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.

 

 

 

 

Are we supposed to be impressed by Republican failures?

911-terrorist-attack

An explosion rips through the South Tower of the World Trade Towers… “after the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, which departed from Boston en route for Los Angeles, crashed into it Sept, 11, 2001. The North Tower is shown burning after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the tower at 8:45 a.m.” But of course, many people now question this narrative. and have come to recognize this event for what it was, a symbol of Republican failure to protect of govern the nation in any effective way. 

It has been difficult since the 9/11 tragedy to get the rational attention of any Republican in America. The narrative goes like this: Everything our nation did was necessary to protect our national security and sovereignty.

Of course, the source of that narrative fails to recall that 9/11 happened under Republican watch. A Republican administration failed us miserably in translating reasonable intelligence into actionable defense.

And to make matters worse, the Bush administration took their own failures and turned them into excuses to invade Iraq, a nation that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Thousands of soldiers gave their lives and tens of thousands more were maimed for life for reasons that changed by the week during the Iraq War.

This was a massive failure of conscience by the Republican Party, which through fear and manipulation and falsified evidence convinced hawkish Democrats to go along with the plan for imperialistic attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Collapse

Meanwhile, domestic issues such as financial regulation and infrastructure repairs were either pushed to the backburner or ignored completely as America poured trillions of unbudgeted cash into the “war” efforts. The result was nearly a complete collapse of the free-market system in America. The supposed defenders of capitalism and enterprise absolutely failed in their duty to monitor and foster a health economy.

And as if that were not enough, America failed by committing blatant abused of civil and personal rights at home and abroad. Our soldiers tortured and even killed prisoners in Iraq and in black sites around the world. All were done under the watch of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans while our leaders callously refused to engage and assist those in dire emergency situations. This was a brand of torture on a grand domestic scale, like waterboarding an entire city and blaming the victims for their weakness.

Without conscience

Republicans failed to govern with a conscience in the majority when they held the presidency, all of Congress and Senate, and the Supreme Court as well. Instead, they passed self-serving legislation such as Citizens United, called corporations people and pretended the Patriot Act was not a major invasion of personal privacy.

Where did the principles of the Republican Party go? Why have conservatives failed so miserably when the opportunity to govern has been laid in their lap? The answers are painful and simple. The only thing Republicans know how to do well is breed the brand of fear that helps them get elected and hold power. Beyond that, the conservative movement in America is bankrupt in ideas on how to make the nation a better place to live.

Standard issue

Oh, we all know the standard claims that conservatives love to make. Cut taxes for the jobs creators. Well, they did that and the economy crashed anyway. Conservatives also want to privatize Social Security and kill Medicare. Yet those programs are the only source of income and healthcare for millions upon millions of Americans whose long investment in the American economy is merely being repaid by the collective power of money put in trust with the government. Is that such a bad thing, that people in old age should expect to live with some source of financial security and medical protection?

Republicans seem to think so. They brand Social Security and Medicare a “failure,” but on what basis? They claim Americans can “do better” using the free market to plan for retirement and pay for medical expenses in old age.

These are lies carefully couched in political jargon. The economic crash of 2008 proved beyond doubt that no form of investment vehicle, not even the family home, is immune from the devastating cut from market forces when speculation is allowed to run rampant in the market. Some people lost their homes and their entire investment portfolios, forcing millions of retirees back into the labor force where their age and their time away from work were instantly counted against them.

This is a failure of both reason and economic sense. Because on the other end of the market there were millions of young people seeking employment and finding the labor market jammed with aggressively defensive Baby Boomers trying like hell to keep their jobs knowing that their earnings and saving might not be protection for the future.

The 2016 Election

And that brings us to the election of 2016 and the candidate the Republican Party has advanced for consideration as President of the United States. For eight years Republicans have complained that Barack Obama has ruined the economy. Yet the facts tell a different story. Every month when the reports come out there are tens of thousands of new people hired back into the workforce. Every economic indicator under the sun points to recovery for the economy. Of course the national debt and deficits are still a problem. We spent our way into a hole trying to correct the devastating actions of Bush and Cheney and their ilk. But Republicans blame Obama for these imbalances.

This worldview is divorced from the reality of massive Republican failures to govern or legislate with any effect of conscience the last eight years. Congress is supposed to pass laws and the Senate is supposed to conceive and implement positive changes for the pursuit of health and happiness according to the Constitution. Instead, both branches of government whined and moaned about Obamacare and even shut down the government in a whining attempt to get their way, and a refusal to compromise in any way.

Trump is a boil on America’s ass

alg-donald-trump-jpgThis is not an American form of government. It is despotism. So it is no coincidence that a massive failure of good judgement and conscience such as Donald Trump has ascended to the throne of the Republican Party. Conservatives have failed us for more than 40 years now. The Party of Reagan was wrong when he was in office, and it has only gotten worse as the cognitive dissonance over religion, politics, economics and civics have been bundled into one massive, ugly boil on the ass end of history.

Donald Trump is that boil. And we can either pop his white head and be done with it or let him fester into a massive infection that threatens the health of the entire nation. That’s how ugly and dire this situation really is.

But Republicans and conservatives will refuse to admit it. Many are licking the boil that is Donald Trump as if it were a sex organ, not an infection. It’s a disgusting sight to see, and people of conscience are not impressed.

Yet that’s the Republican Party of today. More concerned with the salve of power than the pain of honesty about their own failures.

On the real root and purpose of conspiracy theories

 

dick-cheneyThere’s an entire library of YouTube videos about the idea that former Beatle Paul McCartney died in a car wreck in 1966. The theory goes like this: Paul died back then, but a suitable replacement was found, now known as Faul McCartney, who filled in for the dead Beatle the rest of the years.

That means Faul McCartney wrote the Sgt. Pepper album with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. He created those iconic songs on the White Album too, including a teasing imitation of the Beach Boys in Back In the U.S.S.R.

Then came the album Abbey Road, concluding with a set of signature guitar riffs in which each guitar-slinging Beatle took turns cranking out solos to wind up the record, and the band.

The “last” album Let It Be was a confab of pseudo-live performances in which Paul (or Faul, as the conspiracy goes) and John did not get along so well. There was all that Yoko stuff to resolve. And whether John was happy or not. Then came the breakup, and the band members went separate ways. Paul (or Faul) then wrote one of the most brilliant love songs ever composed in Maybe I’m Amazed. Then came all the Wings material and solo projects. Recordings with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. So many productive years.

Yes, Paul McCartney turned out some banal tunes as well. At his sappiest, he can be hard to take. But clearly there was genius at work. That mix of show tune sass and happy melodies lines up pretty clearly with the early Beatles stuff. Paul always wrote like Paul McCartney.

Yet the conspiracy theories about Paul’s death persist. All are based on interesting conjecture, and if you slip down the rabbit hole you might find yourself questioning your own beliefs about Paul McCartney. Paul talked about the conspiracies several times during his career.

Man on the moon

There are also conspiracy theories suggesting the Apollo space missions to the moon were faked. And Lord knows there are multiple theories about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Most recently the theory that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” have occupied the attention of many conspiracy theorists. There are also some that claim Israel pulled off the appearance of terrorist attacks. Or that Saudi Arabia actually funded the Saudi men who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers and managed to bury one low and fast into the side of the Pentagon.

Looking back at the origin of conspiracy theories is helpful to understand why some persist and grow. Suspicion of authority and fear of forces beyond knowledge or control of the common man are the principle drivers.

The Kennedy assassination

One can see where such fears arise. When the life of John F. Kennedy came to such an abrupt and violent end, it was proposed that a lone shooter accomplished the deed. That story beggars the imagination because the odds were slim and the evidence suspicious that Kennedy had been shot only from behind. A great many investigators and scholars have looked at the lone gunman theory since, as well as evidence that Kennedy’s body was secreted to an Air Force one plane where doctors performed some sort of half-assed surgery on the back of the President’s head. Normal processes of local jurisdiction over the body were ignored, and medical protocols abandoned. These are no longer conspiracies but bald facts of history. A series of very suspicious events too place that day. Whether we will ever know the source or true sequence of those events is a challenge for the ages.

Personally, I believe there were too many forces angry and determined to end the Kennedy reign for something evil not to happen. That’s not a big stretch of imagination or even a conspiracy theory. Kennedy threatened the CIA and the Mob at the same time. What do you get when you take a stand like that? You get yourself killed, that’s what. There are people in those organizations who don’t look at the world the same way as the rest of us. They rather proudly claim their lack of innocence is the true insight.

The Reagan debacle

One could argue the true conspiracy theorist are not people in the public trying to figure all this stuff out. They are the people who willingly commit illegal acts and try to hide them. Such was the case with the Iran-Contra affair during the administration of Ronald Reagan. Even Reagan seemed ignorant and innocent of the activities of his own staff, who traded arms for money to fund clandestine operations in a foreign country. Those convicted of those acts have gone on to brag about their conspiratorial ways. Some, such as Oliver North, have claimed even a higher purpose than the national interest, crediting God for their actions.

Of course, they are delusional in this regard. But when you turn around and add up the number of leading figures killed over the last six decades, it makes you wonder what’s really going on behind the scenes.

For example: was the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr. just a coincidence of history, or were people afraid of his message behind his assassination? Was Bobby Kennedy just part of the domino effect of that era, or was assassination considered a legitimate way to conduct “national business” by those determined to impose or protect their own worldview?

KKK and company

We can look to the parallel actions of other conspiratorial organizations to determine if such mainstream conspiracies are possible. The actions of the Klu Klux Klan demonstrate the determination of white racists to impose their will on society. That conspiratorial organization got away with multiple murders and many members of society tolerated, even encouraged those actions.

So murderous conspiracies are not only possible. They are common. There was a clear conspiracy by the Bush administration to use the excuse of the 9/11 tragedy to invade Iraq. False links were suggested between the regime of Saddam Hussein and the terrorists reputed to have carried out the attacks in America. America’s so-called intelligence about weapons of mass destruction was exaggerated and even falsified to trump up the cause for war against Iraq. General Colin Powell has publicly admitted that this was the case. But in trying to be a team player, he made the case that America should go to war. He did so because the Bush administration was trying to make the case that threats in the Middle East were sufficient to cause a threat to our overall national security.

Suspicions 

These facts of phonily constructed links between one cause and another have made many Americans suspicious that the events leading up to the Iraq war were suspicious. Many have studied the ups and downs of the terror attacks on 9/11 and contend the 9/11 Commission Report is itself a falsehood in being both massively underfunded and poorly researched.

Even the literal pile of evidence (the tower debris) that would have enabled a close study of possible terrorist activities or bombs set up inside the buildings was carted away before anyone had the ability to inspect the rubble for explosives or other methods that might have made those towers fall to the ground so directly.

Admit it: One cannot look at the video of both towers falling straight down to the ground in free fall fashion, and not consider whether they were set up to be demolished. It happened so quickly and with such clarity the effect was one of calculated demolition.  The structure known at Building 7 was not even struck by a plane on 9/11, and had hardly any structural damage at all. Yet it fell straight down into itself like a child’s play blocks.

There is simply no possible manner in which the entire structure in any of these cases was so completely compromised. Never in the history of the human race has even one steel structure fallen in on itself as a result of building fires. There are numerous records of buildings burning with just as much heat and far longer than the towers ever burned. Yet these buildings still stood tall. Their steel did not melt. They did not fall straight down into themselves. And yet that happened not once, but three times in a row on 9/11. It’s really no longer a conspiracy that something else was going on that day in September, 2001.

And despite the fact that the Pentagon in the United States is the head of our military operations, the only video of the supposed plane crashing into the side of the building is a dodgy security camera clip in which the only object seen striking the Pentagon is a small white streak, and certainly not the size of a commercial aircraft.

Reasons why

All these strange half-truths sit out there, and may have no more credence than the belief that the Apollo mission never landed on the moon. That it was all faked in a studio. But for what reason?

That’s the difference. What reason would there be to fake a moon landing? To outpace the Soviets? They were already kicking our asses in space by then. We know they put satellites up there. We can see the evidence of that activity to this day in our telecommunications system. The Space Race was real. It had real and tangible benefits.

But the rush to war in Iraq was real too. It had real benefits to those who knew how to profit from the events proceeding from the 9/11 attacks. It’s particularly interesting to note that once the war effort was begun, President Bush admitted that he’d lost interest in pursuing Osama bin Laden, the purported architect of 9/11. He even took an opportunity at a press junket to joke about his lack of ability to find weapons of mass destruction. Bush was clearly, at some point, entirely baffled by the conspiratorial joke that his own presidency had become.

The Cheney factor

That is because men like Dick Cheney and the other warhawks in the Bush regime refused to be accountable for any of their actions. The use torture was exposed yet the administration refused to apologize. It made one wonder to what lengths the Bush clan would go to get what they wanted. With Black Sites set up around the world, our government was clearly operating in secret. People died at the hands of American soldiers, and a team of calculatingly cruel psychologists invented protocols to torture our supposed enemies. Never in the history of the United States had this type of behavior become known. Yet here it was in full daylight. And the Bushies were unapologetic.

To make matters worse, human life and our soldiers were clearly disposable pawns in our Middle East adventures. More than 4000 soldiers gave their lives fighting in Iraq. Yet that’s only a few more than the number of civilians who died in the 9/11/2001.

What is the demarcation in lives lost when someone conspires to wars for money and power? Is it a conspiracy to think that some people are so obsessed with power they will let nothing stop them from imposing their will on the world? Have there been other zealots in history that have sacrificed human lives for domination?

A few names come to mind. Josef Stalin. Adolf Hitler. Mussolini. Emperor Showa of Japan. All from World War II of course. All threw millions of military and civilian lives into the maw of murderous history. Even America with its atomic bomb torched thousands of lives in an instant during the nuclear attack on Japan.

Numbers game

So we must not pretend that a few thousand lives were unimaginably destroyed through the events of 9/11. It is no conspiracy to think men and women capable of such things. Not all may be knowing in this conspiracy. That may be the workings of a very few, closely held, upon threat of death, if need be.

And people have died for trying to speak truth to these powers. Many people in fact, over the years. It’s not just one side of the political aisle, or the other. The number of people associated with Lyndon Baines Johson who died in the years leading up to his installation as President indicate the man would let nothing stand in his way of an ascent to power. Who is to say that even LBJ did not have something to do with the death of JFK? There was no love lost there at all. Yet LBJ went on to execute civil rights laws that the Kennedys would surely have approved. And so we are faced with the fact that even conspiracies can lead to good as well as evil.

What the Bible says about the human capacity for conspiracies

If we are to believe in books such as the Bible, it has always been the case that humankind engages in conspiracy. Such was the case with none other than Adam and Eve. And when their conspiracy was discovered, God booted them out of the Garden of Eden. Their lives became more complicated.

Then came Cain and Abel, and the hidden murder of one by the other.

Yet even God loves a conspiracy. This is evidenced by the secret pact he made with  Norah before the flood as well as the conspiratorial end of Sodom and Gomorrah with only Lot and his family surviving.

Even the supposed End of Time is a conspiracy of sorts. Despite so many attempts to predict its coming, the End Times are a mystery to the human race. But not without clues that a conspiracy of sorts is afoot. Consider: Habakkuk 2:3 “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Reality shift

When the World Trade Centers fell into themselves that day, all of reality seemed to shift. Some people said it felt like the end of the world was come. But like the Tower of Babel, these were only human structures, symbols of the commerce and arrogance of the world the human race has created.

The question is whether God had something to do with the fall of those stories, and  if it was some sort of eternal signal or indictment of the American Way. Or was it just the product of human beings choosing to play the role of God in arrogant imitation that served to throw the fear of God into people so that they could be manipulated to man’s purpose.

We must consider who could be behind such conspiracies, and if they claim to express the will of God. As reported in The Guardian, Bush indeed believed he was an instrument of God: Mr. Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said:

“President Bush said to all of us: ‘I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”

Mr Bush went on: “And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East’. And, by God, I’m gonna do it.”

Mr Bush, who became a born-again Christian at 40, is one of the most overtly religious leaders to occupy the White House, a fact which brings him much support in middle America.”

It appears that in some cases, the real conspiracy is not whether people are capable of committing atrocious acts against their fellow human beings, but whether they are capable of doing them in the name of God. And believing them righteous in the process. That is the greatest, and most dangerous, conspiracy theory of all.

 

 

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.

On Women’s Equality Day and why the dicks keep getting in the way

For years those Viagra and Cialis commercials that mention four-hour erections were a source of considerable entertainment in our family. Even in middle school my daughter used to laugh at that disclaimer. Granted, it’s not a funny issue for those grappling with a four hour erection. But the image it leaves in your mind is rather compelling.

It also happens to symbolize the problems so many men seem to have in protecting their sense of personal virility. Once you put it out there that you’re a man with a hard on for life, it can be tough to take it back.

Still, products like Viagra remain a highly favored approach for men seeking to regain or sustain their sexual prowess. And it’s not just about age. It’s about performance and “feeling like a man,” whatever that means. So it’s a broadcast appeal that products like Viagra and Cialis use to help men feel more like men.

So let’s just call it the Viagra Effect for a moment, and consider what it really means for men to be chemically encouraged to run around all the time acting like dicks.

Insurance companies are notably ambivalent about covering the cost of Viagra. The website Personalhealthinsurance.com says this about the drug:

“The high cost of Viagra, averaging $22 to $24 per pill, leads many men to seek health insurance coverage for this drug. However, insurance companies have been ambivalent about their coverage for ED drugs, with some insurers picking up the cost and others refusing to cover any portion of the bill.

For example, Medicare Part D does not cover any type of erectile dysfunction drug. This is bad news for the elderly population, the largest group of men who need the help provided by ED medications. On the other hand, many private insurance plans, such as Aetna and United Healthcare, make provisions to cover the cost of Viagra or other ED drugs when deemed “medically necessary” by a doctor and if the patient’s state of residence requires them to do so. HMOs usually cover Viagra with a higher co-pay than for other drugs.”

We might start by considering why these products are seem to be so highly favored by politicians seeking support for their campaigns. You really don’t hear many politicians blaming men for trying to get erections. Supporting legislation that helps pay for penis power like Viagra and Cialis is likely good politics. Giving men real power over their own penises is of course a good way to win favor with male voters.

Name calling and shaming

But by contrast, it has not been an equal playing field for women seeking help from insurance companies to pay for birth control. Men like Rush Limbaugh branded Sandra Fluke a “slut” for proposing (and defending) the idea that women should have control over their own reproductive and sexual lives.

It proves there is a fine line between having a dick and being a dick. When men demand control over women’s bodies by blocking legislation to help women protect against unwanted pregnancies through insurance coverage, or de-funding legitimate services such as Planned Parenthood, that is men acting like real dicks.

On being a dick

Being a “dick” is defined by UrbanDictionary.com as “conducting oneself in an inappropriate manner to the annoyance of others.”

And for the last 20 years or so (and more, dating way back to the Catholic Church banning use of birth control) conservative men in all their misogynistic glory have been acting like one big band of collective dicks. This war on women isn’t all that hard to prove. The constant barrage of legislation against women’s reproductive rights alone is testimony to the jerkwater ways of the GOP.

This war on women has included prohibitions of even teaching about contraception.

  • According to the Guttmacher Report, “Mississippi, which had long mandated abstinence education, adopted provisions that make it more difficult for a school district to include other subjects, such as contraception, in order to offer a more comprehensive curriculum. A district will now need to get specific permission to do so from the state department of education.”

Control issues

It’s pretty clear that what the GOP wants is a female populace that is both ignorant and available according to some strangely repressive notion that a woman in control of her own body cannot be controlled in other ways. This scares the ever living heck out of insecure men. And who among the current list of GOP candidates is speaking out on behalf of women’s rights and reproductive health? (sound of crickets)

The GOP maintains a real hard-on for gaining and exerting control over women. Lurking behind this attitude is the notion that it is somehow “immoral” for a woman to prevent her partner from impregnating her. Yet there are Republican representatives who even insist that an abortion should not be available to women who were raped. This is a sick mind at work, and the sign of someone being a real dick.

A bible lesson

The cruelty of this type of control stems from long-held patriarchal beliefs that women are essentially the property of men. Consider this tale from the book of Esther. The book opens with a scene in which King Xerxes gets a little drunk and decides to show off his bride to his guests. This is what happens.

10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.

The incident quickly turns political as King Xerxes, in a fit of fear and panic over his wife’s seeming disobedience, consults with his advisors. This band of men suggests to him that Queen Vashti must be banished as a sign that women must be subservient lest the social order be disrupted. That is political, sexual control in action.

Stuck in the past

And truly, things haven’t changed in more than 2000 years. This ugly battle of control over women has remained at the heart of the social order and persists in America and other countries to this day. Men behaving like total dicks are still trying to get their Queen Vashti’s to fall in line.

But notice that the king was literally drunk with power when he issued is command to the Queen. So let’s ask the question. Would you, as a person, want to comply with the demands of such a patronizing dick? Not likely. Thus Queen Vashti stood her ground and refused to comply with the obnoxious king’s command to show herself off for the court. And rightly so.

Power shaming

How very interesting that in today’s political environment these types of power plays are still taking place. When the Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly dared to question the king of all pompous dicks, Donald Trump, she was immediately banished from the air. That was her punishment for having the audacity to challenge male dominance on the air. Never mind that it was a debate where people are supposed to answer hard questions.

It is notable that all of Donald Trump’s answers to questions of policy are flaccid attempts at gaining favor with voters. This is a man that has run around erecting tall towers in testament to his business virility. His bankruptcies show his true character however. These amounted to a failure in prowess, and Trump bloviates to obscure all evidence of his failures. He surrounds himself with thinly clad women as a sign that he is the King of All Dicks. But in truth Trump, like so many men fearful of the intellectual and personal power of women is a man running scared in this world.

82993673This attitude can do nothing but pervert the perspectives of a man obsessed with self and personal power. Here’s what Trump said about his own daughter: “I don’t think Ivanka would do that [pose for Playboy], although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

That is the statement of a real dick. And when challenged on his sexist presumptions at any level, Trump goes the attack. This is his discourse on Rosie O’Donnell.  “Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting — both inside and out. If you take a look at her, she’s a slob. How does she even get on television? If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie. I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, “Rosie, you’re fired.” We’re all a little chubby but Rosie’s just worse than most of us. But it’s not the chubbiness — Rosie is a very unattractive person, both inside and out.”

And so it goes.

Evolving societies

Let’s face it, the model for conservative behavior in this world has not evolved from the time of King Xerxes. This combination of fearful response and dismissiveness in the face of intellectual challenges is a pattern that must be broken in order for society to evolve.

We might start by acknowledging that Queen Vashti was right to deny the drunken, lustful commands of King Xerxes, and take that as a model for modern and justifiable behavior. If we have to start from a biblical perspective to get the selfish dicks of the world to understand that our social order has evolved through technology, medicine and social progress, then so be it.

We might also ask the GOP to stop acting like a bunch of dicks. That would help.

Dick Cheney’s confession about what really tortures him

141208_fallon_cheneylies_apBack in October 2012 when cyclist Lance Armstrong was dominating headlines in the sport world as the truth came out about his doping allegations, he unwittingly revealed his with a confession of sorts well in advance of the famous Oprah Winfrey interview where he technically admitted his guilt in using all kinds of performance enhancing drugs and techniques. This is what he said and what I wrote about it then:

“I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that.”

Admirable in its forceful defense of his victories, Armstrong’s statement still stops short of saying he was truly innocent of doping. And that, in the context of all the evidence now emerging in full context of teammates confessing and accepting bans and possible other punishments for their sins, amounts to a confession by Armstrong as well.

I was reminded of Armstrong’s between-the-lines confession while listening to yet another forceful personality in the news. Dick Cheney recently appeared on Meet the Press and was interviewed by Chuck Todd. Cheney has repeatedly denied that he presided over a policy of using torture to extract information from detainees. So Todd asked him exactly how Cheney would define torture. This is what he said…

“Well torture to me, Chuck, is uh, an American citizen, um, on his cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the trade center in New York City on 9/11.”

Follow the pattern of that statement and you actually find that the most tortuous aspect of everything that happened leading up to and following the 9/11 tragedy is what tortures Dick Cheney. His statement is nothing less than an admission of guilt that he is tortured by the thought of all those people dying under his watch. And by implication that means he is guilty about not having read the clear signs that something bad was about to happen. Not even the clear intelligence and directives of his immediate advisors on terrorism including including Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism chief could get the attention of a Bush and Cheney White House focused on their own agenda for invasions of Iraq and a takeover in the Middle East.

Cheney denies all such warnings ever happened. But we are forced to consider whether that is true or whether he simply refused to hear them. From a man who refuses to acknowledge that waterboarding and beating and freezing people to death is torture, his level of honesty and clarity must be called into question.

It’s clear in his definition of torture that Dick Cheney feels enormous guilt for his own selfishly shortsighted behavior and what it caused the nation to experience.  Well torture to me, Chuck, is uh, an American citizen…”

He’ll never straight out admit it. That is not Dick Cheney’s style. But he will likely go to the grave with a cloak of bravado covering his angst and guilt. That’s how dark heroes tend to go down.

The tortured euphemism of enhanced interrogation

FlagWaiverHaving now read the cold, harsh details of the CIA torture report issued by the United States Senate, we can all agree that the tactics used by our government in an effort to extract information out of terror suspects was not our best moment as a nation. At worst, it was outright inhumane and possibly criminal.

Yes, the administration in charge checked to make sure their tactics were “legal” according to international law. But then there appears to have been little supervision of prisoner treatment across a number of fronts. So-called “black sites” were literally that: dark, dungeonlike facilities where prisoners shivered naked and were strung up like live meat or beaten, dragged and doused with cold water. Many more were waterboarded. Conservative commentators almost strung themselves up trying to contend that these practices were not torture. But the evidence always pointed otherwise.

Not torture? 

abu_ghraib_11a-40876-20111108-4It all started with the Iraq facility in Abu Ghraib and got worse from there. America became an indiscriminate abuser. We even took pictures to celebrate our cruelty. When they were released our government officials complained that they would endanger the personnel in our armed forces.

Never mind

Never mind the idea that our invasion of Iraq was an unnecessary and ill-conceived response to the attacks on 9/11. Never mind that rational citizens of the United States knew this all along, and were willing to trust the word of international inspectors who told us there were no weapons of mass destruction.

Instead the many millions of people living in fear of another terrorist attack were manipulated into believing the threat was imminent and coming out of Iraq. We quickly became a nation dependent on false information to justify our actions.

Inventions and justifications

abu-ghraibAnd then we began inventing terms to make our military actions and clandestine operations seem justifiable. We became a nation of euphemisms.

Consider the term “enhanced interrogation.” It almost sounds like something you might order at a spa, does it not? The term “enhanced” is generally used to indicate something positive. Here’s the definition:

tr.v. en·hanced, en·hanc·ing, en·hanc·es

1. To make greater, as in value, beauty, or effectiveness; augment.
2. To provide with improved, advanced, or sophisticated features
To speak of the type of interrogation we used in Iraq and other sites quite an “enhancement” is clearly a calculated euphemism designed to avoid the truth of the brutality it represents. Here’s a definition of the word euphemism for clarity:
euphemism
1. the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”.
Lying to us

There’s nothing that smacks of honesty in all of this. The very idea that we must concoct a term to hide the fact that are torturing people is a massively conceived deceit. The entire approach we took even leading up to the 9/11 attacks, in which the administration in charge ignored clear warnings about the intentions of Osama bin Laden to focus on plans to lay waste to Iraq, was deceitful. Then the fact that 9/11 was so clearly used as an excuse to justify our war against that country was also a deception.

Liars and more lies

Abu_Ghraib_56So when men like Dick Cheney step back in the limelight to call the recently issued CIA torture report “a load of crap,” there is no small irony in that statement. Based on documented information about the practices of the Bush administration and the euphemism used to justify rampant use of torture against often-innocent detainees, we are talking about one of the aggressively deceitful men ever to hold office in America. It all happened under his watch. He claims they knew everything that was going on. That means he approved it. Case closed.

Except for the fact that his supporters and admirers consider him some sort of hero, and that America as a whole has apparently elected to avoid investigation and prosecution of his very visible lies, Cheney would be facing a criminal tribunal, not talking to a Fox News camera like he was the Second Coming of Jesus.

Not lying down

abu2The euphemisms we use to lie to ourselves about issues like torture are not political semantics. They are evidence in the case against allowing ourselves to become inhumane. A nation like America with a supposedly moral foundation should not engage in such euphemisms or allow them to become standards of consideration when talking about freezing another human being to death or making them helpless and broken through forceful abuse.

Lying to ourselves?

Or perhaps we really are no better than that. Perhaps all those claims by conservative Christians that we are a “Christian Nation” are the real load of crap going on here. But consider this: the very people who seem to lack the cognitive ability to connect the dots between our words and our actions and who outright accept the euphemisms we use to justify hateful practices are really not good representatives of a faith that claims to understand the suffering of a man once tortured, beaten and hung on a cross by an angry, fearful nation that once considered all who stood in its way either zealots or terrorists.

That was Rome. And look what it got them. It remains to be seen whether America can turn out any better. Or are we just a euphemism for freedom, morals and democracy?

CPAC, Republicans and aggressive stupidity in politics and religion

FlagWaiver

Aggressive stupidity is wearing us all out.

Another round of CPAC madness is nearly through in America. A parade of Republican zealots highlights the speaker list, with Grover Nordquist standing proudly at the front of the line proclaiming that any Republican who agrees to tax increases of any sort “are rat heads in a Coke bottle. They damage the brand for everyone.”

How is it that Nordquist fails to see himself as the rat in the bottleneck of Republican common sense?

And how interesting that another CPAC attendee, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana–himself a possible presidential candidate in 2016–once said of Republicans, “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party.”

Jindal has been castigated for that remark, of course. It is not in the nature of conservatives to admit they might be wrong or stupid about anything.

What wrong looks like

Even when proven desperately wrong by enaction of their own nation-devastating (America and Iraq, to name a couple) policies during the horrid debacle of the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney years, Republicans would not find any ground for confession that their whole ideology might just be aggressively stupid. Even when conservatives ruled all three wings of government, things didn’t go right. Bush racked up a trillion dollar bill for his wars of choice that America can’t pay off. We’re still borrowing to pay $2B a month to mess around in Afghanistan. So what do Republicans do? They point fingers at social insurance policies such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as the problem as if saving older people from destitution and medical disaster costs a nation more than war. 

Bad habits

Aggressive stupidity is a bad habit that can be fixed. But it’s hard, like shaking alcoholism or more accurately, a gambling addiction. Aggressive stupidity is a gambling addiction, to be precise. You are gambling that your brand of stubborn ideology, if backed by sufficient bets on the table, will win the day. Of course that’s been America’s global defense policy for decades. We now spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined, and in many ways are less secure than ever. Yet here was Mitt Romney standing before the CPAC and insisting that Republicans put a powerful US military at the top of their agenda. “Do whatever you can to keep America strong, to keep America prosperous and free and the most powerful nation on earth.” Rah rah Mitt. That’s what got you where you are, buddy. A loser claiming you had all the right ideas. 

For perspective, that statement by Romney pretty much fulfills everything President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about when he cited the evils of the military/industrial complex as our worst enemy. The idea that we cannot be free without killing everything in sight is ludicrous, expensive and costly to the American spirit.

Killing ourselves in the name of the Constitution

It was recently learned that more Americans have been killed in their own country by gun violence than in all the wars ever fought by the nation. Yet we are locked in a battle over Second Amendment rights that Republicans use as a blunderbuss to cow a bunch of ignorant, one-issue voters into thinking Democrats are going to take away their guns. And when reasonable gun control laws are proposed, such as required background checks, Republicans run for cover behind the blazing guns policies of the NRA, who could think of nothing better to do in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings than to stick a bunch of armed guards in every school in America, and force teachers to get gun training. And to arm the teachers.

That is aggressive stupidity. One feels no shame in calling out stupidity in such circumstances. There is no risk of insult when the stupidity is so glaring in so many cases. Republicans are not stupid people, although even the wealthiest were targets of the incisive wit of one Mark Twain, who warned us, “All is takes is ignorance and confidence, and success is sure.” The humorist knew that aggressive stupidity really can win the day.

Elections versus selections

And when Republicans lose as they did in the 2016 selection (it wasn’t an election, but a selection of Obama against aggressive Republican stupidity) the party can think of nothing other to do than find a way to cheat the system. So Republican governors are gerrymandering ways to stifle Democratic voters any way they can.

The conservative party is shrinking like a set of testicles in a cold wind. Their policies appeal mostly to rich white voters, who are aging, as well as the ignorantly disenfranchised brand of gun-toters and a huge block of fearfully religious bigots who can’t seem to understand that their own Bible contradicts everything their party stands for.

Coming out to common sense

God Bless Republican Senator Rob Portman, who came out in favor of same-sex marriage once he learned that his own son is gay. “I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years,” he told CNN. “That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.”

The Bible is wrong about homosexuality, just as it is wrong about slavery and hundreds of other former laws of religion that no one ever follows. Yet biblical literalists foment their brand of aggressive stupidity toward gay people with tired old contentions that homosexuality is a sin against God, and that being gay is a choice, a lifestyle, and to one all should be opposed. The Republican Party has embraced this brand of aggressive stupidity for years because it wins them votes, gains them power and makes them feel all righteous and true.

Until one of their own finds out they have a gay child. Even the Heart of Darkness Dick Cheney admitted that he loves his daughter and can’t persecute gays any longer as a result.

Not so cool

As for Portman’s position, Republicans were aggressively cool to his very personal admission that his life has changed for the better in accepting his son for who he really is. Politics trumps all other notions of sanity, you see. As quoted in a New York Times story, “A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, who is also from Ohio, said Friday that while Mr. Boehner “respects” Mr. Portman’s position, “the speaker continues to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

That’s a form of aggressive stupidity, Mr. Boehner. Because if we took a certain pronunciation of your name quite literally, we would be forced to believe that you are actually a turgidly erect member of Congress that has no conscience. Well what do you know. It turns out that some forms of aggressive stupidity do prove true in practice. Two can play the game Republicans like to play.

Pope Francis the contradictor

We’re even forced to consider the aggressive stupidity of the new Catholic Pope Francis I, who embraces the poor but opposes birth control. That so-called “position” makes no sense if you spend a moment considering how overpopulation vexes the entire world.

But what do you expect from a religious brand that demands its priests to be celibate, then denies their policies have any consequence when a scourge of child sex abuse infests the church. Birth control dictates are ignored by more than 90% of its members, some polls report, yet the church and its patriarchal brand of aggressive stupidity keeps on rolling with a pope that stands by the position that spending sperm in a condom is a bad thing.

Some history…

Well, has the Catholic Church ever been wrong before? They almost killed Galileo for sticking up for the scientific perspective on matters universal. Then there were the Crusades, and the Inquisition, and for a while there, an insistence that the theory of evolution is wrong.

Aggressive stupidity runs through the most powerful organizations on earth. It is the hallmark of psychopathy, the aggressive will to dominate and coerce and kill in order to have your way, and have it now.

I’ve got mine and I hate yours

It’s the “I’ve got mine and I hate yours” brand of politics that is gutting America. Yet here is the CPAC closing comment. “The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away fro conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two elections,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry, who when asked couldn’t seem to remember what programs he’d like to cut if he were president, “That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012.”

The all-time king of aggressive stupidity, however is Rick Santorum. The man combines both dunderheaded conservative politics and a conservative catholicism that forces him to spew hate while pointing fingers at Americans who don’t think his way. He had this to say about why Republicans are failing so miserably at convincing Americans their way is the right way, “Face it, the left can always promise more stuff, and make is sound like they care more, because they make it easier for Americans by providing stuff for them, through government programs, paid by by somebody else’s money.”

Jesus loves you Rick. But he would tell you that you’re an insane hypocrite. Just like the rest of the aggressively stupid people who run your party and elections by running lies and manipulations up the flagpoles of country and God.

America’s concussion problem just won’t go away

by Christopher Cudworth

America is seeing stars, and stripes, but not the way we're accustomed to seeing them.  Painting by Christopher Cudworth

America is seeing stars, and stripes, but not the way we’re accustomed to seeing them. Painting by Christopher Cudworth

The news about concussions is everywhere in pro sports. Retired football players are suing the NFL for failing to protect their noggins, while active players are taking concussions far more seriously. America’s favored game of football may be at risk all the way from youth leagues up to the NFL. And no one seems to know just what to do about it yet.

It is no coincidence that America’s favorite game involves bashing heads to the point where players suffer brain trauma. That’s how Americans live. We smash and bash and crash our way through history without apology. We even have a fancy name for our concussive obsession with being #1. It’s called American Exceptionalism.

Violence has a cost

But the habit of a nation so absorbed with its own violence comes with a cost. America as a nation has a concussion. We can’t seem to stop thrashing about even as our minds grow fuzzy from the slam-bang practice of imperialism.

To put a metaphorical point on the idea that America is concussed, consider this description of the effects of concussion from the Mayo Clinic:

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be immediately apparent. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer.

The most common symptoms after a concussive traumatic brain injury are headache, amnesia and confusion. The amnesia, which may or may not be preceded by a loss of consciousness, almost always involves the loss of memory of the impact that caused the concussion.

The definition goes on to describe concussion as a ‘temporary loss of consciousness, followed by confusion or feeling as if in a fog.”

Welcome to a concussed America.

9/11 a big blow to the head

One could argue that the most recent big blow to our national consciousness was the terrorist strike on 9/11. America didn’t know what to do at first. We wandered our quiet streets trying to figure out exactly what hit us. By the time we figured out it really was just a lucky band of religiopolitical extremists, our President had dragged us into a war in Iraq. That’s where the blows to the head of our American self-image started with a display of Shock and Awe that, unbeknownst to most US citizens, would lead to a percussive series of events that would further destroy our credibility worldwide. It started with stark images of unmanaged chaos in the streets of Baghdad, wrought by the lack of an American plan once we knocked Saddam Hussein off his pedestal. That debacle was followed by images of tortured Iraqi civilians that struck us in the head like a force from a blunt instrument. And it was just that. The strike-first ideology of a leadership bent on world domination bounced right back and hit us in the cranium.

There were plenty of people who recognized what was going on, who had the guts to stand out of range of the war-mongering and media blitz that promoted war while giving Bush & Co. a collective pass in questioning the motives of an illegal and unnecessary war. Recall that America was still reeling from 9/11, but some of us cleared our brains quicker than others.

In an editorial written by Walt Williams 2004, the early warnings of political concussion were already being documented, “Sound presidential decision-making structures do not guarantee a successful policy. But the worse the decision process, the greater the danger that the policy devised will fail and wreak havoc on the nation when it is a major initiative.”

“President Bush’s decision to launch a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq is as good an example as I’ve seen of a severely flawed decision-making process producing an ill-thought-through decision that quickly became a nightmare as that misbegotten policy was put in place.”

Concussion. That’s what it was. And it kept on going for 8 more years.

Pulling back

Barack Obama has since pulled the majority of troops out of Iraq. Yet the damage wrought be mercenaries hired to run the operations in Iraq all those years is not easily repaired. Mercenaries are like the brain aneurisms brought on by concussion. They bleed us out from within. Just look at the billions spent and lost somewhere in the fog that was Iraq. We don’t even know where all the money went. We never will. Some of it apparently fell into the hands of our enemies. Nice work, fellas. But it was just a precursor of the loose-ended fiscal policy of an era with no accountability. We were punch drunk and stupid. Banks were running America into the ground and the mortgage industry was behaving like a manic-depressive on speed. It all had to hit us somehow. Then came 2008. The economy crashed. Was it really a surprise. Not to those of us who have doubted the apparently mad doctrine of close-fisted politicians from the start.

Concussion of debt

That whole doctrine put America is in fiscal and philosophical debt. Now it keeps pounding on us like a mean-ass middle linebacker with a grudge to keep. We’ve already wandered around for 10 years or so in a concussive state thanks to the original thumping dealt by Bush and Cheney who kept on hitting America with warnings of fear and terrorism while telling people to “go out and spend money” that no one really had. If Bush and Cheney had been football coaches instead of President and Vice President, they’d have been fired and kicked out of the American stadium for life for abusing the players. Instead we still have listen to Cheney being trotted out to criticize the American team strategy. That’s like the last place coach in the NFL pointing at the winning coach of the Super Bowl and saying, “He’s not doing it right!”

But it’s America. Even the losers get to speak out. The right to free speech is in our Constitution. That doesn’t mean we need to listen to our key abusers.

Through all that abuse of the Cheney years we simply couldn’t arouse ourselves from the national nightmare and brain-dead policies of neo-conservatives concocting their world domination schemes under shrouds of darkness. They even depended upon “black sites” to extract information from those they most feared. When darkness and confusion are allowed to rule, only darkness and confusion make sense to those who rule. That is the concussive mentality. We’ve seen it for years in the practice of sending football players with brain trauma back into the game. But American needs to be smarter.

National brain trauma

It is darkly comic that President Obama is supposed to fix all this national brain trauma with a wave of his hand. The Republicans who so vehemently oppose him started out by saying their only goal was to knock him out of office. More concussive talk. So ugly and stupid.

It’s no wonder their nominee in the last election amounted to the last man standing. They beat the hell out of each other for so long, no one on their side could believe what really happened. They still can’t. Romney stalked around believing he couldn’t lose, blathering on in debates, never worried whether what he or his running mate Paul Ryan said was the truth or not. “Fact checkers come to this (campaign) with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs, and we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” said Ashley Connor, one of Romney’s aides.

It’s because the Republicans don’t know how to play nice. They’d rather die than tell the truth if it contradicts their aims. Democrats often fall for the same self-sustaining ruse. Americans can hardly recognize the truth anymore. That’s the result of our concussive state of existence.

That brand of hit first politics is beating the hell out of America’s confidence in its government. Of course that’s the way conservatives like it. They hate government because it actually requires the ability to slow down, consider the options and stop running back into the free market game without wearing a helmet.

Neo-conservatives want to privatize everything because they know that a smashmouth culture delivers great advantage to those with the biggest clubs, and we’re speaking both literally and rhetorically here. The clubbishness of America’s oligarchy is like one big fraternity set on hazing the plebes into submission, even if it takes a few strong blows to the head. If a few people die along the way or the economy teeters and falls over in a concussive stupor, so be it.

Leading with the other cheek

Perhaps it really is time to hit back rather than absorb the blows. Despite the admonitions of Jesus Christ to turn the other cheek, it is the current brand of killer Christians we need to fear most in some cases. The recent convergence of concussive smashmouth conservative politicians with an American Taliban determined to stone all those who disagree with their brand faux-Christian crusades… against science and civil rights, to name a few of their targets, is the worst concussive force of all in the American landscape.

The butt of a pistol

The other force of concussive politics is the gun lobby. Despite the recent and revealing documentation that more Americans have been killed within our borders by guns in civilian violence than have been killed in all our wars should serve as a patent illustration that we’ve lost our minds over the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms is a political brickbat in America. The concussions of repeated gun violence in Connecticut, Virginia, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, what do they all mean? Here’s what they mean: Each slaughter of innocents throws us farther into the fog of violence. We are concussed beyond recovery perhaps. America may soon turn and shoot itself in the chest, to put ourselves out of concussive misery.

Sequestering our minds

Perhaps it is about to happen. The Sequester threatens to gut the economy, sending the nation reeling as if we’ve run into a glass wall of our own making. We’ll be bleeding out the ears and nose, puking our own economic theories of trickle-down economics and unrestricted spending (don’t forget corporate welfare and the military industrial complex, Eisenhower warned us) and the world will have little to say as we drag the rest of them down with our neo-nothing self-absorption.

We need help, people. We need to stand up and say, “Who caused this national concussion in the first place, and why do they keep doing the same things to us over and over again.”

Here’s a hint. It’s not Obama. Although his fondness for drone strikes might speak otherwise, they really reflect the need for America to pull backs its forces and gather our wits rather than throwing soldiers and fortune at the double-vision we’d have in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s time for America to get its wits back together again. America’s game of football is teaching us a lesson or two about what it means to recover from concussion. We can either listen or win up on the sidelines for good.

 

Note: This material is also published by Christopher Cudworth on Redroom.com