Sun, Apr

A Guy Named Me: The More You See It, The More Incredible It Is


SAY WHAT? - So the sick kingpin of "Red America's fever dreams" is still here - jabbering, menacing, unraveling, "weak and desperate" and hazardous to our health. Lately, he's busy going to court, misspelling "Biden," likening himself to Jesus, paying Nazi tribute to "the J6 hostages," claiming migrants aren't people, and in an ungodly new grift - "Happy Holy Week!" - hawking God-Bless-the-USA Bibles to "make America pray again." By all means pray. But advice from the wreckage: "Don't look away."

As if the staggering transgressions now coming due - rape, lies, defamation, theft, decades of fraud, a deadly insurrection to overthrow the democracy he was ostensibly leading - aren't enough to showcase his overweening shamelessness, even at feckin' golf, new revelations still churn up from the ugly past. The first public testimony about the tattered final days of his so-called presidency reveal a White House that had "let down all guardrails," grasping at frenzied, bonkers conspiracy theories - “smart thermostats" manipulated voting machines! - as he struggled to cling to power. And his campaign's baffling decision to go with the apocalyptic strategy of asking, "ARE YOU BETTER OFF THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO?" - thus recalling a once-in-a-century pandemic that cost a million American lives, many unnecessarily - has given Biden the chance to attack his "predecessor's" grievous crimes against science, reason and competence. "Remember when he said, 'inject bleach’?” Biden said at a recent fundraiser. "Think I’m making this up?”

The tottering party he's wrangled into submission, meanwhile, has "stepped on rake after rake" in the effort by James Comer and House Republicans to impeach Biden, or find any trace of his supposed corruption. After many thousands of pages of (fruitless) records and testimony, the hearings have become so renowned for their "cosmic ineptitude" the White House responded to the latest with a succinct "LOL," face-palm emoji and, "Call it a day, pal"; one Democrat suggested it dug up more evidence to impeach Trump a third time than anything on Biden. Some sordid witnesses spoke from prison; the most astounding testimony came from former Giuliani crony Lev Parnas, of Zelensky-phone-call-fame, who asserted, "I have never wavered from saying there was no evidence of the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine - because there truly was none." He added everyone who said there was knew there wasn't, and that the bogus info was "spread by the Kremlin." In nearly a year of traveling the globe in search of evidence, "I found precisely zero proof of the Bidens’ criminality."

A do-nothing, right-tilting GOP has floundered in most other endeavors. Running short on funds being rapidly shoveled into her father-in-law's legal messes, the party led by personal trainer and Nepotism Chair Lara Trump just ditched its already paltry efforts to recruit minority, largely Latino voters, evidently sticking with the persuasive tagline," Make the RNC White and Rich Again." Its new entrants are high-end, Jewish Space-Laser freaks like Hitler-quoting, Christian nationalist Mark Robinson, North Carolina's GOP  nominee for governor, and to run that state's schools, or nascent "socialism centers," QAnon's anti-Satan Michele Morrow, who once urged "Death to all traitors" with an image of Obama in the electric chair. And as their 91-felony-laden leader implausibly preps to return to power, his former cranks, crooks and "best people" - Stone, Miller, Manafort, Lewandowski - are scurrying out from their caves and cells to join him. Two hold-outs: Pence and Dick Cheney, who says "there has never been (a) greater threat to our republic," except maybe him.

Lately he's mostly in court or playing golf or seething online, but he hasheld two recent "rallies," in Ohio then Georgia. They were not pretty. As he sputtered and gabbled and lied through increasingly brutish, unintelligible speeches - "We have becrumb a nation," "our president Barack Hussein Obama," "Joe Biden's dissss...ervice speech" - the awful spectacle makes it "almost impossible to believe he exists," writes Anthony Citrano. "It's as if we took everything that was bad about America, scraped it up off the floor, wrapped it up in an old hot dog skin, and taught it to make noises with its face." Nancy Pelosi is more succinct: "You wouldn’t allow him in your house, much less the White House." It's not even word salad; it's word mush. He can't pronounce "bite" or "largest." He says, "They released Hillary Clinton who used bleach bit and Bill took it out in his socks." If he's not elected "it's gonna be a bloodbath." Migrants are "animals...saying 'I'm going to use your kitchen'...They're not people." On his call with Zelensky, Dems "were taped and they got caught." Nope. A complete fabrication. 

Because "the next bottomless pit is always just around the corner," he's now also channeling Goebbels et al, opening rallies by honoring "the horribly and unfairly treated Jan. 6 hostages" with a booming rendition of "Justice For All," a mutilated national anthem that celebrates the thugs who committed violence in his name. In this, writes Will Bunch, Trump alarmingly replicates "The Horst Wessel Song," the tribute to a young brownshirt and martyr killed in 1923's Munich beer hall putsch that became a Nazi Party anthem saluting those who "offer (themselves) up as a sacrifice" for the greater fascist good. Leni Riefenstahl'sTriumph of the Will, which glorifies Hitler's massive Nuremberg rally, opens with the Wessel song as a swastika-adorned plane swoops in carrying the beloved Führer. The propaganda value of that not-so-long-ago song and rally, enshrining and ritualizing victimhood, makes a through, scary line to the Jan. 6 Chorus and Trump's repulsive embrace of it. The message of both: Violent insurrection is patriotism, so stand by.

In Georgia, more of the same: J6 Chous, frenzied lies, much slurring, goat milk ads, America a drug-infested, crime-ridden abyss where "they're weaponizing law enforcement (against) Joe Biden's top and only political appointment (sic) - a guy named me." The wind blew down the teleprompters, so it was mostly gibberish: "Our great member of center of stage, and then I got angry because I said, no, I want to be in the center, those guys don't come close, so we had to have a different number, it didn't have to be 10, it had to be 9 or 11, it had to be something...Pundits say the attacks on me will be violent, they say, uhhh, they say...Biden said it, he said, you know what their whole plan is? It was just released the other day, their whole plan is to go after Trump in every way possible...And another 6 million dollars that they got for hostages from us...and 10 billion dollars for electricity to Iraq...and all comploymants (sic) of... an incompetent...Cognitively impaired? Heh, you'll know when I'm cognitively impaired....You'll be the first ones to know....."

The New Yorker's Susan Glasser wrote a piece titled, "I Listened to Trump's Rambling, Unhinged, Vituperative Georgia Rally, and So Should You." She argues too many of us ignore the "insane oration" and "flamboyant new set of untruths" from a candidate "whose greatest political success has been to acclimate a large swath of the population to his ever more dangerous alternate reality." Contrasting Biden's SOTU critiques of Trump's "offenses to American democracy," she noted Trump's nearly 5 dozen Biden references were epithets - stupid, weak, stutter - of "a puerile bully" with too many grievances and enemies to count attacking a guy alternately portrayed as "a drooling incompetent (and) a corrupt criminal mastermind" whose hellish reign has given us "rampaging migrants" and an economy “collapsing into a cesspool of ruin." Our "simple, apocalyptic choice": Doomsday with Biden, or "liberation from these tyrants and villains" with him. Bonkers bullshit, all. See it for yourself, however queasily, she advises: "Watch his speeches. Share it widely. Don’t look away."

This week, he was again in court, still ranting and whining - "I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG! HOAX! WITCH HUNT!" - even as he got a WTF break when his $464 million bond for fraud got trimmed to $175 million. He babbled briefly to the press: "You can't have an election in the middle of a political season...We just had Super Tuesday, and we had a Tuesday after Tuesday already... We''ll bring crime back to law and order." Online: "The cheese is sliding off his cracker at an ever-increasing rate." It was so bad Biden responded to the wheezy gobbledegook:"Trump is weak and desperate, both as a man and a candidate." Facing off against the shell of an crazed and loathsome con man, Biden has reportedly long been "preparing for every insane scenario that anyone could think of" in the upcoming election - crafting a legal and political "superstructure," partnering with a vast network of attorneys to conduct "doomsday-style" war games," drafting emergency pleadings and legal motions for swing states and otherwise exploring "a range of authoritarian possibilities."

For now, Trump keeps grifting. In "some truly bizarre stock market shenanigans," he managed to merge his "dorky little fake Twitter clone" Truth Social with a "gloriously sketchy" Digital World Acquisition Corp and list a new-born DJT stock on Nasdaq - with a "mind-bogglingly nonsensical" story of why it's not New York Stock Exchange - for over $6 billion, despite Truth Social's "microscopic" revenue of $3.5 million while losing $49 million. The Wall Street Journal reported the stock has soared not thanks to institutions trading it - they're not - but to MAGA cultists who argue "This is a Truth Movement" and "are absolutely hellbent on handing Donald Trump all their money." Just as logically do they liken to Jesus a thrice-married, multi-philandering crook, rapist and slum landlord charged with decades of fraud: one fan wrote, "It's ironic that Christ walked through His greatest persecution the very week they are trying to steal your property from you...We love you." Maybe that's what sent him scurrying, also this very week, to hawk his obscene God Bless the USA Bible to "make America pray again."

Which he does, of course, so often and so devoutly. Who can forget the time in June 2020, after the police murder of George Floyd, when Trump boldly marched out of the White House, across a LaFayette Square beset by more godly police beating the crap out of peaceful protesters for racial justice, and posed for the cameras outside historic St John’s Church, lifting into the righteous air a sacred Bible, upside down. A reporter asked, "Is that your Bible?” He responded, "It's a Bible." Lordy and hallelujah. Never mind that, in Trump's teeny hands, the Bible is a PR tool to help him lie and cheat. That hateful, racist cult members with no use for Jesus' woke "welcoming the stranger" rubbish welcome, instead, his mocking of poor, brown, homeless or stuttering people. That self-described evangelicals rarely go to church but go on TV, like MAGA preacher Lance Wallnau, to compare "leftists" to the Nazis on trial at Nuremberg: "I don't think it's people anymore - you're dealing with demons. So just remember this, Christian: You're gonna listen to demons talking through people."

Happily, it's just plain, God-fearing, migrant-hating, money-grubbing people like Trump and his "very good friend" Lee Greenwood who have now recycled a 9/11 commemorative Bible from 2021 into a cheesy, profane, nationalist screed, dubbed the God Bless the USA Bible, for a quick 60 bucks a shot. "Happy Holy Week!" Trump wrote Tuesday while urging people to buy his latest hustle "for your heart, for your soul." Citing yet another "very sad thing going on in our country," he claimed "Christians are under siege (but) we're gonna get it turned around" by peddling these crappy Bibles with a wildly inappropriate American flag on its cover and, inside, the equally jingoist "Founding Father (sic) documents" - the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Pledge of Allegiance and chorus to Greenwood's tinny, mawkish "patriotic anthem," God Bless The USA. "Easy-to-read, large print and (suspiciously) slim design, this Bible invites you to explore God’s Word anywhere, any time (in) an easy reading experience," says the website. "The perfect gift! Order now!"

For any skeptics - cynics, really - among you, the website also clarifies that money from purchases of God's and Lee Greenwood's word will not go to Trump's presidential campaign, or presumably his current, 91-count, very expensive legal issues, though it "uses Donald J. Trump's name, likeness and image under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC," which was established by a former Trump aide and a Trump-linked lawyer in Palm Beach, and its address is Trump International Golf Club, and it also made Trump digital training cards and those preposterous fake gold sneakers, but otherwise, nope, no money will go to Trump. The website's FAQs also generously addresses another sticky issue: "What if my Bible has sticky pages?" "No worries," it says. "This is very common with new Bibles that have gold gilding around the edges of the paper. For your convenience, we have provided links to a Youtube video that does a wonderful job of explaining how to break your new Bible in." And don't forget: It's "the perfect gift for family members, friends, special occassions (sic) and much more!"

Sadly, the new Bible has been criticized in some misanthropic liberal circles as "utterly craven and debased." This response is confounding, given what is clearly Trump's long, deep, devout engagement with and knowledge of scriptural teachings as seen in multiple videos and speeches. To wit: "There are so many things, so many things you can learn from the Bible," he has said. "Actually, it's an incredible book. There are so many things you can learn from it." While he says "the Bible is the most special thing," he remains understandably reluctant to name favorite verses: "I wouldn't want to get into it, because that's very personal, the Bible means a lot to me." However, he will name a favorite author - Tom Wolfe - though there's some confusion whether he has or hasn't read Bonfire of the Vanities. Still, he definitely knows "an eye for an eye," and having to choose between the Old or New Testament he'd pick, "Probably...equal." "I just think the whole Bible is an incredible..." he says. "The Bible, the more you see it, the more incredible it is." Can we get an Amen?

"But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away." - Psalm 37:20, New King James Version

(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: [email protected] This article first published in CommonDreams.org.)