Quote for the day

Many suppose Republican senators privately despise Trump but kowtow out of fear for their careers. Bad enough if they’re willing to sell out their country and integrity so cravenly. But their behavior shows most have actually drunk the Kool-Aid, succumbed to the cult, and embraced the dark side. Losing all moral sense and actually convincing themselves this vile creep show is somehow good for America.

Columnist Michael Gerson (a Republican) notes that despite the Mueller report’s compelling evidence of wrongdoing and obstruction of justice, Trump escaped accountability (even as many of his flunkies went to jail). Now he’s done it again. How? “By employing the methods of his mentor Roy Cohn. Admit nothing. Stonewall investigators. Defy subpoenas. Viciously attack opponents. Flood the zone with exculpatory lies.” And it’s working, with Republican senators and state propaganda network Fox News covering for him with “layer upon layer of obfuscation, misdirection and deception.” Shredding “norms of truthfulness, public service and ethical behavior.” And the principles and institutions that once made America great.

Frank S. Robinson, The Rational Optimist

The Senate’s failure — No, refusal — to defend the country against a lawless president who openly, frankly, scorns the Congress is effectively the end of republican government; it is surrender to authoritarianism.

A supine, cowardly Senate quaking before the American Gothic crowd has betrayed the Founders’ ideals and — Oh, boy — the excuses are so feeble they’re just embarrassing. Susan Collins humiliated herself with the specious claim that Trump has learned his lesson, neglecting that the lesson is that he can get away with anything. Bad conduct, but not impeachable? Read The Federalist; the Founders specifically warned against foreign intrigues against American self-government.


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Democracy abandoned

You can’t con an honest man.

The senate default of Trump’s impeachment trial makes the president, effectively, a monarch unconstrained by the law. After all, he is free to ignore subpoenas, misappropriate public monies for private partisan use — even if it leads to the death of America’s allies, obstruct the operation of justice, tell blatant lies, and gloat over those foiled in the expectation of common decency.

Historians will study the emasculation of the Senate — the world’s greatest deliberative body — by a grotesque carnival barker for the next 100-years. And inevitably, one after another, they will come to the same conclusion: That’s what a decisive faction of Americans wanted.

The evangelicals will be relatively easy to decipher. Trump plays to their resentments and, since so much of their lives are devoted to maintaining garish fictions, the pretense that he is an honorable man and not a corrupt madman is small additional burden. And what, after all, does Christianity really offer but the promise of eternal childhood? That soon we will all live peacefully under the reign of a benevolent, absolute, dictator?

Small wonder that so many of them view the depredations of Donald Trump as a fulfillment.

But what on earth has happened to the Senators? I honestly believed that, push come to shove, they would stand-up for the prerogatives and power of the Senate. I even believed they would stand-up for American ideals, that they would look past short-term advantage and grasp that they are throwing-away something unique, something precious, the imperfect but endless striving toward an Enlightenment ideal never elsewhere manifested on the earth.

What happened to them? The evangelicals who comprise Trump’s base have always been anti-American ignoramuses, so they are behaving in a predictable way. Were the Senators, too, untouched by the music of America’s uniqueness, and merely a pack of self-interested hustlers with no sense of the greatness they were privileged to give direction? That’s hard to accept, somehow, and yet … here we are, with Donald Trump formally freed to grow more arbitrary, more brazenly corrupt, more unconstrained by the norms of ordinary decency and ethical governance.

America has a last chance, and it is a long shot with Trump freed to corrupt the election, and that is to beat him — again — at the ballot box. It’s that, or forget that we are the two-legged citizens of a republic; we will become the scraping and bowing subjects of a monarch.

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The purge begins

Mitt Romney, who thought that the Senate ought to call witnesses and at least appear to be conducting a trial of the President, has been disinvited from this year’s CPAC meeting.

The GOP has degenerated into a cult. Do yourself, and your country, a favor during the next few weeks and read William Shirer’s The Nightmare Years; you ought to be deeply frightened by our cowardly Senate’s refusal to do its duty, and that failure stands to be immensely consequential.

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More Graham cancellations

What do you know? More venues have cancelled plans for a Franklin Graham sales extravaganza.

Franklin Graham has asked for prayer as he remains determined to see through his planned UK tour despite multiple venues backing out.

The Liverpool ACC, Glasgow SEC and ICC Wales have all pulled out of hosting evangelistic events as part of Graham’s eight-city UK tour, due to take place over the summer.

The Newcastle Arena has come under pressure to cancel his scheduled event at the venue on June 3.

Graham is the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham and a vocal supporter of Donald Trump.

Opposition to Graham’s appearances has been organized by LGBT activists, because Graham is adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage, and rests his objection on Leviticus. In other words, he is opposed to same-sex marriage because the Bible says so, and that’s that.

Graham, and the like-minded, are the victims of childhood indoctrination in the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant.

No. It isn’t. The Creation story is untrue, the story of The Fall is untrue, the story of the global flood is untrue, and I don’t personally worry much about a 7-headed dragon scything down the wicked, like me and probably a lot of Civil Commotion readers, even if it is foretold in Revelation. The Bible, I am afraid, is wildly errant, and those who insist otherwise are ignorant fools — case closed. It’s a bit like Holocaust denialism: pending new evidence, some things just have to be considered settled.

The irony is that much of what is found in the Old Testament has Babylonian antecedents; the Genesis account of The Fall, for instance, and the story of the flood, are plainly adopted from much older stories. Those older stories, being nearer in time to the events they allege to describe, should be more accurate. That is, I should trust Gilgamesh rather than the story of Noah and the Ark, and I should trust Atrahasis rather than the story of The Fall. Curiously, however, few Christians would hesitate to agree with me that those tales are myths.

Truly, He works in Mysterious Ways.

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That awkward question

Elizabeth Warren posed a discomfiting question to the Senate yesterday.

At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?

It needs no imagination to understand that Justice Roberts was probably made uncomfortable by the question — but she has a point. The Republicans apparently intend to get the so-called “trial” over as quickly as possible, calling no witnesses and permitting the introduction of no evidence beyond the original referral from the House.

In what sense, then, is it proper to speak of the Senate circus as a trial? And is Justice Roberts not, in fact, presiding over a fraud against the American people?

Warren is being bashed on opinion pages just now for making Roberts uncomfortable, but I suspect that the long view of the question will be kind to her and hard on Roberts and the Senate.

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