Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Conversation with Nancy MacLean About How the Republican Party's New "Tax Reform" Bill is Really a Plan to Destroy American Society as We Know It

There are two guests on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

Nancy MacLean returns to explain the real impact and long-term devastation to the American people that will be caused by the Republican so-called "tax reform" bill. She is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and author of the new book Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.

Democracy in Chains was also one of the five finalists in the 2017 National Book Awards for non-fiction.  

During this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Nancy and Chauncey discuss how the Republican Party's "tax bill" is part of a bigger plot by the most extreme elements of the right-wing--including libertarians allied with the Koch brothers--to return America to a time before the 20th century. With last week's passage of their "tax plan" the Republican Party and the plutocrats (as well as Christian fascists) to which they are beholden to have taken one more stop closer to eliminating programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with the ultimate goal of eliminating the "useless eaters". Professor MacLean predicted this would happen in her new book Democracy In Chains.

John Feffer is the second guest on this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a foreign policy expert, philosopher, and author of the much-discussed new book Splinterlands which is a brilliant exploration of a future ruined Earth, an America in the midst of a de facto civil war, and how it call came to pass. This conversation with John is just a preview of a much longer full length episode that will air in the very near future.

On this week's show Chauncey mocks the Democrats and other liberals who actually believe that forcing Senator Al Franken and others who have been accused of sexual harassment to resign will somehow shame the Republicans into moving against Donald Trump and Roy Moore. Chauncey also shares some wisdom from Hannah Arendt about Trump's fascism and the threat posed by his human deplorable trash mob. And at the end of this week's podcast Chauncey shares a story about meeting an angel in human form at the local library.

This episode with Nancy MacLean and John Feffer can be downloaded from Libysn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Republican "Tax Reform" Bill is Really Just a Malthusian Plan to Kill the 'Useless Eaters'

The Republican "tax reform" bill passed by the United States Senate during the late-night hours last Friday is evil. It has no redeeming social value. It takes money and resources from those who have the least in order to further subsidize the rich and corporations. It will worsen those problems its proponents claim it will solve. It is a nightmare. Republicans and others who support this legislation have revealed once again that they lack any human decency or wisdom or sense of civic responsibility.

This evil is facilitated by an extreme rightward turn in American society that has made normal and healthy politics all but impossible.

This evil will kill people and increase human misery so the idle rich and other plutocrats can have even more money. This statement is no exaggeration. It is a plain fact: The Republican tax bill will raise taxes on the poor and working classes in order to give the very richest American hundreds of billions of dollars. This is a clear statement of social and political priorities: The amount of money gifted to the rich by Republicans is so large it could have paid for debt-free college and universal health care.

This evil also reveals a moral and ethical rot. The Republican Party and Donald Trump's desperate desire to win a legislative victory at any cost was more important than being responsible public servants.

This evil is empowered by a party, a president and a right-wing movement that feels nothing but contempt for the very idea of democracy. The United States is in extreme peril. Moreover, the evil of the Republicans' "tax reform" bill is not a result of happenstance, accident or coincidence. It is an outgrowth of a much deeper malevolent ideology.

Republicans from the post-civil rights era to the age of Trump have increasingly been in thrall to "Social Darwinism" and the 18th-century English economist Thomas Malthus. In this paradigm, the real value of individual human beings (and societies) is determined by their economic productivity and financial value as decided by capitalism. This cruel vision treats human beings almost like animal livestock; "social betters" engineer certain outcomes to cull the herd so the most "valuable" and "productive" are nurtured and protected. All others are viewed as parasites who should be removed, exterminated or bred out of existence.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Conversation with Henry Giroux About the Condition of American Democracy One Year After the Election of Donald Trump

Henry Giroux is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He has written dozens of books and articles including America at War with Itself and the forthcoming The Public in Peril: Trump and the Menace of American Authoritarianism.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Professor Giroux and Chauncey evaluate American democracy one year after Trump's election, wonder about how to stay positive during such a horrible time, and ponder what resistance looks like against American fascism. Professor Giroux also explains the dangers of malignant reality, why Trump's voters will never leave his side, and makes a bold prediction about the 2020 presidential election.

This week's episode also features some bonus content that can be heard at the end of the show. Documentary filmmaker Charlie Siskel stops by the virtual bar and salon to discuss his new project American Anarchist. Charlie also shares some insights learned from the making of the documentary projects Bowling for Columbine, The Awful Truth, and Finding Vivian Maier. And in the spirit of our ongoing discussion about Donald Trump, Charlie works through his initial thoughts about a documentary on America's fascist-in-chief demagogue.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega tells the truth about the murderous and evil Republican "tax bill" which passed during the middle of the night last Friday. Chauncey is also disgusted by the Democratic Party and all the so-called liberals and progressives who are unable to stop the Republican Party--as well as how the American people are sheep who have not taken to the streets in massive protests against the Republican Party's destruction of the Commons and efforts to bring the United States back to a time before the 19th century.

This episode with Henry Giroux and Charlie Siskel can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Conversation with Volney Gay About Whiteness, Anti-Black Violence, and the Pleasures of Owning People

Volney Gay is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He is a professor of religious studies, psychiatry, and anthropology at Vanderbilt University and author of the new book On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Volney and Chauncey discuss how black chattel slavery was pleasurable for white people, anti-black violence throughout American history, the psychology of white supremacy, and white racial paranoia thinking. Volney also explains how anti-black violence helps to constitute Whiteness and the power of sadism together with racism in Donald Trump's appeal to his supporters.

This Thanksgiving week's episode also features some bonus content that can be heard at the end of the show. Gabriel Mendes stops by the virtual bar and salon to discuss his new book Under the Strain of Color: Harlem’s Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry. Gabriel shares some hidden history about how Dr. Fredric Wertham --who is most famous for his campaign against comic books--worked with the great Richard Wright to make mental health services more accessible to the residents of Harlem during the 1940s.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega explains why right-wing Christians like Roy Moore prey on young girls and how this is connected to the so-called "purity" movement where fathers take a vow to protect their young daughters' virginity. And reflecting on the real meaning of Thanksgiving, Chauncey also shares Tecumseh's Speech to the Osages (Winter 1811-12) about the imminent threat posed by white Americans to First Nations people.

This episode with Volney Gay and Gabriel Mendes can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Toxic White Masculinity and Donald Trump's Attacks on Black Athletes

If Mike Judge writes a sequel to his great 2006 film "Idiocracy" (which now feels like a very prescient documentary and not a satire), he could easily cast president Donald Trump and sports promoter-manager LaVar Ball as the main characters. Both men are obnoxious, loud masters of self-promotion who play on the worst parts of American culture in order to make money. Trump is the champion of this debased culture; Ball is no more than a low-ranked challenger. Nevertheless, in many ways their public personas are more similar than different. Together, they are doppelgängers of crudeness. This fact is lost on Donald Trump, a person who lacks the capacity for critical self-reflection.

In his Sunday Twitter outburst, Trump went after Ball this way:
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
In another example of how Trump has soiled the White House, this idiotic temper tantrum came on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Alas, the American presidency has fallen from the heights and gravitas of Lincoln's oratory and leadership to the 280 characters of Twitter and a petit-fascist who demands constant praise and attention because his life is modeled on a reality TV show.

Trump's behavior, of course, is part of a much larger pattern.

Trump appears to view himself as a monarch who must be shown acts of loyalty and fealty at all times and by all people. In his mind, he is a Leviathan, the physical embodiment of the State, who must be treated accordingly.

Throughout his presidency Trump has repeatedly targeted black people for harassment when he deems their behavior "uppity" and "disrespectful." This is one more example of how the politics of white rage pay great political dividends in America. This fact was true at the time of the founding and it remains so in the age of Trump.

For many reasons, black American athletes are a special target for white rage. Professional athletes in football, baseball and basketball earn large sums of money. For sports fans -- especially those who are white and right-wing -- this is a source of admiration and idol worship, but also resentment and jealousy.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Conversation with Bruce Bartlett About Why the Republican Party Must Die and the Dangers of "Fake News"

Bruce Bartlett is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. He served in the Reagan White House and also under George H.W. Bush. Bartlett is also a regular contributor to The New York Times and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and other major news networks. His new book is The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Bruce and Chauncey discuss how the Republican Party became a threat to American democracy, the failures of the American news media, the danger of "fake news" and its role in Trumpism. Bruce also shares some guidelines and suggestions for how we can improve our news media literacy.

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega explains why the Democratic Party is pathetic as shown by their inability to defeat movement conservatives and the Republican Party. Chauncey also ponders the particular case of the sex deviant racist pervert Roy Moore and why Christian fascists are in love with him. At the end of this week's show Chauncey shares some poetry in the spirit of Veterans Day. 

This episode with Bruce Bartlett can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Conversation with Documentary Filmmaker Rory Karpf About Ric Flair and his new ESPN 30 for 30 film "Nature Boy"

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Rory Karpf is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show. His much-anticipated ESPN 30 for 30 film "Nature Boy" on the amazing life and times of the legendary professional wrestler Ric Flair debuted earlier this week.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Rory and Chauncey discuss their mutual love of professional wrestling, how they fell in love with the sport, getting to know Ric Flair, the personal tragedies and the public persona, and why and how Flair has remained so relevant in global popular culture some forty years after he first debuted. Rory also gives some advice for aspiring filmmakers and those others who want to pursue their creative dreams.

Mama DeVega also makes her return to the virtual bar and salon this week. Mama DeVega is very angry at people who suggest that somehow she is being manipulated and does not have opinions of her own. In rare form, Mama DeVega also tells the truth about Donald Trump, relays stories about being a civil rights pioneer, and gets upset about "the phantom pooper".

In this week's episode, Chauncey DeVega shares a story about the human trash monsters who still support Donald Trump and also urges folks to not get too excited about the Democratic Party's wins at the polls on Tuesday. Chauncey also has a case of the blues and realizes that his sad mood is caused by the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's conquering of the presidency and the climactic ascent of American fascism.

This episode with Rory Karpf and Mama DeVega can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

The Chauncey DeVega Show is available on Itunes, Spotify and at Stitcher.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Blood of Innocents: America is not a Judeo-Christian Society. It is a Country of Pagans Who Worship the Gun God

On Sunday, Devin Patrick Kelley allegedly killed 26 people during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He also wounded 20 others. On his personal Facebook profile, he displayed a picture of an AR-15-style assault rifle. This was the weapon of choice he used to kill 7 percent of the population in a town of only 362.

Because of this tragedy, it is now time to once again partake in a unique American ritual.

To participate, you will need a mass shooting bingo card. If you do not yet have one, it is readily available for free from various sites on the internet.

Your mass shooting bingo card lists various options for the narratives that are trotted out when a mass shooting occurs in the United States. For example, you will likely hear phrases such as "guns don't kill people," "don't politicize a tragedy," "it's too soon to talk about gun control" and "pray for the victims."

The mass shooting bingo game is a dreadful form of gallows humor. It is also an accurate representation of how mass murder by gun is all too often discussed in American society.

If a Muslim or someone of Arab or Middle Eastern ancestry had killed 26 white Christians in church, President Donald Trump would demand that the perpetrator be executed, describe him as human garbage and argue that "extreme vetting," along with banning immigration from certain parts of the world, will keep Americans safe.

If a black person or another nonwhite person had killed 26 white Christians in church we would hear loud demands from Donald Trump, the Republican Party and the right-wing media to get tougher on crime, and complaints that somehow America's police are unfairly restrained.

But if a white man such as Devin Kelley kills dozens of people at a church (or 58 at a country music concert), then it is somehow in poor taste to "politicize" such tragedies. That person is a "lone wolf." He is not a terrorist. His actions are "outliers," and perceived as unpreventable. He is described as mentally ill, or affected by other types of emotional or psychological problems.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Conversation with Psychologist John Gartner About the "Duty to Warn" and How Donald Trump's Mental Health is a Threat to World Peace

This week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show features three guests and a special bonus Halloween feature.

Psychologist John Gartner is the featured guest on this week's show. He is the founder of "The Duty to Warn", a political action organization and awareness raising campaign which is trying to sound the alarm about Donald Trump's mental health and how he is a threat to world peace. Dr. Gartner's "Duty to Warn" petition and open letter was featured in the New York Times and elsewhere. To date, it has received tens of thousands of signatures from mental health professionals in the United States and elsewhere.

During this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Dr. Gartner and Chauncey discuss Trump's mental health, how his various pathologies are a threat to world peace, and how the so-called Goldwater Rule is a shield that protects cowardly psychologists and others who are afraid to speak truth to power. Dr. Gartner also explains the dangerous allure of demagogues such as Donald Trump and how he is able to control his millions of followers--and why they will not leave him.

This week's podcast also features two other great guests to help make sense of Robert Mueller's indictments and the Russia Scandal.

Author and journalist Jared Yates Sexton was one of the first voices to call attention to how Paul Manafort would likely be indicted for money laundering and other financial crimes. More than a year ago, Sexton correctly identified how money would be the smoking gun that would expose Trump's collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton. Jared explains how he connected the dots and what he thinks will happen next with Mueller's investigation and the Russia Scandal.

Naveed Jamali is the author of How to Catch a Russian Spy. He explains how Mueller's indictment reveals the ways that Russian spies and other intelligence operatives compromised Trump's inner circle--most notably George Papadopoulos. Jamali also locates Putin's plans for Donald Trump and the chaos caused in the 2016 presidential election in a larger strategic context. Jamali is also deeply concerned that America is on the verge of a Constitutional crisis when and if Trump fires Mueller.

In this week's episode, Chauncey tries to construct a narrative out of the maelstrom of Trump-related chaos and evil such as Kelly's piss poor ignorant claims about "compromise" and the Civil War, how Susan "Goebbels" Huckabee Sanders refuses to say that Trump believes that slavery was wrong, and Mueller's indictments. Chauncey also shares some polling data about Trump's malignant reality and the control he has over his human deplorables and its implications for American fascism.

As a special trick or treat Halloween bonus this week's show also features Adam Selzer  who is the author of H. H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil. He separates fact from fiction in the disturbing tale of Chicago's most famous "serial killer".  

This episode with Dr. John Gartner, Jared Yates Sexton, and Naveed Jamali can be downloaded from Libsyn and also listened to here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

To Argue That the Confederacy and General Lee were "Honorable" is to Embrace and Defend White Supremacy

If White House chief of staff John Kelly had any self-respect or integrity he would be embarrassed right now. Despite his distinguished service as a Marine Corps general, Kelly apparently jettisoned such values when he went to work for President Donald Trump.

During an interview on Laura Ingraham's new Fox News show on Monday night, Kelly told the host that he viewed Confederate general Robert E. Lee as “an honorable man. ... He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

He also defended Confederate monuments. “I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say what those, you know, what Christopher Columbus did was wrong. ... You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then.”

Kelly's understanding of American history and the Civil War is piss-poor and willfully ignorant. To claim that the treasonous Confederate cause and its leaders such as Lee were "honorable" people is to confuse the white supremacist fiction and propaganda channeled by movies like "Gone With the Wind" and "The Birth of a Nation" with empirical reality, historical rigor and actual scholarship. Unfortunately, Kelly's delusions do not exist in isolation: They are shared by many other (white) Americans as well, including Donald Trump.

Of course, Kelly's claims have been publicly eviscerated by leading historians of American history and the Civil War, including Eric Foner, David Blight and Stephanie McCurry. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns refuted Kelly's claims as well. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates also showed Kelly's claims about the Civil War to be a sham and lie that makes demonstrable fact into mysterious, lazy opinion.

I spoke to historian Gregory Downs, the author of "After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War" and a professor at the University of California -- Davis. He offered additional context for Kelly's claims, saying they "reflect a regrettable but common way that Americans turn away from the centrality of slavery to the Civil War and the Confederate cause."