March 31, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: September 29, 2018 — “Here’s something you don’t see everyday” version

First Red (2017)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: September 29, 2018
“Here’s something you don’t see everyday” version

WARNING!

Today’s Brunch includes political material. This may contribute to upset stomach, nausea, headache, and feelings of bitterness, irritability, and hopelessness.

If you smell gas or start to feel the buzz of righteous indignation, shut your mouth to avoid inhaling or exhaling poisonous fumes and leave the room immediately to protect yourself and others.

You don’t see this every day: Getting the leaves’ view of autumn

You don’t see this every day: Honesty in marketing

You don’t see this every day: Slap-happy, the octupus way

A Go-Pro camera caught the odd moment when a seal with an octopus in its mouth slapped a New Zealand kayaker in the face with said mollusk. Yikes!

You don’t see this every day: A beluga whale in the Thames

Speaking of sea creatures appearing in surprising places, NPR reports how a beluga whale was spotted swimming in the River Thames east of London, far from its normal habitat.

“Belugas are generally an Arctic species that, in Europe, are usually found in the seas of northern Norway and Russia, Phillip Clapham, director of the cetacean program at the Marine Mammal Laboratory at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, told NPR.”

The beluga has been named Benny. Of course.

You don’t see this every day: An increasingly wobbly planet

From Yahoo! Finance:

When looking at the Earth from afar it appears to be a perfect sphere, but that actually isn’t the case. Because Earth isn’t uniform on all sides due to land masses that shift and change over time, our planet actually wobbles a bit when it spins. Now, a new study by researchers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and several universities and science centers has pinpointed the causes of Earth’s imperfect spin, called “polar motion,” and they found that humans are contributing to it.

The researchers used a wealth of data gathered over 100 years to build mathematical models to trace the causes of the wobble and found that three factors are at play, and mankind is responsible for one of them.

The three factors are:

  1. Glacial rebound: the pressure and release of pressure by the thick ice sheets on land masses.
  2. Mantle convection: the movement of liquid rock in the Earth’s core causing the plates on the surface to be in constant flux.
  3. Massive ice loss: particularly seen in Greenland and other areas.

According to the article:

…researchers estimate that Greenland has lost roughly 7,500 gigatons, or 7,500,000,000,000 metric tons of ice due to global warming. All that ice loss has happened in the 20th century, and greenhouse gas production has been cited as the primary culprit. Losing all that mass has caused a significant shift on the planet and has contributed to the wobble as well.

You don’t see this every day: A “new” letter from Galileo

The international journal Nature reports:

It had been hiding in plain sight. The original letter — long thought lost — in which Galileo Galilei first set down his arguments against the church’s doctrine that the Sun orbits the Earth has been discovered in a misdated library catalogue in London. Its unearthing and analysis expose critical new details about the saga that led to the astronomer’s condemnation for heresy in 1633.

The seven-page letter, written to a friend on 21 December 1613 and signed “G.G.”, provides the strongest evidence yet that, at the start of his battle with the religious authorities, Galileo actively engaged in damage control and tried to spread a toned-down version of his claims.

Many copies of the letter were made, and two differing versions exist — one that was sent to the Inquisition in Rome and another with less inflammatory language. But because the original letter was assumed to be lost, it wasn’t clear whether incensed clergymen had doctored the letter to strengthen their case for heresy — something Galileo complained about to friends — or whether Galileo wrote the strong version, then decided to soften his own words.

Galileo did the editing, it seems. The newly unearthed letter is dotted with scorings-out and amendments — and handwriting analysis suggests that Galileo wrote it. He shared a copy of this softened version with a friend, claiming it was his original, and urged him to send it to the Vatican.

You don’t see this every day: An airline crew forgetting to pressurize the cabin

From NPR’s Strange News page:

As Jet Airways Flight 9W697 took off from Mumbai on Thursday, something terrifying quickly became clear: The cabin was not properly pressurized.

Oxygen masks dropped from the cabin’s ceiling. “Thirty out of 166 passengers experienced nose and ear bleeding [and] some also complained of headache,” an official with India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, according to the Hindustan Times.

The flight turned back “due to loss in cabin pressure,” according to a statement from the Indian international airline.

But as the Hindustan Times reported, the country’s civil aviation regulator stated that this happened because, “during the climb, crew forgot to select switch to maintain cabin pressure.”

…According to PTI, another unnamed passenger said that the plane “circled overhead for around half-an-hour before landing. There was no announcement (related to the problem) from the crew.”

The airline said five people were hospitalized and have been released. It added that 144 of the original flight’s passengers have been transported to Jaipur on a different flight, and 17 decided “to travel at another point in time.”

You don’t see this every day: Dining with a view like this

People have lunch on a footpath built on the cliff in Longquan Mountains in Longquan in east China’s Zhejiang province Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, the first day of the restaurant on the cliff. (Photo credit: Feature China/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

You don’t see this every day: “America’s Dad” jailed as a sexual predator

One of the saddest spectacles I have witnessed in my life is the fall of Bill Cosby. Turns out that one of the world’s great comedians, father figure to many of us who saw him as an example of paternal wisdom and humor, and star of one of my favorite TV shows ever, has been a sexual predator who used his celebrity power to drug women and take advantage of them.

This is a matter of great grief to me.

You don’t see this every day: A riveting partisan spectacle

“The hearings were a Rorschach test for America’s tribes.” (Roger Cohen, NYT)

Many were riveted to their TVs, radios, and internet sites Thursday as the Senate Judicial Committee heard radically different stories from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Now, I don’t want to downplay the pervasive problem of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Nor do I wish to say anything to diminish the testimony of Dr. Ford, who by all accounts was a credible and sympathetic witness. And, although I don’t think Judge Kavanaugh did himself any favors by exhibiting a partisan spirit, a lack of judicial temperament, and some strange interactions with members of Congress, this post is not really about stating my opinion regarding what I think happened or its impact on his nomination.

But I really have to lament one of the most public examples yet of our broken political system and the hyper-partisanship that makes it impossible for virtually anybody in this country to give a testimony or express an opinion without it being interpreted through harshly polarized lenses. Both the left and the right talked right past each other and it seems that never the twain shall meet in any form of understanding or compromise again.

This is especially unfortunate because this unbridgeable divide has infected even the process that gives us Supreme Court judges, the one institution that is supposed to be about the rule of law and not partisan politics.

In fact, one of the saddest things I heard that day was when the nominee himself angrily blamed his travails on a left-wing conspiracy, calling the process a “calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election.” He even called it “revenge on behalf of the Clintons” [what???] and alleged that it was funded by “millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.” Now, whether or not any of those assertions have any merit, this was an oddly partisan and over-the-top emotional rant from a supposedly sober-minded judge.

And Senator Graham, please, take a tonic.

As Emma Grey Ellis says in a piece at Wired:

These [liberal vs. conservative] stances are wildly, maybe disastrously, different. Each side casts the other as inappropriate, and lionizes their own entrants into the fray. And as these narratives grow, change, and refract their way across the internet—being discussed and rehashed by people in their own corners of the political spectrum as they go—the gap between them is likely to widen. Partisan narrative has come to trump attempted objectivity. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that’s less appropriate than when trying to determine whether a man is fit to be an objective arbiter of truth and justice for an entire nation.

Update: Thank God for Senator Flake and a few others who’ve shown they have consciences.

You don’t see this every day: The world laughing at a U.S. President

Here’s a first. At the U.N. this week, an international audience laughed at the President of the U.S. Despite his claims that they were laughing “with” him, it was perfectly clear that folks from other countries saw that the emperor has no clothes and were mocking his nakedness. Claims, such as those he made, that his administration has accomplished more than almost any other in U.S. history, drew snickers and then outright laughter as the delayed translation of his words got through to those listening.

Incredible.

Furthermore, and this is the part that I find utterly unfunny and downright dangerous, is when President Trump asserted, “We reject the ideology of globalism and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” In contrast to a world of cooperation and partnership, he advocated for a doctrine of unilateralism that has a history no one who is sane wants to repeat.

Nationalism and unilateralism ruled in a world that led to World War I. Failed efforts to establish a Wilsonian world of cooperation “to end all wars” led to World War II.

In my opinion, one of the greatest achievements in the history of the world, led by the U.S., was the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after WWII and the establishment of a world in which nations entered into alliances and cooperated to prevent nuclear war, deal with crises around the world, and promote international relations and agreements based on peaceful partnership rather than each nation looking out for its own interests.

It has never led to a utopia, obviously. The world is fraught with problems. But, despite the widespread opinion that our planet is devolving into chaos, take a look at the powerful study, The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it by Max Roser, an economist at the University of Oxford. This study contends that on virtually all of the key dimensions of human material well-being — poverty, literacy, health, freedom, and education — the world is a far better place than it was just a couple of centuries ago. You can also read this Forbes piece by Steve Denning, summarizing specific ways in which the world has never been better.

In my view, much of that is due to the progress made since World War II, especially as people and nations have learned to live and work together in peace. “Globalism” is not a dirty word.

Some are telling us now that we need to go back. Why in the world would anyone want that?

You don’t see this every day: The forgotten art of Cowboy Poetry

A New York Times article looks forward to the 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January of 2019. It’s a great read, and it makes me want to hear more of these mesmerizing poets and storytellers.

Here’s a taste:

You don’t see this every day: Wisdom like this. The quote of the week.

When I was a monk, I thought that the rule of silence was mainly in service of contemplation. Now, after many years of suffering poisoned discourse in the halls of academe, I have come to understand that silence was mainly about charity. As we learn every day in our new world of constant chatter, savage judgment, and long-distance shaming via (anti)social media, when speech is totally without restraint, mercilessness is an almost inevitable consequence.

• Luke Timothy Johnson [emphasis mine]

Comments

  1. The only solutions for global problems are global ones. If we as a global community don’t talk it out, or if we allow our talk to be little more than warfare without guns, we will inevitably fight it out. Those are the only choices; those have always been the only choices.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      But “fighting it out” in a nuclear-armed world fulfills End Time Prophecy!

      Especially when led by God’s Anointed One!

  2. Pumpkin crap.- LOL!

    Leaf death – I’ll never look at foliage the same way again. Very funny.

    Trump, I mean He Who Usually Must Not Be Named, being laughed at by the UN members – but he has the most successful administration ever! Ever!

    This week’s bury your face in your hands and shake your head moment – the wild card here are the women of the GOP. I have a feeling there’s a simmering going on that could become a boil since you know many of them have been sexually assaulted.

    By the way, do teenage boys really keep detailed calendars? I thought that’s what moms are for. And who keeps their paper calendars for 30+ years?

  3. President Trump is closer in his world viewpoint to Sec. George Marshall and the post WW 2 leaders who realized correctly that America must be nationalistic, strong military power, aided those who side with the USA interest and accepted a Russian, Communist , sphere of influence in Eastern Europe as well as a Communist China. The Marshall Plan was relatively modest but the main thrust of it was the USA umbrella of support for countries threatened by Communist, Russian threats. It was America first but using other resources and keeping America great. George Marshall and the gang would be appalled at Jimmy Carter Iran policy and the recent handling of our foreign affairs such as Libya and the whole Middle East. No other country in the world would have handled having the political and military leverage the USA had in the post war years in such a responsible manner than the USA did .

    Trading with Communist China and enabling them to become a super power since is as stupid as giving Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan most favored nation trade status in the 1930’s. George W. Bush was not laughed at when he spoke to the UN because they knew his stupid Middle East wars would weakened the USA and help their countries as they are looking out solely for their countries. President Obama achieved nothing nor had any vision for USA foreign policy except talk and platitudes while making bad military and foreign policy decisions. How about the Russian reset?

    So dumb Trump is not as smart as the leaders who got us into Korea with no clear win, Vietnam, not our national interest, Iran allowed Iran to become a revolutionary force by not defending our interest or the freedom of the pro western Iranians, by the incredible stupid Middle East Wars of the Bushes, again with no benefit to the USA, Clinton who allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons with our money and the help of our trade partner China and Obama who oversaw a weakening of our military and made bad military decisions in the Iraq and Afgan wars that allowed the spread of a J V. ISIS , that would be around for generations according to his team.

    I bet Apple, Google and the Vatican will not laugh at the leader of China as they want to do business with China and know China does not have the even temperament of President Trump. China Belt and Road program is not to help the world it is to help China. China is spreading its influence and power with our money via the 500 Billion trade In balance but we do get Dollar Tree items.

    Of course I would never say I am always Trump any more than I would never say Never Obama as then you have taken away some of your objectivity but I will say Never Brussel Sprouts and never change.

    Of course a guy who is a self made billionaire, yes he started with a couple million, been a NYC star his adult life, been a TV star and became President by beating H. Clinton while spending one half the money is mentally ill, maybe the FBI and CIA should get rid of him for the good of the country, then the world would not laugh at us, we would be like Russia and China , they would be afraid of us.

    • You forgot to mention that China respects him for his “very, very large brain”, and also because he’s so intelligent too, if he does say so himself.

    • I hope he is a self-made billionaire ’cause it would really be a real shame if what has been reported was true about where the Trump family gets ‘all the money it needs’. according to one of its members.

      • He is a Putin-made billionaire.

        • So his son has intimated . . . . actually, what I heard is that his son said ‘we can get all the money we need from Russia’ . . . . . but that was before T’s selection as republican candidate for the presidency I think)

          Mueller will sort it out, hopefully

    • “America must be nationalistic, strong military power, aided those who side with the USA interest” – even if those allies were and are brutal dictatorships in and of themselves?

      “George Marshall and the gang would be appalled at Jimmy Carter Iran policy and the recent handling of our foreign affairs such as Libya and the whole Middle East.” – probably.

      “President Obama achieved nothing nor had any vision for USA foreign policy except talk and platitudes while making bad military and foreign policy decisions.” – which had decisions were those? After the tide of insanity over the past two years, I’ve forgotten.

      “got us into Korea with no clear win, Vietnam, not our national interest, Iran allowed Iran to become a revolutionary force by not defending our interest or the freedom of the pro western Iranians” – you DO realize that your first two points contradict the third, right?

      “Clinton who allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons with our money ” so, should we have bombed and invaded them? Because that’s the ONLY way it could have been stopped.

      “China is spreading its influence and power with our money via the 500 Billion trade In balance but we do get Dollar Tree items.” – look up what China is doing to its “trading partners” in Africa and then tell me how wonderful raw national interest is.

      ” I would never say I am always Trump any more than I would never say Never Obama” – except you did.

      “Of course a guy who is a self made billionaire, yes he started with a couple million, been a NYC star his adult life, been a TV star and became President by beating H. Clinton while spending one half the money is mentally ill” – his pocketbook does not indicate his mental health – his *behavior and habits* do. And tellingly so.

      • “America must be nationalistic, strong military power, aided those who side with the USA interest” – even if those allies were and are brutal dictatorships in and of themselves?

        Yes, the criticism from the Trumpians of neocons is that they do not adhere adequately to the practice of Realpolitik, and that “kinder and gentler conservatism” means putting American interests behind ethical concerns in establishing the country’s relationship to other countries. Yes, they emphatically embrace dictators in other countries who support what they perceive as American interests; hence the closer and closer cosiness with the Saudis and Duterte.

        • Well it comes down to one question – are freedom and human rights things that apply to all human beings and therefore governments that claim to honor them have an obligation to defend them at home and abroad, or are those things only for Us, and the Other can go hang if it’s in our selfish interest?

        • Unfortunately, we live in a world that will be dominated in some part by Russia, China, or the US. China has openly said that it seeks to oust the US from the top spot and put itself there. Personally, I think of the three imperfect choices, the US is preferable, but I suspect that Putin has ordered Trump to weaken the US nationally and internationally. The laughter at the UN is a small symptom of a large disease. Oh how I long for politics as usual. We didn’t know how good we had it.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    50th Wedding Anniversary today, no cake, no confetti, many tears.

    • Susan, with many Imonkers around the world still asleep and not having seen your post yet, I wanted to drop in from the UK to wish you many, many congratulations on your 50th Wedding Anniversary. My heart goes out to you on this difficult day. You and your husband have achieved something which deserves honour and celebration. I wish we could all gather with you in person, with cake. But I send my prayers and heartfelt congratulations. I’m raising my morning mug of tea to you as a toast!

    • Susan, I would say that is something to be proud of. I do not know you but from what I gather you take your wedding vows seriously , in sickness and in health for better or worse and you are a wonderful example of a sincere honest person who may face serious problems but also demonstrates faith and strength. Under any circumstances in todays world being
      married for 50 years is becoming rare and especially those whose spouse has serious problems God Bess you and your husband.

      A lot of my friends have being married 50 years but to five different women. It is just not the same. I tell my wife , I am her trophy husband and she agrees last place trophy. So do not get down , down under. Do you describe the USA as up over? and do you really put shrimp on the Barbie or just Crocodile Dundee, do that .Great movie..

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        God is my refuge and my strength, a very present help in trouble..
        He is my shepherd and He holds me close.

        Aussies are very ordinary folk. Not as shown in the media and films.
        We just get on with life.

        I will visit my husband at the Nursing Home tomorrow after Church but he will not recognise the day or its significance. He may not recognise me, knowing who I am comes and goes.
        At least I am a smiling face who strokes his hands and makes sure he is happy.
        May God be with us as we hold hands tomorrow as He was as we held hands during our vows 50 year ago.
        The vows still hold.

        The Lord is my helper. Who else can I trust?
        Susan

        • Pellicano Solitudinis says

          “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of his life.”

          Thinking of you, Susan. Have a blessed day.

          • Susan Dumbrell says

            I try, sometimes the going is tough.

            Thank you,
            Blessings,
            Susan

            • Susan Dumbrell says

              I have googled the picture for this Proverbs quotation and have hung is in my kitchen.
              It will remind me of what my aim is every day.
              Susan

              • Phil Dickens says

                Susan you are the woman of valor spoken in Proverbs, congratulations on your anniversary and much love and prayers form your imonk family.

    • Oh my dear Susan, your words break my heart.
      I hope you have some people near who will come over and bring food and a nice bottle of something hearty to mark your enduring strength in the midst of your husband’s illness.

      If I were near, I’d come over and bring you some really good food AND a journal for you to write down your memories and your reflections. . . . Your comments here at Imonk always leave me wanting to read more.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        My dear Christiane,
        How kind your thoughts are.
        My daughter offered to come for the day but we reconsidered and the family will come in November to a combined 50th Anni, my Birthday and an early Christmas together with John.
        As he is on sloppy foods we will have a cream sponge as a cake to celebrate all three events.

        My daughter is nudging me to collate a photo selection for her to put in an album of John’s and my life together.

        I am finding it hard to do but I am up to 1986 photos. Boxes and folders plus! The years pass so quickly but so much has transpired.
        I am aware that many or most photos are around our church activities with friends and family.
        It has been the centre of our family’s life.
        No way better spent.
        Times have been tough but we have had many blessings.

        What a family IMonkers can be.
        Susan

    • God bless you and your husband on your 50th Wedding Anniversary, Susan. I wish it could be a happier occasion for the two of you.

      before you know it
      fifty years have come and gone —
      yet love is still new

    • All I can say is, I pray for God’s comfort for you.

    • Hey Susan. I’m so sorry. Many hugs for you. Fifty years though is fantastic, and you’re doing a great job living out your vows.

    • I echo everyone else’s words of empathy and sympathy, Susan. May God bring you some peace and even joy through this difficult season in life.

  5. “Nor do I wish to say anything to diminish the testimony of Dr. Ford, who by all accounts was a credible and sympathetic witness.”

    Thank you.
    Yes, like many people, I also found her testimony very compelling and believable. I do believe her.
    If anyone did not see her testimony, here is a Canadian link that also includes Kavenaugh’s testimony so you can see it for yourselves::
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ7ovA37u-0

    • I believe her. I don’t believe him.

      God forbid that that angry, contemptuous, paranoid man should become a Supreme Court justice

      • Lindsey Graham pretty much blew the lid off the veneer with his “I am a single white man and I will not shut up!” line. This isn’t just about Roe vs Wade. It’s about making sure that rich white men keep their power and privilege, and keeping everybody else quiet.

        • Lindsey Graham put on quite a soap opera-worthy histrionic fit. The lawyer they hired to do the questioning was not going in the direction he or the other Republican Judiciary Committee members wanted, so he took over, and did a professional wrestler’s job of it. But that’s what politics in this country has become, as led by our shameless president: professional wrestling carnival show, with life-and-death, high stakes. The old, rich, powerful White guys are using every weapon in their arsenal, not least among them playing to the paranoia and fear of the less powerful White guys. They learned how to use that weapon from right wing talk radio and other right wing media over the last two decades, and both Graham and Kavanaugh pulled out all the stops exploiting it to the max on Thursday. Imagine having a sitting Supreme Court Justice who believes the Democrats and left are in a conspiracy to get him; if he wasn’t putting on an act, then that’s what Kavanaugh would be.

          • Smithers used to be a more reasonable fellow when John McCain was around. His diatribe was intended for Donald. He threw his teddy out of the cot not for any other reason than he desperately wants to Trump to name him as the next AG. It was all about him. Sad to see him devolve, but that’s what the lust for power can do.

          • When the FBI investigation(background) is completed and no evidence is found of an attempted rape will the Democrats vote to confirm? The democrats are out to get him. It was evident from the moment he was nominated.

            • His angry, paranoid, raging partisan performance on Thursday showed that it would be impossible for him to not recuse himself from many cases involving Democratic political litigants without damaging what little legitimacy the court still holds in the mind of the public. He is temperamentally unfit to be a Supreme Court justice.

            • It may not change any votes. Sen. Flake himself said so. But it’s worth the effort.

            • If sufficient evidence to prove Dr Ford was lying turns up, I would like to think I would change my mind. OTOH, if it places him at the party, and substantiates a pattern of drunken participation and condoning of abuse, would you change *your* mind?

              • Do you have confidence in the FBI’s ability to do impartial investigation of matters like this one at this point? Do you believe that its independence hasn’t been fundamentally undermined by pressure from above to be loyal to Trump and Republican interests? Why do you still trust it? I don’t trust (except when headed by a special investigator); Trump has convinced me that I shouldn’t.

                • My impression is that most people at the FBI care very deeply about being seen as an organization that works for justice and doesn’t stoop to partisan politics. They want people to trust them and value the work that they’re doing. Even Comey’s last-minute action in 2016 seems to have been not a partisan attempt to help the Republicans but an attempt to avoid the appearance that they were helping the Democrats by hiding evidence. (Of course, that backfired spectacularly.)

                  • I’m not confident in the desire of people at the FBI to be seen to have probity; appearance and substance are two different things. If the bosses are pressuring the rank-and-file to tow the party line, which there can be no doubt they are, and sidelining the careers of those who don’t, which is happening across federal government departments, it won’t take long for law enforcement and military institutions to cave to the corruption. Following orders is the default setting of police and military institutions throughout history.

            • Burro (Mule) says

              Go pull Charles Canady out.

              Canady is true gentleman, someone who has been squeaky-clean his whole life, and a former Democrat. I would be so surprised if anybody could find a spot of dirt on him, and ideologically he’s probably to the right of everyone except Ted Cruz.

              What would happen if a strict originalist/deeply pro-life jurist with no hint of scandal in his past were nominated by Trump? Would we return to the 93-5 confirmations of my boyhood?

              I doubt it.

              But then, Trump is probably saving Canady for when Breyer or Ginsberg retire. THAT’S when you’ll really see the fireworks.

              • There’s no such thing as a strict originalist. That’s a fiction made up by conservatives.

                • Burro (Mule) says

                  No, it’s not.

                  I will agree with you that there is an inescapable exercise of historical imagination in all hermeneutic, theological or jurisprudential. but Canady has a neurological aversion to ‘penumbras’ in the law.

                  • Strict originalism is a misnomer maintained because it has political uses. There are only interpretative tendencies in one direction or another. Canady, who I’m unfamiliar with, may have an aversion to penumbras, but I’d bet that his rulings have cast plenty of shadows that somebody or other has had, or will have, to illumine.

                    • Burro (Mule) says

                      He has had his share of controversial rulings. In all of them, he has shown a desire to hew as closely as possible to what he believes to be the intent of either the legislators framing the law or the precedents of prior rulings.

                      It kind of pisses people off, like the guy who constantly pleads that people use a word in accordance with its dictionary meaning when ‘language obviously changes (but not fast enough to suit me)’.

                      Your political philosophy reminds me of the WHO? WHOM? method favored by Leninists. There is no right or wrong, or even due process, merely someone who benefits and someone who bends the knee or suffers the consequences.

                    • Oh, please. Project much?

        • Trump’s got something on Graham (threats to out him?) Graham was just acting in a way Trump respects and how he ordered. He did like a fool, though.

  6. Susan Dumbrell says

    I wrote a piece this week which I will take to my therapist on Wednesday.
    It is very simply a statement of my faith. I may get back to you.

    I don’t understand Quantum Mechanics etc etc. These are for the intelligentsia amongst us.
    A number of the latest postings, I have read all of them and understood very little.

    However, such horror, I fear I can now be among the straggling evangelicals who trail behind wondering what on earth or in heaven is being said to us on Internet Monk.

    I never thought of myself as thus. The arguments I read and the comments posted leave me wondering whose camp I am in.

    Susan

  7. ‘You don’t see that every day. A riveting partisan spectacle.’

    These days, we do in fact see this every day :/

  8. ‘Something you don’t see every day. A Hyper partisan spectacle.’

    I think we do in fact see that every day.

    • I think the key word was “riveting.” That was a singular moment, especially regarding the Supreme Ct.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Remember, Packing the Court with CHRISTIAN(TM) Justices who WILL Overturn Roe v Wade and Put Prayer Back In Our Schools (by any means necessary) has been the Holy Grail of American Christians since the founding of The Moral Majority. All or Nothing, God or Satan, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

        • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Republicans will never overturn Roe since it will cost them too many votes. They’ll appease both sides by talking big and doing nothing. But, they’ll still talk big and deceive those who actually take politicians at their word (Oh, he’s such a strong man of God, well, because he said so. He’s all for God and apple pie and babies and puppies and he goes to my sister’s church, and no church goer ever does anything wrong.)

          • I agree. If Roe were overturned the Republicans would lose their biggest bargaining chip. So they’ll continue to act tough and do nothing.

            • But sooner or later, the Republicans have to produce SOMETHING for the Christian far-right.

              If it’s not overturning R v. W
              then maybe the Party is going to increase the ‘religious liberties’ of fundamentalist/evangelicals in the way of policies that permit Dominionist agendas . . . anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Islam, anti-Semitic, and pro-white supremacy

              it’s amusing how much the religious ‘liberties’ of fundamentalist-evangelicals would impinge on the rights of regular Americans of all stripes

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “The Republicans will never overturn Roe…”

            But TRUMP might. The guy is impulsive, and his actually doing so would disrupt the long con the GOP has been pulling on the pro-life base.

            Note that “actually doing so” would be indirectly through a Supreme Court Pack. As the NRLC and ALL have been pushing as the One True Way. Only Franklin Graham and Court Evangelical Leaders would want him to stage a coup, declare martial law, and overturn by Presidential Decree. (In many ways, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr, and other Court Evangelicals make Trump himself seem very sedate in comparison. Like the Obama Fanboys who caused so much apprehension in 2008, more X-Treme than the guy they backed.)

        • I don’t think Kavanaugh’s appeal is his religiosity, but rather his Republicanism. Looking over his career, he seems to be the most partisan pick possible. He would never vote against the interests of the party.

  9. Thank you for the quote from Luke Timothy Johnson. It is not a good thing to keep quiet in the face of growing evil, but it is definitely a time to speak from and with the power of truth, which can only come from respect for reality and other persons.

  10. Susan, has the staff tried any ‘music and memory’ therapies with your husband? It seems to help some people who have suffered memory loss. Here is some info . . . it’s an Australian site:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnUSNbqtVJI

  11. Dan from Georgia says

    Great post Chaplain Mike. And no, I will not post my opinion on the Ford/Kavanaugh thing. This is not my hill to die on.

    • rhymeswithplague says

      I am from Georgia too, but this is NOT (to quote you, Dan) a “Great post Chaplain Mike”.

      CM, if you were trying on purpose (and for the record, I don’t think you were) to drive both newbies and long-time readers away from this increasingly closed community, you couldn’t be more successful than today’s political post. In the comments section, people are at each other’s throats except except for the ones prompted by Susan’s contribution (which is actually off-topic).

      Thanks a bunch.

      • Bob, sometimes ya gotta just talk about what’s real. And I gave everyone fair warning at the top, as well as many other articles to discuss. I won’t apologize for talking about real life and, for the most part, I found today’s discussion respectful and under control.

  12. Well the partisanship that Mike lamented is clearly on display here today. I’m not surprised really since the politics of most who comment on this site are pretty clear to the left. And mine are to the right, and so it is probably no surprise to everyone else that I think it is perfectly reasonable that a man would be angry over unsubstantiated claims of sexual misconduct ruining his reputation, and blaming the democrats who are entirely responsible for making this whole thing the spectacle it has become

    But here is the bigger issue; if this works for the democrats and they keep Kavanaugh off the bench, we have now set a precedent that all it would take to bring down a person we don’t like is an accusation that is both unproven and uncorroborated, and in which there is no way for the accused to prove his or her innocence (which shouldn’t have to be done anyway). In this accusation there is no date, there is no place, no named witness has any knowledge of any such event or party. The accuser has given conflicting details, can’t remember how she got there or how she got home. And yet scores of people are calling the man an attempted rapist and are happy to see his life ruined. I can’t say with 100 percent certainly who is telling the truth, but I can say I don’t want our country to become a place where it only takes an accusation without any corroboration or evidence to condemn someone.

    • A couple of things…

      1. I can understand his anger, but the partisan anger he showed was unbecoming for a judge. How can anyone trust that he will be unbiased when hearing cases from Democratic parties appealing to the Court?

      2. Given the process, there is no way to come to the truth of the matter. “He said, she said” accomplishes nothing. And those on the left and right are wrong in stating conclusions about guilt or innocence based on what we saw Thursday. That’s why I’m happy to see a few Republicans step away from partisanship and make an effort to have a better investigation before making a final judgment.

      • I think we all need to also understand that if the roles were reversed you would be pissed off also. Think about his wife and children hearing every day their Dad and husband is a rapist. The thought that this isn’t political is a joke. If the Dems were serious they would have released the letter 6 weeks ago to be investigated. The reason they didn’t was they were hoping to delay a vote until after the midterms. How sad and childish to play such games. Releasing the address of some members of Congress so they can be attacked at their homes is also sick. The release came from Congressional offices. If we do allow this to continue every person nominated Dem or Republican will go down if it takes only unsubstantiated claims. It doesn’t matter if I find someone credible if they have no real proof. God help us

        • “If the Dems were serious they would have released the letter 6 weeks ago to be investigated.” – I agree. If they sat on a viable accusation just to maximize the political impact, that’s almost as bad as the original abuse, because perhaps this could have been resolved before Dr Ford was put through the grinder.

          • Agreed. But if Ford was a credible witness to her own experience, as the Republican Committee members all said on Thursday, then whatever bad motivation Democrats had in the timing of the release of the information is immaterial. If it was worthy of investigation a month ago, then it is worthy of investigation now, no matter how or when it came to light. But the investigation is going to be a rush job, and at this point, why should anyone believe the FBI is non-partisan anymore than Trump does, especially since his administration has no doubt been quietly purging the FBI of staff that are not Trump-loyalists for the last year?

        • I have said I think the whole process was a partisan shame. My comments and position do not relieve the Democrats of responsibility. But as I said before, “he said, she said” cannot resolve anything. And who knows, maybe a further investigation won’t either. But we owe it to the country to try.

          • CM, We’ve reached a stage where I for one no longer have confidence in the federal institutions that govern us. The Court has lost tremendous legitimacy since it intervened in the Bush v Gore election (an intervention which I was fool enough to have zealously supported back then — now I see it as the epitome and pinnacle of unwarranted judicial activism!), the FBI and other government agencies are all being quietly purged of staff that is not loyal to Trump and of whatever non-partisan independence they had, the current occupant of the Oval Office is an international laughingstock and serial liar. And I’m not alone in my disillusionment and distrust. This FBI investigation will be given short shrift, and I and many others cannot believe it will be nonpartisan.

            • Although I share your pessimism in many ways, I still think the system is bigger and better than the politicians who so often sully it, and our institutions will win out in the end. I think a good first step would be more balance of power, and perhaps the mid-term elections will move us in that direction. It is my Christian faith that leads me to support bipartisanship, cooperation, and peacemaking for the common good, and I do not think, in a two party system, you can have that without more balance of power.

              • My Christian faith gives me no reason to believe in the independence, fairness, non-partisanship and objectivity of our governing federal institutions at this time. I see how a minority with political power and wealth can game the system so that any appearance of balance is illusory, and so meaningless.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  Then the only thing to do is to Make Sure OUR SIDE is the one in Total POWER gaming the system to stay on top. And in 2016, 81% of American Christians showed themselves to be on board with that.

                  • You have faith in the institutions? Then follow your conscience; I’ll follow mine, which tells me they are untrustworthy and lying. I have no intention of gaming anything, but I will vote in the midterms in a way that supports a balance of power/terror between the two parties. A stalemate is the best that can be achieved.

      • Mike,
        1. There is only one party responsible for everything that has happened here. If democrats took this accusation seriously they would have brought it up when it was the time to actually do so. We put people on the bench all the time who are clearly partisan in their opinions, and yet we expect them to treat each case without bias.
        2. What is further investigation supposed to accomplish other than more delay, which is all the democrats want? All the FBI can do is interview witnesses, who don’t have to agree to be interviewed, and who have already all given their sworn statements that they don’t remember any such event. They can’t even contradict themselves without committing perjury.

        • I do not agree that “we put people on the bench all the time who are clearly partisan in their opinions.” There is a difference between judicial philosophy and political philosophy. Judges should be chosen for their judicial philosophy and fair-mindedness. Many presidents and congresses have chosen court members who turned out to rule against their political policies. And in the past few years in particular, all of our politicians, Dems and Reps alike, have been guilty of politicizing the process.

          In my view, Judge Kavanaugh himself crossed some lines on Thursday. That doesn’t mean I think he’s guilty of what he’s being charged with —I have no way of knowing that because of a flawed process all around. Even an investigation may not yield the final answers, but it’s a step in the right direction.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        How can anyone trust that he will be unbiased when hearing cases from Democratic parties appealing to the Court?

        FEATURE, NOT BUG..
        TO THE VICTOR BELONG THE SPOILS.
        (Insert Bible Verses as needed.)

        Was it Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell Jr who was calling on Trump to declare Martial Law and liquidate all his opponents?

    • “I think it is perfectly reasonable that a man would be angry over unsubstantiated claims of sexual misconduct” – 1) this was not a criminal trial, this was a job interview, and for a job where character is a vital prerequisite. 2) despite the urban legends, women do not make accusations like this lightly. What’s happened to Dr. Ford since she came forward should put that argument to rest for good. 3) she was not the only accuser – in most cases, for abusers it’s a life pattern. 4) nothing about Judge Kavanaugh’s (or his defenders) reactions indicates that they take women’s point of view seriously, and I’ve seen these exact same reactionstime and again in cases where the man WAS guilty as sin. Apart from any judicial or political ramifications, that’s why I believe her, not him.

      “if this works for the democrats and they keep Kavanaugh off the bench, we have now set a precedent that all it would take to bring down a person we don’t like is an accusation that is both unproven and uncorroborated” – 1) after the Republican congress blatantly stonewalled acting on Obama’s appointee until after the 2016 election, this argument starts on the shaky ground of hypocrisy. 2) can it be SO hard to find ONE man who would represent conservative jurisprudence and not be vulnerable to charges of abuse? Or, hell, failing that, perhaps even nominating a *woman*?

      • 1. The idea that people keep spouting that “this was not a criminal trial so it is no big deal” is ridiculous. His reputation has been publicly ruined. It will have effects beyond whether or not he gets on the supreme court, and it could have been handled much earlier and avoided all of this circus. If someone did this to you, I believe you would be very angry.
        2. Women do come forward with false accusations. But Ford’s accusations don’t even have to be false, they could just be mistaken, and still be wrong, there is nothing backing them up.
        3. The other accusers are even worse that the Ford accusation. Kavanaugh has spent a lifetime working around women, having women work for him, and from what I’ve seen they all vouch for his character. That is his lifetime pattern
        4. The republicans on the committee basically bent over backwards to get Ford to testify and then treated her with kid gloves when she did. And now an FBI investigation that can do nothing more than interview the witnesses who have already given statements has been ordered. She has been given far more consideration and respect than Kavanaugh.

        1. I don’t blame Democrats for being mad about what Republicans did, but they didn’t try to ruin Garland’s life. They simply used their majority and took a gamble that Trump might win and get a candidate they liked. And Democrats, in the same position, would have done the very same thing. Not being willing to consider a candidate is not the same thing as sitting on a sexual assault allegation for over a month (when such questions should have been brought up) and revealing it at the last hour to create chaos.
        2. No, there is no one person, man or woman, who would not be vulnerable to an accusation that can’t be proven true or false. There is no evidence for this accusation, no corroboration. An actual court wouldn’t touch with a ten foot stick, and yet it threw this whole process into turmoil. So who could be safe from that? That’s the whole point.

        • 1) if he is an abuser, his reputation *deserves* to be ruined. And don’t forget, Dr. Ford’s is ruined as well. Does she come across as so partisan that she would destroy her and her family’s lives just to make a political statement?

          2) Statistically, there are FAR more true ones than false ones. And for every woman who has come forward, far more victims have remained silent. Read #whyididntreport.

          3) “From what I’ve seen…” Look harder.

          4) Yeah, arbitrary deadlines and declaring up front that her testimony won’t change their minds is bending over backwards. Not.

          If they had agreed to the FBI probe at the very beginning instead of going through this circus, I would have had more respect for them. And it would have been over already…

          1) so partisan tactics are ok as long as the Good Guys do it?

          2) yes, there are. Name me one woman candidate who could credibly be accused of sexual harrassment.

          • 1. Your key word there is “if”. I don’t believe for one second that Ford is ruined. She will be welcomed in with open arms and as a hero into any progressive institution in this country.
            2. Since statistically there are more true one than false ones which should just go ahead and lock up every man who is accused, why bother with a trial?
            3. I don’t need to look any harder, the information is all out there in the open.
            4. Deadlines have to be set. Otherwise it would never be brought to a conclusion, which is exactly what the democrats want.

            If democrats had brought the accusation from the beginning, it would have been a lot more credible. It is the timing of it that has made this whole thing stink from the beginning.

            1. I never said it was okay, but it certainly wasn’t as dirty as what is being done now.
            2. I can’t off the top of my head give you the name of any possible new candidates. I only know who Kavanaugh is because he was chosen. But there is no reason a man couldn’t come forward and claim to have been inappropriately touched, and also, the accusation doesn’t have to be sexual harassment.

            • “I don’t believe for one second that Ford is ruined. She will be welcomed in with open arms and as a hero into any progressive institution in this country.” Even if she ends up on some lecture circuit, that would not erase the trauma of being driven out of one’s home by death threats and being castigated as a liar and a rumormonger for daring to accuse a man of sbuse.

              “Since statistically there are more true one than false ones which should just go ahead and lock up every man who is accused,” – again, this Was. Not. A. Criminal Trial. And at the very least, we can start by assuming that the woman in these cases might actually be telling the truth, and not just accept a blithe denial by the man?

              3. Look elsewhere than Fox News then. I personally rely on the BBC and the Economist – a little distance from domestic party politics helps keep things in perspective.

              • 1.The benefits to Ford will outweigh the consequences in the long run. The same can’t be said for Kavanaugh.
                2. And again, just because it is not a criminal trial doesn’t mean there are not serious consequences. Statistics mean nothing in an individual case. Statistic also often get twisted. There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. We should never give up the presumption of innocence. How about we just go where the evidence leads? In this case, there has been no evidence, and the named witnesses don’t recall the party.
                3. Kavanaugh has had a multitude of women (who knew him well and worked with him and for him) vouch for his good character and a handful of uncorroborated, sometimes outlandish, accusations, only made at this point in his life. What have you learned at BBC that is any different?

                • Klasie Kraalogies says

                  Your first point is brimming with ignorance. I am acquainted with people that have been sexually assaulted/raped, some more than 3 decades ago. The pain, the anxiety, the fear, remains a problem, every single day. And in Dr Ford’s case, she realized before speaking that she has also garnered for her a permanent, immensely large group of haters, that will harass her for the rest of her life. You have an inkling of what that is like. Any single day you get up, you might be publically harassed, certain news outlets might publicize nasty lies about you, and yes, more death threats and even people attempting to execute those threats might occur. She would have negated all of that bu not speaking. She is obviously not a publicity speaker, given her knowledge and position.

                  • Many people have no inkling how painful and life-diminishing not just sexual abuse, but the memory of it is, for people who have experienced it. The struggle is lifelong, even for those who are able to not just survive but to do well in life.

                  • I don’t doubt the pain and fear victims experience. But I do dispute that in this particular situation there is absolutely zero potential gain for Ford. Yes there will be the nasty side you spoke of, a side which Kavanaugh and his family is also experiencing and will continue to experience as long as he dare shows his face in public. That side will largely die down in the months ahead. But there is also a side that will always view her as a hero and welcome her to be a speaker, a lecturer, write a book, or make a movie. If Ford is truly a victim I hope the truth is clearly revealed. And since they are going to do an investigation, if the FBI actually finds evidence to back her story I hope they will make Kavanaugh step down. But with what we’ve been given, I doubt that will actually happen. And it is just as possible that an entirely innocent man and his family has been dragged through the mud and will have a cloud over him the rest of his life. And that is something that many people are taking entirely too lightly.

                  • Jon you have covered the issue very well in all your post and are valid observations. Dr . Ford will do better in personal gain than Anita Hill has which is pretty good. I do think Dr Fordhas many personal issues that will come out someday Ifind your comments brimming with fact and reason

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            1) so partisan tactics are ok as long as the Good Guys do it?

            Remember the GOP has come to stand for GAWD’S OWN PARTY.
            Since the days of the original Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority.
            By now it’s distilled down into “GAWD OR SATAN, WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?????”

        • I have to agree with Jon’s points.

        • You can agree with Ford or with Kavanaugh, but the tide is turning. Victims will stand up more and more, entitled mentality will be tolerated less and less, and at the risk of being accused as a “progressive,” I’m going to use the P word: privilege will erode more and more. People are actually going to have to act right and will be called accountable for when they don’t (I know, I know, this is an attack on manhood…said no real, strong man ever).

          • We can hope.

          • Good comment. But the argument that women are ‘attacking manhood’ when they try to stand up for the sake of their own human dignity leads me to think that the ‘men’ accusing the women have no clue what really honorable manhood is all about.

    • Jon, if this is so (your last main point), then why wasn’t it tried with Gorsuch?

      • Gorsuch is the Achilles tendon on this question.

      • Gorsuch didn’t fundamentally change the character of the court. Kennedy could be relied upon to follow the left in the issue of abortion and sexuality. Kavanaugh can’t, and that changes the character of the court. Therefore it is a bigger deal. If republicans maintain control of the senate, and something happens to another justice during Trump’s presidency, I expect this will only get worse.

        Which also goes to show that we have given too much control to the courts. They are not supposed to legislate, but cowardly congressmen would rather let the courts make the big decisions. It could legitimately be argued that the supreme court is the whole reason Trump won.

    • Kavanaugh’s deportment during the questioning was ample reason for me to think him completely temperamentally unfit to do the job of Supreme Court justice. Until that performance, my mind was open, even given the compelling testimony of Ford. But a raging, undisguised partisan hack with a paranoid axe to grind against the Democratic Party would have to recuse himself from too many cases in which Democratic political litigants were involved.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      And another point. This why an independent investigation should have been launched the moment these allegations came to light. But no: In the all-consuming drive to get him in the seat, we got a really ugly alternative. If he is innocent, he will never be trusted. If he is not, his accuser was dragged through enormous pain and fear.

      The original problem (with the hearing, that is) lies with the mindless drive to get “our guy” on to the bench.

      • Again, the blame is being put on the republicans. An independent investigation should have been launched the minute Diane Fienstien received the letter. It was the way these allegations came to light that caused so much doubt in the first place.

      • The original problem (with the hearing, that is) lies with the mindless drive to get “our guy” on to the bench.

        They need their justice on the bench post haste to rule that Trump as president can’t be indicted for criminal charges.

  13. As civics and USA taught is no longer taught in detail in most public schools this lack of knowledge about the duties and functions of our three part federal government is showing its effect. The President is the only elected official that is directly elected by the American voters. As it is now a sound bite but President Obama had it right as he told the Maverick “election have consequences”. Actually Coach K, as his girls basketball team call him, was correct, the duty of advise and consent has turned into search and destroy, a tactic employed mainly by the Democrats. Go back and look at the hearings for Sotomeyer and Kagan, who the Republicans did not agree with but they were confirm quickly , not attacked and got most Senators votes , as they were qualified. The Democrats started destroy tactics with Bork and now his name is a adjective.
    Actually Kavanaugh is a Bush guy in philosophy and not Trump’s first pick except for his high qualifications, that are outstanding so we get this line of attack but is a made up lie and smear. Trump likes Diane Sykes and Joan Larsen who are on his list but are far more conservative in philosophy than Coach K.
    This is another assault on the under lying principles of American Justice and law, that you are innocent until proven guilty, that does not only apply in the courtroom but our society, in education settings, in workplace settings and in our culture, it was a foundational concept. The accused does not have to prove their innocence .

    This is never been a typical she said , he said case. She says with no date, time , place or details with no witness to add validate to her claim but actually not supporting her claim while he has witnesses who support his story.
    Ford lawyers never told her the committee would come to her in private so she could remain private. Why did they not tell her? Why did they leak her name? Why did they not bring this forward sooner

    This is the Democrats putting politics above the good of the country, period. Sad period for the American judicial system.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      For what it’s worth, there was a study that showed that among Millenials, the favorite form of government was “Strong Leader”.

      One SF fan contact of mine predicted the USA would have a dictator some time in the century, “Ave Caesar!” He first placed it (when working out a future history outline for his stories which paralleled the Roman Republic) around 2040-2050; he’s now giving it even odds by 2020. At which point, the only thing that matters is which side takes over first and ends up Holding the Whip.

  14. seneca griggs says

    Globalization. The World-wide conspiracy whereby countries who hate us get to keep their hands in our pockets.

    • Amerihttps://internetmonk.com/archive/83099?replytocom=1121542#respondca Firstism: the national conspiracy whereby the U.S. gets to keep its hands, and military, in other country’s resources and territory, whether they like it or not.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      “Globalization “. The word that gets the conspiracy theorists on both sides going ad infinitum.

    • Don’t do history much, eh? Anti-globalism is the cause of most wars. See…most wars.

    • Globalization. The World-wide conspiracy whereby reality encroaches upon our nationalist fantasies.

  15. Klasie Kraalogies says

    The really troublesome thing to me is the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that indicated that

    “54% of Republicans believe Kavanaugh should be confirmed even if the accusations prove to be true”

    Just think about that for a moment.

    • That is troubling, considering both what the accusations are, and that would also mean he lied about them.

    • For the majority, it’s all about power, not truth.

    • Hello Klasie,

      I think it’s true because so many evangelicals overlooked Trump’s evil and Kavanaugh is Trump’s man.

      A LOT of Republicans and Evangelicals use each other’s labels interchangeably, sad to say.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        A LOT of Republicans and Evangelicals use each other’s labels interchangeably…

        Which further confuses the whole issue —
        didn’t Screwtape write in praise of NOISE?

        And these days, guys like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr are going out of their way to make Jesus Christ sound like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GOP or Trump Tower.

    • Yep. One of many reason why I’m a former Republican and current Independent.

    • Troubling? Yes. Surprising? Unfortunately, No.

  16. Klasie Kraalogies says

    One last, very fundamental question: Why is it that people in the US think it is perfectly ok to have judges with overt political leanings, and here I mean to include all side? Who thought it ok to have this party’s judges and that party’s judges? And to try and swing the balance in their favour?

    No wonder the rest of the world, and here I am serious, think the US justice system quite often resembles a clown car.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Why is it that people in the US think it is perfectly ok to have judges with overt political leanings, and here I mean to include all side? Who thought it ok to have this party’s judges and that party’s judges? And to try and swing the balance in their favour?

      Two words:
      WE. WIN.

  17. While I agree that the Kavanaugh hearing was a display of hyper-partisanship, what we should really be talking about is the shift that’s happening in our cultural norms around sexual assault. The sad truth is that until very recently, the sorts of things Kavanaugh is accused of doing would have been excused as “boys being boys” and not even taken seriously. And int he same way, until recently powerful men like Cosby (or Trump) could assault women with impunity because their power protected them.

    We’re in the midst of a clash of two different cultural understandings of gender. The older cultural norm that is now losing support sees women as objects to be controlled, used, or exploited by men for their gratification. The new cultural norm, growing in power, sees men and women as equals. And people who have lived their whole lives socialized to that old cultural norm are suddenly shocked and horrified by how the rest of our society sees them. That’s a seismic cultural shift that may actually have much longer-lasting effects than *anything* that’s happened in the last few years (the Trump presidency included).

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Thanks for that Michael. A very important point. The long term trend is very much in the right direction.

    • Michael Z. Good observations but Trump has never been accused of assualting women. Trump may pay them, use his persona and is amoral or immoral but no woman has ever accused Trump of assualt that I am aware of. Trump is like many things but his ego would prevent him from force or drugs like the jello man.

      • Um, actually Trump was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women, remember? Unless you don’t count “grabbing them by the —–” to be assault. (And if you don’t think it is, that’s exactly the cultural divide that I’m talking about – that some people think the kind of acts that Trump bragged about are just innocent fun, boys being boys, or normal “locker room” behavior.)

        • Michael Z talk with Billy Bush is talk not assualt. No one has ever even accused Trump of sexual attack. Yes , the culture is changing and a new normal will develop . Too many issues are being conflated into the Kavanaugh hearing. I fondly remembers ladies night at the bars, how sexist but we thought it great including the ladies.

          There is such a thing as locker room talk even at my clubs locker room where the average age Is 112 years old BTW look at the complete billy bush tape. Trump went he got off bus gave the young lady a peck on the cheek like a schoolboy and told her Melanie wiould not mind,action did not match locker room talk

          • “I fondly remembers ladies night at the bars, how sexist but we thought it great including the ladies.”

            I think you would be shocked if you knew what those ladies *really* thought of your sexist “fun”.

            • Eeyore, the ladies were there on their own free will. They were as much a part of the dating game and were equal and actually in control of the outcome. It was no more sexist than giving a senior citizen discount or a kids meal to attract a certain customer demographic. The ladies at ladies night were strong, powerful and unfortunately for john Barry choosey.,

          • More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, including one of his former wives. There are literally so many allegations that there’s an entire Wikipedia page listing them all. If you’re not aware of that, either you just don’t read the news or you have a disturbingly narrow definition of what constitutes sexual assault. I’m beginning to suspect the latter.

            And “locker room talk” is not innocent. It’s all of a piece – abusers treat sexual assault like a joke in order to create an atmosphere where it is normalized, and in order to signal to each other that they find that sort of behavior acceptable and aren’t going to call someone out on it or report them.

            If any of my friends in high school or in college (or any time since then, for that matter) ever talked about women the way Trump did on that tape, they would’ve been met with shocked silence and had *all* of us explain quite forcefully to them that it’s not appropriate to joke like that. That’s not normal behavior, it’s not moral, and it’s not in any way acceptable. Talk and attitudes like that are how the next generation of Brock Turners get shaped into abusers. And as Christians, we should be taking a stand against that kind of dehumanizing language any time we encounter it, not making excuses for it.

        • Trump is a great example of a christian for some other christians–the bar has become pretty low for some christians IMO.

    • Mike Z….

      I loved your analysis. I think you’re spot-on about this being a clash between old “accepted behaviors” and newly viewed “unacceptable” behaviors.

      Question for the panel (and perhaps the thing I’m struggling with the most):

      Should people be vilified for their behaviors in the past that were once deemed “acceptable” but are now deemed “unacceptable”?

      (What seems to be missing most from these cases is: a) contrition on the part of the offending party; b) forgiveness on the part of the offended party.)

      • “Should people be vilified for their behaviors in the past that were once deemed “acceptable” but are now deemed “unacceptable”?”

        The Nuremburg Trials were entirely premised on that idea

      • I’m a progressive and find Kavanaugh troublesome for other reasons. But if he had responded to Ford by saying, “Yes, this is true, I was an alcoholic in high school and I now feel terrible about how I treated women back then,” I honestly don’t think it would have been appropriate to hold his high school behavior against him. The important question is who he is now, not who he was 36 years ago.

        But if the allegations are true and he does *not* feel bad about what he did, or has convinced himself that it wasn’t such a big deal, or that everyone did it, or that the alcohol was to blame, or that the sort of belligerence he was apparently know for was manly and good, that *is* disqualifying in my mind. The problem is that once someone has been socialized to treat women like objects, he can learn to mask that misogyny without ever really facing or repenting of it. And it ends up coming out in much more subtle but equally destructive ways. And that’s how you end up with a culture and a legal system that defends abusers rather than defending victims.

    • The new cultural norm, growing in power, sees men and women as equals.

      Michael Z, I don’t think that’s growing in power among evangelicals. Witness the complementarian movement, the rise of which has been engineered by the largest denomination, the Southern Baptists. Male-only leadership in evangelical churches has become understood as the only biblical model. It’s in our vocabulary; it’s in our literature; it’s in our quasi-trinitarian theology with talk of “subordination.”

      Not really off-topic. Evangelicals have contributed greatly to the current mess.

  18. senecagriggs says

    Personally, I would fail the sane teenage boy test. Yeah, that wasn’t me.

  19. Where is Jesus in these hearings? Surely he is with the victim and the downtrodden, so doesn’t He stand with Dr. Ford? He is the Great Advocate and stands with the accused, so doesn’t He also stand with judge Kavanaugh? Jesus Himself was brought up on credible charges even though He was innocent.

    • This!

      Christ is nowhere to be seen, that’s for sure. The Babylon Bee headline said it best: Minds have already been made up, even amongst Christians. No one is allowing Jesus to enter the room. No one.

      Politics are becoming more and more divisive. The devil is just loving what’s going on in our nation right now, pushing sane people further and further apart. I mentioned in a post a few days ago this idea that maybe our minds are more “hacked” than we know. This Kavanaugh stuff has me believing it more and more: our minds have been hacked.

      • “Where is Jesus in these hearings?” is not a helpful question, even for Christians.

        First of all, because the separation between the government and someone’s religious views is getting stricter by the decade, none of the senators is going to go very far in terms of referencing religion of any kind, and remain credible among their peers. In fact, there was a whole lot of bias and negativity against Amy Barrett during her hearing (which I watched), based not on her judicial record (which did exist, though her experience was not extensive enough for confirmation) but because of what she said to co-religionists at a church gathering. EVERYONE believes something “religiously”, even non-religious people. The fear-based, party line questioning like that connected to Judge Barrett’s religious views – which has increased as the Supreme Court has become more politicised – is scary. Our salvation doesn’t come from a political system, even a democratic republic with high ideals. But those very ideals, which came out of the values of the Judeo-Christian point of view, are under assault now – not from armed revolutionaries, but from extremists on all sides who don’t understand what free speech is about. There’s a lot wrapped up in the current cultural ball of wax, and I don’t think it has much at all to do with Jesus.

        Second of all – and I don’t know what or how to believe in the Ford/Kavanagh situation, not talking about that – most abusers have been abused. Wouldn’t Jesus have been present with *that* abused child, too? Wouldn’t Jesus be present with that person in his/her current misery of carrying on that abuse? Of course Jesus would not condone abusive acts and would want the perpetrators restrained. But what, exactly, makes us think he is not nonetheless in EVERY Hell people construct, even for themselves?

        It’s not that simple. It’s not that black and white. We must pray for all.

        Dana

        • Christ not being present was more of a lament than a question, and I’m not speaking about Jesus’ absence in judgements or governmental systems, I’m talking “not present in any of the players.” Flake is just about the only person who is visibly displaying any sort of Jesus stuff, and I’m not sure he’s even a believer.

          –> “It’s not that simple.”

          Good grief, if my post gave the impression I thought this issue was simple, I apologize. As I texted my sister earlier, this is one of the most complicated issues I’ve ever witnessed. I think Satan is reveling where he has our nation right now, divided and angry. That’s where I sense the absence of Christ, even in Christians. Everyone’s playing the devil’s game.

          We must pray for all indeed.

          • I get the lament, Rick, I really do!

            No, not so much your comment as the general tenor of the discussion. I’m not sure what it will take for some sanity, except for reasonably sane people to keep calm and pray.

            D.

        • Our salvation doesn’t come from a political system, even a democratic republic with high ideals. But those very ideals, which came out of the values of the Judeo-Christian point of view…

          Partly. But they derive equally from the values of Classical Greek and Roman civilization, with an expanded franchise, of course, not just limited to aristocracy as they were in that era.

          • Yes, sure. Greek and Roman values were in view, as literate people in the European Classical period, when our nation was being birthed, rediscovered ancient texts that had been translated during the Renaissance, and admired those values. Just saying that the whole idea of “human rights” was more derivative from Christianity and Judaism than it was from the ethos of ancient Greece and Rome.

            D.

  20. a dead cat roadside
    black and white under blue sky
    worthy of lament

  21. senecagriggs says

    Should Kavanaugh be disallowed from coaching his girl’s soccer team?

    • Seneca, please heed the warning at the beginning of today’s post. I’m smelling gas.

      • senecagriggs says

        Don’t like the question Mike?

      • senecagriggs says

        That question was actually brought up in USA Today Mike.

        • It’s a silly question. He hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything.

          • The question is exceedingly silly. It would be better question if re-worded:

            “Would you feel comfortable having Kavanaugh coach YOUR daughter’s soccer team?”

            Best case: Kavanaugh was a frequent drunken a-hole in high school and college, but in his adulthood has turned his life around and is a model citizen and father.

            Worst case: He’s what Ford says he is and a pattern of drunken a-hole-ness is still a part of who he is.

            My guess he’s somewhere in-between. There appears to be no pattern of bad behavior into his adulthood, otherwise that would’ve popped up by now, but there’s no doubt he was a major drunken jerk in his past. Whether or not his drunken a-hole-ness extends to the level Ford accuses him of is a matter of debate (and in which every has already judged him innocent and guilty).

            I’m sure there a plenty of people like Kavanaugh who are coaching girls’ soccer teams out there. Am I comfortable with the notion that my daughter’s soccer team is coached by guys like this? Umm…

  22. Trump is an embarrassment. Unfortunately it’s hard to laugh. But once again he’s a symptom not the disease. The disease a fat stupid lazy indifferent population who expects everything to work perfectly by default without any effort on their part.

    • I think Mike Z had it closer – there are a lot of angry white people out there who don’t like that the world is moving beyond their comfort zones. And they are willing to support anyone, no matter how odious, who will promise to turn back the clock.

    • Patriciamc says

      And a population so used to the reality-TV mindset that everything now has to be OUTRAGEOUS, SALACIOUS, EXTREME, SENSATIONAL, etc. So, that’s the kind of president we got, and that’s how you have senators having hissy fits in hearings.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        You’ll know “the Reality TV mindset” has hit the point of no return when he nominates Honey Boo-Boo for the Supreme Court. (Parker & Stone, that statement’s Open Source.)

      • +1

  23. “Reasonable people can question the way Senate Democrats handled Ford’s allegations when she first came forward. But the notion—which is attractive to people in the respectable center—that there was some calm, polite, collegial way to arbitrate her charges is a myth. They could have been buried calmly and politely. But they could not have been arbitrated calmly and politely because Ford’s charges are dangerous. They’re dangerous to conservative hopes of achieving a majority on the Supreme Court and they’re dangerous to the many powerful men whose careers would be ruined were they accountable for their abuse of women. Kavanaugh and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee know that. And they have learned from President Trump that when women or people of color endanger your status, it doesn’t work to play nice.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/kavanaugh-hearings-show-nation-crisis-not-decline/571732/