Republicans & Dead Ends

What does the Republican Party and a dead end have in common? Pretty much everything. The “modern” Republican Party (there’s an oxymoron if ever one existed) just isn’t that “into” democracy probably because democracy’s just not that into them. In the marketplace of ideas, Republicans are selling the past as what should be our future. By that they mean the future should look exactly like our past — predominantly white. That IS the whole point of conservatism after all — CONSERVING things. Politically, conservatives want to conserve the status quo or, preferably, the status quo as it was. The problem is, we really can’t live in the past. We all know people who try — those sad dudes who could never let go of high school. Sucks to peak early, I guess. That’s Republicans’ big problem: they peaked already. There’s no more “there” there where they’re concerned. The whole reason Republicans are resorting to voter suppression in the extreme is because they know they can’t appeal to those voters with their terrible, regressive ideas.

The GOP is gambling that their angry, violent minority can overpower the rest of us and cow us into compliance. Historians and talking heads point to all the places where this behavior has lead directly to authoritarian rule. That’s not encouraging but few of those places had America’s history of and with democracy. I don’t think it’s a given that people in this country roll over the way people in other countries have. It might take us a while to spark to revolt but the white minority doing this is such a minority — and, it’s America, EVERYONE has guns. Whatever that country turns into, it’s not going to be “America”. It’s not going to be the counter balance to Russia and China. It’s not going to be any kind of economic powerhouse because it will break down quickly.

What we’re witnessing is the Republican Party (the “Party of Lincoln”) attempting to re-start the Civil War so as to bring back slavery. The Republicans may not call what they have in mind “slavery” but, in time, it won’t differ (where the stolen labor is concerned) from what Black people had to endure in this country. If the Republicans could have their way, there’d BE no “minimum wage”. There’d be child labor and no such thing as “striking”. If Republicans could get everyone else to work for free (at its core, slavery is stolen labor), they’d think “Mission Accomplished”! — especially if all the extra profits ended up in their pockets.

The problem is, we all know this now. The news media still has it in its head that — because next year’s Biden’s first off-year election, norms say the Democrats will lose the House and Senate. That assumes we live in normal times. We don’t, of course. Not only is the electorate woke, we’re hyper woke. We’re keenly aware of what the Republican Party is doing; it’s the press that’s running miles behind.

The sum total of Republican ideas: how can they get richer than they are and hold onto power. Literally nothing else matters. Except maybe not going to prison for being traitors. The fact that Donald Trump was and is a traitor will be a fact of life — sooner than everyone thinks. The DoJ’s prosecution of the January 6 insurrectionists will, at some point, stumble over one very basic fact: Russia had a hand in it. Don’t think so? Don’t think Russia knew EVERYTHING that Team Trump and everyone around them was thinking? Once we break through to even the small acts of treason, the larger acts will become plain as day.

Want to talk about a dead end? Try treason. It’s a dead end for a country — as we nearly learned. But, now that the traitors have failed, their failure needs to be a dead end for every other perpetrator, too. They should have read the signs (posted and otherwise) and stopped. They knew what they were doing when they pressed on. They expected to win. How unfortunate for them.

Letting Donald Trump take over their party will be not just a dead end for the Republican Party but a cliff behind it.

Question: Is Liz Cheney Or Marjorie Taylor Green The “Real” Republican Party? Better Question: Who Cares?

Yesterday, the Republican House membership met behind closed doors to choose which direction to point their party toward: old school Republicanism (that pretends it wants small government & more freedom for the individual) or utter chaos. On the surface, chaos won with a standing ovation. But, when they took the vote using secret ballots? Conventionality won. Uh oh — that means more than a few of those standing and applauding chaos were lying. Who could possibly have seen that coming?

Republicans — true to their whiteness — love exclusivity. When it comes to being a Republican — or an American or a Christian — Republicans tend to see themselves as the epitome. They are the true faith and all not like them are apostates. In their minds, they are the ideal members of a any club of which they are a member. What are we poor outsiders to make of it then when TWO white, Christian Republicans claim THEY represent “the true faith” and the other does not?”

Belonging — and not belonging — are very important concepts to Republicans. It’s a characteristic that sets them apart from Democrats. When you allow for diversity, you also have to allow for all the different ways that different people are. “Belonging” to the group becomes more nuanced because how you demonstrate your “belonging to the group” will reflect who you are and why you have chosen to belong to the group. Democrats can’t march in lockstep the way Republicans do. Ironically, Republicans spout their love for the individual over the group but, really, what they love is the individual’s ability to make money in whatever way he wants to. While getting rich however, that individual better do what the group tells him to do. Or he won’t be in the group anymore.

These same Republicans — who will tell you who the real Republicans are — will also tell you who the real Christians and the real Americans are too. It’s them, of course. “Real” Christians (them) see Jesus as the “Do Unto Others” Happy Meal McMascot misrepresenting a church menu of crushing, judgmental “Do What We Say Or Else” dogma. They do the same thing with patriotism. Americans look like them. Anyone else is a pretender. They’re good enough to fight and die as volunteers in our army but letting them vote — now, that’s going just a little too far.

The “modern” Republican Party — if we use the party’s foundational documents as a guide (I highly recommend Heather Cox Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” to guide you) — are not Republicans. The Party of Lincoln — just going by its own principles — has swapped names with the Democrats. Abe Lincoln, if he were to rise from the dead, would NOT join the modern Republican Party; he wouldn’t recognize them as “Republicans”. But then, if Jesus were to pull of the same magic trick — and rise from the dead for real — he wouldn’t hang out with most people who call themselves “Christians”. Jesus would be baffled, to begin with, that there even are Christians. To him, any followers would be Jews since Jews are the only people he ever preached to — or expected to preach to. Jews even back then did not proselytize.

But, Republicans proselytize. They insist THEY are “the good news” — haven’t you heard? They proselytize their patriotism the exact same way. And their party loyalty.

Asking “who’s a better Republican” is exactly like asking “who’s a better pirate?” Honestly? Who the hell cares? A pox on all their pirate ships!

The SCOTUS Should Look Like America, Not Just Repressive, White, Christian Men And Their Handmaiden

Fact: the Republican Party is, as we speak, hijacking the judiciary. What began as Mitch McConnell’s secret mission — begun the day Barack Obama became POTUS — became clear the day Trump assumed the office he stole as Mitch began filling the federal bench with lifetime appointments — each and every one a right wing hack put there to carry out a very specific right wing agenda — the majority of America (not right wing) be damned. By hijacking the judiciary, McConnell and the Right Wing Money (the Kochs, the Mercers, etc) hope to stave off the political extinction rushing toward them.

Hey, Mitch — no, it won’t. In fact, this coup d’etat will have hastened not only your extinction but the end of your freedom, too. You will all end up in prison. That’s not political revenge — and you know it. It’s the rule of law reasserting itself. It’s oversight. It’s the Constitution. It’s Justice (with a capital “J”). And, by the way — all those judges you shoved down our throats? By the time we’re finished, every last one of them will be gone one way or another. Most (Brett Kavanaugh especially) will have to answer for committing perjury during their confirmation hearings. As Brett Kavanaugh did repeatedly.

The whole gambit will die right there, Mitch. Your six-to-three majority will shrink to a five to four again. But that won’t matter after the Democrats — having the Senate now and even more of the House under their control (and with the Progressive crazies running rampant!) — increase the SCOTUS to 15 or 17 seats so that it better represents a diverse America and not just a coterie of rich, white, Christian men. And their brand new literal handmaiden Amy Coney Barrett.

Will the Democrats pack the bench? You better believe it. But then, the Democrats won’t do it like pigs at a trough — like Republicans. Remember Merrick Garland — Obama’s nominee in an election year? The whole thing about Garland was his moderation. He was chosen as a reasonable reach-across-the-aisle to the GOP, someone whose moderation even they could embrace. Except Mitch McConnell had a hijacking on his mind. He even said so.

Mitch’s whole Life’s Work was seizing the judiciary for his monied overlords. As he rots in prison (and we should do everything we can to keep Mitch alive for as long as possible), Mitch will watch that Life’s Work get razed — right alongside that Russian aluminum factory he got in exchange for lifting the sanctions on Oleg Deripaska — who, in 2016, received the proprietary polling data for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (from Paul Manafort) that turned into a three-state, 77,000 combined electoral college “win”. Mitch isn’t just a traitor, he’s an uber traitor.

His name will replace Benedict Arnold’s as the epithet Americans use when they want to call someone a “traitor”.

Ah, but that’s not even the best part!

The whole point of Mitch’s gambit — stealing the judiciary for his RW Monied Overlords — was to create a state of permanent minority rule instead of the far more socialized America a diversifying population in an increasingly complex world would push it toward being. The right wants to kill Obamacare because it’s the first step toward “socialized medicine”. THAT’S what scares the right more than anything. Are they all that heavily invested in for-profit medicine?

As America settles into the security of knowing their essential health CARE (not the insurance) is PAID FOR — in other words, they can never go broke or lose their home because the got ill — we won’t thank Mitch and his wannabe slave masters, but we will chuckle. And, as we think of them — eating prison dinner for the rest of their lives — that chuckle will probably become full on laughter.

Yeah, there’ll be a touch of meanness to it. I’ll apologize in advance. But, for the most part? That laughter will be joyous — and righteous as hell.

Dear Republicans: Once Destroyed, Integrity Cannot Grow Back; Your Integrity Is History

Ever meet anyone with 99% of their integrity intact? You can pretty much trust them — but not quite… there’s a point beyond which you know you can’t trust them — usually when things get serious and being able to trust someone is imperative.

That’s the Republican Party. Except they have way, way less than 99% of their integrity. What’s the actual percentage they still have? Does it matter? Integrity’s like a soap bubble. It is or it isn’t. Having 99% of your integrity is no better than having zero.

The Rule Of Law works the same way, too — as we’re learning the hard way. We rely on the Rule Of Law’s integrity in order for it to work. Either we prosecute everyone the same when they break the same laws or we prosecute no one and agree the Rule of Law is dead, long live chaos. Having two sets of laws — as we do in America — violates the integrity of The Rule Of Law.

When a sitting POTUS can get away with actual law-breaking — when he “gets to be” POTUS by breaking the law — we’ve gone to a place where The Rule Of Law no longer works. If we want to rectify that, we have to understand going in — just like with integrity, following The Rule Of Law means committing to it 100%. If we CAN get it back up onto its feet — and if we CAN get IT to be the “rule of the land” again, we need to make damned sure we protect it better.

Let’s start by taking the job of enforcing it out of the hands of White Christian Men.

Of all groups in this country, White Christian Men have done more to destroy their own integrity than anyone or anything else. Oh, the irony. If those men were all followers of Jesus (happily doing unto others) instead of church-goers (needing to raise money to keep their church afloat), they’d still have their integrity.

But then they wouldn’t be Republicans anymore, would they?

Unchallenged Lies Become Truth – That’s Why EVERY TRUMPIAN LIE Has To be Called Out

No revelation here: It is way, WAY easier to sell Americans bullshit than it is to take that bullshit away from them once they’ve acquired a taste for it.

H L Mencken got it right: no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence or taste of the American public. Maybe our problem is Americans (conservative ones especially) have a religious bent that distorts their thinking right out of the gate.

For reference’s sake, consider how insidious religion is – and how (and when) the religious begin shoving their religion down young throats and into young minds. The point of the exercise is to undermine any capacity for analytical thought.  Accept what we tell you as truth.  Nothing else matters.

Did a sky god really have unprotected sex with a teenage human virgin to produce a hybrid man-god put here to die for human sins tracing back to a supposed first woman who ate a piece of forbidden fruit at the behest of a talking snake?  That’s a soupcon of the bullshit you have to accept to be a fully practicing Christian (in the eyes of fully practicing Christians).  Proof that you’re “faithful” is that you will willingly spit all this nonsense back as required – and then insist that you use it every day as the basis for ALL your “thinking”.

There are people among us who start their day accepting that great buckets of bullshit are true – and then they start making decisions based on it.  It’s not unlike being captain of the Titanic, seeing that you’ve hit an iceberg, but pressing on nonetheless for New York as if nothing had happened. Most bullshit is denial of what is.

These people accept lies as truth – as their starting point.

Selling more lies to people happy to buy lies is easy.  That is what Donald Trump & the Republican Party is really good at.  They know their base are rabid Magical Thinkers to whom Trump is a business genius simply because he says he is – and the word of a liar is good enough for them. 

We (our Main Stream News Media) began to normalize Trumpian bullshit in earnest the instant they stopped challenging Trump on his “Mexicans are rapists” pronouncement.  The instant that stopped, Trump succeeded in normalizing his racism.  “Mexicans are rapists” was no longer cause for his campaign to end.  Racism was now “just how Trump is”.

There is no safe amount of bullshit.  All bullshit has the potential to kill you – even the incidental bullshit we all live with every day (“Five more minutes of sleep won’t make me that late…”) can build up like plaque in a vein.

And just like plaque in a vein, that first bad cholesterol lipid that sticks to the vein wall is a problem – because a second bad cholesterol lipid will stick easily to the first lipid.  Blockage – and potential death –  is just a matter of time and more lipids.

Never mind the exhaustion.  Either we fight back or we start looking over out shoulders.  The end could come at any moment otherwise.  And that end does not have to be.

That end cannot be.  Let’s start fighting back one lie at a time. Let’s start by calling them all out – screw anyone who has a problem with it.  They’re gulag bound anyway.

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.

The Republican Party Is A Vampire Whose Time Has Come

Pick a monster — any monster — and jack it up on steroids. That’s who & what the GOP has become. Having written a few horror movies in my time, I see Republicans as distinctly vampiric. But worse.

They’ve become the real life version of a story character that gets too close to the nuclear reactor core which makes their cells all go rogue. For a while they stayed recognizable but the damage is too extensive. Now their liver’s the size of a Pontiac and their thyroid glows in the dark. The radiation has metamorphosed them into a freakish Heironymous Bosch and William Blake love child.

Let’s be absolutely clear. The Republican Party gave up on electoral politics eons ago. There was no future in it for them. The handwriting on the wall said clearly “White Men Will Be The MINORITY Sooner Than You Think!” Republicans recognized that the executive branch of government was already gone (take Antonin Scalia out of Bush v Gore and Al Gore wins as he deserved to & Trump’s EC win was by a combined — and very dubious — 77,000 votes over three states COMBINED). They knew the Legislative branch also was dicey and getting dicier.

Their one shot at keeping power for now and extending now as far into the future as possible rested with gaming the Judiciary — and THAT has been the GOP’s whole focus. Mitch McConnell’s whole game plan was to hold off every possible Obama judicial nominee (especially the lifetime ones — and especially especially SCOTUS judges) to do what he’s been doing the last 2+ years — pack the bench with conservatives who will stand behind the gerrymandering and election fraud and voter suppression and utter disavowal of the Rule Of Law so as to enable permanent or near-permanent Republican rule.

Near permanent MINORITY RULE, that is.

The GOP does not care that Donald Trump has a treasonous relationship with Russia because THEY have a similarly treasonous relationship. Russia has poured millions & millions of dollars into Republican campaign coffers. Russia has worked to get Republicans elected over Democrats. That’s illegal on every single level — yet here we are.

The Republican Party has turned into every one of its very worst instincts juiced to its most perverse exaggeration. They are greed on steroids. Hypocrisy on steroids. Duplicity on steroids. Cold-hard-cynicism on steroids. They are Machiavelli squared, cubed and raised to a power of a thousand. The end justifies the means — and the means include murdering the whole planet.

Can people who think like this — who make deals with the worst devils imaginable — redeemable? They might be — I don’t care to find out. We’d have to gamble — betting on Republicans — giving them the benefit of the doubt. That’s a shaky house of cards to build on — even before ya start top loading it with bullshit.

It’s long past time we actually listen to Maya Angelou — when people (okay — when REPUBLICANS) tell you who they are? Believe them. The Republicans have told us repeatedly that they’re monsters — heartless, cavalier bigots, racists and misogynists hell bent on destroying the rest of us before we’re smart enough to destroy them first.

Republican extinction isn’t an “if”, it’s a “when”. They’ve held onto power as long as they have by suppressing the vote — both directly and by fostering a culture of ignorance where civics class means reciting the pledge of allegiance (and why would people in a free society have to PLEDGE their ALLEGIANCE to something — it’s a blatant contradiction of terms!) The massive non-voting part of the electorate has become woke. They’re like White Walkers in the always fearful Republican imagination — a legion of “Democrat”-voting creatures back from the electoral dead. When more Americans vote, it’s bad for Republicans, good for Democrats.

That fact means something. When more Americans vote, they vote for Democrats. That’s because the majority of Americans ARE Democrats — in heart if not by voter registration. A lot of them are socialists too — just don’t tell them; their heads will explode.

The most woke group of all — women. Black women. Women of color. African American women especially. Along with Native American women, African American women have been treated despicably. America has treated all women despicably but I hope you’ll indulge me here. The schoolyard’s been especially mean to those two groups and it has to stop.

As they assume more and greater political power, they will MAKE it stop. That’s the proof that Republicans will absolutely positively become extinct and probably before we all know it. They’ll collapse in a chaotic heap like the Soviet Union did, crushed by the overwhelming weight of its own corruption.

It can’t happen soon enough. Hell — I look forward to standing by the Republican Party’s grave — my “old fella” in hand — as I take a good, long, satisfying leak all over their headstone.