Saturday Report 8/12/23 - Are Christians really trying to remove Jesus because he was too liberal?
The Best of the Rest of the News
— The co-founder of the Federalist Society and two other Federalist members agree that Trump is already disqualified from running for or holding public office. Early next year, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review will publish an article written by Law Professor William Baude of the University of Chicago and Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St. Thomas arguing that Donald Trump, under the 14th Amendment, is disqualified from public office. The pair’s conclusion, which has already been endorsed by Yale Law Professor Steven Calabresi, a co-founder of the Federalist Society, is that there’s ample evidence in the public record to prevent Trump from even showing up on ballots, and that officials responsible for those ballots — from secretaries of state to county election officials — must keep him off the ballot in every state. This is probably the opening salvo in what I’m calling the “Chris Christie Turning Point,” when the institutional GOP realizes that Trump is more liability than asset and begins to quickly move away from the convicted fraudster, rapist, and serial criminal. Which leaves the question: if Trump doesn’t end up his party’s 2024 nominee, who will? I’m still betting that when Trump really starts to sink the rightwing billionaires will trot out their favorite guy, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who’s every bit as vicious as DeSantis or Abbott, policy-wise, but wears sweater-vests and comes across like Mr. Rogers. DeSantis is flaming out, and the rest of the field are clearly running for VP (except for Christie and Pence, and neither has a chance of becoming president). This is going to get interesting!
— Ex-Trumpster horrified by plot to have the military turn their guns on Americans. The former Army officer and attorney who was John Kelly’s senior counsel when Kelly was Secretary of Homeland Security has pointed to the same two sentences in the Jack Smith indictment of Trump that I wrote about last Thursday. In Kevin Carroll’s op-ed for The Dispatch titled “An Unthinkable Choice,” he points out that Trump tried, on several occasions, to get the US military to turn their guns on civilian protestors and, had he held office after January 20th, would have use the military with live ammunition to cement his “victory” in 2020. “As a veteran,” Carroll wrote, “my blood ran cold reading two particular passages in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment.” Cutting right to the heart of Trump’s coup attempt, he added that Trump’s “autocratic plan to remain in power” would “make the U.S. military choose between subservience to civilian control or refusing to undertake an anti-democratic domestic political role.” When I published that article a week ago, nobody, to the best of my knowledge, had yet pointed out Smith’s flagging Trump’s willingness to use the military against us all. Now that realization is spreading across the country, which is a very good thing. Trump is the ultimate traitor to American values and exactly the man who Alexander Hamilton and James Madison warned us about in The Federalist Papers. America’s biggest challenge now isn’t to imprison Trump; it’s to purge our government and the GOP of the people who were enthusiastic about going along with his fascist takeover of our republic. Hopefully, there are a lot more indictments coming (it looks like Fani Willis is all over this one, having notified almost a dozen of Trump’s buddies that they’re “targets” of her investigation).
— Does America need a Psychological Defense Agency? America is under attack right now by Russia, a form of low-level warfare that’s playing out daily mostly on social media and has been since 2015 when Trump first announced he was going to run for president and Putin saw his opportunity. But we’re not alone: Russian trolls and bots have had Sweden in their crosshairs ever since that country began seriously considering joining NATO after the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine. But Sweden isn’t taking it lying down: they’ve now created a new group within their military called the Psychological Defense Agency that identifies and outs Russian trolls and bots to the public, de-fanging them and their messages. Sweden’s prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, announced the agency and it’s General Director, Magnus Hjort, noted that, “What we see now is a full-blown, full-scale war in Europe, and Sweden is not neutral.”
The Biden administration tried to take the first step toward doing the same earlier this year, proposing a simple working group to explore the issue within the Department of Homeland Security. Even that, however, was too much for Republicans in Congress who are dependent on Trump and his sucking up to Putin: the hysteria — amplified by Fox “News” and rightwing hate radio for weeks — was so intense the Biden administration dropped the proposal. They need to revive it and tell the Putin-loving Republicans in the so-called “freedom caucus” to go pound sand.
— As I pointed out on the air two weeks ago, the Hunter Biden thing is a Russian disinformation operation. Attorney General Merrick Garland elevated the Trump-appointed prosecutor who’s been investigating and prosecuting Hunter Biden for the past five years to Special Counsel status along with Jack Smith. This move, done to please Republicans, comes even as the last three witnesses James Comer said would be “blockbusters” to prove criminality among President Biden and his son have turned out to prove the exact opposite, testifying that the President never took bribes and all his conversations with is son were about family and the weather. So far, Hunter has been charged with not paying his taxes for two years (he has since paid up, with penalties) and owning a gun while being a drug addict (a crime that’s rarely prosecuted). The GOP’s big charge against him, however, is that he made five or ten million dollars in Ukraine by leveraging his position as the then-Vice President’s son. Which raises the question: why aren’t they looking into Jared and Ivanka? Those two made almost $200 million while working in the White House and $2 billion in the weeks after they left that post, not to mention the millions in patents the Chinese government gave Ivanka when she accompanied Donald to Beijing. On top of that, there’s growing evidence that the so-called “Hunter Biden Laptop” was actually built by Russian agents after that country hacked his iCloud account and cloned his data onto it (and then tweaked it to become even more incriminating/embarassing), then dropped the Trojan Horse off at the blind computer guy’s shop (who just happened to be a friend of Rudy’s). This stinks.
— Are “Christians” trying to remove Jesus because he was too liberal? Russell Moore, the editor of Christianity Today, has authored an editorial in which he worries out loud about evangelicals who are openly rejecting the teachings of Jesus as being “too liberal.”
Moore told an interviewer: “It was the result of having multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — ‘turn the other cheek’ — to have someone come up after to say, ‘Where did you get those liberal talking points?’ And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, ‘I’m literally quoting Jesus Christ,’ the response would not be, ‘I apologize.’ The response would be, ‘Yes, but that doesn’t work anymore. That’s weak.’ And when we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive to us, then we’re in a crisis.”
James Madison warned us of this day when he vetoed a bill to run money for the DC poorhouse that George Washington had established through a local DC church. He said it would create a “precedent” that would damage both our government and Christianity, something Madison — the “Father of the Constitution” and a practicing Christian — cared deeply about. But Reagan brought Falwell, Robertson, Reed, and Graham into the GOP and politicized our churches, then George W. Bush doubled-down on it with his bogus “faith based initiatives” as a way of buying political loyalty from congregations. This is not good for religion or our nation: we must disentangle church and state.
— And speaking of religion — is the GOP really invoking the Bible to defend Abbott's “barbaric” razor wire & circular saw buoys? Sadly, the answer is “yes.” Texas and Abbott have been sued for the barrels that are blocking the Rio Grande under a law that prohibits unauthorized “barriers to navigation” in the waters of and around America. The argument 22 House Republicans are making is that every inch of America is a “navigable waterway” because once the Earth was covered in water, during the time of Noah, and therefore the law barring barriers to navigation is moot. Seriously. Here’s a clip from their motion in the lawsuit: “Indeed, if one takes the Book of Genesis literally, then the entire world was once navigable by boats large enough to carry significant amounts of livestock. Under the federal government’s theory, these anecdotes would render any structure built anywhere in Texas an obstruction to navigation subject to federal regulation.” I guess this raises the eternal question: “Who would Jesus try to kill with deadly razor wire?”
— Clarence Thomas took 38 vacations — or should we call them bribes — from his and Ginni’s billionaire sugar daddies. And that’s just what we know about; ProPublica suggests there are more that they couldn’t uncover. This man is so breathtakingly corrupt it’s hard to know where to start. Last week we learned that his quarter-million-dollar “motor home” was financed by a friendly billionaire, now we’re discovering at least four more morbidly rich people spiffing the Supreme Court justice with at least 38 more vacations and gifts during the years that he was the tie-breaking and deciding vote in the Citizens United case that fully legalized billionaires owning their very own pet politicians and Supreme Court justices. It doesn’t get worse than this: it’s time for Thomas to resign.
— White locals won't let a Black mayor be mayor after he was elected. Welcome to Alabama and Georgia, where parts of the deep South are still as racist as they’ve been for 400 years. A Black man won the race to be mayor of an Alabama town three years ago and is still locked out of city hall and kept from the town’s bank records by the white men who claim they run the town. And now a Black man was just elected District Attorney to a three-county area including Augusta, Georgia, so a white county that he would have been serving separated itself to avoid having to seat him. This is apparently, according to Wonkette, a “common trend” in the deep South. It’s time for Joe Biden and Merrick Garland to take a lesson from JFK and send some federal troops down South to deal with all this racial criminality.
Geeky Science! Wow: the world’s largest study on walking shows that the more you walk, the longer you live. And it’s really that simple. They were trying to find an upper limit to the benefits of walking, but all the way up to 20,000 steps a day they found that every incremental increase in distance was accompanied by an incremental increase in lifespan. Looking at 17 studies involving 226,889 people over decades they found that every additional 1000 steps you walk is associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of dying from any cause! Check it out, and start walking today!
Crazy Alert! Will AI replacing psychics and tarot readers? It may not yet be ready for prime time, but there are already AI tarot card readers open for business on the internet. So far they’re just flipping cards and giving rather generic, soft soap advice. But wait until a really powerful AI engine is connected