October 17, 2017

Saturday Ramblings: July 23, 2016

1958 Rambler Custom Sedan

1958 Rambler Custom Sedan

Hey, in case you hadn’t heard, some people rambled over to Cleveland this past week for a little party. And next week, a few more folks will ramble to Philadelphia for a different party. Those who drive to these events probably do so in something not unlike our flag-bedecked ’58 beauty above. It’s just that some of them like the red part of the flag best and the others like the blue. As for me, if this election gets any more bizarre, I’ll be putting up the white flag and surrendering. And maybe putting my Rambler (with me in it) on a ferry to Canada.

Oh well, we can hardly avoid politics on a week like this, so we’ll talk about it at least a little today.

Chancellor Hitler and President Hindenburg. The latter had once vowed he would never make Hitler chancellor.

Chancellor Hitler and President Hindenburg. The latter had once vowed he would never make Hitler chancellor.

us-flag-icon-1I can’t think of a more provocative article with which to begin Ramblings than this one: Eric Weitz’s piece at Tablet called, “Weimar Germany and Donald Trump.”

Comparisons with Hitler are almost always suspect to me, but Weitz is not exactly doing that. Instead, he describes a process by which the traditional conservatives in Germany during the 1930’s, who at first distanced themselves from the “uncouth, low class, and undisciplined” Nazis, ended up making a political bargain with them shaped by a shared political language.  That language shifted the blame for Germany’s defeat in WWI and subsequent humiliations to the Jews, Socialists, Democrats, those who practiced sexual libertinism, and the signers of the Treaty of Versailles.

There was nothing inevitable or predetermined about the Nazi assumption of power. It was the result of a conscious political decision by traditional conservatives made in a time of crisis when Germany wallowed in depression and the political system lay paralyzed.

In the early 1930’s only thirty-some percent of the German population favored the Nazis, a significant number yes, but not enough to give them power. The conservative elite, many of whom represented Germany’s Protestant and Catholic churches, made a bargain with the Nazis and convinced President Paul van Hindenburg to name Hitler chancellor of Germany. He only had three Nazis in his cabinet at the time.

Historical analogies are always fraught. No serious political movement today in the West is anything like the Nazi party. But the process by which traditional and radical conservatives came together through a common language carries numerous warning signals as we experience the surge of right-wing populism from Poland across the continent, on to the United Kingdom, and across the ocean to the United States.

Read the article. As Weitz says, parallels are always hard to draw with accuracy, but many of the similarities are striking. A matter of concern in the U.S. today, as it was in Weimar Germany, is that more moderate politicians are willing to enter an alliance with those spouting extremist rhetoric, especially the language of fear, blame, and hostility toward “the other,” particularly foreign elements said to be harming the nation. “The moderates make the radicals salonfähig,  acceptable in polite society. That is the real and pressing danger of the current moment.”

gettyimages-113243896_custom-89c6528b8982f93e63fd8640d7d2f5a5b922a348-s1600-c85

us-flag-icon-1The Brits of course have had their share of upheaval this summer, with the Brexit vote and now a new Prime Minister. It’s nice to know that there is still some continuity there to help our friends across the pond calm down and adjust.

Although Theresa May has replaced David Cameron as Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, Larry the Cat will keep his position as Prime Mouser.

Larry arrived back in 2011, touted by the animal rescue center that recommended him as an A-1 killer of mice. Turned out he did a lot of sleeping on the job instead and didn’t seem to take much interest in the many mice that had invaded 10 Downing St. But he eventually did some hunting and it seemed to satisfy the public for awhile. But mostly he pursued his own cat adventures.

Once, threatened with being replaced by another cat, he fought her and was defeated, though he kept his place in the house. He did, however, once stare down a police dog, greeted many visitors to the home, and is even credited with writing a book and keeping up his own Twitter feed. He has his own bio on uk.gov.

The NPR article reporting all of this puts the fact that the feline in chief is staying in perspective.

It’s been absolute political turmoil in the U.K. over the past few weeks, with the nation deciding to leave the EU, the prime minister stepping down, the replacement being selected months earlier than planned, the lead architects of the Brexit turning down the possibility of prominent posts — and then, in the case of Boris Johnson, being appointed foreign secretary anyway — and the opposition Labour party engaged in open revolt against its leader.

Larry — the indolent, the unmovable, the irrepressibly charming — just might be the most dependable political figure in the U.K. today.

Republican National Convention: Day Four

us-flag-icon-1One of the speeches that was certainly “outside the box” (for social conservatives at least) at the Republican Convention was the one given by PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel. In fact, in response to the speech, conservative blogger Matt Walsh tweeted, “”Peter Thiel gets cheered for calling the culture wars fake. Am I watching the DNC or the RNC right now?”

Here’s some of what Thiel said:

“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?

“Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline.”

Thiel went on to say he thought Donald Trump was the only candidate honest enough to agree with that assessment. Then again, it was the Donald who suggested last year that maybe we should all boycott Starbucks because their holiday cups were plain red and didn’t say “Merry Christmas” or have any other Christmas symbolism on them.

Progressives didn’t like everything Thiel said either. Zack Ford tweeted, for example, “I don’t know for whom the culture wars are fake, but it’s not fake to the LGBT people fighting stigma/discrimination.”

Ironically, Thiel’s “fake culture war” comment came on the same night that the NBA declared that it won’t hold the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state’s law requiring transgender individuals to use state-owned bathrooms and changing areas consistent with their biological sex.

33139472

us-flag-icon-1I’m not sure what was in the water in Cleveland last week, but officials found something unexpected in the water supply in Hugo, Colorado, a tiny railroad town with 740 residents.

This week, they were all told to stop drinking the water after it tested positive for THC, the psychoactive chemical in Colorado’s most famous cash crop, marijuana. The NY Times reports:

No one has reported feeling sick or intoxicated from drinking the water, though people around the high-plains town joked on Friday that perhaps they should be drinking more water. On the town’s Facebook community page, Hugo Happenings, people joked about Hugo’s new “healing waters,” and said that its ice cubes could be the tiny town’s answer to marijuana brownies.

Thousands of bottles of water were handed out and the main complaint from Hugo’s citizens was that they closed the town’s swimming pool in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures in the mid-90’s. The town also sealed off the one municipal well that seemed to be the source of the tainted water.

bill-nye-and-ken-ham-at-ice-age-exhibit

us-flag-icon-1Ken Ham recently led his debate opponent Bill Nye “the Science Guy” on a personal guided tour of the new Ark Encounter. As you might expect, they came away from the visit with vastly different reactions.

Let’s hear from Ken Ham first:

As we walked through the Ark, we had a very passionate discussion. It was like the debate all over again but more intense at times. Though it did get tense due to our differences in worldviews, it was an amicable visit.

…As we discussed geology and the Ice Age, our discussion turned toward worldviews. Ultimately, this is the heart of the issue—we have two different worldviews and two different interpretations of the same evidence because of our different starting points.

We’re glad Bill Nye took me up on my friendly offer to show him the Ark. During his visit I was able to personally share the gospel with him very clearly. On the first deck, I asked him, before a crowd of people including many young people, if I could pray with him and was able to pray for him there. Our prayer is that what he saw will have an impact on him and that he will be drawn to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is clearly presented at the Ark.

And now, here’s what Bill Nye had to say, as reported by NBC News:

What he found, he told NBC News, was an eye-catching attraction that was “much more troubling or disturbing than I thought it would be.”

“On the third deck (of the ark), every single science exhibit is absolutely wrong,” he said. “Not just misleading, but wrong.”

…Nye said the exhibit encourages visitors to trust faith over science and thereby undercuts their ability to engage in critical thinking.

“It’s all very troubling. You have hundreds of school kids there who have already been indoctrinated and who have been brainwashed,” he said, recalling how one young girl on the Ark told him to change his way of thinking.

“The parents were feeding her word for word,” Nye added.

…Nye said the religious element of the theme park itself doesn’t worry him — rather, he’s concerned about what it’s passing off as fact.

“I’m not busting anyone’s chops about a religion,” he said. “This is about the absolutely wrong idea that the Earth is 6,000 years old that’s alarming to me.”

Freddie-Mercury_Death-and-Legacy_HD_768x432-16x9

us-flag-icon-1Finally, Andy Campbell at the Huffington Post comments on the music choices at the Republican Convention.

He found said choices, uh, …interesting.”

For example:

  • Donald Trump entered on night one to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” This classic rock song, of course, features flamboyant gay idol Freddie Mercury.
  • Monday afternoon, it was David Bowie, played by the RNC house band singing about love, religion, and cocaine — “Station to Station.”

Perfect choices for the party of Family Values™.

Campbell talks about some other songs, but let’s cut to the chase: my favorite was the Rolling Stones’ classic, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Apparently the message was that Donald Trump is what we all really need. But I found it a striking admission: Who really, deep down in their hearts, wants this guy?

Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump, the eat your peas and shut up candidate.

 

Come back next week, when we’ll discuss cheesesteaks and corruption after the blue folks meet in Philly.

Comments

  1. 1st. This is a first for me.

  2. Yeah verily, “you kaint always get what yous waant…”

  3. And,…a salmon pink Rambler….

  4. Robert F says:

    Bowie’s “Station to Station” on Monday afternoon at the RNC?

    The return of the Thin White Duke, throwing darts in

    …voter’s eyes? There’s an irony in the fact that at the time Bowie wrote this song (and album) and first performed it, he was playing the role of his stage persona, The Thin White Duke, a white European nationalist/fascist figure. He even played the character in interviews, and was accused at the time of espousing nationalist/fascist philosophies; he later attributed the over-the-top tone of his public personality at the time to his extreme cocaine addiction, insisting that he couldn’t remember much of what happened during the period, performances and interviews included. For the rest of is life, though he didn’t talk much about politics, Bowie seemed thoroughly progressive in his views, on occasion speaking up for marginalized and oppressed peoples. But today you will see a figure that the Thin White Duke seems to have presaged, 40 years ago, in the person of Alt-right spokesperson/antihero Milo “Nero” Yiannopoulos. Remember that the Alt-right has coalesced around the candidacy of Donald Trump (who Milo Yiannopoulos and his tweeting minions support), and shiver.

  5. Songs! They’re just SONGS! That’s all.

    • Robert F says:

      True. That’s why I didn’t think anything of it when I heard that the RNC house band played the Clash’s “White Riot”.

    • That Other Jean says:

      But these songs have words, Oscar, and words have meanings.

  6. Vinny from Tennessee says:

    The Trump/Hitler analogy is getting pretty old! Just saying…

    • OK, how about a Trump/Sulla analogy? IOW, he may not become Caesar himself, but he’ll do a lot of the demolition work to prepare the way…

      • Trump as president would have the same amount of power as our current president. Sulla was ruthless and could wield power unilaterally, Trump is, well, TRUMP! He could do no worse than Obama.

        • Robert F says:

          As POTUS, Trump would have access to power beyond Sulla’s wildest dream, because it’s certain that Sulla never dreamed of commanding a military as powerful as the US military, nor did he ever dream of having the nuclear codes at his fingertips.

          We won’t even discuss the creative ways that Trump could subvert the Constitution, ways that he’s threatened.

          (Btw, that’s been another unique facet of Trump’s campaign: threats, veiled and not-so-veiled.)

        • Trump is, well, TRUMP! He could do no worse than Obama.

          I am genuinely curious – other than the Affordable Care Act, just *what* has Obama done that is substantially different from what Bush Jr. did and would have done?

          • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

            Uh, PPACA was in the works long before Obama took office. Bush actually commissioned HHS with coming up with it, and public single-payer option was first proposed in the early 90s by the Heritage Foundation. It just isn’t “Obamacare”.

    • Jeremiah says:

      The analogy wasn’t Trump = Hitler… it is “30’s German political landscape is very similar to current American one”… Which is vastly different but true.

      • +1

      • That Other Jean says:

        Very different from the much more benign context of Yogi Berra’s “Deja vu all over again.” but far too accurate.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        +1

        No doubt one could find other less inflammatory correlations of political self-defeat. But nobody would then read the article.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Even if the political landscape is similar, are the other elements of Germany’s 1932-33 Perfect Storm also present?

  7. Regarding the RNC music: I heard the both Queen and the O’Jays released statements complaining that their artistry was being used to support a celebration that was antithetical to their values, but there was nothing they could do to stop it.
    I thought, wow, now they know how those cake makers and wedding photographers must feel.

    Maybe the Donald should have forced the Foo Fighters to serenade him with “There Goes My Hero”.

    • Robert F says:

      “You Shook Me All Night Long” was being piped in over the contingent holding Family Values banners, but it’s okay because AC/DC didn’t mind. I don’t know if the Family Values people were okay with it, but after all, Trump had been “knocking” them “out with those American thighs” all week long anyway.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      ” now they know how those cake makers and wedding photographers must feel.”

      Brilliant! 🙂

      • Stephen says:

        Except there’s a big dang difference between playing someone’s copyrighted song without their permission and and being criticized for discriminationing against someone.

        • Explain, please.

          I made reference to the Foo Fighters, who were hired to play “There Goes My Hero” for President Obama at the last DNC.
          If the RNC wanted to hire them and FF refused on grounds that they didn’t want to support RNC’s creed, how is that different than the cake maker or wedding photographer?

  8. How about another classic rock political anthem… “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

    • Robert F says:

      From the tone and content of Trump’s acceptance speech, I think the Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun” would have been apropos…

      • RIGHT ON, bros!!

        I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
        Take a bow for the new revolution
        Smile and grin at the change all around
        Pick up my guitar and play
        Just like yesterday
        Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
        We don’t get fooled again
        Don’t get fooled again
        No, no!

        Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

        Meet the new boss
        Same as the old boss

        Another suggestion; “Volunteers of Amerika” by Jeff Airplane.

    • It was 45 years ago this week that “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was released in the US.

      The parting on the Left, is now parting on the Right.

      And the banners, they’ve all flown in the last war.

      Meet the new boss: same as the old boss.

      The writer of Exclesiastes could’ve been proud of that last line.

      • “I’ve got a word or two
        To say about the things that you do
        You’re telling all those lies
        About the good things that we can have
        If we close our eyes

        Do what you want to do
        And go where you’re going to
        Think for yourself
        ‘Cause I won’t be there with you”
        – Beatles, from “Think for Yourself”

    • Stephen says:

      How about Timbuk 3’s “Just Another Movie”

      Presidential elections are planned distractions
      To divert attention from the action behind the scenes
      like a game of chess when the house is a mess
      Or a petty money squabble when your marriage is in trouble
      Or a football game when there’s rioting in the streets

      It’s just another movie, another song and dance
      Another poor sucker who never had a chance
      It’s just another captain going down with his ship
      Just another jerk, taking pride in his work

  9. Robert F says:

    Apparently, there was a slight disagreement among the RNC attenders about whether Hillary should be locked up, or executed. Either way, Chris Christie assured the mob (the same one that Ted Cruz and his wife had to be protected from by security after he made his incendiary suggestion that people should vote their conscience ) that they were on their way to making it happen, and would once Trump attains the Presidency. No, the Trump/Hitler analogy isn’t getting old; it just got on its feet, and is preparing to put others on their knees.

    • Robert F says:

      If I were an African-American listening to Trump’s speech, I would have understood him to be saying that, as the “Law and Order President”, he would give the green light for police across the country to crack heads like mine, and shoot us at will, no questions asked. Couple that with not a word about any need for racial reconciliation in America, or the responsibility of police to respect citizen’s rights, and the message was very, very clear. And the greatly disproportionate white mob cheered it all.

      • Yes

      • “Law and order” is usually code for “Put the blacks in their place.” I’m white, and like you I picked up on that too. I can imagine how blacks interpreted it. If that’s not what Trump intended, his speech writers should know better.

        Trump’s statement that “This was probably one of the most peaceful, most beautiful, most love-filled conventions in the history of conventions” was merely amusing. Most of us saw it as a dysfunctional family. Not even a very close dysfunctional family.

        • Robert F says:

          One of the basic characteristics of dysfunctional families is that they live in perpetual denial of their dysfunction.

          But what I saw was more like a cult than a dysfunctional family.

    • Try reading “The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich”. I did, and found plenty of similarities with the way the Obama admin has been doing things. My point is that you can find anything you want if you want to find it. Trump/Hitler? How about Obama/Stalin? Just as valid using the same “logic” and POV.

      • Robert F says:

        I’m not buying it anymore, Oscar. For decades, the right wing rhetoric of the moral, or amoral, equivalence of the right and left had me hoodwinked into thinking that they actually were equal. But you will not find anywhere in Obama’s oeuvre as President, or presidential candidate, the rhetoric of violence, hatred, anger and resentment that Trump spews so naturally and regularly and faithfully. And he is only the end result of the inflammatory rhetoric of violence, hatred, anger and resentment that has been practiced by the right, and especially its popular mouthpieces (Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh,etc.) for the last 30 years; I used to actually listen to them, but now I tune them out. They are apologists for tyranny at this point, explaining to us why it’s necessary and inevitable, and even good. I’m not susceptible to them anymore, or your arguments of equivalence.

        Btw, I have read Shirer’s book.

      • Andrew Zook says:

        Robert’s right…. sure Obama isn’t perfect or the messiah some thought… but there is no equivalence… especially when your compare the centrist Dems (like Obama) and the ever-outraged far right/alt right which just happens to now be perfectly represented by trump and pretty much in the drivers seat of the GOP now. Sure there’s nicer, more moderate, centrist types (close to Obama!) who have media platforms etc, but they’ve been or are being kicked out…

        • Robert F says:

          Yeah, the Republican Party is currently being purged of any and all reasonable voices.

      • How about Obama/Stalin?

        How about we see some examples of where Obama sent millions of US citizens to prison camps, held show trials to railroad political enemies, renamed US cities after himself, and banned all other political parties.

        THEN we can talk about political and moral equivalence.

  10. Actually, the”mob” (really, Robert?) didn’t seem “disproportionately white” at all. In fact, I was a bit surprised at how many non-white delegates there were. The Republican Party looks more like the culture at large than ever before. They’ve come a long way from the party of yesteryear. In many ways.

    We watched on CSPAN to avoid all the commentary and to form our own opinions without help from others.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      Seriously? Blacks compose about 14% of the US population, or a bit under one in six. Take a look here:
      http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/07/19/racial-diversity-eludes-republican-party-2012-versus-2016/
      Are nearly one is six faces in that crowd black?

      • The fact that there WERE blacks at ALL gives lie to the narrative! African Americans vote lockstep Democratic so any diminution of their voting block is troubling to Dems. Same holds for those of Spanish heritage.

        • StuartB says:

          Yup. Less than 1%. Just like that single black couple in church puts the lie to the narrative that the church is white.

          I still chuckle when I hear South Park call that one character “Token”…

          • Robert F says:

            It’s hilarious. A handful of exceptions invalidate the narrative? That’s the logic of the one who uttered, “Look at my African-American over here!” which itself is just a variation on, “But some of my best friends are…”

          • StuartB says:

            Exactly, Robert F. And why I’m so sick and tired of seeing it pulled out over and over again by those who should know better.

    • Michael Z says:

      I think it depends a lot on what portion of the “culture at large” someone lives in. Most Midwesterners would probably look out at that crowd and say, “Yup, looks like my America.” The same would hold true for most suburban or rural Americans. But as a city-dweller, I can tell you for certain that the crowd at the RNC didn’t look anything like the faces I see on the sidewalk or the subway.

      Tens of millions of Americans would look at pictures of that crowd and say, “That doesn’t look like a place for people like me.”

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        “””But as a city-dweller, I can tell you for certain that the crowd at the RNC didn’t look anything like the faces I see on the sidewalk or the subway.”””

        +1,000.

      • Danielle says:

        Another +1000.

        I live in Baltimore. The RNC looks NOTHING like “my America.”

    • The camera people were really good at shooting the same folks over and over again.

      There were 2472 total delegates; fewer than 1% of the delegates were black. That was 18 delegates accounted for before the convention began. When you count alternative delegates, the number goes to 80 – still around 3%. This compares to 2000 when 4.1% of actual delegates were black. In 2004 the number of delegates was 167. The last time there were this few was 1964 when there were 14 delegates (and that was Goldwater).

      There were 133 Latino delegates and alternates. I could not locate Native Peoples or Asian/Pacific Islander delegate numbers.

      In fact, minority republicans wrote a letter to the RNC expressing their concern over the decrease in minority representation in the delegates and presenters. Remember the take-away from the last election cycle was that the RNC needed to court the minority vote.

      • Robert F says:

        They as a party seem to have decided that it would be better for them to bash the minority head.

      • David L says:

        Remember the take-away from the last election cycle was that the RNC needed to court the minority vote.

        Yes but the RNC in many ways are in no way shape or form in charge of the current R election. They have lost control.

    • Donalbain says:

      Black people made up a smaller % of RNC delegates than at any time in over a century.

    • Robert F says:

      Yes Rhymes, a mob that would have fallen on Cruz, and his wife, with physical beatings at a word from its savior and god, Trump. One delegate tried to physically accost Cruz, but was held back by security; as Cruz’s wife walked toward the exit, she was verbally abused as if she, rather than her husband, had uttered the horrid words about voting one’s conscience. A shameful episode, and I only hope it doesn’t portend worse things to come.

      • Robert F says:

        But why should the conventioneers treatment of Mrs. Cruz surprise me? Their idol, after all, wants to “take-out” the families of terrorists.

  11. Headed to Hugo…

  12. Good Ramble, CM. Very entertaining. Can’t wait for the cheesesteak and corruption edition.

    • Bluesurly says:

      I’m sure it will be along the lines of how heroic BLM protesters are, how Trump compares to Hitler, how Hillary is unreservedly maligned, how Trump compares to Hitler and all complaints of a culture war are set aside since we will then be hearing from the heroic left.

      • At least from commenters here…

      • I’m not a Hillary supporter, Bluesurly. Her nomination does make more sense to me than Donald Trump’s, because she is, after all, a career politician. And I’m not sure the DNC will have as much of a bizarre reality show vibe as the RNC did. But we’ll do our best to uncover strange and wondrous things to ponder next Saturday.

        • Hard to top a hard-right evangelical Christian being booed off the stage for telling people to vote their conscience and defend the Constitution…

          • Robert F says:

            Let’s not forget that his wife was booed too, as if she’d uttered the terrible suggestion, and both had to be escorted to the exit by security for their own protection.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I’m sure it will be along the lines of how heroic BLM protesters are, how Trump compares to Hitler, how Hillary is unreservedly maligned, how Trump compares to Hitler and all complaints of a culture war are set aside since we will then be hearing from the heroic left.

        “If I bear a suckling pig
        Though he never grow big,
        Yea, his first squeal shall be
        HILLARY! HILLARY! HILLARY!”

  13. flatrocker says:

    Sooooo today I’m greeted with the Hitler/Trump comparison and even before my first sip of morning brew no less. Ah, Saturday Ramblings, the pause that refreshes from the constant onslaught.

    And while we’re at it I’m surprised we didn’t pick up on Ben Carson’s connection of Hillary to Lucifer in his RNC speech. I mean, come on – isn’t it so evident that our real choice is clearly between Hitler and Satan?

    Enough, enough, enough with the over the top spittle spewing, vein-popping rhetoric. And Chaplain Mike, today you have done your part to bring this front and center. I mean, obviously Trump is right around the corner from building the ovens and let’s not forget Hillary willingly ushering in Armageddon. And if you don’t believe either of these tropes as fact, well then as they say, you’re just in denial.

    CM, I’d like to hear in your words what is the purpose of Saturday Ramblings? Because today, it is about the circus. Are we the ushers seating the patrons? Or are we the entertainment providing trained responses on cue? Or are we the master of ceremonies with our top hats and whips?

    Today, it is evident the post-evangelical acorn doesn’t fall very far from the tree. We are growing weary of the culture wars but we just can’t quite leave it be. Red meat laid down before us. Predictable responses from predictable commenters in this blog stream. Fire in our bellies and disdain in our hearts. All seemingly predicated from a calculated effort to stoke the pit and watch the flames. We are our parent’s children.

    Oh, Daniel Jepsen where are you when we need you the most?

    • +1

    • -1

    • Michael Z says:

      Very many people in US society are angry or afraid right now because 1) they are experiencing the loss of the privilege they once took for granted on account of being white, male, or straight, and 2) they feel that a culture and a media that is less tolerant than ever of racism, misogyny, and homophobia is judging them. That gives people a very deep sense of loss, defensiveness, and resentment.

      The purpose of studying history is to understand the present and to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. It makes perfect sense to look back at history and find other times when people were experiencing that same sense of loss and resentment and to see what mistakes they made in response to those feelings. Whether or not what is happening with Trump is on the same *scale* as Hitler, it’s worth asking whether it’s the same *kind* of phenomenon – and if so, we can draw lessons from Germany and apply them to the present.

    • Actually, Flatrocker, I think I included more items of politics than Mike does. I would have especially had a hard time laying off them this week.

      And the Ramblings has always tried to include some items of a more serious and thoughtful nature. The comparison in the item you mentioned isn’t Trump equals Hitler, but that the modern conservative movement is making some of the same moves that the conservative movement (including most of the churches) made in Germany during the 1930’s. I certainly think that is worth discussing.

    • Today only I will say “+1”

      Normally I can handle the usual left leaning commentary, but today is NOT one of those days. You hit the nail right on the head. Decry the Evangelical Circus and its tactics and then turn around and use them on the new whipping post.

    • Or Jeff Dunn. Bring back Jeff Dunn. Please.

    • Today, red meat. Next week, blue meat. For heaven’s sake, it’s an election year and these are convention weeks! I’m not going to completely ignore it!

      Besides, this was the only post this week to include politics and it is likely to be the same pattern in the week to come.

  14. Yes, I did understand on first reading that finding a tiny railroad town with 740 residents immersed in the drinking water supply was not only unexpected but didn’t make a lot of sense. Was it discovered when a wee boxcar came out of someone’s faucet? It took me a minute or two to sort it out. Around here a town of 740 residents would be in fourth place county-wide, three times the size of my village. Our county seat has a population of nearly two and a half thousand, and boasts a traffic light,

    • David L says:

      I grew up outside of a town/city of about 32000. The county had about 52000. We though of ourselves as in the middle of no where are to find a larger city was a 4 hour drive in any direction. Of course that means that the surrounding areas were even smaller

      A high school teacher responded to someone in the class complaining about growing up in the “sticks”. He when he took his driving test the first thing the police officer said when he got in the car was “pretend there’s a curb”. In KY you had to demonstrate you could parallel park but there were no curbs in the county seat. The was a county next to “ours”.

  15. Richard Hershberger says:

    In other news, Trump invited Putin to attack NATO, thereby single-handedly increasing the likelihood of WWIII. Amazing. Even more amazing is the internet commentariat springing to his defense. Remember those distant days of yore when the Republicans were the party of strong defense? When was that? Recall that eight years ago the Republican presidential candidate was singing about bombing Iran, for somewhat vague reasons and even vaguer goals. There is much to critique about US military adventurism, whether under a Republican or a Democratic president. But NATO is not military adventurism. It is protection of Western freedoms. Remember when the Republicans agreed that protecting Western freedoms was a good thing?

    • Robert F says:

      His suggestion about NATO reveals that Trump’s presidency would actually make the US weak, not great again, inward-looking and disconnected from global realities that will proceed with or without the attention of the US.

    • Robert F says:

      But remember, Trump said that, as President, he would have to keep open to the possibility of nuking Europe, so maybe Putin can let his friend do the dirty work.

  16. Interesting how Ham and Nye had polar opposite takes on the Ark visit. It’s like Ham is trying to suck up to Nye for much needed credibility…

  17. https://youtu.be/1ytCEuuW2_A

    An appropriate political anthem for this years presidential election.

  18. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says:

    “Ultimately, this is the heart of the issue—we have two different worldviews and two different interpretations of the same evidence because of our different starting points.” This is Ken Ham’s ongoing Big Lie that he uses to justify lying to people for money. He pretends that the physical evidence that surrounds us is only apprehended through subjective interpretation. Once he has got the audience to accept his post-modern epistemology, he pretends there is any kind of rational basis for what his organization teaches. I’m not sure he is quite thoughtful enough to realize that his position is self-defeating, but I’m not sure it’s relevant, either. I would respect him much more if he just admitted that his reading of the Bible is contradicted by the physical evidence and leave it at that. I can respect faith in the face of facts; I don’t respect lying or intellectual suicide.

  19. Ronald Avra says:

    Typically I’m very adverse to cats and detest them, but Larry the Cat’s imperturbable demeanor is probably what I’m going to need to survive the next few years. I may also spend a lot of time watching Charlie Watts drumming for the Stones: inspiringly staid and dutiful in the execution of his role.

    • I was in Alaska a couple of weeks ago, and went through the town of Talkeetna, where Stubbs the cat is mayor. Not too far from Wasilla, where Sarah Palin was once mayor. There was no report on who was more diligent or effective, but Stubbs has been in office since 1997 and Sarah Palin has ditched Alaska for Arizona.

      Stubbs has his own Wikipedia page and everything:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stubbs_(cat)

  20. The only one that made any sense this week was Peter Thiel. The religious right and their antagonists on the far left habe made where you go to the bathroom an issue of strategic national interest. (Try using/finding a restroom in a developimg country!) It is so way out of proportion to reality and averts our gaze from the truly serious problems we face. Who cares?

    • First Things has a long analysis on why this silly topic is became a cause celebre:

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/08/bigot-baiting.

      • StuartB says:

        I can’t imagine a policy more irrelevant to the problems facing our society than bathroom privileges for transgender students. The bottom half of American society is collapsing. Voters are revolting against establishment candidates, casting doubt on the economic and cultural consensus that has predominated over the last generation. And the Obama administration presses for transgender rights? This is amazing, but not surprising given the history of post-sixties liberalism.

        Should I even bother reading on after that incredible missing the point opening statement?

        • Daniel Jepsen says:

          I found it interesting and helpful

          • StuartB says:

            I tried to. Really did. But it seemed to be built off a series of presuppositions that I couldn’t agree with to start from. Or maybe I didn’t like it’s tone, Idk. But it’s good that people are thinking critically at all about these things.

      • That Other Jean says:

        I don’t imagine it’s a silly topic if you’re a transgender person who needs to pee, but faces getting forced out/arrested/beaten up for choosing the “wrong” bathroom.

  21. I finally put the television I bought a few months ago to use and I’m having to adjust my mind a bit. The last I remembered Democrats were the party of the people and Republicans were the party of corporate interests. Who knew? The most novel idea I heard in the Republican convention was to run this country as a meritocracy. I say give it a try as an experiment and see what happens. Also I always thought that Democrats had better looking women. Well, we’ll see what this next week brings. Sure glad I got that TV.

    • David L says:

      The most novel idea I heard in the Republican convention was to run this country as a meritocracy. I say give it a try as an experiment and see what happens.

      OK. Who gets to create the score sheet?

  22. Heather Angus says:

    The article on Germany and Trump is somewhat more nuanced than some comments here suggest. As others have said, its primary point is not that Trump is Hitler, but that respectable and prominent German conservatives “sold” Hitler to Germany by accepting and cozying up to him. They did so, despite their revulsion for Hitler’s vulgarity and barbarity, because they saw how popular he was with a loud segment of people, and they figured that once Hitler got in power, they could control his excesses. As the world knows, they couldn’t. The article is more pointed at Paul Ryan et al. than at Trump himself.

    I don’t care for Trump; I voted for Bernie in the primary and I’ll vote for Hillary in the general election. But Trump isn’t Hitler, and the US isn’t Germany. As The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich pointed out, Germany was the only major European nation that had never had a popular revolt. Much of its culture continued undisrupted from the middle ages — including the hatred of Jews. Hitler built on that. The US has no such culture, but in fact we have a great diversity of cultures and viewpoints. Thanks be to God for it.

    And Trump not only isn’t Hitler, I don’t think he’s even Republican. The cornerstone of his campaign is anti-globalization. Globalization is the shining Holy Grail of Republicans, for whom it translates easily to cheap cheap labor. Why pay an American $16 an hour for hot, dangerous, heavy work, when you can pay a starving Bangladeshi $1.50 a day for the same work, without having to offer him a health code, workers comp, or mandatory meal breaks. The liberal elites also love globalization — note the Democratic party’s virtual abandonment of unions in the face of corporate union-busting.

    Trump is also OK with Planned Parenthood (on alternate Tuesday and Fridays, anyway), and agrees Bush II was a terrible president and the Iraq War was a disastrous decision. On other Republican issues, he’s been all over the map. And his wife Ivanka is obviously a Democrat 🙂 .

    I’ll vote for Hillary, but I dunno. If people get the government they deserve, maybe we deserve The Big Orange.

    • Insightful and helpful comments, Heather. Thank you.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      As others have said, its primary point is not that Trump is Hitler, but that respectable and prominent German conservatives “sold” Hitler to Germany by accepting and cozying up to him. They did so, despite their revulsion for Hitler’s vulgarity and barbarity, because they saw how popular he was with a loud segment of people, and they figured that once Hitler got in power, they could control his excesses. As the world knows, they couldn’t.

      More like “Respectable and prominent conservatives” were leaving themselves wide open for any someone with a big (and marketable) following to take advantage of them.

  23. ex-wife, in fact two wives ago…and your point is?

  24. I posted the following on imonk four years ago:

    “I try to explain another story of choosing between lesser evils, where Christians of the Weimar Republic had to choose between their incompetent liberal bureaucrats, the communists, and the funny looking guy with the mustache, who promised jobs, to support religious and family values, and to make their nation great again in the eyes of the world. I guess the choice seemed obvious.” – dumb ox.

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/daniel-jepsen-on-newt-gingrich-the-religious-right-and-rank-hypocrisy

    • wrong email… 😐

    • Robert F says:

      I don’t understand how anyone could’ve watched and listened to Trump’s speech at the convention the other night, and not thought of Hitler.

  25. This was David R. Hawkins’ reflection for the day:

    “Compassion arises from the acceptance of human limitation and by seeing that everyone is really the captive of his or her own worldview. With nonattachment, there is no longer the pressure to try to change the world or other people’s viewpoints, or to make them wrong by virtue of disagreement.”