TBR News January 27, 2020

Jan 27 2020

The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. January 27, 2020:“Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose

Commentary for January 27:
“It is amazing to observe the hysterical, and unfounded, panice over the allegedly deadly Chinese flu ‘epidemic’ in most of the American media. That this “terrible disease’ is nothing more than a bad cold, the media is howling like the Black Death was upon us. The pictures shown of masses of Chinese wearing masks actually show the population of Beijing wearing these masks because of chronic air contamination in that city. The media somehow forgets to mention this and implies that all China, and soon the rest of the world, will become contaminated. I note that articles on Google that minimize the flu outbreak have all been removed. One wonders why? Here is an earlier comment that has had some circulation and I am repeating it because any competent doctor agrees with it fully: ‘About ten minutes ago, an old friend from Washington who is a well-connected bureaucrat, tipped me off, in detail, about this ‘Chinese plague’ now being frantically hyped in the US media.
It is, of course, a total and deliberate fraud.
If someone were to look it up on Google, one would discover is was about as deadly as the common cold, (which it very closely resembles) has been around for a long time and spreads easily in crowded cities.
If one has a weak immune system this virus can, in rare cases, cause pneumonia.
There is, however, no vaccine for this, (or the related common cold. )
What is the fraud about?
Trump has made a deal with the Chinese.
They will make a huge fuss about a “deadly virus,’ threatening America, the obedient mainline American, and foreign, media will loudly echo this, and stress the lack of a vaccine. And in return, Trump will lift damaging sanctions on Chinese products.
Suddenly, Donald the Son of God, (and some convenient and crooked, drug company,) will “discover” a vaccine and Donald, ever the Great Hero, Making America Great but laboring under the dark cloud of the impeachment will come up with the story that there is indeed a vaccine (that he helped develop of course, being a great genius) and soon, all over America, sterile water will be injected into legions of willing arms.
But not for free!
Donald will split the enormous take with the drug company.
And Donald will thereby manage to offset the negativity of the impeachment revelatons and appear, wearing white robes and sporting a nimbus, to Save the American People!
This is what the business of the ‘Chinese Plague’ is all about.
There are high-level emails supplied from certain White House personnel and very reputable legitimte medical sources that totally support this thesis.
Look for a mass mailing from us soon, and in English, Russian, French, German and Spanish.
Fat Donald isn’t going to get away with his usual con-job this time.
Children, trust me…but not him.’”

Trump’s Approval/Disapproval rating January 27 reporting

Source   Approve Disapprove
YouGov     43%          51%

The Table of Contents
• Fact check: Busting the myths around the Coronavirus
• Bolton revelation puts Republicans under pressure in Trump impeachment trial
• Trump linked Ukraine aid to Biden inquiry, Bolton book draft says – report
• ‘Satanic wombs’: the outlandish world of Trump’s spiritual adviser
• False Idol — Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump
• AUSCHWITZ: (Polish: Oswiecim)
• The Season of Evil
• The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Fact check: Busting the myths around the Coronavirus
TNM seeks to dispel some of the misinformation being shared around the new virus.
January 27, 2020
by Dr Nimeshika Jayachandran
Fear-mongering messages around the spread of the newly-identified Coronavirus strain, which has infected thousands of people around the world, is contributing to the panic surrounding the disease.
“Korona virus, very new deadly form of virus, china is suffering, may come to India immediately, avoid any form of cold drinks, ice creams, koolfee, etc, any type of preserved foods, milkshake, rough ice, ice colas, milk sweets older then 48 hours, for at least 90 days from today,” reads one fake message doing the rounds on Whatsapp.
On January 9, the World Health Organisation confirmed the outbreak of the new (or novel) Coronavirus (also called nCoV), which originated in China’s Hubei province in a city called Wuhan. nCoV belongs to the same family of viruses which are responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
Read: Coronavirus: SARS, MERS and nCoV, here’s what’s similar about these diseases
Since its initial discovery, the virus has now affected over 2,000 people globally, with over 80 dead from the infection. According to the New York Times Wuhan has reported an additional 1,000 cases on Sunday. Confirmed cases have also been reported in Thailand, Japan, and the United States.
With so many messages and myths being spread, unnecessary panic can even act as a hindrance to understanding the truth. Here is some misinformation about the virus that TNM has fact-checked for you:
The “snake” flu
In the days following the onset of the outbreak, a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology stated that two snake species, the Chinese Krait and the Chinese Cobra, may have been the original source of the virus. However, these were speculations based on DNA analysis of virus samples and there hasn’t been any confirmation. Despite this, several outlets dubbed the infection ‘the snake flu.’
Following this, there was speculation that bats were the source of the virus. While none of this has been confirmed, officials have traced the outbreak to a market in Wuhan where both live animals and meat were being sold. The market has since been shut down and the government has imposed a travel ban on Wuhan. Several provinces and different cities have taken such measures and more are expected to follow suit.
From animals to people, to humans to humans: How does transmission of the virus really occur?
The new strain of the Coronavirus, nCoV 2019, was known to be a virus that affected animals and would spread among livestock. When the first few instances of a cluster of pneumonia-like symptoms affecting people were reported in China, experts were able to quickly deduce that the virus had mutated into a zoonotic virus, one which can be transmitted from animals to people.
Infected individuals host the virus in their bodies which can be spread when they cough or sneeze. This is why health officials advised the use of masks and precautionary measures, such as washing hands frequently.
It has also recently come to light that certain individuals can remain carriers of the virus wherein they have been exposed to the virus and carry it in their body, without actually developing any symptoms themselves. It is yet to be known whether carriers can spread the infection to a healthy individual.
Are individuals with underlying health conditions more at risk?
Several rumours arose among people that only individuals with an underlying or comorbid disease (such as diabetes, liver disease and hypertension to name a few) were getting sick and affected by the virus. While some of the deaths reported occurred in individuals who were diagnosed with an underlying issue, it should be noted that the initial 41 patients who were infected in Wuhan did not have any other conditions.

A coronavirus is a common type of virus that usually causes mild illnesses
by Layal Liverpool
New Scientist
A coronavirus is a common type of virus that usually causes mild illnesses, such as the common cold. However, certain types of coronavirus can infect the lower airway, causing serious illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis. Most people get infected with coronaviruses at some point in their lives and the majority of these infections are harmless.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with extraordinarily large single-stranded RNA genomes of approximately 26 to 32 kilobases. Coronavirus particles usually appear spherical, as seen under an electron microscope, with a crown or “corona” of club-shaped spikes on their surface.
Two types of human coronavirus – Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) – are known to commonly cause severe symptoms.
SARS-CoV first emerged in 2002-2003 in Guangdong, China as an unusual pneumonia, which developed into life-threatening respiratory failure in certain cases. The virus rapidly spread across 29 countries, infecting more than 8000 people and killing about 800.
The MERS-CoV epidemic appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012, with people experiencing similar symptoms to SARS-CoV but dying at a much higher rate of 34 per cent. Unlike SARS-CoV, which spread quickly and widely, MERS-CoV has been mainly limited to the Middle East. Coronaviruses can infect other animals, in addition to humans, and dromedary camels are a major animal source of MERS-CoV infection in humans.
In early January 2020, cases of an illness similar to SARS and MERS were reported in Wuhan, China. The cases could all be traced back to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan. The virus has since been identified as a new coronavirus, and cases have been reported outside China.

Bolton revelation puts Republicans under pressure in Trump impeachment trial
January 27, 2020
by Richard Cowan and Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate came under fresh pressure on Monday to allow witnesses and new documents in his impeachment trial after a news report that a former top aide, John Bolton, has written a book manuscript that undercuts Trump’s versions of events in the Ukraine affair.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a sometime critic of Trump, said there was a growing likelihood that at least four Republican senators would vote to call for Bolton to testify in the trial, which would give Democrats the votes necessary to summon the former national security adviser.
Senate Republicans thus far have refused to allow any witnesses or new evidence in the trial that will determine whether Trump is removed from office. The president’s legal team is set to resume its defense of Trump on Monday afternoon.
The New York Times cited the manuscript of an unpublished book by Bolton as saying that Trump told him he wanted to freeze security aid to Ukraine until Kiev helped with politically beneficial investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
If confirmed, the report would add weight to Democrats’ accusations that Trump used the $391 million in aid – approved by the U.S. Congress to help Ukraine combat Russia-backed separatists – as leverage to get a foreign country to help him dig up dirt on a domestic political rival.
Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump on Monday denied telling Bolton that he sought to use the aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens on unsubstantiated corruption allegations. Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was U.S. vice president.
Bolton left his post in September. Trump said he fired him. Bolton said he quit.
“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Romney told reporters. Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, added that “Bolton’s relevance … is becoming increasingly clear.”
Another moderate Republican senator, Susan Collins, said the reports regarding Bolton’s book “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”
The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump last month on charges of abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress, setting up the trial in the Republican-led Senate.
Trump is expected to be acquitted in the 100-seat Senate, where Republicans hold 53 seats and a two-thirds vote is required to convict and remove a president from office. No Republican senator has voiced support for his ouster.
Trump denied telling Bolton he was seeking something in return for unfreezing the Ukrainian aid, which eventually was provided in September after the controversy became public.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens … If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Democrats demanded that the Senate call Bolton as a witness.
“It completely blasts another hole in the president’s defense,” said Representative Adam Schiff, the head of the House Democratic team of “managers” who are presenting the prosecution case against Trump.
“For every senator, Democrat and Republican, I don’t know how you can explain that you wanted a search for the truth in this trial and say you don’t want to hear from a witness who had a direction conversation about the central allegation in the articles of impeachment,” Schiff told CNN.
The issue of whether to call new witnesses – including Bolton – might be resolved in a Senate vote later this week. Many Republicans, however, want a speedy trial of Trump without witnesses or any evidence beyond the material amassed in the House impeachment inquiry. The White House directed current and former administration officials not to provide testimony or documents in the House inquiry.
John Barrasso, a member of the Senate Republican leadership, characterized the leak as an effort to drive sales of Bolton’s book.
“To me the facts of the case remain the same,” Barrasso told reporters, opposing the idea of calling witnesses.
In only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, Democrats argued last week that Trump should be removed for encouraging Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election.
Trump’s defense tried to turn that election interference line against the Democrats in its opening argument on Saturday by warning against removing a president less than 10 months before Americans vote on whether to give him a second term.
According to the Times, Trump was pressed for weeks by senior aides including Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to release the aid.
But in an August 2019 discussion with Bolton, Trump said he preferred sending no aid to Ukraine until officials there turned over all materials they had about the investigation that involved Biden, as well as Hillary Clinton backers in Ukraine.
If senators do not allow new witnesses and evidence, the Senate could vote as soon as the end of this week on whether to remove Trump. In that case, the trial could be over before the first of the state-by-state U.S. presidential party nominating contests takes place in Iowa on Feb. 3 and before Trump is scheduled to deliver the annual State of the Union address to Congress on Feb. 4.
Additional Reporting by Pete Schroeder, Arshad Mohammed, Tim Ahmann, Makini Brice, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Lisa Lambert; Writing Alistair Bell; Editing by Will Dunham; Editing by Andy Sullivan

Trump linked Ukraine aid to Biden inquiry, Bolton book draft says – report
Manuscript written by former national security adviser details material Bolton could be expected to reveal if he were called in the impeachment trial
January 26, 2020
by Joanna Walters in New York
The Guardian
The draft of a book by former US national security adviser John Bolton reportedly describes how Donald Trump told him about his determination to delay US military aid to Ukraine until its government agreed to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The explosive manuscript details the kind of material that Bolton could be expected to reveal publicly were he to be called as a witness in Trump’s impeachment trial now going on in the US Senate.
The account undermines Trump’s claims that the delay in aid to Ukraine last summer and the president’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate US Democrats were unconnected, the New York Times said as part of its article on Sunday night revealing the Bolton manuscript.
The manuscript reportedly contains new details about the actions of senior cabinet officials including secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
Bolton has been circulating the draft passages from his planned book to associates and has sent the manuscript to the White House for what would be a mandatory review process for someone who was in Bolton’s position in the government before exiting the post last year, the NYT reported.
The White House could censor the manuscript before Bolton’s planned book is published. The Room Where It Happened is slated for publication on 17 March.
As the president’s defence team prepares to make its main presentations to the Senate on Monday and Tuesday, in the second week of Trump’s impeachment trial, the details in the new report strongly bolster Democrats’ case that there should be new witnesses called at the trial – Bolton first among them.
Trump ousted Bolton in September last year after a widening gulf opened up between them on policy, with the then national security adviser particularly aggrieved at the president’s apparent Russian sympathies.
In a series of late-night tweets, Trump denied the claims attributed to Bolton.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the … transcripts of my calls with [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems.”
Early on Monday morning, he added: “The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!”
Senate minority leader and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, who is keen to force a vote on witnesses and pressure moderate Republicans into supporting the Democrats in this effort, took to Twitter on Sunday evening, saying: “John Bolton has the evidence.”
Leading House Democrats acting as prosecutors in the impeachment trial said the new information reported from Bolton goes to the heart of the case against Trump.
House Democrat and impeachment manager, aka prosecutor, Zoe Lofgren earlier on Sunday said the case against Trump is “overwhelming”, that he abused the power of his office and then obstructed Congress in its investigation, and that Senators should be prepared to deliver impartial justice.
Trump is accused of undermining US national security by soliciting the help of a foreign government in his domestic 2020 reelection campaign.
During the House’s initial investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the White House blocked senior aides from agreeing to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
Bolton later said he would be prepared to testify if subpoenaed to appear in the Senate and tension has been building ever since over whether witnesses will be called in the trial and perhaps offer a damning inside account of Trump’s allegedly corrupt dealings with Ukraine.
This includes the president conducting policy in the country allegedly to serve his own ends by deploying his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pursue a parallel agenda to the State Department’s foreign officials, which included destroying the career of highly-regarded US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was fired.

Satanic wombs’: the outlandish world of Trump’s spiritual adviser
A video has surfaced of Paula White saying ‘We command any satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now!’
January 7, 2020
by Poppy Noor
The Guardian
This weekend, a video of Trump’s spiritual adviser, Paula White, surfaced showing her preaching some potentially ungodly words.
“We command any satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now!” she says, before clarifying: “We declare that anything that’s been conceived in satanic wombs that it will miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm.”
White has since claimed that her words were taken out of context – she wasn’t praying for literal miscarriages, just metaphorical ones! Right. Whatever the case, it’s not the most outlandish thing she’s ever advocated.
1 She has an assignment from God
White has a close relationship with the president and his family. She offered a prayer at Trump’s inauguration; brags about how she calls Trump first thing in the morning; and reportedly visits the White House once a week.
But despite all of her talk about rejecting self-serving actions, she has called her appointment as Trump’s adviser an “assignment from God”. She has also stated that the Lord wanted her to go on national television.
2 She practices prosperity theology
White believes in a school of thought called “prosperity theology”, which sounds a lot like a pyramid scheme.
She believes that financial prosperity is a sign of God’s approval. Which means that God must really like her – she has a multimillion-dollar home in a gated community and a private jet. It follows that God must really like Donald Trump, too.
But she has also been branded a charlatan, perhaps because she proselytizes that God will bless those who donate to her church.
In one interview, an MSNBC reporter asks “Do you tell them that if they give to you they will get financial riches from God?” to which White responds: “I have probably said that. But my 50-year-old self wouldn’t do what my 20-, 30- or 40-year-old self did.”
Guardian reporting last year showed that White was encouraging members of her congregation to send their first month’s salary to her ministry to enjoy God’s blessings.
3 She ran a bankrupted church
White’s former church, Without Walls, which was raking in $40m a year at one point, has faced allegations over the misuse of donations. In a three-year investigation, it was alleged that White and her husband were using church and ministry finances for to benefit themselves.
A Congress investigation into the church was closed in 2010 with no penalties – although investigators said they were stifled by lifelong confidentially agreements that had been signed by church employees. The church filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
5 She plays with stereotypes
In late 2001, White signed a $1.5m contract for a show on the Black Entertainment Network. She was accused of “adopting African American idioms” which, if you watch footage from her show, appear to be steeped in problematic race and class stereotypes.
In her own TV show, which was picked up for a segment on Late Night with Seth Myers in 2017, she is seen making jokes about eating macaroni cheese out of boxes, and claiming that a woman shouldn’t wonder why her partner leaves her when “yo still got yo funky curlers in yo hair and spinach in yo teeth.”
In the sketch, Meyers says: “It’s hard to tell what’s more offensive, the insinuation that its your fault that your husband left you or the appropriation of black idiomatic speech” – before comedian Amber Ruffin responds: “It’s the black stuff.”

False Idol — Why the Christian Right Worships Donald Trump
by Alex Morris
Rolling Stone
On the morning of September 29th, six weeks before the 2016 election, Donald Trump was in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York talking to leaders of the religious right about sex-reassignment surgery. In a way, he was bringing about his own transformation. Having quashed the idea that his run for president was a lark or a publicity stunt, having come from behind to take the Republican nomination, and having fought his way up the polls to the extent that he was within striking distance of Hillary Clinton, Trump was now trying to seal the deal. And that involved something he would soon become much more known for: a discussion of other people’s genitalia.
“With the operation or without the operation?” Trump asked the conservative Christian leaders gathered specifically to ascertain whether to grant him their support. In other words, would HB2 — North Carolina’s so-called bathroom bill — apply to transgender people who had not undergone surgery to alter their sex?
“Without the operation,” Christian radio talk-show host Frank Turek confirmed, according to a tape of the meeting exclusively obtained by Rolling Stone. “If you’re a man but you feel like a woman that day, if you’re Shania Twain, you can go into a woman’s bathroom, and no one can say a word about it.”
Trump seemed to ponder this deeply. For much of his political run, the thrice-married, swindling, profane, materialistic, self-styled playboy had appealed mainly to the more fringe elements of Christianity, a ragtag group of prosperity gospelers (like his “spiritual adviser” Paula White, a televangelist who promises her donors their own personal angel), Christian dominionists (who believe that America’s laws should be founded explicitly on biblical ones — including stoning homosexuals), and charismatic or Pentecostal outliers (like Frank Amedia, the Trump campaign’s “liaison for Christian policy,” who once claimed to have raised an ant from the dead). Considering their extreme views, these folks had an alarming number of followers, but certainly nothing of voting-bloc magnitude.
And without the evangelical voting bloc, no Republican candidate could hope to have a path to the presidency. Evangelicals — a term that today refers to people who believe that Jesus died for their sins, that the Bible is the word of God, that every believer has a “born again” or salvation moment, and that the good news of Jesus should be widely disseminated — make up as much as a quarter of the country, or close to 80 million people. Around 60 percent vote, more than any other demographic, and among white evangelical voters, more than three-quarters tend to go to Republicans, thanks to wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights.
Trump was exactly the type of character you would expect “values voters” to summarily reject — even before the famed “grab ’em by the pussy” tape, the optics weren’t great. He never gained a majority of Christian votes in the primary. Even after he secured the nomination and named Mike Pence to be his VP, a survey of Protestant pastors conducted by Christian polling group LifeWay Research that summer found that only 39 percent of evangelical pastors planned to vote for him.
The meeting on September 29th, 2016, was one of the ways he tried to move the needle, to convince the religious right that their vision for America was one he shared. Robert Jeffress, the head of 14,000-member megachurch First Baptist Dallas, a contributor to Fox News, and one of the earliest evangelical leaders to support Trump, presided over the meeting. “I usually stand when he comes in the room as a way of showing respect — he doesn’t ask that, but that’s just something that I’ve normally done,” Jeffress explained to the assembled, who included Wayne Grudem, a well-known theologian and co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood; Eric Metaxas, a bestselling Christian author and radio host; Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Jay Richards, a philosopher and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank that campaigns against teaching evolution in school; and Ivanka Trump, who popped in momentarily to say hello.
“What a group of people!” Trump exclaimed when he entered. “This is serious power. Fantastic. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen this.”
Over the next hour, the message was that theirs was a power Trump would heed — and heed more than any other president. He would end the contraception mandate of Obamacare (“We’re getting rid of Obamacare anyway”); he would select only anti-choice judges (“And this president could choose, I mean, it could be five”); he would do away with the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt entities from endorsing politicians (“Wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually go and say, ‘I want Donald Trump’?”); he would support prayer in school (“I saw the other day a coach was giving a prayer before a football game, and they want to fire the coach now!”); he would oppose any bill that pulled funding from Christian schools that were charged with discrimination (“I can only tell you that if I’m president, it will be vetoed, OK?”); he would keep transgender people from using the “wrong” bathrooms and locker rooms (“We’ll get it straightened out”); and he would protect Israel, following the biblical pronouncement that nations that do so would be blessed (“[Obama’s] been the worst thing that’s happened to Israel; I was with Bibi Netanyahu the other day, and he said he can’t even believe it”). In other words, when it came to religious liberty as the attendees defined it, he would make sure that America was on the right side of God.
The meeting was chummy, solicitous. None of the points mentioned were likely to be ones that Steve Bannon would have let escape Trump’s attention, but the gathering allowed him to demonstrate not just his allegiance but also his attention. “[Romney] made no outreach like you’re doing,” Jeffress pointed out. “Bush didn’t do it. McCain didn’t do it. You’re the only candidate who’s asked people to come and share.” As the leaders went around the table, Trump got talking points, things to say on the trail that would — like a dog whistle — signal something meaningful to a massive group of voters. In turn, the leaders got the promise of a bully pulpit, someone willing to be their mouthpiece on the American political stage that the whole world was watching. “You go out on the campaign trail,” said Turek, “and every news organization is going to cover what you say.”
More than anything, it allowed Trump to display how his brand of pugnacious individualism could be used in service to the cause. “Are you allowed to use the word ‘Christmas’? Is there a restriction on the word ‘Christmas’?” Trump asked at one point, playing to the house.
“As long as you don’t refer to the baby Jesus as a ‘he,’ ” an attendee joked. “His preferred gender pronoun that day, that’s what you have to use.”
Throughout it all, Trump was not positioning himself as a true believer — “You know, I went to Sunday school,” he said with a shrug — but rather as a strongman, the likes of which the religious right had never seen. “Liberals are being the bullies here,” the Heritage Foundation’s Anderson told him at one point. “If there is a culture war in the United States, conservatives aren’t the aggressors, liberals are waging a culture war. They are trying to impose their liberal values.” Trump assured the group that, in his presidency, liberal oppression would end. “Many of these things, I would say 80 percent of them, will be done immediately,” he promised. “I can tell you, you have my support.”
In Jeffress’ final argument, he reminded everyone — in apocalyptic terms — what that support would mean. “What I want to say in closing is this election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It’s a battle between good and evil, light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness. . . . This is the last chance we have, I’m convinced, as a country to turn this country around.”
The meeting and other events like it, spread the word, sending radio talk-show hosts and pastors and educators out into the world to preach the gospel of Donald Trump. On Election Day, close to 81 percent of white evangelicals cast their ballots for him, turning out to vote in greater numbers than they had for Mitt Romney and George W. Bush. And their faithfulness paid off. From naming Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, to transgender military bans and Muslim bans, to defunding Planned Parenthood and creating a division of Religious Freedom, Trump has followed through on the promises he made to powerfully push back on liberal aggression.
Today, 82 percent of white evangelicals would cast their ballots for Trump. Two-thirds believe that he has not damaged the decency of the presidency, 55 percent agree with Sarah Huckabee Sanders that “God wanted him to be president,” and 99 percent oppose impeachment.
Politics is a transactional game, and presidents don’t need to be moral to be effective. While much has been made of the hypocrisy of Trump’s Christian supporters, these “values voters” who’d once gone apoplectic over Bill Clinton’s indiscretions and now capitulated to the most immoral president in living memory, the meeting at Trump Tower shows the logical framing of the argument that would lead a certain type of Christian to vote for Trump. “I don’t think Trump changed after that meeting,” Jeffress tells Rolling Stone. “But I know some of those in the room did. Never, never have evangelicals had the access to the president that they have under President Trump.”
What transactions don’t account for, however, is how white evangelicals seem alarmingly keen to not just vote for Trump but to also claim him as one of their own, to pronounce — as did Focus on the Family founder James Dobson — that Trump is a “baby Christian,” deserving of ample benefit of the doubt as he learns the ways of righteousness. Or suggest that it “may be immoral” not to support him, as did Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. Or insinuate that the Stormy Daniels payment was fake news, as did Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham. Or to go on national television and protest that removing Trump from office would lead to a “Civil War-like fracture . . . from which this country will never heal,” as did Jeffress.
The fervent embrace of Trump seemed not just expedient, but something more insidious. If Donald Trump was to be its standard-bearer, was something in American Christianity profoundly broken? The answer to that question mattered profoundly to me.
In 2016, Trump garnered over 80 percent of the white evangelical vote. Today, more than half of them believe that God wanted Trump to be president and 99 percent oppose impeachment. Photo credit: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images
I was raised a child of the Christian right. I know what they believe because the tenets of their faith are mine too. Growing up, I attended church at least twice a week and went to Bible camp every summer, singing songs about Christian martyrs who stood up to tyrants in the name of God. My brother and sister and I learned catechism and sang in the choir, but we also attended public school and played Little League and did community theater. We read C.S. Lewis but also Beverly Cleary. We listened to Amy Grant and Simon and Garfunkel. We were taught that evolution was a lie, with NPR playing in the background. We knew that women should submit to their husbands, but also that sex within the confines of marriage could be mind-blowingly good and that we should never be ashamed of our bodies. We felt that homosexuality was a sin, but we loved my mom’s Uncle Robert and his handsome boyfriend Ken. We knew that the Republican Party was the party of family values, but we weren’t particularly political. In Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1980s, Christianity was the culture; but for my family, it was much more. We believed in the Bible stories my mother read us over our eggs each morning. They girded our lives. More than anything, they taught us that we were beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and because of that we should respect ourselves and everyone else we encountered. They made us believe that our humanity held a divine spark.
It’s a concept that has long animated Christians, and explains why church history is littered with movements and leaders who have tried to hold America accountable to its theoretical ideals. Before the Civil War, Christian abolitionists fought not just for the end of slavery but also for prison reform and humane treatment of the mentally disabled, while Wheaton College — the so-called Harvard of Christian schools — served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. By the turn of the 20th century, mainstream Protestantism was engaged in a movement called the Social Gospel, which applied Christian ethics to social ills like child labor, poverty, war, and crime. Its adherents advocated in favor of women’s rights, and against racial injustice and income inequality. They believed that the kingdom of God could, through social-justice initiatives, be realized in the here and now.
There were prominent Protestants at the turn of the century who also trusted in science and, as scientific knowledge grew, accepted that the world was not created in six days but rather over millennia, and that humankind was a product of evolution. These were not necessarily hills on which Christianity needed to die — after all, evolution does not rule out the possibility of divine purpose — but the subsequent theological liberalism that grew out of these findings created a backlash that gave rise to fundamentalism, the belief that the Bible was fundamentally, historically, and scientifically true. “Fundamentalists were legalists,” says Greg Thornbury, a theologian and Christian biographer. “And fundamentalism was characterized by isolation. ‘We’re starting our own schools. We have our own churches. We have a bus running to programs.’ ”
The isolation created a stark religious and cultural divide in America. By the time of the “Scopes Monkey Trial” of 1925, in which a Tennessee high school teacher was tried for teaching the theory of evolution in class, Christian lawyer William Jennings Bryan won in actual court, but lost in the court of American opinion. Fundamentalism’s anti-scientific commitment to “alternative facts” cast the movement as backward, delusional, and worthy of scorn. For the first time in American history, Protestantism’s cultural dominance was called into question. It was a fall from a great height.
Out of the seeds of the ensuing resentment and cultural irrelevance — and as a means of overcoming them — American evangelicalism was born. In the late 1940s, preachers like Billy Graham had begun referring to “evangelical” as a movement that was theologically conservative but had “a heart for the world.” Evangelicals engaged in American culture as a way of showing they cared. By the 1950s, Graham was preaching against communism and hobnobbing with presidents — though he once horrified Harry S. Truman by praying on the ground outside the Oval Office. “They were wearing ice-cream-colored suits and hand-painted ties. I mean, country come to town,” says Thornbury. “But Graham became more sophisticated after that. He was interested in the political shape of things.”
As it turned out, Graham’s brand of engaged evangelicalism hit a sweet spot. In 1920, 43 percent of Americans were members of a church; by 1960, that figure had jumped to 63 percent. In 1976, the year that evangelical Sunday school teacher Jimmy Carter was elected president, fundamentalist pastor Jerry Falwell decided it was time to stoop to worldly matters and go on a series of “I Love America” rallies across the country to decry the decline of American morality.
What constituted that decline, in Falwell’s mind, was the 1971 case Green v. Connally, which had determined that “racially discriminatory private schools are not entitled to the federal tax exemption.” Falwell had founded just such an institution, Lynchburg Christian School, and believing in his God-given American right to exclude African Americans, he teamed up with Paul Weyrich, a religious political activist and co-founder of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, who had long been searching for an issue around which to forge a Christian voting bloc. Together, they reframed the debate, creating a playbook for a defense of white supremacy. “Weyrich’s genius lay in recognizing that he was unlikely to organize a mass movement around the defense of racial segregation,” argues Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest and historian of American religion at Dartmouth College. “That would be a tough sell. With a sleight of hand, he recast the issue as a defense of religious liberty.”
In 1979, Falwell and Weyrich also founded the Moral Majority, using Falwell’s mailing lists to create what would become one of the largest conservative lobbies in the country, one dedicated to seeing Christian ethics enshrined in American law. “The Democrats at that point were embracing feminism and gay rights and things like that,” says Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People for the American Way. “So conservative operatives looked at evangelical churches that had traditional ideas about the role of women and sexuality, and saw those churches as places where they could convince people that voting conservative was part of their religious duty.”
What convinced Christians of that most compellingly, folding evangelicals into Weyrich’s voting bloc once and for all, was a 1979 movie series called Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Made by pastor Frances Schaeffer and future Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, the films (and accompanying book) argued that abortion was infanticide. “The films changed everything,” says Thornbury. “They made people think that the government was coming after them. They began to see the political left as being the church of secular humanism. So, ‘If we’re going to protect our Christian heritage in America, then we’re going to have to play ball with the Republicans.’ ”
Despite having signed into law the most permissive abortion bill in the U.S. when he was governor of California, Ronald Reagan was only too happy to play ball as well, taking to the campaign trail in 1980 with an explicit endorsement of religious freedom. In so doing, Reagan cemented the idea that the Republican Party was the Everlasting Party of God.
I’m not sure exactly when my family got the idea that we were at war with larger American culture. But I know that at some point our lessons about God’s love became peppered with the idea that we were engaged in spiritual warfare, inhabiting a world where dark forces were constantly attempting to sever us from the will of God. The devil was real, and he was at work through “gay” Teletubbies and pagan Smurfs, through Dungeons & Dragons, through the horrors of MTV. At one point, my parents forbade TV altogether, and disconnected the stereo system in my car. We still loved Uncle Robert, but believed that the AIDS he’d contracted was a plague sent by God, just as we believed that abortion was our national sin, for which the country would likewise be held accountable. We awaited the Rapture, when Christians would be spirited away and Jesus would return to deal (violently) with the mess humans had made of things. Over time, and even before the introduction of Fox News, whatever nuance we might have seen in the culture evaporated into a stark polarity.
Zooming out, that cleaving was by design: It created a powerful us-versus-them mentality that mobilized the Christian base fiscally and politically. We were Christian soldiers, and the weapons we had were our votes and our tithes. “The persecution trope is a hell of a fundraising pitch,” says Charles Marsh, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. “For evangelical activists and leaders, many of whom run nonprofits or rely on charitable contributions, that is the most direct and successful way to captivate conservative Christians.”
The wedge issues created during the culture wars of the Eighties and Nineties were thus not matters of equality and social justice or anything that might evoke the liberalism of the Social Gospel (though Jesus spoke on such matters abundantly). Rather they were divisive, pushing the Republican Party further to the right and exacerbating Christians’ sense of being a people apart.
By the time Trump came along, the gulf was so wide that criticizing Trump’s behavior seemed beside the point. There was now a scorched-earth policy, and any leader who tackled the wedge issues with Trumpian ferocity was on the side of righteousness. Which also happened to be where the money was. “I had a huge donor that was the puppet master behind the whole Trump campaign,” says Thornbury, who was also president of the King’s College, a small Christian school, from 2013 until 2017. “Rebekah Mercer was funding Breitbart. Who is an evangelical college president going to talk to, to raise $10 million a year? Right-wing crazy people.”
And as Jesus himself pointed out, money tends to shut down moral inquiry. “It’s all about money,” Thornbury argues. “All these people were told, ‘Don’t say anything about Trump or we’re going to stop giving to your thing.’ All of the money that is behind these evangelical institutions is being given by Trump supporters.”
Not everyone capitulated. There were still those who balked at the idea of stumping for a man who famously referred to the biblical book Second Corinthians as “Two Corinthians,” and who once opined that he had never had the need to ask God for forgiveness. In a much-debated blog post titled “Decency for President,” Christian author Max Lucado wrote, “If a public personality calls on Christ one day and calls someone a ‘bimbo’ the next, is something not awry?” Likewise, pastor Tim Keller worried in The New Yorker about the damage Trump had done to the very word “evangelical”; and Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public-policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, referred to Trump as “an arrogant huckster” and called the support evangelical leaders offered him “a disgrace.”
Moore was quickly chastised. More than 100 churches threatened to cut funding to the SBC, and some left the denomination altogether. “Immediately after the election, all of the big Southern Baptist megachurch pastors called [Moore] up and said, ‘You are to shut up about Donald Trump, or you’re out of a job,’ ” says Thornbury. “And from that point on, Russ has not said pee-diddly-who. His wings were clipped. Occasionally, he’ll pop his head up above the parapet like he did when he talked about the crisis at the border. And what happened?” Jerry Falwell Jr., perhaps not incidentally accused of hiring Michael Cohen to help him deal with some compromising “personal photos,” condemned Moore, saying the pastor was part of an “SBC deep-state regime.” Thornbury knows Moore, and watched it all transpire. “There’s now this mob,” he says with a sigh. “If you criticize Trump, they will come after you.”
Unlearning one’s religion is not a task that is easily accomplished; I had to leave America to manage it. I was in my early twenties, living in London, when my mother called to inform me that if I did not cast my absentee ballot for George W. Bush, I could not possibly be a real Christian. She was adamant, unyielding. So entwined had the policies of the Republican Party become with her faith that it seemed to me she could no longer untangle them.
Though I didn’t mention this to my mother, my own faith hung in the balance. Once out from under my parents’ roof, the nuance of experience had washed over me, the Bible’s complications had ineluctably presented themselves, and I had been left with two choices: Deny God, or find a new framework for understanding him. In a chilly, Victorian-era chapel not far from the tiny room I rented, I stumbled upon a Christianity divorced from the American nationalism I came to believe was poisoning my faith. Here, theology was not wrapped up in some idea of theocracy, but was instead expressed with a C.S. Lewis-style appeal to reason, to compassion, to internal rather than political renewal. An Oxford scientist in the pew next to me sometimes, under his breath, spoke in tongues. It weirded me out, but also intrigued me. Here was a fervent embrace of God’s mystery by a man who had made understanding physical reality his life’s work.
I returned to America to discover a rich tradition of progressive Christianity, with thinkers like Rob Bell and Rachel Held Evans grappling with their faith with intense intellectual honesty and a deep love for the transformative message of Jesus (Held Evans famously said she was voting for Hillary Clinton because she was “pro-life,” not just “pro-birth”). These faith leaders helped me see that no one political party had a monopoly on God; that Jesus himself was revolutionary, upsetting hierarchies wherever he went; and that a form of Christianity that could be co-opted by a political agenda was suspect at its core. “I find the term ‘Christian right’ highly objectionable because I don’t think there’s anything Christian about it, frankly,” says religion historian Balmer. “What is Christian about what’s happening at the border right now? What is Christian about the economic policies since Trump took office?”
The frustration certain Christians have over the Republican Party’s stranglehold on our faith deeply troubles Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has consistently pushed back on the notion that Republican policies are inherently Christian. “It makes me think of the contortions of the priests and the scribes who justify the unjustifiable — and are among those who actually managed to get under the skin of Jesus in Scripture and draw not only rebuke, but even irritation and sarcasm out of him,” says Buttigieg, who is both Christian and a gay man. “And I see a lot of that in the elaborate inventions of conservatives trying to think of some reason to pretend that what they’re doing is consistent with, never mind my faith, but their own.” On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has argued in favor of a Christianity of compassion, and called for us to love our neighbors no matter who they might be. “It matters what effects these interpretations of religion have in the world,” Buttigieg tells me. “Do they serve to heal or to harm? Do they serve to unify or to divide? That tells us something about the truth beneath.”
It is a reasonable point if your ultimate concern is creating a more harmonious society. But conservative Christians often have a different goal in mind. The wedge issues have become so ingrained in their conceptions of morality that they view them as issues paramount to not just individual salvation but to the country’s salvation as a whole.
In other words, for the God-fearing evangelical, gay marriage, abortion, and the evils of socialism — as opposed to racial injustice, family separation, or income inequality — put America squarely in the path of the wrath of God. “Parts of the Old and New Testaments imply very strongly that there’s not just a judgment of individuals, but there’s a judgment of nations,” says historian Diana Butler Bass. “People who sin are keeping the nation away from a moral goodness that needs to be present, because they think that God’s coming back and is going to destroy everything, and they want America to be on the right side of that equation. They want to stand before God and say, ‘We did your will. We created a godly nation, and we’re the remnant. We’re your true people.’ ”
For an outsider, this may seem extreme, even unhinged, but it’s what televangelist Pat Robertson was talking about when he blamed 9/11 on abortion, or Hurricane Sandy on gay marriage. “When Christians get all worked up about religious liberty, it’s usually because it’s some law or cultural practice that impinges on what they think it would mean to be a godly nation,” Bass continues. “If you have to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, then what happens in the minds of the people who are living inside of this worldview is that you’re contributing to evil. It’s way more than a wedding cake. It’s participation in sin.”
In that sense, the victimization certain Christians feel is very real. “I believe that Christians are being targeted by the gay and lesbian movement,” Franklin Graham tells me. “We’re not targeting them. I’m not targeting them.” Metaxas, the radio host who was at the September 29th meeting, agrees. “With Roe v. Wade,” he says, “and Obergefell” — the same-sex-marriage case — “the real issue was never: Should people be allowed to do something that they want to do? The issue was: Once they have that legal right, are they then going to use that to bludgeon people and say, ‘You must approve of what I’m doing’? The government has no right to coerce an American citizen to do something that goes against his ideology.”
Especially, the argument goes, when America was founded on that ideology — and blessed because of it. In his promises to Christians and his overt nationalism, Trump uniquely equated American salvation with American exceptionalism, asserting that to be great “again,” America had to come down on the right side of those very wedge issues that the religious right felt would be their reckoning. Even more, he affirmed and evangelized the belief that it is not only acceptable but actually advisable to grant cultural dominance to one particular religious group. “The white nationalism of fundamentalism was sleeping there like a latent gene, and it just came roaring back with a vengeance,” says Thornbury. In Trump’s America, “ ‘religious liberty’ is code for protection of white, Western cultural heritage.”
By creating a narrative of an evil “deep state” and casting himself — a powerful white man of immense generational wealth — as a victim in his own right, Trump not only tapped into the religious right’s familiar feeling of persecution, but he also cast himself as its savior, a man of flesh who would fight the holy war on its behalf. “There’s been a real determined effort by the left to try to separate Trump from his evangelical base by shaming them into, ‘How can you support a guy like this?’ ” Jeffress tells me. “Nobody’s confused. People don’t care really about the personality of a warrior; they want him to win the fight.” And Trump’s coming to that fight with a firebrand’s feeling, turning the political stage into an ecstatic experience — a conversion moment of sorts — and the average white evangelical into an acolyte, someone who would attend rallies with the fever of revivals, listen to speeches as if they were sermons, display their faithfulness with MAGA hats, send in money as if tithing, and metaphorically bow down, again and again, at the altar of Donald Trump, who delivers the nation from its transgressions.
“It’s all about money,” one Christian critic of Trump says about the support. “All the money behind these evangelicals is from Trump supporters. There’s this mob, and they’ll come after you.” Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
There’s something about an August evening in Alabama that can feel apocalyptic — the air so thick it seems time might get caught in it and the heat-lightning flashing in the distance as if presaging some heavenly event. For the past week, the temperature has barely dropped below 100, which might be global warming or might just be Alabama. I’m here to speak with my family about Trump, though I don’t relish the prospect. Like so many in America, I watched their conversion to him happen slowly, grow from bemusement to grudging support, then to wholehearted acceptance, and then to fervor. In many ways, I was sensitive to the way they — and their thinking — were being portrayed in the media. But that’s not why I don’t want to talk to them about it. I don’t want to talk to them about it because I don’t want them to fear for my soul.
In a journalism career that has spanned 15 years, I have never struggled with an article so much as I have with this one, and it’s because I know my beliefs could hurt my family. I know the points I make here might hurt them — not because they care what other people think, but because they care about my salvation. They’ll see this article as proof of my blindness to the truth. They’ll see my faith as a lack of certainty — and for them, the stakes are too high for that.
Not long before my trip to Alabama, my mom sent me a book called The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophesies of the Apocalypse, by Dr. David Jeremiah. “If you want to know what the religious right thinks,” she’d called to say, “read this book.” So I started reading. Jeremiah is pastor of the San Diego megachurch helmed for 25 years by Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series, and he is a fervent follower of the End Times theology his predecessor popularized. By referencing symbolism in the Bible and shoehorning historical and current events into a narrative, The Book of Signs “proves” Jesus’ imminent return. It’s the type of book that mostly appeals to people already primed to believe it, but close to half of Americans do. In fact, 41 percent of the country — and 58 percent of white evangelicals — believe that Jesus definitely or probably will return to Earth by 2050. In June 2016, Trump named Jeremiah to his Evangelical Executive Advisory Board. In May 2018, Trump moved the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, an event that is meant to presage Christ’s return.
In a dimly lit room, with a bottle of red wine, my mom, my aunt, and I pull our chairs close. I explain that I’m taping our conversation, that I love and respect them, and that I want to discuss why my Christianity has led me away from Trump and theirs has led them to him.
For a while, we just hit the typical talking points. There’s some discussion of Trump being a baby Christian, some assertions that the lewd behavior of his past is behind him, that in office he would never actually conduct himself as Bill Clinton had. But when I really double down, my mom and aunt will admit that there are flaws in his character. Though not that those flaws should be disqualifying.
“I don’t think he’s godly, Alex,” my aunt tells me. “I just think he stands up for Christians. Trump’s a fighter. He’s done more for the Christian right than Reagan or Bush. I’m just so thankful we’ve got somebody that’s saying Christians have rights too.”
But what about the rights and needs of others, I wonder. “Do you understand why someone could be called by their faith to vote against a party that separates families?”
“That’s a big sounding board, but I don’t think that is the issue,” says my mom.
“But it’s happening, and I’m not OK with it.”
My mom shakes her head. “No one’s OK with it.”
“If that’s your heart, then vote your heart,” says my aunt. “But with the abortion issue and the gay-rights issue, Trump’s on biblical ground with his views. I appreciate that about him.”
“As Christians, do you feel like you’re under attack in this country?” I ask.
“Yes,” my mom says adamantly.
“When did you start feeling that way?”
“The day that Obama put the rainbow colors in the White House was a sad day for America,” my aunt replies. “That was a slap in God’s face. Abortion was a slap in his face, and here we’ve killed 60 million babies since 1973. I believe we’re going to be judged. I believe we are being judged.”
“Genesis gives you the description of how God wanted life to go,” my mom says. “It gives you the Scripture.”
“It also says that light was created and then the sun several days later,” I point out.
My mom frowns. “Are you going to say that you know how the world was created more than God?”
For several hours, the conversation goes on in this vein. I try to put myself in their shoes, to cast about for an issue in which the stakes are existential but the warning signs disregarded.
“Do you think because Jesus is coming soon that the environment doesn’t matter?” I eventually ask.
“Alex, the Earth is going to be all burned up anyway,” my aunt says quietly. “It’s in the Bible.”
“But according to billions of people, the Bible is not necessarily true.”
“All we can do is love them.”
“No, we can cut back on carbon emissions. There are a lot of things we can do.”
“It doesn’t matter. We’re not going to be here.”
I try to think of how to reframe the conversation. “Imagine that you are someone who thinks that God doesn’t exist. You can’t say to that person, ‘Don’t worry about the fact that we’re ruining the world that your children and grandchildren live in, because this thing that you don’t believe in is going to happen.’ That’s not an argument a government can make.”
“Who’s in charge of climate?” my mom interjects. “Who brings the sun out in the morning?”
“You cannot base national policy about what is happening to the environment on one group of people’s religion,” I answer.
Finally, my aunt puts her hand on my knee. Her eyes are tender and her voice soft and trembling with emotion. “I just want them to know the truth.”
And it’s moments like this that shut the conversation down because I believe her. I believe — with faith and certainty — that this is what motivates her, politically and otherwise. “All we can do is love them,” she’d told me. In her mind, this was not about the history of evangelicalism or the Republican Party or American exceptionalism or Christian nationalism or how we got here. This was about her view of love — a tough love that would offer America salvation.
By the time my family hug each other tightly and say good night, it is well past midnight. The cicadas hum outside like blood rushing to the ears. The darkness is heavy. We go to sleep saying prayers for each other, which is the only thing left we can do.

AUSCHWITZ: (Polish: Oswiecim)
Located approximately 60km (37mi) west of Krakow, in Eastern Upper Silesia, which was annexed to Germany following the defeat of Poland, in September, 1939
The first camp was built shortly after Poland’s defeat, in a suburb of Oswiecim (Zasole), at the site of a former Imperial Austrian Army Artillery barracks complex and initially held about 10,000 prisoners, mostly Polish prisoners of war.
The second site, known as Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, was built 3km from the original camp, in March of 1941
All of the satellite camps, such as Auschwitz II, were under the control of the main Auschwitz camp commander’s headquarters. The Auschwitz monthly camp statistics that were sent to KL Headquarters outside Berlin reflected all of the auxiliary camps as well as the main camp.
In the years intervening since the end of the Second World War, there has built up a legend about the planned murder by the Germans of European Jewry. A program of euthanasia, it is said, was later developed into a wide-spread program of mass gassings of Jews in several of the German prisons called Concentration Camps.
The motivator behind these mass killings was, the legend states, Adolf Hitler whose personal hatred of Jews drove him to order his dread Gestapo and SS to round up and kill every Jew they could lay their hands on.
Initially, the camp at Dachau, outside of Munich, was stated to be the center of the murder machine but as it became evident that this camp did not gas large numbers of Jews, the center was arbitrarily moved to the east, to the town of Auschwitz located on several rivers in Upper Silesia.
Here, it is said, a vast death camp was built to house tens of thousands of Jews awaiting their turn in the enormous gas chambers, and a second camp, Auschwitz II or Birkenau was also built for the sole purpose of slaughtering the Jews who made up almost the entire population of this murder central.
Jewish victims, it has been written, poured into Auschwitz from all over conquered Europe. They arrived, jammed into cattle cars, were dragged out of their transport, lined up and immediately forced into the huge gas chambers. Later, after they were dead, their stiffened corpses were dragged out by other camp inmates and shoved into equally gigantic crematoria and burned to ashes.
In recent years, bits and pieces of evidence that would tend to bring some of this into question has resulted in a further shift to the east. Supporters of the mass murder theories now postulate that the SS Einsatzgruppen or Combat Units, composed of Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and German police units, who were operating behind the German front lines in Russia, were the true murders of millions of Jews. In the savage anti-Partisan wars, the Einsatzgruppen were stated to have slaughtered millions of Russian, and some Polish, Jews.
Opposing an enormous body of literature and media productions, a number of dissatisfied historians began to question the validity of the allegations of an immense German murder plot aimed primarily at Jews but also expanded to include Gypsies. Any attempts to bring these allegations into question were met immediately by loud outcries from their proponents and needless to say, no major publishing house anywhere in the world would dare to publish even the most moderate and meticulously researched revisionistic work.
The enormous death toll, it is firmly said by proponents of the murder machine theory, is immutable; these figures are well and permanently established in history and questioning them is the work of anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and professional, unbalanced hate-mongers.
It is the actual figures, however, upon which the legend of the Holocaust stands or falls. Are there such figures? Are they reliable? Surely in the enormous official German records, captured by both the Soviets and Americans, there have to be specific confirmations of the awful death tolls.
In fact such records do exist; some in Moscow and some in Washington, DC, but these original documents are generally not available to what Holocaust supporters state are prevaricators, liars and anti-Semites. They can be found today in official state archives, some difficult to find because they have been misfiled and others because pressure groups who fear their publication have pressured the archives to keep them hidden.
As huge sums of money have resulted from the maintenance and careful nurturing of what has proven to be an extraordinarily successful cash cow, the desperation of its creators can easily be understood.
Truth, however, is mighty and shall prevail.
When the SS evacuated the Auschwitz work camp complex at the end of December, 1944, they left a large number of prisoners behind. Many of these were too old or too sick to travel and they were left in their barracks, guarded by a Polish militia that had been raised earlier by Hans Frank, the head of the Government General (as occupied Poland was termed by the Germans.) With the approach of the Soviet army in early 1945, these Polish guards indiscriminately attacked the barracks with the prisoners inside, using hand grenades and machine guns.
Although exact figures of the dead are not available, several existing Soviet military reports put the death toll between 7,000 and 10,000. Former members of the Polish militia have subsequently claimed that many of the dead were shot down by Russian troops as they attempted to exit the liberated camp.
The truth of this matter will never be known but at least this is an atrocity that cannot be blamed on the Germans who were hundreds of miles away at the time.
How many of the 1,590 Hungarian Jewish deportees remaining in Auschwitz died in this Slavic holocaust is not known.

The Season of Evil
by Gregory Douglas

This is in essence a work of fiction, but the usual disclaimers notwithstanding, many of the horrific incidents related herein are based entirely on factual occurrences.
None of the characters or the events in this telling are invented and at the same time, none are real. And certainly, none of the participants could be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be either noble, self-sacrificing, honest, pure of motive or in any way socially acceptable to anything other than a hungry crocodile, a professional politician or a tax collector.
In fact, the main characters are complex, very often unpleasant, destructive and occasionally, very entertaining.
To those who would say that the majority of humanity has nothing in common with the characters depicted herein, the response is that mirrors only depict the ugly, evil and deformed things that peer into them
There are no heroes here, only different shapes and degrees of villains and if there is a moral to this tale it might well be found in a sentence by Jonathan Swift, a brilliant and misanthropic Irish cleric who wrote in his ‘Gulliver’s Travels,”
“I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most odious race of little pernicious vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
Swift was often unkind in his observations but certainly not inaccurate.

Frienze, Italy
July 2018-August 2019

Chapter 69

The storm began to intensify a little after five in the afternoon and Chuck decided to close all the shutters on the north side of the house again. This time he did not have to contend with the violent winds of the last northerly and by six, everything was buttoned up in preparation for a long siege with the elements.
As this was New Year’s Eve and he had planned a large spread for the next day, dinner that night consisted of an elaborate buffet eaten in the kitchen. The dining room had already been prepared for the next day’s meal and the kitchen was more comfortable for informal meals.
There was no alcohol at the table, prompting Alex to ask,
“Do we get to drink something at midnight, Chuck?”
“Yes, we do. Even you get to drink something unless Gwen shoots my eye out.”
“Why would she do that?”
“She gets mad sometimes. Yes, I have a magnum of Dom Perignon on ice right now and you get one glass of Champaign at midnight, child, and nothing else. I assume that’s OK with the den mother?”
“Chuck, don’t be such a drag. He’s not going to get smashed on one glass and you know it. I mean if you have a glass the size of a food blender, anyone would get drunk. Alex, I just don’t like to see someone your age drink too much. You understand that, don’t you?”
“Sure. Ernie used to snort coke. Can I do that instead?”
“There is no coke in this house,” Chuck said sternly, “unless Claude brought some with him. No? You didn’t. Good. No, the only coke you can get comes in a can and look where snorting coke got Ernie.”
Alex smiled. He had watched the Duluth station earlier that day and learned that his fat tormentor had died.
“Yeah, I know where it got Ernie. It got Ernie dead.”
Four voices said,
“Oh yeah. I saw it on the news. He croaked in the hospital.”
Chuck stared at him.
“You must be kidding. Did he look dead to…Claude, did you unplug him last night?”
“Hell no. There was a cop just outside the door and if you unplug those machines, they make a hell of a racket. I just took a couple of pictures for the kid here and I left. Not that I wouldn’t have liked to unplug him but I did not.”
Alex snickered.
“It said he died of injuries he got fighting a bunch of black drug addicts in the mall.”
Gwen peered at Claude.
“I know Lars isn’t black but aren’t you French, Claudie?”
“Listen, creep, I am Swedish and French, not a native. I mean there are other words but we don’t want to turn the kid here into a raging bigot. Are you sure about this, Alex? You’re not making it up, are you?”
“It’s too good to make up, Claude. I saw it on the news. And they had drawings of the drug dealers. You guys sure looked neat with those knit caps and all.”
“Eat your supper, bigot, and stop your vile accusations,” Chuck said as he attacked a small soufflé.
Claude spread Beluga caviar on a rusk and crunched on it.
“Well, considering that a cop was killed, I wouldn’t want to be black in Duluth right now. I mean in Chicago, the cops would make the South Side sound like the battle of Bull Run about now.”
“First or second Bull Run?” Chuck asked. He liked historical accuracy with his supper.
“How the fuck would I know, Charles? I mean…”
“I know what you mean, Frenchy. When a cop dies, the public suffers. Well, we’re off the hook for that one. Thank God there were no witnesses. Some penis head must have gotten his fifteen minutes of fame by describing the Afro lions and now he’ll get people killed. Well, such is the end result of cultural diversity. It’s too bad old Ern couldn’t have stuck around to welcome the new year but he’s probably better off where he is.”
“Which is where?” Gwen asked. “Heaven or hell?”
“Polish heaven is living over a liquor store and hell is living in a basement apartment when the pipes break. Do you know how to figure out the Polish population of a city? No? Count up the number of basement apartments and multiply by ten.”
“What do you have against Poles?” Claude asked as he reached for more caviar.
“Nothing at all. Did you hear what happened to a Polish terrorist? No takers? He was trying to blow up a school bus and he burned his lips on the hot exhaust pipe.”
That got Alex laughing and some food expelled onto his plate. His experience with Ernie did not endear the Polish nation or any of its former occupants to him.

New Year’s Eve was being celebrated by diverse individuals and in diverse ways. The northern Minnesota group was anticipating midnight in the living room, a brisk fire in the fireplace and a hissing snowstorm outside. With Alex present, there was no talk of death and destruction, even that of the late Ernie Koslowski, while in Chicago, Charles Rush was boasting to his guests of major forthcoming changes in the structure of his inherited empire. Positive that he had finally located his long-sought, obstructionist nephew, he reveled in the thought of all the money he would soon have when he could liquidate the more unprofitable aspects of the Rush holdings. As usual, Tyler McKnight was deeply sycophantic and his wife spent most of the evening, listening raptly to her husband and alternatively giggling mindlessly or clapping her hands together like a small child in a toy store.
On a less festive and optimistic note, Robert Collins was entertaining a gentleman now resident in Mexico but originally from Colombia. This man, Miguel Alvarado Sanchez, was now in Chicago to oversee a large shipment of cocaine from Bermuda that was destined to be delivered to him within the week and almost all of which would be delivered to his major distributor in the Windy City.
His distributor was in a black mood for most of the evening and mainly because Senior Sanchez wanted so much cash in front, not for the drugs but to assassinate Charles Rush. Sanchez usually wanted only ten thousand dollars for a hit, the going rate, but for Rush, this figure had increased to one hundred thousand dollars. The prominence of the man coupled with his very tight security prompted this elevation but Collins still spent a good part of the evening wrangling over it.
Eventually, a compromise was reached. Collins would agree to the price if he only had to pay half in front with the rest coming from his profits on the next shipment of Latin American nose candy. Sanchez agreed to this but insisted that the first installment had to be made that night.
On a more positive note, Mark Mitnik’s professional friend, whom he spoke with in his front hall just before his guests arrived, only charged him twenty thousand for a hit on Collins. He apologized to the lawyer, a good customer, and explained that it was a bit of a problem to hit a senior Chicago police officer. There would be, he felt, a terrible reaction from his fellow thieves in the department and many local criminal operations conducted outside the department would be subject to harassment. Still, he viewed the attorney as a good source for money and, more important, assistance in certain legal matters, so the figure was set at twenty thousand, half in front and half upon completion.
Mitnik made the payment out of his study safe and showed the polite hit man out the back door just as the first of his guests arrived at the front.
There were now three entities determined to slaughter each other. All had money and all had motives. Two needed the assistance of others and the third was entirely capable of performing their own cleansing operation without the necessity of involving others.
All of them, with the exception of Charles Rush, felt with some justification that they were instigating the murder of others out of self-protection. Rush was merely motivated by greed and self-importance, a combination that had driven many a worse individual into Congress and the White House.
In the Viking palace, it was now fifteen minutes before midnight and the entrance of the New Year.
The snowfall had increased in volume as had the wind, but the power was still on. More logs of split oak had been put onto the fire and the room was warm and comfortable.
Chuck brought out the large, iced bottle of Dom Perignon, several napkins and eventually, a tray of champagne glasses
“If you guess how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, Alexander, you can have two glasses of bubbly.”
Alex pondered the ancient theological question for a moment.
“I guess as many as fit on it, Chuck. Is that a good answer?”
“Centuries of religious and philosophical delving undone in a minute by a small boy. The Gordian Knot slashed by the new Alexander.”
“Is it the right answer?”
“You can have the second glass.”
“And I’m not a small boy.”
“Thin for your age,” Claude said as he took his glass, “but not small.”
“I apologize,” Chuck said as he poured himself a glass from the large, green bottle. “Thin but not small. Bold of spirit and vanquisher, by proxy, of the fat Polish dragon. Let’s drink a toast to Alexander the Great, philosopher, pragmatist, knight errant against all Slavic evil and the long suffering Christ of downtown Duluth! Prosit as my Grandpa used to say at such times as these.”
And the amazing fact is that Chuck hadn’t had anything at all to drink before his small speech. What might come later was anyone’s guess.
Alex became very red in the face, not from the first glass of champagne but from the speech. Everyone raised their glasses to him and he half smiled and raised his own but more out of confusion than habit. No one had ever toasted him before and he had no idea what to do. He made an effort to respond.
“Well, I guess a Happy New Year to all of you too. I never did this before but maybe I can say thank you for helping me, for Gwen’s buying me all the neat clothes, for Claude for getting my records and burning down Ernie’s lousy house, to Lars for being a nice guy and kicking the shit out of Ernie’s face, and I forgot Claude’s busting his leg like he did. That was the best of all, Claude. And thank you for keeping Ernie out of the room that night and I guess most of all I want to thank Chuck for being the best person I ever met. Can I say that?”
The company looked at each other and there was general assent.
“Yes, you can say that, love,” Gwen said, “and thank you for being such a sweet kid.”
“Christ, this sounds like something on the Disney channel,” was Claude’s comment. And, “this is fine stuff, Chuck. I don’t drink all that much but I do know the difference between good champagne and carbonated defrost and folks, this is the best stuff going. Take it from me.”
The grandfather clock standing in the main hall chimed the hour. Normally, Chuck kept the Westminster chimes turned off so as not to keep people awake but the sudden chiming reminded them of the death of one year and the birth of the next.
“Happy New Year!” Lars said, quite unexpectedly, and everyone joined in.
Lars generally said very little at gatherings because he had nothing in particular to say but a glass of champagne had loosened his tongue. Alcohol had another effect on him and he was not going to repeat the nasty episode that followed the beer session of the other night. His good slacks were wrapped in a plastic bag, awaiting a trip to the cleaners and he recalled his headache of the following morning.
“Happy New Year one and all!” came from Chuck who was now on his second glass and in an upbeat mood for once.


This is also an e-book, available from Amazon:

The Encyclopedia of American Loons

Mike Stahl

Pastor Mike Stahl of the Living Water internet church is one of many raging fundies polluting the Internet. Stahl has apparently “been seriously considering forming a ( Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named ‘The Christian National Registry of Atheists’ or something similar.” After all, there are “already National Registrys for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc. [there actually isn’t],” so why not a similar registry for atheists? The registry, he rushes to affirm, “would merely be for information purposes. To inform the public of KNOWN (i.e., self-admitted) atheists” and not contain personal information or the person’s physical address (“though, perhaps a photo could be”). Now, why would we need such a registry? Well, “[d]uhhh, Mr. Atheist, for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net – to INFORM the public!” Who wouldn’t see the obviousness of that comparison? And a list like that would give Stahl and likeminded people the opportunity to “begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism. Or perhaps they are radical atheists, whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh’s, in that case, if they are business owners, we would encourage all our Christian friends, as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be ‘feeding’ Satan”. In his wisdom, Stahl cannot even see “why anyone would oppose this idea – including the atheists themselves (unless of course, they’re actually ashamed of their atheist religion, and would prefer to stay in the ‘closet’”). Presumably being lectured to and told about the dangers of atheism is something any atheist would desire.
After receiving some attention for his suggestion, Stahl promptly made his blog private. It was surely not because he didn’t enjoy the public exposure, was it? (A year later he apparently still thought the registry was a good idea).
Diagnosis: Genuinely stupid. (Unless he is evil. The options are not mutually exclusive.)

Stan Solomon

Stan Solomon is a fundie wingnut radio host who does the kind of stuff fundie wingnut radio hosts do, such as demanding that the police murder peaceful protestors when he disagrees with the contents of those protests and palling around with deranged crazies like Alan Keyes and Larry Pratt.
Solomon is not only a fundamentalist, he hates anything he deems non-Christian, and deems non-Christian anything he hates, thus giving himself reason to hate it even more: Latinos, Jews, gays, environmentalists, and just about everyone else: “… it doesn’t make a difference what group it is. If you put anything ahead of doing what’s right in God’s eyes, or better yet ignoring the reality of God, then you’re a tool, you’re a useful idiot.” “God’s eyes” in this context means his eyes, of course.
And importantly, his enemies are all the same: “The left, which is godless and serves Satan, has an agenda. To accomplish their agenda they have to get idiots, morons, numbnuts to do stupid things so the focus will be on them and not on the libs, not on the leftists. Jews, homosexuals, blacks, gays, Islamists, you may think they’re disparate groups, they’re not, they’re all tools. Because while we’re mad at these two punks, we’re mad at Trayvon Martin, that thug that deserves to be dead and I’m glad he’s dead.” (Maintaining focus is not Solomon’s strong side.) Continues Solomon: “Pieces of crap, homosexuals like what’s that one guy’s name? [Dan] Savage. That faggot. That horrible, awful, terrible excuse for a human being who is at the White House promoting attacks on Christians. I hope he dies – he probably will – of every disease known.” Worst of all, though, are black people and Latinos, and Solomon has called on his white listeners to buy guns to protect themselves against black and Latino people: black and Latino public school and college students are “terrorists in training” who are deliberately “being taught” to hate white people in an effort to start a race war. Solomon even predicted that Obama would would establish “a black force” to attack white people.
Solomon also thinks that having humanist chaplains in the military is a really bad idea because humanist chaplains would try to convince soldiers to kill themselves.
Anti-gay efforts
It should hardly come as any surprise that Solomon is virulently anti-gay. Indeed, Solomon has opted to go for Scott Lively-style conspiracy theories about homosexuality, and claimed that homosexuality is even to blame for Nazism; according to Solomon, not only is homosexuality “destructive of the individual, destructive of the society and every society in the history of the world that has accepted homosexuality has crashed and burned – someone tell me where I’m wrong” [he doesn’t really want you to tell him where he is wrong], but “many people don’t know that the Nazi party was born out of a homosexual group; they call it the pink swastika.” There is, of course, a good and rather obvious reason why many people don’t know that.
He has also warned that liberals will take the children of conservative parents and put them into the homes of abusive gay couples. And of course, “the media won’t talk about it”, which means that it must be a conspiracy, which is all the evidence for his claim Solomon ever needed. (Phyllis Schlafly thought he was on to something with that one.)
Politics and general wingnuttery
In 2014 Solomon suggested initiating a violent uprising against Obama and have “100 million march on Washington” to depose Obama and the then-current government – “I don’t think our military and the few pitiful police they have there wouldn’t be able to stop us,” said Solomon. Though he seems to suggest that fascism is bad when he blames homosexuality for fascism, he rather explicitly doesn’t think it is bad.
Politicians who support gun laws, meanwhile, should be shot; indeed, “that’s why we need to have guns, you know what, more than one politician has been dispatched while doing a dance trying to avoid certain, shall we say, metal jackets.” After all, politicians who disagree with Solomon are evil people who will use Obamacare to force gun owners to undergo electroshock therapy, his evidence being apparently that this is the kind of thing evil people would do. So it goes.
He does seem to have a particular obsession with Michelle Obama. For instance, when she was promoting healthy eating among youth, Solomon responded: “They have that Michelle O-Buick butt Obama’s you know, by the way, she doesn’t eat that crap, she eats like a garbage disposal at a fast food joint. Actually, they might name one after her … They just eat the biggest junk in the world.” President Obama, meanwhile, was, according to Solomon, “a homosexual Muslim married to man”; yes, it all comes together – Solomon’s mind isn’t spacious enough to keep thoughts apart. The evidence is apparently that Obama is a “wussy guy who throws a ball like a girl.” That, apparently, means that Obama also wishes he could be a drag queen. Phyllis Schlafly applauded Solomon’s reasoning, thanking him “for being a voice of truth and sanity on the air.” Solomon is of course also a birther: “Barack Obama is not an American, never has been, not in his actions, not in his speech, not in his politics and not in his birth.”
As mentioned above, Solomon expressed great joy over the death of Trayvon Martin; he was apparently equally happy about the death of Michael Brown: “I’m glad he’s dead. He deserves to be dead.”
Apparently, according to himself, NSA is monitoring his show, so when Larry Pratt, a recurring guest on Solomon’s show, expressed his excitement about Sarah Palin running for Senate in Alaska by saying that she would be a much-needed “bomb-thrower” in the Senate, Solomon felt the need to clarify: “By the way, NSA, if you’re monitoring our show, that was just a manner of speech, ‘bomb-throwers.’ We’re not Muslim morons. We’re not Democrat idiots. We’re actually intelligent life forms, so drop dead.”
Diagnosis: If Phyllis Schlafly congratulates you for being a voice of sanity, you are not a voice of sanity. Stan Solomon competes with people like Rick Wiles for the title of “most incoherently crazy wingnut” with regular access to an audience, and stars in the wingnut movement continue to flock to his show.

David Snoke

David Snoke is one of the central characters of the intelligent design creationist movement. A physics professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Fellow of the American Physical Society (and, it must be emphasized, a respectable scientist in his own field), Snoke was also a co-author on a controversial paper with Michael Behe in 2004. The topic of that paper was of course outside of Snoke’s area of expertise, and apparently his contribution was an appendix verifying the numerical results with analytical calculations showing that for a novel feature requiring multiple neutral mutations the time to fixation has a sublinear dependence on population size – of course, what was wrong with the claims in the paper, which ostensibly supported Behe’s notion of irreducible complexity, was not the calculations themselves, but the thought that they measured something relevant for any aspect of the theory of evolution Indeed, contrary to Behe’s claims (as became clear e.g. during the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial) the article might ultimately even undermine the notion of irreducible complexity, as Behe had to admit under oath. (The Discovery Institute still had no trouble hyping it, of course, since for them this was never about science, truth or evidence.)
But the Behe collaboration was not a one-off for Snoke – he has even tried on a number of variants of the old creationist appeal to information – who later wrote a gushing endorsement of Behe’s book in 2014 (with Jeffrey Cox and Donald Petcher), published a numerical study of the evolution of novel structures in the journal Complexity with a (lego) model attempting to show that “natural assumptions” for the cost/benefit of building new structures should lead to a dramatic increase of useless, or vestigial, structures in a population, and arguing that the lack of observation of such large numbers of vestigial parts in organisms thus pointing to fine tuning of the mechanisms of evolution – of course, Snoke et al. never seems to consider the, from a biological point of view, obvious alternative: numerous organisms, some with suboptimal parts, instead of single organisms with massive amounts of suboptimal parts; it’s little wonder real biologists were unimpressed. In 2014 he also published a review article for the Discovery Institute arguing that the prevailing paradigm of modern systems biology favors an intelligent design perspective, and this bizarre post appears to argue that lack of evidence for a designer is evidence for design. Snoke is also a signatory to their bankrupt petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.
His 2006 book A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, argues in favor of a “day-age” interpretation of Genesis as consistent with biblical inerrancy, and he has spoken and written extensively on how to reconcile science and biblical inerrancy.
Diagnosis: Real scientist with a decidedly pseudoscientific side-career – there are some of those – and a good illustration of how expertise in one area may result in nothing but feeble nonsense when dabbling in another.

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