Is this Happening?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 3.15.00 PM

What is our world coming to?

The new de facto leader of the Republican Party brags he wants to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and limit the rights of other foreigners, such as the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing genocide in their native country, from ever getting inside our borders.

As a Jewish fellow, all I can say is good thing he wasn’t around when my grandparents entered the country. I’d have a whole different life. Or no life at all.

Here’s what it says on The Statue of Liberty, which at last glance still stands in New York Harbor:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Maybe we take the Statue down in light of 9/11? Or just erase the words. After all, it was a gift from France. They probably wouldn’t mind because of what happened in Paris a few months ago, right?

We could replace it with a shiny gold building that looks like a Dunhill cigarette lighter. That’s Gloria Steinem’s analogy about Trump towers, not mine. Because, well, how can you say it better?

Jugs of Justice

Jugs of Justice

Apropos of something, I have another question. When Trump skipped the last debate before the Iowa primary on Thursday, he claimed to have instead spearheaded an event that raised $6 million for our wounded war veterans through his website. But the only donation link on his website was to his Trump Foundation, which the PUBLIC TRUST(s) will go to our vets. But if this is so, can’t he still get some sort of personal TAX DEDUCTION from it? It’s His Foundation, right?

Any accountants out there know how to maneuver cash as a deduction amid all of the full legal slime written on a multi-billionaire’s federal tax return? Cause every little bit counts – that’s how you get and stay rich to begin with – so I’d love to get a full reading on this. That would be my American Dream at the moment. Assuming anyone could out-maneuver him or his money. Hillary? Bill? Bernie? Bueller? Anyone???

Sorkin, can you hear meeeee?

Sorkin, can you hear meeeee?

A friend of mine wrote on Facebook last week that he doesn’t see how discrimination and exclusion can be remedied by discrimination and exclusion. Okay, he was referring to the Oscars and how under the Motion Picture Academy’s new rules to remedy #OscarsSoWhite people like the lesbian female writer of Nine to Five; one of the biggest child star actors of the sixties and seventies; and another woman who was a pioneering animator back in the day, would have their voting rights stripped despite many decades of membership that always guaranteed voting. Where do these new Academy rule makers think they are – Florida? Don’t they remember that almost a decade ago, they gave Al Gore the Oscar?

Um... no no... we're good

Um… no no… we’re good

Of course Donald Trump’s frontrunner status can be compared to Oscar voting. To quote the words Mel Brooks’ character of Hitler sings in his megahit musical The Producers:

The thing you’ve got to know is…

Everything is show biz….

After which point he sings:   Heil myself, Heil to me….

Ring a bell – or lighter – yet?

#HomerKnows

#HomerKnows

Try explaining the current state of our affairs to small classrooms full of 21 year olds as I attempted this week. Sure, these were writing classes, not political ones, but to be a good writer one needs to draw from real life. Which means an understanding of human behavior in the world as it exists is essential in order to convincingly portray anything remotely recognizable in your made up world.

Somewhere along the line I got flummoxed and actually found myself reduced to phrases like:

It wasn’t always like this.

Or –

Yes, it was crazy, but never this crazy.

And then finally –

No, I’m not sure this is a joke. So why are we all laughing? Well, um, good question!

In the end I’m not sure I did any good at all. I was only hoping at that point, not to make it all seem any worse than it already is.

Me, every 10 seconds

Me, every 10 seconds

Fortunately, teachers are not held to the same standards as doctors. First Do No Harm dictates the Hippocratic oath. Yeah, right, that wasn’t happening.

I can’t blame any of this on the Trumpless Republican debate because I wasn’t watching, Instead, that night I was actually teaching one of these mini-groups. But unfortunately in an effort for clarity I recorded the damned thing and perused the highlights several days later.

Insert "Elephant in the Room" pun here

Insert “Elephant in the Room” pun here

Here are some, courtesy of the Washington Post and my viewing brain:

Jeb Bush: Look, I am in the establishment because my dad, the greatest man alive was president of the United States and my brother, who I adore as well as fantastic brother, was president.

Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Carson: I’ve had more two a.m. phone calls than everybody here put together, making life and death decisions, put together very complex teams to accomplish things that have never been done before.

Sen. Ted Cruz: I would note that that the last four questions have been, “Rand, please attack Ted. Marco, please attack Ted. Chris, please attack Ted. Jeb, please attack Ted…” Let me just say this…

Moderator: … It is a debate, sir.

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO HIS EYES!!!

DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO HIS EYES!!!

Another Moderator: Can you name even one thing that the federal government does now that it should not do at all?

Gov. Chris Christie: How about one that I’ve done in New Jersey for the last six years. That’s get rid of Planned Parenthood funding from the United States of America.

Moderator: Anything bigger than that?

Christie: Bigger than that? Let me tell you something, when you SEE thousands upon thousands upon thousands of children being murdered in the womb, I can’t think of anything better than that. 

Sen. Marco Rubio: Well, let me be clear about one thing, there’s only one savior and it’s not me. It’s Jesus Christ who came down to earth and died for our sins..Because in the end, my goal is not simply to live on this earth for 80 years, but to live an eternity with my creator. And I will always allow my faith to influence everything I do.

Walk the walk, Rubio

Walk the walk, Rubio

Oy vey iz mir, as my grandmother used to say. How can this be happening? I have no idea. And I am more confused than ever. But luckily, I’ve never been intimidated by Dunhill lighters. I’ve always thought they were tacky. And the people who used them dumbasses.   And I’ve never been afraid to say so.

Neither should you.

SUBSCRIBE CHAIR

 

How Many Kids (and who’s counting)?

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 12.17.20 PM

Since Sept. 2008 Arkansas’ first family of TLC, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, have been reality television royalty with their 17 18 19 Kids and Counting – a top rated network series following the exploits of the couple and their almost score (Note: Score=20) of God-fearing, home-schooled, fundamentalist born and bred brood of biological children.

Millions of people have been fascinated by the loves and lives of the Duggars as they continued to have children, their children began to have children (Note: Though all were married first) and all of these many, many children (Note #2: Presided over by two adults) made many, many, many more millions of dollars for everyone through the requisite cross-pollination of books, personal appearances and Lord knows what other kinds of entertainment industry vertical integration the law allows.

Bigger than Jesus

Bigger than Jesus

Well, the gravy train has now stopped and soon all they will be able to do is wipe their ASSES with those ASSETS. This is thanks not to any left wing, gay agenda but merely to the fact that the oldest of that near score of children, 27-year-old Josh Duggar, has admitted to molesting five underage girls when he was 14 and 15 years-old, including many of his own sisters.

Compounding the matter is that both his parents knew of his crimes but instead of sending him to therapy or seeking other type of medical or police intervention, they instead chose to have their son confess his crimes to a local state trooper friend who himself was subsequently sent away to prison on multiple counts of child pornography. Needless to say the family trooper friend never officially reported the crimes.   Instead, he gave Josh a talking to, Josh was sent away to work on a relative’s farm for a while and the family prayed a lot that all would be okay for everyone.

#preach

#preach

Though none of those prayers included any type of, well much of anything except more prayers for the under age women in question, they clearly did include requests to the powers-that-be above (or below) us that this would all stay quiet. That seems clear because their Duggar television show subsequently debuted, became a huge success and would continue to be so for quite some time to come. I mean, answered prayers would have to be the case because, well, I don’t know about you but, like all great things, the family’s TV success would seem to simply be a question of God’s will, right?

The Duggars believe a lot in God’s will. In fact, they credit God Himself (or, one supposes, Herself) for granting them fame and fortune by way of one of nature’s miracles – their second born of nineteen children. As they tell their story, back when Jim Bob and Michelle first were married they actually did practice birth control. But when Michelle conceived their second child despite being on The Pill and then miscarried said child, they realized they had actually interfered with God’s plan and decided to never again decide to second-guess the Lord by using modern medical science. The result? Well, you can see – 19 Kids and Counting. Though, as of several days ago, no more TV show.   Hmmm, you don’t suspect this time they started using condoms, do y..? Nahhhh…….

Look at these sinners

Look at these sinners

None of this explains how they managed to conceive Josh, who managed to sneak in as a planned pregnancy back when they believed in oral contraception and back when their use of The Pill was working as it should. Wait, you don’t suppose this was the reason for Josh’s predilection towards molestation, do you??? Could it be some sort of grand punishment for their legitimate use of…The Pill???? The mind reels.

3117663

Incidentally, this would not be a gigantic leap of logical in the Rules According to Duggar. Aside from their opposition to birth control, just about last year at this time Michelle recorded statewide robo-calls urging voters to vote “no” on an Arkansas law intended to address discrimination against the LGBT community since it is one of dozens of states that do not include housing and discrimination protection in cases of sexual identity and gender discrimination.

Her exact words? Well, that passage of the law would allow males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”

Well, certainly one would not want to allow any male to improperly enter private areas reserved specifically for females, especially if they were young girls. Right??? That must be right since Mrs. Duggar, a local heroine if nothing else, won her crusade and saw the law voted down. Unless, um, maybe that was God’s will, too??

Josh Duggar, himself now the father of a five year-old daughter and two younger sons, with another unborn child along the way, was up until several days ago executive director of the Family Research Council’s Washington, DC legislative affiliate, FRC Action. In his post, #1 of 19 was responsible for lobbying lawmakers to advance the political and social agendas of the organization, which includes abstinence-only education, intelligent design, prayer in public schools and regulation of pornography and other obscene, indecent or profane programming on broadcast and cable television. It is also opposed to legalized abortion, stem-cell research and all forms of gambling.

You won't like him when he's angry

You won’t like him when he’s angry

The FRC is perhaps best known for its virulent opposition to same-sex marriage and gay adoption. FRC president Tony Perkins has publicly and repeatedly stated the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children and in the past the organization has gone so far as to say “one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the prophets of a new sexual order.” For these and many other statements excoriating the LGBT community and its rights, the Family Research Council was several years ago officially classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Regrets?

Regrets?

Regarding homosexuality, Josh Duggar himself was last year quoted as saying the LGBT community and its agenda wasa threat to children” and that his own lesbian aunt (his mother Michelle’s older sister) “chooses her lifestyle.”

There was a time in the previous century, 100 years ago to be exact, where a whole subculture of women in the U.S. freely made love with other women.   Not only that but some of these were Black women who smoked, drank and generally hung out as they occasionally dressed as the men did; and no one cared or even said much about it. Among the women in this enclave was one of the most famous blues singers who ever lived – Bessie Smith – and if you have a couple of hours, which you know you do, it might be worth your time to relive these very olden times and morals via the very wonderfully bold and impressionistic HBO film Bessie, starring Queen Latifah in the title role and Mo’Nique as her mentor, friend and fellow trailblazer, Ma Rainey. Both are superb in it.

Lessons in fabulousity

Lessons in fabulousity

But what’s even more incredible, at least in FRC and Duggar world, is that 100 years later these women are both lauded as creative legends and heirs to a new era where the idea of two women (or men for that matter) making love legally and within the protection of a marriage contract, if they so desire, has become the norm in more states than not – as has their ability to create, adopt or raise children if they so choose. One sort of wants to ask the Duggars if that, too, could be attributed to God’s will, or do they perhaps predict a Biblical October surprise along the lines of locusts and pestilence as retribution against such un-Christian, nee immoral, yet perfectly legal social activities.

Well, it’s all enough to make you want to send Josh Duggar not to jail for his admitted inexcusable behavior which he this week publicly apologized for but to Ireland where 60% of the citizenry voted to make themselves the first country in the world to totally and 100% legalize same sex marriage by popular vote.

Putting the Gae in Gaelic!

Putting the Gae in Gaelic!

He might see it as punishment and, okay I for one would oppose it. Because we all know that clearly Ireland will emerge as THE place to be for fun and frolic as this decade comes to a close.

As for the future of TLC and the Duggar brand –- God knows it doesn’t look good.