Missing the smoke-filled room

Delegates opposing Donald Trump disrupted the choreography at the Republican national convention.  They booed, yelled (“shame!”  “roll call vote!”), and walked out after their petition to have the convention vote on freeing the delegates was gaveled down without a roll call vote.

In other news, Donald Trump defied the tradition that the candidate only appears on the last night to receive the nomination, showing up to introduce his wife Melania, who was the main speaker of the night.

After the jump, Jonah Goldberg argues that picking a candidate at an open convention, with pols negotiating in smoke-filled rooms, is a superior way of fielding a strong candidate, as opposed to all of the primary mini-elections, in which even non-party members can often have a say. [Read more…]

Lutherans have a confessional convention

Conservatives/confessionals feel very good about the triennial convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which concluded last week in Milwaukee.  They passed virtually all of their resolutions by big margins, elected virtually all of their candidates, and won some big victories.

The convention voted to ensure that everyone engaged in Word and Sacrament ministry be ordained.  (Lay ministers may still serve in various church functions, but not they may not function as pastors, preaching and administering the sacraments, as many have been doing.  The convention also approved a path for getting lay ministers ordained.)  This lines up the 2.5 million member synod with the Augsburg Confession, Article 14.  For other actions, go here.

After the jump, Aaron Wolf, an editor with Chronicles Magazine, rhapsodizes about the LCMS, of which he is a member, saying that with the convention, “the LCMS officially embraced a conservative ethos.” [Read more…]

The Republican National Convention starts today

The 2016 Republican Convention starts today in Cleveland, Ohio.  It may be a strange one.  Most A-list political speakers are not coming, but we will be getting lots of athletes whom presidential nominee Donald Trump hails as “winners.”  A big number of the delegates who will be voting for Trump nevertheless do not care for him, which might mean the traditional spontaneous demonstrations will lack their normal enthusiasm.  There are worries about protests and violence outside the hall and what NeverTrump delegates inside the hall might do, though the insurgent delegates seem pretty much defeated.  And no one knows what the candidate himself might do or say.  Republican leadership, though, is working hard to put on a good show.

No, I won’t be liveblogging the convention, or even watching much of it, contrary to my usual practice, since I’m on the road this week.  Feel free to comment upon it here. [Read more…]

Three officers killed in Baton Rouge

Three police officers were killed and three were wounded in Baton Rouge, the site of a controversial shooting of a suspect two weeks ago.  Since then, 10 policemen–in Dallas, Michigan, and now Baton Rouge–have been murdered.  For the emotional toll this is taking on the nation’s police officers, see this. [Read more…]

Pro-democracy coup in Turkey fails

Turkey has a tradition of practicing a more moderate type of Islam with a more secular government than other middle eastern states.  Thus, secular is one of the few Islamic countries with a long-standing democracy.  So not all Turks are happy with the government of President Erdogan, who, though democratically elected has become more and more authoritarian and seeks to impose Sharia law.

Last weekend, parts of the military staged a coup attempt, promising a restoration of democracy, human rights, and freedom.  But Erdogan called for the people to go to the streets, and they did.  With the help of police and the Turkish military that did not support the coup, the insurrection was crushed.  Thousands have been arrested.

Erdogan is blaming the coup on a moderate, pro-Western cleric named Fethullah Gulen, who has many followers–dubbed “Gulenists”–in Turkey.  Gulen, who denies involvement, has been living in Pennsylvania since 1999.  Erdogan is demanding that the United States arrest him and extradite him back to Turkey.

In principle, we might wish for a new  non-Islamist government to take over. Then again, Erdogan was democratically elected and is the lawful President of the country.  President Obama denounced the coup attempt and expressed his support for Erdogan, which I guess the world’s governments are obliged to do.  Even though Turkey might be an example of a democracy voting to end democracy. [Read more…]

Trump picks Pence as VP, quells rebellion

Donald Trump picked Indiana governor Mike Pence as his Vice Presidential running-mate.

Pence has been well-regarded by social and religious conservatives.  That reputation was tarnished a bit recently when he first approved of a religious exemption for LGBT laws in his state, but then rescinded it when faced with pressure from corporate interests.  He may have alienated both sides of the debate.

So does Trump’s choice of a conservative, Christian governor and former Congressman make you feel better about supporting him, or might it influence you to do so?

In other news, the effort by anti-Trump Republicans to free delegates to vote their conscience, rather than having to obey the results of their states’ primaries, has failed in the rules committee.  So the way is clear for a Trump coronation in Cleveland, beginning Monday.

Details on both developments after the jump.

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