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Messages - Mike Gehlhausen

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16
Your Turn / Re: Angels and Archangels and all the Host of Heaven
« on: October 06, 2020, 08:54:58 AM »
Yes, it is a terrifying picture of hell; Jesus is the prime teacher about the horrors of hell. And Id note that one aspect of hell that is often overlooked: Hes alone. Hes all alone.

Well, if I end up in hell at least Ill have lots of company.

Um, no. No, you wont. Lewis captured this in one of his books (cant remember the title). Its to be all alone. Alone forever. Go away and leave me alone. A prayer that God reluctantly and finally grants.

Pr. Weedon,

This may be a theme in another book as well, but it sounds as if you are describing The Great Divorce.

17
Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 05, 2020, 09:55:15 AM »
Well, I am not a Trump supporter.  Nor do I take any delight in his hospitalization for the virus.  But as a concerned citizen I feel entitled to a clear explanation on his illness. He is POTUS.  The lesson of history re Presidential health and welness can be found in the life of Woodrow Wilson.  He was a sick man from 1918 to the end of his life.  His judgment was impaired.    His wife did some of his Presidential work.   We don't need anything like that again.  FWIW, I mailed my ballot last week.

I don't think that we are entitled to any sort of politicized micro-inspection of President Trump's medical condition.  Indeed, it is to counter just such overweening attention that I believe Trump went out on his ill-advised limo ride yesterday and has had to publish intermittent photo-ops of him working from the hospital.  It is that sort of attention which has him trying to rush out of the hospital and return to the White House.

Trump needs to be treated and given the opportunity to recover without the media and the nation breathing down his neck regarding every cough or catching of breath.  These are not the days in which the media hid Woodrow Wilson's illness, FDR's degree of incapacitation due to polio. or JFK's struggles with Addison's disease.  We'll be made known of changes to the president's medical condition promptly when we need to know them.

18
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 03:13:43 PM »
Here's the weird thing: for the most part, the judiciary isn't all that polarized. In his book, A Republic if You Can Keep It, Justice Gorsuch notes that when he served in the 10th Circuit, over 80% of the cases he took part in were decided unanimously. In their book on the Kavanaugh nomination, Hemingway and Severino note that Kavanaugh and Merrick Garland agreed in 93% of their cases. Garland dissented in only one case where Kavanaugh wrote the opinion. While I don't have time to track down the quote, I remember reading somewhere that the same is true of the Supreme Court: most cases are decided unanimously but they are rarely considered "major" cases.

The problem, I think, is really with groups that want to turn the dial to 11 and keep it there. Remember that before Blasey-Ford was outed with her accusations, there were all kinds of groups protesting and causing trouble in the Senate Hearing room. It took over two hours for Sen. Grassley to get through a 10 minute welcoming statement! Thanks to COVID, groups and crowds like that won't be permitted in this time. Maybe people can actually discuss real issues.

But then, remembering Kamala Harris' weird question as to whether or not Kavanaugh had ever spoken to any lawyer at some law firm about the Russian investigation, maybe not.

Unless we include Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans in the "groups that want to turn the dial to 11 and keep it there", that is not the only problem.

Another problem is those major cases you talk about.  The 1% of cases that make themselves all the way up to the Supreme Court and then result in 5-4 and 6-3 verdicts.  The cases which motivate Senators to deny hearings of Supreme Court nominations before an election.

I appreciate your excellent point.  It is reassuring to know that in most cases, the established law and prior court judgments are so clear that unanimous verdicts and opinions are delivered.

But division and politicization does exist.  The contrasts in judicial perspectives do exist.  If they did not, then we would have a Justice Garland on the Court and not a Justice Gorsuch.

19
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 01:20:41 PM »
My goodness.  This is an article about how a letter from Trump is being placed in food aid boxes. 

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/01/trump-letter-food-aid-boxes-424230

Now, I'd see the objection if some sort of extortion was being made that you only got the food if you promised to vote for Trump.. I'll even agree that I think it is crass.  That is probably how I would have reacted if Obama had done such a thing.

But the letter included has good -- yes read that; good -- information on coronavirus and is non-political.  And yet, some farmers are considering not donating food because of this.

On one hand, this is why I am not voting for Trump.  He has polarized this nation so badly that people are considering not helping their fellow neighbors because of their disdain for him.  I can't see that happening with Obama or W. Bush.  We need our society to move on from that.

On the other, I still can't accept even that level of polarization as an excuse.  Even though Trump is crass and political, that does not make everyone else that way.  That letter is just as likely to turn people off of Trump for making political hay out of need as it is to engender votes out of gratitude.  Give the people the food; with the letter if need be.

20
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 01:19:36 PM »

Trump's point during the debate that the Obama administration left over one hundred federal judiciary offices open for placement when leaving office in 2016 was lost.   Trump said that he would never leave all those offices for the other party to fill.  It was a good point.

This is one of Trump's successes that rarely gets much notice.  It is undisputed in that the Democrats are also using it as a talking point in the threat that Trump is considered to be posing in changing the judiciary.

While a Republican Senate could slow down judiciary placements in a Biden administration and exert pressure for moderate nominees, it is having a president and executive branch that can make the judicial nominations which has the most effect.   

Which is actually why so many positions were left unfilled at the end of the Obama administration. The GOP controlled Senate refused to confirm nominees.

That's an excellent point although it is not as if the Senate was completely unbalanced especially before Trump.  Stalling on Merrick Garland is one thing; there were enough moderate Republican Senators at the time including McCain and an anti-Trump Lindsay Graham that more federal judiciary positions could have been moved through if this had been made a priority.

I am saddened by the politicization of the judiciary.  However, it is apparent that there is a true division between those judges who see the law as based on the original precepts of the US Constitution and those who see the law as one in which those precepts are to be reinterpreted based upon changing societal norms.  As long as we see that division in how questions such as abortion, LGBTQ rights, and freedom of religion are handled, then this politicization will continue.

Perhaps a meeting of the minds between those two perspectives can be found in the future.  In that case, the judiciary will become less politicized.  For now, that is not the world in which we find ourselves.

21
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 11:15:05 AM »
The other howler was his reference to What we have done for Minnesota, and then if I lose Minnesota, I am never coming back.

This election is baked in.  Trump's followers won't deterred in the least by such a comment.  Those who won't vote for Trump weren't going to vote for him anyway.

But ideally, it is not smart for a political candidate to say that they'll never come back someplace if they lose.  That he has little concern for a community other than their ability to get him elected.

It also sounds that while the Minnesota rally energized Trump as his rallies typically do, he was not having that much fun due to the cold.

22
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 10:34:00 AM »
You act as if in both cases the Senate simply allowed the president to avoid due punishment, when the truth is in both cases the Senate exercising its Constitutional duty to hear the case and impose a verdict, voted to acquit.  That is a "not guilty" verdict in every judicial proceeding on the planet.  Acquittal means they found insufficient evidence to prove the charge.

Now, I trust the representatives would have voted otherwise.  But knowing full well he would be acquitted, to what end did they impeach him?

The answer is, solely for political gain.  The power to impeach is there precisely to remove bad actors.  If they knew he wouldn't be removed, then there is no good reason (and plenty of bad reasons) to put the country through that scandal to begin with.

Forgive me for excerpting from your full comments. They are obviously available through the links for anyone to review.

You've written well in the past about tribalism and media echo chambers.

I would argue that in both cases -- I'll even throw in President Andrew Johnson's impeachment as well -- the House was confident in its impeachment that the Senate would look at the case presented and convict despite political leanings.  Given that Mitt Romney is the only Senator in history to have voted to convict an impeached President of his own party, you are correct that such confidence may be misplaced.  But unless we are so cynical as to believe that a president cannot be convicted when votes from Senators of his own party are needed, it is important to have a trial in such circumstances.

Looking back to Watergate, President Nixon may well have been impeached on obstruction of justice charges.  Given that key Senators of the Republican party were advising him to resign, he might even have been convicted of those charges.

I am still suspicious about whether Trump's asking Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden was an abuse of power or simply an unpopular use of his power.  That is a judgment on which the Republicans and Democrats clearly disagreed.  It is possible that if Trump had acted more egregiously and been proven to do so, then he would have been convicted and removed from office.

But it is interesting to note that while Nancy Pelosi did feel that there was sufficient interest in this to bring it to impeachment.  When despite all of the smoke about Russian collaboration, that never was brought to impeachment.

What I fear is what will happen when we have a House and Senate of one party and a president of another.  I thin impeachment would be a sword of Damocles hanging over such a president.

It certainly will be if the current trend of ever-escalation of perceived slights continues.

I will say, the premise I was presented with was the House "knew" the Senate would not vote to convict.  If we assume differently, then a different discussion may be had.  But Pastor Stoffregen made that claim, one I happen to agree with for what it's worth.  So that's what I was responding to.

I appreciate the response. While a bit late, I'm responding.

The premise you presented was that President Trump was impeached solely for political gain.  While there is no disputing that Democrats certainly saw political advantage in impeaching President Trump, I have to dispute the premise.  I do believe that many within the Democratic party legitimately believed Trump to be guilty of a presidential abuse of power.  I also believe that they thought a fair and comprehensive trial might persuade Republicans that this was indeed the case and that it was a matter of national importance to remove President Trump from office.

I've compared this to Watergate.  This was the case then.  Obviously, Mitt Romney was persuaded of the validity of the case that this was a presidential abuse of power.  There was little political gain for him in taking such a position unless he is playing a very long political game in doing so.

The question being examined is whether it is ever right to impeach a President given how difficult it is for the Senate to convict.   I have to come down to the answer that we must have faith that given a persuasive case, Senators of the president's party can indeed be brought to vote to convict.  Most likely, as with Nixon, in the face of such a situation, the president will resign rather than follow the process to the bitter end.

But I think the process has validity.  I also think that the Clinton impeachment shows just how seriously dangerous employing that process without a persuasive case can be politically.  And I am one who found the perjury charges in that case persuasive and worthy of conviction.  Perhaps the fact that I found the process then worthy despite a very low likelihood of conviction is why I am arguing this with you now.

23
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 09:34:29 AM »
Mike, first of all, I'm glad to see you posting again.  Your thought and tone and willingness to engage is nice. 

Thank you for the kind words.

My comments aren't entirely an echo of yours, but when thinking about the president's energy or drive or whatever...I wonder if his base is as fired up as it was previously?  I don't have an answer, but I do ponder the people who voted for Trump were energized by the list he shared of potential Supreme Court nominees.  I do anticipate the Notorious ACB being confirmed to the Supreme Court and my thinking is that the base says, "Now what?  That was about the only issue that united us and now that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett will be on the court for a while, we can live with a Democrat in the Oval Office."  Just a guess, just a guess.

Jeremy

Trump's point during the debate that the Obama administration left over one hundred federal judiciary offices open for placement when leaving office in 2016 was lost.   Trump said that he would never leave all those offices for the other party to fill.  It was a good point.

This is one of Trump's successes that rarely gets much notice.  It is undisputed in that the Democrats are also using it as a talking point in the threat that Trump is considered to be posing in changing the judiciary.

While a Republican Senate could slow down judiciary placements in a Biden administration and exert pressure for moderate nominees, it is having a president and executive branch that can make the judicial nominations which has the most effect.   Furthermore, Barrett will be a great addition to the Court, but there will be more retirements or possibly deaths in the next four years. 

This remains a persuasive argument.  It is not enough to persuade me given other things, but I don't know that those persuaded by it are willing to let up on the gas just because Barrett will join the Court.

That said on that specific point, I agree with you more generally.  Those on the edge of Trump's base do seem to have less energy.  I think Trump pushes people to be "ride or die" for him.  I don't see Trump picking up a lot of undecided votes.  As I said, I think the election is pretty baked in right now.   It all depends on how wide Trump's base is.

24
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: October 01, 2020, 08:11:40 AM »
This election is baked in.  I doubt Trump will win, but he could again surprise everyone.

The question I have is why he even wants to be re-elected.  This article made me think.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/09/30/trump-debate-2020-analysis-423916

Contrast the second Presidential debate with Hilary Clinton in 2016 with Tuesday night's debate.  Trump faced a much tougher situation in that second debate.  He sniped and interrupted with a few quips, but he mostly respected the moderators and Hilary Clinton's speaking time.  It was nothing like Tuesday night's debate.

Trump no longer seems to be having fun.  The Presidency wears a person down.  I don't know why Trump really even wanted to be re-elected.   He does not have as fresh an outlook as he did in 2016.

Perhaps the coronavirus and the inability to have the enormous rallies he once could has affected his energy.   He still has large rallies, but they pale to the ones he was once free to hold.

It is policy that matters more than debates or the scandal-of-the-day.  I'm not voting for either candidate this year because neither are suitable to me.  I'll vote Republican in down-ballot races.

But I finally realized just what perturbed me about Tuesday night and why I see no point in watching any more of the Trump-Biden debates.  Trump did not seem the calm, confident man he once was.   He seemed desperate and exasperated.  He seems a different man than he was in 2016 and not particularly for the better.  I can only hope that with the ending of the pandemic whenever that is, Trump is able to recover the energy and purpose he once had. 

25
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 04:44:21 PM »
Whether Trump receives a Nobel Peace Prize for them or not, I consider the Abraham Accords a major foreign policy achievement in Mid-East relations.

It is those peace agreements which are actually important and not whether a prize is received for them.

26
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 02:45:41 PM »
What I fear is what will happen when we have a House and Senate of one party and a president of another.  I thin impeachment would be a sword of Damocles hanging over such a president.
It is conceivable that we could have that scenario in January, although my guess is that the White House and Senate races this year are such that if the President is re-elected then the Republicans will retain the majority.  Even if it happens, though, it requires two-thirds of the Senate to convict on an impeachment charge.  The Democrats would control the process from start to finish and could put on whatever show they want, but the ultimate outcome would almost certainly be the same--acquittal--unless the evidence is sufficient for many more Republicans than just Mitt Romney to find Trump guilty of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" as required by the Constitution for removal from office.

Thank you. This is true. I had forgotten about the two-thirds requirement for conviction.  I am glad of that too because it does require a case for removal of a president to be so undoubtedly clear as to convince numerous members of his own party.  Such as Nixon's arguably was.

And as with Nixon, my thinking would be that any president so compromised would end up resigning before following the process all the way through conviction and removal.

27
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 01:59:45 PM »
You act as if in both cases the Senate simply allowed the president to avoid due punishment, when the truth is in both cases the Senate exercising its Constitutional duty to hear the case and impose a verdict, voted to acquit.  That is a "not guilty" verdict in every judicial proceeding on the planet.  Acquittal means they found insufficient evidence to prove the charge.

Now, I trust the representatives would have voted otherwise.  But knowing full well he would be acquitted, to what end did they impeach him?

The answer is, solely for political gain.  The power to impeach is there precisely to remove bad actors.  If they knew he wouldn't be removed, then there is no good reason (and plenty of bad reasons) to put the country through that scandal to begin with.

Forgive me for excerpting from your full comments. They are obviously available through the links for anyone to review.

You've written well in the past about tribalism and media echo chambers.

I would argue that in both cases -- I'll even throw in President Andrew Johnson's impeachment as well -- the House was confident in its impeachment that the Senate would look at the case presented and convict despite political leanings.  Given that Mitt Romney is the only Senator in history to have voted to convict an impeached President of his own party, you are correct that such confidence may be misplaced.  But unless we are so cynical as to believe that a president cannot be convicted when votes from Senators of his own party are needed, it is important to have a trial in such circumstances.

Looking back to Watergate, President Nixon may well have been impeached on obstruction of justice charges.  Given that key Senators of the Republican party were advising him to resign, he might even have been convicted of those charges.

I am still suspicious about whether Trump's asking Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden was an abuse of power or simply an unpopular use of his power.  That is a judgment on which the Republicans and Democrats clearly disagreed.  It is possible that if Trump had acted more egregiously and been proven to do so, then he would have been convicted and removed from office.

But it is interesting to note that while Nancy Pelosi did feel that there was sufficient interest in this to bring it to impeachment.  When despite all of the smoke about Russian collaboration, that never was brought to impeachment.

What I fear is what will happen when we have a House and Senate of one party and a president of another.  I thin impeachment would be a sword of Damocles hanging over such a president.

28
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 11:54:23 AM »
I suppose self-selecting into echo chambers is fine in a free country.  I do think we owe it to ourselves to be honest about that.  Especially when a paper like the NYT is touted as some sort of beacon of truth and honesty in journalism.  They aren't.  They're a corporation that is partisan and ideological to the core.  Of course, conservatives have known this for decades, but it doesn't seem to stop the gaslighting.

I remember when Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News were considered by many to be trustworthy.  Even through Watergate.  I don't know how true that actually was or whether it was liberal puffery.

It is so hard to tell these days what is true and what is just different narratives.   To a certain extent, Fox News news division -- as opposed to its commentary shows -- seems to do a pretty good job.  I think that is why Trump gets so angry at them at times.  It is definitely why Shepard Smith left.

I am looking forward to tonight' debate moderated by Chris Wallace.  I think it is the closest thing to a non-slanted debate we will get.

29
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 11:39:40 AM »
I listened to a Glenn Greenwald podcast this morning on the way to work.  He was talking about the appeal of Joe Rogan's podcast and why so many media folks despise Rogan.  Something he mentioned was 93% of Fox News viewers identify as Republican, and 91% of MSNBC viewers identify as Democrat.  But the kicker for me was this -- 91% of people who say their primary source of news is the NY Times identify as Democrat.

Let the reader understand.

Interesting.  I wonder what the percentage of people would be whose primary source of news is the NY Post. 

One thing that I have found very interesting in the past few days have been ads that I've seen for WGN America's 9 PM news.  They claim to play things down the middle.  I have not watched so I do not know whether the claim seems to be true.

30
Your Turn / Re: Election 2020
« on: September 29, 2020, 10:02:55 AM »
President Trump has been donating his Presidential salary back to the U.S. Government -- $400,000 per year.  At the end of his term, that totals $1,600,000 that he didn't have to pay.

That is good point.  Trump has effective given the federal government $400,000 a year above what he has paid in federal taxes.  That is a significant contribution, but his critics will not consider that.

He could have instead taken the salary and then not taken all of the tax breaks he was entitled to in order to have paid that as part of his tax debt.   

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