WaPo: ‘Conservatism Has Become A Racket and Trump Is The Grifter In Chief’

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I’m sure that you join me in my relief that the party of small government, the Republican Lords of Fiscal Conservatism, are at the helm of the ship of state. That means that everything with the federal budget should be neat and tidy, right, not like what you have when one of those profligate Democrats is in office, buying pork barrels and setting fire to cash? Take a look at this stat, shared by none other than Kellyanne’s hubby, and see where our economy really is at, under Donald Trump.

Now George Conway sounding the alarm is interesting, being that he’s not only married to Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne and a Republican — but guess what’s stranger still? He’s not the only Republican playing Paul Revere at this moment in time, when because of Trump’s moronic foreign policy gambits, the country is teetering on a brink of economic disaster that we haven’t seen since Dubya drove us over the cliff. If you read nothing else today, columnist Max Boot blows the lid off the conservative racket, and delineates how we got to where we are in this country. Washington Post:

You can debate when the conservative movement became a racket — I nominate 1996, the year Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes created Fox News Channel to monetize right-wing outrage — but there is no doubt it has long since passed that point. If you have any doubt, look at the recent revelations about the National Rifle Association, probably the single most powerful conservative lobbying group in America.

The NRA’s long-serving executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, told his followers: “It’s up to us to speak out against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats.” So LaPierre must be a man of the people, selflessly dedicated to the goal of two assault weapons in every house and a bazooka in every garage, right?

Actually, protecting the “right” of anyone to buy any gun at any time turns out to be a lucrative racket. The NRA paid LaPierre $927,863 in 2014, $5,051,249 in 2015 and $1,358,966 in 2016, according to the group’s tax returns. In 2016, eight other NRA executives also made more than $500,000. But that is only the beginning of their compensation. […]

LaPierre’s reported compensation is just part of a larger, troubling pattern at the NRA that could threaten its tax-exempt status. An investigation by the New Yorker and the Trace found that “a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements. Memos created by a senior N.R.A. employee describe a workplace distinguished by secrecy, self-dealing, and greed, whose leaders have encouraged disastrous business ventures and questionable partnerships, and have marginalized those who object.” […]

A similar culture of impunity exists across the right. Leaders are being lavishly rewarded, and their misdeeds are being covered up as long as they rile up the rubes. Fox News host Sean Hannity makes a reported $36 million a year and owns his own airplane while railing, like LaPierre, against “elites.” Fox News’s parent company, meanwhile, became notorious for paying tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits regarding sexual harassment charges brought against some of its biggest stars, including Ailes and then-anchor Bill O’Reilly.

The saddest, or most hilarious aspect, depending on your perspective, of this cabal of total elitists posing as anti-elitists and friends of the working man to boot, is that the biggest crooks of all are so-called “Christians” the evangelical leaders — telling their shills that Donald Trump is a “biblical president” chosen by none other than God Himself to inhabit the White House. They, too, have tax exempt status and evangelicals are the grifters’ grifter — they can show you how to do it, and they do. I personally read one of their pamphlets, “How To Believe God For A House,” distributed by the husband and wife team of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. The pamphlet tells you that one of the first things you should do is get yourself a section 501(c)(3) exemption and start your own church. Worked for them. They were piss poor and living in a basement apartment, now they live on an estate, the aerial view of which is stunning, and fly in a private jet. But they don’t talk about that on TV. They make up folksy homilies, like Lonesome Rhodes from “A Face In The Crowd” about father Kenneth giving his teenage son a treat of a tank of gas for his “truck” (the term sports car isn’t mentioned) so that he can sound like a normal dad with a normal income, talking to his normal boy and he knows your pain.

The evangelicals pack the mega-churches, fill the collection plates, and vote for Trump, because the likes of Copeland and Jerry Falwell tell them that Trump is an exemplar of Christian values — and Falwell and Trump definitely share some values, because they used to have the same lawyer, Michael Cohen. Before Cohen went to the House of Many Doors, wherein he currently resides, Cohen claims he helped Falwell prevent the release of embarrassing photographs that should “be kept between husband and wife” — and that was just a short while after news broke about Falwell loaning $1.8 million to the pool boy in Miami. Nothing to see there, happens every day, right? Right indeed, with this crowd.

The corruption of the far-right is complete. Here is Max Boot’s bottom line:

America’s conservatives are Trump’s willing marks in no small part because, long before he came along, they had already gotten used to being fleeced by self-serving rabble-rousers — the real-life versions of Elmer GantryBerzelius “Buzz” Windrip and Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes.

The last century’s tent revivals are this century’s televised religious dog and pony show, with a stage, projection screens and a band, instead of an altar; live from Potters House or Calvary Chapel. They will take take your credit card donation over the phone or online. These people have been buying snake oil and drinking the Kool-Aid for some time. To support one of these grifters is to be in a Satanic pact with the others: if you’re NRA, you’re evangelical, and if you’re evangelical, you’re a Trumpite. And they all listen to Fox News. That’s how we got here. Two Americas, folks. It’s not about Republican v. Democrat, it’s about Americans v. grifters. One of the Americas preys on the downtrodden and unwise to lavishly support the unprincipled and corrupt. And right now the inmates are running the asylum.

 

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