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.

 

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Dancing at a funeral is no surprise with George W. Bush

George-W-Bush Singing and Dancing.jpg

The video from the memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers was disturbing. There was George W. Bush dancing and laughing as if he were attending a child’s birthday party. It was, to say the least, highly inappropriate behavior from a former President of the United States of America. Frankly, it was quite insane behavior for anyone.

Michelle Obama tried her best to bring dignity and respect to the situation. But Bush was having none of it. Looking drunk or crazed, or a little of both, he kept swinging hands and singing out loud like a preschooler high on cookies and Kool-Aid in the year-end pageant.

It was a shocking display. But let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time President Bush has embarrassed the nation. At another very public event, he proudly yucked it up over his failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The irony was bitter considering that America invaded that nation based on specious contentions that Saddam Hussein had WMDs that he planned to use against America.

Never mind the fact that international inspectors had done their jobs and found no traces of WMDs anywhere in Iraq. To counter that evidence, Bush and his snide administration trumped up their own “evidence” as reasons to invade. That pack of lies led to thousands of American soldiers dead or wounded in Iraq. Yet Bush thought it sensible to make jokes about his enormous folly that cost thousands of American lives and trillions in American treasure seeking to prove the point that America was the most powerful nation in the world.

In horrific fashion, Bush even tried to cover up evidence of American lives lost in that cowboy venture. The Bush administration banned photographers from taking photos of the war dead arriving back on American soil. Hiding the truth is the most cynical act a politician can do. Yet Bush had no qualms in doing so, even when it effectively dishonored the sacrifice of those willing to give their lives for their country.

The company of fools

It made America look like fools to go along with the insane plans of the President. Yet the facts are clear: George W. Bush and his Republican friends thought they could easily fool the nation into believing their doctrine of imperialism was the best course of action for America. And at first, many believers were fooled by the fear and terror Bush threw in their faces. Ultimately, however, became clear that it was lies and complicity that led America into that war. Those of us who protested the Iraq War at the time were branded unpatriotic. That’s a fact that still angers true (and actual) patriots to this day. We knew that whole Iraq strategy was a partisan farce.

Laughing in our faces

When a domestic crisis hit during Hurricane Katrina, Bush again demonstrated a near total lack of grasp of the situation. People were drowning in New Orleans. Then the population lacked food and supplies to make it through the initial stages of when hunger and thirst were a threat. Loss of homes and places to live were desperately needed. Indeed, the delays and shortcomings of the self-oriented Republican administration were a massive failure, and the American people knew it this time. Yet Bush saw fit to compliment his inept and incompetent FEMA leader by saying, “You’re doing a heckuva job.” 

No respect, self or otherwise

 

So it should not be any surprise, perhaps, that George W. Bush did not know the somber meaning of an occasion when respect for the slain officers should have been paramount. He was dancing around as if he were attending a religious revival. Perhaps that provides the ultimate explanation. For Bush projected his strange brand of faith onto all sorts of situations over his tenure and beyond. But all it has proven is that he’s a goddamned fool.

There was absolutely excuse for him to be dancing during that memorial event. But then again, there was no excuse for why he was elected in the first place. It was both a theft of the voter’s will and a theft of conscience that the merry dolt named George W. Bush was installed as President in the first place.

And what that means to America is that it can happen again. The same people who dismiss the likes of the idiocy of a jokester like Bush are rallying behind an even greater jerk named Donald Trump. There is no excuse for that support other than the fact that people do not understand that he’s dancing on the grave of what America once was, a nation with a conscience.

It keeps happening because people who think and act like George W. Bush keep getting elected to prominent positions by people who can’t tell the difference between dancing at a funeral and dancing a strip club. It’s the pornography of American politics. And welcome to it.

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.

 

 

 

 

Are we supposed to be impressed by Republican failures?

911-terrorist-attack

An explosion rips through the South Tower of the World Trade Towers… “after the hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, which departed from Boston en route for Los Angeles, crashed into it Sept, 11, 2001. The North Tower is shown burning after American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the tower at 8:45 a.m.” But of course, many people now question this narrative. and have come to recognize this event for what it was, a symbol of Republican failure to protect of govern the nation in any effective way. 

It has been difficult since the 9/11 tragedy to get the rational attention of any Republican in America. The narrative goes like this: Everything our nation did was necessary to protect our national security and sovereignty.

Of course, the source of that narrative fails to recall that 9/11 happened under Republican watch. A Republican administration failed us miserably in translating reasonable intelligence into actionable defense.

And to make matters worse, the Bush administration took their own failures and turned them into excuses to invade Iraq, a nation that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Thousands of soldiers gave their lives and tens of thousands more were maimed for life for reasons that changed by the week during the Iraq War.

This was a massive failure of conscience by the Republican Party, which through fear and manipulation and falsified evidence convinced hawkish Democrats to go along with the plan for imperialistic attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Collapse

Meanwhile, domestic issues such as financial regulation and infrastructure repairs were either pushed to the backburner or ignored completely as America poured trillions of unbudgeted cash into the “war” efforts. The result was nearly a complete collapse of the free-market system in America. The supposed defenders of capitalism and enterprise absolutely failed in their duty to monitor and foster a health economy.

And as if that were not enough, America failed by committing blatant abused of civil and personal rights at home and abroad. Our soldiers tortured and even killed prisoners in Iraq and in black sites around the world. All were done under the watch of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans while our leaders callously refused to engage and assist those in dire emergency situations. This was a brand of torture on a grand domestic scale, like waterboarding an entire city and blaming the victims for their weakness.

Without conscience

Republicans failed to govern with a conscience in the majority when they held the presidency, all of Congress and Senate, and the Supreme Court as well. Instead, they passed self-serving legislation such as Citizens United, called corporations people and pretended the Patriot Act was not a major invasion of personal privacy.

Where did the principles of the Republican Party go? Why have conservatives failed so miserably when the opportunity to govern has been laid in their lap? The answers are painful and simple. The only thing Republicans know how to do well is breed the brand of fear that helps them get elected and hold power. Beyond that, the conservative movement in America is bankrupt in ideas on how to make the nation a better place to live.

Standard issue

Oh, we all know the standard claims that conservatives love to make. Cut taxes for the jobs creators. Well, they did that and the economy crashed anyway. Conservatives also want to privatize Social Security and kill Medicare. Yet those programs are the only source of income and healthcare for millions upon millions of Americans whose long investment in the American economy is merely being repaid by the collective power of money put in trust with the government. Is that such a bad thing, that people in old age should expect to live with some source of financial security and medical protection?

Republicans seem to think so. They brand Social Security and Medicare a “failure,” but on what basis? They claim Americans can “do better” using the free market to plan for retirement and pay for medical expenses in old age.

These are lies carefully couched in political jargon. The economic crash of 2008 proved beyond doubt that no form of investment vehicle, not even the family home, is immune from the devastating cut from market forces when speculation is allowed to run rampant in the market. Some people lost their homes and their entire investment portfolios, forcing millions of retirees back into the labor force where their age and their time away from work were instantly counted against them.

This is a failure of both reason and economic sense. Because on the other end of the market there were millions of young people seeking employment and finding the labor market jammed with aggressively defensive Baby Boomers trying like hell to keep their jobs knowing that their earnings and saving might not be protection for the future.

The 2016 Election

And that brings us to the election of 2016 and the candidate the Republican Party has advanced for consideration as President of the United States. For eight years Republicans have complained that Barack Obama has ruined the economy. Yet the facts tell a different story. Every month when the reports come out there are tens of thousands of new people hired back into the workforce. Every economic indicator under the sun points to recovery for the economy. Of course the national debt and deficits are still a problem. We spent our way into a hole trying to correct the devastating actions of Bush and Cheney and their ilk. But Republicans blame Obama for these imbalances.

This worldview is divorced from the reality of massive Republican failures to govern or legislate with any effect of conscience the last eight years. Congress is supposed to pass laws and the Senate is supposed to conceive and implement positive changes for the pursuit of health and happiness according to the Constitution. Instead, both branches of government whined and moaned about Obamacare and even shut down the government in a whining attempt to get their way, and a refusal to compromise in any way.

Trump is a boil on America’s ass

alg-donald-trump-jpgThis is not an American form of government. It is despotism. So it is no coincidence that a massive failure of good judgement and conscience such as Donald Trump has ascended to the throne of the Republican Party. Conservatives have failed us for more than 40 years now. The Party of Reagan was wrong when he was in office, and it has only gotten worse as the cognitive dissonance over religion, politics, economics and civics have been bundled into one massive, ugly boil on the ass end of history.

Donald Trump is that boil. And we can either pop his white head and be done with it or let him fester into a massive infection that threatens the health of the entire nation. That’s how ugly and dire this situation really is.

But Republicans and conservatives will refuse to admit it. Many are licking the boil that is Donald Trump as if it were a sex organ, not an infection. It’s a disgusting sight to see, and people of conscience are not impressed.

Yet that’s the Republican Party of today. More concerned with the salve of power than the pain of honesty about their own failures.

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.

Republican toothpaste won’t go back in the tube

 

GOP Meme Themes.jpg

Graphic by Christopher Cudworth

 

So, the campaign for President is headed toward 2016, and what have we seen from the Republican side? A whole lot of foaming at the mouth about the state of the nation. Yet it’s a brand of political toothpaste that seems to be causing cavities in the GOP.

alg-donald-trump-jpgFrom the vacuous, poisonous observations of Dr. Ben Carson to the highly corrosive language of Donald Trump, Republican candidates are grinding away at their base. For the American people, it’s like brushing teeth with sulphuric acid.

Yet Republicans keep doubling down as they brush with racism and xenophobia, as if that’s the way to establish a clean and loyal base.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is rinsing himself with evangelical fervor, and Marco Rubio just hopes his hard smile wins some converts somewhere. But as always with seemingly forthright Republicans, it turns out there might be a little rotten behavior behind that smile.

marathon-man-1976-04-gWe’re faced with a party whose tactics most resemble the dentist in the movie Marathon Man. Cruelty, anger and hatred are the prescription medicines of choice. Are voters expected to lie back and take this? For how long?

America suffered through eight years of the antics of Dr. Clousseau dentistry under George Bush while the sadistic political practitioner Dick Cheney (is that him in this photo above?) called for the power of a Unitary Executive while approving torture as a means of extracting information in Black Sites around the world. All while stockpiling military-industrial money for himself in the back offices of the White House.

dick-cheneySo you see, the Republican toothpaste does not go easily back in the tube. Trump isn’t really trying anymore. He just keeps spitting out bits of his teeth and gums along with his racist, xenophobic brand of Republican “misery loves company” ideology.

“This hurts you more than it hurts me,” seems to be the Trump mantra. And people follow along, because authoritarian patients love anyone that promises their selfish misery is being acknowledged as the American Way.

It’s apparent they had their Wisdom Teeth out long ago.

The Republican Field of Dreams

Everyone knows that in youth baseball, the weakest fielder is always assigned to play right field. That’s because the number of left-handed batters is typically fewer than those who bat rightie, and young right-handed hitters generally are not known for their ability to drive the ball to the opposite field.

But of course the greater insult for any hitter is that moment when you’re up to bat and the opposing team’s Right Fielder actually moves in when you’re up at the plate. That’s a real insult to your hitting skills. When the other team does not even consider you a threat to hit one past their worst fielder, you know you’ve got problems.

Field of DreamsSuch has been the case with the Republican Party candidates in the state of Iowa. It’s no coincidence perhaps, that in the state known for the Field of Dreams also hosts the early innings of the presidential election. Already a few candidates have disappeared into the outfield corn with no intention or possibility of coming back. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, for example, vanished between the cornstalks before the game in Iowa really started. Now Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal is gone too. Vanished. His act was too corny we must presume.

ben-carsonBye Bye Ben

Now it appears Ben Carson is headed for the same type of vanishing point. His inability to even keep score as the game went along is responsible for his fading political game.

Every time he came up to the plate it felt like he was facing the wrong way or claiming he was being thrown the wrong pitches for him to be successful as a hitter. When the media actually quoted statistics about the things he claimed that he’d said and done in the past, his press clippings did not match up with his Babe Ruth brand of bravado.

He probably won’t quit the game, because he truly believes he belongs in his strength and prowess at the plate. But he was the candidate for whom the Right Fielder moved in the farthest, and his soft-spoken opinions still never made it out of the infield.

Hard-Liners

There are still some supposedly Big Hitters in the Republican Field of Dreams. Slugger Donald Trump comes to mind. But who thinks the man can really hit a political curveball? He’s a power hitter for sure, and his alg-donald-trump-jpgmighty swings at the plate cause even a few liberals to jump in their seats in fear that he’ll connect somehow. Yet while some keep rooting for Trump to hit the ball out of the park, so far all he’s managed are some hard-liners.

Plus, he’s the prospect no one really wants on the team. He doesn’t fit in the Republican clubhouse, that’s for sure. That queasy little Single-A manager Lindsey Graham even predicted that a Trump election would mean the end of the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, those actually rooting against the Republican Oligarchs are wringing their hands in hopes that prognosticators such as Coach Graham are correct. There is an evil quality to any team that claims to hate the very political league in which they play.

Snapping pitches

Then there are truly strange competitors such as Carly Fiorina, the woman who certainly believes there is no such thing as crying in baseball. You can see her down there snapping at pitches with her teeth instead of the bat.

No Carly Fiorinadoubt she’s a fierce competitor, but does she even understand the first thing about the baseball of politics? There’s an art to this game, of hitting them out of the park. Snatching the ball in mid-air with your choppers and spitting the ball out in the dirt is not going to impress people who want to see if you can lead a team with your political hitting, catching and throwing. That’s just not how the game is played.

Hopeful sluggers

Deep in the lineup of Republican shallow hitters we find both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Cruz is the Ty Cobb of political baseball, while Rubio swings his Latin heritage like fiesty little batboy that has not yet made the team in tryouts.

Ted-CruzOne can easily imagine Cruz sliding into second or third base with his cleats up, begging for a fight. Indeed, he’s challenged none other than President Obama to come insult him to his face.

The Cobb-like Cruz prides himself on this bad boy reputation, courting conservatives of all pinstripes. That means he must change his uniform daily in an effort to appeal to the tight-lipped fiscal conservatives waiting to back his No Legislation League as well as the religious conservatives begging Cruz to strike down the laws supporting legalized abortions.

Overall it’s a strange crowd to whom Cruz the Crusher seems to appeal. The Tea Party seems to love him, and editors at Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com website push his story as if the entire world of conservative baseball depends upon the guy who seems to care not if there is a team on the field with him at all. He’ll take on an entire team of progressives on his own if you let him.

The Angry Batboy

And Marco Rubio? Well, we know he’d willingly cork his bat if it meant he could get elected to something other than the Republican batboy position he now occupies. He keeps jumping off the bench when it looks like there might be a fight on the field after a media brushback pitch.

MarcoRubio1He certainly keeps his eye out for opportunities to look tough. But like any batboy, he’s not a part of the real action even though he keeps swinging bats at the umpire, the ball girls and anyone he can reach if they give him any guff.

Yet it turns out that upon closer inquiry, Rubio has not even kept pace with his tab at the Hot Dog Stand of life. So there are serious questions whether he’s ready for the Bigs at all.

Swinging at everything

Paul-RanFinally, we come to the ballplayer with two first names sewn on his back, one Rand Paul.

Whenever Paul comes to the plate, the Right Fielder and the Second Baseman stand together just outside the infield

Everyone knows that Libertarians can’t hit for crap. They swing at every pitch as a matter of need and habit. Once in a while they might foul one off high into the seats behind home plate. But without any ball or strike rules to govern the game, a Libertarian hitter tries too hard to make an impact with fans who think the rules of political baseball just suck.

But Rand is consistent in his ways, to be sure. Like his daddy Ron Paul, Rand has been known to stick his head out in front of a fastball, and the crack it makes when it hits his skull brings a few fans to their feet! “Look, they holler! “Our man is the only one with his head in the game!”

So Rand has been hit by a few pitches, yet he looked absolutely asleep at the plate during several Republican debates, disappointing not only his fans, but those who would like to see some blood on the stage. This is America, after all.

There’s Your Field of Republican Dreams

So the Field of Republican Dreams is just that. They all have dreams of being the President, but the field on which they’re playing is not really connected to reality.

That’s what comes of contending that you hate government while trying to get elected. The entire ball field gets turned inside out when you make statements like that. It’s as the pitcher is suddenly throwing from home plate and the batter is standing on the mound screaming, “Throw me the high hard one, I’ll hit it out of here!”

But honestly, from that vantage point, every hit you get would turn out to be a foul ball. That’s certainly what it feels like when listening to people like Donald Trump, whose infield chatter has included a call to force Muslims to carry identification just like the Jews did in Nazi Germany.

Fantasy Camp rejects

Did someone let an insane fan on the field? Are all these ballplayers on the Republican Field of Dreams just a pack of baseball Fantasy Camp rejects whose talent never let them be real ballplayers?

It’s true: we’ve all been dumbstruck watching how deathly shallow the Right Fielder is actually playing these guys. It’s clear that none of them can hit, and very few can even field a question without complaining it is a Gotcha Pitch.

The Mighty Somethingdick-cheney

The Great American Pastime may be baseball, but American Politics has always run a close second. And in this context, one must consider the epic baseball poem Casey At The Bat because it sheds considerable light on the Republican Righties who’ve come to the plate in this presidential election cycle. The poem seems prescient about Republican Prospects in the 2016 Election:

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clinched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
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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 most frightening fact of the world may be how fake it is

0826-shooter-video-2Like anyone with a social media news feed, I clicked through to find out what the shooting of the Virginia news reporter was all about. And upon first viewing of the video with the gunman extending his arm with gun in hand, my thoughts turned inside out.

“This is fake,” I thought to myself.

And then the video showed shots being fired. And there was no blood, even at close range. Nothing. The manner in which the reporter ran away did not even look real. One has to believe that a heavy pistol like that makes an impact on the body when bullets are fired. Especially multiple bullets. Yet she ran away like nothing was happening. Screams of apparent fear yes, but pain? It just did not sound like that.

And from what anyone could tell, the cameraman did not even make a sound. Nor the woman being interviewed. After the initial scream, we don’t hear a word from her. Not a “Don’t shoot me!” or anything.

So the entire enterprise feels like a fake.

And why so fake?

Virtual realities

There are a ton of agendas potentially linked to this “story” emanating from a seemingly peaceful scene. But that was suspect too. The aerial photos showed the cameraman slumped on the wooden deck, again with no blood around him, in a place isolated from all other public interference. There was no blood to be seen anywhere on the decking at the “murder scene.”

clip-shootingFrankly, it all had the look of a video game.

There have been other shootings in American history that were fake in other ways, but with real consequences. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy comes to mind. The story the American people were fed was obviously fake. Millions of words have since been spilled about that incident, and one conclusion has not been reached. But there is considerable consensus that there was more than one shooter, perhaps as many as four. In other words, it was a conspiracy to kill.

So there are conspiracies to fake a killing, and conspiracies to cover up actual killings. And why should that be?

Who killed JFK?

Let’s consider the Kennedy assassination first. There were plenty of people with motives, who hated Kennedy and all that he stood for. The Mob didn’t like him. That’s a bad start for a peaceful ending. The CIA didn’t like him, and didn’t differ that much from the Mob in many respects. Kennedy was planning to eradicate the CIA and go after the Mob. But take notice that forms of both the Mob and the CIA still survive while Kennedy and his brother are long dead.

There was Lyndon Johnson, who by many counts was a pretty evil character and a political assassin at the very least. Tons of people around the career of LBJ were shot and killed, including his own sister. Yet he lived to become President even though Kennedy was shot. JFK did not like or trust LBJ. The feeling was mutual.

John_F_KennedySo the Kennedy tale holds all sorts of conspiracies withing in. And before she passed away, even Jackie Kennedy whispered some things about what she thought happened, yet the family records remain sealed away.

Perhaps there are people who think America can’t really handle the truth. Some would hate to think that the government or the people associated with it (the two can be very different) are capable of such murderous intents.

It’s the government

Yet there are plenty of people who hate and distrust the government as an entire worldview. Some fantasize the government is going to impose martial law and come take their guns away. That’s a favorite meme of the radical fringe, is it not? There are militias formed in all corners of the country, practicing just in case the troops come to take over the land.

Then there are people who think that it’s the gun nuts who are the real danger, and that guns are the real problem in America.

Convergence of craziness

These stories all converge in one place when a shooting occurs like the apparent murder of a news reporter in Virginia. It was all bundled together with headlines about an angry black man shooting a pretty white reporter. These conveniently serve as a potential conflagration to the race war going on in the United States and also an indictment of the gun violence afflicting black culture and society as a whole.

Should we now mention that America has a black president and an election coming up in 2016? Truly, from the moment Obama was elected there has been thinly disguised racist opposition to his position in life. And is there now a coincidence to the idea that a fair-skinned black man assailed a pretty white reporter, and that the response from family and friends all feels like very bad acting? It all feels calculated to enrage the radical fringe in some way or another.

In fact there’s a whole meme surrounding “false flag” events. It can seem like craziness. But it’s all about confusing agendas on purpose.

Confusing agendas

There are some who conspire to suggest that stories such as the Virginia news reporter slaying are designed to do two things; raise ire against black citizens and simultaneously push for more gun control. It all gets confusing pretty fast, to the point where it can be difficult to tell the real news from the fake.

Then we have CNN and FOX and MSNBC all chiming in with their angles and spins, and pretty soon the temptation is to just turn off the “news” and see what the hell happens next. Yet the nearly fake incidents just seem to keep coming, all smacking of psychological operations staged by someone to accomplish some agenda, or confuse that of their opposition.

Point blank

If the recent shooting was real, there are still some patently suspicious elements to it construction. The gunman’s cell phone footage and the seeming lack of awareness by the cameraman and the two people doing the interview is incredulous. That scene in which the shooter holds out the pistol with his cell phone perfectly composed behind it feels completely bogus yet calculated to create fear. He stands there forever, pointing and muttering the word “bitch.” Frankly it feels like a badly made B movie scene. If this were stocked on the shelves of the former Blockbuster video rental chain, it would have been on a back shelf for sure.

Scope and scale 

Admit it, the events of the last 15 years alone have stretched your credulity on every front. But because so much of our reality comes to us through video screens, at the same scope and scale, it is hard to discern what feels real or not.

The unreal scope and scale of events on 9/11 floored the American populace and the silence of the skies for days afterward felt weird and unreal. We were fed the story about Al Qaeda hijackers, and heard the tale of “Let’s roll” chronicling heroes on board the plane that ditched into the Pennsylvania field. Again, it all felt constructed to rally Americans in a war against the unknown enemy, especially Muslims.

For effect, even the Pentagon itself was struck, and no military planes were sent out to intercept a jetliner from striking the main building of our national security. Is our country really that inept? Does our mighty military suck so badly we can’t even protect our own Pentagon?

The more the “facts” rolled in, the more they seemed staged to create an effect. But of course America then rolled off to war in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, and the news media cheerleaded all the way.

Skeptics

FlagWaiverExcept there were some of us who sat back and wondered what was really happening with 9/11. We might be the same group of people who don’t buy the line we were given on the Kennedy assassination. Either way, it adds up to a worldview that is really chilling. The most frightening fact about the world may be how fake it really is.

Think about Nazi Germany. From inside that country people had little idea there were millions of Jews being massacred within their nation’s borders. The signs of such murderous intents were all there, with Hitler’s Mein Kampf with its anti-this and anti-that rhetoric. The man had major compensatory issues going on, and perhaps an evil dose of self-denial at some level. Some call him the anti-Christ. Well, if so, the anti-Christ is dead.

At least we think so. Where’s the body?

World orders

Hitler was no stupid form of crazy. He knew how to manipulate people, or at least hire people to do it for him. From such conspiratorial desires to rule the world emanate powerful and savage attempts to control people and eradicate others.

If one man was capable of such fury in history, why not others? Why not believe there are people just as willing to “sacrifice” a few lives in order to corner the market on political power? After all, while Hitler was ravaging Europe, Stalin was no bargain either. Nor Mussolini. All were fascists of a sort, and throw Japan into the mix at the time as well. Hitler was not alone in history with his conspiratorial rage against others. There were plenty of Roman Emperors that were just as powerfully devious and evil as evil can be. We do ourselves a disservice by even branding Hitler the worst of all villains. It diminishes our ability to conceive the nature of the evil still in operation to this day.

Every major country has its own ugly history of imperialism and international manipulation to account for. America prided itself on rescuing the Jews in World War II, yet our own nation’s history includes a massive genocide on Native Americans. Such is the fakery of American Exceptionalism. We also embraced slavery for a time. So it’s no surprise that we act like savages in the greater world as well.

Tortured souls

Look at our behavior after we took over the nation of Iraq. We tortured people in the very same jails used by Saddam Hussein to torture his perceived enemies. We did it indiscriminately as well, with soldiers mocking those they tortured, stacking bodies like abu2cord wood and forcing sexual humiliation upon them. The excuse our government gave at the time was that our torturous ways were the result of a few “bad apples” who got going and could not be stopped.

But we know better, don’t we? With a surly man like Dick Cheney in charge with his “anything goes” approach to governance, we know that they knew back in Washington what was going on. When the photos emerged and it was obvious they were not fakes, the best the boys in DC could do was to claim that the release of those photos was a threat to our national security and the safety of troops overseas. Talk about your ultimate cynical response.

Money talks

There’s just one major problem with that storyline. While we were torturing Iraqis, we were also in the process of privatizing much of the war in Iraq. That meant Dick Cheney’s real issue with the threat to America’s interests was more focused on the outcome of his 141208_fallon_cheneylies_apinvestments with Halliburton, the private mercenary company with which Cheney was long associated. Halliburton made more than $39B on the war in Iraq. Cheney was simply trying to take care of his friends. And his money.

So the war crimes we committed were essentially privatized as well. The war we were fighting in Iraq was a fake from the beginning, constructed from the whole cloth of a pre-existing doctrine for control and manipulation of the Middle East for oil, and more.

Yes, the “fake” war had real consequences, and many people including American soldiers gave their lives to that war. Thousands more were maimed and damaged by the war. Our Congress was fed hurried lies and exaggerations on which to make the decision to support the war, but people with an agenda and without conscience do that without guilt. And for what?

War machines

So that people could make money off the war, which was simply an extension or exploitation of the events on 9/11. The entire enterprise, and that is a word that describes it well, was the ultimate illustration of how fake reasons drive the way the world operates the way it does.

King Romney appears angry with his subjects

It’s all a very old construct in a new set of Emperor’s clothes. Machiavellian intrigue has never abated in this world. The New York Times characterized that fact with this description of Machiavelli’s book “The Prince”… is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war.”

It goes on to describe how these arts operate: Yet Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

And so we see that there are many willing “to be able to not be good.” They pride themselves on employing both the power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox. One thinks of Oliver North orchestrating the sale of arms to Iran to generate money for Contras in Nicaragua. It was a scandal, and yet Oliver North is a star on Fox TV and wanders around the United States giving lectures (including at churches) as if he were a hero for breaching America’s values with his own set of corrupt ideals. These were Machiavellian actions if there ever were such a thing. It was his intent to bend the will of the people to succumb to false truths, even at the expense of the lives of others.

And if such corruption at an international scale can carried out and then admired, why is it unimaginable that similar forces could not conceive and execute the events on 9/11? It is not unimaginable. Nor is it unimaginable that someone could fake a live murder of a news reporter to push gun control, or promote racism, or both at the same time?

At some point it’s not mere conspiracy theory to consider such possibilities, it’s common sense. Evil is one tricky bastard to identify and reveal. It takes courage and conviction in the face of corrupted power to do so.

Power brokers and breakers

Some people will simply do anything to achieve and maintain power. If there’s money to be gained in the process, all the better.

DeerCrowrevSo we must be aware that not everything we see in this world is what it appears to be. There are people who spend all day and all night planning psychological operations to frighten or convince you the world is what they want you to see. It happens from all sides of the political spectrum because that is how all wars of perception proceed. Sometimes people even create chaos against the very thing they would seem to value most, just to paint their enemies in an awful light.

It is also a weapon of misinformation to turn perceptions on the strengths of others into perceived weaknesses. That’s what happened to John Kerry with the Swiftboating treatment he received relative to his service in the military. The goal is to turn the hero into a scarecrow, then knock them down.

Apparent cause

Hence we even find an economic crash caused by the world’s largest financial institutions, only to find none of its perpetrators going to jail or suffer any consequence at all for their actions. In fact all the major financial institutions that caused the crash of 2008 got money thrown at them because they were, to borrow a phrase, “too big to fail.” Talk about your unilateral political euphemism!

The policies favored by President Bush contributed to the recession, and then Bush passed a bill to turn around and bail them out. Then Obama turned his head away from prosecution. Cause and effect? Or just cause and cause?

Cause they can. Cause they will. Cause they do. Cause it makes them even richer. Someone’s laughing all the way to the bank, that’s for sure.

Fake battles with real consequences

On the social front, society is constantly pitted against itself according to categories of race, region and culture. The forces behind all this rancor capitalize on the distraction of the conspiratorial entertainment these hot button issues provide.

jesus-blackOften, when left to their own devices, people of all colors eventually get along fine. Does it matter in the end if Jesus was black or white or Jewish or any color? It doesn’t, yet for centuries the church faked the appearance of Jesus as a principally white man, often with blonde or brown hair because that fit the image of those whom the church favored.

And so, we are seldom if ever left to our own devices. As a result, the American Civil War is still being fought as a clash of races and class. Or the lack of it.

Don’t you see? It’s no coincidence that Lincoln was assassinated after the war was won. Pretty much every time the forces of good seem to have won, including John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., or even Ronald Reagan, for God’s sake––the seemingly good people get shot or killed. But is it really just crazy people doing the shooting? Or are we simply led to believe that is the case?

You’d have to be crazy to believe that

How convenient it is to just write it all off as madness. Then the gun lobby gets to claim that it is only crazy people who kill. Never mind the idea that it may be guns themselves that make people have crazy thoughts, and give them the ability to act on them. That’s just crazy talk, right?

590868Granted, people with mental illness owning guns is never a good idea. But the gun lobby refuses to recognize even one gram of complicity in the fact that guns empower everyday, otherwise normal people to have crazy thoughts of power, vengeance and control.

It’s a fact: Guns were designed for killing. What do you think people are going to imagine when they take one in their hands? Target practice. Right.

It’s “just a sport.” Right. But if that’s the case, what is a target? The idea that guns exist just for sport or self-defense is a perverse fantasy. That’s like saying rocket ships are just for joy-riding.

Our culture simply does not reflect that reality. Guns are used all the time in movies and on television programs to kill, and kill righteously. They are presented as a solution to problems that cannot be solved by diplomacy or discussion. They make people into heroes and make heroes into legends. Guns are depicted as an extension of the soul, as if firing a weapon were part of a creed or brotherhood. And indeed, that is how the gun culture behaves.

A religion of guns

Guns have become a religion in America, and we all know that religions are all too happy to kill in order to protect their authority and the social order that sustains them. The National Rifle Association is the church. The NRA is its people.

The gun culture has a creed, and that is the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

FIREARMBut the religion of the gun culture in America chooses to ignore the first part of the creed in order to focus on the second half of the statement.  That is, the gun culture hates the part that begins “A well regulated militia…” so that it can lobby for the more selfish aspect of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

There is thus an entirely relativistic conclusion to which so many Americans have now come. They pretend the first part of the Second Amendment does not exist in order to abide by the powerful, yet still relativistic nature of the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ This is rather like insisting that Jesus is more important than God, and that God has to take a background seat.

That would be a fake religion indeed. And thus we have a fake devotion in America to the real nature of the Second Amendment, which says that guns shall be well regulated.

Infringed

And what about this word, “infringed?” Does that mean no laws at all pertaining to guns, and that people can own what they want, and use them at will?

Well the word “infringe” is defined as follows: actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.)

But the term infringed by itself does not define the nature of the law. It only corresponds to the terms laid out by the government as such laws pertain to guns. Which means, if the government determines that “well regulated” means stricter gun laws, then the second half of the Second Amendment and the right of the people to bear arms is not infringed. Case closed.

You can hear the gun nuts screaming from the rafters of Congress right now. Their reality is however constructed manifestly around an unreality. They’re fakers, in other words, manipulating our Constitution to their own selfish desires.

Top down control

john-boehner-gaveljpg-6706b1f02a6d1dabBut it’s not just gun nuts who push for false interpretations of our Constitution. Crazy thoughts emanate from the top down as well. In fact that’s where so many of them start, because where there’s profit and control to be had, people do crazy things and teach crazy ideologies to get other people to fall in line with their thinking.

In fact that’s how people come to ignore the very real separation of church and state demanded by the Constitution (freedom from religion is guaranteed just like freedom of religion) and call America a Christian nation.

But let’s examine that claim.

We have a right to be suspicious of a Christian following that takes the original goodness of “love your neighbor and help the poor” and turns it into money-making machines for the many false prophets and televangelists who manipulate, cajole and steal (even) from the poor to enrich themselves. Then these wealthy “Christians” invest in politicians that promulgate their power-based ideology, often overriding the personal liberaties of othters in the process. It amounts to a state religion or theocracy at that point, which is the exact opposite to why the national was formed in the first place.

So when these same groups turn around and become political, even to the point of calling America a Christian nation, it is time to call them out as fake on many levels. The non-profit and tax-free status granted churches demands as much, or else they should lose their tax-free status. That is based on clarity of purpose. A church that is faking it as a non-profit, or acting as political entity must be called to account.

Fakes and bakes

gettyimages-461656522-e1436299461791There are so many fakes in the world it can be difficult to tell at all what is real. And if you spend your entire day sorting through the insanity of all that we’re fed, and social media has made it even worse, you can go crazy just trying to figure it out.

The only thing you can do is be on guard and not take the next “news” item at face value. And be careful what you hear a politician say, because they are in the business of manipulating your emotions to gain your vote. Do not accept that everything your government on the right or the left is going to be true, or real, or honest. Because it’s not. Fakery is baked into the manner in which people communicate. It’s like flour in the cake. Or maybe it’s the sugar. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

From the dawn of time

6-SerpentPeople apparently can’t afford not to lie. None of us. From the moment in the Bible when Adam blamed Eve for making him eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, there have been men willing to shift blame and try to get off easy for the crimes they have committed or are about to commit.

And whether you believe the Garden of Eden was a literal place or more likely a symbol of innocence, it is gone forever. God made sure of that, and warned that life was going to be difficult, dangerous, deceptive and tough for the human race. Let us not forget that God literally branded us a bunch of fakers and liars. That’s called Original Sin.

But of course some people think God is a fake as well, and with some good reason. It’s pretty hard to reconcile the harsh events from early scripture with all its genocides and warlike character to that of Jesus Christ, whose anger was more righteous and targeted toward a specific group such as the Pharisees. But Jesus was never genocidal like the God of the so-called Old Testament. Jesus never murdered anyone, but was depicted doing miracles of healing instead. Jesus and God feel like two different entities. Who knows what the other member of the Holy Trinity wants? For a religion supposedly based on One God, it seems like Christianity is faking it too. Let’s not even discuss worship of the Virgin Mary. Did she have to fake an orgasm when Jesus was ostensibly conceived by the Holy Spirit?

Critical thinking

All this miraculous stuff begot some skepticism from intelligent people. Even Thomas Jefferson could not bring himself to believe in the miraculous nature of Jesus. He obviously considered all those miracles a bit of fakery. Jefferson went through the Bible cutting out the parts he considered too fake to abide. Yet he did admire the personal philosophy of Jesus and respected the apparent (eventual?) goodness of God. So it is not some flaw of character to apply a bit of skepticism or doubt to all that we encounter in this world.

A culture of euphemism

1images-Walt_Palmer_433576075Certainly even the news is subject to fakery, and even seemingly “real” events can be staged to deceive, or else events quickly get blown out of proportion as well. It’s all in the packaging.

But people don’t seem to care! Why else would people willingly become a fan of ‘professional wrestling’ which is all a deception, an act, and a fake? Even our so-called “reality shows” are staged to encapsulate and leverage drama for entertainment.

Reality comes home to roost

Now we actually have a reality show star in Donald Trump running for the office of President. We’ve already had an actor like Ronald Reagan take the world stage. Honestly, no one can tell the difference between the statements these men make for effect from those in which they truly believe.

NewsYes, the most frightening fact of the world may be how fake it is. And as a result, we’ve evolved a culture of euphemism, in which it is considered an acceptable method of communication to make false statements simply because they feel like they could be true. All it takes to escape consequence is to parse the statement with a disclaimer, “That’s not what I really meant to say” or “You took my words out of context.”

The worst fakers don’t even pretend to care about the truth. They all such inquiries “gotcha” questions simply because they are never prepared to answer in honest fashion.

And when that doesn’t work, they conspire to create their own realities even to the point of faking events and taking lives. Because if that’s what it takes to win, they’re going to do it. If it gets captured on live TV for the world to see, all the better.

Because fake reality is often even better than the real thing when it comes to winning a war.

The weary world and Dennis Hastert

dennis-hastertThe so-called “accidental” Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has long lived on reputation of being a good old boy. He is a quiet man by nature who worked hard to bring value to his home district, which happens to cover the area where I live.

As such, and as a United States Congressman, he made appearances in his district giving talks about political doings at the state and national level. In the late 1980s I happened to be the person who booked speakers for our local Rotary Club. When it became evident Hastert was available to talk to our club, I was urged to make contact and have him come to our breakfast meeting.

Hastert was introduced by the club president and spoke about a few issues of importance at the time. George H.W. Bush was President of the United States and the post-Reagan Republican world was trying to make sense of their newfound sense of power. It wasn’t going all that well, but you’d never know from the way the party continued to talk about its fiscal and social exploits.

At the end of his talk Hastert invited our Rotary members to ask some questions. There was one issue in which I was keenly interested. I waited my turn to ask about some environmental legislation the government was considering. This was during an era when there started to be some serious blowback toward green legislation. In particular there were concerns about the economic impact of so-called environmentalists. That term had become one of derision by those on the political Right––who accused environmentalists of putting the needs of the earth before human interests. But in fact there were arguments against environmentalism from both the economic wing and religious wing of the Republican party. Fiscal conservatives claimed environmentalism was too costly for business while religious conservatives catered to a wing of Christianity that said human beings had dominion over the earth and could do whatever they wanted with it. As a result of these accusations, environmentalism was becoming one of the dividing issues between Republicans and Democrats.

Recent past

It wasn’t always that way. President Nixon, a devout Republican, had established the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for good reason. In the early 1970s when Nixon was President, environmental pollution had turned America into a dangerous mess. Rivers caught fire from pollution and pesticides were causing species such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon to disappear from their natural ranges. Passing laws for environmental protection was the right thing to do and a Republican thing to do dating back to Teddy Roosevelt, who led the way in establishing the National Park System.

But the arc from considerate Republican stewardship to a party more concerned with extraction than conservation was taking a hard right turn in the late 1980s. Which is perhaps why Dennis Hastert felt comfortable outwardly laughing at my sincere question about environmental legislation. He looked around the room and laughed when I brought up the subject. And people laughed with him.

I was shocked. Was I missing something? Was the environment a joke in some people’s minds? Apparently so.

Rotary redux: What goes around…

The next time Dennis Hastert was invited to our Rotary Club to speak, I was the President of the club. You can imagine that I was not so eager to have Hastert speak this time around. Yet his political stature had begun to rise, and his fans were many. While not yet Speaker of the House, the name Dennis Hastert was held in high regard. His tenure in office was growing.

But when it came time to introduce Dennis Hastert to our Rotary Club, I kept the introduction clipped and brief. “Good morning Rotary members,” I said. “Our speaker this morning is Dennis Hastert.”

No protocol. No long list of titles relative to his position in government. I skipped all that jazz. My fellow Rotary members were angry. “How could you show him such disrespect?” they demanded to know.

I explained exactly why his introduction was so brief. “He did not show me respect as a human being last time he came here to speak. And I don’t care what someone has in terms of a title in front of his name,” I responded. “Basic respect comes first. And he didn’t show it to me.”

National conduct

When Dennis Hastert ascended to the podium of national leadership I watched his conduct carefully. At one point there appeared a photo on the front cover of the Chicago Tribune. Now Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert stood proudly with a bunch of Republican leaders including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and a couple other GOP legislators signing a piece of law that essentially limited women’s rights. There they were, a gaggle of powerful white men proudly signing away the rights of half the population. It made me sick.

The ideological approach of that entire era of politicians made me suspicious of every motive they put forward. I had learned from direct experience that men like Dennis Hastert can have a dismissive approach to anyone that does not agree with their doctrine or politics. When those ideologues swept into power with the stolen election of George W. Bush in 2000, it was evident to me what would come next. Abuse of power. The Good Old Boys had control and they weren’t going to pussyfoot around trying to do what they wanted and to get what they thought they deserve.

Only their agenda repeatedly and predictably failed. Without consideration of basic human rights, the actions of Republican ideologues flout the Constitution, ignore the clear call to considerate governance and indeed, undermine respect for the American ideal around the world.

It was not just circumstance. One failure after another took place; from 9/11 to Katrina, the torturous war in Iraq to the fall of the economy. The policies of these men produced nothing but tragedy and dismissive excuses for why it was somehow not their fault. Yet you could still sometimes see the harsh expressions and catch traces of the bitter laughter on faces of men such as George W. Bush, Dennis Hastert and Donald Rumsfeld as they continued forcing their agenda on America.

Perhaps even disturbing was the lack of apparent laughter (and less a shred of compassion) from men such as Dick Cheney, whose sneering and snarling demeanor was not even fit for public consumption lest the public actually catch on to the nasty nature of the men operating behind the scenes.

Perhaps the only thing that can make a mercenary laugh is the paycheck they collect for accomplishing their task, and then they only share that smile and laugh among associates who are “in on the joke.” That certainly seemed to be the case with Cheney, whose business interests in Halliburton suddenly made billions from the war in Iraq. But the cynicism seemed pervasive in all branches of government it seemed, especially the likes of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose title of “Supreme Court Justice” seemed almost ironic as he dispensed clearly partisan rulings and opinions that seemed to fly in the face of Constitutional common sense. Meanwhile he laughed off his critics.

Damned Dems

Sure, there are interesting types among the Democrats as well. People love to point to the likes of President Bill Clinton as an example of a corrupt and laughing politician. But how ironic it is that the three Republican Speakers of the House who pushed for Clinton’s impeachment for lying about his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky turned out to have sexual secrets and philandering histories of their own?

Clinton admittedly was an embarrassment to America in his sexual dalliances, but he was certainly not the first or last President or powerful politician caught with his hands down someone else’s pants. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his girlfriends on the side yet found the time and courage to lead America out of the Depression and through the massive travails of World War II. JFK was another Democrat whose lust for women was well known yet he also seemed to transcend his personal failures with a will for social justice and equal rights. He envisioned the space program that beat the Soviets in putting a man on the moon. And what killed Kennedy? A secret cabal of hateful CIA agents and mobster laughing into their collars as they looked the other way while the motorcade came to a stop and a hail of bullets caromed from every direction.

The same hateful secret government killed Martin Luther King, Jr., another womanizer it turns out, the very same way. Assassinations in the name of secret ideology.

Forgiveness and gay thoughts

All this begs the question: What should be forgiven in our public figures? What is the acceptable balance between kept secrets and privacy? Does it matter what people do in the bedroom if they otherwise conduct themselves well in public and obey the law?

That’s where Dennis Hastert and some others run aground. So vital are their kept secrets to their public persona they cannot afford to let those secrets out. So they move money around and make payments to risky past relationships to keep them quiet.

In Hastert’s case there is the double Republican indemnity of having possibly engaged in a same-sex relationship. That’s considered a political liability among social conservatives, who would rather deny the fact of homosexuality as a normal state of human consciousness than accept the social change of same-sex marriage and other equal rights for gay people. So it wasn’t just that Hastert had a sex scandal in his past. It was allegedly a gay sex scandal, quite possibly with a minor, that made vital for him to obscure his past and maintain his image as a devout Republican.

And how sad yet necessary it all is because people cannot understand, accept or be accepted for who they are. So they create this fashioned image of who they think they have to be. Then they engage in every possible ruse to protect that fake reality.

How liberating it will be one day when the stigmas attached to homosexuality are removed. Then people can live without being restricted by their sexual orientation. It still would not excuse the potential actions of pedophiles who take advantage of minors for sexual purposes, for that is a distinct and separate issue from homosexuality. The two are not necessarily linked.

Key learnings

It seems in the end they all have their secrets, these politicians. So what can we learn from how they conduct themselves? And how can America protect itself from the hypocrisy evident in the conduct of men and women of power who claim to represent the best of America and morality while carrying out thefts of public trust and treasure?

The answer is that we should never accept the public face of politics. Ever. Even the so-called Great Communicator Ronald Reagan, who presented himself as the affable father of morality and American virtue, let his administration’s actions spin out of control with the Iran-Contra affair. At least Reagan stepped forward to confess, which is more than men like George W. Bush have had the courage to do even though his minions led a military extortion and torture regime in Iraq.

Just remember that even when you ask relevant questions of individuals like these, they may still be laughing at you.  They may appear smug and proficient in the ways of politics, but we continue to learn that so many of these people are hiding dark secrets in their past and present. They laugh at you because they don’t want you to know these secrets, and don’t believe you have a right to do so. So they laugh it off, as if you’re the stupid one. And if they get enough power and media on their side, they indeed appear to be in control of everything they do. But dark secrets have a way or emerging in ways that the most protective over souls cannot imagine.

It is often the case that the repressed choose to persecute and prosecute the things they hate most in themselves. That’s why we find religious zealots hollering from the pulpit about sex while they conduct illicit sexual affairs with their own parishioners. It’s why we find hardline politicians passing anti-gay legislation even as they engage in sex with secretly gay lovers or prostitutes.

All these ruses are an elaborate attempt at self-denial and protection. It is the also the most common ruse of power that those who want to play along should always be in on the joke. So there are even secret societies that create these dark secrets and hold people hostage their whole lives on threat that they will be exposed if they ever tell on another person. It’s a sick, dark world that exists apart from the honest way you and I want to live.

Jokesters and justice

We’ve seen what happens in history when the jokesters are exposed as frauds. They grow angry and seek to punish. That’s why Herod called for Jesus. He wanted to either witness the real secret of power or else make a mockery of that which threatened him.

Often this pattern of hypocritical rage gets carried to its illogical conclusion. People cry out to the Lord, “Where is they justice?” But God sees the spectrum of human foible in a fuller context. He expects us to be wiser than to trust angry fools so long, and to let them rule over us.

That is the weary world God wants us to overcome. Men like Dennis Hastert start out by laughing in our faces as if our questions were all a joke, and as if accountability were a humorous fiction.

It can be tiring to be vigilant toward such dismissive leaders who lie to us and laugh in our faces. They keep coming at us, and with increasingly powerful fervor driven by media that echo and amplify their voices. The laughter of their ideology drowns out the earnest inquiries of the curious and sincere. A certain madness takes over, and people begin siding with the madness because it seems like the only sane thing to do given its popularity and its promises.

But you should know that this madness is not the righteous way. These were the same voices that yelled “Crucify Him!” and laughed and scowled at a man nailed to the cross, whose sacrifice was intended to instruct on the ways of truth in the face of power and mockery.

The weary world accepts that such ends are inevitable, that no matter what we do, tomorrow is the another day for crucifixion of hope, love and political honesty. We see it every day, and the weary world and Dennis Hastert are illustrating the dangers of blind trust and mockery of those who are not in on the secret, which is that all human beings are flawed, and no amount of cynical laughter and power-brokering politics can hide that fact.