Monday, July 16, 2018

A Conversation with Gary Lachman About Donald Trump, the "Alt-Right", Magic and the Occult

Gary Lachman is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.  

He is the author of several books and has lectured across the United States, Britain and Europe on the relationship between consciousness, esoteric knowledge, politics, history and culture. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of the New York new wave band Blondie, in which he played bass from 1975 to 1977. His new book is "Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump."
During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Gary and Chauncey discuss mass psychology and how symbols and other types of images and narratives influence emotion, Trump's power over his followers, the concept of synchronicity and "magic", and the ways that Vladimir Putin has been able to recreate reality for the Russian people with the goal of expanding Russian empire. Gary also explains the deep connections between the occult and esoteric knowledge as practiced by such figures as Stephen Bannon and the so-called "alt-right" movement.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega comments on the anti-climactic meeting in Helsinki where Donald Trump publicly betrays the United States to his handler and boss Vladimir Putin.

And at the end of this week's show Chauncey shares a warning from Harry Leslie Smith, who is 94-years-old, a veteran of the RAF in World War 2, and also a writer for the Guardian, about the rise of Trumpism and right-wing authoritarian movements around the world.

This episode with Gary Lachman can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Conversation With Malcolm Nance About Donald Trump and Russia's Plot to Destroy American Democracy

Malcolm Nance is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government. In his more than three decades working in that capacity, Nance served with U.S. Special Operations forces, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. He has worked in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

A frequent guest contributor on MSNBC, Nance has authored several books, including the bestselling The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.

Nance’s new book is The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Malcolm Nance and Chauncey discuss how Donald Trump is Russia and Vladimir Putin's agent, the overwhelming evidence that Russia colluded with Donald Trump and his inner circle to steal the 2106 presidential election and how the Russians were able to undermine American democracy by exploiting conservatives and other members of the right-wing.

Malcolm Nance also sounds the alarm about why the 2018 midterm elections may be the last chance the American people have to save the country's (and global) democracy from Trump, the Republican Party, and Vladimir Putin's autocratic plot.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega offers some comments on Trump's hate rally in Montana and how white children are learning the lessons of white supremacy from their Trumpist parents. On this week's episode Chauncey continues to highlight the human cost of Donald Trump and the Republican Party's campaign of ethnic cleansing and white racial terrorism against black and brown refugees, migrants, and immigrants.

At the end of this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show, our intrepid host shares some emails from listeners about the importance of protest movements, and if we should in fact shun and marginalize Trump supporters.

This episode with Malcolm Nance can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day and White America's Democracy Problem

Every year, on America's birthday, I read Frederick Douglass's essay "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"

I was first introduced to Frederick Douglass while in elementary school. My sixth grade teacher, a stern but kind black woman, knew that I, the only black boy in her class, would benefit greatly from his wisdom and example. She was right.

The book "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" was wondrous.

It was the amazing adventure of a man who fights to free his people by first liberating his mind and then his body from the evils of white-on-black slavery.

Douglass tricks gullible white children to teach him how to read

Douglass beats the hell out of his evil overseer, Edward Covey.

Douglass escapes to freedom, avoiding slave patrollers and other evildoers.

Douglass goes on to fight for the freedom of black Americans -- and along the way becomes one of America's greatest orators, activists and thinkers.

What was there for a black child (and later on an adult) not to love?

In high school I would then discover his landmark speech and essay "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?".

At first I admired Douglass' masterful oratory and command of the English language.

There is searing truth:
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. — The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.
Then Douglass lays in the body blows:
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
Eventually I began to read "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" as political performance art and drama. As I learned and studied more, the naive optimism of Douglass's belief that white supremacy and racism would wither away as incompatible with a post-slavery America became more obvious and problematic. This too was a gift from Douglass: his hope reveals much about the contours and tensions within the black freedom struggle. Black folks are a hopeful people who all too often love a country which does not love us back. This is a special power. It is also a horrible curse.

But for all of the multiple valences of meaning in "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" there is one unifying theme. Douglass and his life are testimonies to the force of black Americans' love of freedom, and an unrelenting stubbornness to do all that is necessary to be fully equal and free citizens.

In the age of Donald Trump, when white supremacy is openly resurgent, and an unapologetic racist authoritarian is president, Douglass's "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" resonates even more.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Conversation With Richard Painter About the Dangers of Trump's Regime and How the Republican Party Became So Dangerous

Richard Painter is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. Painter was White House chief ethics counsel under George W. Bush and is a frequent political commentator and analyst on CNN, MSNBC and other news networks. He is also a professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota and the author of several books, including "Getting the Government America Deserves."

Although he has been a Republican nearly all his life, Painter is now running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by Al Franken.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Richard Painter and Chauncey discuss the threat to American democracy embodied by Donald Trump, why he is no longer a Republican, and how the Republican Party became so revanchist, racist, and dangerous. Painter also offers a warning to the Democrats about the perils of "identity politics" for the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega wonders if protest movements such as the marches against Trump's evil treatment of black and brown refugees have any power against a neoliberal authoritarian regime. Chauncey also tries to help Democrats, liberals, and progressives--especially those cowardly "centrists"--work through their stages of grief about Justice Kennedy retiring, the Muslim ban, the assault on unions, and other Trump victories.

At the end of this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show, our intrepid host shares a story about a right-wing "Christian" church which is located next to one of the Trump regime's prisons for children--and how the wicked Trump Christians there support the abuse of Latino and Hispanic refugees and immigrants.

This episode with Richard Painter can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Conversation with Political Cartoonist Rob Rogers About Being Fired For Telling the Truth About Donald Trump

Rob Rogers is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist who worked with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper for 25 years before being fired several weeks ago. Why? Because he refused to stop telling truth about Donald Trump.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Rob Rogers and Chauncey discuss the personal costs of telling the truth about Donald Trump's regime in an era of cowardice as well as how Rogers decided to not compromise and sell out his principles to the Trump-allied publisher and new editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Rogers also shares his insights about the challenges of drawing political cartoons about the grotesque and evil human caricature that is Donald Trump.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega wonders if this was the week that the American people will look back upon in the near future when American democracy and human decency and American Exceptionalism finally died with Trump's direct channeling of Nazi ideology, an obvious and unapologetic war on our brown brothers and sisters at the U.S.-Mexico border, Melania's enabling cruelty, the denial of how Stephen Miller and Michael Anton are white supremacists, and Trump's continued assault on the rule of law in America while most of the country's people do nothing because they are sheep.

At the end of this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show, our intrepid host explains how Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels is being channeled by Donald Trump and his allies. Chauncey also shares some wisdom from those who fought back against Hitler's regime about how to organize and fight a day-to-day battle against evil.

This episode with Rob Rogers can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Stephen Miller is the Architect of Trump's Evil Child Separation Policy. Stephen Miller is also a White Supremacist...and the New York Times Won't Admit this Fact

When the news media provides facts without context it does the public a disservice. This is one of the core principles captured by the dictate of the five W's -- who, what, when, how and why -- taught in every high school-level journalism class. It would seem that the New York Times has neglected that basic rule.

Last Saturday, the flagship newspaper of establishment journalism focused on White House senior adviser Stephen Miller's role in the Trump administration's decision to hold thousands of refugee and immigrant children as de facto political hostages in prison camps and warehouses.

Nowhere in the New York Times story was there any explanation or discussion of Stephen Miller's background, his values or what other motivations could drive him to be so enthusiastically cruel toward nonwhite children and their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

This information is readily available: The Times made a choice not to include it.

Stephen Miller -- like other Trump advisers such as Michael Anton, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon -- is a white supremacist. Like other members of the so-called alt-right (a collection of far-right extremists that includes neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other racists) Miller hides behind Trumpian slogans about making America great again and neutral-sounding terms such as "nationalism" and "populism" to advance a policy agenda where nonwhites are treated as second-class citizens and white people are empowered above all other groups.

Miller is also the principal architect of the Trump administration's proposed immigration "reforms," which would effectively turn the clock back to the 1920s and 1930s, a time when nonwhites were effectively not allowed to immigrate to the United States.

Ultimately, Donald Trump's administration -- with white supremacists like Miller serving as a type of racial id -- is making clear what has some level always been understood in America: To be a "real" American is first and foremost to be "white" and "Christian." (Miller is personally of Jewish heritage. Reportedly his maternal grandparents immigrated to America to escape anti-Semitic pogroms in the Russian Empire. This only heightens the irony and his moral malfeasance.)

What else do we know about Stephen Miller?

While in college he was friends with and mentored by the notorious white supremacist Richard Spencer. Together, Miller and Spencer collaborated on bringing right-wing ideologues to Duke University where Miller was a student.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Conversation with Michael Eric Dyson About Trump's Rise to Power, America's Moral Rot, and the Persistence of the Color Line

Michael Eric Dyson is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and the author of many books including What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America as well as Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.

Dr. Dyson is also a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher as well CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Professor Dyson and Chauncey discuss the crisis in moral leadership and values which birthed Donald Trump's presidency, how right-wing Christians helped to conceive this wholesale abandonment of democracy and dignity, and how whiteness and white privilege have (again) undermined the common good--and yes, how such values also hurt white people. Professor Dyson and Chauncey also discuss the burden that black and brown people have to save American democracy from white racism and those individuals and forces such as Donald Trump and his white rage-filled supporters.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega ponders the alpha male bromance between Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Trump's Fox News madness and threats against Americans who are not sufficiently "loyal". Chauncey is also enraged by the wicked evil that is how Trump's regime is breaking up families at the Mexican-U.S. border and explains the reckoning that is coming to America.

This episode with Professor Michael Eric Dyson can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Do Not Give Aid and Comfort to the Trump Supporters in Your Life: The Personal is Political. Stop Communicating With Them

The United States Constitution grants President Donald Trump many powers. They include being the Chief Executive, Chief Legislator and Commander-in-Chief of the military. Not to be content with such powers, Donald Trump has also taken on other roles as well. Donald Trump is the Sadist-in-Chief of the United States of America. Cruelty and meanness are his modus operandi.

In his role as Sadist-in-Chief he has been quite busy. As the leader of the Republican Party he has decided to take health insurance away from the at least 150 million Americans — including children and the elderly — who have preexisting health conditions. He also mocked and insulted the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico which is estimated to have killed at least 4,600 people.

Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made it official United States government policy to break up and attempt to destroy the families of refugees, undocumented residents, and those others seeking to make a life in the country.

In this nefarious plan, children are to be separated from their families. These children are then to be sent to warehouses on military bases. It has even been proposed that thousands of children are to be put in prison camps — which have been dishonestly and benignly described by the Trump administration as "tent cities." It would seem that Trump's pardoning of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio — a man who bragged about running a "concentration camp" — was a signal of bigger plans. MSNBC reports that migrant children separated from their parents are currently "effectively being incarcerated" in a detention center in a former Walmart in Texas.

Trump and Sessions' and the Republican Party's assault on the human rights and dignity of nonwhite immigrants and refugees has already turned lethal. Marco Antonio Munoz, a Honduran man seeking sanctuary, killed himself after having his child taken away from him. A 19-year-old named Manuel Antonio Cano-Pacheco was killed in Mexico after being deported by ICE enforcers.

This is part of a larger strategy of "soft" ethnic cleansing where the ultimate goal is to prevent the United States from becoming a "majority minority" country.

Of course, separating children from their parents is not new in America. It was a horror afflicted on black people who were owned for centuries as human property. Native American children and young adults were also taken from their families and sent away to schools such as Dartmouth in order to be "whitened" as a means of committing cultural genocide.

Knowing Trump's policy of separating children from families is not unprecedented does nothing to temper what should be outrage and moral abomination. On this I agree with Esquire magazine's Charles Pierce. In response to a stomach churning and enraging report about the stress and trauma being experienced by children who have been torn from their families by the United States government, he wrote:
The New York Times had a story on Friday that should’ve brought shame and derision upon anyone who voted for the racist monster in the White House, and upon the racist monster that the other racist monster installed at the head of the Department of Justice. The United States government is now committing human rights atrocities within its own borders and against the most vulnerable people it can find. I don’t need to “understand,” much less take seriously, anyone who still supports this president* and his administration* because, if you do, you’ve taken the idea of America and run battery acid through its veins.... 
So, thanks to this president* and his 63 million enablers, and his acolytes in the media, and all the people who didn’t care enough to stop him in 2016, and all the people who don’t care enough to stop him now, we have our own American variations on the Tuam babies and the Magdalene Laundries. 
Children are being punished, cruelly and mindlessly, for the perceived sins of their parents and, because we are a secular republic, it is not being done in the name of God but, rather, on the behalf of everybody in this country. That does not make this better. Not by a longshot.
I would go one step further.

Politics begins in the home with how children are taught lessons about right and wrong, obedience and freedom, and their responsibilities to other people usually first in the most immediate sense (parents and family) and then broadening out to neighbors and community, and finally to humankind, other animals and the natural world more broadly.

Who we choose to include among our friends and associates — and yes, even kin — is a political statement because it reflects our values and beliefs. The personal is political in ways both obvious and subtle. This includes the quotidian as well as grand gestures and acts.

And so, a proposal.

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Conversation with Historian Edgar Feuchtwanger About What it was Like to be a Jewish Child Who Lived Across the Street From Hitler

This week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show features two guests.

Professor Edgar Feuchtwanger is a Jewish historian who grew up across the street from Adolph Hitler and witnessed the rise of the Nazism and its evil firsthand. Professor Feuchtwanger shares the memories of that dark time from a child's perspective and with a historian's insight in his new book Hitler, My Neighbor: Memories of a Jewish Childhood, 1929-1938.

On this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Edgar Feuchtwanger recounts what it was like to, literally, see Hitler on a regular basis, how his father was sent to Dachau, his memories of Kristallnacht, and the ways that the German people so quickly embraced Hitler and the Nazis. Professor Feuchtwanger also offers a chilling warning for the American people (and the world) in the Age of Trump and the rise of right-wing fascists and authoritarians around the world: Wake up!

Psychiatrist Dr. David Reiss also stops by the virtual bar and salon this week to discuss the suicide of Anthony Bourdain and to help Chauncey process his anger towards someone whose work he admired and that he viewed as one cool white soul brother.

During this week's podcast, Dr. Reiss explains why a rich and successful person who is beloved around the world would kill themselves and how suicide is a type of extreme mental state that is different from "depression". Dr. Reiss also shares how he tries to help his own patients who are thinking of taking their own lives.

At the end of this week's installment of the podcast Chauncey shares some of Anthony Bourdain's best quotes and life wisdom.

This week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with Edgar Feuchtwanger and David Reiss can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Conversation with Professor Ted Thornhill About How He Dared to Teach a Course Called "White Racism" and Then the Right-wing Mob Threatened His Life

Ted Thornhill is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a Professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University who received national attention because he dared to teach a course in January 2018 called "White Racism". Like many other educators in the Age of Trump, Professor Thornhill was targeted by a coordinated campaign of harassment--including death threats that necessitated his needing armed guards outside of his classroom--by the right-wing mob including Fox News.  

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Professor Thornhill and Chauncey discuss how the classroom is a political space, the right-wing campaign against him, and how he did not yield or surrender to the threats of the Fox News-driven thuggery and harassment. Professor Thornhill and Chauncey also highlight common misconceptions about racism in "colorblind America", the myth that is "reverse racism", and of course how Donald Trump was able to win the White House.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega again sounds the alarm about the American fascist Donald Trump. This week's warning: Donald Trump's attorneys recently told special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump is above the law and is a de facto king or emperor. And to make matters even worse, Rudy Giuliani actually told the Huffington Post that Donald Trump could kill James Comey and there would be no immediate consequences because Trump is president.

During this week's podcast Chauncey DeVega also makes a realization: Donald Trump is a pimp and American democracy is his prostitute.

This episode with Professor Ted Thornhill can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.