It’s the horrified versus the whoreified in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maximus versus Commodus

commodus01.jpg

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

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

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

Commodus: Then take it now.

[Maximus pauses, then turns around and walks away]

Commodus: They tell me your son…

[Maximus stops]

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

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

[Bows head]

Maximus: Highness.

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

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

The Rape of America

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

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

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

Emperors and whores

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

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

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

Whoring out

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

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

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

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

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We did not do this to you, Republicans, you did this to yourself

newt gingrichA few years back when my daughter was a teenager, she had a problem with a contact lens that had scratched her eye. It was tremendously painful, and it happened late at night, so I took her to the emergency room at our local hospital.

We sat in a curtained room waiting to be seen. The wait took quite a while. As it happened, there was an intoxicated man in the next stall over. He was strapped to a table with an armed police guard standing watch over him.

The drunk guy was yelling, “I want my booze!” over and over again. Occasionally he’d lace that sentence with an expletive or two for special emphasis.

An hour passed as we waited and finally the drunk guy started to settle down. We could see him through a crack between the curtains as he leaned his head back and turned his attention to the policeman guarding him. “Why did you do this to me?” he complained.

The officer stood there calmly and replied: “I did not do this to you, sir. You did this to yourself.”

I think about that incident as the testimony is about to unfold today in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican nominee for a lifetime position as a Supreme Court Justice. As news has emerged of testimony by multiple women accusing Kavanaugh of a range of sexually violent behavior, the potential justice has categorically denied it all. Not just some of it. All of it.

Ryan smilingPerhaps we’ll see a dramatic turn of events and Kavanaugh’s name will indeed be cleared. An entire lineup of archly conservative Republicans ranging from Newt Gingrich to the peripatetic Senator Lindsay Graham has classified the progression of accusations as a “character assassination.”

But that’s a political claim. The Republican-led Judiciary Committee refuses to allow an FBI investigation. So they don’t really want to know the truth. They want to blame the Democrats for allowing any real sort of truth to come out, preferring instead the version of “truth” they want to use in order to shove Kavanaugh through this process before the GOP loses control of the government in the November elections.

Drunk with power

To gain some perspective on the true context of the situation, we need to consider that the entire Republican Party has been on a power binge since the Donald Trump Train rolled over the nation. Drunk with permission to do what they want, wild with authority granted by control of both the House and the Senate. And the Supreme Court. That’s the branch of government they so desperately desire to lock up for decades.

But first, Republicans have engaged in a power-drunk bender of passing tax cuts for the wealthy even as their pet President imposes tariffs on our trade allies. Why, Trump is even handing out $50B to support farmers after gutting prices on soy beans and corn through ill-conceived penalties on China. The nation will have a hangover from Republican grain alcohol for years. All while gutting those pesky environmental laws in a fit of pique over being questioned all these years about why their industrialist allies pollute and waste our national resources with aplomb.

But like so many things in life, especially excessive habits, a price must sooner or later be paid.

Owning up

Now one of their chosen has been strapped to the gurney of accountability and Republicans don’t like it one bit. Kavanaugh is accused of violent sexual behavior in his youth, but he is denying everything and anything that ever happened. In so doing, he has become the poster child for every hypocritical Republican claiming to be a paragon of family values while dire secrets hidden in the past come pouring out of the closet. There’s a pattern here.

ct-dennis-hastert-lawsuit-met-20170222Because we’ve already witnessed the downfall of Good Ole Boy Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, whose career went South when legitimate allegations of child sexual abuse were corroborated. Many of those abuses happened long ago and were buried under piles of hush money paid by Hastert to buy the silence of his victims.

The current President of the United States openly questioned the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s growing list of accusers on basis that Poor Old Donald Trump has been falsely accused of such behavior in the past. But Trump has also openly admitted to sexual abuse of women on multiple occasions. He has also paid for the silence of women with whom he had sexual affairs. These transgressions were far more recent and even more telling about the character of the President than the accusations made against Kavanaugh, who seemingly behaved very badly as a stupid kid drunk with the power of his own appetites.

So it’s a sick little cabal that is in operation right now. How many more Republicans side with Kavanaugh because they fear the evidence of their own past? We hear people whine in the news that from now on “no man is safe” from the accusations of women from their past. But if men have committed sins the likes of which Kavanaugh is accused, then that information should be public knowledge if they intend to accept political or public positions. The nation does need to know who it can trust. People with dark lies in their past are far more likely to commit dark lies in the present. Their judgment is inextricably skewed by the repression required to hide and ignore those sins.

We need the Republican Party in this country. We need the conscience and values it once could claim as foundations to its existence. We need the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower and even, to some degree, the party of Richard M. Nixon, whose administration, while ultimately corrupt, did install the EPA as a protection for American’s natural and human resources.

The real story here is that Republicans appear to be ignoring both very recent history and the truth of dark deeds done in the past. But we did not do this to you, Republicans. You did this to yourself.

 

From deplorable to despicable in America

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

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

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

Barack Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hate at arm’s length

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

Collusion has many meanings

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

Now that Trump’s long-held devotion to corruption to gain power is being firmly exposed through his association with the likes of the convicted Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, and his haplessly entrapped personal lawyer Michael Cohn, who has now implicated Trump for campaign finance violations, the criminal character of our sitting President has now been confirmed. He has colluded with people doing criminal acts and with associates sporting criminal histories (not proven) to gain power.

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

Lock him up

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

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

The real Sean Hannity question

Hannity.jpegMichael Cohen has served as attorney for Donald Trump and his organization for many years. He’s covered up affairs for Trump, even paying off a porn star to keep silent two weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

There are problems with that behavior as it relates to federal election laws. But it also evidences fraudulent behavior in execution and protection of a non-disclosure agreement that was never signed by Trump yet has been used to publicly threaten and silence Stormy Daniels from sharing information about the nature of their illicit affair.

The Hannity Question: Round 1

Lurking behind all this sordid secrecy is the fact that a big Trump supporter with a national TV audience that numbers in the millions is also a client of Michael Cohen. That is Sean Hannity. And of course, Hannity denies that he was ever a client of Cohen. Yet Cohen’s attorneys insisted that the name of a mystery “client” be kept secret to protect their identity as the details of Cohen’s fraudulent activities are examined after a raid by the FBI that was approved by a judge who saw ample reason to suspect Cohen of considerable wrongdoing on a number of fronts.

The Hannity Question #2

So let’s pause there a moment and consider something. Sean Hannity claims that he’s never “paid” for any legal work done by Cohen. He admits to having several “brief conversations” with the attorney over matters that are not specific. Such as these, perhaps? 

alg-donald-trump-jpgYet the 1:1:1 relationship between Donald Trump, Michael Cohen and Sean Hannity must be considered a legitimate political concern. We’re talking about a lawyer in Cohen who directly represents the President of the United States. He is the subject of suspicion in conducting dishonest or outright illegal activity on behalf of the current United States President during a highly contentious political campaign whose outcomes were driven by large-scale media exposure.

We should note that there were also proven efforts documented by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller indicating that Russian operatives used social media to adversely sway voter opinions toward Hillary Clinton while promoting positive impressions of Donald Trump. Could Cohen possibly have been involved in contact or negotiations with any such operators? It does not seem out of the parameters of Trump’s methods to have Cohen take care of such communications, even if just to get the direct on anyone who might open a can of Trump worms.

Media advocate(s)

Throughout all this, Sean Hannity has been a demonstrated advocate of the person and policies of Donald Trump. And we’re supposed to believe that his association with Trump’s personal attorney is just a coincidence.

Imagine if it had been revealed that President Barack Obama had shared a personal attorney with a broadcaster on CNN, MSNBC or any of the larger entity media companies in America? What if Obama had shared an attorney with Mark Zuckerberg, or Tim Cook of Apple. Jeff Bezos of Amazon?

The Right would have blown a gasket. Yet here is Sean Hannity, essentially in the same legal bed with Donald Trump, and claiming that he’s had no influence on the man, nor gained any favor, special treatment or information from the relationship.

Client-attorney privilege

15-cohen.w710.h473They’re all screaming about the supposed protections of the client-attorney relationship. But this is America we’re talking about, and rule of law says that when criminal activities are afoot, and they clearly are with Cohen, the law takes precedence. And when national security is at risk, as Trump has evidenced on a number of occasions by revealing classified information or issuing nuclear threats or making war without approval of Congress, then America deserves the right to know the real motivations behind all the cloaks of immature judgement that constitute the blanket fort of Donald Trump.

Lock Them Up

Trump screamed “Lock her up” toward Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. Well, she made mistakes. But none of them was deemed by multiple investigations to be criminal in any way.

And during all that scrutiny, she did not share with a major media personality the services of a crooked lawyer with a reputation as a mob-like fixer. That would have made heads explode on the Alt-Right. Frankly, I don’t even think the Right could make up things that sound so absurd.

Yet here we are. Stuck in a surreal world where lies and legends converge in a maelstrom of political subterfuge.

It’s time for all this to come to light. Here’s hoping the Special Masters soon to be hired to vet information secured during the raid on Cohen’s joint will find reason to force Trump and Hannity and all the rest of the scoundrels hiding behind “legal means” to tell the truth. That’s the answer to the Hannity Question we all want to know. What’s really going behind the scenes  in the Right Wing world, and how is it about to make America a far worse place than it once was?

 

What Republican Speakers of the House hide behind those smiles

newt gingrich.JPGNewt Gingrich. Dennis Hastert. John Boehner. Paul Ryan.

What comes to mind while running through that list of individuals? They all seem to have been hiding something creepy behind their smiles.

The first two were scions of hypocrisy. Powerful men, for sure. Keen on forceful implementation of partisan ideology. Absolutely. 

But Gingrich carried on affairs outside of marriage, even serving a wife struggling with cancer a directive for divorce. Harsh, dude. And Gingrich invented the brand of divisive, winner-take-all, scorched earth politics that are tearing the country apart these days.

And that was carried on by yet another tough-guy conservative speaker named Dennis Hastert. But his smile was ultimately wiped off his face by scandal.

ct-dennis-hastert-lawsuit-met-20170222.jpgYet let’s recall that Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House for a very long time. He hid his sordid past from the public while pretending to be the good-guy Coach beloved by community and country.

Yet even in that role, he was dismissive of political balance on all matters of domestic policy. He also happily trotted alongside warmongers like Bush and Cheney as they lied to the world and committed what amounted to war crimes through the torture and death of Iraqi citizens.

Then we learned that Hastert hid dark secrets about his own past, essentially bribing men that he had sexually abused as boys to keep quiet so that the lie of his legacy could be sustained. Is it any wonder he was forceful in his politics as well?

John-Boehner.jpgSuch is the dog-whistle world of conservative politics that the legacy of John Boehner was to preside over the highly prejudiced conservative resistance to America’s first black President, Barack Obama.

Boehner acted in league with the likes of the dog-whistle king Mitch McConnell, who swore that his only goal in life was to make Obama a one-term President. Thus Boehner failed the American people in his role as moderator of Republic, whose Constitution specifically guarantees equal rights and fair treatment for all, even the President.

Boehner further compromised the American people through cynical collusion with lobbyists to turn the Affordable Care Act into a bonanza for insurance companies and Big Pharma.

Yet even Boehner was deposed for incompetency by his own party, who didn’t like the idea that he even talked with President Obama, much less tried to work with him.

Paul-Ryan-Smile.jpgAnd that’s how the Republicans arrived at the likes of Paul Ryan, who didn’t even want the job as Speaker of the House.

Thus Ryan sorts into the bin as yet another hypocrite who insists that he hates government while forming his entire career and wealth around the advantages it has conferred to him. Along the way of course, Ryan has spouted trippy stuff about the merits of Ayn Rand and the blessings of free market economics, but in the end he has turned to be little more than a smarmy salesman for a brand of hateful politics that even he found distasteful. He has squirmed and writhed under the thumb of Donald Trump, but he has yet to stand up to the man. And now he’s quitting so he won’t have to.

At times Ryan has tried to act sort of human, but he kept making obviously stupid mistakes. These included a claim that he ran a marathon in three hours when he’s never even come close to that time in real life. Ryan’s excuse? He was somewhere in that range.

Which about explains the lack of effectiveness and honesty in all of Ryan’s political life. Multiple efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act and replace it have failed. When it came to reforming health care, Republicans proved to be an empty vessel devoid of substantial ideas of even reasonable change. Ryan is a poster boy for that political naivete.

Ryan smiling.pngNow he’s “retiring” as he puts it. But in truth, he’s actually quitting for a few years to avoid the bloodbath that is fast approaching for the conservative cabal installed by ignorance of people who consistently vote against their best interests.

That dire fact is being demonstrated in real time by the impact of trade wars being barked into existence by Donald Trump, whose tariffs are predicted to have dire economic effects on farmers here in the USA. Trump has promised that “we’ll make it up to you” but nothing the President says in that sort of context ever comes true.

There’s a simple reason for that. Trump doesn’t have the moral capacity to speak the truth. That’s not how he’s lived his life. And that’s not how he got elected in the first place. If Trump started telling the truth, he’d be impeached immediately. So instead, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been assigned to tell the truth for Donald Trump, and the Big Orange One doesn’t like it one bit.

So there will be some shit hitting the fan very soon. And that’s why Paul Ryan has decided that he has to leave for the moment. He’s been outstripped by a master hypocrite and liar who exceeds even the orange complexion of former Speaker John Boehner.

The line of Republican Speakers has thus proven to exemplify the worst extremes in America politics. From forceful jerks to complicit liars, the Gingrich-Hastert-Boehner-Ryan lineage is a pitiful demonstration of the conflicted, hypocritical core of conservatism as an ideology. These men demonstrate the fact that the conservative doctrine is a cobbled-together mess of competing desires that constitute neither virtues or values. The Republican Party is a gathering of neocontrarians.

paul-ryan-smile (1).jpgIt’s all about getting the money and power and keeping it. Hence the activist conservative Supreme Court rulings that favor the “free speech” of hidden political contributions. That’s a thin veneer to cover the cause of political corruption.

Because if Republicans can’t win on the merits of their results, they must excel at getting rich people to pay their way into office. Coming off the Bush era, with 9/11 taking place under their watch, a war of choice in Iraq that cost trillions and an economy that crashed under Republican rule, the GOP doctrine was proven to be a grandiose lie.

But hypocrites and conservatives without conscience (to quote John Dean) excel in the realm of cognitive dissonance. Thus the GOP strategy has been to deny that any of that happened under Bush and Cheney. Or else they disclaim those two as unrepresentative of true conservatism. Which is nothing more than lying about the past. Revisionism. And poor excuses for massive fraud.

And that’s the only reason why Republicans are sad that Paul Ryan is leaving office. He put a friendlier face on their massive disgrace. His friendly altar-boy good lucks and his smiling mug serve as the Poster Child for Republican denial. That tradition incorporates conservative denial of science and evolution, climate change and education in general.  But Ryan’s smiling visage overcomes with a youngish-looking appeal for conservative dollars.

And that’s rather creepy. Because one must wonder, given the history of the sexually abusive proclivities of former Speaker Dennis Hastert, if there isn’t something a bit sketchier behind the Republican love for outgoing speaker Paul Ryan.

That smile looks mighty pained at times. Given the dire history of Republican Speakers and their propensity to avoid the truth at any cost, we can only assume that Paul Ryan must be hiding a little something behind that smile.

 

The real meaning of Christmas, exposed

 

IMG_3787.jpg

Photos of oil on water by Christopher Cudworth 2017

On Christmas Eve the Christian world fills with anticipation as one of its high holy days is about to arrive. Millions will attend church to celebrate Christmas Day, the traditional time affixed to the birth of Yeshua, or Jesus.

Yet we now recognize the Christmas season as we know it is a fabrication. The most ardent biblical literalists are the ones that have exposed the ruse, and confessed. The website Answers In Genesis fashions itself a key defender of all things “inerrant and true” about the Bible, and even it has grave doubts about the time of year in which we celebrate Christmas.

After careful scriptural exegesis of the Jewish calendar and its documentation of the time of year in which John the Baptist was born, Answers In Genesis says:

“This would have put John the Baptist at about six months in the womb around August/September. Assuming about nine months for pregnancy, John would have been born about November/December by the modern calendar based on the assumptions we used.

If the Holy Spirit did come upon Mary in the sixth month (Elul) or around August/September, as it seems to indicate in Scripture, then Jesus should have been born about nine months later, which would place His birth around May/June. Since John the Baptist was still in the womb of Elizabeth when he leapt for joy in Jesus’ presence (Luke 1:39-42), this means that the conception had to take place within the next three months or so of the visit by Gabriel—before John was born. Regardless, by this reckoning, the birth of Christ isn’t even close to Christmas on the modern calendar.”

Answers In Genesis is not alone in this correction of supposed history, but this example makes the point that harsher cynics have long claimed: Christmas is an invention of religion designed to serve a specific purpose. The narrative of Jesus born in Bethlehem was cobbled together by a series of Gospel writers who either copied one another or chose a different emphasis depending on how they viewed the Christ story.

The Nativity with the animals gathered around and Wise Men attending is also manufactured for the purpose of giving the Christmas story a focus. People need that. It helps them pass along the Christmas tale to new generations. The story of the baby Jesus lying in a manger is appealing to parents sharing the tale with younger generations.

IMG_3794.jpgAnd so it goes. In the modern era, it has become a bit more difficult for Christians to defend the verity and meaning of this story because the season has become perverted by the massive commercial significance of the holiday season. This has not been the fault of the secular world. Many people celebrate Christmas because it’s fun, but that permission has long been granted by the competing tale of Santa Claus bringing gifts to small children and adults alike around the world. Christians have willingly conveyed this myth for over a century now. There is likely no turning back.

The history and popularity of the myth of Santa Claus is irrelevant to the true meaning of Christmas. But it does have a parallel significance in where we are in Christmas traditions today. Some Christians claim that Christmas as a religious holiday is under siege by secular forces who want to ban the words “Merry Christmas” from the cultural lexicon. The so-called “War On Christmas” is preached from the pulpits of Fox News and pasted like butter on the bread of social media for so-called devout Christians to spread the word that Christianity is under attack.

This serves as an important lesson on the real meaning of Christmas. If Christianity truly is under attack, then it is justified in every sense of the word. The holiday as we know it has been whored out to commercial interests just as the Jewish temple was once prostituted by the religious authorities in Jesus’ day. He attacked those authorities first through his words, warning them of their hypocrisy for making rules from scripture and basically charging people admission to the temple of God. Jesus castigated those same authorities as a “brood of vipers” for clinging to this power and lording themselves over others.

Jesus was born into this world to challenge that type of false authority. That baby in the manger was born out of need, not from kingly circumstance. His principle message was preached first by John the Baptist who exemplified the simplicity and virtue of true devotion to God in his call to repentance.

Jesus embraced and carried this message all the way up the chain of culture to the ultimate seats of power. He offended the chief priests and denigrated the scribes for the slavery of soul they imposed upon the rest of society. And when those offended gathered themselves in righteous fury they captured Jesus and delivered him to the Romans with the intent to dispose of the itinerant preacher they considered a blasphemer.

Do you see it now? Jesus was born to expose such charlatans. That is the real meaning of Christmas. And if we were to apply that meaning to the world today, who would those charlatans be? They would be religious authorities sacrificing true devotion to God for access and control of political power. They would be leaders who were unwilling to confess their own lack of virtue, yet who claim to know the true heart of God out of their own bold ego. They would be all those who embrace such leaders and buy into their serpentine logic that trying to act like God equates to being like God.

The characters we know as Adam and Eve fell for that trick once long ago. Christians call it Original Sin, and it resonates through the world to this very day.

So when you find a moment to consider the real meaning of Christmas, consider not how or where Jesus was born, but why. And apply that lesson to all that you do. The world will expose itself one egregious scam at a time.

And you will be blessed for knowing it.

Trump and the evangelicals focused on making converts in Israel

melania-trump-donald-trump-020380f2-6db7-4202-b16c-b737c623c9e2A December 2017 CNN story carried news about Donald Trump’s ‘promised’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving the US Embassy there. The article quoted evangelical leaders who were “ecstatic” about the decision.
The article outlined the reasons why: “Paula White, a Florida megachurch pastor who is close to Trump, likewise said the President has fulfilled a campaign promise. “Once again, President Trump has shown the world what I have always known — he is a leader who is willing to do what is right however loud the voices are of the skeptics and the critics. Evangelicals are ecstatic, for Israel is to us a sacred place and the Jewish people are our dearest friends.”
Not a friendly faith
While calling the Jewish people “friends,” White ignores the fact that much of the evangelical world views the Jewish faith as a flawed and incomplete version of the Christian religion.
Don’t believe it? This excerpt from the iPost, a pro-Christian website, outlines it in rather stark detail. “Most evangelical Christians believe that the Bible teaches that the Jews will convert to Christianity by accepting Jesus as their Messiah when Christ returns at the end of the Great Tribulation. Well, it will come as a shock to you, but the Bible actually says in direct language, that they must convert before Christ will return. Yes, it really says it.There are actually three verses that make such a reference. The first one is Jesus himself saying, that before the Jews will see him again, they will say, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Here is the whole verse: “you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matt. 23:39). This means they will not see Christ until they convert. The common belief is that they will not convert until they see Christ; this is the exact opposite of what Christ literally said. This is also seen in a prophecy by Hosea:

I [Jesus] will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.” (Hosea 5:15)”

Contingencies

So the supposed “friendship” between Christian evangelicals and the Jewish people is based on some contingencies. But it really comes down to a nihilistic belief that conservative evangelicals hold over the head of everyone they encounter: Either convert or die.

Thus the move by Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a latter-day brand of Christian Crusade. This is no different from the days of olde, when it was hoped that each new crusade would convert the Jews and sweep up a batch of Muslims in the process.

So we can be quite sure that the call to confess will be issued yet again to those targeted by Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem: “Either convert, or die.”

George W. Bush issued a similar ultimatum: “You’re either for us or against us.” And he was an evangelical too. Code language works best for zealots, mind you. The Book of Revelation is the ultimate guide to code language for revenge.

Not much of a Christian

Trump is not much of a Christian, if he is one at all. He’s never publicly admitted any flaw or humbly confessed any of his well-documented sins of lust, greed and murderous threats. In fact, he refuses to repent of anything. Thus he is no Christian.

But he is a conveniently powerful tool of the evangelical community with its militaristic desires to see the advent of Armageddon. Their hope is that something Trump does can force the return of Jesus who can make all the paybacks they’ve so eager to exact on those who question their perverse form of orthodox faith.

Yet it is the outright failure by Christian orthodoxy to convince rational people of its merits that makes the zealots so goddamned crazy to prove themselves. Thus it is the age-old tool of failing leadership that is now stoking up the winds of war because they’re feeling like the time is now or else the cause is nearly lost.

Wagging the Dog

It’s called Wagging the Dog, which is what Trump and the evangelical warmongers want to do right now across the board. Whether it’s war at home over saying Merry Christmas or war abroad to convert Jews and Muslim to bring on the apocalypse, it is a game of forced hands. Plus both parties are wanton opportunists who think like that zealot Oliver North that their personal interpretation of God’s Will trumps all other forms of law. It’s a sickness of mind, and an actual sociopathy, yet they pitch the storyline that they’re acting on behalf of God and Jesus. They are really good liars.

So it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is carrying out their orders. He was powerless to get elected without the evangelical vote. Now he’s bound by duty to suckle on the secretly anti-Semitic breasts of his sycophantic admirers. It’s what sadly fearful men do when threatened, cling to the bosom of their motherly protectors.

It’s a common theme. All bullies act the same. His current wife seems to fear him and his prior wives characterize him as a near-rapist. He seldom shows Melania any respect, much less affection. Yet he’s more than willing to sexually assault women he does not even know because, in his own words, that is where he draws comfort in this world.

  • “I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.”
  • “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
  • “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
  • “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

These are the words of a man that feels patently rejected, yet feels entitled to abuse others to make himself feel better. He has suffered no consequences and has in fact been rewarded for his outright sins and aggressions by evangelicals claiming that he was installed by God in this position of power.

While Trump runs free, other politicians and high-ranking media people are being fired right and left on mere accusations that have not yet been proven. Yet America continues allowing Trump to operate with impunity.  This is what the twisted power of religious authority can do. King David once paid a price for his lust, and God denied him the right to build a temple in his honor because the onetime king “had too much blood on his hands.”

So we likely must be patient to see what God really thinks of Trump. But we should not be surprised if he were to be found dead on the floor in the Oval Office, smitten by the Lord himself in a fit of disgusted fury.

Ugly loyalties

But while he’s living high on the hog, Trump will claim he’s trying to make friends with Israel, but this is a man who trusts no one and truly seems to have no real friends. To be sure, he demands a certain brand of loyalty in exchange for his favor, but that does not constitute real friendship. Even that spotty partner Stephen Bannon got dumped by Trump. Anyone who refuses to fawn over him always does. Donald Trump is both vain and possessed by a pissed off brand of senility that borders on syphilitic rage.

Evangelicals are no different in their alternately pious claims and distinctly pissy rants of persecution and complaint that everyone is out to get them. So they project these fears on others. And it’s a perverse thing to claim people as friends (like the Jews) even as you secretly want to see them destroyed if they don’t abide by your philosophy or theology. That’s been the ebb and flaw of history for 2000 years, should we think it any different today?

So we can easily see why both Trump and the evangelical community are so severely aligned. It’s all about the power to persecute rather than be questioned over any aspect of the belief system. It’s better known as having it all because you’re supposedly on the side of Jesus. It’s a polite form of rape and pillage, with a bit of self flagellation thrown in for good measure.

The iPost story goes on to say:

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, . . . and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you— even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)

Did you see it? Peter urged the Jews to convert so that God will send the Messiah! Even though I read this verse while writing my book, Discoveries in Bible Prophecy, I did not see what it says until the book was nearly published. I had to add it in at the last minute. When it dawned on me what it says, it was like, “slap me in the face!” Whack! Whack!”

Like I said. They people are raw opportunists and thus the evangelicals and Trump deserve each other. The question is whether the rest of the world deserves the both of them working together on issues like these. Trump has stated that “he’s the only one that matters” when it comes to national security and diplomacy. He doesn’t think that he has to answer to anyone. His Tweets prove that. But philosophically invading Israel just as Bush invaded Iraq will prove just as disastrous. These are men with no sense of perspective or justice. They reek of ideology like the stench of death itself.

Let’s not forget that Jesus predicted that the end of the world would come much sooner than it turned out.

(Matthew 24:34) Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Whoops. That never happened. But the “Day of Judgment” mentality has since been handed down through generations along with the belief that the Jews are the lost generation holding everything up. That’s what evangelicals believe about biblical prophecy.

So we know full well that America is not going to Israel to make friends. Trump and the evangelicals are only interested in making converts. That’s what starts wars. History has proven it time and again.

 

 

From kneeling to praying: why the NFL struggles with the beliefs of its players

TEBOW1-jumboA few years back in NFL history (around 2011) quarterback Tim Tebow got controversial for kneeling in prayer during gametime. Some supported his right to express his faith. Others found it distracting and annoying.

And the NFL, as it always does with controversies, just wished it would all go away. Despite seemingly solid status as a former Heisman Trophy winner and top-flight college athlete, Tebow eventually did go away. The typical career of an NFL player rarely exceeds three years anyway. The game is perpetual. The players, disposable.

K kneelingThen came Colin Kaepernick who kneeled during the National Anthem in protest over civil rights abuses in America. The NFL”s fans again exploded in words of support and vitriol toward a quarterback. As kneeling in protest expanded throughout the NFL, even President Donald Trump got involved Tweeting nasty comments toward all those who participated.

So it appears that kneeling in either prayer or protest is controversial to some. But is there a direct divide among people who support one but not another?

That would be an interesting subject to study. If a majority of those who supported Tim Tebow’s public demonstration of Christian faith also disapproved of Colin Kaepernick’s secular complaint over treatment of black Americans, what would that say about the real values of those involved?

And if a majority of those who stand with Kaepernick earlier hated on Tebow for showing his belief in God, what does that say about the state of culture today?

Tim Tebow.jpegIn both cases, we are witnessing attempts to bring some sort of humanity and perspective to the game of professional football. Some have argued that employees of pro football sign away the right to personal expression in favor of team and corporate loyalty. Still others project the onus of national loyalty on the situation, claiming that players such as Kaepernick and others are disrespecting the flag and even the military who fought to defend it.

But what if Tebow had come out in favor of Christian pacifism, even to the point of protesting the wars that America so proudly claims as symbols of liberation and freedom?

It would seem that players now kneeling in protest are indeed standing up for a critical aspect of American freedoms. One might even argue that fighting for civil rights by definition includes freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion.

So the anger over Tebow and Kaepernick is equally confused at its source. This stems from the seemingly poor understanding of what constitutes both religious freedom and equal rights under the Constitution. Plenty of people who claim that America is a Christian nation seem to neglect the fact that the Constitution itself states that there shall be no establishment of a state religion.

It also states that the rights of citizenship apply to all Americans, not just those who abide by the Christian faith.

Which makes the cause of Colin Kaepernick somewhat more inclusive than the cause of Tim Tebow. Because when Tebow kneeled to pray, he might have represented the portion of the population who shared some aspect of his beliefs. But when Kaepernick and Company kneel in protest for civil rights in America, they truly stand for all according to law. And the Republic run by the United States government is a system of laws.

Whether they are applied equally and fairly is the question raised by Kaepernick and other NFL players using pro football as a mouthpiece for civil rights. One could argue that those kneeling are participating in a sort of secular brand of prayer.

Trump-golf-seatedRevealing such vulnerability and concern does not set well with the ethic of machismo associated with pro football or for that matter, with a certain sort of bully pulpit ideology that has emerged since the election of Donald Trump.

The “game” that thrives on domination and violence has little patience for softies. Its fans appreciate short attention span theater. It is gladiatorial players that earn the most kudos for theatric hits and displays of triumph. Shut up and hit someone.

That’s why kneeling players really stick in the craw of those who like their football pure and stupid. The game itself has shown little sympathy even for players whose minds and bodies have been destroyed by its force and madness.

Thus pro football is in the crux of its own contradictory nature. It struggles to reconcile its punishing brand of sport with its desire for sustainability in the face of cultural pressures that may not agree with its longstanding policies.

Thus America’s Game is a microcosm of America itself. The United States of America has a conflicted personality over these same issues. It’s history is often brutal and unforgiving. It was a continent-wide genocide that led to dominance of European settlers driven by a worldview known as Manifest Destiny. The same worldview drove a belief in the right to own slaves, and for a century after the Civil War, that raw brand of prejudice still dominated American culture.

Only in the last 40 years did real equality seem within the grasp of black Americans. The election of Barack Obama as President seemed to seal an element of that progress.

But an angry distortion of what constitutes civil rights is still alive in this country. The eruption of the Alt-Right into mainstream consciousness has alerted us that the Civil War was fought, but never finished. Those same instincts live on in people who might support the right to pray, but not the right to kneel in front of NFL crowds.

And that’s why the NFL struggles with the beliefs of its players, but also with its fans.

America has been sold a “bill of goods” on gun rights

bill of goods

n.pl.bills of goods

1. consignment of items for sale.
2. Informal A plan, promise, or offer, especially one that is dishonest or misleading
It is stunning to hear politicians in the wake of yet another mass shooting say that it is “too soon” after the tragedy to talk about the problem of guns in America.
But it is just as disturbing in the wakes of repeated mass shootings, including 26 dead and more wounded in a Texas church, for God’s Sake, to hear the likes of actor James Woods throwing around shallow opinions about what constitutes responsible gun control.
His defense of the NRA in the wake of these mass shootings was breathtakingly shortsighted.  Woods Tweeted that none of the mass shootings of the last few decades were conducted by a member of the NRA.
NRA shooters.jpg
What James Woods cites as “actual facts” about NRA members never having been involved in mass shootings may or may not be true. But that is hardly the central point in the current debate about gun proliferation in America.  The NRA as spent decades promoting the idea that gun rights should not be restricted in any way. person. Even President Donald Trump, a noted kiss-ass for the NRA and its constituents, favored the recent removal of a law that blocked access to gun ownership for people with mental health issues.
Yet after the Texas shooting, Trump rushed to claim that the shooter was mentally ill.
So which is it? Are we concerned about people with mental illness having access to guns with which they can murder two dozen people in minutes? Or is the NRA correct in asserting that no amount of gun control can prevent such wanton slaughter?
To hear James Woods tweet, the bloody massacre of 26 people in a Texas church is of not the concern to the NRA since no NRA member committed the crimes. At what point do we point out the massive case of cognitive dissonance at work on gun rights in America?
Public emergencies
Consider the fact that mass shootings constitute a public emergency. Cities and towns across America dread the day that violence comes to visit them. Police and government officials set up entire protocols to manage gun violence of any kind. The structure of these protocols is always designed to define who is in charge, and who has authority and responsibility to act in the fact of violence, terror attacks, and other public threats.
The reason why public agencies work so hard to define who is in charge is to avoid confusion during times of public emergency. The parallel goal is to prevent mistakes in the face of terror or violence and manage the risks of even greater harm taking place.
Friendly fire in America?
Even America’s military struggles at times to avoid gunfire from taking out their own personnel. The most famous case of so-called “friendly fire” was that of former NFL player Pat Tillman who died in action not from the bullets of the enemy, but from his own military.
Yet the NRA has been a big proponent of the idea that Concealed Carry laws can prevent crime. The idea behind Concealed Carry is that the presence of “good guys with guns” will somehow act as a deterrent to violent gun crimes. Some gun proponents think the law does not go far enough in that regard. Those gun advocates insist that only Open Carry does the real job of deterring violence. Which means, if you open the pages of that action-based manual, a completely militarized society in which everyone is allowed to visibly carry weapons anywhere they want to go.
False heroes
Gun proponents are jumping on the fact that a couple Texas yahoos chased down the killer of all those people the killer shot up in the church. One of them opened fire before the chase and may have wounded the killer before he got into his car and embarked on a 90-mile-an-hour escape attempt that ended in a crash and his death. Whether he died from gunshot or the crash is not fully apparent. But gun proponents seem eager to claim the heroics of the two gun-toting vigilantes.
Somehow, twenty-six people still died in that church. The killer was walking down the aisles shooting crying babies. Some people struck by gunfire played dead and avoided further attack by the assassin. Who was not, according to James Woods, an NRA member. And that makes it all okay?
The Bill of Goods
The cognitive dissonance at work in all this the Bill of Goods we’ve been sold by the NRA. There is absolutely no substance to the argument that because the NRA cannot be finger-pointed for these and other killings, the organization, its members and the politicians who vote against gun controls bear no responsibility for the wanton slaughter of Americans that goes on every day.
So let’s walk this through in a clear and simple fashion. What the NRA has proposed and still supports is the idea that Concealed Carry laws are a specific deterrent to gun crimes, and that everyday citizens bear the responsibility (therefore) of engaging with any form of aggression they may encounter. It remains the sole right of that individual citizen to determine what the nature and level of that threat may be. There is no call to a superior authority required under this system. It is, in a word, a free-for-all on the streets of America.
Protocols
This contrasts starkly with the protocols of emergency and terror management standards all across America. Police, fire and other paramilitary organizations involved in the protection of public safety all have well-established systems of authority and even processes firmly structured to share andr delegate authority in situations of true emergency or terror.
That means there’s a big hairy gap between what the NRA is advocating as the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment as it relates to the life and liberties of everyday Americans. The NRA conveniently ignores the first and qualifying phrase of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state…” in favor of the more selfish and individualized interpretation of the second phrase, “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Lopsided interpretations
Constitutional originalists should be aghast at the destruction of that sentence as a wholly vested expression of law as it pertains to gun ownership. But the Supreme Court in its conservatively lopsided obsession with ‘personal rights’ has been an enabler to all people like James Woods who refuse to be held accountable for anything but their own selfish interests.
As a result, we do not have a “well-regulated militia” at all. That intention of the Founding Fathers has been tossed on a junk heap of Twitter-infused jingoism equating unrestricted gun rights with real freedom in America.
This lie has been exposed over and over, but it has been repeated so often the layers of gun fetishism cannot even be peeled back. This fetishism for guns is rampant as John Lennon pointed out more than forty years ago in his song Happiness is a Warm Gun:
When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah)
Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang bang shoot shoot)
The security about which Lennon sang is, in reality, the massive insecurity of gun fetishists whose fearful worldview insists that only guns provide real protection from harm in this world. They must lie to themselves and even call the government itself a threat in order to sustain the pathetic lack of trust they have in fellow citizens.
Shallow concerns
In the end, this is what it’s all about. James Woods laid bare the shallow concerns of the selfish, insecure fears of an American populace that cannot manage to function without a finger on the trigger and while packing heat. But despite what James Woods says about NRA members, their fingers share the pressure of every trigger pulled in violent acts against fellow Americans. There is blood on their hands despite the fact that no supposed NRA member is doing the physical shooting. The NRA and its members have created, sponsored and supported the lack of accountability in the legal destruction of the first phrase of the Second Amendment in favor of a second, far more selfish interpretation that says bearing arms “shall not be infringed.”
Tell that to the thousands of first responders, the police and other emergency workers who do abide by the authority of a “well-regulated militia” in America. That’s how our public servants function, by the authority vested in the structure of a well-regulated militia.
But the NRA boldly ignores that fact, favoring instead the ugly vigilantism and unrestricted access to guns for those well-beyond the selfish political party we call the NRA. The organization and its supporters wash their hands of crimes every day in order to protect their supposed status as “pure” gun owners incapable of such violence. The fact of increasing violence by the police toward the public is is a direct result of the NRA’s wanton disregard for the safety of all citizens in America. The police are simply in the line of fire of the cognitive dissonance wrought by wanton disregard of the “well-regulated militia” phrase in the Second Amendment.
Moral perspective
For moral perspective, we can turn to the tenets of the Christian faith to debunk the seflish, deceitful lies of the NRA and its terror-driven impact on human life.
Jesus confronted all those that he perceived to ignoring the works of evil or worse, misleading the easily deceived into dreams of power and authority where it was not warranted. Jesus also condemned those who twisted the law to serve their own purposes, and who created stumbling blocks from legalistic ideology that prevented people from seeing or encountering the truth. All these are characteristic of the sins of the NRA.
Way back when, Jesus branded people like these “hypocrites” for lording themselves over others. He called them a “brood of vipers” for their calculating ways and chastised them for the offenses they imposed on the culture at large. Jesus would not, in other words, like the NRA or James Woods one bit.
James Woods and the NRA are selling America a hollow “bill of goods” on gun rights versus true freedoms in America. They have lied by method of exclusion, and they are avoided responsibility for gun violence by method of inclusion.
Hypocrites. Brood of Vipers. All of them.

The money-launderer in chief

The New York Times published a piece about the manner in which Paul Manafort found ways to launder money from Ukrainian sources into accounts designed to cover his tracks and support a massively lavish lifestyle. There are all sorts of legal problems with that behavior, and Mr. Manafort will someday have to address these openly thanks to his Not Guilty plea on the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. But that’s an issue for another day.

The other concern is why a guy with this level of corrupt overseas dealing was running a presidential campaign for Donald Trump. That issue will come up soon enough.

But the third and equally disturbing reason why America should be sick of the Paul Manaforts of this world is the apparent assumption, on their part, that they somehow deserve the money they get from really crooked dealings. And is President Donald Trump actually in the business of laundering money for the 1%. That is the question at hand. Trump acts like he deserves everything America can afford to give him, and a lot that it cannot afford at all.

Oozing Mnuchin

The same assumptive attitude seems to ooze from the likes of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who took seven flights on military jets at a cost of $800,000 to America taxpayers and thought nothing of it. His wife even took a swipe at people who criticized the couple for the acts. The New York times reported, “Mr. Mnuchin has made nine requests for military aircraft since assuming his position earlier this year and has taken seven flights. A request to use a military plane for his European honeymoon with his wife, Louise Linton, in August was withdrawn. A ninth flight is scheduled for later this month, when Mr. Mnuchin is expected to travel to the Middle East.”

louise-linton-steve-mnuchin-wedding-trump-fashion-style-moca.jpgPerhaps the use of military aircraft for official government business can be justified. But the assumption that his European honeymoon flight should be sponsored on the taxpayer dime? That’s plain arrogance.

Like kinds

Which helps explain why so many Americans distrust politicians in general, calling them freeloaders, or managing affairs for their own benefit. The behavior of Paul Manafort surely shows a breadth of greed. But perhaps the attitude of Steven Mnuchin is even more disturbing. Because without even doing anything technically illegal, he shows how the abuse of power can become so casual and commonplace that reality gets warped into something everyday Americans cannot comprehend.

This attitude is also absorptive, in that it not only feeds on the wealth it can find, it also cannot resist grasping for any type of wealth it sees within its sphere. Which is why wealthy Republican politicians want to grab hold of the money in Social Security and toss it into a free market pot where they and their buddies can divvy it up and make handsome profits just moving it around. It is a Ponzi scheme to end all.

Humble goals and security

But in fact, most Americans don’t seem to really care if their retirement money absolutely kills it in the markets. Sure, it’s nice if that $500,000 nest egg accrues a little bit after you turn 70, because a little extra spending money beyond the household budget of Social Security and interest income would be nice.

That strategy for living a life of relative comfort and security seems to piss off greedy Republicans to no end. They make the case that the “government wants your money” but in fact, it’s the other way around. Republicans want the money. They want all the money they can get their hands on.

Real welfare

Cranky old everyday Republicans with their requisite pocked white skin, white beards and thick bifocal aviator lenses love to grouse about their taxes and how Welfare Queens are living off the largesse of hard-working Americans. That’s a lie, but when the White Savior Ronald Reagan introduced the concept of the Welfare Queen, it bore appeal because it salved the racist instincts of those looking for someone to blame for a poor economy. They should have blamed Reagan’s trickle-down economics and gutting of America’s unions. Those same voters turned out for Donald Trump’s savage racial attacks and playing the blame game on minority for an economy that the GOP again destroyed during the Bush II years.

Grover.jpgThere is also patent worship for GOP nutjobs such as Grover Nordquist, whose hatred of government is so bad he comes off like the Archie Bunker of public policy. The man offers no real answers, just a lot of bitching and complaining about things he doesn’t really understand. He claims he does, but he’s nothing more than a raving idealogue on the order of a biblical creationist who worships the likes of Ken Ham.

As quoted in The Atlantic: “Trump’s regulatory regime is Reaganite,” Norquist told me. “His tax cut is Reaganite. He’s more aggressive than Reagan on labor issues.” All that other stuff—the crazy tweets, the chaotic White House, the Russia investigation, the travel ban—is just noise. What Trump was really elected to do, Norquist maintained, were the things Republicans had been coveting for years. And Trump is already doing just those things.

Those are the words and beliefs of an equally sociopathic bastard convinced beyond all doubt he is right. But there is no proof that government is really the problem, as Reagan once stated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Real economic truths

Government plays a vital role in the real economic strength of America. It always has, and always will. The economy has thrived during periods of bigger government, and it required major assistance in recovery from the Great Depression and more recently, from the Bush Recession. Roosevelt’s reinvestment in the economy and the Obama stimulus packages did their job. Conservatives niggle about debt and the deficit, but refuse to do a full accounting of the money flowing out of the nation to overseas capital.

It is no coincidence that conservative also hate abortion yet don’t want to offer birth control to prevent the need. Deep internal conflicts such as these vex every conservative policy on the books. That is why conservatives can’t govern even when given all the reigns of the government, as they now have.

As for the worship of the “free market,” which conservatives laud at every turn, every company on the Dow Jones and on Wall Street depends on government infrastructure to conduct business. Government-sponsored benefits range from roads to airports to rail agencies to transport goods and people. And shall we talk about the massive corporate welfare supporting the oil and gas industries, agriculture, and automotive.

When those cranky white Republicans with the white beards moan about welfare queens, they conveniently ignore the incentives and outright cash delivered by governments large and small to make it better and easier for businesses to succeed in this country. Even NFL teams go begging to municipalities for tax dollars to build stadiums.

You didn’t build that

When President Obama spoke to businesses and told the world a few years back,  “You didn’t make that,” he was talking about the fact that the contributions of American taxpayers were the lifeblood of every business on the continent. For his honesty, he was savaged by dopey Republican critics who thought he was talking about their businesses, but that’s not what he meant at all.

But that’s the pathetic level of shallow insight driving GOP theology. God forbid a President such as Obama should look beyond the dumbest answer to any question about business and government.

The Money Launderer in Chief

But the GOP got their brand of man in Donald Trump. He’s as shallow as they come, virtually incapable of uttering more than 140 characters without mashing the English language into a horrific wordscrabble. Yet this ignorant character loves to claim the economic productivity of the Obama years as his own. Trump has done nothing other than try to resurrect dying industries such as coal to generate jobs. Other than that, he’s taken measures to gut environmental standards that protect the life and health of everyday Americans and now threatens to approve a GOP budget that rewards the wealthiest Americans and corporates with massive tax cuts while delivering a piddling amount to the average, everyday tax payers.

He’s money laundering for the 1%. We can’t put it any other way. That’s why a guy like Paul Manafort had such a role in the Trump campaign. He already knew the story. He just had to find a seemingly harmless symbol and protector for his own brand of greed. That’s the Manafort Factor in a nutshell.