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.
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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.

What Trump’s lack of empathy with a Gold Star widow says about himself

Donald Trump lacks empathy. He seems to have no capacity for it even when called upon to console the widow of a soldier killed in operations in Niger. “He knew what he signed up for…” was all the Commander in Chief could muster in terms of kindness toward the death of a husband in service to the nation.

urlThere’s an interesting confession of sorts in what Trump said to Sgt. La David Thompson’s widow. Did Trump himself “know what he signed up for” when elected President of the United States, and by proxy, its Commander in Chief?

Trump has complained publicly that the job is hard and at times, far more complex than he imagined. In response, he has vacationed so frequently at his own luxury properties it is hard to imagine him even checking in at the White House, much less getting a full grasp of the job at hand. He wants us all to know how hard it really is, and that the nation owes him a favor for electing him in the first place.

Losing sympathy

Trump has bristled so frequently at criticism that it has become a topic of national and international disgrace. Thus the general public seems to be losing sympathy for his (lost) cause, and his approval rating is down below 40% at times. He calls everything he does not like #FakeNews and angrily attacks even people within his own political party to threaten in an attempt to force complicity. His very public arguments with John McCain and Mitch McConnell come to mind.

And let’s not forget that he demanded a creepy brand of loyalty from the fired former FBI director James Comey. The conversation between them proved that Trump will stop at nothing to get his way. Yet he is failing in that endeavor in critical ways, perhaps at a level only massive egotists can manage. When thinking about the public visage of Trump, one conjures up pictures of Nero or any number of Roman Emperors slaughtered in their tents or murdered in the Senate for their transgressions with the military or the government. It’s happening with Trump. Just give it time. If dramatic history unfolds as it has so often in the past, there is a chance he will be found murdered in his own bed by some small but disturbed minion he has insulted one too many times.

Ugly campaigns

It has become all too clear that Donald Trump did not “know what he signed up for” during an ugly political campaign in which no media really challenged his domineering approach or the personal attacks he shot at opponents in both the primaries and general election. He was given a free pass by the saner channels of media culture because no one really took him seriously. No one, that is, except a voting class so enamored with their own lack of empathy and motormouth selfish instincts that Trump seemed just like the guy they needed to “Make America Great Again.”

Trump won the election precisely because he was a man with no capacity for consideration of other people’s thoughts or ideas. That’s the way his fans like him. That’s what they expect him to be. And that’s a very different thing from what the job of President truly entails. So Trump the Candidate is constantly at odds with Trump the President. That is the disturbing duality of who our president truly is.

A threat to the world

Since his election, Trump has threatened nuclear war and made promises that he would have no problem killing the women and children of those he perceived as enemies. These happen to be instincts shared with zealous believers in Old Testament religion, where genocide is seen as an acceptable practice for those whom God adorns with power. That’s what some of these people believe: that God installed Trump as president.

That’s why evangelical voters lined up to vote for Trump. He promised them Pro-Life, but throws in a healthy dose of Pro Death because real religion is always just a coin toss away from genocide. It’s all the same dangerous instincts; from Manifest Destiny to the Holocaust, the Inquisition to Islamic fatwa. If people don’t sign up to support a nation where God and Country are freely intermixed, it’s their loss. And it usually involves their lives.

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791I’m a winner. So much winning!

Donald Trump has portrayed himself as a winner even after numerous failures (multiple bankruptcies) scandals (pussy-grabbing) and outright hucksterism (Trump University) showed his truly flawed character.

To keep his massive ego intact, Trump has been forced to deny everything in life that does not in some way affirm his fragile sense of self-worth.

But this takes doing, and he has been forced to become a caricature of himself. The Donald Trump we see is a Donald Trump that exists outside himself, and it must be protected lest the real Donald Trump impinge on this manufactured reality. The manufactured Donald Trump can go out and threaten nuclear war and still call himself a “family man” who loves his children and his apparently estranged wife, with whom he can barely stand to hold hands.

True empathy lacking

Thus it comes as no surprise that Donald Trump lacks true empathy when faced with the personal loss of others. Donald Trump by definition of his own duality views them as losers incapable of separating themselves from the pain they feel, and therefore stand, in his eyes, as unworthy of compassion. Their loss, no matter what its legitimate source, is a sign of weakness to him. If they cannot immediately deny it, he cannot bear to be in its presence.

This fractured view of life is the source of tectonics that drives all his actions. “I fight back,” he says when questioned about any aspect of his behavior. That’s his first response. So it is likely that he viewed the public death of that soldier as a potential blight on his own reputation. Trump did not want one more dead soldier mucking up his vision of military prowess as Commander in Chief.

Trump’s real intention when calling that widow was to warn her not to blame him for her husband’s death. That is the worst fate of all to Trump, who can’t stand the merest nick to his massive ego before he bleeds all over Twitter in complaint and defiance.

Trump blames everyone else for problems that he creates himself. That’s why he’s refused to pay contractors who worked on his buildings that failed to generate the profits he promised. That’s why he lashed out at Sen. John McCain as a failed war hero for having gotten caught and tortured when Trump himself got a phony deferment for “bone spurs” or whatever excuse was cooked up on his behalf.

Just like Trump

a-fightIt’s obvious now that half of America is accustomed to thinking like Trump. That’s why jingoistic fans are lining up to chastise pro football players as ‘unpatriotic’ for kneeling in protest of social injustice during the national anthem. The rah-rah fan base that supports Trump wants a faceless football fantasy in which personal pain means nothing to the interruption of their Sundays. Trump is their Savior from Political Correctness, a ‘non-politician’ who ‘says what’s on his mind’ even if it’s the most insensitive, ignorant, dull-minded nonsense in the universe.

And let’s remind ourselves that Trump’s Right Hand Man, Vice President Michael Pence is no better. He’s the jerk who orchestrated a walkout at an NFL game costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars so that Pence could behave like a self-righteous jerk and win favor with the Trump crowd who wants their football minus the human element.

If Trump himself does not believe in physical exercise on claims that it shortens one’s life, what is he doing talking about the sport of football at all? The same can be said about climate change, which Trump also denies, or healthcare access, in which Trump also does not believe. In fact, Donald Trump does not appear to actually believe in anything. Only that which benefits his own interests.

He is clearly a heartless bastard without the will to be honest with the American people and resign from a job that he does not want, and never really did. He no more knows “what he signed up for” than he ever did. So it may be the task of America to excuse him from the job he doesn’t deserve to hold.

Then we can all tell him, “You’re fired,” and let his warped little life come full circle.

 

 

The call to action for men on the #metoo campaign

She was young, pretty and employed at a growing company dominated by male leadership. Her slight foreign accent gave her an exotic appeal, and her supervisor found the combination too alluring to resist.

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

“What are you wearing under that dress?” he inquired. It only got worse from there. He asked the young woman questions about whether she had had sex with her boyfriend that morning. This type of harassment went on for weeks, and months.

Finally she confessed some of these things to her friends while driving back from lunch one day. I happened to be in the front seat as the conversation unfurled. Her friends were aghast, but not entirely surprised. They had all been harassed at the same place of employment as well.

trump-00-c0c8f54f-fb46-4333-a0c0-b170cdef0673.jpgAs a male employee at that company, I’d heard plenty of comments from other men about the women who worked there. They’d stop by my office and ask things like, “Did you see what (name) is wearing today? You can see her panties through the material.”

Some form of that commentary happened almost every day. Meanwhile the men at the company began engaging in a childish game of pretending to grab the crotch of other men passing by in the hallway. My immediate supervisor would sometimes approach from behind my office chair and put his hand down the front of my shirt to grope my chest in a “kidding” fashion. And so on. And so forth.

So I asked the driver of the car to pull over that day when our associate confessed the degree of sexual harassment she was facing. I turned around to face her and said, “You know, you don’t have to put up with this.”

“What do you mean?” she responded.

Trump-leaves-Melania-behind-807515“I have a friend who’s a lawyer. He probably knows someone who can represent you and get this to stop.”

And from there, I placed the call to set the wheels in motion. My friend indeed knew a lawyer who specialized in harassment cases. I spoke with her on the phone and described what I’d heard. She told me that she’d obviously need to speak with the woman in question. So I gave my associate that lawyer’s information and an official complaint was filed. The harassment was stopped. Our associate was transferred to another position away from her assailant and received a monetary settlement as well.

Call to Action

The call to action in that case was to help that associate get assistance. Although there might have been internal mechanisms to confront the harasser in other ways, the culture of that company might not have delivered equitable results. But it finally did change thanks to multiple harassment cases brought through both internal and external means. The call to action was effective, and harassers either changed their ways or cost the company money in terms of settlements or lost productivity. Hit them where it hurts, and change does come along.

Melania with ObamasSo an atmosphere in which harassment is tolerated is not, in the long term, a financially viable alternative for any organization. If the costs aren’t immediately financial, the exhaustion imposed on associates affects productivity, or relationships fracture, teams break down or absolute criminal activity takes place. The definition of harassment is “aggressive pressure or intimidation” and that crushes the spirit.

The Weinstein Company just found that out. Yet so has the President of the United States, whose often proud declarations of sexual harassment now dog his reputation and impugn his character. It is true that harassers and bullies often get their way for quite a while. But sooner or later they cross the wrong person and/or the true nature of their actions is exposed. Just ask former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, whose sexual abuse of boys was hidden by hush money for decades. But it caught up with him. Now he’s facing his accusers for the real crimes he perpetrated on them fifty years ago.

Harassment is not confined to man against woman. People can be harassed over their sexual orientation or made to feel inadequate by constant criticism or bullying statements of many stripes.

Trump.jpgHarassers will often claim persecution of their own. “Stop being so politically correct!” they may whine, or “I can say what I want! This is America!”

But those statements are pathetic excuses for the lazy minds and ugly nature of those whose character is stunted by immaturity or ignorance.

The call to action on #metoo for all… is to stand up to harassment, bullying and ignorance on all fronts. But let us also consider that it is no small irony in the fact that First Lady Melania Trump has made bullying her cause.  Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight. Her cause may in fact be a personal cry for help. When her husband leaves her behind in public ceremonies, pushes her hand aside if he’s impatient or focused on his own ego, and clearly considers her an accessory to his success, and not a real part of his foundation, the darker secrets behind that relationship may be important to consider.

The truth may be known someday, but the evidence is there in the manner in which she is treated by her husband in public. No one is immune to harassment. Not even the wife of the most powerful man in the world. And isn’t that a shame?

#metoo is a just cause.

Simple proof that America is at war with itself

The Chicago Tribune news coverage following the Las Vegas mass shooting included a story quoting off-duty police officers trapped in the mayhem where 59 people were murdered and hundreds more were injured when the calculating gunman perched himself in a tall hotel to take aim with scopes and guns reconfigured as automatic weapons.

Some of the off-duty police officers had also served in the military. Those that had seen combat were still shocked by the scene of women shot through the head and people bleeding out as they lay on the ground wounded or dying from the effects of a man with plenty of ammo and deadly aim.

Combat statement.jpg“I have been in combat, but I have never seen this type of mass casualty,” said police Sgt. Michael Gonzalez.

The Las Vegas shooting may have been massive in scope, but it was just a bump in the pulse of bloody shootings taking place every day in America. There is no more denying the fact. The nation itself has become a combat zone. The United States of America is literally at war with itself.

The statistics of all the deaths caused by gun violence back this up. More Americans have now died from gun violence on home soil than all the soldiers ever killed in combat in foreign wars.

This is the direct product of the murderously blind activism of the conservative Supreme Court that wields its judgements like a weapon of the vigilante ideology favored by both the NRA and the politicians it has bought and sold. The inexcusable complaint that gun control measures are an infringement of the “right to bear arms” is disrespectful to the Constitution as a whole. When people own the right to steal the life of another human being in the blink of a trigger pull, there are no equal rights to that. There is no freedom in America.

Concealed Carry poison

The right to kill has bled into Concealed Carry laws that have poisoned the nature of freedom across the country. Think about it. The person standing next to you could well be packing the cold-hearted tool of your own demise. Say something wrong to them, or conduct some unintended slight that they judge to be a threat to their person, and they can claim the right to shoot you. Right in the head if they feel like it.

It is inconceivable that the Founding Fathers ever intended this to be the presiding scenario in America. In essence, we’ve been drawn back into an era when dueling was used to settle difference, or when gunman lined up in the street (supposedly) to draw weapons and fire. That’s what the NRA has promoted as the safest brand of citizenship in America.

Ignorant claims of so-called “responsible gun owners”

Don’t you see the ignorance of these claims? When laid bare, they have no constitutional foundation at all. They do have money behind them, and people selfish and angry enough at their plight in life to abide such foolishness. Meanwhile supposed “responsible” gun owners cower behind the controversy hoping the band of idiots at the forefront of the “more guns” debate will cover their fearful asses.

Because that’s what rampant gun ownership is all about. Fear. The United States is rife with chickenshits who feel like they can’t walk down the street or mingle with other human beings without carrying a gun on their person. This is the opposite of courageous. It is the parallel of insanity.

The bleeding and dying

That police officer who carried bleeding, dying people off the concert grounds knows now that America is a literal war zone. He saw it with his own eyes. He compared it to what he saw in actual combat, in real wars, and this was far worse.

The Second Amendment needs to be clarified. Re-balanced. We need a hard, strong definition of what a “well-regulated militia” looks like, and how it functions. We should no longer leave that to the addle-brained conservatives on the Supreme Court to decide. They have originalism blindness. They couldn’t muster their way out of a cardboard box if the writing on the inside mentioned guns in any way.

But our gutless Congress and Senate when run by Republicans is even worse. Their long term claim that government is the enemy of the people is the knife to the gut of common sense. If that’s the case, they should commit hari-kiri and get out of office. If you don’t believe in the merit of government, you have no right or ability to serve.

Cognitive dissonance

We live in a combat zone of cognitive dissonance. And innocent people are dying every day as a result. Screw the gun lobby. We don’t need any more evidence to re-write the Second Amendment, or repeal it altogether. The frightening reality is that we’ve seen  Presidents succumb to gun violence several times already. Even that conservative pet Ronald Reagan got blasted by a freeloading gunman back in the day. Gerald Ford was a target too. We lost JFK. His brother Bobby. We lost Martin Luther King, Jr. And we even lost John Lennon.

Imagine that. If Happiness is a Warm Gun, America has burn marks on its holster side.

What will it take for an admission of the combat zone that America has become? Does another President need to become a martyr for the nation to wise up? That might wake up the close-minded. The backwoods and front-office gun nuts, selfish and obsessed with weapons as a sub-culture.

It’s a sickness. An addiction. But like that soldier who comes home to find life at home too quiet, it seems the gun nuts of America fear the quietude they might face if they can’t wave a weapon in yours. That’s the worst angst they can imagine.

 

At least 50 dead, 400 wounded and what terrorist organization is to blame?

Spilled bloodThis Las Vegas shooting was massive. Death and destruction. A lone shooter armed like a soldier and able to shoot dozens of people in an extremely short amount of time. He killed 47 more innocent lives than the Boston Marathon bombing. He traumatized literally thousands present at the concert as well as millions of people reading about the massacre right now.

At this stage in America’s history, the motivations for shootings no longer matter. They are all part of a long line of public murders that terrorize the nation for a moment and then sink into the lexicon of ‘business as usual in America.’

There will be police reports filed, but to what avail? There were even off-duty police officers killed. It would not have mattered if every citizen at the concert was armed. They were outgunned from the start and mayhem would have ensued if people started opening fire if some sort of martial law shootout had taken place.

There is only one terrorist organization to blame for this state of existence in America. That is the NRA. The constant effort to loosen gun laws and proliferate access to powerful weapons across America is an act of terrorism from within the system. The NRA has twisted and inflated the meaning of the Second Amendment to suit the profit motives of the guns and ammo industry. Millions of people have bought this perverse logic and turned our nation into a corrupt from of government in which the selfish rights and acts of a few dictate the public safety of all.

While conservatives wring their hands over Muslim influence in America and worry about the potential for Sharia law, they simultaneously ignore the massive carnage being perpetrated in America by gun owners, legal and otherwise. On average more than three times the number of people who died during the 9/11 attacks are killed by guns in the United States each year. That’s 152,000 Americans since 2001 that have died at the hands of the NRA. The complicit politicians across this nation who refuse to take responsibility for the in-house are also to blame. The terror manufactured and carried out is almost treated with a sense of pride by the false patriots who cower behind the supposed power of the Second Amendment.

The reason nothing is done about rampant gun violence is simple. The real cowards in America are those who refuse to admit they are scared for their own lives based on racial fears, gross insecurity toward their neighbors and their own government. They also fear looking stupid in the eyes of the bullies who run the NRA and its insidious tentacles. Thus the aggressive gun components in America are like captives exhibiting the Stockholm Syndrome. Cultlike. Sick and confused.

It’s time to call it what it is: the NRA is a domestic terror organization. And all those who support it, abide it or live without conscience by the lax laws it has created are accomplices in a plot against the sovereignty of this nation.

Wheaton Crusaders still on the move

Not long ago, the Wheaton College Thunder were called the Wheaton College Crusaders. If you’ve studied Christian history at all, you know the origin of that name. The Crusades were a long series of mobile wars conducted by Europeans in part to take back control of the Holy Land. For two centuries Crusaders tried to gain control of the Middle Eastern world, only to lose ground in the end to the Ottoman Turks and other Muslim-controlled interests in the region.

But the angry religious energy of the Crusades conveniently found new targets for domination in the New World. It even gained gave itself a new name, in Manifest Destiny, the idea that Europeans were a chosen people of God who deserved to take over North America. And from there, the Christian religion was again used to justify genocide. Why not? The Old Testament was full of it.

Not too surprising

So the violent roots of the Christian faith and its actions around the world are never too surprising. Most recently, five football players from Wheaton College initiated a crusade of their own. The Daily Herald describes one phase of the incident this way: “According to records cited in the Tribune’s report Monday night, the student was in his dorm room when he was tackled by the football players, his legs and wrists wrapped up in duct tape, and a pillow case put over his head. He was placed in the back seat of a teammate’s vehicle, and as they drove, the players made offensive comments about Muslims, the report said.”

The players went on to sexually abuse their captive by attempting to insert an object into his rectum, all while continuing to insult the man and physically abuse him when resistance was offered.

Just like Iraq

abu-ghraibThat behavior resembles the actions of American military service personnel who tortured, beat and abused Iraqi prisoners during America’s invasion of that country in the early 2000s. The photos that emerged of those abuses rightly enraged the world, especially Muslim people who ascertained from reports about American soldiers specifically targeting Islamic taboos to humiliate Iraqi men and boys.

The American military was quite technically on a crusade of its own in Iraq. There was no real reason to invade that country after the 9/11 attacks. Yet the heated notion that Saddam Hussein was an immediate threat and that Muslim countries in general were a danger to the United States was used to ramp up approval of that war by Congress.

All this took place under the auspices of an openly Christian President in George W. Bush. It was his personal crusade to get back at Saddam for threatening his daddy and having the gall to stand up to America at all.

No remorse

dick-cheneyYet for all the ugly follies of Iraq, Bush and his henchman Cheney suffered few political consequences for the torture that occurred under their watch. Cheney even doubled down on several occasion about the merits of torture to subdue one’s enemies.

With that kind of attitude trickling down from our nation’s leaders and our own military, perhaps it is no surprise that a band of five Wheaton College football players should capture a young Muslim man from his dorm room to torture, injure and humiliate him. The fact that it happened at an overtly unapologetic Christian college such as Wheaton is quite in line with the behavior of hardline Christian leadership throughout history.  Quite recently the college fired one of its own professors for making a pro-Muslim comment. She had posted on Facebook: “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she posted on Facebook. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

She was dismissed for that simple yet loving remark. And yet the five Wheaton College football players who kidnapped a fellow student, tortured and sexually abused him remain at the college. They were “strapped” with only 50 hours of “community service” and having to write an “eight page letter” as punishment for their actions.

Wheaton at fault

Now that the Wheaton College players are facing actual criminal penalties for their actions, it is time to hold Wheaton College publicly accountable for the mercenary brand of doctrine to which it traditionally ascribes. With its feet firmly planted in the evangelical community, Wheaton’s form of highly conservative, often repressive Christian teaching is the ideology fueling ugliness at home and abroad. Evangelicals swayed the vote for Donald Trump, himself a very public abuser, violent character and poor representative for what would normally pass for Christian virtues.

If it is indeed Christianity that men like Trump espouse, it is a Christianity rooted in intolerance and anger toward all other faiths. Witness its dog-whistle implementation as documented on the website God and Country, Military Religious Freedom and Christian Service. In a post titled “The Top Three Military Chaplain Fallacies,” it cheerleads unrelenting conversion as the ultimate expression of “religious freedom.”

The article says: “A military chaplain must have a true affinity for the lost (unconverted), and possess a love that is implacable for the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen that they serve. A military chaplain must exercise their constitutional right to faithfully and expositionally teach and preach the whole counsel of God’s special and propositional revelation. Why? Military chaplains that never evangelizes (sic), soft-peddles truth, willfully omits the name of Christ in prayer out of fear of offending others instead of God, substitutes Scripture with psycho-therapy, and cares more about their career than Christ are not examples of holiness and Christ-centeredness; they are examples of hypocrisy and childish-conceits.”

Religious liberty, or the opposite? 

This is what too much of America claims as “religious liberty.” Would a military chaplain schooled in these methods of unrelenting evangelical fervor truly offer any virtue of service to a Muslim or Jewish soldier?

None whatsoever. Nor did the young men who play football for a Christian college show any respect or tolerance for a fellow student when they kidnapped and tortured him for his religious and possibly racial background.

Sickness at heart

There is a sickness at the heart of a Christian faith that approaches the world with such dismissive force. It bleeds into politics, culture and public civility. It fuels racially driven prejudice based on outdated interpretations of scripture that are used by the likes of the KKK to claim that white people are God’s people. It oppresses the rights of women, of gay people, of every person born into a nation where freedom from religion is guaranteed by the Constitution just as freedom of religion is also provided.

These were not just five football players roughhousing, as the likes of Rush Limbaugh will probably say. There is sickness at heart when such rationalizations are offered. These were five young men indoctrinated to think that somehow their school or their race or their position in life gave them the right to torture and abuse another human being because they attend a Christian college whose unquiet traditions of supremacy and crusades has a long history of justifying such behavior.

That is the form of religious “freedom” to which latter day evangelicalism too often leads. And it has to be challenged. Stopped. Shouted down. And dunned from dominance of the public debate over policy and protections of civil rights.

 

Answers In Genesis can’t stand the idea that the echidna evolved

Echidna-04.jpgWhen the creationist website Answers In Genesis sets out to debunk the theory of evolution, it loves to set up red herrings that it thinks will “stump” the theory of evolution and prove their own theory that God made everything all at once, and from scratch. So the AIG folks always set the stage with a cute nod to its readers that they’re going to explain, Oh So Simply, how evolution fails the test of scientific verity. In a post titled Echidna: Outback Oddity, the stage is set this way:

Evolution is hard-pressed to explain this prickly little digger. That’s because the Creator made it like no other single animal.

The intent is pretty clear. Evolution just doesn’t “get” the complexity of nature. Only God can do that. So they go on to complain, with seemingly vexing questions, as to why the animal is such a puzzle among living creatures:

You might think that spiky little animal waddling along the forest floor is a porcupine. But it has a long, sticky tongue and it digs for ants, so maybe it’s some kind of anteater. Nope? Well, it’s a mammal, at least, right? Wait—it lays eggs. Mammals don’t lay eggs. So what is this thing?

In order to understand all these questions in context of their evolution, one must first acknowledge that there is a time and environmental influence scale sufficiently long and diverse enough to provide the various configurations that went into evolving an echidna.

 

ape-family-tree-a-family-portrait-pasttime-org-episode-5-throwing-in-human-evolution.jpg

Graphs like these make creationists go ape. 

And of course, creationism denies any such time scale exists. The popular claim among the creationist sect is that the human genealogy mapped out in the bible dictates the total age of the earth at about 6,000 years. Some are even willing to admit that it might map out at 10,000 years. 

But in any case, these genealogies also require that creationists accept a time scale for human lifespans that in some cases extend for 900 years. You heard that right: creationists insist that at one time human beings were capable of living for nine centuries. That’s almost a millennium.

The oldest known verified lifespan among human beings tops out at about 115 years. So creationists are basing their entire worldview and the age of the earth on an unverified, rendition of oral history before the advent of written language to establish the potential lifespan of human beings. On the website creation.com, the explanation goes like this:

In the book of Genesis, the Bible routinely records human lifespans which seem outrageously different from our experience today. Adam lived to 930 years; Noah even longer, to 950 years (see graph below). These long lifespans are not haphazardly distributed; they are systematically greater before the Flood of Noah, and decline sharply afterwards.

These great ages are not presented in the Bible as if they are in any way extraordinary for their times, let alone miraculous. Many people are quick to scoff at such ages, claiming they are ‘biologically impossible’. Today, even if they avoid all fatal diseases, humans will generally die of old age before they reach much past 100. Even the very exceptional cases don’t make it much past 120 years.

geneticsThey go on to claim that it was a radically pure form of genetic sustainability and environment at work to produce such long lifespans. Somehow, the earth was simply a better place to live, and that allowed human beings to survive for nearly a millennium.

But even that’s not the end game of the creationism discussion. It has far less to do with biology than it does with theology. As creation.com goes on to explain:

 

Of course, the ultimate reason for all aging and death is the Curse on all creation recorded in Genesis chapter 3. Adam was told that if he disobeyed God, ‘dying, you shall die’ [lit. Hebrew]. Adam immediately died spiritually, and began to die physically on the very same day, just as we are all dying today.

Modern genetic research shows that we all inherit the inevitability of aging and death. When we look at our encroaching wrinkles in the mirror, it should remind us of the awfulness of sin in the sight of a holy God. And it should cause us immense thankfulness that God has provided a way of escape from His own righteous judgement on sin, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So to abide by a creationist’s worldview, we must begin with a massive rationalization of the age of the earth based on the miraculous nature of human lifespan upon which biblical genealogy is based.  Thus we must draw on theology as the starting point for any explanation of nature, science and the history of the earth. The limitations of this worldview are breathtaking in their shallow regard for the functions of nature. It’s all “wave of the hand” level thinking cloaked in language stolen from science to justify creationism as a legitimate scientific worldview.

So you can see why creationists love the echidna as a symbol of the inherent complexity of nature and the supposed confusion on the part of evolutionary scientists to seam together the forces of environmental conditions, selective pressures and population adaptations that could produce an animal seemingly constructed from so many sources. How could evolution accomplish such a feat? The goal of creationism is not to explain the possibilities, but to heighten the impossibilities and keep religious thinkers as far from material explanations as possible. This is how that is done:

The echidna seems to break all the rules. It’s a mammal, but it lays eggs. It’s warm-blooded, but it has a low body temperature. It lives on land, but it detects food like some fish do. And, like so many other rule-breakers, such as the platypus, the echidna settled in Australia.

That last word in the bunch, “Australia,” is already proof that the case of the creationists against evolution is beginning to break down. It is consistently true that when a population of any creature is forcibly isolated from another through migration or some other happenstance, the isolated population becomes subject to the environmental pressures of that new environment. Some attributes of the ancestors may persist as the population is subjected to the needs for survival in all new circumstances. Even some of the formerly vital functions of a land creature can wind up useless and essentially vestigial as a line of land-based living things shifts to an aquatic lifestyle. The vestigial remnants of hips in whales is an excellent example of how nature “plays” with usefulness and the lack of it.

flightlessWe also have flightless cormorants on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific. For what good reason would a species of bird perfectly capable of flying in its ancestry relinquish the ability to fly? The answer is simple: Flying costs energy, and cormorants isolated on the Galapagos had no need to fly away from predators that did not exist. The rewards of evolution as sometimes ironic, yet still functionally beneficial.

The same can be said of the echnida. All the attributes wrapped together in a seemingly inconclusive creature are actually quite conclusively beneficial in the habitats of Australia that it occupies. There is a hard, fast rule to evolution that defies any other explanation of existence. If a creature is not equipped to survive or adapt to the habitat available, it will cease to feed and breed, and eventually die out.

This is what has happened to 99% of all living things that ever existed on the earth. Creationists like to claim that every kind of living thing that has ever existed on earth was borne up and carried around in an ark for a year, then released back onto the surface of the earth. This is a pathetically shortsighted view of how nature functions. There is no explanation of how highly specific lifestyles of desert scorpions in the Southwest United States were somehow able to migrate across salty oceans or through freezing landscapes across the Bering Straits to arrive at the Middle East where Noah waited with the appropriate food to nurture and regenerate entire populations of such specialized creatures in this world.

But as we’ve seen, that is not really the issue at heart with creationism. It is always about confession of sin and the admission that God is in control, and that nature cannot possibly operate on its own. Again, we find evidence of this religious worldview as the Answers In Genesis site struggles to justify its case:

Evolutionists have always had trouble explaining how it’s related to any other animal. So instead, to explain its oddities they invoke “convergent evolution” (the belief that a similar “need” produces similar designs in completely unrelated animals). But creationists understand that the echidna’s traits point to a Creator who made many unique kinds of animals.

Echidna

It goes on to say:

God gave the echidna nerves in its snout that detect electrical impulses from nearby ants, termites, and other potential snacks. God designed the echidna as a digger, with powerful legs and strong claws. He also equipped it with special ear holes to help keep its ear canals clear of dirt. Finally, God gave it electroreceptors, like sharks have—nerves in its snout that detect electrical impulses from nearby wiggling snacks.

The idea that all these attributes could have converged in a single creature is anathema to creationism because its worldview is so constrained in timespan that it must use shortcuts to explain anything, or everything. The most (and only) convenient justification for this shortcut in time and complexity is a very literal interpretation of the opening chapters in the Book of Genesis.

In other words, creationism demands that people accept the laws of nature were radically broken in terms of human lifespan in order to assert the claim that the earth could not possibly be old enough to allow evolution to happen. That conflicted worldview is the convergence of great irony, human arrogance, fear and selfishness into one singular creationist mindset.

In other words, the better question we should be God is why the world should create such a conflicted creature as the creationist. After all, Jesus was quite at home with the concept that the natural world could be a source of great wisdom. He taught using parables steeped in organic truths. And he lectured his disciples when they expressed fear that people could never understand his message if he did not talk in literal terminology.

He called them “dull” and “without understanding” for these claims. Which makes the closing argument about the echidna found in Answers In Genesis sound painfully desperate for approval and justification. The authors begin to sound like children desperate to have their fifth grade theme paper graded with an “A” when in fact it is frightfully obvious they never did the research in the first place. Instead they credit God on the basis that no great teacher could give them a failing grade if they quote the Almighty.

Echidnas are just one example of how our Creator filled the earth with abundant, diverse, unique life that speaks of His handiwork, not evolution. These quirky little monotremes simultaneously demand and defy categorization. But whatever classification rules they may break, in demonstrating the creativity of our great God they obey His command, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6)!

As noted, Jesus didn’t give his disciples or the Chief Priests a pass when they exhibited such dogmatic ignorance and legalistic tendencies. Neither should we when creationists try to use scientific sounding language to make a legalistic case for the primacy of God in material processes. There is plenty of meaning to draw from nature without relegating it to a pathetically tiny backseat in human history. Just ask Jesus.

 

You can’t “get over it” when you’re under the thumb of an authoritarian

Thumb.jpgSenior White House Policy Adviser Stephen Miller had this to say about rational resistance to the policies being imposed by Donald Trump:

“The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

This is clearly an authoritarian statement. It holds, at its heart, the ugly sentiments of fascism.

It is unclear why so many people who supposedly value freedom in America still seem to support the likes of Donald Trump, who cheered his advisor’s performance on the Sunday morning talk shows.

“The powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

Is that so? Since when does the President have the right to tell millions of Americans who did not vote for him how to think? He clearly cannot stand that notion either. As we all know, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by millions. And what is his response? He refuses to accept that fact, and went to some lengths in manufacturing his own version of reality as a result. “5 million people voted illegally,” he contended.

The real fact of the past election is that far less than 1/4 of the American people actually voted for Donald Trump. This scares the living hell out of Donald Trump. But more than that, it insults his frail yet outsized ego. That is the far more dangerous component of his authoritarian response to resistance to his policies.

Despite the harsh reality of the popular vote and its proof that Trump is not granted a mandate, he further considers Constitutional a playground for his whims. He has refused to release his tax returns to dispel potential conflicts of interest. He has stated publicly that the election results excused any such notions. He has thus claimed that his conflicts of interest are of no consequence to his presidency.

This is authoritarianism at work. And at its worst. Add in the conflation of Russian involvement in the election and pre-inaugural contact with that nation by one of Trump’s representatives, and we have a president that is operating well outside the boundaries of his authority and quite possibly, the law.

Yet Trump supporters tell his detractors to “get over it.” And that is an impossible request. One cannot “get over” the dangerous thumb of an authoritarian. We’ve seen that time and again in history. If you acquiesce to the methods of authoritarian actions and terror, the nation itself is lost.

That is where we stand. That is why we resist. This is the authoritarian thumb we must fight with all our might.

The delusional presidency of Donald Trump and the people who support him

de·lu·sion·al

[dəˈlo͞oZH(ə)nəl]

ADJECTIVE
  1. characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.
  2. Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a “psychosis” in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, unshakable beliefs in something untrue or not based on reality. People with delusional disorder generally experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated. If the delusions could not happen in reality (aliens, television broadcasting your thoughts) then a person might be considered delusional with bizarre-type delusions.

By any definition of the word, the man elected as President of the United States exhibits delusional behavior. Donald Trump either acts delusional on purpose as a means to advance his political agenda, or he is truly delusional as evidenced by his blunt denials of facts that contradict his desired outcomes or beliefs.

Donald Trump's proposed golf courseHaving a delusional person at the seat of power in America is a dangerous situation for this country, and the world at large. When a person of Trump’s stature and position cannot separate facts from fears, or fiction from fruition, the results are typically chaotic. And when a delusional leader acts out of force of personality and as a means to defy the supposed weaknesses of his predecessors, there is danger at every turn.

Recently Donald Trump ordered Navy Seals into action in Yemen. By many measures that included the death of one American soldier and five others wounded, a $75M helicopter scuttled and civilians torn to pieces in an airstrike, the effort was a hot mess that went wrong from the start. Military officials blamed lack of sound intelligence for the failure of the raid.

Yet this is how the Trump administration responded to those criticisms:

“The Trump administration’s top spokesperson called a raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of one Navy SEAL and the likely deaths of civilians a “huge success,” and rebuked any criticism of the operation as a “disservice” to the fallen SEAL.

Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, earlier called the operation a “failure.”

“It’s absolutely a success and I think anyone who would suggest it’s not a success does disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today during the daily press briefing.”

We’ve seen this delusion before in the Iraq War

The same delusional arguments have been made suggesting the Iraq War even in its massively chaotic and destructive first few years was also a success. President George W. Bush stood before a large sign stating MISSION ACCOMPLISHED on a warship at sea.

This was an illustration of delusion at its worst. Bush and Cheney cost America $6T in an unbudgeted military venture that produced even more terrorism and hatred for America before President Obama sealed up the envelope as required by Iraq in its negotiations and pulled most of our troops out of the country.

That’s common sense. Yet men like Donald Trump appear to want to increase the nature and scale of American aggression in the Middle East. Delusional Twitter threats made by Trump toward Iran may inflame those possibilities. So might his ugly taunts toward China. Even his nasty confrontations with allies hold potential to turn former friends into guarded enemies of our nation.

Domestically delusional

Trump is psychotic in all these regards. And on domestic policy his opinions of how to handle immigration, such as building a multibillion dollar wall along the Mexican border, are patently insane.

Yet he garners enough support from an equally delusional and selfishly motivated segment of the American electorate that his shallow dreams and public nightmares earn a certain grade of popularity. His rants against the media for “attacking him” when all they are doing is fact-checking his statements show the paranoid nature of the man. His belligerent attitude and the sociopathic tendencies of his close advisor Stephen Bannon all mimic the likes of an insane dictator bent on bring the world to its knees by any means.

Worse yet, his insanity is serving as a smokescreen for Ayn Rand-obsessed Republicans eager to gut the EPA, privatize Social Security and throw old people and kids out on the streets with nothing more than vouchers to gain health care coverage or a decent education.

These are not overreactions. Donald Trump fit the description of a delusional individual long before he became President. He has always been narcissistic beyond the normal levels of already ignorant Americans by a tenfold measure. His show The Apprentice in which he positioned himself as an angry boss yelling “You’re Fired” shows how insanely egotistical the man has always been.

Time to impeach

There is only one answer to this delusion. That is to remove the man and everyone associated with him from power. Impeach Trump for his conflicts of interest in all his continued business dealings. Impeach him for his failure to conduct himself with respect toward other nations and their representatives. Impeach him for his known and clear collusion and favoritism toward a Russian government that has been demonstably involved in hacking the American electoral process.

The reasons keep adding up. The time to impeach Donald Trump is now. Remove the delusionary egotist from office. Drain the Swamp he’s created through unqualified and unethical nominees. Yank the likes of Stephen Bannon with his apocalyptic brand of Breitbart hate from the reins of power. And finally, put that miserable sycophant Reince Priebus back where he belongs shoveling the stables of Republican horseshit.

This has gone far enough. Impeach Donald Trump now. Before it is genuinely too late. Or he declares martial law. Or hits the nuke button. This delusional President is not going to Make America Great Again. His presence is going to ruin the good work of all those who believe in civil rights, equality, liberty and justice for all.