Attacking the holdouts

The latest target of Russian military intelligence is conservative think-tanks that haven’t drunk the Trump Kool-Aid.

The Russian military intelligence unit that sought to influence the 2016 election appears to have a new target: conservative American think tanks that have broken with President Trump and are seeking continued sanctions against Moscow, exposing oligarchs or pressing for human rights.

It’s abundantly clear that Trump will accept any help he can get when it comes to punishing his critics, and it is equally clear that the Republican Party is too debased and craven to step forward and do its plain duty. We, the People, will have to do the work of defending the country — and the place to start is by annihilating the Republican Party in November.

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Tweet for the day

I explained pasties, here.

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Quote for the day

For me, it is clear that there was at least an attempt by members of the Trump team to conspire with Russians to influence the elections. The evidence of that is now public record. And, it is just as clear that Trump has attempted to obstruct justice by hampering the investigation and continues to do so.

Charles Blow

Blow is 100 per cent correct; the public, uncontested record is plain: Trump’s campaign was eager to cooperate with a hostile foreign power to shape the election — which seems to me to be at least tippy-toeing along the edge of treason, since he is now Russia’s man in D.C. — and has worked relentlessly, and with injury to the country, to frustrate the investigation.

It’s a bit like Holocaust denialism, or evolution denialism — on the undisputed facts in plain sight, the question is settled and there is no longer anything to discuss: Trump is working for the other side.

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Quote for the day

“Look, I am not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury,” Giuliani said. “And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth. He didn’t have a, a conversation…”

TODD: Truth is truth. I don’t mean to go like…

GIULIANI: No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth. The President of the United States says, “I didn’t…”

TODD: Truth isn’t truth? Mr. Mayor do you realize, what, I, I, I –

GIULIANI: No, no –

TODD: This is going to become a bad meme.

If you’ve never read George Orwell’s 1984 … it’s too late.

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Snake-handlers and inerrancy

Another pious snake-handler has been bitten.

Cody Coots is a fourth-generation snake-handling pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name church in Middlesboro, Ky. In a new documentary, “My Life Inside: The Snake Church,” which premiered on Friday on the YouTube channel Barcroft TV, Coots is seen holding a snake during one of his sermons, which generally has 14 parishioners in attendance each week, when the serpent suddenly bites his ear.

His father, Jamie Coots, was 42 years old when he was handling a rattlesnake at the church in 2014. He was bitten on the hand and died “within probably 10 minutes,” according to Cody.

This is a particularly good example of the harm done by the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant.

The verse that inspires this lunacy is Mark 16:18, ostensibly an account of Jesus’ post-Resurrection meeting with His disciples.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

The difficulty is that these verses do not appear in the oldest extant versions of Mark; in those, Mark ends with verse 16:8. Put differently, some anonymity didn’t like the original ending of Mark and thought he’d improve the text, so he added that jive about taking up serpents, which certainly heightens the drama.

Now, thanks to the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant, and discreet silence about this well-documented editorial flim-flam, ignoramuses play with snakes to show that their faith is strong.

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