F*U*B*A*R: America’s Right-Wing Nightmare by Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill (2006)
and, in the appendix, “a ringing denunciation by Janeane Garofalo.”
For those of you not familiar FUBAR stands for Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
I first “read” this on cd and it was so funny I had to get a hard copy (aka book) o be able to share my delight at the dark humor “exposing the truth about the Right’s blueprint for total domination — over your money, your mind, your sex life, and even your place in the afterlife. . . .” (book jacket copy)
Chapter titles include:
Taliban Dreaming: The Bad News is there’s No Good News
Open your Mind
The Republican Cat Food Promotion Act of 2005
The Republican Neurological Disorder Promotion Act of 2005
Life Begins . . . Just Before Sex
This book was published in 2006 so bear that in mind. It was before the Obama Hope and Change propaganda of neoliberalism screwed Americans all over again as per Bill Clinton’s presidency. Although maybe not as bad, but he didn’t fix things Bill Clinton broke (NAFTA destroyed the middle class) — or Hillary either (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act 2005 perfect Orwellian NewSpeak title since corporations are protected and consumers are abused). He will absolutely exceed even Republican dreams of total corporate control if he succeeds in getting the TPP passed. Fortunately, since Obama is for it, Mitch (the face of careless disregard for citizens) McConnell is against it.
The introduction sets the fun tone:
You may think the political and social situation in this country is bad. But it’s worse. It’s the Rapture Right Paradox: to whatever extent you realize Bush and the Rapture Right have fucked America up, it’s always worse. However worse you think it is, it’s worser [sic]. . . . They depend on you being, essentially, asleep and unaware of what’s going on.
Sure you’ve been up, walking around, spending money, eating stuff, signing for packages, lifting babies, handling glass things, grilling meats; but you’ve been asleep.
Nothing to be ashamed of. We realize people have lives to lead, families to take care of, And sometimes it’s easier to just go along, and not want to know too much about what’s going on. . . .
But, you say, I know the country is having a tough time, I know the Bush administration is corrupt, I know about Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, I know about the lies before the war started and the lies after the war started, I know about the trillion-dollar Iraq War bill my grandkids will have to pay, I know about the huge deficits, the wage stagnation, the hackery and incompetence exposed by Katrina, the secret NSA domestic spying with no court order.
But that’s NOT ALL THE RIGHT WING IS DOING. They’re not just TRYING to RESHAPE the POLITICAL landscape of the country; they’re trying to REDEFINE things like REALITY and TRUTH. They’ll take the former where they can get it (and they have gotten a lot of it during the last five years [2001-2006]), but it is the latter where the chance for big, wholesale change is. [AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY!!!!!]
. . . What was once the FRINGE — the embarrassing cousin they saw only when they had to (special occasions, especially the ones held every four years in November) — has now become the HEART of the Republican Party. They’ve finally got the real power, and, like Bush with the phantom “political capital” he CLAIMED TO HAVE EARNED after the 2004 election, they intend to use it.
So while Bush chips away at the outside, the Rapture Right chips away at the foundation. A little bit of doubt about the truth of evolution here, a little bit of social security lies there, a little bit of fear about homosexuals everywhere, and pretty soon the country’s ALL FUCKED UP.
The Taliban Dreamin’ chapter reminded me of the excellent book, American Taliban featured in one of my posts, and at this moment, the spine is featured in the header image. That’s how much I like it. The starting line of this chapter made it hard to decide to laugh or to cry:
You may have noticed that under the Bush regime the line between church and state has gotten a bit blurry.
Then I read a little more and definitely decided crying was in order:
Perhaps you know that over the past five years your government has given more than a BILLION [FUCKING] DOLLARS of your TAX MONEY to TAX-EXEMPT churches for “faith-based initiatives” (aka “pay-Yah-weh ola”).
For those of you younger than 60 or so, that last quip is based on the fifties scandal where radio deejays were paid to play certain records (like cds but bigger and analog on vinyl): Payola.
Now, in 2016, when some of my (gasp) Republican friends at first held out hope for the dismal array of God-wants-me-to-be- President wanna be club, with Trump not even going there but the Xtians are fawning over him anyway (adulterer, cheater in every sense, and the wit of a fart joke), even they have become aware that the post-W Republicans aren’t what they used to be (and that totally sucked in my playbook).
The Republican Party isn’t the charming noblesse-oblige, country-club avuncular-drunk Grand Old Party of yesteryear. There’s a new sheriff in GOP town. One who believes we’re living in end times. This one is lighter on the charm and heavier on the apocalypse. He’s a Rapture Republican, a Big Government Theocrat, a Radical Cleric — an American Taliban. (pp. 1-2)
Every line is funny and true and sad and terrifying but sometimes it is hard to tell reality from satire that is how bad reality has become! He continues with amusing understatement:
If you are reading this book, chances are you’re a thoughtful, curious person. In our new future under Rapture Republican rule, YOU MAY WANT TO THINK ABOUT DIALING THAT KIND OF THING DOWN A BIT.
The thing about the imaginary good times of the past is they really sucked for anyone not a white male. And even many of the white males had it pretty bad too: pre-labor laws, pre-workmen’s comp, pre-benefits, pre-unions, pre-gay rights, the list goes on and on. For people of color, pre-civil rights was definitely not a good time. For women, not being able to vote, or go to college, and to be chattel to a father or a husband and forced to have sex and give birth until death was definitely not a Great America good time. When I see the ignorant white racist “patriotic” Bible thumpers for Trump claim to be respectful of women while calling Hillary a bitch and saying they are pro-religious freedom for Christians (and maybe Jews who might be converted) but not Islam or Buddhist or Hindu (not they can name these last two or any other religion held by 80% or so of the rest of the world), I cannot help but wonder what the hell? They must be drinking Kool-aid (in the Jim Jones sense I presume).
RETURN TO THE WORLD THAT NEVER WAS
Sure the Rapture Right has always been around, but the new reality is that Washington — and statehouses and school boards and newsrooms around the country — are FLOODED WITH THEM. What was once funny is no longer so funny.
Kind of like The Donald running AND being nominated as the Republican candidate for president. The clips of prominent “in-the-know” people laughing at the thought in 2015 are very painful to watch now.
Ever wonder why you don’t hear much about the Christian Coalition or the Moral Majority anymore? Well, they’ve changed their names — now they’re just called Republicans. Here’s Hanna Rosin writing in the Washington Post in March 2005:
‘This year evangelicals in public office have finally become so numerous that they’ve blended in to the permanent Washington backdrop, a new establishment that has absorbed the local habits and mores. . . Nearly every THIRD congressional office stocks an ambitious Christian leader who calls himself “evangelical,” according to Jim Guth, a political science professor at Furman University.’ ” (pp. 2-3)
Jim Guth does not get mentioned in the notable alumni, but Mark Sanford, the now self proclaimed “Buddhist Christian” criminal (he used taxpayer $ to fly to see his mistress in Argentina, but it’s okay, he paid it back) nutjob former Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford (aka the walkabout guy) does get mentioned. The really really sick thing is that he was still touted as possible Presidential candidate for Republicans multiple times, including recently! AND HE WAS RE-ELECTED AS a Representative of South Carolina in 2013!! He replaced Jim DeMint so I can’t decide if that is an improvement or worse. Jimmy boy traded up to become director of the source of much evil in America via the Heritage Foundation. (The source of much of conservative policies espoused by the Republican puppets of these rich corporate free-market capitalists, Birchers and the like. And he is on the freaking BUDGET COMMITTEE. (Guess they gave him his old seniority back? or for old times’ sake?)
Oh and he broke up the relationship with his soul mate / mistress — via Facebook purportedly, then he got his congressional seat back and apparently they then reconciled in 2015. What a bunch of bullshit. This is the best the Republicans can find in all of South Carolina? Maybe it is because there aren’t enough politically minded sociopaths to run for office to serve the people’s best interests.
But I digress. So far I have only made it to page 3. But this information is crucial to the survival of our democracy.
Coral Ridge Ministries boasts a weekly television show [Wiki says terminated in 2007] and a daily radio show broadcast to millions. The following was written by its former executive director George Grant. It’s basically the mission statement of the Rapture Right:
‘Christians have an obligation, A MANDATE, a commission, a HOLY responsibility to RECLAIM the land for Jesus Christ — to have DOMINION in the CIVIL structures, just as in EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF LIFE and GODLINESS. But it is DOMINION that we are after. Not just INFLUENCE. It is DOMINION we are after. NOT JUST EQUAL TIME. It is DOMINION we are after.
WORLD CONQUEST. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. [NOT!!] We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must NEVER SETTLE for anything less. If [!!!] Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and IF [!!!!] our commission is to bring the land into SUBJUGATION to His Lordship [aka preacher minions], as the Bible says [bad translation!!!!], then all our activities, all our witnessing [!!!! telling lies?], all our preaching, all our craftsmanship [admitting to manufacturing a house of cards?], all our stewardship [WTF? pro-fracking, pro-poverty, demonizing homosexuals and women, certainly not facing down bulldozers or pesticides or animal cruelty for food production], and all our political action [separation of church and state!!!!] will aim at nothing short of that SACRED PURPOSE. [ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha] Thus, Christian politics [OXYMORON] has as its PRIMARY INTENT the CONQUEST OF THE LAND — OF MEN, FAMILIES, INSTITUTIONS, BUREAUCRACIES, COURTS, AND GOVERNMENTS for the Kingdom of Christ [I thought that was *after* death, not on earth!]. It is to REINSTITUTE [sic] the AUTHORITY of GOD’S WORD [n.b. Bible is not actually God’s word] as SUPREME OVER ALL JUDGMENTS, OVER ALL LEGISLATION, OVER ALL DECLARATIONS, CONSTITUTIONS, AND CONFEDERATIONS.
From his book, The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action, 1987! Pretty sure his many books should be listed as fiction and were printed at a vanity press or a dedicated propaganda presses, one like Dominion Press, which OMG is an imprint of EXODUS PRESS and just look at the “books” they list. The seedy dark underworld of unenlightened, unreasonable, authoritarian theocrats!!!! Ewww. Spare yourself and don’t actually look. Wouldn’t want to increase their hit count.
That is what these zealots have been pursuing for decades, first underground but now OVERT and with PRIDE, insidious, chipping away at rational and scientific thinking, and promoting THEIR version of God as the only source for morality, legality, and judgment. Of course, since there is no God, these good men will be there with their hands out for your money to tell you what “God” wants from and of you. There is no appeal. There is no debate. There is no room for questions. Comply or die just like in the good old days of the Inquisition; and they mostly settled for die.
They want it all. And it’s not just geographic dominion. While the press has reasonably been distracted with the right’s attempt at dominion over the Middle East, they’ve set about locking up dominion over the homefront — over sex, religion, your finances (which is to say, your future), and over science. . . .
. . . it’s really a battle over TRUTH itself, and they realize that if they can win that, then their “domino theory” may work after all. (p. 4)
“Have the debate” aka the new attack on Evolution “Theory” as if facts and science were equal to beliefs, ludicrous on their face, deserves any consideration at all in a public school.
There was a play then a book (1955, reprinted 2007) and multiple versions for television and of movies back in the day, based on the Scopes Monkey Trial even further back in the day, that I fear no one under 70 (except me and a few others) remember, although huge hit at the time. The opening quote to this chapter features a quote from it:
In a child’s ability to master the multiplication table, there is more holiness than all your shouted hosannas and holy holies. An idea is more important than a monument, and the advancement of Man’s knowledge more miraculous than all the sticks turned to snakes and the parting of the waters. — Inherit the Wind
Turns out, an idea is not just more important than a monument, it’s more important than a fact.
Intelligent design is the new smart bomb of the religious right. It may not be science but it’s still brilliant. For a long time, religion and science co-existed pretty well. There was that dustup with Galilieo, and the Scopes glitch, but, for the most part, science was science, religion was religion.
The genius of the intelligent-design concept, though, is how it uses the principles of enlightenment and progressivism to DESTROY . . . enlightenment and progressivism. [author ellipses]
And that’s because with the new version, Intelligent Design 2.0, all its proponents are asking for is “open-mindedness,” to “have a debate,” to “consider all sides.” Science is hard stuff — that’s why you usually need a PhD. to be a scientist. But the intelligent-design crowd has been able to turn that into a plus, by conflating complexity with “contradiction.” And all they’re asking is for schools to “present both sides.”
I would also say, equating facts with beliefs is what is required to judge apples and oranges like science and religion. And the beauty of religion is that it specifically ONLY REQUIRES BELIEF. No facts, evidence, or proof required. In fact FAITH in the face of facts, lack of evidence, or proof is the POINT of religion. Or maybe it should be said, of the ruling elite of any religion’s authority to mandate dogma for the followers even or especially against their own interests (give us tithes, offerings, etc. or go to Hell).
I could not remember the word that meant paying for forgiveness pre-Martin Luther that was the big money-maker for the Catholics, but I found this amusing Wikipedia entry on the various and MANY kinds of sins! I persisted and finally found it: Indulgences!
Ch. 6: THE REPUBLICAN CAT FOOD PROMOTION ACT OF 2005
This chapter begins by stating a perennial truth: Republicans attack Social Security. “. . . take down Social Security, and you’ve basically taken down the entire idea of government.” (p. 37)
Social Security’s real name is Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI). It’s purpose is to insure workers and families against the loss of income due to not just retirement but also disability and death.
How effective is it? Right now  it’s keeping 13 MILLION people out of poverty. It represents 60 percent of the income of the average 65-year-old. Take away Social Security, and one of every two elderly people is in poverty. With Social Security, the rate falls to one in twelve. For around a third of the elderly, Social Security provides their entire income.
What doesn’t it do? Well, it doesn’t provide a big year-end bonus for Wall Street brokers, it doesn’t allow for one-time $2 TRILLION upward redistribution of wealth to the already wealthy. Finally, it doesn’t provide the shot in the arm to the CAT-FOOD INDUSTRY, which privatization would.
Republicans have wanted to destroy Social Security since the day it was instituted on August 14, 1935. Before FDR could even sign it, almost every Republican in the House voted to kill it by sending it back to committee. The 1936 GOP nominee, Alf Landon, called it “unjust, unworkable, stupidly drafted, and wastefully financed.” Three years later, when Social Security benefits were extended to survivors, again three-quarters of the Republicans voted against. it. In 1950, Social Security was extended to the disabled, which drew nay votes from 89 percent of the Republicans. In 1964 BARRY GOLDWATER openly campaigned for its elimination. (pp. 37-38)
Another bit of history recently bought out in a book describes a deal Bill Clinton made with Newt Gingrich that nearly led to use loosing Social Security to privatization. Monica Lewinsky happened and we should be ever grateful because the opportunity to impeach Bill by Newt broke up the little cuddlefest. Newt was, of course, cheating on his wife at the same time, as was one other politician that was so enraged at Clinton.
DIVERSION OF FUN FACTS
I learned several amusing diverting fun facts reading the Wikipedia article (link above) on Alf Landon. He was not entirely the hostile force to social programs that is implied above, but might be attributable to overzealous Republican campaigners because he was supportive of some progressive policies, and, in later years even supported Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. He lived to be 100 years old! The Reagan’s went to his birthday party. He died 33 days after his 100th birthday.
Nancy Landon Kassebaum, the former Senator from Kansas, is his daughter! That’s where the Landon comes from! I suppose people in Kansas knew, but I am always amused to find connections between people like this that I did not know. AND she married former White House Chief of staff (under Reagan) HOWARD BAKER. Howard Baker’s first wife was Joy Dirksen, daughter of Everett Dirksen. AND in 1971 Nixon asked Baker to fill one of two vacant seats on the Supreme Court! Baker took to long to decide and then Nixon changed his mind and we got William Rehnquist instead! Wow, history turns on such moments and I never knew any of this before. It makes me think that a daily class on politics of the day would help encourage a more informed and actual interest by high school students in life changing policies and the politicians that make them.
Baker was also involved in Watergate, and was testified against by John Dean for Baker’s secret dealings with the White House. He was considered for possible Vice President when Gerald Ford ran, but Ford picked Bob Dole. And Fred Thompson (when last seen, he was a shill for reverse mortgages), was Baker’s attorney and campaign manager, and later a senator. Baker ran for President in 1980 but quit after losing Iowa to the George Bush the First, and to Reagan in New Hampshire. He was also considered a possible vice choice for Reagan, but he went with George the First instead. So wow! all kinds of beltway insider stuff in this line of Republicans.
BACK TO SOCIAL SECURITY
Under W (aka Karl Rove), the Republicans came up with a new plan. The invention of the “unsustainable” costs of Social Security as a “pre-condition to authentic reform.” (p. 39) By which I suspect Karl Rove’s deputy, Peter H. Wehner, meant the privatization of the funds so Wall Street Casinos could leverage it 30 to 1 like they did with their other cash reserves that almost broke the world three years later. Probably too big of a digression for the book to mention, but it must be noted that Republican’s had raided over 1 TRILLION DOLLARS from the Social Security Trust Fund and never repaid it.
The 2005 attempt to kill Social Security failed thanks to the media (oh for those glory days to return) fact checking the true status with the Congressional Budget Office. Bush’s privatization plan was, like so many Republican labels do, deliberately named “personal accounts” to obfuscate that the money would be given to speculators — to lose as 2008 proved.
Maybe it will be harder for the politicians to trick us now with their lies and NewSpeak phrasing that mean the opposite of what they sound like. WAR=PEACE, or TRUTH=LIES.
Pardon the abrupt ending. I had to return the book and got mixed up about what I had left to cover. Will check out again because very good book.