It’s the horrified versus the whoreified in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maximus versus Commodus

commodus01.jpg

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

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

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

Commodus: Then take it now.

[Maximus pauses, then turns around and walks away]

Commodus: They tell me your son…

[Maximus stops]

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

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

[Bows head]

Maximus: Highness.

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

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

The Rape of America

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

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

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

Emperors and whores

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

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

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

Whoring out

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

From deplorable to despicable in America

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

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

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

Barack Obama

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hate at arm’s length

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

Collusion has many meanings

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

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

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

Lock him up

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

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

The final answer to conservative problems is Donald Trump

Monarch scales

Ever since 1998, when I wrote an essay titled How the Earth Was Forgotten Since Creation, I’ve been conducting a personal campaign against less-than-compassionate conservatism and how it damages the world of politics, religion and the environment.

That initial essay about the effects of biblical literalism on environmental policies was expanded into a book that took seven years to research and write. I never thought it would take that long, but it did. When it was finished, I titled it “The Genesis Fix: A Repair Manual for Faith in the Modern Age.”

The book expanded in scale to cover politics as well as religion, focusing on how authoritarian minds in both sectors of human activity collaborate (for better or worse) on civil rights, science and cultural issues.

To analyze these processes, I deconstructed the manner in which people arrive at their worldviews, and why. Predictably, people who support biblical literalism also tend to align with conservatives who interpret the United States Constitution the same way, through originalism. And that is what has taken place over the course of thirty years.

Simple minds

It’s that simple, which is why it is also so common and dangerous to find authoritarians of both political and religious persuasions lining up to do battle with their perceived common enemies. That would be anyone who dares interpret the bible or Constitution any other way than a generally literal or original form of understanding. This has its limits, as we shall see.

IMG_3180Because there’s are major problems with all this literalism and originalism. Both sources of thought ignore the fact that our material and cultural understanding of the world has advanced incredibly since the Bible was written down and codified. And since the United States Constitution was written, slavery has been banned, and women were actually given the right to vote. But it nearly 200 years to accomplish these things because people clung to the letter of the law on both fronts. That is not just sad, it is immoral.

And there still seem to be some people who claim to like things the old-fashioned way. They do not give up easily on the notion that things were somehow better in the Good Old Days. In fact, they will fight to the death in some cases to prove their martyrlike devotion to literalism and originalism.

Conservatism

It’s all a product of what we colloquially call conservatism, which is defined as “adhering to original standards and traditions.” But the problem with old-line conservatism is that it often clings to traditions that deliver advantage to one sector of society while excluding another. This was certainly the case with slavery and this imbalanced dynamic has persisted to this day through discrimination and persecution of black people and other minorities in America. The same certainly holds true for attitudes toward women, on whom conservative men project patriarchal standards of behavior.

These beliefs often conveniently stem from anachronistic habits of mind taken literally from the Bible. For example, the idea that a man is inherently superior to a woman can be drawn from the idea that Eve was supposedly formed second in order, and from the rib of a man. It sounds so stupid when you say it out loud, yet some people insist this is the natural order of things.

This is what I wrote about the dangers of anachronism in my book The Genesis Fix:

This perspective is known as anachronism, defined as “(one) from a former age that is incongruous in the present.” Anachronistic beliefs are based on a refusal to accept or comprehend change. It is inevitable that anachronism begets asceticism, defined as “a life of strict self-denial, especially for religious purposes.” Both anachronism and asceticism depend on the idea that all worthwhile wisdom comes to us from the past. This attitude may serve the purpose of encouraging reverence for the wisdom of the ages but fails as a device to reconcile faith with knowledge in the modern age.

It’s all storytelling pap run amok, yet arch conservatives tend want to own the religious and cultural narrative so badly they can become obsessed with this rigid form of doctrine. This is also convenient, for it imbues them with a supposed authority over all other elements of society. This became an actual movement in American, when 40 years ago, thanks to the efforts of men like Jerry Falwell, groups of Americans decided that a rigid form of conservatism needed to be imposed on American culture. This movement ultimately attracted other authoritarian thinkers from the political, social and fiscal realms, and came to be known collectively as neo-conservatism, an oxymoron if there ever was one. It is also ironically known as “neo-liberalism.”

Chronology of neoconservatism

Back when I started writing my book The Genesis Fix in 2000, the Republican Party had just finished grabbing the Presidency through the workings of a cooperative Supreme Court. From watching the actions of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush the First, I had become highly suspicious of the behind-the-scenes workings of the GOP. I knew too well how the double-speak of arch conservatism worked on the environmental front. I’d seen how some political organizations and companies used “greenwashing” to cynically make themselves seem like environmental advocates. The same practice of grabbing a positive narrative to hide ulterior motives of greed or despoilation spread into politics as well. This was combined with a winner-take-all approach that led to what is called “scorched earth politics.” That is no coincidence of terminology.

But I sensed an entirely new level of hypocrisy in the actions and words of the people embracing neo-conservatism on many issues. Their Holier Than Thou actions and words resembled those of the Chief Priests who maligned Jesus in his day. And that raised real alarm bells in my head. We all now how that turned out, with the good of the world turned “inside out” in favor of political power and control.

Unleashed

And once Bush II took power with his claims that God was telling him to be President, the neoconservative ideology was unleashed in all new ways. At that point, suspicions about neoconservatism were confirmed and it had one thing in mind: wiping out the political opponents to install a long term reign.

But then came the negligence on the terrorist watch with the tragedy of 9/11 despite warnings issued well in advance. But by the time America had come to grips with the fact that we’d been attacked, the Bush administration was already floating the notion that we needed to attack Iraq, a nation that had nothing to do with the events on 9/11. That’s when it struck me that all the predictions I’d made in my book The Genesis Fix were about to come true. These were delusional, radically motivated people in charge.

Eight years of hell

The radical actions of neoconservatism continued throughout the eight years Bush held office. We even heard tales that some Zionists wanted Bush to take over the Middle East and bring on Armageddon. In some respects, we succeeded in bringing on a Holy War by attacking Iraq when that country had nothing to do with the foreseen attacks committed on American soil on 9/11.

Then Bush and his conservative cronies in the financial sector ran the economy into the ground as well. No one would admit it on the conservative side of the equation, but it looked like God really had it in for the Good Old USA.

That didn’t stop arch-conservatives like Pat Robertson from blaming natural disasters on the fact that gays were still allowed to live in the United States. The radicalization of conservatism has many such prophets. Most of them had Big Money and maintained little contact or concern for how the Middle Class and the Real People got by in America. When the economy crashed and millions of middle managers were cast aside in the fray and unable to find work, some in the corporate world responded by saying that they would not hire anyone that had been out of work for more than six months. This was evidence of the “I’ve got mine” brand of independence lacking in both compassion and understanding of how the nation’s economy works in the first place.

In fact, neo-conservatism has engaged in something of a war on the middle class as a rule, busting up unions and suppressing the minimum wage at every turn. It’s no surprise that this faction of society should go looking for a hero to Make America Great Again on promise of restored jobs and hope of a future. But there’s a cognitive dissonance at work in the thought that the people whose policies led to the economic crisis in the first place would be the ones to fix it. And Donald Trump is no exception.

Racism arises

The shrill cries of neoconservatives only got louder when Barack Obama won the Presidency. The sector of the Republican Party that is backed by folks who believe white people should rule the world rose up to fight the President on every front. The dog-whistle racism of men like Mitch McConnell was obvious, but no one likes to speak of such things in public if they can help it. Democrats are typically more polite than that, and Republicans just don’t want to admit its true. Somehow Obama made it through eight years of heck dealing with obfuscation and resistance, and accomplished some good things along the way. It could have been better perhaps, but simply fixing the nation after the crash of 2007 was enough of a challenge to start out, and getting change to work in an atmosphere of so much resistance made it difficult to get anything done.

Which sets the stage for the 2016 election. The GOP threw sixteen people on the stage who wanted to run for President, and all of them appeared to want to run against the tenure of Barack Obama. Yet the only one who stood out to bloodthirsty neoconservatives was a loudmouthed white guy with orange hair and a lot of money. In classic style, he fit all the worst aspects of neoconservative ideas. He was pronouncedly white with his awful combover hairstyle and peach-colored rouge all over his face. His snarling lips and manner of speaking had all the class and patience of a slavedriver, and his openly racist statements laid bare the naked intentions of a political party short on ideas but long on the lust for power. Whether they liked him or not, neoconservatives had their man. It was Donald Trump, all the way.

The Trump Factor

So Donald Trump roared through the primaries and became the Republican nominee for President. At first, supposedly principled men such as Ted Cruz refused to support Trump as the part nominee. After all, Trump’s bitter campaign tactics included personal attacks not only on the other candidates, but on their wives as well. This was new and fertile ground for the seeds of hate, and they began to sprout across the land. Trump supporters felt their man had unshackled the world from the binds of political correctness.

But Trump didn’t stop there. He openly maligned women in public, acting like an angry pimp toward any woman that stood in his way. He lined them up and knocked them around. Carly Fiorina. Megyn Kelly. And finally Hillary Clinton, whom he stalked like a physical abuser during their October debate.

The entire process has been a surly spectacle on the order of a coup by a psychotic Emperor aching to take over the Roman Empire. What the Republican Party needs to do now is get back to its roots.

As I wrote in my book The Genesis Fix:

The admirable goals of political conservatism; keeping the powers of government in check, protecting citizens from excessive taxation, maintaining moral certitude as a principle of government, and encouraging free trade and commerce are all noble ideals. 20  And at a values level, conservatism prides itself on support of tradition, liberty and love of God and country. Despite its reputation as a staid element of social structure, conservatism has at times been quite progressive in the manner with which it has pursued its goals, particularly as it set about using media outlets to communicate its message in from the 1980s to the present. Conservatism’s doctrinal approach to seeking power, influencing culture and leading government has attracted many followers.

The one lacking element in neoconservatism (versus true conservatism) is compassion. This is what I wrote in The Genesis Fix:

If you are looking for a single factor in the success of conservatism with the American public, convictions22 are the political capital of conservatism. Any discussion of politics, social policy or human welfare must contain a healthy dose of “convictions” to be taken seriously by members of the conservative alliance. People with strong convictions tend to love clarity, but the desire for absolute moral clarity among conservatives can lead to intolerance for other viewpoints and cultural prejudice. This may be one of the principle points at which conservatism contradicts the true message of the Bible. It is difficult for people to have compassion and tolerance for others if they are blinded by a discriminatory fixation on the competing interests of a material, political or personal priority. The missing component of doctrinal conservatism as it relates to Christian beliefs is therefore unqualified compassion.

And that is the heart of the matter with Donald Trump. He is the perfect expression of the lack of compassion in neoconservatism. One could argue that he took it a major step further than any neoconservative even dared. Even the likes of Newt Gingrich, arch-conservative that he is, have backed off the Trump Train because The Donald is the beast that neoconservatism created, yet cannot tame.

And that is why, from now on, whenever I am asked why neoconservatism or any brand of conservatism lacking compassion is such a contradiction to American values, I will calmly say the name of Donald Trump. He is the ultimate expression of everything wrong with what conservatism has become in its long arc from Ronald Reagan––who started this “hate the government” mess––all the way to now.

Government is not the problem as President Ronald Reagan once claimed. It’s the lack of belief that people can do good that is the problem in America. It is also a lack of concern for fellow human beings that is the vexation of this nation.

Conservatism has one thing right, and it is tried and true. Everyone needs to take responsibility for their own actions. But that does not mean finding ways to exclude others as equal stakeholders in the American Dream. That is where neoconservatism has led real conservatives astray.

Hopefully something can be learned by all this, and the Bad Example that emerged in the figure of Donald Trump. We need to get back to our belief in America for sure, but not at the cost of tossing people over the side of the ship, or blocking our borders, or dissing them in public if they don’t look like you, act like you, or go along with mad schemes of in religion, politics and culture.

 

What rock’n’roll and the Bible have to say about conservatism

John-Lennon-john-lennon-34078983-1024-768There was a time when devout fundamentalist Christians went on the attack against rock’n’roll. In the early 1960s, stacks of records by The Beatles were raised high and burned in public places. The Boys were disclaimed by Christians because John Lennon said, and we quote: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

What Lennon was saying about those “thick disciples” missing and twisting the message of Jesus was true. That has all come true. Christianity as a religion has vanished on many fronts, and shrunken as well. It has not disappeared altogether in large part because it has divided into two lopsided groups. On the Right are massive numbers of thick disciples still clinging to the twisted version of theology that dumps the Christ who resisted the authorities of his day to make the point that scriptural literalism should not be turned into law. On the Left are people trying to convey the moral truth of the Bible in rational terms. But that takes work, and as a result, attracts less of an audience as a rule. People simply don’t like to be asked (much less forced) to think. It’s the conservative approach to life: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” they say. “It’ll all work out in the end. God is in control.”

But what if he’s not? What if we’re supposed to play a major role in all this. What if we’re supposed to do what the Bible actually says, and bring the Kingdom of God to life in principles, morals and actions that put that plan into effect?

People try, but too often they mistake rules and regulations for the principles, morals and actions God might want from us. That was the problem Jesus saw at work among the chief priests of his day. He called them to account for their methods, and it pissed them off as badly as a high school principal whose authority in the lunch room was called into question.

Genuine call to faith

The genuine call to faith as expressed by Jesus in the Bible was revolutionary stuff. But on the surface, it did not seem to work out so well for Jesus. The man that served as the symbol for a radicalized Jewish faith was crucified for claiming a father-son relationship with God. He was hunted by the priests who considered statements like that to be the ultimate blasphemy. And yet today, many people proudly proclaim themselves Children of God. How is that different than when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God?

Well, it is those types of semantics that have turned Christianity into both an expansive religion and a withering source of pain for the human spirit. In alternating patterns, the Christian narrative has been controlled by the same brand of authoritarianism to which Christ most objected. It just keeps coming back, and has only been liberated through time by the brave grace of men such as Martin Luther. It may be time in this day and age for a new Reformation, to take back the liberal origins of its mission.

Rock’n’rollers

Christ and Luther were the rock’n’rollers of their day and age. They busted down walls of conservative thought by introducing liberal new ways of conceiving the world. But in every case, and with so many martyrs, it is conservative authoritarians who fight their cause and do them in.

Liberal thinking is simply not welcome among those that see themselves as protectors of a “higher order.” What they are actually protecting, in most cases, proves to be their own personal power and authority. And when questioned, they grow mighty threatened when the truth of their manufactured circumstances is revealed or brought to their attention.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-1280x800-3When Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived on the scene to question of both religious and secular authorities about the nature of civil rights, social justice and America’s military adventures, he was vilified by conservatives of his time. The ignoble J. Edgar Hoover tracked his every move. Hooever also tracked other civil rights activists including President John F. Kennedy and his brother Bobby. It’s no coincidence that all three were eventually murdered inside the decade of the 1960s. That’s how murderous authoritarianism works. These are the same forces that killed Jesus. If authoritarianism cannot dominate the conversation, it gets its way through brute force and murder.

CQVsQ1bUEAAecjrWorse than that, conservatism sometimes travels in banal fashion, such as the likes of Dr. Ben Carson, the black candidate for the Republican nomination whose theology and logic was so confused he was not fit to tie the shoes of the late Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet today’s conservatives could not tell the difference, and some flocked to that vacuous man just because he held up signs that said, “I’m a Christian.” The shallowness is breathtaking. But not unexpected by any means. Conservatism loves short answers and shallow thoughts that seem to hold the truth in a nutshell.

Social rebellion and how it actually works

During the 1960s, the music known as rock’n’roll began taking on political subjects. The music was rebellious because the 1960s were rebellious times. One can more readily imagine Jesus Christ walking into Woodstock to address the crowd of 100,000 people than one can imagine him entertaining invited guests at some crystal church playing supposedly holy music in the hills of California.

Yes, Jesus went out to people in the country, where the message was closely connected to the earth and communicated through organic parables that talked of trees and grass and mustard seeds. He preached about being baptized in the water of life, and of being the light of the world. None of these things is found inside a crystal palace.

Lennon and Jesus

John Lennon recognized all this in advance. He knew people were hungry for unmitigated messages about their soul and their lives. He was concerned that the dull disciples of the world would be left to rule the place if authoritarian thinkers were allowed to dominate the discussion. And so, much like Jesus, he boldly challenged the conservatism ruling the social culture of his day. John Lennon was also later shot, as we should recall, by a fan jealous of the fame and magnitude of the man. Crucifixions happen in many ways. We’re only a few decades removed from Lennon’s death. And while he was no Christ figure, that’s too soon to tell how much significance his words might hold in the future.

What Lennon did was challenge perceptions, just like Jesus. .And yet, the Beatles Revolution song did not propose complete chaos to replace the existing social order. Instead, Lennon wrote that he was out to change the way people thought about the world, but not throw away social institutions altogether. This was the same methodology of Jesus Christ, who insisted that Judaism should not change one whit of scripture, but that it depended on how you THINK ABOUT IT THAT COUNTS.

Both wanted a revolution of consciousness. And here are the lyrics.

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…

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

Give unto Caesar

Jesus accepted that money due to Caesar was a necessary aspect of citizenship in Ancient Rome and beyond. But he suggested that coveting the rest, or using it for selfish reasons, was the root of all evil. Money, in that case, would come to possess one’s heart. He advised wealthy people who really wanted to seek the Kingdom of God to give away their money and truly seek their purpose in the world. But many could not. Or would not.

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791And so the dichotomy exists over the worship of money to this day. And America has a presidential candidate who weakly claims to be Christian, yet who clearly worships money, and himself.

And to illustrate his covetousness, The Donald’s campaign illegally co-opted the Queen song “We Are the Champions” to use as a motivational tool in his campaign. The band quickly told him to cease and desist. Many rock’n’rollers have done the same thing with politicians over the years. There is even a full floor dedicated to the use of rock music in politics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. One of the display’s videos clearly illustrates the illegal mis-use of rock music by politicians, most of them conservative.

Born again where? 

Who can forget the tone-deaf idiocy of Ronald Reagan’s campaign illegally using the Bruce Springsteen song “Born In the USA?” The lyrics clearly indict the burgeoning yet blindsiding neoconservative ideology so boldly flaunted by Reagan. Here are some of the words:

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
Sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man

Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A., born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man said “son if it was up to me”
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said “son, don’t you understand”

It was a song written about the disenfranchisement of the middle class by the entire military-industrial complex and the wars it fought to enrich those able to leverage that dynamic to their own means. Forget that Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general in World War II, warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex. Republicans in the early 80s were all for go-go growth whatever that meant. The Gulf War in the early 1990s and the Bush II Gulf War in the early 2000s were simply executions in the collective denial of good sense by neoconservatives.

They never understood that “Born In the USA” as an anthem was meant in ironic fashion. It was not a celebration of all things that make America great, as the Reagan campaign numbly intended to use it. And sure enough, Reagan went on to fulfill every aspect of the darkly predictive lyrics of Springsteen’s song by busting labor unions, foisting the ugly cynicism of “trickle-down” economics on the nation, gutting environmental laws and conducting illegal military-industrial activity in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair.Those were evils all Born In the USA. They’ve gone on to poison the rest of the world as well.

Reaganomics was the same thing as pissing on the backs of blue collar workers and telling them it was raining. Reagan also branded ketchup a vegetable even while his wife introduced an inanely simplistic anti-drug campaign called Just Say No.

How ironic that a few years later, the highly capitalistic operation known as Nike, Inc. would introduce a marketing campaign that said “Just Do It.”

Southern Man

The other notable clash between rock’n’roll and conservatism that deserves examination is the lyrical battle between longtime rock’n’roller Neil Young and the Southern man band known as Lynyrd Skynrd, who seemed to have no budget for additional vowels.

Young’s song Southern Man lyrics contained lyrics recalling slavery and the rampant racism that continued across America’s southland:

Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern change’s gonna come at last
Now your crosses are burning fast

Southern man

I saw cotton and I saw black
Tall white mansions and little shacks
Southern man, when will you pay them back?
I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long?

Stung by the truth of these lyrics, the Skynryd band shot back with an apologist set of lyrics that were meant to be defiant.  Yet they still confessed and affirmed the very qualities of stubborn reticence about which Young accused the South in his original song. In other words, the conservative position of the Skynyrd lyrics typically missed the real point, which was “Can you change?”

Sweet Home Alabama

Big wheels keep on turning

Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the south-land
I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again
And I think it’s a sin

Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around any how

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the Gov’nor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Now a certain man named George Wallace served as Governor in the 1980s, and his position on race relations was never really clear. This is what the blogger Charles H. Dean wrote about the time period following the murder of four black girls in an Alabama church bombing during Wallace’s reign:

George Wallace“From that point on I think he manipulated the white middle class on race,” said Lewis. “But was he a racist? Was he a segregationist or was he just using race to win elections? I don’t think we will ever know because we don’t know his heart.”

Now it is worth noting that Wallace was a declared Democrat for his political aspirations. Yet the Republican Party so grew to admire his success in winning votes in his Southern State by plying racism, they copied his methods. And so, Ronald Reagan and his crew leveraged dog-whistle racism into a political strategy, and over the next decade, turned most of the South into Republican country by courting racist voters. It was the work of the Devil, but it worked.

Meet Donald Trump

That methodology closely resembles the candidacy of a certain controversial candidate now running for President of the United States. That would be Donald Trump, who has refused on multiple occasions to refute the claims of racists or deny their support when clearly racist support groups and individuals come out in his favor. This complicity may, in fact, be a contributing factor to getting the man elected.

And just like the weak-ass excuse given by the supposedly stalwart band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trump chooses to shrug his shoulders and deflect criticism and blame about these matters by claiming it is his right to free speech, even if that speech is hateful in nature.  This is all done in order to avoid the hard questions about his actual views.

Country music and Bible beaters

This is the history of so much country music as well, which for so many years leveraged the sad, sick pattern of broken marriages, faithlessness, drunkenness and hard life on the road as American values. And to put it in rock’n’roll terms, that is really fucked up thinking. Country music traditionally sides with conservatism in America, which likewise is the progenitor of some really confused, backwards, anachronistic and equally fucked up thinking.

And just as conservatives seem incapable of reading or understanding the basic meaning of words in rock songs, or the defeatism in old style country music, they likewise can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that Jesus castigated his own disciples for their failure to grasp the meaning and purpose of his parables. Matthew 15:16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

Bible beaters seem to miss these indictments of literalistic thinking and shortsighted interpretations as if they don’t even exist. But they do. And it’s time they be held accountable for the true and earnest damnation of their dull ways.

Get the hook

One of the basic methods of creating great rock music is to establish a “hook” or a central theme around which a song is built. The hook is often repeated, thereby delivering a catchy or memorable lick or lyric that catches attention and brings people to the song.

But even Jesus’ disciples did not “get the hook” of his parables at times. The dullard brains of his supposed avid supporters demanded constant repetition and lessons so that they would be prepared in some fashion to carry the message of Christ to the world.
A kick upside the head

Even more striking, it took a blinding lightning flash to the head of the Apostle Paul to convert him from an ardent persecutor of Christians into an elegant communicator of timeless principles.

And let us not forget that many of God’s most faithful servants were avid murderers and genocidal heroes, zealots of the foremost kind even while in service to the Lord. But even God had limits, and told King David at the end of his life, when David was asking the Lord if he could build a temple in his honor, God said, “No, you have too much blood on your hands.”

In this respect conservatives also miss the fact that perhaps times have changed. That specific moment in biblical history may have been meant to serve as a turning point from which we are meant to learn that you do not always have to wipe out a nation in order to do God’s work. By contrast, Jesus professed interest in making believers out of “all nations.” He does not say, “Go threaten or kill them to make them follow me.”

Double down

But that lesson seems lost on today’s dullheaded conservatives who not only fail to see the light, but double down whenever challenged about their militaristic ways and how it seems to conflict with their supposed Christian faith. Instantly they being waving the so-called Sword of Faith and singing Onward Christian Soldiers. That didn’t work in the Crusades and it’s still not going to work in the Middle East to this day. But that’s never going to stop the addle-headed zealots from trying. George W. Bush and his devil-may-care henchmen Dick Cheney proved that. So let’s not hold out hope or even take the chance that God is that interested in our best interests. We have to fight back when these dull yet angry disciples get try to get hold of the reigns of destiny.

Satan and his real ways

It might indeed have more impact on the zealously devout if they were confronted by Satan himself, who might get to get them to understand their direct role in corrupting the world, and by proxy, God’s Kingdom. Let’s not forget that it was the symbolic Serpent as Satan that taught Adam and Eve those prescient lessons about Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. But note the methods used by Satan to trick the two into questioning God.

From the Book of Genesis:

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

What you need to understand about this passage is that it predicts the very nature of the evils Christ would later confront in his life in those legalistic priests whose constant word games about the intentions and laws of God were always on the tip of their forked tongues.

Brood of Vipers

 Jesus branded the religious authorities of his day a “brood of vipers,” and that is no coincidence. In branding the priests of his day as “vipers,” he is communicating the frightening fact that the single Serpent of Satan multiplied into the many priests who were constantly getting people to doubt their own relationship with God by installing all sorts of rules about how to earn favor with God. See, the conservatives of Jesus’ day knew that letting people be free and liberal about their faith would result in them losing power over them. That’s the same fear that was expressed by the Catholic Church when Martin Luther questioned all those requirements to pay yourself into the favor of God. The pattern happens over and over again in history.

Yet the people doing the deeds of Satan, as it were, never recognize themselves in these characters. They unwittingly confess, as the Southern band Lynyrd Skynrd once did, that their ways are wrong. Yet they profess pride in them. “It’s our way,” they stubbornly say. “And you can’t make us change.”

Pent up racism

And so the pushback of the Donald Trump candidacy is releasing all the pent up racism and people sick and tired of being told not to call black people “niggers” and gay people “fags.” Likewise the black community needs to address its own issues with rappers branding women “bitches” and “hoes” and celebrating its own internal conflicts, reactionary gangsta life and social problems as signs of liberation. In fact, these represent reactions represent an isolationist brand of conservatism all of its own making. The rap and hip-hop community. It somewhat owns black-on-black crime, for example, and while genius on conception and execution, there is far too much emphasis on real executions to be taken as a truly serious social revolution.

That’s what John Lennon was trying to tell us all. And he was one fucked up motherfucker at times, but he was at least willing to admit his problems. Most of the world stands in denial of their complicity in this big process of dancing with the one we call Satan. And so we’ll leave you with this inspiring, enlightening set of song lyrics from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Read the lyrics carefully, for the song Sympathy For the Devil is not meant to convey literal storytelling, but to address by inference all the things the world has done to undermine things that are good and true and worthwhile.

But rest assured, the conservatives probably still won’t get that. It’s one of the most brilliant rock’n’roll songs every written, almost in code to communicate with people of enlightened minds and actual spiritual depth. It’s both a rock’n’roll song and an anthem to how faith gets turned inside out by the powerful and the mighty.

Sympathy for the Devil

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
(Woo woo, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
(Who who)
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
(Who who, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
(Woo woo, who who)

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
(Who who, who who)

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
(Woo woo)
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah

 

Trump and his followers are so 2002

911-terrorist-attack

2002 arrived on the heels of the 9/11 disaster.

Perhaps you can recall the atmosphere in the country in 2002. The tragedy of 9/11 had just happened, and people were scared that other terrorist attacks might be coming along. The people sworn to protect us had somehow forgotten to do that, and the consequences were about to be shifted back to the American people.

Along came the Patriot Act and a series of surveillance requests that granted the government almost unlimited powers to informationally monitor American citizens. This was ostensibly done in the name of protecting our rights to free speech, freedom and the American Way. And to further that philosophy, Bush told us all to go out and go shopping.

That was 2002, the year the Bush administration began ramping up excuses to go blast away in Iraq. It wasn’t really a plan, as we learned later, but an excuse to use America’s military might for imperialistic reasons in the Middle East. It went badly after the bombing ended. There was no management plan. There was looting in the streets, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives.

Then American soldiers began a campaign of torture and our military rounded people up and put them on a base in Cuba, of all places. We didn’t even have trade relations with Cuba, yet we owned a prison in Guantanamo. That kind of international management is the product of the fear and anger we were sold in 2002.

And let us not forget the lies used to sell that fear and anger. American and international arms inspectors found no real evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet people believed it when General Colin Powell pushed out curried “facts” that were all fictionalized. But the fearmongering that sold that lie was begun in 2002. Fox News trumpeted the lies for all it was worth. The divisive, angry voice of Rush Limbaugh ruled the airwaves, and even the likes of Howard Stern jumped on board the Bomb the Muslims campaign. And Donald Trump was interviewed by Howard Stern back in 2002, and these days denies that he supported the invasion of Iraq. But this is how the conversation actually went:

“For months, Donald Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began — as an example of his great judgment on foreign policy issues. But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In the interview, which took place on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

Because that’s how too many people thought in 2002. No one knew what to make of the people who were lying so boldly to our faces, and with such force. So Donald Trump has simply stolen that playback and brought the fearful attitudes of all those duped by Bush and his henchmen and updated it for the election.

But it’s 2016 now, people. We should know better. We’ve learned what Dick Cheney is really like. We’ve learned how his position on Iraq from 1991 to 2002 was a complete flip-flop. The money he stood to make from invasion of Iraq overwhelmed his principles. And his principles were already based on outrageous notions that America could rule the entire world with impunity. He insisted the entire action in Iraq would take weeks and that we’d be welcomed as heroes. The fact that he presided over torture in the very same prisons where Saddam Hussein tortured Iraqi citizens just might have had something to do with the fact that everyday Iraqis refused to trust American intentions.

But in 2002, when Cheney was working behind the scenes to map all this out, pushing Bush around like a schoolyard bully and his lackey. America could not imagine that our President and Vice President could be so shallow, vicious and naive. But they were.

And some of us knew and recognized this in 2002. But we were called Bush-haters for resisting the loss of freedoms and the wars of choice. We were told we were not “patriotic” in refusing to support the insane actions of an administration clearly bent on war. We were called even worse names as well. Because it was 2002. And a lot of people were afraid to fight back against our own government when we’d already seen an attack on our own soil. That had not really happened at that scale before. And the Bushies took advantage of that.

But that was 2002, and this is 2016. And the nation can’t possibly fall for the same bad instincts conservatives have been selling for so long. Or can they?

Because the people now following Donald Trump are spouting the same brand of fear that Bush and Cheney sold back in 2002. Perhaps we’d hear it better if we all picked up our Motorola Razr phones and listened through those devices? Because it’s the exact same load of fearful crap repackaged, and badly wrapped, in the golden fleece of Donald Trump.

When his campaign makes promises to Take Back America it is really more a threat to take us back to 2002. Because you may recall that the Bush administration also sold fear on domestic policies, blocking major medical advances in stem cell research, resisting critical science about global warming, and literally extracting language from research papers and scientific data that did not fit their political opinion. This brand of politics is called Mind Control, and the authoritarian followers who were drawn to Bush ate it up like candy.

That hardly explains why some independents are drawn to Donald Trump. But again, let’s go back to 2002 and examine how the country got to be such a mess in such a short time under Bush. Recall that the 2000 election between Al Gore and Bush came down to a decision from the Supreme Court, who essentially installed Bush as President. Justice was not served, yet Gore acted with class and elected to support the President.

So Democrats were somewhat reeling from the tidal shift of the Bill Clinton years, which were by many measures prosperous and well-managed, to the Bush years when even our military could not protect the Pentagon. Think about that for a moment. For all the claims that Republicans better understood the military and knew how to protect Americans, somehow our lead military base in Washington was struck by some sort of exploding object. No one seems to be able to produce a reasonable video of an actual plane hitting the building. The best we supposedly have is a cheesy surveillance video that does not show a plane at all.

In any case, how is it that the Pentagon is such a paragon of weakness even when it was already clear that something really bad was going on in New York City? The answer is simple: According to the doctrine of 2002, nothing could touch us with Republicans in power. America was ostensibly the most powerful, well-armed nation on earth, with a Commander in Chief who could read the soul of leaders such as Russia’s Putin, just by looking him in the eye. And the Bush family had close ties with the Saudis and especially the bin Laden family. How could something like 9/11 ever happen if we had things under control?

Well, we’re being asked to believe the same load of crap from Donald Trump in 2016. He claims to be able to negotiate “deals” better than anyone on earth. He wants Mexico to pay for a wall, and has basically told the Chinese to go fuck themselves. He considers his own council the best authority on a multitude of subjects. And he appeals to independent voters because he appears to answer to no one.

That is his appeal. That The Donald answers to no one. Well, we’ve already tried that formula back in 2002. And it led to military disaster, thousands of lives lost and American soldiers killed, and an economic crash that nearly ruined America forever.

It was all so 2002. Let us hope that people come to their senses in 2016.

 

The continuing saga of the fuck-ups and the fuck-yous

urlNow that the effects of Brexit are becoming real in terms of uncertainties in world financial markets, international trade and basics like where people are allowed to live, people have begun to realize what an honest-to-goodness fuck-up it actually turns out to be.

Stalwarts will long insist that Brexit is the step toward political freedom Great Britain needs to take. The Scots and many other sections of Great Britain, which itself is a union of nations, will forever disagree considering that country voted 62% to 38% to Remain in the European Union.

Flirting with Fuck Ups

Those voting for Brexit surely did not understand all the political and economic ramifications of the decision. These were the fuck-ups who drove the big fuck-up. Such is the nature of angry populism, which can lead even to fascism in the wrong political hands. Here in the United States, we’re flirting with a massive fuck-up of our own in Donald Trump, the designated nominee for President of the United States for the Republican Party.

This is a man who flaunts his failed marriages and failed businesses and dares people to challenge the perception that he’s not a massively famous fuck-up. In that respect, Donald Trump issues the world a massive Fuck You every time he shows his orange face in public. His hair is a fuck up. His speech pattern with all its perverse Yoda-like and backward braggadocio is definitely the hallmark of a habitual fuck up. He starts with his false contentions and qualifies them as he goes along.

And a Huge Fuck You

His fans (whom we must hesitate to call voters for the moment) all seem to love his Fuck You message. Former Republican politicians such as Joe Walsh, now a conservative radio host on AM 560 in Chicago, have publicly stated they would rather “blow this thing up” than let a Democrat such as Hillary Clinton win the election. Walsh and his ilk were critical of Barack Obama before the man even took office. The Republican-led Congress have behaved like a pack of massive fuck-ups for all eight years of Obama’s administration and have done nothing of any consequence except shut down the government and pass about 50 appeals to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Other than that, they’ve spent all eight years of their authoritarian rule telling the American people and Barack Obama to go Fuck Off.

Trump steps into this Fuck Your role perfectly because his “Take Back America” campaign theme cloaks the extremism of his supporters behind a bit of patriotic language. Never mind the fact that the America for which his supporters yearn is one with racist roots and based on an economic model that was gutted by the very Republican Party to which so many conservatives and angry independents claim to subscribe. All those manufacturing jobs shipped overseas and down south to Mexico by free market capitalists with globalism fever are never coming back. America has created some 11 million new jobs since Obama helped turn the economy back around, but less than 1% of those jobs have gone to people without college education.

Fucking duped

That means all those honest, hard-working Blue Collar Trump Supporters have been fucked over by the very people they claim to support. The union system in America has been trumped by a euphemistic Right To Work campaign that says Unions Are Bad, Jobs Creators Are Good. At least the national elections in which Obama won and then retained the office of President prove America still has some common sense. But the Fuck Ups still know how to win local elections where rube anger is so easily leveraged into repeat terms for Congressman and Senators selling Pro-Life as the ticket to national office.

Here in America, we may yet see a Texit if the State of Texas gathers enough Fuck You votes to secede from the Union. At least America might be freed from the fascist control of public school textbook content if that were to happen.

But again, a Texit would be a fuck-up on the order of the original Civil War, in which a small slice of controlling slaveowners convinced thousands of Confederate loyalists to go fight and die so that white people could continue to own and torture black people for profit and entertainment.

Sophisticated Fuck Ups

The people who support Donald Trump are following the same sort of instincts. Just as slaveowners were calculating fuck-ups with enough sophistication to rig the system to their own favor, and damn the consequences of human rights and equality, so has Trump played American Fuck-Ups for all they’re worth in running away with the Republican ticket.

dick-cheneyRemember that Trump comes on the heels of the biggest Fuck Up and Fuck You administration in American history. George W. Bush was a primo fuck up. He let 9/11 happen on his watch and then let psychopaths like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the like loose on the world. The Bush administration sold fear like it was bitter candy, convincing gullible Americans through lies and manipulation that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. And what was the Bush advice when America was shocked by the 9/11 attack? “Go out and shop.” That’s what he said.

It was all an ugly breach of public trust followed by one horrific fuck-up after the other. The Hurricane Katrina debacle and the Bush indifference to people’s suffering perfectly symbolized what would later happen to the American economy under his watch. Fuck Ups like that always lead to Fuck Yous from their authoritarian authors.

Petulant ignorance

The petulant ignorance shown by American “conservatives” in support of Bush and his torturous presidency amounted to a fuck-up of massive proportions. Yet even with the catholic brand of support for Bush and his evil bishops, there has never been much will to confess to the crimes and abuses perpetrated on the American people. Instead, we’re all told by conservatives to Look Forward rather than look back at the recent fuck ups of the past. Bush and Cheney were the dual kings of Fuck You, claiming rights to the Unitary Executive, with Bush proudly stating that his job would be “easier if I were a dictator.” They should have been tried for war crimes but Obama in a show of good will refused to pursue those actions. It would have been good for America in the long run to demonstrate how evil and corrupt those criminals really were (are) but to Obama’s credit he truly did Look Forward and has done a stellar job of leading the country despite resistance from the pack of racist fuck-ups who insist their ways are better.

And that brand of tripe is now in full evidence in support for Donald Trump.

Don’t you get it? Can’t you see the message Brexit is sending America? Don’t you understand that if you support Donald Trump, whether he is genuinely a serious candidate or simply a man thriving on a massive media campaign whose theme is Fuck You, this is not a good direction for America to travel?

If you can’t see that, then you really are a fuck up. And in that case we all have one thing to say: And that is Fuck You for being so goddamned stupid.

 

 

 

 

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.

Who is really keeping us safe?

“If you’re not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative by the time you are forty, you have no brain.” –Winston Churchill

Winston ChurchillYears ago I read a massive two-volume biography of Winston Churchill. It was with great disappointment that I learned that the author of those first two books had died. The third would have covered the period including World War II, and that would have been fascinating to study the actions and philosophies of the man that ushered Great Britain through the war.

Yet even with Churchill, his strong points as a war leader turned out to be challenges of a sort in the political realm. He was initially defeated for the role of Prime Minister after the war, yet returned to that role again before suffering physical and mental decline that may have resulted from strokes and heart issues.

A wealth of protectors

While obviously a man to admire, Winston Churchill’s determination that conservatism was the ultimate form of philosophical sophistication may have been formed more from his upbringing in a wealthy English family than his own evolution as a military man and spokesman. He was great at both those things, but there is an abiding factor to how these were developed and sustained that made it possible for Churchill to think like a conservative at all.

That factor was the presence and alliance of both the United States and the Soviet Union in World War II. Without that partnership, Great Britain would have been sunk under the pressures of Germany to take over much of Europe.

It was the liberal support of America’s Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt and the hard right determination of Joseph Stalin that fought back Germany’s considerable will to conquer and subjugate. That enabled Churchill to essentially occupy an important middle ground from which he could flexibly consider and pursue his necessary options. That is conservative in the good sense of the word, in being considerate.

Modern times

Fast forward to the current world perspective in which we live. America’s President Barack Obama has behaved as a noted centrist on the world stage. And like Churchill, there have been wins and losses, risks and seeming triumphs associated with that centrist position. Obama has been the considerate if quietly brusque leader, not prone to launch off new wars, yet capable of effecting deadly drone strikes that many people protest as cruel and miscalculated.

Such are the risks of all world leaders. The apparently noble fight of America, Britain and the Soviets against the Germans, Italians and Japanese Axis was full of death and destruction. And while Germany clearly committed war crimes, the rest of the fighters were not a group of innocents. America ultimately dropped a massive nuclear weapon on Japan’s big cities, killing thousands of civilians in the process.

During the leadup to that event, America engaged in some rather heinous efforts to protect itself, ushering many of its own citizens of Japanese descent into camps. The object at the time was to “keep us safe” from perceived threats because Japan itself was such a threat.

Fear and strange decisions

Fear drives all kind of strange decisions in this world. And while some of our fears are very real, the collective anxiety of a culture can often be extremely misguided.

Such is the case wth current concerns over America’s possible acceptance of Syrian refugees. While France opens its borders willingly to Syrian refugees even on the heels of the terrorist attacks on its own soil, America’s arch-conservative population wants to ban them from entry into the country. All of this is based on the idea that terrorists will somehow disguise themselves as refugees and come to this country to kill Americans.

Raging debates

Having engaged in considerable political debate with a number of anxious conservatives on social media, a few simple things have emerged in the argument. 1) They don’t trust Obama or the government 2) They don’t trust the government or Obama 3) They really don’t trust either Obama or the government. That’s the substance of their arguments.

In the process of defending those arguments they also engage in considerable name-calling while simultaneously denying that the Bush administration or any conservative before him had anything to do with creating the terrorist problem in the Middle East. We all know that started with the Reagan administration, was fostered by the Bush relationships with the Saudis, and carried on with the patsy treatment of the bin Laden family right through the 9/11 terrorist attacks when our first priority was flying remnants of that family out of the United States when all other flights were suddenly banned. Conservatives also created the Saddam Hussein we overthrew, and set up the Shah of Iran that led to that country being so pissed off at the Western World.

Yet somehow it’s all Obama’s fault that we have problems in the Middle East.

Brotherly love 

Of course, Jeb Bush, the equally inept brother of George W. Bush, is now running for President of the United States. And like any conservative worth his radical salt he has publicly claimed that his brother “kept us safe.”

So for the sake of analysis, we should examine what he might mean by that statement. The expectations of conservatives about what “keeps us safe” clearly breaks down into categories that were demonstrated by the Bush administration’s actions in the Middle East. And we’ll get to those in a minute.

But first we must admit there was little resistance by the Democratic Left to any of Bush’s policies overseas. That was a sick and sad chapter in our political history as well. Either by choice or by fear, the Left stood down under considerable pressure from conservative dominance of all three branches of government. That included the power of the Presidency, a willing Congress and Senate and even the Supreme Court that handed Bush surveillance powers that broke every rule in the Constitution about personal privacy.

So Bush and Cheney were given free license to engage in a series of cynical acts of aggression designed, in their minds, to “keep us safe” from terrorism. These included:

  1. Bomb first, ask no questions later. When faced with threats, conservatives love to bomb things because it makes them feel as if they are taking action against that threat. Of course, civilian casualties resulting from those bombings inflamed hatred for the United States as innocents perished. But that’s the apparent price of thoughtless war. “Collateral damage” they call it. The ultimate euphemism of course. Conservatives bomb, and then move on without a second thought about what the real effects of such bombings could be in terms of perception among enemies or friends.
  2. Torture is acceptable. Arguments in favor of torturing Iraqis and potential terrorist focused on the fact that such tactics were necessary to extract information that could “keep America safe.” That connection between information and actionable intelligence really never happened in any substantial way. And yet the apparent thought that our supposed enemies were being tortured made a certain segment of our society feel happy because we were “doing something” about terrorism. Never mind that many of the people we tortured and even killed through torture and mistreatment were in fact completely innocent.
  3. Spying on your own people is desirable. How ironic it is that the political force in America that claims to hate government most and wants to reduce its influence in our lives should choose to open a surveillance program that brought government into the very conversations we all hold over our telephones and cell phones. It seems a common phenomenon that the things conservatives most hate in others they ultimately become themselves. It happens on the social front when people who claim to stand for family values turn out to be serial wife cheaters or sexual predators. This repression haunts the conservative party like a ghost of unvirtuous fact.
  4. Always blame the other side. For all these insane actions and remorseless activities, conservatives have developed denial of responsibility for the evil outcomes into a very fine art. The virtual memo that says “never admit you were wrong” has been hard-wired into the consciousness of political, military and civilian conservatives. In fact, it is perhaps the greatest social conspiracy ever contrived as a political strategy. Its level of secrecy is protected by a devotion to denial and an entire lack of accountability. It is thus quite  breathtaking in its scope and effect on civil discourse. Its main mouthpiece, of course, is Fox News, whose claims of being “fair and balanced” as a “news organization” are the absolute expression of the virtue of lying with a smile on your face and putting tits above the fold as a distraction of the very audience you intend to recruit.

There’s a reason for all this aggression, repression and secession going on within the conservative cult in America. Only when a conservative breaks completely free of the party entirely, which means they can never go back, do we hear an ounce of truth and admission about what really goes on behind the scenes. The recent inadvertent confession of a certain Congressman on the real reasons for the Benghazi investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are just one such example of politically motivated use of government to harangue and discredit anyone that dares resist the conservative cartel in America.

It goes back a ways

John_F_KennedyResistance to this secret society of Conservatism with a Capital A (and its apparent arm, the CIA) is what got President Kennedy killed back in the 1960s. So the phenomena of killing threats to the cabal is not new.Kennedy was no saint, that’s for sure. But what he also represented as a political liberalism that some perceived as a threat to the security of America. But again, the considerations shown by John F. Kennedy in negotiations with the Soviets in the Cuba Missile Crisis are likely what prevented nuclear war. In other words, his small “c” conservatism kept us safe, just like Winston Churchill’s small “c” conservatism helped guide the Allies through World War II. It is this conservatism to which I believe Winston Churchill is referring in the quote above this column.

But it keeps happening that large “C” Conservatism is trying to kill its perceived enemies. And true to form, the conservative cabal went after Bill Clinton over engagement in a harmless blow job. The ensuing scandal turned into a political spectacle that distracted from Clinton’s ability to do his job, and keep us safe.

At that time, Clinton wanted to take action against bin Laden and potential terrorists in the Middle East, but was discouraged from doing so because it would appear he was attempting to “wag the dog” and escape accusations and impeachment over his extramarital affair. We seriously need to ask what would have kept us more safe in that scenario, the Starr Report or actually paying attention to real threats to our security. Capital A Conservatives clearly chose the former over the latter. America has paid the price ever since for this selfish, politically motivated debacle.

Fear, loathing and power

Paul Ryan

New House Speaker Paul Ryan

So you see, the goal of conservatism is never really to keep us safe. It is to gain and keep power, and that is all. Conservatives use fear to accomplish that mission all the time. That is why the call to war is so strong among them. War creates a deep tide fear in the populace, accentuated by methods such as “terror alerts” that the Bush administration turned on and off as needed to sway political will and push the perception of power in their direction. These are all tricks to get people to fall in line. Authoritarian thinkers on both the proactive and responsive side love these methods because it gives them a sense of control in otherwise chaotic circumstances. Of course it is all a ruse, but that does not matter.

FlagWaiverIndeed, Conservatives with a capital “C” want Americans to behave like Pavlov’s dogs in response to the call for war and acceptance of violence as status quo. They wave flags as patriots in fear until the very meaning of the flag is all worn out. Our flag has come to represent a national attitude of fear and a worn out ideology as a result.

Witness the marketing methods of the NRA, which flouts fear about race and crime as reasons to arm American on claims that more guns will “keep us safe.” Again, these are lies of massive proportions. More Americans have died from gun violence on American soil that all the soldiers ever killed in foreign wars. This is not “keeping us safe.”

Money kills

 

In the end, the sad thing about all this fear and terror and power is that it is all about money. Conservatives simply love money and all that it gives them. That’s why so many conservative whine about high tax rates and complain about giving their dollars through any social programs that might help the poor or elderly. This is the brand of conservatism that has evolved in America; selfishness as a life philosophy. It stands in direct opposition to the Christian call for charity and even giving away all you have to serve God and Christ. But modern conservatives (oxymoron intended) ignore all that real Christian stuff. That part is old-fashioned to them.

And we must return to the fact that top level Conservatives have always liked war because it enriches them. Former Vice President Dick Cheney used the Iraq War to increase the value of companies like Halliburton in which he has long held financial interests. The snarling visage of the man who almost singlehandedly leveraged America’s fortunes into his own while ruining our reputation overseas is like the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge, who without ever having gone through the happy change that made him into an advocate for the Christmas Spirit acts instead like the Grinch Who Stole America.

No Churchill

dick-cheneyCheney was no Churchill, let’s all agree on that. He seems to have envisioned himself that way, but where he falls short is in the ability to recognize the advantage of being a smart conservative with a small “c.” That is one who knows that conservatism actually involves consideration. Cheney appears to have none of that capacity, and as a result his version of “keeping us safe” turned the Middle East into a morass of angry terrorist hornets hoping to break free and sting the invader of their nest.

So let’s stop pretending that stirring up the hornet’s nest in the Middle East with bombings, torture and boots on the ground is a conservative strategy at all. It is not a conservative strategy, and it does not keep us safe.

And as for hornet’s back home, we’ve already got a system in place to detect their angry buzz. Typically they can’t keep quiet. Not if we open our eyes and ears and pay attention. And let’s not ignore those clear warnings this time, as Bush did back when he and Cheney were plotting to take over the entire Middle East to steal the oil and get some archly conservative kicks. That was stupid. And we’re getting stung as a result.

The height of arrogance and the depth of denial

DSCN1904The Republican propensity for denial of responsibility and grasp of fact is now so revered among the party’s elite it has become the first tool of response to any challenge.

The most recent denial of fact is the Republican claim that their last President of the United States was not, in fact, actually the President when the 9/11 tragedy took place. The initial volley about the issue came from none other than Donald Trump, ostensibly the Republican leading the polls among conservatives. This is what Trump said about George W. Bush and his responsibility for 9/11.

“When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said. “He was President, okay? Don’t blame him or don’t blame him, but he was President. The World Trade Center came down during his reign,” Trump replied. ”

O Brother

Those simple facts did not set well with Jeb Bush, another Republican hopeful who has repeatedly claimed that his brother George “kept us safe.”

He may have been referring to the idea that no additional foreign terror attacks took place during the remaining years of the Bush presidency. But as noted, Trump was having none of that nonsense.

This harsh divide manifested in Trump’s domineering approach to criticism breaks with the Republican tradition of attacking only the opposition and not criticizing their own. That has been the presiding, if not perfect, strategy behind the Republican push for power over several decades. There may be ugly fights behind the scenes among Republicans, but the goal has always been to keep those spats private.

Breaking the rules

Trump is not playing by any of those rules, and as a result, is not really running for the Republican nomination so much as he is forcing the party to reform itself around this meme of gaining power at all costs. Even by Trump’s standards, that means leaving the rest of the nasty baggage behind. This could be the ironic salvation of Republicanism, if not the Republican Party itself.

See, the tradition of denying its own failures has both a benefit and a cost. Sooner or later you get to the obvious and well-documented parts of recent history, and you must deny even these to continue on the path toward power. The denials launch from the dusty calls of legislatures and courts on Constitutional matters to exploding buildings and wars started by sitting Presidents who stretched the truth to justify their ideology and their actions. In other words, you can only win by breaking every rule of conscience and truth.

Trumped at their own game

That’s what Trump is calling to account, and Jeb Bush has put his image of brotherly love and political credibility on the line, deciding to throw his support behind his brother’s claims of success rather than confont the facts, which point to a massive failure in intelligence, both gathered and native, by his apparently dimwit brother.

Yes, George W. Bush did some stupid things, and Donald Trump is having nothing to do with making excuses for what he perceives as the dumbing down of recent history. What we’re witnessing in real time is the height of arrogance and the depth of denial running the Republican Party. Their grasp of reality isn’t just slipping away, it is gone entirely.

Denial as a worldview

IMG_5827Republicans also deny the science behind global climate change on claims it is arrogant to think human beings could ever cause such a massive shift in the earth’s foundational temperatures.

Look at how that works. The GOP hates Al Gore for his claim that global climate change is, to quote a phrase, “An Inconvenient Truth.” So by directing their anger toward Al Gore they accomplish two things. Poor Al tends to come off as arrogant in his general demeanor, which makes him an ideal target for Republican denial of fact. They use him to deflect the factual arrogance of denying 97% of the world’s climate scientists who find tons of evidence that our current pattern of rising temperatures and warming oceans is a result of human activities.

But think about what’s happening here. If it is possible to deny the fact that 9/11 happened under the watch of George W. Bush, denying the complex and scientifically predicted influence of climate change is simple by comparison. The height of arrogance and the depth of denial work together fantastically in the propaganda-driven mode by which the Republican Party communicates.

In other words

As a result, terms like “sustainability” and “gun control” become catchphrases and buzzwords of resistance in the party of denial. These terms bespeak change in favor of temperance and planning, which are translated as government intervention by the party with a professed aversion for government even as it seeks total dominance over the three branches of jurisdiction; the Presidency, legislature and the courts.

This is the height of arrogance and the depth of denial at its most sinister level. To claim to hate the thing you want to rule is both an arrogance in purpose and a denial of responsibility.

Christian fakes

That’s what’s taking place on a grand scale here in America. The height of arrogance and the depth of denial also rules the brand of Christianity used to back Republican aims. The movement to wield the power of Christian faith in politics without abiding by the basic principles of Christianity is now 30-40 years old. Conservatives seeking to align their supply-side economics with biblical authority conveniently ignore the call to divest themselves of wealth in favor of spiritual governance. As a result, churches feel free to politicize and make the claim that you cannot be both liberal (ne: a Democrat) and a Christian.

Running interference

It’s no surprise that the inconvenient truth of science, especially the theory of evolution, interferes with this narrative that a fundamentally literal interpretation of the Bible is the only way to gain truth. This also denies the fact that Jesus taught using metaphors drawn from nature to explain important spiritual principles.

Donald Trump's proposed golf courseWhen pressed about his own faith and love for the Bible, Donald Trump ripped a page right out of the Republican playbook with this statement: “I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal,” he said. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.”

Again, the height of arrogance and the depth of denial is at work.

Twitterized

But not everyone buys this brand of junk. Using his own quotes and philosophy, folks on Twitter took after Trump (and by proxy, all of RepublicanLand) with a feed called #TrumpBible. Take a look at how they handed Trump his stupid hat.

It’s time we all got a bit wiser about how this game of arrogance and denial really works. No one should get away with stupid remarks like Jeb Bush claiming his brother was not responsible for 9/11, or the partnered meme that Bush was not even President when it happened nine months after he was installed as President.

The sad fact is that so many people prefer the height of arrogance and the depth of denial. It fulfills their worldview on many fronts, exonerating them from responsibility for painful social issues such as gun violence, racism and economic exploitation. Let’s be honest and hold these people accountable. Stop letting your friends and conservative associates turn bald-faced denials and unaccountable arrogances into something resembling fact.

Donald Trump is just the starting point. He symbolizes the so-called anger expressed by so many Americans, and for all the wrong reasons. Denial is not a form of government. It is the absence of governance, and an entire lack of conscience.

Don’t let them get away with it. Call them out. The height of arrogance and the depth of denial is exactly what is killing American hopes and a future fit for all.

Are we fools for being liberal or Progressive?

angelsOne of the abiding themes of criticism leveraged at liberals by conservatives (and to some degree, libertarians as well) is that liberals are fools for believing in the things they do.

That’s an interesting contention. Because foolishness is defined as “lack of good sense or judgment; stupidity.”

So let’s take a look at a few of the big and small things conservatives––across a spectrum of religion, politics and culture––have stood for throughout history, and why.

The example of Jesus

First, we might consider that a certain Jesus Christ was highly frustrated by a group of conservative religious leaders in his day who turned faith into legalism by imposing all kinds of rules people had to follow. When Jesus questioned their authority, they paid to have him betrayed and killed.

And wasn’t that foolish?

The bad example of the church

Then when the church grew, it basically started asking people to buy favor with God. When Martin Luther questioned their authority in doing so, they threatened his life.

The same thing happened when men such as Copernicus and Galileo questioned the view of the Church that Earth was at the center of the universe. For hundreds of years the church persecuted and imprisoned all those dared make such a claim. Because the church was behaving like a pack of fools.

Foolish Crusades

It was conservatives on both sides of the Muslim and Christian religions who led the Crusades and engaged in wars over the City of Jerusalem and land claimed by the nation of Israel. These bloody fights were based on ancient claims to ownership of the so-called Holy Land. In the process, hundreds of thousands of people gave their lives for no real reason other than an attempt to prove that God was on their side.

And that is always foolish.

Wars of foolish greed

dscn9203.jpg Speaking of wars, it was conservatives from the Confederate South who wanted states to have all authority in all matters. These same conservatives favored slavery and used religious justification to impose their will on people captured and forced into slavery.

Conservatives then forced America into a Civil War over these issues that cost the nation 750,000 lives.

Even after they lost that war, conservatives still didn’t give up their angrily foolish ways. Conservative white racists imposed Jim Crow laws across the nation to further persecute and control black Americans even after an amendment was added to the Constitution guaranteeing them equal rights. Hundreds if not thousands of black Americans consequently were beaten, tortured, hung or burnt to death by angry white conservatives fearful that their “way of life” was at risk by granting black American’s equal social status.

Foolish societies

These conservatives even formed societies such as the Klu Klux Klan specifically to IMG_3847terrorize and persecute blacks and people of other races and religion apart from conservative white Christianity. This breed of conservatism raged full bore from the early 20th century all the way into the 1950s and 60s. The KKK persists to this day, euphemistically claiming they only favor “white rights” versus persecution of others.

But history proves we’d all be fools to believe such claims. Liberals to this day have a hard time convincing such people of the foolishness of their ways. Yet liberals are blamed by conservatives for “ruining the country.” This is a cynically contrary euphemism for providing equal rights to people that were formerly oppressed.

Foolish money

The same aggressive meme holds true for conservatives accusing liberals of ruinous economic policies. In the wake of the stock market crash where conservative bulls ran the economy right into the ground through deregulation and speculative investments, liberals acted to install programs to protect everyday citizens from the ugly vagaries of such behavior. The Social Security insurance program was set up to provide a common man’s return on investment through a government program that would be available to people no longer engaged the labor market. The program leverages the investment of society to build interest and provide for all those in need during their waning years.

IMG_3852Up until the 1960s, conservatives saw the safety and common sense of such an insurance program. Republicans supported and even expanded Social Security.

But then conservative stalwarts got greedy. It seems to drive them nuts to think they can’t get their hands on all that money through privatization. The wealthiest Americans don’t even pay into the program, and yet those are the same people who seem to be lobbying against the fact that a socialized insurance program works to protect the neediest in America.

And that is the logic of ignorant, greedy fools.

Hatred for common sense

It holds true also for Medicare, a social program set up to protect primarily the elderly from increasingly burdensome medical costs as they age. And Conservatives (note the Capital C) hate it. And so it goes with conservatives hating common sense for the very fact that it is both common, and sensible.

Instead the conservative faction in American seems to abide by contradictory logic as a rule of thumb. That is how, and why, they currently protest abortion while lobbying against organizations such as Planned Parenthood that provide legal birth control to women to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Conservatives claim on supposedly moral grounds that only abstinence is a rightful method for avoiding pregnancy. The real goal it seems is to take away that decision-making capability from women, whom conservatives consistently persecute over all such decisions of sexual or personal freedom.

Rhythm nonsense

Even the Catholic Church looks like a fool on such issues because more than 90% of its own member base chooses by practical intuition to ignore the dictums of the church’s morality-based yet hypocritical bans on birth control. The so-called “rhythm method” so long advocated by the Vatican is nothing more than a falsely moral attempt to avoid pregnancy as well.

Pro-nothing

And when it comes to abortion, conservatives calling themselves “pro-life” who also protest distribution and use of birth control are not in favor of anything. They’re simply “anti” with no room for solutions on a practial scale. That’s not “pro-life.” It’s anti-living. Positions like that are aggressively foolish.

Naturally foolish

IMG_3854Equally foolish and equally aggressive are Christian conservatives claiming that science is out to kill religion simply by teaching the theory of evolution. That strange claim ignores the fact that Jesus himself taught using naturalistic parables to illustrate spiritual concepts. Men like the stalwartly foolish Ken Ham, a leading creationist, seem to have no ability to connect the organic fundamentalism of the Bible with modern science. As a result, they remain engaged in an increasingly Quixotic attempt to knock down the windmills of science. And when that fails, new labels such as Intelligent Design are invoked in an semantic battle for supremacy. But that too has failed in the face of plain and rational logic on the side of science.

Proving that creationalism is pure and unadulterated foolishness.

Fool for politics

It all spills into the realm of politics where the current band of conservative leaders is struggling to become ever more extreme in an attempt to prove themselves securely “sensible” in the eyes of their zealous and crazed base.

The height of this tomfoolery is now urlon full display in the cartoonish manner and statements of men such as Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee. who blather on like homeless and mentally ill individuals society on a street corner.

Adding to the manic display of such foolishness are women such as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, whose conservatively-driven rants split off like solar flares in the political universe. These particular women offer little more than conservative hot energy, yet people foolish enough to consider them bright stars don’t recognize the burnt out nature of their message. Like most conservative messengers, they are not prophets, but parrots. They repeat only what they’ve been able to learn from worn out ideals.

Fools for anger and fear

But their parrotism feeds on the same anger and fear that has driven conservatism for ages upon ages. From the religious conservatives who tormented Jesus to the Facebook fools who torment liberals for believing and acting on social justice, racial, gender and sexual equality, economic parity and environmental protection, conservatives keep believing they see fools where in fact what they are seeing is people committed to rational solutions.

IMG_0492Because it has been the liberal enterprise that has delivered on the promise of humanity and God.

Liberalism has led the way on all great scientific discoveries. It has fostered social revolutions in democracy and equality, because even when men like Ronald Reagan were lobbying against the Soviet Union, it was the liberal enterprise of America initiative for which he was a stalwart defender.

Our Founding Fathers authored a Constitution guaranteeing freedom and liberty, which simultaneously loosened the binds of religious authority where it constricted human understanding. America is a nation dependent on freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. It is not, as some conservatives love to claim, a Christian nation by definition.

Throughout history it is liberalism that has built societies where human respect is paramount, yet God is quite welcome. But we recognize that all words are symbols, and all scripture is composed of words. That means metaphor should be welcome at the table of truth. Literalism can be the enemy of truth.

Disclaimers

So it is not liberals that are the fools. It has long been proven that conservatism with all its rigid and anachronistic tendencies are the bane of culture, government and the earth. The main thing we need to extract from these lessons is that it takes a strong will, a rational mind and a commitmen to liberal convictions to resist conservative foolishness at every turn.

And that, my friends, is no foolish exercise.