Saturday, June 29, 2024

RAMBO versus DUMBO

Our president is senile, weak, and ineffectual. His opponent is profane, pugnacious, and a habitual liar. The president seeks to retain power as best he can, and his opponent seeks to grasp that power by any means, fair or foul, preferably foul.

I imagine our country as a toilet bowl recently flushed, with the water swirling round and round as it goes down the drain. It seems we are incapable of saving ourselves, and we're going to continue that downward swirl by electing either Dumbo or Rambo.

The question is not whether Dumbo or Rambo will be best for our country; it is which one will do the least amount of damage to our already tattered Republic. It appears to me that although either candidate will do damage to our country, we will be better able to recover from the damage done by Dumbo than by Rambo.

As I see things, Dumbo's heart is in the right place, but his head is in a dark, moist place. Rambo's heart is set on power and revenge, and nothing else seems to matter to him. Whatever he needs to say or do to obtain power, he will do. And whatever he needs to say or do to retain power, he will do. He's even talking about an unconstitutional third term. And this man of God's favorite Bible verse? "An eye for an eye." As a second-term president, he will give lip service to traditional American values while trampling them under his feet. He's like the protagonist in the Piet Hein poem: 

A fellow I know can get mountains to move and all opposition appeases:

He preaches what God cannot help but approve and does
what the Devil he pleases.

Friday, May 31, 2024

DONALD TRUMP AND JESUS

 I'm seeing memes which compare the conviction of Donald Trump to the conviction of Jesus. The argument goes like this: (1) Jesus was falsely convicted; (2) Donald Trump was falsely convicted; therefore (3) Donald Trump is a Jesus figure. The comparison is fallacious. Other than the fact that both convictions occurred as a result of a criminal prosecution, there are no parallels between the conviction of Jesus and the conviction of Trump.

First, Trump is not now, nor has he ever been, the Son of God.

Second, if Jesus had been a mere human being, instead of the Son of God, Jesus’ conviction would have been lawful. It was a violation of the lex iulia maiestas for a citizen or subject of the Roman Empire to go around claiming to be a king without the permission of the Emperor. Violation of the lex iulia maiestas was a capital offense. If a merely human Jesus had claimed to be a king, he would have been guilty of a capital crime. But Jesus wasn’t merely human; he was the Son of God. God’s jurisdiction is superior to the Emperor’s; therefore God’s Son can claim to be a king without violating a law which applies to mere humans.

Third, Trump loudly proclaiming that he was railroaded does not make it true. I prosecuted and convicted several thousand criminals, and most of them claimed to have been railroaded.

Fourth, Jesus was not allowed to appeal his conviction, but was immediately crucified. Donald Trump has the right to appeal his conviction to a higher court. In due course, an appellate court will determine whether Trump’s conviction was proper or improper.

So, how is Donald Trump like Jesus Christ? Not at all.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

IS STORMY DANIELS A LIAR? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

Stormy Daniels testified today in the Trump hush-money trial. She was attacked as a liar, and the attack is scheduled to continue tomorrow. Is she a liar? It doesn't make any difference. The material facts that she testified to--that she took money from Trump to keep silent about her allegations of having sex with him--is admitted by the defense. Whether she was telling the truth about sex with Trump or not, Trump paid her off to keep silent. That is not in dispute. The relevant question is: Did he pay her off to bolster his chances of winning the presidential election? You can set up the issue as a false dichotomy: Was he trying to rig an election, or was he the victim of extortion/blackmail? I say it is a false dichotomy because you don't have to choose between the alternatives: Both can be true at the same time.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

FROTHING AT THE MOUTH

 It seems in this day and age that everybody is offended by everything. A starlet wears her skirt too short, and the Twitterverse explodes with angry tweets. And the angry tweets provoke other angry tweets condemning the tweeters as twits. Then she wears her skirt too long, and we get another Twitterwar. Someone makes a casual, thoughtless remark that they would never have made if their brains had been in gear, and loud calls are made to "cancel" that person. If someone thoughtlessly refers to a person as "he" when the preferred pronoun is "ze," this is a crime against humanity. 

Fortunes are lost and careers are ended at the slip of a tongue, and almost nobody is immune to censure for the slightest offense. It's somewhat like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.  

In the land of the First Amendment, you risk ruin every time you open your mouth. The PC police have a fundamentalist view of all transgressions against Wokeness. The least insensitive comment engenders cries for the harshest punishment. 

Many people with a strong survival instinct act as though their every word and action are being recorded on an enemy's cellphone video. Aesop is supposed to have said: "Wise men say nothing in dangerous times", and that quote has seldom been truer than it is today. Of course, the original version of Aesop's quote had been cancelled due to the man's obvious misogyny and has been gender-neutralized as "Wise people say nothing in dangerous times." Is there a statue of Aesop anywhere that can be torn down?

Anyone born prior to 1950 who has ever transgressed the least prohibition of the 21st century's version of morality is to be cancelled, written out of the history books as a hero and made a villain, and any statues of them must be torn down. 

That bigoted racist, Winston Churchill, who was largely responsible for saving Europe during World War II, is supposed to have said that a people who are at war with their past have no future. I agree.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S TEETH versus DONALD TRUMP'S TONGUE

 

At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Donald Trump made some interesting comments:

 

“The Civil War was so fascinating, so horrible,” Trump said. “So many mistakes were made. See, there was something I think could have been negotiated, to be honest with you. I think you could have negotiated that. All the people died, so many people died. You know, that was the disaster.”

 

Trump went on to describe the Civil War as “vicious” and suggested that “Abraham Lincoln, of course, if he negotiated it, you probably wouldn’t even know who Abraham Lincoln was.” Trump says Civil War ‘could have been negotiated.’ Historians disagree. - TheWashington Post

 

Ambrose Bierce, who served as an officer in the Union Army wrote that warfare “untied with the teeth a political knot which would not yield to the tongue.” Contrary to Trump's assertion, the political knot that led to the Civil War could not be untied with the tongue.

 

The question of whether to negotiate was settled in the election of 1864. George McClellan ran against Lincoln on a ticket which included negotiating an end to the war. Lincoln’s re-election, which was aided by Union soldiers returning home on furlough to vote, demonstrated that negotiating a compromise wasn’t favored by either side, regardless of what Lincoln did.

 

A negotiated settlement would have been near impossible for the following reasons:

 

The Southern leadership (aka the slave-owning planter class) had been losing influence in national politics for years. The population boom in the North was beginning to overpower the Southern leadership in the House of Representatives. The addition of states in areas incompatible with slavery threatened to erode the Southern leadership’s influence in the Senate.

 

The Southern leadership decided that if their economy was to survive, it had to expand its influence or withdraw from the Union. The Southern leadership saw the election of Abraham Lincoln as a sign that its national influence was going to continue to wane; therefore, they seceded.

 

At the outset of the war, Lincoln’s stated aim was to preserve the Union, not abolish slavery. His views changed over the course of the war. He came to the conclusion that the only way to preserve the Union was to abolish slavery. Shortly before the publication of his Emancipation Proclamation Horace Greeley, the publisher of The New York Tribune, complained that Lincoln had no real policy for the Civil War.

 

Lincoln replied with a letter to The New York Tribune in which he said: “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be ‘the Union as it was.’ If there were those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”

 

After Lincoln’s death, Greeley wrote that he though Lincoln’s letter was intended to prepare the public for his revised war aim—to free the slaves. Lincoln had decided that he could not preserve the Union by compromising on the issue of slavery with the Southern leadership. Any compromise acceptable to the North would continue the erosion of the Southern leadership’s influence in national politics through population growth in the North and the addition of new Free States, and the Southern leadership saw such erosion as leading to the inevitable destruction of their economy and the ruin of the planter class.