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Boo hoo. Trump doesn’t like SNL!


Poor Trumpy. He doesn’t like the way Saturday Night Live and Alec Baldwin poke fun at him. And as usual, he’s lashing out on Twitter.

Here’s his gripe from this weekend, after he saw the latest Baldwin skit: Nothing funny about tired Saturday Night Live on Fake News NBC! Question is, how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!

For me, it was Baldwin’s best yet. It wasn’t the funniest, but Baldwin has got Trump’s tics and self-aggrandizement down.

Trump may not like SNL but the American people do. Here are some comments from the YouTube video of Saturday’s show:

This is the most on point characterized Donald Trump impression that even Alec Baldwin has done.

This press conference was more coherent than the real one.

OMG here because of Donsense Twitter feed, well worth it

WE NEED WALL. WALL MAKES SAFE.” Kevin from the office would be so proud

Wow I usually enjoy Alec’s impression, but this time he’s so brilliant, so close to the real clown, he’s actually creepy and scary.

The best thing to come out of this presidency. The SNL sketches.

No wonder Trump is so mad. If there’s one thing that drives him crazy, it’s being made fun of. And SNL has reduced him to a caricature, a sort of weird blend of Daffy Duck, Goofy and Homer Simpson.

Well, there is a lot to laugh about at Trump. But there’s nothing funny about his enablers: people like Kevin McCarthy, and most of the Cabinet, and that spooky, glazed-eye Vice President of his, and those awful, chinless sons, especially Junior. If and when Junior is indicted, there will be dancing in the streets across the length and breadth of America. Ditto with Jared. I keep on wondering about the rural conservative white men of low income and low education who constitute Trump’s base. Do they know that Jared Kushner wouldn’t let them in one of his mansions without disinfecting them first? Do they have any understanding of the disdain Kushner holds for them? Kushner is an Orthodox Jew. I know something about Orthodox Jews. They are not nice people. They detest non-Jews, whom they see as animals. They’re willing to make temporary alliances with Christians, if it’s in their interests. For example, this bizarre alliance Orthodox American Jews have with evangelicals. The reason for that is that both groups support Israel. That’s true, as far as it goes, but it hides the fact that (a) the evangelicals would forcibly convert the Jews, if they had the power, and (b) the Jews would apply Old Testament penalties upon Christians if they had the power. Orthodox Jews like Kushner believe they will have the power, when their Messiah returns to Earth. Talk about strange bedfellows!

Anyhow, into this weird, strange mess steps an atheist, or at least an agnostic, Donald J. Trump, a secular man who never in his entire life professed to believe in anything, until he ran for president and discovered he needed the lunatics at Liberty University to support him. Why should a comedy program not make fun of him? He’s a walking, talking parody of himself, a farce; and that is the gravest threat he faces. His unthinking followers will gladly march off a cliff behind a man whom they believe to be serious and historic. But they will not follow a clown. Trump increasingly is being seen as a clown, even on the right: witness Coulter’s “Our president is an idiot” remark.

Either Coulter is playing four-dimensional chess (and I don’t think she’s smart enough) or she’s finally had it with him. You also have Rush Limbaugh betraying a serious case of the jitters with his “wacko right” sputtering. Anytime a media commentator has to defend himself like that, you know he’s in trouble. Most media opiners would be proud that the President of the United States is consulting them on policy, but Limbaugh has to deny it. Why? Because the policy—in this case, the national emergency—is so deeply unpopular even on the far right that Limbaugh doesn’t want to get anywhere near it.

So we see the cracks appearing in the Republican Party but, more importantly, so does Trump. This is what freaks him out: the ridiculing of him personally as his shtick wears thin, and the early but unmistakable signs of rupture in his support. Together they threaten the one thing he values more than anything: his credibility.

New book exposes rampant homosexuality in the Vatican


Kudos to the Associated Press for running the exposé on the Vatican, which is “one of the world’s largest gay communities.”

That’s the charge made by a gay French writer, Frederic Martel, in his explosive new book, “In the Closet of the Vatican.” Martel interviewed “41 cardinals, 52 bishops or monsignors, and 45 Vatican and foreign ambassadors” over a period of four years, “including weeks at a time living inside the Vatican walls.” What he found is enough to make you vomit.

Gay men have always known that a huge percentage of Catholic priests, maybe a majority, were homosexual. We knew because there is, and always has been, a lively gay underground, filled with chatter and gossip; but, as they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Then too, it only made sense that a community of men, forced to take vows of celibacy, would be driven to have clandestine sex. Just because a man is a priest doesn’t mean his body isn’t pumping out oceans of testosterone.

As the gay liberation movement picked up steam in the 1970s-1990s, the Catholic Church emerged as one of its leading opponents in this country, alongside Mormons and evangelicals. Many gay Catholics left the church; others who remained claimed to be trying to reform it from within.

To me, a non-Catholic, such efforts seemed as futile as those of moderate Republicans today, who claim they remain in the party of Trump despite the realization that the Republican Party is deformed and doomed. Many LGBTQ Americans resent the Catholic Church (and the Republican Party) because of their inhumane stance on the issue of homosexuality. This is a matter of civil rights, or human rights. It would be bad enough if the Catholic Church condemned homosexuality while its own priests were devout and chaste. But this clearly is not the case. What many of us have suspected all our lives is now proven to be true.

We already know about the thousands upon thousands of priests who sexually abused tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of boys, girls, men and women over the decades. That in itself should be enough to label the Catholic Church a criminal organization, engaged in an active and ongoing coverup.

But with Martel’s new book, the lid is off, or I should say the closet door is flung open. Martel found that “80% of Vatican clerics are gay.” This fact, shocking enough in itself, has led to immeasurable consequences, Martel argues. “It allows us to understand the misogyny of the clergy, the scandals around the Vatican Bank during the time of Archbishop Marcinkus, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and the revolt Pope Francis is now facing.”

Benedict was widely perceived to be gay during his 2005-2013 papacy.  Msgr. Paul Marcinkus, who died in 2006, ran the Vatican Bank for Pope John Paul II. He was repeatedly tied to the Mafia during his tenure, and may even have played a role in the death of Pope John Paul I. The “revolt Pope Francis is now facing” concerns, of course, the inadequacy of his response to the growing pedophilia scandals. As for “the misogyny of the clergy,” that speaks for itself.

The Catholic Church isn’t going away anytime soon. For two thousand years it has extorted money from the poor, building an empire in the process, and through its enormous power exerted political leverage over world leaders. No institution on Earth is as entrenched as the Catholic Church.

Nor is there any realistic way to punish the Catholic Church—to make it pay the penalty, not only for this oppression of gay men, but for murdering thousands of them during the Inquisition, and for continuing to incite violence against gay men via its incendiary rhetoric: homosexuality is “objectively disordered.” Language like that is a dog whistle to unstable men, who fearing their own sexual inclinations commit acts of violence against gay men, like Matthew Shepard.

This is a religious cult that preaches it is a sin to masturbate; that men and women who have sex outside of marriage are going to hell; that it is even “morally disordered” to have sexual feelings—lust–for another person outside the bounds of marriage.

Who are these people? You have prelates in the Vatican telling everybody whom they are and are not permitted to screw, while at the same time they’re running around their monasteries doing God only knows what kinds of scandalous things with each other, and not only with each other: with nuns (which even Francis admitted earlier this month), and, of course, with the boys and girls whose lives have been traumatized by pedophile criminals.

Why do we tolerate this madness? Why does the Catholic Church retain any credibility? They’ve had their moment in the sun. They have given the world Michaelangelo, and Dante, and Bach; and for those, and all their other contributions to art and culture, we thank them.

But the Catholic Church has nothing more to offer the world. It is as spent as the testicles of a dried-up old pedophile priest. There is nothing Pope Francis can do to restore a semblance of morality. It is morally (and, increasingly, financially) bankrupt. It’s time for the Catholic Church to back away and figure out how to be useful without promoting hatred and stupidity. And by the way, this view of mine has NOTHING to do with Jesus Christ. It has EVERYTHING to do with the monstrous sexocracy the Catholic Church has become, in His name. As for those good Catholics who remain committed to their church even while recognizing its sins, I can say only this: I feel sorry for you.

Dark times for Trump, and it’s only just beginning


I know its not nice to indulge in schadenfreude–taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. But really, after all the difficulties Republicans have dumped on this country–after all the lies about, and insults of, Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama–after the trauma of two years of Trump–can anyone blame us for smiling when we hear that “Roger Stone says he has lost his health and life insurance and is eating PB&J sandwiches to survive financially”?

Well, boo hoo. Stone—the dirty trickster who built his rightwing career on lies, smears, bogus stunts and setups of his political opponents—is experiencing the most fundamental law of humanity:


It’s finally caught up to him. As the clock ticks out on the remaining days of his freedom, Stone might ponder this reality: Everything Trump touches turns to ashes. Everyone who works for Trump gets hurt. Trump is a one-man wrecking machine, a plague who infects everybody around him.

In order to fully comprehend the minds of individuals like Stone, or Manafort, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Papadopoulos, Rick Gates and others of their ilk, who aligned themselves with Trump to advance their own selfish interests, you have to ask yourself a simple question: Would you cooperate with an evil, ignorant and dangerous man, in exchange for wealth and power?

It’s the old Faustian dilemma: Whether to sell your immortal soul to the Devil, for untold riches and pleasures. Many people have made that deal. Stone would not be the first. Humans have a remarkable ability to deceive themselves.

But there is that Law of Karma: things catch up to bad people. That’s the meaning of the Faust tale: In Christopher Marlowe’s version, Faust realizes that the jig is up; as the hour of his death approaches, the terrible realization breaks upon him, of what he has done, and the price he now has to pay. There is no place to hide. He bargains. He pleads for mercy. He goes through all the Kubler-Rossian stages, except for the final one: Acceptance. His final interior monologue is pure pathos:

Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,
And hide me from the heavy wrath of God!
No, no!

Ah, half the hour is past! ’twill all be past anon
O God,
If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransom’d me,
Impose some end to my incessant pain;
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
A hundred thousand, and at last be sav’d!

O soul, be chang’d into little water-drops,
And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found!
[Enter DEVILS.]
My God, my god, look not so fierce on me!
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while!
Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!
I’ll burn my books! – Ah, Mephistopheles!
(Exeunt DEVILS with FAUSTUS)

What Devils will come for Stone? For Trump? For the rest of the Trump enablers?

Trump, himself, is beyond any sort of redemption. He made his pact long, long ago. Elemental human emotions, such as remorse, kindness or compassion, have long been expunged from his soul. He believes neither in God nor in the Devil. All there is, for Trump, is the struggle, Mein Kampf: the will to fight with granite hardness until either Victory or Death is achieved.

But there is a Devil whom Trump knows and fears. That Devil is in the form of a Man. That man is Robert Mueller. Trump prays for protection—not for “Mountains and hills” to fall on him and hide him from Mueller, but for Republicans to rally around him in the Alpine Redoubt, wherein they will make their last stand.

But that may not work out. Will he then “fall into the ocean, ne’er to be found”? Alas, that, too, is not going to happen. There is no place for Trump to hide, nowhere that he cannot be found. No ocean opens its bosom to him; the only thing that surrounds him is the implacable inevitability of Truth, closing in like hungry wolves.

Truth is what Trump fears: the truth of what he has done, why he did it, and how he tried—and is still trying—to cover it up. One can almost feel sorry for the man—almost, but not quite. There’s that schadenfreude again. I suppose there are some who, by training and conviction, are willing to forgive the most awful men for the most awful behavior. Count me not among them. Prices must be paid. Crimes must be recompensed. Trump knows this. In his final agony—whenever it happens—he will feel the hot breath of God, or Karma, burning fiercely down upon him. He will flail, thrash, lash out, weep bitter tears. You do not want to be in the room with that man when that moment comes. What will it look like when “the Devils” lead him offstage? Where will they take him?

Have a lovely weekend!

Those rumors about the Senate Intelligence Committee? Don’t worry about it


Trump is crowing about reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee “has found no evidence of collusion” between him or his campaign, and Russia, in the 2016 election. The Senate Intelligence Committee: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA!” he tweeted yesterday, screaming through the use of CAPS a supposition that he hopes will exonerate him forever from the two-year old scandal.

Unfortunately for him, the actual facts suggest otherwise. For one, people lied to the Intelligence Committee, which did not have the power to bring them back for re-examination due to Republican intransigence. For another, the committee’s co-chair, the Democrat Mark Warner, “disagreed” with the conclusion that there’s no evidence, which, after all, is simply a rumor, since there’s not yet a formal report. “I’m not going to reach any conclusion until we finish the investigation,” Warner said, proving that the investigation is not even finished.

Then too, the Intelligence Committee has nowhere near the evidence available to Robert Mueller—evidence he is still gathering. But even if we suppose that there was no “collusion” between Trump and Russia—and I remain convinced there was–there are enough other legal scandals on Trump’s table to eventually remove him from office, or force him to resign.

Obstruction of justice, for example. It’s obvious that Trump and his family and allies have tried like hell to prevent investigators from finding out what really happened. The Comey firing—the repeated lies about the Trump Tower meeting—the lies about Manafort’s meetings with Kilimnik–the attempts to influence a potential jury pool through his public statements and tweets—and, yes, Trump’s refusal to turn over his taxes—with all of these, Trump still faces a great deal of legal jeopardy.

And then there’s the Southern District of New York, whose investigations have nothing to do with Russia, but are centered on campaign finance felonies, foreign contributions to Trump’s inaugural fund, and other crimes. Many commentators have been saying for months that the SDNY is a far greater threat to Trump than the Special Counsel.

So Democrats, and other patriots who long to see our country liberated from the scourge of this reactionary, divisive regime, ought not to be discouraged by these initial reports about the Senate Intelligence Committee. As always, we should take a collective deep breath, relax, and trust that our institutions are resilient enough to get to the bottom of what Trump has done.

In the end, many of us believe the evidence is there to impeach Trump now. But, of course, the Republican Party being what it is—felonious, neo-fascist, colluding—the Senate would never vote for impeachment. That makes it all the more important to drive Republicans out of the Congress in 2020. The only way to reclaim America is to hand over power to the Democrats.

Even if there was no collusion (and we don’t know that), he’s unfit to serve


May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof

That’s what our second president, John Adams, said concerning the American presidency. Is Donald J. Trump an “honest and wise” man?

In the topsy-turvy world of politics, Trump’s been having a good few days. His polls are up a bit. The Senate Intelligence Committee appears to be on the verge of announcing that they could find no collusion between him, or his campaign, with Russia. The economy continues to roar along. And Trump, fully in campaign mode, seems energized, and nastier than ever.

When our new California Governor, Gavin Newsom, recalled the California National Guard from the border a few days ago (a move that gave him national attention), I fully expected Trump to smear him with insults. (He may already have; maybe I just haven’t seen them.) So I emailed the Governor and suggested that he “forget about the Marquis of Queensbury and think instead of the MMA octagon.” There’s a debate in the Democratic Party about how Democrats, especially the primary candidates, should act towards Trump: conciliatory (as Amy Klobuchar seems to be doing) or confrontational (as Kamala Harris is). IMHO, this is a time to be confrontational: talk to Trump in the only language he understands: his own. Hit him below the belt, reminding him and the public constantly of the adultery, the lies, the indecency. Take off the gloves and start talking about Fred Trump and the KKK, the multiple affairs, the payouts to mistresses, the ripping off of vendors, hiding his tax returns, dog whistles to white nationalists, the sneaky business deals. Devise derogatory nicknames for Trump, the way he does for Democrats. “Tax-dodging Donald” has a nice alliterative quality. “Cheating Donald” is good. “Indecent Donald” gets to the point. Wonder publicly if Trump’s bad moods are because the Secret Service refuses to smuggle in women. This is nastiness, but you have to fight fire with fire.

Some people will say this take-no-prisoners approach panders to the far left of the Democratic base—that most Democrats and centrists want to get beyond the squabbling that has marked the Trump years. I don’t agree. While Trump occupies the Oval Office, something has to be done to restore the normative values that should preside over our politics. Those normative values—mutual respect, gentlemanly (or gentle-womanly) conduct, politeness—have been trashed by Trump. I don’t think he understands the deep grievances Democrats harbor towards him and his supporters. Everybody knows—everybody, from Franklin Graham to Senate Republicans—that Trump has degraded the Presidency, that he’s a moral degenerate. Everybody admits he’s not a role model for kids. Everyone knows he’s a pathological liar.

That’s what Democrats need to hammer home. Forget about issues for the time being: borders, the economy, climate change, overseas wars. Focus on Trump’s miserable character. Maybe there was no collusion. Maybe Trump came close to the line of illegality without actually crossing it. But collusion with Russia was never the main reason why so many of us said Trump is unfit for office. We felt that way well before we ever heard any collusion theories—at least, I did. I knew he was unfit because of his gross indecency. If Trump supported every Democratic platform issue there is—combating climate change, support for LGBTQ rights, fair income distribution, raising taxes on the rich, restoring union rights, rebuilding infrastructure, protecting voting rights, and so on—I’d still say he was unfit for office. Maybe that’s the biggest difference between Republicans and Democrats. We care about the character of the person. They don’t. And that’s a good platform to run on.

Resisting “detention beds” is a good issue for Dems


Kasie Hunt, an MSNBC anchor, yesterday tweeted: Democrats taking a risk with the stand over detention beds at the 11th hour The wall seems to have been largely neutralized as an issue, at least in Congress Beds arguably much more significant policy to debate But harder to message for Dems.

She made much the same point on the air.

I admit that when I first heard Democrats were raising the number of beds as an issue, in their negotiations with Republicans over wall funding, my first instinct was uneasiness. I could easily see Trump blaming Democrats for wanting to let criminals roam American streets. That’s a lie, of course, but I imagined him dredging up the age-old Republican smear of Democrats: soft on crime.

Then, yesterday morning, that’s exactly what he did on his twitter feed. “The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens! This is a brand new demand. Crazy!”

Pandering to his base, Trump once again stokes fear, racism and xenophobia among the low-information white people who see in him their Defender against brown-skinned rapists, murderers, drug fiends and human traffickers.

What are these “detention beds” at the heart of this latest brouhaha? They are essentially prison cells for undocumented people captured within U.S. borders and suspected of committing crimes. After all, you can’t arrest (detain) someone if there’s no place for them to sleep.

Democrats propose capping those beds at 16,500; their argument is that most of the “crimes” committed by undocumented people are visa overstays—hardly violent offenses. Instead, Democrats are asking the government to prioritize the detention of violent criminals. Only the worst would be put into detention.

Republicans predictably are howling. Democrats, they allege, want criminals to roam the streets and prey on our people! Democrats counter that all they’re saying is that this Republican administration has already caused so much damage to families and children, that capping the number of beds will force the regime to stop its cruelest practices.

And that’s where the debate now stands. Over the weekend, Trump’s BFF in the Senate, Lindsay Graham, told Fox “News” that Trump will never sign a bill that limits the number of detention beds, even if the bill gives him the $5.7 billion he wants for his wall (which, by the way, it won’t).

We’ll see.

But back to Kasie Hunt’s tweet. Is it risky for Democrats to take this line? Is it a hard message to explain to the American people?

Not at all. Polls show that Trump’s family separation policy is “very unpopular” among Americans, with 66% of voters–including 91 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents–opposed to the policy. It is not hard at all for Democrats to make the argument that “the more detention beds the regime has to lock up people, the more families will be separated, and the more children will be yanked from their mothers, caged, and traumatized for life.”

That’s a potent, easy argument to understand. Of course, Republicans and racists (the two terms are interchangeable) will continue to praise Trump for protecting them from Latino savages. But to get re-elected, Trump (if he’s still in office next year) will have to get votes from independents and Democrats. Those are two groups who are fairly adamantly opposed to family separation. Democrats are going to have a year to strengthen their arguments against an inhumane policy; television will afford plenty of opportunities for sympathetic Latino parents and children to tell the American public how horrible these Trumpian policies are; religious leaders will have lots of Sundays to remind their flocks that Jesus commands them to welcome the immigrant, not lock him up. In the heat of the 2020 presidential campaign, Republicans will have a harder and harder time explaining away Trump’s continuing lockup of children.

So, Kasie Hunt, your analysis is weak. I wonder where you got the concept that this “detention bed” issue is bad for Democrats. Did it just strike you out of the blue? Did you hear it on Fox or Limbaugh? However it came to you, let me assure you that Democrats own the moral high ground on this one. More detention beds = more imprisoned children! That’s the winning argument—winning, because it’s true. And if Trump causes another government shutdown over this, the way he caused the last one, nobody will be talking about “detention beds.” They’ll be talking about air traffic controllers not working, clerical workers not being able to pay their rent, Coast Guard men and women relying on food banks to survive. Those are indeed risky issues, but the risk isn’t on Democrats, it’s all on Trump.

“Death to America” has a message we should hear


The first time I heard crowds chanting “Death to America” was when I was a little kid in the 1950s, and Vice President Nixon was touring South America. (Actually, the chant was “Death to Nixon,” but it was close enough.)

Nixon’s 1958 “goodwill tour” resulted in anything but; he was almost killed by enraged crowds that surrounded his car. Oddly enough, the attacks took place in a country with which America today is again in dispute: Venezuela. The incident brought the two countries close to war; the Navy sent “fleet and Marine units to the region,” and while Nixon was uninjured, his reputation, already none too good, was further damaged. For Americans, it was a wakeup call that our country was not universally beloved, as we had been taught in school and supposed it to be.

“Death to America” in more modern times was resuscitated in the Iran Revolution of 1979, when Iranian students sieged the U.S. embassy and took 52 Americans hostage. Thanks to television, we were treated nightly to the sight and sound of thousands of [mainly] young, irate Iranians, chanting their familiar cry: Death to America!, and burning the U.S. flag. The Iranians have basically never stopped since, and, with Trump’s pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on that country, crowds are again mobilizing and chanting.

It’s shocking for Americans to hear foreigners say bad things about us. We tend to think of the U.S. as a benign country, always trying to do the right thing, helping foreigners when calamities strike, defending them against bad guys, and upholding universal values of peace, democracy and progress. Why would they be so ungrateful? Why wouldn’t everybody see us the way see ourselves?

Over the weekend, a new facet of “Death to America” emerged in Iran. Before, its implication had been “death” to ALL Americans: the people, the institutions, the nation itself. Which is why it was so easy for politicians in both parties to rally the American people against Iran. Presidents, Democratic and Republican, portrayed it as an existential threat, although Republicans have typically more bellicose (remember George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”?).

But what’s noteworthy about the weekend’s round of chanting was that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, took the time to explain that it wasn’t America as a whole he wanted death for. “It means death to American leaders, who happen to be these people at this time,” he said, “these people” specifically being Trump, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

This is an important clarification from the Islamic Republic. Khamenei is signaling that his issue is not with America or the American people, but with three individuals who—let’s face it—are as unpopular with the American public as they are in Iran. The loathing of Trump by a majority of Americans is obvious and mounting. Pompeo is relatively unknown to the population beyond his being the current Secretary of State, but knowledgeable people understand that he’s the kind of neocon who led us into the catastrophe of the Iraq War, and a white nationalist who eggs on Trump’s worst instincts. As for Bolton, he’s an utter fool, described by the New York Times as “likely to lead the country into war.”

Well, some say, that’s the “fake news” leftwing New York Times. But even as firm a conservative bastion as the wonks at Foreign Policy magazine call Bolton a “national security threat.” His is a name Americans ought to be more aware of, and afraid of.

America has a long history of meddling in the affairs of other counties. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, sternly warned the American people to steer clear of foreign entanglements, the sole exception being if we were attacked. Referring to “the insidious wiles of foreign influence,” Washington described “foreign influence,” by which he meant political involvement, as “one of the most baneful foes of republican [i.e. small “r”] government”; and in words that ring down through the centuries, he warned his successors: “Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.”

Our first President did not mean that America should wall herself off from the rest of the world and turn isolationist. He valued “commercial relations” with other countries, but “with…as little political connection as possible.” Trade is good; political engagements are bad. “Here let us stop.”

Yet America did not stop. Iran, Argentina, Cuba, Egypt, Guatamala, Congo, Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Brazil, Chile, Grenada, Venezuela, and who knows how many others—all are countries in which the U.S. sponsored coups d’état, or otherwise sought to undermine.

The U.S. is hardly the only major power with a long record of overseas meddling. But no country has outdone America in this respect. Other countries, rightfully, resent us for it. When they say we are trying to impose our values upon them, they have it exactly right. Not all of our cultural values—commercialism, consumerism, anti-intellectualism, disregard for the environment, widespread criminality, horrendous wealth inequality, disrespect for the aged, homophobia, religious interference in government—are admirable. And not all of the values of foreign nations are odious, as American xenophobes tend to claim.

To heed Khomenei’s words is neither to support his regime nor to hate America. It is instead to rein in our meddling in other countries that pose little or no threat to us, and to diagnose our own ills which foreign countries do not wish to import.

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