Joe Biden wants to unite Americans, but that won’t be easy when disgust at Trump’s actions matches disbelief at liberal attempts to censor opponents via Silicon Valley. Can there be any return to real liberal values and a sense of normality?
BY THOMAS FRANK
It is the ‘duty’ of American citizens, President Joe Biden announced in his inaugural address last week, to ‘defend the truth and to defeat the lies’. Much of Biden’s speech was an unremarkable stringing-together of patriotic platitudes, but this call for a great truth crusade stood out for its audacity. America is, after all, the homeland of the public relations industry, of televangelism, of Madison Avenue, of PT Barnum. Our leading scholars worship at the shrine of post-structuralism; our brightest college graduates go on to work for the CIA; our best newspapers dynamite the barrier between reporting and opinion; our greatest political practitioners are consultants who ‘spin’ the facts this way or that.
They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.
By RANDALL BALMER
One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.
This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.
Some of these anti- Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.
But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.
Today, evangelicals make up the backbone of the pro-life movement, but it hasn’t always been so. Both before and for several years after Roe, evangelicals were overwhelmingly indifferent to the subject, which they considered a “Catholic issue.” In 1968, for instance, a symposium sponsored by the Christian Medical Society and Christianity Today, the flagship magazine of evangelicalism, refused to characterize abortion as sinful, citing “individual health, family welfare, and social responsibility” as justifications for ending a pregnancy. In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging “Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.
When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century—was pleased: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”
Although a few evangelical voices, including Christianity Today magazine, mildly criticized the ruling, the overwhelming response was silence, even approval. Baptists, in particular, applauded the decision as an appropriate articulation of the division between church and state, between personal morality and state regulation of individual behavior. “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision,” wrote W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press.
So what then were the real origins of the religious right? It turns out that the movement can trace its political roots back to a court ruling, but not Roe v. Wade.
In May 1969, a group of African-American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent three new whites-only K-12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered “charitable” institutions. The schools had been founded in the mid-1960s in response to the desegregation of public schools set in motion by the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. In 1969, the first year of desegregation, the number of white students enrolled in public schools in Holmes County dropped from 771 to 28; the following year, that number fell to zero. Continue reading “The Real Origins of the Religious Right”→
Who doesn’t love BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN? A brilliant performer and writer, Bruce has musically chronicled the “runaway American dream” for nearly five decades. From 1972’s Greetings from Asbury Park to his new releaseLetter to You, Bruce has shown why he is known as “The Boss.” In the genre of American Rock ‘n Roll, he clearly is that.
And “The Boss” really hates “The Donald.” Infact, The Boss wants him fired.
”There’s no art in this White House. There’s no literature, no poetry, no music. There are no pets in this White House. No loyal man’s best friend, no Socks the family cat. There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation: no Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments, or the Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape. Where’d that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy and the expression of love and happiness go? We used to have a president who calmed and soothed a nation, instead of dividing it. We are now rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that have always made America great. We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness, our cheering on of others— the shared experience of humanity that makes it all worth it. We need to reclaim that country once again.” -Bruce Springsteen (10/30/2020, SiriusXM)
Not only does Bruce endorse Joe Biden, but Biden once somewhat-jokingly endorsed Bruce! “The middle class would have the best chance with Bruce Springsteen as president,” Biden said in a 2016 interview. “He understands issues facing working Americans.”
Wow! That’s probably just how Trump feels about Ted Nugent.
TED NUGENT has none of Springsteen’s compassion, honesty, or artistic talent. As well as performing music, Nugent serves on the Board of Directors of the NRA. “I own many guns,” he says proudly. “I carry many guns. I shoot many guns. I fondle many guns. I caress many guns. I worship many guns.”
Nugent once had some disgusting words for the father of a gun violence victim at one of his rock concerts, calling the grieving dad a “piece of s–t” and a “dumb f–k.”
An unapologetic racist, Nugent once called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel.”
Like Donald Trump, Nugent was a draft dodger. In interviews, he has boasted about “defecating and urinating in his pants” at the draft board office to avoid service to his country. The con-job was a success, though probably a bit messier than faking bone spurs.
One of Nugent’s songs is entitled “Jailbait.” Here’s the lyrics:
“Well, I don’t care if you’re just 13 You look too good to be true I just know that you’re probably clean… Jailbait you look fine, fine, fine… It’s quite alright, I asked your mama Wait a minute, officer Don’t put those handcuffs on me Put them on her, and I’ll share her with you.”
Nugent has played his music at many official Republican events and Trump rallies, and was even invited to the White House. Imagine that.
Oh yes – as well as being a degenerate, his records also really suck.
** WRESTLING **
I must admit, I stopped watching pro wresting since my hero, the legendary George “The Animal” Steele retired in 1990, but I’ve long admired Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock.” He was a WWF champion and wisely moved on from the steroid-rotten WWE to become a very successful TV-Film actor. “The Rock” recently said, “I’ve voted for both parties in the past. In this critical presidential election, I’m endorsing Joe Biden.” I bet George “the Animal” Steele chewed-up a padded turnbuckle in heaven to celebrate “The Rock’s” endorsement. Bravo!
In 2018, WWE chairman VINCE MCMAHON had a net worth reaching nearly $4 billion. Thank the Lord for illegal steroids, eh Vince? Trump is a longtime friend of McMahon, and once famously shaved McMahon’s head in stunt at WrestleMania event. Think anyone every paid a buck to watch Dwight Eisenhower shave somebody else’s head – or even his own? Nah.
In 2016, Trump nominated McMahon’s wife Linda to head his Small Business Admin. Linda has since stepped down from that post to work full-time on Trump’s reelection.
In 1992 WWE referee Rita Chatterton, accused husband Vince McMahon of rape.
Dozens of pro wrestlers have died, many from suicide, due to steroid abuse. Steroids is what made McMahon’s WWE a financial juggernaut.
Vince McMahon is a shameless parasite.
** COVID DOCTORS **
The distinguished Holy Cross graduate DR. ANTHONY FAUCI is the most trusted medical professional in America, and with good reason.
When asked recently who the public can trust during the pandemic, Fauci said Americans “can trust respected medical authorities who have a track record of giving information and policy and recommendations based on scientific evidence and good data.” Seems easy enough, right? Yet that same day as Fauci’s statement on trust, Twitter removed a tweet from Trump’s Covid task force that “sought to undermine the importance of face masks because it was in violation of the platform’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy.” Phew!
Meanwhile, Trump’s other favorite Covid doctor, Dr. STELLA GRACE IMMANUEL promoted hydroxychloroquine as a Covid miracle cure. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Ingesting hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous. DO NOT DO THIS)
Dr. Immanuel also alleges space alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. Hell, I don’t need a vaccine to skip church on Sunday, doc!
Dr. Immanuel was recently sued for medical malpractice over the death of one of her patients. “You don’t need masks.” She claimed. “There is a cure.”
Her dead patient no longer needs a mask, that’s for certain.
** CHEERS **
I still love watching reruns of “Cheers” and that show’s star TED DANSON continues to have a cracking career where “everybody knows his name.”(Check out Danson in both “The Good Place” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”) The same cannot be said for former co-star KIRSTIE ALLEY, who made a short tv comeback in 2005’s “Fat Actress.” Alley endorsed President Trump for a second term, because “he’s not a politician.” An avowed Scientologist, Kirstie illustrates just how easy it is to go from one cult to another. On “Cheers”, I always preferred Shelly Long’s Diane” to Alley’s “Rebecca”. Who wouldn’t? Ted Danson of course, is a Biden guy through-and-through.
** RAP **
I know next to nothing about Rap Music, however I respect the fact it holds an important place in American culture. The one rapper I’ve actually heard an entire song from (do we call them ‘songs’?) is EMINEM. He’s probably considered very old hat by now – but he was a VERY big deal in the 1990s. Eminem continuously trolls Trump for his racism, cruelty, stupidity, and especially for the lack of gun control reform. Eminem even says that Trump supporters cannot be his fans. So there!
Eminem’s lyrics are often vulgar and misoginistic, but hell – he’s a rapper, whaddayawant?
A more current rapper is LIL PUMP. He not only endorses Donald Trump, but really gives it to Joe Biden in one of his dumb-and-ugly video messages: “All I gotta say is Trump 2020 (expeletive). (Expletive) I look like paying 33 in taxes for Biden. (Expletive) sleepy Joe.” Not exactly Cole Porter, but message received Lil Pump!
Lil Pump is from Miami. I wonder if he knows Little Marco?
** COMEDY **
Comedy Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus just might be America’s favorite comedienne. The “Veep” and “Seinfeld” star hosted this year’s DNC and destroyed the Trump Crime Family with flawless comedic deliveries: “Just remember: Joe Biden goes to church so regularly that he does not even need tear gas and a bunch of federalized troops to help him get there.” I so love Julia.
Then there’s Trump supporter ROSEANNE BARR. ABC promptly canceled her recent “Roseanne” show-reboot after she attacked former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, a woman of color, by comparing her to an ape. Remember when Roseanne infamously screeched the national anthem before a Padres baseball game? It was “a national disgrace,” said opera star Robert Merrill, who had sung the anthem in New York’s Yankee Stadium for 18 years. “It was to me like burning of the flag.” Some war veterans at the stadium that day were said to be actually crying. When Roseanne finished the anthem, she rose her middle finger to the booing crowd.
Bill Russell was my very first hero and his biography was the first book I ever read. I’m pretty sure he’s the only basketball player to win an NCAA championship, and Olympic Gold Medal, AND an NBA championship (11 of these for gawdsake!). Russell is dignified, always intelligent, very funny and deeply political still at age 86. The great Bill Russell calls Trump essentially “a coward.” He’s endorsing Biden.
Then of course there is BOBBY KNIGHT, former coach for the Indiana Hoosiers. In 2016, Knight said that he believed Trump would become “one of the four great presidents of the United States.” An impeccable judge of talent (note sarcasm), Knight was the coach that actually allowed Larry Bird to transfer out of his Indiana basketball program as a freshman. Knight was also the coach who cut Charles Barkley from the ’84 Olympic squad. Like Trump, Knight is essentially loudmouth jerk and narcissistic bully. He was fired from Indiana University in 2000 for harassing staff and students. I’ve aways hated him. He’s pathetic,
** BASEBALL **
Boy, do Red Sox fans miss PEDRO MARTINEZ these days! Pedro was not only the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history – he was his best during steroid-fueled era! Pitching aside, Pedro was soooo refreshing and hilarious in the clubhouse and front of the camera. Remember when Pedro had his teammates duck tape him head-to-toe in the dugout during a game for the NESN TV cameras? Today’s MLB stars are dreadfully tedious – without question the worst interviews of any of the major sports. Baseball needs more Pedros.
During Trump’s years in office, Pedro has donated and raised millions for victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico. “To me, it’s a blessing to be able to give back a little bit. I think it’s rewarding because of the opportunity I got through baseball, I’m able to give back a little bit,” said Martinez. Visiting the island after the catastrophe, Pedro never once thought to throw paper towels at the traumatized people. I wonder why?
“Giving back a little bit” is something blowhard CURT SCHILLING was forced to do to Rhode Island taxpayers after the former Red Sox pitcher defaulted on loans and (like Trump) slithered into bankruptcy court in the infamous 38 Studios scandal.
The whole sleazy financial affair was so very … well, Trump-like! It is no wonder Schilling endorses the current president as Schilling ran 38 Studios much like the president did with his Trump University and Trump Airlines. Grifters unite!
ESPN fired Schilling from his analyst job in 2016, after he shared a hateful post about transgender people on Facebook.
Curt Schilling collects Nazi war memorabilia. Really – just ask the hypocrite blowhard and he will talk about it.
[Get the facts about Curt Schilling and the 38 Studio scandal HERE ]
** RELIGION **
The beautiful and courageous Catholic POPE FRANCIS recently attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” His recent writings are seen as a pointed rebuke to Donald Trump in a number of areas, including immigration, systemized racism, and climate change denial. The Pope even criticized Covid response: “I saw the cruelty and inequity of our society exposed more vividly than ever before.”
And how about this one: “A person who thinks only of building walls and not building bridges is not Christian.” Who is he talking about here – Hunter Biden or Hillary?
Now, Francis’ interpretation of Jesus Christ’s message is NOT shared by REV. JERRY FALWELL JR. This fundamentalist Christian chawmouth and loyal Trumpist was recently fired from his billion dollar cashew Liberty University. Seems Falwell was having a sexual affair involving him, his wife and a pool boy. Mainly, Falwell liked to watch (and not the TV, Chauncy Gardner fans).
Falwell is mainly just another wealthy con man. If he ever had to really work for an honest day’s pay – he’d be totally lost and completely broke. Just like DonaldTrump.
Trade Representative says 25 percent duties will remain in place for most French, Spanish and German wines; importers and merchants say the tariffs are killing American jobs
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had no good news for wine consumers last night. The 25 percent tariffs his office (USTR) imposed on most French, German, Spanish and UK wines nearly ten months ago will remain in place for the foreseeable future, forcing wine lovers to pay more and inflicting economic distress on importers, retailers and restaurateurs just as the hospitality industry grapples with the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19. Continue reading “Trump Keeps Tariffs on European Wines in Place”→
The chief executive officers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook sat before congress yesterday. Four white guys with unimaginable wealth. I wanted congress to inform them of the new “Big Tech Patriot Emergency Relief Bill” – informing them that, TFN, all their profits after 1 Billion will now be taxed at 99.5 percent. That revenue stream would EASILY replace the expiring Covid Relief package that we all pay for. But instead of my “Big Tech Patriot Emergency Relief Bill” – these creeps just blathered on like the teacher in Peanuts cartoons. Cue the trombone: “Mwa-Mwa-Mwa”
US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that he might use federal troops to end the protests that have erupted nationwide following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody. But to do so, Trump would need to formally invoke rarely used statutes known as the Insurrection Act.
“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled,” Trump said during brief remarks at the White House on Monday.