Vergangenheits-Bewältigung in America

found online by Raymond

From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

This year represents the 25th anniversary of one of the great enduring memes of modern American culture and politics. In his thundering speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, former Nixon hatchet man and Adolf Hitler admirer-turned GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan darkly warned of a “cultural war” already underway, one he deemed a “struggle for the soul of America.” After Buchanan concluded by proclaiming that “block by block … we must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country,” the late humorist Molly Ivins joked:

Many people did not care for Buchanan’s speech. It probably sounded better in the original German.

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Roy Moore and the Holy War on the Right

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

What’s striking to me is how closely the divide over Moore on the right correlates with the religious/secular divide. The very people who generally exhibit an outright obsession with Christianity’s sexual taboos are going all out to defend a man plausibly accused of sexual misbehavior that would have them foaming at the mouth with condemnation in most cases. It’s reminiscent of their willingness to overlook Trump’s sexual and other moral transgressions.

This isn’t really so surprising. First, they’ve had plenty of previous opportunities to practice such hypocrisy. Consider the many leading Christian Right personalities who have been caught in illicit behavior — Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, George Rekers, Josh Duggar, Ted Haggard, a few zillion Catholic priests, and on and on. Nor are such transgressions rare among less-prominent clerical figures. But the importance Christianity gives to repentance and forgiveness provides a ready-made template for cutting the holy men plenty of slack, while that same fixation on the mental state of the “sinners” leaves little room for attention to their victims, who are reduced to mere stage props for the central story of the victimizer’s fall and redemption. Moore, whose long record of vehement hostility to gay rights, abortion, and separation of church and state puts most fundie preachers in the shade, fits this template perfectly.

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The Absurd Collapse of the American Ideal

We heard it as an impromptu bit of indelicate phrasing:

He was President, The World Trade Center came down during his reign.

Candidate Donald Trump, February 13, 2016

He was President, okay? Don’t blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was President.

Americans were taken aback at the brashness of the accusation, at the casual way it was tossed into the debate. President George W. Bush was responsible for the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

There was a factual basis for the accusation. It was not simply the most reported incident, the President’s Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001. A month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush heard the summary which began this way:

Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US

It was not only his dismissive response:

All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.

The institutional temptation is understandable. A new administration assumes office promising a change in national direction. Warnings, even desperate warnings, from the outgoing administration are easy to brush aside. The pleas to deal with the threat of terrorism were dismissed with derisive laughter.

Bill Clinton and his National Security team had practically begged President Bush and his people to take international terrorism seriously. They were brushed off. Agents that had been focused on stopping attacks were reassigned. Budgets were reduced. Programs were discontinued.

Donald Trump had historical evidence on his side. The gasp at the attack on a fellow Republican, the last Republican President, went beyond his words.

Headlines were all variations of the same note:

Trump blames George W. Bush for 9/11

Even now the real significance is hidden in the shock of accusation. The candidate described the time the previous Republican President had spent in office this way:
Continue reading “The Absurd Collapse of the American Ideal”

Back to the Front

found online by Raymond

From Vincent at A Wayfarer’s Notes:

We just got back from the Remembrance Day Parade in town. There was a biting wind. In previous years we’ve attended the church service, but today it was enough to watch the march-past, the saluting of and by the senior officers; to see the Mayor, aldermen, bigwigs, old soldiers and uniformed youth. We were dressed soberly, wore poppies on our lapels; consciously commemorated those who died defending our country from real or imagined threats; listened to the Last Post played on the bugle; observed a two-minute silence; glimpsed the laying of wreaths; heard and and felt the gusts of wind through the streets, a weird roaring and moaning which shook the trees and reminded us that for all our fancy dress and posturing, untamed nature still rules. The only human sounds were restless babies. It was worth going for the dignified silence, the sense of unity, the respect, the lack of discordant incident. While hurrying home to warmth and comfort, we reassured ourselves and one another that it was worthwhile coming. We’ll go on doing it while we can. The year before last, an elderly woman laid her wreath at the war memorial in the churchyard, along with all the others, then collapsed and died. I don’t know who she was, but it was as if she’d stayed alive by willpower for this one last deeply personal thing. Thus we construct our own meanings, in life and in death. Like those who fell, in every war.

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Both Sides Suck

found online by Raymond

From PZ Myers:

Sean Hannity has been defending creepy hebephile Roy Moore, so people have been calling for advertisers to pull their ads from the Hannity show. One advertiser who has done so is Keurig, which has been prompting the triggered snowflakes on the right to #boycottkeurig. Suddenly I’m seeing angry videos of right-wingers throwing Keurig machines from balcony windows or shooting them with shotguns. It’s absurd.

But what is equally absurd is that I’m seeing liberals declaring that they’re going to buy Keurig machines, or trade in their Nestle equivalent for a Keurig, or are celebrating by drinking coffee from their Keurig. Aaaaargh.

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Republicans Get Dragged by Trump’s Unpopularity

found online by Raymond

From Jonathan Bernstein:

But of course President Donald Trump is not fairly popular; he’s the most unpopular president at this stage of his presidency in the polling era, and if we restrict it to elected presidents (excluding Gerald Ford) he’s the most unpopular by a wide margin.

Even though some of the specifics of Tuesday’s elections were surprises, the overall result wasn’t. Everything we’ve seen over the last nine months indicated that Democratic energy is high; they are recruiting tons of candidates; and Trump is dragging down candidates all over, with Democrats picking up several state legislative seats and beating their previous margins (on average) in all U.S. House and state legislative specials. You’re going to see a ton of analysis about it, but it’s really very simple: This is what happens when a president is unpopular.

So what can Republicans do?

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Voters for Donald Trump Owe My Children an Apology

found online by Raymond

From North Carolina pastor John Pavlovitz:

If you voted for Donald Trump, you owe my children an apology.

You owe them an apology for making them grow up with a hateful, incompetent, petulant, predatory monster as their President.

For placing their safety in the hands of an impulsive child, who trolls world leaders with nuclear weapons and wields our military like an insecure coward brandishes a gun at a party.

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