Now Trump is “Evangelical”?

evangelicals

 

So Evangelical leaders are getting behind Donald Trump, are they? What would Jesus say?

These sanctimonious Bible thumpers who routinely use the Lord’s name to serve Mammon find no fault in the man. They insist he is fit to be leader of the free world.

And their flocks find no contradiction in this alliance. They will show up in church again on Sunday, decked out in their finery, smug in their self-righteousness, convinced that they are serving the Lord.

Who are the “religious leaders” that support Trump? Who are their followers?

What kind of human being chooses to stand with Donald Trump? A liar. A cheat. A hate monger.  An unrepentant and remorseless exploiter of the weak and vulnerable. Altogether a vile creature without a moral to his name.

This is a Christian?

His religious protestations are belied by his behavior. Like everything else about Donald Trump, his claim to “love the Bible” is a con.

And these “religious leaders” are buying it.

And why shouldn’t they? They, too,  are in the game. They, too, are super salesmen, masters of illusion, purveyors of fantasy and exploiters of credulity.

They are the Pharisees and Scribes we were warned against. And Trump is their prophet.

More on Evangelicals for Trump

 

Revolt of the Troglodytes

trump2

 

I understand that the catastrophic decision to rip Britain out of the EU was the work of “uneducated” voters. And I wonder what else this sad slice of humanity has in store for the world.

brain deadPresident Trump perhaps?

Do you remember how the Republican candidate celebrated a poll showing his supporters are mostly “uneducated” voters?

“I love the poorly educated,” he declared.

As well he should. They are so easy to manipulate, so susceptible to his racist rants and tortured logic.

And there are so many of them.

I suppose the trend began in school, where the “jocks” ridicule the “nerds.”  The jocks get the the glory, the jocks get the scholarships, the jocks get the girls.

jockTo be a “brain” is to invite disdain.

And it’s style that rules in the schools, not substance. The trendy chick gets the glances. Nobody cares about her IQ.

This sorry culture has been amplified in the movies and the media. Intellect is laughed at and brute force exalted.

So the pundits shouldn’t scratch their egg heads when they learn that climate change and evolution are considered hoaxes by so many folks, or that a big chunk of the public no longer believe the “experts.”

In a culture where popular music is brain-numbing noise and where gibberish passes as “lyrics,” where popular films are a jumble of car chases and explosions, stitched together by gunfire and soaked in blood… what do you expect to happen?

When children are encouraged to play video games based on medieval tyranny and macabre violence, how do you think they will turn out?

Is this the kind of culture that breeds critical thinking, that produces an electorate capable of sustaining democracy?

Or is this a breeding ground for aberrations like Brexit and Trump?

We’re about to find out.

More on Brexit and Trump

Trump’s supporters

 

Things Fly Apart

englandIt feels as if the fabric of the world is unraveling. Britain has voted to leave the European Union and nobody can foretell what this will mean to the rest of us. Even the New York Times concedes with unaccustomed humility:

No one really knows what happens now.

trumpSo the Brits have leaped off some kind of cliff, not knowing or caring what awaits them below?

Whatever awaits, it is sure to be bad news for a lot of people. Obviously, the reckless gesture was prompted by raw emotion, not by rational thought. The Times warns that:

Most broadly, the vote is likely to resonate as a sign that major democracies are increasingly vulnerable to the influence of populist political movements that curry favor by demonizing immigrants and external forces…

Does that remind you of a certain American presidential candidate? Doesn’t it seem a lot like the Trump phenomenon?

And doesn’t it show how susceptible the masses can be to wild-eyed demagoguery? Even in Britain?

This is not the Britain I learned about as a schoolboy in Jamaica. In those days, Jamaica was a British colony and we were taught that Britain was the benchmark for stability, integrity and all-around good sense.

We cut our teeth on Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for their doubting, too…

And we were advised to look for the “Made in England” label on anything we bought. Then, we were assured, we would be sure to get the best value and reliability for our money.

In those days, the sun never set on the British Empire, and raw materials from around the globe were shipped to England to be processed and shipped back as manufactured or processed merchandise. That way, we were taught, consumers reaped the benefits of mass production.

But all of that was a long, long time ago. For better or for worse, the colonies grew up and claimed their independence. The face of Britain changed as immigrants from the colonies swelled the population.

Britain grew ever more cosmopolitan, more sophisticated, more global in its outlook. The economy became more complex, and, for a lot of Britons, less prosperous.

There was a Socialist experiment that failed. And a conservative “austerity” experiment that failed. Meanwhile, Britons surrendered their cherished insularity and embraced their neighbors across the Channel. That experiment, too, is ending badly.

Capitalizing on the uncomfortable side effects of change, opportunistic demagogues whipped up a nationalistic backlash,which has overwhelmed traditional British prudence.

And as the New York Times acknowledges, no one really knows what happens now.

 Click for The Times article.

 

A Digital Protest? Really?

Lax-Gun-Laws

 

In another time, Americans might be marching on Washington today, massing in front of Congress to support the Democratic sit-in against gun violence. But I know of no  plan to march. Instead I got an invitation – by email of course – to join a “digital protest.”

So I won’t have to leave the comfort of my computer chair to show my support for the Democratic protesters. If I had a laptop, I wouldn’t have to get out of bed.

The digital protest is taking place on Facebook tonight.  The email explained:

We will do this by utilizing a Facebook feature, specifically encouraging people to create and share a “Life Event” update. However, unlike a typical Life Event update (announcing a marriage or a new baby, for example), this will be an update allowing people to declare their desire to reduce gun violence by stating that “enough is enough.”

All I have to do is create a custom Life Event on my Facebook page that reads: “Decided that enough is enough.” Then, I can add a story or photo explaining why this is such an important issue.

Sad to say, I would find it easier to march on Washington than to do any of that stuff. Facebook is a puzzle that I have yet to solve (even though I operate a Facebook page of sorts).

I haven’t caught up with the digital age.

I have never figured out how to get on Twitter. As for Instagram and Periscope and all of the other portals to the “social network,” I manage to live from day to day without even knowing what they look like.

The invitation to join the digital protest is supposedly from the White House. But I wonder if it’s a hoax.

I know today’s politicians communicate via Twitter, and I keep up with friends and relatives by email and by checking Facebook once in a while. But the thought of the White House actually staging a protest on the Internet seems weird somehow.

Is this what we’ve come to? War by drones, politics on Twitter and protest by social media?

More on the sit-in and social media

 

Crooked Trump, Not Hillary

con-veterans-donations

 

Donald Trump likes to give his opponents derogatory nicknames – Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, Lyin’  Ted and so on. For the general election, he has come up with Crooked Hillary.

His FEC filing has disclosed how ironic this is.

Tthere’s crookedness going on all right, but it’s in Trump’s campaign, not Hillary’s.

As AlterNet’s Elizabeth Preza observes;

Amazingly, as much as 20 percent of the Trump campaign’s May expenses—over $6 million—went to Trump-owned businesses or to his children.

Why am I not amazed?

And why don’t I feel shocked when I read that Trump’s campaign paid thousands to an “apparently fictitional” ad agency with a name borrowed from the Mad Men TV series?

It’s happened so often before – especially in Republican campaigns.

On her MSNBC show last night, Rachel Maddow argued that the Trump campaign is nothing but a “book tour.”

She recalled that Newt Gingrich did much the same thing as Trump is doing.  Newt ran for president to promote his books and other merchandise. And he built a lucrative media business from the public’s gullibility.

Ben Carson’s campaign was a less grandiose version of the same con. He sold a lot of books. And he dispersed thousands of campaign dollars among his relatives in “consulting fees,” squandering  thousands more at fancy restaurants and luxury hotels.

But Trump trumps them all.

He has the advantage of being a natural born liar. You know he’s lying because his lips are moving. Remember the song and dance about raising funds for veterans and personally contributing a million dollars? He finally had to put up or shut up that time – after the media cornered him.

Now it turns out he lied about self financing his primary campaign. He claims he contributed $55 million but it turns out he didn’t give the campaign a dime. According to the FEC filing, he lent his campaign about $46 million – much of it goods and services from his own companies and consulting fees to his own children..

He is even paying himself to fly his own plane.

As Rachel pointed out, anyone planning to send Trump a campaign contribution should pause to reflect on the fact that it could go to repay him for the “loans” he’s put up so far.

It’s no wonder the deep-pocket donors are hiding their check books. They understand how financing schemes work, and they know this one is a con.

Click for the AlterNet article.

More on the Mad Men ad company

 

Now it Has to be Warren

warren

Wall Street has given Hillary no choice. Now, she has to pick Elizabeth Warren as her  running mate. By threatening to “cut her off,” if she selects Warren, Wall Street is forcing the Democratic flag bearer to show her true colors.

Give in to Wall Street, and she would be telling America that Bernie was right, that she is in the pockets of the Big Money crowd. Pick Warren and she would give the lie to such accusations and repair her damaged public image.

With historically high disapproval ratings, Hillary needs to do something dramatic to restore the voters’ trust.

Of course, I blame the vicious right-wing campaign of the past decade for Hillary’s poor poll numbers. I can’t think of anyone who has been the victim of so many bizarre lies. But she didn’t help her cause when she took so much money for delivering speeches to stockbrokers.

If the Sanders/Trump phenomenon proved one thing it’s that millions of Americans have had it with political domination by the rich – especially those Wall Street financiers. Bernie may be yesterday’s news, but Trump is still around.

Hillary can’t afford to give him more mud to sling at her.

Some big donors are arguing that Trump is unelectable anyway and there’s no need for Hillary to make concessions to progressives. The donors are trying to push Hillary back to the center.

I suppose that would gain a few moderate Republican votes, but it would lose a lot more on the left.

As I see it, a better strategy for Hillary is to be boldly progressive, winning over some of those Bernie supporters and reassuring middle-class Americans that she is unequivocally on their side.

Wall Street’s threat

 

Ruining a Great Old Game

golf

 

An iconic golf course in our town is being converted into a park. Sandra’s father and brother used to play there. Her dad, Buster, was a pro and her brother, David, played on the University of Florida team.

I wonder what Buster would have to say about the closing of the old golf complex?

To me, it signals a sad trend – the waning popularity of golf as a recreational sport. Courses are closing all over the country, I understand.

The people entrusted with keeping the flame of golf alive are desperately trying to get more public involvement. They’re relying on ad campaigns like “Play Nine” and “While We’re Young,” for example. You may have seen the ads.

But the public is having none of it. They aren’t playing golf, and I bet they aren’t watching it the way they used to, either.

One reason, of course, is that with the absence of Tiger Woods, there is no superstar to inspire us hackers. But the officials who control the game are also to blame.

I know I didn’t enjoy watching the US Open over the weekend. It was obviously torture for the players and it made me uncomfortable watching them struggle. What was even worse was that silliness about penalizing Dustin Johnson because his ball wobbled backwards on a super-slick green.

And waiting until after the round to tell him whether he would be penalized. What was that all about?

Golf is just too much trouble today with super-long courses, cement hard greens and bumbling officials. And those silly nit-picking rules make the game even less appealing.

With governing bodies like the USGA, what used to be a grand old sport is becoming a pain in the wherever. I’m sure the ancient Scots who invented the game meant it to be fun, not an ordeal – even to watch.

 

Delusions of Grandeur

bernie

 

I suppose it could happen to you or me too, but it’s sad to see Bernie Sanders get so intoxicated by the cheers of the doting crowds.

bernie-cartoon-1The 74-year-old also-ran seems to see himself as some kind of prophet called to transform America. He is on a crusade to remake the Democratic Party and launch a grassroots “movement” that will end economic injustice and purge corruption from politics.

Good luck with that, Bernie.

What he might end up doing is torpedoing the Democratic Party’s chances of winning the White House.

All because he got dazzled by the footlights.

He points out that his followers are mostly young people, and he calls them the future of the Democratic Party. But, according to the polls, more than half of them refuse to support the Democratic nominee. So I don’t know what political party they’ll be the “future” of.

Sanders is urging them to run for office themselves. But he doesn’t tell them how they can do this effectively without the support of a major party.

You and I know these kids aren’t going to run for anything. They don’t have that kind of temperament. They flocked to the Occupy Wall Street “movement,” remember? And that didn’t get anywhere. The occupiers got tired of the game, folded their tents and went home.

Sure, they gathered by the thousands to cheer Bernie on. Sure, they mailed in their pennies to finance his run for the presidency. But I will be surprised if they show up at the polls in November. They don’t have that long an attention span.

Like the youth movement of the Sixties, Bernie’s “revolution” will probably fade away. Like the “hippies” who morphed into stockbrokers, the young “revolutionaries” will get a haircut and a job, and melt into the gray-flannel-suit crowd.

They should hope Hillary wins despite their defection. That’s the only chance they have of getting student debt relief, reasonable college tuition fees, affordable health care and a decent career.

They should hope their Bernie pipe dream isn’t so damaging a distraction that Donald Trump and the Republicans gain control of America. If that happens, they will find out just how really bad things can get.

And Bernie won’t be able to help them then. He will be just another faded star, railing futilely in the Senate while the looters plunder the Treasury and subject Americans to an unprecedented era of tyranny and oppression.

Bernie fights on.

 

Crazy Rants and Real News

donald-trump-cartoonjones

 

If Donald Trump were some run-of-the-mill guy back in Queens, he would probably be committed to a mental health facility after the craziness he has been spouting.

But, as the Republican Party’s flag bearer, he is taken seriously by the media. Every nutty remark he makes is amplified by the wide-eyed “journalists” who follow him around.

In my day, editors were “gate keepers.” We decided what the public needed to know and what should get “spiked.”

A lot of so-called news never saw the light of day. The press releases ended up on a metal spike that sat on the editor’s desk.

With the emergence of  Twitter and Facebook and the rest of the “social network,” all kinds of unedited nonsense gets out there for an uninformed public to gawk at. So the mainstream media feel obliged to serve up the bogus “news,” too.

Even so, if I were a newspaper or TV editor today, I would have spiked Trump’s absurd accusation that President Obama is somehow in league with terrorists. I would have spiked John McCain’s nonsensical argument that the President is “directly responsible” for the Orlando massacre. I would have spiked the accusations by Ted Cruz that the Obama Administration is endangering Americans.

These lunatic rants get more than their fair share of amplification from outlets like right-wing radio, “conservative” web sites and Fox News.

Mainstream media should not help liars and rogues spread outrageous conspiracy theories and wild rants.

It’s dangerous enough having crazies like Alex Jones on the Internet.You know about Alex Jones, don’t you? He’s the guy who claimed President Obama staged the school shooting in Sandy Hook, using actors, in order to promote gun control.

He claims the President is gay and Michelle Obama is a man. Their two daughters? Adopted from Morocco.  He also promotes the theory that Nine Eleven was perpetrated by George W. Bush … and on and on …

Trump actually uses the outlandish material produced by this nut to spice up his rally speeches and Twitter rants.

Surely, Americans are not well served when respected news outlets publicize Jones’ lunatic accusations just because they’re repeated by Trump and his ilk.

Where Trump gets his lies

 

Blood Money

gun

 

There should be a special place in Hell for the vultures who feast on the corpses of gun violence victims.

I am talking specifically about the creatures who grow obscenely wealthy from the epidemic of mass shootings in America. The arms merchants.

Theirs are the hidden hands manipulating the NRA, the diabolical power controlling Republicans in Congress, preventing them from adopting even the most moderate kind of gun control legislation.

They are among America’s wealthiest and most powerful tycoons. Theirs is a hugely profitable industry. Weapons of war are top American exports.

Yet their greed is not satisfied; they lust for the revenue from those blood baths that have become so familiar to a grieving nation.

That is the real reason common sense gun control is so hard to legislate.

Republican politicians are at the beck and call of the arms merchants. And not only at the federal level. A recent article in the New York Times disclosed that after each mass shooting, Republican dominated state legislatures pass laws that make weapons easier to buy – not harder.

And after each atrocity gun sales soar as a frightened populace seeks to defend itself.

Consider this revelation from Mother Jones magazine:

As the debate over gun laws has grown louder, sales have soared. In the year following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the three largest gunmakers—Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, and Smith & Wesson—netted more than $390 million in profits on record sales. Shares in publicly traded Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped more than 70 percent that year, benefiting institutional investors such as Vanguard, Blackrock, and Fidelity. The hedge fund that owns Remington Outdoor—maker of the assault rifle used in Newtown—saw the annual return on its investment grow tenfold.

Who are these merchants of death?

They are sometimes hard to spot. They can have an innocuous name like Armalite, the company that developed the AR-15. But some boldly advertise their deadly mission with names like Cobra Firearms.

Many of these manufacturers have gone public over the years, seeking investment dollars from unsuspecting citizens who could very well become victims of a gun toting lunatic themselves.

Pension funds and mutual funds also buy their shares, unwittingly contributing to the epidemic of gun violence sweeping America.

Surely, it’s time to stop supporting these fiends. Investors should make sure they don’t buy shares in these companies, and they should pressure their pension and mutual funds to shun these blood soaked stocks, too.

Merchants of death

Inside their dark world

More on boycotting arms company shares