Faux News Exclusive: News Conference Confirms Republican “Nothing Burger” Accusations

At a hastily-called news conference held today, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham flanked by every Republican senator except Mitch Romney, repeated their unequivocal and unyielding support for their beleaguered president.  Here is the transcript of the brief news conference.

McConnell: Thank you for coming. I am going to read a statement and then along with my esteemed colleague, the distinguished senator from South Carolina, will answer your questions:

“No quid pro quo.”

Now the senator and I will take questions.

Reporter: That is the statement?

McConnell: Look.  After careful review of the record, we believe there is no evidence to support any wrongdoing by the president and that a full-fledged investigation will begin tomorrow to determine if former vice president, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, should be sent to prison and also to determine the whereabouts of Hillary Clinton’s emails, which the president believes are somewhere in The Ukraine. Furthermore we believe that the so called whistleblower should be identified and tried for treason and if convicted executed. The whistleblower should be tortured if necessary to provide the names of those who collaborated with him; and  when identified, they all will be tried and executed. Does that answer your question?

Reporter: Are you disputing the facts associated with the complaint by the whistleblower?

Graham: What facts? What is a fact? This whole ordeal is a pathetic nothing-burger. The complaint in the press is not an exact transcript but a summary prepared by those associated with the Deep State. The whistleblower was not even an eye witness. The whole fake story is contrived by Democrats to unseat a popular leader they do not like and who they know they can’t beat at the polls. Our president is a leader who many others and I believe is the greatest president to ever live including George Washington.

Reporter: But the president himself has  admitted saying the things in the complaint.

Graham: That’s what the fake news says, but you know what he said was not a quid pro quo.

McConnell: Yes, I agree and furthermore  even if Trump had said those things like he admits he did, there is nothing wrong with that. A president has to defend himself just like everyone else has to, and he has to fight back. There is no law saying you can’t ask  a foreign leader to give you dirt on an evil adversary.

Reporter: What or who is the president defending himself from?

McConnell: From Sleezy Joe Biden. Lying Biden is guilty as charged of canning the excellent prosecutor in The Ukraine who was in the process of jailing Biden’s crooked, despicable and totally evil son. He will be locked up along with his dad,  Sleepy Joe. Trump is doing the country a favor by exposing Sleezy Joe for who he is, a pathetic ner-do-well, who can’t shoot straight and who will have to run his campaign from jail. The investigation of the entire Biden family including their pets starts tomorrow.

Graham: Yes, yes! The American people know that the fake press can’t be trusted and that there  are no such things as facts. We Republicans have our facts, and the no good Democrats have theirs, which are fake facts. It will all boil down to whose facts you want to believe. The Republican base will always believe the president’s facts given the fact that he has never told a lie and never made a mistake. The faith in the president by his devoted base will get him re-elected. Long live the president! 

Commentary by the editor of Faux News

It is possible that the impeachment inquiry will backfire and result in the reelection of the most corrupt, immoral, and incompetent president our country has ever seen. It is also possible that the concept of a fact becomes a casualty of cable TV and alternative news networks. If half the population were watching Walter Cronkite every night instead of Sean Hannity, disputing facts would not be an issue.  This is the fragile world we live in.

But what also cannot be disputed is the “fact” that the Democrats did not have the option of casting a blind eye on a president  who has stepped over the line numerous times and also has admitted to the actions contained in the whistleblower’s complaint.  Using the office of the president to force a foreign power to intervene in our election cannot be allowed to stand. The precious democracy we cherish is at stake.

So let the chips fall. Let the Republicans argue that there was no quid pro quo and proclaim that Trump’s actions were not illegal. Let the Democrats pursue the impeachment inquiry honestly and deliberately. I have not given up hope in the American people. I believe that while Trump may not be removed from office by the impeachment process, there are still enough Americans who are able to distinguish between fact and fiction that will vote this scoundrel out of office. I realize that this falls into the category of an act of faith. The stakes have never been higher. If we do not as a nation rise to the occasion, God help us. God help the planet Earth.

Living With A Wild God

Living With A Wild God is a 2014 book by Barbara Ehrenreich, which I recently read for a book group. The author wrote Nickel and Dimed, a book about her experience working for a three-month period as a minimum wage worker, an insightful book about the new working class, which I enjoyed immensely. This book, however, is very different. It is the story of her struggle to make sense out of the world (her “quest for truth”), having grown up in a somewhat dysfunctional, working class household with two avowed atheists for parents. The subtitle on the cover of the book is “ A non-believers search for the truth about everything.”

What I find most engaging about the book is despite describing herself as an atheist, what Ehrenreich  describes is her lack of belief in a certain type of god–a rigid, monotheistic god.  Mariann Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, made the comment at a recent gathering at our neighborhood Episcopal church that when someone says he or she is an atheist, she often asks, “Now tell me the characteristics of this god you do not believe in.” She often answers that she does not believe in that god either.

Now while Ehrenreich’s concept of “The Other” or “The Presence” would probably not fit nicely into an Episcopal bishop’s understanding of God, it comes dangerously close to mine. She acknowledges a Divine “Presence” in all of life  and the validity of mystical experiences. These experiences–like the one she had at age 17 in a Death Valley town called Lone Pine– cannot be explained by science but are nonetheless real. She also believes humans are not fundamentally different from other animals but rather only higher up on the food chain and that the presence of “The Other” is throughout all of creation. If this sounds a lot like animism, I suppose it is. I have always described myself unapologetically as a closet animist.

Most people today are aware that the mainstream Christian Church in the U.S. and most developed countries is in decline. I think that one reason for this is the association of the Christian Church with the kind of rigid description of God that Ehrenreich rejects. We Christians should enlarge the tent and broaden our understanding of the Divine Presence in our lives. Rigid, strict “orthodoxy” is a turnoff for many GenXers and Millennials and for a lot of people who like Ehrenreich are on their own spiritual journey. Most humans ask these questions: Why are we here? Why do we die? What is this all about? Simplistic, pat answers may satisfy some people, but they are fewer and fewer in our secular age.

Now I have been an active church-person almost all my life. I am an Episcopalian, and the Episcopal Church is very progressive in a lot of ways. It has led the way on issues of inclusiveness and sexuality and is generally  pretty good on social justice issues. But we still have to say the Nicene or Apostles Creed at every service. These ancient creeds describe the type of God that makes no sense to Ehrenreich or, for that matter, to me. Here are some of my questions:

[We believe in] God the Father: Is God really  a human-like deity? Why a “he” and not a “she”? Does God really have two hands, two feet and male organs? Ok, maybe we should not take this literally, but if that is the case, why is this language in there?

Jesus his “only son.”Now I know that for some this is the absolute essence of Christianity. But if God is not really a “he” but, like Ehrenreich says, more a Divine Presence, how can a “Divine Presence” or “Other” have a son? Even if God is a he, how exactly does this fatherhood thing work? I mean he is up there and Mary was  down here, right? But where exactly might “up there” be? And what about Joseph? The Gospel of Mathew traces Jesus’s linage through Joseph, not Mary, all the way back to  Abraham. That would imply that Joseph was the father. And how come Jesus is God’s only son? There are a lot of planets in the universe, probably well into the trillions. Isn’t it possible that there might be another son somewhere else? Keep in mind, we say in the creed that God is the maker of “heaven and earth and all that is seen and unseen.”

Jesus came down from heaven. So if he came down here from up there, what was he doing up there before he came down here? And why did he come down here to save us? I know, you really aren’t supposed to take this literally and that this idea is the cornerstone of Paul’s theology, but still…

Jesus descended into hell. (Apostle’s Creed) Why did he do that and where exactly might hell be?  Is it below the Earth’s surface? How far down? What was he doing there for three days?

Ascended Into Heaven.I suppose what comes down goes back up, but you get the picture.

[Jesus is now] seated at the right hand of God.  Back to his god-man thing. Why would God have hands and why the right hand? And why are God and Jesus just sitting there and not doing anything?

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. So what about judging all these dead people? I thought that Christians believed that when you die you go to heaven or to hell and do not have to wait around until Jesus comes back. Some or maybe all of these dead people have been waiting around over 2,100 years  for his return.

We look to the resurrection of the dead (“body” in the Apostles Creed). Does this imply we are stuck with the bodies we die with for eternity?  Given a choice between living in eternity as a 25-year old versus an eternity as a 90-year old, wouldn’t most people choose the former?

I can hear some of my Union Seminary classmates groaning along with a lot of others who are devout Christians.  Doesn’t this guy get it? Doesn’t he understand? This language is symbolic. It is not supposed to be taken literally.

Well, maybe not, but the challenge is that even if the language is not taken literally, it still represents an effort of humans to describe in human language what is beyond description and beyond human understanding. Short answer:  much of the creed that Episcopalians are supposed to say at every service just does not make sense. At least it does not make sense to me though it is perfectly ok to conclude that this is just another nail in the coffin that proves I wasted four years of my life going to seminary. In any event, I don’t say the creed anymore myself. 

 The God that is meticulously described in the two major creeds of the Christian Church is what Ehrenreich has rebelled against and a lot of other, self identified “atheists” are rebelling against. I am not an atheist, but I have to agree with her that rigid monotheism is a turnoff for many. It should not have to be this way. God by definition is too vast and mysterious for us humans to fully understand or keep in a box constructed by us.  If truly “believing” the Nicene Creed is the only ticket to being Christian, it represents a pretty high bar. Good luck on turning around the decline of mainstream Christianity. 

Living With A Wild God if nothing else raises a lot of questions. It is honest—brutally honest at times—and, like most of what Ehrenreich has written, insightful. It surely gets you thinking.  It also suggests that we who have stuck with the church–albeit painfully at times–should pay attention.

Faux News: Hurricane Warning Issued By The President For Iowa

At 4:00 PM today President Trump issued an official hurricane warning for Iowa, which he said was in the direct path of Hurricane Dorian. Despite an immediate rebuttal by the U.S. Weather Service, the president persisted and upped the ante to declare the entire state of Iowa a disaster area, thus qualifying for millions of dollars for federal relief aid. Republicans universally applauded the action, citing among other things his warnings regarding Alabama issued earlier in the week.  Several senators, led by Lindsey Graham, argued that were it not for the president, the entire state could have been destroyed. The Governor of Alabama praised the president for his courage and forethought and thanked him for the millions of dollars that have been diverted from schools, shelters and day care centers in states like Maryland, New York and Massachusetts to assist the citizens of Alabama. 

Trump lashed out again about fake news and lambasted the press for not giving adequate coverage to the hurricane in Alabama and then against the “deep state” for posting government information contrary to what the president was saying. He announced that by Executive Order he was permanently closing down the Weather Service.

Several citizens in Iowa interviewed by Faux News expressed bewilderment that the state would be in the direct path of a hurricane since there is no evidence that any hurricane has ever reached the state or any state close to it. They went on to add however, that they were grateful to the president for shutting down schools, shelters, and day care centers in Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts to divert funds to Iowa, which would be received just in time for the Iowa primary.