Biden gave a fiery speech in Detroit on Friday and pitched his plan for his second term’s first 100 days, if given a Democratic Congress. Which would mean that by around May of 2025 we could have the following nice things:

It sure sounds like a far cry from whatever fiery white supremacist death zone backed by ravenous billionaires would be unleashed upon us in Trump‘s first 100 days (only 1 of which, we are led to believe, would be as a dictator… sure, Jan). It is the opposite direction of the literal End Times hellscape vision of Project 2025 and its Christofascist propagandists who have abused the American Evangelical church to the point of being unrecognizably distant from anything Christ himself taught.

Vote blue no matter who

I’m bored with the obsession over Biden’s age. He’s 81, he’s not 101. He certainly still passes the Turing Test to me — others apparently see something different. Superagers can go a long time these days — Charles Koch is 88 and leads both an oil empire and a conservative dark money juggernaut. Rupert Murdoch is 93 and only last year stepped down from leading one of the world’s largest media empires.

I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who can match Joe Biden’s foreign policy experience, having been at the table on major world events for decades now. He knows everybody — and has warm relationships with our allies. Unlike Trump, who has spurned everyone America has cherished and cozied up to (other) two-bit dictators with tiny hands syndrome. Biden is holding up the Western order against a revanchist Russia seeking to erode the post-Cold War consensus and spread the forces of authoritarianism widely around the globe — Trump would simply hand Ukraine to Putin and welcome the wave of illiberalism to wash over his slavering Project 2025 belligerents.

I think we urgently need Joe Biden’s unparalleled experience at this moment in history — no one else can match it. Although now Kamala Harris is no slouch in that regard either, given her 4 years of jetting around the globe as VP, years in the Senate before that, years as California AG, and a decade as the District Attorney of San Francisco before that. If Biden decides at some point in the next 4 years to stand down and hand the reins to Harris, that would be a fantastic outcome. In the meantime, why don’t we give the man some respect for his own self-assessment?

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Evangelicals in church raising their hands high for Christian nationalism

Christian nationalism, a belief system that intertwines national identity with Christian faith, has been a significant force in American history — and the Christian nationalism timeline may go back further than you think. It erroneously asserts that the United States is fundamentally a Christian nation and should be governed by biblical principles.

This flawed ideology has influenced various aspects of American life, from politics to education, and continues to shape the discourse around national identity and public policy. Understanding the evolution of Christian nationalism provides critical insights into its current manifestations and implications for the future.

In recent years, the resurgence of Christian nationalism has become more visible and influential in American politics. The events of January 6, 2021, and the Big Lie rhetoric surrounding the 2020 presidential election highlighted the power and reach of this movement. With key figures like Russell Vought and organizations like Project 2025 advocating for policies that align with their interpretation of Christian values, it is essential to examine the timeline of Christian nationalism to grasp its roots, growth, and contemporary relevance.

Vote them out, while we still can

Then, get to the polls and take everyone you know with you. Do not allow the right-wing to establish a theocracy in this country — no matter what your faith (or lack thereof), we have common interest in preventing any one faith from informing the US government.

A line of diverse and young-looking voters forms at the polling place -- the right-wing's worst nightmare

Just because they say the words “Christian nation” does not alter the actual history in which the founders were deists who were adamant about keeping the political and religious spheres separate — having seen the ills it can cause to entwine them. Is America a Christian nation? No. We rejected the divine right of kings, very consciously and loudly so at the time. It is easy to pick up this sentiment in the writings of the founders both inside and outside of the founding documents.

Christian nationalism timeline

  • 1607 — The Jamestown Colony is established in Virginia. Early settlers bring a mix of Christian beliefs that will influence American culture.
  • 1620 — The Pilgrims arrive on the Mayflower, establishing the Plymouth Colony. They seek religious freedom after being persecuted for their lack of conformity to the Anglican church in England, and establish a community based on their Puritan beliefs.
  • 1630 — John Winthrop delivers his sermon “A Model of Christian Charity,” articulating the vision of America as a “city upon a hill,” influencing the concept of a Christian nation.
  • 1730-1740s — The First Great Awakening, a series of religious revivals, sweeps through the American colonies, strengthening evangelicalism.
  • 1776 — The Declaration of Independence is signed. The Founding Fathers, while influenced primarily by Enlightenment ideas, also incorporate some Christian principles.
  • 1787 — The U.S. Constitution is drafted, establishing a secular government with the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of religion.
Continue reading Christian Nationalism Timeline
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Project 2025 mind map of entities

Project 2025, led by former Trump official Paul Dans and key conservative figures within The Heritage Foundation, sets forth an ambitious conservative and Christian nationalist vision aimed at fundamentally transforming the role of the federal government. Leonard Leo, a prominent conservative known for his influence on the U.S. Supreme Court‘s composition, is among the project’s leading fundraisers.

The initiative seeks to undo over a century of progressive reforms, tracing back to the establishment of a federal administrative framework by Woodrow Wilson, through the New Deal by Roosevelt, to Johnson’s Great Society. It proposes a significant reduction in the federal workforce, which stands at about 2.25 million people.

Project 2025 plans

Essential measures include reducing funding for, or even abolishing, key agencies such as the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Departments of Education and Commerce. Additionally, Project 2025 intends to bring semi-independent agencies like the Federal Communications Commission under closer presidential control.

At its heart, Project 2025 aims to secure a durable conservative dominance within the federal government, aligning it closely with the principles of the MAGA movement and ensuring it operates under the direct oversight of the White House. The project is inspired by the “unitary executive theory” of the Constitution, which argues for sweeping presidential authority over the federal administrative apparatus — in direct contradiction with the delicate system of checks and balances architected by the Founders.

It is also inspired by religious fervor (and the cynical exploitation thereof) — and Project 2025 has brought together a pantheon of Christian nationalist organizations and groups to draft policy that could be implemented with alacrity, select potential appointees for the administration, build networks with GOP at the state and local levels — and with right-wing networks around the world.

Project 2025 goals

To realize their extremist, authoritarian goal, Dans is actively recruiting what he terms “conservative warriors” from legal and government networks, including bar associations and offices of state attorneys general. The aim is to embed these individuals in key legal roles throughout the government, thereby embedding the conservative vision deeply within the federal bureaucracy to shape policy and governance for the foreseeable future.

Continue reading What is Project 2025: The GOP’s plan for taking power
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Jesus healing the sick as a foil to Christian nationalism

Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. The vitriol of our politics — the violent rhetoric, the animosity, the refusal to engage in democratic deliberation — is not loving our enemies. It seems to me that Christian nationalism isn’t very Christian, in word or deed.

Jesus hated fame, loathed fortune, and eschewed power. So many of these fake Christians and Christian nationalist groups fundraising for the profane idol of Trumpism are drunk on all three.

They’ve tied capitalism and Christianity together in a way that is both wholly unsupported by the Bible and wholly antithetical to the foundational idea of growing the size of your market, not shrinking it. Jesus threw the moneylenders out of the temple, condemning the commercialization of religious practice. And yet the commercialization of religious practice is alive and well in the American version of Christian nationalism.

Jesus loved the poor, and frequently warned about the dangers of wealth and greed. He told the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stops to help a total stranger in need, expecting no help in return — and said “go and do likewise.” He was very much an original Social Justice Warrior.

Jesus with a group of poor children, as a foil to the Christian nationalist movement

Politics and spirituality are opposites

Jesus also said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s — indicating that he believed politics and spirituality were not a good mix. God’s realm is not like this one, and he does not care about our petty political trifles. He cares that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

Which is a value I believe in and agree on, even though I’m a Buddhist. There is much wisdom from pretty much all the religious doctrines worth listening to and adopting, even if one does not adopt the symbolism of the identity tropes of a chosen religious practice. Morality does not depend on being a member of the Christian faith or any other particular faith — despite the claims of some in the right-wing. There are moral people everywhere, getting up every day and doing their best to be good humans, good citizens, good neighbors, good parents, friends, volunteers, and so on.

Humans first, tribes second

We have to put our humanity ahead of our group identities if we have a chance of surviving the coming wars — the climate war, the food and water wars, the new cold war, lawfare, and new escalations of the information warfare and psychological warfare around the globe. We are all more alike than we are different — a deep truth that Jesus knew and shared strongly, asking us to live and share that message ourselves, even when it’s sometimes hard.

Continue reading Christian nationalism isn’t very Christian
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Recently the Former Guy proclaimed to know nothing about Project 2025, the plan whose authors include 70% current and former Trump officials. In that he doth protest too much — does Trump support Project 2025? You bet your bippy he does!

What is Project 2025? Think of it as a vast plan, close to the former president, to feverishly establish Christofascism in America starting with Day 1 of a second Trump presidency. It is a 920-page document, and 1000-employee project, to “supercharge” another Trump term with an infusion of Christian nationalism.

More than 100 Christian nationalist organizations and groups are involved in drafting the blueprint for Trump’s next term, should that horrorscape come to pass. One core problem they have, however, is the extreme unpopularity of their ideas. Most Americans would recoil from the draconian measures Project 2025 wishes to bestow upon the nation, unasked for and unwanted — including banning abortion nationwide, restricting IVF, defunding education, pulling out of NATO, etc.

Who is behind Project 2025?

Project 2025 is so toxic in fact that Donald Trump disavowed it on Truth Social:

Trump disavows Project 2025 on his social network, Truth Social

Despite his pathetic attempt to disclaim knowledge about Project 2025, Trump’s current and former staff make up the majority of the group’s architects. Trump’s name appears 312 times in their document. It’s simply not credible that the GOP presumptive nominee is unaware of his loudest allies and advocates — and even if you take him at his word, it constitutes malpractice for a political candidate to be so uninformed.

So allegedly, Donald Trump doesn’t know anyone behind Project 2025. Let’s have a look at the amazing Venn Diagram between Trump officials and Project 2025, shall we?

Karoline Leavitt

Currently serving as the national press secretary for Trump’s 2024 campaign, Karoline Leavitt appears as a trainer in Project 2025 Presidential Administration Academy videos:

Karoline Leavitt, Donald Trump's national press secretary for his 2024 campaign, in a training video for the Project 2025 Presidential Administration Academy

Stephen Miller

Dour, pasty-faced goon Stephen Miller complemented Trump’s sadism as his senior advisor, with his cruel border separation policy for children and their families. He is well known for his white supremacist views and associations, but less well known for his role as head of a legal group on Project 2025’s advisory board. Here is Miller in a recruitment ad for Project 2025:

Stephen Miller, top Trump aide and anti-immigration extremist, stars in recruitment ads for Project 2025
Continue reading Does Trump support Project 2025?
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banned books burning books

Expecting this banned books list will be ongoing, unfortunately…

Book bans represent a significant threat to the First Amendment by restricting access to diverse ideas and viewpoints, which are essential to a free and democratic society. These bans often target literature that addresses complex and sometimes controversial themes such as race, sexuality, and political ideologies, under the guise of protecting young readers.

However, this form of censorship undermines intellectual freedom and the right to read, leading to a homogenized culture that stifles critical thinking and open dialogue. The American Library Association (ALA) and PEN America have documented thousands of instances where books have been removed from school and public libraries, reflecting a concerted effort by certain groups to impose their moral or political standards on the wider community, thus eroding the foundational principles of free expression enshrined in the First Amendment​.

Most Banned Books (2023-2024)

  1. “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe
  2. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
  3. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
  4. “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope PΓ©rez
  5. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
  6. “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin
  7. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
  8. “Melissa” (previously published as “George”) by Alex Gino
  9. “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  10. “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier
Continue reading Banned Books List: What the right-wing considers dangerous literature
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Trump tax cuts right-wing economics

At least, not according to what Republicans promised when they passed them. The Trump tax cuts didn’t work to grow the economy, increase revenues, alleviate the debt, or benefit ordinary Americans as alleged.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was introduced by then-Speaker of the House (and fiscal hawk) Paul Ryan and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump on December 22, 2017. It permanently reduced the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, and lowered the overall tax for all brackets — seems fair, right? Except the wealthy walked away with 50 times the amount of tax benefit as the lower brackets.

Trump tax cuts add $1.5 trillion to the deficit

Not only did the tax cuts not raise revenue as promised — they became a liability on the balance sheet when almost immediately going into the red. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated the TCJA would add approximately $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over 10 years, after accounting for any temporary growth effects. The national debt will rise to accommodate as we borrow money to make up the shortfall between earnings and expenditures.

The Trump tax cuts reduced federal tax revenue, with significant declines in corporate tax receipts (surprise, surprise!). They did the exact opposite of what they promised to do — leaving our economy in a more precarious position even before the pandemic hit.

Who benefited from Trump’s tax cuts?

Conservatives and right-wing economists claim that tax cuts will help ordinary people by raising wages. In reality, however, corporations instead used their tax windfalls to do other things: stock buybacks, dividends, and executive pay. In fact, this happens over and over again each cycle of empty promises from so-called “fiscal conservatives” who in large part know exactly what they do.

Billionaires love Trump tax cuts!

They seem to believe they are entitled to the lion’s share of America’s money (as they have been since at least Mudsill Theory in 1858 and even before) and by gum, nothing is going to stop them — not democracy, not a sense of decency, not a sense of institutional preservation as used to be the very core pillar of Conservatism. No longer. Now it’s a will to power and to plunder. It’s not so much trickle down as it is hoover up.

Reaganomics, Trickle down, Laffer curve, Supply-side economics — it’s all the same

The magical revenue-generating power of tax cuts has been long promised and never delivered by right-wing Republicans. Since the 1980s edition, Reaganomics — the economic “theory” drafted on the back of a cocktail napkin dubbed the Laffer Curve for the slightly drunken man who scribbled it — has moved immense amounts of wealth upwards into the hands and coffers of the 1% and 0.1% at the expense of the masses.

The argument is that rich people will take the extra billions in returned tax money and use it to innovate and grow the economy — except that never happens. And why would they? They don’t have to earn revenue the old-fashioned way, through free market competition — they can just sit back on their laurels, buy a Senator or two, and rake in a huge windfall every few years that a GOP officeholder is in the White House. It is rock solid orthodoxy for the right-wing now, that tax cuts are almost the only policy initiative they care about — along with a side of deregulation and the slashing of the social safety net.

We’ve seen this movie before. The rich guys take the money and run — in many ways literally, into the arms of tax-free havens like the Cayman Islands or Seychelles. They do not return it to the American economy — although they do inject it into American politics, to skew the playing field even further in their favor despite already extracting extraordinary privileges and benefits to themselves from all aspects of their coziness with the political elite and their direct capture of various institutions.

As LBJ once said:

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1960

The economic elites are dividing us over race and religion, in order to pick our pockets. This is why we can’t have nice things. We should boot them out and have nice things.

Related Reading:

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A historic day on Thursday, May 30, 2024 as the first former President in US history became a convicted felon. Found guilty on all 34 counts, Donald Trump finally faces the music for the first of his election-related criminal trials. Already the Trump trial disinformation machine is spinning up on the right, making wild claims about a politicized process.

The investigation into Trump’s fraudulent payments to Stormy Daniels actually began with Michael Cohen on July 18, 2017, when his bank First Republic Bank tipped off the FBI to some suspicious activity from the Trump’s fixer’s accounts. That investigation led to a 3-year sentence for Cohen for the same exact crime. Way back in 2018, we knew that “Co-conspirator 1” was Donald Trump — and now he has been convicted of that crime.

The federal case inspired an investigation into Cohen’s finances by the state of New York, where both he and the business were located. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg inherited the case from former prosecutor Cy Vance, who began investigating Trump way back in 2018 after Cohen’s guilty plea, when Cohen admitted in court to making the hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 campaign. Vance ultimately declined to make a decision on the case before leaving office in 2021, leaving it open for his successor Alvin Bragg.

The Trump investigation: Multiple convictions

Vance did end up charging former Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg with tax fraud, conspiracy, grand larceny, and falsifying business records. He pled guilty in 2022 and testified against the Trump Org, resulting in a conviction of criminal tax fraud against the company and a fine of $1.6 million.

Vance also worked with the Southern District of New York to prosecute the Michael Cohen case and 3-year sentence.

From hush money to election corruption

When new DA Bragg inherited the case that later came to be known as the “hush money” case in 2021, he was reportedly reluctant to make charges, causing 2 longtime prosecutors to leave. He did however end up charging Donald Trump in April 2023, on 34 counts of felony falsification of business records.

Bragg, a graduate of Harvard Law School, focused on fraud and money laundering cases during his tenure as a prosecutor at the Southern District of New York. He also led the team at the NY Attorney General’s office that secured a $2 million judgment and the dissolution of the Trump Foundation in 2019 for misuse of Trump’s charitable foundation. After looking at the facts of the hush money case, he ultimately decided that it was much bigger than simply paying off a porn star: “it’s about conspiring to corrupt a presidential election.”

Continue reading Trump Trial Disinformation: How the right is trying to discredit the felony conviction
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In this post, we dive deep into the heart of American political tradition by presenting a complete collection of first presidential inaugural address speeches that have shaped the United States from its inception to the present day. Each speech, a time capsule of its era, is summarized up front (with a link to the full text) to highlight the core messages, visions, and promises made by the presidents at the dawn of their administrations during their first (or singular) inaugural address.

Accompanying these summaries, we’ve included visual opportunities to get a sense of the inauguration speeches “at a glance,” via word clouds and histograms. These are generated from the text of the speeches themselves, to offer a uniquely infovisual perspective on the recurring themes, values, and priorities that resonate through America’s history.

One of the earliest Presidential inaugural speeches, as imagined by Midjourney

Understanding our history is not just about recounting events; it’s about connecting with the voices that have guided the nation’s trajectory at each pivotal moment. These speeches are more than formalities; they are declarations of intent, reflections of the societal context, and blueprints for the future, delivered at the crossroads of past achievements and future aspirations.

By exploring these speeches, we not only gain insight into the leadership styles and political climates of each period but also engage with the evolving identity of America itself. We can compare the use of language by different presidents in a way that reflects both shifting trends in culture and geopolitics as well as the character and vision of the leaders themselves.

This collection serves as a vital resource for anyone looking to grasp the essence of American political evolution and the enduring principles that continue to inform its path forward.

George Washington inaugural address (1789)

Washington speech summary

George Washington’s inaugural speech, delivered in New York City on April 30, 1789, reflects his reluctance and humility in accepting the presidency. He expresses deep gratitude for the trust placed in him by his fellow citizens and acknowledges his own perceived inadequacies for the monumental task ahead.

Continue reading Presidential Inaugural Address Mega List
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Fundamentalism starves the mind. It reduces and narrows a universe of dazzlingly fascinating complexity available for infinite exploration — and deprives millions of people throughout the ages of the limitless gifts of curiosity.

The faux finality of fundamentalism is a kind of death wish — a closing off of pathways to possibility that are lost to those human minds forever. It’s a closing of the doors of perception and a welding shut of the very openings that give life its deepest meaning.

It is tragic — a truly heartbreaking process of grooming and indoctrination into a poisonous worldview; the trapping of untold minds in airless, sunless rooms of inert stagnation for an eternity. What’s worse — those claustrophobic minds aim to drag others in with them — perhaps to ease the unbearable loneliness of being surrounded only by similitude.

They are threatened by the appearance of others outside the totalist system that entraps them — and cannot countenance the evidence of roiling change that everywhere acts as a foil to their mass-induced delusions of finality. It gnaws at the edges of the certainty that functions to prop them up against a miraculous yet sometimes terrifying world of ultimate unknowability.

Continue reading Fundamentalism starves the mind
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Peter Navarro reports to prison

Former Trump advisor Peter Navarro — who wrote a book claiming credit for the idea to try and overthrow the 2020 election and bragged about it as the “Green Bay Sweep” to MSNBC’s Ari Melber — reported to prison today after the Supreme Court ruled he cannot get out of answering to a Congressional subpoena. Peter Navarro prison time is set to be 4 months for an independent jury’s conviction for Contempt of Congress.

The sentencing judge refuted Navarro’s allegations that he was the victim of a political prosecition: “you aren’t,” Mehta said. “You have received every process you are due.”

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SOTU 2024 Joe Biden Presidential address

Strong economic messages of the Keynesian buttressing of the middle class that is Bidenomics were everywhere in evidence at last night’s State of the Union address, Biden’s third since taking office in 2021. In SOTU 2024 he spoke about stabbing trickle-down economics in its gasping heart as a repeated failure to the American people. Instead of giving another $2 trillion tax cuts to billionaires, Biden wants to give back to the people who he says built America: the middle class.

The President delivered strong, sweeping language and vision reminiscent of LBJ’s Great Society and FDR‘s New Deal. He also delivered a heartwarming sense of unity and appeal to put down our bickering and get things done for the American people.

“We all come from somewhere — but we’re all Americans.”

This while lambasting the Republicans for scuttling the deal over the popular bipartisan immigration bill thanks to 11th hour interference from TFG (“my predecessor” as JRB called him). “This bill would save lives!” He is really effective at calling out the GOP‘s hypocrisy on border security with this delivery.

“We can fight about the border or we can fix the border. Send me a bill!”

He is taking full advantage of being the incumbent candidate here. He has the power and the track record to do all these things he is promising, and he’s telling the exact truth about the Republican obstructionism preventing the American people from having their government work for them.

SOTU 2024 Joe Biden fiery speech with Kamala Harris and Mike Johnson in the background behind him

I love that he calls out Trump in this speech, without naming names — almost a kind of Voldemort effect. He who must not be named — because giving him the dignity even of a name is more than he deserves.

He says that Trump and his cabal of anti-democratic political operatives have ancient ideas (hate, revenge, reactionary, etc.) — and that you can’t lead America with ancient ideas. In America, we look towards the future — relentlessly. Americans wants a president who will protect their rights — not take them away.

“I see a future… for all Americans!” he ends with, in a segment reminiscent of the great Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, with its clear vision of power and authority flowing from what is morally right and just, instead of what is corrupt and cronyish. It gave me hope for the future — that Americans will make the right choice, as we seem to have done under pressure, throughout our history. 🀞🏽

Continue reading Biden SOTU 2024: Success stories and big policy ideas
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Wealth Cult -- rich men behaving badly, by Midjourney

A network of exceedingly wealthy individuals and organizations have channeled their vast fortunes into influencing American politics, policy, and public opinion — they’ve formed a wealth cult. And they’ve leveraged that cult and its considerable fortune to influence and in many ways dramatically transform American politics.

The term “dark money” refers to political spending meant to influence the decision-making and critical thinking of the public and lawmakers where the source of the money is not disclosed. This lack of transparency makes it challenging to trace the influence back to its origins, hence the term “dark.”

And, it is dark indeed.

Wealth cult anchors the trench coat

The Wealth Cult is one of 3 primary groups or clusters supporting the right-wing and generally, the Republican Party. It anchors the trench coat by funding the 2 cults above it: the Christian Cult, and the White Cult.

Its story is stealthy and significant.

A bunch of billionaires toast themselves to themselves, by Midjourney

The wealth cult has funded disinformation campaigns, the spread of conspiracy theories, created fake social movements through astroturfing, enabled violent extremists to attack their country’s capitol, cruelly deprived vulnerable people (especially immigrants, poor people, and women) of the kind of state aid granted generously throughout the developed world, bribed regulators, rigged elections, crashed economies, and on and on in service of their extremist free market ideology beliefs.

They believe in “makers and takers,” or Mudsill Theory, as it was once called by pedophile and racist Senator and slavery enthusiast James Henry Hammond. Some people were born to serve others, they say. Hierarchies are natural, they claim. Wealthy men should make all the decisions — because that’s what’s best for everyone, they say in paternalistic tones.

I don’t buy it. I believe all men are created equal. So did a certain Founder of our country.

Continue reading Wealth Cult: The oligarchs influencing American politics from the shadows
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The GOP is 3 cults in a trench coat

One of two major parties in our American first-past-the-post voting system of dual-party reality, the Republican Party, has evolved (or devolved…) into a full-throated authoritarian movement seeking to overthrow our democracy, The Constitution, and the rule of law in order to establish a fascist regime in the United States. It’s been a not-so-secret fever dream on the right for decades and even centuries — and the old guard reflexively senses their time is coming to an end.

The demographic changes underway in America are inexorable — by the 2024 election cycle 8 million new young voters who have turned 18 since the 2022 mid-terms, and 5 million seniors aged 65 and up will have died. The first group will vote overwhelmingly Democratic, while the second group represents the ever-dwindling base of the Republican Party. Although historically older voters have participated at much higher rates than the youth voting percentage, the rate of increase for the 18-24 group is much higher.

Faced with these realities and the census projection of a majority minority population in the United States by the year 2045, the Republican right-wing is struggling to keep piecing together a voting base that can achieve victories in electoral politics. The GOP is now 3 cults in a trenchcoat, having been hollowed out and twisted to the point of trying desperately to hold increasingly extreme factions together for another election cycle in which they can try to capture power forever through gerrymandering and other anti-democratic election engineering — or at least long enough to erase the evidence of their criminal behavior during the Trump years culminating in a coup attempt on January 6, 2021.

The 3 Republican cult factions

  1. The Wealth Cult — A business lobby led by Charles Koch and a collection of dark money groups including Leonard Leo‘s Federalist Society and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), this group emerged out of the 1970s business backlash to the civil rights movement — while piggybacking on the still-simmering resentments of the anti-New Deal and pro-fascist America Firsters of the 1930s and the searing anti-Communism of the 1950s McCarthyism era turned, improbably, Russophilia in modern days.
  2. The Christian Nationalist Cult — Started by Jerry Falwell Sr. with the Moral Majority circa 1979, the politicized Evangelical movement is inexplicably led today by “sudden believers” Mike Pence, Mike Flynn, and others under the umbrella of the Council for National Policy (CNP), the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and other religious organizations involved in politics in large part as a backlash to the Broad v. Board of Education ruling and the federal mandate to end school segregation. Masquerading as so-called “originalists,” this coalition are rather radical reactionaries participating in a long-running backlash against civil rights and the women’s rights movements of the 1960s, including the Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court that legalized abortion — overturned in 2022 based on efforts by this group.
  3. The White Nationalist Cult — With roots in the 1980s white power movement stretching all the way back to the Civil War and the Lost Cause mythology that followed and long outlasted Reconstruction, today the white identity movement is led by Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, with a parallel intertwined branch led by Peter Thiel and the Dark Enlightenment neo-Reactionaries of Silicon Valley. This group includes dominant private militia groups involved in the January 6 insurrection including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers (both of whose leaders have been convicted of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the coup attempt — with the Oath Keepers’ leader Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years for his actions).

The Wealth Cult

Led by Charles Koch et al, the mostly aging, Boomer crowd who controls much of the US government either directly or indirectly as a donor or operative is starting to panic for one reason or another: the fear of death looming, existential worries about thwarted or unmet ambition, economic turn of the wheel starting to leave their fortunes in decline (with inflation as a common boogie man since the Wall Street Putsch of the 1930s). Much of this crowd inherited the free market ideological zeal of the Austrian School of economics (later, trickle down economics) from their fathers along with their trust fund fortunes that some have squandered (Trump), tread water with (Coors, Scaife), or grown (Koch, DeVos).

The Wealth Cult, by Midjourney
Continue reading The GOP is 3 Cults in a Trenchcoat
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ParadoxBot is an adorable chatbot who will cheerfully inform you about the Dark Arts

Sure, you could use the site search. Or, you could have a bot — try having a conversation with my blog via the following AI chatbot, ParadoxBot.

Ask it about conspiracy theories, or narcissism, or cults, or authoritarianism, or fascism, or disinformation — to name a few. You can also ask it about things like dark money, economics, history, and many topics at the intersection of political psychology.

It doesn’t index what’s on Foundations (yet) but it has ingested this site and you can essentially chat with the site itself via the ChatGPT-like interface below. Enjoy! And if you love it or hate it, find me on BlueSky (as @doctorparadox) or Mastodon and let me know your thoughts:

Tips for using ParadoxBot

  • Follow general good practice regarding prompt engineering.
  • If you don’t get an answer right away, try rephrasing your question. Even omitting or adding one word sometimes produces good results.
  • Try broad broad and specific types of queries.
  • Dig deeper into any areas the bot turns up that sound interesting.
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