Three New(ish) Things

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by Neil Godfrey

New on René Salm’s site:

The Hermann Detering Legacy—Introduction

I have decided to devote part of this website to a repository of Dr. Detering’s work, particularly his articles that have been translated into English. Not all of that material is to be found on his German website, and the success and extent of this undertaking will depend in some measure on the help of readers who are able to furnish material or clues to other of his writings. . . .


Newish on Richard Carrier’s site, the same topic as covered earlier in half dozen or so reviews of Gathercole’s article on this blog:

The New Gathercole Article on Jesus Certainly Existing

Simon Gathercole gained infamy writing a really atrocious, face-palmingly bad article on the historicity of Jesus for The Guardian some years back. Which I took to task in 2017 (in The Guardian on Jesus). He has now published a proper, peer reviewed article on the subject, focused on the Epistles of Paul . . . .

Of course right out of the gate this confuses “historical” with “human.”


And something important:

Can America recover from Trump? A radicalized right wing suggests dangers ahead

. . . . Imagine if Trump was a brilliant, learned leader committed to the enactment of a consistent agenda; a man who could summon considerable skill and savvy, not merely to promote himself but to fundamentally transform American law and reinvent the relationship between the federal government and its citizenry. As candidate and president, Trump has already demolished standards of civility, worsened the racial and ethnic fractures of the American public, and reduced the Republican Party to a slobbering set of sycophants. And he has done all of this by barely lifting a finger. The true danger might emerge when Trump slithers into the sunset, and his enraged and frenzied loyalists, who now control the infrastructure of one of America’s two major political parties, are looking for a replacement and find the real thing. . . .


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4 thoughts on “Three New(ish) Things”

  1. Please permit me to comment on the U.S. and its likely post-Trump incarnation. Some perspectives:

    A. I have been a lifelong liberal democrat. I never cast a vote for a Republican. I actually considered it — once. I liked a guy named Jack Kemp, liked some of what he said in a couple of his speeches. THEN I looked into what he was actually doing (his votes, etc.) — and ran away screaming.

    B. My last experience as a voter was in 2008. I voted for Obama in the (Maryland) primaries and the national election. At first, I didn’t know who the heck he was — so I did my due diligence, as a a citizen, and watched a number of televised debates he had with HRC. I didn’t watch highlights, I watched the whole blamed event (several diff. events). I felt that I knew what he stood for and what he would try to do.

    C. THEN, as President, he forgot what he said. Or something. Among other things:

    1 – said he would be the best President for whistle-blowers in history. Was actually THE WORST. This is important. The government is out of control. The people who run the place act with impunity. NOW they have lived through 8 years of a President who enabled them big-time!

    2 – I got a clear indication in the debates that he would be a Peace President (and that Hillary was crazy). Instead, where we were involved in 2 wars when he took over, we were (and are) involved in SEVEN when he left office. Note also that he specifically named that nutty warmonger as his Secy. State!!!!!!!

    3 – the U.S. had a period of widespread financial crime in 2007-8 (and before, actually). Obama had his Justice Department ignore all of it. The Congress (controlled by Democrats in 2009-10) did not convene a single committee hearing to look into any of it. NO ONE WAS EVEN INDICTED. This isn’t a generalization: Not one indictment. And were this not enough, in 2010 the financial executives paid themselves extremely large bonuses — after the U.S. government bailed all of them out. Nothing was done about that.

    I could go on. I have stopped voting, as obviously I can’t trust anyone (even the people on “my” side). I didn’t vote for Trump. But I do understand why people in 2016, given a choice between HRC and him, voted for the nut-job choice.

    As I watch Trump in action and hear my fellow citizens discuss his nightmarish aspects, I have noted — and had spoken up about– the fact that Obama had laid a lot of the groundwork for Trump. Consider just these 3 minor things, at a minimum:

    People put in cages at the border. The famous photo of that, seeking to smear Trump, was taken in 2014. Who was in charge then?
    Current really nutty idea is to invade Venez. OK — how nutty was the invasion of Libya? How has that been good for the people of the U.S.? Or the people of Libya??? Why are we helping out the Saudis in Yemen, for that matter….
    Obama got nowhere on N. Korea’s nuclear weapons, probably the single scariest thing in global politics (for a long time, really). Trump has met with the chief crazy person there. Maybe Trump will accomplish nothing, but — clearly — this should be Job #1. Obama did nothing. Trump appears to be trying (even if it’s an image-burnishing effort rather than a real attempt).

    When I note these (and other) things, I am routinely waved off. Trump is so bad that facts do not matter. Standing next to Trump, the image of Obama glistens.

    Sometimes there are cracks in the facade. Rep. Ilhan Omar smacked Obama’s reputation around the other day (she apparently is fearless).
    You will note that Omar only recently called the pro-Israel lobby on the $$$ issue….it’s not any different from the NRA!!!

    Ocasio-Cortez is calling the Dem establishment on taking actions (like supporting Medicare For All and the Green New Deal) …..instead of the traditional “talk a good game, do nothing” approach. One of AOC’s first activities upon getting to D.C. was to participate in a sit-in in Speaker Pelosi’s office. I’ve been around a long time, I’ve not previously seen such behavior.

    Obama isn’t to blame for Trump. However, a lot of his actions (or non-actions) ARE to blame. Consider just this: All of the Obama late-in-the-2nd-term executive orders that Trump has undone. There’s a rule that an incoming President can undo any of his/her predecessor’s executive orders issued in the 60 days before the new person takes office.

    This law is not a conspiracy, it’s not a Trump-ish thing…..it was there the whole time.

    Having been “sure” that Hillary would beat Trump, Obama did nothing. THEN, after the election, his administration rushed to issue these orders. It was easy for Trump to sweep them away. It would NOT have been so easy had Obama issued the EOs in July 2016. If we all knew Trump was going to be a nightmare (and we did) — what explains the Obama people taking it easy in the last 6 months in office? Why did they not protect us against the possibility of Trump as President? A failure of imagination? Laziness? WHAT?

    I realize that none of the above makes Trump any good. I know the damage he is doing. I also know (having lived in the D.C. area since 1979) that the real damage — inside the various agencies, done by Trump appointees — doesn’t get much (if any) exposure, because our media has shrunk and become lazy.

    So, if anything, it’s worse than you think. And if he gets re-elected in 2020, it will worsen still further. This makes me remember (once again) Thomas Jefferson’s ancient saying: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

    This is not a long excuse for that odious Trump. This is, however, an explanation for how America got this way…..and how it is likely to become worse.

    So I don’t

    1. Appreciate your comment.

      As an outsider what I think I am seeing is that someone like Obama becomes part of the system once in office. That was Hilary Clinton’s problem, too, it seems to me — a representative of “the system” maintained by corporate interests. (Of course, further, Obama appears to have been hamstrung somewhat by the surely racist opposition of the Republicans once in office.)

      As an outsider it appears to me that the Trump success was a reaction against the “system” that has allowed the corporations to effectively take over the government and act in their interests and against the real interests of the general public.

      People like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are demonstrating that they are willing to take on that system and act genuinely in the interests of people — by actions, not merely by speeches and trumpeting grass-roots donations. (God help America and the world if ever something untoward prematurely happens to the aoc’s.)

      But there’s something else. That involves myths and U.S. misperceptions, propagandized views, about the world. North Korea, to many of us more neutral observers, has always acted very rationally and predictably. Especially ever since being put on the “axis of evil” list it has been very clear to everyone that their only chance of avoiding the fate of Iraq or Libya is to become nuclear armed and to regularly remind the U.S. of this fact. There is nothing mysterious or “mad” about what North Korea has been doing. Their motivations are perfectly clear and rational. It is U.S. imperial hubris that is the problem: the view that anyone who defies the U.S. and goes their own independent way is by definition a potential threat or enemy of some kind.

      That’s how it appears to this outsider, and I know I am not the only outsider with these perspectives.

  2. Neil

    short replies:

    “God help the world if anything ever happens to AOC” — I was around when JFK, RF Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin, and even George Wallace (!!!) caught bullets. There were riots, but nothing else.
    “People like AOC” — unfortunately, there are damn few. I’m sorry about that. I anticipate the Democrats running (and financing) someone hand-chosen to beat her in the 2020 primaries. That beats a bullet, for sure. But if they don’t succeed???
    You say NK armed itself to defend itself — perhaps a good point. But no one would care about this place if it didn’t have nukes. China seemed to have NK’s back. And if there’s oil on the Korean peninsula — the only thing that interests the US (see: Iraq, Venez.) — it’s big, big news.

    1. I tend to think of the JFK assassination as being a catalyst for what became a general youth disillusionment and generational “rebellion” in the U.S. — especially with that being followed by the accelleration of the Vietnam war and draft. (I admit it was doing a course on U.S. history that prompted us to see this collective picture.)

      My perception is that U.S. society changed then, and the social divisions and negatives and disillusionment and failure of hope is far more widespread and deep rooted than it was in the 60s.

      Sanders and aoc seem to me to be akin to promising beacons of a better future as was the image JFK presented. To have that robbed led to dramatic changes in social attitudes and directions, it can be argued.

      As for NK, there is certainly a special focus on NK since the nukes because with nukes NK frees itself from certain US pressures. But the US has seen fit to maintain a massive military presence on the Korean peninsula as a spearhead against not only NK but China (and USSR/Russia) for over 70 years now.

      Over the years I have seen momentary reports of diplomatic moves between the Koreas to settle on a peace and to address the possibility of an eventual union, but each time they have been quashed by U.S. intervention — long before the nukes were ever an issue — and disappear from the news almost overnight. My understanding is that the U.S. has needed the conflict to justify its military presence in SK against China in particular and USSR/Russia.

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