The “Republican Brand” Is Now As Toxic As Cancer

Cancer Salesmen insisting that cancer is good for us, good for America!

Imagine if cancer had a “brand”. You don’t have to — it’s the same as the GOP’s. Republicans suck at governing mostly because it’s their mission to prove that government doesn’t work. So, whenever they get into power, they turn government into a branch of their own corrupt enterprise.

Donald Trump IS the Republican Brand. So’s Mitch McConnell and Bill Barr and Mikes Flynn, Pompeo & Pence. Greed is the Republican Brand. And Corruption and conspiracy and — here’s the big one: TREASON. Yes, treason is absolutely part of what one should think of when one thinks “Republicans”.

Republicans MADE treason their brand when they took all that Russian money into their campaign coffers in 2016.

Republicans made treason their brand when they embraced Donald Trump — KNOWING that he was taking money from Russia.

Republicans made treason their brand when they did everything possible to obstruct every investigation into Russia’s involvement with Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Republicans made treason their brand when they refused to convict Trump for trying to pull the same treasonous bullshit with Ukraine in 2020 that they pulled with Russia in 2016.

Republicans make treason their brand each time they look away when Trump & Putin communicate sans notes, note-takers or anyone overseeing what exactly Trump is giving away.

It’s the treason that drives the rest of Republican corruption now. It has to. Once the GOP committed themselves to Trump, once they hitched their wagon to him — albeit reluctantly at first — the game was over. There couldn’t be any coming back — ever.

While the news media continues to scratch its head, unable to fathom why Republicans still only reluctantly disagree with Trump, the business world has already begun to separate themselves from Trump and the GOP because they care about their brands. The exodus didn’t just start however. Twenty-First Century Fox — the corporation that oversees Fox News — made a decision back in 2017 that reflected the reality that’s thudding hard into the Republican Party right now — they fired Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly, remember, was Fox’s cash cow before Tucker Carlson. The sexual misconduct accusations that ended O’Reilly’s tenure weren’t the first. And, in another time, the accusations might have been ignored as they always had been. But Twenty-First Century Fox’s board of directors saw red flag warnings ahead and chose to change course. The warnings came via their advertisers — who said they would no longer support O’Reilly with their ad dollars. And the advertisers were reacting to the most important fact in their universe: the majority of buying decisions in most American households were being made by women.

The advertisers needed women to like their brands so that they’d buy them. They knew however that women don’t care for men who sexually harass or abuse women. They won’t buy products from men like that — or companies that stand with abusers. Women, the advertisers understood, were the key. And, if women weren’t going to support Bill O’Reilly, neither would they.

That spelled the end of Bill O’Reilly at Fox. The toxicity of his brand did him in.

Branding can take years — decades even — to create yet moments to destroy. Guys like Kevin Spacey are terrific actors with remarkable bodies of work. But, in the public’s mind Kevin Spacey’s brand isn’t acting anymore. It’s sexual deviance. Yeah, Kevin beat the rap on one charge but that charge against Kevin didn’t happen in a vacuum.

No one wants to work with Kevin anymore. If Kevin signs on to a movie or TV project now, everyone else will bail on it. Welcome to Pariahhood, Kevin.

Give the GOP a few months — the day after election day — and they’ll know exactly how Kevin feels.

Even if the Republican Party cheats on an even more massive scale than they did in 2016 and comes away with a “win”? It won’t play like a win — not this time. This time, the cheating will have to be so staggeringly obvious that even our press will have to check their “both sides do it” heads at the door.

“Live with it” is how Republicans want to brand their coronavirus response. “Die because of it” will be the way the American public “brands” it however.

But then, what kind of branding did we expect from a death cult?

From A Branding Point Of View, “Christian” Is Kinda Spent; Followers Of Jesus Need A New Name

I’ll own it — a born atheist has no business telling Christians anything about their brand. Except, Christianity — being a sales-based religion (“Hey, have ya heard the ‘good news’ style proselytizing started with Paul, the actual inventor of Christianity) — relies almost entirely on how it’s perceived by others. After all, isn’t the point of me hearing “the good news” the hope that I’ll come to my senses and convert?

Christians are preaching to a shrinking choir. Have they ever stopped to ask themselves why? No, they haven’t — because self-analysis isn’t part of the brand. Confession is. So’s an intense focus on rules & regs at the diminishing expense of any sort of spirituality. Christianity’s problem isn’t branding. Christianity’s problem is its brand.

I’ve blogged on many occasions with receipts (so I won’t do it here) about the Christian Church’s origins. It’s entirely Paul’s invention. Entirely. Jesus’ simple (Jewish) message — Do Unto Others — got subsumed into and under the mythology that Paul created and spread to the brand new churches forming across the Roman world. Paul never met Jesus. Never heard Jesus preach or teach. He failed trying to sell his version of Jesus to the Jews (with its wild, magic-heavy “proofs” that Jesus was the messiah) and, so, turned to the Gentiles.

The Gentiles, having no knowledge of (or concern for) Jewish mythology, accepted Paul’s version — because why wouldn’t they? Paul had created something genius — a way to conquer death. Accept Jesus as your lord and savior and you can live forever.

That has nothing to do with “Doing Unto Others”. And the church Paul created was big on forcing non-Christians to accept Jesus. Ironically, those Christians were going to “Do Unto Others” on pain of death.

The Catholic Church, once it acquired political power, never let that power go. Whatever spirituality there was in the institution died. More irony — Jesus preached against having churches because churches, he said, were corrupt. What could be more corrupt than the Catholic Church? Almost from the day it hung out its shingle, the Catholic Church has concerned itself with rules & regs, getting money into its coffers, and increasing its “membership”.

There is no way to count the number of humans who have died because of religion. Christianity — with its crusades and its inquisitions and its own internecine wars — has put its stamp on a veritable shit ton of them. And all to sell a product that its own supposed creator would never ever EVER recognize.

The Christian Church and Jesus aren’t just estranged, they’re strangers. That disconnect is what’s killing the church (whether Catholic or Protestant). I have a dear friend — a Presbyterian minister — whose job is trying to keep Presbyterian congregations alive.

The proud conservative Christians running the Republican Party — bowing in total obeisance to the evangelicals — have also helped destroy any notion that such a thing as “Christian mercy” exists outside of a sanctimonious Sunday sermon. Brown Children in cages was not what Jesus had children suffering unto in his mind.

If I’m a brand that needs new followers to stay alive — that needs brand loyalty from current followers — that has to compete with a thousand more ideas than it ever had to before — I’m afraid (if I’m Christianity). I wouldn’t be however, if I were Jesus.

Is there a more potent antidote the vile, self-serving piggery of Trumpism than “Do Unto Others”? Republicanism — same question. Christianity — you, too.

Jesus and Christianity have nothing to do with each other. Followers of Jesus — even now — are loathe to associate themselves with evangelicals or the rapey Catholic Church or any of the rules & regs heavy institutions their parents forced on them when they were kids.

I would say Followers Of Jesus need a new Paul — to create a new institution that gets the mythology right. But, right off the bat, that would violate one of Jesus’ core tenants — the need for a church.

Maybe a better way to go would be to actually follow Jesus. If you want to follow him theistically — go directly to god. Skip the institution. If you just want to Do Unto Others? Well, who’s stopping you? All you have to do is “Do”.

Maybe the best new brand for Followers Of Jesus is to call themselves DUO’s. They Do Unto Others. That’s all you need to know about them (so long as their actions match their words). I’d say they don’t even need that.

But what do I know? I’m just a dumb atheist.

Can Twitter Be Fixed? Or Has “The Fix” Always Been In At Twitter?

When I turned on my computer this morning, I learned that I am now banned from Twitter for a week. The offending tweet (I sooooo wish I had taken a few more moments before responding and screen captured it) was mild to put it bluntly. I said I wished that Donald Trump – with his shitty eating habits – would hurry up and do the patriotic thing: have a “cardiac infarction”. That was it: You eat so badly, have a heart attack already.

Banned for a week. For that.

If you tweet with any regularity, you know — that doesn’t make it as mild. A violation of Twitter’s rules? THAT tweet?

Something is rotten in the State of Twitter. There always has been. So why not quit the platform?

Twitter — among social media — is unique. That uniqueness has made it ubiquitous as both a news source and a brand-building platform. In design, Twitter is very much like a giant public square (I’m not the first person to compare it to one). Each member of the community enters, in essence, with a soap box under their arm. We can go stand and listen to others up on their soap boxes (shouting out compliments or catcalls, depending) or put our own soap box down on he ground, step onto it and orate to your heart’s content (or until some RW troll goes after you and gets you banished for a week).

FB (which everyone should run from, their hair on fire because of Zuckerberg’s total lack of transparency, his lying about abusing our privacy & data and the fact that FB accepted a shitload of Russian money back in the day) makes it hard to build a following (since everyone has to be friends first) whereas, on Twitter, if you can tweet well and find a little traction, it’s possible to build a following (if slowly but surely). But, like FB, Twitter is easily manipulated by bullshit and false information. In an age where even simple, basic Truth has to be triangulated before you can trust it, the only way to possibly know the truth is via triangulation. Source, check & double check.

Too many people don’t. Or don’t want to.

That Donald Trump still tweets is a profound problem. Yeah, I know – he’s the president of the United States. It still doesn’t give him the right or reason to so completely misinform, disinform and otherwise crap all over the Truth. Especially when Twitter is THE place — across most cultures on the planet — where news goes to break. One may roll out a project or product on FB but one uses Twitter to tell the world about it.

This was hardly the first time I’ve been banned on Twitter. My original Twitter account was over 10,000 followers when it got suspended for good. Twitter accused several tweets telling certain republicans that they should die in prison of violating its rules. I’m totally biased but I think that was bullshit. I said – literally – I hope the criminal justice system prosecutes you & punishes you with a life sentence. That was it.

I appealed as far as I could but that came to nothing — as arguing with a computer always will — because that’s really what happened to me. The bot that reported me had sent a dozen supporting tweets as proof of how evil I was. Several had the words “die in prison” connected in the tweet. Others had those 3 words spread out across the tweet — not having been used in conjunction with each other. But there the three words were – in the same tweet. And, for that, I had to be punished.

How did Twitter get so powerful in our lives that the thought of a week without being able to tweet from my primary account looms as a setback. I can’t brand as aggressively as I have been the past few weeks. I can’t be an active part of a community of smart people that I’ve come to treasure like dear, old friends. I can listen to the news — and to people (I can message them directly if that function isn’t blocked). But I can’t interact (except via DM) in any way, shape or form.

Maybe our real problem is that Twitter has become a necessary evil.

Will Our Age Ultimately Be Known As ‘THE BRANDED AGE’?

Americans are not generally known for their knowledge of history (or geography).  We have other strengths.  But, when we DO have history (and remember it), we tend to be ‘colorful’ about it.  There’s a ‘pretty famous’ (if by ‘famous’ we mean Historians call it that) time period in American History called The Gilded Age.

It was America’s first Great Headrush of Success — when the accumulation of extreme wealth became a remote possibility for a few outside the tight circle of White Christian Old Mega Wealth.  Suddenly, even total cads could get the Federal Government to pony up all the money & risk on the transcontinental railroad while THEY reaped all the profit.  Boo-Yah Representative Democracy was Good!

Our own Age is starting to feel (creepily so) like a deranged, stalker wanna-be of the Gilded Age.  Call us THE BRANDED AGE.

Having no more wealth beneath the earth’s crust to pursue (someone else already owns it all), and with technology making most anything we could do with our hands obsolete as a job skill (making ‘things’ is so ‘third world prison labor’, don’tcha think?), that means only the Most Clever Rats will find their way out of the Maze that is Their Future.  And the MOSTEST, CLEVEREST Rats have already groked that BRANDING — making YOU (the ‘idea’ of you actually) a distinct thing in other peoples’ minds — is essential to any sort of success going forward.

Because WHO WE ARE is now instantly accessible by anyone else, we need to make damned sure that what’s being PROJECTED is the picture of ourselves we want projected.  Our everything depends on it being ‘right’ (whatever ‘right’ is for each of us).

Back in the day, this kind of thing was called ‘your values’.  I don’t mean ‘Family Values’ — an ad slogan for smug, sanctimonious Christan hypocrites — I mean VALUES.  Stuff you believed in not because some religious bullshitters rammed it down your throat but because you lived life and applied your life experiences accordingly.  Like most people, you probably wanted to co-exist in relative peace & harmony with your neighbors, live a long, healthy life and get to see your great-grandchildren succeed before passing on.

And because those were your values, you hung with certain people who shared those values.  You formed friendships, started businesses and raised your families among people whose values were pretty much the same as yours.

If you practiced a religion — you formed bonds with people who believed the same way you did.  If you loved a sports team above all others… same thing.

These days they think of it in Branding terms.  I happily ‘brand’ with Tottenham Hotspur for instance.  I’ve followed that English Premier League team for years & years & years (I married into a Spurs family).  On some days, I  still happily co-brand with the LA Dodgers.  It’s an LA thing…

But I am keenly aware of everyone I now associate with.  If I speak up for someone or get their back — I need to know I’m not gonna pay for it by seeing my own integrity dinged.

After all — I have a brand to protect.