These Days, It’s Hard to Distinguish Between Satire and News

fake news

Andy Borowitz, Putin Almost Done Redacting Mueller Report:

MOSCOW (The Borowitz Report)—After putting in what one associate called a “hellish all-nighter,” the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is almost finished redacting Robert Mueller’s report in time for its release, on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, submitted the approximately four-hundred-page document to Putin for his approval, but the Russian President was reportedly “in a state of disbelief” over how much Barr had failed to redact.

Quickly assembling a crisis team at the Kremlin to implement further redactions, Putin told his associates, “Put some coffee on, boys—it’s going to be a long night.”

Bill Weld Seeks the Republican Nomination for President

Meanwhile, it has been noted that Pete Buttigieg sent words of sympathy to the French people—uttering complete and grammatical French sentences. I anticipate that Trump will shortly be shame tweeting him for speaking French while gay.

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Greetings to today’s readers from the antipodes in Australia and New Zealand. Not to mention others from Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.

Notre Dame is Burning

C’est une histoire qui a pour lieu
Paris la belle en l’an de Dieu
Mille quatre cent quatre-vingt-deux
Histoire d’amour et de désir
Nous les artistes anonymes
De la sculpture ou de la rime
Tenteront de vous la transcrire
Pour les siècles à venir

Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre

Pierre après pierre, jour après jour
De siècle en siècle avec amour
Il a vu s’élever les tours
Qu’il avait bâties de ses mains
Les poètes et les troubadours
Ont chanté des chansons d’amour
Qui promettaient au genre humain
De meilleurs lendemains

Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre
Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre
Il est foutu le temps des cathédrales
La foule des barbares
Est aux portes de la ville
Laissez entrer ces païens, ces vandales
La fin de ce monde
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille

Mayor Pete Had a Good Week, Mike Pence Had a Sad, and the “Evangelical” Leaders Had a Cow

lolcat has a sad

I know some of my posse disagree, but I like Mayor Pete, and I think he might The One.

One, he’s likeable. Likeability is an intangible factor. It isn’t all that correlated, I think, with whether you are actually a good person—let along whether you’re a person with good ideas, or a person with the full set of leadership skills needed for an important job. But it is, nonetheless, hugely important, even if we shy away from talking about it.

Barack Obama said that Hillary Clinton was “likeable enough.” That may well be, but she wasn’t likeable enough to get the 70,000 votes she needed in three midwestern states. This time, we had damn well better pick a really likeable person.

Two, Mayor Pete is extraordinarily intelligent and extraordinarily erudite, but he wears his intelligence and his erudition lightly.

Third, I think it’s of the highest importance that Buttigieg is trying to get inside the evangelicals’ heads. It would be nice to peel some of them off from their nauseating tribe. Impossible, you say? Maybe so. But think about this.

To be a Franklin Graham/Mike Pence evangelical is to bear an enormous burden of cognitive dissonance. To suffer from constant, high level cognitive dissonance is to be unstable in your thinking. To be unstable in your thinking means that there’s at least the bare possibility you might listen to a different point of view.

The core of the Sermon on the Mount is a message of radical inclusiveness, radical caring, and radical love. I saw Stacey Abrams quoted recently as saying that Jesus would be a progressive. But that means more than saying that Jesus would vote Democratic, but if the Republicans won, he would try to be tolerant and make the best of it.

No, my friends, if you read the literal words of the Sermon on the Mount, you see that caring for the weak, the stranger, and the oppressed is more than something that’s nice to do, if you get around to it, and it’s not too much trouble. Instead, it’s a matter of whether your immortal soul is damned to hell.

That’s not what I believe. But we’re not talking about what I believe or don’t believe. We’re talking about the literal words of Jesus, as purportedly recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. And we’re not talking about people who worship Zeus or Odin. We’re talking about people who claim to worship Jesus and claim to take the Bible literally.

No wonder that, according to the New Republic, “the Religious Right is terrified of Pete Buttigieg.”No wonder that Mike Pence had a very bad week—even though his “religious freedom” was in no way prejudiced. Mr. Pence has the freedom to espouse any religious beliefs he chooses to espouse, and to give his religion any name he chooses. If he wants to scoot on over to the local Hindu temple, prostrate himself before Shiva, and then walk out claiming to be a Muslim, then he enjoys the freedom to do that. But he does not have the freedom to escape the discomfort that arises when someone points out the inconsistency with his claiming to be a Christian, yet acting in ways that Rabbi Jesus damned to hell.

If you weren’t raised in Sunday School, you may not know the 25thchapter of Matthew. If you are Mike Pence, you may have forgotten. Just read the words—the literal words of the King James Bible, If you take them literally, and if you mistreat the poor and the oppressed, then you are going to hell.

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Are You an Asymetrical Multiculturalist?

asm

Obama: “We can’t label everyone who is disturbed by migration as racist”

Andrew Sullivan, The Opportunity of White Anxiety

Ronald Brownstein, Trump’s Immigration Policies Unify White Republicans: As the GOP’s political power concentrates in less diverse areas, resistance to the president’s agenda keeps on shrinking.

Brownstein, an acute political observer, acutely observes the main force behind Republican politics. Obama does what Obama does. Sullivan reflects on the expanding definition of whiteness in America, the alleged distinction between racism and mere racial conservatism, and why we should supposedly be concerned about asymmetrical multiculturalism. (Don’t know what that is? I didn’t, until I read Sullivan’s piece.)

I have a more basic point to make. People who aspire to influence and leadership in the progressive movement need to stop hemming and hawing about immigration. They need to have coherent, reasoned, humane, and defensible positions. If they are for open borders, say so, and explain why. If they are not for open borders, they need to say what rules they would apply, and why.

In particular, we need to have a coherent position on immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Yes, I know, we need to help the folks down there build livable countries. No doubt about it. But unless and until that happens, what should the US do about migrants from those countries?

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Readers today come from Canada, India, Singapore, the Palestinian Territories, Romania, the UK, and the United States. See y’all soon.