Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fantasies of Ball Gags and Gimps: Alex Jones Talks With Roger Stone About the 2016 Republican Convention in Cleveland


We are now in the fourth week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. It is much appreciated. Thank you emails are forthcoming. As you know, I am not compensated for my work here or the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. If you can, are able, and willing please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the Paypal logo on the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.

****

I spent much of the afternoon at the doctor. She asked me questions, lectured me on my bad habits, and took a whole bunch of blood samples. In the two weeks since I made my trip to the emergency room, I have felt a bit improved in my energy and overall sense of self. Once I receive the blood work back next week, I will have a more precise understanding of my advanced state of decrepitude. As readers and friends may know, I was sent to the emergency room two weeks ago because of a very high blood pressure reading. In order to stay calm earlier today, I thought of something that made me laugh. My inspiration? Right-wing conspiranoid nut Alex Jones' recent interview with Donald Trump adviser, Bush confidante, and professional Nixonian dirty tricks man Roger Stone.

The 2016 Republican primary race is a human zoo. It features(d) religious fundamentalists, a sleep inducing and fabulist-delusional black brain surgeon, a professional wrestling heel inspired con man carnival barker, and various other characters who could easily star in a comedy by Mel Brooks or Woody Allen about American politics.

The 2016 Republican presidential primary race has also been a mix of the scatalogical and puerile. Thus, it is a showcase for the juvenile and the immature.

If primaries are supposed to be a way for the public to evaluate a political party's prospective nominees for a given office then the 2016 Republican primaries have shown that the GOP's base is more interested in electing a "Fratboy-in-Chief" than they are a serious person with the temperament, intelligence, and competence to serve as an effective President of the United States.

This year's presidential campaign has also been a focal point for the twisted and unhealthy psycho-sexual obsessions of  American movement conservatism where discussions of "political" cuckolding are infused with insecurities about white men's phalluses and castration anxieties in a moment when a black man is president.

Monday, June 27, 2016

America’s national priorities: Police thuggery, broken schools, and the 'wages of Whiteness'

We are now in the fourth week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. It is much appreciated. Thank you emails are forthcoming. As you know, I am not compensated for my work here or the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. If you can, are able, and willing please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the Paypal logo on the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.

**** 

A budget is a statement of priorities and values. In a political community, a budget also prioritizes the interests of some individuals and groups over those of others.

For example, the city of Chicago has spent more than $ 500 million since 2014 in literal blood money for the victims of police brutality. Collectively, the 10 largest American cities have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle police misconduct cases during the same time period.

These sums of money are the macro-level reflections of individual tragedies and needless deaths that include names such as Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Laquan McDonald, and Rekia Boyd.

During the same time period, Chicago and the state of Illinois have eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars from the city’s public school budget. This is part of a larger trend where American public education, the social safety net, and other services for the poor, working classes, and other vulnerable groups are being ruthlessly cut in the name of “austerity” and “efficiency.” Yet in the United States, spending on the military and mass incarceration continues to grow largely unabated.

As recent research shows, a relatively small number of American police account for a majority of the unnecessary shootings and other acts of thuggery against black and brown communities and the poor. However, these police are coddled and protected by a culture of racism, classism, and authoritarianism. As an internal report from the Chicago police details, they “have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” Ultimately, the so-called “good cops” are actively protecting and providing cover for the “bad apples” in their midst. Narratives about the non-existent “Ferguson effect”—the notion that America’s police are somehow “afraid” to do their jobs because of the Black Lives Matter movement—only enable police criminality.

If based on pure economics, such a dynamic would appear to be easily rectified: Police brutality and thuggery is an expensive problem that can be corrected by dismissing the officers involved and reforming the culture(s) of America’s police departments. Reality is much more complicated.

Beyond the private actors who are personally enriched by mass incarceration and the punishing and punitive state, police brutality and violence against people of color (as well as the poor and working classes more generally) is a form of social control.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Conversation with Courtney Baker About Police Violence and Thuggery, the Color Line, and 'Modern Day Lynchings'

We are now in the third week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. It is much appreciated. As you know, I am not compensated for my work here or the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. If you can, are able, and willing please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the Paypal logo on the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.  

****


This week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show features Professor Courtney Baker. She is a professor at Connecticut College and author of the new book, Humane Insight: Looking at Images of African-American Suffering and Death.
In this week's installment of the podcast, Dr. Baker and Chauncey talk about police and anti-black violence, the continuity of white on black racial terrorism from Reconstruction and the postbellum era to the present, and if the street vigilante and police killings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown constitute "modern day lynchings". Chauncey and Courtney also discuss the value of Africana Studies, film, and student activism in the era of Black Lives Matter.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey updates the listeners on his health challenges and reflects on how he took his good health for granted for too long. Chauncey also discusses Donald Trump's new found "Christian values", the hypocrisy of America's Christian evangelical authoritarians, and offers some thoughts on recent developments in popular culture including the suspension of WWE superstar Roman Reigns, the movie Lobster, and the "new" information about Michael Jackson's supposed pedophilia.

This episode with Professor Courtney Baker can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes and at Stitcher. The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on Spotify as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Political Theater: Donald Trump Discovers his "Christian Values" and Congressional Democrats Stage a Sit-in to End the Gun Lobby's Choke Hold

I would like to thank all of you kind and generous folks who have donated to the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/We Are Respectable Negroes/WARN. Your positive energy is very much appreciated. We are about 60 percent to the goal I have set. Once that goal is met I will push back in the begging bowl and cease with my polite and gentle, yet persistent, fundraising drive.

I have been offered opportunities to advertise here at ChaunceyDeVega.com and have always refused them because I want to maintain an independent voice. Your help during the fundraising drive makes that possible.

If you can, are able, and will please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the virtual begging bowl which can be accessed via the Paypal logo at the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.

****

For those of you who are curious and/or waiting, this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show will post later tonight or tomorrow--I am contemplating seeing the "new" Independence Day movie and will include my thoughts in the podcast.

It is all political theater folks. But even by the political rodeo-freak show standard set so far during this 2016 presidential campaign, it was quite a fascinating and absurd week.

After conducting a master class in the Right-wing paranoid style that featured a "speech" on Hillary Clinton's various evils, and recited tired lies that are based on "evidence" from conservative hate media propagandist sites such as Breitbart, Donald Trump sought out the blessings of Right-wing Christian fundamentalists at a summit held with "evangelical leaders" on Tuesday in New York.

This meeting is a reminder that power rules over principles...or perhaps power is a principle onto itself that both Trump and the American Religious Right pursue with reckless abandon and as prime directive number one. 

Donald Trump is a serial liar, hypocrite, adulterer, con artist, narcissist, and plutocrat. His "policy positions" on gay marriage and abortion rights ought to be anathema to the Christian Right. Trump's lifestyle should also see him condemned by the same people.

This is not necessarily the case. As NPR explains:
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, addressed Trump's personal flaws that bother some evangelicals — including his multiple marriages, past support for abortion rights and foul language. 
Graham pointed out that in lots of stories in the Bible, people messed up. After all, Graham told the crowd of devout Christians, the prophet Moses led his people out of slavery in Egypt but disobeyed God; King David committed adultery and murder; and the apostle Peter, who, as one of Jesus' closest followers, really should have had his back, denied three times that he'd ever known Jesus. 
"There is none of us that are perfect," Graham said. "There's no perfect person — there's only one, and that's the Lord Jesus Christ, but he's not running for president of the United States.
There are other dimensions to how Christian theocrats such as Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, and others can justify their support for a "spiritually challenged" man such as Donald Trump. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Violence of Forgetting, the Dangers of 'Safe Spaces', and the Culture of Cruelty: Henry Giroux in the New York Times

We are now at the begging of the third week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. Thank you letters are forthcoming. All of your assistance and kindness is very much appreciated.

As you know, I am not compensated for my online writing here at the site or for the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. They are also time intensive. I have been offered opportunities to advertise here at ChaunceyDeVega.com and have always refused them because I want to maintain an independent voice. Your help during the fundraising drive makes that possible.

As compared to last year, we are a bit behind the pace necessary to meet this June's goal. If you can, are able, and will please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the virtual begging bowl which can be accessed via the Paypal logo at the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.

****

Henry Giroux is an essential voice against the neoliberal order and the culture of cruelty. He is a friend of the website and has been a guest on The Chauncey DeVega Show. Fingers crossed, I will be able to chat with him again for the show's 100th episode.

Professor Giroux has a great interview/conversation in yesterday's New York Times. There he touches on his usual themes of violence, national amnesia, the culture of cruelty, and how the American people have become numb to horrors such as the Orlando Massacre. Dr. Giroux is masterful, as always, in his discussion of those topics.

As a leading voice in critical pedagogy, his comments were especially potent on the question of "safe spaces" and how the modern corporate university is doing students a disservice by shielding them from uncomfortable ideas and voices. Giroux writes:
B.E.: Mindful of this, there is now a common policy in place throughout the education system to create “safe spaces” so students feel comfortable in their environments. This is often done in the name of protecting those who may have their voices denied. But given your claim about the need to confront injustice, does this represent an ethically responsible approach to difficult subject matters? 
H.G.: There is a growing culture of conformity and quietism on university campuses, made evident in the current call for safe spaces and trigger warnings. This is not just conservative reactionism, but is often carried out by liberals who believe they are acting with the best intentions. Violence comes in many forms and can be particularly disturbing when confronted in an educational setting if handled dismissively or in ways that blame victims. 
Yet troubling knowledge cannot be condemned on the basis of making students uncomfortable, especially if the desire for safety serves merely to limit access to difficult knowledge and the resources needed to analyze it. Critical education should be viewed as the art of the possible rather than a space organized around timidity, caution and fear.
Creating safe spaces runs counter to the notion that learning should be unsettling, that students should challenge common sense assumptions and be willing to confront disturbing realities despite discomfort. The political scientist Wendy Brown rightly argues that the “domain of free public speech is not one of emotional safety or reassurance,” and is “ not what the public sphere and political speech promise.” A university education should, Brown writes, “ call you to think, question, doubt” and “ incite you to question everything you assume, think you know or care about.”
This is particularly acute when dealing with pedagogies of violence and oppression. 
While there is a need to be ethically sensitive to the subject matter, our civic responsibility requires, at times, confronting truly intolerable conditions. The desire for emotionally safe spaces can be invoked to protect one’s sense of privilege — especially in the privileged sites of university education. This is further compounded by the frequent attempts by students to deny some speakers a platform because their views are controversial. While the intentions may be understandable, this is a dangerous road to go down. 
Confronting the intolerable should be challenging and upsetting. Who could read the testimonies of Primo Levi and not feel intellectually and emotionally exhausted? Or Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, not to mention those of Malcolm X? It is the conditions that produce violence that should upset us ethically and prompt us to act responsibly, rather than to capitulate to a privatized emotional response that substitutes a therapeutic language for a political and worldly one. 
There is more at work here than the infantilizing notion that students should be protected rather than challenged in the classroom; there is also the danger of creating a chilling effect on the part of faculty who want to address controversial topics such as war, poverty, spectacles of violence, racism, sexism and inequality. If American society wants to invest in its young people, it has an obligation to provide them with an education in which they are challenged, can learn to take risks, think outside the boundaries of established ideologies, and expand the far reaches of their creativity and critical judgment. This demands a pedagogy that is complicated, taxing and disruptive.
I have encountered and fought against the principle of "safe spaces" both as a student and later on (at no small amount of personal and professional cost) as a college lecturer. One of the (un)expected complications of the well-intentioned albeit wrong-headed move by some "liberals" to protect students from "scary" and "uncomfortable" words and concepts is that such efforts cede territory to conservatives and other forces who see the university as an enemy to their agenda. Moreover, the modern American university is already a "safe space" for the neoliberal project where tenure and intellectual freedom are being destroyed in the interest of profit maximization. It is also increasingly a "safe space" for reactionary conservatives such as David Horowitz who compile enemy lists to harass and get removed professors who they deem "too liberal" or "politically correct" and that "indoctrinate" students, i.e. train them to be critical thinkers and citizens.

[As one of my dearest friends said about her community college students, they often complain that it "hurts" to "think". What a potent description of a medicated, zombie citizenry.]

The entire conversation with Dr. Giroux is worth reading and reflecting upon. But what of the central paradox: in a society where the culture of cruelty is so rampant and omnipresent how did a counter-narrative of safe spaces, helicopter parenting, and coddled (white middle class) millennials come into existence?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Donald Trump is the real 'snake' in the 2016 presidential race

We are now at the begging of the third week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. Thank you letters are forthcoming. All of your assistance and kindness is very much appreciated.

As you know, I am not compensated for my online writing here at the site or for the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. They are also time intensive. I have been offered opportunities to advertise here at ChaunceyDeVega.com and have always refused them because I want to maintain an independent voice. Your help during the fundraising drive makes that possible.

As compared to last year, we are a bit behind the pace necessary to meet this June's goal. If you can, are able, and willing please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the virtual begging bowl which can be accessed via the Paypal logo at the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.

****

In the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre, presumed Republican 2016 presidential nominee Donald Trump has doubled down on his nativism, racism, fear-mongering, and bigotry against Muslims and his other political enemies. Last Monday, Trump made sinister threats against Muslim-Americans. The following day, Trump continued his political rodeo and barnstorming tour of hatred with a stop in Greensboro, North Carolina. There, Trump ginned up his foot soldiers to a fever pitch as he railed against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the news media, and of course, Muslims.

As reported by Jared Sexton in the New Republic, the Trumpthuglicans were fully receptive to their leader’s message of fear, intolerance, authoritarianism, and strongman politics:

By the end of Trump’s speech, everything had been touched: His successes in the polls. ISIS and illegal immigrants in the same breath. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. The “dishonest” media and Trump’s revocation of the Washington Post’s press credentials, during which my section chanted “Kill them all / kill them all.” 
He’d rambled until he couldn’t ramble anymore and seemed spent. He’d exhausted yelling “Shut up, you SILLY WOMAN!” during an odd, misplaced poem that compared immigrants to snakes. At another point, a boy interrupted with “We all bleed red” and was dragged out by security as Trump sarcastically called, “Don’t hurt him! Please don’t hurt that person!” and the crowd replied, “Hurt him! / Hurt him!” As he was led to the doors, a small pack of supporters broke off from the throng and followed as if they meant to pummel him just past the exit. 
Outside, the lot was filled with more vendors and beyond them cars and trucks with Confederate Flag bumper stickers, decals, license plates, and actual Confederate Flags. In the shadow of one I watched a dad spank his child heatedly, as if the man needed somewhere to focus all his anger. 
On everybody’s lips were strange non-sequiturs of hate.
“You can’t trust Latinos. Some maybe, but not most.”
“Immigrants aren’t people, honey.”
“You know them crazy black girls, how they are.”
Donald Trump’s performance style leverages emotion and impulse over facts and intellect. Influenced by professional wrestling, Trump is selling “the sizzle and not the steak.” Consequently, his ability to manipulate an audience is made possible by simple narratives and emotional appeals. To that end, Donald Trump has repeatedly referenced a parable and song about a snake who betrays the confidence of a Good Samaritan, biting him, and then leaving the kind helper to die. In Trump’s telling “real Americans” (read: white, Christian, conservatives) are taken advantage of and ultimately killed by “snakes,” i.e. “Muslims,” “immigrants,” or whatever group has earned his ire on a given day.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Conversation with Randy Roberts about the Life and Legacy of Muhammad Ali

We are now at the end of the second week of the June fundraiser here at Indomitable/WARN/We are Respectable Negroes. It is one of two fundraisers that I conduct annually. The other is in December.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into 
the virtual collection bowl. It is much appreciated. As you know, I am not compensated for my work here or the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. As of the end of the second week of the fundraiser, we are a bit behind the pace necessary to meet this June's goal. If you can, are able, and will please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the Paypal logo at the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.


****

This week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show honors Muhammad Ali. To that end, Professor Randy Roberts is the guest on this week's podcast. He is the author of the new book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

Dr. Roberts is an expert on social history and American culture whose other works include Joe Louis: Hard Times Man, Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler, Papa Jack: Jack Johnson and the Era of White Hopes and Heavy Justice: The State of Indiana v. Michael G. Tyson.

In this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey and Dr. Roberts discuss Donald Trump the showman and professional wrestler wannabe, the color line and sports, the importance of Muhammad Ali to how we think about social change and struggle in the 1960s and beyond, Ali and the Nation of Islam, and the importance of legendary boxer Jack Johnson. Chauncey and Randy also do some fantasy booking and work through if Mike Tyson would have stood a chance in the boxing ring against Muhammad Ali.

During this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey discusses the stranglehold that the NRA and ammosexuals have over the Common Good in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre. Chauncey also ponders what happens when Donald Trump loses in November and his Trumpthuglicans are left leaderless.

To close out this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey also tells a story about his high blood pressure fantastical journey from CVS to the local emergency room.

This great episode with Professor Randy Roberts can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show
is available on Itunes and at Stitcher. The Chauncey DeVega Show can now be found on Spotify as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Donald Trump in Greensboro: An American Demagogue and Pied Piper of Lies and Hate



I would like to thank the kind folks who have donated to the ongoing fundraising drive to support the site, my podcast, and various other online projects. Your generosity and good energy are always welcome and a blessing. As I do with our annual fundraiser, I have set a goal and once met will pull back in the begging bowl. As compared to the June fundraiser last year, we are a bit below that benchmark.

I would like to thank all of the kind folks who have thrown some money into the virtual collection bowl. It is much appreciated. As you know, I am not compensated for my work here or the podcast. Both are labors of love, labors that I learn and benefit from in ways that I cannot easily express. As of the end of the second week of the fundraiser, we are a bit behind the pace necessary to meet this June's goal. If you can, are able, and will please do throw some pennies, gold, silver, into the Paypal logo at the top of the screen on the right hand side bar.
****

I have an instinctive dislike for the style of essay writing that begins with insert a definition, apply it to an example of said definition, and then offer up a commentary or analysis. In the case of Donald Trump, American Il Duce, and presumptive Republican 2016 presidential nominee, I will have to break that rule.

Donald Trump is a demagogue. As explained by Merriam-Webster, a demagogue is:
a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason
The Atlantic magazine offers this historical context:
“Demagogue,” as a term—“demos,” the people, and “agogos,” leader—is pretty much as old as democracy is. It was born, like so many others of our most effective insults, in ancient Athens. And despite its anodyne etymology, it almost instantly took on a negative connotation: In Greece, the demagogue was not just a leader of people, but a leader who led, specifically, by bullying/cajoling/converting charisma into influence. He was a populist who appealed, in particular, to the lower classes. As Aristotle wrote of Cleon, a tanner, “He was the first who shouted on the public platform, who used abusive language and who spoke with his cloak girt around him, while all the others used to speak in proper dress and manner.”
In response to the Orlando massacre, Trump has demonstrated these traits to the extreme. On Monday, he gave a frightening speech--even by his proto fascist standards--where he basically "declared war' on American Muslims. At a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on Tuesday, Trump continued to spew his conspiratorial, bigoted, nativist, lies before a fawning and enraptured audience of racial resentful and blood thirsty Trumpthuglicans. Writing at the New Republic, Jared Sexton documented his experience at this most recent Donald Trump political rodeo:
By the end of Trump’s speech, everything had been touched: His successes in the polls. ISIS and illegal immigrants in the same breath. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. The “dishonest” media and Trump’s revocation of the Washington Post’s press credentials, during which my section chanted “Kill them all / kill them all.” 
He’d rambled until he couldn’t ramble anymore and seemed spent. He’d exhausted yelling “Shut up, you SILLY WOMAN!” during an odd, misplaced poem that compared immigrants to snakes. At another point, a boy interrupted with “We all bleed red” and was dragged out by security as Trump sarcastically called, “Don’t hurt him! Please don’t hurt that person!” and the crowd replied, “Hurt him! / Hurt him!” As he was led to the doors, a small pack of supporters broke off from the throng and followed as if they meant to pummel him just past the exit. 
Outside, the lot was filled with more vendors and beyond them cars and trucks with Confederate Flag bumper stickers, decals, license plates, and actual Confederate Flags. In the shadow of one I watched a dad spank his child heatedly, as if the man needed somewhere to focus all his anger. 
On everybody’s lips were strange non-sequiturs of hate. 
“You can’t trust Latinos. Some maybe, but not most.”
“Immigrants aren’t people, honey.”
“You know them crazy black girls, how they are.”
Sexton's experience is similar to what I personally witnessed at Donald Trump's "no show" rally in Chicago several months ago.

Recent polling data suggests that Donald Trump is disliked by a majority of the American people--and has even lost support among the "working class" white voters who comprise his base. Trump's demonstrated lack of presidential "comportment" and leadership qualities in the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre (and his discussions of terrorism and international relations, more broadly) are also hurting the Republican Party's "national security" brand. While I still believe that Donald Trump will be much more competitive with Hillary Clinton than the chattering classes are predicting, it is more likely than not that Trump will be defeated in November. Donald Trump is a political con man and carnival barker. He will simply leave the political battlefield. Trump's foot soldiers will be left without a leader.

The question then becomes, what will happen to the millions of angry, alienated, and aroused mass of proto fascist authoritarians who Donald Trump has summoned to his banner? What political entrepreneur(s) will step into that breach?

One of the most important and little discussed stories of the rise of Trumpmania is how his angry, racially resentful, and bigoted supporters are learning to think in explicit ways about "white identity" and "white group interests". Of course, protecting the wages of whiteness has been foundational to American politics, life, society, and culture since the country's founding. Trump's "innovation" has been his naked and obvious use of the primordial forces of white nationalism and identity politics in an era where such energies were thought to have been largely dissipated.

In all, it is no coincidence that white nationalists and white supremacists have flocked to Donald Trump. They view him as good for their cause.

America's political institutions and culture are strong. They will survive Trump's candidacy--or God forbid, his tenure as President. But as Jared Sexton warns us at the New Republic:
Trump can be defeated, and most likely he will be, but elections cannot cure this disease. It’s always been here and perhaps it always will be. Trump’s narcissistic quest to “Make America Great Again” has only drawn the insects to the surface, and there’s plenty of room to wonder whether he’s driving the movement or if it’s driving him.
We the people must be vigilant, strong, and ready to stomp out such vermin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chauncey DeVega's Fantastic Journey from CVS to the Hospital Emergency Room


I will provide much more context and storytelling regarding my medical (mis)adventure on this week's edition of The Chauncey DeVega Show. For now, in case some of you are interested and/or worried:

1. I am okay. All of this transpired on Sunday and Monday. But, we should all be much more careful with our health lest you end up in the emergency room like me.

2. The free blood pressure monitoring machine at CVS (and I am sure at drug stores like Walgreens, etc.) can be very scary. I would suggest not using them.

3. I would also suggest not buying a blood pressure monitor to bring home because you are terrified of what the free machine at CVS indicated and then proceeding to check your blood pressure every 15 minutes for the next 12 hours.

4. I would also suggest not reading WebMD and thus making yourself even more terrified that you may be at immediate risk of a heart attack or massive stroke.

5. No. I am not a hobo. I was just wearing my old laundry day jeans. Yes. I did have on clean underwear.

6. My stalwart companion was kind enough to take pictures of me in the hospital. I have several others to share. I was going for a Huck Finn-like aesthetic. Sometimes you got to laugh to keep from crying folks.

7. And given that this is fundraising month here at ChaunceyDeVega.com--I have not been doing my NPR persistent daily reminder given the passing of Muhammad Ali and the mass murder in Florida as I felt to do so would be in poor taste--I am going to have to push the begging bowl out in earnest these next few weeks to cover the post insurance expenses of what will likely be an expensive trip to the hospital.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Massacre Observations: Donald Trump's Conspiracy Theories and America's Assault Rifle Fetishes


On this Monday, the first day following the Orlando Massacre, the political script is developing quite predictably.

Donald Trump is rumor mongering, suggesting that Barack Obama is a traitor to the United States and that, "We're led by a man who either is not tough, not smart or has something else in mind". Trump, not one for subtlety, even goes so far as to suggest that President Obama has some type of special knowledge and insight into "Trojan Horses" from ISIS who seek to do the American people harm.

Mass murder in Orlando, Florida is political hay for Donald Trump...and he is only getting started.

Liberals, progressives, and others who understand that gun violence and mass shootings are a public health problem in the United States will hope that the Orlando massacre will lead the mass public to have a "Eureka!" moment where the country's leaders finally enact reasonable gun control measures that include banning military weapons such as the AR-15 from civilian use. This will not happen. The National Rifle Association's pockets are too deep; the gun manufacturers are too powerful; the ammosexuals are a loud, braying, politically active, and dangerous faction in the American body politic. 

After every mass shooting in America, the ammosexuals will trot out their tired talking points about how "inanimate objects" don't hurt people, it is people who shoot people, and that a "good guy" with a gun will stop a "bad guy" with a gun. Such claims do not hold up to critical scrutiny. Nor do they offer comfort to the dead and their families in places such as Orlando or Newtown. 

[Right-wing gun fetishists also have a new talking point online. They claim that Omar Mateen was a registered "Democrat". I do not know what this has to do with Mateen's decision to kill at least 49 people in an Orlando area nightclub late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.]

In response to the United States' macabre ritual of mass shootings by people armed with military weaponry, I offer up a basic observation. The AR-15 and other assault rifles are working exactly as designed. 

Military journalist CJ Chivers explain the form and function of the assault rifle as:
It is this: Assault rifles, whether we are discussing the original mass-produced items (the MP-43/44) or the design patterns that followed them (including the Automatic Kalashnikov and AR-15 lines and their many offspring), were conjured to form solely for the task of allowing men to more efficiently kill other men, with firearms that would be smaller, lighter in weight, more tactically versatile and require a lighter per-man effective ammunition load than the infantry rifles that preceded them. That much is beyond reasonable dispute. From there, conversations diverge.
I would add one more qualifier. The modern assault rifle is also designed so that a person of average to below average height, weight, and strength can become a proficient killer with a minimum of training.

The so-called "freedom musket"--what the Right-wing ammosexuals have christened the AR-15/M-16 family of weapons--is excellent at murdering Americans. Quite a "patriotic" weapon, is it not?

What narratives are you seeing develop--or not--in the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre? Where do we go from here?