My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part Six

I remember watching Fox News on the day of the Helsinki summit, when Trump refused to confront Putin about his pushing down on the scale towards Trump in the 2016 election. Afterwards, the Fox News hosts covering the summit were all obviously shaken, rattled, and angry about Trump’s press-conference with Putin. They went back and forth, criticizing Trump with passion and anger for almost ten full-minutes.

Then, John Brennan’s tweet was referenced. Brennan wrote: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

The Fox News hosts, to a man, returned to their typical defense of Donald Trump, espousing how Brennan goes too far mentioning treason, how Brennan should stop criticizing since he doesn’t know any better than Trump, and how Brennan’s obvious hatred of Trump disqualifies him from having any authority to appeal to those Republicans for whom Fox News holds hostage with their broadcast each and every day.

Trump saw that same Fox News broadcast on July 16th; I imagine he fairly obsessed about this particular Fox News broadcast day because of the unusual media reaction, for him, directly after the summit. He obviously looks at what works on Fox News to appeal to the members of his base, so we can surmise Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearance was in the works a month ago, mere hours after the press-conference ended…

…and you know what? This strategy of revoking security clearances will likely work for the Fox News crowd. They’ve already forgotten about Trump’s embarrassing words at that press-conference and re-focused on the usual Fox News tactics of skewering Trump’s enemies (i.e., anybody who admits the Russian thing was real; anybody who criticizes Trump; and anybody who does not meet Sean Hannity’s standard for appearing on his Fox News program.)

This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to drive through many rural communities in Indiana and Michigan, and the amount of restaurants and gas stations in these Midwestern states that have Fox News broadcasting on their TVs is abundant. At most all of these road-stops, I asked the waitress or attendant if the television channel could be changed, and I uniformly received the response that management insists the channel remain on Fox News, usually with a scowl and a quick-turn away from me.

I think that…no, I know this: Fox News is hypnotizing Americans to follow Trump’s buffoonery, like Jacques Bergerac did in the 1960 movie, The Hypnotic Eye (or, for gen-Xers & millennials, at the South Park Plan-eh-arium in Season Two, Episode Eleven).

Fox News is a large part of this American problem. Many of the network representatives and their Congressional guests are anti-progress and pro-regression. There are few who appear on the network for whom I am comfortable calling a reporter or journalist. I am not a proponent of censorship, but I am an opponent of propagandizing a failing Presidency.

I’ve made this plea many times over the past years, but it warrants repeated broadcast: Please, America, turn off the Fox News channel, and try to shake the webs from our collective brain…and do this right soon. Otherwise, Trump’s trickery will likely work, and America will become…something else, something it was not intended to be, something resembling a violent dictatorship, something out of Orwell’s stories…something un-American.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.
The Maniacal Professor

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My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part Five

The week in America after the Helsinki summit has progressed predictably. After one day of uncharacteristic criticism from Fox News anchors and guests, they righted their ship quickly, focusing on the evils of liberal Democratic Americans instead of the danger of Trump’s (and his Republican allies) alliance with Putin’s agenda. I found myself laughing out loud during Jeanine Pirro’s Saturday show when she and Mike Huckabee had a good, old-fashioned Fox News bashing of Obama to off-set Trump’s obvious missteps in Helsinki. We should all know by now that Fox News viewers think Trump is swell because he’s un-doing all things Obama. While Trump-supporters do not like when people like me voice my hatred of Trump, it absolutely drives them mad with rage when I voice my love of Barack Obama.

So, no surprise that Fox News continues their loyalist propaganda of Trump, even after Trump so obviously confirmed his collusion with Putin for all to see. I suspect Sean Hannity specifically has modelled his TV program after the RTV (Russian TV) model of government-media programming, for awhile now. It should be just a matter of time before we hear Hannity suggest that the Russian way-of-life is far preferable to “what America has become because of Obama and Hillary.” He may have already said this; I wouldn’t know since I can only handle approximately five minutes of Hannity before I start suffering stroke-like symptoms.

As for the President, Trump predictably is throwing temper-tantrum after temper-tantrum, since across-the-board reactions were the opposite of the abject devotion he so desperately craves from all journalists. Trump invited Putin to the White House WHILE Dan Coats spoke sensibly about the Russian influence in our election and the validity of American intelligence research. Trump’s small trick of tweaking one word within his Helsinki Anti-American rant didn’t convince ANYBODY who is not consuming more than 12 hours of daily Fox News programming, and besides, EVERYBODY knows that when Trump tries to clean-up his words, Trump will go ahead and return to form the next day. And this week, Trump’s temper has pushed him to try to take away security clearances from those he considers his enemies, even if some of them do not actually retain a security clearance!

While this response is expected, that does not mean we should consider this the status-quo. Trump’s Presidency is damaging America’s future, and Trump is actually hurting people in the present. Children are not reunited with their parents, farmers are in danger of losing their livelihood, and people are being assaulted more-and-more publicly by those who probably think it’s okay to be racist out-loud since Trump’s in charge.

As we get closer to November, Trump will likely ramp-up his efforts to thwart America’s hard-fought progress, and the majority of Americans, i.e., those who do not support Trump, need to remain vigilant.

Consider the all-caps Tweet Trump released in which he threatens Iran with war…While I know that it’s an obvious attempt at deflection away from Russia and everything else that Trump finds threatening, I cannot help but wonder if Trump would actually start a war in an effort to retain his Presidency.

It’s obvious that Trump thinks war with a foreign country is the ultimate failsafe of a floundering American President, since he accused Obama of the very tactic in 2011.

Think about the Tucker Carlson interview with Donald Trump where they both gleefully suggested Montenegro could start World War Three on a whim. Both Trump and Carlson acted like Montenegro shouldn’t dictate America’s potential war-mongering, presumably because of the size of the country?! These two morons all but admitted they think it should be the size of the country that allows us to put soldiers’ lives at risk, and obviously there’s no more grandiose country in their minds as America…well, maybe Trump thinks Russia’s better, but the point is that I’m more worried about Donald Trump starting a bloody world war than Milo Dukanovic.

What must our soldiers think when Trump attempts to dissolve the NATO Alliance, and then obviously suggests their service is best for good polling numbers and television ratings for Trump? What if Trump started a draft for his Presidency-saving war? What if sons AND daughters became eligible for that draft in Trump-‘Merica? What if Trump decides the nukes should be used since we have them? What if Trump decides to assign America’s elite fighting-forces under the command of Putin’s generals?

I understand Trump the Television President is full of hot air, especially in his Tweets, and it may be unrealistic for most Americans to think Trump will go to the lengths I suggest here; however, know that Trump’s vitriol continues to escalate, and he’s already crossed so many lines…

Trump with his back-to-the-wall should worry us all and warrants the closest of scrutiny until November’s election. We shouldn’t just ignore Trump and hope he goes away on his own. We should have more respect for our country’s democracy than this…

Scott C. Guffey, M.A., The Maniacal Professor

 

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part Four

I must apologize for my previous essay. My hair was on fire. I totally jumped to conclusions, and I crossed the rhetorical line when two days ago I painted a picture of Trump and Putin colluding together to cover-up a traitorous act of collusion, and thereby together signaling an autocratic dictatorship within my country.

Trump has assured us that what he said at the summit, that he didn’t see any reason why the hackers would be Russian, needed clarification…what Trump meant was that he didn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russian hackers…at least, in that one sentence, according to Trump.

Of course, I’m being sarcastic, and I apologize for nothing I wrote in my previous essay. Unlike Trump, I stand behind every word I publicly communicated to the world Monday morning.

People seem to forget that Jared Kushner tried to create an official secret communication channel for working with Putin’s cronies at the start of the Trump administration. Kushner couldn’t get that for his Daddy-by-marriage, but that didn’t prevent Trump from having a secret communique with Putin’s cronies within the White House, without reporters, shortly after he fired the FBI guy that started the current federal investigation into Putin’s attempts to make America’s mind for us, and also what Trump and the Republicans had to do with Putin’s machinations.

At this summit two days ago, Putin and Trump met secretly face-to-face for two hours before coming out to address the world. They seemed to spend every minute of that press-conference working off of each other’s rhetorical address, like two hockey players moving a puck on the ice toward an attempt-on-goal for Russia…The problem is Trump is supposed to play for the American team.

Trump knows his worshippers do believe everything he says, without contemplation or derision; as long as Sean Hannity engineers the Trump Train, then Donald Trump knows he will have people that will worship and obey him no matter what he does or says.

Trump assumes all American voters are stupid enough to believe Trump meant to say it could have been Russia that hacked our election, instead of what he did say in almost every other sentence of that press conference: The Russian Government shouldn’t be blamed for hacking Americans, and the Federal Investigators, the Fake Journalists, and the Stupid American Trump-Haters are the real problems with the United States of America.

Trump called America “stupid” in the press conference! Why wouldn’t we believe that he thinks Americans are too stupid to see through his lies, with this whole “What I Meant To Say” defense??!?

As he does when he tries to clean-up his mistakes, Trump read from a printed-script yesterday. He wrote in a sentence with a Sharpie marker, to which he should apply his own “Change-a-Word-to-Show-What-Trump-Really-Means” tactical strategy:

There was no collusion.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A., The Maniacal Professor

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part Three

I have one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in the pit of my stomach. There’s a bowling ball-sized weight in there making me ill this morning. My hands are shaking, and my head is starting to ache.

I just watched the team of Donald Trump and Vladmir Putin confirm my worst fears about what is happening right now in my country. Today, Trump colludes with Putin for the world to see, and at this display of collusion, Trump, with Putin’s obvious effort, continued to deny he colluded with Putin.

We’ve finally reached the pinnacle of the Trump paradox.

It should not be long until Trump and Putin create a joint task-force, between the Trump-approved American police forces and Russian militia, and start arresting Americans for writing and speaking anti-Trump/anti-Fox News/anti-Russian rhetoric and sentiment. First, he’ll arrest Rob Rosenstein, Peter Strzok, and Bob Mueller for treason; then, he’ll start rounding-up the nay-sayers.

Please do not flippantly dismiss this forecast; please do not think I’m trying to be clever as a writer; and please do not attack me for being biased. I’m basing this projection on the evidence I see with my eyes, and I’m not attempting hyperbole. This is the direction Trump and his supporters want to take America: to become an autocratic dictatorship, like Russia, complete with a strong military national police force that oppresses the people, and complete control of the courts and the media.

If you’re still supporting Trump, then shame on you. Our American election was interfered with by Russia, and Trump denies it and allies our country with the dictator who ordered the interference for the American President Putin admitted today he wanted…AND we’re supposed to ignore the mountains of objective evidence that suggest Trump probably did ally himself with Putin before Trump barely won the election on that fateful day in November 2016…all of this should be believed merely by the word of Trump and Putin, instead of placing trust in American citizens who still attempt a thorough investigation of crimes against our country! Shame on you if you continue to willfully ignore this after watching that un-American debacle of a press conference today.

If you’re ignoring what Trump is doing, then shame on you, too. I’m so sick of the entitled American that thinks this is not as bad as I think it is; I’m so sick of the entitled American who thinks we cannot talk out-loud today about our political malaise because of manners; and I’m so sick from the lack of proper attention paid to Trump’s years-long reformation of American identity and patriotism.

My love for my country’s history and progress have been torn asunder by years of Trump’s dominance, but today I’m so sick to my stomach because he’s not being stopped…and if he’s not stopped, then we will have an autocratic-dictatorship. It will be called America, but it will not resemble the country I’ve lived within for 44 years.

American protestors will be arrested or murdered like so many of the Russians I’ve seen protest Putin’s Presidency. American soldiers will be ridiculed or arrested for refusing to do Trump’s bidding, just like Russian soldiers who refuse to be blood-thirsty killers in Putin’s name. American journalists will be arrested or murdered like so many of the Russian journalists I’ve seen write honestly about Putin’s dictatorship; American teachers will be bullied and arrested, if they do not follow the Republican version of American education, which worships Trump to an unhealthy degree; and American politicians will be arrested or murdered like so many of the Russian politicians I’ve seen attempt to practice Democracy in Putin’s Russia.

I beg of you, Americans, do not let this happen to our country. I am an American voice, too, and I demand to be heard.

If you are paying attention and you do believe my words, then please vote for the Democratic Party in 2018. A vote for the Republican Party this year will allow Congress to continue to back Trump’s campaign to be American Dictator-for-Life. Vote Democrat everywhere in November because it is necessary to save this country’s Free Democracy.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A., The Maniacal Professor

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part Two

Trump said something this week that I believe was lost amidst the Supreme Court nomination, the NATO gathering, Trump’s visit to England, and the upcoming summit with Vlad Putin. It was said in response to a question about the children he separated from their parents:

“Well, I have a solution! Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution! Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”

For almost a month now, we’ve been exposed to an objectively-defined fundamental difference between people like me and those who support Trump: When I see and hear stories of children wailing for their Pa-Pa; stories of parents who did not expect their child to be kidnapped by a government; stories of unattended toddlers whose diapers are not changed and contract lice; and stories of children who have been kept so long from their parents that these kids no longer recognize Mom or Dad;…Well, when I see and hear these stories, my heart breaks.

I understand how a lot of assholes think that makes me less of a man. Well, if that’s what you think, then you can go straight to hell. Do not pass go. Just go to hell.

Trump-supporters think it’s swell to do this horrific thing in our country’s name. Weirdly, several people in my life who still support Trump chose this particular issue to try to convince me that Trump was a good President, that we should be unusually cruel to people that look and speak differently. The only thing these people have done is expose to me how many people have been waiting for this opportunity to be racist out-loud again…you know, like back when America was so “great.”

Trump’s words this week SHOULD be the final objective evidence we need to realize that this sinister plan was thought-out and implemented from the beginning. When these immigrants arrived at the border, the Trump administration split up families, randomly shipped kids around the country, and destroyed, or convoluted, the records so it’d be harder to reunite these families. Throw in Trump’s typical tactic of blaming Democrats and Obama for all things bad in America, and you’ve satisfied all those racist Americans who feel evil glee in their hearts when they feel safer by torturing children.

Trump has done many despicable things, but this one takes the cake. Irreparable damage has already been done to these children and their parents. It can’t be fixed. Trump’s actions and statements on many things are reprehensible, but his so-called solution for these immigrant families is the worst thing he’s done….

…The truly-depressing thing is Trump has two more years to work on finding a new “worst thing he’s done,” and he’s getting better at being deplorable week-to-agonizing-week.

Those who still count yourself as a Trump supporter need to reconsider your opinion.

America must rebuild because of Trump’s nearly-two years of national-power. Today’s Republicans enable Trump’s hubris, to the detriment of our great, but floundering country.

It’s time to disavow Trump, and that time was yesterday.

Be sure to vote, if you want to make change.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.
The Maniacal Professor

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Five, Part One

So, time to dive head-first back into this mess. Trump has pushed this country too far past the lines of decency. Decades of hard-fought, blood-soaked effort to construct American social contracts that allow for peace and progress have been disregarded by Republicans today.

Today, Peter Strzuk testified before committees of Congress, and Republicans from the House solidified their allegiance to a man, so obviously ignorant of foreign policy, and so narcissistic to such a dangerous degree that Americans should unite in their disgust and disagreement. Unfortunately, Americans should have united a long time ago against Donald Trump’s control of this country’s executive branch.

Trey Gowdy of South Carolina attempted to define “textbook bias” today. He stated, “We live in a fifty/fifty country, and we accept that….But, we’re a one-hundred percent country when it comes to law enforcement that doesn’t pre-judge innocence before investigations are over and doesn’t pre-judge punishment before investigations begin.”

I’m confused because if we lived in a fifty/fifty country, then the voice of those of us who count as Trump’s opponents would be heard by this Congress, instead of catering exclusively to those who watch the night-block of Fox News programming. I also confess confusion because I do not understand how Gowdy and the rest of the Republicans have determined how members of Congress are excluded from including themselves within the context of “law enforcement,” since they are clearly demonstrating bias when they defend Trump, pre-judge Peter Strzuk’s innocence, and call Strzuk a liar based on their need to discredit a legitimate investigation into Trump’s crimes against our country.

Trey Gowdy is an embarrassment. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Jim Jordan of Ohio are embarrassments. Every Republican that attacked and cajoled Peter Strzuk today in an American public hearing is an embarrassment to the identity of this fine country, the United States of America.

Our country’s electorate needs to pay attention to the direction of this Republican Party. It is in cahoots with Trump. I think it’s a mistake to assume that the conspiracy to elect Trump with the Russian government does not go beyond the Trump family. There are likely many current Republican members of Congress that colluded with Russia, since Trump is so good at convincing people that he knows better than everyone else. It is likely that this conspiracy goes deep into the political fiber of this country’s current Republican membership.

That is why Peter Strzuk was unnecessarily grilled today. Today’s Republican members are allegiant to Donald Trump, a man that will halt America’s progress and create an isolationist country where we cater to white-nationalist agenda. Republicans obfuscate in the same vein as the Nazi-party of 1930s Germany and McCarthyism of 1950s America.

Republicans who want to save their party should leave your allegiance temporarily to the way-side. It’s Trump’s party now. Let the Republican Party fail. Vote Democrat this year to stop the party as it is currently constructed. The Republican Party will rise again, after it has rejected the Trump/Fox News/Russian agenda that happened today in Peter Strzuk’s hearing, a spectacle of historic proportion.

Those who still count yourself as a Trump supporter need to reconsider your opinion.

America must rebuild because of Trump’s nearly-two years of national-power. Today’s Republicans enable Trump’s hubris, to the detriment of our great, but floundering country.

It’s time to disavow Trump, and that time was yesterday.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.
The Maniacal Professor

The Faux King Will Soon Fail, But Will He Fall?

I let go of the speeding-hot-rope-in-my-hands that represents writing about the Trump Presidency day-by-day after Charlottesville, Virginia. If we were going to let the gilded jackass get away with supporting the white supremacists after a young girl was smashed to death by one of their ilk, then fuck it. I guess I figured there wasn’t anything I could write on this blog that was going to change people’s minds in this God-forsaken country called America.

There’s been many-a-day I’ve been wanting to grab the rope again. However, I have had incentive during the interim not to write because I’ve spent the year teaching in a new place in an entirely different manner with which I am familiar…and it has been time-consuming and rigorous. Also, it’s just not a good idea to stir up the kind of controversy about which I’m used to writing during the first year of a new job.

I really had to hold back when the gilded jackass called Haiti and Africa shit-hole countries. I mean, how many racist comments does this guy have to make before it becomes necessary to explain to the racist Trump voters that the jig is up?! I guess nobody told Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson how obviously racist their ideas are, and also how obviously their rhetoric betrays the values of the viewers of both of their shows…and how utterly wrong both of these assholes are to drape themselves with the American flag night-after-nauseating-night.

My preference is to grab the rope again in June when my teaching year is over, but I think after the events of this weekend that we’re all going to have to grab onto that speeding rope to slow Trump’s insanely-powerful pull of America towards the depths of global malaise and humanitarian crisis.

So please dear American reader of the Maniacal Professor’s blog, can we agree that it’s time to admit that Trump is a complete and utter failure and move to the next step, whatever it may be?

Please, pretty, pretty please, America, can we grab this speeding rope before Trump drags this country to the brink all by his gilded jackass self?

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

Donald Trump Is a White Supremacist

He is indeed a white supremacist, as well as a war-mongerer-when-it-suits-him, a misogynistic-pussy-grabbing-gun-endorser-when-it-suits-him, and a serial-liar-when-it-suits-him-which-means-all-the-fucking-time.

This claim has plenty of evidence to support its legitimacy, but nobody’s listening to conventional logic anymore. Kurt Andersen is right: the conditions in America are ripe for Trump to befuddle credulous Americans willing to believe fantasy over fact, whether Republican or Democrat. Consider that we were all thinking about nuclear winter like it was the 1960s after “fire and fury” was uttered mere days ago. No way we could escalate from there, right? Charlottesville, Virginia, around McGuffey Park, gave us blood-and-soil-and-tiki-torches, Alt-Right-American-Nazis-and-Modern-Day-Confederates, and a-poor-dead-American-woman-Heather-Heyer-who-just-wanted-her-voice-to-be-heard—DEAD—all-because-Trump-stoked-a-young-asshole-from-Ohio-to-want-to-become-an-American-Nazi-Making-America-Great-Again-and-rammed-his-fucking-car-into-her-and-a-bunch-of-other-Americans-for-all-of-us-to-fucking-see!

If I were writing fiction, and I wanted to create a scenario where Trump was impeached, then I could not have created anything more fanciful than this week’s reality.

And Congress will still not impeach Trump until Mueller gives them evidence…this is most egregious, when concrete proof of Donald Trump’s failures are so copiously about us, by the God-damned, fucking, infuriating day…and I cannot stop swearing like a sailor because of Congress’ inaction.

The biggest Alan Moore-style joke in America: Trump’s still President.

The fact that Trump said “many sides” in his weak condemnation —once to echo about the country like an ill dirge, and a second time just to continue the havoc—was damning. He can’t seem to condemn David Duke, perhaps because David Duke apparently speaks for the President, just like Vladmir Putin does.

I heard on the Sunday shows how Trump had to have his remarks made clear yet again, because we can’t have a week without surrogates explaining what Trump MEANT when what he actually SAID was insufficient…because apparently ALL Americans are gullible Fox-News-watching idiots that need to be browbeat in order to comprehend the majesty of Trump’s purpose. According to the mouthpieces, of course Trump meant to condemn the white supremacists; he just forgot to mention it. I mean, “many sides” includes everybody, right?

And so I’ve heard, he’s going to have a press conference  within which he specifies his official repudiation of the American Nazis…Will that go like Trump’s apology to Obama for accusing him of being born in Kenya, when Trump qualified his apology with the good, old-fashioned deflection of “Who can blame Trump for being Trump?” I imagine he’ll say something like this:

“I, Donald Trump, do denounce the white supremacists and David Duke…but we all know that it was the Black-Lives-Matter, Pro-Choice, Fake News, Deep-State, Obama & Hillary-loving Democrats who caused the situation and THEY…HAD…IT…COMING! Face it, they had it coming! If anybody is to blame, it’s them, not the folks expressing their Second Amendment rights. That’s why I said ‘many sides.’ So see, I was right.”

I know that most Americans are still afraid to invoke race as the problem in our country right now.  There’s plenty of people on Facebook who keep telling me that Trump’s victory had nothing to do with race…that this was not a violent swing to the right because a black man happened to precede Trump…but all of you Trump-supporting apologists are just plain wrong, and you’re killing our country.  This is all about race, and this weekend was all about us knowing for sure what’s baked in the fucking pudding.

Donald Trump feigned ignorance about David Duke during the election, when he had bloviated about David Duke in a previous interview in 2000 with what appeared to be cognizance. This past weekend, he threw out “on many sides” as an overture to many of his voters this weekend, many of whom did cause violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, many of whom came spoiling to reap savagery and cull chaos. After Trump finished his weak-sauce speech, he walked away from the podium, annoyed, that Americans required him to specify “White Supremacist Terrorist,” when in the past, he required Barack Obama to specify “Islamic Radical Terrorist.”

I am so very certain that Donald Trump is a white supremacist. I’m waiting for the rest of the country to catch up to me…but I’m not holding my breath.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

[Addendum: Trump did indeed have a second presser today to try to clean up his mess and admonish white supremacy…and I can still say with 100 percent confidence that Trump is a white supremacist. I’m still waiting to hear a denouncement of his own major racist policy platforms, like the wall, the travel ban, the preference for coal mining, etc….and how most of what he stands for is inherently racist in the first place. However, if Trump did that, then that would give away the game for most of his supporters, wouldn’t it?]

[Second Addendum: After Tuesday’s Trump tirade, I had to find a lonely corner and suck my thumb for a while, staring out into the aether…I didn’t want to be right about this. I don’t relish being right about the race problem in the American Presidency. I bemoan it.]

Oh My God, Again!

I popped another stress ball last night, watching another evangelical leader make excuses for Trump and his voters. It gives further credence to my long-standing assertion that God (American evangelicals), guns (the National Rifle Association), and guys (blue-collar laborers) elected Trump into office. Mind you, I don’t actually think God, guns, and guys made the U.S.A., but I certainly know that Trump voters think this to be true. It’s worth noting that Russians, under Putin, think a similar thing about their country. In both countries—Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia—in order to qualify as a patriot in politically-sponsored media, you must promote your allegiance to God, guns, and guys. As an opponent, it seems nigh impossible to successfully counteract any of the Holy Trinity of this New World Order.

The following is another unofficial transcript…this time for the best segment of last night’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO (all segments were excellent, btw.). A well-known atheist and liberal arguer, Maher returned last night after a month-long break from the air (a well-earned vacation for which I chided him in a previous essay, stupidly) and interviewed evangelical spokesperson, Ralph Reed, the Chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. If there are any children reading this, then be aware that Bill Maher hosts an adult show with lots of swearing and adult stuff…just like I do throughout most of this blog. Unlike the last blog entry, I’ll have some commentary after this transcript’s conclusion:

Bill Maher: Alright, now Ralph, I know you’re praying for me, right?

Ralph Reed: I am. Praying for your soul, Bill.

BM: Hate the sin; love the sinner. Am I right? You love the sinner. OK. Alright. So let me ask you a few questions about what’s going on in this country. First of all, there was a big brouhaha about the Johnson Amendment. I know that’s something you must care a lot about.

RR: I do.

BM: That was, of course, the President Lyndon Johnson, something that was made back in the day which said that churches, which are tax-exempt,…therefore, the deal is because they don’t pay taxes, they should not endorse anybody from the pulpit. And now they want to change that with Trump in office. Isn’t that unfair to have it both ways?

RR: No, it’s not because I think what’s happened with the Johnson Amendment…First of all, it was put in the Internal Revenue Code in 1954, specifically because Lyndon Johnson, who was then the Senate Majority Leader, was trying to silence a radio evangelist who was being critical of him, and I don’t want politicians in Washington telling us who can criticize them on the air. I don’t want that for faith leaders. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for news organizations of any kind.

BM: That’s not what this is about, Ralph. Come on.

RR: No, it’s exactly what it’s about, and let me tell you what’s happened, Bill, because I’ve lived this for over thirty years. This has been used by the IRS to go in and persecute, harass, intimidate, and attempt to silence churches and major ministries…

BM: No one’s doing that, Ralph. This martyr complex…

RR: They’ll bring in IRS agents. They’ll stay there for long periods of time.

BM: Oh, come on.

RR: …And you’ll have churches, megachurches, with maybe a sixty or a hundred million dollar a year budget, racking up millions of dollars in legal fees…Why? Because a pastor said to a crowd, once, “I like this candidate.” Free speech is what made America great, and it applies to Christians and other people of faith just as it does to everybody else.

BM: OK, then pay taxes too. Just pay your taxes, because you know what?

RR [holds both hands up to calm Maher]: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

BM: Churches are selling a product like everybody else. It’s an invisible product. Nobody ever comes back from Heaven and gives it a bad Yelp review.

RR: Bill, that’s not fair. Ninety percent of the homeless shelters in America are operated by either churches or faith-based organizations…

BM [chuckling]: OK.

RR [points finger and emphasizes some words]: …or ministries. And for the MILLIONS of people every day who go to a homeless shelter or go to a food bank in America, this is NOT an invisible product. People of faith MINISTER to people every day, and if you want to tax that activity because somebody…

BM [interrupts and returns hand gestures]: But we don’t have to tax…We don’t tax charities now. The charity part of it could be put apart, but that’s not the whole reason for religion…

RR: But that’s not what the Johnson Amendment does. The Johnson Amendment says you lose your tax-exempt status on ALL that activity, including helping the poor if you make one political statement.

BM: OK, well let me ask you this. Why do you think the Trump support among evangelicals is SO solid? More than almost any other President because he doesn’t…

RR: Over eighty percent.

BM: Over eighty percent!…because he does seem like the least Christian man ever.

RR: I’m a friend of his, and I’ve not found that to be the case. When I first got to…

BM [crowd audibly groans and Maher attempts to interject]: Ok, I…

RR: No, let me finish! When I first got to know Donald Trump over seven years ago, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect to like him. I had a view and a caricature of him, which was based on his public image, and let me tell you what I found out about Donald Trump. And in my party, over the last three decades, if you ran for President, I knew you, and I usually knew you personally. Every time he told me he was going to do something, he did it. His word was his bond, and let me give one example. He ran for President, and he released a list of twenty-one nominees, potential nominees to the Supreme Court. He was the first nominee of either party to do that. He said if you vote for me…

BM: Yes, he kisses your ass.

RR [punctuates with finger]: …if you vote for me, I will not choose someone LIKE these twenty-one, I will choose ONE of these twenty-one.

BM: Right, so what you’re saying is…

RR: He kept his word. He not only got it done, he confirmed him in one-hundred days. That hasn’t happened since 1881, so you want to know why I support him? Because he said he would do something, and he did it.

BM: But what you’re saying is as long as he…if he keeps his word to you, but lies to everybody else…

RR [increased agitation with hands and head]: No. No. No. No, Bill.

BM [returns the animated gesturing]: No, that’s what you’re saying. Because you can’t deny that he’s a giant liar.

RR: No, because…

BM: He’s a giant liar.

RR: On October the 10th, it wasn’t just a promise to me. On October the 10th, he looked into a camera in the third and final debate with Hillary Clinton, and he said the same thing. It was a promise to the American people.

BM [using Trump voice]: You’re the puppet!

RR: Huh?

BM: That’s what he said. [Trump voice] You’re the puppet. I’m not the puppet! You’re the puppet!

[Maniacal Professor’s Note: Ralph Reed laughs with a sincerely good nature here, as he does afterward several times at Maher’s jokes. Reed’s words make my blood boil, but I can’t help but like his demeanor…and appreciate his candor.]

BM: That’s what he said in that debate.

RR: What he said, Bill, if I could remind you, is if I become President, I will appoint someone to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Antonin Scalia, who’s like Scalia, and he did it!

BM [trying to interject and becoming clearly frustrated]: Yes, right, yes, we’re not, OK, so you…

RR: It wasn’t just a promise to the faith community; it was a promise to the American people.

BM: Like I said, you forgive all the other lies because the one YOU care about, he kept.

RR: No. It isn’t just that. It’s the fact that he said that he would work to reduce the regulations put in place by Obama, and he’s done it.

BM: But all the other…

RR: It’s the fact that we have a million new jobs since he became President. [loud groan from audience, and Maher stops speaking and stares incredulously] It’s the fact that we have the biggest stock market rally in fifty-seven years after the election of a President.

BM: Alright, but when I think…[smiles devilishly] I don’t throw the term Anti-Christ around lightly…

RR [another genuine smile]: That’s comforting to know, Bill.

BM: …but when I think of Christ, and then Trump!…[quizzical look and pause for comic effect]…He’s…yeah…Anti-Christ….because let’s take the lying thing. You guys call Satan…You believe in Satan, right? No?

RR [laughs here, but it’s of the nervous, put-on-the-spot variety]: Yeah. Of course I do. I believe in God, and I believe in an enemy. Sure.

BM: OK. I could make fun, but I’m not ’cause I like you. OK, but don’t you call Satan, the Father of Lies? Isn’t that like a little name you have for him?

RR: It’s not my name. It’s Jesus’ name [for Satan]. Jesus called him the Father of Lies.

BM: Oh. My bad. OK, so Trump=Giant Liar; Satan=Father of Lies. OK, um, what about the thing that Jesus…He was sorta…He was not really fond of egomaniacs or rich people. Isn’t Trump a rich egomaniac?…who, who…everything is about money and doing well and winners and losers….It just does not seem Christ-like.

RR: You know, um, I don’t want to particularize this to you. I think it’s throughout the media universe. There’s what I like to refer to as SELECTIVE MORAL OUTRAGE about things that Donald Trump says and does compared to those that they support. First of all, Donald Trump never claimed to be a perfect man. He said that he made many mistakes in his life…

BM: He’s lived up to that.

RR: …and he acknowledged that, OK? But if you want to talk about lies, remember last November, we had a binary choice. It was a choice! It wasn’t just a referendum on him. We had to choose between him and Hillary Clinton. This was somebody who held a news conference and said she never sent or received classified material.

BM [frustrated]: Oh Lord…

RR: Lie! This is somebody who said…

BM [loudly interrupts]: OK, I’m not going to litigate that. She lost! You won!

RR: Over eighty percent of the American people said they didn’t trust her. They didn’t think she was honest.

BM: Right.

RR: And of the twenty percent of the electorate, Bill, that some pollsters referred to as the “Nuh’s,” they didn’t like either one of them. Donald Trump won those voters over sixty percent. They made a decision. They want somebody to go to Washington and shake things up.

BM: Why are they lying so much about Russia? Donald Trump, Jr….The subpoenas are out now. They want to know about that meeting.

RR: OK.

BM: When they first heard about the meeting, Donald Trump…It was just about adoption because we’re big fans of Annie. [laughter] …and uh, at first, it was, “We don’t know any Russians! We don’t know ANY Russians!…Then, OK, we know a Russian….Alright, we know three. Alright. we know eight.” There was one Russian at the meeting. OK, there were ten Russians at the meeting. Stalin’s corpse was at the meeting. The Bolshoi Ballet was at the meeting. But it wasn’t about the election. Then, it was about the election. If they have nothing to hide and this is a witch hunt, then why are they lying constantly until they get caught?

RR: First of all, everybody who was in that meeting, including Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was the Russian lawyer, says there was no discussion of any alleged negative information about Hillary Clinton…

BM: Well, if we can’t take her word for it, who can…[can’t finish his thought and doubles-over laughing]

RR: …Oh, and by the way, she [Veselnitskaya] told NBC News in an interview with her in Russia that she never talked to any Russian government official about that meeting, and I understand that there’s a COLLUSION DELUSION, and the media is fixated on chasing this story like greyhounds would chase a mechanical rabbit, but I got news for you…but for the average American, they don’t care, and they know it’s a distraction.

BM [concludes the segment with genuine laughter at Reed’s joke about the greyhounds and warmly thanks him, despite the audience’s negative reaction to Reed’s final comment]: You’re a good man to come into the lion’s den! Ralph Reed, everybody! It is not easy…

This morning, I played a recording of the show for my lovely wife to observe another reaction, and she started to talk at Ralph Reed in the TV just like I did the prior evening; although, her language is quite a bit more reserved than mine, as I tend to swear like a sailor when I get upset by good, ol’ American evangelical sooth-saying.  She said three things: “They believe their own truths,” in response to Reed’s statements about Hillary’s lies; “They SHOULD care!” in response to his assertion that no one cares about the Russia stuff; and “It’s a threat to our democracy,” when it was all said and done…

I highlighted two phrases, in the transcript, that Ralph Reed used in last night’s interview: SELECTIVE MORAL OUTRAGE and COLLUSION DELUSION. I think the former should be used as Fox News Channel’s new slogan, and I think the latter is the last desperate, faux-strategic attempt to defend Trump as the popular chief representative of the God, Guns, and Guys political party…

…and to Bill Maher, if you happen to read this, thank you, sir, for conducting such interviews and commissioning such diverse panels, when traditional journalists usually shy away from anything religious because they think it will chase away their viewers to the Fox News Channel, or worse, turn their local, rural TV to one of the many new Sinclair Broadcasting channels across the country. Real Time with Bill Maher remains one of the best forums to study where religion and politics meet in America. (Plus, the naked molerat, Peter Wrinklage, was a hilarious joke, even though the audience was lame…and the final skit was excellent, with the exceptional Obama impersonator, Reggie Brown, reading Trump lines…I gotta tell ya, if you don’t have HBO or HBOGo, then give it a shot. What with Bill Maher and John Oliver for political commentary, and Game of Thrones, Insecure, Vice Principals, Silicon Valley, Veep, and more, it pays for itself with quality literature!)

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

Oh My God!

I was watching Morning Joe this morning, and the crew focused on the news story about how Rod Wheeler was suing Fox News because they used him to perpetuate a propaganda piece about how a DNC staffer who was murdered, Seth Rich, was accused by Fox News members—most prominently, Sean Hannity—to be the man who leaked e-mails to WikiLeaks instead of the Russians. All of the members on the MSNBC set had solemn looks and used words like “cruel” and “malice” to describe the acts of the Trump-approved Fox News Organization.

I don’t like using the word “evil” much as a descriptor, but I couldn’t help thinking that Fox News is evil. It’s not the first time I’ve thought this about Fox News, but yesterday’s revelations from Rod Wheeler are quite damning. I thought, what could they possibly be reporting about this morning?

I switched over to see what the chuckleheads at Fox and Friends were reporting this morning, and the following is an unofficial transcript of a segment they ran called “Cabinet Bible Study.” I’m not including much commentary because I think the words speak for themselves, as far as why my disgust and disdain for Fox News grows exponentially:

Fox News Girl with Over-sized Diamond Earrings and Perfect Teeth: They’re some of the country’s most powerful people, and now they have been gathering at the White House for God, making history as part of the President’s Cabinet Bible Study. So what’s behind the spiritual awakening at the White House? Here, to weigh in on this is Chief Political Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network and host of Faith Nation, David Brody.

[The two exchange niceties.]

Fox News Girl: So, tell us what’s happening at the White House. They’re having a Bible study every week?

Fox News Boy Who Thinks He Speaks for All Good Christians, But All Must Support Trump: Every week at the HHS Building! Cabinet members, twelve of them, which is the majority of the Cabinet, is attending! These are evangelicals, Christians, uh, Mike Pompeo of the CIA, you’ve got Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Tom Price, the list goes on.  You know, Mike Pence is planning to drop by. The invitation is open for the President as well, so…but he’s getting the notes from the Bible Study! So it’s pretty fascinating! Our White House correspondent broke the story! Pretty, pretty fascinating!

G: Is this the most evangelical Presidency you’ve seen?

B: Oh, a hundred percent! I don’t think there’s any question about it.

G (interrupting with skepticism): More so than George Bush, number 43?

B: Yes, and uh, uh, uh, there are no qualms about that, but I know there might be some pushback for some evangelical leaders, uh, in that George W. Bush era, but if you talk to evangelicals privately, the dirty little secret is they’re getting more access and facetime with this President than George W. Bush, the evangelical President. There’s, there’s not even a question about it. It’s kinda like a factory in the sense that all of the folks just kinda keep coming in and out. It’s like a shuttle bus going into the White House from evangelicals, and it’s interesting because I actually e-mailed an evangelical leader the other day, and I said, “Hey, there’s a couple of evangelical leaders at the White House today! What’s going on there?”  You know, trying to get it as a source, and a guy says to me, “There’s always evangelical leaders! Every single day!” And that really is the case (Nods affirmatively).

G (solemnly): Compare this White House when it comes to Bible study and the Evangelical Movement to the last administration.

B: Well, I mean, look, there were Bible studies up on Capitol Hill, and there’s still Bible studies, Democrats, Republicans together, and you know, I know that President Obama took his faith very seriously, and I know he took pushback in evangelical circles, so there was some of that, but this is much different because this is a President, President Trump, who encourages the evangelicals and the Bible studies and the Cabinet meetings. It’s interesting because if you talk to evangelical leaders when they’re around this President, they say this President has a lot of peace, that he wants to be around evangelicals, that he’s at ease with them. (Starts to nod up and down) It’s, it’s a very, uh, interesting dynamic (Nods more vigorously).

G (smiling brightly): Well, I know that many of us need faith. It makes us better people, and that’s exactly what I’ve got and my friends have gotten from Bible study, so I think this is a great thing. Thank you so much, David, for being with us. (Slight pause for transition) The Dow opening at near-record territory this morning as President Trump touts a golden message…