It’s the horrified versus the whoreified in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maximus versus Commodus

commodus01.jpg

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

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

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

Commodus: Then take it now.

[Maximus pauses, then turns around and walks away]

Commodus: They tell me your son…

[Maximus stops]

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

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

[Bows head]

Maximus: Highness.

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

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

The Rape of America

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

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

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

Emperors and whores

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

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

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

Whoring out

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

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

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

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

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We did not do this to you, Republicans, you did this to yourself

newt gingrichA few years back when my daughter was a teenager, she had a problem with a contact lens that had scratched her eye. It was tremendously painful, and it happened late at night, so I took her to the emergency room at our local hospital.

We sat in a curtained room waiting to be seen. The wait took quite a while. As it happened, there was an intoxicated man in the next stall over. He was strapped to a table with an armed police guard standing watch over him.

The drunk guy was yelling, “I want my booze!” over and over again. Occasionally he’d lace that sentence with an expletive or two for special emphasis.

An hour passed as we waited and finally the drunk guy started to settle down. We could see him through a crack between the curtains as he leaned his head back and turned his attention to the policeman guarding him. “Why did you do this to me?” he complained.

The officer stood there calmly and replied: “I did not do this to you, sir. You did this to yourself.”

I think about that incident as the testimony is about to unfold today in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican nominee for a lifetime position as a Supreme Court Justice. As news has emerged of testimony by multiple women accusing Kavanaugh of a range of sexually violent behavior, the potential justice has categorically denied it all. Not just some of it. All of it.

Ryan smilingPerhaps we’ll see a dramatic turn of events and Kavanaugh’s name will indeed be cleared. An entire lineup of archly conservative Republicans ranging from Newt Gingrich to the peripatetic Senator Lindsay Graham has classified the progression of accusations as a “character assassination.”

But that’s a political claim. The Republican-led Judiciary Committee refuses to allow an FBI investigation. So they don’t really want to know the truth. They want to blame the Democrats for allowing any real sort of truth to come out, preferring instead the version of “truth” they want to use in order to shove Kavanaugh through this process before the GOP loses control of the government in the November elections.

Drunk with power

To gain some perspective on the true context of the situation, we need to consider that the entire Republican Party has been on a power binge since the Donald Trump Train rolled over the nation. Drunk with permission to do what they want, wild with authority granted by control of both the House and the Senate. And the Supreme Court. That’s the branch of government they so desperately desire to lock up for decades.

But first, Republicans have engaged in a power-drunk bender of passing tax cuts for the wealthy even as their pet President imposes tariffs on our trade allies. Why, Trump is even handing out $50B to support farmers after gutting prices on soy beans and corn through ill-conceived penalties on China. The nation will have a hangover from Republican grain alcohol for years. All while gutting those pesky environmental laws in a fit of pique over being questioned all these years about why their industrialist allies pollute and waste our national resources with aplomb.

But like so many things in life, especially excessive habits, a price must sooner or later be paid.

Owning up

Now one of their chosen has been strapped to the gurney of accountability and Republicans don’t like it one bit. Kavanaugh is accused of violent sexual behavior in his youth, but he is denying everything and anything that ever happened. In so doing, he has become the poster child for every hypocritical Republican claiming to be a paragon of family values while dire secrets hidden in the past come pouring out of the closet. There’s a pattern here.

ct-dennis-hastert-lawsuit-met-20170222Because we’ve already witnessed the downfall of Good Ole Boy Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, whose career went South when legitimate allegations of child sexual abuse were corroborated. Many of those abuses happened long ago and were buried under piles of hush money paid by Hastert to buy the silence of his victims.

The current President of the United States openly questioned the legitimacy of Kavanaugh’s growing list of accusers on basis that Poor Old Donald Trump has been falsely accused of such behavior in the past. But Trump has also openly admitted to sexual abuse of women on multiple occasions. He has also paid for the silence of women with whom he had sexual affairs. These transgressions were far more recent and even more telling about the character of the President than the accusations made against Kavanaugh, who seemingly behaved very badly as a stupid kid drunk with the power of his own appetites.

So it’s a sick little cabal that is in operation right now. How many more Republicans side with Kavanaugh because they fear the evidence of their own past? We hear people whine in the news that from now on “no man is safe” from the accusations of women from their past. But if men have committed sins the likes of which Kavanaugh is accused, then that information should be public knowledge if they intend to accept political or public positions. The nation does need to know who it can trust. People with dark lies in their past are far more likely to commit dark lies in the present. Their judgment is inextricably skewed by the repression required to hide and ignore those sins.

We need the Republican Party in this country. We need the conscience and values it once could claim as foundations to its existence. We need the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower and even, to some degree, the party of Richard M. Nixon, whose administration, while ultimately corrupt, did install the EPA as a protection for American’s natural and human resources.

The real story here is that Republicans appear to be ignoring both very recent history and the truth of dark deeds done in the past. But we did not do this to you, Republicans. You did this to yourself.

 

Reasons why America should feel shitty

 

Flies on Shit

Wait, could it be? For a second there it looked like a face on the rump of that shit. 

Almost two years ago when the 2016 election campaign had just begun, I’d written quite a bit already about the achingly awful qualifications of prospective Republican presidential candidates. Every one of them was a shitty choice. None of them had leadership qualities or anything resembling a broad enough worldview to serve as an effective president. And I said so.

 

Long before that patent situation served up such a stink, I’d spent quite a bit of time on social media savaging and ridiculing neoconservative thinking on subject matter ranging from health care to religion to social issues and culture. This consistent engagement on such subjects proved frustrating to some of my conservative friends. A few unfriended me on social media such as Facebook. Frankly, I was glad to be rid of them. Their cognitive dissonance in defense of Republican failures on the economy, speculative wars and backward cultural and social policies reeked like a pile of confusing shit.

At one point, it was passed along to me that a casual acquaintance and cycling friend who had followed me for a while on Facebook was Unfriending me. A friend passed the reason along. “He says you make him feel shitty.”

Well, when conservatives (and so-called neoconservatives) set out to make the lives of so many people a living hell by blocking equal rights for gays, ridiculing civil rights efforts for minorities and publicly torturing women (can you say Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke?) over health care and reproductive rights, someone has to speak out.

The shitty behavior doesn’t stop there, however. Neoconservatives went on the attack toward President Obama before he was installed in office. But Obama had done nothing to earn their ire on the order of what Donald Trump has just done to insult Americans. So conservatives went “desperate” by insisting he was a Muslim to make him look like he was a sympathizer with Islamic terrorists. Still others attacked him on grounds of the legality of his birth certificate. That was just a shitty attempt to disqualify the man for political reasons, yet there were underlying racial insults behind those attacks as well.

When Obama exhibited genuine leadership or would not give in to such torments, dog-whistle campaigns emerged insinuated he was “uppity,” a racially driven conflagration designed to threaten and control our President. The attacks on the looks of his wife were similarly ugly. And they never relented.

It is next to impossible to counter such ignorance and prejudice. People who think and act that way, all the way up to national leaders such as Sen. Mitch McConnell, are just shitheads by nature. His angry promise to block all attempts at governing in order to make President Obama a one-term president was a display of shitty character.

Yet some people seem to admire shitty characters. It’s in their blood to choose ugly and angry behavior over a considerate or God Forbid, academic approach to problem-solving and policy. That’s why men like Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld proved so popular among neoconservatives eager to whip the world into shape using military force or even torture to get their way. The motto is Be Shitty to Others Before They Can Be Shitty to You.

Religious conservatives aren’t much better. Throughout history conservative cabals have consistently defied the “turn the other cheek” admonitions of Jesus Christ to side with zealots and nationalists eager to win the world for Christ through war.

This is a really shitty thing to do to the fundamental precepts of Christianity, which calls us to “love our enemies.”

But let’s admit it: Jesus had his hands full even in his own day with religious legalists and warlike zealots, one of whom turned out to be the disciple that betrayed him to the authorities. These are the types of shitty believers who think they know better than God how to run the world.

Zealots for Christ are still running amok in the world, starting new Crusades toward other religions and acting as if they have absolutely no confidence in their own God, lest they should leave it all to faith and trust as the Bible says. Instead, they grab hold of the Bible and make it a bludgeon for creationism or Manifest Destiny or hating gays for simply existing on this earth.

It’s all the work of narrow-minded zealots who don’t like to be held accountable for the cause and effect of their shitty ideology, which actually blows over like a house of cards when held up to the merest intellectual or moral scrutiny. But zealots never let that happen, because their approach to theology is to attack first, and apologize never.

As a result of all this defensive posturing, conservatives, as a rule, know quite well how to defend their shit better than anyone else. And they use creative methods.

A favorite practice of conservatives (social, political, religious, fiscal) is to accuse the other side of the very faults they find so offensive in themselves. This is the Repression Factor in all conservatism. Rather than come to grips with reality, it is far easier to deny instincts of fear or failure or sexual desire than to act in good conscience and seek out the reasons why those repressive instincts exist.

But sometimes its just mean-spiritedness that drives repression. That’s how conservatives “Swiftboated” the honorable military career of John Kerry. It is also why neoconservatives and the Alt-Right accused Obama of being Muslim to paint him as a sympathizer with Islamic terrorists. That’s a really shitty thing to do, and lacks any significant conscience.

Which is why I don’t feel any real need to apologize to my conservative friends for making them feel shitty the last few years. Because the outcome of this Republican shitstorm is the election of Donald Trump to President of the United States. Even devout conservatives know this is a really shitty outcome for the party. Yet they’re holding their noses and chortling “victory” because they think they’ve won.

But that reminds one of the old joke about the guy that lost his sunglasses down an open latrine. He goes in to grab them and his buddy asks how much shit he can expect to encounter if he jumps in to help.

“It’s only ankle deep!” Comes the reply. So the friend jumps in and find himself neck deep in raw sewage. “I thought you said it was only ankle deep!” he moans.

“Well, I dove in,” his friend replies.

And that’s a perfect allegory for where we find ourselves headed into 2017. We’re all neck deep in a really situation because 26% of America saw fit to vote for an orange-faced maniac who treats everyone he meets like shit.

That’s why I’ve been so willing to make my conservative friends feel shitty for so long. Because I saw this coming. I knew where the ugly Bush years were leading us, and what it meant that people saw fit to treat President Obama like shit just because he was black, or they thought he was Muslim, or believed he would take away their guns.

That was the shit sandwich neoconservatives and the Alt-Right served America the last eight years. Now we’re all told we have to eat it. Some of refuse. And that’s why I’ll keep on making conservatives, friends and otherwise, feel really shitty about what transpired in 2016.

We don’t have to take this shit. And we won’t.

 

Are you being raped

The big word on the street this week from leading conservative voices such as Sean Hannity is that Marco Rubio really “stepped in it” during the last Republican debate.

Governor Chris Christie essentially called Rubio a robot for repeating the same 25-word speech three times…about how Rubio does not like the fact that Obama is trying to change America.

Well, duh. That’s what Obama promised to do in both his campaigns. And what does the Republican Party promise to do in return? “Take Back America” is its primary slogan, and the phrase is also repeated ad nausea by all the Republican candidates. They are all, in a word, acting like conservative robots.

Rubio isn’t a robot so much as an automoton. So let’s consult the dictionary to examine what that really means. “An automaton (plural: automata or automatons) is a self-operating machine, or a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions. Some automata, such as bellstrikers in mechanical clocks, are designed to give the illusion to the casual observer that they are operating under their own power.”

That fits Rubio perfectly. And sad to say, there are a whole lot of conservatives who like that brand of predictability just fine, as long as it aligns with their desire for doctrinal control.

Clutch Cargo

clutch_cargoRubio is certainly moving his lips to spit out conservative doctrine. Yet he somehow comes off like one of those Clutch Cargo cartoons from years ago. You know the one, where the creepy lips are projected through a static cartoon face in 1960s low grade animation? And that would be accurate except for that fact that Marco Rubio and his cartoon logic on issues such as abortion date from the 1950s at best. So let’s talk about rape, since that what Marco Rubio thinks he does best.

Rape is harmless to women

Rubio thinks, or so he says, that women should have the babies caused by rapists no matter what. “It’s a terrible situation,” Rubio said. “I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I’m not telling you it’s easy. I’m not here saying it’s an easy choice. It’s a horrifying thing that you’ve just described.”

“I get it,” he added. “I really do. And that’s why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived. And I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me on that.”

Rubio defensively claims that he actually “gets it.” Yet he then flatly turns around to deny women the authentic right to control what happens to their own bodies. He is calling rape an essentially harmless action, meant to be dismissed as a “terrible situation” by women unlucky enough to experience such a criminal violation.

Lack of prescience

Senator Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Marylan

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida 

Rubio goes on to admit that a majority of Americans don’t agree with him on the issue. Basically, he is also saying that the freedom for a woman to determine the outcome of a rapist’s violent crime is non-existent. This is heinous disregard for human rights. It is also abetting the cause of rapists to commit such a crime and then claim rights to the child. It is patent approval of the act of rape.

The lack of conscience in such a position is breathtaking and should automatically disqualify any person from a position in public office, much less the President of the United States.

Rubio apparently thinks his interpretation of the Law of God somehow trumps the United States Constitution and Supreme Court rulings that protect the rights of women to control their personal reproductive freedom.

Rape of the angels

But Rubio’s possibly theological point actually goes against examples from scripture in which God rules on rape and abuse of others. Let’s take the famous story of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example.  You may recall that when a pair of angels shows up at the house of Lot in the town of Sodom, a group of rowdy townspeople arrives at Lot’s door demanding the strangers be turned over (as was ‘the custom’ of the day) to be raped and sexually abused for the simple crime of having no place to stay after nightfall.

Yet rather than comply with the demands of the unruly mob to turn over the strangers to be abused, Lot offers up his own two daughters as ransom for the safety of the two men he has offered shelter in his house.

We are forced to ask: what if that story actually resulted in that outcome? What if Lot’s daughters had indeed been turned over to the crowd to be raped, and then were forced to have the children from unidentified fathers? Then (and only then) we might have to agree with Marco Rubio that God agrees that it’s a just cause to rape women and demand they have those children.

Rape as an act of war

Gustave_dore_crusades_entry_of_the_crusaders_into_constantinopleScholarly studies of such issues show that rape is indeed often used as a war on women. In her treatise title “Rape, Women and War,” scholar Angela Robinson documents how throughout history, rape has served as a tool of disenfranchisement in war and cultural conflicts. “The rape of women has been utilized as a tactic of terror in wars since the beginning of armed conflicts. It appears to go through three main stages: First, rape is a routine and expected reward to the victors. Secondly, rape occurs due to a lack of military discipline. Finally, rape occurs as a military technique to demoralize the opposition. Through these horrific actions, women experience the loss of home and the loss of land, which is synonymous with the loss of identity. This is known as ethnic cleansing.”

So we see that given Rubio’s position on rape and apparent ownership of women by men, the Republican War and Women is real. And despite his claims of virtuous theology and protection of the so-called unborn, Marco Rubio is dead wrong about God’s ultimate intent for rape victims.

Lots of lessons

Because rather than encouraging Lot give over the two men under his protection to an abusive crowd seeking to use rape as an expression of power, God’s servants instead grant protection to Lot and his family. The servants then warn Lot to get the hell out of town. Lot and his family are warned not to look back, yet Lot’s wife is turned into a pillar of salt for violating that promise. God does like those who doubt his intentions, or have prurient curiosities.

Yet the harsh lesson of the Bible, and the message Marco Rubio refuses to comprehend, is that God does not indeed favor the acts of abusers.

Because if he did, God would have allowed Lot’s daughters to be thrown out into the streets for rape and abuse, and then be forced to carry the bastard children of the men willing to commit such acts.

Think about it: Marco Rubio is telling your daughter that if she gets raped, she has to bear that child. He’s telling your wife that if she gets raped, she has to have that baby. He’s telling all the men of America that it is not worth even trying to protect the women in their life, because if some man rapes them, it is actually God’s will that child should be born. There is nothing anyone can do about it.

Of course, that was not the lesson conveyed in the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah. Nor is it an acceptable narrative according to the map of human rights laid out in the United States Constitution. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not include having to bear the child of a rapist, or to be gunned down in the streets because you refuse to carry a handgun. This is lawlessness as a political doctrine, not political freedom.

Anger sells and greed propels

Yet there are millions of ignorant people out there who favor the doctrine of men like Marco Rubio because they speak with the force of conviction. And quite often, this brand of conviction sounds a lot like theology. And when an entire political party claims to own the wisdom of God, it gets easier to sell a brand of angry, selfish schtick as truth.

This is the methodology of angry, abusive, misogynistic political doctrine the Republican Party and its media mouthpieces have espoused for years. Sometimes they use dogwhistle terms, euphemisms and confessional language to get the point across. But the effects are just the same. The KKK claims to be a service organization even while it works to undermine the rights of blacks and other minorities. All such euphemistic claims are designed to hide the anger, fear and greed behind such prejudicial movements. Anger sells and greed propels. It’s as simple as that.

Ugly aims in plain sight

As long as we’re being honest, let’s also be direct. A political machine like the Republican Party (the automaton of conservatism) that simultaneously works to ban women from using birth control while telling them that rape is an activity they must accept to the point of bearing a rapist’s child is a confused, nasty brute of a machine. It does not deserve to exist. This isn’t about free speech any longer. This is about gaining and protecting human rights for all people. Conservatives love to claim that a fetus is already a person, and promote many compelling examples to prove their point. But whey then do so many Republicans seem to hate Planned Parenthood, an organization designed to empower women in controlling their own reproductive health. And prevent the need for abortions.

But of course, Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood over the supposed moral issue of having sex outside of marriage, or without the goal of procreations. But  conservatives are hypocrites about that, too. Even the so-called rhythm method, a birth control effort advocated by the Catholic Church, is a knowing attempt to avoid conception. Hypocrisy, in other words, because the Lord typically considers intent as bad as the real crime.

Conservative cabal

U.S. Senator Cruz speaks to members of the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio, Texas

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

So the clear intention of the conservative cabal, if Marco Rubio and his ilk have their way, is to impose sexual and social control over women while accepting none of the responsibilities of being a principled human being, and worthy of trust and respect.

As a result, the Republican Party has also become an automaton of vicious, contradictory lies. Marco Rubio unwittingly captures this Republican fealty to male dominance and disrespect toward women, and men like Donald Trump are certainly no better. Ted Cruz is an obvious family fake. Take a look at his recent contrived video and the lengths to which he must go to get his own family to play along with his worthiness.

And the lone woman candidate on the Republican side is a person so obsessed with preventing abortions she refuses to change her story about a fake video even after it was proven to be a lie.

And so, there are no signs that any Republican has a remotely enlightened attitude toward women. Certainly their lead spokesperson Rush Limbaugh, who dispensed with no less than four wives, knows nothing about how to treat or respect women.

It has become evident that the Party of Elephants has dissolved into a Passel of Pigs. Snorting and derogatory behind the scenes, they like to make nice and religious-like in public to cover up their possessively penile priorities. But their shallow debates and thinly disguised prejudices toward women, minorities, are the drivel that has driven the Republican agenda for years. Fortunately, Republicans also don’t know how to govern, so their fecklessness has allowed America to continue is progressive advancement of human rights despite the fascist goals of the neo-conservative regime.

Brimstone

katrina_maxsurgeIf you tune into Republican rallies with their angry moods and Take Back America chants, it truly brings to mind the crowds of men assembled outside the house of Lot. They keep making demands and pressing on the liberal aims of Lot, which are simply to make his house and home a place of protection for the immigrants that have come into his care.

So let’s recall what happens to the angry crowds Lot leaves behind when he and his family leave town. God sends brimstone down upon Sodom, wiping out the abusers, and not the abused.

So perhaps it will happen that God will not bring about the apocalypse as so many Republican conservatives like to predict. Instead he may choose to cast firey brimstone on the Republican landscape and bury the GOP Congress under its sulphurous force. That would be the Congress that has threatened the public for years, and attempted a very public rape of Hillary Clinton’s reputation by conducting countless expensive investigations into the supposed scandal they branded Benghazi. But nothing stuck because there was nothing there that was done wrong.

The same Congress has made multiple attempts at raping a health care law that delivered millions of new policies to Americans in need of coverage, especially those with pre-existing conditions. The Congress along with the Republican-controlled Senate even raped the American government itself, shutting it down for ideological reasons.

It would appear the reason Republicans want to “take back America” is to rape it for all their worth, then blame the ensuing costs of raising their babies on the liberals.

Source of link: http://www.usm.edu/gulfcoast/sites/usm.edu.gulfcoast/files/groups/learning-commons/pdf/rape_women_and_war.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

The yahoos think their time has come

“There are bonfires on a lot of hillsides tonight, the sound of drums and wild hooting, people with serious scores to settle muttering at each other in the darkness. The yahoos are out there, and they think their time has come.” –Hunter S. Thompson, from the book Generation of Swine

ranchers-standoff-oregon-militia-malheur-national-wildlife-refugeAt opposite ends of the country, the yahoos have indeed come home to roost. Out west in Oregon, a band of selfish firebrands is dining on Cheetos and having the nerve to complain about the number of dildos they’ve received in the mail from truly disgusted Americans. Oregon-Milita-Being-Sent-DildosThe message and the gifts are real, but the yahoos won’t admit how fitting those dildos really are. Someone’s about to get fucked over. And it’s not real Americans.

Real Americans understand that public lands are just that: public. That means no one gets to use or keep that land all to themselves. Or graze cattle for free. Or take over a wildlife sanctuary and cut down fences in some sort of barbed protest against the fact that a nation like America really exists, and it has laws, and breaking those laws does not mean you are a patriot. It means you are a forceful, deceitful pack of dicks. And hence the dildos. Enjoy them fellas. You earned them.

Meanwhile, back East where it is barbed comments, not barbed wire, that represent the fencing in Washington politics, we have the Queen of All Yahoos endorsing Donald Trump for President. That would be Sarah Palin, whose own daughter could have used a few dildos to block all those pregnancies in her campaign for abstinence over real sexual education.

But that’s how the Palin family rolls. Their opinions matter far more than the truth. Yet even Fox News, where the very name of the network is an oxymoron, and where all supposed news is dispensed inside conservative condoms to protect the Righteous Right from the ostensibly poison sperm of truth and reason, could not endure the bukkake being spit out from Sarah Palin’s mouth. So they fired her.

Which should be a lesson to Donald Trump, of all people. He’s fond of firing people as a publicity stunt for his own manhood. This is a man who admits to lusting after his own daughter, and whose bankruptcies are as frequent as his financial triumphs. Yet he’s leading the polls as the Republican nominee, and Sarah Palin just endorsed him. Sarah Palin

The cognitive dissonance of all this brain-fucking deadness is clearly evident to people with conscience and morality. But those that have already sold their souls to the devil of Right Wing unconsciousness are more than happy to have cartoon figures like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin do their talking for them. Trump comes packaged with prejudice while Palin can’t read the back of a cereal package without confusing the grapes with the nuts. They’re a perfect pair, if political apocalypse is what you crave.

That’s why the so-called Militia out in Oregon is so fascinating. Those folks are also caricatures of true patriots. They’re standing their ground in what they consider their neighborhood with the same violent vigor one George Zimmerman used to gun down Trayvon Martin.

john-boehner2-1024x780This is all happening because the Republican Party, which has long been an evil caricature of what it once stood for, has had stunning success making laws in complicity with a public that truly gives a rat’s ass about what the Constitution actually says. That’s how we got Stand Your Ground. Citizen’s United. And conveniently ignoring the entire first phrase of the Second Amendment. That’s a trifecta of shit bad lawmaking.

The Supreme Court, our nation’s highest court we might add, is ruled by five conservative yahoos in black robes who spout ridiculous justifications for gun laws (Antonin Scalia) or say nothing at all about anything (Clarence Thomas) before voting in line or in league with the other three yahoos, whose names don’t really matter except to say that they’re all (to a man, we might note) politically activist judges.

For all the judicial intelligence they’ve demonstrated, you could replace them with a trio of highly prejudiced, book-burning, creationist, Klan-joining PTO leaders from the Deep South and get the same goddamned results.

Despite this credulity, the yahoos as a movement have spread their seed and stock across America like a turd-covered blanket. And the frightening reality is that millions of Americans appear ready to wrap themselves in that stinking garment and give thanks to the Lord for the warmth of purpose it provides. Never mind that 50% of America has not a penny to its name and owes $20,000 on the Discover card, they’re getting 5% Cash Back in Rewards! That’s how the modern American economy works. That’s trickle down economics in a nutshell.

alg-donald-trump-jpgBut any pig farmer on earth can tell you… that when you’ve stood around in the hogslop long enough, it cease to smell. That is the only logical explanation for the populism and popularity of a man like Donald Trump. Or any of those Republican candidates. But here’s the truth about Trump: He looks as happy as a pig in slop, does he not? That explains his skin tone perhaps.

And now that backwoods pig princess Sarah Palin just waded right in with him. And as Donald himself would say, “This stench is terrific!”

LMI_HProtate_12Which means the best treatment of all for those Oregon yahoos would be to load up an armored cement truck (we can have on government contract by Oshkosh, the military machine manufacturer) with a couple thousand pounds of raw, stinking manure. Then back it up to the window of that hog slop of a protest the “militia” is conducting out at Malheur and let the shit absolutely pour inside that building. It will find its own equilibrium, and if those yahoo bastards happen to drown in it, that will be cosmic justice of the first order. Of course, they might also float to the top with the piles of dildos they’ve received, thereby proving our original point. We can clean the stinking mess up later but first we’ve got to take action.

That holds true for the Trump and Palin Shit Train as well. Even Great Britain got involved by holding sessions in Parliament to call bullshit on the Trumpster, who is either purposely making a mockery of democracy or having too much goddamned fun to admit it.

When all this is said and done, we all know that Trump will go on being Trump. You can wallow in a lot of shit and still come out clean when you have that kind of money behind you.

Palin, by contrast, will have to live with the stench of yet another failed campaign on her record. She’s already been seen drinking her way through several video manifestos. That’s what yahoos do, you see. They drink and scream and huddle in their cars making viral stench consumed by millions of people with shit for brains.

Yes, Hunter S. Thompson was right. There are bonfires on the hillsides tonight. The yahoos are out there, and they think their time has come.

Starting today, let’s give them all the shit they all deserve.

 

 

 

 

The height of arrogance and the depth of denial

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

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

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

O Brother

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

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

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

Breaking the rules

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

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

Trumped at their own game

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

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

Denial as a worldview

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

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

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

In other words

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

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

Christian fakes

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

Running interference

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

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

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

Twitterized

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

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

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

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

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

The Confederate flag is the perfect symbol for angry losers and selfish winners

confederate-flag-1-1024x768Some people in the American South seem to think the Confederate Flag stands for freedom and the will to put up a fight in the face of tyranny. They also conveniently like to ignore the fact that the Confederate Flag came to represent the interests of people who happily enslaved other human beings to get cheap labor and enrich themselves.

It’s a rather disgusting fact that the Confederate flag has continued to hang over states in the South.

But it makes a perverse kind of sense. What other flag has been used to celebrate getting your ass kicked in a war? Well, from that perspective perhaps the Confederate flag does have more in common with the United States Stars and Stripes. America’s track record since World War II is decidedly mixed when it comes to winning and losing wars.

Vietnam was arguably a disaster in terms of lives lost and public relations for the United States. Fears over communism drove the war, but so did an obsession with world dominance that has bled into wars in Iraq a couple times. And let’s not even talk about Afghanistan. We’re still over there shooting at people in an act of presiding over a Civil War in a nation that has nothing to do with our real national interests. We could have pulled out of there the weekend after we “missed” getting Osama bin Laden and the world would not be any worse off than it is now.

America missed warnings about terrorist strikes, then tried to make up the difference by bombing and torturing people that had very little to do with the real reason why we got hit in the first place. Which was sticking our nose into the business of Middle East. Our devotion to Israel stems from moneyed interests that further want to protect a Confederate country formed from political actions back in the 1950s. Don’t believe me that Israel is a Confederate state?

confederate
ADJECTIVE
[ kənˈfedərət ] joined by an agreement or treaty:
NOUN
  1. a person one works with, especially in something secret or illegal; an accomplice:
VERB (confederated)
[ -ˌrāt ] bring (states or groups of people) into an alliance:
Israel flagWe don’t traditionally think of Israel as a Confederate state because the Judeo-Christian tradition refuses to accept that anything other than nationhood is acceptable for the Jewish state. But let’s not forget that Israel got is ass kicked several times by other forces in the Middle East. God apparently approved or let these things happen. The temple in Jerusalem got leveled a few times if Bible memories serve.
To be frank, Israel was reformed as a nation out of human will and in response, in some measure, to the outright massacre of millions of Jews during World War II. The argument over whether re-establishing Israel as a state or nation has raged ever since. Millions of Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East wish they could put an end to Israel. Its confederated status flies in the face of a history in which Israel appeared and disappeared over the course of history. As a result, key cities such as Jerusalem clearly share multiple roots in faith and tradition. The Crusades never really settled anything. They basically acted as a combined religious and civil war over jurisdiction of the region. The installation of the Israeli confederacy has resulted in permanent civil war in the region. 
Home bound
If America had accepted or enacted a similar outcome on its own soil, the Confederacy would still exist. The Confederate flag would fly in place of the stars and stripes.
And some people might like it that way. Had history taken a different course, the Confederacy might have been able to permanently refuse equal rights to black slaves in the South. After all, in the wake of the Civil War the South still enacted virtual slavery with Jim Crow laws enforced by lynchings, torture and discrimination.
Groups such as the Klu Klux Klan, which still claims to be a Christian organization focused on purity of the white race, played a major role in the ugly drama of the Old South.
Slowly these forces lost primary influence in the South. The Confederacy lost the Civil War. Civil rights movements struck down racist laws and granted black citizens of the United States full rights.
The Confederacy lives on
FlagWaiverYet the determined spirit of the Confederacy refused, in many respects, to die. The allegiances that drove the original Confederacy live on in full relief. The defiant response to America’s first black President in Barack Obama was in full evidence with statements by leading southern politicians such as Mitch McConnell, who vowed behind a white veil of innocence to make Obama a “one term President.”
It’s all the same stupid, confused logic of the Confederacy reborn. In the name of freedom the neo-Confederates ignore the history of the racist roots of the Confederacy and all its claims to “states rights” and “less government.” But really there is no logic behind the claim that less government equals better government. Because the less our government stands for human equality and opportunity, the more egregious the offenses become against those whose status is less than white or privileged by law in some other respect. We’ve already witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth in American history from the middle class to the richest 1%. That happens to be the same percentage of slaveholders in the South. Do you see the picture now? The neo-confederacy would prefer to make slaves of us all. That is why the Confederate Flag should offend every one of us.
We’ve seen the actions of racists for more than 200 years. We’ve seen corporate interests ignore the impact that pollution has on the environment. We’ve watched discrimination according to sexism and sexual orientation. We’ve seen all this falsely supported by claims that the Bible supports such views, and that God favors a political party that claims to represent freedom even as it works tirelessly to limit or remove the freedoms of others.
john-boehner2-1024x780We’ve even watched the neo-Confederacy try to tie all this to national and individual prosperity, all while protesting social programs such as Social Security and Medicaid that clearly leverage the nation’s collective wealth to protect the elderly and sick in times of needs.
But the neo-Confederacy seeks to secede from a nation dedicated to helping others. Because just like the conservative causes that claimed to protest the second World War while secretly funding the Nazis with weapons in acts of clear war profiteering, and like the neo-Confederates who leveraged the Iraq War into a mercenary profit machine, the neo-Confederacy is a mean-spirited movement to divide America and reap profits from its hulking corpse.
Symbols of ignorance

All this seems to be lost on those who believe the Confederate flag stands for anything other than fighting for the cause of selfish interests and ignorance. And as for the battle to keep Israel afloat in a sea of resistance, the only true solution lies in recognition of other culture’s claims to the same historical claims of territory.

That’s how the United States converted from a Union and Confederacy to a single nation. Rather than the divisions of ignorance, race and selfish interests, it was respect born of mutual needs that ultimately brought reconciliation and peace.

You can wave all the flags you want, but in the end it is the white flag of peace that truly matters.

The painful truth of why some Christians feel persecuted

SoftballThe game of softball is a wonderful American past time. Even more than baseball perhaps, softball is played by teams of men and women for camaraderie and fun. Yet many players take their softball quite seriously. Bars and other businesses sponsor teams, providing uniforms and league fees in return for recognition and community support.

Powerhouses

A powerhouse softball team can dominate a softball league for many years. The reputation of a dynastic softball team can go a long way toward defeating opponents before the games even begin. One such team led the softball league in our city for several years before our newspaper-sponsored band of former baseball players and other athletes signed up to play together. That first year we ran head on into the powerhouse team in the quarterfinals and got knocked out. We had not built our roster completely and the home run hitters on the powerhouse team overwhelmed our run production capability.

Humble efforts

But the next year we added a couple more former college baseball players and the results of that year’s schedule and championship were entirely different. Our team still looked like the rag tag liberals in the league. We wore sweatpants and old stained hats to play. Our team shirts were nothing special for sure. But we played the game of softball with the practical flair of hit and run offense and great gloves on defense. We lost but two games all season, one to the powerhouse team in the league. The other game we lost because we were shorthanded due to family obligations.

The powerhouse team was still sure they would wipe us out in the championship round. They came to the park as they always did, full of loud voices and swagger. Their crisp new uniforms shone in the sun. Every at-bat they cheered and yelled intimidations at us in the field.

Yet midway through the third inning we had racked up 8 runs to their single home run in the second inning. Suddenly they came to the realization that their brand of intimidation and domination had worn off on us. We were catching their potential home runs, for one thing, and making plays on their other hitters as well. When we came to bat, we moved runners around the bases with hits and speed. They began screaming at each other for missing line drives and grounders that always seemed just out of reach. Their voices changed from a tone of domination to desperation.

Turning tables

For the next eight seasons in a row, our lowly-looking team of fundamentally sound softball players beat that team of blowhards during the regular season and for the championship too. No amount of muscle they added to their lineup really changed things.

They did complain to the umpires a lot more. Apparently they felt persecuted by the fact that the rules of play were not tipped somehow in their favor. They had bigger players and more home run hitters than us. They flexed their arms in the sun and they looked like winners in their uniforms. Yet we beat them year after year.

Spiteful congratulations

Finally, after the eighth season of getting tromped in the finals, one of them turned to me after the awards ceremony and pointed at the baseball glove trophy we’d received and said, with a dripping tone of cynicism in his voice, “Congratulations. All that thing will ever do is gather dust on your dresser.”

And he was right. But he was also so wrong. Because we’d accomplished what his team of perceived dominance could not do. We played by our own conscience and methods, and we won.

You could perhaps have argued that the powerhouse team with its pretty uniforms was a better representation of the sport of softball. Admittedly our team received more than one insult about our pragmatic mode of dress and lack of complete uniforms. Our response was always the same: What matters is how well you play the game.

That apparently felt like an insult in some way to our better-dressed competitors. Yet they never seemed to focus on the practical reasons why they continued to lose. The more home run hitters they added, the fewer runs they produced because fewer men ever got on base. As a result, they seemed to feel persecuted in their annual pursuit of overcoming their own flaws.

Hard lessons and loud fans

In sports and life and in business, the most critical aspect of improvement is grasping your weaknesses and understanding your strengths. That is key to making competitive adjustments in this world. It almost doesn’t matter what scale or what cultural meme to which you apply these standards, you either figure out why you’re losing or you keep on losing. Just ask the Cubs, but don’t blame a goat or a black cat. And remember that the team with the loudest fans does not always win.

The loud protestations by conservatives that Christianity is being “persecuted” and “attacked” by liberals is an often-heard meme across the media spectrum. Yet it does more to expose the rightly fallen status of fundamental Christianity as the once dominant religion in America. The plain and simple fact is that it is weaknesses in conservative theology that have done the most to persecute conservative Christianity. Biblical scholarship that does not commence with broad assumptions about the order and process New Testament dogma has done more to undermine fundamentalism as a worldview than secular liberalism could ever do. Yet everyday Christians with a commitment to social justice also find themselves divorced from fundamental Christianity with its often prejudicial treatment of women, people of color, gays and a whole host of other social targets pulled into the mix by conservative Christianity’s alliance with fiscal conservatives as well.

Now there has arisen a new brand of Protestantism of a Progressive brand seeking to reconcile social justice and the Bible. This new progressivism happens to align perfectly with the fundamental tenets of the United States Constitution and its call for equal rights. by contrast conservative Christianity seems perpetually engaged in denying equal rights to anyone judged to stand outside its often literal interpretations of scripture.

Conservative Christianity has long had it troubles with key elements of the social revolution. Inclusiveness proved difficult for people convinced that Christianity was the divine province of relatively wealthy and white people. Then when hippies starting calling on the Lord by name through very liberal productions such as Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, conservatives felt they had enough and decided sometime in the 1960s to take their softball and go home.

But they couldn’t stay away from the political sandlot for long. They came back bellowing through the lungs of Jerry Falwell and for a few years looked like they might just win a season or two of political softball. The Moral Majority wrapped itself in flags and claimed that conservative Christianity owned the roots of the Constitution itself.

Sticking to what works

Truth be told however, it was liberalism with all its ties to Constitutional justice, equal rights and freedom from religion that was sticking closer to the Constitution.

Conservative Christians backed by political allies accused liberals and Democrats of cheating the political system handing out favors in the form of Social Security and Medicare in exchange for voting approval on the so-called Liberal Agenda.

There was only one problem with this storyline. Those social programs happen to align very closely with the fundamental tenets of true Christianity. Caring for the poor and sick is exactly what the Bible (and Jesus) calls on us to do. Our government basically started an insurance program back in the 1930s to keep people from becoming destitute in their retirement years of when they are elderly, sick and need the most help. That’s not a handout. That’s responsible management that happens to reflect true Christian values.

The abortion debate

That was not the only cognitive dissonance from the Right. Because beyond having failed in making a connection with the American people on compassionate social programs, the Christian Right elected to take issue with other trends they considered social ills. The right to abortion was one of those issues.

The problem with abortion as an issue of Christian concern is that its simple and preventative solutions such as prescribing birth control and delivering sex education have both been branded as liberal, not moral, solutions to the prevalence of abortions. Even the Catholic church with its so-called rhythm method of birth control could not fool its own constituents. This theologically twisted (and often flawed) advice has been ignored en masse by Catholic families, 97% of whom use conventional methods of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Wrong again and again on science

Conservative Christianity has executed similarly bold yet spectacularly wrongheaded campaigns against science and evolution as ell. The entire creationist ideology that depends on literal interpretation of the Bible is nothing more than a ‘science of denial.’ Not a single scientific discovery has ever been directed or proven through the lens of creationism. The same goes for the euphemistic Intelligent Design movement that chooses to openly ignore the fact modern medicine and all our sciences depend upon evolutionary theory as a foundational method for proposing and testing scientific facts. The ID movement predictably labels this brand of science a tautology, but again, not a single scientific fact or theory has, or ever can be, tested through ID. The reason is simple. No one can test for the presence or absence of God in a natural or organic process. Therefore it is not a science. It is a religion.

Loud losers

With all these profound losses of credibility and practicality on its ledger, it is no wonder conservative Christianity feels persecuted. If you’re going to stand in center field and yell about how your opposition sucks when the score is 20-1 against your team, that’s a choice some people seem happy and determined to make.

But to hedge its bets and counter these massive losses of credibility over the years, conservative Christianity is taking an entirely different approach to imposing its will on America. It has decided that rather than try to win the game fairly, it is better to simply buy up all the teams and even try to own the league itself.

That’s what the new conservative strategy is all about. If you outright own the league (or the Senate and House that govern it) it doesn’t much matter how good or right your opponent truly is about the Constitution or any other subject. This strategy is abetted by the convenient and persistent transfer of wealth from the middle class, which tends to vote for pragmatically liberal issues and social justice, to the wealthiest Americans in bed with equally conservative Christians.

This strategy is harrowlingly abetted by the convenient and persistent transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest Americans in bed with equally conservative Christians. This further removes power from proponents of pragmatical liberal issues and social justice. The Citizens United ruling rubber stamped by a conservative Supreme Court helped usher in a new age corporate ownership of the political process.

The tortured truth of Fox News

The Christian Right even owns its own broadcast team so that fans of the Home Team never hear any criticism of conservative Christianity and its political or business allies. Fox loves the use of strongarm tactics and bullying to get its way. It even cheered and supported ex-VP Dick Cheney when he spoke out in defense of torturing Iraqis. It is hard to believe that Jesus would support such a viewpoint. After all, it could not have been pleasant being scourged by his Roman captors and spat upon, or forced to carry a piece of heavy timber to the place where soldiers nailed his wrists to the wood and let him expire from stress and bleeding. But Fox News and its conservative alliance thought it was fine to torture and persecute often innocent citizens in search of information about a war that America started as a retaliation against a country that wasn’t involved in the 9/11 attacks.

How very Christian of us 

But Fox News with its team of mostly white male and female hack cheerleaders loudly proclaims that Christians are the ones being persecuted. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly love this approach to gaining complicity. It makes them tons of money beckoning to the jingoistic fervor of conservatives who seem to love to have an enemy at which to point their rage.

There is just one problem with this last grasp for victory. Jesus himself told us to love our enemies, not persecute them or claim to be persecuted by others. Turn the other cheek, remember? Or at the very least shake the dust from your sandals (or softball shoes) and move on to make your point in another town.

But even Jesus said to make sure you got the message right before you go shaking the dust off anything. Even his own disciples missed the metaphorical foundations of his teaching, asking him why he was so liberal with his organic symbolism rather than just “telling it straight.”

“Are you so dull?” he challenged his disciples. Or, “Are you also without understanding?’

See, the disciples of Jesus felt a bit persecuted by the fact that more people did not accept what Jesus was teaching. But Jesus had them stop and think about what they were actually saying. “If you can’t understand my message,” he admonished them (and I paraphrase) “then how can you be trusted to share it with others?”

Indeed the disciples never got the whole message until Jesus gave himself over to be killed. In that single act, designed to both liberate and liberalize the faith of the Jewish and the Gentiles alike, he was sending a message that you cannot be persecuted in his name unless you bring it upon yourself and make it so.

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.

How the Republican Party will blame liberals for climate change

FlagWaiverIt seems almost impossible to think about. Yet one day soon all those who spend time denying the fact of man-made climate change will embrace it as a way to blame liberals for ruining the world.

Here’s how it will go down. There will be a conference somewhere amongst all those that have spent the last 10 years hating Al Gore for stating the inconvenient truth. And the financiers of phonily constructed research that denies the existence of global climate change will suddenly find ways to fund credible science because it serves an all new, entirely political purpose.

That purpose will be to blame liberals, especially environmentalists, for anthropogenic climate change.

There will still be an anti-science motive behind the science climate change deniers use to suddenly reverse positions on the idea that humans can effect climatologically disastrous levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

That motive will be to bring religion to the forefront of the so-called argument over climate change. Religious conservatives will contend that it is the policies of environmentalists that have gone against the will of God. They will claim that it is the arrogance of all those seeking to outsmart the Creator by imposing manmade laws and environmental regulations that has led to our pending climate disaster.

Predictable outcomes

Playing righteousness for political favors and power is how conservatives always operate in this world. It doesn’t matter that there is no logic behind the argument that conservation laws and international governmental agreements to reduce carbon emissions are the cause of global warming.

What matters to conservatives is framing the argument under terminology they can control. That’s where religion comes in so handy. They will point to passages from the bible where people defying the will of God have suffered punishment. The exile of Israeli people to Egypt and to Babylonia will likely serve as the apocryphal bludgeon used by conservatives to illustrate how God punishes those who try to think for themselves and “fall out of worship” with God.

Falling away from God

That means conservatives will rally all the talking points they use to assail what they call liberalism. Which is in fact nothing more than guaranteeing basic human rights. But that has never gone over well with conservatives. For a long time it was persecution of black people that occupied their attention. Then came the 1960s and social revolution. Then women’s rights became the enemy. Now tolerance of gays will be cited as a sign that America, which conservatives brand a Christian nation, has fallen away from the ways of God. For sure there will be a bit of apocalyptic fervor and imagery thrown in for good measure. Just to appeal to the frantically preoccupied base that believes the end of the world is coming about anyway. Nothing like a bit of threat and lost hope to motivate those who see the Bible as a set of bookends with Genesis and Revelation providing the sudden beginning and end of the world. How very convenient it all fits together.

Murderous ways

Never mind that our endless wars of choice and murderous habits of the CIA and other secretive organizations within government do far more evil and murderous things in the world. None of that matters because, in the minds of those who believe in American exceptionalism, none of that comes home to roost. We’re trying to change the world for the better, the argument goes. A few eggs are going to get broken in the process. Some of those “eggs” might have included the killing of JFK or even the complicit design of 9/11 as an excuse to attack Iraq for oil and influence. People lose their lives to these murderous schemes. But what matters more to conservatives is that someone might lose a little profit due to environmental regulations? Talk about skewed priorities.

Shame and blame

So the calculatedly blameless core of the religious and political right will have absolutely no problem blaming liberals for anthropogenic climate change. The sin of trying to act like God by invoking environmental protection laws is to blame for God’s swift justice on this earth. God is changing the climate to punish us all, they will say.

And it won’t be very long before this narrative comes to the forefront of American and world politics. The pressure to recognize this reality is soon going to force conservatives to admit they were wrong. But that just means they need to find someone to blame for their own egregious behaviors.

Need proof? Look at how quickly the religious and political right concocted the narrative that George W. Bush and Republican policies had nothing to do with the economic recession. Or that Bush and Company somehow screwed things up in the Middle East. No, there was no responsibility there on the part of the GOP or worse, the operatives that carry out the will of the corporatocracy.

Because that’s how it all really works. The confusing mix of business, religion and politics all mix together in the netherworld of people who want to own it all and accept no blame for the consequences of their actions. God comes in handy in those circumstances. All you have to do is claim you’re on God’s side and people find it hard to argue with you.

You heard it here first. It shouldn’t be long now. In fact they’ll probably steal the idea from this blog. We can only hope the Pope speaks out against the plot of the new Pharisees.