Losers prove their credulity in refusing to concede

Credulity: a tendency to be too ready to believe that something is real or true.

President Donald Trump apparently still believes he won the election. The conservative media outlet Newsmax relayed these beliefs in story published Tuesday, November 24. It states:

“President Donald Trump is vowing to “never concede,” the “most corrupt election in American political history”— despite the General Services Administration giving the go-ahead to Joe Biden to begin a transition to the White House.

Trump’s remarks came in a late Monday night tweet. He wrote: “What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & “Dominion.”

The Sulking Loser.

Clearly, Trump is hoping to paint himself as a heroic figure and a martyr in the face of his massive loss in the 2020 election. President-Elect Joe Biden earned exactly as many Electoral College votes in this year’s election as Trump achieved in 2016 while defeating Hillary Clinton. Trump branded that victory a “landslide” and claimed it as a mandate to do what he wanted with the nation, no matter what the laws governing his conduct and activities dictated to the contrary.

His supporters embraced the landslide mentality while crowing “elections have consequences,” never acknowledging the corrupt nature of Trump’s tactics either during the election or in the months or years to follow. His supporters were so eager to believe in their man as a political Messiah and a literal tool of God that Trump once claimed he could shoot people in the street and his supporters would not abandon him.

That’s not loyalty. That’s cult worship. All of it depends on credulity, the willingness to believe that everything that Trump says is true. In fact, so little truth has come from Trump or his administration the entire Republican Party has been forced to lie along with him or risk running afoul of his considerable ire. Political operatives at all levels and stripes have cowered as cowards while credulity swept over the nation.

The problem with credulity as a rule of thought is that it is so easily converted to fascist beliefs in the classic sense. That’s exactly what has transpired under the authoritarian rule of Donald Trump, the Con Man turned Strong Man.

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

Fascist Order.

Trump began his rule by embracing authoritarian leaders around the world. He repeatedly suggested that his own position bestowed dictatorial powers upon his person. He invited forcible suppression of his perceived opposition on many fronts, beginning with chants of “Lock Her Up” during his political campaigns. He is finishing now by trying to steal the election (while gaslighting the nation about it) from Joe Biden by attempting to overturn legitimate election results using lawyers, guns and money, whatever it takes. All those are taking the form of real threats. In Trump’s mind, the fear of losing justifies using any means to take power back from people he considers inferior to his own cabal. Amusingly, he promised to pack up and disappear if he lost the election. Well, he lost. But instead of leaving, he’s floating around in a toilet bowl of porcelain consternation while his orange face paint leaves skid marks on his legacy.

As for the strong regimentation of society, Donald Trump repeatedly Tweeted the words “Law and Order” all this year while encouraging police brutality and marching across a Washington street in the company of military leaders. All to hold a Bible aloft as if he is a warrior for God. As if, indeed. Trump is so un-Christlike there is no metaphor or allegory to draw a sufficient comparison.

And finally, let’s consider what Trump has done to the economy. Despite all claims to the contrary, Trump’s tax cuts massively benefitted the rich while leaving the middle class and poor wondering why their tax bills shot up the same year in which there was a supposed tax cut. The excuse: “Oh, well you had to let your accountant or employer know that you wanted more money taken out this year. In the long run, it will even out.” Thanks for telling us, asshole.

The Painted Pimp.

Then came Covid, and millions of people were thrown out of work in the wake of Trump’s patent denial that the pandemic was a threat at all in America. His credulity was revealed later in the year when journalist Bob Woodward published interviews with the President in which he openly admitted that the Coronavirus was a really ‘bad deal’ in terms of how it compared to annual flu and the like. Put plainly, Trump lied to the American people about the threat. He did so to avoid causing any sort of reaction that might upset the economy. That backfired when hospitals were overwhelmed as the pandemic swept across the nation and people started dying by the thousands. We’re now at 250,000 as the predicted peak season in the winter months is about to hit.

And what is Trump doing about the pandemic in the last days of his presidency? Nothing. He doesn’t care if more people die. If anything, he’s ignoring the fact of his massive failure to manage the pandemic all along.

Yet today, he did trot out to claim victory for the Dow Jones average reaching 30,000. Ironically, that performance is more of a response to the predicted stability brought about by Biden’s election victory.

Credulity reigns among Trump supporters.

But credulity still reigns in the minds of Trump and his supporters. They are so eager to believe that he could not lose, they increase their loser status with every new layer of denial.

The Urban Dictionary lays it all out in its definition for the word LOSER.

Loser A “loser” is someone who doesn’t know what they have and fucks it up.They are always making bad choices and fuck up their and everyone’s lives around them.

That is a perfect description of what the Trump era has done. Trump never knew what America is about in the first place. His Make America Great Again slogan was nothing more than anachronistic, nationalistic, racist beliefs wrapped in a security blanket of victimhood to which Trump grandly appealed with his downtalking manner and his phony-ass sympathy for the downtrodden.

King of the Losers. That is all.

He’s a fraud and the King of the Losers when it comes to understanding what it means to accept defeat with a degree of honesty and class. He makes losers out of all of us by persisting in his sociopathic game of vain heroics. The best thing that could happen for America is for Donald Trump and his family to face the fire of legal persecution for the emolument breaches, the grifting of government money, the corruption of post-election lies and the collusion between Trump and the long line of criminals associated with his sick rise to power.

And that includes the whorish evangelicals, the sycophantic GOP and the suburban women praying to God he’ll point them out in the crowd.

On elections and political awakenings

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

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

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

Bitterness and denial

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

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

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

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

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

Avoiding facts at all costs

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

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

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

Hoping for change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The White Beard Factor is killing America

An associate on Facebook sent me a link to the ravings of a so-called “Christian activist” Scott Lively. I clicked through and right away saw what the guy was going to be like. He had the full white beard of so many nationalistic arch-patriots claiming Jesus as their Savior with hate in their hearts.

It used to be true that these guys were relatively harmless. Typically they stood out in the front of the house yelling at kids and dogs to stay off their yard. That was their fortress against the world. Probably a little whisky in their morning coffee, a quick read of a few pages in a greasy Bible, and out they’d go to stand in the morning sun playing pocket pool with their saggy nutsack waiting for some errant kid to wheel a Sting-Ray bike across the turf grass.

On humid days, their aviator glasses would fog up, requiring a quick rub session using the cantilevered fabric of a shirt hanging from their profuse gut. If the lawn was deemed safe from intrusion for the nonce, they’d pick up their sprinkler-soaked copy of the Wall Street Journal and sit on the front porch with a pistol in the milk crate just in case the n****** decided to waltz into town.

I’d like to say that I hate to generalize, but I really don’t. When the cliche fits, some people get to wear it. Just take a look a this Scott Lively guy and read about his views. Then study that White Beard and tell me you haven’t seen it on a thousand angry mugs in a thousand photos of Trump rallies. These are the rapid consumers of Fox News who tune into local AM Radio stations to listen to tripe from the likes of Salem radio and Rush Limbaugh and even that faux-kindess stuff from the Moody Bible Institute and evangelicals across the nation.

The White Beard Factor is real. These guys consider America their front lawn. They’ve got the pistols and the sagging nutsacks to prove it, and they’re just itching for a chance to swing into action.

Lacking that, they’re in full support of an angry bastard who covers his face in war paint and sports a radical combover to rival the aging vanity of every White Beard in the country. These are men of a certain age whose toxic masculinity oozes from their brains. On one hand they’ll yell at the kids on their lawn and the next wink at their porch buddy with a creepy smile and say, “She’ll be a hot one in a couple years.”

This is how the White Beard Factor works. It utters its fears, spews its anger and claims all it can see as a personal possession. And it is killing America one conflicted soul at a time.

If wearing a mask is such an inconvenience, why are Trump supporters wearing pants?

An all new look at Trump Supporters has to include this famous underwear shot of their idol. But if face masks during the Coronavirus pandemic are considered optional and inconvenient, why are pants or underwear required in public too?

The resistance to wearing masks in response to the Covid-19 pandemic starts at the top in America. President Donald Trump refused to wear a mask even in a factory where personal protective equipment is being manufactured. After he left, the company was forced to throw out the entire day’s production. He’s done this stunt more than once, as has his Vice President Mike Pence. That’s how little the President and this administration cares about the personal safety of anyone––or anything––that he encounters. Yet he had the gall to make his Tulsa rally attendees sign a waiver exonerate his campaign from any liability in the that people got sick. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

His example is emboldening his supporters to follow suit and protest wearing masks in public, which they apparently regard as both an inconvenience and a broach of their personal freedoms.

But if masks are such a problem for people to wear, why don’t we just do away with the inconvenience of wearing some as restrictive as pants? So many obese Americans seem to have a problem fitting into them in the first place.

Others simply don’t seem to get the concept of what pants are all about. Take this woman whose garments leave nothing to the imagination. She seems to feel that actual pants would get in the way of her right to express herself in public.

So perhaps we should all follow this woman’s example and ditch the pants as well as the masks in a display of personal freedoms and the right to dispense with social conventions altogether.

You might argue there are morality issues associated with not wearing pants. But that doesn’t stop this woman, does it? If she turned around it is quite certain there would be more to find out about her anatomy when her genital outlines are there for all of us to see. Who’s to say she doesn’t have a right to do show her stuff? It’s her body. Her right.

Or, you could argue that the social convention of wearing pants is a matter of personal and public hygiene. But come on! Flopping our genitals and ass cheeks on public seating isn’t really that much of a problem, is it? Would it really bother you if the man sitting next to you in a restaurant has his junk on display while you have your dinner? This is America, people! Trump wants us to be free!

As it stands, I’m in favor of wearing masks in public for all the right reasons. In the event that I am asymptomatic for the Coronavirus, the mask provides a layer of protection for others. And if there are people walking around spreading the virus in my direction, the mask helps prevent that from reaching me.

I carry my masks around with me in the car. Sometimes I start toward a store and forget to take the mask along. In that case, I go back and fetch it, strap it over my ears and go about the business at hand. Yet somehow this simple routine is too much to ask for millions of Trump supporters who think that the risk of contracting Coronavirus is “fake news” thanks to the President. He’s whipped them into a frenzy of “protest” against the entire concept of masks.

That appeal to selfish ignorance fits the entire mentality of the Trump regime. Recently Trump insisted that the rise in Covid-19 cases is only the product of increased testing. This is precisely what Trump said about the issue. “Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!”

A June 23 CNBC story reports: “Public health specialists have repeatedly said the data does not indicate that increased testing accounts for the recent surge in daily new cases. 20 states currently have a positivity rate above 5%, according to John Hopkins University data, and that includes Arizona, which reports that 21.15% of all tests are coming back positive.”

Fails to see the irony between the Pro-Choi

The division that Trump creates among Americans and even within his own party is based on the breathtakingly stupid premise that personal freedoms are at risk in being asked to wear a mask in public. In what must be the height of irony, the Trump-driven protestor pictured above essentially steals language from the Pro-Choice movement on women’s reproductive rights to apply them to the idea that wearing a mask is an infringement of liberty and government intrusion on a woman’s body.

Here is the problem: The Trump movement thrives on this brand of cognitive dissonance. For those who don’t grasp exactly what that means, here’s the definition: “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.”

They’re taking direction from a man who claims to be a truth-teller and authentic, yet paints is face orange everyday and engages in daily vain attempts to cover his balding head with an elaborate combover that blows around in a high wind. This is all significant. His face paint rubs off on his shirt collar. His lies rub off on the Constitution. He’s a fraud from head to toe, evidenced by the settlement of $25M against his own Trump University for bilking students out of money for sham courses that had no value except the shallow premise of the Trump name.

Later fined $25M for fraud.

He has no shame. And despite his claims, he has demonstrated even less merit as a CEO or a President or even a dogcatcher. As Mark Twain once wrote, “All it takes is ignorance and confidence, and success is sure.” That is the Trump tactic in a nutshell, and his supporters eat it up. His tactics are clear. He takes no responsibility for all the bad things he causes and yet loves to claim credit for anything that works, including the economy that is a straight-line product of the restorative actions taken by President Obama following the Bush-led recession. These facts are clear to anyone with a soundly functioning brain. But just like Trump, denial and willing ignorance is preferable to his supporters as a means to claim authority and control over society.

And by the way, under the direct influence of Trump’s reign, an employment crash not seen since the Great Depression took place in 2020. If Trump wants credit where credit is due, he need look no further than the job statistics in which another 1.5M new unemployment claims were filed again this last week in June. Trump is a disaster for America by every measure; economy, environment, employment and education, to name just a few. It’s all because he’s a professional con man, and nothing more.

That brings us to his denial of the Coronavirus pandemic that is now directly responsible for more than 121,000 dead Americas. The United States has only 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the known deaths related to this pandemic. This is all Trump’s fault. He caused this with his delays and continuing denial that Covid-19 is a persistent, lethal disease that requires social vigilance to contain. Other countries have managed that. New Zealand wiped out the virus in its nation. Now the European Union is considering a ban on American visitors abroad. This is all Trump’s fault. He has turned the United States of America into a banana republic, complete with a narcissistically fascist dictator who paints his face like a vain clown afraid of showing even his crocodile tears.

But this mess is also the fault of his stubborn, death-defying supporters who can’t separate the least bit of fact from fiction. The real problem now is getting this sociopathic monster out of office. Already he’s propagandizing the upcoming election to put any result into question. This is the type of dog-whistle manipulation of the American public at which Trump most excels. Whether it is media reporting of his many lies or the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, Trump plays the victim and gins up his supporters because they revel in the notion that what used to make America great was the type of religiously-driven racism and social control that persecuted others for cultural advantage, and when that got boring, it was all done for sport.

Trump is the reason why bloviating bastards and stubborn bitches are waving flags and crying foul over the simple request to wears masks in public. But if masks are an affront, so is wearing pants in public, and we know from where that selfish instinct emanates. The Emperor himself is wearing no clothes, and his worshipful cult cheerleads his waltz down the naked travails of history.

Why armed militias walk freely and peaceful protesters get mowed down

See those guys in the photo? They’re part of the Boogaloo movement planning to bring about a new Civil War. They’re a far-right, libertarian-style faction that hates government and loves American gun laws that allow them to carry weapons around with impunity.

See the people in this photo? They’re part of peaceful protests taking place all around America and the world. Their main objection is that police keep slaughtering black people in this country, and the death of George Floyd under the pressure-packed knee of a Minneapolis policemen generated legitimate public protests.

To review, the armed militias have had quite a bit to say lately, and plenty of latitude to say it. A group of them descended on the Michigan State Capitol, stormed the legislature and started making demands that restrictions on public access related to the Coronavirus pandemic be removed. One of them placed an effigy of the female governor as if she’d been hanged. Meanwhile, Kentucky Libertarian Rand Paul is blocking an anti-lynching bill even in the wake of the documented asphyxiation––a lynching in public––of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of this stuff you just can’t make up.

Trump excuses and welcomes brutality

The President of the United States of America excuses all these affronts to true justice because, he maintains, “People are angry.” That was also his excuse for the “good people” who assaulted activists during the removal of a Confederate statue somewhere below the Mason-Dixon line.

During his manic attempt to restore order in the face of recent protests, the President met with leaders of the American military to request that 10,000 active troops be deployed as a “domination” force against peaceful protestors. That request was made shortly after a personal call with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, also known as a strongman with a vicious bent for punishing his own citizens.

Conflation patrols

Trump’s defenders claim he was only trying to stop people taking advantage of civil unrest to loot storefronts. The two groups had entirely different motives, but Trump refuses to make that distinction. He conflated them as one, and then grandly proved that point by shoving aside peaceful demonstrators to descend on a Washington church where he stood with a Bible in his hand as if he owned the place.

Trump clearly thinks he owns everything, but especially the military. Everything the man has done, and all his claims to executive authority, are earnest expressions that he believes he owns the entire nation. His demeanor is one of a slavedriver demand response to whatever he chooses to impose. The nation is his plantation, you see. That is why he steals funds from the military to build his border wall. It is also why he sought to force Ukraine’s President to make up lies about Vice President Joe Biden. Trump’s version of political negotiation is to cheat or coerce the system until it does his will.

The gesture out front of the church with the Bible in his hand was particularly disturbing because it interpolated Christianity with the brand of fascism it took to place himself in that position. But perhaps that’s not such a big stretch. It was Adolf Hitler that once stated, “We are not doing anything to the Jews that Christians have not been doing for 1500 years.” Some traditions stick around. Others just come back in other forms.

Fortunately the nation’s generals did prevent Trump from sending tanks into the fray in Washington. Yet frustrated by the lack of force he could employ, he instead commissioned Attorney General William Barr to rally a group of mercenary prison guards to station themselves around the Lincoln Memorial.

Displays of fascist “domination” such as these align directly with the overwrought militia types that took over the Michigan state capitol. Their end goal, it seems, is to start a Civil War under the term Boogaloo to get what they want. That is a world free from restrictions on their racial prejudice and aggressive victimhood. They also want their firearm toys. It’s a compensatory thing.

That’s no different than the priorities of Donald Trump. Together these politicized nasties represent a Neo-Confederacy threatening the existence of the Union as we have long known it. That explains why armed militias of many types are being seen more frequently across America. Trump has no intention of giving up control of this nation’s armed forces or its resources, which he loves to dole out to his fawning loyalists. To accomplish this mission he welcomes even mercenary support as long as they share his goal of not letting anyone challenge him. Both the thugs in Boogaloo outfits and the Evangelicals cozying up to Trump share that in common: a opportunity to align themselves with such power. Fuck Jesus, and let’s go play with guns.

There is a third quasi-military faction involved in this mess. We’re already seeing the results of the vigilante confederate mindset, with dispassionately misguided police forces knocking a 75-year-old men to the ground because they can. If that’s how they treat the elderly, think of the brain-crushing they’ve got planned for youthful protestors full with energy and purpose. The bloodshed could be awful to behold.

Fascism rules

Trump’s supporters are keen to defend him. “This is not Nazi Germany,” they say. “He’s only trying to protect the nation from Antifa and looters.” Yet we’ll repeat: that claim aggressively ignores the fact that armed militias are being casually permitted to run wild and privately commissioned prison guards are hired to impose martial law in the nation’s capitol. And the police keep killing people.

This may not be Nazi Germany, but neither is it the United States of America. But perhaps this is what Trump meant all along by his slogan Make America Great Again. After all, Germany enjoyed a few great years before the world sent Hitler into his private bunker with a pistol and a getaway plan of taking his own life rather than having to face a tribunal for the deaths of millions of people. Trump’s Coronavirus body count is only up to 113,000 at this moment, but if he’d been allowed to carry on with his selfish plan of ignoring the threat, it is estimated that 2,000,000 may have died.

The scary truth of that last statement is that Trump’s flaxenly selfish response to the Covid-19 epidemic was only changed because he realized that people dying in droves might hurt his chances for re-election. Once again, he did not act out of conscience, but for selfish political reasons.

Hideouts

Illustration by Christopher Cudworth

In something of a symbolic coup, Trump is now hiding behind 13-foot-tall fences installed around the White House. For a while at least, he was even hunkered down in a bunker out of fear that his life was at risk.

Yet he’s refused to wear a mask in public because he thinks it would make him look ridiculous. That’s a bit like that evil clown John Wayne Gacy complaining that his lipstick is smeared. And speaking of clowns, Trump shrieks like a carnival barker behind the podium of Twitter. He raves about how the game isn’t fair and that he’s a victim of all sorts of conspiracies against him, especially by Democrats, but some Republicans too.

Yet somehow white evangelicals line up and clamor for his words. There are women who worship and fawn and faint over Trump and his manhood. His business buddies just want to grab what they can before the economic collapse comes along. And “First Lady” Melania Trump keeps a purse and small suitcase packed and ready in case the whole carnival needs to take off for Argentina.

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.

MAGA deserves a closer look

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

Trump Maga Hat

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

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

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

MAGA redefined

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

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

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

Protestors

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

Not that simple

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

Trump Denial

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

fire fauci

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

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

Big money goes elsewhere

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

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

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

Impeachment doesn’t stick

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

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

Low information 

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

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

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

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

It is evil.

 

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.

Finding our way back to truth in a religiously blinded America

 

Bald Eagle 3rd year

Recently I engaged in a pair of online discussions that illuminated the differences in how people respond to information that contradicts their beliefs.

The first was an exchange on a Facebook group called Suburban Wildlife. A wide variety of users, both expert and novice, shares images of wildlife with an online community hosted by the Daily Herald media company. I post several images a week and noticed that a user named Dennis Houghton had found and photographed an eagle. His initial ID of the bird was Golden Eagle, but I noticed that the bird was actually a second or third-year bald eagle. They can be difficult to identify during stages of transition from juvenile to adult. There aren’t always clear passages between plumage phase. The giveaway in this case was the clearly emerging pattern of white feathers covering the head.

Christopher Cudworth Actually I think that is a third to fourth-year bald eagle

Dennis Houghton Christopher, I’m no expert by any means, but the beak and tail looks like a Golden Eagle to me. BTW 4th grade was my senior year. ✌️ (he posted a link to golden eagle images here)

Christopher Cudworth I’m not a contentious birder…so please note that I could be wrong. It just has the structure and look of a Bald Eagle versus a Golden. The Sibley’s Guide shows some rather structures “years” but not all moults are complete or clean. Just trying to be helpful here. (I posted screen caps of young bald eagles)

Christopher Cudworth The emerging white on the head of the bird you’ve shown is unique to Bald Eagles.

Dennis Houghton I appreciate your knowledge and love learning more about nature. Mother nature likes messing with me sometimes. Thank you Christopher.

Christopher Cudworth Dennis Houghton These are wonderful photographs and honestly I’ve been birding forty years and learn something every day by watching them in each new circumstance. I’m not a great photographer but it’s fascinating when you see new things about birds by doing this.

Golden Eagle.pngThat was all civil and instructional. I’ve been birding for forty years and have seen both bald and golden eagles in the wild. Bald eagles have become common in our area, and there are young birds up everywhere. Golden eagles are far more rare in our region. Not impossible to find, especially in fall migration.

But we solved that issue fairly easily. I’ve since complimented Dennis on a number of other images he’s posted, all properly identified.

A day after that exchange, a person I did not know made a Friend request on Facebook. We shared 28 Friends, many whom I knew quite well, so I accepted her request. Then I went to her page. The first four images were Pro-Trump pictures with MAGA hats prominently featured. There were also hints of religious triumphalism lurking in the wings.

That told me there might be trouble ahead from this “Friend.” On several occasions, I’ve had people that I either know through associates or other groups that Friend me and then start posting typically ignorant Pro-Trump memes to my wall. It started before the 2016 election with a psychologist associate from a local business networking group who went on the attack through my Facebook Wall and even took it offline to Messenger as a means to spit insults and taunts at me along with the inevitable Go Trump! jargon.

Trump and G

Opening questions

So rather than let the process start all over again, I posted an inquiry why this particular Trump fan wanted to be friends with me. An hour later, one of her friends or followers posted something on the order of, “This is so sad, why can’t we all be friends and just get along.”

Rather than engage in that type of discussion in full view of the world, I chose to respond personally to the person in question.

“In response to your comment on Allison’s page. I have been verbally accosted on repeated occasions by Trump followers. Some have chased me onto Messenger and harassed at length. Others post salacious and false memes on my Wall, then criticize and attack me for questioning their decision. And you ask…”Why can’t we all just get along?” That’s why I questioned her choice to Friend me. I’ll not abide the consistent hypocrisy and angry taunts any longer. If you want to have a real conversation about this to understand the full context, I’ll be glad to provide it. But I’ve written on religion and politics for more than 40 years, and know the measure of moral equivalency. I do not buy straw man arguments that “one side’s as bad as the other” when the direct evidence I’ve encountered proves otherwise.

Opening round

Yes, that was rather assertive toward the end. I’ll admit that. But I’ve also learned that if you don’t state your case clearly, the folks who follow Trump view it as an opportunity to exploit apparent weakness and take that as an opportunity to preach the brand. And sure enough…this is what she wrote back…

“It just makes me sad when I hear people say we can’t be friends because of xxx beliefs and stuff. But I also understand and have suffered my self as you have, only from the other side as I am a Trump supporter. I was not trying to say anything bad about you personally, it’s just how social media is. The way people attack each other, as a Christian woman, just breaks my heart. I have been chewed up and spit out enough times that I usually don’t even comment. And is also the reason I don’t post anything political on my personal page. Anyway, I apologize if I offended, it was not my intent. I hope you have a very blessed day.”

That was nice enough, I’ll agree. But I’m also concerned about the hypocrisy exhibited by those who claim to be Christian and yet ardently support Trump when there is no apparent signs that Donald Trump is Christian in any form of belief, action or character. So I wrote back:

Trump-golf-seated

“I simply don’t know how any serious Christian can support the profane and corrupt man now in office. You may have your reasons, but I have yet to hear one person legitimately provide a single reason why Jesus Christ would abide a man who worships wealth, lusts after women including his own daughter, verbally abuses women and men and the disabled alike and lies so often he cannot even recall his previous lies. To dismiss all that is raw hypocrisy and that is why, as a lifelong Christian committed to social justice, I find friending a supposed Trump supporter to be a compromise in honesty and integrity. If that offends you then you should really search your own heart.”

She was miffed of course.

“My heart is just fine thank you. Its comments like that that are offensive. I did not bash you for your beliefs, and I don’t appreciate you bashing me. This is exactly why I do not discuss politics via social media. Have a blessed life. Good bye.”

First off, I clearly stated that she must have her own reasons for supporting Trump. I also spoke objectively. She plainly refused to make any attempt at answering any of the questions raised in the statements made about what constitutes serious Christian faith.

And by ‘serious,’ I meant honest. Which is what really set her off. She says her “heart” is just fine, and I granted her that in saying “You must have your reasons…”

flag-waiver

Instead, she chose to play the role of the persecuted while blaming me for “bashing her beliefs.” She was clearly making the argument that Trump deserves the support of so many religious people. So I elected (pun intended) to call her bluff.

“So-called Christians supporting Trump all behave this way. No accountability or will to account for the hypocrisy…and then you cry persecution. It’s a tragedy of faith not to call yourself to account in Jesus’ name. Don’t you know he fought the Trumps of his day in Herod and the religious authorities who ran the temple like a business? Read the Bible for God’s sake. And repent as John the Baptist told us to. And stop with the “Woe is my poor Christian heart” thing… and tell your friends lending their support to that godless madman to stop. God speaks to you through people like me who care enough to engage in the truth of repentance.

I feel so bad for you going around bashing good Christian people because they don’t agree with YOU. See you are exactly the kind of person I was talking about. You don’t know me, you know nothing about me except that I was trying to respond respectfully, unlike you. Yes, you good Christian man you. Judging me without even knowing me. I think you need to get on your knees and ask God to forgive you for your judgment and condemnation of people. You are not my God, and I do not answer to you. And the fact that you dare to question my love for God because I refuse to bend to your will, please. Take your blinders off hun, you are a hypocritic (sic) And I will pray for you.

Oh and BTW, I will continue to Thank God every day that Hillary Clinton is NOT our president!! Go Trump!! MAGA 2020!!!

So the argument from this Trump supporter seems to be that no one is allowed to question the beliefs of those who choose to abide in a known adulterer, a proven liar, a repeated committer of financial fraud and a sexual abuser––because they only answer to God.

Or is it instead Trump to whom they ultimately answer? That certainly seems to be her closing argument. Go Trump!! MAGA 2020!!!

In the end this Christian evangelical fealty to Trump does not seem to be about the tenets of real faith at all. Instead, it’s about siding with the powerful and lending the credence of religious authority as an unbending juggernaut to a political cause. That pattern of trading on the authority of God to gain status and power directly aligns with the zealous hypocrites whom Jesus challenged for turning the temple into a place of commerce and the Jewish faith into a legalistic, heartless religion.

Obvious parallels

The parallels with today’s legalistic and politically-motivated Christians are so obvious. Yet the folks whose religion openly persecutes those it judges to be sinners loves to pre-emptively claim persecution for themselves. That is clearly what’s wrong with America.

Do I feel badly for disrupting that woman’s day by challenging her to a discussion about religious honesty? Part of me does feel guilty for that. Yet the call to social justice in the name of Jesus Christ truly does demand that we step outside our comfort zones and be willing to challenge the corruption of religion for political and economic purposes. We see the same pattern of using God’s authority to justify war. At what point do we actually stand up and say “Stop! Enough! This is not God’s way.”

I say it starts with every opportunity we can find. It’s not judging others to challenge them to justify their beliefs when they clearly stand in league with corruption. It is caring enough to be Christian in the most difficult sense. That is following the true example of Jesus as he confronted the false religious authorities of His day.

And when it comes to people weaseling out of defending their beliefs by claiming the need to do so is a form of “persecution,” I call bullshit.

Comparison

The two exchanges shared in this post were interesting because the photographer and birder “friend” on Facebook welcomed the opportunity to gain perspective and insight that resulted in truth.

Oliver-North

It is always the job of Christians to fight the untruths created by the combination of religion and politics for four decades now. There are always people who will lie and claim God is on their side without batting an eye. I say we should resist them. 

Meanwhile, the other “friend” took immediate offense and condescendingly lamented why I should be concerned why a Trump supporter wanted to be friends with me in the first place.

That’s actually an incredibly naive and arrogant question to ask, for it  literally assumes that no harm has been done or is being done to our country by those who support Trump under a Christian banner. The man in question exhibits passionately aggressive instincts and attacks everyone he can find with insults and vengeance. That is not the true definition of a “friend,” much less a Christian.

So many Christians seem confused and unable to discern where the truth really lies:

“For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.” 2 Timothy 4:3

Compare the trust people seem to place in Trump with the traditional claim that  “we have a friend in Jesus.” There is no just parallel. The two beliefs are so contradictory they deserve to be challenged whenever and wherever you find them. That’s the least that any Christian should do.

It’s going to be a tough road finding our way back to truth. Clearly, some people still embrace an opportunity to learn our change while others use any excuse they can to run and hide from truth even when it smacks them in the face.