THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC MEETS THE BANANA REPUBLICANS: ANOTHER IMPEACHMENT TRAVESTY

Though I would need volumes to discuss thoroughly the impeachment debacle of last week, I feel compelled to share a few of my preliminary impressions of the most recent blow Trump and the Republicans have struck to American democracy.

First of all, the “trial” was, I believe, the coup de grâce to the barely breathing, last vestiges of hope for the existence of anything but corruption and rot in the Republican party. The Republicans could muster only one vote to convict Trump the last time he committed a set of obviously impeachable acts wrapped around the plethora of other crimes he had committed as president. This time, with American democracy on the line, they were able to muster all of seven votes out of fifty. Fourteen percent ain’t bad.

The case for the defense consisted essentially of the following:

  • The jurisdictional defense:  Remember, Trump was impeached while he was in office, and McConnell forced the breaking of the clear Constitutional mandate of starting the trial immediately. He essentially forced the trial to begin after Trump’s term was over. Historically, there are multiple precedents for impeachments to occur after the offender leaves office, in part because the process can be used to disqualify the offender from holding future office. Most Constitutional scholars agree with Ted Cruz, who said, “I believe the best reading of the Constitution is that the Senate retains jurisdiction.” He just didn’t want this prerogative to be used in cases where senators from Texas are in the midst of dewy dreams of running for president. In the end the Senate voted to use their plenary power. Case closed.
  • The Trump was not afforded due process defense: Ridiculous. An overwhelming number of serious scholars, both Conservative and Liberal, have opined in rejection of these arguments which they watched unfolding before their sober and critical eyes. Few serious scholars held for the affirmative. Even more tellingly, ten Republican House members voted with all of the Democrats, and seven senators voted with two independents and all of the Democrats in what must logically have been support of the legal legitimacy of the process. In the end, a significant, bipartisan majority of both houses soundly rejected these disingenuous distractions.
  • The whataboutism defense:  What about the things various Democrats have said in the past? First of all, they never lied for years in the ultimate service of an insurrection. Secondly, their supporters did not attack the United States Capitol and kill five people. In fact, most of the serious crimes committed during the Black Lives Matter protests were committed by anarchists or white supremacists (i.e., Trump supporters). Check with Christopher Wray if you don’t trust this puppy. And if we want to do whataboutism, what about the dozens of people shot and killed by Trump-supporting white supremacists over the past year and for years previously? We know that most crimes of domestic terrorism are committed by members of far-right fringe groups, almost all of whom are supporters of Trump and his Republican enablers. Further, the BLM protests involved millions of people all around the world and were done in the name of justice, a word the Republicans do not understand. (Republican Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee recently accused Pete Buttigieg, the new Secretary of Transportation, of the heinous crime of planning “…to use the department for social, racial, and environmental justice causes.” I must admit that I wasn’t aware that “Attempted Equity” was a crime.) The BLM protests were not about a deluge of lies designed to effect the overthrow of American Democracy, but rather about racial justice, a concept not abhorrent to Democrats. Finally, if specific things Democrats said or did were impeachable offenses, impeach them! If they have lied over and over and over again for months and then fomented an insurrection against our democracy, impeach them! If their supporters smashed up the United States Capitol and tried to zip tie Nancy Pelosi and assassinate her while hanging Mike Pence, impeach them! If their supporters built a functional gallows on Capitol property, impeach them! If their supporters violently broke into the seat of our government and injured dozens of its defenders while killing five, impeach them! If their supporters rifled through official files and documents and tore Congressional offices apart, impeach them! If their supporters appeared at an insurrection wearing buffalo horns, well…try not to laugh at them. Just ‘lock them up” with all due deliberation.
  • The First Amendment protects free speech defense: Right. It does. But try threatening someone or calling, “Fire” in a crowded theatre where there is no fire. In other words, try telling a lie which creates public chaos. We’ll see you in court.

In the end, as one commentator opined, fifty-seven senators voted on the record that Donald John Trump was guilty of inciting insurrection against his own government.

Even Mitch McConnell stated, on the floor of the Senate, that “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.”

He said that the insurrectionists “did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth – because he was angry he’d lost an election.”

McConnell also said, “The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth.”

The entirety of the first half of his speech is worth reading. It is articulate and on point.

The second half amounted to an appeal to his donors and his potential voters, especially Independents, in his most critical opening move in the chess game that will determine who will be Senate majority leader in January of 2023. In the meantime, he must retain his power as minority leader, and he calculates that this will help. The question is whether his calculations considered the quiet, Machiavellian scheme to overthrow him currently being launched by Lindsey “No Room In Here For Food” Graham.

With respect to the proceedings themselves, the Republicans serially insinuated that this was a real trial, subject to all of the most arcane conventions of criminal law. They corruptly affected ignorance of the fact that this was an impeachment. They treated the proceeding as though it were bound by the rules and procedures of a standard criminal trial, which premise made much of what they argued completely irrelevant.

Amazingly, while asserting that the standards of a criminal trial must be assiduously adhered to at all times, the “jurors” repeatedly met with the defense team to plan strategy.

With respect to style and decorum, there were a number of breaches of order, such as the senior senator from Utah shouting from the floor his pained, indignant grievance that someone had lied about him. Irony is dead.

Not only did the defense lawyers, particularly Michael van der Veen, display arguably pathological anger in support of their clinically psychotic client, pounding fingers or fists on the lectern heavily enough to break a bone or the lectern itself, as well as gesticulating in a wild-eyed and aggressive manner, once or twice even doing some kind of enigmatic and perhaps cabalistic or occult dance,  but they also ignored any sense of the decorum of the Senate. They called more names and used more derisive qualifiers and nicknames than a puppy writing a blog.

To be clear, in one of the most august settings in the country, they were flat-out rude.

What struck me even more powerfully was that Trump’s defense team, consisting of a few lawyers and even more Republican senators, was breathtakingly, embarrassingly ignorant of both the content, structure, and purpose of the proceedings and the language in which they were held. The assumption going in was that the proceedings were to be held in English. SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t turn out that way.

The defense team itself, dubbed by one observer “Meandering and Furious,” quickly became “Meandering and Furious and Furiouser.”

Throughout, they morphed back and forth between “Meandering and Furious and Furiouser” and “Dumb and Dumber and Dumberer.”

Their defense was short but pointless. They used only a fraction of their allotted time, proffering the imbecilic excuse that they were keeping it short because the senators (this would include the Republicans) were chafing at the bit to end the proceedings and get after Covid relief. This may have been true for the Democrats. I suppose fifty percent ain’t bad.

To elucidate their false equivalency with respect to the above-referenced whataboutism argument, and after having repeatedly accused the Managers of obscuring context by doing such things as, for example, not playing tortuously long excerpts of Trump’s speech, they played a surrealistic, embarrassingly-irrelevant montage of human beings using the word “fight,” which must now be stricken (cancelled?) from the dictionary. Their “Fight Club Documentary” included such current or former United States presidents as Johnny Depp and Madonna.

They also used the impeccably rational “they hate him” defense. More than almost anything else, this puzzled me into a state of extreme befuddlement accompanied by pounding headaches. Did Eliot Ness “hate” Al Capone? Did the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York “hate” Bernie Madoff? Did the Republican House Impeachment Managers “hate” Bill Clinton? (I must concede that the Nuremberg judges had a rather sweet relationship with Hermann Göring.)

They also let slip from the sides of their mouths the word “hypocrisy” a number of times. As I said above, irony is dead.

With respect to their command of the King’s English, Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop or any number of the maladroit characters of Charles Dickens would have understood them perfectly.

Perhaps a more appropriate appellation for the team might have been, Mapaprop, Maladroit, and Maladjusted.

One of Trump’s lawyers said that the dishonest Managers had “picked and choosed” their evidence.

They repeatedly mispronounced the names of members of Congress and others, including, more than once, the name of the vice president of the United States of America, who, I would suspect they are aware, is a black woman. No offense intended, I’m sure.

I must applaud their patriotic efforts to “vinicate the Constitution,” which we all agree has aged like a fine wine.

The Managers’ case was described as malvent, perhaps indicating a blocked air duct or the origins of a nagging cough, either of which could have influenced the veracity and/or quality of the Managers’ presentation, and as incinderary, a clever reference to a relevant folk tale about an individual suffering similar slings and arrows.

Striking, even dispiriting, was a reference to the devastation wrought by the Liberals’ “Fight Club,” resulting in businesses being ramshackeled. A completely unjust accusation! After all, it was the friends of the president who brought zip ties.

All present were further shocked to learn that many of the sources used by the prosecution were anominous, by which I took them to mean having been named by unavowed parents.

In calling his home town “Phileedelphia” and his country the “Yoo-nited States of America,” Mr. van der Veen clearly demonstrated his extreme patriotism, in contrast to the attitudes of the prosecutors, who were engaged in a “manacle crusade” of injustice. (He couldn’t stop deflecting about the zip ties.)

In short, the defense clearly established, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the House Managers were following a “dark path of animity and division.”

I was moved by these terrifying scenarios of the felonious exploits of the  prosecutors turned defendants, but somewhat relieved to conclude that at least their animity wasn’t anominous.

Toward the end one of Trump’s lawyers summed up much of my point here when he said, “I’m not too adept at it neither.” Truer words was never spoke.

Post-impeachment remarks weren’t much brighter, highlighted by folks such as Ron Johnson, one rung on the evolutionary ladder below the Buffalo Man. His comments about how the rioters weren’t sufficiently armed to make the proceedings technically an insurrection were interesting and will perhaps trigger a debate as to what quality and quantity of weaponry would be sufficient to trigger the “We’re Really Here To Hurt You” clause of the Constitution. Clearly, the senior senator from Wisconsin is nature’s way of frightening humans into rushing out to get an education before they get caught sounding as stupid as he does.

Now, these examples of embarrassing ignorance are humorous. But the fact that the former Republican president of the United States of America had to use these morons to defend him in an impeachment trial is tragic for all of us. At least McConnell was compelled to slather some shame on the floor of the Senate. A few other Republicans expressed the same sentiments in one context or another. But all who did are now dead meat. They are retiring, stand censured, will be censured, or will be primaried by a member of the cabal of spiteful losers.

This is why one of my ongoing themes has been and will continue to be that the decent people of America must use their power to speak out peacefully and vote consistently in order to burn the Republican party to the ground. It has proven itself to be unworthy of having a voice in American democracy.

Or maybe not. Maybe our new creed should be this: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall have died in vain – that this banana republic, under Greed, shall have a new death of freedom – and that government of the corrupt, by the self-serving, for the autocrats, shall not cherish the earth.”  I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHRISTIANS GONE? SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

A friend of the Boss gave him this letter which he was going to send to his aged parents. However, he felt it would be too upsetting to send directly to them, but he also felt that the message was very important for many people in similar circumstances. Consequently, he asked the Boss to give it to me to post and I have copied and pasted it below:

TO MOM AND DAD: YOU WERE CHRISTIANS. NOW YOU SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP. I HAVE A DEPRESSING QUESTION.

This letter is absolutely true but anonymous to protect my aged parents.

Mom and Dad, something has changed. Or has it?

Though my own memory may have blurred a bit around the edges, I do clearly remember the many things you taught your children about morality – what is good, what is bad, what is true, what is false, what is moral, what is immoral, what is right, what is wrong.

And you always taught us these things within a Christian context, most especially the context of the evangelical community of which you were a part.  Not that you (in the day) disparaged other religions, but simply that you had been brought up as Christians and had settled on evangelicalism and that was the context of your faith.

And what did you teach us?

That the Devil is the Father of Lies. That he is a liar and a deceiver, a tempter, a divider, a betrayer, one who is the enemy of the good and who “snatches away what has been sown (by the word of the kingdom of God) in (a person’s) heart.” Matthew 13: 19, NASB. You told us that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” (Proverbs 12:22, NASB)

What has been snatched from our hearts, and why are lying lips no longer an abomination to the Lord, Mom and Dad?

You taught us the Ten Commandments, which admonished us not to commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet your neighbor’s wife or goods; to show “lovingkindness.” In many discussions, we used the word “compassion.”

We talked about the Seven Deadly Sins of Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth. (We used the words “anger” and “laziness.”)

We discussed the import of the Cardinal Virtues originating in Greek philosophy and reflected in a New Testament written in Koine Greek. For the record, we mainly used synonyms such as modesty, humility, justice, courage, patience, fidelity, kindness, diligence, and compassion, including our duty to heed and succor those less fortunate than ourselves. We used these words because for us  they best and most precisely illustrated the specific teachings of Jesus.

We augmented our individual, personal explorations, from those of my evangelical minister brother to my own university courses and papers, with countless local Bible studies, including many at your own home during our adult years.

I had shelves of Bibles and we used a multitude of resources, from Matthew Henry to The New Bible Commentary to the works of Gleason Archer and on and on and on. We were unmitigatedly serious and, because our considerations were colored by our faith, meticulously honest.

You and the village you surrounded us with were always intent on teaching us the difference between right and wrong, and how to apply that lesson in our own lives, to seek that which is good, to seek and live in the truth.

You always told us that we were responsible for our actions, our words, even our very thoughts. (The lust of the heart comes to mind.) A few verses from the Bible seem to support this contention:

  • For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:5, NASB)
  • So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14: 12, NASB)
  • Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6: 7, NASB)

That responsibility, we understood, included not being unequally yoked with, for example, agents of the Devil. Now I do understand that Paul exhorted us to be subject to the sovereign authorities, and that Christ commanded us to render unto Caesar, but these admonitions are to be taken in context. Christ, for example, was specifically referring to a poll tax in Matthew 22, and Paul also mentions taxation before asking us to render to all what is “due them.” In a democracy, surely no one is due absolute allegiance. Surely no one is required to vote for or support a lawless, vicious, cruel, lying thug. A few verses to put this in context:

  • Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate!(the court). (Amos 5: 15, NASB)
  • Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14: 34, NASB)
  • By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. (Proverbs 11:11, NASB)
  • It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, For a throne is established on righteousness. (Proverbs 16:12, NASB)
  • Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. (Proverbs 25:26, NASB)
  • And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. (Ephesians 5:11, NASB)
  • We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5: 29, NASB)
  • Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. / Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82: 3-4, NASB)

Now, everything has changed. You have found a new leader, one you follow with as much fervor as you once followed a succession of evangelical leaders, many of whom turned out to be charlatans. But when you found out who they were you stopped listening to them and looked elsewhere for the truth.

Now, the seeds of your desire to seek the truth seem to have fallen among the thorns. Now you have replaced your love for the real Jesus with the adulation of a lawless thug.

Now, you are following a leader who has lived his entire life relying on lies and cruelty and crime in order to enrich and aggrandize his bottomless selfishness, and who continues in this path to this very day. His pathological narcissism has defined him and infected all the world in its shocking, ubiquitous power. The Pied Piper of lust, indulgence, greed, violence, abuse-inducing anger and hate, fraud, and treachery, he has led the disciples of his cult all the way down to the ninth circle of hell.

Most terrifyingly, so many have been blinded by the frauds and hypocrisies of this great deceiver that the power of his lies has poisoned us all, nor does there seem to be an effective antidote for his venom.

What we must remember is that even the Devil needed Adam and Eve, as Trump needs his supporters. Without their complicity he would yet be a two-bit, criminal con artist and sleazy reality TV huckster, paying off his small circle of accomplices and enablers.

But it seems as though his entourage has grown to, at last count, about sixty-three million.  

So, Mom and Dad, what makes me almost clinically depressed is that he could not have done it without you. You and so many others.

People like someone very close to us who so pathologically needs someone to vindicate his hatred for all the people he always thought were inherently inferior to him but who have achieved as much as he has or more, most prominently and gallingly the uppity, black Barack Hussein Obama.

People who hate the “elites” – that is, people who have achieved more, are famous, are educated, are respected, people who have received the attention and status the haters so desperately want while convincing themselves they don’t need any of it. Funny, they are only jealous of the money not held in the pockets of the abusive leaders of their own cults. They are only jealous of the power and privilege not exploited by the abusers they worship. Let Trump spend a third of his time golfing and most of the rest of it watching TV, tweeting, or preaching to his faithful, but when Obama was President, the White House was a plantation from which he dast not stray.

People who have become disciples of this cult leader, brimming over with hate, division, and plain old spite. People in families like ours.

People who can never forgive the Clintons and who were finally able to exact revenge, regardless the cost.

If I have learned anything of the God you have redefined as a clown and the Jesus you have reincarnated as a Republican, it is spite.

And, most depressingly, people who are willing to sell their convictions, their most cherished beliefs, yes, their very souls, for thirty pieces of silver. Prosecutors, judges, members of commissions and other public officials, organized and disorganized criminals who have it for sale anyway, all manner of takers on the take, foreign and domestic, most especially evangelical “Christian” leaders and their followers, and other political actors and organizations such as the Republican Party, but also all the little people trolling for a discount on whatever snake oil they might slather on their open wounds of self-pity, self-loathing, and resentment.

You are responsible. And I hold you responsible. I hold you responsible for the children ripped from their mothers’ breasts to be separated from them forever. I hold you responsible for the children raped and abused and trafficked in and from the prison camps your cult leader set up illegally in Mexico. I hold you responsible for the millions of vulnerable Americans your cult leader and the Republican party have caused to suffer and die while they lavish major welfare projects on the obscenely wealthy. 

And you are responsible for the soon to be two hundred thousand unnecessary pandemic deaths in this country as a result of the selfish, self-serving, partisan, absolutely unsympathetic, unempathetic, uncompassionate, un“christian,” unchristlike, heedless, and stone cold evil response of your cult leader.

Recently a member of our family approvingly parroted the despicable talking point that it was underlying conditions and not COVID that killed most of the victims. Like a twenty-year-old with asthma or a forty-year-old with a heart condition or a fifty-year-old with Type 2 diabetes would have died yesterday anyway.

This family member also included those over 65 on the list of expendables. News flash: this cohort includes 40.3 million American dads, moms, grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends.

And the reason for the talking point is to  absolve “the chosen one” of guilt. What this talking point clearly implies is that all of these people don’t really “count.” We just have to cut our losses, accept the collateral damage to the goods that are damaged anyway, and move on. In the words of the leader of the cult, “It is what it is.”

Be clear: this family member has chosen loyalty to his cult and it’s messiah over life. I guess these millions of people have no real “right to life.”

I cannot begin to describe my disappointment in this person.

And I hold all of you responsible for enabling this Republican party, for decades and now in real time, in every conceivable, Machiavellian way, to make the rich get richer and the poor suffer more. Who, for example, is profiting most from the pandemic bailout legislation? Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, their rich friends, and their political allies. And who is suffering most? People of color, people of low or no means, the most vulnerable. How do these leadership priorities comport with, for example, Christ’s Beatitudes?

And where does that leave you? Whom are you blessing? Whom do you suffer and forbid not to come unto loving arms? Who are the inheritors designated by your actions? Which of the poor in spirit is blessed? Which of those who mourn is blessed? Which of the meek is blessed? Which of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness is satisfied? Which of the merciful, such as those health care providers, “hoarding, or worse,” PPEs, are obtaining the mercy of the leader of your cult? Which of the pure of heart are allowed access to your God? Which of the peacemakers who rail at “the fake media” and anyone who does not genuflect to the Orange Messiah shall be called the children of any iteration of a true God?

And which who are persecuted for seeking the truth, for seeking righteousness, for seeking compassion, sympathy, empathy, or simply a modicum of heed, shall enter anything but your chosen kingdom of greed, all manners of lust, deception and lies, of anger, spite, division, and hate.

I thought you said you knew Jesus. Frankly, you couldn’t pick him out of a lineup of mob bosses.

You are responsible for all of this. Your blindness, heedlessness, and carefully-cultivated ignorance is responsible for this.

Most to the point, you are responsible for painting the God you worship as a mad clown. You are responsible for painting the Jesus you worship as a monster, the Republican Jesus.

You are responsible for teaching me and everyone you touch, every day, that, “the Bible is a lie.” (Ben Howe, as sincere an evangelical Christian as walks our land, in The Immoral Majority, p. 234.)  I won’t say this. He isn’t saying this. You are saying this by your actions and you allegiances. You are saying this by your support for the roving con artist and walking crime wave who currently occupies the White House. You are saying this by supporting a pathological narcissist and clinical psychopath who is destroying the heart and soul of America.

Because, day in and day out, this man does the Devil’s work while you cheer him on.

So stop crying to me about “murdered” fetuses when your chosen leader is responsible for the suffering and death of so many living human children. Stop preaching to me about your Republican Jesus, who is nothing but a monster. And stop preaching to me about your “loving” God, whom you have certified as being on board with the lusts, desires, oppressions, degradations, cruelties, and the smallest of whims of the proud and the privileged who constitute the elders of your new church.

Please stop your lying and your hypocrisy now, Mom and Dad, and pray to the God that you now worship that He be not real, for if He is and if His unedited “word” is to be believed, you are in for a long, hot summer.

My faith has recently lost even its fragile moorings in the belief in the essential goodness of human nature. I look around, but I cannot find what I have lost: You, Mom and Dad, the people who gave me my moral compass, my faith, and my trust in the good that I so believed we were surely a part of.

In the end, has Donald Trump changed us, or is he just a fifth of whiskey or a primal fear or an irresistible temptation which reveals who we really are?

Who are we, Mom and Dad? Has something changed, or is this what we have always been?

My depressing question: Is this all we are?

Hi – Gizmo here. I have the same question: Is this all we are?

I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.

I’M BAACK! AUGUST 29, 2020

On November 8, 2016, the homo sapiens living in the United (?) States of America hit me over the head with a twelve pound sledgehammer. On November 9, I posted my surrender. On January 26, 2017, I was briefly prodded from my depressive state by the elephantine hypocrisy of one of William J. Bennett’s current perfidious discharges. Another assault on this poor little guy’s sense that, even among Republican puppies, butt-sniffing ought to have limits.

So I turned my attention to writing another book and plunging into other activities. But I continued to follow, with the fascination with which a mongoose watches a cobra, that which had nearly incapacitated me – the rise in America of something having an uncomfortable number of the characteristics of Fascism.

I watched a pathologically narcissistic psychopath take complete control of the souls of politicians, pundits, and street-level citizens, particularly and most distressingly, evangelical “Christians.” Though I am agnostic, I expected more of them in that I was intimately familiar with their creed. It angered me to watch them reimagine Jesus of Nazareth as the Republican Jesus. And I became not the Puzzled Puppy, but the Confused, Saddened, Distressed, Disillusioned, Despairing Little Cur Without The Energy To Ask For An Ear Scratch.

So I distracted myself to the greatest extent possible, but I got tired of such a long name. I wanted to be the Puzzled Puppy again.

Actually, what first moved me to get out of the doghouse was John Lewis’ last essay in which he wrote that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice and fail to stand up for what we truly believe. King said this in many different ways, including the simple statement, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Or, in the words of Elie Wiesel, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

I have and will continue to chastise others for their indifference. I have not been indifferent; I have been working in other ways, but I can do more. Where are my blog posts that put me on record as being with the good guys? Have I barked at the danger? In my personal life, yes. But I can write, so I need to sit down at the keyboard.

My goal is to raise my voice loudly, regularly, and often before the election. Of course, goals without action are just dreams. But I feel like I’m wide awake.

Finally, I realize that very few people, if anyone, will read a blog with three and a half-year gaps in it. So be it. This blog is for me. To do my duty.But I do hope that someone out there forgives me for my negligence and reads it.

Donald Trump and his hoards of enablers don’t puzzle me. They are, to use a phrase he likes, stone cold immoral. They are absolutely unpatriotic, un-American, and borderline if not over-the-line treasonous. They are autocrats in search of a banana republic. And if they can, they will make us one.

Will we let them do it?

I don’t know. I’m just a Puzzled Puppy.

***

To begin, I will repost what I wrote on October 3, 2016. (Did I get anything right?) This will set the stage for much of what I feel needs to be considered. As one can sadly see, not much has changed:

SPITTING IN THE FACE OF JESUS  OCTOBER 3, 2016

To: Christians, Evangelical and Otherwise, Considering Voting for Donald Trump

Mothers, hide your children! Particularly Christian mothers who sincerely believe in the teachings of Jesus.

Donald Trump is coming.

Let’s look at what we relearned about him from the first debate and subsequently. 

Let’s begin by stating that the philosophical beliefs that define this puppy’s very core concur almost completely with the teachings of Jesus with regard to how we ought to comport ourselves in this life. I believe that most puppies feel this way.

This leaves out, consistent with my agnosticism, those parts of His message pertaining to the supernatural or to the worship of supernatural beings.

So, to be clear, I’m unqualified as a spokesman for Christianity and disqualified from being considered, in any way, a theologian. 

I simply believe that Jesus Christ was one of the greatest human beings ever to walk the face of the earth, and that His conception of what constitutes morality, of what we ought to do and what we ought not to do – of, very simply, what is right and what is wrong, is as good as it gets. And I’m qualified to discuss this.

Unfortunately, a huge number of self-identified Christians appear to disagree profoundly with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is particularly true for Christian supporters of Donald Trump, given the incontestable fact that virtually all of what he preaches and epitomizes spits directly in the face of the Carpenter of Nazareth.

To begin with, Donald Trump doesn’t have exactly a stellar record of paying carpenters for their work. He calls this “good business.”

Trump doesn’t pay taxes. He calls this “smart.”

Trump doesn’t give any appreciable amount to any charities or any church.

Jesus would certainly never have praised Trump as He did the poor widow who gave “all she had.” Jesus instructed His followers to be generous and to give to the poor, mandates which were hardly sidebars. He had very little interest in real estate.

He said, “Woe to you who are rich,” “No servant can serve two masters,” and something about a needle and a camel.

I doubt that Jesus would have rooted for a mortgage crisis which brought misery to millions, even if it would have enriched Him.

And as far as my exegesis has taken me, Christ never said or implied anything consistent with the phrase, “You can’t be too greedy.”

If I read the gospels correctly, He believed in sacrifice for the greater good.

In that Christ was not a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, it’s doubtful that He discriminated against blacks or the poor in His housing projects, though almost “everyone else did it” at that time.

It appears that Jesus was a moral leader who was rather impatient with greedy opportunists. If He returns, Trump needs to bolt down the tables in his tower.

Jesus was rather disappointed that His disciples couldn’t stay awake with Him for an hour in the garden, about twice as long as Trump was able to stay awake during the debate. I was more puzzled than normal – shocked, actually – when Trump rebuked Secretary Clinton for taking the time to prepare for this event. So I did some preparation of my own and came up with a short quiz for Christians regarding this topic:

            QUESTION: Which of the following Bible verses applies to which candidate?

  • “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise…it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6: 6-8, NIV)
  • “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9, NIV)

To return to the New Testament and the specific teachings of Jesus, when did He say that a person ought to be judged on how she or he “looks”? When did He ridicule a woman for having “that face”? When did He call someone a “fat pig” and then unapologetically double down on it, again and again and again?

When did He call someone “disgusting” and say, “I think everybody would agree that she deserves it”? I point Christians who are thinking about voting for Donald Trump to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)

The moral of this story, central to the very heart of the meaning of the New Testament, conflicts directly with the daily actions and statements of Donald Trump for the entire arc of his life up through at least as late as Friday, September 30, 2016, when he erupted into a “tweetstorm” in which, rather than forgiving her for simply belatedly revealing the truth, he said the following about a 39-year-old woman who had offended him:

  • Background: Had previously called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” in reference to her Hispanic heritage. Had ridiculed her in public for gaining a few pounds, including making a disgusting video of her being forced to exercise to lose weight in front of cameras while Trump and various other lechers leered at her.
  • Called her past “terrible.”
  • Called her (she had won his beauty pageant) “the worst I ever had.”
  • Said she had gained a “massive” amount of weight. Fact check: She had gained a few pounds.
  • Trump, a serial philanderer and vulgarian who often brags of his sexual exploits and infidelities, a friend and party partner of Hugh Hefner who has appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine, falsely accused this woman of making a “sex tape.”
  • Puzzlement: Donald Trump, who’s currently married to a former nude model, finds it scandalous that a contestant in a “beauty pageant” he sponsored may have made a “sex tape,” which to date has not been shown to exist. (Regarding his “pageants,” in case you didn’t know it, these barbaric spectacles involve females who are required to remove most of their clothing and parade half naked in front of such pulchritudinous body judges as Donald Trump, who also oversee their weighing and measuring like animals being examined at a county fair.)

I’ve often imagined Jesus tapping a pen on a clipboard while profoundly evaluating the size and shape of his female disciples’ breasts. Haven’t you?

I could go on for volumes but let me conclude:

First, before you vote this November, ask yourself this: How many of the women you love, your mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, nieces, and friends, are overweight? Remember this: Donald Trump thinks they’re fat pigs. This overweight male finds overweight females disgusting. And he thinks it’s more important to lash out at them than to prepare for the incredible responsibilities he has chosen to undertake. So go out and vote for him. But please don’t ever tell me you did. Do you know what disappointment looks like in the big, sad eyes of a puppy?

This race isn’t about politics or party, or even about issues on which we can legitimately disagree. This race is about the very soul of the United States of America. It’s about who we are.   

By the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and any other of the teachings of Jesus, by anything any of us were ever taught in our churches, synagogues, mosques, or schools, to say nothing of Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other philosophy of morality, Donald Trump is an unmitigatedly, unrelentingly, absolutely immoral man.

No one is perfect, certainly not Hillary. And she is a politician, which I would define, to paraphrase Graham Greene, as an animal which, when cornered, becomes eloquent.

But absolutely no one displays the cornered rat’s eloquence more skillfully than Donald Trump, whose crude and vulgar rhetoric is used to project his most egregious flaws onto his opponents. No one has seen more vulgarity in Bill Clinton than The Donald, and no one has stretched the truth more painfully to characterize Hillary Clinton as being as dishonest as he.

Hillary’s serious and unfortunate faults noted, there’s absolutely no doubt that Donald Trump is far and away the most overtly and acutely immoral human being who has ever run for the office of President of the United States of America. He consistently says and does evil things without remorse.

Quite literally, like the people in our world who frighten us the most, he doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.

And it defies logic and common sense to believe he ever will.

One observer (Brian Fallon) asked, “What kind of human being is this?”

For this puzzled puppy, I don’t see how a person who reports losses of almost a billion dollars on a single tax return can call himself a businessman. And I don’t see how a wealthy person who pays no federal income taxes can call himself a patriot.

This man is not great. He has done no great things, only greedy things. He is not qualified in terms of his knowledge or skills for the job for which he is applying. He is temperamentally unsuited for the presidency in ways that ought to terrify anyone living anywhere on the planet.

Trump is a demonstrably immoral man. And his demonstrations occur daily, often hourly. Any evangelical or other Christian who votes for him ought to be ashamed.

Donald J. Trump serially spits in the face of Jesus, both as I know Him and as Christians know Him. And if we elect this great deceiver, there isn’t enough sackcloth and there aren’t enough ashes to cover our hypocrisy and shame.

Or maybe the concepts of right and wrong don’t exist anymore. I don’t know. I’m just a puzzled puppy.

My next post will be a letter a friend of the Boss wrote to his elderly parents expressing his acutely painful disappointment over their support for Donald Trump.   

THE BIRTH OF OUTRAGE JANUARY 26, 2017

The Background

In 1998 William J. Bennett published a book entitled The Death of Outrage. In this text he examines Bill Clinton’s violations of  American ideals.  He discusses sexual misconduct, character weaknesses, flaws in judgment, and disrespect for the rule of law. He bemoans the fact that Americans are able to accept such assaults on our values.

In other books Bennett discusses educating our children in shared values, moral clarity, moral collapse, moral poverty, and honor. An example would be The De-Valuing of America: The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children.

In a widely-purchased text, The Book of Virtues, Bennett gives us examples of literature celebrating the following core values:

  • Self-discipline
  • Compassion
  • Responsibility
  • Friendship
  • Work
  • Courage
  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Loyalty
  • Faith

Since then Bennett has jumped on the Trump train, acting as a significant surrogate for Trump’s election. Let’s look at Trump’s report card with respect to these values: (On a typical 1 – 100 scale.)

Self-discipline

0    No explanation needed.

Compassion

0    Ridiculing women, minorities, the handicapped, and all who disagree with him seems disqualifying.

Responsibility

5    Has virtually never taken full, or in most cases even partial responsibility for anything he has ever said or done.

Friendship

0    May show some loyalty to some “friends” if they are sufficiently and unwaveringly sycophantic, but otherwise in no discernible way.

Work

60    Cannot concentrate; cannot focus; doesn’t read; doesn’t study or inform himself about even the most basic, immediately important topics. Speaks very well and often; works very hard to aggrandize himself, which accounts for 59 of his 60 points.

Courage

60    Is not afraid to be different but is deathly afraid of deprecation.

Perseverance

99    Tireless in his efforts to aggrandize himself.

Honesty

-100    By many country miles the most dishonest human being who has ever been nominated to run for President. Quite literally, Trump wants everyone in the world to believe that the truth is whatever he says it is. NEWS FLASH: “Alternative facts” are not an alternative reality – they are despicable lies. (As to my score, I have to get off the scale here. A grade of “0” would be an assault on the science of mathematics.)

Loyalty

0    Bennett was talking about loyalty to others, not to oneself.

Faith

10    Like most politicians, he pretends, but even his pretensions ring uniquely hollow. He compares his ghostwritten fiction, The Art of the Deal, to the Bible, for example.

As you can see, on something like Bennett’s scale, Trump has earned an aggregate score of 14.4%. Bennett himself would also receive a miserable score, though it would be higher than Trump’s.

Consider this: Bennett has taken to preferring the counsel of Sean Hannity over that of his previously preferred exemplars such as Victor Hugo, Margery Williams, Charles Dickens, and Jesus Christ, to name a few.

So, William J. Bennett, the bloated bloviator from Brooklyn, now publically and loudly supports a man who has spent his life in mortal combat with Bennett’s own oft-stated, repeatedly-recorded, and reputedly deeply-held values. (Any dictionary editor wishing to use this example as the very definition of hypocrisy is free to do so.)

The Point

Bennett, who has taken to lying and denying, ignores and even impugns anything that does not fit the current version of his shamefully amorphous brand, which is consistently and flatulently cloaked in the grandiloquent rhetoric of morality and values.

He has almost completely lost touch with whatever connection he may have had in the past with what is “good and true,” as the philosophers he claims to revere describe axiological considerations about which he is now spectacularly and I must say curiously confused.

This puppy, on the other hand, remains true to the idea that considerations of morality ought to supersede considerations of party, principality, or tribe, and are not to be randomly determined by the exercise of the raw power of the current ruling faction, ethnicity, or class. In other words, Trump’s power ought not to trump the power of moral principle.

To me, this is the key issue in each and every election.

Though virtually all of the details seem to have bedeviled him, Bennett was actually right when he wrote, years ago, that we ought to preserve our outrage over evils existent within and created by our own country. He was right that legitimate moral outrage was dying. But at this point he doesn’t seem to see his own role in facilitating what now appears to be a successful operation on a patient he helped to kill.

So this is my point: I am outraged by the poverty of Trump’s morality and that of his shameless supporters. And so, it seems, is much of the rest of the world.

True outrage has been born again, in the face of Trump and all of his supporters and sycophants, including Mr. Bennett.

May the recent worldwide expressions of this outrage continue and prosper.