Taxing Trump — Making America Tariff-ic Again

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 16th 2024

zeppscommentaries.online

Donald is bad enough when he isn’t sounding like Grandpa Simpson on meth. It’s deeply alarming when this 78 year old dimwit prattles on about batteries and sharks. He has somehow concluded that an electric powered boat is far more hazardous in an accident because of the batteries, and you would get electrocuted before the sharks get you. Never mind that all boats with engines have batteries anyway, or that the sharks would get electrocuted, too. Windmills murder birds and cause cancer, it seems, although Trump tower has killed its share of birds and listening to Trump might make you wish you had cancer.

It’s when he drifts from the evils of conservation to the virtues of economic policy where he gets truly terrifying. Its bad enough when he rails about the national debt (40% of which came from his tax policies) or the horrible cost of “illegal” immigrants (who actually ADD about $1.3 trillion a year to the US economy) but now he’s decided that he, and he alone, can fix the cost of paying for the United States to be a going concern.

His proposed solution to our fiscal woes? Eliminate all federal income taxes. You know: our national revenue. Libertarians have come up with variations on that over the years going on the lunatic notion that the best way to cut household expenses is by quitting your job. It’s a reasonable idea: in fairly short order, you’ll no longer have any household expenses. Or any household.

But even Donald understands that government has to pay for stuff. So he proposes to fund the government through tariffs.

Tariffs are basically a tax on imported goods. Donald likes to pretend that the tariffs are a tax on importers, and not the American people, and hopes that none of his brain-dead supporters will stop to consider that importers will raise their prices to compensate, and those increased prices WILL be assayed against the consumers in America. Donald has spoken of a 10% across the board tariff on all imported goods. The US imports about $4 trillion a year, so that would be $400 billion in tariff revenues.

For 2025, the White House projects that revenue from income taxes will be about $2.6 trillion. Payroll taxes are about $2.2 trillion, and corporate taxes would be about $467 billion. (Fifty years ago, corporate taxes were about 60% of federal revenues—and corporations did just fine!) Call it $5.267 trillion in revenues.

It’s not real likely that Donald will keep payroll taxes, since destroying Social Security and Medicare has long been a republican dream. And if you have a calculator capable of multiplying by zero, you can get a good estimate of the chances he’ll want to keep corporate taxes going.

Now, the astute observer may have noted that $5.267 trillion is a larger number than $400 billion. In fact, it’s about thirteen times bigger.

Which means cuts would have to be made. One mandatory payment is interest on the national debt, of which over 80% was created by Republican policies and misadventures, and half of THAT by Donald Trump alone. Those interest payments are about $967 billion a year.

Let’s see: $400 billion minus $967 billion leaves…hmmm.

OK, so we cut EVERYTHING, and we are still in the hole by $567 billion a year. Tch. No military, so social programs, sell the capitol building, get rid of all regulatory agencies, no federal economic development, none of these public schools nonsense. Churches can take all that over, right? There’s about 70 million people who get social security, and for a large majority of them, that’s all that separates them from homelessness and starvation. Churches are gonna be busy, busy, busy.

Some people might take a negative view of that, being people and all. Banks will have huge on-paper wealth from all the homes they’ll foreclose on by the millions until they find out the homes can’t be sold because everyone is broke. Then they all crash, including the ones Donald owes money to. He’ll like that.

Well, Donald does have a solution. Bigger tariffs on countries he doesn’t like, which is pretty much all of them except Russia. He has already suggested a 50% tariff on all cars from China. Given how much he loves countries south of here or in Africa, expect him to levy huge tariffs there.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. Other countries might take exception, and impose tariffs of their own. The technical term for this is “trade war” and it’s destroyed many economies.

The US exports about $3.3 trillion a year. Losing a chunk of that to an economy already reeling from an economic slow-down of over $10 trillion a year and tens of millions starving isn’t going to be very helpful. The good news is it can’t do that much more damage.

Ever seen the Mad Max movies? Consider them to be the blueprint for Donald’s Five Year Plan.

If Trump gets elected, buy all the salt, spices, bullets and cat food you can. You’re gonna need it.

Going to the Dogs — The party of mutt sluts

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 5th 2024

The saga of
Kristi Noem and her dead puppy keeps staying in the news. It isn’t
because gleeful Democrats are hyping the story. It’s because Noem
herself won’t back down, and just keeps digging herself into an
ever-deeper hole. First she tried implying that she didn’t know
the story survived the first draft and shouldn’t have been in the
book. The classic Scooby-Doo “If it weren’t for you meddling
kids” defense. That blew up when it came out that she did the
audiobook herself—including the happy tale of the demise of
Cricket. The initial “farmers have to made hard choices” excuse
died stillborn when she wrote, “I really hated that dog.”

Now
she’s pointing to Biden’s German shepherd, Champion, who
reportedly bit a dozen or so Secret Service agents. She’s saying
that Biden should have shot the dog. She didn’t say if Biden
should have dispatched Champion live from the oval office, or in
front of a joint session of Congress (it really could have been an
excellent opportunity for Biden to turn to the Republican side and
say, “If the Supreme Courts says I have absolute immunity, you lot
are next.”). Maybe Biden could have discussed responsible pet
ownership while in the backdrop behind him, a couple of vengeful
secret service agents stuffed a yelping Champion into a running wood
chipper. It would have given Biden true Sarah Palin cred, you know?

But
Noem, Republican to her empty core, refuses to back down, still
hoping she can turn it into a campaign where she is the innocent
victim of “woke” libs. Maybe she could have took a flamethrower
to a couple of live kittens just to show she can’t be bullied by
lunatic leftist pansies and commies.

But
even Donald Trump, yes, Donald Fucking Trump, wondered aloud what was
wrong with her. It takes real talent to make him feign being
appalled. This is the guy who ripped off a children’s cancer
charity, right? His standards are...flexible.

To
be sure, his reaction is performance art. He’s probably watching
to see if she survives the political storm, and even though she
didn’t get invited to Donald’s meat parade of Veep picks for
billionaires, she’s probably still on his list. He doesn’t care
how vile she is. In fact, he prefers vile. He just wants to know
how mindlessly loyal she would be. His last Veep toad was such a
disappointment, you know.

His
fans, while shrinking, are even more vehement. They adore it when he
behaves like a pig. That’ll show those libs! They push for worse
and worse behavior from GOP candidates, since viciousness, cruelty,
rudeness and pure arrogant stupidity are seen as virtues among those
deplorables. After all, those are what Trump expects from his
closest minions. Michael Cohen wasn’t his main lawyer for twenty
years because Cohen was a nice guy. He was as dirty and nasty as any
mafia torpedo. His autobiography could have just as easily been
titled “...But Take the Cannoli.”

Meanwhile,
Republicans keep vilifying refugees, immigrants, Muslims,
African-Americans, and now students. Never mind that America’s
Nazi population have all gravitated to the GOP; Republicans are
attacking all critics of Netanyahu as being “anti-Semitic” even
though most of them value Israel for the demented Bible-based
Revelation belief that the state of Israel must exist in order for
the Rapture to occur. Jews are just God bait in their eyes.
Netanyahu isn’t their friend, but he is chum. Trump praises people
who are Nazis as “very fine people” and attacks critics of Israel
and in his base, at least, gets away with it.

AIPAC
support Trump, of course.

What
Trump supporters don't understand is that supporting him doesn't
automatically make them safe in his New World Order. History suggests
the opposite, in fact. Strongman leaders know their truest believers
are gullible, feckless, erratic, easy to manipulate, and unreliable.
After all, they already betrayed their country once. So unless Trump
supporters can find a way fast to make themselves useful to the new
Fuhrer, he's just going to throw them away like used condoms. Read
recent history: the early years of Lenin, Hitler, and Mao. They
quickly filled the camps with their truest believers, and executed
many more. Look up “Night of the Long Knives.”

The
corporate execs who back Trump doubtlessly think they can control him
once he takes office. But Trump sees them as a useful prop. He
isn’t going to reciprocate their loyalty, and once his mass
deportations and tariffs create a Great Depression, he’ll blame
them bitterly for the chaos and deprivation his policies have caused.
If the Supreme Court has anointed him King at that point, expect him
to start hanging CEOs publicly.

Oh,
yes, and Republican office-holders can feel free to resume shooting
puppies in this Brave New World. It’s not like they’ll be good
for anything else under Glorious Leader. They will be justice of
Champions. And not playing proper Cricket to do so.

FOOTNOTE:
After I wrote this but prior to publishing it, I came across this,
from Sophia Cai, national politics reporter for Axios:

"Trump
says he loves Kristi Noem despite puppy killing controversy, per
Mar-a-Lago audio obtained by Axios," she reported Sunday.

“In the audio, Trump at a private luncheon commented on each of the following lawmakers, giving some insight into his thinking,” according to her published report.

The article reveals that Trump’s response to Noem was that the GOP governor is, “Somebody that I love. She’s been with me, a supporter of mine and I’ve been a supporter of hers for a long time.”

See? Told you his outrage was fake.

AI in the Trenches — Generative vs Creative

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 2nd, 2024

Peter Cawdron is one of the most prolific writers around. Since 2011, he’s written 27 novels with the common theme of First Contact, and with two exceptions, all are stand-alone works, each with its own world, cast of characters, and aliens. Quite often the premise is based on the outline of a science fiction classic (“Ghosts,” the exploration of a seemingly dormant extrastellar object, borrows the premise from Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rendezvous with Rama” but, like all of Cawdron’s novels, is a wholly original take.) He also has at least 12 other novels, plus several compilations of short fiction, and has edited several anthologies. By any metric, it’s an extraordinarily prodigious output. In a review of his next-to-latest offering, “The Artifact” I remarked that he made Stephen King look like George RR Martin.

You might think that with a production load like that, Cawdron is just another by-the-numbers potboiler hack. You couldn’t be more wrong.

His latest is a novel that gives a nod to “Anatomy of Courage: The Classic WWI Study of the Psychological Effects of War” written by Winston S. Churchill’s personal doctor, Sir Charles Watson, Lord Moran. Cawdron’s novel depicts the brutality, ugliness and futility of trench warfare. I’ll be reviewing it on zeppjamiesonfiction.com later this week for anyone interested. Like his previous half-dozen books, this one is superior.

Cawdron always has an afterword to his novels which is worth reading. He’ll discuss the scientific theory underlying that particular story, explain how it was influenced by a classic work of hard SF, and discuss the political and social elements. He’ll often assert a personal note about his own thoughts and feelings as he wrote the story. They make for engaging sequelae.

In his “Anatomy of Courage,” he noted that based on the quality of his past half dozen novels, all written in a year, some people were gossiping online that he was using AI – artificial intelligence – to write the books, that he couldn’t have possibly done all that quality work by himself.

Well, it’s the internet. People talk shit. But any self-respecting writer would be at the very least irritated by that. Cawdron noted that he had written several really good books in an amazingly short time, and with most people I would take his umbrage as a humblebrag. (“Please don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”). But he HAS done exactly that. He does go on to explain the recent boost in his output, but that’s his story to tell, and if you want to know it, then buy the book. It’s on Amazon and Goodreads.

The allegations are utter crap, and I’ll tell you why I’m convinced of that.

I’ve written a lot in my time. Two novels, a couple of dozen short stories, about 1500 eclectic columns, and about 300 reviews. Writing the novels in particular gives me a certain insight into the writing process of another writer. I’m pretty good, I think, at spotting moments where, usually in the first draft, a writer is struck by a stray thought, leans back, considers, and then with a grin, starts writing or revising. First drafts tend to have a lot of those. (There’s a dictum: write the first draft for yourself, the second for your readers, and hope what remains survives the copy editors.)

I’ll give you an example of how it works. Your character, and let’s risk a lawsuit from Neal Stephenson and call him “Hiro Protagonist,” is standing in a park. What kind of park? Well, a city park. Does it have grass? Trees? A lake? Is there a breeze? Does the sun shine, turning ripples into a disco ball? Are there kids playing? Two old farts playing chess in a pagoda? What else?

Well, pigeons. Don’t most parks have pigeons?

I have a picture my dad took of me when I was seven. I was standing in Trafalgar Square in London, attired in my prep school uniform, and I have my right arm out in front of me, bent at the elbow. On my forearm is a big, well fed pigeon who is eyeing a piece of bread in my left hand with proprietary interest. The expression on my face (“He’s rather … large … isn’t he?”) is a mixture of fascination and intimidation. Presumably I gave the bird the bread without losing any fingers and we both flew away peacefully.

That infuses a vision of what a couple of pigeons are doing in my park. They’re squabbling over a bit of popcorn.

That process leads to a throwaway line in the story. “Near the end of the bench, a pair of pigeons had a lively debate over a kernel of popcorn. The larger one flicked his head lightning fast and flew off with his meal, leaving the other to squall in frustration and give Hiro an appealing, appraising glance.”

That little bit of color is something no AI can manage. Tell an AI to write a scene about a man standing in a park waiting for someone, and the AI might mention the park bench, the trees, the grass, maybe something about the other people. Depends how good at plagiarism it is.

But that bit about the pigeons is something no AI can do. It might mention pigeons if it’s exceptionally well trained, but that little drama about the popcorn, the slight hint of aggression and menace between the birds, that comes from a human mind sharing a human experience.

If you write a lot, you come to be very familiar with that process, and you learn to spot it in the writings of others, especially those whose writing you want to learn from. Cawdron’s books, backed by meticulous research, affinity for solid detail and depending from a vivid imagination, are replete with such.

AI can do a lot, for better or for worse, but the deterministic chaos of the human mind, with its emotion, volition, confusion and empathy, cannot be duplicated in code. AI might be good enough to confuse a casual reader, but it will rarely fool a constant reader, let alone a writer who can guess what went into seemingly unimportant passages that provide color and tone and humanity to a story, making a decent story great.

They may make AIs generative. But they can’t make them mimic human creativity.

It won’t hurt to learn to look for the trade secrets behind the words. You’ll appreciate the works of someone like Cawdron more, and it will make you a bit better, intellectually and in the ability to discern what is human…and what is not.

And SOTU Speak…– Republican chaos makes for entertaining night

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 9th 2024

www.zeppscommentaries.online

After last year’s State of the Union address, you might think the Republicans would have dusted the Biden boot marks off their collective asses and learned a lesson. Don’t try to heckle Biden. He’ll eat you for lunch. Did they learn?

Nope.

Empty “Armpits” Greene (R-Trash) once again led the Charge of the Dim Brigade, “Half a brain, half a brain, half a brain downward!”. She showed up in full MAGA regalia, including the tacky red gimme cap. Someday I hope to figure out how acting like a nekulturny imbecile “owns the libs.” It doesn’t hold up well in my experience. The fastest way to wipe the shit eating grin off a MAGAt’s face is to point out that looking and acting like a fool doesn’t own me.

She stuffed a button in Biden’s hand that read, “Say her name, Laken Riley.” This referred to a 22 year old woman murdered by a Venezuelan national in the US without documents. Biden referred to “Lincoln Riley” in his speech, committing the gaffe of calling her accused murderer “an illegal,” a term much beloved by bigots and hatemongers. But Greene’s crusade was gaffy in and of itself: the presence of the Venezuelan wasn’t because of any Biden policy; the assailant was in the country as a result of a last-day-in-office move by Trump. Per Politico ( https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/trump-venezuela-temporary-legal-status-460524 ) “President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he will offer Venezuelan exiles protection from deportation, a move he has considered for years but refused to do until his last full day in office. Trump is using the little-known Deferred Enforced Departure program, or DED, to offer temporary legal status to Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis brought on by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. DED, similar to Temporary Protected Status or TPS, protects recipients from deportation and allows them to get work permits. However, it is granted directly by the president instead of the Department of Homeland Security.”

It wasn’t the only time during the speech where the right exploited a grieving parent to blame Biden for something Trump did. Florida Rep. Brian Mast hit on the bright idea of inviting Steven K. Nikoui, the Gold Star father of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, who was killed in August of 2021 by a suicide bomb during the chaotic evacuation of Americans from Kabul Airport. However, it was Trump who agreed to withdraw all troops by May 1st 2021 (he originally wanted to do it in just two weeks, by March 2020, but backed off over vociferous Pentagon objections). By the time Biden took office, 5,000 Talibani prisoners were released, and US presence reduced from 13,000 to 2,500, who were supposed to oversee the removal of all US equipment somehow. The government of Afghanistan was given no say in any of this, of course. Biden was able to get an additional three months, but it was going to be a mess anyway.

The Republicans even managed to duplicate one of last years’ missteps, booing loudly when Biden described their tax policy as “giving trillions to the rich.” Biden leaned on one elbow, grinned, and asked, “You’re saying you don’t want to do that now?”

Speaker Mike Johnson, sitting behind Biden alongside Vice President Kamela Harris, was a silent comedy show all to himself with a variety of strained smirks, purse-lipped headshakes, eye-rolls and open indecision over whether he should approve or disapprove of something Biden said. You could almost see a giant translucent Trump head, glaring orange at him, daring him to disobey any transitory whim Trump felt during the speech. Johnson looked like a bible literalist forced to audit a scientific convention on evolution. In case he felt even a moment of comfort, the clown show caucus was there to embarrass him.

How honest was Biden’s speech itself? By SOTU standards, which always involves a lot of presidential congratulatory self-back-slapping, it was really good. He shaded the truth some in some areas, but unlike his predecessor, didn’t say any flat-out lies. You can read the Politifact review here. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politifact/2024/03/08/fact-checking-joe-bidens-2024-state-of-the-union-address/

Oh, and George Santos showed up. There’s a loophole in Congressional rules that allows expelled and disgraced members of Congress to get seats at the SOTU. No, really. He was there. Maybe he wanted a MAGA franchise for Trump’s $400 gold sneaks. He was a good addition to GOP gravitas.

But the fun didn’t end when Biden finished the speech. He made a classic Biden open-mike gaffe on the way out, telling Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado “I told Bibi (Netanyahu), don’t repeat this, you and I are going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.” Even that gaffe couldn’t help the GOP, since Biden said exactly what a large and increasing number of Americans, upset by the ongoing slaughter in Gaza, have wanted to hear him say.

Then there was the Response from the kitchen of Alabama Senator Katie Britt. By the time she was done, a lot of people were expecting to hear a sudden voice over: “From New York, it’s Saturday Night Live!” I won’t go into how weird and bad the speech was—thousands of others have already done that, and the video is around. Watch it. Really. It’s a comedy gem. But she misplayed the same “blame Biden” game. She spoke of a 12 year old girl who was made a sexual prisoner and gang-raped for months on end. She said, “We wouldn’t be OK with this in some third world country. This is the United States of America.” She blamed Biden border policies, of course.

Except it didn’t happen in America. It happened in Mexico. And Biden wasn’t president during any of that; Trump was.

Well, at least she knows what country she’s in. Maybe?

CORRECTION:  The Washington Post has this to say about the rape allegations by Katie Britt:

If you were watching Britt’s speech on Thursday night, you likely would have thought she was talking about a recent victim of sex trafficking who was abused in the United States and suffered because of President Biden’s policies.

If you did, you would have been wrong. Sean Ross, Britt’s communications director, confirmed that she was talking about Karla Jacinto Romero — who has testified before Congress about being forced to work in Mexican brothels from 2004 to 2008. (A viral TikTok by journalist Jonathan Katz first revealed that Britt was speaking about Romero.) In a phone conversation and a statement, Ross disputed that Britt’s language was misleading.

Trump himself had a Truth Social meltdown. He suggested that Biden was using performance-enhancing drugs to come across as not-senile, a curious suggestion from a man often suspected to taking Adderall, especially in light of the mushrooming Trump White House drug scandal under “Doctor” Ronnie Jackson, which gave the impression of Animal House with Doonesbury’s “Uncle Duke” running the show.

Trump didn’t like Biden’s stridency, writing, “THIS IS LIKE A SHOUTING MATCH, EVERY LINE IS BEING SHOUTED.” Yes, he was complaining about someone shouting in all caps. Only Trump, am I right?

But Trump got some good news: Someone put up the $92 million surety certain to be lost when Trump makes his doomed appeal of the defamation case he lost (twice, now) to E. Jean Carroll.

Trump’s bond was guaranteed by the Federal Insurance Company — a New York-based subsidiary of the company Chubb Group LLC, which is headquartered in Switzerland. According to Elana Sulakshana at RainForest Action Network, “Chubb insures fossil fuel infrastructure in Russia that is bankrolling Putin’s war on Ukraine, oil and gas extraction off the coast of Brazil, exploratory drilling in the Arctic, and other fossil fuel projects globally.” CEO Evan Greenberg likes to talk a good environmental stance, but it’s greenwashing. He underwrites some of the filthiest fuel projects for some of the filthiest regimes. And now, apparently, he’s underwriting Trump. At least he’s only taking a small step down, right?

GOP, have faith in George Santos. You are all part of his plan. Or maybe you’re part of Putin’s Plan.

Either way, you’re screwed.

Daniel in the Liars’ Den — The assault on science and sanity continues

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

February 17th, 2024

www.zeppscommentaries.online

The Guardian on February 14th had a story by Aliya Uteuova with this lede: “Nearly 15% of Americans don’t believe climate change is real, study finds.” The University of Michigan poll continued, “Denialism highest in central and southern US, with Republican voters less likely to believe in climate science.”

My first thought was that this was actually kind of reassuring. Thirty percent of Americans don’t know the Earth revolves around the sun. Forty percent believe in angels. This poll showed that only one in seven respondents were total idiots who couldn’t see irrefutable evidence even as it was biting them on the ass.

It’s been quite a while since I stopped assuming climate denialists—the remaining ones—were acting in any sort of good faith. The ones remaining are getting more strident, perhaps reflecting the more intense propaganda emanating from the filthy fuels industries and the rightwing thinktanks. Certainly I am encountering more in social media, and seeing peripheral effects from the constant attacks on people acknowledging climate change.

Some are easy to ignore. The moment someone starts babbling about how climate change can’t exist because god swill and puny humans can’t change the divine plan, I just block them. They are at best delusional and at worst total morons, and no amount of logic or persuasion is going to convince them that I’m anything other than hellbound, along with Taylor Swift and Joe Biden.

Some parrot the same talking points we’ve been hearing for the past forty years. Climate change isn’t because of volcanoes, sunspots, Milanković cycles, end of an ice age, orbital perturbations, yada yada yada.

If I’m not busy, I’ll stick around to politely and firmly refute the points made. Even if I’m not feeling particularly charitable, I know this approach is by far the most effective. Usually they just run away. Being polite and earnest stymies trolls and confuses the more strident ones who think they can annoy the opposition into making silly mistakes.

Lately, I’ve seen more blatant lies. For instance one claim I saw was that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere dropped by 20% during the pandemic-related shutdown.

Well, that would be lovely. Having the concentrations drop to 340ppm would ensure a habitable Earth 50 years from now. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. The rate of increase dropped by 20% in 2019, but that meant concentrations only increased from 417ppm to 419ppm.

Another claim was that the Harvard Climatology Department had PROVED that the only reason Earth was warming was because we were coming out of an ice age. Needless to say, nobody at Harvard has made any such claim, and the records indicate that, if anything, we probably would be going into an ice age about now.

However, with greenhouse gases at their current levels, no ice ages are in the offing, no matter what they might do for Ray Romano’s career.

But it’s the residual ripple effects of the propaganda that can be the most pernicious. The public at large has a mistrust of scientists, one carefully fostered by fundamentalists, oil-industry flacks, and the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues, ie, the galaxy of think tanks, radio show hosts, big churches, and Faux news and its clones, and the poison blogosphere.

The other day, just as a reminder that their standard tactics of smearing and lying have become more expensive, climate scientist Michael Mann won a million-dollar defamation suit against conservative bloggers who accused him of falsifying data and once compared him to a convicted child abuser.

A few days ago, I passed along a link to an article that Stanford Magazine did about Dr. Daniel Swain to some friends. It was a good article, and Swain’s expertise would be useful for that group.

But I got one response that caused my jaw to drop. “He’s a media whore,” my friend wrote.

Now, my friend has been a bit tetchy ever since the Dodgers signed Ohtani and Yamamoto. And while the article itself was well done, the magazine cover was, to put it mildly, a bit over the top. It portrayed a colossal Daniel Swain a good half a mile tall, striding through heavily-forested foothills, his head well above the clouds. I could see where someone might detect a slightly fawning note from Stanford, based on that cover. And from that, it could be inferred that it suggested the sort of treatment Swain might be expecting from the press.

Except I’ve been a regular on his blog, weatherwest.com, for most of a decade. I was familiar with his style and approach from before he became famous. (The way he became famous was unlikely in the extreme. In trying to describe a persistent blocking high in the Gulf of Alaska that was causing a massive drought in California, he coined the phrase “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.” It caught the popular imagination. Now, only Swain knows if he ever actually sought fame, but I seriously doubt he sat up in bed one restless night and shouted, “I know! I’ll coin an awkwardly alliterative analogy! Eureka!”)

Swain does appreciate the opportunity to convey his expertise to the world. He puts in long hours doing just that—not just interviews, but in serious scholastic research and considerable effort in keeping his relatively small audience on his blog well informed, and encourages others of similar expertise to contribute freely.

I know a couple of people who are well known and who are media whores. They constantly self-promote, resent anything resembling competition, and pretend they have the answers. They’re depressingly easy to spot. I find them annoying.

But Swain is not one of them.

Indeed, the same day I had that email exchange, he did one of his “office hours” on YouTube. Anyone watching those quickly realizes that this is not a man basking in the effusive glow of public acclaim. As he often does, he was fielding questions from the chat thread, and he got one about Rossby waves. Those are defined as a “large horizontal atmospheric undulation that is associated with the polar-front jet stream and separates cold polar air from warm tropical air.” per Brittanica. There’s a hypothesis that decreasing ice cover in the Arctic Ocean and subsequent warming has caused the waves to increase in amplitude and decrease in frequency, allowing polar air to sweep into the middle latitudes. It caught the media’s fancy, since it was a handy explanation of big cold snaps in the midst of a warming climate. I admit I’ve based arguments on that myself.

Swain said that while he generally accepted the thinking behind the hypothesis, there just wasn’t any solid evidence that it was happening at this time. It was a very ‘Daniel’ sort of answer. If there isn’t a solid, concrete answer, he won’t hesitate to say so, and go on to discuss the elements that prevent a hard-and-fast answer. It’s exactly the sort of response a responsible scientist would give.

Certainty in the face of randomness and complexity is the mark of a charlatan.

But it’s not an answer a media whore—or any whore—should give. Don’t tell the marks what they need to know; tell them what they want to hear! It’s rule number one. If I was Swain’s unscrupulous agent, I would draw him aside and say, “Son, you’re doing it all wrong. I say, I say, son, you don’t get the return business if you’re saying things to the John like ‘You call that loving, mister? You sound like a Yugo with a flat tire!’ or ‘Oh, come on. That thing looks like the ghost of a poison mushroom. Can’t you at least paint it orange like the original?’ Nah, you gotta make them happy. Make ‘em feel big, y’know? Now, let’s hear your ecstatic moan.”

OK, he wouldn’t benefit from having me as an agent. Or as he might put it, I would be a “piss poor pimp.”

So why does a guy who normally is responsible, reasonably liberal, and scientifically literate declare a scientist who is the antithesis of a publicity hound a “media whore?”

Inculcation. Propaganda. The public at large is inclined to assume the worst of any responsible figure who challenges the present public gestalt.

That current gestalt is very toxic indeed. It’s pervasive, and manages to be both blatant and subtle at the same time. People honestly believe George Soros is giving scientists billions of dollars to push us all back to the stone age by destroying technology. And people don’t realize the people promoting such ideas are spending billions in order to protect trillions in profits made at our expense. It has to stop.

There’s no quick cure to it. It will take time. The parties dumping the poison into public discourse have to be called out, again and again, their lies shown for what they are, and the vacuity of their attacks exposed.

George Orwell once said, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” He also said, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.” It is not the freedom to say two plus two make five.

Be a revolutionary. Tell the truth, no matter how much people don’t want to hear it. Be like Dr. Daniel Swain.

In America, the number of people accepting the truth of climate change has climbed to 85%. Keep telling the truth, and truth will prevail.

The David Fallacy — Why (some) zealots support Trump

The David Fallacy

Why (some) zealots support Trump

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 16th, 2024

www.zeppscommentaries.online

They held the Iowa caucuses yesterday, and I don’t regard the results as being of any particular importance, given how unrepresentative they are of the country as a whole. (Mike Huckabee won in 2008, Rick Santorum won in 2012, and Ted Cruz in 2016.) The only reason Trump won in 2020 was that he ran unopposed, about the only way he can actually win an election.

He essentially ran unopposed this time, since the only other significant candidates were a pair of “me-too” clingers who ran as Trump-lite: Ron DeSantis and Nicki Haley. Those two dead-enders managed to get 40% of the Republican vote, which shows just how weak Trump really is.

Haley’s birth-name was Nimarata Nikki Randhawa, and MSNBC actually showed one voter opining that it wouldn’t be right for a “Hin-doo” to be president. Despite that, Haley was mad because MSNBC was “dividing us by race” for simply pointing out that country white evangelicals aren’t going to strongly support Haley because of her skin color. Haley, MSNBC didn’t create those bigoted clowns. And trust me, they weren’t watching Joy Reid anyway. She’s not one of the ‘good ones’ in their books.

DeSantis was already a bad joke, between his elevator clown boots and picking a fight with a cartoon mouse and losing. He wasn’t as big on god-flogging as Trump, so wasn’t seen as sufficiently godly.

So Trump fetched up with 51% of the vote. I was expecting him to get 60% or more, between the high number of fools in the GOP and the weak field arrayed against him. So even if the ratings-driving media is trying to hype his chances, the results show his fundamental weakness.

MSNBC devoted five full hours to this non-story, and I managed to miss most of it so I could play Solitaire and watch an animated movie. (I would point out that while I didn’t do so good playing Solitaire, the movie, Maboroshi, on Netflix, was pretty damned good).

But I did catch one gem that made MSNBC’s entire wasted night worth a glance. Barely able to contain their laughter, Joy and Rachel Maddow explained “The King David Hypothesis.”

King David lived around 1,000 BCE, and yes, there is evidence that he actually did exist, although outside of notoriously unreliable holy writ, little is known about him.

But the religious accounts are satisfyingly florid. A simple shepherd, he killed the giant Goliath with a slingshot, and got noticed by the reigning king, Saul. Saul took him in to the palace, but then expelled him when he decided David was plotting to kill him and steal his throne. But before then, Saul has made David rich for killing the giant, and among other marriages, David marries Saul’s younger daughter, Michael. The dowery is 100 Philistinian heads, although accounts differ as to whether that was cranial-type heads or the other kind, foreskins. Either way, it made a lot of Philistines very unhappy. He’s also got about eight other wives and unknown numbers of concubines of varying gender, something that’s always fun to point out to bigoted morons who want America to observe “biblical marriage” only.

Jehovah gets annoyed at Saul for failing to commit genocide (the Amalekites, look it up) and sends the angel Samuel to name David king. After various intrigues and production of a family lineage that makes it apt as well as physically likely that he was the father of the Abrahamic religions, he becomes King, and is sufficiently murderous and Machiavellian enough to keep even Jehovah happy. Between the smiting and the slutting, David made Trump look restrained and faithful.

All right, so intellectually, morally, and romantically, David was a hot mess. (For his wives and concubines, “consent” was not an option.) But he’s “beloved by God” and the father of the true religions, all 15,000 of them that we know about. What to do, what to do? Zealots hate ethical quandaries.

Thus was born the King David Hypothesis. God chose David because he was flawed, and the fact that he was flawed showed that God could make David have a good heart and be a great king despite all the murdering and raping and conniving. Because of God, David was great because God made him so and his flaws just showed how good God was at his job.

Thus and so, the reasoning goes, even though Trump is flawed (the polite way of saying “a hot mess”), God has chosen him to be Der Leader to show that God can take even the vilest spittoon of a person and make him great. So even though Trump is about as Christian as a rabid pig, Christians are duty bound to support him because God wants him to be great.

Ah, the religious mind! The wonder of it all!

Meanwhile, the portion of America that isn’t religiously insane continue to watch Trump slide. He went on to claim this was his third, and greatest win in Iowa (neither statement was true), and his main lawyers in the trials about tax fraud and defamation of E. Jean Carroll, Joe Tacopina and his two partners, Chad Seigel and Matthew DeOreo, up and quit the same day of the caucuses, showing his continued inability to keep lawyers for any length of time. Even lawyers have standards, even if the standard is only “Fuck you, pay me.”

Meanwhile, Trump continues his mastery of the religiously gullible. The morning after his win in the caucuses, he posted “President Trump: Suspend my campaign?” The grift is if he doesn’t get a million donations, he’ll drop out of the race.

Fortunately, the religiously insane are actually a small part of the population. Even amongst the GOP ultra-committed who turned out in -30F wind chills to caucus, he only managed half the vote against a nothing field.

So don’t let these nuts alarm you. He’s going down.

 

Hunter’s Point — Game Set Match

Hunter’s Point

Game Set Match

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 10th 2024

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Hunter Biden probably doesn’t have a personal theme song. Mostly that’s limited to politicians and /or megalomaniacs. Bill Clinton had “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Calvin of cartoon strip fame usually made his up on the spot, and it was, of course, about him. All six year olds are megalomaniacal.

Since Hunter isn’t a politician and there’s no evidence to suggest he’s a megalomaniac, he may be one of those rare individuals who does something so outstanding and the public assigns a song to him.

After yesterday’s brutal fiasco of a open committee meeting where he did nothing worse than show up with lawyers, sit quietly except to note he wished to testify publicly, and then quietly left when Marjorie-Taylor Greene stood to assault and defame him.

The chaos this simple act caused was riveting, and if you ignore the fact that the Republican bozos are amongst the highest elected officials in the land, hilarious.

Nancy Mace fumed that Biden was taking advantage of ‘white privilege.’ “You are the epitome of white privilege coming into the Oversight Committee, spitting in our face, ignoring a Congressional subpoena to be deposed,” Mace told the president’s son. She had to ignore the fact that he was there offering to be deposed to testify in public.

When called out for such an asinine claim, (and I’m not making this up) Mace said, “I come from a district where rich and poor is literally Black and white, Black versus white on most days. My largest jail in my district, which is the largest jail in the state of South Carolina, has had seven or eight deaths in the last two years. I was there with our Black and African American council members trying to get the right thing done. And I’ve stood with those Black families because I know the differences that they see day to day in their life. And I try to do the best that I can.”

Yes, Nancy, you take real good care of your darkies. It’s just like they’re part of the family. But that doesn’t really explain how Hunter Biden was exercising white privilege, especially in front of Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor-Greene.

Speaking of which, Armpit Maggie wasn’t amused by Biden’s snub. Ranting like a high school mean girl, she yelled at the departing Biden, “Excuse me Hunter! Apparently you’re afraid of my words! Wow, that’s too bad!” Mags, I don’t think that one is going to be included in “Great Speeches of the Twenty-First Century.” Biden didn’t explain the timing, but it’s known that Greene displayed a couple of dick pics, supposedly of Hunter, that were stolen from his laptop. It’s what you expect from Armpit Maggie.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) noted the deep Republican hypocrisy behind Biden refusing to testify in private: “Here is the subpoena to Scott Perry, who didn’t comply. Here is the subpoena for Mark Meadows… he did not comply. Here is the subpoena to Jim Jordan, who did not comply.” Moscowitz also showed subpoenas for former GOP Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). He added he would vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt if the same was done for every Republican he listed. Oddly enough, no Republican took him up on that.

The Republicans looked so stupid that Charlie Kirk wondered if they were secretly leftists.

Which brings me back to having a theme song for Hunter Biden. After all, you rarely see a fiasco like yesterday’s meeting where the instigator did nothing more than show up as demanded and politely offer to testify in public.

So theme song for Hunter: “Send in the Clowns.” Here’s a partial list of the lyrics: “Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair? Me here at last on the ground, You in mid-air. Send in the clowns. Isn’t it bliss? Don’t you approve? One who keeps tearing around, One who can’t move. Where are the clowns? Send in the clowns?…Where are the clowns? There ought to be clowns. Well, maybe next year…” [Credit: Frank Sinatra, Written by: Stephen Sondheim, Album: Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back] Sondheim couldn’t have possibly imagined the state of the 2024 Republican party, but he sure got their theme, didn’t he?

Which leads me to a second item As the Constitution stipulated, Congress must invite the President to give an annual State of the Union Address each year. Normally, the invitation is for some time around early-to-mid February. And separation of powers, don’t you know? The president can only do so at the invite of Congress. This year, the invite is for mid-March. Why such a late date? Speaker MAGA Mike Johnson remembers how Joe Biden flat-out owned the Republicans in the last year’s address. It was embarrassing. And he knows Biden openly calls Trump a threat to democracy. So he has scheduled the speech to occur AFTER the “Super Tuesday” primaries, thus assuring that Trump will be the nominee of the GOP, whether he has the legal right or not. It’s the sort of sneaky dishonesty you expect from zealots and fascists.

But the Constitution doesn’t say the president has to show up in person to deliver the speech. Thomas Jefferson, who had a terrible stutter and, not surprisingly, hated public speaking, delivered his speech by mail. Most Presidents in this media age love the almost always beneficial exposure they get from the speech. So people think it’s automatic.

But the president can, quite literally, mail it in. …Or they can have someone give the speech for them.

I think it would be kinda fun if Joe Biden decided not to address Congress, but sent, in his stead, Hunter Biden.

Wouldn’t that be FUN? There ought to be clowns…

Low-Rent Gods and Men — Does Trump reveal God’s Purpose?

Low-Rent Gods and Men

Does Trump reveal God’s Purpose?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 27th 2023

www.zeppscommentaries.online

 

A survey conducted by Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe found around 30 percent of Americans believe Trump “was anointed by God to become president.” Thirty percent.

Now, I don’t know anything about the methodology of this poll. Frankly, I doubt the number is anywhere near that high. Ten percent, tops. Trump’s support among the religious is pretty much limited to evangelicals, and they only make up 25% of the population. And the same Economist article that cited that number also reported, “In a Pew poll in 2021, more than a third of white evangelicals said the government should stop enforcing the separation of church and state.” Outside of that group, the notion that scrapping separation of church and state and making Trump some sort of god/emporer drops through the basement. I doubt very much 10% of Catholics buy into that, much less mainstream Protestants, non-Christian and unaffiliated/secular.

Still, there’s a lot of Americans who do believe that nonsense. One of the stranger ones is the notion that there are seven “mountains” to a godly life: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. Daemons controlled those, but Trump has already climbed and taken over entertainment, business, media, government and family. This group thinks he’s taken over religion, as well. That would leave education to surmount.

OK, let’s take a pause while you get your breath back. Those of you still laughing, imagine being in bed with Marjorie Taylor-Greene. Yes, that’s a cruel thing to do to you, but if you don’t stop laughing you might hurt yourself.

There’s a saying popular amongst us secular sorts: “Science asks questions that demand an answer. Religion provides answers that demand no questions.” Obviously, that’s a simplification. There are many people of faith who do ask questions, including of their own beliefs. And some scientists are as hidebound and rigid in their intellectual structure as any 16th century preacher. But the fact remains that the true first commandment in many branches of religion is “Thou shalt not question.” Obviously, this is a fertile demographic for opportunists and demagogues.

Let’s see about those mountains that Trump is supposedly climbing. I’ll start out by noting that you’re far more likely to find a sea slug at the peak of Everest, just so you aren’t burdened by any suspense about the following.

Entertainment: Trump was a B-list celebrity with a reality TV show. The highest Neilson rating it ever got was 7.0. It never was anywhere near the most popular show in its timeslot.

Media: Trump had Faux News, and now, having cost them $787 million in costs from lying on his behalf, he doesn’t even have that. He has Truth Social, which is pretty pathetic, and lunatic-fringe outfits like Newsmax and OANN, both of which face massive defamation suits of their own.

Business: Until Elon Musk came along, Trump had lost more money than any individual in the history of America. He took over three casinos and they all went bust within a few years. Casinos are licenses to mint money! He’s been found guilty of tax fraud and is awaiting sentencing. He settled a vast class action suit for fraud for Trump University days before he took office. He is banned from running charities after he was found to have stolen from a children’s cancer charity he ran. Business attracts thieves, con artists and other filth, and it certainly attracted Trump. But he never was any good at it.

Entertainment: Well, his venality and endless personal scandals kept cartoonists and humorists busy for decades, so I suppose there’s that. And he attracts eyeballs, although the leading reasons are “What’s that idiot done now?” and “Oh, fuck, NO!”

Family: he’s had three wives and at least a dozen mistresses. He was banging Stormy Daniels while Melania was carrying his youngest son. His niece, Mary Trump, openly despises him. He buried one of his exes in an unmarked grave on one of his golf courses, and its rumored that her coffin contains incriminating evidence Trump wanted to go away forever.

Government: Yes, he was a one term president. He won despite losing the popular vote, and never has won a popular vote. The economy contracted during his term, the worst since Hoover, and the deficit exploded. He turned the Supreme Court into a sad joke. And because of the cowardice of mainstream Republicans, that party is now home to traitors, religious nuts, violent extremists, and the most ignorant fools America can scrape up.

Religion: Well, define “religion.” If love of money, power and self-aggrandizement is a religion, then Trump qualifies. Claiming to have god on his side doesn’t count. Nearly every dictator and tyrant in the history of this sad world has claimed to have god on his side. Fundamentalists cannot question and cannot learn. They are fodder and feeding ground for monsters. In stressful times, they are enough to put a Hitler or a Cromwell in power.

That leaves Education. Again, the term is subjective. When the evangelicals talk about that particular mountain, they have something entirely different from what most people think of when you mention education. Math and science are not a part of that particular equation. For that matter, the word ‘equation’ isn’t, either. Learning biblical writ, obeying and never questioning are considered virtues, and a child who questions is a child who must be beaten. So Trump may surmount Education, although, like Religion, it might be in a form none of us would recognize as such.

If ten percent of the population swallow the nonsense of Trump being “the Will of God,” that’s disturbing and a sad reflection on humanity in general. Thirty percent would be catastrophic, a certain sign that a culture has fully decompensated and slid into madness. Mass jailing and mass executions will follow, along with widespread misery. So that’s why I don’t buy that poll. America is having problems, but it isn’t in hospice.

But never forget that this type of religious fervor is toxic, and an infection in even the healthiest of societies.

Frank Zappa and the Dominionists — He would have been appalled, but oh, the songs he would write!

Frank Zappa and the Dominionists

He would have been appalled, but oh, the songs he would write!

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 19th, 2023

www.zeppscommentaries.online

While noodling around Facebook today, I came across this quote, attributed to the legendary musician Frank Zappa: “Socialism produces bad music, bad art, social stagnation, and really unhappy people.”

Well, that didn’t really sound like Zappa, who, while a staunch idealistic libertarian, openly admired the freedoms and personal spaciousness afforded by such socialist countries such as Finland, Sweden, France or Denmark. He would have understood that socialism isn’t what most Americans think it is. On that, he did say: “Communism doesn’t work because it is out of phase with human nature. Are we going to wake up one day to find this statement equally true when applied to the concept of Western democracy?” He did know the difference. He was a fierce defender of personal and artistic rights, and respected societies that observed those rights, having little interest in the political apparatus that was involved. On that he said, “Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” Oh, yeah. Current events sure support that notion.

I did look to see if the socialism quote held up to scrutiny, since as Geoffrey Chaucer once famously observed, “Depende not what thou mightst encountre upon thee internets and lendist not unto it thy minde, for it bee swarming with crappe.” The only source I could find (uncited) was on a ‘mens’ rights website. So safe to assume he never said it.

I doubt Frank would be impressed with what passes for Libertarianism these days, and may well have seen it as fascism in drag, a cynical ploy by moneyed interests to strip government and people of power in order to create a power vacuum for churches and corporations to fill. He regarded those as threats to freedoms and creativity, saying: “The biggest threat to America today is not communism, it’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that’s happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe. […] When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view, and if that code happens to be very very right wing, almost toward Attila the Hun.”

Now, comparing the fascist right to Attila the Hun would be considered mild. We have a Hitler-spouting authoritarian as the lead candidate for President in one major party, and the second-in-line for the entire country an open Dominionist who wants to subject the citizenry to his own toxic brand of Christianity.

I suspect Zappa would be appalled.

Certainly the Founders would be. Mike Johnson, the so-called Speaker who wants Jesus as King of America said, “The separation of church and state is a misnomer. People misunderstand it. Of course, it comes from a phrase that was in a letter that Jefferson wrote. It’s not in the Constitution. And what he was explaining is they did not want the government to encroach upon the church — not that they didn’t want principles of faith to have influence on our public life. It’s exactly the opposite.”

He’s referring, of course, to the Danbury letter in which Jefferson wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.” While Jefferson was reassuring the Danbury Baptists that government would not be used against them, what they were concerned about were non-Baptists. Non-Baptists, using government to repress them or punish them for not being of the True Faith. They, like Jefferson and nearly all of the Founders, came from the British Isles, which had, at that time, a long and storied history of various factions within Christianity seizing secular power and using it to promote themselves and punish and repress others. Jefferson in particular loathed Britain’s Test Act, which denied public office to Catholics, Jews, and other non-believers. He insisted on the “No Religious Test” phrase in the Constitution, which, by its own language, is the only phrase in the Constitution which cannot be amended. “shall EVER be…” is what follows. He wanted anyone of any faith to be able to hold office, but he also wanted to make damned sure that none of those office-holders would abuse it to promote their own faith at the expense of others.

Far right nativists in America like to claim they are of “Scots-Irish” descent, a term that makes about as little sense as “Judeo-Christian.” Scotland and Ireland are two different lands, culturally and socially, and as a rule don’t like one another very much. But both, along with England, have people whose ancestors were punished, imprisoned, sometimes killed for being a member of the wrong religion at the wrong time. For Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists, that was recent history. In fact, in the UK it was also future history: freedom of religion wasn’t formally codified until 1998. Until then, it was illegal for a Catholic to be prime minister (yes, Tony Blair lied about his religious beliefs to hold office), and the monarch must still be Anglican. Scotland and Wales didn’t have separation of church and state until the early 1920s. Every year, England celebrates Guy Fawkes day. It’s a harmless and festive event now, fun for the whole family, but it started out celebrating Catholic traitors by burning them in effigy.

Dominionists don’t understand their their own country nor their own religion. And they don’t know history, which teaches that all theocracies, without exception, become cruel, corrupt and incompetent because the source authority is forever silent and thus easy for monsters, such as Johnson and Trump, to “interpret.” Dominionists are the yellow snow of politics.

Frank Zappa would have used something stronger than “Attila the Hun” to describe it. Cromwell, perhaps, or Pope Benedict IX, or even Hitler.

I’m glad he isn’t here to see this. But oh! The songs he could write!

Dominion Over Us — By your nose you be known

Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 28th 2023
www.zeppscommentaries.online

Mike Johnson is our new speaker, 51, a Dominionist, a MAGAt, and an insurrectionist supporter. In short, nobody who should be within a thousand miles of American power.
I wasn’t going to waste an essay on him for the simple reason that just about every person in this country who loves the Constitution is loudly warning everyone just what a danger this person is to our rights and freedoms.
But then I came across this quote from Johnson: “This is not about the people themselves. I am a Bible-believing Christian. Someone asked me today in the media, they said, ‘… People are curious. What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said, well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it – that’s my worldview. That’s what I believe and so I make no apologies for it.”
Well, OK, then. Game on.
Citing weird biblical beliefs is nothing new, of course. Nor is citing the hypocrisy of most bible pounders. The very first episode of West Wing had President Bartlett give a wonderful example of this when pressed to embrace biblical values for America by a pushy fundie.
But it’s always worth selecting a few choice things the bible mandates people believe that aren’t exactly congruent with 21st century American values. So here’s a list of things that Mike Johnson apparently professes to believe.
A man can force his wife to get an abortion if he believes she has been unfaithful. Numbers 5:11-31.
It’s even worse if a man is unfaithful to his wife: If a man cheateth on his wife, or vice versa, both the man and the woman must die. Leviticus 20:10. Helluva note: the poor wife gets smote, too. Or is it “the other woman.” Who dies? Melania or Stormy? I wonder if Johnson wants to form a wife-smiting committee or just make it part of Health and Human Resources.
Churches can eliminate those handicap parking spots. People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God. Leviticus 21:17-18. I’m sure that one mega-church pastor who has been whinging about handicap access can help Congress on that one. Have a law where if the tip of the nose fails to protrude more than 1.5 inches from the back of the nostrils, ain’t no praying allowed for that freak of nature! God is pleased by lordly beaks. I think Johnson may be in trouble himself over that one.
Another one that Johnson might find awkward is Leviticus 19:27: Don’t cut your hair nor shave.
The bible says If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of its inhabitants, even the animals. Deuteronomy 13:12-16. OK, I can see killing all the cats, especially the black ones. Christianity has a long and storied history of killing cats, tossing them off towers and whatnot. That makes perfect sense. But the dogs, too?
Pagan cities don’t do well when it’s the Israelites smiting them. The bible suggests ripping infants from their mothers’ wombs and dashing their brains out against rocks. Hosea 13-16. Even though it calls fetuses “infants,” the anti-abortion crowd don’t like to cite that one. I think we can guess what Johnson thinks Israel should do to Gaza. And their little dogs, too!
The blob squad like to run around claiming that ‘libruls’ want to abort babies after they’re born.
Anyone who actually believes that has to be a little bit psychotic, but Johnson may have to make that a new law, it seems. “If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.” Leviticus 26:27-30. That one should produce some interesting debate in Congress. Do you have to eat ALL your sons and daughters, or just one per transgression? And is there a cut-off age where you don’t have to eat them, but simply be stoned to death instead? Do kids with flat noses count?
Women should be generally submissive and should be quiet, never teach or hold any authority over men. They should just be silent. 1 Timothy 2:12. OK, I’m looking at Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert, and I’m thinking Johnson could make good use of this. I wonder if his first act will be to remove all female members of Congress and the Vice President?
While the bible does demand that all non-believers be put to death, there is a loophole. If you are lucky enough to have hemorrhoids and rats, get them bronzed and send them on in as an offering. Or as the bible says, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.” 1 Samuel 6:4-5. I wonder if those are tax deductible. Mike? You’re the God Squad guy. Whaddaya say?
The NRA isn’t going to be happy with Mike’s godlaw. According to Exodus 22, you can only use lethal force to defend your home at night. Now, how can you have a happy and stable society if paranoid whacks with weapons of war can’t blast away at any stray noise they hear outside their front door at 11am? Crime never sleeps, you know!
So: this is the zealot creature who is now two bullets from the Oval Office.
Sleep tight.

 

 

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