On elections and political awakenings

I was quite a young man when Ronald Reagan was elected. Yet right away, I knew that we came from a different political place. While no ‘one-issue voter,’ the environment has always been a main concern. Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, said things that made me want to scream. “When the last tree falls,” he was once quoted, “Jesus will come.”

In some ways, nothing much has changed in the Republican Party since then. Religious zealots still influence party leaders. The GOP still cuts taxes and blames government spending for causing the national debt. Conservative warhawks rattle swords and send young men (and now women) to useless wars. Stories are invented and blame is deflected from all these ideological travesties. Reagan claimed surprise at the Iran-Contra scandal. Bush claimed not to know that terrorists were plotting the 9/11 attacks. Then he claimed to know that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Behind the scenes Dick Cheney sent war profiteers to work and profited massively in the process. Then news of torture emerged. As a nation, we behaved no better than Saddam Hussein.

Then the Recession hit and millions lost their jobs. From that wreckage emerged a healing candidate named Barack Obama. He led the nation out of its tanked conditions and set a course of steady economic recovery that continues to this day.

Bitterness and denial

But people bitter about their party’s persistent failures were also in denial about the effects of Republican policies that devastated unions, devalued labor, flattened worker wages and shipped jobs overseas under the capitalist philosophy of globalization. So they cast around for blame and found cause for their anger in an intelligent Black President whom they accused of sowing the seeds of economic, race and class division in the country. It didn’t take much for those same people to transfer that hatred to a woman possessed of a similar intellect to Obama, and who spoke plainly about the “deplorables” more eager to make trouble than to make peace and work toward a better America.

These disgruntled Americans found their hero in a troublemaker named Donald Trump, whom they praised for his “honesty” about the state of the country and embraced the euphemistic slogan “Make America Great Again” because it conveniently covered up the greedy notion that the nation would be improved by turning back efforts to grant civil rights and economic parity. Instead, MAGA masked the selfish notion that diversity is the enemy of all prosperity.

These are the people that voted for Donald Trump. They may have had varied reasons; desire for tax breaks, banning abortion, contracting in a fit of xenophobia, or replacing the Constitution with conservative Christian beliefs, but all became one with the cultish opportunity to vote into a power the man promising to give them each what they wanted.

To some extent, that is what happened. Massive tax breaks were passed. But the result was that the nation tumbled into greater debt and a bulging national deficit. That doesn’t make America great again. Then Trump struck a trade war with China whose effects required billions in farm subsidies to bribe farmers into accepting the market losses incurred as a result. Guess who paid for that? American taxpayers.

Everything the Trump administration did, it seemed, produced a net-loss or required a quid pro quo that too closely resembled his bankrupt behavior in personal life. Then news broke that Trump University was nailed for fraud and forced to pay a $25M settlement to those bilked by the fake school. Then the Trump Foundation got caught doing illegal stuff as well. It was also forced to close down with a warning that no one involved could engage in non-profit activity again.

Avoiding facts at all costs

Trump’s defenders, including the Republican Party, whose platform Trump absorbed like orange face paint, were increasingly forced to go outside the realm of fact to find ways to defend their corrupt leader. Even the seemingly righteous on the Right Wing so often collapse under the falsehood of their virtues, it is no longer a joke to brand all of them a tragedy waiting to happen. Such was the case with Jerry Falwell, Jr., now Rudy Giuliani, and a long line of Fox News sexual harassers whose highbrowed social and political criticism was proven farcical when the truth came out about their immorality and corruption. They’re all phonies in the end.

How do Right-wing defenders deal with the hypocrisy? They deny it is real.

When Trump was impeached for engaging in corrupt behavior in trying to coerce Ukraine into doing his political bidding in favor of his campaign, his supporters conveniently called it “Fake News.” Then the Senate broke its oath to the American people by refusing to conduct a legitimate inquiry by calling witnesses associated with the high crimes and misdemeanors Trump committed. Trump then doubled down in his corrupt instincts with even more disturbing behavior by granting favors to other world leaders, especially where his personal business interests lie. Donald Trump is the most corrupt politician to ever hold office in America. Anywhere. No one comes close.

Hoping for change

Rational Americans have awaited a political awakening when it comes to Trump’s entire lack of character on these and other issues. His verbal and social media support for white supremacists, violent militias and police who commit acts of brutality, even murder, are all signs that his fascist instincts lie just beneath his fake tan and vainglorious hairdo.

This all goes back to the Republican belief that began with Ronald Reagan’s unwitting tolerance for men and women who believe that the “ends justifies the means.” It is ironic indeed that the GOP and Trump should be questioning Joe Biden’s mental fitness when Reagan proved daft and fecklessly blind to the corruption taking place under his watch.

I saw it all for what it was way back when I was in my twenties experiencing my first political awakening. I’ve listened carefully over the years for signs that principled people were at work within the Republican Party. Those people have all been silenced, chased away or forced to act with complicit devotion to a narcissist brute with zero morals and even less character.

They call him a hero. A Savior. Some even insist that he’s a Messenger of God.

If any of those things were true, Trump has done nothing to earn them. In fact, his denial of the Covid-19 threat has produced 20% of all the world’s deaths from the disease even though the United States of America represents 3% of the world’s population. He’s not a Savior. He’s a failure.

The same goes for virtually everything thing advocated by the GOP for the last forty years. What single policy can anyone point to that improved the lives of everyday Americans? The Bush tax cuts were a pittance for middle class and poor Americans. So were the Trump tax cuts. These policies were lies designed to bribe people into supporting a policy with just two priorities: retaining and granting the rich even more money.

Tomorrow is another election. The GOP is doing everything it can to ignore its ugly, corrupt past and horridly compromised present in order to win the day. This is not America’s finest hour. I’ve been railing at Republicans ever since the dawn of my political awareness. My successes on that front are admittedly local in nature, but we do what we can.

Let’s hope this election is not America’s last faint cry for survival as a democracy, a republic, or a nation. Because that’s what’s at stake this time around. If Trump wins, the best we can hope for is a Senate and House takeover so that the man writhes in frustration until he withers and dies while Tweeting on his golden toilet bowl.

The crazies have put their man on the moon and want to keep him there

 

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One of the interesting things about being a content creator in the marketing world, as I am, is the things you learn from translating often complex concepts into communications people can understand.

A few years back I wrote a series of whitepapers for a company that handles requisitions and distribution of healthcare supplies for hospitals across the Midwest. They often step in as a third party partner to take the burden of managing those logistics off the back of the hospital so that administrators can focus on the actual healthcare side of things.

Pandemic pressures

We’re all learning the importance of these services as the Covid-19 pandemic continues its spread across the United States of America. The federal government, state governments, and local authorities all got involved procuring and distributing healthcare supplies to healthcare companies in desperate need of them.

One wonders if the company for which I wrote that content has seen an increase in demand for their services, or if they’ve been cut out of the deal entirely We’ve witnessed fights at the highest levels of government over whose responsibility it is to manage the process of manufacturing, ordering and distributing supplies critical to the treatment of Covid-19 and protection of all the people working in the healthcare world.

Where does a third-party system fit in all that craziness?

Making connections

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When healthcare becomes a political topic, we seldom seem to make connections about the systems necessary to make a “good healthcare system.” It’s all about ideology instead. Some decry the idea of a “socialized” or national healthcare system in favor of the profit-driven model we have now. But when systems quickly break down and supplies are in short demand as they obviously are during this pandemic, it makes you wonder if pride in the quality of our healthcare system is not somehow misplaced.

In testimony before a national committee assessing our government’s response to this pandemic, Rick Bright, the recently ousted vaccine official, stated that grave danger exists because the United States is not prepared or responding well to the challenges caused by this virus. “The world is confronting a great public health emergency which has the potential to eclipse the devastation wrought by the 1918 influenza which globally claimed over 50 million lives,” he said. He proceeded to advocate for a coordinated national response, as opposed to President Trump’s choice to that burden onto state and local authorities. Trump has crazily bounced back and forth between the two, claiming one moment to own all authority while at the same time blaming state governors for their poor handling of the supply and demand of PPE and other needs.

Emergency rooms

As I write this I’m sitting in an emergency room tending to the needs of a person close to me. I’ve been in dozens if not hundreds of waiting rooms like this over the years while serving as a caregiver to family members and friends in need of support. I have close friends who work in the healthcare systems of this country. Some are administrators while others serve as doctors, nurses, and many other specialties. I also have friends who work in healthcare communications and public relations. All of these people are great at what they do.

But I’m not so sure our overall healthcare system is great at what it does. And when a national crisis like this strikes, we lack a legitimate collaborative mechanism to coordinate efforts in the face of genuine threats. This essentially qualifies as a coarse example of willfully broken trust on behalf of an ideology that stipulates, at many levels, that healthcare concerns are a question of individual responsibility and a system based on the Ayn Rand mantra of “every man for himself.” In many ways, that amounts to an approach in which women are cut out of the equation of making decisions about their own healthcare needs.

Patient advocacy

That doesn’t even account for people with healthcare issues at hand. I’ve witnessed firsthand what it means to advocate for a patient with what the health insurance industry categorizes as a “pre-existing condition.” It was painful and often dehumanizing to realize that the person you love is considered a liability by everyone you encounter. From the employer offering the insurance to the companies issuing it, that pre-existing condition caused people to shuffle us around like checkers on board.

I’ve also seen medical mistakes up close, such as the time a batch of chemotherapy was wrongly applied by a nurse and leached out through a hole in the abdomen to leave a chemical burn on her stomach. We probably could have sued over that incident, but we were so grateful to be getting treatment at all that the idea of rocking the boat was not an option. Plus we didn’t believe in that course of action. Our doctors and nurses were responsible people. Mistakes can happen.

Perfection is not what medicine is all about. Likewise, no healthcare system will ever be perfect. Yet there’s a new awareness of how medicine is supposed to work in this world, and what it means when it doesn’t. We’ve also become aware that denying that a problem or a pandemic threat exists does not solve anything. It makes things worse. Delays response. Causes panic and fear. Costs lives.

Yet somehow, quite crazily, many people seem to prefer denial over credible response.

Billing games

Perhaps it’s time we took more pride in what healthcare is supposed to do rather than what it costs to do it. All the exorbitant billing games played by healthcare providers, administrators, and insurance companies are wasting billions on what amounts to a massive blame game in which everyone battles over the proceeds from the price of a procedure while no one wants to admit what it legitimately should cost. I say it’s time to take healthcare insurance administration out of the hands of the companies forced to administrate it. The corporations and non-profits of this world don’t need that hassle. It confuses their mission and causes nothing but headaches for all involved. That’s why a public option is the best thing that could ever happen to the world of business, especially small businesses where keeping employees insured is a massive burden.

Medical insurance is itself a crazy proposition. I’ve seen medical bills for a chemo treatment sporting a tab of $44,000. Later I learned that its true cost was a fraction of that. The provider and insurers haggle over that big bill and eventually settle on some sort of money exchange. How is that a remotely intelligent way for healthcare to be administrated? It is not. The healthcare industry knows this. But competitive factors keep everyone locked into a profit-making model dependent on actuarial systems designed to limit treatment. That’s the pre-existing condition of the healthcare industry as a whole.

Risks and rewards

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I know doctors that hate the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare because they perceive it as an administrative burden and a potential limit on their profits for their profession. Physicians take on a ton of risk between the costs of their education, the insurance for their practice, and the fixed operating costs of running their business. And because it is a business, they are not fond of regulations impacting all these factors that affect their specific situations.

So we should respect those concerns and reduce those burdens through an intelligently designed cooperative between government and free-market healthcare providers. We already have successful models for public/private partnerships in facilities such as Argonne National Laboratory where real science takes place and is available for use by businesses that can use that research in commercial and other applications. This is America, people. We can make these things happen.

Stubborn claims

But it’s the stubborn claim that government is a bad thing that has damaged public trust over the last forty years. Remember when our country had actual pride in the fact that we were the first nation to put human beings on the moon? Now the public dialogue seems to be dominated by a brand of people who insist that it never happened, or that the earth is flat, and that the theory of evolution is the scourge of humankind. Their distrust of government aligns with a distrust of science founded in the radical notion that both are trying to pull the wool over their eyes. We’ve witnessed that radical worldview in calls to “Fire Fauci” and the actions of armed protestors storming the capitol in Michigan to demand concessions from that state’s governor.

These outcomes are all products of conspiracy theories invented to grant ownership of reality to distrusting souls eager to defy and deny reality. The fact remains that the administration of government, medicine, and science all take hard work to do. The entire premise of Make America Great Again was the solutions were simple. Yet Trump himself has had to repeatedly admit, “Who knew healthcare could be so complicated?”

It takes commitment and costs money to do healthcare, science, and government right. It is astounding to realize how quickly Republicans reacted with major stimulus funding when they realized how badly Trump and their entire party had botched response to this pandemic. Of course, their instincts are always to throw money at the people who need it least. That’s why every Republican President since Eisenhower has presided over recessions, sometimes multiple in number under one administration.

The needle and the damage done

Orange Donald too

Meanwhile, the Democrats want to grant assistance to millions of people cast out of work by the effects of a pandemic made far worse by the delay caused by Donald Trump’s feckless denial there was ever a problem in the first place. The press has needled Trump over his many contradictions on the subject, and Trump has responded by claiming he “knew all along” that the pandemic was going to be bad. Yet that’s an even worse admission of guilt. If he knew, why did he not act rather than claiming it would all disappear “like a miracle?” That belief system sits well with people who saw Trump as a Magic Man in the first place.

But this dumbing down of our country to satisfy the conspiratorial urges of a willfully disenfranchised and selfish populace needs to stop. Now. We all know where that starts. Some just refuse to admit it. They’ve put their own man on the moon and want to keep him there because he talks about hoaxes and gives credence to alternative views of reality. But the evidence of this folly is the pain we’re seeing from the crippled concept of supply and demand in the healthcare industry today.

The right kind of pride has everything to do with conscience and credibility and nothing to do with crazy claims of conspiracy.

 

 

 

MAGA deserves a closer look

None of us sees behind the veil of what Trump truly values. I have spoken with people that gained an audience with the man, and his personal interactions with them were both kind and considerate. That suggests there is something more to Trump than his public persona and political style. Perhaps his supporters sense this aspect of their president. So it demands a closer look at what drives the popularity of Make America Great Again.

Trump Maga Hat

His brand of brightly-hued optimism appeals to millions of Americans eager for some sort of renewal in this country. These also tend to be people aggravated by the complexity of life as it has evolved in the American republic. Trump’s slogan Make America Great Again proposes to eliminate the complexity of life by reducing the American experiment to simple actions; cutting taxes, ending illegal immigration, stopping abortion, eliminating financial and environmental regulation and putting religion at the forefront of national policy. Does that cover pretty much of what MAGA fans want to see happen?

The Trump mantra really isn’t more complicated than that. His simplicity is his message. One could just as easily change the Trump slogan to Make Aggravation Go Away and achieve the same objectives. A big chunk of the American electorate craves simplicity. They’re sick of having to think about complex issues such as the lives of transgender people. They’re tired of hearing Spanish rather than English spoken in public places. They’re believers in old-school industries such as coal and oil because they harken to a time before the complexities of air pollution, acid rain, and climate change challenged the status quo. There must be a simpler way. Trump appeals to that manner of thinking.

But first, let’s make the aggravations go away.

MAGA redefined

Make Aggravation Go Away is a powerful message also to people whose vision of America does not require accommodation of any sort. That means Christians should not have to think about Muslim traditions or put up with people saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. That cultural issue alone has aggravated Christians for a decade or so, coaxed on by Fox News chryons pitching the “War On Christmas.”

Make Aggravation Go Away has roots stretching way back to the Confederate cause in which states’ rights were the big issue, but mostly that was a cloak for the right to keep slaves. Indeed, that was the cause of ‘liberty’ back then. Liberty for white Christians quoting scripture to justify selfish aims while treating people of other races as property. It’s hard to read that sentence and grasp that people once truly believed that. Yet that’s what America most needs to do. Come to grips with its own conflicted traditions.

The Civil War was fought over that aggravation. There are still some Americans that wave the Confederate flag as a sign that their aggrieved state has never been recognized.

Protestors

Tracing these historical grievances from the past to present helps to explain why protestors are now gathering to “liberate” their states from Stay At Home orders issued by their governors. Responding to the pandemic has been an aggravation, which is defined as “an intensification of a negative quality or aspect.” The threat of disease is never a joyful situation. Being encouraged or required to retreat from public life is another layer of aggravation. Those orders are being treated as an infringement on personal rights by protestors who want to Make Aggravation Go Away.

Not that simple

The problem with that belief system is that life isn’t always that simple. Trump’s eagerness to prevent any outside influence from impinging on his prized economy is what directly led to the infection rate getting a head start on the nation’s ability to respond. By trying to simplify the Coronavirus threat to a sound bite and a promise that it would “go away, like magic,” Trump put millions of people’s lives at risk, and tens of thousands have indeed died.

Trump Denial

And yet his supporters still seek to simplify the complexities of Covid-19 with even more disturbing sound bites. So desperate are some supporters to protect Trump they have projected blame for the pandemic away from Trump to a more convenient and horrifically simplied target for their ire, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Fire Fauci meme swept across the Internet with all the resonance and credulity of the Lock Her Up chants aimed at Hillary Clinton. Again, it’s all about Making Aggravation Go Away. Fauci is an aggravation because he’s a medical professional speaking in terms of science, that complex source of often bad news that stands in direct opposition to Trump’s vacuous brand of gut-instinct optimism.

fire fauci

That’s the kind analysis. A more honest approach would be to say that Trump acted stupidly by ignoring clear warnings that a pandemic was brewing overseas and that it would not be confined to arrival just from China. Fauci accurately predicted it would arrive through other channels, yet Trump desperately tried to simplify the threat by calling it the Chinese Virus. That was a clear attempt to politicize the problem with a nationalistic, effectively racist approach to directing blame away from himself. Trump aggressively failed the leadership test of recognizing a genuine threat to our national interests. That is how he approaches every problem he faces. He fails, then bails, and finally assails. It’s all about blaming others. That’s the simplest way to avoid responsibility. But to Trump, it is an art form.

As a result of Trump’s recklessness, our national interests are now bogged in a swamp of economic doldrums wrought by the need to shut down our service economy to prevent rampant spread of the Coronavirus. That requirement has cost millions of jobs and Americans are suffering, big time. The Trump response has been cynical at best. At one point he proudly promised to send Americans what he called a “big, fat check” amounting to about $1200 for most households. And then, Trump held up the distribution of those checks to make sure his name appeared on them.

Big money goes elsewhere

Meanwhile, billions have been snarfed up big money interests all too eager to accept the graft intended for “small business.” That includes Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, whose company gladly embraced more than $800M from the stimulus program. At what point did nepotism become a complete non-issue in this country? How ironic it is that Republicans love to point fingers at the supposed graft of Hunter Biden overseas while Trump’s children blatantly leverage their proximity to the seat of power to pad their present and future interests with promises of profit?

In advance of that flush money going out, Trump promised oversight of the stimulus package to Democrats, then snatched it away after the bill was passed. Of course, his supporters love him for things like that, because it’s just another example of Making Aggravation Go Away.

After all, it was Democrats in Congress that sought to hold Trump accountable for his criminality in seeking to coerce Ukraine into announcing an investigation into his now-confirmed political rival, Joe Biden. The goal of Trump’s digging around in Ukraine was to cast aspersions on Vice President Joe Biden by framing his son Hunter as a symbol of supposed corruption on the part of that family. Those accusations were why Trump’s so-called ‘personal attorney’ Rudy Giuliani spent months mucking around in Ukraine only to turn up nothing substantial. Granted, Hunter Biden does not sound like a prize pupil when it comes to judicious use of family influence or reputation. At one point, neither George W. Bush or John F. Kennedy were paradigms of personal virtue. Even Trump could be forgiven his past transgressions if he weren’t so ardently bent on creating new ones.

Impeachment doesn’t stick

Congress ultimately impeached Trump inaccordance with massive lines of evidence pointing back to Trump’s “perfect” phone call as perfectly corrupt. But the Republican-led Senate made the aggravation go away by refusing to conduct anything approaching an actual trial with testimony and witnesses. Instead, they simply broke the oath to do that and acquitted Trump even while several in the Senate admitted that Trump had done wrong. Once that aggravation was gone, along with the Mueller Report, Trump proceeded on his merry way of mocking his critics and calling everything with which he disagrees Fake News. That’s another tactic for making aggravations go away. Call them fake, or a hoax, and Trump supporters gobble it up like candy.

We don’t even know if Trumpism will allow his removal during a normal election if such a thing exists anymore. By many reports, the Russians are still playing games in the hinterlands of the Internet, posing as Americans and creating fake news sites to pump out pro-Trump and anti-Biden propaganda to divide Americans even further.

Low information 

But it’s not the Russians that are the real problem. It is the Make Aggravation Go Away attitudes of everyday Americans caught up in the authoritarian, nearly fascist call to defeat all those who aggravate the president in any way. This worldview is further fueled by a religious culture that for decades has attacked all that contradicts its scriptural orthodoxy. As a result nearly 40% of Americans embrace the literalistic, anti-science worldview of creationism that reduces the origins of all nature and humanity to the level of a childhood bedtime story. This is the brand of low information that has turned America into a backwater swamp of anti-intellectual populism.

No wonder so many Americans want to Fire Fauci, a medical professional who embraces actual germ theory and the evolutionary insights upon which it depends. And no wonder so many Americans want to “liberate” their state from medical strictures designed to prevent the spread of a quickly evolving virus.

In fact, Coronavirus symbolizes all the complexities that Trump supporters and their evangelical partners love to hate. In many ways, it is the aggravation to end all aggravations, a perfectly unseen enemy that propagates itself through invisible droplets and forces us to wear masks. It looks and feels like the ultimate liberal conspiracy. And if you can’t shoot it with a gun or crush it like a beer can, it surely must be some sort of Democrat conspiracy to block the ideal world Trump wants to lead us to.

Just Make Aggravation Go Away. That is the dog-whistle call of those protestors toting guns, waving both Confederate and American flags and revealing the swastika instincts of depicting The Other as the ultimate irritation in life. That’s how Hitler convinced so many that the Jews were the aggravation vexing the nation. But that brand of thinking can be applied to any other label and it still works. Immigrants. Gays. Liberals. Muslims. Tree-Huggers. Mexicans. Blacks. Indians. The list goes on forever if you let it. A nation built around eliminating aggravations is not a nation, but something else entirely.

It is evil.

 

It’s the horrified versus the whoreified in America

Kav.jpegMuch of America has been rightly horrified on hearing tales of how Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh likely conducted himself in the presence of women during his high school and college years. If testimony by Christine Blasey Ford holds true, and there is no real reason to doubt her, Kavanaugh once tried to rape her in the presence of a friend. Both of them were laughing at the time.

Being horrified at hearing tales of rape is a normal response among people with a conscience. But conscience is always a work in progress. It does not reside within human character as a fixed and permanent attribute. People have been known to trade their conscience for any number of reasons. Some do it for money. Others do it for power. Even more do it for reasons of politics, better known as the populists’ fear of losing.

It now appears, as illustrated by seemingly mindless support for Brett Kavanaugh in the face of damning testimony, that many people of supposed principle and conscience have given up on the concept entirely. In a Chicago Tribune article titled “Some women feel for the accuser, but judge the judicial pick favorably,” the subtitle reads, “Empathy expressed for Ford, but they say timing sinister.”

The article relates, “To Hannah King, a college senior from Bristol, Tennessee, Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of a drunken attack by Kavanaugh at a 1982 party, when both were in high school were jarring and scary. But while King expressed empathy for Ford, she also said she his concerned about the timing of Ford’s allegations, which surfaced publicly only after Kavanaugh––already a federal judge––was nominated to the Supreme Court.”

“A lot of times,”” King was quoted in the article, “you cope by suppressing and forgetting. But someone’s promotion isn’t something that should prompt someone to come forward.”

christine-blasey-ford-is-sworn-in-before-testifying-the-news-photo-1041671136-1538060790.jpgOh really? The past behavior and character of a judge nominated to the highest court in the land should not be subject to a higher level of scrutiny?

Well, how is it not important that a man who allegedly attempted to rape a woman might be conferred with the responsibility of objectively assessing the rights of millions of women in America?

We live in a republic, or so it would seem. But Republicans seem to have taken the view that the goal is to achieve an empire, with the GOP as rulers for life. How has that worked out in history? And why do Republicans think that a one-party rule is the ultimate purveyor of justice?

Sometimes we must turn to art to reveal the folly of the realities we confront.

Maximus versus Commodus

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In the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe as a former Roman general (Maximus) forced into service as gladiator and Joaquin Phoenix as the corrupt Roman emperor (Commodus) the two finally confront each other in the center of the colosseum arena. And the emperor, seeking a fight on the spot in which the odds were entirely in his favor with Roman guards standing watch over the confrontation, goads Crowe with words designed to intimidate and build hate:

Commodus: What am I going to do with you? You simply won’t… die. Are we so different, you and I? You take life when you have to… as I do.

Maximus: I have only one more life to take. Then it is done.

Commodus: Then take it now.

[Maximus pauses, then turns around and walks away]

Commodus: They tell me your son…

[Maximus stops]

Commodus: …squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife… moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again and again… and again.

Maximus: The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.

[Bows head]

Maximus: Highness.

This exchange perfectly captures the scenario in which America finds itself. For in President Donald Trump we find ourselves under the power of an obviously (even professedly) corrupt man with the power of an empire at his disposal. In all respects and exchanges he seeks to goad and intimidate even the honorable among us.

Now we find out that one of his potential prize charges, the supposedly honorable Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is likely an attempted rapist whose attendance at parties where gang rapes took place is also well-documented. Similar accusations and admitted allegations of infidelity have been leveled at Trump. So it fits that his Supreme Court nominee, whose character Trump has loudly defended, should share a similarly dark history.

The Rape of America

The Republican-led Congress is the pimp above all this whorish activity. The fact that all of them, to a man, took a seat behind a woman assigned to question Ford about her allegations is a sure illustration of their pimping style. All that was missing were the big fur coats and dark shades. But aging white men can’t pull off the look of true street pimps, so they huddled like cuckolded spouses until they trot out their judicial gigolo Kavanaugh and aim softball questions his way.

We’re witnessing the Rape of American virtues in real time. And still there are women who seek to abet the crime of conscience in installing a Supreme Court judge with a well-demonstrated propensity for anger that could easily spill into sexual aggression.

The sick part is that Kavanaugh views himself as the noble Maximus character in the version of the Gladiator movie now playing out in America. In truth he is far more like the Commodus character, a cynically-driven man who publicly claims character assassination because he’s being questioned about his own privileged past. Kavanaugh is Commodus in a suit and tie.

Emperors and whores

melania-trump-donald-trump-020380f2-6db7-4202-b16c-b737c623c9e2Apparently this brand of aggressive dominance is an admired personality trait in some Republican circles. “I am digging my heels in, and I’m hoping that a lot of conservatives are determined to vote Republican,” said Sarah Round, age 69, whose defense of Kavanaugh was quoted in the Chicago Tribune article. Her dismissivetake on Kavanaugh’s accuser sounds more like the whisperings of a loyal courtier than a member of the sisterhood of women. “Possibly something happened to her,” Round said of Blasey Ford. “But I think she embellished what happened, or she would have gone to some authority or said something about it years ago.”

This statement denies the well-documented pattern among millions of women who fear reporting sexual crimes because of the shame and danger is produces in their lives. Thus the statement constitutes the shallow response of a person that has not done any research into the impact of alleged or actual rape. And to Round’s supposed point, in 2012 Blasey Ford did indeed report the trauma she felt to a professional, confiding to a therapist about the ongoing trauma of the incident in her life. Her concerns were not politically motivated.

But this doesn’t appear to matter to people determined to “dig in their heels” and vote Republican no matter what incorrigible conduct that party engages in. The GOP has only grudgingly agreed to pursue the truth on Judge Kavanaugh. It may still be trying to confine the activities of the FBI in pursuing that truth. They have behaved in this political battle like whores jealous over serving the needs of a well-connected john.

Whoring out

When people give up their conscience it also knowing as “whoring out,” better defined as: To prostitutetake advantage ofexploitshow off; to hire out or provide to others like a whore; to pimp, swap one’s sex partner.”

Of course Republicans are calling the Democrats all kinds of names for holding up the Kavanaugh nomination. They blame a Democratic Senator for not introducing the information about Kavanaugh’s past sooner. But that would not have changed any of the facts in the case. The only time pressure is that perceived by a Republican Party that fears it will lose its majority come November. The reason for that fear? The GOP has also whored itself out to Donald Trump, the King Pimp of them all.

Thus it appears the Kavanaugh case has illustrated the sharp divide between those willing to sell their soul to protect this Supreme Court nominee and those who want to know the whole truth about the potential horrors he might have imposed on women over the years. This is a case of the whoreified against the horrified. And now it’s up to the FBI to determine if the opinions of those whoring themselves out for Kavanaugh are indeed “on the money.”

In the case of Brett Kavanaugh versus the Women of America, my money’s on the horrified over the whoreified.

From deplorable to despicable in America

hillary-clintonDuring the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Hillary Clinton famously stepped in a pile of media crap by branding Trump supporters “deplorables” as a critique of a populist agenda that seemed steeped in dog-whistle racism, anachronistic calls for a return to an America that no longer exists, and the dismissal of rampant verbal abuse and lies issued by her opposition Donald Trump.

Clinton was depicted as an elitist for making the “deplorables” comment. Conservative pundits rushed to point out that Clinton exhibited disdain for the “flyover” segments of the American population that had supposedly been ignored by the outgoing President Barack Obama.

That was a convenient skipping stone approach to moving the dialogue away from the fact that Obama was responsible for saving America’s collective ass following the economic meltdown wrought by Bush, Cheney and the Republican-led Congress, Senate and Supreme Court. The GOP “had it all” in the late stages of the Bush empire and it turned into a mess of trickle-down madness and evisceration of the economy for everyday Americans. Millions lost their jobs, their savings and their incomes following Republican rule.

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy, Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

It wasn’t possible to draw the economy out of the mire in a New York minute. It took stimulus money and a reorganization of the auto industry, to name just two major initiatives taken on by Obama, to put the economy back on track. By the time Obama left office, the steady economy growth was well-established and people were getting back to work in droves.

But that narrative was inconvenient to the Republican desire to work itself back into power. So the excuse to turn Clinton into a political enemy of “the people,” and by proxy, to dismiss the rescue operation Obama performed for the nation as a whole, was simply too good to resist.

Trump leapt on every opportunity to leverage that brand of disgraceful and dishonest political banner. When Clinton labeled certain actions of the Republican base “deplorable,” she was spot on about the racism waiting to explode from the ranks of the Make America Great Again. Trump proved that accusation correct when he dismissed the openly racist actions of his post-election supporters in Charlottesville by claiming there are good people on “both sides.”

Trump-golf-seatedThe Charlottesville dustup was clear and incontrovertible evidence of a deplorable strain of throwback populism that was taking over the narrative in a Reality Show America. Trump tossed these deplorables plenty of red meat in his insults toward Mexicans and his barely cloistered calls for violence within and outside his own rallies.

Trump’s behavior from the get-go has not been just deplorable, it has been despicable, defined as “deserving hatred and contempt.”

Hate at arm’s length

People can claim all they want that hatred should not enter the equation, so we must all work to keep it at arm’s length by relying on the word “despicable” to describe the tenure of Trump and loyalty among his supporters despite the massively disingenuous manner in which The Donald has applied Reality Show principles in mocking his opponents to win the election while secretly making hush money payments to silence porn stars and Playboy playmates whose affairs with Trump, if they had been exposed during the campaign, might actually have proven too much for the evangelical bloc to swallow.

Collusion has many meanings

But probably not. The most despicable act of all is to engage in hypocrisy so bold and in such defiance of supposedly moral principles that one just tosses aside the foundations of one’s beliefs in order to cozy up to power. That is what millions of white Christian evangelicals did to excuse the grievous nature of Donald Trump to vote him into office. The hypocrisy of their support is so grossly beyond reason that it qualifies as absolutely despicable by nature.

Now that Trump’s long-held devotion to corruption to gain power is being firmly exposed through his association with the likes of the convicted Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, and his haplessly entrapped personal lawyer Michael Cohn, who has now implicated Trump for campaign finance violations, the criminal character of our sitting President has now been confirmed. He has colluded with people doing criminal acts and with associates sporting criminal histories (now proven) to gain power.

All the indictments of staff beyond these two principle players are proof that Trump surrounds himself with “the best people” only so far as they reflect and echo the corrupt and violently misguided instincts of their despicable leader.

Lock him up

melania-trump-donald-trump-020380f2-6db7-4202-b16c-b737c623c9e2Trump deserves not only to be impeached, but to go to jail for the federal crimes he committed, and the lies and treasonous deceptions he has committed against the American people. Trump is the real life Despicable Me that America elected in a fit of cartoon reality. The nation probably deserves what it got. The entire loss of principle behind his election demonstrated the fact that America is perhaps the most conflicted and compromised nation on God’s earth.

Only we should probably leave the God part out of that last sentence. Its a long road back from despicable to respectable when you’re dealing with such things.

The final answer to conservative problems is Donald Trump

Monarch scales

Ever since 1998, when I wrote an essay titled How the Earth Was Forgotten Since Creation, I’ve been conducting a personal campaign against less-than-compassionate conservatism and how it damages the world of politics, religion and the environment.

That initial essay about the effects of biblical literalism on environmental policies was expanded into a book that took seven years to research and write. I never thought it would take that long, but it did. When it was finished, I titled it “The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age.”

The book expanded in scale to cover politics as well as religion, focusing on how authoritarian minds in both sectors of human activity collaborate (for better or worse) on civil rights, science and cultural issues.

To analyze these processes, I deconstructed the manner in which people arrive at their worldviews, and why. Predictably, people who support biblical literalism also tend to align with conservatives who interpret the United States Constitution the same way, through originalism. And that is what has taken place over the course of thirty years.

Simple minds

It’s that simple, which is why it is also so common and dangerous to find authoritarians of both political and religious persuasions lining up to do battle with their perceived common enemies. That would be anyone who dares interpret the bible or Constitution any other way than a generally literal or original form of understanding. This has its limits, as we shall see.

IMG_3180Because there’s are major problems with all this literalism and originalism. Both sources of thought ignore the fact that our material and cultural understanding of the world has advanced incredibly since the Bible was written down and codified. And since the United States Constitution was written, slavery has been banned, and women were actually given the right to vote. But it nearly 200 years to accomplish these things because people clung to the letter of the law on both fronts. That is not just sad, it is immoral.

And there still seem to be some people who claim to like things the old-fashioned way. They do not give up easily on the notion that things were somehow better in the Good Old Days. In fact, they will fight to the death in some cases to prove their martyrlike devotion to literalism and originalism.

Conservatism

It’s all a product of what we colloquially call conservatism, which is defined as “adhering to original standards and traditions.” But the problem with old-line conservatism is that it often clings to traditions that deliver advantage to one sector of society while excluding another. This was certainly the case with slavery and this imbalanced dynamic has persisted to this day through discrimination and persecution of black people and other minorities in America. The same certainly holds true for attitudes toward women, on whom conservative men project patriarchal standards of behavior.

These beliefs often conveniently stem from anachronistic habits of mind taken literally from the Bible. For example, the idea that a man is inherently superior to a woman can be drawn from the idea that Eve was supposedly formed second in order, and from the rib of a man. It sounds so stupid when you say it out loud, yet some people insist this is the natural order of things.

This is what I wrote about the dangers of anachronism in my book The Genesis Fix:

This perspective is known as anachronism, defined as “(one) from a former age that is incongruous in the present.” Anachronistic beliefs are based on a refusal to accept or comprehend change. It is inevitable that anachronism begets asceticism, defined as “a life of strict self-denial, especially for religious purposes.” Both anachronism and asceticism depend on the idea that all worthwhile wisdom comes to us from the past. This attitude may serve the purpose of encouraging reverence for the wisdom of the ages but fails as a device to reconcile faith with knowledge in the modern age.

It’s all storytelling pap run amok, yet arch conservatives tend want to own the religious and cultural narrative so badly they can become obsessed with this rigid form of doctrine. This is also convenient, for it imbues them with a supposed authority over all other elements of society. This became an actual movement in American, when 40 years ago, thanks to the efforts of men like Jerry Falwell, groups of Americans decided that a rigid form of conservatism needed to be imposed on American culture. This movement ultimately attracted other authoritarian thinkers from the political, social and fiscal realms, and came to be known collectively as neo-conservatism, an oxymoron if there ever was one. It is also ironically known as “neo-liberalism.”

Chronology of neoconservatism

Back when I started writing my book The Genesis Fix in 2000, the Republican Party had just finished grabbing the Presidency through the workings of a cooperative Supreme Court. From watching the actions of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush the First, I had become highly suspicious of the behind-the-scenes workings of the GOP. I knew too well how the double-speak of arch conservatism worked on the environmental front. I’d seen how some political organizations and companies used “greenwashing” to cynically make themselves seem like environmental advocates. The same practice of grabbing a positive narrative to hide ulterior motives of greed or despoilation spread into politics as well. This was combined with a winner-take-all approach that led to what is called “scorched earth politics.” That is no coincidence of terminology.

But I sensed an entirely new level of hypocrisy in the actions and words of the people embracing neo-conservatism on many issues. Their Holier Than Thou actions and words resembled those of the Chief Priests who maligned Jesus in his day. And that raised real alarm bells in my head. We all now how that turned out, with the good of the world turned “inside out” in favor of political power and control.

Unleashed

And once Bush II took power with his claims that God was telling him to be President, the neoconservative ideology was unleashed in all new ways. At that point, suspicions about neoconservatism were confirmed and it had one thing in mind: wiping out the political opponents to install a long term reign.

But then came the negligence on the terrorist watch with the tragedy of 9/11 despite warnings issued well in advance. But by the time America had come to grips with the fact that we’d been attacked, the Bush administration was already floating the notion that we needed to attack Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the events on 9/11. That’s when it struck me that all the predictions I’d made in my book The Genesis Fix were about to come true. These were delusional, radically motivated people in charge.

Eight years of hell

The radical actions of neoconservatism continued throughout the eight years Bush held office. We even heard tales that some Zionists wanted Bush to take over the Middle East and bring on Armageddon. In some respects, we succeeded in bringing on a Holy War by attacking Iraq when that country had nothing to do with the foreseen attacks committed on American soil on 9/11.

Then Bush and his conservative cronies in the financial sector ran the economy into the ground as well. No one would admit it on the conservative side of the equation, but it looked like God really had it in for the Good Old USA.

That didn’t stop arch-conservatives like Pat Robertson from blaming natural disasters on the fact that gays were still allowed to live in the United States. The radicalization of conservatism has many such prophets. Most of them had Big Money and maintained little contact or concern for how the Middle Class and the Real People got by in America. When the economy crashed and millions of middle managers were cast aside in the fray and unable to find work, some in the corporate world responded by saying that they would not hire anyone that had been out of work for more than six months. This was evidence of the “I’ve got mine” brand of independence lacking in both compassion and understanding of how the nation’s economy works in the first place.

In fact, neo-conservatism has engaged in something of a war on the middle class as a rule, busting up unions and suppressing the minimum wage at every turn. It’s no surprise that this faction of society should go looking for a hero to Make America Great Again on promise of restored jobs and hope of a future. But there’s a cognitive dissonance at work in the thought that the people whose policies led to the economic crisis in the first place would be the ones to fix it. And Donald Trump is no exception.

Racism arises

The shrill cries of neoconservatives only got louder when Barack Obama won the Presidency. The sector of the Republican Party that is backed by folks who believe white people should rule the world rose up to fight the President on every front. The dog-whistle racism of men like Mitch McConnell was obvious, but no one likes to speak of such things in public if they can help it. Democrats are typically more polite than that, and Republicans just don’t want to admit its true. Somehow Obama made it through eight years of heck dealing with obfuscation and resistance, and accomplished some good things along the way. It could have been better perhaps, but simply fixing the nation after the crash of 2007 was enough of a challenge to start out, and getting change to work in an atmosphere of so much resistance made it difficult to get anything done.

Which sets the stage for the 2016 election. The GOP threw sixteen people on the stage who wanted to run for President, and all of them appeared to want to run against the tenure of Barack Obama. Yet the only one who stood out to bloodthirsty neoconservatives was a loudmouthed white guy with orange hair and a lot of money. In classic style, he fit all the worst aspects of neoconservative ideas. He was pronouncedly white with his awful combover hairstyle and peach-colored rouge all over his face. His snarling lips and manner of speaking had all the class and patience of a slavedriver, and his openly racist statements laid bare the naked intentions of a political party short on ideas but long on the lust for power. Whether they liked him or not, neoconservatives had their man. It was Donald Trump, all the way.

The Trump Factor

So Donald Trump roared through the primaries and became the Republican nominee for President. At first, supposedly principled men such as Ted Cruz refused to support Trump as the part nominee. After all, Trump’s bitter campaign tactics included personal attacks not only on the other candidates, but on their wives as well. This was new and fertile ground for the seeds of hate, and they began to sprout across the land. Trump supporters felt their man had unshackled the world from the binds of political correctness.

But Trump didn’t stop there. He openly maligned women in public, acting like an angry pimp toward any woman that stood in his way. He lined them up and knocked them around. Carly Fiorina. Megyn Kelly. And finally Hillary Clinton, whom he stalked like a physical abuser during their October debate.

The entire process has been a surly spectacle on the order of a coup by a psychotic Emperor aching to take over the Roman Empire. What the Republican Party needs to do now is get back to its roots.

As I wrote in my book The Genesis Fix:

The admirable goals of political conservatism; keeping the powers of government in check, protecting citizens from excessive taxation, maintaining moral certitude as a principle of government, and encouraging free trade and commerce are all noble ideals. 20  And at a values level, conservatism prides itself on support of tradition, liberty and love of God and country. Despite its reputation as a staid element of social structure, conservatism has at times been quite progressive in the manner with which it has pursued its goals, particularly as it set about using media outlets to communicate its message in from the 1980s to the present. Conservatism’s doctrinal approach to seeking power, influencing culture and leading government has attracted many followers.

The one lacking element in neoconservatism (versus true conservatism) is compassion. This is what I wrote in The Genesis Fix:

If you are looking for a single factor in the success of conservatism with the American public, convictions22 are the political capital of conservatism. Any discussion of politics, social policy or human welfare must contain a healthy dose of “convictions” to be taken seriously by members of the conservative alliance. People with strong convictions tend to love clarity, but the desire for absolute moral clarity among conservatives can lead to intolerance for other viewpoints and cultural prejudice. This may be one of the principle points at which conservatism contradicts the true message of the Bible. It is difficult for people to have compassion and tolerance for others if they are blinded by a discriminatory fixation on the competing interests of a material, political or personal priority. The missing component of doctrinal conservatism as it relates to Christian beliefs is therefore unqualified compassion.

And that is the heart of the matter with Donald Trump. He is the perfect expression of the lack of compassion in neoconservatism. One could argue that he took it a major step further than any neoconservative even dared. Even the likes of Newt Gingrich, arch-conservative that he is, have backed off the Trump Train because The Donald is the beast that neoconservatism created, yet cannot tame.

And that is why, from now on, whenever I am asked why neoconservatism or any brand of conservatism lacking compassion is such a contradiction to American values, I will calmly say the name of Donald Trump. He is the ultimate expression of everything wrong with what conservatism has become in its long arc from Ronald Reagan––who started this “hate the government” mess––all the way to now.

Government is not the problem as President Ronald Reagan once claimed. It’s the lack of belief that people can do good that is the problem in America. It is also a lack of concern for fellow human beings that is the vexation of this nation.

Conservatism has one thing right, and it is tried and true. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions. But that does not mean finding ways to exclude others as equal stakeholders in the American Dream. That is where neoconservatism has led real conservatives astray.

Hopefully something can be learned by all this, and the Bad Example that emerged in the figure of Donald Trump. We need to get back to our belief in America for sure, but not at the cost of tossing people over the side of the ship, or blocking our borders, or dissing them in public if they don’t look like you, act like you, or go along with mad schemes of in religion, politics and culture.

 

What rock’n’roll and the Bible have to say about conservatism

John-Lennon-john-lennon-34078983-1024-768There was a time when devout fundamentalist Christians went on the attack against rock’n’roll. In the early 1960s, stacks of records by The Beatles were raised high and burned in public places. The Boys were disclaimed by Christians because John Lennon said, and we quote: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

What Lennon was saying about those “thick disciples” missing and twisting the message of Jesus was true. That has all come true. Christianity as a religion has vanished on many fronts, and shrunken as well. It has not disappeared altogether in large part because it has divided into two lopsided groups. On the Right are massive numbers of thick disciples still clinging to the twisted version of theology that dumps the Christ who resisted the authorities of his day to make the point that scriptural literalism should not be turned into law. On the Left are people trying to convey the moral truth of the Bible in rational terms. But that takes work, and as a result, attracts less of an audience as a rule. People simply don’t like to be asked (much less forced) to think. It’s the conservative approach to life: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” they say. “It’ll all work out in the end. God is in control.”

But what if he’s not? What if we’re supposed to play a major role in all this. What if we’re supposed to do what the Bible actually says, and bring the Kingdom of God to life in principles, morals and actions that put that plan into effect?

People try, but too often they mistake rules and regulations for the principles, morals and actions God might want from us. That was the problem Jesus saw at work among the chief priests of his day. He called them to account for their methods, and it pissed them off as badly as a high school principal whose authority in the lunch room was called into question.

Genuine call to faith

The genuine call to faith as expressed by Jesus in the Bible was revolutionary stuff. But on the surface, it did not seem to work out so well for Jesus. The man that served as the symbol for a radicalized Jewish faith was crucified for claiming a father-son relationship with God. He was hunted by the priests who considered statements like that to be the ultimate blasphemy. And yet today, many people proudly proclaim themselves Children of God. How is that different than when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God?

Well, it is those types of semantics that have turned Christianity into both an expansive religion and a withering source of pain for the human spirit. In alternating patterns, the Christian narrative has been controlled by the same brand of authoritarianism to which Christ most objected. It just keeps coming back, and has only been liberated through time by the brave grace of men such as Martin Luther. It may be time in this day and age for a new Reformation, to take back the liberal origins of its mission.

Rock’n’rollers

Christ and Luther were the rock’n’rollers of their day and age. They busted down walls of conservative thought by introducing liberal new ways of conceiving the world. But in every case, and with so many martyrs, it is conservative authoritarians who fight their cause and do them in.

Liberal thinking is simply not welcome among those that see themselves as protectors of a “higher order.” What they are actually protecting, in most cases, proves to be their own personal power and authority. And when questioned, they grow mighty threatened when the truth of their manufactured circumstances is revealed or brought to their attention.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-1280x800-3When Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived on the scene to question of both religious and secular authorities about the nature of civil rights, social justice and America’s military adventures, he was vilified by conservatives of his time. The ignoble J. Edgar Hoover tracked his every move. Hooever also tracked other civil rights activists including President John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby. It’s no coincidence that all three were eventually murdered inside the decade of the 1960s. That’s how murderous authoritarianism works. These are the same forces that killed Jesus. If authoritarianism cannot dominate the conversation, it gets its way through brute force and murder.

CQVsQ1bUEAAecjrWorse than that, conservatism sometimes travels in banal fashion, such as the likes of Dr. Ben Carson, the black candidate for the Republican nomination whose theology and logic was so confused he was not fit to tie the shoes of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet today’s conservatives could not tell the difference, and some flocked to that vacuous man just because he held up signs that said, “I’m a Christian.” The shallowness is breathtaking. But not unexpected by any means. Conservatism loves short answers and shallow thoughts that seem to hold the truth in a nutshell.

Social rebellion and how it actually works

During the 1960s, the music known as rock’n’roll began taking on political subjects. The music was rebellious because the 1960s were rebellious times. One can more readily imagine Jesus Christ walking into Woodstock to address the crowd of 100,000 people than one can imagine him entertaining invited guests at some crystal church playing supposedly holy music in the hills of California.

Yes, Jesus went out to people in the country, where the message was closely connected to the earth and communicated through organic parables that talked of trees and grass and mustard seeds. He preached about being baptized in the water of life, and of being the light of the world. None of these things is found inside a crystal palace.

Lennon and Jesus

John Lennon recognized all this in advance. He knew people were hungry for unmitigated messages about their soul and their lives. He was concerned that the dull disciples of the world would be left to rule the place if authoritarian thinkers were allowed to dominate the discussion. And so, much like Jesus, he boldly challenged the conservatism ruling the social culture of his day. John Lennon was also later shot, as we should recall, by a fan jealous of the fame and magnitude of the man. Crucifixions happen in many ways. We’re only a few decades removed from Lennon’s death. And while he was no Christ figure, that’s too soon to tell how much significance his words might hold in the future.

What Lennon did was challenge perceptions, just like Jesus. .And yet, the Beatles Revolution song did not propose complete chaos to replace the existing social order. Instead, Lennon wrote that he was out to change the way people thought about the world, but not throw away social institutions altogether. This was the same methodology of Jesus Christ, who insisted that Judaism should not change one whit of scripture, but that it depended on how you THINK ABOUT IT THAT COUNTS.

Both wanted a revolution of consciousness. And here are the lyrics.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out…

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Give unto Caesar

Jesus accepted that money due to Caesar was a necessary aspect of citizenship in Ancient Rome and beyond. But he suggested that coveting the rest, or using it for selfish reasons, was the root of all evil. Money, in that case, would come to possess one’s heart. He advised wealthy people who really wanted to seek the Kingdom of God to give away their money and truly seek their purpose in the world. But many could not. Or would not.

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791And so the dichotomy exists over the worship of money to this day. And America has a presidential candidate who weakly claims to be Christian, yet who clearly worships money, and himself.

And to illustrate his covetousness, The Donald’s campaign illegally co-opted the Queen song “We Are the Champions” to use as a motivational tool in his campaign. The band quickly told him to cease and desist. Many rock’n’rollers have done the same thing with politicians over the years. There is even a full floor dedicated to the use of rock music in politics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. One of the display’s videos clearly illustrates the illegal mis-use of rock music by politicians, most of them conservative.

Born again where? 

Who can forget the tone-deaf idiocy of Ronald Reagan’s campaign illegally using the Bruce Springsteen song “Born In the USA?” The lyrics clearly indict the burgeoning yet blindsiding neoconservative ideology so boldly flaunted by Reagan. Here are some of the words:

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said “son if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said “son, don’t you understand”

It was a song written about the disenfranchisement of the middle class by the entire military-industrial complex and the wars it fought to enrich those able to leverage that dynamic to their own means. Forget that Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general in World War II, warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex. Republicans in the early 80s were all for go-go growth whatever that meant. The Gulf War in the early 1990s and the Bush II Gulf War in the early 2000s were simply executions in the collective denial of good sense by neoconservatives.

They never understood that “Born In the USA” as an anthem was meant in ironic fashion. It was not a celebration of all things that make America great, as the Reagan campaign numbly intended to use it. And sure enough, Reagan went on to fulfill every aspect of the darkly predictive lyrics of Springsteen’s song by busting labor unions, foisting the ugly cynicism of “trickle-down” economics on the nation, gutting environmental laws and conducting illegal military-industrial activity in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair.Those were evils all Born In the USA. They’ve gone on to poison the rest of the world as well.

Reaganomics was the same thing as pissing on the backs of blue collar workers and telling them it was raining. Reagan also branded ketchup a vegetable even while his wife introduced an inanely simplistic anti-drug campaign called Just Say No.

How ironic that a few years later, the highly capitalistic operation known as Nike, Inc. would introduce a marketing campaign that said “Just Do It.”

Southern Man

The other notable clash between rock’n’roll and conservatism that deserves examination is the lyrical battle between longtime rock’n’roller Neil Young and the Southern man band known as Lynyrd Skynrd, who seemed to have no budget for additional vowels.

Young’s song Southern Man lyrics contained lyrics recalling slavery and the rampant racism that continued across America’s southland:

Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern change’s gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast

Southern man

I saw cotton and I saw black
Tall white mansions and little shacks
Southern man, when will you pay them back?
I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long?

Stung by the truth of these lyrics, the Skynryd band shot back with an apologist set of lyrics that were meant to be defiant.  Yet they still confessed and affirmed the very qualities of stubborn reticence about which Young accused the South in his original song. In other words, the conservative position of the Skynyrd lyrics typically missed the real point, which was “Can you change?”

Sweet Home Alabama

Big wheels keep on turning

Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the south-land
I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again
And I think it’s a sin

Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around any how

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the Gov’nor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Now a certain man named George Wallace served as Governor in the 1980s, and his position on race relations was never really clear. This is what the blogger Charles H. Dean wrote about the time period following the murder of four black girls in an Alabama church bombing during Wallace’s reign:

George Wallace“From that point on I think he manipulated the white middle class on race,” said Lewis. “But was he a racist? Was he a segregationist or was he just using race to win elections? I don’t think we will ever know because we don’t know his heart.”

Now it is worth noting that Wallace was a declared Democrat for his political aspirations. Yet the Republican Party so grew to admire his success in winning votes in his Southern State by plying racism, they copied his methods. And so, Ronald Reagan and his crew leveraged dog-whistle racism into a political strategy, and over the next decade, turned most of the South into Republican country by courting racist voters. It was the work of the Devil, but it worked.

Meet Donald Trump

That methodology closely resembles the candidacy of a certain controversial candidate now running for President of the United States. That would be Donald Trump, who has refused on multiple occasions to refute the claims of racists or deny their support when clearly racist support groups and individuals come out in his favor. This complicity may, in fact, be a contributing factor to getting the man elected.

And just like the weak-ass excuse given by the supposedly stalwart band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trump chooses to shrug his shoulders and deflect criticism and blame about these matters by claiming it is his right to free speech, even if that speech is hateful in nature.  This is all done in order to avoid the hard questions about his actual views.

Country music and Bible beaters

This is the history of so much country music as well, which for so many years leveraged the sad, sick pattern of broken marriages, faithlessness, drunkenness and hard life on the road as American values. And to put it in rock’n’roll terms, that is really fucked up thinking. Country music traditionally sides with conservatism in America, which likewise is the progenitor of some really confused, backwards, anachronistic and equally fucked up thinking.

And just as conservatives seem incapable of reading or understanding the basic meaning of words in rock songs, or the defeatism in old style country music, they likewise can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that Jesus castigated his own disciples for their failure to grasp the meaning and purpose of his parables. Matthew 15:16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

Bible beaters seem to miss these indictments of literalistic thinking and shortsighted interpretations as if they don’t even exist. But they do. And it’s time they be held accountable for the true and earnest damnation of their dull ways.

Get the hook

One of the basic methods of creating great rock music is to establish a “hook” or a central theme around which a song is built. The hook is often repeated, thereby delivering a catchy or memorable lick or lyric that catches attention and brings people to the song.

But even Jesus’ disciples did not “get the hook” of his parables at times. The dullard brains of his supposed avid supporters demanded constant repetition and lessons so that they would be prepared in some fashion to carry the message of Christ to the world.
A kick upside the head

Even more striking, it took a blinding lightning flash to the head of the Apostle Paul to convert him from an ardent persecutor of Christians into an elegant communicator of timeless principles.

And let us not forget that many of God’s most faithful servants were avid murderers and genocidal heroes, zealots of the foremost kind even while in service to the Lord. But even God had limits, and told King David at the end of his life, when David was asking the Lord if he could build a temple in his honor, God said, “No, you have too much blood on your hands.”

In this respect conservatives also miss the fact that perhaps times have changed. That specific moment in biblical history may have been meant to serve as a turning point from which we are meant to learn that you do not always have to wipe out a nation in order to do God’s work. By contrast, Jesus professed interest in making believers out of “all nations.” He does not say, “Go threaten or kill them to make them follow me.”

Double down

But that lesson seems lost on today’s dullheaded conservatives who not only fail to see the light, but double down whenever challenged about their militaristic ways and how it seems to conflict with their supposed Christian faith. Instantly they being waving the so-called Sword of Faith and singing Onward Christian Soldiers. That didn’t work in the Crusades and it’s still not going to work in the Middle East to this day. But that’s never going to stop the addle-headed zealots from trying. George W. Bush and his devil-may-care henchmen Dick Cheney proved that. So let’s not hold out hope or even take the chance that God is that interested in our best interests. We have to fight back when these dull yet angry disciples get try to get hold of the reigns of destiny.

Satan and his real ways

It might indeed have more impact on the zealously devout if they were confronted by Satan himself, who might get to get them to understand their direct role in corrupting the world, and by proxy, God’s Kingdom. Let’s not forget that it was the symbolic Serpent as Satan that taught Adam and Eve those prescient lessons about Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. But note the methods used by Satan to trick the two into questioning God.

From the Book of Genesis:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

What you need to understand about this passage is that it predicts the very nature of the evils Christ would later confront in his life in those legalistic priests whose constant word games about the intentions and laws of God were always on the tip of their forked tongues.

Brood of Vipers

 Jesus branded the religious authorities of his day a “brood of vipers,” and that is no coincidence. In branding the priests of his day as “vipers,” he is communicating the frightening fact that the single Serpent of Satan multiplied into the many priests who were constantly getting people to doubt their own relationship with God by installing all sorts of rules about how to earn favor with God. See, the conservatives of Jesus’ day knew that letting people be free and liberal about their faith would result in them losing power over them. That’s the same fear that was expressed by the Catholic Church when Martin Luther questioned all those requirements to pay yourself into the favor of God. The pattern happens over and over again in history.

Yet the people doing the deeds of Satan, as it were, never recognize themselves in these characters. They unwittingly confess, as the Southern band Lynyrd Skynrd once did, that their ways are wrong. Yet they profess pride in them. “It’s our way,” they stubbornly say. “And you can’t make us change.”

Pent up racism

And so the pushback of the Donald Trump candidacy is releasing all the pent up racism and people sick and tired of being told not to call black people “niggers” and gay people “fags.” Likewise the black community needs to address its own issues with rappers branding women “bitches” and “hoes” and celebrating its own internal conflicts, reactionary gangsta life and social problems as signs of liberation. In fact, these represent reactions represent an isolationist brand of conservatism all of its own making. The rap and hip-hop community. It somewhat owns black-on-black crime, for example, and while genius on conception and execution, there is far too much emphasis on real executions to be taken as a truly serious social revolution.

That’s what John Lennon was trying to tell us all. And he was one fucked up motherfucker at times, but he was at least willing to admit his problems. Most of the world stands in denial of their complicity in this big process of dancing with the one we call Satan. And so we’ll leave you with this inspiring, enlightening set of song lyrics from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Read the lyrics carefully, for the song Sympathy For the Devil is not meant to convey literal storytelling, but to address by inference all the things the world has done to undermine things that are good and true and worthwhile.

But rest assured, the conservatives probably still won’t get that. It’s one of the most brilliant rock’n’roll songs every written, almost in code to communicate with people of enlightened minds and actual spiritual depth. It’s both a rock’n’roll song and an anthem to how faith gets turned inside out by the powerful and the mighty.

Sympathy for the Devil

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
(Woo woo, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
(Who who)
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
(Who who, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
(Woo woo, who who)

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
(Who who, who who)

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
(Woo woo)
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

 

Trump and his followers are so 2002

911-terrorist-attack

2002 arrived on the heels of the 9/11 disaster.

Perhaps you can recall the atmosphere in the country in 2002. The tragedy of 9/11 had just happened, and people were scared that other terrorist attacks might be coming along. The people sworn to protect us had somehow forgotten to do that, and the consequences were about to be shifted back to the American people.

Along came the Patriot Act and a series of surveillance requests that granted the government almost unlimited powers to informationally monitor American citizens. This was ostensibly done in the name of protecting our rights to free speech, freedom and the American Way. And to further that philosophy, Bush told us all to go out and go shopping.

That was 2002, the year the Bush administration began ramping up excuses to go blast away in Iraq. It wasn’t really a plan, as we learned later, but an excuse to use America’s military might for imperialistic reasons in the Middle East. It went badly after the bombing ended. There was no management plan. There was looting in the streets, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives.

Then American soldiers began a campaign of torture and our military rounded people up and put them on a base in Cuba, of all places. We didn’t even have trade relations with Cuba, yet we owned a prison in Guantanamo. That kind of international management is the product of the fear and anger we were sold in 2002.

And let us not forget the lies used to sell that fear and anger. American and international arms inspectors found no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet people believed it when General Colin Powell pushed out curried “facts” that were all fictionalized. But the fearmongering that sold that lie was begun in 2002. Fox News trumpeted the lies for all it was worth. The divisive, angry voice of Rush Limbaugh ruled the airwaves, and even the likes of Howard Stern jumped on board the Bomb the Muslims campaign. And Donald Trump was interviewed by Howard Stern back in 2002, and these days denies that he supported the invasion of Iraq. But this is how the conversation actually went:

“For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues. But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Because that’s how too many people thought in 2002. No one knew what to make of the people who were lying so boldly to our faces, and with such force. So Donald Trump has simply stolen that playback and brought the fearful attitudes of all those duped by Bush and his henchmen and updated it for the election.

But it’s 2016 now, people. We should know better. We’ve learned what Dick Cheney is really like. We’ve learned how his position on Iraq from 1991 to 2002 was a complete flip-flop. The money he stood to make from invasion of Iraq overwhelmed his principles. And his principles were already based on outrageous notions that America could rule the entire world with impunity. He insisted the entire action in Iraq would take weeks and that we’d be welcomed as heroes. The fact that he presided over torture in the very same prisons where Saddam Hussein tortured Iraqi citizens just might have had something to do with the fact that everyday Iraqis refused to trust American intentions.

But in 2002, when Cheney was working behind the scenes to map all this out, pushing Bush around like a schoolyard bully and his lackey. America could not imagine that our President and Vice President could be so shallow, vicious and naive. But they were.

And some of us knew and recognized this in 2002. But we were called Bush-haters for resisting the loss of freedoms and the wars of choice. We were told we were not “patriotic” in refusing to support the insane actions of an administration clearly bent on war. We were called even worse names as well. Because it was 2002. And a lot of people were afraid to fight back against our own government when we’d already seen an attack on our own soil. That had not really happened at that scale before. And the Bushies took advantage of that.

But that was 2002, and this is 2016. And the nation can’t possibly fall for the same bad instincts conservatives have been selling for so long. Or can they?

Because the people now following Donald Trump are spouting the same brand of fear that Bush and Cheney sold back in 2002. Perhaps we’d hear it better if we all picked up our Motorola Razr phones and listened through those devices? Because it’s the exact same load of fearful crap repackaged, and badly wrapped, in the golden fleece of Donald Trump.

When his campaign makes promises to Take Back America it is really more a threat to take us back to 2002. Because you may recall that the Bush administration also sold fear on domestic policies, blocking major medical advances in stem cell research, resisting critical science about global warming, and literally extracting language from research papers and scientific data that did not fit their political opinion. This brand of politics is called Mind Control, and the authoritarian followers who were drawn to Bush ate it up like candy.

That hardly explains why some independents are drawn to Donald Trump. But again, let’s go back to 2002 and examine how the country got to be such a mess in such a short time under Bush. Recall that the 2000 election between Al Gore and Bush came down to a decision from the Supreme Court, who essentially installed Bush as President. Justice was not served, yet Gore acted with class and elected to support the President.

So Democrats were somewhat reeling from the tidal shift of the Bill Clinton years, which were by many measures prosperous and well-managed, to the Bush years when even our military could not protect the Pentagon. Think about that for a moment. For all the claims that Republicans better understood the military and knew how to protect Americans, somehow our lead military base in Washington was struck by some sort of exploding object. No one seems to be able to produce a reasonable video of an actual plane hitting the building. The best we supposedly have is a cheesy surveillance video that does not show a plane at all.

In any case, how is it that the Pentagon is such a paragon of weakness even when it was already clear that something really bad was going on in New York City? The answer is simple: According to the doctrine of 2002, nothing could touch us with Republicans in power. America was ostensibly the most powerful, well-armed nation on earth, with a Commander in Chief who could read the soul of leaders such as Russia’s Putin, just by looking him in the eye. And the Bush family had close ties with the Saudis and especially the bin Laden family. How could something like 9/11 ever happen if we had things under control?

Well, we’re being asked to believe the same load of crap from Donald Trump in 2016. He claims to be able to negotiate “deals” better than anyone on earth. He wants Mexico to pay for a wall, and has basically told the Chinese to go fuck themselves. He considers his own council the best authority on a multitude of subjects. And he appeals to independent voters because he appears to answer to no one.

That is his appeal. That The Donald answers to no one. Well, we’ve already tried that formula back in 2002. And it led to military disaster, thousands of lives lost and American soldiers killed, and an economic crash that nearly ruined America forever.

It was all so 2002. Let us hope that people come to their senses in 2016.

 

The continuing saga of the fuck-ups and the fuck-yous

urlNow that the effects of Brexit are becoming real in terms of uncertainties in world financial markets, international trade and basics like where people are allowed to live, people have begun to realize what an honest-to-goodness fuck-up it actually turns out to be.

Stalwarts will long insist that Brexit is the step toward political freedom Great Britain needs to take. The Scots and many other sections of Great Britain, which itself is a union of nations, will forever disagree considering that country voted 62% to 38% to Remain in the European Union.

Flirting with Fuck Ups

Those voting for Brexit surely did not understand all the political and economic ramifications of the decision. These were the fuck-ups who drove the big fuck-up. Such is the nature of angry populism, which can lead even to fascism in the wrong political hands. Here in the United States, we’re flirting with a massive fuck-up of our own in Donald Trump, the designated nominee for President of the United States for the Republican Party.

This is a man who flaunts his failed marriages and failed businesses and dares people to challenge the perception that he’s not a massively famous fuck-up. In that respect, Donald Trump issues the world a massive Fuck You every time he shows his orange face in public. His hair is a fuck up. His speech pattern with all its perverse Yoda-like and backward braggadocio is definitely the hallmark of a habitual fuck up. He starts with his false contentions and qualifies them as he goes along.

And a Huge Fuck You

His fans (whom we must hesitate to call voters for the moment) all seem to love his Fuck You message. Former Republican politicians such as Joe Walsh, now a conservative radio host on AM 560 in Chicago, have publicly stated they would rather “blow this thing up” than let a Democrat such as Hillary Clinton win the election. Walsh and his ilk were critical of Barack Obama before the man even took office. The Republican-led Congress have behaved like a pack of massive fuck-ups for all eight years of Obama’s administration and have done nothing of any consequence except shut down the government and pass about 50 appeals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Other than that, they’ve spent all eight years of their authoritarian rule telling the American people and Barack Obama to go Fuck Off.

Trump steps into this Fuck Your role perfectly because his “Take Back America” campaign theme cloaks the extremism of his supporters behind a bit of patriotic language. Never mind the fact that the America for which his supporters yearn is one with racist roots and based on an economic model that was gutted by the very Republican Party to which so many conservatives and angry independents claim to subscribe. All those manufacturing jobs shipped overseas and down south to Mexico by free market capitalists with globalism fever are never coming back. America has created some 11 million new jobs since Obama helped turn the economy back around, but less than 1% of those jobs have gone to people without college education.

Fucking duped

That means all those honest, hard-working Blue Collar Trump Supporters have been fucked over by the very people they claim to support. The union system in America has been trumped by a euphemistic Right To Work campaign that says Unions Are Bad, Jobs Creators Are Good. At least the national elections in which Obama won and then retained the office of President prove America still has some common sense. But the Fuck Ups still know how to win local elections where rube anger is so easily leveraged into repeat terms for Congressman and Senators selling Pro-Life as the ticket to national office.

Here in America, we may yet see a Texit if the State of Texas gathers enough Fuck You votes to secede from the Union. At least America might be freed from the fascist control of public school textbook content if that were to happen.

But again, a Texit would be a fuck-up on the order of the original Civil War, in which a small slice of controlling slaveowners convinced thousands of Confederate loyalists to go fight and die so that white people could continue to own and torture black people for profit and entertainment.

Sophisticated Fuck Ups

The people who support Donald Trump are following the same sort of instincts. Just as slaveowners were calculating fuck-ups with enough sophistication to rig the system to their own favor, and damn the consequences of human rights and equality, so has Trump played American Fuck-Ups for all they’re worth in running away with the Republican ticket.

dick-cheneyRemember that Trump comes on the heels of the biggest Fuck Up and Fuck You administration in American history. George W. Bush was a primo fuck up. He let 9/11 happen on his watch and then let psychopaths like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the like loose on the world. The Bush administration sold fear like it was bitter candy, convincing gullible Americans through lies and manipulation that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And what was the Bush advice when America was shocked by the 9/11 attack? “Go out and shop.” That’s what he said.

It was all an ugly breach of public trust followed by one horrific fuck-up after the other. The Hurricane Katrina debacle and the Bush indifference to people’s suffering perfectly symbolized what would later happen to the American economy under his watch. Fuck Ups like that always lead to Fuck Yous from their authoritarian authors.

Petulant ignorance

The petulant ignorance shown by American “conservatives” in support of Bush and his torturous presidency amounted to a fuck-up of massive proportions. Yet even with the catholic brand of support for Bush and his evil bishops, there has never been much will to confess to the crimes and abuses perpetrated on the American people. Instead, we’re all told by conservatives to Look Forward rather than look back at the recent fuck ups of the past. Bush and Cheney were the dual kings of Fuck You, claiming rights to the Unitary Executive, with Bush proudly stating that his job would be “easier if I were a dictator.” They should have been tried for war crimes but Obama in a show of good will refused to pursue those actions. It would have been good for America in the long run to demonstrate how evil and corrupt those criminals really were (are) but to Obama’s credit he truly did Look Forward and has done a stellar job of leading the country despite resistance from the pack of racist fuck-ups who insist their ways are better.

And that brand of tripe is now in full evidence in support for Donald Trump.

Don’t you get it? Can’t you see the message Brexit is sending America? Don’t you understand that if you support Donald Trump, whether he is genuinely a serious candidate or simply a man thriving on a massive media campaign whose theme is Fuck You, this is not a good direction for America to travel?

If you can’t see that, then you really are a fuck up. And in that case we all have one thing to say: And that is Fuck You for being so goddamned stupid.

 

 

 

 

On Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader

150430-berniesanders-editorial.jpgListen, I was listening to Bernie Sanders long before he was Bernie Sanders, candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. He was a weekly guest on the Thom Hartmann show to which I regularly listened. I liked his ability to answer political and legislative questions in real time, right over the air.

The political stumper that Bernie has become is a somewhat different creature. He’s right argued that the political system is rigged against him. He’s correctly asserted that America’s economic system has giant flaws. He’s proposed massive public investment in America’s educational and health care systems. I even agree with him that America has all the money it needs to pay for these supposedly “socialistic” programs that are in fact simply the logical actions of a nation determined to improve the lives and minds of its citizens.

Because honestly, the Republican Party has done everything it can to divest Americans of the opportunity to make a fair living, get a good education and put it to work in an equitable economy. We’ve watched Republicans publicly flog the Unemployment Compensation system and accuse people thrown out of work by the economic crash of being “too old and lazy” to want to go back to work. We’ve heard Republicans use rampant racism to disenfranchise those they most fear. That would be anyone with brown skin or a different religion that outnumbers the dwindling numbers of angry, largely white so-called Christians who hardly lift a finger to reconcile their capitalistic dogma to their equally dogmatic fundamental brands of faith.

Republicans are a hot ideological mess compared to men like Bernie Sanders. Republicans are more like an ideo-illogical mess. They’re don’t even claim to be whores with hearts of gold, because their repressive tendencies always seem to hide some massive personal scam waiting for exposure. Just ask Dennis Hastert if you don’t believe it. Or Newt Gingrich. All those fundamentalist Republican preachers in sex scandals.

By comparison to those lying zealots, Bill Clinton is a saint. And his wife Hillary still has not been proven to have done one wrong thing. Sure, she exaggerates a twitch or two, but she’s a political realist in the end.

That’s far more than can be said for men like Ted Cruz with his goddamned God Complex. Or Donald Trump who seems to think he’s a Golden Idol worthy of worship. The rest of the ungodly mess that Republicans sent forth for inspection withered and sank like a troop of squalid mushrooms sprouting from a shit pile. Scott Walker? There’s a foul stench around him. Jeb Bush? He smelled a little too rich and ripe. Even that stinker Mitt Romney cropped back up for a few weeks. And what did it get him? A portabella goodbye, that’s what.

So I’m not dissing Bernie Sanders on that level at all. I like Bernie compared to all these fecal greaseballs. And Bernie is a genuine contender. I’ll definitely credit him with that.

But I don’t get the feeling he wants the Democrats to win. Bernie distrusts the entire system, and with good reason. There’s just one problem with that. A man like Bernie can deliver true evil into power.

03-ralph-nader.w529.h352.2x.jpgIt happened once before with Al Gore and Ralph Nader back in 2000. Gore would have made a wonderful, rational and considerate President of the United States. But Nader went after anti-establishment, populist voters from a greenish stripe and wicked off just enough votes to keep Gore out of the White House. And in so doing, he let George Fucking Bush get in.

That moment in history has cost America dearly. We got the lying-est White House ever. True evil came in the back door with that vicious bastard Dick Cheney. Add in a right-wing-nut-cabinet that took us to war on lies in Iraq, and that ignored the clear warnings of impending terrorist attacks…which ultimately delivered the excuse they were seeking for action in the Middle East…and Ralph Nader starts to look like a real selfish villain in all this.

And I’m equally concerned right now that if Sanders tells his supposedly smart voters not to support Hillary Clinton, we could get a President Trump in the White House. Or just as bad (maybe worse) a President Cruz.

That would be fucking stupid. There is no way either of those men deserves to use the White House restroom, much less sit in the Oval Office.

Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader have way too much in common for my taste. I’m trying to figure out what it is about determined Jewish men that makes them such a danger to American interests. All I tell you is that King David did everything God told him to do. Yet when it came time to build a temple to God, David was told he had too much blood on his hands. There’s a lesson in that somehow. It is possible to care about your cause a little too  much.

I love a revolutionary as much as the next person. Because John Lennon knew the benefits and risks of revolution.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

What we’re witnessing is the destruction of America. But it’s not the work of liberals destroying traditional values, because it took more than 100 years of liberal political revolution to give equal rights to women and blacks. It’s taken just as long to make progress for gays and other minorities. Those are Constitutional values that are actually fulfilling the vows of our Founding Fathers for equality. Conservatives have fought that revolution tooth and nail, and helped destroy American lives in the process.

And it’s not socialism compromising the benefits of capitalism, because without regulations, free markets clearly and frequently spin out of control. We have the Great Depression and the Recent Recession to illustrate that fact.

It’s not a black President that threatened to destroy America, but fear of that man that promulgated a fierce wellspring of ugly racist populism now being fed by men like Donald Trump. And it’s not a lack of religion that destroyed the influence of Christian values in America, but the prostitution of biblical knowledge to fit a highly opportunistic brand of religion that shed the teachings of Christ to don the trappings of power.

And to combat these horrific influences on our culture and the nation at large, it is important that we not allow the leaders of this brand of political furor and zealotry to take greater control. Already we’ve seen what the warmongers can do to the national treasury with the post 9/11 escapades and nation-building overseas. We’ve seen media like Fox News cheerlead these ventures and lead with euphemisms such as Fair and Balanced to confuse and propagandize political priorities as fact.

You’re all witness to these devastating games, and some refuse to question their own roles, clinging to single issue contentions over abortion, gay marriage or taxes as excuses for installing liars and zealots and religious nuts into positions of power. Those people have no concern for America as a principle. They only care about America as an instrument for their repressive desire for control, hatred and bully politics.

And that’s what scares me about men like Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader. They don’t seem to see the forest for the trees.