On John McCain’s legacy.

johnmccainyoung

In spite of my earlier post, I did start watching some of the highlights from John McCain’s funeral proceedings today.   It’s important that I did, and I’m glad I did, and do you know why?

Here in the Upside Down — in post-trump bizarro world (the lower case t is intentional) — I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face over a man I did not vote for, whose party and politics I never supported, and it feels very cleansing.  Weird.

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Why the Republican Party is like a Ford Pinto.

flyingfordpinto

I can’t believe I actually found a picture that perfectly illustrates Rachel Maddow’s analogy — that was used in a completely different context.  (Picture credit: Drivetribe.com)

Not only is Rachel Maddow, anchor on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (now the MOST popular primetime cable news show, overtaking everyone else because of her courageous in-depth research on the Trump-Russia investigation), scarily smart, she’s also wickedly funny.

She was interviewed in Rolling Stone magazine for the June 27, 2017 issue by Janet Reitman, and here’s what she had to say about the Republican and Democratic Parties:

I’m not a huge fan of the Democratic Party.   I’m also less interested in the Democratic Party as a topic — the Republican Party is much more fascinating to me…I’m like a sociological student of the Republican Party — even absent Trump.   There is a robust, well-funded, decades-old, superorganized, focused,  competent conservative movement that exists outside the Republican Party that yanks the party’s chain whenever they want to.   The Republican Party is like an old burned-out husk of a Ford Pinto that blew up ’cause its gas tank was in the wrong place, but it’s attached to a giant jet engine.  The Democratic Party is like a Honda Civic.  It putters through the world in a predictable way, and you like it or not depending on if you find small, unpowerful things cute.  But the Republican Party has this incredible propulsion and no way to steer it.

I can’t think of a more accurate description of both parties.  Maddow is referring, of course, to the unlimited corporate funding that funnels into the GOP, with the Koch Brothers at its helm.   Seriously, Maddow is one of the few things keeping me sane these days.   She’s a beacon of truth in a sea of misinformation and Trump-enablement in the mainstream media.   She’s not afraid to actually go where few others dare to tread and is still able to make me laugh.

If this doesn’t scare the living daylights out of you, it should. #RESIST

jack-boots-marching-620x320_grande

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that the State Department, headed by Rex Tillerson, has been ordered to scrub the term “democracy” and “justice” from its mission statement.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/08/01/state-department-considers-scrubbing-democracy-promotion-from-its-mission/?tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.d34411db245c

This is extremely serious.  Sure, it’s only words, but changing the language is a first step toward tyranny.   George Orwell’s novel 1984 is cautionary tale about what can happen (and has happened) through the simple changing of language — either removing or adding words,  or using words as propaganda.   Words are powerful tools.  The fact “democracy” may be removed is concerning, because it does seem this White House wants to do away with democracy and lead us in an authoritarian direction.

I do not understand why something this serious isn’t being reported by other news sources.     Do they not want to panic us?  Is this being suppressed?   It should be blaring all over the news media and splashed all over the front page of every newspaper in the land!

We are fast falling into fascism. How long before the jackbooted military police start rounding up people the GOP doesn’t like? This wasn’t an election — it was a coup. This is probably the most disturbing, scary thing I’ve read yet — another step toward becoming the religious dictatorship they want. And I trust the source.

Their plan is to re-write the Constitution.

Imagine an America that is like a high-tech Feudal Europe, or like Venezuela today.

From the comments under the article:

Imagine an America where there are no regulations of any kind and where the church can set the social standards for society. It’s Oligarchy at it’s finest. Just think about the rich families in Italy and the Catholic church in the middle ages. You were pious and did your work, didn’t complain, weren’t educated unless you were monied and always supported the aristocracy and the church. That was your life.

This isn’t some harebrained conspiracy theory.  It really could happen, if these evil men get their way.   The patients are running the asylum now.

 

They need six more states to reach the required 31. Then they can change the Constitution however they want. THIS is the big story they have been trying to distract America from the entire time.

Americans should be marching in the streets in protest. If it passes, expect to live in a religious oligarchy with no social services or regulations or departments of any kind that benefit the nation as a whole.

Already, I don’t recognize the country this still was 7 months ago.

#RESIST

Insanity is our new normal: the rise of the Christian Taliban.

handmaidstale

Scene from Hulu’s version of The Handmaid’s Tale

 

Something I’ve been saying a lot lately is that there is no such thing as a conspiracy theory anymore.   That’s because America has gone insane and all the crazy tin-foil hat theories we might have scoffed at ten or twenty or even just five years ago are actually happening right now.

One of them is the rise of the “Christian Taliban” a/k/a Christian Reconstructionism and Christian Dominionism.

The following excellent and well-researched article defines in great detail what this dangerous and ungodly cult believes and what it plans to do here in America — and it’s succeeding.  It’s a long article but definitely worth reading to the end.

Dominionism Rising:  A Theocratic Movement Hiding in Plain Sight

The takeover of the Republican party by Christian Dominionists and Reconstructionists is very scary and very real.  They believe that certain Christians (the “elect”) are ordained by God to take “dominion” over America; this belief is based on the Genesis story where God told Adam and Eve to “take dominion” over the earth and “subdue it.”  To them, “subduing the earth” means exploiting it unsustainably (because God will clean up the mess).  They think that those who believe that subduing the earth means sustainable stewardship are showing a lack of faith in God’s ability to replenish what humans take from it (their attitude is analogous to the arrogance of teenagers who trash the house after a party and expect their parents to clean it up as opposed to responsibly cleaning up their own mess).

Their goal is complete control and a replacement of our Constitution with Old Testament Biblical law, complete with harsh capital punishments for countless offenses and sins. Women would return to being chattel and having no rights. Gay people and non-believers and many others who don’t conform to the forced regime could be stoned to death (as they did in the Old Testament) or otherwise eliminated.   The teaching of science (especially evolution) would be banned and public education would be eliminated.   Birth control would most likely be outlawed and abortion could carry a death penalty.   Higher education would be discouraged, especially for women.  Critical thinking of any kind would not be allowed.  In a fascist, totalitarian theocracy, you can control your subjects much better if they are unable to think for themselves.     

This is no exaggeration. There are a number of Dominionists/Reconstructionists high up in the Republican party right now.   Ted Cruz is one of the most famous.   So is Mike Pence.   And that’s just for starters.    Their brand of Christianity is the American version of Sharia Law. The sort of oppressive, authoritarian society described in the 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale could actually become reality here.  

sharialaw

These people have great wealth and influence and know how to infiltrate politics at every level and get politicians to do their bidding.   It’s very possible they could succeed.   They believe that Trump, though not particularly religious himself (most of these Dominionist types are well aware of his sinful lifestyle and lack of repentance) has nevertheless been appointed by God as a sort of “wrecking ball” with the intention of destroying our democratic institutions and democracy itself as we know it, to make way for the totalitarian theocracy they believe God wants installed in America before he will allow Jesus to return.  These people compare Trump’s rise to power to King Cyrus of Persia in the Old Testament.   These Puritan-like Calvinists believe that it is their moral duty to take from the poor, disabled and other vulnerable people and give to the already wealthy because they are God’s chosen people (according to their Calvinist beliefs, their wealth and power means that God favors them).   They also believe that slavery is “benevolent” — the leader of the Dominionist movement, R. J. Rushdoony, actually said that “some people are born to be slaves.”

This ugly and hateful theology is NOT real Christianity and is in fact alien to anything taught by Christ and is the polar opposite of His message of love and compassion for the “least among us” in the Sermon on the Mount.   Their dreamed of theocracy is all about control and power by a wealthy few and the subjugation, suffering, oppression, and death of the masses.   In their Orwellian way of twisting the meaning of words to their own benefit, “religious freedom” to them means not the freedom to worship as you choose, but the freedom to oppress and punish others who worship differently than you do.  

These sick, blackhearted people are religious terrorists who will destroy this country and our freedom if they are not stopped in their tracks. They are a much more real danger to us than ISIS or Muslim jihadists, who are unlikely to be any real immediate threat to us.  Yet these same homegrown terrorists are the ones instilling hatred and fear against Muslim terrorists, who operate the very same way in the name of Islam (and of course most Muslims are not like that, just as most Christians are actually good and decent people).  

Wake up, people! This could happen here. We can’t be complacent and assume it won’t just because it sounds insane. It is insane, but insanity is the new normal.  We can’t ever accept it as normal. 

Christian Dominionism has taken over the GOP.

fascism

Many Christians may wonder how the heartless, draconian, dangerous, and mean policies of the current GOP can be reconciled with anything Jesus Christ actually taught.

The truth is, they can’t. Although our current president (who by all indications is not a religious man, nor has he repented for his many indiscretions both before and after he was elected) panders to the Christian Right, has surrounded himself with “Christian” politicians (mostly fundamentalists and dominionists — more on dominionism in a minute), and has taken on their anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage rhetoric (to obtain support and votes, since these are the two issues that seem to concern these so-called Christians the most), Trump’s behavior (and those of the people he has appointed) is anything but Christ-like. Yes, it’s true the Bible tells us to “judge not, lest ye be judged,” but we are also told (by Jesus) that “by their fruits you shall know them [the evildoers],” and so far, this administration has borne nothing but bad fruit. So, going by that, I feel justified in judging the regime that has taken control of our country.

The ugly truth is that they have an agenda: turning our democracy into a religious theocracy — an Old Testament-based dictatorship that is to real Christianity what the Taliban/ISIS is to real Islam. They want a Christian version of Sharia Law in which women and minorities are silenced and repressed and “know their place,” in which  political or religious dissent is made illegal, in which non-Christians can be treated as second class citizens with limited or no rights, in which the land, sea and sky is raped and pillaged for human purposes (because taking care of our planet means we “lack faith” in God’s ability to replenish the Earth), in which personal sin (abortion, homosexuality, adultery, etc.) is punished harshly and maybe even by death,  and in which material wealth is regarded as proof of God’s approval/love and in which it’s justified to let the poor and sick perish and die because they are “moral failures”who have not been so blessed with good health or wealth because they are not among God’s elect (a Calvinistic doctrine that we are all predestined for heaven or hell before we are born, which of course begs the question as to how we can also have free will).

If you are thinking about how far this is from what Jesus preached in his most famous of all sermons, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), you are right.    Jesus instructed us us to welcome immigrants  (his own parents would have been banished from Bethlehem and Mary not allowed to give birth there because they were foreigners),  take care of the poor and the sick (one of the most famous, but far from the only, verse in the Bible addressing this is the one about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to heaven), and turn the other cheek (be humble.)    He railed against pride, greed and legalism.   He counted among his friends the beggars and the homeless.   He valued women as much as he did men.   He gave us the “new Covenant” which was to replace the old Biblical laws found in books such as Leviticus.

Now, the old Testament has much to recommend it, and of course the Ten Commandments are just plain old common sense.   Personally, I have no objection to the Commandments being displayed in courthouses or “In God We Trust” being printed on the dollar bill, because these things don’t necessarily favor only Christians and they’re simply good advice for anyone.      They don’t repress, oppress, or marginalize anyone.  They don’t hurt people or the environment.  They don’t undermine the Constitution or our freedoms.   People who object to these things really ought to turn their minds to more important issues that actually affect their lives.

Yet we have a bunch of Christian heretics high up in government who actually want to set up a fascist regime based not on the Constitution drawn up by the Founding Fathers, but on Old Testament Biblical Law.    This is the desire and goal of cultists (yes, to my mind they are a cult) who embrace an ugly and dangerous doctrine called Christian Dominionism, and Donald Trump, in spite of not himself being religious, is their cult leader.

Here is a comprehensive definition of what Christian dominionism is:

https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-dominionism.html

Christian dominionists may tell us they are saved and insist we need “more Jesus” but they practically ignore the Gospels.  Instead, they cherry-pick passages in the Old Testament that they feel support their beliefs, usually the ones that show God at his most angry, intolerant, and punishing.  There is no Jesus in what they preach and to my mind, they are Christian in name only.  They also have somehow come up with the idea that America is God’s chosen nation (after Israel) and that Jesus will return here, which justifies everything they do that represses or punishes non-believers and the “non-elect.”   But there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that supports the notion that America is somehow regarded as God’s chosen country.

They (as well as many fundamentalist Christians, whether they are dominionists or not) believe that Donald Trump, while not the second coming of Jesus himself, is nonetheless “preparing the way” for Jesus’ return.   They may acknowledge that Trump is a sexually and personally amoral narcissist, but this is okay because in the Bible, God often used sinful people to fulfill his wishes.   They compare Trump to King Cyrus of Persia, a deeply flawed and cruel man who nonetheless freed the Jews.

According to this website,

“He came in, this king, as a secular ruler and decreed for the building of the house of the Lord. He literally made it possible for the Jews to end the captivity,” Lance Wallnau, an evangelical leader and author, told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “Trump has the Cyrus anointing to navigate in chaos.”

Trump as “Cyrus,” President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “Babylon,” the Jews as either modern-day Israelis or Americans? It’s not only evangelical Christians who buy it. Before the election, Rabbi Matityahu Glazeron predicted a Trump victory based on an analysis of Bible codes, which he said also pointed to the new president as a Cyrus-like figure.

In a pre-inauguration faith gathering, Likud Knesset member Yehuda Glick, in Washington, D.C. for the festivities, expressed a like sentiment. Calling the new president “the king of the United States of America,” Glick said that if Trump moved the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, “He will be the latter-day Cyrus!”

Trump has also sometimes been compared to King David, a similarly flawed man of the Old Testament who was a hero to the Israelites and made Jerusalem its capital.

Here is a list of “Christian” justifications for the evil, un-American agenda the Trump regime and much of the GOP are trying to make reality.   I am not making this up.  I wish I were.  The source I used for this list can be found here.   There are many other sources, and a quick Google search should point you to them, but I found this source the most comprehensive and will serve for the purposes of this article.    I will warn however, that this website makes for some disturbing reading.  I don’t recommend reading it if you want to get any sleep.   You can read about their plan for taking over the Republican Party (we are seeing many indicators of their agenda being fulfilled under the Trump administration)  here.

Public education for all is to be abolished in favor of religious, private education.  If you can’t afford a private, religious education, too bad, you must not be one of God’s elect.   Ignorance is good, because it keeps the undesirables in line.   Educated people ask too many questions.  How long before our child labor laws (because that’s socialism) are repealed?    Put those indigent kids to work!

Defunding protections for the environment.  Apparently, for Christian dominionists, stewardship of the earth is irrelevant, in spite of numerous Bible passages that tell us that the Earth belongs to God, and we are only to use it sustainably.    They believe that because in Genesis, Adam and Eve were told to “fill the earth and subdue it,” and “take dominion over it,” that means it’s okay for us to vandalize God’s creation and expect Him to clean up after us like parents coming home to find trash all over the house and graffiti drawn all over the walls after their unruly teenagers threw a drunken weekend party.  They justify unsustainable environmental practices such as strip mining or fracking by saying that only a person of no faith in God’s restorative ability would want laws that protect earthly resources.

Why the mainstream media should be suppressed.

The GOP war against women.  It ain’t just about abortion. They want a patriarchy where women are treated as second class citizens with fewer rights than men and where women’s health is legislated and controlled by high ranking men.  If you want to get an idea of what life might be like for women if the current GOP gets their way, read Margaret Atwood’s eerily prophetic 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale.

Why it’s “Christian” to take “entitlements” away from the poor and middle class.  According to Christian dominionists, God has selected certain individuals to take power over America (a Christian nation!) in preparation for Christ’s return.  In order for them to have the power they need to do what God has ordained, He has blessed them with material wealth like some cosmic lottery machine.   So if you aren’t rich, then God has not chosen you, and in fact you are probably predestined for hell anyway.   This is a morally repugnant (and uniquely American) theology based on Calvinism and the Puritanism that grew from that.  It explains how some far right Christians can reconcile their faith with Ayn Rand’s (herself an atheist) philosophy of selfishness, otherwise known as “objectivism.”    Never mind all that socialist business about Jesus loving the poor and weak —  he didn’t really mean it!  Using dominionist logic, Saudi Arabian oil sheikhs must be even more favored by God, since they are richer than any American Christian.

While “the little people” need more rules and regulations (Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the War on Drugs — hey, gotta fill up all those for-profit prisons!), corporations shouldn’t have any regulations (laws that keep them from exploiting or abusing people, animals, and the environment) because regulation cuts into their profits, and we already know those profits are ordained by God and should not be interfered with.

There is much more, but I’ll leave it at that.   These are the same people that condemn radical Islam for its treatment of women and their tyrannical governments that suppress religious liberty and terrorize those who don’t believe, but they want to do the very same thing here under the rubric of Christianity.   They are hypocrites who twist real Christianity into something more closely resembling a fanatic religious cult in which “freedom of religion” means the freedom to force their religious beliefs on others by making them the law.    They whine about Christians being persecuted because of creationism not being taught in public schools or because some people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”  (personally, I doubt Jesus cares whether we celebrate his birthday or not), but they feel perfectly free to persecute those who don’t believe exactly as they do and just want to live in a country where everyone is equal and treated fairly.

Trump supporters are enraged!

I never visited the alt-right website Breitbart News before, but something told me to click it on today and see what they are saying.

Was I in for a shock!  The first article I saw was about how terrible Trump’s healthcare replacement package is.   Almost 9,000 comments and almost every one is ripping Trump and Ryan to shreds.

7 Reasons Why Obamacare 2.0 Is All But Guaranteed to Impose Crushing Costs on Voters, Hurt Trump’s Base, And Hand Power Back to the Democrats

Breitbart May Have Just Killed Trumpcare (New York Magazine)

When you really think about it though, it shouldn’t be that shocking. No one, not even the far right, wants to see Grandma shoved under the bus and her healthcare taken away.     Remember, the Tea Party was never a friend to the corporate elite.  Red state voters and conservatives really believed Trump would deliver on his promises to make healthcare more affordable, and they compose his base of supporters.    So, it looks like they are finally waking up from their denial and realizing this was a massive bait and switch operation and they made a terrible mistake.   When it comes to healthcare, they realize their own lives and those they love could be at stake.

Let’s face it. Neither party has served the interests or needs of the American people for a very long time. Every 4 or 8 years we get one side or the other in charge.   The problem with the Democratic Party is it has tried to serve two masters — the people AND the corporate elite.    That doesn’t work.  It never has and never will.    While Obamacare was an improvement over what we had before that (nothing), it’s not nearly enough.   Some of these former Trump supporters on Breitbart are actually demanding single payer healthcare!   Yes, they actually believed that’s what Trump meant when he promised to cover every American.

Now I understand why the Tea Party types never seemed too opposed to a far left candidate like Bernie Sanders.  What both the alt-right and Sanders supporters have in common is that both are fed up with the current establishment parties as they stand now, both of which only serve the corporate elite.   Although I think Obama’s heart was in the right place, he tried too hard to please both the people and the monied interests (the insurance companies).     The middlemen need to get out of healthcare, and some on the right are beginning to understand this.  The far left always did.

Even in the face of this blowup on Breitbart,  Trump and Ryan are STILL trying to shove their awful plan down our throats. Surely they must know how many middle class and poor conservatives are mad as hell and have turned against them since the rollout.

I think this might be the starting point for change, if the right and the left can both use the healthcare crisis as a starting point for some new conversations and some real solutions.

Divorcing The Donald: Cutting Ties with The Narcissist.

Allison Patton, family lawyer, wrote an eye opening article for The Huffington Post that goes beyond simply describing Donald Trump as an NPD poster boy, which many have already done.

In family law, individuals with NPD are known a HCPs-high-conflict persons. Here, Ms. Patton describes the way Trump’s blatant narcissism has not only alienated him from the Republican Party, but how he could potentially serve as a public example of a serious disorder that family lawyers, judges, and the courts are surprisingly ignorant about–and often unwittingly reward the narcissistic spouse and punish the real victim, due to the narcissist’s glibness and ability to lie convincingly.

Unfortunately, Trump has succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes of millions of Americans who continue to support him–even though it’s no secret he has been publicly diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Many of these Americans tell themselves, “well aren’t all politicians narcissists anyway?”
Well, most probably have some narcissistic traits, but most are not full-blown NPD like Donald Trump either.

Divorcing The Donald: Cutting Ties With The Narcissist
By Allison Patton, for The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-patton/divorcing-the-donald_b_9633460.html

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Bethpage, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A “Cluster B” personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the damage they are causing to themselves and often others.

While the Republican Party is desperately trying to cut ties with Donald Trump, the world watches in disbelief. All, that is, but a particular group of women and men with one thing in common: each of them has divorced a narcissist, and some still share child custody with one.

They know the story and could write the script. The successful, gregarious person who swept them off their feet. The promises that followed. Gradually the realization that it was all a façade. There could never be a “we” because narcissists care only about themselves. Then the real nightmare began, the battle to remove this toxic person from their lives. . . . and for those with children, the misery of trying to co-parent with an ex who acts and thinks like The Donald.

As a divorce lawyer, these cases are the most difficult and disturbing. In my family law circle, we refer to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder as “an NPD” (or the more general term “HCP” — which stands for “high conflict person”). The legal battle is always the same: the unaffected spouse tries to explain to the attorneys, judge and appointed psychological expert (if there is one) the narcissist’s behavioral pattern: control, emotional abuse, manipulation, duplicity and the damaging impact on the children. The NPD denies it all and mounts a legal response that consists of blame laying, factual distortions, outright lies and a character assassination of the other spouse.

The experts and the judge are sometimes able to weed through the chaos and confusion, identify the personality disorder at play and make decisions that protect the children and unaffected spouse. Often, however, the legal system gets it wrong. Just as we’ve seen with Donald Trump, the NPD can be very convincing and manipulative. And the court system – like the general public – either gets conned by the NPD or isn’t equipped to manage the level of conflict created by a Donald. Often the court assumes both parties are equally to blame for creating and maintaining a high conflict case, so the innocent parent who is fighting to protect the kids is treated as skeptically as the narcissistic parent.

For decades, there has been little understanding of how to spot and handle personality disorders in family law. As recently as 2011, when I blogged on Huffington Post about high conflict people in divorce court, I received emails from out-of-state divorce professionals indicating the information was new to them and they hadn’t heard the term “high conflict people” used in their family court.

Thanks to Donald Trump and his campaign, the entire world now gets daily lessons on NPD behavior. As disturbed as I am by what the Donald has pulled off, the divorce lawyer in me sees the opportunity here. The Donald is our new high conflict poster child. Those of us who want change in the family law system couldn’t hope for a better example. The common traits and behaviors of this personality disorder are being revealed, in their full horrific glory.

Read the rest of this article here.

Bonus article: Donald Trump’s Amazing Answer to “Do You Cry?”  (Washington Post)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/19/donald-trumps-amazing-answer-on-do-you-cry/
Hilarious.