Category Politics/Culture

Trump and Kim Confront Their Spiritual Doppelgänger

So a troubled and uncertain world has snapped to an even more enhanced state of attention this past week as the resident American and North Korean bad boys—Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un—have been hurling threats and insults across the seas. Trump ostensibly ad-libs the phrase “fire and fury” while chatting expansively with reporters at his golf course. In true Trumpian fashion, he takes special care to repeat the phrase, clearly enunciating each syllable, so enamored with his words he is, and so cognizant that they will land on every news website and newspaper in the world by the next morning.

Kim then warns darkly of setting an “enveloping fire” around Guam, whereupon Trump proclaims the nuclear arsenal he controls “locked and loaded.”

And then Fido lifted his leg and let go a thick stream.

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The troubling reality is that North Korea, an impoverished third world nation in every other way...

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Is Health Care a Human Right? Or Is That the Wrong Question?

The intense debate about the Affordable Care Act and the “repeal-and-replace” effort currently underway in Congress by the Republican Party majority harbors an elemental question at its foundation: Is health care a human right?

Generally speaking, I think it safe to say Democrats would answer yes to that question, Republicans no. It’s a stark dividing line across which scores of different philosophical arguments and assumptions have been proffered by equally passionate advocates on either side.

But I think it is fundamentally the wrong question, and I will try to wrestle down the reasons why in the rest of this post.

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Neither the Declaration of Independence nor the United States Constitution say anything specifically about a “right” to health care...

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Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”: A Meditation

Every person, country, and culture carries a wound. For all its wonder and joys-a-waiting, life leaves virtually everyone bruised and torn by some deep hurt, some natural catastrophe, personal betrayal, shattered dream or misguided intention that leave us chastened, sobered, aware not only of our intense vulnerability to being hurt, but also our own capacity to fail others and cause pain in return.

We are born into a broken world, a stark fact that every religion this side of the most happy-talking prosperity gospel has affirmed throughout history.

America’s deep, still festering wound is slavery and the institutionalized, abiding racism and oppression it has left in its wake. Slavery was so monstrous, its premises and practices so inimical to our stated beliefs that “all (people) are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights,” so contrary to our goal of paving the wa...

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Infected by Trump Derangement Syndrome

If only we would all just get off his back and let him govern, we are told. The poor man is besieged on every side, the jackals of the press circling and sniping, relentless in their bare-teethed aggression. Behind them, 68 million aggrieved and unyielding Clinton voters, unwilling to accept the verdict of the electoral college, criticizing his every breath and utterance.

Unfair and unprecedented, we are told, the president himself shaping the narrative of his terrible victimization.

Poor fellow! Why won’t we just give him a chance?

Well!

I wish I could. But I’m a victim myself, suffering the ravages of an awful disease.

I’m Andrew, and I have Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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It’s hardly just liberals who have despaired of Trump ever being other than an undisciplined, unprin...

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A Few Notes on Paddling and Faith

Reader David Moriah wrote a heartfelt comment in response to my previous post on “Is the Center No Longer Holding?” I offer it to you here as a prelude to a brief meditation of my own, because I believe, among the various important points he raised, none is more vital and literally noteworthy for our time than the implications of the “faith” that he sketches with the powerful imagery that he does.

His comment in full:

“I have reached a stage in my life and amidst the accelerating centrifugal forces at loose on the planet when I surrender to my inability to forecast where we are headed. There are times when I sense an impending darkness capturing more and more of the globe, and most disturbingly many of the supposedly enlightened corners that have been cleansed of tribal lunacy by liberal democracy and both secular and religious messages of tolerance and good will toward all...

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