Grievance’s Baby

Catie Edmunson at the NY Times reports on the GoP rallying against Josh Hawley, the 41-year-old senator from Missouri who – even in the aftermath of the murderous attack on the Capital grounds – insisted on disrupting the formal certification of the Biden/Harris administration.

This dance should be familiar to us. It is the same dance the cynical grandees, among them McConnell and Ryan, conducted with Donald. They are a little more practiced, but what they are doing is actually the source of the danger that we face as a nation.

Neither Donald nor Josh created the aggrieved Republican base. That base was created by decades of corporate welfare that hollowed out the American middle class, making us a debtor populace. The red states are, in fact, basically large company towns. The common man is forced to work at wages below subsistence while owners maximize profits. The cynical lie told by the GoP to these wage slaves, however, is that their predicament is the fault of government.

Read Nineteen Eighty-Four or A Brave New World. The public spaces are saturated with the lies of the ruling party. Visit a red state and notice that FOX News broadcasts from the screens in every space controlled by corporate interests. But where in the novels the propaganda raised fears against foreign enemies, on FOX News the specter is the enemy within.

Ronald Reagan instigated the war on government with his little quip “The nine most frightening words I know are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” FOX News, founded by GoP political hatchetman Roger Ailes, made that message a staple of its programming. The aggrieved condition of the Republican base has been carefully cultivated and manipulated ever since. For example, after the AHA was established, GoP governors refused to expand Medicare or form insurance exchanges, forcing the rural poor to pay for private insurance when they should have received government support.

So the GoP’s dance with Donald and Josh is simply about retaining control of the electorate that they have created. Donald wrenched it from them by unmasking the lie, campaigning against the “swamp” of Washington lobbyists. The GoP grandees tolerated him, at some level, because they believed that greed and stupidity would allow them to focus his attention. McConnell succeeded, for example, in packing the Federal court system with corporatists.

What McConnell and others didn’t remember is that – duh – they are sitting members of government. Donald actually needs the government destroyed to avoid imprisonment for decades of criminal activity. This matches the expectations of the aggrieved Republican base.

So we don’t see outright rejection of the claims of election fraud except from those previously ostracized by the party, such as Mitt Romney. Rather, we see Lindsey Graham testifying that the courts have already ruled on claims of election fraud, and “while [he doesn’t] agree with them,” the Senate has no method to challenge those rulings.

They don’t confront the lies because the lies are the foundation of their control over the rural poor. They are now trying to pre-empt Josh’s attempt to seize Donald’s standard.

The problem is that the messaging is out of their control now. The rage of the rioters in Washington was not restricted to the Democratic leadership. It embraced Mike Pence as well. The GoP base wants to see government destroyed, and the grandees appear not to be smart enough to fear the baby they have created.

The alternative is to tell the truth. The corporate elite controls the free market. They have that game rigged against us. In fact, government is the only method that allows us to organize to prevent them from grinding us into poverty. Government needs to work for us, and the most important job of a political party is to educate the people for collaboration that preserves the common welfare.

Master of PC?

I wonder if Trump’s first act as president will be to lift the gag order on Ivana so that she can tell us all how she survived his narcissism?

“I’m nice to people that are nice to me.”

“I’ll support the Republican nominee as long as the Party treats me fairly.”

Trump enforces “political correctness” with court orders, threats and whining. And at the end of the day, he knows that he can say anything he wants and nobody can touch him.

Well, let me explain “PC” to you, Mr. Trump: it means focus on the problem, not the people. It wouldn’t be an issue if you would frame intelligent policy positions, rather than simply insulting those that take our nation seriously.

Trump and 50 Shades of Grey

At the local writer’s meetup I attended this year, the service providers would distinguish between those that wrote for notoriety, and those that wrote from compulsion. Among the authors seeking notoriety, the success of 50 Shades of Grey was a scandal. While I was never moved to read the book, those who did complained that it was just poorly written.

But if you’re writing for the masses, maybe that is how you write. You write in the way that the soccer moms and housewives actually converse. You use concepts and terms that are familiar in their discourse. You give them something to talk about.

While the pundits at MSNBC tend to view Donald Trump’s presidential bid as a parody of a political campaign, that may be intentional. Trump’s attack on politically correct speaking may reflect his style of problem solving. Rather than crafting a consensus position that offends no one, you speak ideas that give you power over the situation. You categorize people and institutions, and force them to react to justify their existence.

So the Hispanic community includes law-breakers – of course it does, given that many broke the law simply entering the country. But when does inclusion bleed into harboring? Are there segments of the Hispanic population that shield criminals from the police? Trump may believe that his statements force the Hispanic community to consider its loyalties.

So also with Muslim communities and the Islamists in our midst, whether those are home-grown or foreign.

To his supporters, Trump may articulate their fears, and so bring them into political dialog that “PC” (politically correct) standards of speaking have denied to them. His impassioned and thoughtless policy pronouncements may reflect the way that they respond to and internalize frightening events. Trump’s popularity may reflect the permission he gives disenfranchised citizens to participate in the political process.

In the aftermath of the Prop 8 vote in California, I told a lesbian friend that “The gay community and its supporters lost because of intolerance in specific communities. But as a result of the election, we know who those people are, and we can reach out to them.”

Following a segment documenting support among his followers for Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim entry to America, a Muslim spokesman offered this wisdom: Yes, we should ask Trump’s followers if they support his position. But even more: for those that do, we should ask them “Do you know any Muslims?” If they don’t, we should then encourage them to “Go out and meet one.”

So: treat Trump’s political theater as a symptom. It’s value is to bring to light the psychological needs of a misrepresented segment of citizens. Don’t criticize Trump for the service he provides: look beyond him, and offer solutions and solace to those he attracts.

The Second Coming of Donald

Common interpretation of Revelation 11:15 is that the reign of Christ begins when Gabriel sounds his horn. Now I offer an alternative interpretation of the verse in The Soul Comes First as heralding the beginning of the age of Humanity who will bring redemption to the Earth through the intelligent exercise of divine love.

But you, know, scripture is inscrutable, and I’m beginning to realize that maybe we’ve all misunderstood.

Gabriel is known as the angel that transmits God’s truth. FOX news broadcasts “God’s truth.” A trumpet is a kind of horn. In the first Republican debate on FOX news, we saw nine Trump-ettes on the stage with Donald.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Jesus will be outed by the FOXing of Donald!

Of course, NBC will carry the coverage. Looks like FOX out-foxed itself.

Rude is Not the New ‘PC’

With the Trump campaign only now announcing that they are going to bring in experts to craft policy positions, it is easy to fall into the cant adopted by Hillary Clinton. In a press briefing in New Hampshire today, Clinton observed that “Megan is a strong woman and can take care of herself,” and dismissed the Trump candidacy as “entertainment.”

But it’s far, far more than that. Trump stood up at the Fox debate and threw his money and ego around. The other candidates came off as a coterie in short pants, each one talking over the other as they sniped in the background. The goal was to make Trump sound silly, but it was obvious who had the strongest personality on the stage.

The image that comes most clearly to mind when I think of that scene is a photo of Hitler and his high command that my family came across in the effects of my grandmother’s last husband, who served on Eisenhower’s staff at the end of World War II. In the photo, the warriors are ranged behind Hitler in combat dress, but none of them looked half as tough as the Fuhrer in shorts. Despite the pout and over-coiffed hair, the same was true of Trump on the debate platform.

I’m not going to suggest that Trump is another Hitler. The man seems affable, and genuinely concerned about the “little people.” But he is obviously unwilling or unable to recognize that the jibes and threats he bandies about on the stage are a dangerous model. Every time Trump shoots off his mouth, a team of lawyers scurries in the background, evaluating whether they have leverage to impose his will on adversaries (as appears to have occurred at Fox News today through Roger Ailes), or whether to backtrack, turn on the charm, and make nice.

I don’t think that Trump understands that when he tells a woman “I’m nice to people that are nice to me,” many women in America hear echoes of an abusive boss engaged in inappropriate groping. And of civil servants, covered by a blanket assessment of idiocy, I can’t help but remember Newt Gingrich and his anti-government rhetoric during the Clinton era, rhetoric that morphed into ridiculous tales of “UN Black Helicopters” preparing to enforce a “New World Order,” whipping up hysteria and paranoia among civilian militias that peaked with McVeigh’s truck bomb murder of the children at the Murrah Building day-care center in Oklahoma City.

And as for the claim that illegal immigrants are “rapists” – we’ve heard things like that about minorities before. What was the epithet? “Christ killers?”

Trump is unsuitable for the Oval Office because he doesn’t realize that the President fires the imagination of the public with an authority presumed to be vetted by the federal bureaucracy. People without his sense of nuance and balance are going to emulate his conduct and manner of speaking. Rude men will run with his claims of oppression under the doctrine of “political correctness,” and be emboldened by his use of raw power to intimidate others. They may not have his resources, but they will emulate his conduct, and hurt a lot of other people in the process.

So, no, we shouldn’t consider this entertainment. It is dangerous. Trump needs to learn to control his mouth, or get off the political stage.

Trump Ratings Soar on Rewrite of Iran Deal

In a majestic coup that recasts real estate deal-making finesse as international diplomacy, the Donald announced today that his mediation of negotiations between the “First Birther” and “Ayatollah Satani” had brought a “permanent solution” to the political ills of both nations. “Never send a bicyclist up against a camel trader. I’ve tossed that Kerry-on baggage.”

The deal pivots around the repurposing of Iran’s nuclear weapons complex (encompassing all of its nuclear enrichment centrifuges and several ICBMs concealed as Teherani mosque minarets) for creation of a Muslim-themed Kenyan resort complex, “ObamaIslama.” Both Obama and Khamenei have announced their intentions to retire from public life to take on wildlife conservation roles at the facility.

“I hear there are plenty of monkeys in Kenya,” Trump offered, speaking of Mr. Obama. And as regards Khamenei, Trump admitted that “He’s got a somewhat different idea of ‘wild life.’ Anyone know where I can find a steady supply of virgins? Wait – scratch that thought. I’ll talk to the producers of ‘The Apprentice.'”

Trump’s thunderous oration pre-empts the surprise announcement planned for the POTUS visit to Kenya. The White House admitted that an elite Seal squad had been sent to take down the media center at Trump Towers, hoping against hope that Trump would be chastened into honoring executive privilege. Speaking for the President, Josh Earnest credited the sartorial celerity of Trump’s hair stylist. “They just got the announcement off way earlier than we thought they would.”

Republican lawmakers on Capital Hill could not be reached by cell phone.