Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    QAnon Woke Up the Real Deep State

    To the QAnon community, and others involved in storming the Capitol:

    The Deep State is real, but it’s not what you think. The Deep State you worry about is mostly made up; a fiction, a lie, a product of active imaginations, grifter manipulations, and the internet. I’m telling you this now because storming the Capitol building has drawn the attention of the real Deep State — the national security bureaucracy — and it’s important you understand what that means.

    You attacked America. Maybe you think it was justified — as a response to a stolen election, or a cabal of child-trafficking pedophiles, or whatever — but it was still a violent attack on the United States. No matter how you describe it, that’s how the real Deep State is going to treat it.
    …………………………………………………..
    But now that QAnon was involved in violent sedition, the national security state is paying attention. Arrests of people caught on camera storming the Capitol have already begun. Prosecutions will follow. Big tech companies — who, while powerful, are weaker than, and have a healthy fear of the government — are now treating QAnon almost like how they treat ISIS. A giant federal apparatus built to fight al Qaeda will shift some capacity to fighting you, especially the white nationalist and anti-government militias in your orbit.

    You cheered on lawyers who said they’d release the Kraken. But now you’ve poked Leviathan.

    This is what you need to absorb: QAnon and “stop the steal” are forever associated with a violent attack against the United States. Maybe that’s not what it’s meant to you, maybe you think that’s a misread of last week’s events, but that’s how the real Deep State, a lot of elected officials, and much of the public sees it.

    If that isn’t what you signed up for, now would be a good time to get out.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Leaders from the Republican Attorneys General Association face mounting criticism after sending out a robocall that urged supporters of Donald Trump to join the 6 January march on the US Capitol that resulted in a deadly insurrection.

    “At [1pm”] we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” a robocall from the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), a fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said. The voice then said: “We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue the fight to protect the integrity of our election.”

    The association’s chair, Georgia attorney general Chris Carr, is now among several officials who claim to have “had no knowledge or involvement in this decision”, distancing themselves from or outright condemning the call.

    “The stance of the protesters was not consistent with [the attorney general’s] position on election fraud,” Carr spokesperson Katie Byrd told NBC News. “He has been saying since moments after seeing news break, the violence and destruction we saw at the US Capitol is unacceptable and un-American.”

    Yeah. Right. Sure you didn’t.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Canada considers adding Proud Boys to terrorist list alongside Isis and al-Qaida

    A terrorist designation in Canada would mean that the group’s assets could be seized or forfeited by Canadian authorities, although the group is unlikely to have large, hidden assets.

    But the follow-on effects could be more significant, said one former intelligence analyst.

    “Banks and companies like PayPal will probably not want to do business with anyone who has been outed as being a member of the Proud Boys. These kind of companies are pretty risk averse,” said Jessica Davis, a terrorism expert and former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

    In 2019, the Canadian government added two neo-Nazi groups, Blood & Honour and Combat 18, to its terrorism list – indicating it sees a growing threat from far-right organizations.

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  4. sam says:

    On some tv show last week, Charlie Sykes said that Lindsey Graham has been Trump’s fluffer for that last four years.

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  5. Scott says:

    We’ve talked about this before, even though right wing political correctness suppresses it.

    The military has a hate group problem. But it doesn’t know how bad it’s gotten

    The Pentagon is confronting a resurgence of white supremacy and other right-wing ideologies in the ranks and is scrambling to track how acute the problem has become in the Trump era.

    It’s an issue that has simmered in the military for years, but is now front and center following signs that former military personnel played a role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

    The overall problem of right-wing extremism has dogged the military for decades and tends to be more severe when there is a rise in wider society.

    A 2020 survey found that more than one-third of all active-duty troops and more than half of minority service members reported witnessing first-hand examples of white nationalism or other ideologically-driven racism.

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  6. Scott says:

    This reads a little hysterical but maybe not…

    The Capitol Hill insurrection reveals veterans are at war against themselves

    SHARE
    The Capitol Hill riots have laid bare the civil war raging within the veterans community.

    When a pro-Trump mob assaulted Congress to prevent President-elect Joe Biden from being certified as the next commander in chief, veterans were on both sides of the melee.

    The attempted insurrection on Capitol Hill is a direct result of the political warfare that has engulfed the country for decades – and has turned veterans into foot soldiers for the new order.

    It’s true that many veterans have been sucked into the abyss of QAnon conspiracy theories, but the real conflict dividing veterans is not about politics, said Kristofer Goldsmith, who served in the Army during the Iraq war is now the founder and president of High Ground Veterans Advocacy.

    “It’s between law-abiding citizens – those enforcing the law – and those radicals who are in violation of it; who are seeking to destroy democracy, quite literally,” Goldsmith told Task & Purpose.

    One major source of fuel for the conflagration is disinformation: Deliberate lies that President Donald Trump and other prominent Americans spread in order to use veterans’ patriotism as a weapon against democracy, he said.

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  7. MarkedMan says:

    Some months ago there was a running debate between Stephen and some of the regulars here about whether or not support for Republicans despite Trump’s depredations could be ascribed to normal partisanship. At the time, I said the core issue wasn’t about the statistics of party affiliation, but about the makeup of the party leadership. I pointed out that most people, even Reps, Senators, etc, just go along to get along, and the party is defined by the battle between the 10-15 percent who are malignant, and the 10-15 percent who are striving to create good. Sure, the 70-80% who just drifted with the current dwarfed the rest numerically, but they didn’t set the agenda. I tried to make the point that the most relevant thing about the modern Republican Party was that there is no one in senior leadership on the side of our better angels. What makes the Republican Party so dangerous is that there is no real struggle going on between right and wrong in the party, merely between those who don’t like a rocking boat vs. the outright depraved. That battle can only result in more or less depravity, never in any active good.

    I think my analysis tended to get lost in the Cult vs. Normal Statistics debate, but this moment perfectly illustrates my point. Although there are a few senior Republicans willing to speak against Trump, there are no leaders among them. All the Republican leadership, to a one, remains either silent (or actively on the side of evil) and their great effort is not to stop Trump, but to stall until it is the Democrats problem.

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  8. Mikey says:

    @Scott:

    This reads a little hysterical but maybe not…

    As a veteran (20 years USAF) I can assure you it is anything but hysterical. It’s my experience. It seems like more veterans are Trumpies than not, although it could just be the ones who are speak more loudly. Whatever the reason, it has been a source of deep sadness for me to see men and women who shared my oath come down on the side of a President who does not hold to his.

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  9. steve says:

    I know we have a number of veterans here. My experience in the military over 20 plus years (not continuous 70s-90s) was that there were a lot of pockets of racism. Boot camp was horrible with open race riots. Shore Patrol had to be called in several times to break up black vs white group fights. After boot camp relations were generally good but there were always a few guys who hung out together who made it clear how they felt about minorities. In the 80s and 90s there was much less open racism, but there were groups who kept it to themselves. What I saw was actually a lot more very open religiosity. Your chances of promotion were perceived as being diminished in some areas if you did not pray and profess faith along with your leadership. This was Air Force. So maybe I wasn’t aware of it but at that time racism seemed more like an individually based thing that we had to deal with occasionally, and it wasn’t focused just on blacks. Some pretty nasty stuff towards our Hispanics would pop out sometimes.

    So overall my perception of the military was never that it was free of racism or hate groups but that there were a lot of people who did not condone it so it was possible for minorities to get promotions.

    Steve

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  10. charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    and their great effort is not to stop Trump, but to stall until it is the Democrats problem.

    McConnell is being really stupid about this, if he does not get out in front, the GOP will smell of Trump taint for a long time to come.

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  11. PJ says:
  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    You beat me to it, showing once again that you need to get up pretty early to beat the Hillbilly. 🙂

    Present at the Destruction
    Trump’s Final Act Has Accelerated the Onset of a Post-American World

    The images reinforced the sense among fellow democracies that something is seriously wrong in and with the United States. How was it, they asked, that so many Americans could vote for a leader who had, even before last week, attacked independent judicial and media institutions, refused to set a strong example in the face of a highly lethal pandemic, and violated many of his country’s oldest political norms? Their fear is that even after Trump leaves the Oval Office, he will remain on the political scene, influencing American politics and dominating the Republican Party for some time to come; the restoration of more traditional American behavior under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris could, from the vantage of most U.S. allies, prove only a limited and temporary respite.

    As a result, allies have little choice but to question their decision to entrust their security to the United States. There were already doubts on this front, as a result of some actions during the Obama administration and even more under Trump (attacking allies, cozying up to dictators, acting unilaterally and unpredictably). Such doubts mean a greater tendency by other countries to ignore U.S. entreaties and to take policy matters into their own hands, be it by assuaging powerful neighbors or by building up (and using) their own military strength. Signs of this are already evident in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia: the Saudi war in Yemen, Turkey’s involvement in Syria and support for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, the European Union’s investment treaty with China, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade bloc in Asia. The result will be a world that is more violent and less open politically and economically, and in which the United States retains significant but no longer dominant influence or power.

    Yes Trump killed the concept of American Exceptionalism. While the concept of AE has long been shredded, it is no longer a fig leaf, behind which we can stand.

    Business titans pull back from GOP after Capitol insurrection

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  13. Mikey says:

    @PJ:

    GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson dies at 87.

    It’s a shame there’s no Hell.

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  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    A random thought for a Tuesday.

    I wonder how the events of this week are being perceived by the Supremes? The liberals are fairly predictable, as is Roberts the traditionalist. Thomas and Alito can be expected to side with the anti-democrats. Kavanaugh, often seems to be fashioning himself as Roberts’ mini-me, with the occasional toddler tantrum to show independence, while Barrett at this point is a bit of an unknown and I find it difficult to simply apply the filters that her opponents and supporters have tried to place on her.

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @Mikey: That. And his wife, Miriam, will likely carry on. “The evil that men do lives after them;”

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Mikey: Good riddance to bad rubbish. And this decreases the chance that Trump will order an attack on Iran, with Adelson no longer able to make a deposit to his bank account.

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s the white, Christian evangelicals:

    The presence of Christian rituals, symbols and language was unmistakable on Wednesday in Washington. There was a mock campaign banner, “Jesus 2020,” in blue and red; an “Armor of God” patch on a man’s fatigues; a white cross declaring “Trump won” in all capitals. All of this was interspersed with allusions to QAnon conspiracy theories, Confederate flags and anti-Semitic T-shirts.

    The blend of cultural references, and the people who brought them, made clear a phenomenon that has been brewing for years now: that the most extreme corners of support for Mr. Trump have become inextricable from some parts of white evangelical power in America. Rather than completely separate strands of support, these groups have become increasingly blended together.

    This potent mix of grievance and religious fervor has turbocharged the support among a wide swath of Trump loyalists, many of whom describe themselves as participants in a kind of holy war, according to interviews. And many, who are swimming in falsehoods about the presidential election and now the riot itself, said the aftermath of Wednesday’s event has only fueled a deeper sense of victimhood and being misunderstood.

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  18. Kathy says:

    @PJ:

    What took him so long?

    I’ve a more personal beef with this person. He owns the Sands group, which among other properties owns the Venetian/Palazzo casino in Vegas. A friend of mine was hired as head of gaming math at the Venetian. In order to take the job, he had to divest himself of his gaming consulting business, which he did. A few months later, they closed own the gaming math department and laid him off, along with other people.

    No, I don’t think Adelson himself fired him, but he’s the owner and that makes him responsible.

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  19. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m a hardcore atheist and can’t see myself ever buying into any religion, much less Christianity. But I do wish Christians were more like Dr. King or Reverend Warnock or President Biden.

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  20. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: White, Christian Evangelicals are at the heart of the veterans split that Mikey and I talked about. I know about the Air Force and not only is there a racial issue, there is a religious conflict. From Fisher DeBerry posting Team Jesus Christ in the football lockers at the Air Force Academy to not a few generals viewing the mideast wars as a crusade against the infidels, there is a real problem at the core of our society.

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  21. Jen says:

    Apparently, Trump has finally realized that pardoning is an acknowledgement that a crime was committed, and he is not happy about this.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m afraid that there are at least two, and maybe more, Supremes who are essentially religious fanatics. Like Josh Hawley, they believe that government should impose morality on the populace and individual liberty is only allowed within that. Their bias is towards a stronger executive in order for their version of god’s will to be more stringently enforced.

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  23. KM says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Much like with any faith, there’s the official dogma (politician kayfabe version) and the folk version that actually gets practiced (the fandom if you will). The fandom is QAnon – the insanity that thrives because it can pick and choose what pleases a person’s ego or crazy best. For a lot of these folks, it’s making Trump their Savior Avatar because they already remade Jesus into being a gun-totting, hateful, angry version of themselves. Of course the most unChristian person to hit politics in ages get conflated with their religious imagery; if Christ looks like them and Trump’s like them, that means Christ must be like Trump, right? Logic! Just photoshop Trump on the Cross and very few will notice or care.

    Tl;dr fake Christians adding Trump to their bastardized beliefs is entirely on brand. He’s a perfect fit

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  24. Kathy says:

    My current daily dose of escapism is an adaptation of Peter David’s Trek novel “Q Squared” (referring to the original, omnipotent Q, of course).

    I knew of this book for years, but felt no need to get to it. I thought it was a Trek comedy because Peter David, and because an old Original series foe, Trelane, appears in it. But it’s not a comedy at all. In fact it’s pretty dark.

    Also, it’s read by John de Lancie.

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  25. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The Republican party, like Trump, is built around lies and lying. The suckers buy the lies because they accept the “appeal to authority ” fallacy – they trust the lying information sources.

    Rightwing Christianity is built on accepting stuff on faith – Bible inerrancy, Bible literalism and ultimately what the pastor says. It’s not much of a leap to trusting Fox News or Mark Levin or Donald Trump, especially if all the folks at church agree they are “reliable sources.”

    That’s just the way these people are conditioned to think.

    Trump stink isn’t just going to stay on the GOP, it is going to be on people like Robert Jeffress etc. as well.

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  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    Evangelical Christianity is an exploitable mental weakness. In just the way that a history of pneumonia makes you more susceptible to Covid, evangelical Christianity makes you more susceptible to paranoia, hate and self-stroking racist fantasy.

    The disease of QAnon has no problem taking over the mind of an evangelical because – as I’ve said many times here to much outrage – evangelicals are programmed to believe ludicrous bullshit. They brainwash their children from early on through Sunday schools that break down whatever critical faculty a child might have had. If you can believe in Noah’s Ark your brain is defenseless. White evangelical Christianity is a malignant, evil force, an insidious form of child abuse and a danger to liberty.

    Yes, I know we have to tolerate them, I believe in freedom of religion. But let’s call a spade a spade. Those weren’t atheists or agnostics or Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus rampaging through the Capitol bent on murder, they were Christians. No doubt some Catholics, certainly a scattering of mainstream protestants, but I’ll bet my car that 80%+ were white evangelicals. White evangelical Christian churches are to hate groups what radical Saudi madrassas are to ISIS.

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  27. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Well, considering the fact that Ginni Thomas is one of the raving lunatics that supported the rally, I think that at least one must be okay with it.

    I’m still bothered by her active involvement in movements and organizations that end up before the court, and his refusal to recuse himself on those issues. It’s sort of astonishing that she’s permitted to work in an advocacy environment given his position. There really should be some standard applied here.

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  28. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I’ve been wondering how long it would take Trump to realize that, in trying to pardon himself, he’d be admitting his own culpability.

    I think he had pardons confused with exonerations.

    I’m reminded of when the Scottsboro Boys were retroactively pardoned. Pardoned for what? They didn’t do anything. They should have been exonerated.

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  29. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    evangelical Christianity makes you more susceptible to paranoia, hate and self-stroking racist fantasy

    Most Christians (not all) believe you must be a baptized or at least a believing Christian to be eligeable to enter Heaven. (From the Gospel of John). Thus, implicitly, Christians, as a class, are a group with special favor from God. Not much of a leap from “God prefers us” to “we are better people.” From there, not much of a leap to all sorts of bigotries.

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  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    An aside on religion: One of my tasks is to wade through listings of new construction projects across the country looking for leads. I’m noticing a lot of “religious auditoriums” (churches) that include retail spaces, grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes.

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: It’s a shame there’s no Hell.

    I’m always kinda hoping I’m wrong about that.

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  32. MarkedMan says:

    @charon:

    Not much of a leap from “God prefers us” to “we are better people.”

    Years ago I had an interesting lesson on the differences between some of the major religions. I was giving a Jewish friend gentle grief over the fact that Jews considered themselves Chosen amongst all humanity. He said, in effect, “We are not so naive like your Christians who assume that to get extra attention from an all powerful deity is a good thing. ‘Chosen’ does not equal ‘Favored’.”

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  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    I think Mitch McConnell is quite good at evaluating the political impact of his decisions. If he thinks calling a recess and ducking any action on Trump for the next 2 weeks is what’s best for his caucus, he is likely correct on that.

    I think this is a gamble that Trump won’t do something worse, which perhaps could have been stopped by a swift removal from office. I’m not sure if he’s as good at predicting Trump as he is at assessing how things will break politically. I think it’s pretty likely Trump will try something else, or the Trumpists will try something else and Trump will tell them he loves them, or something horrible. I’m quite apprehensive about today’s speech in Alamo.

    At the same time, McConnell knows more about the situation than I do. Perhaps there have been private conversations with Trump which have been, er, frank. This is something I believe could happen, as I’m aware that McConnell really does not like Trump, but will do whatever is best for his caucus politically. That’s why he’s been Majority Leader.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    There’s an old joke of a Rabbi praying to God. After listing the many calamities that had befallen His chosen people, from the Babylonian Captivity to the Inquisition to the Holocaust, he begs God to please chose someone else already.

    On the other hand, I understand some Christian sects believe in predestination. As I understand it, they believe God has already chosen you saved or not, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The logical corollary is that you can do as you want.

    I often wonder why those who believe in a god ascribe to them such a cruel design.

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  35. OzarkHillbilly says:
  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: The cognitive dissonance required for belief in a kind and merciful god while watching cancer eat at one’s child befuddles me.

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  37. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: This is why I scratch my head about prayer. You actually WANT to attract the attention of a capricious and omnipotent being, even if you think he is benevolent? (And anyone who says that the Christian god isn’t capricious hasn’t read the OT).

    Ooookaaaay…..I’d have to be in some pretty dire circumstances before taking THAT risk.

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  38. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I plain don’t get prayer. Does an omnipotent being need flattery? Does an omniscient being need to be told anything? Does a benevolent being need to be cajoled into helping out?

    Pagan gods make more sense, because they are more human.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist: Sometimes I think that the only book of the Old Testament that should matter to us is Job. God, on a whim and a bet with the devil, destroys the life of one his most ardent adherents, killing his loved ones. How could such a being be anything but an enemy?

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  40. CSK says:

    In the wake of the Capitol riot, Deutsche Bank AG and Signature Bank (NY) have cut all ties with Trump. I gather that means that no bank anywhere will do business with him, ever again.

    I wasn’t aware that Signature Bank (NY-based) had been still willing to transact with Trump up until now; I was under the impression that all American banks had long since washed their hands of him. Signature had two accounts with Trump totaling 5.3 million.

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  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Breaking news: Sheldon Adelson died last night.

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  42. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Ah, it’s a weird outcome of an approach to humility.
    People like Augustine, and much later, the Protestant predestinationalists often emphasised that they felt personally unworthy of salvation.
    All are sinners, and redeemed only by the grace of God (and some then riff on the sacrifice of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the taint of original Sin etc etc)
    To which I’m tempted to reply, speak for yourself, mate.
    But any way, the doctrine is that if all are unworthy, God’s grace is gratuitous, and cannot essentially be earned.
    If one is outwardly virtuous, and inwardly repentant, that is the sign of grace, not something that merits grace.
    And as God is eternal and omniscient, and grace is not merited, the determination of grace is pre-ordained.

    The development of this into a solid doctrine of only a minority being saved, and the importance of belief and virtue as not necessary but a matter of obligation and assurance gets a lot more complicated.
    And rather daft, IMHO.

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  43. KM says:

    @Kathy :
    Theoretically it’s supposed to be the same as petitioning a King – a dominance ritual to reinforce your place in the hierarchy. You are specifically asking for a concrete favor and action they should logically be providing, not just attention to your issue; thus you cannot demand or be arrogant in your request but rather essentially must beg and plead for what you need. I cannot think of a prayer tradition in any faith that encourages challenges for rights/favor but is rather insists on acknowledgement of lower status and unworthiness of the requester. Whether or not they are aware of your plight is technically irrelevant, it is the action of you humbling yourself to ask for help from your better that is supposed to be important to earning your reward. They *can* help you but until you submit to higher power, you won’t get it unless they *want* to give it.

    Humanity cannot think of any way to address divinity other than how they treat themselves.

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  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Oops, read up. Not so breaking news 😀 mea culpa

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  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yes, that is what I meant in reference to Thomas and Alito, both have demonstrated that they put some arbitrary faith before anything. The Catholicism of Roberts, Barrett and Kavanaugh will be interesting to see how it plays out as the teachings of the modern church is antithetical to Hawley’s anti-Pelagiusism.

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  46. Kylopod says:

    For those who think the assault on American democracy through groundless accusations of voter fraud started with Trump, and that he stands in marked contrast to “honorable” predecessors like John McCain, I invite you to a walk down memory lane:

    “We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

    That’s from the third presidential debate in 2008. Omit a few words from this quote, and I bet most people would have a hard time guessing it wasn’t uttered by Trump himself.

    Of course after the election McCain immediately conceded and never claimed the election was stolen. But he actively egged on people who held those beliefs when he saw it as useful to him. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking the current situation came out of a vacuum.

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  47. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    When you can be conferred a divinity degree by filling out a form on a website all you need is a space to start your own unaffiliated church, all you need is the first month’s rent.. You don’t actually need the degree, but it lends credence when seeking members among the rubes.

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  48. reid says:

    @Scott: I don’t have a link, but I think we all have heard the reports over the last four years about how the Trump administration shut down attempts to investigate domestic right-wing terrorism. Here it is bearing fruit for him. There’s a lot of Trump sewage to clean up.

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  49. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Saw this, smiled. May they all go to jail.

    Banana Republicans.

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  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Off-topic: Going to follow Bette Davis’s advice here and only speak good of the dead.

    Sheldon Adelson is dead. Good …

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  51. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The book of Job makes a good case for overthrowing the Bible god.

    Not so much what Jehovah and Satan (or the satan) put Job through, but two other things:

    1) When Job begs for an explanation, the deity chastises him for asking, and gives him the mother of all put downs.

    2) Job gets a new wife and new children to go along with recovering his health and wealth. So obviously it’s ok to kill spouses and children, because they can just be replaced.

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  52. Kathy says:

    For some reason I recalled a couple of Babylon 5/Deeps Space Nine crossover jokes I though up years ago. For no reason, here they are:

    1)
    Kira: Ambassador, tell me: what do you make of the Prophets?
    Kosh: Amateurs!

    2)
    Capt. Sisko: Welcome to Deep Space Nine.
    Capt. Sheridan: Deep Space Nine? NINE? Man, you people are freaking persistent!

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  53. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    So obviously it’s ok to kill spouses and children, because they can just be replaced.

    The Bible was written by a lot of people and reflects various views. The writer(s) of Job obviously extremely patriarchal.

    You can find Biblical support for pretty much anything somewhere in the Bible.

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  54. CSK says:

    Whilst lumbering to Marine One this morning, Trump said: “We want no violence.” He then added that the drive to impeach him a second time is “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”

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  55. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Oops, read up. Not so breaking news mea culpa”

    It wasn’t any less welcome the second time around!

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  56. Kathy says:

    @charon:

    You can find Biblical support for pretty much anything somewhere in the Bible.

    That’s true. you can also find Biblical opposition against almost anything as well.

    This leads me to question the value of the books as any kind of source for morality.

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  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: So why doesn’t he stop being a witch?

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  58. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK:

    Signature had two accounts with Trump totaling 5.3 million.

    According to his disclosure forms, Trump has personal accounts (ie, checking, savings, money market, small trust accounts) at multiple US banks. What happened several/many years back is that US banks stopped loaning to Trump or the Trump Organization or any projects they were involved in.

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  59. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    Thanks; I should have drawn that distinction. It is interesting that Signature closed out the two personal accounts. Will other banks follow suit?

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  60. @Kathy: Peter David is the best Star Trek novelist, IMHO.

    Have you ever read his Excalibur series?

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  61. CSK says:

    Robert Salinas, the city manager of Alamo, Texas said he had no idea Trump was coming till he read it in the local paper.

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  62. Sleeping Dog says:

    The sometimes interesting Kevin Williamson

    With apologies to Bill Buckley, our choice isn’t between the Harvard faculty on the one hand and Mr. Aaberg of Beacon Hill and Mr. Aaarumugam of Roxbury on the other, but between the Harvard class of 1997 or so — and an awful lot of people who will remind you an awful lot of the Harvard class of 1997 or so — and that jackass criminal in the photo above.

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  63. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Peter David is the best Star Trek novelist, IMHO.

    Yup.

    One thing that he wrote that’s stuck with me as part of my personal head-canon was that Riker grew the beard between S1 and S2 as a way to taunt Picard that he was able to grow more hair on his face than Picard had on his entire head.

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  64. DrDaveT says:

    @mattbernius:

    One thing that he wrote that’s stuck with me as part of my personal head-canon was that Riker grew the beard between S1 and S2 as a way to taunt Picard that he was able to grow more hair on his face than Picard had on his entire head.

    I always assumed it was because he had finally screened “Mirror, Mirror” and knew which first officer he wanted to be…

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  65. Michael Cain says:

    @CSK:

    Thanks; I should have drawn that distinction. It is interesting that Signature closed out the two personal accounts. Will other banks follow suit?

    I’d be interested in knowing if there are FDIC rules about arbitrarily closing accounts.

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  66. Mu Yixiao says:

    The republicans who voted to contest the electoral count are getting hit where it counts: Donations.

    Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon say they have suspended political donations to the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted against certifying Electoral College results

    Telecoms aren’t the only companies suspending donations. Amazon, Best Buy, Airbnb, Cisco, and Intel are among those suspending donations to Republicans who voted against certifying election results

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  67. Mister Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..This is why I scratch my head about prayer.
    @Kathy:..I plain don’t get prayer.

    I don’t give prayer.
    When anyone asks me to pray for whatever, I tell them I don’t presume to tell God what to do.

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  68. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: I don’t know what the FDIC says, but for what it’s worth, my neighbors are going through a nasty divorce and the wife is so crazy our local bank shut down HIS business account and apparently put them on some kind of blacklist, no bank in western Wyoming would do business with him.

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  69. Jen says:

    AP is reporting that former Michigan Gov. Snyder, among others, is being charged in the Flint water scandal.

    Personal addition to the above: Finally.

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  70. Jen says:

    @Michael Cain: “Arbitrarily” is doing a lot of work here.

    My understanding is that banks do have the discretion to close accounts at any time, and while they usually will provide a reason, they probably don’t have to. Suspicion of fraud (and that term can be interpreted fairly loosely) is a big one.

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  71. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    A bank can close a consumer account in the case of fraud, overdraft, or inactivity.

    I’m not sure which of these would apply to Trump. With Signature, he had a checking account and a money market in a revocable trust in his name.

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  72. Jen says:

    @CSK: Those are common reasons banks close accounts, but banks can also close accounts at their discretion, including for reasons that “pose a risk to the institution.” That can (and does) include reputational risk.

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  73. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Well, Trump definitely poses a reputational risk.
    Again, what happens if all the other banks where Trump has personal accounts follow suit? Does he transfer his money to a Cayman Islands financial institution? I notice they require bank references in order to do so, though…

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  74. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I tell them I don’t presume to tell God what to do

    Related, the English term of mild sarcastic disdain for someone who is a bit ostentatiously religious:
    “A God-botherer”

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  75. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ve read few Trek novels since the early days of this century. What I recall is that David had the most fan service novels: The Borg are back, Deana and Will meet, Deana and Worf date, Q comes back with Trelane, etc.

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  76. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    AKA “Bible thumper” on this side of the Atlantic.

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  77. CSK says:

    “Many people are saying that the speech I made last Wednesday was totally appropriate.”
    — Donald Trump, January 11, 2021

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  78. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    My inclination when asked to pray for someone is to say “I’ll talk to my cat about it. The effect will be the same.” But usually I don’t. after all, people ask such things at times of distress. There’s no need to mock their beliefs on top of that.

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  79. sam says:

    This was mentioned in another thread, but here you can read about the flat out stupidity:
    Parler’s amateur coding could come back to haunt Capitol Hill rioters:

    By now, you may have heard of the hacker who says she scraped 99 percent of posts from Parler, the Twitter-wannabe site used by Trump supporters to help organize last Wednesday’s violent insurrection on Capitol Hill. What you may not know yet is the abysmal coding and security that made the scraping so easy.

    To recap, the scraping was pulled off by a hacker who goes by the handle donk_enby. She originally set out to archive content posted to Parler last Wednesday in hopes of preserving self-incriminating material before account holders came to their senses and deleted it. By Sunday, donk_enby said she had collected roughly 80 terabytes of posts, including more than 1 million videos, many of which contained the GPS metadata identifying the exact locations of where the videos were shot.

    The operation sounds like it was a skosh above tin cans and lengths of string.

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  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Oh yeah, I went thru that with my ex. Took me years to dig out of that hole, and ten years later I was still getting threatening letters and phone calls because of the shit she pulled. Actually had one collector threaten to come and break my legs over some bad checks she had written after we were legally separated. (my lawyer told me that firm was staffed with ex cops, I committed the sin of laughing at him).

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  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Maybe there is a god after all.

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  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’m not sure which of these would apply to Trump.

    Fraud of course, always fraud.

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  83. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: This makes sense. I seem to remember that banks sometimes close out the accounts of known criminals.

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  84. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    Ok, the petitioning a king thing makes sense, in the context of the capricious, arbitrary gods common in most pagan societies. Even the Old Testament god is like that, and expresses wrath*, and needs to be appeased or bribed with animal sacrifices.

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  85. sam says:

    QAnon Woke Up the Real Deep State:

    To the QAnon community, and others involved in storming the Capitol:

    The Deep State is real, but it’s not what you think. The Deep State you worry about is mostly made up; a fiction, a lie, a product of active imaginations, grifter manipulations, and the internet. I’m telling you this now because storming the Capitol building has drawn the attention of the real Deep State — the national security bureaucracy — and it’s important you understand what that means.

    You attacked America. Maybe you think it was justified — as a response to a stolen election, or a cabal of child-trafficking pedophiles, or whatever — but it was still a violent attack on the United States. No matter how you describe it, that’s how the real Deep State is going to treat it.

    The impact of that will make everything else feel like a LARP….

    [N]ow that QAnon was involved in violent sedition, the national security state is paying attention. Arrests of people caught on camera storming the Capitol have already begun. Prosecutions will follow. Big tech companies — who, while powerful, are weaker than, and have a healthy fear of the government — are now treating QAnon almost like how they treat ISIS. A giant federal apparatus built to fight al Qaeda will shift some capacity to fighting you, especially the white nationalist and anti-government militias in your orbit.

    You cheered on lawyers who said they’d release the Kraken. But now you’ve poked Leviathan.

    This is what you need to absorb: QAnon and “stop the steal” are forever associated with a violent attack against the United States. Maybe that’s not what it’s meant to you, maybe you think that’s a misread of last week’s events, but that’s how the real Deep State, a lot of elected officials, and much of the public sees it.

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  86. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: But usually I don’t. after all, people ask such things at times of distress.

    I’ve been an atheist since before I was 14 (14 was when I came face to face with the fact) but when my youngest got run over by a car and I found myself in the ER standing over a blood spattered gurney and looking at a misshapen face I could barely recognize, I fervently prayed again and again and again to a god I know doesn’t exist to take me instead. Then I looked up at my ex standing on the other side of the gurney and said, “No, take her. She’s the reason he’s here. If she had been watching him instead of doing 8 balls this wouldn’t have happened! Take her! Take this fuckin’ c….!”

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  87. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That’s not the worst first step in the world, but it’s far from enough.

    What these corporations need to do is announce, either publicly or in private, they will not donate one plugged nickel to any Republican until the leadership forcefully condemns Trump’s fraud lies and disavows any further association with him.

    After that they can stop donating only to those who won’t do so. But for now, no one gets anything. Not for Congressional races, not for state races, not for local races. Nothing. Not a penny.

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  88. Kathy says:

    This may be true, but it’s also a perfect example of lip service, and hidden lip service at that.

    Mitch thinks trump committed impeachable offenses and thinks the House impeachment is a good thing. Sure. But put your money where your mouth is, Mitch: Call back the Senate into session and set a trial date. Then lobby your party to convict.

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  89. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy:

    I suspect Mitch is looking for an opportunity to get the ruby slippers off Donald, but he be like..

    https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/70835312.jpg

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  90. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    Another link:

    https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1349106939951788033

    Breaking News: Senator Mitch McConnell is said to believe President Trump committed impeachable offenses, and to be pleased Democrats are moving to impeach him.

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  91. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    For McConnell, Trump has outlived his role as a useful idiot.

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  92. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Have you ever read his Excalibur series?

    This rang a bell. I looked it up online, and it stirred some memories. I suppose someone loaned me the first book, because I recall reading one with Shelby as first officer in another ship, not while fighting the Borg (that would be Vendetta, also by David).

    I kind of lost interest in Trek when I got bored with Enterprise. I’ve regained some interest with Discovery and Picard, and now there seem to be others in the works. Good, but I no longer have the time to follow professionally written fan fiction 😉

    This is not a put down. The best Trek novels are written by good writers who are Trek fans. One I highly recommend, both for plot and structure, is “Spock’s World,” by Diane Duane. The plot is that Vulcan may Brexit* the Federation, and the Enterprise crew is sent there in part to take part in the debate. That’s good, but fleeting, Far more interesting are vignettes of Vulcan history, from Vulcans so primitive they lack language, to Sarek’s first forays among humans.

    Duane also wrote “Dark Mirror,” a novel set in the Mirror universe of the first trek series. No spoilers, but Mirror Deana is feared even by her captain.

    * Written in the late 80s. What’s a little anachronism between friends?

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  93. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/JesseRodriguez/status/1349124040351510530

    In statement, House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney says she will vote YES to impeach the president

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  94. Kylopod says:

    @charon: This is really big news. I can’t imagine why McConnell would take this position unless he intended to commit to it. As for Cheney, Wyoming was Trump’s best state in 2020, giving him over 69% of the vote.

    I’m still skeptical, but it really is beginning to look like the snowball effect that happened just before Nixon’s resignation.

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  95. Owen says:

    Thishas me really disturbed. I retired from active duty in 2014 and if you had told me a year ago any such statement would ever issue forth from the Joint Chiefs I would have laughed at you. I hope this is more reassurance to the nation than a warning to potential hot heads in the military.

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  96. CSK says:

    @Owen:
    I’m taking it as reassurance and reaffirmation.

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  97. Teve says:

    Reagan gave the rich tax cuts and blew the deficit sky high. So did Bush. So did Trump. They’re paid by billionaires to give billionaires more money. That’s why their voters are the same people who send money to televangelists.

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  98. Teve says:

    @Kathy: i watched all of DS9, but was shocked the racism of the whole thing. Klingons were Space Blacks and Vulcans were Space Asians and Ferengi were Space Jews. I can’t be the only person to notice that? Maybe the new vitamins I’m taking are crazy pills?

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  99. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah, but the fact that the act was an act of pardon reinforces the fiction that the case isn’t a miscarriage of justice. The pardoning makes it an act of mercy for a bunch of colored boys who still “got what was comin’ to ’em.” Can’t move away from that. Wouldn’t be prudent.

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  100. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I’m not sure that I see the increase in bottom-line value of doing the extension you suggest. To be honest, I barely see the bottom-line value of what they’ve done so far except as it frees up money to go into bonuses for the officers making the decision. The community memory of this action and the good will bonus toward those corporations that took it can probably be measured in nanoseconds. Maybe even picoseconds.

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  101. flat earth luddite says:

    Late note tonight, Dr. Taylor. A Canadian friend noted that it seemed to her that a sure way to recognize if you’re delusional or otherwise concerned about the group you’re with, just look around. If there’s someone (or multiple people) with Nazi (or pseudo-Nazi, or neo-Nazi) clothing/banners/hats, etc., then you’re in the wrong group, and should leave immediately. Seems like a valid check-point to me, but I am a simple minded Luddite.

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  102. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    I don’t think it has quite the same feel, exactly.
    Bible thumping sort of implies a tendency to quote scripture and call for righteousness; “god-bothering” is more about rather obvious prayer.
    The difference between the dissenter/evangelical/calvinist and Anglican styles of religiosity, perhaps?
    Anglicans are rather more like Catholics in behaviour, though not in doctrine: it’s more often a “cradle religion”, a matter of habit and ritual, compared to non-episcopal Protestants who seem far more inclined to scripturalism, adult conversion/reaffirmation etc.

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