Showing posts with label MAGA cult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAGA cult. Show all posts

August 27, 2023

Is America Really The Greatest Show On Earth?

From the American world map (below) one might assume they are the ONLY show on Earth.

Click here to see the poster I made the above illustration from. One could argue that this was the greatest show on earth.

Map makers from other countries would beg to differ.

Above are maps of the world from several countries.

By Hal Brown

We hear a lot about American exceptionalism, mostly from Republicans. Wikipedia defines this as:

American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States is either distinctive, unique, or exemplary compared to other nations.  
Proponents argue that the valuespolitical system, and historical development of the U.S. are unique in human history, often with the implication that it is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.

Critics of the concept claim that the idea of American exceptionalism suggests that the US is better than other countries, has a superior culture, or has a unique mission to transform the planet and its inhabitants. 

I've written about Trump being a malignant narcissist. 

For example this web search turns up these among other blogs I wrote explaining why I considered Donald Trump to meet the criteria for being a malignant narcissist:

Two decades before John Gartner, writing about Trump, made us aware of what a malignant narcissist was the term was used on the TV show Luther

Nobody knows for certain how Trump feels except Trump

I think there's also a phenomena which could be accurately called American malignant narcissism. The crucial word here is "malignant" meaning malevolent. This goes far beyond patriotism and taking pride in what's good about the United States both historically and in the present. 

My impression (from watching international movies and TV) is that people in many countries to varying degrees think their countries are better than other countries.  By and large I see this as healthy narcissism, i.e.,  a positive sense of country similar to having a self-image that is in alignment with the greater good.

It's hard to imagine what those who live in democracies around the world think of the United States, especially those who live in coutries with a strong social safety net where it is a given that tax money should be spent to assure that the less fortunate are adequately taken care of.

We have the front runner in the GOP primary poised to either go to prison or the presidency running against a state governor who doesn't believe in having his state teach the truth in its schools, wants books banned, and thinks slavery taught slaves useful skills, and a rich guy hogging much of the news coverage of the Republican primary who never held a government position who has his own 10 Commandments:

  • 1. God is real.
  • 2. There are two genders.
  • 3. Human flourishing requires fossil fuels.
  • 4. Reverse racism is racism.
  • 5. An open border is no border.
  • 6. Parents determine the education of their children.
  • 7. The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.
  • 8. Capitalism lifts people up from poverty.
  • 9. There are three branches of the U.S. government, not four.
  • 10. The U.S. Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history.

Then we have today's American news as covered by Aljazeera and the BBC (click images to go to articles):

Trump's mantra, Make America Great Again, and his raging against so-called globalists (currently attacking everyone as globalists at Fox News), I thinks are being read by our allies as giving them a metaphorical finger.


No doubt Putin's pleased with this. Consider what the defintion of a globalism is:

Globalism refers to various patterns of meaning beyond the merely international. It is used by political scientists, such as Joseph Nye, to describe "attempts to understand all the interconnections of the modern world—and to highlight patterns that underlie (and explain) them."  

While primarily associated with world-systems, it can be used to describe other global trends. The concept of globalism is also classically used to distinguish the ideologies of globalization (the subjective meanings) from the processes of globalization (the objective practices).In this sense, globalism is to globalization what nationalism is to nationality.

The term is now frequently used as a pejorative by far right movements and conspiracy theorists. False usage in this way has also been associated with antisemitism, as antisemites frequently appropriate the term globalist to refer to JewsMore from Wikpedia.

Make America great again? 

How about doing something about the fact that after car accidents guns are the next leading cause of death among children? How about addressing the rising suicide rate among children even as young as five? Mass shootings, often using assault rifles, have become weekly, if not daily events, but any efforts to enact gun control laws are dead on arrival in Congress.

Why don't anti-abortion zealots consider our infant mortality rates and look at why more infants die in southern states than in northern states, and that the infant death rates are higher among minorities? (Reference)

Just now being reported on MSNBC: We have a half million people in jail waiting trial, mostly Blacks and brown men, because they can't afford bail, often as low as $500.

Quote: While it is considered the leader of the world stage, the United States still has one of the biggest problems with homelessness, even when compared to more impoverished countries. With a homeless population per night of over half a million souls, the numbers are concerning. The volume of homeless increases every year - with many more living in makeshift tents and other dwellings that do little more than offer some brief respite from the harsh outdoor conditions, such as at nighttime or during the winter.
If anybody thought that United States could never outdo the KKK as an influential and dangerous social movement they didn't consider QAnon.

Various congressional districts have actually elected people who believe in the paranoid delusions espoused by QAnon.

August 14, 2023

We were sitting next to a "Let's Go Brandon" Trumper at a small town parade


By Hal Brown

My partner and I went to one of our favorite towns, Aurora, Oregon to watch their summer festival parade and have lunch at our favorite pub. It happens to be  next to a small pot store:

Aurora is a town which is on the National Historic Register and is known for it's many antique shops all in old homes which are clustered together in the center of town. It's population is 1,133 in 336 households. Read more here.

Politically the Aurora leans conservative unlike where we live in a decidely liberal Portland suburb so we never bring up politics when we meet people there. (More about politics in Aurora.)

We managed to snag a perfect parking spot on the street along the parade route just before it was closed to traffic. 

Across the street from our car was a shady spot at the end of a driveway where a man and woman were already sitting. We had folding chairs in the car and asked if we could sit with them. They said we could and they moved their own chairs so we'd have more room.

The plastic hat was handed out by fire fighters in the parade.
I wore it just for the photo.

It turned out that this was the end of the driveway to their house. 

I sat next to the man and we chatted throughout the parade. 

He told me that he lived around the country but 10 years ago settled in Aurora. I learned that he was a Vietnam War veteran and grew up on a farm, and had a number of blue colar type jobs through his life. He asked what we did and I told him I'd been a therapist and my partner was a nurse. He said that one of his daughters was also a therapist. It occurred to me afterwards that I could have lied and told him we'd worked in jobs that didn't label us as being most probably liberal. I eventually did tell him I'd been a reserve police officer for 20 years since this usually gives me some conservative creds.

We engaged in friendly chit-chat throughout the parade. 

Sitting next to the man having already revealed I'd been a therapist I decided I'd throw into the conversation something that wouldn't lead him to think I was a flaming liberal. I told him that I'd watched many other local parades since I'd helped direct traffic at them when I was a reserve police officer before moving to Oregon.

I was much younger then. Mason, Michigan parade.

During the entire conversation I didn't know for sure what the man's political view was until we were leaving and I saw his "Let's Go Brandon" cap (top of page). If you don't know what this means click here. I consider this hat and flags and banners saying this to be far more objectionable than any of the MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags because people expressing this sentiment are saying f**k Joe Biden. 

Trump enabled the Jan. 6th attack on the Capital. He's been the poster boy for gutter politics hurling vulgar insults like a schoolyard bully. No wonder people feel comfortable with this slogan.

On the same Amazon search I found this:
It's a good thing wasn't wearing it. A more ambiguous message is on this cap if "let's go" is shorthand for the f-word rather than meant to cheer him on.
I could have worn one of these:
Update: Just found this...

This parade really did celebrate traditional small town values and old fashion pre-fascist patriotism from the days when displaying an American flag didn't suggest you might believe in the MAGA America First agenda. Click images below to enlarge them.

There's some new MAGA merch more to my liking:

You can find these items on Amazon.

April 29, 2023

This weekend the Satanists troll the Christians Bigly in Boston


By Hal Brown

Click image above to enlarge. Note Lucifer is devouring a child.

Satanic Temple
You may have missed the news about their planned 10th anniversary celebration in Boston this weekend and that several Christian groups are going to “ambush” the event.

Click above to go to webpage

From the Wikipedia entry.

The Satanic Temple has seven fundamental tenets:

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one's own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to one's best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one's beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one's best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

Newsweek reports the following:

Click above to read article


The Satanic Temple's 10-year anniversary celebration in Boston, Massachusetts, this weekend is facing counter-events from several Christian groups, including revivalist demonstrations designed to "ambush" the group's SatanCon convention.

The temple, unlike the Church of Satan, does not worship the biblical Satan as a deity, but instead has historically used its religious association to "reject tyrannical authority," according to the organization's website. Friday kicked off the group's second annual SatanCon at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, roughly 25 miles south of the organization's symbolic home in Salem, Massachusetts.

The group's organizers have dubbed the three-day event as the "largest Satanic gathering in history," and the convention will include presentations, rituals and a "Satanic Marketplace."

Raw Story covered this (here). Many of those who commented (300 as I write this) included images. Below is a sample:

What grabbed my attention as I looked at the website of The Satanic Temple (or TST as they sometimes call themselves) is that while they say they don't profess belief in an entity called Satan they use images of him on their website and at their conventions. 

Satan is used as a metaphor and symbol: 

  • No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. Satanists should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse.

    • Satan is a symbol of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds. Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer – the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions. Our metaphoric representation is the literary Satan best exemplified by Milton and the Romantic Satanists from Blake to Shelley to Anatole France. From the website FAQ .

    • If you read the various positions of TST and compare them to those of The Freedom From Religion Foundation you will find they overlap. This is the foundation promoted in TV ads by President Reagan's son Ron:

Herein lies the difference between the two groups: The Satanic Temple  without paying for advertising gets attention from the media for free by being attached to the Devil who they say they don't believe in.

I'm about as far from being a religious scholar as one could be. In fact, growing up as a Jew I never even went to Hebrew school or got bar mitzvahed. Despite my ignorance about Biblical texts it seems to be a no-brainer to draw the conclusion that if someone believes in Satan they also have to believe in God. (See "Do Jews believe in Satan?) I'd suggest that claiming to be a godless Satanist is an oxymoron.

The Satanic Temple using the mantle of religion is nothing short of brilliant marketing. They even have a way one can become a minister so they can officiate at weddings which is much more involved than just becoming a Universalist Life Church minister with a few clicks. 

The Satanists may be as successful in getting media coverage as some of the non-religious organizations and religious groups who promote progressive positions.

They do so by trolling the Christians. Their trolling actually has a troll of sorts, in fact their troll is far more terrifying than trolls who are kind of cute, he is the ultimate horror, the Devil himself.
Troll from Wiki Commons, Devil from Facebook

If the members of TST really believed in the Devil incarnate they'd be just a version of the QAnon believers who are certifiably insane, albeit they'd be crazy people that have beliefs consistent with democracy, equal justice for all, and tolerance of all people. 

My impression (as someone who was a psychotherapist for 40 years) is that most members of TST who are active in the temple/organization are no different in their mental health status than, for example, people who go to ComicCon or Trekkies who go to Star Trek conventions. 

You can rest assured there isn't a MAGA cultist member of The Satanic Temple.

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