Monday, July 10, 2017: Grifter-in-Chief
The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a traveling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling fake medicines with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence. To increase sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a shill) would often attest to the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would leave town before his customers realized they had been cheated. This practice is also called grifting and its practitioners are called grifters. (Source: Wikipedia)
Wouldn't it be nice if our Grifter-in-Chief put his tail between his legs and skulked out of town?
Sunday, July 9, 2017: God Help the South Koreans and Other Living Things
So let's look at what is going on in Trump world of late.
- Nikki Haley raised the possibility of using America's "considerable military forces" against North Korea.
- President Trump met with the leader of Poland, a declared right wing populist.
- As part of his travel to the G20 meeting, Tump met with Putin – the world's current leading Fascist – and after 17 years, the Trumpster gave Putin exactly what he wanted: respect, camaraderie and freedom from criticism.
- Mainstream cable news personalities and their families are being threatened with violence by the right wing nut jobs.
- Trump's committee to investigate voter fraud continues to press the states for voter information in an attempt to take the focus off the Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
- Trump now wants to immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act taking health care away from millions.
- In his short tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Gorsuch has proven to be a snarky, disrespectful, ultra-right wing conservative and not the aw-shucks humble servant of the law he tried to portray at his confirmation hearings.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017: Why Republicans Thump the Bible
Evangelicals are taught to distrust information coming from the scientific or media elite because these sources do not hold a "biblical worldview." Evangelicals believe that their own authority - the inerrant Bible - is both supernatural and scientifically sound, and this conviction gives a special power to their natural aversion to unwelcome facts.
As Molly Worthen wrote in a April 16, 2017 New York Time article The Evangelical Roots of Post-Truth, "ever since the scientific revolution, two compulsions have guided conservative Protestant intellectual life: the impulse to defend the Bible as a reliable scientific authority and the impulse to place the Bible beyond the claims of science entirely."
The seemingly innocuous phrase - "biblical worldview" or "Christian worldview" - permeates the evangelical world. The radio show founded by Chuck Colson, "BreakPoint," helps listeners "get informed and equipped to live out the Christian worldview." Focus on the Family devotes a web page to the implications of a worldview "based on the infallible Word of God." Betsy DeVos's supporters praised her as a "committed Christian living out a biblical worldview." Evangelicals seek out media that supports their world view. They are avid fans of Fox, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck and distrust the mainstream news media.
The Republican Party recognizes that these people are ripe for buying their brand of snake oil. They have carefully constructed their messaging to leverage the natural cynicism associated with the "Christian worldview". They thump the bible as pretend Christians for the sole purpose of manipulating the evangelical voter.
Dean Nelson, who runs the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, points out that "cynicism and tribalism are very closely related. You protect your tribe, your way of life and thinking, and you try to annihilate anything that might call that into question." Cynicism and tribalism are among the gravest human temptations. They are all the more dangerous when they pose as wisdom and righteousness supported by a "Christian Worldview".
Sadly, Evangelicals are so focussed on their "worldview", they can't see how they are being used. The Republican Party has been commandeered by a cabal of the super rich and other than how they vote, they could care less about the evangelicals. The members of the cabal are fascists whose goal is to remain in power and continue to transfer wealth to themselves. They know that they are above any laws enacted at the behest of the Republican evangelical constituency.