January 18, 2021

Saturday Ramblings: July 30, 2016


1970 AMC Gremlin

There are a lot of us whose faith in the American political system is running low these days. It’s almost like we’re being sold AMC Gremlins again. Gosh, that was a bad (and ugly!) car. But not as bad (and ugly!) as the political campaign is about to get, now that the conventions are over.

This past week, the Blue Team met in Philadelphia for their quadrennial soirée. Like last Saturday, when we discussed the Red Team in action, we’ll give some attention this morning to what happened in the city of brotherly love, while also rambling a bit farther afield to see what else we can find that’s of interest at the end of this eventful week.

Let’s ramble!

Democratic National Committee chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks at a press conference promoting the endorsement of David Wecht, Kevin Dougherty, and Christine Donohue for Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and Heather Arnet for State Senate, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199You didn’t think this was going to be another Summer of Love did you?

Before anyone could down the first cheesesteak in Philly, Wikileaks revealed emails from the DNC that that they had (gasp! horror! surprise! wink-wink!) undercut the primary campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton in order to secure the nomination for her. The Dems National Committee, of course, is supposed to stay neutral (nudge-nudge! say no more!) The site says:

Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee — part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.

The Washington Wire blog of the Wall Street Journal highlighted twelve of these emails, including some that mock Sanders, talk about questioning his religion as a strategy for hurting his chances, and discuss floating an entire negative narrative about Sanders and his campaign to discredit him.

It was was the last straw for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who announced Sunday afternoon her resignation as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. At first, she said she would resign after the convention, but she was booed so heartily by delegates from her own state on Monday morning before the convention started, that she decided not to gavel in the proceedings and resigned right away.

But an even bigger story was yet to come, thanks to foreign intrigue and some guy from the Red Team sticking his nose in it.


patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199Seems that the DNC emails were actually hacked by some nefarious folks in RUSSIA.

No one knows who gave the Dems’ emails to Wikileaks, but the hacks, according to NPR, were likely done by the Russian FSB intelligence agency (code name “Cozy Bear”). The other breach was identified as coming from “Fancy Bear,” which marks it as the work of Russian military intelligence.

As late as Friday, the Democratic National Committee was still finding more evidence of tampering with their computer systems.

Given the nature of the emails, it led to all kinds of speculation about Russia sticking their big ol’ bear nose into an American presidential election and trying to help Mr. Trump win. Word is that Vladimir Putin despises Hillary Clinton, and there was a gaggle of jabber about whether or not Mr. Trump or his associates have ties in Russia that might implicate them. Also, the Republican candidate has made some…uh…unusual comments about Russia lately, and his campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, a position that goes against current military and foreign policy positions.

And then there was Mr. Trump’s press conference. Now it is traditional during convention weeks that the candidate on the other side usually “goes dark” and avoids news making statements or actions. But not in 2016. Mr. Trump stepped up to the lectern and said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” referring to deleted emails from the private email server Mrs. Clinton used while she was Secretary of State. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Talk about a love-fest sh*t-storm! My goodness, the skies broke loose after that with showers of praise condemnation for Mr. Trump’s remarks, which he later said fell into the category of “sarcasm.”

My humble opinion is that Mr. Trump would do us all a favor after he speaks — anywhere, anytime — of just saying afterwards, “You know folks, sometimes I just say sh*t. Don’t worry about it.”

hillary putin

patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199Have I been saying “sh*t” too much? You know, I need a break already. Let’s pause and take a quick look at what a political convention is really all about —






And one stunning outfit from “Heidis for Hillary”…


patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199Now, where were we? Oh yeah, there was a convention in Philadelphia this past week.

My superficial observations:

  • Michelle “The White House Mama” Obama rocked the house.
  • Her husband did ok too.
  • Hillary’s husband Bill (the former president) told how he picked her up in a library after they’d made goo-goo eyes at each other (nudge-nudge, know what I mean? say no more!). And by the way, did the former president look 90+ years old to you like he did to me? (It’s the miles, not the years.)
  • Mrs. Clinton made history as the first female major party nominee for president (though others have run before — for example, here’s twelve).
  • Funny, I didn’t hear much about Bernie after the second day, when the love-fest for Mrs. Clinton got rolling.

bill-hillary-clintonSeeing both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton on stage led a lot of people to ask: What in the world are we going to do with Bill if Hillary becomes president?

An article in the NY Times considers the tricky situation a Hillary presidency might create. Mrs. Clinton’s staff has said he will not become a regular at cabinet meetings. He will not be invited into the Situation Room. He will step away from his family’s foundation work and it’s possible he won’t even have an office in the West Wing. What wife wants that guy looking over her shoulder while she’s trying to work?

The article also notes that the Clinton team wants to see Bill doing something meaningful, since seasons of relative inactivity have provided opportunities for Mr. Clinton to get in trouble in the past. I can’t imagine there’s anything Hillary would like less than repeat performances of some of those embarrassing scenarios.

Putting Mr. Clinton to good use, while containing his less helpful impulses, would be a major test for Mrs. Clinton as president, given the spotlight and pressure they would be under and her limited ability in the past to rein in his excesses. Mrs. Clinton sees him as her most trusted confidant and sounding board on national security and the economy, advisers say; one recalled a recent golf outing where Mr. Clinton received several phone calls and emails from Mrs. Clinton before reaching the 14th hole.

Yet Mrs. Clinton is still not sure if she would give a formal position to Mr. Clinton or rely on him to help behind the scenes and keep a low profile, aides say. She clearly wants him busy: Appearing on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Mrs. Clinton said that it would be “an all-hands-on-deck time” if she won the presidency and that she would rely on Mr. Clinton — as well as President Obama — and “put ’em all to work.”

At the same time, she emphasized that she and Mr. Clinton would not be co-presidents, leaving open the question of how he would spend his days when he is so close to the levers of power that he knows well.



With Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, Christianity Today decided to trace “The Deep Roots of Our Hillary Hostility.” If you follow the link, you’ll find a 45-minute podcast discussing this, with a summary article.

They are speaking of evangelicals when they say “our.” A recent Pew survey showed only 16% of evangelicals said they would vote for her. And a number of those said they would only do so because they dislike Donald Trump more.

One of the contributors to this feature, Alan Noble, an English professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, says he remembers listening to talk radio disparaging Clinton back when he was a kid in the ’90s.

“Every time I [hear] the name Clinton,” Noble said, “there’s all this baggage, rhetoric, language, fear, anxiety, corruption, sliminess, conniving, big government baked into me [from when I was a child].”

Though Clinton claims that her faith has always informed her commitment to public service, many of the stances she has taken have been opposite to American evangelicals, many of whom became known as “the Christian Right” by virtue of their opposition to those political positions.

I haven’t listened to the full podcast, but in my opinion there is more to be concerned about with regard to Mrs. Clinton than her positions on a few specific social issues, but these are matters that don’t always draw the ire of the evangelical crowd. Evangelicalism tends to be as shallow in what it opposes as in what it affirms.


patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199Seen on Facebook this week.

Worth pondering.

Most Christians on this planet are NOT American.

That means they’re Christians w/out being Republicans, Democrats or even capitalists. (Keith Giles)



Tony Campolo praying at the DNC


Good article at RNS about the Democrats and religion: “The Divided Soul of the Democratic Party.”

The article points out that the convention in Philadelphia had a good share of attendees who see supporting the Democratic party as a matter of acting on their faith. However, despite intentional efforts to close the “God gap” between the Republicans and Democrats since John Kerry’s defeat in 2004, this year, the Democratic leadership has downplayed the role of faith-based participants in the process of drafting the party platform and helping to shape the campaign message Mrs. Clinton.

Privately, many expressed anger at this development, which they say is a departure from the party’s earlier efforts to heed the concerns of religious believers — concerns they say could attract undecided voters and those disillusioned with what they see as the dark and divisive language from Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Previous Democratic efforts to attract faith-based voters began in earnest after the failed 2004 campaign of nominee John Kerry, when the so-called God gap — the glf between churchgoers who vote for the GOP as opposed to the Democrats — emerged as a glaring problem.

In 2008 and 2012, the Obama campaign was diligent about reaching out to people of faith and including faith-based activists and party regulars in the campaign and, subsequently, in the Obama administration.

Yet those efforts tailed off noticeably this year, which can only fuel the public’s growing impression that Democrats are more hostile to faith than the GOP is.

…Some delegates in Philadelphia said it’s time for the party to do more to change that dynamic. They said they are viewed too often with suspicion by party officials if they speak about faith or if they talk about hot-button moral issues such as abortion and religious freedom, or on behalf of faith-based programs or school choice.

“If we really are the inclusive party then we should include everyone,” said Paul Vallone, a New York City councilman and practicing Catholic who spoke after a breakfast meeting for the New York state delegation. “Everyone’s got to feel that they can bring their faith to this party and not feel ostracized for it. That still hasn’t happened. We really need to focus on that.”

gty_tim_kaine_dnc_speech_jc_160728_12x5_1600One very visible person of faith that has gotten some attention is Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine, who went to a Jesuit school and spent time engaged in mission with the order in his youth. Here is an excerpt of his speech from the convention:

My parents, Al and Kathy, here tonight and going strong, they taught me about hard work and about kindness and most especially, about faith. I went to a Jesuit boys high school, Rockhurst High School.


Wow, that’s a big line for the Jesuits.

Now we had a motto in my school, “men for others.” And it was there that my faith became something vital. My north star for orienting my life. And when I left high school, I knew that I wanted to battle for social justice.


Like so many of you. Like so many of you.

That is why I took a year off from law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. I taught kids how to be welders and carpenters. (SPEAKING SPANISH), faith, family, and work. Faith, family, and work. (SPEAKING SPANISH).

And let me tell you what really struck me there, I got a firsthand look at a different system. A dictatorship. A dictatorship where a few people at the top had all the power and everybody else got left out.

Now that convinced me that we have got to advance opportunity for everybody, no matter where you come from, how much money you have, what you look like, how you worship or who you love.

Kaine’s speech sparked reaction from Catholics like Ross Douthat at the NY Times, who criticized him for his positions on abortion and gay marriage, etc., and said that Kaine’s loyalty to the Democrats has “erased any Catholic distinctiveness in his politics.”



Dispensationalist preachers used to have a standard line: “I know I’m going to heaven, either by the under-taker or by the upper-taker.” That is, by death or via the “rapture.”

Well, one of the most prolific proponents of the rapture and dispensational theology, Tim LaHaye, co-author of the “Left Behind” books, died this past week at age 90. The undertaker got him.

Those of us who knew of Pastor LaHaye back in the day remember other books he wrote that were popular among the evangelical crowd. Many of us had our first experience of mixing psychology with the Bible through “The Spirit-Controlled Temperament,” the first book besides The Living Bible published by Tyndale House Publishers. And not a few church folks had their eyes opened by Tim and Beverly’s Christian sex manual, “The Act of Marriage,” an important book in the 1970’s wave of emphasis on the Christian family.

But it was with the “Left Behind” series that LaHaye gained most of his renown. The founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and the PreTrib Research Center, LaHaye sold 62 million copies of the series, which he co-wrote with Jerry Jenkins. (You can read Jenkins’s tribute to LaHaye HERE.)

He has been at the heart of evangelical activism since the 1960’s, founding two accredited Christian high schools, a school system of 10 Christian schools, San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College), and assisting Dr. Henry Morris in the founding of the Institute for Creation Research, the nation’s foremost exponent of creationist materials. He was also a very generous benefactor to other evangelical Christian institutions and causes.

Tim LaHaye was married for 69 years to Beverly, who became well known in her own right as the founder of Concerned Women for America, a conservative political advocacy group.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore for American evangelicalism in the late 20th century, Tim LaHaye would probably deserve a place on it.


patriotic-american-top-hat-red-white-blue-colours-stars-stripes-jaunty-angle-white-background-36483199Finally, I’m feeling kind of worn out and mellow after two weeks of political conventions. Let’s have something quiet and reflective for our music selection today.

I did NOT choose this song because of Hillary (though I’m sure her supporters would cheer using the title to express their feelings for her). I just think it is one of the loveliest covers of a Beatles’ song I’ve ever heard.

Ladies and gentlemen, one of my favorite musicians, Pat Metheny. Let it wash over you. And I promise — next week, no politics (nudge-nudge, say no more, say no more).


  1. Yay! I’m first!!!!

  2. Now THAT was childish, wasn’t it?

  3. On the convention, I watched none of it, just as much as I watched of the Republicans. Neither offered any drama, both candidates slammed the other, so much expectation was placed of the acceptance speeches. Trump’s was notable for not being that controversial, Hillary’s because Bill fell asleep during it.

    I agree CP, the debates just might be the deciding factor. Will Trump back off his over the top rhetoric, will Hillary remain stable in the face of Donald’s attacks? Will minds be changed or solidify?

    • That Other Jean says

      How do you know there was no drama if you didn’t watch it? There was very little conflict–apart from a few protesters yelling a bit–but there were plenty of speeches that brought down the house. Michelle Obama, President Obama, Tim Kaine, Bill Clinton, and a good many extraordinary “ordinary” citizens spoke movingly–a handicapped woman, a Medal of Honor winner, the father of a Muslim Medal of Honor winner who sacrificed his life to saved his fellow soldiers, and many others. And the Rev. Dr. William Barber, head of the NC NAACP gave a speech/sermon that had the whole convention cheering. Plenty of drama there.

      I can’t see Donald Trump ever agreeing to debate Hillary Clinton. As she has shown, over and over again in the endless hearings called by Republicans searching for something to blame on her, quite cool under fire. She is, as she amply demonstrated, in command of facts, figures, and well-thought-out plans for the future. She’d eat Trump for lunch.

  4. It seems like this election has gone from 0 to 60 a lot faster than 15.3 seconds but it’s headed straight towards a cliff.

    I would like to raise a toast for Tim LaHaye as his books eventually taught me that I don’t need to consume the latest and greatest in Christian entertainment to be a good Christian. I only wish it had taken me less than 4 books to finally say “Enough!”. The thought of him writing a sex manual disturbs me greatly. (Ah well, RIP Dr L…)

    • That Other Jean says

      If there is a heaven, I hope that Tim LaHaye is in it, and thoroughly dismayed by all the other people he has to share it with. Ah, well–he’ll have time to get over it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      You lasted for four out of the entire 22 volumes?

      • What can I say HUG? I was stubborn. I kept saying “but everyone likes these – it should get better next time…” When I returned to F/SF I had a much better time reading…

        I am grateful that I didn’t try the whole 22 volumes…

  5. Khazidhea says

    I don’t really want to be critical, as I don’t have any better news articles to add to the weekly round up, but would it be possible to put a limit on how many American political items you post each week, or aim for a greater politics to anything else ratio? I get that there’s probably more to talk about than ever with the current candidates, but for those of us who aren’t american it’s a bit much, and I’m sure you Americans are probably looking to hear about something else for a change as well.

    I don’t want to push the point too much though, I appreciate the effort you put in each week. Maybe tip the balance a little and link to a Babylon Bee post or something (though I don’t want this to be a go to either). My favourite was http://babylonbee.com/news/family-christian-stores-introduces-new-false-teaching-section/. It might be satire, but I dunno, might be an idea worth considering…

    • Thanks, Khazidhea. These 2 weeks were unusual because of the national political conventions. We won’t be focusing on US politics quite so much in weeks to come. I promise.

    • Khazidhea, I fully understand your concerns over having to endure the current American shenanigans and ordinarily I would share those concerns. These are not ordinary times. Over and over I have heard seasoned and gray headed journalists and commentators expressing their wonder that they have never ever experienced an election cycle like this one. I am 77 years old and I can say the same. In that America still occupies center stage in world events and still exerts undue influence on your life wherever you live, it’s probably good to keep up with the drama, if nothing else out of self-protection. If your feeling is that you would like to see the story change, I would suggest you stay tuned. There are mighty forces at work behind our Punch and Judy show.

    • I think it’s OK to binge on it once in a while just to get it out of our system and move on. And it IS convention week. I didn’t watch any of it, so I have to rely on after-the-fact commentary like this, or my daughter who’s working with me this summer. She’s a Bernie supporter and, uh, disgruntled.

      Babylon Bee is great. Thanks for the link. But it’s hard sometimes to tell truth from satire. This quote sums it up:

      “Speaking to reporters, an FCS sales director estimated that the “False Teaching” section is expected to take up the bulk of each store’s sales floor space, and will make up the lion’s share of company revenue going forward.”


  6. Robert F says

    What can I say. The Democratic convention didn’t impress me, and the whole Wikileaks thing is depressing, demoralizing and disillusioning. Hillary Clinton remains for me a very unlikable figure, and I find it impossible to accept the rosy portrait of her painted by her “character witnesses” who spoke at the convention. But she’s still getting my vote, and she’s have to go a long distance to lose it. And even if she did lose it, I would never vote for the “Make Russia Great Again” candidate, who came within inches of committing treason at that disgraceful press conference this week. If he were elected, he would make America small and inward-looking, and make space in the international world for Putin and China to expand their influence. That swindling salesman would keep none of his promises to the American working-class, and his oppressive hand would make racial division in the country worse than its been since the 70s.

    • My thoughts as well, Robert.

    • Trump may very well do all of those things, but quite frankly, so has our current president. He just sounds more sophisticated and cool headed while doing so.

      • Robert F says

        I disagree with you about Obama making racial division worse during his presidency. I see no evidence of that. No President can fix the problem on their own, and perhaps Obama hasn’t had as much success in dealing with it as other Presidents have. But at least he acknowledges it exists and needs to be addressed in ways other than the heavy hand of “Law And Order”, unlike Trump and the Trumpians that have taken over the Republican Party.

        Foreign policy? Obama has not been great at that, in my opinion. But at least of late he’s done something of a turnaround, beefing up NATO and resisting China’s expansionism in the Pacific. As for Trump, well, as George Will wrote in a recent column, he probably needs someone to explain to him what the acronym NATO means, just as he needs someone to give him a copy of the Constitution to read (perhaps footnotes would be necessary).

        The idea that Obama has come within inches of committing treason is nothing but the kind of scurrilous right-wing propaganda that I’ve tuned out; I suggest you do the same.

        As to Trump’s swindling business ways: of that I have personal knowledge, since my brother experienced it working for a contractor that Trump had employed in the 80s in Atlantic City. He’s a welcher, and in saving his nickels and dimes he crushes small contractors with non-payment. He’ll do the same to the American worker, of that I have no doubt. I see no parallel in Obama’s history.

        • Obama certainly can’t be blamed for all the incidents that have happened, but his reactions and commentary have often made things worse. And he does more than acknowledges that it exists, he enlarges it, makes it seem worse than it actually is. He creates and “us-vs-them” mentality. Beyond the racial tension, he lied to the american public to pass his biggest legislation (obamacare) and lied again when creating one of his biggest foreign policy debacles (his deal with Iran). So far he and his administration have screwed things up in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Russia (which remember four years ago he said was no big threat) has grown in influence and power. Meanwhile domestically the economy for the working class has been limping along, the deficit has risen astronomically, the IRS has targeted conservative organizations, and he has threatened to take away money from schools that don’t want boys sharing locker rooms with girls.
          Now having said all that, I’m not a Trump supporter. I was looking forward to Obama leaving office and having the chance to elect someone half-way decent. But this year I feel like I’ve escaped the sewer to only fall into a septic tank.

          • Robert F says

            Some of what you say I can go along with, but no one has lied as much as the right-wing radio nuts, and the Republican establishment that’s fed off of them. They’ve made it that much harder to distinguish truth from lies in assessing the legacy of any president. And they are why this lunatic figure has arisen on the right, not the left as such figures have in other places at other times.

          • flatrocker says

            Double +1 to Jon and Robert F.

            You both are demonstrating it’s actually possible to have a political conversation without reverting to the lunatic fringe rhetoric of Trump/Hitler or Lucifer/Hillary. No talk of evil incarnate or the annihiliation of the free world as we know it. Just good conversation from different perspectives. There’s hope yet. Thanks

          • Robert,
            I think on several things you and I would agree. But where I disagree with you and a lot of others who comment on here is that I don’t see the problem as being primarily on one side. Both sides lie and slant stories for their own benefit. Both sides ignore and down play things that could hurt their side. And while I get tired of it, we unfortunately need them both because if we only had one there is a lot that would never get reported. If all we had was the main stream media you would never hear or read anything negative about the favored person of the left, whoever that person is.

          • Frankly, I do see the problem as being worse on one side. I don’t apologize for having that perception; I believe it’s been forced on me. Not every bad situation in life, or politics, is one in which all sides are equally responsible or at fault.

          • Proof or sources he lied? And is this the same sort of lying that Bush did?

          • StuartB, Regarding Bush’s lies, you mean about WMD? Yeah, that was a whopper; but maybe he would claim plausible deniability…..

          • Proof, as in, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor?” or “This is not a tax.” As far as Bush is concerned, he may have lied. So I guess that makes Obama as bad as Bush. How does that work for you?

            And Robert, I’m not asking you to apologize for anything, I just disagree.

          • Were those lies or were those goals/hyperbole before the final details were worked out? Something about perfect being the enemy of good…

            In other news, Marvel totally lied two years ago when they said they were making Avengers Infinity Wars Part 1 and Part 2, now there is no Part 2 and it’s a different title! I for one will choose to vote with my wallet and not support such a blatantly dishonest company.

          • No Stuart, they were just lies. There is a difference between not being able to fulfill your word and just making promises you know you won’t keep.

          • but no one has lied as much as the right-wing radio nuts,

            Frankly, I do see the problem as being worse on one side. I don’t apologize for having that perception; I believe it’s been forced on me. Not every bad situation in life, or politics, is one in which all sides are equally responsible or at fault.

            Where I see it is this is like a debate of which side was worse in WWII? Germans or Russians? Both were terrible is what they did to their solders and the civilians who happened to live in the wrong place. Who was worse isn’t the issue. Both were really bad.

            Here in NC a few years ago we had a power coal ash pond spill that made a really huge mess. Fouled a river for long time. Bottled water all around for weeks (months?). And cleanup costs in 100s of millions. Friend from Florida sent me a link to an MSNBC commentator doing a show about it and how it was all the R’s fault. (I think the Lindbergh kidnapping was also tossed in.)

            There were two problems with the report. First was that the R’s had only been in power for less than 2 years. About 1 I think. D’s had been in power for the prior 100 years. And this problem was one that was caused by bad regulation going back 40 years. The “dam” just happened to break after the R’s were voted into office.

            But even worse was that the report had all kinds of factual statements wrong. Just flat out wrong. In ways that made the problem seem much worse that it was. (No need for that as it was a royal mess without any exaggeration.) I still wonder why a network like MSNBC would allow such “lying” to take up 30 minutes or more of prime time.

            And an interesting part of this is that the report could have made the R’s look bad with the truth. So why did they go the extra miles to make it look even worse that it really was?

            Both sides do it. All the time. Which is why I stopped watching cable news years ago.

        • Obama….Constitution….that’s funny! Affordable(?) Care Act anyone? Iran Nuclear Treaty? Beau Bergdhal prisoner swap? Where was the constitution applied in any of that.
          Race relations? You are right. Not much progress here with making hints at racism before the details are even learned by local law enforcement, stoking the fires of those who are ever ready to believe his rhetoric.
          This all sounds much like what you rightly accuse Trump of, but now the shoe is on the other foot.
          I could go on about the mishandling of the Middle East, creating power vacuums, stupid statements about climate change, but why? Just right wing rhetoric, right?
          Trump may have had some poor business dealings, but at least he has created jobs. More than any that have put their names in the running this year. BOTH sides of the ticket.
          We couldn’t have had a Donald Trump without a Barrack Obama. Sad but true.

          • The Affordable Care Act did not come from Obama. In fact, George Bush tasked Michael Leavitt with laying the groundwork for it. The core of PPACA came from the Chicago School of economics; a decidedly conservative school. And the individual mandate was proposed in the early 90s by The Heritage Foundation as a solution to ballooning health care costs. From the beginning, PPACA was a conservative idea, until both sides decided to make political capital out of it. Fwiw.

        • Robert, do you know where the drumbeat of “They hate him because he’s black” came from? The DNC! In a small news item some time ago some emails were discovered that insiders, looking for a way to smear their opponents, came up with this. The charge of racism is one that can never be disproved, and once leveled, it is self perpetuating.

          For me, the “aha” moment came when Harry Reid said from the floor of the Senate “The Republicans disagree with the president because he is black”. This, from a “leader” of the Democrats! And people wonder why the senate can’t get stuff done?

          No, Obama didn’t cause the current state of race relations, but his supporters DID! Once you make the charge it is easier to see bad intent in everything the accused does. It was a cynical ploy that some write off as “just politics” .

          There were other such incidents by Dems, but you’re not really interested to hear them.

          • I never said Republicans hate Obama because he’s black; some may, others may not. But they’ve been playing to the part of their base that does hate him because he’s black, and more of that part of the base was vocally present at the Republican National Convention than in the last 40 years ( and fewer blacks were present than in a number of election cycles). There is a growing contingent of vocal, hard-core white racists in this country, and they have been, and are being fed, by the kind of soft-core white racists among Republicans and their media mouthpieces who do things like call Black Lives Matter a racist organization.

            The turmoil in the streets between black communities and the authorities is not the result of the actions of Democrats. I was part of a conversation between two women I work with, one black, the other white. The white woman, in reference to the current racial strife on our streets, said to the black woman, “Things have gotten bad again, I mean between whites and blacks.” The black woman looked at her and said, “They never got better.”

          • Oscar, There has been some gain for individual blacks since the 60s, I don’t deny that. But large communities of black people are still trapped in hell in our cities. This hell, though it may be quiet at times, has not improved for them. Don’t mistake times of quiet for improvement; whites have a habit of doing that, until some straw that breaks the camel’s back occurs in a black community touches off a round of rioting, and then whites act surprised as if such a reaction came out of nowhere. Quiet does not equal peace.

            Solutions? Just throwing money at the problem of entrenched poverty in black communities hasn’t worked well in the places where it’s been tried, so far as I know; but neither has pretending that things are somehow okay now, or not really that bad (an illusion partly sustained by the decrease in crime over the last decades, which itself was bought at the price of incarcerating a million black men, mostly for non-violent drug crimes). Whatever the solution may be possible, it will have to be not just institutional, but personal for all of us.

          • It would be news to me that they don’t hate him because he’s black. Hating blacks is part of the party platform. At least the part that’s built on sand.


          • The Republicans were determined to mak Obama a failure from day 1. The birther nonsense and the ” Obama is a secret Muslim” nonsense was pure racism and bigotry and a lot of Republican politicians did nothing to swat it down, which is why the party deserves to be destroyed by Trump. Well, one reason anyway.

            That said, you might be surprised to hear I partly agree with you. But there are more than two factions here. There are at least two factions within each party and all of them play propaganda games. I frankly can’t stand the Clinonites even though I will vote for her as the lesser evil if there is a chance Trump could win my state. I agree with Thomas Frank that the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party contributed to the rise of Trump with its indifference to the plight of the white working class. I think identity politics is often the way Democrats keep their voters occupied in the same way the Republican establishment used social issues to keep evangelicals in the fold.

          • Yeah, the revisionism on display by the Republicans and conservative in general this election is…not surprising, actually.

      • Bluesurly says

        +1. Jon you took the words right off my keyboard!

    • melissatheragamuffin says


    • Patriciamc says

      Very well said, Robert. That’s exactly why I will vote for the crook instead of the crazed buffoon.

    • Having grown up in the South, I still remember when there were plenty of Democrats who supported racial segregation. I’m too young to recall the separate schools, bathrooms, drinking fountains and other public facilities, but the legacy was still there. In my very first election one of the Democrats seeking office had previously been a supporter of Massive Resistance to school desegregation.

      It’s also worth noting that this year’s Republican presidential field was more diverse that the Democrats, with a black, two Hispanics and a number of younger candidates seeking the GOP nomination while all the Democrats were older whites.

      I’m no fan of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. If these are the best candidates the two major parties can come up with, then we’re in even worse shape as a country than I thought. But let’s cool it on the Republicans-are-racists rhetoric. Considering their past, the Democrats have no right to claim moral superiority in this department. And while Donald Trump has many faults, I’m not convinced he’s a racist.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Hillary Clinton remains for me a very unlikable figure, and I find it impossible to accept the rosy portrait of her painted by her “character witnesses” who spoke at the convention.

      For what it’s worth, the MSNBC newsfeed coverage at work has been using cover images of Her Inevitableness with a distinct vibe of All Hail Comrade Great Leader official pics.

  7. I never knew Tim LeHaye was such an evangelical heavy hitter. I never read any of his books and doubt I ever will. I dislike Christian fiction with a passion. I had a conversation with the owner of a used book store a few months ago who happened to mention that he has people trying to sell their Left Behind series all the time. He doesn’t take them because, he said, nobody wants those books anymore.

    Election season reminds me of how tired I am of the old notion that being Christian = being conservative and it cannot be otherwise. So tired of it.

  8. Burro [Mule] says

    I would vote for 11 of the women from the historical link before I would vote for Hillary, especially the gracious Margaret Chase Smith. I don’t know where Maine gets her Republicans. They seem to be hatched from a different nest than the ones I know.

    Victoria Woodhull would not have gotten my vote, but there was a time in my life when I would desperately have wanted to date her.

    The irony is that i will probably end up voting for a woman anyway; Jill Stein of the Green Party. I hate hate hate all this equality BS for every random fantasy people can think up, but the Green Party is the only one who sees the cliff in front of our face.

    And hey! I’m in a swing state this year! Maybe I’ll get to be hated again.

  9. Robert F says

    Hillary hostility? Some of it is no doubt deserved; but the most extreme forms of it are due to right-wing radio personalities grasping onto the little bit that’s deserved, and using that to spin out scurrilous, baseless, conspiratorial fantasy stories filled with vitriolic bilge. When challenged to substantiate their stories, they become coy and claim that they are just entertainers, after all, not historians; someone else will have to do the hard work of vetting the details, but they must be true because, well, after all it’s Hillary Clinton we’re talking about, right? This is the way they’ve filled heads with baseless nonsense about Hillary Clinton for twenty plus years; now one of their twisted offspring is in on the threshold of becoming president.

    • So, you listen to these radio personalities on a regular basis? Or do you just depend on second hand accounts?

      • I used to listen them, in the eighties and nineties, but I’ve deprogrammed myself since then. They lost me when they started talking about the Clinton’s murdering Vince Foster. Now I wouldn’t go near them with a ten foot pole now; unfortunately, a man who should just become a right wing/conspiracy theorist radio talk-show host is instead on the threshold of becoming POTUS. God knows how much I’ll have to listen to his irrational, repetitive, meandering monologues if that happens; perhaps it would be better if he just nuked the world at the get-go, rather than torture it with his simple-minded, convoluted, logically incoherent, self-referential and self-praising (he’s his own biggest sycophant) ranting rhetoric first.

        • The day, back when I was still deep into the cult, that I realized listening to right wing radio left me always angry and frustrated and wanting to fight someone, was the day I quit listening. Everyone in the cult still did, of course, along with WND and Drudge and even worse sites, but they at least taught me that being angry all the time was not good. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for that deliverance.

          • Robert F says

            Just the other day, that Fair and Balanced Voice of the Lunatic Fringe Right, Bill O’Reilly, claimed that when Michelle Obama in her convention speech said that she slept in a house built by slaves (a demonstrably and incontrovertibly true, though apparently never-before publicly acknowledged or thought of fact), she wasn’t telling the whole truth, because those slaves were “well fed and had decent lodging provided by the government”. Lunatic right garbage, by one of the less egregiously warped of the right-wing commentators. Should I mention Coulter, Ingraham, Hannity? How should we rate them for lunacy and extremism?

            Thank you, Michelle Obama, for telling the truth about our history, not just to point up its imperfections, but to acknowledge the contributions of the least of the nobodies, men and women who were given no choice, to the building of this nation. Those who raise objections to the public recognition of that contribution, like those who call Black Lives Matter a racist or even a terrorist organization, should be ashamed of themselves.

          • Robert F says

            The lunatic fringe in now at the center:


          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And an older song from Sixties MAD Magazine to the tune of “My Favorite Things” — at least all I can remember of it:

            “Stark raving Pinkos and mobs that are lawless;
            Right wing fanatics parading for Wallace;
            Gun-toting Nazis all out on a binge;
            These are just some of The Lunatic Fringe…”

      • all of the 90s and 00s, and into the 10s through friends and rightwingwatch

        what point are you poorly trying to make here?

        • Burro [Mule] says

          Chip Berlet has his own issues.

          We are not now, nor at any time in our history have we ever, been in danger of a theocracy.

          I read him a lot in the early 00s. The Alex Jones of the left.

    • That Other Jean says


  10. Robert F., we are not all out here in the ether breathlessly awaiting your pontifications opinions. Is there nothing about which you won’t give us the benefit of your vast and apparently endless pronouncements? But I exaggerate; they are only half-vast.

    As for becoming coy and claiming to be entertainers, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) cornered that market a few years back by insisting he was only engaging in satire. The door swings both ways. Your last paragraph could have been lifted straight out of the DNC playbook.

    I do apologize. It’s not personal. I just haven’t had my coffee yet this morning.

    • +++!! Thank You…

    • Don’t bother with the phony apology; your man Trump doesn’t after he’s gone personal.

      • SottoVoce says

        If the best rejoinder your opponents have is that you talk too much and agree with other members of your party, then you’re on a roll. Keep it up, Robert!

      • Burro [Mule] says

        “You know folks, sometimes I just say sh*t. Don’t worry about it.”

    • Apparently you also haven’t yet had your morning irony appreciation…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      As for becoming coy and claiming to be entertainers, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) cornered that market a few years back by insisting he was only engaging in satire.

      Like when he was on Saturday Night Live before he got into politics?

      I remember one act of his that was him reading the manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist Party (i.e. Mao wasn’t Communist enough) onstage. Heard later it wasn’t an act.

  11. Watched all episodes of both conventions if you don’t count the times I fell asleep during the speeches. My thinking was that if history was going to be made, I wanted to be able to say I saw it happen. It didn’t. If I had a high school civics understanding, I would have thought everything was normal. My takeaway from the Democrats was of the three presumably Secret Service guys standing right behind Bill in the audience the last night on intense full red alert wearing neck slings with presumably full automatic weapons attached under their coats. That was not normal. I have not heard anyone else anywhere comment on this. Ordinarily those guys are discreet and unnoticed. Possibly has to do with the recent posting of one ton gold bounties on some of the major players in the current World System, including at least four convention speakers I counted. No one was offed. No one fell down. No one had a seizure or a heart attack or an uncontrollable coughing fit. Bill and Hillary both looked better than I have seen in some time, probably both pumped up with the best that modern medicine can offer, The perception that you are winning also works wonders. I didn’t realize before that Hillary could speak without screeching. Well, anything is possible and there are three months left for this all to play out. I’ll be watching.

    • Well Charles, Bill DID nod off a couple of times. Maybe the assassins failed to put enough poison in his libation. ;D

      • >> . . . Bill DID nod off a couple of times.

        I missed that, Oscar. Probably because I had nodded off myself. Perhaps the libation instead came from Dr. Feelgood. You can afford to nod off with that level of security.

  12. melissatheragamuffin says

    Hillary is about as likeable as a rattlesnake, and she’ll probably have Bill coordinating the White House interns. That would keep him real busy. *ducks and runs away*

    “In eight years, her one concrete achievement was getting a courthouse renamed for Thurgood Marshall. Democrats have been using their convention speeches this week to make Hillary Clinton look like a can-do politician. On Tuesday, Bill Clinton flatly declared, “She’s a natural leader, she’s a good organizer, and she’s the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life.” We heard speech after speech about how Hillary cares about the children, about her innovative ability to solve problems. But there is a reason the speeches lack specific examples. They are not there.

    Hillary’s Senate career is defined by safe, noncontroversial bills, most of which were essentially pure fluff and yet she couldn’t get them passed. In her eight years in the Senate, just one of Hillary’s bills got enacted into law. This bill designated the U.S. courthouse at 40 Centre Street in New York City as the “Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse.”

    That’s your can-do candidate. Renamed a building.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      You should have your morning coffee first…

    • I just loved when Obama declared in an interview that no one in history was more qualified than Hillary to be president. When asked “You mean more than George Herbert Walker Bush who was CIA director, congressman, vice president…”, he bumbled and stumbles with some incoherent answer. And then when asked “What about Dwight Eisenhower?” and again he stumbled around. It was priceless!

      So, the lesson is that when making outrageous claims about your chosen savior be sure that they are not quantifiable or specific.

      • Today class we will be having a discussion on rhetoric and what praising your own team looks like. Note closely how this should not be confused with absolute honesty…

        Seriously, this is 101 stuff. Is Obama now a liar because he said she was the most qualified person ever in history?


        • Sometimes I forget we have literalists and fundamentalists on this site. Reminds me of Michael’s posts about inerrancy. It’s basic language, hyperbole is, but as always we must use the most extremely rigid literalistic reading.

          All always means all all the time and always.

          • Stuart, I said I enjoyed his bumbling responses. He got caught in the hyperbole that he regularly lives in.

        • Yes there is such a thing as rhetoric, but rhetoric can go too far and become just stupid, such as claiming Hillary is the most qualified candidate ever.

          • Rick Ro. says

            Exactly. And clearly she wasn’t the most qualified when HE was running, nor if he’d been running again….

  14. Dan from Georgia says

    Chaplain Mike, thanks for the Pat Metheny mention! Love his music and guitar playing. Saw him in concert a few years back in Minneapolis, MN, and was BLOWN AWAY, especially when he pulled out his 42-string (yes, that’s right) Pikasso Guitar!

  15. Hillary Clinton, a graduate of the Al Gore Charm School, seeks to make history by becoming the first woman to ride her husband’s coat tails all the way to the presidency.

    But I still won’t vote for Trump. I’d hate myself in the morning. I’ll either go third party or just vote the undercard and let my fellow citizens choose our next president.

  16. There’s a good opportunity here for someone to clean up with bumper stickers and tee shirts that read, “Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Vote!”

  17. Randy Thompson says

    A moment of Zen regarding the upcoming election (to borrow a phrase from Jon Stewart). To vote Republican is to vote for “1984.” To vote Democratic is to vote for “Brave New World.” Dystopia, here we come!

  18. I’ve seen Metheny perform three times over as many decades. He was an amazing performer each time, and despite his stellar talent, was always courteous to other musicians on the stage, letting them have “center-stage” as often as himself. If there is a big ego there, he gives no sign of its existence; he seem to be truly collaborative player. What a musician!

  19. I’ve appreciated this VOX article from a GOPer on the history of and why the Republican Party is going to die. Racism is in it’s blood, it’s not some Democrat talking point.


  20. Today’s comment section was brought to you by Google Alerts. Google Alerts, for when you absolutely must comment on anyone’s post who talks about “Hillary”, “Obama”, “Trump”, “Christian”, and other important keywords!

  21. Nice touch from Pat Metheny. Love those nylon strings on the Classical guitar. Nice soft sound. And I do love her….my wife, that is.

  22. I’m surprised no one has commented on the AMC Gremlin yet. I once read a review comparing the back seat to an iron maiden. That shouldn’t be surprising; the Gremlin was basically a Hornet with the back half lopped off.

    I once borrowed a friend’s Gremlin many years ago while my car was in the shop. I had to keep my foot on the brake much of the time because the idle was set so high that the car would easily get to 40 mph without touching the accelerator. My friend got rid of the Gremlin soon thereafter, and I got rid of my jalopy soon afterward. Although I’m not sure the Ford Granada I bought was that much better than the old Chevy I previously owned.

    • That’s funny Larry. My comment below was made without seeing yours. Talk about timing!

    • Rick Ro. says

      My family owned an AMC Javelin. What an odd little car. It rumbled like a muscle car, but didn’t have much pep, and you could visibly see the gas gauge drop as you drove it around town.

  23. Gremlins are ugly.

    • Indeed they are. Although I’m not sure they were as ugly as the Ford Granada I bought to replace my first Chevy. The vinyl roof had faded to some hideous shade of its original color and the faux Mercedes-type grille appeared woefully out of place.

    • Brianthedad says

      I had a friend who used his for all terrain driving while going hunting. It would go anywhere. It was ugly, painful to ride in, and embarrassing to be seen in, but we had the most fun wth it.

    • Rick Ro. says

      How about the lovely Pacer? 😉

  24. I had a green Gremlin back in the day. I kind of liked it ?

    • I used to have a minty pepto bismol green Taurus. Dependable, reliable, worst car I’ve ever had.

      • That Other Jean says

        Hey! No love for the mint? I have an ancient VW bug that is a weird shade of mint green. Or maybe it was fern that has faded to mint. I think it was called “cyber green” back ages ago when it was new. Great car, but it does have a back seat about like that Gremlin.

        • lol I love green and I love mint, but that was literally some weird shade that looked like melted pepto bismol…wasn’t my choice, but was grateful i had it

  25. Liked it, not sure where the question mark came from

  26. Dana Ames says

    I respect his reasons for not running… and I wish it were Joe Biden on the stage. Yes, I know he’s a “politician” – and he also does have principles, and hasn’t had anything dragged out of a closet.

    I live in CA, so I can afford a conscience/statement vote, because Trump won’t win here. Still not sure how I’m going to mark the ballot.


  27. Rick Ro. says

    Well, crud. I come here looking for some humor, only to find the same political vitriol I get from Facebook feeds dumped upon me by my FB friends and family.

    I posted a question on FB yesterday which I’ll share here: Does anyone know if it’s possible to shut off the political crap that friends and family post on FB that make their way onto my page? They all make me want to vomit pieces of my innards.

    Then I posted a comment to my own question that maybe I’ll begin posting a simple comment on every political post I see: “Vomit.”

    With that in mind, in response to today’s ramblings and most of today’s comments…

    • #musicmonday is my refuge lol

    • Is that red vomit or blue vomit? Don’t answer that. I am typically almost apolitical. It generally inspires mild disgust and little or no passion. This year I feel it is my duty to stand against the Lump. I’m not on Facebook or any other media than Imonk so I’m not pelted to death by it but I have had a few heated discussions already. I think it’s only going to heat up from here so may I suggest a Tylenol PM every morning until the election. That will leave you concious but border line comatose. Pot, lots of it, would be a good second option if that’s your thing. Just hang in there Ricardo. It will all be over soon.

    • Brianthedad says

      My solution has been to create a group, you can use acquaintances or one of the defaults, and stick the chief offenders there and stop following them. That way, they still get your wise and insightful posts with your having to hear their junk. If they’re close friends and just won’t otherwise stop posting links to the usual click bait sites with all the vitriol and rancor, both D and R, you can click on the upper right of the link image and choose from the drop down to block everything from that particular site. So, for me, no more stuff from youngcons.com or chicksontheright.com etc from one particularly loud old college friend who’s a trump fangirl, nor from anyone else for that matter.

    • Gee, I tried to at least make it funny…

      • I know, CM. I think the problem is that regardless of the humor, people can’t help but be offended and respond.

        Joke about Hillary? “I must jump in and defend Hillary” or “I must counter with slam against Trump.”

        Ditto jokes about Trump.

        It’s just too incendiary this election, and I’m tired of it, and the nice oasis of Saturday Ramblings was just a cesspool this weekend. To me, anyway.

  28. This election presents us with the evil of two lessers.

  29. Robert F says

    The art-in-the-park
    show happens just once a year —
    and here comes the rain!

  30. Robert F says

    I heard this sweet old song on the radio for the first time in a long while:


  31. Vinny from Tennessee says


  32. Lessons I am learning this election cycle

    1. It has become clear that America is not a democracy but an oligarchy.
    2. There seems to be a vested interest in keeping us as a people distracted from real issues.
    3. Almost nothing the news reports is accurate; the news has become truly postmodern, it is all about spin, in other words, it has become propaganda.
    4. It has become clear that Christianity is America has two distinct competing views of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
    5. No matter how this election ends, America will be as divided as during the Civil War.
    6. The side that loses will proclaim judgment on America no matter who loses.
    7. It is apparent we are in a full blown mimetic (social) crisis.
    8. We, as a nation, lack the skills of civil discourse because we are ruled by fear.

    Prediction: America as we have known is about to undergo a change that will only be able to be described as ‘apocalyptic.’ Whether we repent and seek and show mercy and compassion or whether we pick up arms is all upon our shoulders totally.

    Michael Hardin

  33. I actually am a graduate of LaHaye’s San Diego Christian College. First class out the door with the new name, the previous year all graduates were from Christian Heritage College. Believe it or not, I have never read any of the Left Behind series, though I have read “Spirit Controlled Temperament” and was scarred away from “The Act of Marriage” by the illustrations. I even did a piece by Pat Metheny (“James”) with a jazz quintet for one of my recitals.

    SDCC was founded by LaHaye along with Henry Morris and Art Peters. We knew Art’s wife Shirley, toured the ICR, and worked at a church plant with Beverly LaHaye’s sister and her husband. You might say this is the world I came out of.

    True story: I met Tim Lahaye when I was interning at a small megachurch in east county who had contracted him as a guest speaker for a prophecy conference. As everyone assembled in the green room prior to beginning, I saw this guy I KNEW I recognized from somewhere. “Oh no,” I though to myself,” another church member who I’ve met several times already and still cannot remember their name!” So in front of the entire pastoral staff I walked right up to him and said, “Hi, I’m Miguel. Have we met?” To which he rather calmly responded, “Hi, I’m Dr. Tim LaHaye.” I’m guessing he isn’t approached in that manner very often.

    I never heard the end of it. My boss (the music minister) was rolling on the floor laughing afterwards. “Have we met? He’s only, like, the best-selling author IN THE WORLD!!!”

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