We all know one. Or two or three. Men who’ve got it in their heads that they’re deities. They sure think their junk is. But I’m talking about a small subset of that set — the Bill Barrs of the world. The assholes di tutti assholes.
Bill Barr has made his religious views known. He’s not ashamed of his bizarre brand of Catholicism that is as far removed from Jesus as I am from getting a dinner invite from Donald Trump. Catholicism is just Bill Barr’s beard anyway. Bill doesn’t believe in Catholicism’s god. Bill doesn’t believe IN God at all.
Bill Barr believes he IS God.
Watch Barr’s performance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Watch his body language. Even a well-rehearsed liar like Bill Barr can’t control his body’s autonomous responses to stimuli.
Barr started the hearing his usual, arrogant self. It was there, gleaming in his eyes. But then the Democrats began to frustrate Barr. Every time Barr went to digress (his strategy — eat as much of the questioner’s five minutes as possible), the Democrats cut him off: “I’m reclaiming my time!”
Bill cannot tolerate being questioned. He hates being challenged especially by women
how he dodged. Deal with it. Except that didn’t happen today. Today, the Democrats weren’t so much asking Barr questions as telling him what he’s done.
Telling We The People what Bill Barr has done on Donald Trump’s behalf to dismantle the country the rest of us live in.
Bill Barr’s hardly the only Republican who honestly thinks he’s not just “a” deity but “the” deity.
Mike Pompeo is famously religious. He’s big into the end of days cos he thinks the Book Of Revelation should be taken literally. Mike’s proof that Karl Marx was wrong. Religion isn’t the opiate of the masses, it’s the angel dust. It doesn’t narcotize, it causes psychosis.
Mike Pence might be one of the phoniest Christians ever. He wouldn’t know Jesus if he stopped midway through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in Jesus’s eye — which he absolutely would do. Mike comes by his sanctimony honestly — he really is sanctimonious. And make no mistake — when Mike Pence imagines the face of God? He sees himself.
Mitch McConnell doesn’t see himself as God, he sees himself as a dark Turtle Lord serving the Kochs. To Mitch McConnell, THEY are God.
Then there’s Donald Trump — except Trump’s the exception to the rule. Trump doesn’t see himself as God — he can’t imagine anything bigger than himself — except money. To Trump, money is God and Trump is its Jesus.
You’ll notice — all of these God wannabes aspire to be God. Not a one of them aspires to be Jesus. It’s like they see no advantage or gain in dying for anyone else’s sins.
The downside to this technology — in the episode — was that the skill set couldn’t be in two places at once. If it was being implanted into someone else, it’s because it no longer existed in its original host. In the episode, the character “Mad” Joe Dell’s legendary jazz chops could be removed from Joe Dell and given to someone who’d bought them — from the company that took them from Joe Dell.
Joe Dell (and most of his family), thought Joe was moving into a retirement community. There was no explanation for his rapid decline into total dementia — and then his death. But Joe hadn’t actually died. He’d been warehoused — until every last drop of his jazz chops could be squeezed from him.
The episode ended happily. Joe’s teenaged grandson Ronnie catches on to the monstrous scam being pulled and gets his grandfather back — legendary jazz chops mostly complete. So, here’s my storyteller’s sighed “What if…?”
What if we could transplant John Lewis’ legendary humanity, his empathy and humility into the heads of every single Republican?
But the “skill set” we’re talking about isn’t like jazz talent. It doesn’t require all the micro-skills being a jazz legend demands. All this skill set requires is that we care about other people at least as much as we care about ourselves. Ya know — “Do unto others” and all that.
What if we could get Republicans to “Do unto others” like it was a super power? Or a normal human capacity…
Imagine if Mitch McConnell forgot how to be a cynical treason turtle and, instead, cared about America and every human living within its borders.
Imagine if Bill Barr put down his perverse Dominionism and, instead took up Jesus’ message.
Imagine if Mike Pence’s sanctimony suddenly morphed into love of something other than Donald Trump’s ass.
Imagine if every single Republican who thought Jesus wanted them to be rich vs decent suddenly realized, “NO! HE WANTS US TO BE DECENT!”
We won’t bother imagining any scenario where Donald Trump suddenly acquires humanity. Mary Trump’s book spelled it out clearly and emphatically: Trump has no capacity for humanity and probably never did. He’s a sociopath just like his daddy. Indecency is hard-wired into Trump’s corrupt DNA.
But, if everyone else suddenly acquired John Lewis’ innate decency — if every Republican who’s enabled Trump (in other words, every Republican who still proudly calls themselves “Republican”) — then we wouldn’t have a problem with Trump. Our collective decency would not tolerate his presence.
He’d be gone already and no longer a clear & present danger.
I know — that’s why stories are stories and reality is reality.
Donald Trump counts on what Steve Bannon called “flooding the zone with shit”. It’s the “How To Make A Rabbit Hole” playbook.
Obfuscation and distraction are the point. While we spin our wheels in consternation at the latest outrage, Trump is busily thieving somewhere else in the environment or laying the groundwork for an even bigger score somewhere down the line.
Each Trumpian lie is a rabbit hole. The danger — and our press simply can’t keep out of it — is that you’ll follow Trump down whichever one he’s braying from. There’s never a good outcome.
“It’s a hoax” is a rabbit hole. Whatever Trump calls a “hoax” is guaranteed to be one hundred percent true. Nothing hoax about. The only correct answer is “No, it’s not”. Any scratching of the head and wondering “Wow, does he really think it’s a hoax?” is the rabbit hole reaching up to grab you and pull you into it.
No, of course Trump doesn’t think it’s a hoax. He knows better. But now that he’s got you asking questions about it, it might as well be real because here we all are talking about it. The rabbit hole just became real.
Mike Pence also loves a good rabbit hole. Ever watch him answer a question?
Yesterday — in the face of record-setting infection numbers, Mike Pence announced how proud he was of our efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Proud? Of what? Of the fact that we’re pretty much the only country in the world getting its ass kicked like this — because we insist on denying science? If you ask Mike the obvious question — “Mike, what the hell are you talking about?”, Mike’s answer will be pure rabbit hole.
Ask Mitch McConnell about Merrick Garland. Or Oleg Deripaska. Or how much money he’s personally taken from Russia over the years. Or why he participated in the coup d’etat that put a Russian intelligence asset in power.
Moscow Mitch will hummina-hummina at you with his beady, red-rimmed Treason Turtle eyes all while leading you down a rabbit hole.
As I said — it’s all about obfuscation.
The trick? Don’t go there. Refuse to follow them. You know the argument’s going to be specious anyway. “Thanks anyway” is a perfectly good way to let them know you won’t be joining them down in bullshitland.
The Trump Era keeps proving — it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when there are fifty balls flying at you. Trump’s coronavirus response has been everything you’d expect it to be — a chaotic, self-centered act of corruption. It’s been such a massive failure that it’s even managed to make everyone forget this essential fact: Donald Trump is a traitor who would not be POTUS if not for Russia MAKING him POTUS.
Imagine losing sight of that fact — but we have. The press — even with Trump lying daily about pretty much everything — they’ve reverted to treating Trump as a legitimate president whose every utterance about the crisis they must cover. The hue and cry to stop covering Trump’s daily campaign rallies has come from all over. it’s a puzzlement why MSNBC & CNN can’t treat it the way they treat Trump’s impromptu WH lawn news pressers. They regularly put some lag time between Trump lying and their broadcasts of his lies. Occasionally they even contextualize Trump’s bullshit — imagine!
I’ve written here often how I think we got here — not so much the coronavirus crisis (though it’s intimately connected) as the underlying political crisis that comes from having the intelligence asset of a hostile foreign government running OUR government. Hillary Clinton did not “lose” election 2016, the correct result was stolen from We The People — which would have made HRC POTUS.
The leadership of the Republican Party has always known what’s going on here. Kevin McCarthy “knew” back when he told a meeting of the Republican Party’s muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — third most powerful politician in the country — told now GOP leader McCarthy: “Let’s keep that ‘in the family’.”
“In the family” — like a bunch of stinking mafioso.
The GOP’s extreme deference to Trump is way beyond tribalism. It’s criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason. That’s why the Republicans can’t stop this train from going off the cliff. The instant Trump stops being president, shit will get real for Trump and everyone sporting that “R” next to their names.
Whether he likes it or not — whether he knows it or not — on January 20, 2021 regardless of whether Trump cancels the election — his term expires. So does Mike Pence’s. On that day, if no election has happened, the presidency will default to the third in line — the Speaker of the House. It is now and will be then Nancy Pelosi.
This is why Mitch McConnell is begging every older conservative judge to retire now. Mitch hopes like hell that the old rules — the ones he violated regularly — will hold and his corrupt hijacking of the judiciary will stand. Mitch is going to be sorely disappointed. I’m with former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner (his Twitter feed is here): when this is all done & said, we must address the fact that everything that flowed from election 2016 — every bit of Republican legislation & chaos, every American Enterprise Institute-approved lifetime judge named while President Obama was denied the appointments — must be considered in the light of treason — of the entire Republican Party knowingly conspiring with Russia to not only seize control of the government but to maintain that control forever: permanent minority rule.
Bill Barr has come damned close to corrupting the Department of Justice beyond repair. Mike Pompeo has nearly destroyed the Department of State. Mitch McConnell, of course, has broken the Senate — with the purpose of hijacking the judiciary for all time.
And then coronavirus screwed up their plans.
For starters, shutting down the govt has already made voting by mail for every American a very real possibility now. Coronavirus has pushed a lot of ideas into the foreground that have struggled for attention up till now. That horrifies Republicans more than anything. The economic chaos — lots of it exacerbated by the damage done by crony capitalism — can only be cured by progressive, social democracy type solutions.
When a version of universal basic income works in ways austerity never could (because it’s always austerity for everyone BUT the rich) — when everyone infected by the coronavirus or kovid-19 finds relief through our socialized medicine response (you won’t get billed for your care or bankrupted by it) — when more Americans realize that the whole point of government is to create an environment where as many people as possible have the education, training and opportunity they need to succeed, they’ll stop seeing it as “the enemy”. If Americans got things for their tax dollars that they could point at — like, say, good health CARE that can’t bankrupt them if they get sick — they’d stop seeing taxes as a black hole.
This is not to say the Republicans won’t still do everything they can to hold onto power. Consider their motivation. They know they could all end up like Paul Manafort — eating prison dinner every night. And Trump knows that the moment he stops being POTUS, he becomes private citizen Don Trump — an INDICTED co-conspirator to election fraud. He could well lose every building he owns to confiscation. Sad, no?
Make no mistake — Neither Trump nor the Republicans “won” election 2016. Without heavy cheating and Russian involvement there’s no way they win election 2020 either.
As of today, Vladimir Putin insists the Russia alone conquered coronavirus. Oh, the things authoritarian shitheads say out loud. That’s just not true — and regardless of what Putin allows the disease sweeping through Russia to be called (a rash of pneumonia), it will clear out people with brutal efficiency. If Russia were suddenly stricken and found itself consumed by not dying instead of poking around in our political system, what would Trump do then?
Imagine Trump & the GOP having to run a “fair” campaign. They couldn’t do it on principle.
If you don’t know HG Wells’ “War Of The Worlds”, here’s the thumbnail — Martians launch from their planet and aggressively take over Earth, easily throwing aside all the puny earthlings. What saves humanity’s bacon? Pathogens. The Martians’ bodies can’t handle the same pathogens our immune systems handle regularly.
Big bad monsters are brought down by teeny-tiny creatures.
Welcome to the Trump version.
Yesterday, Trump — to no one’s surprise — contradicted science and logic and truth because all those things predict that coronavirus will ripple across the world’s economy in unpredictable (but probably negative) ways and Trump needs a strong economy (that he pretends he created) to stand a chance at reelection.
The ONLY thing the pundit class can point to as a positive talking point is the “strong economy” (never mind who it’s strong for and who it’s NOT strong for) as proof that Trump is a normal candidate selling normal POTUS candidate things. What will Trump do when the halt to China’s supply chains brings everything it touches to a halt, too? That will happen. Magical thinking & bullshit pronouncements can’t stop it from NOT happening.
Maybe Trump thinks he can pass the blame to Mike Pence — because he gave Pence the title of “Fix The Coronavirus Guy” . It wouldn’t be above Trump to think he can spare himself the responsibility that’s rightfully his as he runs for re-election (the first IMPEACHED POTUS to ever do so). Of course, considering Mike Pence doesn’t believe smoking tobacco causes cancer and his refusal to deal with science caused an upsurge in AIDS in Indiana while Mike was governor there, giving him the job of “Fix The Disease” guy is like handing over disaster response leadership to the disaster itself.
Yeah, yeah — Trump’s said & tweeted stupid shit before and, yeah, Trump never paid a price for it (other than mockery on Twitter). But, aside from our military and asylum-seeking immigrants desperately in need of help, Trump’s tweets haven’t gotten anyone killed. When Americans start watching Trump spew bullshit and lies about coronavirus from their sick beds — those tweets WILL start to matter to Americans. Trump’s lies have impacted them personally. Physically. Memorably.
Every moment of Covid-19 induced misery will be like the biggest political ad imaginable. And not a one will be a pro-Trump ad.
Donald Trump — with the aid of his sycophants, surrogates & co-conspirators — has blown through our Democracy. He’s nearly blown it apart. The apprehension we all felt election night 2016 mirrors exactly the trepidation many of the earthling characters in Wells’ classic experience as they gaze on the mysterious pods that just landed from outer space.
Unlike in Wells’ story though, OUR news media has been slow to respond as the monsters emerged from their pods — revealing their true selves and purposes — and attacked us. In a sense, our press is the equivalent of the story’s military: our last line of defense. Just like in the book though, our defense was defenseless.
It’s the movie buff in me. I see classic movies playing out
in real life all the time. It struck me
this morning that we’re staring at a perverse version of Babes In Arms,
the Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney-MGM collaboration that gave us “Hey, Let’s Put
On A Show!”
Here – sample this…
See what I mean? Isn’t
it awesome how Judy & Mickey get the kids together, they “borrow” some
instruments and, using the Old Barn, they put on a damned show!
That’s exactly the movie we’re living through – except the
Trumpified version. It turns out, as the
depth and breadth of the Trump-Russia Conspiracy begins to assume real shape
and dimension, that this is a conspiracy in every sense of the word.
These are the players (some of them) and their “plays”…
Think of stolen data as a stolen bike. Everyone who
knowingly touches it, moves it, transports it, sells it or covers up its theft
is guilty of a crime. Just as a bike must
be physically transported from point A to point B, so too does stolen information. If it can’t be endlessly viewed where it is,
it has to be copied & that copy moved to someplace “safe” where it can be
viewed (by those not meant to view it remember). The criminals must transport their stolen
goods in order to benefit from them.
In the case of stolen data, the benefit would only come once
that information was transported out of the country to Russia – where the GRU
(Russian military intelligence) was tasked with analyzing the data then weaponizing
it and turning it back on America and – most importantly – individual Americans. The Russians (with Cambridge Analytica’s
help) had created a way to turn stolen voter data into fear-directed Facebook
ads that would appear right on an individual voter’s Facebook page – stoking fears
about, say, racism among Democrats that “could” induce an ambivalent African
American voter to stay home on election day rather than go out and vote for
Betsy DeVos provided the pipeline. Hey, Betsy — Lets put on a show!
ERIK PRINCE – Erik is Betsy DeVos’ brother so, already, ya know he’s corrupt. Erik founded a company called Blackwater that won big service contracts in the Iraq War theater – making them millions of dollars while they formed a private army for the benefit of their benefactors and electrocuted American service people when they showered (in Iraq) cos why not add incompetence to your resume of corruption?
WILBUR ROSS – Known as “Trump’s MOST corrupt cabinet appointee (and that’s including Ryan Zinke FFS!) had lots of corrupt dealings with Russians and their laundered money while holding a board seat at the Bank of Cypress – a place where the banking laws encourage money laundering & money launderers like Wilbur Ross.
Lots of Russian money needed to be laundered then donated to every Republican on the ticket.
Hey, Wilbur – Let’s put on a show!
PAUL MANAFORT – Gosh, GOP, why let Paul Manafort (a guy you all knew was dirtier than dirty) with Russian connections so deep he farts in Russian run your presidential nominee’s campaign. Paul had one change – ONE – to your whole freakin’ platform: Support for Ukraine and sanctions. No one “wondered” what that was all about? Perhaps no one NEEDED to wonder because you already knew.
Then there’s Mike Pence.
Paul brought Mike to the dance.
We have to ask “WHY?” Of all the
gin joints in all the world, why did Paul invite Mike into his?
Remember (it’s important) – Paul wasn’t running an honest
campaign. He was running a dirty
one. He was trying to leverage his role
as Trump’s campaign chief into forgiveness for $17 MILLION worth of debt to Oleg
Deripaska, former client & a Russian oligarch not known for his largess or forgiveness
(especially of massive debt which, also remember, Deripaska believed Manafort
was trying to skip out on). Paul was
running a very criminal enterprise.
So, ask yourself, why would a criminal want a boy scout as
Veep? Why would a criminal position a
cop right where the criminal needed to go?
Paul didn’t want anyone blowing the whistle on him – we’re all clear on
that, right? Paul wanted – NEEDED – a veep
who HE KNEW FOR A FACT was compliant and trustworthy enough to keep their big
secret SECRET: Russia was running the show.
Last point about Paul. He wasn’t flying solo. He wasn’t a lucky conman who’d figured out a
way to save his ass (and save his family – for now – from a brutal end). Paul knew that Trump was dirty and Trump knew
that Paul was dirty. Remember – no one
can put their cards on the table because then everyone would see those cards
spell treason. Though these criminals
surround themselves with other criminals, they’re entering a system with checks
and balances bent on stopping people like them.
That’s where BILL BARR fits in. Hey, Paul – Let’s put on a show!
MIKE PENCE — Mike is a sanctimonious fraud so unloved by the people of Indiana that compromising what was left of his soul to sell out to Trump and Russia was a no brainer. Mike had nowhere else to go except total corruption.
Mike’s an opportunistic con man adept at speaking
preacher-ese to the yokels who salivate like Pavolv’s dog when they hear
it. These soulless cretins wouldn’t know
Jesus if they stopped mid-way through nailing Jesus to a cross to spit in his
I betcha Paul Manafort knew lots about Mike Pence and his
deep, dark secrets. Let’s be honest –
Mike Pence’s relationship with women – and his wife – is bizarre. It’s beyond unhealthy, it’s fraudulent. Karen Pence’s nickname shouldn’t be “Mother”,
it should be “Beard”.
I wonder… when Mike eventually goes away for Life, will “Mother” change her nickname to “Available”?
STEVE BANNON – Steve’s the guru of darkness (while Stephen Miller is merely its court jester). Steve’s religious faith runs deep. His ooga-booga is better than your ooga-booga – that’s the basis for everything Steve believes. He’s so determined to save the world from YOUR ooga-booga in fact that he’s willing to torpedo the greatest experiment in human self government ever.
Steve has never stopped being philosophically connected the
Trump’s ultimate purpose – destruction of America as a Democratic Republic. Well,
to be fair, that’s not Trump’s ultimate purpose (he couldn’t give a shit – he just
wants to be richer than he already supposedly is), it’s Vladimir Putin’s.
And let’s be real – this is mostly Putin’s deal. The Saudi’s, the Chinese, the Israelis and Erdogan may be trying to horn in on it but they’re strictly back seat passengers. Putin’s joe sits in the Oval Office.
Hey, Steve — Let’s put on a show!
THE NRA – Conspiracies cannot live by bad intent alone. They need money, too, because traitors are notoriously greedy. Money always comes with strings. Don’t do what the strings want? Forget about the money. Back in the day, the NRA was primarily a gun safety organization.
Then the gun manufacturers took over. Gun sales became the point of the
exercise. The gun lobby rewrote the
second amendment in its own image and used the NRA to sell it. A gun control
amendment became an amendment justifying mass murder because how dare you come
for our guns? Putin saw a golden opening
and took it. The more guns in American
hands, the more gun violence there would be.
The more Putin pushed the “more guns more places” meme, the more divided
he could make America seem. Hell, using
the NRA, Putin has managed to create situations where stores have to beg their
customers NOT to come armed to the teeth.
That’s not normal, people. That’s screwed up.
As we’ve learned – Russia sent a very skilled agent named
Maria Butina to play the NRA. She made
the NRA a useful conduit for Russian money.
It wasn’t Russia contributing (illegally) to all those Republican
campaigns all around the country, it was THE NRA. Get it?
Russia stays within the letter of the law while raping its
Hey, NRA – Let’s put on a show!
ROGER STONE – conduit & con man. Connoisseur and creep. The man so dedicated to Richard Nixon, he got a tattoo of Nixon on his back. Former business partner of Paul Manafort and Lee Atwater (who personally started the Culture & Political War that the Right (un)declared on the Left. Roger via the weasels immediately around him (Jerome Corsi, Sam Nunberg, Randy Credico) was the conduit between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign.
Hey, Roger, let’s put on a show!
WIKILEAKS – That we EVER thought Julian Assange was a hero is a testament to our own collective failure of imagination. A guy accused of sexual assault should instantly get our collective attention. Yes, yes – we need to hear the whole story and all – but honest people face their accusers. Weasels weasel out and stink up foreign embassies.
Hey, Julian — Let’s put on a show!
THE MERCERS & CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA – Again – pipelines. But also the design. Robert Mercer’s a brilliant computer guy with a twisted political vision that’s tied to even more twisted Dominionist religious tripe. What could possibly go wrong? Rebekka is just as nuts but a little less on the spectrum. That’s what makes her dangerous.
Cambridge took a “benign” product meant to profile potential terrorists and turned it on America – using its powerful insights to gin up right wing conspiracy theorists while helping to carry out a crime – the total undermining of the United States Constitution.
Hey, Mercer’s — Let’s put on a show!
BILL BARR — Having saved the Republican Party once from the punishment it deserved (Iran-Contra) b making the crime go away & the evidence disappear, Bill Barr was perfectly positioned to be Donald Trump & the GOP’s ultimate Bag Man. So far, he’s LIED about the Mueller Report. Lied about the Whistleblower. Lied about Ukraine. Tried to seduce other governments into helping Trump in 2020. It’s all in a day’s work for Bill.
Hey, Bill — let’s put on a show!
MITCH MCCONNELL — I’ve spent plenty of time on Mitch here. Mitch is a traitor but he started his life as a mere culture warrior. Apparently Mitch loves it when people walk right up to his turtle face and scream “SODOMY” at the top of their lungs.
It brings back memories of his time in the military apparently. You’ll have to ask Mitch. Better yet — scream “SODOMY” in Moscow Mitch’s face at the top of your lungs.
Hey, Mitch — Let’s put on a show!
Vladimir Putin – For a guy running a shitty country with a
shitty economy and a shitty future, he’s done very well for himself.
The Scene – The White House Private Residence, The Bathroom
Donald Trump, his gold pajama bottoms bunched at his
cankery ankles, tries again to squeeze
blood from a stone – in this case, a turd from his bloated abused
gut. It’s slow going as usual. Donald’s mind wanders (as it does). And a meeting is called…
Donald sits at The Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. He punches the red intercom button.
DONALD – Madeleine — tell everyone to get in here! NOW!
MADELEINE – Yes, sir!
On the double!
The Oval Office door opens. In sprints IVANKA. She stands at the door – keeping it blocked
for a moment – she looks Daddy dead in the eye as only Ivanka can.\
IVANKA – Ballpark it for me.
Is it the Adderall bump?
DONALD – Could be a heart attack coming on for all I know.
IVANKA – Except you don’t have a heart, daddy.
A glance behind.
She can’t keep em out much longer.
Back to Daddy. She’s feared it
might come to this.
IVANKA – This is no time to lose your shit, old man, hear
DONALD – (taken aback) What?
IVANKA – You think Uncle Vladimir gives a shit that between your
drug intake and the syphilis you’ve got less than half a brain left? The job’s not finished. Our mission is not accomplished. (She can’t hold em back anymore). The Truth won’t set anyone we care about
She steps aside, a matador dodging a bull. DONALD, JUNIOR (JR), MIKE PENCE, BILL BARR, MIKE
POMPEO & RUDY GIULIANI shove their way in – tripping over the carpeting. They land in a massive heap. Closing the door behind her, Ivanka steps
into the room herself.
IVANKA – Get up, you idiots!
JR (from beneath the pile of bodies) – Eric couldn’t
make It! He got his head caught in the
IVANKA – I’m talking about all of you! I don’t even have balls and I can feel the heat on em. The old Trumpian shit isn’t working like it used to. They’re starting to realize that it’s shit. We need to think of something else before— (she catches herself) – before the fake news gets, you know, too fake or something.
RUDY – Honey, I don’t know how much crazier I can get. That fact that I’m still walking around with
a law license makes me want to cry. Good
thing we’re all as guilty as we are, amiright? Otherwise I might start to worry one of us
might, you know…
Rudy looks around at the others – expecting agreement. No one will meet his eyes.
IVANKA – See the problem, Uncle Rudy?
BARR – Wait a minute – I lied my double-wide ass off for you
people! I told factual lies about a
document anyone could read to PROVE I lied about it—
POMPEO – Good thing no one DID read it – otherwise we’d all
be in jail already.
RUDY – But we ARE getting away with it! That’s all that matters! We do whatever we have to do—
PENCE – Now, hold on there, Rudy – as a person of faith—
An explosion of laughter – that goes on… and on. Mike sighs.
Waits for the laughter to stop.
PENCE – All right, I get it.
I’ll shut up about that—
IVANKA – Good, ya sanctimonious prick! I’m sick of reminding you that Paul Manafort
brought you to the dance and the second anyone with two brain cells figures out
what that means, you’re even more screwed than you already are.
PENCE – It wasn’t nice of the President to throw me under
the bus like that – um, with all due respect, Mr. President, of course.
IVANKA – Trust me, numb nuts – you were already under the
bus – with tread marks all over your face.
(She looks at them all, a mob boss in training; she looks to daddy –
a mob boss losing his shit) Do you
all not get it? Do you not grasp what
the hell is happening here? Daddy is
losing his nerve!
She might as well have said Daddy was Hillary
Clinton. Suddenly all eyes are on
Donald. Donald opens his anus mouth,
ready to bluster away. Except instead of
words, ACTUAL SHIT emerges from Trump like sausage from a factory.
SMASH TO – TRUMP’S GOLDEN BATHROOM
Turns out Donald isn’t at the White House, he’s at Trump Tower — on his golden toilet. He’s been there for hours, asleep. Donald snaps to so suddenly, he loses his grip on his cell phone which falls right into the toilet bowl – SPLASH!
DONALD – Oh, shit—
Bad enough his cell phone fell into the toilet. Much worse – Donald had been productive in
the end. To get his phone back, Donald will
have to deal with his own shit.
It’s not exactly a revelation that Donald Trump is a gold-plated fraud. It shouldn’t be a revelation that Mike Pence is an equally big fraud.
I bet Mike Pence never thought twice about staying at Trump’s shitty golf property in Ireland — then flying 168 miles ffs to get to the meeting he was there to attend. Mike’s a beta dog’s beta dog. He doesn’t even have to know you. If you’re more alpha than he is (and everyone is) — Mike will do whatever you want him to no matter how humiliating.
If the Trump White House is a Rogue’s Gallery, VP Mike Pence is the Elmer Gantry character — without any of the charm or self-awareness of what a damnable con he really is. I dare you to conjure the words “hypocrite” or “sanctimonious shit” and NOT think of Mike Pence almost immediately.
There’s a way of speaking Evangelicals take on — PreacherSpeak, ya could call it. It’s got an oiliness to it — a big bright squirt of emotion but no substance beneath it so the emotion feels staged and phony. There’s a sing-songiness to it also — to distract, I suppose, from the complete & total lack of substance. And the compete & total lack of logic. It’s a vocal delivery that surfs giant waves of hubris and self-satisfaction like a pro. And if it needs to bring on the tears? Wait, wait — is that Noah I see, building another boat?
That voice sounds like this (I enter, as evidence, Pence’s speech at the 2016 Republican Convention — a classic in the annals of complete & utter bullshit). In fact, Mike took sanctimony to bold new heights in this speech. It’s still feeling puke-y and vertiginous from being up so high.
Now, to be fair to Mike (as much as it pains me), I don’t know for a fact that Mike Pence is a closeted gay man. I’ve known many over my life. It’s not fun being them. They shouldn’t have to be “them”. Everyone should be free to express what their biochemistry makes them feel. No one chooses their biochemistry — it’s a package deal. It comes with the DNA that forged us.
Religious faith and science are mutually exclusive propositions. That’s not true of spirituality, mind you. One can be spiritual and scientific without any conflicts. But religious? No. Religions (unlike spirituality) flows from religious organizations. Churches, let’s call them.
One could, in fact, follow Jesus on a spiritual level (by doing unto others) while ignoring all the church’s mythmaking and ooga-booga. I’ve pointed out in other posts that Jesus preached against the need for a “church”. A big part of Jesus’ message was “speak directly to God, the father — you don’t need the priests or the temple interceding on your behalf”. The guy who “built” churches was Paul. Paul was the one who, taking his version of Jesus out to the gentiles (who had no idea who Jesus really was or even if he really was), invented The Early Church as a series of communities spreading throughout the Roman world.
The bulk of the NT is Paul writing to those far flung communities as he invents what we now call “Christianity”.
Mike Pence is a church-goer but he ain’t going there for Jesus. FFS, the last thing Mike Pence wants to do is “DO” unto others. Nope. Mike sees religion as a way to turn others into him. Like a god.
That’s the dirty, dirty secret about the extremely religious — about every single televangelist — about Mike Pence himself. They all think THEY are “god”. Not “a” god — “God”. They may tell you that “God” (or Yahweh — that’s the god character’s actual name, “god” being his job description) speaks through them — they’re lying. No one or nothing is speaking through them. The “god” you hear spewing from their mouth parts is them, all them and nothing but them.
What makes these “gods” so much worse is that they’re all so screamingly ignorant. Why can’t these “gods” have a little knowledge in their pockets to go along with the sanctimony & judginess? I guess that would be too much to ask of men for whom sanctimony & judginess are their principle skill sets.
Hey, America — Shitty Karma got ya down? Are you in a snit because rotten people keep getting away with being rotten while “the best lack all conviction” (and refuse to impeach the most impeachable potus in the history of the Republic)?
Well, stop making yourself and your re-incarnated selves cray-cray! Stop having “faith” in Karmic Payback and start making some of those Just Deserts happen because YOU wanted them to. “What’s that?” you say — “I can impact what happens to Karma? I can deliver Cosmic Justice — Moi?
Damn right ya can, Pilgrim! Introducing Kay-Tel’s new “KARMA-NATOR” — the amazing new invention that delivers actual Karmic Payback to “Those Most Deserving”…
Want to see wankers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell get the Karma they deserve NOW instead of LATER? Done!
Mitch McConnell will now come back as a toilet brush — that lives in the worst toilet stall in the whole world. How’s it feel, Mitch?
Karma, she can be quite the bitch, can’t she, Mitch! But, hey — we’re just getting started delivering Instant Karma via THE KARMA-NATOR! There are lots of deserving people. Hey, Attorney General Bill Barr — Wanna shove your head up Donald Trump’s ass? Welcome to THE KARMA-NATOR!
Boom – Mike Pence is now a condom — ready for for someone to insert their penis into. I sure hope Mike’s used to pitching instead of catching. Otherwise, this bit of Karma will need revisiting. Mike’s not supposed to like his payback.
And what about everyone’s favorite “Feckless C-Word”, Ivanka Trump — We all know she’s got Karma coming her way. Damn right she does! And Karma will be CRUEL to Ivanka. Let’s throw Ivanka in the KARMA-NATOR…!
Oh, ick — Poor, poor Ivanka — re-incarnated as her sister TIFFANY. Karma ain’t just a bitch sometimes, she’s a “MAGA”-Bitch, ain’t she…?
George Bernard Shaw put it this way — ‘The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.”
Not that every Brit is Shakespeare — that would be a slight over-statement — but regardless of how profane they are by nature most Brits are a hell of a lot better at using the language to express themselves; it’s a subtle thing — having to do with not only word choices but just a general facility with the language itself. Britain’s is a more literary culture by nature and history. On the surface, its obsessions seem fuddy-duddy & Old World. Colonial even. And British culture is all those things — for better and worse.
One of the better cultural obsessions is the language. Brits are no match for the French when it comes to compulsive defensiveness regarding their language — the French have ‘L’Acadamie Francaise’ overseeing the language, literally allowing or not allowing (the most usual outcome) new words in. English (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) has 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 ‘obscure’ words in more limited use. French, by comparison, has 100,000 words — roughly half as many. But (this is significant), each French word has an average of 3 definitions! Words are less descriptive by nature and more (my French professor at Vassar put it) “analytical”.
English literally grows every year as new words are added or coined. French doesn’t do that. Instead of inventing new words (or bringing foreign words into its vocabulary), it adds definitions or puts old words together to form a kind of French Language Pretzel. Even so — the French are simply proud of their language and see it as part of their cultural bulwark. That pride translates into not just a love for the language but an overall sense that how they say things is part of who they are — as individuals and as a culture.
Boy, was that long-winded.
The point is — The French and the English (among others) are far more connected to their languages than Americans are to English. We almost seem to speak English for lack of anything else to speak. Consequently, we Americans always seem more at odds with English than at peace with it. It’s more an obstacle to expressing ourselves than a tool.
If George Carlin had been English, he would never have conceived of ‘The 7 Dirty Words’. It wouldn’t have been on his radar. Yes, true, you couldn’t say any of those words on the BBC either, but it wasn’t because they quaked at the sound of them as we seem to. Even in public spaces, words that shock Americans get aired regularly. The broadcast moratorium on them is decorum and not the threat of legal action.
Here in America though, those words are always an issue. An example — I refrain from using the word ‘F*ck’ here on this blog. In order to be part of any possible ad revenue stream (such as there is one), one has to avoid using certain words. The title of this blog puts me in a hazy zone of quasi-acceptability. For all our ‘freedom of speech’, Americans sure seem intimidated by certain words.
And that’s the point (finally!)
Americans are intimidated by their own language. It goes beyond ‘swear words’. To a degree our sensitivity to oppressive words (the ‘n-word’, ‘kike’ (being a Jew, I get to use the word — how it is), et cetera is appropriate; it recognizes how certain words become weaponized. Those words are always aimed at specific groups — they are weaponized — and need to be seen as weapons.
We’re not talking about those words. It’s like comparing sex and rape. Not the same things as similar as they are in form.
Americans — being less comfortable and at home with their own language — have a terrible habit of using English to obscure truth rather than reveal it. Want to know what I mean? Listen to anyone in Congress yak away for 30 seconds. On average, they’ll use about 50 words when 10 would have sufficed. All those extra words add fog to the mix and not clarity.
When a Mitch McConnell is forced to answer questions, Mitch is a master at using words to completely misrepresent what he’s really saying. He gets away with it easily because so few Americans — including and especially our news media — are comfortable enough with the language to blow past its chaff to get to its wheat. If, after Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or Devin Nunes or Jim Jordan or Mike Pence or (especially) Donald Trump overtly lied to the public the media called their lies ‘LIES’ as opposed to ‘other points of view’ — we would begin to strip these people of their power to misuse and abuse the language.
Our cultural discomfort with sex-related words flows straight from the repressive religious prigs — the Pilgrims — who came here less for religious freedom than because their religion was just plain wacky — and the Church of England wanted them gone. It seems to be a constant among humans: intense religious feelings and sexual repression are soul mates. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, yin and yang, republicans and corruption.
This twisted unease with sexuality expresses itself in perverse ways. I think I ‘got it’ about American culture when I was a kid. I don’t mean that certain words and images were ‘restricted’ — I mean that those restrictions were symptoms of a deeper, darker dysfunction. A vivid memory from my youth: I’m in high school — a huge Kurt Vonnegut reader. ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ is a seminal book in my development.
Back then, the media stone age, there were 3 networks: ABC, CBS, NBC. That’s it. On the night in question, CBS is running the last night of its multi-night mini-series ‘HELTER SKELTER’ — the story of the Mansion Family and the Tate-LaBianca murders. NBC counter-programmed the premier broadcast run of the film version of ‘Slaughterhouse Five’. Two ‘events’.
I didn’t care about ‘Helter Skelter’. I cared about ‘Slaughterhouse Five’. But I did flip back and forth a little — because the last part of ‘Helter Skelter’ is the most compelling: the murders themselves. Here’s where it got weird — and where we, as a culture, revealed ourselves.
On CBS, if one watched, one could experience a dramatized but nonetheless horrifying version of an actual event — murder, bloodshed, unspeakable cruelty.
On NBC, if one watched, one experienced a profound anti-war movie that spoke directly to the human condition. I am absolutely not making a judgement about one story good, one story bad. Both were excellent, valid stories that needed to be told. But one revealed the very worst of us and one wanted to speak to the best in us.
At the end of ‘Slaughterhouse Five’, Billy Pilgrim, the hero (he’s ‘unstuck in time’ — able to travel between various moments in his own life including his own birth and death) visits a time in his life when he’s a ‘prisoner’ in a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore. There, he’s been put into a comfortable enclosure that he shares with a well known adult performer Montana Wildhack; the two are meant to breed — which they do.
While ‘Helter Skelter’ climaxes with chaos and mayhem, ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ climaxes with Billy Pilgrim imagining a terrible war crime — the Allied bombing of Dresden, German during WWII — being reversed: the firestorm goes out as the bombs that caused them fly back up into the Allied bombers that dropped them. The coda to this vision is Billy Pilgrim and Montana Wildhack in their enclosure — Montana having just given birth to their baby.
Montana puts the baby to her breast and feeds it. She breast-feeds her baby (a hopeful symbol — feeding the future). But, because the shot involved actress Valerie Perine’s naked breast, it had to be CUT.
So — on CBS: murder and mayhem in horrifying (but valid) detaili.
On NBC: Breastfeeding babies is verboten.
That, right there, sums us up. It sums up our culture. It sums up our attitude toward language. You can describe in all the detail you want on the American public airwaves ways to kill people.
Don’t you DARE however, describe all the ways you’d like to LOVE people.