Fasten your seatbelts

This time last year, I made the not-exactly-daring prediction that the confluence of political instability and the just-enacted tax bill would stoke inflation.

The bottom-line here is that I think the tax cut will conduce toward economic instability that exacerbates our political instability, and vice versa. If you have any big purchases planned for next year, do it now — and shore-up your household defenses against chaos.

Well. What do you know?

For the first time in decades, every major type of investment has fared poorly, as the outlook for economic growth and corporate profits is dampened by rising trade tensions and interest rates. Stocks around the world are getting pummeled, while commodities and bonds are tumbling — all of which have left investors with few places to put their money.

2019 will be no better, because …

  1. Donald Trump is a corrupt madman, and …

  2. The Republican Party is comprised chiefly of cowards who won’t do their plain duty because they were put in place by idiots with dubious character who think that Trump is a great man.

  3. Trump is an unindicted co-conspirator in multiple felonies, and has been obstructing justice in plain sight for more than a year. The accumulating evidence that is now in the public domain points overwhelmingly toward cooperation with Russia’s intelligence services to undermine the 2016 election. It’s not difficult to build an argument that the Felon-in-Chief is a traitor. The political turmoil can only grow, and I think it is all but a slam-bang certainty that Trump will be impeached.

    That, of course, would be profoundly injurious to the economy — as would Trump’s almost certain conviction, and subsequent refusal to leave office

Bottom line: We are in for a very tough year. The bright notes will be few, but I think we can look forward to this: Public disdain for the Evangelical Right, the most stout-hearted of Trump’s supporters, will continue to grow and be more overt and emphatic.

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Quote for the day

A ruling this consequential had better be based on rock-solid legal argument. Instead, the opinion by Judge Reed O’Connor is an exercise of raw judicial power, unmoored from the relevant doctrines concerning when judges may strike down a whole law because of a single alleged legal infirmity buried within.

We were on opposing sides of the 2012 and 2015 Supreme Court challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and we have different views of the merits of the act itself. But as experts in the field of statutory law, we agree that this decision makes a mockery of the rule of law and basic principles of democracy — especially Congress’s constitutional power to amend its own statutes and do so in accord with its own internal rules.

New York Times

I have yet to find anything written by a serious legal scholar that upholds yesterday’s ruling, so I’m guessing that the greatest part of this ruling will be struck down on appeal. It has the look and feel of a fit of judicial pique, more about smacking Obama — A Nigra!! And a Moozlim!! — than a serious effort to settle a legal question.

But, then, the First Felon has appointed two justices to the Supreme Court, so I guess just about anything is possible.

The solution is to face the reality that the Republican Party has become a nihilistic sickness in the body politic, that the country is in the hands of its enemies. #Resist.

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Southern Seminary acknowledges racist history

Racism can be found everywhere, but Southern racism is uniquely invidious because it has historically been sanctioned by the majority religion — the Southern Baptists. The consequence is that it is not an obscure theological issue — Who did Cain take for a wife?, say — but a toxin embedded into the culture. Southern society needed slavery, and the Southern Baptists gave His imprimatur to the ownership of dark-skinned human beings.

That is, southern society’s need for slaves spurred the Southern Baptists to dream-up a theological rationale for ownership of slaves, and so the Southern Baptists grew rapidly, spread far and wide, and their (generally, degrading and screwed-up) ideas became the taken-for-granted underpinning of daily thought and life. To this day, preachers are big men hereabouts; people actually care what they think, though the evidence is overwhelming that most have never had a bona fide thought in their lives.

So it’s a very big deal that Southern Seminary, the first and largest of the Southern Baptist seminaries, issued yesterday an accounting of it own part in cultivating racism. As Albert Mohler writes in the cover letter:

We are living in an age of historical reckoning. Communities, nations, institutions, Christian churches, and denominations are now called upon to ask hard questions and, when necessary, to face hard realities. This is true of the Southern Baptist Convention, and it is true for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

[ … ]

We have been guilty of a sinful absence of historical curiosity. We knew, and we could not fail to know, that slavery and deep racism were in the story. We comforted ourselves that we could know this, but since these events were so far behind us, we could move on without awkward and embarrassing investigations and conversations.

I have begun reading the report, but not finished. I imagined when I downloaded the report that it would be a lot of nonsense about happy mammy’s and extended families, et cetera, et cetera, and I don’t mind admitting that I have been startled at times by the report’s frankness; it has a sincere, regretful sensibility that I didn’t expect. I suppose I might change my mind as I continue reading, but on first impression it’s a heartfelt effort to face honestly an ugly history.

I doubt that it will do much good. You may be sure that not many of the folk in the pews are downloading it and reading it, and have no idea that Southern Seminary-educated Pastor Bubba was injecting poison when he told them that darkies either bear the mark of Cain or are descended from Ham. As Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

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Michael Cohen goes overboard

“He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law.” So there you go: the First Felon is blameless!

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Back in the ol’ hometown, ctd

Just in the past two hours — when it’s cold outside. Y’all should follow this feed in the summer when folk have spent a hot and steamy night drinking and the A/C is busted.

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