January 27, 2021

Saturday Ramblings: May 7, 2016

Old Car Seat

This 1962 Rambler advertisement promised mothers that their two-year-olds would be in kindergarten before their car needed its first chassis lubrication. However, given the primitive understanding of “child safety” that this picture indicates, he would have been lucky if he made it to age three!

We’ve come a long way in that regard, haven’t we? I remember climbing all over the car when I was kid back in the sixties. My favorite spot, however, was down on the floor of the back seat, my head upon the hump in the center of the floor, warm air from the heater blowing around me from under the front seats, and other noises blocked out by the hum of the engine and tires. Guess your chaplain was an introvert even back then, finding comfort in solitude.

But this is not the time for that. It’s time to strap ourselves in to ye old Rambler for a trip through some recent happenings. We’ll try our best to keep things safe.

• • •

beltguide150Hey. The Chicago Cubs’ record is 22-6!!! Just sayin’.

That’s as fun and crazy as this play Jon Lester made the other day against the Pirates:


But the biggest sports story of the week happened when ultimate longshot Leicester City won the English Premiere League title in football (that’s soccer, for our American readers).


In fact, Sports Illustrated called their victory, “the unlikeliest success story in English history.” The odds of them winning the title were about the same as those of Elvis being found alive!

The bare facts have been recited often enough, but they bear repetition. Leicester was 5,000-to-1 to be champion at the beginning of the season. It was bottom of the table 13 months ago. Claudio Ranieri, its 64-year-old coach, had never won a league championship in his career in management. It’s the sort of story that would have seemed preposterous 30 years ago; amid the rigid financial stratification of modern football, it should have been impossible.

It’s the first top-tier title for Leicester in the club’s 132-year history. Congratulations!

beltguide150Here are a few quotes we heard in the past year, made by smart people with real certainty.

I think I might have said a few of these myself.


  • “There is no way voters in the country will nominate him.” (Senator Rand Paul)
  • “The chance of his winning nomination and election is exactly zero.” (James Fallows, correspondent for The Atlantic)
  • “Trump is absolutely a joke” (expressing his disbelief that strong early poll numbers favoring Trump were accurate). (Bob Garfield, writer and host of the WNYC radio program “On the Media”)
  • “Trump’s campaign will fail by one means or another.” (Nate Silver, prediction expert and editor of FiveThirtyEight.com – who once put Trump’s chances at 2%)
  • “There is no way on God’s green earth.” (Political scholars at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, saying that GOP leadership would never allow Trump to be nominated)
  • “Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.” (Chris Cilliza, The Washington Post)
  • “We are past peak Trump. …“He’ll stay in the debates. He’ll be showman. He will get out before Iowa.” (Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard)
  • “His Support Will Erode.” (Nate Cohn, The New York Times)

Mr. Cohn wrote a different story this past week: “What I Got Wrong about Donald Trump.”


beltguide150Q Conferences were started by Gabe Lyons to help Christians, especially Christian leaders, “recover a vision for their historic responsibility to renew and restore cultures.” At this year’s gathering in April, conference attendees were polled to see who they would vote for in the presidential election. Here were the results, according to an article in Christianity Today:

Among the more than 1,000 evangelical leaders at the event, [John] Kasich received 49 percent of their support. Ted Cruz came a distant second at 18 percent, and Hillary Clinton garnered 16 percent. Donald Trump had the support of only 2 percent of attendees.

Michael Wear at CT comments, regarding Kasich: “The vast majority of Americans chose not to vote for a politician precisely because of the very characteristics that many evangelicals, like those at Q, like about him.”


Here in Indiana, I voted for John Kasich in the Republican primary for a few reasons. First, I wanted to oppose what I consider the utterly crazy and absolutely unqualified Donald Trump. Second, as far as the other candidates — I see Ted Cruz as an obstructionist who has not proven he could govern or offer anything positive in leading our country. In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is an elitist and represents the interests of the upper classes in an era when the lower and middle classes need someone strong to represent them. And Bernie Sanders, though I love him for his idealism and plain spoken populism, would never get a single thing done in Washington.

Third, I see John Kasich as a sane and capable candidate. He is more conservative than I am, but I believe he could govern, as he has done as governor in Ohio.

I also like the way he practices and expresses his Christian faith as a public leader. However, the CT article reports that his faith may have been a drawback for him in this current election cycle:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at the Performing Arts Center, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Medina, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)His faith hurt him more than it helped. Laura Ortberg Turner described this dynamic in an article in Politico, “How Kasich’s Religion is Hurting Him with Conservatives.” Kasich is a member of the Anglican Church of North America, formed following a split with the Episcopal Church over divisions regarding biblical authority and the sacrament of marriage, among other issues. Kasich has belonged to a small group of men that have met every week for more than 20 years, which is the subject of his 2010 book, Every Other Monday. He also contributed a short chapter to a book celebrating the life and ideas of Dallas Willard.

For reasons of disposition or conviction, Kasich’s faith typically comes out as a sort of natural consequence of the circumstances. To my knowledge, he has not delivered a “faith” speech. He has not spoken at Liberty University like Cruz and Trump did. His campaign did not have a staffer dedicated to religious outreach, unlike the campaigns of Cruz, Rubio, Bush, and Carson. As Turner pointed out, Kasich explained to reporters that he thinks it “cheapens God…to go out and try to win a vote by using God.”

Yet, his faith is evident for those paying attention. At the outset of his campaign, Kasich told The Atlantic’s Molly Ball that he had been contemplating “some things that are extremely personal—what is my purpose in life?” In a visit to an Orthodox Jewish bookstore, he engaged Jewish students in a conversation on Scripture and his views on Abraham, Moses, and the Passover. These expressions seem devoid of any discernable political benefit, and exchanges like the one at the bookstore seem politically counter-productive with his target audience at the time. In an era of micro-managed, micro-targeted campaigns, such excursions are offensive.

Kasich claims his faith leads him to positions that fall outside of party doctrine. In a room full of donors convened by the Koch brothers, Kasich was asked by one woman why he agreed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, extending health insurance to more low-income people. Many conservatives disapproved of the decision because they believe it undermined congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare. Kasich responded, in front of an audience of wealthy, libertarian-leaning donors: “I don’t know about you, lady, but when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.” According to Politico, about 20 donors left the room and his fellow panelists, Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Bobby Jindal, spoke up to disagree. Kasich has not been invited back to a Koch gathering since.

beltguide150And now, let’s escape from this political mud hole…

Here are a few of the best recent Babylon Bee headlines:


beltguide150Then, there’s this heartwarming and inspiring story

Seven-year-old Anaya Ellick, a first-grader at Greenbrier Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Virginia, was born with no hands and does not use prostheses. And yet, she recently won a national penmanship contest.


Holding the pencil between her wrists, the student formed neat, careful letters, earning her the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship. The award is one of several that the educational company Zaner-Bloser gives out every year. The contest is for students who have a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical or developmental disability. Out of fifty such students this year, Ellick’s contribution stood out.

Contest director Kathleen Wright said the judges were “just stunned” by the quality of Anaya’s printing. “Her writing sample was comparable to someone who had hands.”

Blessed are those who embrace life!

beltguide150Oh, yes, how could I forget? Happy Mother’s Day!

Our consumeristic observances of the holiday today may miss the point of the original Mother’s Day, according to an article at National Geographic from 2014, when the holiday turned 100 years old.


Anna Jarvis

As Mother’s Day turns 100 this year, it’s known mostly as a time for brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation.

But the holiday has more somber roots: It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.

It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis—Anna’s mother—held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one—best known as the composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”—issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

…Largely through Jarvis’s efforts, Mother’s Day came to be observed in a growing number of cities and states until U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday.

“For Jarvis it was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,” West Virginia Wesleyan’s Antolini, who wrote “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother’s Day” as her Ph.D. dissertation, said in a previous interview.

“It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter.” That’s why Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day,” rather than the plural “Mothers’ Day,” Antolini explained.

…Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards—a development that deeply disturbed Jarvis. She set about dedicating herself and her sizable inheritance to returning Mother’s Day to its reverent roots.

Well, if the purpose is for us to specifically honor our own mothers, I’ll do that first by posting my favorite picture of my mom and me. Then I’m going to call her and say “thanks.”


In all your ramblings this weekend, take some time to say “thank you” to your mom.

beltguide150Today in music

On this day in 1972, one of Jeff Dunn’s favorite albums of all time went public. That’s when the Rolling Stones released the second album on their own label, Exile On Main Street, featuring two hit singles, ‘Tumbling Dice’ and ‘Happy.’ In 2003, the album was ranked No. 7 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the highest of any Stones album on the list.

Here’s what Jeff wrote about the record here on Internet Monk in 2010:

This is the last true rock and roll album ever recorded. Everything else has either been a poor imitation or not true rock. This is raw and flawed and dirty. There are no masks worn by anyone on this album. This is as real as it gets. It starts with the lustful Rocks Off, and ends with the gospel-tinged Shine A Light. Not a fan of the Stones but still like rock and roll? You need to listen to this album. There are only two chart hits on this double album, so you may not recognize a lot of the songs at first. But give it a fair listen. Yes, that’s Mick Jagger singing about Jesus in I Only Want To See His Face, an impromptu gospel jam that may be the best number on the album. This is not for the faint of heart. This is not perfect music made by great musicians. No, this is something much bigger. This is art.

Here’s the boys from 1972, in all their raw, flawed, and dirty glory, rocking “Tumbling Dice” from Exile on Main Street.


  1. Well, he is still a joke. And we should have been warned by Kristol’s opinion since he is so frequently wrong….
    (Heaven have mercy)

    • Trump is past “joke”, he’s a dark hooded menace to what’s left of our political system.

      Trumps success has grown out of middle class pain, which both parties and the Republicans in particular, have ignored for years.


      • Robert F says

        Trump is the American hooded menace; in Europe, similar menaces are gaining power and influence in the body politic. Yesterday on NPR I heard about a similar, though more advanced and extreme, menace in position to become president of the Philippines; I forget his name, but he has been the mayor of a large city, is known to have proudly ordered the extra-judicial executions of hundreds of people, and is enormously popular. It seems that the evil contagion is spreading in affluent and poor places around the world.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Well, this is the fall out from the period of economic stress we have experienced since 2008. It doesn’t matter that in many places (especially the US) there has been persistent growth for 18 months plus – what matters is the still simmering general resentment, and the politicians who want to capitalize on that.

          In addition, when more extreme political rhetoric becomes the norm in some places, it spreads like an infection. In the Anglophone world, a lot of that comes down to one single political campaign advisor, an expert on wedge politics that has been advising Conservative candidates, parties and governments for the last 2 decades: Lynton Crosby, an Australian who had his soul removed somewhere in the late nineties. The collapse of the Conservative party in Canada, the brewing internal strife in the Conservative Party in the UK (including their brutally honest introspective remarks over the list mayoral election in London this week) can all be traced back to him, as voters are beginning to turn on the politics of hate. But in some cases, that turn-about might be too late.

          • Actually, economic stress since the late 70’s… The added stress since the 2008 “experience” represents the end of any doubt.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            I disagree with That respectfully Tom, especially on a global scale. Global poverty is way down from back then. Even in many parts of the Developed World, this is the case.

          • Robert F says

            The persistent growth that you cite is true at the macro-economic level, but in many places in the US it has not changed the situation of people living at the micro-economic level. As an anecdotal example, the company I work for, which is a Fortune 500, has posted record-breaking increases in profits each quarter for several years now; but they have cut back on overtime, slowed down hiring, and kept wage increase at the 3 and 4 percent level for most workers. In fact, average wages in the US have been stagnant for many, many years now. Things are getting better for some people and classes, but are not for others. The increased suffering is real, and widespread.

          • Robert F says

            And you can detect some of that suffering in the uptick of mortality rates among middle-aged lower middle-class whites since the turn of the millennium; an uptick largely due to suicide, alcoholism and drug overdoses.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            Robert, it is impossible for growth to occur everywhere. And 3-4% still beats inflation, so that is better than maintaining your wage.

            The biggest issue is increasing inequity – but that is a different issue to increasing poverty. To say that there is positive growth as well as growing employment is not saying that everybody is having a great time. It is not saying that there is not a lot of work to do, in terms of poverty relief, education, employment creation and elimination of egregious greed that stands in the way of these things.

            But it also doesn’t mean that we can merrily continue to employ apocalyptic language and encourage class hatred and covetousness. Such feeds into the machinations of political extemism. It creates monsters like Trump. We ought to grow up.

          • Michael Z says

            > It doesn’t matter that in many places (especially the US) there has been persistent growth for 18 months plus

            Which is why a particular Bible verse keeps going through my head: “For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31) I really worry about how all that fear, anger, and resentment will be directed when the next recession hits and we’re dealing with that stress on top of everything else.

          • Robert F says

            I don’t disagree with you, especially about the apocalyptic language; but I’m pointing out that the ideologues are exploiting real, and not just imaginary, suffering and losses.

          • Robert F says

            Btw, the 3 to 4 percent doesn’t beat the inflation of cost of living in my own life over the last years; it seems to me that a new way of measuring cost of living needs to be devised, because the old way misses the mark.

          • It doesn’t matter that in many places (especially the US) there has been persistent growth for 18 months plus

            To which I would reply, “What growth?” I haven’t seen it, nor have a lot of other folks. I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but I can understand why many GOP primary voters have rejected the party establishment and turned to him. Likewise, the support for Sen. Sanders on the Democratic side can’t be encouraging to Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic party establishment.

            One more thought – where are these 3 and 4 percent wage increases? My pay hasn’t increased since I started my current full-time job three years ago, and I’m earning a fraction of what I used to make at my previous full-time job.

          • After posting my thoughts a little while ago, I came across a link to a commentary by Conrad Black published in the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. It’s worth a read.


          • StuartB says

            Economic stress, indeed. I’m getting tired of hiring managers making snide comments at me when the salary I request would finally provide me, at the age of 31, the ability to live on my own in a one bedroom apartment and not have my rent be 50% of my income.

            The helpful advice of commuting an hour one way and getting a cheap house with 3 buddies is helpful.

          • StuartB says

            Wherever you find a millennial complaining about their life, you will find a Boomer blaming the millennial for wanting one.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            Larry, for what it is worth, Conrad Black is a self-entitled, elitist, snobistic, know-nothing SOB who spent time in a US jail for fraud.

          • Median Incomes are down 10% since 2008, that basically explains everything.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            One more thought – where are these 3 and 4 percent wage increases? My pay hasn’t increased since I started my current full-time job three years ago, and I’m earning a fraction of what I used to make at my previous full-time job.

            That and downsizing frees up a lot of money for six- and seven-figure top management bonuses.

        • Patrick Kyle says

          Robert F,
          A good portion of your companies profits are probably the direct result of cost cutting on the backs of employees, and not growth in sales. Same with the stock prices. Companies are buying up their own stock to prop up the price. Most of the official stats put out by the government are ‘cooked’ to make them look better than they are. This guy uses the formulas for figuring these stats that the government used to use before they changed their accounting methods. http://www.shadowstats.com/

          • Robert F says

            Into one ear, the old mercantile class whispers, “See, the Welfare State, with its regulation and stifling of business, has caused your personal economic stagnation. Blame that.”. Into the other ear, the new knowledge class whispers, “See, those greedy One Percenter merchants and business-people are unwilling to share the enormous and overflowing profit they are making with you. Blame them.”.

            Between the two whispering voices, the working class, which was already in decline and getting into even steeper decline, is driven crazy, and listens to the Pied Piper with big hair who says, “See, the Welfare State and the One Percenters are in collusion to take your nation and your lifestyle away from you. Blame them both, follow me and we’ll take back what belongs to you!.” They follow him like lemmings as he leads them into the mournful abyss, while the merchants and scholars exclaim to each other, “What fools!”, laughing at the spectacle.

  2. Patrick Kyle says

    Have seen a lot of prognostication and hysteria in these threads regarding Trump and his supporters. As a Trump voter, this article rings the most true with myself and others I know who support him. http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=7345

    • Patrick, I can agree with this;

      “The Trump phenomenon is the warning.”

      However, Trump will not be the answer–though he may well be the catalyst to bloody revolt.

      God have mercy!

      • I hope and pray there’s no bloody revolt. However, after watching a video earlier this week of Hispanic children protesting Donald Trump’s candidacy by shouting profanities and displaying obscene hand gestures, I’m left wondering what we’ll be facing as the general election campaign gets under way.

        • David L says

          Scorched Earth. It is what you get with both candidates have negative polling higher than there positives. The ads and speeches will be about convincing you to NOT for for the other guy.

    • The problems are real, but the cure is rivaling the disease. Just because Trump is an outsider who shoots his mouth off without respect to the traditional pragmatic sensitivity of politics, it doesn’t mean that he’s going to necessarily fix anything. Sure, he complains about problems that many people are concerned about. He’s got a decent wet finger to the wind, I’ll give him that. But so many people have placed so much trust in him to represent their interests and make the changes they want. He’s not going to do it. He’s a con man, and you’ve all been suckered. He knows where to pander, and to whom, to get the results he wants. His Machiavellian strategies betray very little loyalty to any ideology outside of self-interest.

      This idea that character doesn’t matter is absolutely insane. You would never hire for your own business like that. We’re looking at a Biff Tannen presidency. I haven’t seen anything to make me think he is going to act in the best interest of the country when it isn’t good for himself.

      • Patrick Kyle says


        You are embracing a narrative that is dying. As to character, none of the recent presidents and most of the recent candidates have had the kind character that would inspire any trust in them or their word. ‘ Character’ in office has become a mockery. What you say of Trump applies to anyone still in the race. The one difference is that Trump at least says he will put the citizens of this country first in trade, immigration, and the economy. All the other candidates were/are selling slightly modified versions of the status quo. They spoon feed us the BS of ‘Free Trade’ and hawk the benefits of unlimited immigration, painting any one who disagrees as a racist, or isolationist. We will see if Trump does what he says. Admittedly the jury is still out. However we KNOW that the other candidates are not going to address the issues that have defined this election cycle, and given that Congress will keep him on a short leash I don’t think he will be worse than Hillary and Bernie, and certainly he will be better if he accomplishes very little.

        • Robert F says

          He will use the power of the presidential office, with all its clandestine possibilities, to hurt anyone big or small who wounds his out-sized ego. He will sue journalists, he will make his White House employees and appointees sign a non-disclosure agreement (he has said he will do this, and he would be the first to do it), and he will use the National Enquirer as readily as his hired experts to justify his unpredictable (that is, irrational) actions and constantly changing policies. He would be the biggest bully ever to stand in the bully pulpit, and he would bully American citizens as quickly as America’s enemies.

          • My thoughts exactly.

          • Robert – yes.

            And Patrick, your state was part of Mexico for longer than it’s been part of our aggregation of different former colonies. So… like AZ, and NM, and very large parts of Texas, our Anglo culture is an overlay. You can’t expect to “win” – nor shoild you believe Trump’s throwaway promises.

          • Just a correction, the southwest states of the US were part of _Spain_ (not Mexico) for longer than they’ve been part of “our aggregation of different former colonies”. Mexico threw off its colonial Spanish yoke and declared war and subsequent independence in 1821, and lost its vast, sparsely populated far flung northern frontier in 1848, so CA, AZ, and NM were part of Mexico for only 27 years (33 years for the southernmost parts of AZ/NM). The lack of education of the complex history of the American West complicates all immigration issues.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            He will use the power of the presidential office, with all its clandestine possibilities, to hurt anyone big or small who wounds his out-sized ego. He will sue journalists, he will make his White House employees and appointees sign a non-disclosure agreement…

            And Her Inevitableness wouldn’t?

            At least Trump’s subordinates are permitted to look upon his face. Hillary”s are only permitted to look at Her feet when She is present.

          • Ok, you got me. It was a viceroyalty of New Spain.

            The salient point is that it was not part of Anglo-American anything until a relatively recent date, and Patrick has had some unpleasant things to say about Mexicans in CA over the past many months. One wsy or another, the people some of the people who inhabit was is now Mexico set up *their* cultural framework in what was then Alta California long before any Anglos other than Francis Drake had so much as sailed by. US culture is a rather recent thing for large parts of CA – from place names to plenty of old cultural traditions, it was and still is a place where Mexicans can feel at home.

            Contrary to Patrick’s previous assertions to the contrary, and Orange County notwithstanding.

          • And yeah, slight goof re. Drake, but it never did get named New Albion.

            Also, culturally, the Spanish colonies were not nearly as Spanish as their former rulers would have liked. M3xico was and is a mixed culture. So is lots of CA, or southern CA, at least.

          • Robert F says

            Her Inevitableness is not an apostle and practitioner of irrationality, like Mr. Thump. That makes her preferable to him, by a long shot, despite her many bad qualities.

        • Danielle says

          Here is the problem, Patrick Kyle. If the blog post you provided is any guide, the “character” displayed by Trump, what inspires such confidence in him, subsists his willingness to echo violent fantasies. To strike back, however it can be done.

          From the linked blog post:

          “I’m fond of pointing out that all you have to do is spend a little time with grad students at an elite university to understand why Mao sent these people off the rice paddies. They manage to combine wrongheadedness with smug condescension to the point where you want to smash them in the face. I suspect a corollary here is that you can understand the French Revolution by spending a few minutes following American politics. A normal man wants “to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

          It’s pretty easy to chronicle how Trump has been channeling precisely this kind of sentiment. And it is primarily a feeling — notice that your blogger thinks Trump is just “the glitter on the stripper” and that the specific content of his ideas does not matter. Clearly the post is not about conservative policies (poor Edmund Burke would be having a seizure) or liberal policies; is it even about solutions of any description? As you suggest, this is a “stick it to ’em, nothing can be worse than what we have now” position. But it could be worse, a lot worse — recent history is full of the examples. This political nihilism has a cost; look at the quote again. It is dripping in violence.

          Without quite advocating it, this blogger nonetheless refers to re-education camps and overt acts of violence directly, effortlessly, with evident pleasure.

          This goes beyond questions of “character” or the usual muddiness of K street politics. I get what you are saying – you’re after a third way – but there’s some real evil and danger in the choices Trump has made and in the political situation he is creating.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            It’s not about ‘Conservatism.’ It’s about the system being broken and the unwillingness of the insiders who live in the system to fix it. No establishment vetted candidate will ever change anything. I hate what I see coming, and hope that Trump is both a warning shot and a pressure release valve, maybe buying enough time for us to sort this out before things get ugly.

          • Patrick Kyle says


            I think violence is already ‘baked in the cake’, so to speak. Black Lives Matter and Bernie supporters are already committing violence and promise much, much more as the presidential race unfolds. Meanwhile, on the Right, gun and ammo sales are shattering records month after month. This is accompanied by huge sales of survival gear and food and an explosive growth in Tactical Training Education by past members of elite special forces units teaching civilians how to fight with guns.. In spite of these things the government continues the policies that have alienated large segments of the population. I fear ugly times ahead and pray there is a way to avoid what seems inevitable. I think that if we as a nation ignore these initial Nationalistic efforts, we will not be able to ignore or resist the ultra Nationalists that will inevitably follow

        • Robert F says

          There is a nihilistic element in Trump’s irrationality, and in the willingness of those who follow him to ignore and even embrace that irrationality, along with all its contradictions. The accusation that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in JFK’s assassination, the seriousness with which Trump treated the source of that allegation, is just the latest, and one of the most extreme, examples of the man’s zaniness. I have no doubt that he actually believes the National Enquirer is a reliable source of journalistic reporting; I have no doubt that many of his close supporters know just how irrational it is to take that source seriously, yet they defend his choice to do so, and that scares the hell out of me. It should scare you too, Kyle. He could indeed shoot someone in the street and not lose a single supporter, as he said some months ago; unless of course the victim was one of his supporters. In which case he would lose only one supporter, and the rest would embrace his irrational violence as their own, and as somehow liberating. This is real evil in the making, and he and his supporters are proud of it.

        • Patrick, it is not remotely a dying narrative, and it’s true. Large numbers of republicans are putting their foot down on principle and promising not to vote for Trump. The amount of disdain he has generated from genuine conservatives has already put a bow on the election for Hilary. Look for the Libertarians to set their new personal record this time around.

          Character in office may be a joke in politics, but not all schmucks are equally devious. I watched every single debate and Trump was by far the bottom of the barrel. He argues like a petulant child and refuses to engage or provide substance. That so many of his supporters refuse to acknowledge this is the indictment of our country this election season.

          Cruz had everything Trump had on immigration and the economy and then some. He was a superior person in every conceivable way, consistent on his views to a fault, and a genuine conservative across the board to boot.

          Your critiques apply far more evenly to the Democratic candidates than the Republican ones. Nobody gets to that point in politics with a clean nose, but some of them still had demonstrable principles.

          It is naive boarding on denial to believe Trump is really gonna build that wall and make Mexico pay for it. Says the man with no government experience, much less foreign policy expertise. His whole platform is one big Mexican financed wall. “Trust me, we’re gonna make it happen, and it’s gonna be great.” I’ve been following things reasonably closely, and he almost never answers the “how” question, and when he does, he digs his hole even deeper.

          He does not have the answers you are looking for, just because he can admit what the problems are. The best he could ever hope to accomplish is simply to save the office from Hilary and Bernie, and since he has nothing more to offer, the GOP has failed to produce a contender.

      • Patrick Kyle says

        I also marvel at the terror the MSM has managed to inculcate in certain sectors of the population. when the pimps that run the government stable are depressed, it can’t be that bad. http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/278920-lobbyists-struggle-with-trump-reality

  3. Kasich is/was the ONLY good and reasonable candidate in the late part of the Rep. primary.

  4. Hey. The Chicago Cubs’ record is 22-6!!! Just sayin’.

    In the immortal words of Curly the Cowboy, “Day (or in this case, season) ain’t over yet.” 😉

    As for the election… well, look at it this way. It’s a clear choice. And now we will see just how ticked off the electorate is at the status quo…

  5. Kasich responded, in front of an audience of wealthy, libertarian-leaning donors: “I don’t know about you, lady, but when I get to the pearly gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor.” According to Politico, about 20 donors left the room and his fellow panelists, Gov. Nikki Haley and Gov. Bobby Jindal, spoke up to disagree. Kasich has not been invited back to a Koch gathering since.

    Message received, understood… and rejected. THIS is ultimately why Trump and Sanders have done so well this far.

    • Suzanne says

      Exactly, Eeyore. Exactly.

      This is long, but well worth the time:http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html

      What I found amazing in this campaign so far is the ability of Trump to bulldoze over most of the other candidates. He is definitely one of those people with an innate sense of his enemies’ weaknesses and the ability to capitalize on that. But the others, for the most part, seemed, and still seem stuck on the idea that it’s not the conservative message that people aren’t embracing, but the messenger. Paul Ryan’s interview in which he said he wasn’t quite ready to endorse Trump proved this to me. He still talked about the ideas of the unfettered market, etc. and If only the people had the right information… But that is not, I am convinced, the problem. People got the message but they aren’t buying it. Sanders & Trump understand that. I think Kasich did too, but wasn’t loud & brash enough to talk over the screaming.

      • The message that Elites are not getting is that the middle class has been in decline since the 70’s. The Elites are only concerned with the interest of the 1%.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Absolute or Relative Decline? There is a big difference.

          • Wages have been stagnant when factored for inflation, the high-paying blue-collar manufacturing jobs are all but extinct, and the costs of the “big-ticket” items that are the trappings of the middle class – houses, vehicles, college, health care – have skyrocketed. You tell me if that counts as “decline”…

          • Economic decline is a relative term.

          • Robert F says

            Exactly, Eeyore. The decline, and the suffering it’s causing, are real, not imaginary. For the first time since the middle of the twentieth century, in the last 15 years the mortality of lower middle-class, middle-aged white people is increasing instead of decreasing. The causes? Suicide, alcohol and drug abuse related death. A socioeconomic fissure is opening up in the middle-class: the upper middle-class is moving up toward the upper class, and the lower middle-class is moving down toward the lower-class. That means the middle-class is disappearing, and a fracture is turning it into two different worlds; unfortunately, the one moving down is speaking Donald Trump as its new language.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “What do you mean, there’s something wrong with The System? It’s working just fine — FOR MEEEEE!”

  6. Andrew Zook says

    I do love underdogs and I think I’ll root for the Cubs (not as a baseball fan but as someone who loves underdogs in all sports) and I did jump on the Leicester City wagon quite a while ago when I got the feeling they might be special. Their logo is my work comp wallpaper (IT and others have seen it but never asked what it is or what it meant…maybe they were afraid to ask or embarrassed for me, the weird un-american vastly outnumbered by the “real” american co-workers who only know concussion ball, baseball, hockey or basketball)
    But there’s one “underdog” I won’t support and that’s Trump. I’ve opined before and I have some like-minded friends I vent to, but the man and his “Christian” supporters are a disgrace. He and they will never make America “great again!” Everything they want, if put into place or practice would hasten the demise of this republic and make life for most people even more miserable than it already is sometimes… They are so deluded (biblical proportions come to mind) that it leaves one speechless – and that’s where I’ll stop.

    • +1 Andrew.

    • His slogan is about “making America great again”, which sounds great on paper, but when you think about it, is nothing but hogwash. Bring us back, where, to the stone age? Back to the good ol’ days of racism, slavery, etc? Instead of looking towards the future and bringing us *forward*, he and his cohorts are stuck romanticizing about the past and would rather bring us *backwards*. His plan is literally the antonym of *progress*…it’s unbelievable there is such a large faction that looks up to him and are buying this bs.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Well, that explains all the Christianese support. Not much difference between “Making America Great Again” and “Restoring Our CHRISTIAN Nation”, is there?

  7. Richard Hershberger says

    “The Chicago Cubs’ record is 22-6!!! ”

    I have long thought of the Cubs as the Leicester City of baseball.

  8. Robert F says

    The Stones in their prime made and played formidable rock ‘n roll; and they had that edgy rebelliousness, that air of danger about them, that seems so necessary to the making of formidable rock ‘n roll.

    But then they grew up (aside from the one that died young), made themselves fortunes untold, and became old guys doing a traveling road show of memories of being edgy and dangerous, without actually being edgy and dangerous anymore. Like all successful rockers, they outlived their legend, and depend on memory and nostalgia for the extension of their much attenuated mystique, which by now is on life support; the creativity, which in rock is inextricably wrapped up in the edginess, the element of danger, the fringe-dwelling, departed long ago.

    Good poets can and often do get better with age; so can good jazz musicians, becoming more and more creative, doing their best work later in life. But rock artists seem to have a creative half-life of five to ten years; I think this is why rock is always the music of adolescence: like youth, it cannot last, and only lives on in memory.

    • Krautrock is different, Robert.

      I don’t know if you were into Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, Kraftwerk, or Tangerine Dream in the 70s, but the front men for these bands are still making highly experimental and creative music into their 70s or even 80s. Of course, the point can be made that Krautrock was old man music to begin with. Salvador Dali and Man Ray were supposedly big fans of Can and Faust respectively.

  9. “Exile on Main Street” being the last rock-and-roll album?


    Everything Jeff wrote about “Exile” could also have been said about “London Calling” or “Sandinista!”

    Even the Jesus.

    Hopefully someone younger can come up with a later example. I always kinda liked Velocity Girl, but they’re still what, over 20 years old?.

    And just when I had lost all faith that twenty-somethings had anything to say to me musically, I discovered Low Flying Owls, even though more years separate me from them now than separated Buddy Holly from “Exile”‘s Jagger and Richards. Time compression as you get older plays strange tricks with your head.

    • Robert F says

      I agree; “EMS” is a great album, but there have been others as great that were made afterward.

      And, no, I’m not familiar with much Krautrock, and it’s probably too late for me to become so now. Besides, my wife has been cultivating my taste for classical music, and I’m afraid there’s no going back. Now, when I try to listen to my favorite rock and pop of yesteryear, it often sounds thin and boring.

      • >>Besides, my wife has been cultivating my taste for classical music, and I’m afraid there’s no going back. Now, when I try to listen to my favorite rock and pop of yesteryear, it often sounds thin and boring.

        Absolute, irrefutable proof that the age of miracles did not cease with the death of the apostles!

    • StuartB says

      Yeah, I was like huh? It’s a great album, sure, but plenty amazing ones have come after.

      The Joshua Tree
      Achtung Baby
      Songs for the Deaf
      The Black Album

      Just to name a few off top of head.

  10. Although I agree that this current election/nominees are pointing out what’s wrong with politics, etc…I think that all of those BabylonBees articles point out what’s wrong with the church–on so many levels.
    -how does a pastor of preaching not have or make or take the time to “crack open” his Bible?
    -I won’t even bother to address the rest, they speak for themselves…

    If the church is in so much disarray, why are surprised that the culture and politics is also?

    I’ve said for awhile now that this year’s elections would be frought with rioting and protests, But I didn’t think it would be so soon. And…I wasn’t sure why…I believed it would be the economy–but there are so many more reasons!

  11. StuartB says

    I was surprised at some of the comments here yesterday directed at J. He was saying some very true things, in as pointed a manner as HUG and others do, but it seems like he has his own anti-cheerleader squad on here, just as I do seem to have when one or two only come to contribute toxicity at me. What is it about him that rubs some of you the wrong way? I can’t see it in his words; is he hitting too accurately?

    • J is okay. I’m not always sure he is just one person but he appears to be in search of truth most of the time or sometimes just hanging out. I picture him as being about your age, Stuart, and with a lot of catching up to do, as with most of us. He’s smart and educated. The toxic comments directed at him don’t show much in the way of perception or empathy or the spirit of Jesus. If someone is paying him to troll here, they aren’t getting their money’s worth. So far he has pretty much contained himself and I think Jesus would let him join the fun just on that basis. I kind of enjoy having him show up from time to time. In his own way he is a truth seeker/speaker and his mind isn’t entirely closed.

      • Rick Ro. says

        I commented on J in a post that unfortunately didn’t get attached to Stuart’s comment (see below), but let me offer some ideas counter to yours, Charles.

        First, I’m not sure how much truth he’s seeking given the way he frames his comments. Yesterday comments in particular were mostly a series of one-line blasts of rhetoric that were nothing more than “I’m right and you’re wrong.” There was almost no effort to engage in a discussion or give some consideration to an alternate opinion. (I’d offer as an example of a healthy way: this post itself, which is an engagement of opposing views.)

        Second, I am willing to empathize and engage with pretty much anyone. There are times, though, when outright provocation needs to be called what it is. He’s often a grenade thrower with no intention of seeing the other side, just toss a barb, run, come back and toss another barb, then run. I don’t like that pattern from anyone,many J is good at it.

        Third, I’ve never seen him share anything about how he’s gotten to where he is. Why does he feel the way he does, what led him to his militant atheism, etc,? Most everyone who engages with the iMonk community does so by sharing some of themselves, their experiences,many engages in a discussion even when they don’t agree. With J, it’s typically one liners that need no defense, are difficult to counter, and fail to leave room for further discussion.

        Just my opinion, though. I do and have prayed that God will sometime speak to him.

    • Robert F says

      Instead of an orthodox theology, J has adopted an orthodox political philosophy, and is ready to insult and degrade any who disagree with it. His arguments are tendentious, and some of the points he claims are fact are in fact not fact, such as his insistence that no bra burning ever happened 60s, 70s, that it was just conservative propaganda. He’s almost like a party hack, and proof that there is just as much narrow moralizing on the left as on the right.

    • Robert F says

      I would add, Stuart, that J sounds like a bully to me; and at other times he also sound like a troll

    • SottoVoce says

      Simple. He’s identified himself as an atheist, and for many people on this forum, that means his presence wrecks the vibe–destructive interference, as it were, since he doesn’t resonate with a lot of the viewpoints here. He points out some things that people would rather not think about and, yes, he tends to do so in a pretty antagonistic fashion that is lower than the usual tone of the conversations we have here–but I still think a lot of the opposition is a knee-jerk reaction to an outsider rather than honest disagreement. People don’t like having their reason for being questioned.

      • Rick Ro. says

        –> “He’s identified himself as an atheist, and for many people on this forum, that means his presence wrecks the vibe–destructive interference, as it were, since he doesn’t resonate with a lot of the viewpoints here. He points out some things that people would rather not think about…”

        I interact with agnostics and atheists all the time. Most are pleasant and considerate and willing to discuss, sometimes heatedly, faith and God or lack thereof. I am unafraid to discuss or think about that possibility. So you are not at all describing why I am fed up with J and his grenade tossing.

        –> “…yes, he tends to do so in a pretty antagonistic fashion that is lower than the usual tone of the conversations we have here…”

        Bingo. Post repectfully, treat people respectfully, get that back in return. I usually try to ignore him, but sometimes he just pushes the wrong button, which I’m sure is intentional. Trump, anyone?

        –> “…I still think a lot of the opposition is a knee-jerk reaction to an outsider rather than honest disagreement. People don’t like having their reason for being questioned.”

        Again, no, I respectfully disagree. You’ve mischaracterized the opposition. I would call it far from knee-jerk, I feel most of us are more than willing to engage in discussion, and I feel most of us are exceedingly patient with him. The issue, really,mis he willing to engage people here in a respectful manner that shows he’s listening and willing to maybe learn.

      • Robert F says

        The discussion yesterday was largely political, with little God-talk. I don’t see how your observations apply.

        • SottoVoce says

          My observations are not limited to yesterday.

          • Robert F says

            Yesterday is the first time in over maybe a year that I’ve engaged with J. I guess I should count myself out of the pool of commenters that your observations apply to.

    • I suppose most of the criticisms directed at J are valid, and as we all know the Love of God given us to share in the Spirit of Jesus is only intended to be given to nice people who really deserve it. I’m guessing that aside from any personal proclivities, J learned to attack life adversarially in some sort of grad school, possibly law school, business school, political or social science, maybe even seminary. Sometimes I wonder if he is Jewish, even an Israeli, or either an American living abroad or a “foreigner” educated here. I don’t have anything to do with universities any more, but my guess is that any of us taking classes today would run into J many times over everywhere. He is heavily indoctrinated and an Evangelical Atheist and Leftist, but hardly Lucifer in the flesh.

      I have seen him change and grow since he first came here, along with many others. That is why he deserves to be given the time of day. When he first showed up all he wanted to do was push peoples’ buttons and show them the futility of their thinking and beliefs. I think it must have surprised him that not everyone was responding in kind, and he has certainly toned down his act, even had some honest interchange from time to time.

      The fact that he is still around speaks well of him in my view. It must be obvious by now that he is not going to convert us, and that we are not some monolithic stereotype. It is unfortunate that some reward him and reinforce his negative image of Christianity by rising to his bait, but people are people. I would enjoy spending time with J and seeing whether it was possible to get to know him beyond his surface presentation. I suspect there is a human being hiding in there, but I could be wrong.

      • Robert F says

        The love of God given to us to share in the Spirit of Jesus is not carte blanche for bullies to not be confronted with the truth of their bullying. As far as I’m concerned, J is more than welcome to continue spouting his insults and ridicule as much as he likes, here or anywhere else; but he shouldn’t expect not to be called out on it. To not call him out would not be sharing love, but indulging his tendency to abuse others, and encouraging it.

        And I don’t see that he’s toned things down at all. If anything, he’s gotten more insulting, starting his comments with insults instead only ending with them.

        • J has never bullied or insulted me. He has said some silly things from time to time, but so have I. There’s nothing wrong with calling him out on something you disagree with, but you can disagree agreeably or you can respond using insult, ridicule, and abuse. You can also just ignore things. That’s a choice.

          • Robert F says

            We have our different strategies, Charles. I will agree with you on this: I’ve wasted enough words on him today, and it’s time to go back to ignoring him.

      • Robert F says

        And Charles, I long ago gave up the idea that being Christian meant being somebody’s doormat. Those of us who have been here for a while and are regular commenters don’t allow others here to treat us like doormats; you don’t allow others here to treat you like a doormat.

  12. Rick Ro. says

    J is a grenade thrower. Mostly one line rhetoric meant for provocation with very little content or ideas for change. You and he are far from similar..

  13. StuartB says
  14. Christiane says

    Love that picture of you and your mom, Chaplain MIKE !

  15. For me, this week had another one of those awkward Trump moments for me. Paul Ryan ( Mr. “Merry Christmas! Here’s your copy of Atlas Shrugged!”) acted like a kid throwing a tantrum on the playground by stating he wasn’t sure he was ready to play ball with Trump. Trump simply stated in response he wasn’t sure he was ready to support Ryan’s congressional agenda. Brilliant! This is at least the second time Trump made the GOP look like the baffoons they truly are. I don’t like Trump, but I think he is the problem Republicans deserve and maybe needs.

    • Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist says

      Actually agree. The strategy of the GOP for the last 15 years is coming home to roost. I actually think that Trump’s nomination (or not – let’s not count out a major party implosion) could be the best thing to happen to the GOP since 1992.

    • Robert F says

      Mr. Thump certainly does get in some good one-liners, and it’s fun to laugh at the GOP. The monkey is making monkeys out of the monkeys.

      Just remember, though: if he does get the nomination, he could actually become president. Let’s not pretend that’s not a possibility. Do you think our constitutional democracy, with its checks and balances, is sound enough to withstand Mr. Thump? Can it contain him, or will he break it open from the inside? Let’s hope we don’t get the chance to find out.

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