Why the liberal doomsday never comes true

IMG_6707One of the strident complaints leveled by conservatives against liberals and progressives is that they constantly decry doomsday scenarios that never come true.

But there’s a good reason why the bad things about which liberals hew and cry never come about. Liberals actually do something about them to prevent doomsday from coming about.

Environmental doomsday averted

For example, in the 1970s the environmental movement began to make real traction in the public eye. Environmentalists warned about the dangers of industrial and chemical pollution. Liberals warned that air pollutions was not good for public health. So-called tree huggers and Save-the-Whalers and birdwatchers gathered forces and made their voices heard.

And even Republican President Richard Nixon got involved by signing the Environmental Protection Agency into being.

The nation’s liberals recognized that devastating levels of damage were being exacted on the world’s waters, land and air. Many species of wildlife were being treated with extinction. Only 60 years had passed since a species of bird known as the Passenger Pigeon had been literally hunted into extinction by mass harvesting. The American Bison was on the verge of blinking out of existence. Whooping cranes were down to the last 60 or so birds on the planet. Peregrine falcons were virtually an unknown species in the lower 48 states. The national symbol of the United States, the Bald Eagle, and its sister species the osprey were having successive years of nest failure due to the cracking of their eggshells from the trickle up effect of a pesticide known as DDT in the environment.

Yet rather than give in and let the doomsday scenario of mass extinctions take place, liberals dug in and fought for the banning of certain types of dangerous pesticides. In league with government agencies such as the EPA and backed by rulings such as the endangered species act, the harshest chemicals affecting our environment were regulating. Massive polluters were cited by law and punished. Billions of dollars were set aside in Superfund accounts to pay for the costs of environmental cleanup.

Rivers so polluted they once caught fire were able to recover from the effects of industrial dumping into streams and lakes. The blight on forests and lakes caused by acid rain from coal plants was arrested and cleaner forms of energy were investigated. The stunning fear caused by an event at Three Mile Island led to analysis of the role and safety of nuclear power in America.

Nuclear option

All the while, liberal protestors echoed by singer-songwriters such as Jackson Browne and Neil Young took aim at the ignorance and greed causing the near doomsday realities of nuclear meltdown and chemical pollution so thick and pervasive it caused the residents of entire towns to live under the threat of cancer and birth defects, sickness and death.

These were real doomsday events in the making. And had liberals not shown the temerity and wisdom to fight back against toxic pollution, habitat degradation and loss and wildlife extinction, the healthier environment we now have in America would certainly not exist.

All these efforts protected the health and safety of millions of people in America. Because as goes the environment, so goes the human race.

Civil rights doomsdays

Liberals saw the social justice in all that effort. Liberals and progressive have continued to push the nation deliver civil rights for all citizens. The “environment” of the nation is thus a healthier place for all its citizens to exist.

Without benefit of these civil rights efforts, black people and minorities would continue to live under segregation and persecution on many fronts. The many deaths of black people from lynching and torture are undeniable evidence of the fact that the conservative wing of America was incapable of controlling its most extreme wing. And without that control, prejudice loomed like a doomsday for centuries in America.

But that doomsday, while not entirely averted, has not fully arrived either. Through liberal political enterprise and the leadership of men such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the walls of segregation and prejudice have been razed.

However, we are still sorting through the rubble. And some Americans typically of a harshly conservative, often ignorant bent, would prefer to build the walls of prejudice back up. These racial zealots whine about legitimate civil rights as if they were the exception in a democratic republic, not the rule. They simultaneously claim their own civil rights are being infringed and that they are being restricted in their freedom of speech by so-called “political correctness” that seeks to prevent hate from being spewed through politics or social media.

Religious doomsday

Sadly, the name God is often evoked to justify the hateful actions and rhetoric of those whose ability to imagine a better world has been choked off by their own vision of doomsday. How ironic it is that the very same people who on religious grounds claim America is in moral decay and headed for doomsday are the very people who seek to deny civil rights to women, blacks, minorities, and gays. Their priorities have more to do with access to power and appeasing their notions of unswerving authority than anything akin to creating the Kingdom of God here on earth, which is what the Bible actually encourages.

Instead, the true doomsayers embrace an End Times theology that spatters like blood across the face of conservative theology. These are the real doomsday preachers. And their most common mode of offense (and defense) is to accuse liberals of their own worst flaw, which is not believing in the future.

This brand of self-doubt spills into politics, where conservatives claim to hate the very government they represent. This self-hatred is the self-fulfilling prophecy of doomsday conservatism, where everything is supposedly going downhill and always will, until the end of time. Yet there are many conservatives who claim to be the happiest people on earth. But as the Bible clearly points out in the tale of the Good Samaritan, when supposedly holy men walk past another soul in need and ignore that need, they are the very people God will choose to ignore on that day of judgment, if it ever comes.

A perversely fashioned zygote

ZygoteYet conservatives continue to claim the high ground. It’s as if they’re never read the many passages in the bible where Jesus chastises the chief priests for their moralizing, legalistic ways. Or the parts where Jesus points out that the love of money is the root of all evil.

Instead, we’re left with a perversely fashioned zygote made of political, social, fiscal and religious conservative cells. This unholy creature proclaims doomsday at every turn. Political conservatives have shut down the government. Social conservatives say that granting gays the right to marriage will be the end of America. Fiscal conservatives have already crashed the economy a couple times in American history and predict another crash while telling people to “buy gold” as if that would stave off an economic doomsday of their own making.

And finally, religious conservatives lay claim to the Doomsday of All Doomsday predictions. That would be the End Times, the Rapture, Armageddon and the Apocalypse. The End of the World is a favorite topic of the Christian Right. The subject crops up with even though the events predicted in Revelation already happened long, long ago. The Doomsday appeal of owning the bookends of Creation and Apocalypse are literally too good a story to relinquish.

No credit where credit is due

But it sounds pretty good to accuse liberals of being the naysayers and doomsday predictors in this world. That way anything bad that happens out of your own negativity, selfishness, neglect, prejudice, legalism and persecution can be blamed on people simply trying to make the world a little better place. And succeeding, for the large part.

Because many types of doomsdays have been averted through the heart, soul and humanism of liberalism. But you would never know it from listening to conservatives.

Of course, extreme conservatives also claim that global climate change is just another false liberal doomsday scenario. Perhaps it helps that so many Christian conservatives (between 30- 50% of the American population, some studies say) do not believe in evolution or even the basic science of geology. With that level of scientific ignorance at work, there is no wonder the world considers America such a pack of selfish dolts.

Maybe conservatives are right. Maybe there is a doomsday right around the corner. If so, it will be one of their own making through denial and unwillingness to work through practical means to make the world a better place.

And if they do cause the world to end, they will deny it until the day they day. 

Junkyard dogs

junkyard-dog-a19426112Look! It’s a Junkyard Dog!

Barking at the end of his chain tied to the tin doghouse of feckless conservative politics that have bankrupted the nation fiscally while driving people into rabid dissonance about their morality. He’s one of a million Junkyard Dogs that still believe that if you bark loud enough and show enough hate, someday someone will actually let you loose for revenge on all those that have taunted you.

But for good reason, the Junkyard Dogs in America still remain chained to their own misery in a Junkyard pile of denial, prejudice and selfish aims that make up the junkyard of neo-conservative and populist fascism ruling the Right Wing Junkyard of today. Woof woof.

But not for long if they have their way. In fact, there’s another Junkyard Dog barking loud as hell with all the other chainlink Junkyard dogs that have voted for Reagan, then Bush, then the other Bush, and now Trump. The Junkyard Owners whip them into a frenzy while they sit in their fancy tin huts counting money from the parts of America they’ve already sold off to the highest bidder. That’s how a Junkyard Owner operates, you see.

Of course, Junkyard Dogs actually care only about the red meat and power promised to them by their neocon owners. And for that reason, the Junkyard Dogs are still starved for real attention. The Junkyard Owners love their evil bark but don’t really like to feed them all that much.Junkyard dog

It’s a cruel philosophy, yet one that is easily exported to other countries. And whenever we’ve sent our feverish barking and junkyard politics to places like Iraq and Syria, we create entirely new junkyards run by secretive and mercenary members of the military-industrial complex. We’ve repeatedly funded Junkyard Dogs like Saddam Hussein, but when he barked too loud and got out of hand, we swept in like Junkyard Owners and got the poor dog hung by his neck in the public square. Then we took over the same doghouse used by Saddam to torture his own pack of hounds and took over that grisly duty with relish. Because that’s how Junkyard Owners roll.

Yet when the Junkyard Dogs we breed from those regions come roaring back, driven by zealously religious fanatics and fueled by equally conservative hatred toward us, American Junkyard Dogs whine and whimper out loud about why other Junkyard Dogs would want to pick on us.

The entire mentality is a sickness much like rabies, because the bite really is worse than the bark. For it spreads a disease we call American Exceptionalism, which is really nothing more than Wolfowitz-like arrogance in sheep’s clothing. And there we go. Foaming at the mouth. Biting anyone that comes near. Distrusting other dogs if they’re a different color. Woof woof.

dick-cheneyPerhaps the only real cure for a rabid junkyard dog is to put them down somehow. Vote them out of the Tin Huts they occupy. Take away their ability to sell off the land and property. Prevent them from turning America into a conservative junkyard where everything is for sale even while the entire infrastructure of the place is breaking down before our eyes.

So we have to ask ourselves: Do we really want America to be a Junkyard guarded by Junkyard Dogs or should we view the nation as something better?

The warning signs outside the gates have been there for years. The Junkyard Owners have been sending their rabid hounds after Obama for seven years. These are people who fondly recall using mad hounds to chase down the people they call niggers in the swamps of Mississippi. They view the man in office as their property, and the office he occupies as their property. And they’re angry because they think he stole it from them even though they were the ones that stole it by use of a Junkyard Supreme Court ruling back in 2000. The Junkyard is a cruel and vicious place you see. The Junkyard Owners already killed both the Kennedy boys for playing with their Junk Heap. They killed Martin Luther King, Jr. too. Don’t mess with the Junkyard Owners. They are a truly evil crew.

And they simply cannot fathom that anyone else sees the world any differently. They care not for the considerate behavior of breed of dog that actually has manners and a considerate temperament. That’s not how junkyard dogs act, and the Junkyard Owners consider it an insult to show respect to anyone other than a Junkyard Worker holding a gun. They consider anything else to be a sign of weakness and a lack of Junkyard character.

urlAnd that’s where the world of Junkyard Dogs is headed. If they have their way, they’ll be sending rabid hounds after women for the simple act of having sex without their permission, because Junkyard Owners view themselves as pimps in control of their bitches. That means women never get to choose what they do with their own bodies. And if someone gets raped or pregnant in the Junkyard, well you better expect to carry out that delivery in nine months or you’ll get banned from the Junkyard completely.

The Junkyard Owners surely would love the bloodsport of pinning gays and transgender and brown people and liberals against the chain link fence if they get out of line. Let the Junkyard Dogs gnaw on them a little. That will show them their place in the Junkyard.

The Junkyard Owners are also fixing to build a giant damn wall around this goddamned junkyard of a country. They’ll kill anyone that tries to come in without paying the Junkyard Owner. It will be a huge wall. Guarded by lots of Junkyard Dogs. Vigilantes and militias bearing glock fangs and military style collars.

So we have a choice. It’s either a future as a Junkyard or knocking down the fences and standing by our freedoms.

Woof woof.

 

 

 

The true connection between liberal anxiety and conservative fear

It’s a constant debate: Liberals versus conservatives. And it all breaks down to simple beliefs.

This is how the sayings go when it comes to discussing politics in America.

Liberals are anxious about everything. They worry about global warming. Civil rights. And offending someone. God Forbid. 

Conservatives are fearful about everything. Terrorism striking close to home. Living without guns. Being politically correct. God Forbid. 

How fascinating it truly is that liberals worry about the world while conservatives fret that it is out to get them? How can two such similar traits drive people so far apart?

Worry warts

For starters, conservatives seem to believe that most liberal worries are made up. That’s the real nature of anxiety, right? It’s defined as imagining the worst when things are really not all that bad.

Fearmongers

Conservative policies are often not what they seem

In a similar way, liberals consider conservatives obsessive about their fears or prejudices. Conservatives are always bemoaning the decay of society or predicting the end of the world as we know it.

Thus, the two parties circle each other warily and angrily. Both claim they’re right about the other and seek to demean the corresponding anxieties and fears on the Left and the Right.

The End of the World

But there are connections. For example, liberals tend to think that if the world is coming to an end, it will be through environmental means. That’s why global warming is a concern, along with species extinction.

Meanwhile, religious conservatives (and by dint of Big Tent Politics, many other brands of Republican conservatives) tend to depict the end of the world through a theological lens. The coming Apocalypse. Armageddon. The End Times. Left Behind. The Rapture.

The Second Coming

That mindset colloquially embraces the idea of the Second Coming of Jesus and the idea that the Old World in which we now live will be replaced by an entirely better New World that will come about through some sort of heavenly means. Even Muslims believe that’s the fate of the world.

Armageddon

And of course, there is considerable speculation on where all that will start, and whether we should fear the day or bid it welcome news. The general thinking on the topic is that the Middle East will be the site of a great war between the forces of good and evil. For many years it was the Jews that were the potential focus of all this heavenly rage. Lately it appears to be the Muslims, whom many conservative religious thinkers blame for the woes of the world.

Muslim surprise

How ironic it is that the Muslim faith actually looks forward to the coming of Jesus Christ as well. They don’t buy the idea that Christ was ever crucified, but was instead zapped up to heaven by God outside the parameters of the Christian narrative. It’s a little vague of course, as most things in the Quran seem to be in terms of interpretive or predictive value, but this is what the Quran says:  “And there is none of the people of the Book but must believe in Him before his death, and on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness against them.”[Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 159] Allah also says about Jesus in the Qur’ân: “And he shall be a sign of the Hour. Therefore have no doubt about the Hour, but follow Me. That is the straight path.” [Sûrah al-Zukhruf: 61].

Judgement Day

If you stop and think about the fact that conservative Christians and conservative Muslims all look forward to the coming of Christ on the Judgement Day, it’s a pathetic fact that what people are fighting (or quibbling) about is what path this supposed course took in the path and how it will ostensibly transpire in the future.

Owning the narrative

All sides of this argument, including Sunni and Shi’a sects on the Muslim side, as well as Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and all other forms of conservative Christian faith oas well seem willing to fight to the death over which narrative is chosen to decide how the world will end, and who might survive.  Then we throw in the Jews, who get it from both sides of this great battle, and that pretty much explains fears over the Middle East “situation” in a nutshell. And it’s a fearful, angry, vicious batch of insanity.

And conservatives on every side just love it. Because it allows them to grab hold of all sorts of other controls in life. That includes social and political laws, and fiscal regulations. Everyone is afraid some other sect or religious worldview will get the upper hand.

Political zygotes

ZygoteOf course not all those who abide by conservative philosophy or identify as fiscal or political conservatives share these religious worldviews. But they can no longer escape the association because the conservative alliance initiated in the Falwell/Reagan era. That’s when the religious and economic “revolution” originally fused the language of triumph into a giant political zygote of social, political, religious and fiscal conservatives. Now the product of this marriage has emerged like a freak of nature, and his name is Donald Trump.

Liberals get their freak on

Like the tale of Benjamin Button, in which a man is born old and grows young over time, the Democratic side of freak births produced Bernie Sanders. His ardent gesticulations and socialist contentions have been discomfiting to those who just want a normal, somewhat liberal candidate to run for President. His supporters freak out at the idea of supporting Hillary Clinton if and when the Bern fizzles out. It’s a bit like a backcountry family feud, both ugly and beautiful in its unsophisticated way.

Emotional defense

it is interesting to note that both conservatives and Christians lay claim to the authority of scripture. Conservatives side with the traditions and triumphs of the church while liberals share the heart of scripture and the ministry of tolerance advocated by Jesus. These simple differences may be responsible for the entire liberal versus conservative divide. We only wish these differences could be determined through dialectic, a term described as “a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.” Instead all we seem to achieve is emotional arguments for one side or the other.

Back to the Future

Some of these debates over conservative versus liberal interpretations of scripture go back to the very formative years of what we now call Christianity. That’s when a Jew named Yeshua (better known as Jesus) debated vigorously with the Pharisees and others over their efforts to turn scripture into law. Jesus chastised the priests and tried to liberate the Jewish faith from its own strictures. But it didn’t really work. So the followers of Jesus started their own gig. And it’s been a Back to the Future movie ever since.

Some Christians never learned the lesson Jesus was trying to convey. They still behave like the priests Jesus tried to change. These are the conservatives of today. They side with political power because it feels like the best way to exact the philosophies of Christianity on the world. This is the Back to the Future plot we are now viewing.

The fortress of belief

Conservatism views the faith as a literal temple, a fortress of belief or a city to be defended or taken over by force if necessary. They Bible is one such fortress, and must be read as if it were a pile of stones placed one upon the other. Take out one stone and the entire structure may fall.

Portable faith

Liberalism takes a more modular view of what faith is about. Its interpretation of the bible is more about its transportable qualities. In that sense, liberalism is more like a nomadic tent community. It can wander the desert and be happy in the company of God. This is more like what Jesus professed. The structure of his ministry and how the disciples came to view the temple of God was centered on the idea that God is with you wherever you go.

Crusades

Now we can understand why conservatives consider the Crusades so important. Their objective to evict Muslims from Jerusalem was based on the belief that God needed (or deserved) a place to live. Tradition demanded that Jerusalem be under Christian guard. The Holy City and the Temple had been there. What more was there to understand?

In this day and age there are supporters of Israel who abide by these same standards. It’s still about the Holy City and the Holy State of Israel. This is called Zionism, “political support for the creation and development of a Jewish homeland in Israel.”

Mess of beliefs

Jerusalem_Dome_of_the_rock_BW_14.JPGIt’s a bit of an archaic notion, and a contradictory one at that, when Christians and Jews align to create and protect an Israeli homeland. The two faith traditions don’t even believe in the same thing. One accepts Jesus. The other does not. Meanwhile Muslims look forward to the return of Jesus while the Jews think the Messiah is yet to appear. It’s all a very confused mess if you really consider it. Yet the Crusades in the Middle East continue to this day and even the most informed people have lost track of what it is all about. The fighting now is about rallying the troops and never losing. Not at any cost.

Feeding worries and fears

The shared tactic of conservatism and liberalism is to consistently expound upon worries or fears about what is surely about to happen.

For conservatives, the list is long. The economy is about to collapse. Society is in moral decay. Terrorism is going to end our Way of Life. The Rapture is right around the corner. These are the go-to themes whenever conservatism fails on some, or many, fronts.

Meanwhile, liberals are busy wringing their hands in anxiety over environmental cataclysm and the collapse of civil rights due to prejudice and authoritarian rule by a select minority.

Beyond being afraid

The fact that both anxieties and fears align with the general belief that things could get far worse before they get better is telling. Isn’t there some way these two belief systems can come to a common ground?

The secret hides in how people on both sides of the philosophical debate define the idea of a “new world.”

For liberals or humanists, that would be world in which people actually collaborate to solve problems. This philosophy was effectively captured in the song Imagine by John Lennon:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

There’s a lot of Jesus philosophy in that very humanist set of lyrics. But the opening lyrics to the song would be of great offense to those who view the temple of God as real place.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

But if we focus on the idea that Jesus wanted the Kingdom of God to be real here on earth, and that the Bible advocates the idea that a New World will someday be created on earth, there is a great source of convergence going on in those humanist lyrics by John Lennon and the soul of the ministry of Jesus.

That is, God wants us to create this New World for ourselves. In fact, the Second Coming of Christ may be our responsibility to initiate. Not through war and Armageddon, but through love and all the good works of respect and trust and ministry we extend to others.

That is the true convergence of conservative and liberal ideologies. It also assuages worries and removes fears. Because a world where people genuinely care about each other and dispel differences rather than turning them into definitions of “the other” truly is the Kingdom of God.

And that’s the point at which both conservatism and liberalism as social, political, fiscal and religious constructs will cease to be.

How biblical literalism affects politics, culture and the environment

Christopher Cudworth is author of The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age. It centers on how biblical literalism affects politics, culture and the environment. Originally published in 2007, it is being edited for re-release on Amazon.com. 

 

GOP presidential candidates are dropping like flies, not long after attracting them

Flies on Shit.jpgWell, the shitfest that was the GOP presidential nomination contest is semi-officially over. It started with 16+ candidates who in various ways screwed the pooch, some perhaps literally. Metaphorically in others.

Gone are Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Dr. Ben Carson, whose Oscar Meyer Wiener performance as a conservative hot dog was given an NR rating for Not Real from the beginning.

The fact that any of these out-of-touch-with-reality losers gained any followers at all is a bad sign for the place we call America. But it is proof that even the worst-smelling pile of shit can attract flies.

That’s right, I called these otherwise human beings running for President piles of shit. That’s no comment on the person behind their persona, because I don’t know any of them personally. But when you put forward a political personality that is so obviously cloying for the votes of various single-voter factions, you deserve to be called a pile of shit. Because metaphorically, it’s true. Shit starts out as single items that we consume. But it comes out stinky and mixed up.

Even the seemingly stinkless Jeb Bush came out smelling like a pile of dung on a hot Florida day. His feckless attempts at confrontational politics made him look like road kill, which is also know to stink. Like death. Which is the template for the entire history of the Bush regime, which began with Prescott supporting the Nazis and hopefully ended with George W. Bush selling his soul to the 9/11 “tragedy” that was more likely a deep inter-governmental conspiracy to set the nation and the world on fire as if it were a buffalo cake.

Bush and Cheney ruined the Republican Party during their eight years in office. But they also ruined a considerable chunk of American virtues. Whenever he was called into the public eye, Dick Cheney squatted and snarled that his brand of shit was nobody’s business but his own. He attempted to rule with impunity and tried to establish the Unitary Executive so that he could pull The Georgie’s puppet strings.

And because of all this shitty behavior, no one really trusts the Republican Party to do anything, anymore. The Republican-led Congress has done nothing to change that image in eight years of racist resistance to President Barack Obama. The “do-nothing” Congress could only vote to Repeal Obamacare. 50+ times they pulled that shit. And they offered no sound or reasonable alternatives. They’re only scheduled to work 129 days in 2016 as well. Perhaps we should thank God for that.

Why does Republican America put up with this shit? Well, that’s explained easily by the fact that when you’ve repeatedly failed in national and state governance, the one remaining option is to double-down. Maybe triple-down. Maybe Triple Dog Dare You Down.

And so we’re faced with the pending potential reign of the Lord of All Shitheads, Donald Trump. That’s who the Republican Party has forwarded as their candidate for the President of the United States. Countries around the world are holding their noses as this Shitpile Roadkill of a Candidate ascends to prominence. They know a stinkfest when they see it. They’ve all been through fascism and all its cousins. Donald Trump lines up with all of those. He is the American Nazi. He’s like an Uber-Fascist, so self- absorbed and self-worshipping that he thinks his own shit doesn’t stink.

urlAnd like the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, millions of Americans with shit on their breath are eating this stuff up. They view The Donald as the anti-candidate, the man that can rescue America from its troubles.

His supporters are comprised of out-of-work white blue collar workers. They are women who adore the Donald for his wealth and his panache. They are confused Catholics and angry Lutherans and disenfranchised Jesus People looking for the Second Coming and mistaking Donald’s Golden Glow Hair for a Halo. They are people claiming to be sick of all this political shit even as it threatens to swallow them whole. The shit will only get deeper once the formerly anal-retentive Republican Convention erupts like a blowhole from the ass of the Elephant Party.

But what do I really think? I think the Republicans have gotten exactly what they deserve. With the Shit For Brains actions of conservatives that have taken place, gutting the economy several times over since the Reagan era with its Trickle Down Shit (and isn’t that an image?), it has been impossible to separate Republican shit from reality. Dr. Ben Carson was a Grade A example of that clueless brand of shit.

But you got Donald Trump instead. You chose the Bombast rather than the Iconocolast.

Truth be told, the rest of us just Thank God it wasn’t Ted Cruz. His shit was only ankle deep with that guy, but let’s be honest about all something. He dove in head first.

 

 

 

 

 

On the real root and purpose of conspiracy theories

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man on the moon

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

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

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

The Kennedy assassination

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

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

The Reagan debacle

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

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

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

KKK and company

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

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

Suspicions 

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons why

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

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

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

The Cheney factor

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

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

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

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

Numbers game

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

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

What the Bible says about the human capacity for conspiracies

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

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

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

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

Reality shift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

America is indeed naked and afraid, of the truth

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I’ve ignored most of the so-called reality shows for decades. Never watched a second of that obvious travesty Honey-Boo-Boo. Had no idea who the Duggars even were until the sex scandals broke and the family was exposed for its ugly secrets. Jinger Dugar recently admitted to People Magazine. “It was so unreal, I still have trouble comprehending it today. But just the reality of this, this person we thought we knew, the person that we loved greatly – we still love – just the hard pain that has caused.”

Really? What did you expect when you turned your real life over to the landscape of unreality? Some of us say that’s tough luck if you succumb to the unreal pain created by   profiting from America’s prurient instincts. You got what you deserved, Jinger Duggar.

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Yet speaking of prurient instincts: Is there any more conflicted show on television than the Discovery Channel feature titled Naked and Afraid? It features people who volunteer to be dumped in the wilderness with no clothes on. Only instead of honoring that nakedness with actual footage of their actual genitals, Discovery Channel blurs out the supposed naughty bits.

In Europe and other parts of the world where people are comfortable with nudity and act like grownups about it, there would be no need to blur anything out. But in America taboo subjects and titillating subject matter are exciting fodder for a guilt-ridden society where naked bodies are publicly frowned upon by good conservative households. Yet we know that the Bible Belt consumes more porn than any other part of the country. Thus we are forced to pretend that these mostly naked people are not really naked at all.

Naked Two

This cognitive dissonance is emblematic of the false brand of morality American conservatives love to profess. Yet the daily news seems full of uptight Republicans persecuting people for having the audacity to engage in sex. Yet these same people keep getting caught having affairs and engaging in sexual escapades that emerge as scandalous revelations about their repressive lifestyles.

So in keeping with the repressive culture in America, Naked and Afraid should be titled Afraid of Being Naked. Because why do America’s beaches play this pathetic game where people dress in thongs, yet can’t strip those stupid-looking garments off and actually be naked? It’s false morality writ large, that’s why.

The sin of nakedness is all in the minds of those who want to control the moral culture of America. These are the same people, we must recall, who tend to want “less government” in our lives. Yet neither can they resist using government to impose their prudish, anachronistic values on the populace every chance they get.

That’s why Naked and Afraid so fits the American television audience. It is a perfectly contrived flirtation with the taboo. It is so imperfectly ugly as an imitation of honesty that it defies even the title of the channel that airs it, turning the Discovery Channel into an oxymoron. There is no Discovery there at all. You can’t see the real sunburned breasts on those women, nor the dangling penises afflicted by flies and abrasion. One does get to see clearly a number of butt cheeks in various states of flabbiness or good form. And let’s be clear: butt cheeks are now the language of acceptable nudity. How ironic is that? These naked asses make an ass out of all of us.

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It’s thus no coincidence that the King of All Asses Donald Trump (tRump?) has risen to prominence on the American political scene. He’s grown popular by faking a powerful personality with codified statements such as “You’re fired.” And why would Americans embrace this reality show? The words “You’re fired” are the two words Americans most hate to hear.  Yet millions of Americans faced those very words during the last economic downturn.

It was all brought on by the gambling speculation of an investment and financial industry that claimed to be “too big to fail.”  In other words, they could not be fired despite the massive failures they had caused.  Then all those bad mortgages sold through predatory lending had to be socialized and paid off through governmental bailouts.

That was the ultimate reality show, wasn’t it?  It left us all left naked and afraid for our investment portfolios. How would we survive if we’re left alone in the jungle with nothing to wear but our Nike tee shirts? Those don’t really cover anything. The rest was all a blur for a few years.

This is the price we pay for a lack of honesty and the constant infatuation and flirtation with wealth that leads so many people to believe they’ll see “the goods” of security when in fact the entire investment industry is geared to profit the sellers and not those who hope to grow their nest eggs. These are the naked facts, people. And they’re after your Social Security money as well. If they can, they will indeed leave you Naked and Afraid. Because then they have you where they want you. Helpless and afraid.

You can believe what you want, but reality will ultimately prove you wrong about the belief that people like that have your best interests in mind. The whole reason reality shows exist is because they are cheap to produce and use participants as sucker actors to capitalize on their moment of fame. TV producers have been laughing all the way the bank for years at the expense of all those who believe and participate in reality TV. It’s a giant farce. Just like our investment industry. We’re fools for believing in it. For that matter, even the belief in the so-called free market and laissez-faire capitalism need a reality check as well. It might not hurt to take a naked look at the real effects of all these notions that we’re being honest with ourselves.

But you can go on watching the reality show we’re given, if you like. It’s not reality, but sometimes the best we can do is stare at the blurred screen and imagine we’re seeing something true and interesting. Or naked. Just so we feel real.

 

 

 

 

 

On Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader

150430-berniesanders-editorial.jpgListen, I was listening to Bernie Sanders long before he was Bernie Sanders, candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. He was a weekly guest on the Thom Hartmann show to which I regularly listened. I liked his ability to answer political and legislative questions in real time, right over the air.

The political stumper that Bernie has become is a somewhat different creature. He’s right argued that the political system is rigged against him. He’s correctly asserted that America’s economic system has giant flaws. He’s proposed massive public investment in America’s educational and health care systems. I even agree with him that America has all the money it needs to pay for these supposedly “socialistic” programs that are in fact simply the logical actions of a nation determined to improve the lives and minds of its citizens.

Because honestly, the Republican Party has done everything it can to divest Americans of the opportunity to make a fair living, get a good education and put it to work in an equitable economy. We’ve watched Republicans publicly flog the Unemployment Compensation system and accuse people thrown out of work by the economic crash of being “too old and lazy” to want to go back to work. We’ve heard Republicans use rampant racism to disenfranchise those they most fear. That would be anyone with brown skin or a different religion that outnumbers the dwindling numbers of angry, largely white so-called Christians who hardly lift a finger to reconcile their capitalistic dogma to their equally dogmatic fundamental brands of faith.

Republicans are a hot ideological mess compared to men like Bernie Sanders. Republicans are more like an ideo-illogical mess. They’re don’t even claim to be whores with hearts of gold, because their repressive tendencies always seem to hide some massive personal scam waiting for exposure. Just ask Dennis Hastert if you don’t believe it. Or Newt Gingrich. All those fundamentalist Republican preachers in sex scandals.

By comparison to those lying zealots, Bill Clinton is a saint. And his wife Hillary still has not been proven to have done one wrong thing. Sure, she exaggerates a twitch or two, but she’s a political realist in the end.

That’s far more than can be said for men like Ted Cruz with his goddamned God Complex. Or Donald Trump who seems to think he’s a Golden Idol worthy of worship. The rest of the ungodly mess that Republicans sent forth for inspection withered and sank like a troop of squalid mushrooms sprouting from a shit pile. Scott Walker? There’s a foul stench around him. Jeb Bush? He smelled a little too rich and ripe. Even that stinker Mitt Romney cropped back up for a few weeks. And what did it get him? A portabella goodbye, that’s what.

So I’m not dissing Bernie Sanders on that level at all. I like Bernie compared to all these fecal greaseballs. And Bernie is a genuine contender. I’ll definitely credit him with that.

But I don’t get the feeling he wants the Democrats to win. Bernie distrusts the entire system, and with good reason. There’s just one problem with that. A man like Bernie can deliver true evil into power.

03-ralph-nader.w529.h352.2x.jpgIt happened once before with Al Gore and Ralph Nader back in 2000. Gore would have made a wonderful, rational and considerate President of the United States. But Nader went after anti-establishment, populist voters from a greenish stripe and wicked off just enough votes to keep Gore out of the White House. And in so doing, he let George Fucking Bush get in.

That moment in history has cost America dearly. We got the lying-est White House ever. True evil came in the back door with that vicious bastard Dick Cheney. Add in a right-wing-nut-cabinet that took us to war on lies in Iraq, and that ignored the clear warnings of impending terrorist attacks…which ultimately delivered the excuse they were seeking for action in the Middle East…and Ralph Nader starts to look like a real selfish villain in all this.

And I’m equally concerned right now that if Sanders tells his supposedly smart voters not to support Hillary Clinton, we could get a President Trump in the White House. Or just as bad (maybe worse) a President Cruz.

That would be fucking stupid. There is no way either of those men deserves to use the White House restroom, much less sit in the Oval Office.

Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader have way too much in common for my taste. I’m trying to figure out what it is about determined Jewish men that makes them such a danger to American interests. All I tell you is that King David did everything God told him to do. Yet when it came time to build a temple to God, David was told he had too much blood on his hands. There’s a lesson in that somehow. It is possible to care about your cause a little too  much.

I love a revolutionary as much as the next person. Because John Lennon knew the benefits and risks of revolution.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

What we’re witnessing is the destruction of America. But it’s not the work of liberals destroying traditional values, because it took more than 100 years of liberal political revolution to give equal rights to women and blacks. It’s taken just as long to make progress for gays and other minorities. Those are Constitutional values that are actually fulfilling the vows of our Founding Fathers for equality. Conservatives have fought that revolution tooth and nail, and helped destroy American lives in the process.

And it’s not socialism compromising the benefits of capitalism, because without regulations, free markets clearly and frequently spin out of control. We have the Great Depression and the Recent Recession to illustrate that fact.

It’s not a black President that threatened to destroy America, but fear of that man that promulgated a fierce wellspring of ugly racist populism now being fed by men like Donald Trump. And it’s not a lack of religion that destroyed the influence of Christian values in America, but the prostitution of biblical knowledge to fit a highly opportunistic brand of religion that shed the teachings of Christ to don the trappings of power.

And to combat these horrific influences on our culture and the nation at large, it is important that we not allow the leaders of this brand of political furor and zealotry to take greater control. Already we’ve seen what the warmongers can do to the national treasury with the post 9/11 escapades and nation-building overseas. We’ve seen media like Fox News cheerlead these ventures and lead with euphemisms such as Fair and Balanced to confuse and propagandize political priorities as fact.

You’re all witness to these devastating games, and some refuse to question their own roles, clinging to single issue contentions over abortion, gay marriage or taxes as excuses for installing liars and zealots and religious nuts into positions of power. Those people have no concern for America as a principle. They only care about America as an instrument for their repressive desire for control, hatred and bully politics.

And that’s what scares me about men like Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader. They don’t seem to see the forest for the trees.

The April Fool’s joke that really has to end, because it’s no longer funny

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Today is April 1st, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day. And while driving around to appointments, I flipped my radio station to an AM station.AM 560 is the Chicago version of Fox News on conservative crack. The host was talking about John Kasich, a candidate for the Republican nominee for President, and going on about how little Kasich actually knows about the Muslim religion. “But even if he doesn’t know a thing, I’ll still vote for him over any Democrat and four more years of downward spiral and Hillary Clinton making nominees for the Supreme Court.”

And I thought, “He can’t be serious. This is like an April Fool’s joke. Exactly where is this supposed “downward spiral” he’s talking about? Employment is down to 5%. In March the economy added 215,000 new jobs. Gasoline is down around $2.00 per gallon. America’s energy future is more secure than it has been in two decades. Yes,

Yes, the health-care “industry” is in flux due to competitive issues between insurers and providers. Republicans blame Obamacare, but that’s a joke too. Rates on insurance premiums rose 12% per year under all eight years of the Bush regime. If anything, the American healthcare scene now resembles the Hockey Stick model of global warming made famous several years ago by Al Gore. Healthcare is overheating not because of Obamacare, but due to the accelerating demands for wide profit margins from three distinct sources; insurance companies, healthcare providers and the pharmaceutical giants who keep jacking prices for everyday drugs and refuse to allow the government any negotiation powers to keep costs under control.

The joke of the claim that Obamacare caused these problems is that healthcare was pointing toward an overheated dynamic long before Obamacare came along. The plain fact is that Republicans ignored these issues all eight years of control under Bush. That’s not a product of insight or even prudence. But it is evidence of denial, and possibly corruption of purpose wrought by political paybacks and campaign support to buy off politicians from doing their job of regulating an overheated industry. Conservatives proceeded on the canon that healthcare economics if left alone would take care of themselves. Or God would step in. And what an April Fools joke that has turned out to be.

Because that’s what conservatives do best. Deny facts. They deny global climate change, and the theory of evolution, and any sort of metaphorical interpretation of the Bible (despite Jesus’ own use of metaphor in his teachings) in order to deny any sort of progressive viewpoint that leads to reformation. That’s true with environmental management, sustainable health care, or cultural equality. The conservative worldview is a pathetic, anachronistic joke.

And for the last eight years Republicans have been complaining that President Barack Obama is ruining the country. Or out to ruin the country. Or thinking about ruining the country. And all the while, the country has been on the rebound from the devastating effects of eight years of Republican “leadership” (denial by force) that spawned two costly wars, allowed terrorists to kill more than 3000 people on American soil, fostered torture, proved its inability to govern or be prepared for national emergencies during Hurricane Katrina, and crashed the economy through tax cuts and an overheated financial and mortgage industry that was “enjoying” a regulatory environment that was far too lax.

Yet the supporters of all that furious mess created by Bush and his conservative henchmen still insist that it is Barack Obama that has “ruined” the country.

So I came to a conclusion today. Modern conservatism nothing more than a protracted April Fool’s prank that has gone on too long. The Republican Party long ago lost sight of what the word “conservative” stands for at all. And let’s be honest: that’s what happens when a prank that really harms someone goes on too long. Then it becomes too difficult to admit you were the perpetrator. Admitting even one shred of responsibility exposes the massive involvement. So Republicans have behaved like a bunch of guilty frat boys who killed the School Mascot Goat by stuffing its front end with too many beers and its back end with too many sexual innuendos. Now they rally around the original concept of Reaganism (the School Mascot) and laugh off the consequences. They seem to have no shame and embarrassment at the pain and transfer of wealth their joke has wrought. “Can’t you take a joke?” they all seem to be saying. “And it’s your fault actually. You’re the one who let us near the goat in the first place.”

At this point it’s quite clear the joke is actually on them. Conservatives are freaking out because the King of April Fool’s is their leading candidate for the Republican nomination. The joke got out of hand quite quickly during this presidential campaign. The man with the orange face and a massive combover should have been an obvious warning that the Republican movement has become a joke. At one point their leading candidate stood up to say, “I could shoot people in the street and people would still keep voting for me.”

Or something like that. He does not truly care what he says. This April Fool does not even appear to believe anything he says. He only talks to generate controversy, then accuse the media of his own foibles. He is a massively painful prank foisted on conservatives, who wondered early on if he was indeed a serious candidate at all, or just a funny prank played by future President Hillary Clinton to destroy the Republican Party.

In any case, it is working. Those other serious jokesters Ted Cruz and John Kasich are the only prankster left on the campaign trail with the orange clown winning the prank race for the nomination. To prove the point this is all a ruse, Cruz even quoted lines from a movie about a liberal president as a means to defend the honor of his own wife, who was accused of being ugly and potentially a slut by the orange candidate whose only goal is to trump the truth with false rumors and underhanded practical jokes.

This is the April Fool’s joke that has to end. The Republican “platform”, cobbled together as it is by from disparate purposes in social, fiscal, political and religious conservatives, is the biggest joke ever perpetrated in the modern era. The four factions cannot possibly be reconciled if a person puts an inch of thought into it. True Christianity theology simply does not abide with laissez-faire capitalism. And social conservatives seeking to control the cultural dialogue are in direct opposition to political conservatives who want less government.

The entire conservative movement is a farce. A practical joke concerned only with power and control of the cultural narrative. And if people continue to support this farce, the joke is on them. April Fools, everyone. Are you one of them?

 

The conspiracy Jesus does not want you to miss

IMG_3854The Easter season for many Christians is a time to celebrate the rise of Christ from the dead to reign in heaven. And whether you accept the story of Christ as atonement for your sins, or something more subtle, on the order of giving yourself completely over to God, the Passion story is a compelling and humbling example of self-sacrifice.

For many Christians the Easter story begins and ends with that sacrifice. Nothing more need be said. But there’s a practical layer to the Easter story that Christians entirely focused on heavenly transcendence too often fail to consider.

It is the conspiracy Jesus does not want you to miss.

What secret could Jesus possibly hold that we don’t already know, that hasn’t been explored sufficiently by theologians, or canonized in the church?

You might know something about this secret if you pay attention to the entire Passion narrative. The Bible loved prophecies, and the story of Jesus entering the city on a donkey or young colt is the echo of a predicted fulfillment of a Messiah who will return to restore Israel and its people to glory and self-rule.These were important hopes back then. In some respects, those hopes remain today. Many Christians openly hope for the return of Christ, and think that is the secret Jesus wants us to know about his comings and goings in this world. But like many good conspiracies, those people may be wrong.

We instead find the real and noble conspiracy, and one Jesus does not want us to miss, in the message everyone seems to want to avoid in the story of Christ. He was a radical in every sense to those who ruled in his era. The leading religious authorities were skeptics of his claim to be the Son of God. The Romans considered him at best a weak imitation of a true king. All were more interested in his supposed abilities to do magic than his actual message. “Blessed are the meek…” Jesus is quoted from the Sermon on the Mount.

Hardly the claims of a king. Not in that era.

So fixated are we on salvation during the Easter season that the real conspiracy of Jesus goes uncelebrated. His clearly political motives in defying both sources of profound authority seem so worldly, almost unnecessary for the Son of God. And then his unwillingness to defend himself, so that he would appear to be a fool in front of foolish men? What sort of secret was that to keep from all his accusers.

Before his capture and trial, Jesus tried to educate his disciples on the secrets of his ministry. They begged him to speak plainly, not to rely on colorful parables and organic stories about yeast and bread and water to convey his message of spiritual grace and hoop.

But Jesus chastised his own disciples, telling them, “Are you so dull?’

And that is the real conspiracy of Jesus. He warned his disciples that much of God’s wisdom need be hidden from authorities in order to be heard and accepted by true believers. In the hands of the authorities, true wisdom becomes twisted into thorns of power to be jammed down on the heads of those seeking hope and truth.

In fact, the reaction of those in power to the notion that “Blessed are the meek…” is to turn that conspiratorial truth into a threat. The powerful see weakness where Christ sees power. Those with selfish interests turn that call to humility into an excuse to dominate.

If you truly want to believe and accept Christ, and especially the sacrifice he made in the name of all people, to instruct us on the power of humility and devotion to God, must be to personally sacrifice the will to turn religion into a political force designed to deliver advantage unto yourself.

Because barring that, people fall prey to their own desires, and go out preaching in public about their piousness and devotion to God. And those people Jesus distrusted most of all. “Do not pray in public…” he warned. “Or make a show of your piety.”

That is the conspiracy of faith that Jesus does not want you to miss. He hid his own authority and truth behind the will to be mocked, even tortured, rather than claim some position of power for himself. He hid his messages in metaphor, and indeed, the entire Bible follows that formula for concealed grace. Those who take scripture literally gloss over the real meaning of this conspiracy of truth. They turn the Bible into a weapon rather than a tool of grace. They force interpretations of scripture on the heads of believers like religious crowns of thorns.

Thus they aggressively miss the conspiracy of the Bible entirely. Yet that conspiracy is what the Easter season is truly all about. The willingness to place humility before politics, and endure sacrifice before personal gain.

Without that will, it does not matter if Christ rose from the dead or stayed in the tomb. The secret of faith lies buried behind a stone if the kingdom of God cannot be accepted on those terms. All other claims are a celebration of self. And nothing more.

 

A new reality show titled “Jesus Dies Again”

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Word just came down from heaven that the Statute of Limitations on Forgiveness of Sins has just expired. It’s a sad thing, but it probably had to happen. Apparently, God has decided––and we all know God changes his mind now and then–– that the world needs yet another lesson about the meaning and value of life.

He’s tried several times before to cure the human race of its greed and ugliness. Let us recall the rhetorically powerful Noachian Flood, which wiped out every living thing on earth that wasn’t bundled up in a dirty old cruise ship.

When that didn’t work, God threw his own Son Jesus into the Roman Meat Grinder as a means of atonement for human sin. But people still did not get the message.

Even that act of sacrificial atonement, if you want to look at it that way, could not permanently compensate for the level of greed and corruption being foisted on the world by a growing cabal of literalistic latter-day religious types and conservative political companions who have turned the name of Christianity into a brand symbol for gross consumption and hateful zealotry.

So God has decided the time to act has come again. This time round the Good Lord has determined that a Reality Show will be the best way to get the people’s attention. And thus, we will be treated to an elegantly crafted six-week mini-series titled “Jesus Dies Again,” a series of contestants will be invited to conduct a trial for Jesus Christ.

God is quite interested to see if the outcome will turn out any better for his Son than it did 2000 years ago when the habitually vicious Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate washed his hands and sealed the fate of that Jewish itinerant preacher named Yeshua. You know how the story goes.

And we should not forget that the religious leaders of the day had plenty to do with the trial and execution of Yeshua. Their flaw was not that they were Jews, or that they sent Yeshua to be tried and killed by Romans. Their flaw was that their legalistic interpretation of scripture prevented them from comprehending the real message of Jesus, which was a call to grace and a plea for mercy and forgiveness on behalf of all people of the world.

Instead, those power-obsessed religious leaders of Yeshua’s day saw his emergence as a threat to the authority, their religious economics and a way of life they thought they’d earned by running the Jewish faith like a Whole Foods Market: A lot of expense for stuff you should be able to get a lot cheaper.

So God will work with producer Marv Bernstein (by no coincidence also a Jew) to create the new Reality Show  titled “Jesus Dies Again.” (Premiering Easter Sunday on TBS).

The show will put modern religious leaders and political types being put to the test of trying to acquit Jesus before a jury of his peers. And if somehow the guest judges do not find a way to defend the legacy and preaching of Jesus Christ… by actually proving that his message of caring for the poor, loving your neighbor and forgiving your enemies is enough to justify his life…Jesus will be crucified all over again. And Again. And Again. Until someone gets it right. The show will last seven days, and if no one Saves the Savior, the world will be finished. The human race will be wiped out.

“We’ve always looked at the Resurrection as the ultimate form of recycling,” says onetime Hollywood filmmaker turned Reality Show producer Marvin Bernstein. “We Jews have a sense of humor about these things.”

And of course, the show “Jesus Dies Again” will also feature cameo celebrity readings, songs and rap interpretations of passages from the Book of Revelation. Viewers, in turn, will be invited to Tweet their 140-letter prophecies out to the world as a commentary on what they’ve just heard.

“We were going to work with Facebook,” Bernstein admits. “But we all know that thing is a god-awful mess. All those phony memes and such. It’s like hell on earth if you think about it. People calling you Friends when they actually hate your guts for everything you post.”

“So we’re going with Twitter. That’s how the world works now,” Bernstein chuckles. “If God wrote the 10 Commandments today, it would take him 10 Tweets to get them all onto one stone.”

Celebrity cameo readings from the Book of Revelation will also be featured. Reported stars who will be involved in a hip-hop and song segment called REVOHLATION will include Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and .25 Cent, the star whose public value got cut in half when his stock options took a hit in the recent recession. “I’s a goddamned shame,” his publicist K’Noh Tweeted. “Niggah can’t get a break in this worhl.”

And speaking of breaks. The show Jesus Dies Again will feature a re-enactment of the Battle of Armageddon, which of course has yet to happen, and probably never will. But that won’t stop more than 20,000 extras from gathering on the Bonneville Salt Flats to act out the battle between Good and Evil. The scene will be filmed by a team of more than 50 remote-operated drones while scenes are live-edited by a team of graphics editors working for $30.00 an hour in Belarus. “It truly will be a global operation,” producer Bernstein enthused. “Almost like the real Armageddon.”

Easter’s coming up quickly, and God decided the time was right to force people to take stock of their lives. The trial lawyers and judges in the series Jesus Dies Again will feature the likes of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and that famous Christian proselytizer Mike Huckabee. “Trump is like Pontius Pilate and King Herod combined,” Marv Bernstein enthuses. “But let’s see how he does keeping those fake types from crucifying Jesus because he’s a goddamned liberal.”

As for the current state of the world, there are apparently clear reasons why God is so pissed at the state of humankind. Recently a publicist from Heaven, Inc., the production company producing the series Jesus Dies Again, has sent a faxed document to news operations around the world. It appeared to indict the activities of the American oligarchy, The Bush Family and its associations with the military-industrial complex. The faxed press release read:

“Considering Marvin Bush’s security firm was in charge of LaGuardia, United Airlines and the WTC on the day of the 9/11 attacks, God thinks the idea that the 9/11 tragedy was an inside job is hardly a stretch. And it was all done on the day when a national drill simulating a commercial airline highjacking mandated that all fighter aircraft stay grounded. And then every shred of evidence — the beams, concrete — all of the debris field from the fallen towers was immediately loaded on barges and shipped to China for recycling before investigators got to look for traces of explosives, radiation, etc.”
The press release from God went on to say. “The Bush Family Crime Syndicate is the most far-reaching and nefarious organization in the world. It has infiltrated every level of finance (Herbert Walker was a banker who funded Hitler, don’t forget), military-industrial complex (Carlisle Group), energy industry (Halliburton), and intelligence (CIA, NSA — remember George Sr was Director CIA before becoming Vice President, and it was his team led by Ollie North that ran Iran-Contra, securing the White House for Reagan over Carter, and a photo shows GHWB present on the day John F. Kennedy was shot). Not to mention the international illicit drug trade. The Whore of Babylon sells drugs.”
In other words, God is pissed that this stuff has all been allowed to transpire in the world. He’s ticked off that the mixed ideology of the Republican Party with all its selfish indignation has been allowed to corrupt the very foundations of Christianity and has now wrought an Orange Creature far worse than the Anti-Christ. That would be none other than Donald Trump, whose golden hair belies his evil nature.
But like the merciful God he has always been, God is going to give people a goddamned second chance to prove they’re capable of getting the message of Jesus Christ after all.
But if they don’t,  Jesus Dies Again. And Again. And Again. And Again. And Again.And Again. And Again. And if the Reality series concludes without producing one innocent verdict, that’s it. The world’s fucked. And there will be nothing anyone can do about.
So tune in. It’s going to be a Great Show, and a wild ride.