This has been going on far too long.
Now the faces on the cutting room floor are male. And about damn time.
Today, two prominent journalists bit the dust.
Al Franken is next.
How many more?
You will recall a recent post on God’s Plan for Roy Moore, wherein I addressed the two choices that Moore had. In that post, I tippy-toed up to the bounds of decency. Thus, I hesitate to delve into the subject further.
Nevertheless, I must report that a good friend and faithful reader—who apparently has way too much time on his hands—has drawn my attention to this biblical analysis of the moral choice between fornication and the self-help method. Read it, if you should be so inclined. Explains a lot.
Recently Aardvark asked his best friend from Alabama whether Moore’s reputation as a sexual predator would help or hurt him among Alabama voters.
Fox News has answered the question.
Among Alabama male voters, seven percent were previously unsupportive of Moore but, having recently learned of his abusive behavior toward underage girls and young women, have now concluded that he is well qualified for high office.
But among Alabama female voters, Moore’s support has dropped by twenty percent.
Let’s say you are a mid-thirties creep living in Gadsden, Alabama. You don’t have a wife. You don’t have a fiancé. You don’t have a girlfriend. You don’t date women your age. You don’t have a wife, a fiancé, or a girlfriend, and you can’t get dates from women your age because you are a creep.
But you are very horny.
So, what do you do?
Well, you have two choices.
You can hang out at the Gadsden Mall on Friday and Saturday nights, pester the teenage girls, badger some of them into going out with you, get them in your car, grab them, and stick your tongue down their throats until they fight their way out of the car.
Or you can pick choice two.
Stay home, stick a tape in your VHS player, and just have at it.
Which is the choice that a moral creep would make?
Which would be God’s plan for resolution of Roy Moore’s dilemma?
Jonathan Chait asks, Why Does Trump Talk About Putin Like Putin’s His Boss?
Speaking of Putin, and expressing his fear that continued investigation into Russian election interference would upset relations between the two countries, Trump said, “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Consider how unusual a statement this is, especially coming from Trump. Trump is assuming that Putin is a sensitive soul who might be personally wounded by unflattering portrayals in the American media. He is further asserting that Putin’s emotional distress might cause him to lash out at the United States or harm its foreign-policy interests in some way. Trump is speaking to his country like a cowering mother warning her children not to upset their father.
Needless to say, this is the opposite of the imagery Trump uses to discuss almost everybody else. He is famously obsessed with dominance. …
The prevailing theory used to explain Trump’s Russophilia is that he gravitates toward figures who praise him and lashes out at those who criticize him. That would account for Trump’s general friendliness toward Putin, which is in keeping with his cozy relations with all sorts of erstwhile allies. It does not explain his very unusual submissiveness.
No, it does not. What explains his “unusual submissiveness” is that old Vladimir has him by the short and curlies.
Before you sue the Washington Post, Judge Moore, you might want to check out what happened when Oscar Wilde sued for defamation over the allegation that he was a sodomite. Here’s the crucial piece of cross-examination:
Counsel: How old is he?
Witness: He was about sixteen when I knew him. He was a servant at a certain house in High Street, Oxford, where Lord Alfred Douglas had rooms. I have stayed there several times. Grainger waited at table. I never dined with him. If it is one’s duty to serve, it is one’s duty to serve; and if it is one’s pleasure to dine, it is one’s pleasure to dine.
Counsel: Did you ever kiss him?
Witness: Oh, dear no. He was a peculiarly plain boy. He was, unfortunately, extremely ugly. I pitied him for it.
In a radio interview Sean Hannity pressed Roy Moore to deny unequivocally the charges against him. In response, Moore said he generally did not date teenagers when he was in his thirties—and never without the permission of their mothers.
Too bad Oscar Wilde didn’t know about the mother’s permission defense. He might have testified that he kissed the footman, but only after getting the footman’s parents’ permission.
Gonna be a fun trial, ain’t it?
Remember The Manchurian Candidate, a 1959 political thriller with a plot so improbable as to diminish its entertainment value? Bet you never thought you would be living in this plot.
David Frum, speech writer for George Bush the Younger, writes,
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that.”—Donald Trump on Vladimir Putin, en route to Hanoi, November 11, 2017.
So, to put it bluntly: At this point in the proceedings, there can be no innocent explanation for Donald Trump’s rejection of the truth about Russian meddling in last year’s elections. Earlier, it may have been suggested, sympathetically, that the case had not yet been proven. That Trump’s vanity blocked him from acknowledging embarrassing facts. Or—more hopefully—that he was inspired by some Kissingerian grand design for a diplomatic breakthrough. Or that he was lazy. Or stubborn. Or uninformed. Or something, anything, other than … complicit. Not anymore.
As yet, it remains unproven whether Trump himself was personally complicit in Putin’s attack on U.S. democracy as it happened during last year’s presidential campaign. What is becoming ever-more undeniable is Trump’s complicity in the attack after the fact—and his willingness to smash the intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies in order to protect Putin, Russia, and evidently himself. …
At any time, this situation would be dire and ominous. It’s graver still at a time when this president seems determined to lead the United States into a preventive war in the Korean peninsula. President Trump may soon demand that this country incur terrible risks and accept heavy sacrifices—even as he leaves Americans in darkening doubt over whose interests he is serving, and why.
Yes, indeed. But, all that said, I don’t believe that, in the book, the Manchurian candidate actually admitted that he was the Manchurian candidate—which is what Trump has essentially done.
A Russian agent who said, “Yup, I’m a Russian agent all right,” would be a piss poor Russian agent. This leads Jennifer Rubin to conclude that Trump is not a conscious agent of Russia, just highly gullible:
President Trump’s authoritarianism, narcissism and racism threaten our democracy, but his gullibility threatens our national security. A man so uneducated and incurious about the world is willing, like his followers, to buy any crackpot conspiracy theory that makes its way to him via the Infowars-“Fox & Friends” pipeline. On the world stage, that makes him a sitting duck for slick manipulators and experienced flatterers. …
Trump is very much like the devoted Fox viewer who sits mesmerized in front of the screen, searching for evidence to support his prejudices, baseless suspicions and grievances against elites. See, there’s another crime by an immigrant. See, they’re all murderers. See, Sean Hannity found someone to say the Democrats hacked themselves! See, the Russia investigation is a hoax. Soaking up the brew of innuendo, hoaxes, lies and paranoia, Trump and his followers come to believe it all — and disbelieve the facts under their noses.
David Atkins marshals the evidence in support of the view that Trump’s pro-Russian views arise from stupidity. As Sherlock Holmes put it so well, when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Atkins writes,
The most obvious answer is simply that Trump likes Vladimir Putin and doesn’t want to upset him, or that the Russian president has blackmail goods on Trump. But that would only explain soft-pedaling on Russia issues behind the scenes. Trump doesn’t need to publicly look like a credulous fool in front of world reporters to keep Putin happy.
The other frequent response to Trump’s bizarre behavior is that he is trying to please his base for domestic political reasons. But that doesn’t fly here, either. Trump has been shedding public approval over the Russia fiasco, and while his hardcore base may not care about the Russia story, they also (outside of a radical contingent) aren’t deeply invested in Putin.
The real answer seems to be that Donald Trump really is as naive as he appears to be. If Putin tells him he didn’t meddle, he believes him. If reporters ask him about it, he says what’s on his mind.
That shouldn’t make us feel any better about it. The President of the United States isn’t just a complicit tool of Russian plutocratic white supremacist influence. He’s an unwitting one as well.
Conclusion: we are all passengers in a jumbo jet being flown by someone who does not know how to fly a plane.
I revert to the remarks of Jim Ziegler, Alabama state auditor:
He’s clean as a hound’s tooth. Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.
Based on his years attending Southern Baptist Sunday school and on his expertise as an art historian, Vasari explains that Mr. Ziegler is incorrect, and that, as Vasari puts it,
Joseph was not the father of Jesus, at least according to western church dogma. I do not have a song but I do have this little ditty:
As a ray of the sun
Through a window can pass,
And yet no hurt is done
The translucent glass,
So, but more subtly,
Of a mother untried,
God, the son of God,Comes forth from his bride.
It seems that several versions of this verse, likely sung, made the rounds in medieval Flanders.
In short, pace Mr. Ziegler, Mary conceived by the Word, not intercourse.
A telling illustration of the idea can be seen in alternatively, Robert Campin/Workshop of Robert Campin under the title alternatively The Merode Altarpiece/The Annunciation Triptych.
Forgetting the fascinating side panels, let’s look at a detail of the central panel. The angel announces. Simultaneously the complex baby slides down a light beam toward Mary, and if you want to use a straightedge you will see that the path is to Mary’s head, even, I think, her ear. Notice that the light beams and the baby have passed through the glass of the window without breaking it. And by the way the path takes them past a pot of water, water=clean.
Should there be any doubt about the conception, Joseph, on the right panel, is busy making mouse traps while his wife conceives.
Now, in the discussions since the Washington Post revelations, we have heard from thumpers that there was nothing unusual in Moore taking a fourteen-year old–that was a long time ago and they did things differently then and Moore is just being biblical.
Might the thumpers arrange for a demonstration of Moore sticking his beam through a window without breaking the glass?
All this needs to be laid before McConnell. A sticky wicket. Can McConnell grasp the distinction between oral sex and aural sex?
And may we assume that the thumpers will miss the detail of the morning report that Moore spoke to the mother and suddenly had possession of the child?
Here endeth the lesson from Vasari.
Dana Milbank also contributes greatly to the discussion, identifying a number of biblican practices highly approved in Alabama Republican circles:
Having rebellious children stoned to death by all the men of the city (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
Executing pagan priests on their own altars and burning their bones (2 Kings 23:20-25).
Cutting off the hand of a woman if she grabs the penis of a man who is fighting with her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11-12).
And having the military do all sorts of things to the enemy that would violate the Geneva accords:
Kill all boys and women but spare the girls who have not known man intimately for yourself (Numbers 31:17-18).
Destroy all that they have, killing man, woman, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel and donkey (1 Samuel 15:3).
I am indebted to Hans, who writes from Germany with this insight: for religious precedent supporting Roy Moore’s conduct, Alabama Republicans should look to Mohammad’s marriage to Aisha.
Aisha was definitely young at the time of the marriage, though there is a scholarly debate about just how young she was.
Hans opines, “What was good for the founder of a world religion should be good for the next junior senator from Alabama. An opportunity for Moore supporters to discover a redeeming value in Islam.”
And now, members of the congregation, let us all rise and sing together.
Sixty-one percent of female voters in the Virginia election picked Generic Democrat over Trumpkin. Up from 56 percent who chose Hillary Clinton over Real Donald Trump in 2016.