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.


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…

Thank You, John McCain

Not for saving Obamacare, but thank you, John McCain, for ending Hell Week with a grand moment of American hope, honor, and pride. To stand in front of that deliberative body last night and vote against the tide and vote for your party’s legitimacy, to see Mitch McConnell look downward and realize that this was the moment when Obamacare could not be killed and must be saved, and to hear the audible gasp of shock and awe when McCain uttered no, to experience this high moment in American history this morning was so sorely needed…

I listened to McCain’s speech at the beginning of the week, and I doubted his authenticity, especially since he voted yes for the Senate version of Repeal and Replace shortly afterward. After all, at the beginning of this insane mess of a year, he had said that using the nuclear option to change the voting procedures was crazy or insane, but lo and behold, he voted for the nuclear option because McConnell said to do it if Repub’s wanted to get Gorsuch. Very much like Trump on Healthcare, McConnell and McCain were looking for any victory when it came to replacing Scalia. I didn’t hold John McCain at his word when he said that he would not vote for this bill, especially as he enunciated every syllable of the declaration…

I was wrong. John McCain is a man of his word, and I contritely apologize to McCain for doubting his veracity. When McCain ran for the Presidency, he had a moment when he withdrew a microphone from a woman who disparaged Barack Obama for being a Muslim, and he assured the country that we will not stoop to such lows to win a Presidency. John McCain shows us what it means to be a good American.

This morning, I turned on the news and saw the first really positive thing I have seen about my country in a long, freaking time. John McCain made me proud to be an American this morning when I saw his grand vote of NO against the “skinny” repeal that Paul Ryan would have surreptitiously passed through the House, and I couldn’t help but squeeze out a few tears. Forgive me for showing emotion as I unexpectedly watched John McCain restore my faith in this shattered country. I’m sure McCain will say something hawkish that will make me curse him out again, but at the conclusion of a tumultuous week, I’d like to trumpet my support for John McCain.

No matter how Trump “likes his war heroes,” rest assured that you are an American legend, sir, in my book. Thank you, John McCain.

[Addendum: While my essay praises John McCain, I have maintained great respect for Susan Collins throughout this process, and I have gained respect for Lisa Murkowski over the last month, especially considering Trump’s threats to hold Alaska hostage because of her votes. All three are Republicans who should be lauded after last night’s vote.]

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

Hell Week

Our country treads water furiously as Trump clings heavily about Lady Liberty’s neck, trying to keep his head above water as America drowns beneath his considerable weight. A better analogy probably involves a torture rack with bound arms and legs slowly being stretched out of their sockets, with Trump gleefully smiling beneath a Sith-lord hood as he turns the over-sized wheel slowly and daily.

This is not a surprise. It’s what happens when white, working-class men and their women put a miserable old man with money and all-around awful person at the helm of our great country. The rural Christian community, backed and supported by Fox News, has successfully distorted American Goodness to such awful lows…

Let’s recap the week: 1) We started with the laughable excuses coming out of Jared Kushner’s public report, many of which wouldn’t be acceptable from one of my students turning in a late paper with some half-baked excuses like, “I didn’t read the whole thing, and who reads the entire thing anyway?”  or “Gosh, I hit that pesky SEND button before I finished what I was doing. Sorry, teach. I won’t get any points deducted because of that, right?” 2) Trump aggressively Twitter-attacks Jeff Sessions, by suggesting he pay more attention to Hillary Clinton’s server (which was apparently the only thing not hacked during the election of 2016), because “Lock Her Up!” never gets old. This whole Russia thing seems to really be getting underneath the Orange Menace’s skin. Reminds me of Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. 3) Trump decides it’s time to ramp up his efforts to warp the minds of American children by glorifying himself instead of the country in front of the Boy Scouts. 4) He continues his self-defeating assault specifically on members of his own damn party. His game? He pressures Senators about the nebulous repeal of the Not-Quite-as-Dead-as-Trump-and-the-Majority-of-Republicans-Think Obamacare Law, and provides no coherent antidote of his own. All he’s got is blowing hot air, and the Republicans are slow to realize it. Contrition for Democrats and admission of Obamacare’s benefits are needed to fix the healthcare system, and neither appear to be on the horizon… 5) Trump reaffirms his allegiance to the American Christians who think he’s the Messiah by banning transgender people from their Godly-appointed American Armies.

This is only Thursday morning. I’m sure as I write this, there is another crisis about which many of us will wring our hands, and some of us will applaud.

This may not be a surprise to me, but it still is so very painful to see Trump degrade my country with so much vigor and support. The most painful thing is the applause and laughter when he proclaims himself to be so damn great, and his fans capitulate every single, infuriating time! It’s more painful when it’s our children, who will likely think it’s okay to be so vainglorious and overbearing. Our children may now validate the consistent belittling of good rationale, grammar, and spelling, and the young students may give up entirely on reading complicated texts or thinking beyond the surface layer of most arguments. Our children are learning that the way to money and power is to be a popular bully, who gets more outrageous the more he is enabled by the other wannabe bullies who cheer him on…It’s no surprise, but there’s a lot of pain in my bleedin’ American heart.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

Stubborn Fox News

There’s this popular idea that there is a “Dumbing-Down” happening in America. I know because I was rebuked for doubting its validity yesterday in a couple of internet exchanges concerning the notion of what we think is educational versus what we insist is entertainment.

I don’t think America is becoming stupid, but we have become stubbornly certain of our own genius.

The weird thing is that becoming employed by Fox News Channel automatically certifies one to be smarter than the rest of us…It must be a part of the contracts over there, whether greater intelligence is bestowed by reading the clever conservative legalese or signing the pact agreed upon with the more religious segments of America.

Apparently, while we should fear every brown-skinned person who travels up from our Southern border to the point where we must wall it off, while we should cower at the idea of letting Muslims bring their culture into our borders and infecting good-ol’-boy minds, while we should oppress and demonize those who are queer or funny-looking and have the nerve to use the wrong bathroom, and while we shouldn’t listen to any arguments coming from our own journalists, teachers, and scientists lest we’re all killed by their silly ideas about the world and science and God…

…what we really need to do as a country is not give in to all this silly Russia hysteria! Vladimir Putin is a swell guy and a strong leader, as our President has promoted from day one, and according to Fox News, we are required to stubbornly accept what Trump is doing for the country, liberals be damned.

Fear the brown-skinned Mexican and Muslim interlopers, but don’t worry about what’s happening behind closed doors between the Trump family and Putin emissaries.

Fear the South-Side of Chicago, where black kids shoot to kill and Trump rallies are thwarted, but don’t worry about all those Russians Putin has blatantly killed with radioactive poison, mob-style beatings, and shootings within the very shadow of the Kremlin.

Fear the rest of the world, especially our traditional allies, but don’t worry about America turning into an oppressive, authoritarian regime like Russia, our future bestie.

Fox News is more stubborn than any political entity, and they convince their viewers to be as stubborn as their mouthpieces, who are paid well to be more stubborn than the rest of us. A couple of weeks ago, Bill Maher was whining about needing a month-long break from Trump, while in the same show, admitted that he admires Republicans for being so united and diligent. While MSNBC broadcasts its prison franchise shows on the weekends, Hannity, Watters, and the rest are putting in overtime, zealously pushing the Trump takeover, to the zealots who just can’t turn off that Fox News dial.

This Fox News bullshit continues to work like a charm. Just like the torture issue back at the end of the W. Bush administration, the American people are polled, and lo and behold, nobody in America seems to give a shit about Russian interference in our election…so let’s all just collectively drop the subject.

America isn’t becoming stupid. It’s been there for a while, for as long as Fox News has been dominating American living rooms.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

So Now What Do We Do?

Alright, so we’ve some proof that Donald Trump likely colluded with the Russians to sabotage Hillary Clinton in the election. So now what happens?

We wait, just like we’ve been doing since the Trump stuff started. We wait and see what happens. Trump’s always accommodated America by providing 7-days-a-week, 4-seasons-a-year of outrage and stupidity to consume. We will wait and see what happens tomorrow, whether one of us is rooting for Trump because he’s sticking it to the Obama lovers, or one of us has not fully accepted that Trump likely will be in charge for four full years because the Republicans stubbornly excuse every Trump folly and foible.

We are all now sucked within the gravity of the dark, black hole of daily Trump-existence. We can’t even remember what it was like without Trump, and love him or hate him, we probably will find a void in our hearts and heads when he’s gone, IF he’s ever gone…(I mean when he’s out of office, for those who overreact to every insinuation by an anti-Trumpist).

We have to wait. The markets are strong, stronger than they’ve ever been. The market’s possibly over-inflated by dirty Russian money, but we won’t be able to see that until it’s too late, like the proverbial train at the end of Anna Karenina. As long as the money-making continues, Trump will have license to work with the Russians to oppress American citizens, because we eat up the Trump show at our own peril and expense.

We’ll wait to the very last moment, when Trump sneers at the camera, Col. Nathan R. Jessup-style: “You’re God-damn right I colluded with the Russians!” We’ll even wait after he does that because the Trump apologists have already started easing the acceptance of our new Russian overlords to the general American public. It’s been happening for a while now in American churches, local schools, and Fox News broadcasts; if you don’t believe me, then check Vlad Putin’s approval ratings at the time of Trump’s victory.

We will continue to wait, but it is not necessarily to only see if Trump is removed from office, or if the Democrats will win in 2018, or if Congress will continue to be divided so strongly against each other’s interests…

We wait to see if America can weather the long, tumultuous storm…

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

The Breaking Point

Today’s the day, June 11th, 2017, after Donald Trump, Jr., was found-out to be seeking help from his Russian buddies to help his Daddy sell-out the country. Junior attended a meeting to collaborate with the Russians because his father had sealed up the Republican nomination, and everybody in Trumpland was on-board the “Beat Hillary at Any Cost” bandwagon. It’s easy to see that Trump and his cohorts wanted to work with the Russians to win the American Presidency, and that is willful collaboration by any reasonable standard.

Today’s the day when we ought to be discussing the removal of the President AND everyone in his administration. I say to hell with impeachment and the 25th amendment, attempting to lance a boil when the tumor has grown to such grotesque proportions. We ought to have a special election in 2018 to replace the current traitorous regime, the Orange Menace AND all of his lackeys. We need to change America’s direction in unprecedented fashion, and it needs to take place at a quicker pace…

I snapped at my wife this morning, after I started raving about Sebastian Gorka’s asinine argumentation in an MSNBC interview with Stephanie Ruhle (Fuck you, Gorka! Needs to be said after how condescending Gorka was to Ruhle.). My wife told me to calm down since I was animated, and I told her to hell with that: She needs to be a bit more outraged.

It wasn’t a big tete-a-tete, but I realize I was taking out some frustrations on her. It’s not like she’s the only one in which I’m disappointed because there are so many people from my workplace, neighborhood, and online community that have told me I need to calm down.

Why should I calm down, when the American government, run by the Republican Party, is selling out to Russia, flirting openly with authoritarianism, shitting all over the American healthcare system and the rest of our important institutions, effectively destroying the very air we breathe by exiting the Paris Climate Accord, and basically telling Americans day-after-day that they need to be more gullible in order to understand the complexities of how Donald Trump’s stupid, stupid brain works?

…And what is the Trump surrogates’ defense? They’ll just use the current word-of-the-day, “nothing-burger,” to obfuscate and deflect; blame Obama and Hilary for everything bad; and wait for the next opportunity to drop a bomb on “bad guys” to prove what a swell guy Trump really is. Nothing to see here! I hope Fox News is charged as a co-conspirator of Trump’s at the treason trial.

We need to be more outraged. This is not the time to be calm.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

A Defense of Morning Joe

I remember back when I didn’t watch morning news programs. I just didn’t care much, and the cheesy, corny interaction of morning television news hosts wasn’t really my cup of tea. Of course, Trump changed all of that when he rode down the escalator. It became necessary to include a morning program in my daily intake of news to “figure out what the hell is going on,” to throw Trump’s words back at him.

Of course, we American shoppers have three premium options at the 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week cable-news grocery store (Is this metaphor using a brick-and-mortar store as an example, or online-delivery? Besides the point. Sorry…). However, three hours of daily television is a lot of intake, so I could only commit to one show. I gave New Day a try, but CNN generally isn’t my cup of tea for the above-listed, first-paragraph, second-sentence pair of adjectives. I had watched some of Fox and Friends in the past, but mainly for the typical outrage value, or the daily comic performances by the threesome on the couch…

…That leaves Morning Joe. I have to admit that prior to the 2016 election and all of its highs and lows…I must admit that I could not stand Joe Scarborough. I thought he was too damn smarmy then, and the truth about it today is that I still think he’s smarmy. I’ve just grown to love that smarmy-ness, and today I must write in defense of my morning news show, considering Trump’s audacity and a solidifying malcontent coming from those voters who defend him.

I’ve been getting up at 5 am to watch Morning Joe many mornings for the last two years, and I’d vote for Joe Scarborough for President in 2020, in order to save the Republican Party from its own blind loyalty to Donald Trump and his gutter-politics. I figure I’d jump on Brent Budkowsky’s bandwagon from his article at The Hill. It is an intriguing idea. Maybe Mika could run on the Democratic ticket, and the “loser” could serve as Vice-President, in addition to being First-Lady or First-Gentleman?

I must admit that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (and Willie Geist, the legendary Mike Barnacle, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann, and so many more wonderful, intelligent characters) have created an appreciated daily sanctuary for intellectual discussion, rational argument, and authentic faith-in and love-for this country. It is my daily dose of personal sanity. I am informed and educated by Morning Joe, and this show is greatly appreciated by this blog-writer (even though Joe can be quite mocking of my ilk).

This morning’s episode—the day after Trump’s vicious Tweet attack at Mika during the conclusion of yesterday’s show—made me so proud of the cast of Morning Joe. This morning’s episode made me a bit verklempt several times, and I appreciated both the first-hour-segment, with its defense of Joe and Mika without their presence, and the second-hour-segment when Joe and Mika appeared (during their vacation) to defend the country-at-large.

In the first hour, Willie Geist moderated, perhaps, the most difficult panel of his life, because of the obvious friendship between him and Joe and Mika. Think about it: Geist co-chairs on a show where the President has attacked his dear friends, and he must maintain his composure for the duration. I am in awe of Willie Geist’s professionalism. Katty Kay and Donnie Deutsch engaged in a necessary back-and-forth about gender throughout the show, with a rational Katty balancing out an out-of-sorts Donnie (My wife didn’t think his comments were particularly productive. I agree, but I’m still glad Donnie gave Trump what-for!). Harold Ford, Jr. looked stunned and hurt, and I’m not used to seeing him that way. Jon Meachum provided good humor and sharp historic insight, per usual…but I think I became most emotional when Heidi Przybyla spoke with such power and dignity and read a “real person’s” words…her father’s words. He reached out to his journalist daughter to speak to Mika, since she just lost her father:

“Mika, why is it that Trump is always commenting on how he sees women? Maybe women need to start speaking out about what kind of a man they see in him.”

It’s a good question and statement, and Heidi Przybyla’s father speaks for me, too. My first thought yesterday when I read Trump’s Tweet was, “Good God, this woman’s father just died, and Trump’s gonna tweet this crap at his daughter a couple weeks after he’s buried?!” I clearly and recently remember when Mika returned to the show after Zbig Brzezinski passed away, and her bravery and composure to report at such a high level about her father’s legacy, importance, and compassion for America is ample reason for pride, patriotism, and admiration. Donald Trump sullies the country when he acts so callously to Mika Brzezinski, but it especially sticks in my craw that the President of the United States cruelly treats the daughter of an American treasure, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in public in such classless fashion…and according to Republicans, we’re supposed to believe in Trump’s “patriotism?” I don’t care if he won the election or not. When he acts like this, it delegitimizes any of Trump’s claims to being a man of the American people. He gets to stay in office whether I have any say-so or not, but I’ll be damned if I give such a man as Trump my allegiance. I love my country, and I’ll be damned if I celebrate such a President.

In the second hour, when Joe and Mika joined the desk, I was struck by how well they handled all this nonsense. I was especially shocked to learn how Trump had brought up Mika behind closed doors with members of Congress, and how he brought up bleeding in private to attack Mika, prior to this Tweet, which again used bleeding as an insult to a woman (Who does that?! I know some guys with no taste or scruples, myself included, that have traded some dark and nasty humor, and I don’t recall anybody going to the whole “you’re a girl and you bleed, so screw you” shtick). The story about Trump conspiring with the National Enquirer to personally attack Mika and Joe’s family certainly brought more distress…and I suspect that will be investigated as a potential crime at some point also…I mean, think about it: The President called his buddy at the Enquirer to send goons to stalk Mika’s kids in order to get Joe to call and give an apology to the White House for bad-mouthing him on the show?! Seems like blackmail or extortion to me. Did anybody tell Donald Trump that Joe has a Juris Doctorate degree?

This stupid Tweet of Trump’s doesn’t really seem to be particularly useful for attacking Morning Joe either. He’s lying when he says he doesn’t watch or care about Morning Joe, obviously, and Trump seems to think access to him is sought by all, since Joe and Mika were spurned three times. Boy, Trump, for being such a self-proclaimed rhetorical warrior, your insults don’t seem to carry much weight…or make any sense. Today’s Tweet simply confirms that, yeah, you probably did try to use the National Enquirer to get at Joe and Mika, ya moron…

If we’ve learned anything from this latest Tweet, it did confirm that Trump has a go-to descriptor for women who incur his wrath: bleeding. Complete allegiance is necessary from women from whom Trump wants fealty; otherwise, the third-grader “women are gross and bleed out of wherever” line gets used as his go-to gotcha attack. What a child our President is.

Without repeating all of the valid points and claims of this morning’s MSNBC broadcast, I’d like to challenge an ongoing premise of Morning Joe’s hosts (and the title/thesis of their Washington Post article): Donald Trump is not mentally ill. I understand that Joe and Mika (and Donnie) knew Trump before this iteration of Donald Trump as Dictator of America, but this is part and partial of Trump’s history and modus operandi: Trump makes people like him by pretending to be a swell guy, then he stabs them in the back when they cease to be useful to him. I understand it’s disappointing to learn that Trump is capable of putting on a nice face, and then later showing his true colors…but I don’t necessarily think it’s dementia. Can’t a guy just be a jerk, without going to the whole “it must not be his fault that he’s a jerk” response?

I have the utmost respect for Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, and I respect their desire to try to keep this from becoming a schoolyard brawl. I do, however, appreciate Donnie Deutsch’s desire to call Trump names in return (and Donnie’s insults are right: Trump’s a detestable pig). I don’t think Trump is capable of learning, until he does have his reputation thoroughly shattered on the global stage…and even then, who knows if he’ll quit Tweeting nonsense to the world?

So, in conclusion, Trump may dismiss all-things-not-Fox-News as fake, but the Maniacal Professor proclaims Morning Joe as The Great American Morning News Program. Long live the King and Queen of daily sanity, and all their friends who hold them up every single morning. Cheers to you all, and God bless your American contributions.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.