September 20, 2022

God, Guns, Evangelicals, Trumpers, and the Supreme Court

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If you do a Google Image search for God, guns, and Trump this is what you see:

Click images above to enlarge

This story leaped out at me through the pain of a waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in after dental surgery:

"On the eve of the first game, which the Knights won, Kennedy was in Milwaukee being presented with an engraved .22-caliber rifle at an American Legion convention.' 

Skip this section if you have no interest in guns.

I couldn't find a report whether the rifle was the kind usually used for target shooting and hunting small game or a tricked out version made to look and function like an assault rifle only with smaller and less lethal anti-person bullets. (Click images to enlarge)

The other some friend and I were discussing the cache of silver coins one had stored in a safe that her late husband collected. She said that they might come in useful for trading should society fall totally apart. I said in fact the better item to hoard would be .22 caliber bullets since they are cheap ($40 for 500). They would be used for hunting small game for food rather than against people (unless it was a last resort). Lord knows, the country is awash in weapons designed just to kill people efficiently.

Back to the article, and the gun quote above...

It is is buried in this article:

Here's yet another example of the Supreme Court predetermining a politically decision and ignoring arguments which would undermine the correctness of their ruling. An excerpt from the article:

The district's lawyers tried to correct the record, to no avail.

"You can't sue them for failing to rehire you if you didn't apply," one lawyer, Mercer Island's Michael Tierney, argued during a lower court session. "The District didn't get an application from him, had four positions to fill and filled them with people who had applied. It didn't fail to rehire him."

The Supreme Court simply ignored this inconvenient fact — along with a host of others. At one point during oral arguments, as a different school district attorney was saying the narrative that had been spun didn't fit with the facts — that the coach's prayers were neither silent nor solitary, nor was he fired — Justice Samuel Alito interrupted him, saying "I know that you want to make this very complicated."

Alito persisted in asking about the coach being fired — six times he said it, to the point that the lawyer finally corrected him. Which is a touchy thing to do with a Supreme Court justice.

The article concludes with these wise word from Justice Elana Kagan showering Chief Justice John Roberts for his defense of the legitimacy of the court.

This past week the Supreme Court justices were hand-wringing in public about why so many people seem to dislike them. The way Chief Justice John Roberts phrased it is that the public is questioning the "legitimacy of the court." He said people shouldn't base their views on whether the court's decisions are popular.

That's fair enough. The rule of law isn't supposed to bend with the winds. But Justice Elena Kagan got much closer to the mark.

"I think judges ... undermine their legitimacy when they don't act so much like courts," she pointedly said this past week. "And when they don't do things that are recognizably law, and when they instead stray into places where it looks like they're an extension of the political process, or where they're imposing their own personal preferences."

Your honors, I submit for the record, the Coach Kennedy case. Exhibit A.

As I look for references to God and guns I found this relevant article from The Trace:

As Midterms Loom, Right Wingers Are Revving Up the Faithful with Talk of Religion and Guns

Extremism experts warn that a new crop of ideologues using voter fraud conspiracy theories and religious appeals are pushing their followers toward armed rebellion.

The Trace which published this article describes itself as the only newsroom devoted to covering web violence.

Michael Voris, the president and founder of St. Michael’s media, Church Militant’s mother company, who moderated the convention described in the article reported on in this story. Here are some of his words:

Voris also hosts a web talk show in which he presents monologues for viewers. In one episode about guns, Voris begins by claiming that Democrats misrepresent religion and gender, and lack a “belief in God,” then transitions to a four-minute rant about how “Democrats and Marxist socialists” are eager to take guns away. 

“Whoever has the guns, rules the country,” Voris says. “The forces of the so-called Great Reset have gathered, conspired, and laid out their plan.” The Great Reset was the World Economic Forum’s 2020 response to the global economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It quickly morphed into a viral conspiracy theory that held that “global elites” would use the health crisis to destroy American influence and wealth.

At the end of his message, Voris asserts: “The bad guys hate God, and they hate you having guns for the exact same reason. It’s all about destroying your human dignity.” 

But Empsall vehemently rejects that guns and Christianity are tied. “America is awash in guns and individualism, and that’s certainly not in the Bible or the gospel,” he said. “They started with the guns and they brought in the religion, not the other way around.”

I am not an anti-gun liberal snowflake. While I consider hunting as a sport which people justify because they eat the game they shoot I still consider it a needless taking of life where you personally watch the animal die rather than the abstract denial of a typical omnivore who enjoys a good filet mignon. I just can't envision myself having a deer in might sights and deciding to end its life. 

I can also see target shooting and working to develop in this as a benign activity that people enjoy, but I draw the line at non-soldiers practicing shooting so they hone their skill at killing people

People like the brothers Trump shooting large game sheerly for the pleasure and watching a tiger, water buffalo, or other majestic creature die, and then posing happily with photos of their kills, I consider to be an exercise of blood lust arising out of psychopathology. 

In the interest of self-discloure: I have also carried a handgun as a part of my role as a reserve police officer for 20 years and believe in using firearms for true self-defense. In fact it was writing about this that got me permanently banned from posting on Daily Kos. I  didn't save that article so since they took it off-line I re-created it here with a justification for writing it.

The twisted belief of these evangelicals and violence threatening Trump supporters is that in their warped perspective they are convinced that if they use firearms it will be in defense of some perverted idea of liberty.

September 19, 2022

,Must read interview with former Justice Department prosecutor about Trump's fate


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For some reason Salon used a photoshop of Trump speaking into a microphone presumably from a prison cell which does make sense. This is the photo RAWSTORY used for the same interview:

I'd have made and used an image of a very distressed Trump decidedly unhappy to be behind steel bars. Here's one Michael Cohen tweeted in May of 2021:

The British Tabloid The Sun - US published this article:

This one was made for a poster:

But I digressed. Regardless of how Trump is depicted the following is of profound importance.

Chauncey DeVega's Salon interview with former Justice Department prosecutor Kenneth Foard McCallion  is a must read for those of us, basically this is all of you who read this blog. 

Here are the first three paragraphs:

Will Donald Trump eventually be prosecuted, convicted and then imprisoned for his apparent high crimes, which may include violating the
Espionage Act? Attorney and author Kenneth Foard McCallion believes that the answer is probably no.

McCallion is a former Justice Department prosecutor who also worked for the New York State Attorney General's office as a prosecutor on Trump racketeering cases. As an assistant U.S. attorney and special assistant U.S. attorney, he focused on international fraud and counterintelligence cases that often involved Russian organized crime.

McCallion is also the author of several books, including "Profiles in Cowardice in the Trump Era" and "Treason & Betrayal: The Rise and Fall of Individual-1."

There are a few points that I found particularly interesting but the entire interview is a tour of the landscape, or perhaps better put as a tour de force, of legal troubles facing Trump.

On why he took the documents to Mar-a-Lago:

I don't know. But I do believe that kind of hubris, and that inability to really let go of the mantel of the presidency, may in the end be his undoing. Trump has certainly left himself open for being prosecuted for serious crimes related to espionage and various other things.

That kind of hubris, and that inability to really let go of the mantel of the presidency, may in the end be Donald Trump's undoing.

... here's one of many positive notes:

The Jan. 6 committee really gave the Department of Justice a lot of impetus and momentum. There are also good indications that justice may actually be done with the New York attorney general's [civil] case, and perhaps the Manhattan DA's [criminal] case too.

... and one of many references to Trump's personality:

Those of us who know Donald Trump also understand that he is probably beyond reformation and may actually be psychopathic.  

...another point to consider:

There are also good indications that justice may actually be done with the New York attorney general's [civil] case, and perhaps the Manhattan DA's [criminal] case too.

... on the big question of basically whether Trump is or isn't clinically delusional:

Did Trump really believe that the election was stolen from him in 2020? The frightening thing is that Trump has not only convinced many of his followers of that, he has probably convinced himself of that, which makes him the most dangerous kind of dictator or autocrat. He has lost all sense of any ability to pull back from the brink...

... but some optimism: 

But in the end, I do believe that the pendulum will swing back, much as it did with, for example, Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1950s with his Red scare. I truly think the wheel will turn and we're not going to go over the cliff.  

People of ambition and of monumental ego, like Donald Trump, have blind spots. Trump is bringing himself down. 

... here's some psychology comparing Trump to leaders of organized crime families:

Remember, these people are pathological liars. I'm sure that Donald Trump, if he was given a polygraph, would pass with flying colors. It's a matter of experience, plus a natural sociopathic ability to lie. 

... and here's an explanation as to how to try Trump for the documents case:

It has to be laid out very simply for the jurors. It's basically two plus two equals four. You have Trump with these documents, some of them in a basement, but some of these top-secret documents were found by the FBI next to his passport in a private part of his desk. These documents were close to him every day. Trump certainly had knowledge and awareness of the documents; he knew they were top secret. He knew they had been taken from the White House. I think that you would just put it to a jury that you don't leave your common sense and good reason at the door when you are sworn in as a juror. 

... here's a rather benevolent opinion on why he took the documents:

Actually, on this point, I give Trump somewhat the benefit of the doubt. I think his ego would not let him leave all the trappings of power back in the White House. In his mind, he had to take something.

There, I've given you tidbits from the interview as I read down the page, but this is only halfway through the excellent Chauncey DeVega *(see below) interview with a very astute legal expert. 

If you want to find out the answer to why this former federal prosecutor says that a day of reckoning is coming for Trump but he's not going to jail you will have to read the entire interview. You can read it on Salon here, but if you want to make and read comments read it on RawStory here.


* Chauncey DeVega is in great company among excellent writers at Salon (Heather "Digby" Parton, Amanda Marcotte, Matthew Rozsa for example) and has interviewed some of the major mental health professionals like Dr. John Gartner, Bandy Lee, MS, and Lance Dodes, MD, about Trump's dangerous psychopathology. He's been published in many mainstream mostly liberal media but not these in his own bio:

"Fox News, Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Juan Williams, Herman Cain, Alex Jones, World Net Daily, Twitchy, the Free Republic, the National Review, NewsBusters, the Media Research Council, Project 21, and Weasel Zippers have made it known that they do not like me very much."

I can say, no-brainer that it is, that he is to be complemented on who his enemies are.

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