WaPo: ‘Conservatism Has Become A Racket and Trump Is The Grifter In Chief’

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I’m sure that you join me in my relief that the party of small government, the Republican Lords of Fiscal Conservatism, are at the helm of the ship of state. That means that everything with the federal budget should be neat and tidy, right, not like what you have when one of those profligate Democrats is in office, buying pork barrels and setting fire to cash? Take a look at this stat, shared by none other than Kellyanne’s hubby, and see where our economy really is at, under Donald Trump.

Now George Conway sounding the alarm is interesting, being that he’s not only married to Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne and a Republican — but guess what’s stranger still? He’s not the only Republican playing Paul Revere at this moment in time, when because of Trump’s moronic foreign policy gambits, the country is teetering on a brink of economic disaster that we haven’t seen since Dubya drove us over the cliff. If you read nothing else today, columnist Max Boot blows the lid off the conservative racket, and delineates how we got to where we are in this country. Washington Post:

You can debate when the conservative movement became a racket — I nominate 1996, the year Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes created Fox News Channel to monetize right-wing outrage — but there is no doubt it has long since passed that point. If you have any doubt, look at the recent revelations about the National Rifle Association, probably the single most powerful conservative lobbying group in America.

The NRA’s long-serving executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, told his followers: “It’s up to us to speak out against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats.” So LaPierre must be a man of the people, selflessly dedicated to the goal of two assault weapons in every house and a bazooka in every garage, right?

Actually, protecting the “right” of anyone to buy any gun at any time turns out to be a lucrative racket. The NRA paid LaPierre $927,863 in 2014, $5,051,249 in 2015 and $1,358,966 in 2016, according to the group’s tax returns. In 2016, eight other NRA executives also made more than $500,000. But that is only the beginning of their compensation. […]

LaPierre’s reported compensation is just part of a larger, troubling pattern at the NRA that could threaten its tax-exempt status. An investigation by the New Yorker and the Trace found that “a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements. Memos created by a senior N.R.A. employee describe a workplace distinguished by secrecy, self-dealing, and greed, whose leaders have encouraged disastrous business ventures and questionable partnerships, and have marginalized those who object.” […]

A similar culture of impunity exists across the right. Leaders are being lavishly rewarded, and their misdeeds are being covered up as long as they rile up the rubes. Fox News host Sean Hannity makes a reported $36 million a year and owns his own airplane while railing, like LaPierre, against “elites.” Fox News’s parent company, meanwhile, became notorious for paying tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits regarding sexual harassment charges brought against some of its biggest stars, including Ailes and then-anchor Bill O’Reilly.

The saddest, or most hilarious aspect, depending on your perspective, of this cabal of total elitists posing as anti-elitists and friends of the working man to boot, is that the biggest crooks of all are so-called “Christians” the evangelical leaders — telling their shills that Donald Trump is a “biblical president” chosen by none other than God Himself to inhabit the White House. They, too, have tax exempt status and evangelicals are the grifters’ grifter — they can show you how to do it, and they do. I personally read one of their pamphlets, “How To Believe God For A House,” distributed by the husband and wife team of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. The pamphlet tells you that one of the first things you should do is get yourself a section 501(c)(3) exemption and start your own church. Worked for them. They were piss poor and living in a basement apartment, now they live on an estate, the aerial view of which is stunning, and fly in a private jet. But they don’t talk about that on TV. They make up folksy homilies, like Lonesome Rhodes from “A Face In The Crowd” about father Kenneth giving his teenage son a treat of a tank of gas for his “truck” (the term sports car isn’t mentioned) so that he can sound like a normal dad with a normal income, talking to his normal boy and he knows your pain.

The evangelicals pack the mega-churches, fill the collection plates, and vote for Trump, because the likes of Copeland and Jerry Falwell tell them that Trump is an exemplar of Christian values — and Falwell and Trump definitely share some values, because they used to have the same lawyer, Michael Cohen. Before Cohen went to the House of Many Doors, wherein he currently resides, Cohen claims he helped Falwell prevent the release of embarrassing photographs that should “be kept between husband and wife” — and that was just a short while after news broke about Falwell loaning $1.8 million to the pool boy in Miami. Nothing to see there, happens every day, right? Right indeed, with this crowd.

The corruption of the far-right is complete. Here is Max Boot’s bottom line:

America’s conservatives are Trump’s willing marks in no small part because, long before he came along, they had already gotten used to being fleeced by self-serving rabble-rousers — the real-life versions of Elmer GantryBerzelius “Buzz” Windrip and Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes.

The last century’s tent revivals are this century’s televised religious dog and pony show, with a stage, projection screens and a band, instead of an altar; live from Potters House or Calvary Chapel. They will take take your credit card donation over the phone or online. These people have been buying snake oil and drinking the Kool-Aid for some time. To support one of these grifters is to be in a Satanic pact with the others: if you’re NRA, you’re evangelical, and if you’re evangelical, you’re a Trumpite. And they all listen to Fox News. That’s how we got here. Two Americas, folks. It’s not about Republican v. Democrat, it’s about Americans v. grifters. One of the Americas preys on the downtrodden and unwise to lavishly support the unprincipled and corrupt. And right now the inmates are running the asylum.

 

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1 COMMENT

    • Good point. Kakistocracy is an even better descriptor. Government by the least competent — an understatement about his kar of klowns.

    • Wouldn’t be the first time, P J. Warren G Harding had one of those nearly a hundred years ago and the corruption went a LOT deeper than Teapot Dome. It also helped that Harding, while not corrupt himself, was kept in check through duplicitous loans and knowledge of his affair with a teenage mistress. Do I even need to mention he was a Republican to boot?

      • Harding was a piece of work, so was Calvin Coolidge. And Trump resembles yet another Republican president, in the incompetence department, Hoover. Trump is Hoover, Coolidge and Harding combined. And now I’ll lie down.

    • We have an acceleration due to gravity in our one-way trip to hell … DJT is barely able to speak at all … everything he attempts to do is a failure of epic dimensions … his narcissism HAS to be keeping him awake at night … his diet is grinding away his gut, he never exercises, what could possibly go wrong? It’s truly unfortunate that there seems to be no way to force the idiot to listen to the people that are trying to normalize his view of what really is happening with his obtuse lack of knowledge …

      It’s no wonder that he is actually the BIGGEST loser EVER … he has a runaway mystical view of things and how they really work, a good trick pony would be to hide every super-duper pen like he uses to sign away every good thing done in the past by ANY president, regardless of party. He would become the all-night creep-a-zoid, opening and closing every door and drawer in every cabinet …

      His bad diet, loss of sleep and roaring narcissism in his head might shake him into a different being, especially if a professional pick pocket was to somehow remove his phone and trade it for one that has only two keys working … m and e, so all he could type is memememememe, it might actually sooth his narcissism slightly …. 🙂

  1. I always have conflicted feelings about Max Boot. On the one hand, he’s enough of a human being to be as horrified as the rest of us by what the GOP has become under Trump and supports that horror with hard facts. On the other hand, he’s also a doe-eyed True Believer in his lost cause of conservatism that continually turns a blind eye towards his contributions to where we are (I seem to recall that he was an Iraq War booster). There is NOTHING in that opinion piece that I didn’t figure out by turn of the century. That he’s screaming about it NOW that the evidence is overwhelming says little of his judgment.

    • Agree. And believe me, when I say, “Oh, we should listen to Rick Wilson (whose work I really admire) or Jennifer Rubin,” or whomever, I’m not oblivious to what you just said. All that can be said at this point, is at least he’s making sense now. Why it took him so long — I can’t even begin to hazard a guess. I’m more a curator of this information than a seer into it’s origins and meanings. I wish I understood more.

  2. It actually makes a lot of sense that these “Christian” leaders would partner up with Trump. They’ve been scamming as long as he has in some cases and in a couple (Graham & Falwell) took over the franchise from their dads – yes, Billy Graham lived lavishly too but at least had the good sense to be better at not flaunting it so much.

    What they have in common is something I realized decades ago – they seduce their “flock” into putting far more trust in them than in the words of Jesus in their bible. I’ve written elsewhere a few times about an experience back in my hometown. I come from a messed up family, and the relationships between what was left of my mom’s family and us was almost non-existent. Still, Frank Jr. and his wife Bonnie were polite and before I went into the Marines (not till I was 26) for a time Bonnie would cut my hair. I was still a person of faith then although I’d already struggled with it and had had numerous conversations with my own (Presbyterian) pastor over a couple of years. Bonnie and Frank were devout to say the least. This was back in the early 1980s btw.

    Anyway, I’d arrived a bit early one day and Bonnie’s bible study group was still there drinking coffee and chatting for a while before heading home. She asked if I minded if they kept talking while she cut my hair & I was cool with it. What struck me during the half hour I was there (I stuck around for a bit) listening to them was how often the words “Copeland says this” or Copeland said that about such and such” kept being stated & everyone nodding their heads in agreement on Copeland’s “wisdom” or whatever. Finally, me being me I spoke up with an observation. I blurted out something to the effect of what I just wrote with the additional comment that for all the talk and agreement about following what Copeland said/taught I hadn’t once heard the word Jesus or reference to what the bible says.

    If looks could kill I’d have been turned into a smoldering pile of ashes on the spot. Sadly, that day also killed off the budding rapport I’d been building with the few relatives I had. I’d shortly find someone else to cut what was left of my hair (a lot had already been lost even then!) but my point is that these people have been seduced (and I think that’s the correct word for it) to follow these grifter preachers instead of the word of their “savior” written in those bibles they like to waive around. Jesus and what he did and taught doesn’t mean shit to them. They do what their “Evangelical” preacher tells them to do and believes what he tells them to believe regardless of what Jesus taught.

    And while I’ve said this before plenty of times over the decades if the Jesus of their bible came back and preached the same message today he preached then they’d be modern day Pharisees and ensure he met the same ugly end.

    These assholes want their very own theocracy right here in the U.S. and they see Trump as someone who can help them make it a reality, or at the very least move us past the tipping point where they can make it inevitable for a couple of generations.

    • Denis, you don’t know what memories this brings up. OMG. This is funny.

      Long story short, I was in a medical crisis spring of 2016, and sicker than a dog. I was detoxing from Xanax, a med that should never have been prescribed to me and that’s a story in and of itself. So, during that time, my roommate took in another stray, let’s put it that way. I’ll call her “Nancy” and she was an evangelical wing nut.

      So, she told my roommate that she would minister unto me, which consisted of getting Gloria and Kenneth Copeland’s bullshit ministry on my laptop. So I listened. Hey, I’m a good sport, I’ll try anything, especially when I’m flat on my back. Then Nancy prayed over me in tongues. Ever had that done? I give myself a lot of credit that I didn’t burst out laughing.

      Then she wouldn’t leave me alone after that. It went from the Copelands, to Joel Osteen, to I don’t know who. And of course, I’m looking these people up online and they’re all high rollers. And a few of them even BOASTED about it! Jesse DuPlanis, or something like that, gave a “sermon” where he spoke about how he took his secretary out for lunch and bought her $6,000 worth of Gucci — this is how they’re selling God these days.

      “Get good with God and you’ll be rich. If you’re not rich, you’re not in good enough with God — but I am and so give me your money and I’ll get you in good with God.” And they fall for it.

      I’m amazed. But then I could never figure out the revival tent people either.

      Anyhow, this woman kept after me with videos about “testimony” meaning far fetched tales of a woman at a bus stop praying and then suddenly another woman drives up and says, “Are the one looking for an apartment? God just spoke to me,” and takes cash out of her purse and gives it to the stranger. Nancy told me “this is how it works.” I told her, “Please don’t share any more of this with me, I’ve had it.” Now that led to great resentment, and I’ll finish the story quickly. She used to chase me around the house and into the yard, literally, forcing her religious bullshit on me and I finally had to ask my roommate, who was her host, to get her the f**k off my back. THAT is how out of it these people are. What’s the old biblical quote, “There are none so blind as they who cannot see?” But my roommate put it best. He said, “She’s like somebody who tries to plant a seed and then takes a firehose to it. It’s not gonna take. I’ve tried to explain, but she won’t listen to me.” And this guy knows something about religion because his father was a pastor. The evangelicals are the lost of the lost, at least the few it has been my unhappy lot to encounter.

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