It all lines up under Trump

It’s interesting what happens when you go “behind the scenes” and actually visit the page of a Trump Troll busy trying to defend the indefensible actions of a President compromised by his multiple breaches of constitutional law.

These include violations regarding emoluments, newly revealed evidence of tax evasion, genuine fraud convictions on both Trump University and the Trump Foundation, campaign finance regulations, impeached attempts at coercing foreign governments to aid in his re-election, secret payments to porn stars, serial refusals to pay for contracted work or compensate cities for law enforcement costs during his campaign rallies, and patently racist attempts to encourage police brutality and enact fascist tactics against American citizens across a number of fronts.

All while holding a Bible in a supposed demonstration of his pure conscience.

The fact that Trump Trolls support all this corruption because the President excels at political theater is quite an indictment of the overall greed for power. Those that support Trump refuse to confess that these confused ethics and the moral hypocrisy that drives them are a danger to the nation. Instead they spout platitudes such as Make America Great Again as if those four words have any meaning at all.

The fact of the matter is that Trump knows better than anyone that slogans sell even worthless products. HIs “You’re Fired” statement fueled a reality TV show that covered up his bankruptcies and bankrolled his brand despite its many failings. Without that $200M or so that he gained from playing a a business mogul on TV, he might have been exposed and deposed for financial fraud a long time ago. How ironic it is that his fake world saved his real ass.

Do like the Russians do

So we should not be surprised that the content posted on their the Facebook pages of Trump supporters is often comprised of fake attempts to justify the Trumpian appetite for power over purpose. The typical tactic of Trumpian memes is to purposely present a falsely black-and-white contrast on social conscience and civil rights. This happens to be exactly how Russian interference in the election proved most effective. It is no surprise that this type of disinformation was eagerly shared by Trump supporters to make the case that their preferred candidate holds the key to American prowess and success.

In fact, what Trump holds most dear to his heart is the authority to undercut the rule of law and democracy. This is exactly how Vladimir Putin conducts business. Trump supporters and to a large degree, the entire Republican Party is complicit in this behavior. The Party of Lincoln has become the party of Do Like The Russians Do.

Divide and Conquer

By way of exploration on this tactic, I explored the wall of a Trump support who was busy chirping at a friend of mine that about a post concerning the debt owed by Trump and how it might lead to a conflict of interest if foreign interests controlled loans to Trump totaling nearly half a million dollars. The Trump woman insisted instead that the “facts” were not in on Trump’s taxes and that no one should be allowed to pass judgment on the man until Trump himself released his tax records.

It’s pretty clear why Trump is not eager to let that happen. He’s spent five years avoiding the issue and doing everything he can to keep his tax records secret. To distract attention from this and other issues that indict his behaviors, he spends most of his time stoking up social and civic fears among his base, a sector of society that seems to prefer distraction over the substance of reality.

Here’s one of the memes that the Trump Troll woman posted on her page.

The group that claims to be the creator of this meme is called Keep America American, an apparel company whose About Us page states, “Our main goal at American Nation is to promote patriotism and love for our homeland no matter the occasion. It’s okay to be a NATIONALIST. It’s okay to be AMERICAN. ” The. slogan that adorns its logo is “Peace through superior firepower.”

Those statements are rife with the barely concealed racism of words such as “homeland” and the tradition that says America is originally and foremost a white nation. Thus it also supports the “whatever it takes” mentality of KKK tactics that define and defend that homeland. The apologetic headline “If the KKK is a hate group” pretends to admit that fact, but only as a precursor to claim that Black Lives Matter is a far greater threat to public safety.

Dismissing the fact that the KKK tortured, raped, persecuted, lynched or murdered thousands of Black Americans in order to claim that Black Lives Matter is its counterpart is a sick attempt at moral equivalency. The KKK emerged in direct response to the abolition of slavery. For 100 years until the Civil Rights Act was passed in the mid-1960s, Black Lives were subject to Jim Crow laws and harsh discrimination all across America. That institutionalized racism bled into law enforcement, filled American prisons with a disproportionate number of Black American citizens, and led to the serial murder of dozens of Black citizens at the hands of police across the nation.

That trifecta of corrupt outcomes is why Black LIves Matter was conceived and introduced as a protest against the American system as a whole. Its original premise is that respect for life was not being shown to Black members of society.

Trumpism is destructive

Into this conflicted scene marches the Racist In Chief, President Donald Trump. His own history of racist statements are not confined to Black Americans. His appetite for racial taunts and discrimination emboldens Trump supporters to espouse racism as a normal and legitimate state of mind in America. Trump has leveraged that approval as a tool for political power. Though this blog posted prior to the Presidential debate on September 29, 2020, it is worth this revision on September 30 to note that Trump refused to disavow white supremacist groups such as the Proud Boys. Instead he instructed them to Stand Down and Stand By. By any normal measure of law and order, those words constitute a threat and an act sedition against the United States of America. So much for the Second Amendment, which begins, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state.” Trump prefers vigilante fear and injustice instead.

The Trump administration builds its rhetoric from the foundations of racist advisor Stephen Miller. Trump and his followers seek to turn back the clock on social progress to a period when intimidation based on race was an acceptable tool of social dominance. While many Trump supporters adamantly insist they are not racist, and Black conservatives claim to love the politics and policies of Donald Trump on matters of economics, trade, housing and healthcare, the inescapable burden of such support is that racism is strapped to the backs of all those who carry water for Trump.

Confusing racism with patriotism

The sickest thing about in all this social conflict is that these brands of closeted racism are now considered a brand of patriotism. Racism and a cultlike brand of nationalism is what Trumpism promises to carry out through its slogan Make America Great Again. What else could it mean? Trump loyalists eager to dismantle American institutions such as the Department of Education and Environmental Protection Agency have worked to dismantle the purposes for which those governmental bodies were established.

Their efforts are succeeding, especially with Covid-19 gutting even normal educational processes thanks to Trump’s disaffecting response to the pandemic and wildfires burning away millions of acres of land in California even while Trump disavows any possible effects of climate change on dramatic environmental disasters. Trumpism is destructive of every type of public trust and responsibility. All of this destruction is backed by religious ideology that claims white people are the Chosen People of God and that the earth is doomed by Original Sin, and isn’t worth saving even if we wanted to try.

Nothing really changes

This is the America in which we now live. It is probably the America in which we have always lived. Civility and justice owned the stage for a while, but the reign of the Great Entertainer Donald Trump is indeed a fulfillment of the self-indulgent wishes of the Great Communicator and Original Dog-Whistle President Ronald Reagan, who started the destruction of America rolling in the early 1980s.

Now Trump has turned the fight for the survival of the American ideal into a real-life nightmare. The only real concern of the Reality Show President is saving face and saving his own skin from indictment and conviction. He knows from his TV experience that pitting Americans against each other in a war of survival is an ideal distraction while he sucks money from the nation through his ill-earned position as President of the United States.

That’s why Trump loves the racist memes and hate spouted by his supporters. It is his only hope for some kind of redemption against the fraud and corruption he’s already committed and plans to expand upon with a second term. Trump knows that gaining fascist control of the nation is worth the kind of money that even money can’t buy. It all lines up under Donald J. Trump.

How the Republican Party got pimped

pimp/pimp/Learn to pronouncenoun

  1. a man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking part of their earnings in return.
“What can I say?” Trump seems to be asking. “That’s how this business works.”

This week marks the start of the Republican National Convention. In a story posted on the Marketwatch website, it was noted that some unusual shifts in normal convention and nomination procedures have been implemented basically by direction of President Donald Trump. The story notes: “The Republican National Committee will go without a traditional policy platform at the upcoming GOP convention, saying instead that it “will continue to enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda.”

In a statement issued Sunday, the RNC said it adopted a resolution Saturday to go without a platform due to the difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the convention to significantly scale back.

“The RNC has unanimously voted to forego the Convention Committee on Platform, in appreciation of the fact that it did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without the breadth of perspectives within the ever-growing Republican movement,” the RNC said.

The irony of that last sentence should not be ignored. Claiming that the RNC “did not want a small contingent of delegates formulating a new platform without a breadth of perspectives” is beyond absurd. The RNC is doing one thing: the will of the President. He is their pimp and their controller. He arranges their clients and takes a portion of their earnings for himself.

Nothing more need be said about the nature of the Trump administration and its behavior. The Republican Party entered into a relationship with a pimp, and they’ve now been pimped.

Religion’s old and recent history as a cancel culture

The definition of a cancel culture is a society in which the past or present acts of a person are used to undermine their credibility to silence their voice and even end their career.

While the term “cancel culture” is fairly recent, the concept of canceling someone out based on supposedly scandalous behavior or wrongful ideas is as old as human history. And it has been a particular weapon of religion for thousands of years.

Cancelling Jesus

An Anglo Saxon Jesus scourged before crucifixion

The most prominent example in religious history is the cancel culture of religious legalism that followed a man named Jesus around to dig up dirt on his teachings. Religious authorities fearing for their own positions in society and eager to defend their notion of “tradition” gathered everything they could find on Jesus to conduct a severe cancellation of his message and ministry.

They succeeded in the short term by collaborating with political forces in the Roman world to conduct a cancel culture trial, mocking his claim to be “King of the Jews” while casting blame for calling himself the Son of God. The religious authorities did everything they could to cancel Jesus, and he notably offered little resistance to their aims. That led to the crucifixion now celebrated by the sign of the cross, a holy symbol to Christians the world over.

Many Christian denominations love to lay claim to that cross as a symbol of their salvation. Yet these same Christians in many cases choose to aggressively ignore the cancel culture habits of those who brought that event about.

Legalistic culture wars

As a result, the most powerful branches of the Christian tradition became the one thing Jesus most despised about religion. By the third century A.D., the institution of Christianity was dominated by religious legalists whose adherence to rules and regulations were no less severe than the people who conspired to crucify Jesus in the first place. Anyone that did not adhere to the tenets of Christian religion could be “cancelled” and banned from society outright.

Christianity took cancel culture mentality to its extreme, engaging in pogroms and purges against all those who opposed its authority. The principal target was the Jews, on whom literalistic Christians placed blame for the death of Jesus. That was a necessary and calculated leap in gaslighting the world to distance themselves, at least in terms of perception, from their legalistic forefathers.

The worst cancel in history

Thus the greatest lie in all of human history took over a religion that started with disciples wandering two-by-two and town to town.

As it gathered political power, Christianity became a force for evil through a cancel culture carrying out inquisitions, crusades, witch hunts, and torture to enforce the authority of its traditions and its gathering wealth.

These efforts to suppress or cancel other cultures were “successful” in the sense that they led to the death of millions of people at the direction of the church. Entire nations succumbed to the brutality as claims of providence were veiled behind facetious terms such as Manifest Destiny to justify the cancellation of any culture that stood in front of the Christian Way. The same perverse mentality was used to justify slavery, and the Bible served as the tool to cancel others as well. From homosexuals to women, from immigrants to scientists, Christianity has embarked on cancel campaigns against all of them.

The Holocaust cancellation of Jews

Even that despot Adolf Hilter recognized the irony of these behaviors by the Christian religion. When asked about his vendetta against Jews, he stated, “We are not doing anything to the Jews that the Christian religion has not been doing for 1500 years.” Christians sought to “cancel” all Jews that refused to convert and confess Jesus as the Messiah. The same rage and cancel wars were brought against other religions and cultures as well. From the shrines of Islam to the huts of indigenous tribes in far flung regions of the earth, Christianity sought to cancel those faith systems outright.

The greatest lie in history is that Christianity as a religion was somehow an “improvement” over the legalistic traditions favored by the religious authorities whom Jesus came to resist in the first place. Too much Christian history involves bloodshed and merciless domination of cultures around the world. Let us recall that even King David was denied the right to build a temple to honor the Lord because, as God warned him, “You have too much blood on your hands.” God may work with flawed people, but in the end, there is still conscience to consider.

Modern Times

MAGA seeks to cancel social progress to replace it with an anachronistic, racist version of national religion

That brings us to modern times, in which the President of the United States is backed by a Christian cabal all too eager to conduct culture wars to impose their worldview on the nation it claims as its sole possession. With dismissive aplomb, the President engages in daily attempts to cancel out voices and destroy the careers of his perceived opponents. Some of these people served in his own administration. He hailed them for their service when they joined, yet assailed them mercilessly if they left. From his personal attorney Michael Cohen, the “fixer” who did Trump’s dirty work, to men such as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Trump praised them for perceived loyalty. But when they part ways, the sociopathic side of Trump uses Twitter to cancel those he sees as disloyal. All the while, Trump engages in well-documented corruption and collusion with despots around the world.

And predictably, Trump has in his corner a phalanx of highly calculating religious zealots who view it as their right to cancel anyone they deem enemies to the cause. As noted, this approach has a long, sordid history.

John Lennon was right

One of the biggest demonstrations of Christian cancel culture occurred when John Lennon of The Beatles made an accurate yet widely misunderstood statement about the nature of popularity. He wisely stated, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I know I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock & roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

Cancel culture volunteers in the 1960s sought to ban the Beatles for their popularity claims

Lennon was right. Across the mainstream denominations in America, Christianity is shrinking because much of the religion and its legalistic foundations are anachronistic. That’s what makes so many religious authorities fearful of future irrelevance. Yet we should recall the response back when Lennon made those cogent remarks. All across the Bible Belt, buzz-haired teenagers and screaming girls threw records onto bonfires in an attempt to cancel The Beatles on the spot.

Fifty years later, The Beatles are more popular than ever. The timelessness of their music and the importance of their social commentary during a time of great social change has grown in significance with the passing years. A deranged fan jealous of Lennon’s fame and talent canceled his anti-hero’s life with a bullet to the head, a haunting reminder that the artist once wrote a song titled Happiness is a Warm Gun.

Smoking guns and gaslighting

Cancelled lives. JFK. RFK. MLK. John Lennon.

So the Christian haters of John Lennon ultimately got their way. How ironic it is that so many hard-Right Christians seem to love and embrace their weapons as much as they love Jesus. Thousands of people die each year from gun violence in America, their lives cancelled by a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment that ignores the requirement for a well-regulated militia in favor of a selfish claim to bear arms at any cost.

How ironic it is that a religion in its most conservative form celebrates the value of law, yet when it comes to protecting the lives of millions of people in history, it has dismissed the most important law of all, Thou Shall Not Kill in favor of a worldview that says it’s okay to cancel the lives of anyone who stands in the way of imperial or populist religious power.

Christianity is gaslighting the world by claiming loss of religious freedom when its own agenda for millennia has been aimed at canceling the freedoms and rights of people who don’t share the same belief system.

In my forthcoming book Rescuing Christianity from the Grip of Tradition, the issue of religious legalism is dissected and traced back to the earliest words in the Bible, where the Serpent in the Garden of Eden first adopts the Word of God to serve its own purposes.

Why so many Americans have literal sympathy for the devil

With police playing both ends of the game as protests and demonstrations broke out across the nation after the choking death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a section of lyrics from the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil came to mind.

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

Here’s both the beauty and the problem with a song such as Sympathy for the Devil. It is a masterpiece of rock satire, rich with insight into the motivations and corruptions of the human race. The Devil is both the cause and the foil of all these historic activities from the death of Jesus Christ to the murder of the Kennedys.

Yet given that the song has a title, “Sympathy for the Devil,” that can be literally construed as an apologetic for Satan, there are factions of people in this world that never comprehend the true meaning of the lyrics. They begin like this:

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

It is critical to understand from the outset that the Satan character in question is an inherent part of human nature. Not a separate entity. Not an outside influence. Satan lives within us when we allow the “world” to take over our souls. That’s why they are “stolen” and laid to waste.

The song goes on to warn that the actions of the human race are complex, and that one individual can symbolize the plot, and the plight, of many who fall into the trap of worshipping power.

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

Thus we find the refrain, brilliant composed to repeat itself throughout the song, in which the Devil reintroduces himself while tossing a cryptic statement out for our consideration:

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

Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had already seen much of how the world works by the time they composed Sympathy for the Devil. Rock stars gain a unique insight into the nature of idol worship in general. Combined with the worlds of unlimited drugs, sex and world travel, those two plucked symbols from history to illustrate how and why the world goes sour, and what the consequences are. It only takes a few cogent lines to encapsulate what happens when political upheaval tears into the fabric of society, and fascism runs over justice:

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

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

Ah yes, the devil gets around alright. And he/she is always glad to meet someone willing to play the dangerous game of choosing sides with authoritarians and despots promising heaven while they create hell all around them.

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

The sad, sick part in all this is religion’s role in making it all worse. Mick and Keith dared to suggest that many gods were manufactured in the name of God. That’s where the worship of money and indulgences, the power of tradition, and the nasty habits of oppression and repression come together. We’ve seen it here in America in the last three years, and for the previous sixty years before that. Right now the penchant of authoritarian worship is blowing up in our faces. Donald Trump is responsible for it all, right down to the cop kneeling on the neck of a black man on the streets of Minneapolis. Trump is an expression of all the works of the devil. The Seven Deadly Sins: pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, and wrath.

Watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made

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

At this point in the song, the Devil comes around to the original nature of his supposed virtues. The lyrics show that no innocent will escape his attention.

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

If you’re familiar with the song Sympathy for the Devil, you know how the searing guitars and Mick Jagger’s twisting voice turn the melody into a mocking tribute to the kind of all Con Men. He taunts and repeats the refrain, each time making it more obvious that the target of the song is often the perpetrator and a partner with the devil in committing evil deeds.

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

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game, mm yeah

Then the song takes a wicked turn to illustrate the threat of what’s really going on when the devil inside people takes control. Let’s recall that the murder of George Floyd took place right after the news cycle chewed on the death of a black jogger, Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered by shotgun in Georgia earlier this year. The United States has embraced a brand of vigilante justice infecting both the public and the law enforcement world. This has turned the notion of law inside out and upside down. And we should not forget the long line of mass shootings during all this racist brutality as well.

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

And then comes the bitter end, when Sympathy for the Devil wraps its arms around the issue of complicity and favoring those who claim righteousness while doing heinous work. One can almost imagine Donald Trump Tweeting these first few words…

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste…

But the devil finally gives us a warning. Better wise up, people, or you’ll be sucked in.


Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah

From there, the song falls onto a steaming river of lament and teasing when the devil taunts the innocents and calls them honey and sweetie. One can almost imagine the honeys and sweeties at one of Donald Trump’s rallies; those big-haired, blue-eyed blondes in MAGA tee shirts and oversized breasts fawning over the Cheater In Chief. He meets the combined fantasies and treasured taboos of sexual provocateur possessed of great wealth and supposed moral virtue. Yet he also appeals to the Boys Club of politically cuckolded husbands and dispossessed gun-toters hoping for a target to assuage their pent-up rage. But most of all, Trump appeals to the the Victimhood Mentality of rabid apologists who hand on his every sympathetic word. That’s why evangelical Christians seeking a hero flocked to Trump as a communicator of their claims to persecution despite the fact that Christianity is the most privileged of religions in all of American history. It is a perversion of truth for Christians to claim that their liberties are being threatened by granting equal and civil rights to other members of society. And let’s recall that a literal and legalistic brand of Christianity was a principle player in the institution of slavery in the United States.

Do you get it now? Or shall we explain it again?

But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah Oh yeah

One can imagine Trump standing over one of his fired cabinet members, Apprentice proteges or abused political appointments demanding them to repeat his name.

Tell me baby, what’s my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what’s my name
I tell you one time, you’re to blame

Did you catch that last line? That’s the gaslighting part of all this Trumpism. No matter what evil he does, or how many lies and excuses he uses to justify his own incompetency, Trump always tells the world someone else is to blame. Often it is those closest to him that suffer the most. And once he casts them aside, he taunts them publicly.

Oh, right What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

But here’s the sad, sick truth in all this literal sympathy for the devil. Conservatives have long misunderstood and missed the messaging in social protest songs such as this. When Ronald Reagan played Born In the USA at his political rallies, he had no idea that the lyrics indicted all the things he stood for. And that’s what’s going on in America right now. The devil has all the literalists and slogan suckers in his grip, and all they choose to do is blame everyone else for their problems while spewing hate, gaslighting those who question them and filling the Internet with the repeated lies of the devil himself.

So perhaps it’s time to stop showing patience to the deplorable and depraved in this country, these people whose racist instincts and selfish lust for power have supported a man whose delay and denial of the pandemic have cost millions of people their jobs. If this were a different period in history, there would be a rush on the Capitol and Trump would be dragged to the guillotine and his head placed on a spike. Politically at least, that’s what should happen. But we’ll be lucky if we can even conduct a safe and legal election to remove him from office and begin to confront the sympathy for the devil that Trump supporters call Make America Great Again.

Can you guess my name?

Source: LyricFind Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick JaggerSympathy For The Devil lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc. This blog originally published on GenesisFix.Wordpress.com by Christopher Cudworth.

Even Trump can’t bend the laws of nature to his will

Cicada killer

As a child deeply interested in nature, I studied butterflies and learned dozens of species, taking up birding thanks to the gift of a Peterson Field Guide from a knowing aunt, and spent all the time I could outdoors where the world seemed to offer limitless opportunity to find something new every day.

Yet one warm afternoon I got a bit more nature than I expected. While popping tar bubbles and collecting “Fool’s Gold” bits of pyrite from the gravel on a neighborhood street, I heard a loud buzzing noise over my shoulder and turned to find the biggest wasp I had ever seen descending over my head. It was a cicada killer carrying prey back to its underground nest.

At first, horrified by the size, then fascinated by this massive insect, I watched it land and drag a cicada carcass into a hole in the Pennsylvania clay.

Although I well knew that aspects of nature could be vicious––our own feral cat had proved that to me by dispatching birds and chipmunks multiple times––that encounter with the cicada killer shattered my expectations of how forceful our world could be.

Force of nature

But it didn’t end there. Later in life, I learned that certain kinds of wasps will lay eggs in the bodies of larger caterpillars, whose innards become food for the young of the wasp once they emerge. Parasitoid wasps actually prey on all sorts of other living creatures, with some focusing on aphids, which is why some gardeners welcome the sneaky beasts into their world.

The world is full of predator-prey relationships, many with brutal consequences. Nature usually finds a balance if evolution is left to work its magic. But the human race is known to mess up this equilibrium by introducing entirely new or “invasive” species into an ecosystem. Without any natural predators or systems to keep them in check, these species can run amok, overtaking the natural environment with often devastating force.

We see invasive plant species such as garlic mustard covering woodland floors, shutting out light vital to native wildflowers. Out in the marshes, it is purple loosestrife that propagates like mad. There are also bird species such as European starlings and House sparrows that upon release into North America flourished and flooded the countryside with their aggressive ways.

Murder hornets

The latest predatory and somewhat parasitic species to invade the United States is a species of wasp called the Japanese Murder hornet. Specimens of this robust and vicious wasp have been found in the Pacific Northwest, leading some to worry that they might expand across the country and decimate honeybee populations. That problem would only worsen the challenges faced by beekeepers during a period when massive hive die-offs are common, and whose cause is not entirely known.

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 4.20.22 PM

Whether Murder hornets will make way across the fifty states remains to be seen. One expert quoted in a Business Insider article played down the threat: “It’s not an existential threat to mankind or to the US or to our honeybee industry to have,” Doug Yanega told Business Insider. “Even if they do get established and build a foothold here, the scale of the threat is greatly overblown.”

Another entomologist quoted in the Post-Crescent, a Wisconsin newspaper, noted: “This whole ‘murder hornet’ thing is annoying to entomologists, I think,” Draney said. “It just freaks people out and sort of unnecessarily makes people nervous.”

Coronavirus

outbreak-coronavirus-world-1024x506px

People are nervous about quite a few threats these days. The invasion of the Coronavirus in America has shut down the economy and cost 30 million people their jobs. The virus is an evolutionary wonder of its own, a “novel” bug that has no predecessor among human beings. That makes it more dangerous to contain because there are no antidotes or antibodies developed to combat the tiny beast. Thus it presents an existential threat to millions of people around the world.

Here in the United States, response to the Coronavirus bug was slow and ponderous. That’s because the main person in charge of pondering the issue is himself a bit of an apex predator and by some reckonings, a parasite of the first and final order.

Orange Donald too

A real (estate) parasite

Back in the days when Trump was making his way in the New York Real Estate market, he refined his predatory tactics through manipulation of rent controls and valuations, playing up the worth of his properties when it suited his ego and playing them down when it benefited his tax needs.

But his parasitic instincts flared into action when the Real Estate market crash threatened the nation in 2007. As NBC News reported, “Donald Trump counseled Trump University students to take advantage of the housing bubble as an investment opportunity and said, just a year before it burst, that he was “excited” for it to end because of the money he’d make.

“People have been talking about the end of the cycle for 12 years, and I’m excited if it is,’ he told the Globe and Mail in March of 2007. “I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.”

At that time, the housing market was already beginning to decline, and just over a year later the subprime mortgage crisis hit, part of a chain reaction of events that led to the stock market crash of 2008 and cemented the Great Recession.”

Predator and parasite combined

Orange Donald

That is Trump the predator and parasite coming together in one devilish creature. The NBC News story originally published in 2016 is all the more revealing now that Trump University was punished for defrauding the students it claimed to educate. Not only was Trump eager to parasitize the economy on which his supposed wealth depends, but he was also sucking money out of people for fake wisdom.

But we’ve long known that Trump knows how to leverage his vicious nature better than most. His television show The Apprentice celebrated his love of dispatching those he considered inferior with the famous phrase, “You’re fired!”

There’s an interesting parallel between the behavior of Donald Trump and the Murder Hornets whose habits include honeybee hive genocide and then carting off the carcasses of its victims to feed to its children. He claims to love chaos and seems happiest when tearing his victims apart. Perhaps the sociopathy of nature really does trickle up the food chain to gain expression in the human race. Supposedly our species is capable of transcending survival of the fittest and its “red in tooth and claw” dynamics. Yet the wars and political battles common to our kind do not suggest we’re all that better than the creatures over whom we claim dominion. That is why so many sociopaths seem to succeed. They appeal to a certain base instinct to dispatch the opposition at any cost. Trump is their Murder Hornet King, the face of domination and revenge.

Murder Hornet Trump

Political murder hornet

After years of eviscerating victims on The Apprentice, Trump was elected President of the United States and kept playing the same role, only this time the reality show was not semi-scripted. It was live and in-person. So whether the contestant was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who branded Trump a “moron,” or former FBI director James Comey, who did Trump a symbiotic electoral favor by glorifying the trumped-up case against Hillary Clinton and her dreaded emails, Trump went at his mission indiscriminately. Any buzz of disloyalty was sufficient to make Trump go full-on murder hornet. 

And when anyone threatens to hold him accountable for his lack of accountability or Tweets designed to sting his perceived opponents to death, Trump claims that it is his natural right to do such things, and nothing anyone says or does can stop him.

The taste of prey

Even after the Mueller team uncovered Russian interference in the 2016 election and turned in multiple indictments people in the President’s close circle,  Trump claimed innocence and embarked on a new and horrifically bald-faced attempt to bring foreign influence to bear on American elections. He targeted Joe Biden by coercing the President of Ukraine to conduct an investigation into Hunter Biden. That political murder plot exposed by a whistleblower. There are always guardian bees or ants in nature that are willing to sacrifice themselves to defend the colony.

But Trump loves invasive species, you see. He embraced Wikileaks because it helped him break down the value of laws in the United States, freeing him to flaunt our Constitution and the natural limits of the Executive Office itself.

The invasive coronavirus

Trump shrug

This brings us to Trump’s non-response to the invasion of the Coronavirus in America. At some level, Trump likely admired the cunning tactics of the Chinese government that kept the virus secret until it knew what it wanted to do about it. Who knew that a virus living in bats could make the leap over to human beings? Actually, people like Dr. Anthony Fauci and the entire Pandemic Response Team that was told by Trump “You’re fired!” knew quite a bit about the potential problems caused by viruses of that type. Researchers had spent years studying Coronaviruses of many types. Predictions were made that it wasn’t a matter of “if” such a virus would threaten the human population, but “when.”

The fact of the matter is that Trump refused to believe yet desperately feared that his perfect economy could be affected by news of a potential pandemic. The fat caterpillar on which his eyes were trained was getting re-elected in November of 2020. Trump’s goal is to lay his eggs in the American government to the benefit of his progeny; Ivanka, Jared, the Trump boys, and ultimately his nearly invisible son Barron.

Parasite in Chief

lamphrey-getty-01

Trump is indeed the Parasite In Chief, a predator so cunning and absorbed in his mission that he failed to see that a much smaller parasite was coming up from behind. It laid its eggs as he sat dormant in his brooding complex surrounded by the buzzing sycophants who guard the dark lair from journalists and other such pests. If Trump had his way, he’d fly out and bite off the heads of every reporter he could find.

His popularity with his base is built on such instincts. They view Washington as a brood of termites gnawing away at the foundations of the American household. Trump was elected to be their can of Raid. The more poison he spewed, the more favor he won among those who favor a scorched earth result. Those instincts were verified when Trump claimed at a campaign rally that he could shoot someone and he would still be on top. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said.

That’s a murder hornet philosophy if there ever was one. Trump is indeed a unique and invasive species in American politics. His symbiotic relationship with Russia includes the parasitic ploy of trusting Russian social media trolls to inject seeds of discontent among the aphids he calls his base. Meanwhile, Trump occupies himself by buzzing around with other murder hornets such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Turkish kingpin Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose political career Trump would dearly love to emulate. As described on Wikipedia: “As a long-standing proponent of changing Turkey’s parliamentary system of government into an executive presidency, Erdoğan formed an alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to establish an executive presidency in 2017, where the changes were accepted in a constitutional referendum.”

King of the Hoppers

That’s the type of power and authority Donald Trump truly craves. Yet his predatory brand of narcissism caused him to focus on his own ego during the one moment when that brand of authority could truly have been his to wield. Trump preeningly tried to brush away the threat of a pandemic, insisting it would disappear “like magic” simply because he willed it to be so.

“It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.

His power was so great, he repeatedly Tweeted, that nothing bad could happen to the economy.

The Grand Parasite

Trump-golf-seated

On that topic, Trump is also a grand parasite. He did nothing to build to the economy that he inherited from eight years of hard work by President Obama, whose leadership helped the country recover from the Bush-led Great Recession.

Even in the midst of that effort, Obama got blowback from his political opponents when he had the nerve to inform business interests that the government was critical in providing the infrastructure needed for their success.

He stated, “You did not build that” in talking about the nation’s investment in that infrastructure. But conservatives took that to literally mean they had not built their businesses. That’s how selfish people can be when they don’t want to owe anything to anyone.

And that’s the reason Trump got elected. The selfish horde of Americans whose spit and prejudicial spit rained down upon Obama could not stand the idea that a Democrat had saved their asses.

Wasting away

Now Trump has quickly squandered everything that Obama did create. The tariffs imposed by Trump gutted agricultural markets. The tax cuts he favored sent the national deficit soaring. Now his feckless and lazy response to the pandemic has cost millions of American jobs and the nation is headed toward yet another Republican-led recession.

It should be noted that every Republican President from Eisenhower to Trump has trashed the economy enough to cause a recession. That’s the real pandemic in America:  Republican economic policy. It sickens the nation every time by infecting the country with the attitude that it is the job of United States citizens to feed and support the rich so that jobs and money can trickle down to the everyday worker.

Hopper king ants

In that respect, we should consider the plot of the movie A Bug’s Life, in which a nasty King Hopper brings his horde to bear on the ant colony. Their goal is to mercilessly clean out the stores of the ants for their own purposes. Yet the ant colony musters enough courage to resist King Hopper thanks to an oddly liberal batch of circus performers whose act serves as both a distraction and an act of resistance. Their colorful display distracts the grasshopper mob long enough for a band of ants to fly a fake bird down from a tree to scare the daylights out of King Hopper and his deplorable clan.

Thumper

Yet that’s not the end of the story. When King Hopper sees through the ruse and labels it Fake News, he goes off in mad pursuit to kill the Whistleblower ant that led the charge in standing up to the bullying ways of Hopper and his base. But the ant flees until it arrives at the lair of a hungry bird, who grabs Hopper in its bill and feeds the hapless insect to its beckoning young. What a fitting end that would be for the likes of Donald Trump, the President determined to terrorize a nation into doing his bidding.

There’s a moral to every tale in nature. No one is immune to the forces of natural justice in this universe. Not even those who try so desperately to break its laws and bend the truth to serve selfish objectives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coronavirus is proof that creationism is a deadly worldview

Balls

The Coronavirus pandemic is not just a medical and cultural threat. It is also a lesson in theology. The idea that human beings are “specially created” beings that stand apart from the rest of nature has been blown asunder, and forever, by the fact that this virus and many thousands of others are threats to human existence and known to jump from the rest of the animal world to infect us.

So much for the creationist contention that God spares human beings from such humble roots. Our gut bacteria was already proof that we’re biologically dependent and derived from the raw stuff of creation. But this novel disease has put an all-new face on the fact that human beings share our guts and DNA with every other living thing on earth.

Denial still rules

Yet despite this biological threat to human health, there are Christians in strong denial of the dangers posed by Covid-19, the deadly disease caused by the novel Coronavirus. Some pastors have openly defied governmental orders not to assemble due to the risk of spreading the disease. Others claim that their religious freedom is being restricted by orders not to hold public gatherings. Perhaps the belief is that people sitting together in prayer are immune to the disease? But given clear evidence that church is no protection from the disease, it is legitimate to ask if pastors and other religious leaders really care if their congregations live or die? Cynics have questioned whether some of these pastors care more about the contents of the collection plate than the lives of the people in their pews.

Misguided beliefs

It is far more likely that it is the idea of giving up some aspect of religious authority that makes pastors so defiant toward the public safety recommendations issued by government, medical or scientific sources. Among all the perceived threats to orthodoxy, it is religious authority itself to which its advocates so ardently cling and become anxious, angry and resentful when challenged.

John the Baptist and Jesus both dealt with that problem in the religious authorities of their day. Martin Luther later challenged the Catholic Church over its imposition of indulgences and today’s selfish televangelists rake in millions of dollars in tithes and offerings but when a public crisis hits, their voices suddenly go silent, their church doors close, and they look for ways to blame those they hate for the crisis.

But most just hide behind the protection of their personal mansions until it is safe to come out again. In other words, they are theological hypocrites who couldn’t give a rat’s ass or a bat’s wing about the lives of people on whom they depend for their wealth.

Special creation indeed

IMG_3787

Perhaps these religious leaders really are encouraged to flaunt scientific and medical advice based on the biblically literal notion that human beings are “specially created” and somehow immune to a deadly disease that reputedly sprung from the flesh of bat. Instead, creationists console themselves with the biblically literal notion that God molded human flesh out of dust from the earth, and that we have nothing much to do with all that DNA and genetics stuff that connects us to the rest of the world. That’s the worldview of theological hacks like Ken Ham, progenitor of the Answers In Genesiswebsite and its expensive temples constructed to cater to his ego, the Creation Museumand The Ark Encounter.

Supposedly these websites and facilities provide answers to all of life’s pressing questions about the origins of life, including ‘science’ in the name of God. Yet during this Coronavirus pandemic not a word of insight, advice or practical solutions emanate from the likes of Ken Ham and his ham-handed assemblage of quitter scientists. They are all theological and scientific frauds hiding behind a grand excuse to make money on the creationist schtick.

Anachronism and crisis

And people die because anachronistic beliefs have nothing to offer us in the face of a medical crisis. Thoughts and prayers do nothing, or else people would be indeed huddled in churches rather than dying in overcrowded hospitals. Medicine and science works because it depends on knowledge from the theory of evolution to determine how viruses mutate, replicate and transmit from one living thing to another. It takes an idiot to choose wishful thinking over medical cures for disease. Creationism is a deadly worldview.

It is only an egotistically naive desire to feel better than the rest of nature that drives creationists to such selfish extremes. But the Coronavirus isn’t choosy about who it infects or how well they survive. It only does what it was designed to do, mutate and move on. In that respect, it seems like a heartless invention of God to create such killers. If that’s how it works, it is the religiously literal that have the most to answer for, not those who understand that the human condition is an evolutionary function just like everything else in the universe.

 

Trump’s dishonesty just as dangerous as the Coronavirus

url

The chief problem America faces right now is a potential pandemic with Coronavirus spreading rapidly. A disease specialist named Michael Osterholm that was interviewed on the Joe Rogan show predicts the virus is just beginning to show its impact. Interestingly, he notes that children are some of the people least likely to be infected while adults in their forties and beyond are most susceptible. He also says that the disease spreads both by physical contact and through the air. This is new information to many of us.

Newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune have begun to release information from disease specialists as well. That is the function of a free press, to educate people without the barrier of censorship or control by factions that might benefit from controlling or influencing public opinion. In this case, good information can mean the difference between life and death.

That is where the Coronavirus pandemic intersects with the dishonesty of the Trump administration, whose immediate goal in addressing the disease was first trying to ignore the threat, then moving to control the flow of information distributed to the public. This included blocking experts on disease control from informing the public. Instead, the Trump administration and especially its specious leader, Donald J. Trump, sought to play down the risks and pump up the volume on how, according to Mr. Trump, the disease would “go away.”

Trump even compared this approach to the “perfect” phone call he made to the President of Ukraine. That call led to Trump’s impeachment after multiple officials associated with or managed by the Trump administration testified their concerns about the manifest corruption at work in the President’s efforts to bribe, coerce or manipulate Ukraine into announcing an investigation of Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, who just now swept a sea of delegates into his corner after a Tuesday election.

That dishonest action was deserving of impeachment along with the obstruction of justice that followed. Along the way, Trump blocked or attempted to block testimony that might compromise his own versions (and they were multiple) of what he calls “truth.”

Meanwhile, Trump maligns the press as “fake news” because it refuses to comply with that approach to information dispensation, otherwise known as propaganda.

It all led to a Constitutional crisis in which the House delivered articles of impeachment to the Senate, a body that first took an oath to conduct a full and honest trial and then refused to allow additional testimony even while confessions trickled out that Republican Senators knew that Trump had abused his power. But they were too afraid to vote using whatever shriveled notion of conscience they had left, and Trump was ostensibly exonerated.

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791

This rewarded Trump’s dishonesty, and he loves it when that happens. His entire career is a testament to “winning” but he seems to love it best when it hurts others. That’s why he ran a show called The Apprentice in which he got to bully contestants by telling them, “You’re fired.”

In an article produced by a professor named Prof. David Honig of Indiana University, who teaches negotiation to college students, he examines Trump’s preferred method of achieving success. It is always the all-or-nothing approach in which he benefits. Honig notes that rather than approach negotiations through integrative bargaining, where both sides collaborate for mutual benefit, Trump prefers ‘distributive bargaining,’ in which he sees success as him winning when the other guy loses.

Honig writes: “Distributive bargaining always has a winner and a loser. It happens when there is a fixed quantity of something and two sides are fighting over how it gets distributed. Think of it as a pie and you’re fighting over who gets how many pieces. In Trump’s world, the bargaining was for a building, or for construction work, or subcontractors. He perceives a successful bargain as one in which there is a winner and a loser, so if he pays less than the seller wants, he wins. The more he saves the more he wins.”

Distributive bargaining has another facet that is not mentioned in Honig’s article, likely because he maintains the perspective of a teacher. But distributive bargaining has an even darker side than the tactics he mentions. Among its keen practitioners, distributive bargaining embraces the harsh philosophy that the ends justifies the means. In other words, even dishonest dealings are allowable if it means winning the day.

That’s why Trump’s dishonesty is now more dangerous than the Coronavirus itself. His emphatic claims that the disease poses no threat to the American way of life are just another case of distributive bargaining. But this time, he’s trying to bilk the American people into embracing a worldview that will literally kill people, possibly hundreds of thousands of people. Don’t get me wrong: Trump is not responsible for the Coronavirus or its spread in this country. But his selfish desire to have it just “go away” in an election year when he feels his power being threatened by forces outside of his control are an offense to his notion of distributive bargaining.

Hannity

And if Trump feels there is no way he can win, he resorts to his most effective tactic of all. He lies, and then repeats the lies. Then he hire or forces other people to repeat the lies. His lawyers. His media buddies. Then he accuses those of questioning his lies of promoting “fake news.” This is Donald Trump’s entire way of life. It is how he has gotten him everything he wanted except one thing: actual respect.

But we don’t owe Donald Trump any respect when he lies to us. This is not about “respecting the presidency” anymore. Trump has blown through that protection ten times over. His properties and his children are stealing taxpayer money and enriching themselves through forced purchases and international contacts that funnel money back to the Trump family. Trump’s own University was convicted of fraud and fined $25M. His foundation was proven to be corrupt. There is nothing honest going on with Donald J. Trump at all. His thousands of lies to the American people on every subject he addresses are well-documented.

And how he’s lying to protect his precious economy, a benefit that he dishonestly claims as a product of his own policies. And even that is a lie, as President Obama’s economic performance the last three years of his two terms in office beat Trump’s any way you slice it. That means Trump got to sail along for three years, all while doling out tax cuts to the rich and lying to the middle class that they would be permanently “better off” once growth rates of 6% took over.

Donald Trump's proposed golf course

That was a lie too. He will lie until his hair stands on end if he thinks it will help him “win” somehow.

But the Big Lie that Coronavirus is harmless is one of the most dangerous of its kind. Experts such as Michael Osterholm project that 48M people could be infected before this is through. That does not mean they’ll all die. And it doesn’t mean we have to panic.

But being smart is critical in times like these. That’s not what Trump has been doing so far. He’s telling us all to choose to be willingly ignorant and believe that he’s got this thing under control through his “natural ability” to divine the seriousness of any matter under the sun. But most of all, he fears that the one illusion holding him afloat, economic prosperity, is now being yanked like that combover on his head in a high wind.

But Trump clings to the virus of dishonesty because it sickens his detractors and gives his supporters a supposed immunity to the truth. That describes the entire legacy of the Trump presidency and the sickening support his faithful lend to his credulity.

That is the real sickness in America.

 

It isn’t Capitalism or Socialism that is the problem, it is Selfishism

“How is your 401K doing?”

That five-word challenge has been the battle cry of Trump supporters for the last three years. It is the ultimate “ends justifies the means” statement on what being a citizen of the United States is supposedly about.

It is also selfish and shallow as hell to think that the only pertinent thing about life is the near-term state of the economy. We all know how economics works. The markets go up and stay up for a while, then they go down again. These trends occur in cycles and none of the ups and downs have ever proven to be permanent.

bush911

The last time the economic markets experienced a “correction” was in the 2007-2009 period as President George W. Bush left office and President Barack H. Obama became President of the United States. The economy recovered slowly and modestly at first under Obama’s watch. Then it solidified and set a course on which the economy has sailed during three years under President Donald J. Trump.

The last three years of Obama’s term actually showed stronger job increases and economic growth rates than the Trump era. Yet somehow people who support Trump love to claim that their guy is the one who made America great again.

The sad fact is that Trump and the GOP aggressively hinted that economic growth in the wake of broad-based tax cuts might reach the 6% range. That brand of white-hot growth never materialized. The result has been a projected increase in the national deficit of $8.3 trillion, ironic considering that Trump also promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

melania-trump-donald-trump-020380f2-6db7-4202-b16c-b737c623c9e2

That hasn’t stopped Trump supporters from trumpeting the supposedly superior state of the Trump economy. But fractures in the market-based belief quickly appeared when global supply chains ground to a standstill as the Coronavirus epidemic started killing people.

Trump is clearly panicked about his economic perch.

In response, his administration moved to censor press conferences and control messaging by funneling all Coronavirus news through Vice President Mike Pence. That act alone is evidence of the selfish style of management for which the Trump presidency has become known.

It also showed up in his impeachable actions in trying to coerce the nation of Ukraine to conduct an investigation of his perceived political rival Joe Biden. Trump used governmental resources to pursue the selfish ambitions of his re-election. One of the President’s lawyers even had the gall to claim that such selfish actions were in the nation’s best interests because anything the President does automatically qualifies in that category.

Those selfish instincts seem to be greatly admired by Trump supporters whose cheering attendance at his rallies borders on cult worship. And speaking of worship, even Christian evangelicals have chosen to excuse Trump’s inherently selfish nature with the self-serving claim that “God works with flawed people.” 

IMG_6707

It’s all part of the same Selfishism that insists on dismissing facts in favor of self-serving ideology. On the religious front, that practice has a long tradition as a faith once built on disciples going two-by-two into the world to spread the Good News consolidated under Roman power. In turn, it became a force of persecution, legalism, support of slavery and even genocide. All these were done in the name of tradition and for selfish reasons.

That’s how we got where we are today. The market system known as Capitalism rewards the selfish behavior of the powerful when left unchecked by any sort of social contract. That’s why the United States of America implemented the New Deal in the wake of the Great Depression. It was a recognition that Selfishism is the most destructive force of all in this world.

So claims that America is a “Christian Nation” in law or spirit have proven wrong time and again by those claiming to be Christian. Nothing in the ideology of Donald Trump is remotely Christian in the earnest sense of the word. Yet many Christians have the gall to claim that Trump was literally installed by God to carry out his selfish whims, and that is precisely what they are. Trump is an opportunist and a demonstrated fraud when it comes to his business dealings. Even his own University was proven to be fraudulent, and so was his own foundation. Both were corrupted by his selfish desire to leverage his name without giving value back and to siphon money given for charitable purposes into his own coffers.

Trump and G

Selfishism is what Trumpism is all about.

The United States of America will collapse as a democracy and a republic if the selfish instincts of people claiming to be dispossessed while embracing and preaching the doctrine of prejudice, bigotry and getting rich at all costs that Donald Trump espouses in more than dog-whistle fashion. He selfishly flaunts those values while mocking the free press for pointing out his lies and ridiculing responsible politicians for trying to hold him accountable.

He was impeached, but he is not contrite. It is telling that the faction of religious believers who love to blame America’s ills on gays or abortion or science are silent on the fact that the Coronavirus has emerged from the ether to threaten the autocratic stability of a President so concerned about himself that he can’t even admit that people are dying under his watch. Selfishism is the ultimate killer in this world, and it deserves its own political moniker. Sooner, rather than later.

The irony of lung cancer and Rush Limbaugh

I’ve been a Rush Limbaugh “listener” for several decades now. I’ve heard him proclaim that there’s no such thing as hunger in America. I also heard him purposely conflate the term “personal autonomy” with “personal anarchy” while discussing how Dr. Jack Kervorkian described people making choices related to end-of-life decisions.

Today’s story in the Chicago Tribune quotes Limbaugh saying that he’s engaging a much more personal relationship with God now that he’s diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer. I recently had a friend and former coach die of that disease. He was a lifetime smoker and it finally caught up with him.

On that subject Limbaugh once prevaricated that we should all be thanking smokers for their contribution to the world. As recorded in a direct transcript from his live radio show, he conducted this conversation with a caller about the subject of smoking.

ThankYouSmokingOLF

CALLER: Earlier you were saying about smoking, that people ought to be thankful that there are smokers, because the money gotten from smoking helps to fund all these child programs and everything? But that’s like saying I’m glad that there’s bumper accidents because then auto mechanics would still have jobs and it improves the economy. Or knives. It’s a good thing that people cut themselves because that’s good for the bandage industry. That’s just my opinion.

RUSH: Well, now, wait. Hold it, hold it just a second. I’m sure the hospital industry would agree with you that they support knives, there wouldn’t be scalpels without knives.

CALLER: No. They’re not doing it on purpose, now. Wait a minute. People in hospitals that are —

RUSH: Hey, you need bandages.

CALLER: You’re doing that to cure somebody. They’re not doing that to hurt anybody.

The Caller hit a sore point with Limbaugh in that last statement. Rush has always claimed he’s trying to help America with his cut-and-dried brand of ideological advocacy. He once raved out loud that it was tough luck if some people couldn’t see well at night when vehicles equipped with high-intensity headlights blinded them. In other words, it’s never been caring about others than Limbaugh has advocated. He has been the King of Selfish Motivations for many decades, and now it’s come back to haunt him. Immediately after the initial exchange with his concerned caller, Limbaugh conducted a harsh yet brief tirade in defense of smokers.

RUSH: Well, smokers aren’t killing anybody.

CALLER: Except themselves.

RUSH: Yeah, but how long does it take?

That question is about to be answered for Limbaugh. It may indeed take a while for him to die, or it may snatch him overnight. He’s never appeared to be the picture of health, given his heavy lean toward obesity and an addiction to pain pills that turned him into a criminal of sorts to get his fix.

But he’s never been much for serious contrition about a single thing in his life. He instead claims to not suffer fools gladly, and that includes denying any form of science that contradicts his closely held beliefs in his own brand of “personal autonomy.”

The day that Rush stood on his soapbox bragging about the benefits of smoking, the Caller went on to bring up another topic

CALLER: — secondhand smoke.

RUSH: No. You can’t. That is a myth. That has been disproven at the World Health Organization and the report was suppressed. There is no fatality whatsoever. There’s no even major sickness component associated with secondhand smoke. It may irritate you, and you may not like it, but it will not make you sick, and it will not kill you.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: Firsthand smoke takes 50 years to kill people, if it does. Not everybody that smokes gets cancer. Now, it’s true that everybody who smokes dies, but so does everyone who eats carrots.

Right there we have the horrific template for dismissing serious issues using simplistic examples. The same held true when Senator Jim Inhofe held aloft a snowball as evidence that climate change is a hoax.

Limbaugh is a fool about the subject of smoking, and many others. The real costs of smoking are documented in a Reuters story published in December, 2014:

APP-080819-Climate-Change-GLobal-Warming-HOAX

“Hoax” is a favorite word of ideological propagandists.

(Reuters) – Of every $10 spent on healthcare in the U.S., almost 90 cents is due to smoking, a new analysis says.

Using recent health and medical spending surveys, researchers calculated that 8.7 percent of all healthcare spending, or $170 billion a year, is for illness caused by tobacco smoke, and public programs like Medicare and Medicaid paid for most of these costs.

“Fifty years after the first Surgeon General’s report, tobacco use remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease, despite declines in adult cigarette smoking prevalence,” said Xin Xu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who led the study.”

The examples we could list here of subjects in which Limbaugh purposely obscured the real costs of willful disregard for personal and public health are legendary and  manifold. Here’s what the stubbornly ignorant Limbaugh said on his radio show about the subject of climate change:

RUSH: By the way, have you seen the latest lame attempt on this? You know what now, folks? Food crops are getting much harder to grow. Oh, yes! Climate change. Climate change has affected the pH of the soil. Climate change is causing soil to become more arid. Climate change is making it really, really, really tough on farmers to grow more food. We are on the verge of predictable starvation! They know no limits.

The dirty little secret about climate change, whether it’s man-made or not, is when it does happen, there’s gonna be a whole lot of the world that’s gonna be capable of growing food that now can’t, if they’re right. There’s no argument from here that the climate is not changing. Only a fool would say that is because the climate is constantly changing. We go ice age, we go dark age, we go sun age, we go oppressively hot; nobody can survive this. Earth has been around a long time.”

Gaslighting America

This is Rush Limbaugh seeking to dismiss human influence on climate change. In other words, it is a direct attempt to avoid personal responsibility for a problem that people can fix if they put their mind to it. But Rush Limbaugh and his listeners don’t like to admit the need to change, and that’s deplorable. They don’t like to confront challenges ranging from racist outlooks to religious fears of science. They prefer instead to ignore the fact there is a problem while claiming that smoking or toxic greenhouse gasses provide a benefit to the world. That’s called gaslighting. It’s an attempt to abuse truth in favor of selfish, controlling behavior. And it’s rampant in America right now. Rush Limbaugh is a big reason for these attitudes.

Fixing problems 

IMG_3787Now the whole world is having trouble breathing, and the cancer that is causing it is human activity. We are responsible for the fix we’re in.

And like Limbaugh, some turn quickly to God looking for a fix and a cure. Some even deign to claim that the destruction of the earth is itself God’s Will, and that we are only helping to bring that about.

That’s a killer philosophy, a pathology of the spirit aptly expressed by the likes of Donald Trump in his cloying attempts to recruit evangelicals to his side in a relentless pursuit of power. Trump preaches the depressingly nihilistic religion of the selfish, ignorant and fearful who love to claim absolute authority even as their worldview proves to be a cancer on everything it touches. It is willful naivete disguised as wisdom.

Proponents of willful naivete place their hopes in the near-term glory of a healthy economy, yet economic markets shudder at the merest hint of the newest flu virus whether it emerges from a snake, a monkey, a pig or a bird.

They claim Christian virtues by insisting that the nation can never come to true harm under the providence of God. Yet scripture documents the many ways people ignored the prophets in favor of selfish desires and aims. Nature and God combined to crush those cultures and empires for their hubris. A selective reading of scripture can produce whatever justification one desires, and the Christian religion has done that for nearly two millennia, killing Jews for the literal death of Jesus, a battle cry adopted by Adolf Hitler who justified the Holocaust by saying, and we paraphrase, “We are only doing what the Christian religion has been doing for 1500 years.”

Prejudice as principle

That brand of prejudicial hubris is precisely what Rush Limbaugh has preached and propagandized in America for three decades. His targeting of “liberals” has turned the ire of authoritarian believers into a murderous cabal craving absolute control over the American populace. His strain of political cancer now attacks the core of constitutional law in a Senate that refuses to hold a corrupt President accountable because it is too inconvenient to treat that cancer with the chemotherapy of impeachment. “It would be too rough on the country,” some Senators insist. This is what happens when prejudice is substituted for principle.

The realities of cancer

I’ve had friends die of cancer. I’ve had a wife die of cancer after eight years of survivorship. My mother died of cancer, but she passed much more quickly. In her case it was a mercy. In my wife’s case it was a journey. So I know what it means to confront cancer and to trust in God and friends to help deal with its concussive effects, whatever they may be.

I don’t wish those difficulties on anyone. But one cannot help recognize the irony of the unique brand of cancer now scourging Rush Limbaugh’s body. He’s already experiencing shortness of breath. Perhaps the doctors can save his life. Yet one wonders whether anyone is capable of saving his clearly vindictive soul. That is the challenge Rush Limbaugh truly needs to face, because he’s spent thirty years wishing evil upon those he abhors and hates. So we’ll see. Sometimes cancer changes people. And wouldn’t that be a remarkable outcome for one of the most cancerous personalities in American history?

 

 

 

Mixing God, religion and business

How biblical literalism affects politics, culture and the environmentMy 2007 book The Genesis Fix examined how religion affects politics, culture and the environment. This excerpt describes how some people like to fuse the three into one.

“Part of the reason doctrinal politics, economic aggression, and triumphal religious language make such a potent combination is that all three appeal to a sense of personal pride. Some people refuse to distinguish between the three. For a potent illustration of faith at play in the real world of business, we quote the May 5, 2001 obituary of one Carl Bagge, a successful businessman, former leader of the National Mining Association and former National Coal Chief. Mr. Bagge’s obituary outlined the passionate manner with which he did business as a strong proponent on behalf of the coal industry and coal-burning electrical plants. Mr. Bagge called clean-air groups “environmental elitists,” declaring evidence that acid rain came from the pollution generated by coal plants “inconclusive.” He also apparently saw his work on behalf of the coal industry as a religious mission. In reference to his occupation, he was quoted as saying; “We’re doing the Lord’s work here, people. Anybody who doesn’t believe that may as well leave, go and work for the other side.” When Mr. Bagge became president of the National Coal Association, he changed the group’s number to 202-GOD-COAL to reaffirm for its members that was the only force that could keep them from their aims. The number is still in use. 

Mr. Bagge exemplifies the manner in which some people freely mix religion and corporate aims. People who have pride in their religion and their work often find it hard to keep the two separate.  The only problem with a close relationship between faith and business is that close an association has been known to corrupt both.”