Trump and the evangelicals focused on making converts in Israel

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

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

Contingencies

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

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

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

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

Not much of a Christian

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

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

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

Wagging the Dog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ugly loyalties

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

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

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

The iPost story goes on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bill of goods

n.pl.bills of goods

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

The call to action for men on the #metoo campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you mean?” she responded.

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

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

Call to Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#metoo is a just cause.

Tuned into the echo chamber

 

Joe Walsh.jpg

Joe Walsh, AM 50 “The Answer:. Not the musician.

Yesterday on the way home from the art studio, I tuned into AM 560, The Answer, a conservative radio station based here in Chicago.

The afternoon drive shift is occupied by Joe Walsh, the former Congressman and peripatetic Tea Party advocate whose appealing voice and communication style is one or the most seductively conservative personas you will ever hear.

I extend that compliment because I really do appreciate that radio is a craft. To be an effective radio personality you must have the voice, yes, but also a method of delivery that compels people to listen.

There are many such compelling radio personalities on the air. Rush Limbaugh is clearly an effective communicator. His audience loves his blustering style and critical takedowns of anything that he considers un-American.

Hannity and the like

Sean Hannity is the pretty-boy communicator that functions well on both TV and radio. His voice has that wonderful clear quality that cuts through the airwaves to make you feel as if you’re sitting next to him, sharing thoughts and bitching about liberals. He can make even the most outrageous lie or twisted argument sound palatable and true. And that is his dark art.

Bill O’Reilly is a talented writer as well as a TV personality. His “no spin zone” is however, completely devoted to spinning items on the news cycle to a conservative palate. Thus he exemplifies how conservatives effectively corner the market on hypocrisy.

None of these guys is stupid. They are, however, masters at manipulative communication. They are all practiced stewards of conservative disgust with modernism and liberal ideology. This is the reason they exist, and their shows all reflect the money-making value of expressing populist disgust with anything metaphorically democratic.

Dead for life

Flag Waiver.jpgThat is true with both the Constitution and the Bible, both of which conservatives claim to protect with their very lives. Originalism is the principle defense mechanism for the United States Constitution, and the hero of all time in that category is Justice Antonin Scalia, who proclaimed that document “dead for life” in that no one should be able to vary from its initial meaning or context.

And while none of the personalities mentioned above are theologians, they still appeal to those who consider a literal interpretation of scripture to be in alignment with the original interpretation of the Constitution.

Spit it out

These are the foundational belief systems of conservative commentators. Line it up and spit it out by whatever means you can use (For @realdonaldtrump, it is Twitter) to justify the fundamental contentions of conservative ideology or the baseless information used to deflect commentary from whatever source it arrives.

This red-meat ideology does not hearken to much seasoning or high criticism from a liberal perspective. Which is why, when Meryl Streep attacked the neoconservative movement and it’s Hair Apparent, President-elect, Donald Trump, even those conservatives who hold their nose at the thought of his inauguration still rushed to his defense.

This was the case with our local boy Joe Walsh, who took the critical remarks made by Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe awards that took to task Donald Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter. Walsh ignored the actual point in her words and turned her forum into his own screed about how liberals look down on the rest of America.

The Rules

So, let’s take stock of why and how this works. The First Rule of all such conservatives is simple: Never, ever admit that a liberal might have a point even about even the worst representative of your ideology.

The Second Rule is to take any issue and turn it into a point of anger toward liberals. Thus oe Walsh took Streep’s remarks about the violent nature of NFL football and Mixed Martial Arts and turned them into a populist claim that Streep was “looking down her nose” at all fans of football and the UFC.

Well, she was making a point based on fact, not looking down on anyone. Even the NFL has to admit that many of its athletes suffer massively from participation in the sport. The suicides of multiple athletes suffering brain injuries has even led leading prospects to abandon the game rather than risk a life ruined by brain disease caused by multiple traumas such as concussions. These are facts, not liberal opinion. But men like Joe Walsh care little about such realities because they do not align with the dismissive ideology of the neoconservative, Tea Party lot that cannot admit facts that stand in the way of their beliefs.

Gambling with concerns

And let’s ask a few questions to document the real situation. Do NFL fans truly care if the athletes that play their favorite sport suffer lifelong injuries, debilitating conditions and brain disease? There is very little evidence that they do. Yet another former NFL player took their own life by gunshot a week ago. The news cycle swallows up the story and the talk show hosts on ESPN make believe it matters and then everyone gets back to the injury reports and the point spreads on the games this weekend.

Nor do they really care in the long term if their favorite players abuse their wives in domestic violence, arrange dogfighting rings or do performance-enhancing drugs. What seems to matter to most football fans and their sports talk radio cheerleaders is that they line their asses up on Sunday and play the game. It’s a toughman’s sport, and they’re well paid. What’s the problem?

The sad thing is that the same mentality carries over to the conservative refusal to adequately fund benefits for our military veterans. For all the lip service given to “patriots” and kissing the ass of the military, the simple fact is that conservatives don’t, in the end, care about anything more than blocking funding or cutting costs for the VA. It happens over and over again, yet conservatives still make the claim they care more about the military and veterans than liberals. But the truth does not bear that out.

Social gambles

The same goes for vital social programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare. Conservatives claim to have better solutions for all these programs, but in forty years since Ronald Reagan there have been zero practical proposals other than cutting these programs by privatizing them. But as we’ve seen by how conservatives handled the eight years under Bush and company, that can lead to economic collapse.  Conservatives love gambling with such concerns, and are now in a position to toss social programs to the curb. Yet they literally have no game plan in place to replace Obamacare other than some plays scribbled down on a Congressional napkin somewhere.

This short-term approach aligns with the short-attention span conglomerate that is the NFL, an organization that obsessively works to occupy the brainwaves of its fans 24/7, 365 days a year. Similarly, the Republican Party cares farm more about gaining power than the practicality of its policies. It is good at winning elections but terrible about the game plan of actual governance. That’s why the state of Kansas went bankrupt under Brownback, and why the Bush years resulted in a massive recession. Republicans don’t now shit about how to run a country. They just think they do, like armchair quarterbacks bitching about how Ben Roethlisberger or Eli Manning can’t play the game.

Fantasy league

The entire Republican Party is like a football fantasy league with little regard for the long-term well-being of either its players or its fans. For all the social commitments and charity efforts by those involved in the NFL “family,” the dehumanization of pro football players is too real to deny. Thus we live in a world where Fantasy Football leagues and gambling sites dominate our culture and where Fantasy Football “players” are freely objectified by reducing them to a mantle of depersonalized statistics. This it the same level of consideration given by Republicans to the real life effects of Obamacare, Medicare or Social Security on real Americans. The party lives in a fantasy world of its own ideology. They believe they can buy and sell options and their gambles will all come out good in the end.

Blood fighting

UFC.jpg

Painting by Christopher Cudworth titled UFC.

The same can be said of participants in the sport known as “mixed martial arts.” For years, the sport existed as a breed of backroom violence on the same level as cockfighting or dog-fighting. Only these were real-live human beings beating the living crap out of each other. And considering the mixed martial arts strategy known as “ground and pound,” contestants are literally locked into positions that amount to fighting with their cocks. Considering the general homophobia rife within the party, it is a wonder conservatives haven’t found that dynamic sufficient grounds to ban the sport for fear that it will encourage other young men to grind their genitals together.

And yes, the sport of boxing has for decades produced the same sort of concussive entertainment. Google “Mike Tyson knockouts” and you’ll get both the massively violent results of that boxer’s successes and failures. His rather sexualized career also included rape and domestic abuse, yet he remains a favorite for what he did in the ring. And isn’t that nice that people are so willing to dismiss these potent realities and social disgraces to foment the violent fantasies of victory and suppression?

The real lesson is that what goes up in violent sports also always comes down. Mike Tyson has learned and publicly acknowledged the difficulties he faced in coming from poverty into wealth, and the perversions he engaged when his trainer died. Directionless and disabused, he like George Foreman as well engaged in a liberal dose of self-assessment and has redeemed his life in many respects. That does not mean that Foreman did not find his faith, which many conservatives would love to claim as a sign of his contrition. Instead, the humanist realization that a radical selfishness drove downfalls drove both men to liberalize their worldviews. They became more tolerant, more forgiving, more accepting of others and themselves. They grew beyond the violence of their sports.

And American needs to do the same.

Gladiators and emperors

Society has always thrilled to the populist destruction of heroes and villains in public places. The Roman Colosseum was only one of many ancient theaters where the lives of other human beings were destroyed for public entertainment. Some of this violence was by choice while others, such as gladiators, were typically forced or thrown into combat for the simple joy of witnessing violent ends.

And that’s what Meryl Streep was criticizing. Because the sport of politics and the destruction of lives is just as real in popular culture as it is in the sports arena. When Donald Trump clearly set out to mock a disabled reporter, his position of power was used to threaten the weak. This is no better than Nero throwing Christians to the lions, or burning them at the stake. Given enough authority, warped emperors and fascist-oriented world leaders will sacrifice anyone that stands in their way.

Low instincts and mass appeal

But Joe Walsh refused to acknowledge the low instincts he chose to advocate over a reasonable dissection of Trump methodology. Instead, he went after the low instincts of the masses with a tribal defense of pro football. He was literally drawing a parallel between NFL football and basic American values. That is not only a false contention, it illustrates a complicity that borders on no morality at all. But let’s admit it, Meryl Streep is right. As defined by pro football and mixed martial arts, lowbrow violence has enormous mass appeal. We already knew that from the Roman Colosseum. It just needed updating.

Taxing ideals

NFL football also has another interesting similarity to Donald Trump that Joe Walsh failed to acknowledge. For reasons having to do with a brand of corporate welfare to which everyday citizens are never availed, the NFL as an organization does not pay any taxes. Its profits including massive public incentives for teams to build stadiums all flow back into its violently protective coffers.

Yet somehow the league has had trouble coughing up even the most basic funding to assist the health and lives of players who have given their health and minds to the sport. The NFL players union has had to fight tooth and claw to get some money back to assist players destroyed by the game. Some retired players have despaired at their condition, taken guns to their chest or head, and ended their lives. Read this story about Dave Duerson. And the NFL has basically said, “Oh, that’s too bad. At least you made some money while you played America’s sport.”

Tapping out

That’s what the deal is in all this. As long as someone is making money, somewhere, it doesn’t matter what happens to the rest of the world. If someone shoots themselves as a result of the damage they endured, that’s their choice. That’s a real dose of hardline conservatism, right there.

Along those lines, these athletes do choose to engage in these sports. Yet it is still hard to find real justification for the brain-pounding, ground-scrabbling sport of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships). The sport is largely graceless striving, a bout of outright, unmitigated violence using fists, feet and elbows and even choking to generate a “submission” or “tap out” indicating that one competitor is close enough to death to finally give up.

That’s the sport that Joe Walsh used to criticize Meryl Streep. That’s what Joe Walsh considers more important than defending the legitimate prose of a journalist doing his job despite a physical disability. That’s why Meryl Streep tried to document the difference in what America is becoming versus what the nation has accomplished through its many amendments to the Constitution (a living, breathing document indeed) that has worked to deliver civil rights and protections for all, not just the powerful, privileged few or the otherwise ignorant, selfish masses that don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to others.

And that is exactly what Donald Trump represents.

Selfish defense

Yet all Donald Trump could find to say is that “Meryl Streep does not know me,” as if the litany of ugly public statement by Trump were no indication of his true and ugly personal character. These are the words of a most selfish idealogue, a man so inconsiderate that even his peers, also selfish and self-centered conservative ideologues such as Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and even New Gingrich find it hard to defend the man known as The Donald. They hold their nose and kiss his butt in public because politics is also a form of Mixed Martian Arts. It’s winner-take-all from the conservative point of view. Get the other side to Tap Out. Whatever it takes. No compromise. No quarter. Smashmouth. And if you happen to ridicule a disabled reporter along the way, so be it. At least we won.

Shameful nutshells

Joe Walsh knows he should be ashamed of himself for his remarks about Meryl Streep. But something in him has grown so suspicious and defensive about the reason and intellect upon which this nation was founded that he is constantly forced to invent new ways to defend the indefensible irony of his own beliefs. This is neoconservatism in a nutshell, a worldview that corners the market on hypocrisy every single day of the year.

Conservatives love to mock the so-called impracticality of Hollywood and its largely Democratic representatives. They have tried, over the ages, to equate the bleeding heart concerns of actors with communism or socialism or anti-patriotism but have failed time and again for the simple reason that liberalism remains, and always will be, the baseline ideology upon which American was founded, and upon which all progress has been gained.

Denial as a worldview

That is no act. That is reality. But men such as Joe Walsh and Rush Limbaugh go about denying that realities such as hunger in America actually exist, or that Planned Parenthood actually prevents far more abortions than it ever performs.

And that is why neoconservatives such as Joe Walsh deserve to be shouted down. They may have a powerful format and a willing audience, but that is only an indication that the lowbrow populism they advocate is as prevalent as any other pandemic likely to cause the downfall of the human race.

They are, in a word, a disease to be reckoned with. And the only cure is truth. Those of us tuned into the echo chamber will have to be vocal and forthright. We will have to hold these neocontrarians accountable for what they say and do.

It may be a 24 hour job, 365 days a year.