues such as abortion. To me, it was encouraging to see that spirit of discussion and debate within a group, that I think can be healthy and good rather than the group fracturing/splitting as denominations so often do.

My grandparents on one side were Methodist, the other side were Southern Baptist, so I've spent a lot of time in churches of both denominations. (I myself go to a church that is nondenominational but my beliefs are pretty similar to those of the SBC.)

In the SBC there is tension, between those of us Never-Trumpers like SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty president Russell Moore (a personal favorite of mine) and those like influential pastors Jack Graham and Robert Jeffress, who backed Trump enthusiastically and didn't take too kindly to the SBC paying Dr. Moore to have opinions with which they disagreed so strongly.

To respond to some of the other posts--
*As I've become more invested in my relationship with Jesus Christ, my views have become more liberal on some issues -- e.g. private charity as well as government helping others, guns, peace -- whilst becoming more conservative on other issues -- e.g. abortion, drugs/alcohol, societal concerns. I think this is because I have more love and concern for my fellow man than I did when I was younger, but my religious beliefs have become stronger and therefore in addition to wanting to help people, I also hope they might be protected from bad or harmful things.
*Free speech and freedom of religion is really important to me, because if we discriminate against one group today, who's to say it might not by my own group some day in the future? Unlike our president, I don't believe you can treat people unfairly and not expect it to ever come back around to you yourself being treated unfairly.

Lastly, I would agree with Jon wholeheartedly that Christians come in many colors and forms and beliefs, and a brother is a brother whether you disagree on some theological or social issues or not.

The problem is there are so many haters and trolls and provocateurs out there that it's so awfully hard to get a pleasant discourse going in any sort of broader public forum these days. These are not easy days, my friends, to try to improve our society and the world.

To clarify my last paragraph -- I am not saying you all are haters or trolls, at all. I just mean that the internet and society in general have a hard time conducting polite debate no matter how hard a group of people may try, because of the number of disruptive people who just try to shout everyone down or are "looking for a fight." I really hope someday America will find its way back to a more collaborative, calm, courteous sociopolitical environment.

Cal, maybe if someone jumps out from behind a bush, it's because it's a burning bush?

Mark, it appears it is much easier to pass hatred and ignorance from generation to generation, than it is to pass along tolerance, acceptance and love. I wonder what headwind exists in the human character to cause this phenomena?

The Fire Next Time

Mark I admire your monistic idealistic optimistic spirit.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident” Ha! Said the Donald.

Trump if religious at all likely is Henotheistic. There is a supreme being and there is Himeros Trump.

I am not opposed to folks that find it necessary to believe in myths. As a kid I always woke up still finding that tooth under the pillow. No coin. I am opposed to organized religion. It has no place in politics or outside the buildings that its adherents occupy. Keep it to yourself within the walls. In all my years I have never had a logical discussion about religion as it’s not logical, just scribbling of fantasy of “The All is in the All”. I note you hope for better times. Hope is such an empty word. If you believe in a god and belong to an organized religion then you should follow the path of the past and take up the sword against those you see as the enemy today. May “your” god be with you in defeating the evil pretender of god.

I was born Calvin by a Calvinistic Scottish Presbyterian mother just down the hill from the Scotch Ridge Presbyterian Country Church. Born in an old farm house located on the Middle River bottom. No doctor, no running water and no electric. “Miracle” that I lived? And John Calvin kinda gave credence to the wealthy, in that the accumulation of wealth was indicative of ones ascent to heaven.
At nine I was drug by a Sunday school teacher out of the basement of a Methodist church situated on the “Crossroads” of two rural roads. The Sunday school teacher was infuriated when I laughed at the Jonah the whale story. Later I was beat unmercifully at home for my ungodly conduct. At 14 as a stone cold atheist I took my paper route money and left home boarding a Greyhound bus at 5th street and Washington. My parents traveled to and from many protestant religions never finding what they sought. They died as fundamentalists while attending a small evangelistic church in Cottonwood. My mother finally come to believe that there was no right church but her own belief in her god. She rests in the shadow of Mingus Mountain where I often offered to take her closer to the power at the top of the mountain in a thunder and lightning storm.


Religion and the boys that killed christ?

A Dude more like Jesus.

Frank Herbert was not a god but an upright human that I admire. Muad'Dib

“When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it's too late.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

“Much that was called religion has carried an unconscious attitude of hostility toward life. True religion must teach that life is filled with joys pleasing to the eye of God, that knowledge without action is empty. All men must see that the teaching of religion by rules and rote is largely a hoax. The proper teaching is recognized with ease. You can know it without fail because it awakens within you that sensation which tells you this is something you’ve always known.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

“Hope clouds observation.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune

GOPers beg for a replay of Kent State Massacre. They may get there wish at Standing Rock when the indigenous folks make their stand against the Keystone Pipe Line.


What Trump and "EVERYMAN" should know:
"Only Good Deeds avail at the final judgment".

I am just of the belief that when both the fundamentalist (which I believe looks to roll back the clock) and evangelical Christians(?) back the Republicans so strongly on issues that are majority intolerant, unaccepting, and quasi-hating (anti-LGBTQ, , Mexican, and Islam), and controlling in nature (anti- abortion), I see them as NOT being in the spirit of Jesus Christ. If Jesus were alive today, he would act NOTHING like these bible-beaters, who tend to judge those they dislike and despise harshly--and make few if any attempts to understand.

Maybe that's why I view them so harshly and suspiciously. I think they represent very little of what God is truly about: acceptance, allowing man the freedom to choose his own destiny, and maybe most importantly, love.

And I do see this lack of real love carrying over to creating conflicts, both here and abroad, where there is little or no need for war. And I ask again, would God approve of that kind of that kind of malevolence.

And I say, would God approve of that kind of malevolence as a moral indictment against these false-idol worshippers--and not some question.

I found this interesting:

The Reuters/Ipsos online opinion poll was conducted on Election Day in English in all 50 states. It includes 10,604 Americans who have already cast their vote in the presidential election and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 1 percentage point.

The poll, which will be updated as additional responses are tallied and votes are counted throughout Tuesday, found:

- 75 percent agree that "America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful."

- 72 percent agree "the American economy is rigged to advantage the rich and powerful."

- 68 percent agree that "traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me."

- 76 percent believe "the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth."

- 57 percent feel that "more and more, I don't identify with what America has become."

- 54 percent feel "it is increasingly hard for someone like me to get ahead in America."


If you ignore the objective facts and concentrate instead on the campaign rhetoric, you find Trump on the side of polling statistics:

Unlike Hillary, he positioned himself as a "strong leader"; unlike Hillary, his economic populism vis a vis trade with China and Mexico is in stark contrast to Clinton's strong "establishment" reputation (her rather late rejection of TPP being a response to similar populism from Bernie Sanders); unlike Hillary, Trump campaigned on the assertion that the economy was rigged to the advantage of rich and powerful internationalists (as opposed to rich and powerful nationalists); unlike Hillary, Trump is definitely non-traditional; unlike Hillary, Trump rails against the "mainstream media"; unlike Hillary, Trump talks about making America "great again", which is consistent with the "inability to identify with what America has become".

So, Trump is squarely on the side of the polls in these examples. Of course, rhetoric and behavior widely diverge where Trump is concerned, but since rhetoric and appearance routinely trumps well-informed constituencies in politics, that isn't a handicap.

"The poll also includes a variety of questions about the presidential race, which candidate people supported, and why. Those results will be published later in the evening, after most of the votes have been counted and state races have been called."

I haven't been able to find this update, either at Reuters or Ipsos. A link to it would be appreciated.

"If you ignore the objective facts " and "rhetoric and behavior widely divergent where Trump is concerned " says it all about Trump supporters.

Has Emil been reincarnated?

Cal, to a large extent, I agree with you on the good deed statement because what one does shows what's in one's heart and soul. I also feel that, although we may disagree on this, there is a God and that, at the end of the world, many non-believers will be in good shape by virtue of the way they led their lives.

That being said, I think many of those who conduct campaigns of intolerance, unacceptance, and control under the false-flag of religion will be shocked to their core at God's judgment at the end.

Ken Atherton said, "Trump campaigned on the assertion that the economy was rigged to the advantage of rich and powerful internationalists (as opposed to rich and powerful nationalists)."

I find this Trump campaign point disingenuous and misleading, and Trump's supporters believing it to be a bit ridiculous when one considers how many foreign-made goods they buy.

Does Trump and/or his supporters really believe that foreign industry captains and their companies shouldn't make a profit off Americans buying their goods?

If the system was rigged toward those internationalists, it would only seem it was rigged that way to deliver those foreign-made goods to Americans because they demanded them at a cheap price.

"... says it all about Trump supporters..."

Yes, but not just Trump supporters, egregious as they are:


Bradley Frank's wrote: "I find this Trump campaign point disingenuous and misleading, and Trump's supporters believing it to be a bit ridiculous..."

Well, of course.

But no less effective for that. Plus, by making "them" a group of unpatriotic international corporations who place profits above national interests, Trump extends the appeal of his populist message across partisan political lines.

There is nothing new about politicians saying one thing and doing another. There is nothing new about politicians who use populist rhetoric to get elected, then furthering established interests once elected.

Cal, I am sorry that your experience with Christianity has not been a positive one, and I pray you might have a better experience in the future. Regardless, I will endeavor to be a courteous and positive friend despite our differences of belief.

Bradley, I disagree on some of your theological points but I appreciate your sharing your thoughts and interpretations. I believe Jesus is the only way (John 14:6) and I believe we are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, certainly, a changed life will show evidence of the fruits of the Spirit.

Ruben, I think it is just the nature of man, and I think there are a lot of hurting people out there who are turning their pain unto others. I guess democracy is the best system we have, but it's disheartening sometimes that we have so many smart, caring, thoughtful people here -- despite our many disagreements -- and yet none of us are very happy with how things are working out for America politically right now in a lot of ways.

McCain, Ryan, Kadisch and Rubio among other Republicans have called out Trump's numerous fabrications. It's not a simple partisan divide and incorrect to falsely equate Democratic biases with Trump true believers' willingness to accept false statements as alternative facts. False equivalency in journalism is a problem especially with Trump in the White House.

Bradley Dranka wrote:

"If the system was rigged toward those internationalists,it would only seem it was rigged that way to deliver those foreign-made goods to Americans because they demanded them at a cheap price."

No. It's rigged to them because the first duty of corporations is to increase profits, and one of the easiest ways to increase profits is to decrease labor costs -- but only if you have access to cheap labor. And, of course, because corporations play an increasingly large role in campaign finance.

The latter point is as true for the Democratic leadership as it is for the Republican. NAFTA began under Bill Clinton. But the mass exodus of unionized manufacturing jobs began in earnest in 2000, when China was first given Most Favored Nation trade status. That meant imports from China faced the lowest tariffs possible and high or no import quotas . Before that, a China based business model wasn't worth the headaches of outsourcing and foreign investment for most companies.

That too was under Clinton; and though Congress was controlled by Republicans, many Democrats voted in favor of MFN status as well. (And some Republicans, still in anti-Communist mode, voted against it.)

There was no preexisting public demand for cheap Chinese imports. The (entirely erroneous) argument that working class loss of income would be more than offset by less expensive consumer goods, was manufactured in the think-tanks responsible for advocating such trade policies, and promulgated in the media by its spokesmen and surrogates.

No "equivalency" was suggested: just the opposite, since I described Trump supporters as "egregious" in this regard. Nothing about a "partisan divide" was suggested. I've repeatedly pointed out the factional nature of Republican politics.

A clarification: 2000 was when Congress, at the behest of President Clinton voted to make China's Most Favored Nation trade status permanent. Prior to that it was subject to annual revocation. And while China had enjoyed MFN trade status since 1997, the prospect of another Tienanmen Square or similar oppression that could put serious pressure on Congress to fail to renew MFN, made wholesale business investment in China too risky.

In trying to figure out the intentions of a new administration, it's important to look at what the chief strategist, in this case Steve Bannon, has to say. Note that these statements were made after Trump had already won the election and cannot be discounted as campaign rhetoric. From a Hollywood Reporter interview:

He absolutely — mockingly — rejects the idea that this is a racial line. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," he tells me. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver" — by "we" he means the Trump White House — "we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about."

"Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

It is clear when we return to our conversation that it is not just the liberal establishment that Bannon feels he has triumphed over, but the conservative one too — not least of all Fox News and its owners, the Murdochs. "They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical."

Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end-runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the workingman and a trillion dollars in new spending.

"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."


Ken Atherton--and those corporations deliver those goods cheaply to Americans--however they shave their labor costs. I'm saying that for Joe Six-Pack to think the multinational corporations are at fault is hypocritical because Joe Six-Pack created the demand those multinational corporation are meeting.

Joe Sixpack didn't create the demand, corporate shareholders did. The demand was for increased profits, not lower consumer prices. And the cheapness of the products is an illusion.

Look at it this way. You work for a manufacturing company doing its manufacturing in the United States. You have only a high school education, but you earn a middle class income with benefits and a pension, because you joined a union, entered as a journeyman, and built up a formidable set of skills over the years.

The company lays off its American workers and moves its factory to China. The Chinese have a much lower standard of living, so labor costs are much less. The labor cost savings represent an equivalent increase in profits.

Does the company now give away all of these increased profits to consumers, in the form of lower prices? No, because then they might as well not have moved at all, a move which was expensive and which increased their shipping costs as well. They will only pass along a fraction of their labor cost savings.

So, the money that you save buying their products has to be less than the money that you lost when you were replaced with Chinese labor.

Meanwhile, you're a middle aged man with no college degree, and a skill set that is now increasingly irrelevant as foreign labor and automation decrease the number of American manufacturing jobs available. Your only practical option is to get a much lower paying McJob with little or no benefits and no pension. "Only in America!" as Jakob Smirnov used to say.

Sure, for someone who was already earning minimum wage, the cheaper products represent a savings (though maybe not if durability and replacement costs are factored in).

But the idea that American consumers woke up one morning and started lobbying American manufacturers for Chinese made goods is counterfactual. The manufacturers saw an opportunity to increase profits, then lobbied the American voters and politicians to gain support. No doubt promises of cheap consumer goods were part of that lobbying.

Ken, I agree with you, but there is another point to add to all of yours: I think that American consumers never have realized that when they bought those supposedly "cheap" foreign-made goods. a hidden cost was these Americans were surrendering a bit of economic power with each purchase they made. Now, they want some of that power back in the form of Trump, but that ship sailed a long time ago.

For the record: RINO McCain voted with his party to confirm the extremist grifter DeVos as Education Secretary.

I yield to nobody in my pessimism about our political future, but there are signs of active resistance in places I've not seen before. There have been at least a thousand lawyers who have donated free time to combat the immigration ban. The ACLU organized round-the-clock coverage at all airport points of entry to ensure that trapped travelers could find counsel. The case brought by Seattle and Washington that prompted the Ninth Circuit ruling has been supported not only by the ACLU, but also by big law firms working for free and 100 or so tech companies. Most big firms, and of course companies, are normally very risk-averse and inclined to behave as country club Republicans. The fact that so many normally risk-averse entities have poked their heads above the foxhole is a sign that people represent the existential threat we face. We just might survive this if we can preserve the independent judiciary from the forthcoming onslaught. How far the administration pushes the bigotry and xenophobia will likely depend in part on whether it can do much about the economy. If Trump cannot deliver on jobs, then we'll have relatively more bread and circuses.

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