God and Trump

MIAMI — In his first public appearance since the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran, President Trump rallied his evangelical Christian base of supporters on Friday, portraying himself as the restorer of faith in the public square and claiming that God is “on our side.” (MSN.com)

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I wonder:

  1. If God contacted Trump personally
  2. If Trump is dictating what he expects God to do
  3. If Trump made the announcement without God being consulted

The Power of Hate and Fear

Throughout history, one of the most popular–and effective methods for gaining power and influence has been to use hate and fear. People will unite against a threat better and faster than uniting in support of an ideal. Oftentimes the hate was aimed at a minority with claims that “they” were controlling wealth. “They” were a threat to everyday people. “They” would soon take over.

One group who were cast as “they” were the Jews, and not just by Hitler in the twentieth century. The middle ages are rife with similar examples. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan not only targeted Blacks, but also Jews and Catholics. “They” were different and if “they” gained power, “they” would upset the status quo.

Are the Jews being targeted again, today?

This isn’t fear of a group as much as it is fear of change. People often say, “The only constant is change.” Their mouths say those words, but neither their minds nor their hearts accept it. Their stance is, “You can have my perception of reality when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” The more warped the perception, the more fiercely they defend it.

In the meantime, they happily suspend reality and hold on to false beliefs–beliefs based on unfounded fear and undeserved hate. People defend their egos from bruising by lying to themselves. They use whatever means necessary, including, murder, theft, lies, and the other tools of hate.

If there is one person one should be honest with, it is one’s self.

 

 

No Place Like Home

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If you ever read about me you know that history claims that I lived in either a sewer or a large pot. Trust me, it was a sewer. If you live in a large pot, before too long, it becomes a sewer.

However, that was my choice. After all, I was a legitimate and, in fact, esteemed philosopher. I am credited with being a major force in developing the philosophical discipline known as cynicism. Me, being a cynic, suspect that you don’t believe that.

Observing events in your time, I must admit it adds great credence to the importance of the cynical philosophy. In fact, while every age needs a certain amount of healthy cynicism, your age will never be cynical enough.

But I digress.

I was thinking, after seeing political, social, and religious interactions over the past decade, how I am perfectly adapted to live in this time. If I had lived in your here and now, I would have readily eschewed my desire to find an honest man. It was a fool’s errand in my time, and today, um, well . . . .

Today, it is often not the person with a powerful title who has power; the power is frequently wielded by those who whisper in the leader’s ear–those once called the powers behind the throne.And, indeed, a throne it is.

If I lived in this day and age I could . . . .

No. Never mind.

I miss my sewer.

Great Thoughts

In business, there is the Peter Principle, which states that people in an organization will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence, after which they will neither be promoted nor demoted. A good clerk, for example, might be promoted to team leader. If successful as a team leader, the next step is supervisor. If less than successful as a supervisor, that former clerk will stay a supervisor. In other words, the cream rises until it sours.

Kings, lords, emperors, and other high personages seem somehow to reach incompetence whether appointed, anointed, or elected without bothering with the intermediate steps. However, the Huns and the Visigoths were interesting, the Borgias intriguing, and the Japanese Shoguns fascinating.

Unfortunately, the current crop seems not to include any exceptional people. No style. No grace. No culture. Almost all of them are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

I can’t adequately describe their approach, but a great philosopher sums it up well:

“I didn’t do it. No one saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.

 – Bart Simpson

Double Standard

Diogenes lived about 3 centuries before the beginning of our modern calendar. He was a philosopher—one of the founders of cynicism. Apparently he was quite off-putting; he slept in a ceramic vessel, although it may have been a sewer. He’s reported to have traveled through town, during the day, with a lighted lamp, claiming to be “Searching for an honest man,” which was one of his more civilized activities.

A new congresswoman resigned because revenge-porn nude pictures of her spread through the internet.

Compare this to the current president bragging about grabbing women by their genitalia. And his wife du jour has explicit professionally produced nude photos on the internet. In fairness to her, she was a model and many believe the pictures were taken as a way for The Donald to show he has a hot wife (and believes that you don’t).

The congresswoman resigns.

The President digs in as the Republicans draw their wagons into a circle around him.

Will somebody please explain?

Latest Poles (Sorry, I meant Polls)

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The news is abuzz with the latest polls. A word of advice from Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is appropriate. He told us, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

At best, polls are lumped into statistics, although I believe they are somewhere between “Pipe dream” (as in, “Wow man, I can see it too! Far out!) and “Hallucination.”

Today the polls are not reporting the national standing of the candidates , but instead they are reporting on the first two states that will sorta, kinda have the first sorta, kinda primaries. Let’s put this into perspective.

Iowa has a caucus (February 3, 2020), which is different than a primary. It’s more like a block party than a political event.

New Hampshire, has the first actual primary (February 11, 2020).

The spotlight is tightly focused on these powerhouse states.

Just to put things into perspective–there are 538 votes in the electoral college.
Iowa’s power block? Six.
New Hampshire’s share? Four.

Between these two key states, together they represent not-quite two percent of the votes that actually are counted in a presidential election.

However, focusing on those two states definitely helps to sell television advertisements.

 

Which Side Is He On?

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve become pretty jaded over the millennia. The last few years have managed, somehow, to shock me at times.

Such as now.

Normally in the United States, the president informs Congress, or at least key members of Congress (regardless of political party) before a significant military event occurs.

President Trump, however, initiated the special forces military operation that led to the death of ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi without informing key congressional leaders. He did, however, inform Russian President Vladimir Putin in advance.

If I were a suspicious person . . . .

At least, for as much as Trump admires Putin, he has not taken to Putin’s affinity for taking off his shirt at every opportunity. We should all be thankful for that.