Is Your Government Moral Per Se?

Recently, in defending the Administration’s immigration practices, Attorney General Sessions said:

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

It’s not the first time the Bible and, in particular, the Apostle Paul, has been used to justify governmental action and quell dissent. For a long time, slavery was the beneficiary of such moral reasoning.

Having been reared in the Christian faith, I find such reasoning ludicrous. After all, it was the state that executed the leader of this faith tradition and it was the state that executed Paul. The suggestion that Jesus thought one should always obey the government or any human authority for that matter is ridiculous on its face. Continue reading

Are Republicans Stupid? Immoral? Or Both?

The poll of roughly 1,000 adults aged 18 and over was conducted June 14-15, shortly after President Trump’s historic summit with the North Korea dictator. According to the results, 19 percent of Republicans indicated they had a favorable view of Kim . . . . That compared slightly better than the perception of Pelosi, who had a 17 percent favorable, 72 percent unfavorable rating among self-identified Republicans. – The Daily Beast

That’s right: Republicans have a more favorable opinion of the dictator who’s tortured and executed his own people for political reasons, and who has held innocent Americans and others against their will (in one case, resulting in the death of an American man), than they do of one of the leaders of the opposition party, Ms. Pelosi. That’s how far it has gone. That’s how stupid or immoral some of these people are. Continue reading

America Has Lost Its Soul

“He trusts me and I trust him.” Donald Trump speaking about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

This comes on the heels of Mr. Trump slandering Canada’s prime minister (publicly calling him a liar) and one of Trump’s top aides saying there was a “special place in hell” for people like Mr. Trudeau.

As for the ruthless Korean dictator, Trump said the dictator was “very open and very honorable.” That’s just a taste of the praise heaped on Kim by Trump.

Of course, if you were born in North Korea, the dictator might look different to you. He rules with an iron fist. People aren’t free to travel and there’s no such thing as freedom of speech.

Many were allowed to starve to death during famines. Many are interned for political purposes and tortured. Executions are used for political purposes. In short, the man is a ruthless dictator who is hostile to every democratic principle embedded within the U.S. Constitution. Yet he’s the man our leader admires and adores. And the leaders of democratic nations receive Trump’s contempt and scorn.

This is the leader you elected, America.

America has lost its soul, and it’s far from certain it will ever be able to reclaim it.

P.S. Meanwhile, North Korea and China played Trump like a fiddle.

Piggy Bank B.S.

Our child-president proclaimed last week, “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing and that ends.” Then he and his minions insulted the leader of our closest ally. One of his minions even went so far as to say “there was a special place in hell” for Prime Minister Trudeau. It seems this White House only has praise for dictators and tyrants. But back to the piggy bank. Continue reading

A Nation of Laws?

Yesterday President Trump wrote, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.” He also tweeted, “The appointment of the Special Councel [sic] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” (Never mind that no serious constitutional scholar, or decent first-year law student for that matter, believes that.)

There you have it: we’ve elected someone who thinks he’s above the law. We’ve retraced history and have elected someone who thinks he’s a medieval monarch.

Nothing this man says or thinks surprises me. Not even this. But it’s a stark reminder of how fragile our democracy is. To think that such a demagogue could garner the support of enough people to get elected is scary.

I do think most of America’s success as a nation is owed to the preeminence of laws over men. We have been a nation of laws, albeit an imperfect one. But the imperfection is neither surprising nor troubling for humans are innately imperfect.

The principle of law is being tested today in ways unseen in the past century. Not even the outlaw president of the 1970s (Nixon) took it this far, although he was tempted. The difference then is there were responsible members of Congress, even of Nixon’s own party, who held the law in higher regard than the man. That’s not the case today; hence, the risks are greater. Today, Congress is full of small-minded cowards who are way over their heads.

I don’t know how it will all play out, Vera. I don’t know if my generation will pass off to yours a vibrant democracy, or one that is in its death throes — or, worse yet, one that can be found only in history books. It seems some of my fellow citizens fail to hold the principle of rule by law in high regard. And there were enough of them to elect this demagogue to office. So it’s impossible to know where all of this will lead. Continue reading

The Legitimacy of Immorality in America

According to your president, it’s “very common among celebrities and people of wealth” (i.e., people like him) to pay money to people who level false charges of infidelity against them. Here’s this morning’s pathetic tweet:

After denying it, the president now admits to paying a porn star $130,000. Of course, the fact he earlier lied about this should come as no surprise to anyone. Lying is just part of his nature.

I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that immorality has become so accepted in my country. Even a large part of the Christian church has embraced immorality with open arms, although, in fairness, the church still has not fallen to the depths exhibited during the periods of slavery and the Inquisition. So, contrary to what some people think, it could get worse.

And it might get worse. Plan your life and affairs accordingly.

If You Don’t Pay, You’re a Nobody

As reported by the New York Times this week:

Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told banking industry executives on Tuesday that they should press lawmakers hard to pursue their agenda, and revealed that, as a congressman, he would meet only with lobbyists if they had contributed to his campaign.

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

Continue reading

The Protestations of a Man Who Seems to be Concerned His Lawyer Will Turn on Him

Mr. Twitterfingers is busy this morning.

The thing about our president is that you can always tell what he’s thinking. And today’s he’s laying the groundwork to contend Mr. Cohen is lying if and when Cohen ever implicates Mr. Trump in wrongdoing.

I have no idea if Mr. Trump committed any crimes. That said, I’ve never seen anyone make himself look so guilty.

I sure hope your generation has more sense than mine, Vera. And is never tempted to elect a man such as this to the highest office in the land.

(P.S. Here’s the NYT’s story that seems to have set the pres off this morning.)

Why Does Bombing and Killing Make Us Feel So Good?

Once again, our president bombed another country. And once again, so many of my fellow citizens take delight in such actions. I’ll never understand.

Here’s what our president tweeted this morning:

So just what has America accomplished in Syria?

Well, we (or our surrogates) killed a lot of people. And destroyed a lot of homes and property.

We’ve caused untold suffering. And helped create millions of refugees.

In short, we’ve been an agent of death and destruction.

Mission accomplished, America. To some we “could not have had a better result.”

To others, we lack the good sense to feel shame.

Former F.B.I. Director Comey Reminds America of Its Recklessness

From the former director of the F.B.I.:

I had never seen anything like it in the Oval Office. As I found myself thrust into the Trump orbit, I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob.

The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview.

The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and the truth.

Describing a different meeting with Trump in January 2017, where he was asked for his personal loyalty:

To my mind, the demand was like Sammy the Bull’s Cosa Nostra induction ceremony – with Trump in the role of the family boss, asking me if I have what it takes to be a ‘made man’.

Here’s how he described a meeting about Russian election interference:

Holy crap, they are trying to make each of us an ‘amica nostra’ – a friend of ours. To draw us in.

As crazy as it sounds, I suddenly had the feeling that, in the blink of an eye, the president-elect was trying to make us all part of the same family.

The election of Donald J. Trump was the most reckless act I’ve witnessed in national politics in my lifetime. Mr. Comey is making sure we don’t forget.